I’m finally back in Australia. This trip really has been the trip of a lifetime. I ended up just posting holiday snaps to my instagram, because I accidentally deleted my travel tumblr (doh!)

Just to show I really mean to continue with this ‘1 project per week’ sewing challenge. I have already cut out (and overlocked) my next project. Here’s is a sneak peek…


I think you can guess what I’m making (something I can wear in cold and warm weather). Not  that I EVER need ANY more clothes (please tell me it’s not time for a new hobby! or perhaps unselfish sewing?).

Shopping in Malaysia was insanely good! I tell you folks, this really was my idea of a dream holiday! Relaxing on resorts with cocktails and then the rest of the trip mostly consisted of lots of eating and shopping (two of my most favorite things!), But I’m sure what you really want to hear about is the fabric shopping…

I only found one good spot to buy fabric, but it really was one hell of a fabric shop. While I was in Penang we stayed with my boyfriends uncle and his family, his wife Grace remembered the fabric shop I loved so she took me back to it (isan’t she the best?!)! She said she had never seen anyone so excited about anything in her whole life. What can I say, I LOVE fabric…and when its around 5 Australian dollars per meter, just try and stop me from freaking out! haha


The amazing fabric shop was called’ Kamdar’ in Penang. I did look for fabric stores in Kuala Lumpur, but I did not have much luck. China town (Kuala Lumpur) did have some fabric shops, but none of the ones I found were any good (all polyester fabrics and one shop filed with just gold 90’s style buttons I dislike).

Anyway here is what I scored from the shop ‘Kamdar’ in Penang:


So many dreamy fabrics! I only had 25 minutes to choose these, I was running around like a mad woman, but I’m really happy with my choices. The first fabric is polyester, but the rest are cottons. I am so happy for every single one! Doesn’t the second pink floral remind you of a liberty fabric? its even a lawn!

I also bought some mock batik ones earlier at the airport that I kind of regret…


We were at the airport for hours and I hadn’t done any shopping yet. They are pretty thin and flimsy, but perhaps I will find a use for them.

I have fallen hard for Malaysian food (especially Nasi Lemak and Malaysian Indian/Thai dishes) and now that I am back in Australia I’m ready to work hard, so that perhaps I can go back again someday!

I have been meaning to post this for a long time!

I think this is my favorite thing that I have ever made. I totally fell for this printed fabric and rather than allowing it to hide in my fabric stash for the rest of my life I actually used it!





And I took photos with some with the flash on, to see if I could get a more accurate color representation of the dress (but failed to get a good represenation)…




I really included the last one because I was so happy with the fact that my hair was behaving for once. Haha. The fit is better than it looks I promise. I was just wearing the wrong *ahem* undergarments.

The blue in the fabric is very different IRL, but eh I tried.

This year I am going to use all my good fabric (rather than saving it for the non existent “perfect project”). I love the print of the fabric its sort of delicious in a late 60s kind of way!

The fabric reminds me me of this print ad from the 60s (that I had on a pintrest board)…


I wore this dress to a 90th birthday party and got some lovely compliments, which I love because mature ladies are often the most stylish 🙂

I deliberately used a tried-and-true pattern (Simplicity 2417) that way I could skip the fitting woes for this project! I have already used this pattern countless times, but it is so easy and this pattern uses so little fabric, that I can’t stop! A sewing project that involves minor fitting and alterations is such a joy to sew.

The fabric is a light weight cotton drill that I bought at spotlight it was about $8 per meter on sale. That is far more than I usually pay, but I had to have it because the print was really calling my name.

When cutting out the skirt portion, I did consider the print, but I should have experimented more with positioning of the the print in relation to  the pleats in the skirt, I sort of had to re-arrange it a bit ‘after-the fact’.

This dress is so easy to wear because I underlined the skirt portion with a light batiste. The reason I did this was because the drill creases easily…I figured that by underlining it, it would give it some weight and stability and stop it creasing as much. I was right!

The underling also makes the dress sit better and feel more substantial to wear. I must do this with future projects.

I took an additional 6 mm out of the top of the side seams of the bodice and shortened the straps.

I had a lot of construction notes and I really wish I wrote them in a book. I completed this garment a long time ago, so any hiccups are a distant memory.

I vaguely remember fussing with the skirt underling, because I changed the positioning of the pleats slightly to fit the print, but that’s all I remember.

I lined the bodice rather than underling it. Not sure if that makes a difference. Perhaps later I will post pictures of the insides of the dress.

This year I will use actual fabric to make wearable muslins and then only fashion fabric that I LOVE when I have perfected the fit of a garment! The work is the same and life is short!

I can’t wait to make more things in bold prints and bright colours!

I love orange, cute animals and reading so this dress is probably perfect for me…

penguin01 penguin02 penguin03 penguin04 penguin05 penguin06 penguin07

The dress is made from a lightweight cotton I bought at The Remnant Warehouse. It’s a lot like a tana lawn, it’s lightweight and breathable. There is a trade-off as the fabric is a little delicate. The pattern is my own design (I have made countless dresses with this pattern).

I had this dress lying around half-finished for god knows how long (I’m sure you know the story). The bodice is lined and there is an invisible zip in the side seam. I took it in 6mm on the zipper side before I installed the zipper.

As you can see I didn’t match my print very well on the front of the bodice, but I am not really fussed , but next time I will be more careful (at least on the front).

I didn’t line the skirt, because I always wear denim shorts underneath sun-dresses and skirts.

I do wish the straps were a little shorter and the waist is pretty roomy.

I must like the dress because I have worn it 3 times already. I would say it suits my personality well.

The more serious people of the world probably wonder why a grown up lady walks around in a penguin dress, but thats OK. I never want to grow up or be too serious…

BTW: Does my dress may remind you of this?:


Above:  The movie is as good as the book. How often does that happen? My copy of this is in storage since I switched to kindle. The penguins on the dress are obviously not the same as the logo, but my boyfriend calls it the book dress.


Just in case you are wondering my favorite books of all time are: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley! You must read them. 🙂


That black and white pixelated-looking fabric on the right (that looks like QR code) is my favorite. Too scared to use it. Don’t you hate it when you are too scared to cut into a fabric you love?

Today I had fun going through some of my fabric. I would look at my fabric and ask the fabric “what do you want to be? a dress? a skirt? what era, look or style? I am a strange individual. I have never denied that.

All plans are subject to change at any moment of course!

Anyway below are the ones I could make a decision about. Not necessarily my favorite fabrics, just a selection that I thought would suit a particular style or sewing pattern….


Above: Vintage Vogue 8789 View A. With the stripes on the bodice cut on the bias creating a lovely chevron. yum!


Picture the Blue fabric on the left as view a. A sleeveless dress with a drapey neckline so it’s kinda ‘hillybilly-does-Vivienne-Westwood” type of deal. The dull-looking fabric on the right could be a wearable muslin of the same dress. There is not a lot of this blue fabric so we will see…


I want to be the kind of person that has a dress that is covered in zebra heads!

The fact that I don’t have much yardage/meterage to work with made it easy to decide, as this dress uses the least fabric. I have made this dress before


This fabric has that cute 60s vibe that I love. Perfect for a A-line dress. Should I add a collar? or perhaps waist tabs

This is the most recent dress I made, so I already perfected the fit, or at least thats the theory anyway…


Red denim to be made into a basic A-line skirt with pockets, mostly to test out the pattern. NEXT!


If the red skirt goes well would like to try the A-line style in this DIVINE ikea fabric!

I know, I know Tilly already made a skirt in a similar fabric. I love her version (and everything she makes). But for my skirt I want it to be shorter and more streamlined (no pleats) It’s a heavier fabric too.


I am not mad about this fabric. I like it, but I am not head-over-heels for it. I have LOTS of it, so its a good one to test new patterns on. Also its a sateen so it has a bit of stretch, great for fitted dresses.

I want to make the above pattern from it, sleeveless, without the peplum fin things and with the square neckline.


Don’t you love my penguin fabric? It was a left over from sun dress I was/am still making.

I want to make the top in view D of the pattern but with no sleeves and I suppose I would make the contrasting peter pan collar black.

I did not manage to capture the true colour of the fabric on the right, it’s much more of pink than in the photo it would be a good choice for wearable muslin to test out the pattern because I have a lot of it.


I have 6.28 meters of this fabric, so it’s a good one to test out new patterns.

How do I end up with so many meters of the same fabric? when I worked in a fabric shop I would buy up big when the clearance fabric were reduced again, so I often got fabric that was $3 or under per meter. So a nice cotton poplin that is cheaper than the price of calico…those were the days!


So yeah. Those be my plans. What should I make next?

As a renter obviously drilling holes in the wall is out of the question, even stick on hooks and blu-tak are out of bounds for me. Luckily I had 3 hooks that were already in the wall, before we moved in. So I had to make the most of them/utilize them straight away!

This may seem a bit silly but it works for me, anything to add colour to the less than desirable cream and beige walls.

It’s basically just a piece of IKEA home dec fabric. I sewed another fabric to the back of it (right side against right side), left an opening at the bottom, turned it the right way and sewed up the bottom. I did this to close off the edges. It doesn’t really bother me that you can see the repeat in the pattern. It is attached to the hooks with some bulldog clips. Nice, simple and easy!

I don’t even want to show you this next one completely in context next to the window, because the blinds are a revolting green/grey colour.

Anyway here is my awesome fabric covered canvas.

The print reminds me of the iconic 60’s marimekko flower print (my favorite!). I also made a sun dress out of this fabric a while back :)!

Covering a canvas is  pretty easy. I just bought an art canvas and used a staple gun to attach the fabric to the back. A good tip I discovered when doing some of these fabric covered canvases is to use double sided sticky tape between the canvas and fabric when deciding on the positioning (before you staple it on). That way you can re-position if necessary or ensure that it temporarily holds in place before using the staple gun.

I always thought sewing would save me money. This is clearly no longer the case BUT a hobby that brings me so much happiness is worth the spend.

I have so much fabric that at this point I have to smuggle fabrics into my house to avoid angering the people I live with. Yes my fabric addiction is THAT bad!

First up we have the fabric

Is it wrong I get CRAZY MAD excited just looking at  fabric/textile prints? To further freak you out I actually scanned my fabrics with the scanner  well it’s because my camera is rubbish so it was the only way to show you…

Love Love Love! $6 per meter (3 meters)

I like this but do prefer the green colour-way of this print…

On the day I bought this all the already reduced quilting cottons (including the others in this post)  were half the reduced price but it was ONE day only.

I only had $20 left in my account of this particular day. It was torture. 😦

So of this blue fabric I bought 6 meters at $3 per meter

Orange is my all-time favorite colour and its a vintagey-feedsack-kinda floral print! Love it. obviously.

$6 mer meter (3 meters)

Had to get the red version too

$6 mer meter (3 meters)

You will see I buy almost exclusivity floral prints and this point in time.

I don’t know what it is about me and florals…

Also don’t look down on me because I make dresses from quilting cotton.  I know it lacks drape etc but I like quilting cottons because….

1. Better range of prints/more fun prints

2. Cotton  plain weave fabric is so easy to sew with :).

Perhaps one day I will challenge myself with some nightmare chiffony-something-or-rather but I really prefer tougher fabrics. I live a pretty casual existence in that way.

I just don’t enjoy flimsy fabrics enough to justify the the pain of working with them.

These next two are not quilting cottons. The fabric is an interesting weave  but not sure what you would classify them as and I lost the docket…

$5 per meter or perhaps less

This is just so lovely. the print has an early 70’s look to me. I could be wrong.

I have made a dress in the same print before. The fabric frays to an insane degree but its really soft.

But when I bought this print in a different colour it was full price (about $16.95 per meter) Ouch! I am such a sucker !

I am making this dress (link) in this cute fabric soon so stay tunned.

I think a lot of the yardage was free because I used a voucher I got given. Hehe I said yardage. I only work in meters so that was sort of odd…

Also bought a overlocker/serger from amazon rather than in Australia.  Yippee… Had to buy an electrical converter for $20 though.

I was looking at the babylock imagine but I don’t really have over $2000 to spare so I made a compromise…

It’s pretty basic. But with shipping and the electrical converter it was $270.

If I bought a very similar brother model in a shop in Australia it would be over $400. How crazy is that?!

The BurdaStyle Sewing handbook (also from amazon) I seem to like the pattern variations that don’t have tutorials the best 😦

Above is the Colette Sewing Handbook. The instructions in the one are excellent/super clear.Also the dress in the above picture is just my cup of tea! So Gorgeous! Must Make….