Category Archives: Capsules


While holidaying in the US we stayed at Carmel by the Sea for a few days.   While it has a beach it does not feel like a beachy town that I am used to in Australia.  I was surprised that many of the homes overlooking the coast appeared not to enhance their views,  having big trees and small windows. Again, my experience in Australia is for large decks, ceiling to floor windows and panoramic views to the endless ocean –  is it because the houses in Carmel faced  west and were blocking out the hot afternoon sun?   While the beach did not seem significant to Carmel the retail  area certainly was.  There were  high end jewellery shops,  beautiful antiques and  a restaurant  where the wine list was so extensive it  really was a book while the food was on two half pages.  I had not come to shop or surf but  to see Loes Hinse’s  studio,  and learn more about the LOOK and how to get it.

Window of LH studio, shawl and Tee from same fabric.

Window of LH studio, shawl and Tee from same fabric.

Loes Hinse creates patterns for the home sewer as well as sewing that range  for her studio in Carmel by the Sea.  I could see exactly what the pattern and fabric looked like made up and how the pieces co-ordinated.     In the shop there were 3 racks of clothing,   antique ‘recycled’  furniture and a large clam shell full of scarves.   Her  pants are made from fluid rayon crepes,  micro fibre and tencel.   Tees are made from the softest rayons,  stretch lace and ‘silky’  knits.  Cardigans and jackets from  ribbed,  textured  heavier knits/wovens.  The fabrics drape beautifully,   are comfortable to wear  and easy to maintain making them perfect for travel.   Her colour palette is limited to  neutrals,  bright colours are absent and she loves black with white.  Pictures do not show the quality of the fabric  or the  range of colours that just lay beneath the surface of what at first glance appears ‘colourless’.  Loes has incredible attention to detail,  all  designs and fabrics selected have to fit her LOOK philosophy  “perfectly”.  She spoke of simplicity,  silhouettes,  proportion and the fabric that suits the individual design. To  create the final step in delivering the timeless style, Loes then teams up  selected scarves or jewellery to complete the overall look.

Three racks of clothing.

Three racks of clothing.

Range of tanks made from lingerie fabric. Wear under of out!

Range of tanks made from lingerie fabric. Wear under or out!

Three racks of clothing.

Three racks of clothing.

Loes is European trained and  has an industry background.  Her patterns have  small  seam allowances  for quick overlocker assemblage-   a modern approach to sewing.  Loes  collaborates with friend Sharon who writes the LOOK newsletter and manages the on-line pattern and fabric store  Casual Elegance.    During my visit,   Loes talked about  how to stabalize  the neck and shoulders .    Sharon’s explanation  in the latest  September LOOK “Practise What You Preach”  is to the point and provides an important step in making perfect garments.  Loes also spoke about how she pretreats  fabrics to ascertain  shrinkage/behaviour, and again had an example on hand that she had just treated.

An  irregular shaped piece of fabric  is  traced onto an A4 sheet before washing.  After washing/drying   the piece is checked against the traced shape  for changes. Loes explained that often knits do not shrink consistently,   sometimes  in length only as was the case of the fabric she had on the table in front of us.  Loes advised cutting the garment longer to account for this but rarely changed armhole depth.  She went on to explain that when a large length of knit fabric is washed it may twist and become difficult to  manage. Her solution is to  sew the smaller pattern pieces together, and wash after construction.  Loes has had a lot experience with  different knits and how they behave, which is clearly demonstrated when you see her clothes in the flesh as opposed to photographs and on the internet. Her ideas are easy to grasp once you understand her philosophy and it is then that you “get it” and the rest of her ideas fall logically into place.

Loes  endeavours to creates a range of timeless clothing.  It can be either purchased or made by you,  using her patterns and  perfectly matched fabrics.    You will be creating  classics…..  unemotional workhorses for an  easy to wear,  co-ordinated  wardrobe.       Back in the hotel room I went to the Casual elegance web site and couldn’t help ordering some  fabric and patterns.

Yes….I did get it!

Red Top, White Top, Tropical Top, Grey Top…..but … fish

I purchase two pairs of Rollie’ lace up’ shoes to take on a vacation to the USA,  Mexico and Cuba.  I was inspired from the feet up  to create a new capsule using the shoe colour :  white  and  grey as the neutrals.   I needed a colour  and  decided on RED,   although it was difficult to source,  I found some nice spots and a fun tropical print for T-shirts.

Participating in the SWAPs and 6PACS at Artisan Square has changed the way I sew.  I have adapted to sewing and thinking in terms of a collection  and  spending  more time in the planning  phase of creating a ‘family’ of clothes.   I have boiled down my pattern selection,  limited my colours and  concentrated on  basics  that I hope will mix and match to create a co-ordinated and workable travel wardrobe.   So,  it will be darks for bottoms and lights for tops .


I will be holidaying in hot humid weather,  which I love,  first up I made a few T’s using my TNT Burda pattern.  Super quick with an overlocker and twin needle to finish the hems.

Next up a few tops…..I need something to go over swimmers and under a jacket for a dressier occasion.  As well,   I will be attending Louise Cutting’s sewing retreat at Florida and felt the need to make and wear a few of her patterns.  Both the white linen tops from ‘My Hearts A’Flutter’ pattern and the oversized navy silk from ‘Anything But Ordinary’pattern made one size larger without the sleeves.

Now….I have 4xTs,  a swim coverup and 2x dressier tops.  Almost dressed…..

Happy Sewing




Time was running out and I needed a TWIST for SWAP 15. The last article of clothing could be reversible, up-cycled or have more then one purpose e.g.. a long cardigan that could work as a dress.

Too many ideas, I found my old pair of leather pants and was contemplating using the legs for sleeves….. or maybe harvesting that beautiful silk organza from that full skirt.   None of this was going to work as we were in the middle of a big storm and had lost power.

I found T’s discarded Cirque de Soul long sleeve T-shirt and decided I could manage to re-vamp it with a bit of bling and was not going to need my machine,  I could do it by hand.

Tim's T

Tim’s T

I liked the artwork on the arms and decided to keep them.  I resized,  and cut out a tank.  Contemplated using blue binding but went for the tomato red which was in my stash.  A few months ago I was trying to sew an Alabama Chanin style skirt and had already purchased beads .  Decided to highlight small areas of the print,  and not think to much about it.


Here it is…… worn  with black crystals and my slim shiny satin jeans.  Burda 7863 part of this outfit

So the accidental SPONTANEOUS Swap has been uploaded,  completed and done.   I did go back and reread the rules and pretty sure that mine does not meet the requirement of every top going with all  bottoms and all things matching.  I have battled with sewing all things co-ordinated…. but there is always next year.

Love Sewing   Cheryl

NAVY and WHITE 6pac

Each season we get opportunity to participate in sewing a 6pac at Artisan Square.  A 6pac is a collection of ‘basic’  ‘neutral’ clothes where “THIS GOES WITH THAT”  providing a core for your wardrobe.

THINK :   2x bottoms –   Fly Front Skirt by Hot Patterns   pull on knit skirt and purchased jeans

2x inner eg.  shells –Loes Hinse Sweater Knit and Burda T2x

2x outer layer  –Cutting Line “By Popular Demand”  jacket

Spring 6pac

I have been working on my Spring 6pac.  The 6pac  is Elizabeth’s concept,  and  each season she starts a new thread at Artisan Square  for those who want to participate in the planning, discussion and sewing of the 6pac.  The aim this season is  to create a related set of  6 “boring, basic but beautiful”  clothes to suit the upcoming season using  neutrals and a favourite colour or two.  After a year of sewing seasonal 6pacs you should have a great collection of clothes for most occasions.  Elizabeth reminds us that this is not place for special occasion clothes

We aim to sew : 2 x Bottoms (pants, skirts, shorts)

2x inside (shirts, tops)

2x outer layer  (jacket, cardigan)

I have been participating for a while….and still stray from the original plan.  So this time I am aiming  to sew/purchase  classic garment.

My plan is    1.   (purchased)  jeans

2.   cream jeans style skirt

3.  navy T

4   navy  polka dot T

5.  cream jean jacket

6.  navy tank and cardigan.  (completed)

7.  coloured shirt

Most start with a plan,  sometimes written and sometimes visual.  This is the best part as we get to dream and play in our sew imaginations.    The difficulties come in sourcing the fabric which suit the garment and that  ‘play’   with the others.  So , I have been buying neutrals in large amounts lately in anticipation that I will have enough for  pants,  skirt and  a jacket. It is a lot fun sewing along,  discussing and seeing what others have made and a great way of building a  wardrobe.



Weekends Away

We do a lot of short trips and I hate taking/lugging lots of stuff.  Last week we  caught the train to Sydney and  boarded at Gosford.  So many passengers /travellers have enormous bags…the carriage is about 1/3 passengers and 2/3 of huge bags sitting on seats and in the aisles.  In the carriage we entered and an elderly lady  was using 4 seats;  sitting on one;  her handbag and knitting sat next to her and the big bag was across  two seats.  A couple across the aisle had two huge suitcases piled on top of each other with two more smaller bags balancing on them,  jackets and handbags and scarves.  Hopefully they were filled with goodies for the grand children.

This is what I took:

Navy Wool jacket-  outer to go over everything

2x wool knit  Tshirts.

Velvet cardigan.    Long zippered navy cardigan can be worn as an outer layer or as a dress.

Slim jeans,  stretch leggins  and textured lace tights.

Short walking boots and long wearing out boots.

Accessories  :2 scarves/shawls,  jewellery  and belt  (for the Cardigan)

We stayed at Hotel 1888  at Darling Harbour,  renovated warehouse for wool  to celebrate my 56th birthday with  friends (who live in Darling Harbour) and to catch up with DD and her friends.


Forgot to say that the first shot was at the Art Gallery of NSW.  Just love that painting by OWEN.



Shiny in Black.

I have had about 5 metres of this black stretch poly in my stash for a few years and decided to make a pant suit.  We were going on a cruise and felt it may be fun to take along.  I like ‘one colour’  dressing and while black is not my favourite  I wanted to combine it with silver and accessorize with pearls and heels;   for a bit of contrast.  As well,  I am planning to make  a few ‘nice shirts/tops’  to  complete the looks.

Shiny black Smart Pac

Shiny black Smart Pac

The idea for the capsule  was slim pants,  jean style jacket and  little black dress  from the black (neutral).  Then add a relaxed   silver/grey jacket,  hail spot organza shirt,  silver/black knit tank and cardigan and maybe a pink silk shell.  Top it off with some pearls…maybe a choker of black or a strand of cream.

Shiny black polyester,  pink Jap silk,  Hail spot silk organza and silver/black polyester

Shiny black polyester, pink Jap silk, Hail spot silk organza and silver/black polyester

I started with the jacket in  Burda Mag  7/2008.  I had tried to make the jacket before,  my first attempt at SWAP but lost the sleeves;  and it ended up as a vest.  You can see here .  This jacket has a lot of nice detail.  Piping around the collar and pocket flaps,  concealed button, lots of top stitching and an  insert on the back of the collar which makes it stand up.