Sew Melbourne Garden Party

Sew Melbourne Garden Party

What a wonderful garden party. A spectacular lady garden sewing party if you will.

The Sew Melbourne Garden Party was planned through the collaboration of a bevy of gorgeous ladies, @craftyjane, @liblib and @abbythingsforboys. They coordinated a picnic within the Kings Domain at the Botanical on a perfect Autumn afternoon for the all inclusive sewing community.  

A delightful afternoon was had, lounging under the trees in the dappled sunlight, nibbling on sweet treats and listening to the string quartet (who did an amazing thing by outplaying the electronica festival next door).

We were quite the curiosity to those taking a stroll around the grounds. 

Leah and I met during a blogging course many moons ago at Blog with Pip, and now here we are playing ladies in the gardens!

I had decided the previous day that I wouldn’t be able to make it due to insomnia making it impossible for me to speak, let alone think, however I was blessed with 6 hours of snooze time. Bruce offered to chaperone me to and from the gardens so I packed a little hamper and made my way to the party.

I wore the Bardot dress by Simple Sew Patterns, although I’m struggling to find where I purchased the PDF. I’d seen this pattern some time ago, and when I purchased this amazing linen from The Drapery in South Australia that I knew they were destined for one another.

The dress was very straight forward. The neckline was what initially drew me to the pattern and when I sit still, the neckline sits perfect and still, but when I move it doesn’t quite stay in place. I’m thinking two small darts at the back neckline should rectify this issue.

The only adjustment I made to the pattern was to lengthen the bodice by 2.5cm which was just the right amount.

When the actual sewing had been completed I thought it needed a little lift so I hand stitched the ribbon around the hemline (approximately 2 hours work) so I felt more of a sense of accomplishment given the dress had taken so little time. 

I also purchased these amazing seamed stockings from What Katie Did. How have I not worn them before? I found them so comfortable particularly on a hot day. I most likely flashed them more than was necessary, but don’t fret, the Liberty knickers also went on display just for a second. 

I made my name badge from vintage liberty which took three attempts to get right. The first was too messy, the second looked as though my name was Pups but the third turned out perfectly. It’s now pinned to one of my curtains in the sewing atelier.

A lovely day was had by all. I was excited to finally be able to attend a sewing soiree since I’ve had to miss several due to illness. And so nice to put names and faces to Instagram names. Although I did find myself referring to people by their IG names because it was easier to remember. I have such fog brain and word salad that I was lucky to get out of the house that day. If you want to see more captures of our wonderful afternoon, search for #sewmelbournegp

That is about as saucy as I get yet I still get the feeling I look more demure than anything else. A friend once told me that even when I attempt to dress myself as a lady of the night I still looked ridiculously wholesome and like I’m about to attend church.

Thank you Libby, Jane and Abby for planning such a special event.
design (4)

Photos by Bruce and also Lady Garden Party  attendees. Fabric purchased from The Drapery. Aged ribbon purchased from Lilly Pond. Stockings purchased from What Katie Did. Shoes purchased from American Duchess. Flower crown by Lilly and Lace. Garden party held at the Kings Domain in the Melbourne Botanical Gardens.


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???!!!.