Author Archives: prairiegurl

Sewing with Knits

Hey all!

Kat's Avatar I’ve been having a FIELD DAY this weekend because I got a ‘new’ overlocker (well, hand-me-down) from my mum-in-law and have been playing in my sewing room like a hyperactive 2 year old



This sewing with knits thing has really got me going!  They’re cozy, warm, easy to make up and totally satisfying!  What more could you want from a sewing project.  You’ve gotta figure out a few tips/tricks to working with them since they are a bit of a different beast, and you need a few special tools; but once you got ’em…you’re golden and there’s nothing stopping you.

Here are some pics of my two newest additions to my winter wardrobe (it’ll be here before you know it…but not soon enough…what a hot summer!)

First once is this pattern off BurdaStyle.  I loved the waterfall neckline.  I made it out of a buttery soft bamboo jersey from Fabulous Fabrics in Balcatta.









And the second one was this one.  I made this one for the nice cowl and ruched side/sleeves..a really nice touch.  Again, fabric was a poly jersey from FF in Balcatta.









I just love the fact that I whipped these two babies up in a weekend!!  I have tonnes of tips/tricks and construction techniques on sewing these knit wonders over at the ol’ blog

Has anyone been to KnitWit on Stirling Hwy?  Worth the trip?

Now, to wait for the day time maximums to get below 25….





Darling Ranges Dress – Modification

Kat's AvatarHey all!  Remember that fine day when Megan Nielsen herself came to our meetup and kindly dropped off a bunch of her patterns for free?


I quickly snapped up her Darling Ranges Dress and finally got around to doing something with it!

I got some fab ‘nautical’ (whatevs) voile from Spotlight with the intention of making a maxi out of the Darling Ranges pattern.

This pattern is simple and is thus easy to play with.  I made a few mods

1.  Moved the dart from the side to the top and replaced the dart with three tucks

2.  Lowered the shoulder seam of the front bodice by 2cm and subsequently lengthened the back bodice shoulder seam by 2cm.  This ensures the tucks hang attractively down the front of the bodice and don’t start right at the shoulder seam.  It makes them look smoother.

3.  Made a centre front seam and got rid of the buttons

4.  Lowered the bodice by 5cm

5.  Put darts in the back (had to modify this twice, as the first dart I drafted wasn’t long enough but it’s hard to fit yourself especially at the back!)

6.  Made a 3cm wide waist band

7.  Drafted a dirndl maxi skirt with three tucks on either side of both the centre front and centre back.

8.  Added a back zipper

9.  Dropped the bottom of the armscye 1.5cm

I just love the results and the tucks on the shoulder!




For all the details plus a tutorial on how I changed my dart to tucks see my blog post.


Quilting virgin no more!

Yes, it’s true, last week I lost my quilting virginity.

And it was GREAT!

I tend to use my mom as a crafting guinea pig – whatever new thing I want to try, I make her that for Christmas (and she hasn’t complained so far!)

This year it’s a lap quilt!

I went to Quintessential Quilts in Morley and they were really helpful.  I bought a kit, since I wanted the fabric and pattern ready to go, since this must be posted in a couple of weeks!  EEK!

I got this pattern

The lady there said it would be easy to put together, so I liked the sound of that. I learned that you need a feature fabric and two contrasts (flower fabric = feature, purple and green fabrics = contrast 1 and contrast 2).

So I cut 11 2.5″x44″ strips out of my feature and my two contrast fabrics.  I then sewed the contrast 1 strip to the feature strip and then those two to the contrast 2 strip.  I then cut these strips into 6.5″ x 6.5″ blocks. These are the blocks you sew together to make rows and then sew the rows together!

Phew!  This was a lot more work than I had anticipated and you need to be uber precise too so everything fits nicely together.  When I finished sewing 2 rows of blocks together and was ready to attach them, I had to make sure the seams would match up exactly.

So, I used a Susan Khalje tip (<3 her!) and sewed just the joins together with a basting stitch and then checked the match.  That way, I only had to undo 1″ of stitching if they didn’t match.  The basting kinda acted like ‘pins’ when I sewed the rows together, so there wasn’t much shifting during sewing.  BIG bonus was I didn’t have to worry about seams matching when doing the final stitching.

It worked great, although I don’t know if it’s the ‘right’ way to do it or not (not being a quilter and all).  Here’s a bit of it!

I’m really happy so far, and will post piccies of the final product, which I *better* finish soon.

Until then…Relax and Enjoy,


**UPDATE!!  Quilt top done!  Now onto basting!


Ultimate verge!

Hey everyone!

I love verge…no, I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVVVVE VERGE!!!  I’m a hopeless scrounger, and if you know where to look you can get some fabulous finds.  Last year someone had their entire fabric stash on the verge!  Now it’s in my stash 😛

But, this year beats all former verges.  I found a vintage Singer 401G from the late fifties/early sixties on Marlow Street during my daily bike commute to work.  I almost fell of my ebike with excitement and utter shock.  Needless to say it came to work with me an then home – all in the back of the basket.  She doesn’t have a power cord or foot petal, but these things can be found online – a really good source for vintage sewing machine parts and a fab blog about restoration can be found here.

Feast your eyes!

She’s beautiful, eh?  I plan to start tinkering soon, so stay tuned to my blog for more restoration details.  Hopefully the motor is good, but we’ll see once the power arrives!



French Knickers!

Hello readers!

I should perhaps subtitle this post “Applying what I learned in Lingerie Making at TAFE”.  Yes, I did take the Lingerie Making course at TAFE and I really enjoyed it.  Every week we made a sample of a different lingerie garment.  We made French knickers, a camisole, briefs and a bra.  At the final class we learned some basic pattern making and grading.

You don’t make garments that fit you (unless you’re a perfect size 10) and the fabric was all (generously) provided by Wendy, our teacher, and often didn’t match.  This didn’t matter because I learned a heap of techniques on lingerie sewing and got to trace all Wendy’s patterns!!!

So, I thought I’d share my first pair of French knickers with you!  These are seriously easy, fun and quick!  I whipped mine up in a day.  These are going to be part of a sleep set for summer.

These are from Wendy’s pattern block, which I adapted slightly by increasing the side seams by 2cm each and making the leg a little higher.  A word to the wise, I found that making a larger size of French knickers made the crotch sag horribly!  It really looked ghastly!  I guess the pattern making companies assume if you’re bigger in the hips you’re bigger in the belly as well…so make sure you compare the measurments of the final garment with your own before you start.

I used a cute little floral cotton from Spotlight and some cute and simple cotton lace.  I was going for a French Country look here.

I cut it all on the bias (as you do with wovens when making lingerie) and used French seams throughout.  I attached the lace at the leg, lingerie elastic at the waist and made a super cute rouleau bow for the front (all stuff I learned at the course)!  Check them out!

I also made a matching cami from Wendy’s pattern using the techniques I learned in the course.

There!  Summer PJs sorted!  That was easy and took 2m of fabric all up (knickers took less than 1m).

Making PJs is super easy and costs way less than you can buy them, and besides, you can make them to your style and specs.

I’m really happy with mine and am making a robe out of blue and white stripped shirting…so stay tuned for that!

If you’d like more detail on the construction/techniques I used, you can find them on my blog.



Ode to linen

Hey hey everyone!

Kat here!  Hopefully some of you know me from my last (and first!) BurdaStyle meetup in August or perhaps you’ve stumbled across my blog or maybe you’re like “Kat who?”

Either way, I’m thrilled to start guest posting on the BurdaStyle meetup blog.  This is such a fantastic (and well organized!)  group of super talented Sewistas and I’m honored to share some of my sewing projects with you.

The purpose of my posts will be geared towards the creation of my daily summer wardrobe.  Yes, I’ve got a day job and can’t wear beautiful couture gowns on a daily basis…maybe I need a new job 😛   Fantasy life aside, I need a new summer wardrobe and want to sew the majority of the pieces in it – hence I’ve been doing this for about a month now.

Less talk more sewing!

Today’s project is a pattern I’ve had in my stash for a while now;  Simplicity 3786.    Yeah, I bought this pattern during my peasant blouse phase, BUT, it has a rather nice V-neck sleeveless option – View C (the short sleeved v-neck in the red).

I bought some lovely floral print linen from Potters one afternoon, and thought this would be a great project for it.  I got a whopping 0.9m, but loved it so much  that I paid my $15 and walked out happy (oh, I bought other fabric too…but you’ll have to stay tuned for those ones!).

The fabric was about 150cm wide, and I didn’t really think I’d have enough to make a tunic top, especially with a rather large bite in the top right hand corner from a swatch grab.  So, I chopped off 15cm of length and it fit!  Hallelujah!

I did a fair amount of hand stitching here.  I originally machine stitched (top stitched) the edge of the neck and armhole facings to the linen.  It looked TERRIBLE!  The machine stitching was obviously too harsh for the loosely woven luscious linen I was working with.  It pulled the fabric too much and made ugly ridges.

Realizing this fabric was a delicate flower, I did a blind stitch (or blind hemming stitch) to attach the facings to the outside of the fabric and to do the hem.  If you would like to know how to do this hand stitch, you can see the “Hand Stitches” menu at the top of my blog.

A bit of work, yes, but it gives a lovely finish to the blouse with hardly any stitching showing from the outside.

Okay, okay enough goobly goop…here are the finished pics!

I just love how  it turned out and the hand sewing was totally worth the little bit of  extra effort.

Another one for the 45 degree heat which will be here before you can say “Merry Christmas”!

Cheers all!