Stunning Ellie Cashman Floral Linen

No ones opening the door… guess it’s clear she’s gone. 

I have found true fabric love with Ellie Cashman and her moody dark floral designs. I recently made a ball gown (here) that is a digital print silk charmuse. The fabric I chose for the Chardon skirt was a printed linen because if you are going to spend that amount of money on one piece of fabric and postage from overseas, you should always make the cost of postage more reasonable by ordering additional fabric. That, dear readers, is logic!Ellie’s designs are exquisite and the underlying darkness in her design ensures it stands apart from that prettiness that is so often found in florals. Her designs are a mix of over sized blooms with digital enhancement and the odd butterfly floating in a sea of petals that give it a strong edge.

This is my Dirty Dancing moment, much to the horror of B1 and B2. I was, after all, having the time of my life. The water lilies were in fine form. And my death pose. May my inner gothling always be present.
The top is the Tiny Pocket tank (OOP) from Grainline Studio which I believe has now been updated to a similar pattern called  Willow. I find this top very flattering with the addition of some shaping in the side seams. I stumbled upon the cotton lace overlay and silk remnant at The Fabric Store and was down to the millimetre to cut the Tiny Pocket out. The silk hangs below the lace which I’m quite pleased with when it is sitting over the skirt but I think it will be more likely tucked in. I used some black silk bias to finish the neck and arms that I’d made many moons ago to add some contrast. The the ribbon was originally threaded around the waist however it didn’t sit well so I’ve left it at the back to give a little extra gather and definition to the waist. The linen I used for the Chardon skirt was the Dark Floral II light by Ellie Cashman and it was heaven to sew with. No fading with washing and it retained its original beautiful structure which held the pleats of the Chardon skirt so well whilst providing a little pouf. The pleats seemed to give the flowers even more depth as they overlapped. The skirt went together beautifully and having sized down from my previous version, is now more fitted around the waist. And of course it has pockets. As this is such a special skirt, I hemmed it with vintage lace gifted to me by Marjorie. She was kind enough to send me a collection of vintage laces from her personal collection last year that I could incorporate into my sewing. My mantra remains the same after all these years: Liberty, Linen and Lace. I hand picked the zip  due the thickness of the fabric and to ensure greater control over where it was placed. It sits flatly across the derriere and has all the good curves in just the right places.That centre flower looks so three dimensional within the folds of the pleats. Even when laying out the fabric it looked magical. I also caught a reclusive bug and lonely cute butterfly on the front skirt piece.

Thank you also to Chuleenan who convinced me with her versions of the Deer and Doe Chardon skirt that it is a fabulous pattern.

I suspect I may have enough left fabric over to make some beautiful cushions as well for my bedroom. Or should I try a top? Too many decisions for the poor brain today.

On the health front, my recent surgery was a complete success however surgical menopausal shock is about as much fun as it sounds. Hopefully with some more adjustments I’ll be back to work in a week or so and can get back to this wonderful thing called life. And my belly can deflate again. The poor little thing is still swollen. The scaring has healed beautifully but the poufiness of the tummy remains. In the meantime it’s rest, sew, and keep up fluids. And try not to complain too much. How do women not talk about what a horrendous thing menopause is! It’s really rather horrid. And I’ve been through many horrid things. But I now have this beautiful dark floral skirt for which I am most grateful.

Photos by Bruce. Location at Deakin University Waurn Ponds. Dark floral II fabric purchased from Ellie Cashman. (I’m saving up to purchase another piece to make a bed head…). Chardon skirt pattern by Deer and Doe. Tiny pocket tank by Grainline Studio, now reissued as the Willow.  Shoes from Camper. Tights from Wolford. Vintage jewellery from JeanJeanVintage. Flower crown by Gardens of Whimsy.

Brighten your Day with Daisies

Daisy 8The history of daisies is that they demonstrate trust and loyalty. They are also often given to a person who is ill to brighten up their day. Fitting given that today I’m suffering the most amazing female malaise of surgical menopause. It’s great really. You roll 1-5 years of symptoms into overnight and then try and figure out how the world works again. If anyone ever mentions male menopause to me, beware, for I may get feisty….daisy 9

Whilst I may not have a bouquet of daisies, I certainly have my daisy blanket which makes me feel as though I’m wrapped in hugs of flowers.

daisy 10

As does Panda Wine

In the past I’ve made these for friends who are having babies, and even one for a friend who wanted to wrap herself a daisy shawl and read books by her giraffe lamp that I made her whilst sipping Irish breakfast tea. Daisies are for everyone.  daisy1

I’ve been making daisies since I was about 12 years old. but never had the skill to piece them together. My mother made traditional layettes for her three children, and I was the lucky recipient of two. When I turned 40 I was determined to acquire the skill of crocheting the daisies together and such success I had! Daisy3

The shawl I made included 810 individual daisies and the historical documenter that Instagam is tells me I started it July 2015 . Crochet began 4 September 2015. Finished 25 February 2016. Loved for ever. daisy4

I even made concurrent blue and red ones for B1 and B2 last year. When I wake them in the morning the doona is discarded on the floor and they are enveloped in their daisies. 6 months work with a little help from my official daisy maker. Daisy6

These photo’s are over a year old again,taken at Castlemaine which I love. I wrapped myself in daisies and read Absent without Leave by Paul Livingston. I love war stories even though they are usually heart breaking. daisy5

He bought a piece of needle work of a 1960’s holden that he made in year 10 at school. Respect for the crafty comedian who can also write. Daisy7

I’ve passed patten onto a few people so let me know if you are interested. I believe it is out of print and out of copyright. I may also do a tutorial once I’ve made some progress into my Liberty hexi quilt. Small Liberty donations most welcome!

Photo’s by Bruce. Daisy shawl by Pips. Setting at Green Gablesnj in Castlemaine. Gabriola skirt in Liberty by Sewaholic. Self drafted camisole in Liberty. Head scarf from VintageCaf

Green Gables

The escape of reading helped me through many a difficult year of early and late teens. Anne of Green Gables was a firm favourite. With every rereading I dreamt of one day sampling the red cordial that was so famously made by Marilla with a bosom buddy and kindred spirit.cm13

To find a namesake of my favourite estate was a delight, and to spend the weekend there (albeit over a year ago) was soothing for the soul.cm4

Over the past several years Castlemaine has evolved into a small arts community. Part of our original intention was to see the Ben Quilty exhibit at the local gallery.cm8

This is the perfect setting for a sewing residence. And a fabulous backdrop for capturing images.cm12


Original alterations to Anna/Flora dress can be found here.







Photos by Bruce. Residence: Green Gables at Castlemaine. Fabric gifted from @winding_bobbin. Dress pattern: modified Anna bodice with Flora skirt from ByHandLondon. Antique hair scarf from VintageCaf. Shoes by Louboutin. Tights by Wolford.

Bad Seed

Nick Cave

Nick Cave – photo cred @cianhassett ig

Nick Cave. The father of 90’s music and still able to hold his own with the new album, . T’was an amazing concert under the stars and satellites on a perfectly balmy evening. The crowd filled with tears from memories of years gone by. We also relived our first dance from our wedding evening when he sang Into My Arms *goosebumps*.

Nick Cave - Bad Seed

The concert was held outside at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, so a sensible outfit that provided coverage and was also comfortable to recline on the grass was necessary. I love the way it turned out but unfortunately the skirt waist stretched whilst sewing, so coupled with some recent weight loss due to an angsty ovary, it sat rather low and was a little more sweeping on the ground than I had intended.

Nick Cave - Bad Seed

Nick Cave - Bad Seed

Nick Cave - Bad Seed

Nick Cave - Bad Seed

Nick Cave - Bad Seed

The fabric from the Fabric Godmother is exquisite and goes perfectly with my dark floral theme.

Nick Cave - Bad Seed

Nick Cave - Bad Seed

Nick Cave - Bad Seed

Nick Cave - Bad Seed

The sun was blinding, and I was ducking in and out  of shadows trying not to burst into flames. My parasol was almost confiscated at the entry gate but luckily security were kind enough to allow me through with it.

Nick Cave - Bad Seed

Bad Seed

And I couldn’t resist the temptation of making knickers to go with my outfit. I did manage to keep them on for the evening though.

Nick Cave - photo credit @roberta_oliveria

Nick Cave – photo credit @roberta_oliveria







Photos by Bruce. Viscose/Linen dark floral fabric from The Fabric Godmother. Elizalex bodice pattern from By Hand London. Gabriloa skirt pattern from Sewaholic. Charlotte knicker pattern from Measure Twice. Antique jewellery by Jean Jean Vintage. Hair flowers by Gardens of Whimsy. Shoes by American Duchess.

Ute and the Magical Rosie’s Inscapes Exhibition

Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting the Lost Ones Gallery in Ballarat to see the exhibition Inscapes by Rosie Perl. I’ve been watching her create these pieces over several months here and am in awe of her talent, creativeness and patience.

Ute Dress

The Ute dress in all her linen glory.

I also had the luxury of taking photos of my summer Ute Dress designed by Schnittchen in Germany. I’m going to leave you with the images today of both Rosie’s art and my dress. I’m planning on collating a step by step instruction brief for Ute. The dress is immaculately drafted, but the instructions (which are stated as being for advanced seamstresses) were brief and I had a couple little head scratching moments. Just quickly though, in terms of fit I cut a straight size 40 with no alterations. The fit is perfect for me. I am impatient to make the second in a denim coloured Merchant and Mills linen. So much to sew, so little time….

Ute Dress

Hand picked zipper at the side. Anything else would have meant less seam matching!

Ute Dress

Gorgeous pleats at the back. And I felt like diving into this piece Rosie painstakingly created. But I might never come back…

Ute Dress

The deepest hem I’ve ever employed. You can just see the layer. I lowered it by 1cm however it is still 4cm deep.

Ute Dress

Sneak peak liberty pocket. You can just catch a glimpse of my late grandfather’s signet ring that has recently come back into my home. I used to wear it in my teens.

Ute Dress

What we have all been waiting for. How much side boob is too much? Just the right amount when combined with a french lace bra. Someone has to support the industry now seamstresses are making their own.


My favourite piece that Rosie created. Post colonial 2015.


Second favourite. This sculpture is so small but elicited such feeling. I’d like to have a vessel to hide myself in somedays.


This piece would go beautifully in my bedroom…


The colours and landscape are breathtaking. Rosie spent hundreds of hours hand painting the tubing in red and gold. Then shaped and applied each tube over the canvas. Incredible work.

Ute Dress

Details of bodice with under bust darts and bodice side detail that forms shoulder straps. Magical pattern drafting.


Alice feels like she’s in Wonder Land.


Pips for size perspective. Also pleading family to purchase however I may have put some things on lay-by when I was not so well recently. These are currently being paid off and being given to immediate family members to give back to me in 3 weeks at birthday time. “weeps”.

Ute Dress

Add a cardi or pop a cami on underneath and all of a sudden, voila, work place appropriate.

Ute Dress

Madame Vampiress venturing into the sun for 30 seconds to see the gorgeous Merchant and Mills linen in Ox Blood in natures lighting.







Credits: Photo’s by Bruce. Photo’s taken at The Lost Ones Gallery in Ballarat featuring Inscapes by Rosie Perl. Dress Pattern is Ute by Schnittchen. Fabric is Ox Blood linen by Merchant and Mills purchased from Stitch 56. Vintage mourning necklace and antique cuff bracelet from Jean Jean Vintage on Etsy. Vintage cardi purchased from Vintagecaf on Etsy. Camper shoes purchased circa 2009. Old ballet tights.

Ute Dress

The reality of side boob. NSFW???!!!.

Little Red Riding Hood vs Goldilocks

Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting Lily Pond Warehouse. A treasure trove of French antiques that are collected and curated by the talented Mrs Kim and Mr Kim who are the owners of the intimate Lily Pond store. They kindly allowed me to take photos of my new Centauree dress from Deer and Doe patterns and play with their collection of antiques.


Pips to silent warehouse full of people: “Do you think I look nude behind behind this?” Several people stop to stare. Pips, helping her situation: “It’s ok everyone, I’m not actually nude, I just want to know if I LOOK nude”. weeps…..


Obviously not nude.


My favourite piece in the store. I’m the atheist who loves religion. If I had experienced a prosperous week and not just spent my bonus, Jesus would be in my living room right now. 


Buddy Christ. 


100 year old quilts and amazing vintage garments.


Incredible vintage hand stitched cape with hand sewn ribbon detail.


Super powers optional.


The intricacy of that ribbon!


Hand stitched bias tape straps.


Crinkly back shot. 


1800’s sewing machine. 


Those modesty screens! Which for a lady who is 6 foot tall would not be too modest.


Bruce: ” are you aware there are lots of threads hanging off the hem?” Bless that he notices. I’m leaving all my linen unhemed at the moment. It’s a phase I’m going through. 


I love my Victorian boots. 


Always thinking deep thoughts, and perhaps waiting for a Devonshire tea…


Brass silk flower pressers and vintage butterfly specimens.


That screen and that fabric. 


I’ve never witnesses such a fashion forward Jesus. I must have him.    

How breathtaking are those photos? Obviously the surroundings, not my quirky little face.

So where am I at with sewing at the moment?  It’s been rather limited due to 3 family members with consecutive influenza, then gastro and lastly a small stay in hospital for me. 12 very long weeks. The longing has returned however and I’m starting to consider my next makes (even making a list that is prioritised!) and spend some QT with my machines. I’m resisting the urge to go with familiar favourites and trying to move onto creating clothes from new patterns. My current wardrobe is full of Anna’s, Brumby’s, Elisalex’s, Emery’s and Gabriola’s and whilst I haven’t run out of space yet I do need to acquire some more hangers. I have made many a recent pattern purchase, the fruits of which are languishing in the newly acquired filing system (black boxes in no particular order (‘_’) ) or sitting in a random file on my computer. So I’m starting afresh and listing, auditing fabric and trying to sew with purpose. “weeps, laughs, disbelieves”.

First out of the box was the Centauree from Deer and Doe. My love of Liberty, Linen and Lace continues and I had in mind a scarlet summer dress. For reasons unknown I’m bypassing the toile stage. Not entirely sure why the maverick attitude this month, but I cut out the Ute dress 4 weeks ago without even tracing! Luckily the fit on that is perfect and photos will follow. Warning: there may be side boob and I’m predicting this will be big during summer in the southern hemisphere.

I cut a straight 40 which is the skirt size I have previously used for the Chardon and Brume skirt which were perfect straight out the envelope.

The Centauree has some interesting design lines on the front of the bodice that are expertly drafted and came together beautifully. The top stitching has all the seams sitting perfectly. I knew it was going to be a little loose as I was sewing it, but for this dress I wasn’t looking for a serious fit and flare, desiring something slightly more relaxed. When I make my next one from silk I will need to bring in the side seams about an inch on each side for that slinky fitted look.

I’m all about the distressed frayed look at the hem as well. Perhaps a reflection of the past few months. After a couple of washes it gives a lovely textured edge. It’s likely as close as I will get to being edgy. (Just realised that sounded jokey but it’s actually how I wrote it, so I’ll just leave it there and not draw any attention to it….) I did cut additional length on this version, and for the silk version I’m hoping to work an avocado dye into the fabric and cut it as a maxi.

I love bias binding and whilst I had a little moment trying to work out how to attach it, the Youtube tutorial had me organised in no time. I found after I’d attached the binding there was a join seam at the centre front that although no-one would ever notice, was stopping me from sleeping. So a cute little button now draws the attention away from a 1cm seam line no one else would ever notice. Am I a funny little creature? Do others have to solve problems in quirky manners? Buttons can fix many problems.

There was also the issue of having black thread were the button was sewn on so a little square of tartan covers that and another keeps the centre seams of the bodice neat and tidy. They also match the plaid pockets. Remaining red linen binding from the straps neatens the waist seam.

I think this is going to be a lovely dress for summer although the opaque black tights will continue to be worn with to protect my legs from the sun. I have a matching black parasol and the silk ribbon around my neck will complete the little red riding hood/gothic feel.

I haven’t seen many versions of this dress over on Instagram. I would highly recommend making it. A delight to sew.



Photos by Bruce. Location at Lily Pond Warehouse. Pattern Deer and Doe Centauree. Demon Scarlett Merchant and Mills Linen purchased from Stitch 56. Boots purchased from American Duchess. Flower Crown purchased from Gardens of Whimsy. Black pullover top and tights purchased from Wolford.