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.

A Step Back in Time

Tea DressThe number of times I’ve been told I was born in the wrong era… Countless. However the beautiful thing of living now is the that I can look back on all those wonderful periods (Victorian and 1920’s are my favourite) and recreate the designs whilst still having access to the modern necessities of life, say feminism, modern medicine, a fabulous array of fabrics and friends from across the world and an endless fountain of inspiration from the ether in which resides the internets. I’ve also started collecting vintage and antique lace and jewellery in the past year, things that I cannot find their equal of in todays fast consumerist society. I’m an old soul in a new world.

Tea Dress: Vintage Inspiration

Tea Dress: Vintage Inspiration

I found this vintage picture on the IG account of @shoppesimone and captured it on a screen shot knowing I needed to recreate the dress with black ribbons. The perfect linen fabric I stumbled across on another IG account, @scarletjonesmelbourne around a year later. They were practically giving away this gorgeous Italian linen which they had in storage ($20 per meter). I immediately purchased 5 meters, along with some navy and natural linen as well even though I was “technically” on a fabric purchasing hiatus.Tea Dress

The pattern is the modified bodice of Anna/Elisalex of ByHandLondon and the skirt an over exaggeration of the Emery by Christine Haynes with pockets. The first tier has additional fabric added to the width to create more fulness in the gathers and the second tier is attached to the lining.Tea Dress

The second tier is less full (I wasn’t using maths, I was guesstimating) and I’m actually quite pleased that it has less gathers than the first. It gives a different shape than I was expecting and overall makes the dress look a little less “poufy” whilst maintaining the original fit and flare design.Tea Dress

I lined the dress in a vintage cotton sheet that I picked up at a second hand store. The edge of the sheet had some beautiful blue embroidery which I will make feature of in a future petticoat/skirt that I have in mind.Tea Dress

The perfect black ribbon was purchased from Lily Pond and hand stitching it to the dress took longer than making the actual dress itself. I catch stitched by hand for a nice flat and even result. Not a speck of black thread to be seen on the inside.Tea Dress

I think there was about 12 meters of ribbon used and I stitched both the top  and bottom by hand. Commitment to ones craft as always. I actually find hand stitching quite soothing. I love how this process cannot be rushed and accuracy is increased 10 fold when you have such fine control over the stitches.

Vintage Locket

Vintage Locket

I wore my new locket from JeanJean Vintage which I’d been stalking for months. It is black enamel with “In Memory of” inscribed on the front and contains a lock of hair that has been carefully braided and encased in the locket. I’ve no clue as to who it belonged to but I love that this was how women used to remember their loved ones who had died. Very Crimson Peak in it’s style, hopefully obtained under less violent circumstances.

Tea Dress

And may we discuss the boots for a minute. Purchased from American Duchess, these beautiful boots laced with ribbon are the perfect fit for my often fickly tootsies. And how well do they compliment my dress! Comfort and historic style paired beautifully.

Tea DressThe photo’s were taken at the Winter Garden Cafe which had a beautiful exhibition of prints in their art gallery upstairs. It’s their 7th annual printmakers exhibition and runs from July 1 to July 31. If you are in the Geelong area I would recommend dropping in to view some of the amazing prints.

Gin? Tea? Cake?

Gin? Tea? Cake?

So, where do you get your inspiration for making? I have many screen shots on my phone, thousands of pinterest pins, and scraps from magazines that never seem to make it into the inspiration book…Tea Dress

CurtseyTea Dress