Category Archives: Knit Sewing

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.


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



Classic Tank and Cardigan

Kitchen renovations are happening at our place.  No cooking ,  but lots of dust and noise of power tools. Hard to find a power point that works,  but while the electrician and builders debated positions of power point,  gas connections etc.   I  ran a really long extension cord into my sewing room.  I was able to wizz up this twin set from a classic navy blue knit  before the sun went down  (have no working lights)  I used Loes Hinse  “The Sweater Set” pattern  yet again.  Just love the tank  and how the centre front seam makes doing the V neck really easy.

This time I used 3/4 sleeves and snap tape for the front closure.  I am getting pretty familar  at making this pattern…here are some other versions.



Detail of the front snap closures and V neck. For the hems I used a twin needle. I just turned over the hem and sewed from the right side, then I trim back (neaten ) the hem using a pair of pelican scissors. I do not bother to overlock, as it adds bulk and the knit does not unravel.


Warming Up

Winter has arrived. We have been  down to single digits   at night,   usually this sort of weather only lasts a few weeks.  (I hope)   I really need some wool clothing  for it’s superior warmth so  I made two tops from a double sided wool kit.  The blue is the right side while the teals is the wrong side and feels a little softer and fuzzy which  means warmer.  I made  this Loes Hinse  V neck Tunic in an afternoon, by wizzing it up on the overlocker and finishing the neck and hem with a twin needle.  The knit is medium to thick and reasonably stable,  I am planning to make a longer cardigan/jacket next,  to co-ordinate with the Ts.

V_neck Tunic designed by Loes Hinse

V_neck Tunic designed by Loes Hinse

Double sided wool knit.

While I was in the mood I cut and sewed this Burda 3197 T from the same fabric.  This Burda pattern is a basic scoop neck design a basic for all wardrobes,  while the V-neck tunic is longer and nice to wear with  with slim pants or leggins and boots.

Burda 3197 simple T  made from wool knit.

Burda 3197 simple T made from wool knit.

Knit Top

My first Loes Hinse pattern.   I am trying to build my knit sewing skills and have been collecting knit patterns. When Loes Hinse patterns were reduced by 50% I purchased about six.   Her patterns are simple,  elegant and concentrate on using industry techniques.   As well,  unlike many pattern companies the hip measurement is only 1″ larger then the bust,  which suits me fine being  straight up down.  I selected the size that corresponded to my measurement and wizzed it up on the overlocker using a 6mm hem and  a twin needle to complete the armhole,  neckline and hem.  I   folded over the seam allowance and sewed from the right side.  A really great little tank.

Here it is as part of my Shiny black collection.