Monday, March 31, 2014

Mad Men Challenge: A floral Betty dress

As soon as the marvellous Julia Bobbin announced her Mad Men sewing challenge was open, I knew that I had to absolutely, totally enter! The purpose of the challenge is to find a character who inspires you fashion-wise on Mad Men, and create a garment using them as inspiration. You could try and replicate a costume exactly, or just use their style as a loose guide - it is open to interpretation, as long as the vintage-y fabulousness of Mad Men style is paid homage to.

I had no doubt about who's style I wanted to emulate. For me there will only ever be one Mad Men gal who's frock I covet, and that is Betty. Yup, I can't go past Betty Draper Francis in full Jackie Kennedy glamour mode, and she rocks a floral print like nobody else.


So I dove into my stash, found some perfectly Betty bloom printed cotton sateen and got sewing. The fabric was the easy part - it was choosing the pattern that gave me some grief. I was spoilt for choice, being in possession of quite a few vintage patterns, but was limited by only having 1.8m of fabric.

In the end I went with a modern pattern with a definite vintage feel: Simplicity 1873. Betty does love a full skirt, and the cute side tabs with buttons gave it a late 50's sliding into the 60's vibe that I just couldn't go past.

Look at the floral print! Adds a hint of warmth to a cold-hearted gal. Look at the prim and proper silhouette! Her life may be a mess but her dress is just the thing!

Big big big thanks to Julia for running this sew-a-long. I can't wait to see what everybody else come up with!





Project Details
Pattern: Simplicity 1873 (Cynthia Rowley)
Fabric: 1.8m printed cotton stretch sateen from Clegs
Notions: 55cm invisible zipper, lining, interfacing

Ok, so now I have the dress. If only I could have her hair, cheekbones and pearls as well!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

DIY T-shirt dress

DIY Tshirt Dress

Fancy turning a t-shirt into a gorgeous dress? Then I have the tutorial for you! I recently wrote a tute for Mum's Business showing how to upcycle a t-shirt into a funky frock - it's a brilliant way to give a new lease of life into a beloved tee that might not quite fit length-wise anymore, but still has plenty of wear left in it.

So hop on over and check the tutorial out! Not only is it quick and easy, but it's also an ideal project for beginner sewists. Seriously, Tyger has barely taken her version off since we made it!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Who wore it better: Hermione or Tyger?

With cooler days rapidly approaching, it was time to gather the family together and ask some very important questions. Namely, who wanted a hat, and what colour did they want it in?

Being most excellent and supportive relations of me, both Galumph and Tyger showed appropriate levels of handknit excitement. In fact, after all these years I would be rather disappointed if they didn't start bouncing up and down with gusto at the very mention of knitting, if only to keep me happy. So I jumped on Ravelry and after far too many not enough hours spent browsing the patterns on offer found the perfect hat for Tyger.

"Quick, child!" I bellowed. "Come hither and tell me if you would like one of these! Fancy a hat like Hermione wears in HP6?"

Now, we're not quite at the teenage attitude years yet, but let me just say this: once Tyger clapped her eyes upon the fetching cable and eyelet beanie, I wouldn't have been surprised if her answer to my stupid question had of been "Duh, Mum, I totes want one", complete with accompanying eye roll. Thankfully she graced my idiotic query with an answering "Yes, please!", and then joined me in persuading Galumph that a trip to Woolarium was required, pronto. Have I mentioned that I love my girl SO MUCH? No eye rolls, and loves a good trip to the yarn store. I've hit the jackpot!

Two days later, and a fair whack of knitting on my part, and we now have a hat-off. Our version is a little bit more slouch than beanie, cos that's how we roll around these parts, but I will admit that Hermione does have better styled hair. As she would want to - it looks like she has her own personal stylist assigned 24/7!

So, who wore it better? Hermione or Tyger?

Hermione Hat #2

Hermione Hat #2

You know what - I'm calling it a draw. Any sort of knitted hat is fine fine fine with me. Viva le knitting needles!

Project Details
Pattern: Hermione's Cable and Eyelet Hat (and it's free! Hooray!)
Yarn: 1 skein Spud and Chloe Sweater in colour 7501, from Woolarium
Needles: 4mm circular

I did alter this pattern a smidge: I did a twisted rib for the ribbing, and went up a needle size. I used the magic loop method rather than dpns, too.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Knitting is merely an excuse for apricot and pear cake


Sometimes I think that the best thing about knitting night - apart from the chance to do some knitting with some freaking awesome gals! - is the baking that goes along with it. Yay for cake!

Ach, who am I kidding? I would probably host a dog-poop-scoop-up walk if I knew that there would be cake at the end of it.

Recipe here.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Mad Men Musings...

Mad Men Musings

Hold on to your hats, people - I have a big Thursday night planned! That's right, I'll be at my kitchen table, thinking cap firmly on the old scone, trying to figure out which one of these I can make out of 2 metres of fabric for Julia Bobbin's Mad Men Challenge.

I *really* want to make something out of the pink roses fabric in the background - it's so Betty, n'est-ce pas? - but if worst comes to worst then I'll just have to switch my allegiance to Joan and make a va-va-voom number out of 3 metres of red fabric that I have hiding in my stash instead.

Who else is Mad Men-ing? I'd better get my sew on - it's due by the end of the month. Yikes!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Monthly menu plan - March/April

Fruit bowl

Nom nom nom! I love it when the days begin and end with a cool crispness, but you get that lovely soft warmth in the middle. The last of the summer fruits are just begging to be stewed and baked into cakes, and the quinces are starting to shyly make themselves known to the porridge bowl. Plus there's Easter, and all the chocolate-related excuses it brings!

If anybody wants me, I'll be in ze kitchen!

Week One
Monday - Baked potatoes with red coleslaw, sour cream and cheese
Tuesday  - Spinach and ricotta cannelloni in a chunky lentil and vegetable sauce
Wednesday - Ham, cheese and pea frittata with salad
Thursday - Caprese soup with garlic bread
Friday - Vegie burgers with sweet potato wedges
Saturday - Out for dinner with friends. Yay!
Sunday - Homemade ravioli (made with Tyger, I'll let her pick a recipe on the day)

Week Two
Monday - Tomato, olive, mushroom and bocconcini gnocchi bake with salad
Tuesday  - Pumpkin curry with silverbeet and chickpeas on brown rice
Wednesday - Jamie's spicy pasties with garden salad
Thursday - Silverbeet and potato soup with savoury scones
Friday - Lentil cottage pies with buttery corn cobs
Saturday - Spaghetti and meatballs
Sunday - Roast chicken

Week Three
Monday - Creamy chicken and vegetable pasta (with leftover roasted chicken)
Tuesday  - Chickpea, silverbeet and roasted cauliflower wraps
Wednesday - Ratatouille on cheesy polenta
Thursday - Pea, asparagus and rice soup
Friday - Smoked salmon, almond and broccoli pilaf
Saturday - Homemade burgers
Sunday - Butter chicken with rice and vegetables

Week Four
Monday - Roasted vegetable lasagne
Tuesday  - Sweet potato and coriander falafels
Wednesday - Chicken and lentil soup
Thursday - Roast pumpkin and feta tarts with rocket salad
Friday - Salmon and broad bean pasta bake with salad
Saturday - Tofu burgers with coleslaw plus a tomato salad
Sunday - Homemade pizza

Week Five
Monday - Tortellini with pumpkin, sage and cream sauce plus salad
Tuesday  - Lamb and cashew biryani
Wednesday - Baked potatoes with all the trimmings
Thursday - Hearty lentil and vegetable soup with cheesy toasts
Friday - Tuna pies with potato topping, and salad

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

More mermaids!

When Tyger was younger one of her favourite books was called More Bears! The tale recounts the efforts of a poor author who is attempting to write a story, but is continually interrupted by a voice from just over the page demanding that the story contain "More bears!" So the author is obliged to quiet the maddening, demanding voice the only way he knows how - by adding more bears to a story that initially he was determined would have no bears at all. Poor old chap.

As you can imagine, Tyger LOVED this story. Especially since I would have do raspy bear-requesting voices plus an increasingly disgruntled author voice. She's pretty big on funny voices, which is quite a relief, as I am pretty big on doing them, and can see myself not growing out of that habit any time soon.

Anyway - to the point of this blog post. As I have measured and cut and stitched and sewn and stuffed this week, and watched a growing pile of softies form on our sad cracked vinyl couch, one little sentence has kept popping in to my head these last few days.



The darn school fete sure better appreciate these, that's all I can say!

Friday, March 07, 2014

Yellow stripes and black buttons

Yellow Stripes Dress #2

Yellow Stripes Dress #4

Tyger loved the other version of this dress that I made so much that I thought I'd best make her another one before she grew too tall for it. Why oh why can they not make children's dress patterns in a size larger than 8 year old? Big Four, I'm looking at squarely at you.

This version has sleeves, and I will say this: although I generally love this pattern, the sleeves were a pain in the behind to put in, and really don't warrant the effort involved. Bias binding and an elastic casing that doesn't even go all the way along the sleeve edge? What were they thinking?

Niggling sleeve issues aside, Tyger is very happy with this version, and I am happy that I have done some (trumpets please) STAAAASH BUUUUUSTING! I'm sure there is some law of fabric buying out there that states that if a sewist uses fabric from stash, they are then eligible to purchase more fabric to the power of 5 to replace said fabric. Use a metre? Congrats - now go get 5 metres to replace it. Lucky you!

What's that you say? There's no such law? There totally should be. I'm happy for it to be called Jorth's Law of Stash Vs Fabric Purchasing. There, look - it's all official now! Y'all can thank me later when you are quoting it to exasperated cohabiters who are concerned about the stash slowly but surely taking over the entire house.

Project DetailsPattern: New Look 6884, view B (minus the side ties), size 8
Fabric: 1.8m cotton quilting from stash
Notions: Iron-on interfacing, 6 buttons

Wednesday, March 05, 2014


It's that time of year again. The time that sends a shudder down any crafter's spine. That's right - it's time for the school fete. Yikes! And since softies always sell like hot cakes (much to the chagrin of the people of the cake stall), it was time to arm myself with some drafting paper, some felt and enough stuffing to fill an elephant. Or a mermaid, in this case.

Considering it took only 2 hours from idea on paper to actual mermaid toy, I'm pretty darn pleased with her. Yes, the arms could be lengthened, and she is a bit on the slim side but it could have been worse - I could have given her a beer belly. That's what usually happens with my softies!


I'm well pleased with her. In fact, I think it all went swimmingly. HAR! That's right, folks, I'll be here all week. Hold the rotten tomatoes, please!

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Better than pancakes


Can you believe it? For once we didn't forget that it was Shrove Tuesday, and busted out the pancakes for breakfast. Yay us!

"Coughcough" interrupts Galumph.

Ok, ok. So we made waffles instead. Close enough, and totally within the celebratory Lenten boundaries. Seriously, no need to be picky!

"CoughcoughWHOmade'em?" interrupts Galumph (again).

Geez! Who are you, the blog honesty police? Alright already, so Galumph made the waffles. I didn't even think of doing them, as I was too busy doing my zombie walk into the shower. I am no good to anybody until I've had at least 3 minutes under the water to wake up in. Plus 2 cups of tea.

"CoughcoughWHOmakesthetea?" interrupts you know who.

Good grief man! Ok, you're my hero! Breakfast and life in general would be far more miserable without you around. Happy now?

Strange lack of coughing. But there is the sound of waffles being demolished. I'll take that as yes, he is happy now. Enjoy your Lent, peoples and remember, it's not too late to make some pancakes (or waffles, even!) for dinner tonight if you are as hopeless as I am in the mornings. Especially drenched in maple syrup and topped with sliced banana. Yummo!