Simple Crochet Cloche Hat The hat is my own pattern, available on my old blog free here . The...

Crochet Hat with Flower

7:50:00 p.m. Sew Hopeful 2 Comments

Simple Crochet Cloche Hat

The hat is my own pattern, available on my old blog free here.

The flower I used this pattern here  or I have also used my own pattern, available free here.  I had to make a new flower as I managed to lose the other one, but I like Mimi's design of using the button to fasten the flower.


I had a great Saturday afternoon where I actually managed to escape suburbia for a brief couple of h...

Pale Green Burda Lydia

9:24:00 p.m. Sew Hopeful 4 Comments

I had a great Saturday afternoon where I actually managed to escape suburbia for a brief couple of hours and trekked across Sydney to my new favourite place: Sydney Remnant Warehouse.

I did go just a little crazy and stash shopped like a mad-woman, stocking up on a whole heap of 1m lengths of very good quality italian cotton jersey in lots of colours to make a whole series of BurdaStyle Lydia long sleeved T's for this winter/autumn.

First off the rank was this pale green version.  The Lydia I made up in a size 34 but I did taper out to the smallest possible seam allowance at the bottom to cater for my pear shape.   This is such a fast easy project and results in a RTW looking top.  I used my twin needles to do a mock coverstitch to finish the hems and neckline and I am pretty happy with the professional "non homemade" look it gives.

I had some trouble with my twin needles last time I tried it but was able to work out the kinks (it all came down to how I threaded it, on a Janome you treat the two threads as one and thread together down until the little hook thingy just above the needle, the main thread goes in the little hook on the left as normal and threaded through the left needle, the second thread goes into a little hook on the right that I have never noticed before and threaded through the needle on the right) and it worked perfectly this time.

 It was perfectly acceptable when I made it but then I decided it looked boring and so I used this ruffle tutorial and also some ideas for the flower from this one as well to add ruffles:

Ruffled Lydia
My attempt at ruffles lasted less than a day....
After wearing it like this for half the day I decided that the look just wasn't "me" so off they came again, and I am left with a plain basic long sleeved T.  The flower broach was fun to make though.  I have starched it to stiffen it up to help it sit properly and I can use it on its own when I feel "fancyness" is in order.

Adding a bright scarf is more my look I decided.


Breaking my habit of sewing using the cheapest of el cheapo fabric from Spotlight, I have finally ma...

Simplicity 2588 as a skirt

7:31:00 p.m. Sew Hopeful 5 Comments

Breaking my habit of sewing using the cheapest of el cheapo fabric from Spotlight, I have finally made something in a better quality fabric that I brought ages ago from Hobbysew.  Its a Moda fabric – Bliss by Bonnie and Camile for Moda pattern 55026.

I decided to make it up yesterday using Simplicity 2588, the flared skirt option, and instead of making a dress (not enough fabric), cutting the belt piece and using it as a waistband instead.  I refered to another skirt pattern with a waistband to get guidance on the whole right over left/left over right confusion I usually have when sewing closures.  The waistband is 2" wide and has a real "belt" look. I interfaced both front and back pieces to make it more sturdy.

Firstly, this fabric was a dream to sew.  100% cotton, but not prone to creasing, beautiful feel and drape, worth every penny.  I would normally never use something so patterned for a skirt, I usually prefer solid colour bottoms and patterned tops so this is a bit of a departure for me.  In honour of Me-Made-May 2012 I decided to lash out.

The pattern was so simple, I love love love the pockets, and concur with other bloggers I have read: once you realise how amazing pockets are you will try to put them in everything.

My other first was pattern matching the back seam and zipper.  I managed to get it almost perfect for the first time, so that was my big thrill for the project.

A close up of the back seam
Back seam and zipper: a vintage one from my stash,
probably inherited from Nana.
Seam finishes throughout
I plan to make a few simple jersey tops to wear tucked in with this skirt.


Doris Chan "River Song Skirt" Some time ago I brought " Crochet Lace Innovatio...

River Song Skirt

10:42:00 a.m. Sew Hopeful 3 Comments

Doris Chan "River Song Skirt"

Some time ago I brought "Crochet Lace Innovations" by Doris Chan and immediately made up the Riversong Skirt using a very cheap 8 ply cotton: Panda Cotton.

It makes up extremely fast and is very easy but looks complicated so you get alot of "bang for your buck" to quote my mother.

I highly recommend her book, most of the garments are extremely wearable, there is nothing frumpy or granny about any of the patterns and she uses fun and interesting techniques.  It is all about "exploded lace" which uses thicker yarn and larger hooks so things work up very fast for instant gratification.  I usually prefer to torture myself with 2.5mm or less size hooks and lace weight yarn and don't like the chunky crochet look, but the designs are delicate enough to avoid that look.

You can view my project notes and more photo's on my Ravelry page here.


I was thinking about how I feel about the online sewing community, to the wonderful "sisterhood" of fellow sewers scattered all...

Dedication to the Sewing Sisterhood

10:00:00 p.m. Sew Hopeful 0 Comments

I was thinking about how I feel about the online sewing community, to the wonderful "sisterhood" of fellow sewers scattered all over the globe, all with very different lives and backgrounds, but all united into this wonderful, supportive, positive online community.  
I remembered this poem that I loved so much in my 20's by Longfellow and it seems so applicable.  
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
As one who, walking in the twilight gloom,
Hears round about him voices as it darkens,
And seeing not the forms from which they come,
Pauses from time to time, and turns and hearkens;

So walking here in twilight, O my friends!
I hear your voices, softened by the distance,
And pause, and turn to listen, as each sends
His words of friendship, comfort, and assistance.

If any thought of mine, or sung or told,
Has ever given delight or consolation,
Ye have repaid me back a thousand-fold,
By every friendly sign and salutation.

Thanks for the sympathies that ye have shown!
Thanks for each kindly word, each silent token,
That teaches me, when seeming most alone,
Friends are around us, though no word be spoken.

Kind messages, that pass from land to land;
Kind letters, that betray the heart's deep history,
In which we feel the pressure of a hand,--
One touch of fire,--and all the rest is mystery!

The pleasant books, that silently among
Our household treasures take familiar places,
And are to us as if a living tongue
Spice from the printed leaves or pictured faces!

Perhaps on earth I never shall behold,
With eye of sense, your outward form and semblance;
Therefore to me ye never will grow old,
But live forever young in my remembrance.

Never grow old, nor change, nor pass away!
Your gentle voices will flow on forever,
When life grows bare and tarnished with decay,
As through a leafless landscape flows a river.

Not chance of birth or place has made us friends,
Being oftentimes of different tongues and nations,
But the endeavor for the selfsame ends,
With the same hopes, and fears, and aspirations.

Therefore I hope to join your seaside walk,
Saddened, and mostly silent, with emotion;
Not interrupting with intrusive talk
The grand, majestic symphonies of ocean.

Therefore I hope, as no unwelcome guest,
At your warm fireside, when the lamps are lighted,
To have my place reserved among the rest,
Nor stand as one unsought and uninvited!


I need some long sleeve T-shirts so decided to try the BurdaStyle Lydia pattern after seeing it o...

Burda Lydia #3197 - Long sleeve T-shirt

2:46:00 p.m. Sew Hopeful 1 Comments

I need some long sleeve T-shirts so decided to try the BurdaStyle Lydia pattern after seeing it online.  I especially liked this version with a peter pan collar (current obsession, love them so much) which showed how versatile the pattern can be.  And only $1.00. 

After reading some blogs online that recommended to cut a size down from my usual Burda size, I cut size 34 in the top grading out to a 36 in the hips.  By the measurements I should have used a 36/38. Next time I will cut a 34 all over, it is already cut for a pear shape body and I don't need the extra in the hips in this pattern.  If I wanted a more fitted look I could even cut a 32 on a more stretchy jersey fabric.

I cut a size 38 neckline as a lazy way to get a higher neckline.

Took an inch off the length as the waist seemed a little long for me but I also didn't really need to do this, I think it is now just a tad short.

All up, I made it up in an evening of sewing and I am very happy with it.  Looking forward to making a few more off this pattern.

Just as a note to Janome: what's with the not including twin needle instructions in the instruction manual for the Janome 6260QC????? Huh!!!!! HUH!!!

Anyhow, for my future reference here are a list of the most useful twin needle tutorials I found:

You Tube Video Useful Tips for Twin Needle Stitching
YouTube Video - Detailed Threading Info (not sure if relevant to my Janome)


Spring Sorbetto Blouse I made this Sorbetto back in March but am only posting it up...

Sorbetto #3 Spring Blouse Version

7:47:00 p.m. Sew Hopeful 2 Comments

MMM'12 Day 9
Spring Sorbetto Blouse

I made this Sorbetto back in March but am only posting it up now as I decided it deserved its own listing. This is just a cheap cotton from spotlight, but it has a gorgeous print that I just love and is bursting with spring.  It is also a lovely fabric, it hardly creases.

For this version I applied the fitting lessons from my previous two versions: a sloping shoulder adjustment and grading from a size 2 in the shoulders to a 6 in the hips, plus I lowered and angled the bust dart as that seemed to be more flattering for my (cough) small bust.  I cut the size 18 length and as the armholes are very high and tight, this was easily fixed by cutting the size 16 armholes.

I added the sleeves available free here, although I did make them a little less full by taking out some of the sleeve width (just cut straight down the middle from shoulder line to hem and then moved both pieces in about 3/4 inch, re-taped together and smoothed out the shoulder curve, it worked perfectly) and made it into a blouse by not cutting the front on the fold and then using the pleat section as facings.  I used a hot pink pias binding, saving me heaps of time as I did not need to make the bias trim, and used it on the neckline and sleeves.  I also used the pink bias binding to cover some buttons, which look great and worth the effort to make.

Sorbetto #3
Love the binding and buttons
I added a bit more shape to the blouse by adding darts front and back, working out the placement just by trying it on and pinning what looked good.

Sorbetto #3
The inside facing with bound edges and showing the front darts.


This is the Lily Chin Lace Dress from Interweave Crochet 2004 magazine and also still availabl...

The Lily Chin Lace Dress

4:41:00 p.m. Sew Hopeful 4 Comments

This is the Lily Chin Lace Dress from Interweave Crochet 2004 magazine and also still available online at the Interweave Store.  You can see all the details on the Ravelry Pattern Page for it.  It is a huge amount of work, with nearly every line of the pattern different from the one before, but not difficult in that the pattern has a real logic to it.  I am so happy be one of the ones that have made it. 

Comment on the Yarn
Sombre is a beautiful organic cotton. I would give it 5 stars but for the REALLY IRRITATING break joined with a KNOT I often found halfway through the ball, sometimes more often than that. Its a pain in the neck, especially when doing lace, as you end up with way more ends to run-in than is necessary.

Comment on the Pattern
This is a fastastic pattern, the cleverness of the design in the way the bodice is made and how the skirt design incorporates the increases is brilliant. There are quite a few minor errors in the orginal pattern but common sense usually means that it doesn’t create a problem.

The pattern errata can be found by looking at some of the finished projects on Ravelry, including mine here.  You can also get it from Interweave here.

I did find the gauge to be a bit large for me and had to drop my hook size down to 2.5mm to get it to meet guage.  I made the 34" even though at the time I made this I was a 36" and it still was big on my frame, so I would advise people to size down.

How to Shrink a Crochet Dress
Over time, even though I did not really wear this dress, it seemed to grow and grow.  The armholes ended up inches too low.  That combined with losing the baby weight (18kg in total) meant that this dress was unwearable, it was just too big and the armholes were too gaping.

As it is 100% cotton, I decided to throw caution to the wind and attempt to shrink the dress (praying I didn't destroy it).

I did this by throwing it in the washing machine on a hot wash and then throwing it in the tumble dryer on the hot setting to dry it.  It freaked me out to do this as I would normally never treat a handmade treasure like this so roughly.

I'd like this dress just a few inches shorter.

But the result was better than I hoped for: it came out perfectly shrunk about 3 sizes smaller.  It is still a little roomy so if the dress stretches/drops again I will do the process again.


This is the third version of this pattern I have made in just over a week so I think I'll give i...

Simplicity 9825 View E - A-line Skirt

2:55:00 p.m. Sew Hopeful 1 Comments

This is the third version of this pattern I have made in just over a week so I think I'll give it rest after this.  I'm pretty bored with it.  Its a good pattern but after making it three times here are my notes:

I have needed to cut the size 14 yoke to fit the size 12 skirt.  Not sure if this is related to my change in construction method of sewing the yoke and skirt together before sewing up the side seams (mainly because I used an invisible zipper).

Even though my measurements put me halfway between a size 12 and a 14, this pattern seems to have alot of ease as even with the size 12 I have needed to sew the side seams with 3/4 inch seams or more to fit.

Simplicity 9825 View E

Fabric wrinkles a bit, time to
start using better quality fabric.

Close up of the top stitching

I also added a lining to the skirt and sewed the lining to the zipper.  I am getting much better at this, which gives the inside of the skirt a really professional finish.

All up, this is a quick and easy pattern, fits well and is easy to make.  The pattern instructions seem clear and understandable, but I didn't follow them as I wanted to use an invisible zipper and add a lining, which changed the way the skirt needed to be assembled.


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