Category Archives: Dress

Couch Surfing

Got the dress back,  I  tricked Lucy into getting up so I could retrieve it.  I promised a shot of me wearing it and thought this abandoned couch would make a fun prop.  This  fabric is dog   and dirty couch  proof,  just fling  it into the washing machine,  dry   and  wear.

I had just visited  Inner Souls  (shoe shop) at East Gosford.  This shop has recently re -located from Terrigal and is owned by my friend  Suzanne.  Suzanne  loved my dress and asked where I purchased it from….. “I made it”.  I find making  clothes very affordable.  The 1.5m of fabric  purchased  from Spotlight  on special,  cost about $20, the cotton , pattern are from my stash and it took an afternoon to make.   First I stabilised the shoulder seams,  cut the neck band the finished width plus 2x seam allowance and 2/3 the size of the neck opening,  attached the band while the dress was “flat”,  inserted the sleeves,  overlocked the side seams  and hemmed it. with a twin needle.    Seriously , could have taken longer to get a park at  the mall.  So with the money I am not spending on RTW clothes I can purchase  shoes!  I actually have a pair of navy sandals,  but could only find one….Lucy the shoe thief has hid the other.

Has she hid it down the back of the couch?  and which couch?

More dresses soon,  check out my drawing progress on my Drawing Room blog.


I have been thinking about my SWAP shots….    SOooo;   this morning as we were wandering along the beach I realised  that the ” Storm of the Century”  had given me  some opportunities.  There was a  few really big trees down,  lots of erosion,  and a surprise sculpture from driftwood.    Here are a  few  ideas:

A sculpture for drift wood.

A sculpture form drift wood.  How much fun.

Like the shapes of the low hanging branches,  creating a secret cave.

Like the shapes of the low hanging branches, creating a secret cave.

Discarded household stuff.

Discarded household stuff.   Like the randomness and can imagine all the people who have sat on the stools. Think I could wear a nice dress.

JUST wanted to see…..

SWAP photo?  the long tie has blown up and over my shoulder.  Need a re-shoot!!

SWAP photo? the long tie has blown up and over my shoulder….. A few households were flooded;  and damaged furniture was discarded.

FLOTSEM AND JETSEM………..could not resist including this shot.

Flotsem and Jetsum are modelling their new skirts.

Flotsem and Jetsem,  modelling their new skirts.

The rain started to fall (again) and outdoor beach photos were abandoned.  Maybe tomorrow….

Wondering how you feel about the location/backdrop or  lack of  in “SWAP” photos.  While I realise it is a sewing competition,  the judging of the SWAPS is via photos  and maybe  past postings on the Swap Discussion Thread  at  Artisan Square.   How much does the contestant’s camera/editing /writing skills come into play?

For my photos…..   I want to use  my local environment in my shots;  this SWAP was accidental,  spontaneous,  the SWAP you sew when you are not deliberately sewing a SWAP.   I want my photos to reflect this.

SWAP photos will be uploaded here,  where you can see some amazing collections of clothing,  from a group of creative and talented people.

Just love sewing when it fits my inside and outside  world.

Love Sewing,   Cheryl

NOT a curvy girl.

Knowing what suits  you and from what fabric is always a challenge.  When you sew it is nice to think that you have a lot of control over style, design, colour and fabric.    In  RTW,  the garment is real,   as opposed to creating your own designs which begin and live in our imagination.  As sewers,  we spend a lot of time thinking,  planning and physically sewing.  We do not continue if we have too many bad experiences.     It is important to create our  ” like a million dollars”  or “I want to take you on holidays” feelings from our clothes  and to understand how we did it,  so that we can constantly create beautiful clothing.

You would think that by my age I would have a firm understanding of what suits me?  And that I would apply it to my sewing?  Noooooooo…..

Two dresses,  both navy,  my best neutral and possibly my best colour,  two different looks.  Lets look at the line drawings.

Did I forget that my body is really straight?   All those beautiful curves and  a waist  look ‘ ho hum on’ me.  On the bodice section you see the gathers,  slopey shoulders and  dolman sleeves ?  Yes?  add them to  my avoid list.  I have a square face,  and my hair is cut very short with angles.  These same design elements need to be reflected in my clothing.   I look best in shape clean lines and cool colours.

As well as the design elements not being reflected in me,  the sewing process of this dress was not smooth either.  I muslined the garment,  mucked around with too much  bust space and accidentally cut of a huge chunk off the hem.  Guess it was never going to work.


This Toni Dress by StylARC is a better look for me.   Straight centre front seam line leading up to the collar and then to the face.  The angles of the collar  are reflected in my face,  the dress’s  design is clean and lean looking.   This is a better look.  It was a fast an easy sew.

I really wanted the HP Deco Vibe Diamond Dress. to work,  and maybe if I had used a drapey fabric,  omitted the gathers on the princess seams,  shortened the sleeves,   got rid of the collar……Anyway,  I love Trudy’s faced hem and vent technique and spent a lot of time making beautiful lined pockets.  I Just need to remember that I am not a curvy girl.

Do you  fall into the trap of making garments:  and wonder “what was I thinking”?


Sewing Lessons…

Lucky for the population I am not a surgeon.   I was making this Deco Vibe Diamond Dress by Hot Patterns  and was working on the back vent,  I remember thinking ” should I be trimming this  corner”?…   apparently NO .  The dress has been hiding in the UFO corner since with a slice out of the hem.

I  cut out four shirts for Mr T and sewed up two.  I had a bit of trouble fitting the collar and facing which seemed a little big.  I didn’t think too much about it until I was sorting through the  pieces of the 3rd shirt,  to discovered I had cut 4 fronts and no back…..?????   I retrieved  the paper pattern to cut a new back and realised that I had added a 1cm seam allowance to the paper pattern’s back neck.  This meant the fabric had a 2cm seam allowance, which is why the collar wasn’t a perfect fit.

 I still mange to …..

: loose paper and fabric pattern pieces

: speed  through pins and the wrong parts of the  garment

: do my worst job on the most noticed button hole

: have a  “mistake”  in most garments

As yet, I have avoided the  sewing machine needle through the finger.     Are there any other lessons I need to be taught?

Enjoy your sewing



Hi everyone.  I’m still into my experimental  knit sewing,  making  patterns with design elements that I would not normally choose.  For instance, the above dress has gathered raglan sleeves,  a feminine flounce, is fushia and has a A line shape.  On the plus side the knit is beefy……  I took it for a test swim the other morning with Lucy.

We walked down to the lagoon and then continued onto the beach.  Last Tuesday a 26yr old man drowned on this stretch of  beach.  Both Avoca and North Avoca beaches are patrolled but the  ‘dog of leash’ area in the middle is not and has claimed a few lives.  You can see how rough it is by sea mist in the photo,  however tomorrow should be huge with  cyclone Marcia in Queensland and a King Tide.


The fabric was this Metro Knit from Kniwit in Perth.  Considering it had to travel from the west coast I received it overnight.  Pretty amazing considering we live outside of Sydney and Australia has 3 time zones.

I used Burda pattern 2/2013,  size 42 and whizzed it up on the overlocker.  Like most Burda Style patterns it went together easily and was a quick project.  However, I do not think I will be making it again as it does not pass  the “would I take you on holidays” test.    I was wondering if anyone else experiments with new designs and styles just see what it looks like and most of all because we can.

Enjoy your sewing,  Cheryl


I have been venturing into knit sewing lately. Trying not to think too much about what to make and being a little more experimental with colour and design.  Generally,  knit sewing is fast,  so I can cut and sew before I change my mind….

This is how this dress came about.   Purchased  heaps of cotton knit jersey in cool blues, purples etc. from Erina Cash and Carry (before it was sold) for $1 x metre.  The light pink was washed with the blues and dried a disappointing colour.  So , while I watched TV I randomly tied it up with elastic bands and dyed it in the washing  machine using Dylon Dyes.    The next day I cut and sewed  another 4/2012 Burda Dress .   Wore it to the beach for a late afternoon swim and then onto dinner.    Here I am coming out of the change rooms,  purple swimmers in hand and  a small towel in my bag.

I am really happy with this dress.  Is it because it reminds me of my younger self or because it was such a beautiful night,  swimming and then eating out?

I have noticed lots of tie- dyed T’S,  shirts, dresses and kaftans worn on the weekends.  I looked on line and found some beautiful designer tie- dyed creations at  The Tie-Dye Trend at Resort 2015.

Alexander Wang, Michael Kors and Fausto Puglisi

The motivation to sew, to create comes from different inspiration.  Fabric can be tied-dyed, cut and sewn or a garment can be dyed after construction.  In this example below,  the pattern on the fabric reflects the geometrical shape of the skirt while the jacket appears more random.

I have another two pieces of dyed fabric hanging around…. waiting…… for inspiration.  At the moment I am happy with the green/blue but feel the blue/white needs more work….

  Do I  ” do or dye” or ” de-clutter”?

Enjoy your sewing,


UFO Celine Dress

Style Arc Celine Dress

Lara had blogged about her StyleARC Celine dress.  Reading her post and seeing how nice she looked in hers, reminded me that I had one to finish.   I had sewn the front and back together to get an idea of the fit,  and never got around to adding the facings, inserting the  sleeves or hemming it.   I completed it on the weekend and wore it today.  It went together easily.

While prints aren’t usually my “thing”,  I chose this rayon fabric because of the cool colours and solid geometrical shapes used.  It is nice to have something different,  especially since brights and patterns are so popular this season.

The Celine dress is easy to slip on , comfortable to wear,  and  falls away from the body making it perfect for hot summer days.  The wrap is a fun  fashionable detail and great for camouflaging the middle section…..

Detail of the front tie

Detail of the front tie and fabric.


I am happy to wear this dress and to make another!