Cross stitch

September 9, 2012

I just finished a cross stitch project! I’m pretty pleased with how it came out. I saw an ad for a pattern in Cross Stitcher magazine for corgis but I couldn’t get the right edition, so I was so glad when I found out the pattern was on their website! It is SO CUTE.  The original pattern didn’t have a tail though, and since I’m making this for my grandma and her corgi/jack russell has a very character-filled tail I had to add one on. I was worried about doing that so I didn’t work on it for a while, but I just put the tail on and I think it came out pretty well.  I’m not 100% sure about the outlining since it was meant to be in dark brown and I didn’t bother buying one, but I think he’s cute anyway.


I’ve also got a few more projects lying around that I haven’t done anything with yet.

These ones are also from Cross Stitcher magazine (I really like that magazine. It’s not all kittens and fairies). I did the bird on a train in Norway and the Santa in Evidence lectures last summer.  I’m planning on putting them on Christmas aprons, I even bought the fabric last year but I ran out of time so I’d better find time this year.

Christmas cross stitch

This was my first go at sewing on evenweave instead of aida (nicer but more effort). There’s a couple of mistakes in it, which makes me grumpy, but I’ll cope.  I thought I’d turn it into a Christmas decoration.  The pattern is from Modern Folk on Etsy. I love all of their patterns and want to make them all, if only I had the time.


This one took me so long to do. Like, years.  I bought the pattern in Scotland in, I think, 2007? I think I just found it boring to do with all the lines and it never seemed to get anywhere… But I’m really pleased with it now, so it was worth it.  I think I’ll frame it, the other suggestion was to make it into a pillow but I’m not brave enough to do that after the time it took to make. The pattern is from Textile Heritage – I’ve bought quite a lot of things from them on various trips the UK.

Elizabethan Partlet

August 19, 2012

I took some time off from the stays this week to make myself an Elizabethan partlet.  My Elizabethan outfit was my first proper historical costume (I made it in 2008) and I’d never got around to to making a partlet to go with it.  I’d returned the one I’d borrowed so thought I’d better make my own in time for yesterday’s Renaissance ball.

I wanted to use silk organza, but I’ve already started hemming the piece I have for an 18th century kerchief (not sure how that’ll go, but that’s a different story) so I didn’t want to cut into that, and the shop that had some until recently seems to have run out.  Frustrating! So I spent a couple of days stressing about that, until I decided to use a piece of silk/linen blend that I was planning to use for lining 18th century things, but  I decided I can always get more when I finally get around to working on it.  I was happy with that, in the end – it’s nice and smooth, with the look of linen but a bit of sheen as well. It also creases really nicely, which was good for doing the collar.

It also took me longer than expected to find a pattern – I thought for something as simple as a partlet there must be a free pattern somewhere online, or in one of my books.  Eventually I found this free pattern from Margo Anderson.

Once I found that, everything was pretty straightforward.  The only change I made was to box-pleat rather than gather the frill at the top, which meant I could fold the piece over rather than hem it, and made it look more like a proto-ruff.  I also chose to close the collar with hooks and thread loops rather than ribbon since my necklace is my favourite bit of my Elizabethan costume and I didn’t want bits of ribbon getting in the way.


Box-pleating the frill


Side view of the pleats

The partlet

The completed collar

I also added some extra ribbon to the overskirt, which I shouldn’t have done because I didn’t really have time, but it turned out well.  Wearing the outfit on the night, I was very happy with my overskirt and partlet, but was reminded that the bodice/sleeve situation is a bit of a nightmare, and I think I need to make new sleeves. And an underskirt at some point. I guess I’ll ignore that for now and worry about it at the last minute before the next Renaissance event. Hmm.


Wearing the partlet!


Looking tired and vague

And now I just have to clean up the debris of last-minute sewing and dressing. Yay.

Blue Poplin Burda Dress

April 19, 2012

Fabric: printed poplin from Lincraft

Pattern:  BurdaStyle 02/2011 #104

This was my first attempt at this pattern (later used in the London-Delft dress) which I made last year.  I cut a size 40 but I think I should’ve cut a 38 – I took it in at the sides and kept having to cut the armholes deeper as they cut in at the front every time I tried to move my arms.  I added a waistband because I thought the bodice looked rather short, then realised it looked terrible with the extra length.  So I kept the waistband, but this time I just laid it on top of the existing bodice.  So it may look like it has an extra piece, but it isn’t really functional.  It adds some extra definition to the waist though, which is nice.  I think the skirt might have more fabric in it than it’s meant to – I just used the whole width.  Anyway, I’m very happy with this dress : )

Babushka Sewing Bag

April 18, 2012

Here’s another project I did in the last few months: a sewing bag made from adorable babushka fabric.

I found the gorgeous babushka fabric at the craft fair and knew I needed some.  It’s actually printed cotton drill, so it’s a good weight for a bag.  Then I came across this pattern and went looking for some matching fabrics.  I love the turquoise, I wasn’t super happy with the spots but I like them now. They look like smarties : )

Cute babushka fabric!

After I’d bought the fabric I looked at the finished dimensions: 8 x 10 x 4 inches.  That seemed a bit small, so I decided to multiply all the measurements by 1.5 so it would be a bit bigger.  Then, of course, I didn’t have quite enough fabric so I lined the bag with calico, which actually turned out well because now the interior is bright and unfussy, so it’s easy to find things.  Then I spent the whole process worried that it would turn out absurdly huge, but once I did the mitred corners (is that the word I’m looking for?) I decided it was exactly the right size.  I put in a pocket in the side which fits A4 paper perfectly.

I also added a small pocket on the other side for small bits and pieces, like a needlebook, thread scissors, unpicker and tape measure.

I’m really happy with this bag! I use it to keep current projects in, so they’re easy to transport if I’m moving around to sew. There are lots of different pockets for all my tools and if I’m organised and remember to put them back when I’m finished I can always find them! I also made a little matching case for my scissors, so the sharp point is protected and won’t damage the bag.

‘Babushka’ is a funny word, isn’t it? I find Australians usually say ‘Babushka’ but other people say ‘Matryoshka’. I’ve heard that ‘Babushka’ is inappropriate, but wikipedia doesn’t think that’s true.  It’s just… different to everyone else.  Anyway, I usually stick with ‘Babushka’ because, well, it’s what I’ve always said.

The London-Delft Dress

April 17, 2012

I’ve been following The Sew Weekly closely for the last few months.  I haven’t joined it (I can’t sew something every week and I’m not sure how it all works anyway) but I really like the idea of the weekly themes.  They’ve been making me think more creatively about my projects and their back stories, but not enough for me to actually finish anything coordinated with the themes… But this week I finally finished something that does fit in with a theme! And it’s only a day late!

Fabric: Lillian’s Berries Tana Lawn from Liberty of London, bodice and skirt lined with white cotton voile.

Pattern: BurdaStyle 02/2011 #104

I remember when I was growing up hearing ‘Liberty’ fabric mentioned, and my Mum had a few pieces in the cupboard which I knew I wasn’t allowed to use, but I don’t think I really understood what made it special.  Then when I was studying in Denmark we finally managed to make it to London for a few days and I saw the Liberty shop marked on the map and decided to check it out.  I think during the 5 day trip I managed to drag us back another 2 times, and I’ve basically been obsessed since then.  The fabric was all so beautiful but rather pricey, so I decided I could get enough for one dress as a special London souvenir.  Given how much it costs elsewhere, as I’ve since discovered, I wish I’d bought more!

I was really torn on which fabric to choose and I didn’t have a particular project in mind.  Eventually I settled on this one because the simple blue and white colour scheme reminded me of Delft tiles.  I’d spent a very pleasant afternoon in Delft a few years before and had been a Vermeer/Girl with a Pearl Earring fan for a few years before that.  I also bought a Delft tile cross stitch pattern at Liberty the same day.  I don’t know why my mind was making the connection that day but anyway, it was.  Once I finished the dress I felt it just needed a little something to accent it a bit so I got some matching blue grosgrain ribbon, which I think turned out beautifully.

As for the pattern: I’ve made this pattern twice before (more on that later) and each time I’ve got the fit a little better, so hopefully it’s pretty good on this one! As in the last version I didn’t cut the bodice on the cross as recommended because it takes more fabric.  I think it’s fine like this.  I added a lining to the skirt, just a rectangle but less gathered than the main skirt.  The skirt itself uses more fabric than the pattern recommends – Liberty fabric comes about 135cm wide so I used the whole width. The ribbon sash sits just above the waist seam and I added a little double bow for some subtle girliness (in case this dress needed to be more girly).

I decided to use this pattern because it’s fairly classic –  it can be casual or dressy and hopefully I won’t hate it in 10 years time.  Also the skirt pieces are just big rectangles, so if I do I can always pull it apart!

Then last night I thought of a really good way to do a dress representing Canberra, my home city.  But I’ll have to order the fabric.  Oh well, that’s another project…