Vogue Patterns 8609 in Liberty Tana Lawn – Kate Ada

I made this blouse awhile ago, and although I had blogged it back then, the post got deleted when I revamped my site last year. I want to include it here in My Sewn Wardrobe, so I’m writing it up again. Sorry if you’ve already seen this. It’ll be mostly pictures.



This blouse is the first garment I made after a couple of decades! I love this Liberty print, I’d used it for lining this bag, and decided I wanted to see more of it.




I’ve had this sewing pattern for years now, can’t remember exactly when I bought it, but I think it would have been back in the very early ’90s.



A favourite wooden button for the back closure.



French seams all the way through. Although I’m not really happy with the underarm seam It’s pulling a little.



Overall, a very wearable blouse. I hope to get at least one photo of me wearing it for you. I’ll add it here when I do.

My new Husqvarna Viking Opal 670 + Brother 3034D Home Lock

A few weeks ago, Moshe and I had a very serious and important conversation. The outcome? It’s time. Time for a new sewing machine. And – surprise surprise – a new overlocker! Wait! That sounds like I have one already. No, but it’s something I’ve wanted my whole sewing life. Well, actually since I bought my very first sewing machine, at age 19. That makes it oh, 38 years. A very long time.

I decided that my first port of call was to call the shop where I’d bought a fabulous Janome for my middle daughter several months ago – Liz’s Sewing Centre in Boronia, Victoria.

Liz's Sewing Centre, Dorset Square, Boronia

Liz’s Sewing Centre, Dorset Square, Boronia

Gita and I had been looked after so well there. The level of service, and the obvious, genuine interest the staff had in making sure we were completely taken care of, was phenomenal, and in stark contrast to the really bad experience we’d had at a couple of other stores. So, I thought it was a no-brainer to start my quest by calling Fotini at Liz’s, and asking her the question – “Which machine should I get?” I’d bought my eldest daughter a Janome too, for her birthday several years ago, and I wondered if I should also get a Janome so we could share feet, and bobbins, as Devorah had wisely suggested. But I wanted to know if it was the right choice for me, given I wasn’t a novice like my daughters had been when I bought their machines, and given that I already had a rather good collection of feet from my dear old 6230 Practica 5.

my collection of Husqvarna Practica 5 6230 feet

my collection of Husqvarna 6230 Practica 5 feet

She (Fotini) recommended the Husqvarna Opal, and after checking online for the specs and the reviews, I agreed. The perfect machine for me. I was pretty sure I could only afford the 650, and I was equally as sure that the 670 was out of my financial reach. Fotini mentioned that the Craft & Quilt Fair was coming up, and I should wait for that to get a great price. Agreed. Still thought they couldn’t possibly come down enough in price for me to get the 670.

Finally, Thursday came round, the first day of the Fair, and finally, at around 3:15 in the afternoon, I could get away to zip into town, and by 4:10, I was parked, and with ticket in hand, I walked into the Fair.

It was a very quick affair. By 4:50pm, I was walking away from the Husqvarna stand with not just a receipt for the Opal in my hand, but with a second receipt – for a Brother 3034D Home Lock! I can’t believe the amazingly great deal I got for the two machines, and I was ecstatic! I only had a certain amount of money to spend, which really shouldn’t have been enough for two machines, but … well, I’m lost for words! I got the 670! Check out the features on this baby…

Husqvarna Opal - features chart

Husqvarna Opal – features chart – click on the pic to enlarge it so you can read it clearly

I almost skipped out of the Fair, I was that happy! I’d wanted an overlocker for so many years now, and I think I’ll only get that it’s real when they call me to say my machines are in the shop, and I’m there, physically picking them up and bringing them home with me! Gotta wait about 10-14 days for them to get it in. Perfect amount of time to change things around a bit in my sewing room to make space for not one any more, but three machines! Amazing!

Oh, and on the way out of the Fair, I kinda ran into a Japanese fabric stand which cost me to the tune of 4x fat quarters. Oops!

wabi sabi Japanese fabric

wabi sabi Japanese fabric – aren’t they pretty? my next handbag


The Craft Sessions, are you going?

The Craft Sessions

I booked myself in the minute registrations opened! I love crafty weekends away. I love the Yarra Valley. I love meeting up with talented fellow crafters. The Craft Session is the brain-child of Felicia Semple, a very talented knitter (username ‘FlickaFish’ on Pinterest and Ravely). I’ve given my preferences for workshops I’d like to do, and I hope I get my first choices, but regardless, I’ll be equally delighted with my second and even my third choices, if it came to that.

Wiksten Tank

For Saturday, I’ve asked to do the Wiksten Tank Sewing class. Sophie Parslow from  Cirque Du Bebe is teaching the class, and even though I have made tank tops before, I’m really looking forward to spending the day with Sophie, and gleaning every bit of technical and creative inspiration I can from her. This class goes all day, so I should come away with a beautiful tank top, and heaps of fabulous notes, as well as the ability to do a beautiful, professional turned hem! Never have been able to master that one, so I’m pumped.

Embroidery  - Modern Sampler

Sunday is going to be a fun day with two classes, one in the morning, another in the afternoon. The morning will be spent with the wonderful Melissa Wastney of the Tiny Happy blog, who’s teaching the Embroidery – Modern Sampler class. Yes, I’ve embroidered before, eg. here and here, but I’m told that Melissa will be catering for all skill levels in her class, so I’m really looking forward to it. I love to embroider, and am keenly looking forward to learning more techniques to augment my skills.

Block Printing on Fabric

In the afternoon, I’ll be doing the Block Printing on Fabric class with Leslie Keating. I love her blog! I have followed another fabric block print rockstar, Geninne’s Art Blog, religiously now for ages and ages, and I’ve often thought about trying my hand with the Speedball lino, but just never really got to first base with it – which actually means that I’ve not bought any of it. So when I saw this class listed, I knew this was for me. I’m also rather partial to Leslie’s stamped fabrics that she sells in her Etsy store, maze & vale.

So, that’s what I’ll be doing on that October weekend. As well as taking part in early morning yoga session, enjoying a drink or two and indulging in that fabulous thing that happens when crafting women get together in a fabulous countryside location. Can’t wait! Do let me know if you’re also going, won’t you?

x Helene

PS. One of the items on the list of things to bring to the weekend is my sewing machine. I’m in the process of writing a blog post about a very exciting occurrence in that department. Should be ready to post it in the next 24 hours, so watch for it :)

A beautiful gift from Teegs

Look what rocked up in my mailbox this week…

beautiful Flores

beautiful Flores

It’s no secret that I love Ink & Spindle.  Do you know it? It’s where Tegan Rose and Lara Cameron create the most beautiful screen-printed fabrics over in their studio in Kensington, Melbourne, and I’m a huge fan. I’ve made many a bag for myself including this and this and this pouch and this earphones-pod using their stunning fabrics, and I have a little stash I’ve collected for making some of my new clothes later this year.

my ink & spindle fabric stash

my ink & spindle fabric stash

A little while ago, Tegan created a Pozible fundraiser to help her get to Mexico to study, and of course, without hesitation, I contributed.

I’d forgotten about what I’d been promised by my level of contribution, so when this parcel arrived in the mail, I was so surprised! I thought I was simply getting a lovely postcard or something, which would have been special enough, but I am so over the moon in love with this beautiful piece of deliciousness. Here’s a little note the Teegs put in, giving details of the fabric…

chempasuchil flowers

of course, the good old chempasuchil flowers! (never heard of them, have you?)

Now, I wonder what it will become – part of a skirt for summer? Or the front of a Victoria Blazer perhaps? Or possibly the front of a little Sorbetto tank? Hmmm… lots of possibilities.


Oh, and if you’d like to  get yourself some of this pretty fabric, sorry but, as you can read, this colourway was a special for those of us who supported Teegs  to go to Mexico. Did you happen to notice (as I just did!) that the Flores colourway will fit in perfectly with the fabrics I already have from Ink & Spindle? I must clearly love these colours, huh. I’m sure I also equally adore their other colours, but there you go!

Anyway, the good news is that Flores will apparently be in the Ink & Spindle shop in a different colourway soon, so if you like it, keep an eye out for it!

OK just one more book…

The Practical Guide To Patternmaking For Fashion Designers: Menswear

The Practical Guide To Patternmaking For Fashion Designers: Menswear

Well, I get restless! I’m waiting for my book(s) to arrive so I can learn everything I need to know to make Moshe’s coat, and I thought I’d mosey on down to Taylor’s blog and have a read. I can’t help it if he lays out a great case for the book he used to cut his first pair of jeans, now can I! Anyway, I bought it. The Book Depository is faster in delivering my orders than Amazon, so I’m hoping it gets here really quickly so I can stop this buying frenzy. Like buying another book will make me instantly smarter in this whole process!

Joking aside, I am actually really glad that I did stumble across this title, because it sounds, from Taylor’s writeup, to be really awesome.

The book has clear step-by-step instructions for how to make slopers for men’s shirts, vests, pants, jackets and coats, and a whole chapter on linings. You know, it might just be that I can learn how to cut a lining for an unlined coat! Wouldn’t that be something!

If you want to look inside at the book’s chapter headings, TBD doesn’t have that, but Amazon does. Worth a look, for sure!

A coat for Moshe – Burdastyle #6039

I promised I’d post more about the coat and the lining etc, so here we go…

Charcoal Intenso 80% Wool 20% Cashmere with Fendi lining, both from Tessuti in Melbourne

Charcoal Intenso 80% Wool 20% Cashmere with Fendi lining, both from Tessuti in Melbourne

First, let me show you the lining. It’s a beautiful Fendi that looks more chocolate-y in colour than grey, but somehow works really nicely with the Charcoal Intenso wool/cashmere that I can’t seem to stop stroking! By the way, if you haven’t shopped at Tessuti, you’re missing a real treat! The staff is divine, and so helpful! Rachel went above and beyond, I mean seriously, amazing! She helped me immeasurably, emailing smart phone photos, and sending me a stack of fabric samples in the mail, with so many phone calls to get the fabric and the lining choices just right. It’s my all-time favourite shop for fabric. I spend many a happy hour on their website, and head into town as often as I can to walk around the shop. It  is dangerous, I must warn you, but oh so delicious!

Alrighty then. I have my fabric all sorted. Now, to find a pattern. Have you ever thought about making a man’s coat, and then gone online to search for a really good pattern, only to find that there are about three patterns – in total!!! Yeah, it’s so frustrating! If you follow Peter Lappin’s fabulous blog, Male Pattern Boldness, and have read his post about this very subject, you’ll have at least an appreciation for why that might be, even though you may of course, as I am, still be left a little frustrated.

However. That’s just how it is. I found a whole “2” patterns for Moshe’s coat, these…

Vogue Patterns V8720

Vogue Patterns V8720

First, this Vogue trench, which is a fabulous pattern, but it’s an unlined mid-season coat. Not what I had in mind. If I knew how to tailor it for a heavier fabric, and if I knew how to add a lining to an unlined coat (Dad, where are you when I need you!), then I’d choose this. But since I really don’t know how to do any of that, this pattern got “nixed”. (Is that how you spell that word?)

Do you know of a good winter lined men’s trench coat pattern? I’d love to know about it! If you have one and want to sell it, please let me know. Or if I can get a copy somehow?

Anyway, I looked further, and found this Burda coat below, and I quite like it. It’s called Adam #6039. What’s with the names they give to their patterns? I always wonder if it’s the model’s name, or maybe the person whose design it is. Or do they just pick a name they like. Anyway, it’s “Adam”.


Moshe likes it too, so this is the one I’ll use. Not that I have much choice, really, given it is one of only two patterns in the world for men’s coats! There are heaps of patterns for men’s jackets, by the way, just not for actual coats. But it’s OK, I like it mostly, even though I’m not entirely sure about the front. It might be the photograph, so I’ll have to check it out when I make the muslin, but I might add one more row of buttons to make it look a little better. What do you think?


Not crazy about this model! Couldn’t he have fixed his hair?


Love the tab!


Nice pockets


I really like the sleeves!


The back looks very nice too


This pattern is downloadable from burdastyle.com

Now, as I was waiting for my fabric to arrive in the post, I had a quick look on my bookshelf to see if any of my books had instruction on tailoring men’s jackets or coats, and I found nothing. I have a few books on women’s clothing, but nothing that would help me with making this coat with that professionally tailored finish I’m after.

After a fairly intensive look around Amazon and The Book Depository, I realized that although there were quite a few books on the subject, I had absolutely no way of filtering out which were the best books to get! So I decided to email Peter Lappin and ask him. He wrote back to me immediately, suggesting a couple of books that would be good, with the Amazon links as well!

Tailoring (Singer Sewing Reference Library) I bought the first book Peter recommended, Tailoring (Singer Sewing Reference Library) [Hardcover], Cy Decosse (Editor), Renee Dignan (Editor), Barbara Weiland O’Connell (Author). Looks fantastic! The second book was a fairly intense book on tailoring men’s suits, and since I can’t see that in my future, I decided to give it a miss. As Peter wisely suggested. Thanks so much Peter for all your advice!
Now I did buy a couple more books while I was on the Amazon site, as you do. Well, as I do. They look fantastic, and I really like Claire Shaeffer. I already own her book entitled, “Couture Sewing Techniques“, which is unbelievably gorgeous to look at, as well as great reference book. Her “Couture Cardigan Jacket” book isn’t out yet, but I pre-ordered :)And while I was searching through The Book Depository, comparing prices and shipping etc with Amazon, I found Claire Shaeffer’s Fabric Sewing Guide, and decided I had to have that too. Man! I’ve got a lot of reading to do now!

Couture Sewing - Tailoring Techniques, by Claire B. Shaeffer

Couture Sewing – Tailoring Techniques, by Claire B. Shaeffer

Couture Sewing - The Couture Cardigan Jacket, by Claire B. Shaeffer

Couture Sewing – The Couture Cardigan Jacket

Couture Sewing Techniques, by Claire B. Shaeffer

Couture Sewing Techniques, by Claire B. Shaeffer

Fabric Sewing Guide, by Claire B. Shaeffer

Fabric Sewing Guide, by Claire B. Shaeffer

But I can’t think of anything nicer than curling up on my couch with one of these fantastic books to read, listening to the cold wind and rain outside, can you? Yeah, I know, I’m imagining the future. The books haven’t arrived yet. And who knows if it’ll be cold and windy and raining then. It is now, so I used a little poetic license.

Next step, while I await delivery of my books, is to make a muslin. I’m going to nick out to Darn Cheap Fabrics this afternoon to see if I can get a cheap and not-too-nasty wool with a similar hand and drape. Tomorrow’s Sunday, and I’m going to spend it quilting. If I get enough done, I’ll post you to show. Otherwise…

Enjoy your weekend!
x Helene

PS! Oops, I nearly forgot! I bought a fabulous vintage sewing pattern on Etsy from Debrasgoods that I really love! What do you think? Like it? And how’s that pink hat!!!

Vintage 1960's Vogue Couturier Design Pattern # 1391

Vintage 1960’s Vogue Couturier Design Pattern # 1391 by Ronald Paterson

The cutest YSG Wristlet I’ve made to date!

Last month, I crossed off another long-outstanding project that I finally finished – a wristlet for my friend, Lyla. She gave me the fabric from her own stash – oh, and by the way, if you’re into appliqués, you should check out her shop.

ysg-shoe-carnival-wristlet-01 ysg-shoe-carnival-wristlet-02a
ysg-shoe-carnival-wristlet-02 ysg-shoe-carnival-wristlet-03
ysg-shoe-carnival-wristlet-04 ysg-shoe-carnival-wristlet-05

Do you like it? I did have a concern that the fabric would be too cutesy, know what I mean? But I think it’s adorable!

In the next couple of days, I’ll post about my next project… finishing the quilt I started for my friend, oh so very long ago! And after that, I’ll finish Moshe’s quilt, and then… oh boy, and then!!! Onto some really exciting projects – I’m making a coat for Moshe! Want to see the fabric?

tessuti-charcoal-intenso-wool-coating-01 tessuti-charcoal-intenso-wool-coating-02

I bought this superb wool from Tessuti yesterday, and I can’t wait till it arrives! It’s called Charcoal Intenso, and it’s a beautiful charcoal grey Italian 80% wool 20% cashmere. Divine! I can’t show you the lining I bought till it gets here and I can take a picture of it, because I think I might have bought the last of it. It’s a Fendi lining, with a lovely soft hand, while being quite robust and durable. It’s what’s called for when making a man’s coat, I’m told. Apparently they can be a bit rough on the sleeves, so a nice light silk that I’d use for a coat for myself, for example, wouldn’t go the distance. Go figure! ;-)

Anyway, more about the coat another day. And I’ll also show you the pattern I’ve chosen, and hopefully a picture of the lining. In the next few days.
x Helene

The Good Wife and Super Easy Lap Blankets

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking. What on earth do lap blankets have to do with a good wife?

Super Easy Lap Blanket No.1

Super Easy Lap Blanket No.1

So let me start at the beginning. You may have noticed that I haven’t posted for about three months. As some of you may know, I’ve been busy with my new Stitch 56 website that got rebuilt from the foundation up. After a successful launch, with lots of very gratifying feedback, I fixed my attention on building the business. Building the number of people looking at my site, building the number of people Liking my Facebook page. Trying (but not succeeding very well) to build the number of followers of my Twitter tweets. Building the stock lines I’m carrying in the shop. And building the number of sales each week.

Love the colours!

Love the colours!

In the meantime, every evening, Moshe and I have been glued to the telly watching The Good Wife. We started at the beginning, the first episode of the first season. And we’re LOVING it!!! I mean hooked. Have you seen it? Did you you love it? Who’s your favourite? Kalinda? Peter? Diane? Will? Cary? Now, I know we’re kinda behind a little, like 4 seasons behind, but we’re just catching up as fast as we can. We’re somewhere in the middle of Season 3 I think, or maybe a smidge further.

This wool is so soft!

This wool is so soft!

Anyway, I hate to just sit and watch and do nothing. Truth is, if my hands are idle, my nails end up taking a beating. Or is that a biting? Yeah, not good. So I decided to invest in a little Manos del Uruguay Maxima from Purl Soho, one of my favourite stores, and knit up a Super Easy Lap Blanket.

It's no kidding a "super easy" knit job

It’s no kidding a “super easy” knit job

It’s so soft! It has a gorgeous hand, not too heavy, not too light. Just right. A beautifully “cozy soft, decadently toasty, […..] kettle-dyed, hand-spun 100% extrafine merino wool”. And the range of colours is so phenomenal. I kinda went a little bit overboard though. I decided to make 4 of these blankets, so we each could have our own for those cool winter nights of TV viewing. Well I just kept buying more colours! You know how it is, I put together a row of 7 colours, stood back to look at the selection, moved them around a little, changed this one with that one, took one out, added one in. You know.

See, just the right size!

See, just the right size!

And just when I thought I had four x 7 rows all lined up in perfect harmony, I’d mess around with them one more time. Then check the website for a possible better colour to use here, or another colour palette for another blanket, and so it went. On and on. By the way, Purl Soho didn’t have all the colours in stock, so I spread the shopping love around at Flying Fingers Yarn, and Happy Knits, and I think I bought one skein from another shop that I can’t remember the name of. Just do a Google search and you’ll find what you need.

I've just started on the second blanket.

I’ve just started on the second blanket.

You won’t believe it, … then again, maybe you will, but I have another few colours on their way to me in the mail. I just needed them, you know? In case they’re the perfect match, better than the one I’d already settled on. For the fourth time.

a pretty seascape

a pretty seascape

Those are some of the colours that might make it into this second blanket. Well, probably they’ll make it in. Depends on what my new order delivers.

they're just so pretty together, aren't they?

they’re just so pretty together, aren’t they?

Here’s what I have left, after the first blanket.

I know, it's nuts isn't it!

I know, it’s nuts isn’t it!

And just so you can see all the wool in this full-to-the-brim plastic bag, here are some pics from both sides of the bag…

can you tell how gorgeous they all are?

can you tell how gorgeous they all are?

OK. It’s been a long but lovely day. Glad to have been able to show this to you. It’s not rocket science, this pattern. Just a nice feeling of accomplishment when it’s complete. Time for the next ep, and more knitting. Yay!

Moshe? Are you coming?

Oh, and I’ll post pics when this second one is done.
x Helene

B&W Baby Chic

OMGosh! I am so happy with how this little hat came out! So chic, don’t you think? Aliya has a little black party dress that I think this might look rather divine with. Hope so. I just love it! It’s the 3rd little reversible sun hat I’ve made using this pattern By MiekK, and I’m sure it won’t be the last!


I mean, it’s so cute! Click on the images below to enlarge. That’ll get rid of the strobe effect of the black dots on white fabric!

I’m going to pop them into an express post bag and hope they get to Perth before the weekend! Can’t wait to see how they look on darling little Aliya!



Topping and Tailing

topping and tailing

My darling daughter recently bought metres of flannel in 4 colours, and asked if I could sew up around 48 cloth wipes for her so she could ditch the store-bought wet wipes.

Of course, since I love both my daughter and my sewing machine, I agreed!

I have to fess up though, it’s been a s-l-o-o-o-o-w process for me. It’s not my very favourite kind of sewing, as you hopefully will agree. But I promised, and besides, there’s not much I wouldn’t do for my daughter, and even less for my grandson, and after all… there’s the good-for-the-environment angle that’s just all over this project.

So, in amongst the mundane cutting and sewing of flannel, I’ve spiced it up by adding in a little gorgeousness.

a pink hat for Aliya

a pink hat for Aliya

I love this hat pattern by MiekK! It’s so fabulous to make up. It’s the same pattern I’ve just used to make a little bucket hat for Austin, but this one is for little Aliya in Perth, and I had to make a little adjustment.

Aliya’s hat needed a tie. Now, this would have been an excellent addition for Austin’s hat too, given he wouldn’t keep it on his head for more than a nanosecond, but of course, being a boy, that dog wouldn’t hunt, as they might say in some parts of the world. That is completely out of the question. Now, for Aliya, it was essential, but the pattern didn’t have a ribbon tie option, so I had to work out what to do.

I created a kind of button hole for the ribbon to pass through from one side to the other

I created a kind of button-hole for the ribbon to pass through from one side to the other, attaching the ribbon securely in between the sides.

I simply thread the ribbon through the hole, and gently pull it through

I simply thread the ribbon through the hole, and gently pull it through.


Easy peasy lemon squeezy! If you’re interested, I could do a little tutorial to show how I did it. Let me know in the comments if you’d like that, and I’ll put one together over the holidays.

Isn’t it a simply adorable little hat?  pink-hat-for-aliya-11

Now onto a second hat for Aliya, this time in black and white.


Then tomorrow, I’ll pull myself away from these pretties, and get back onto the flannel wipes for Devorah. Definitely. No, really. Definitely.