I get under my collar..

I need new clothes for work – shirts with a collar and proper sleeves. Something more formal and structured than a t-shirt. I am not good at collars, just never get the finish I want.

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 10.14.19 pm

Soul Craft festival appeared on my horizon – with Jen Beeman (Grainline) doing a workshop on collars. I clicked and got it! Soul Craft was a lot of fun. I’ve only been to professional or academic conferences of late. It was lovely to see presentations from people who were passionate about their craft.

I was supposed to use the Grainline Archer. I have several other shirt patterns, that have already had full bust adjustments. I decided to use Vogue 8689 again.

Jen was terrific at breaking down the collar creation and attachment. Most of us wrote notes, took photos and videos. Here’s the collar with the collar stand.


The collar stand, after grading and clipping.


The collar and stand after turning. A thing of beauty. I admired it for quite some time.


Finally – the collar attached to the shirt front and back:


I put this up on my mannequin so that the family could admire it.

Me to Mr 17 – “look what I did!”

Mr 17 to me (not looking up) – “oh, did you injure yourself again?”

Fifi puss was impressed enough to look up.



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Yet more t-shirts

I needed a few more long sleeved tshirts, Grainline Lark to the fore, again.


Long sleeved dark pink linen jersey:


Loving the results from my cover stitch machine.

Long sleeved pastel pink merino jersey:


Finally, one with the sides flared out to be a pyjama top in double brushed polyester:


Can anyone see the problem here?


At least I did it to both sleeves. Sigh!

The details:

Fabric   Dark pink linen – Rathdowne Remnants      $20.00

Pastel merino – The Fabric Store                    $20.00

Cactus double brushed – LA Finch Fabrics   $10.00

Pattern – Grainline Lark – with my own variations. Bought a while ago, used so much that it is effectively free.

Notions – all from stash.

Nuisance factor – gloriously low.

Total = $50.00 for three tops.

Do it again? – Yes. Over and over again with this TNT.


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Raglan top

I made a raglan top from pale blue fleece  – not blogged. I used French terry for another one, also not blogged. I used an old Burda pattern which was OK, but needed modifications to work for me. Major mods. Initially the neck was too tight on the pale blue, then too wide on the terry. I think Burda just doesn’t work for me. I discounted the Grainline version of a raglan as it has a super wide neck. I gazed at other raglans.

I got some heavy knit blue and white stripe fabric from one of the fabric swap meets and it screamed raglan jumper. Finally I heard and read good things about the Lane raglan top from Hey June patterns. I bought, downloaded and did the taping dance. I haven’t done the taping dance for a bit, I’d forgotten how much I dislike it! img_3714.jpg

The lines never meet up precisely, but the above is the biggest mismatch I’ve had yet. All operator error, I did at least get the top of the sleeve sorted:


The fabric is quite thick and almost spongy in texture, and stripey. Cutting on the fold wasn’t going to work. I just couldn’t face tracing off the pattern so instead I used bright pink washable texta’s. The sort you give toddlers. In fact I think this pen once belonged to my kids when they were toddlers. I traced off one side then flipped it over:


I didn’t quite get the two bodice pieces out. The back has the lovely curved hem. The front is straight. Better forethought in placing the pieces would have helped.

Sewing up was easy enough, the instructions are good, I glanced at them and then went for it.


I found the neck to be quite wide – again! I made the collar quite wide to compensate and take advantage of the fabric design.


I made the 1X size, on me this is just a bit too tight to be worn over other clothing. I didn’t do a bicep adjustment and I should have. Really what I should have done was check the stretch in the fabric. It is simply not enough for this pattern’s drafting. Beginner mistake –  sigh.

Instead, I leveled and shortened the lower hem and shortened the sleeves too. It has gone to my younger lass. She has a similar build to me, but at 13 is still smaller. On Miss 13 it is perfect and she likes it.

Costs – the fabric was free, from a fabric swap meet

Pattern – Lane Raglan, $USD10, bought in December 2017

Do it again – not sure.

I wonder if a raglan top really suits me. Every sleeve pattern I use requires a bicep adjustment and they are tricky in a raglan sleeve. And the necklines are all so wide, requiring yet another adjustment. Miss 13 likes it, so does Miss 18. The pattern is likely to be used again for them.

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Everyday stripey tshirts

Everyday clothes, the sort you wash and wear constantly, that always seem to work. Sort of an extended capsule wardrobe. I had a plan to make something for me, each month. I’m even in the Facebook and Instagram groups for “Make a garment a month”.

I have a hole in my wardrobe that will fit many tshirts. Here are the latest two. Long sleeves with stripes and short sleeves with stripes. Both using the Grainline Lark tee pattern.


The fabric is a linen jersey, beige with a red stripe. I love woven linen and was intrigued to see how a knit would fare. I was lucky enough to get it from the one of the de-stash events, can’t remember if it was 2016 or 2017. Just noticed that I didn’t finish the neckline with my coverstitch machine.


I love my coverstitch machine. The neck is a bit wavy, but I don’t care. Since being made it has stretched out somewhat. This fabric came from Rathdowne Remnants and is a fairly heavy cotton knit with not enough spandex. It has stretched and is now too wide around my ribs and tummy.  Given it is shortish and designed to be worn untucked I don’t mind too much.


Costs – the linen was free, the cotton was about $15.00 for 1.3 metres

Pattern – Grainline Lark – round neck with sleeve length variations

Do it again? – many times over!!!

It’s taken me a while to post this as getting images of the shirts was tricky. They have been in constant use. Must make some more…




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I use the Cora app on my phone to keep a record of my fabric. It is good to flick through when I’m away from my collection and I’ve found it useful for reminding me of what fabric I have. But it only does fabric, not patterns, or notions. And will only work on your phone, there is no laptop version.

I happened on Trello – it is used in project management and has desktop, phone and tablet versions that all talk to each other. And it is free! It is possible to liase with other team members and manage a team, I don’t need to do that.  You can create as many boards as you like. I have a board for each pattern category:

Screen Shot Trello A

It is possible to change the look of the boards to pretty pictures like the cacti or snow. Next is to open each board and add lists of cards. So I have a board for tops, and within it are cards for T-shirts, shirts & blouses, tunics and jumpers. Fairly sure I need more lists.

Screen Shot Trell B

Each list has a card that is the name of a pattern. My card for the Grainline Scout (woven Tee) has the details of any alterations I made, if I like it and a picture of the garment – just to remind me. Each time you add a comment, the length of the card grows:

Screen Shot Trello C

I like Trello a lot. The link to my phone is terrific for looking at stuff while out and about. The learning curve is steep and the set up time is considerable, but that is the case for all good data management systems. Once up and running it is fantastic to use and easy to add new boards and cards.

I wish I’d discovered Trello before getting Cora. I’m using Trello for all my new fabric purchases, and will probably add notions like elastics and zips, possibly in their own teams.

What does everyone else do?


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A new ukulele case – part two

DSC00651I put some straps on the back, a long vertical one for over my shoulder. It has velcro to keep it together. I also put in a horizontal one which fits over the retractable handle of my equipment case. When the shoulder strap is not in use it tucks away behind the horizontal strap.


Stitching the wall to the top and bottom bits was heavy going. My machine is a lovely machine, 21 years old and much used. I don’t like putting multiple thick layers through it. I tried to tidy up the edges with my overlocker but that was not ideal. I considered using bias binding or foldover elastic instead, but that would have required spending money.  Turning it out the right way was was a leap of faith.  Happily the uke fits well.

This was a beast to think about and then design in my head then on paper. It took such a long time. Everything came from my collection of remnants, leftovers and haberdashery stash. The flamingo and Insul-Brite came from making coasters. I bought a metre at Spotlight and was given the rest of the roll, an extra 75cm. Still have enough for oven mitts, more coasters and lunch bags. The flamingo fabric was also bought for coasters (for a flamingo obsessed friend). Absolutely nothing left now.

img_3663.jpgI’ve used it for about a month now. The shoulder strap is tidy and works well, but doesn’t get used much. I use the handle on the side. The horizontal strap is terrific. It goes over the retractable handle on my Zuca. My instruments and sheet music are all safely contained and I can wheel all my gear around. Once I’m at work I find the constant in/out of the case annoying. A strap for the uke is needed, but that means drilling holes in the base. (Nooo!)

Cost – One broken needle and roughly 12 hours of my life that I’ll never get back.

Pattern – self-drafted

Do it again? – NO – NO – NO! I am not a bag making fan, and this experience has only confirmed that in a major way. I initially did this because I knew I could and knew it would save money. And I wanted something a bit cheerful. I later found a really sturdy (but boring black) gig bag for $40. Good value at twice the price.


The Zuca with the uke on top = Zucauke, or maybe UkeZuca !

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A new ukulele case – part one

I bought a ukulele some years ago. I bought a soft gig bag at the same time. The zip pull fell off both ends of the zip, then the zipper thing fell off one end. I clearly needed a new case. Nonetheless, I continued to use if for a few more weeks (the ukulele is one of the instruments I use at work).

DSC00609I looked at several internet tutorials, and found a pattern for a case on Etsy.  I read this tutorial a few times and looked at a simpler one by this guy (where the actual instructions seem to be missing now). I ended up creating a blend of both.

I traced around the uke and added 1.5cm for the seam allowance. I thought about following every curve and decided that would be too much like hard work. I drew a line from the widest part of the uke to the tuning pegs. A long triangle shape with rounded base and point emerged.


I wanted the case to be padded and have some thermal protection. My uke sometimes spends time in the back of a hot car and that plays merry havoc with the tuning. I had four layers for the top and bottom – stripey soft cotton/ply blend, foam padding, heat reflective fabric (Insulbrite) and the flamingo drill.




I put a zippered pocket on one side, thus making it the top. The zip was a tad too long so I just cut it down to fit. Not sure why I put the pocket on, I’m yet to use it.




The sides were denim cut from old jeans and padding came from navy blue fleece. I quilted them together using a nice wide zig zag stitch, in pink. I made up a handle from the last of the flamingo fabric and the denim.



DSC00653I needed an opening at the base of the case and decided to use a silver and pink zip. That went in with no dramas, but working out the length needed to go around the top and bottom bits was difficult. Totally did my head in. I got a bit clever and tapered the side so that it was narrower at the head than the base. Wasted effort! Attaching the sides to the bottom (zippered) bit involved many layers and my machine was displeased.


That blurry shiny bit is the needle you see there. More details in the next post!


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A bikini for Accordion?

Umm yes. The rash tops I made don’t have bust support, and I need it. And I made swim shorts, and need something up top. One piece swimmers were another option, and originally what I intended to make.

I started out with Butterick 5795 making up the size 20 as that seemed right. The pattern’s body length is considerably longer than mine. The fit around my bottom and tummy were OK, a bit tighter would be better. The top half was awful. Way too long, saggy and just blergh.  I chopped off the bottom and created a bikini bottom. The top was binned.

2018-01-28 14.47.38


I then drafted an entirely new top, using a crop bra as a template guide, adding some pleats instead of darts. The back straps were too long and too wide to join the front bit (due to being very poorly drafted). I added some pleats and covered up the mess with fold over elastic. This top was not intended to be seen. EVER.


The lycra was from the Peoples Park Palace in Singapore, purchased in 2016. I think it was $6.00 a metre and I use all of the 1.5m I had. It was always intended to be trial fabric for swimwear, green was never my colour.

The rash tops and shorts were used when we were in Brisbane or in a pool. When we were on the island we were told that January is the middle of stinger season. The resort management had full length lycra bodysuits with hoods. They were stunningly ugly but prevented the Irukandji jellyfish from ruining our holiday. The bikini was in constant use, always under the rash tops and bodysuits.

All the good stuff:

2018-01-28 17.02.57

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Rash tops

Summer in Australia can be brutally hot and I burn very easily. We migrated when I was 10 and I had my first mole removed when I was 18. I needed a long-sleeved rash top for my holiday in Queensland. Long sleeved rash tops can be hard to find, mostly ugly and expensive. Not mine!

2018-01-27 12.05.49I used the Surf to Summit pattern from Fehr Trade. It is a princess line raglan sleeved top.  I did some careful flat measurements, expecting to need to grade out at the hips. I was intrigued to see it wasn’t necessary. The size L was spot on, but I used the XL. I’m not keen on negative ease. As usual I added a bit of width to the sleeves at the bicep.


2018-01-27-12-03-15.jpg I loved the pattern and the vibrant print. I decided to use another vibrant print. This time I added a full length separating zip to create a jacket. I used chalk to mark the pieces, I should have added notches. The chalk marks are clearly visible – even after washing and swimming.

The fabrics both came from the Remnant Warehouse in Sydney. The pattern pieces went together beautifully, the drafting is superb. I even got the splotchy print to line up and pattern match. ACROSS THE ZIP!!!! Pattern matching was not so easy with the paisley fabric. I’m glad I bothered as I like how it looks.

Construction was shared between the overlocker and coverstitch machines. I used the sewing machine to put in the zip. Both tops are terrific, and were used a lot.

The details

Top fabric – Paris Paisley Spandex – 1.5 metres  $18.75

Jacket fabric – Trippy Trippy Lycra – 1.5 metres $30.00

Pattern – Surf to Summit – Fehr trade – $15.00

I got this pattern printed on A0 paper at Creffield Printing.  $8.00

Notions – Zip – $6.00 (I think)

Nuisance factor – None at all.

Total = $77.75 for both.

Do it again – yes. I need a new cycling top, so one with wicking fabric and a centre zip. And another in bamboo or merino, for everyday use.

Rash tops

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Ride seven and my coffeeneuring badge!

This post is incredibly delayed – I received the badge in mid-December 2017.

Ride number seven was to a cafe in Fitzroy. It is a crepe house in the Brittany tradition, and the food is lovely. I had breakfast and an excellent flat white. I also had a taste of the French cider they serve. It was VERY nice so I bought some and carefully packed it in my panniers for the trip home.


Where – Melbourne – inner city suburbs.

Distance – round trip of 8 kilometres

Drink – coffee. I had breakfast too.

Cafe cup/my cup? – The cafe’s crockery was used, the first time in this challenge!

I found this cafe because of the Frocktails breakfast.

My badge!

Coffeeneurs can get a badge after completing the seven rides in the allotted time. $US6 is paypal-ed to Chasing Mailboxes and she sends a badge. The Americans call it a patch, but that’s what you put over holes in jeans.

This is mine:

2018-01-03 09.47.21

I’m doing the Errandonee this year too – 12 rides, 12 errands over 12 days and 50 kilometres.

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