Category Archives: Just for Fun

Conquering a fear – trousers

elizabeth's_avatarI made a pledge at the beginning of last year not to buy clothes I could make.  This is easy enough for dresses, tops and skirts.  Doable for knickers, although bras are another proposition, and something of a challenge with knit fabrics.

But!  I gritted my teeth, fitted a stretch needle, found a lovely pattern and did it.

Trousers, with a zip fly, on the other hand, were a challenge on another level.  Fortunately we have Sandra, who can do these things with her eyes closed.  (I’d be prepared to put money on it, but she’d be shy)

So, with her patient and intuitive instruction I have a pair of recognisable jeans.

The only real difficulty came with trying to sew the waistband.

The denim I’d chosen is rather heavy – I liked the colour – and six layers of top-stitching was beyond my Janome.  But Sandra has an impressive Singer that handled it without complaint.  Likewise the buttonhole.

I’ve not worn them yet, it’s too hot, and there’s one more touch I’d like to add.  I’ve got a rivet kit, but I need to dig out my leather punch as my awl isn’t up to penetrating the four layers at the corner of each pocket where a rivet should go.

IMG_1673I have worn these, though.  They’re indigo linen and don’t even crease too badly.

For a hot day at work, they’re chic and cool and go with a lot of my wardrobe.

The linen was also sufficiently light that I had no trouble with the waistband or buttonhole.

The pattern I’m working off is a much-adapted block.  It’s flattering to my body shape with wide legs and a yoke back.

It translated very well to these:


Doesn’t everyone need ridiculous trousers?

The fabric is drill from LargeCraftandFabric chain store which I couldn’t resist.  Sadly, not much seems to go with them, but they do make me smile!


Burda Shirt Finished 7525

IMAG1048Okay ladies as a few of you maybe aware I do not like posting on our site unless it is Burda based, hence I can post about this shirt I have just made for Jeff for Christmas, and yes you are right upon closer inspection it is The Grinch That Stole Christmas material, he picked it and said he would wear it so here we go !!!!!

This is pattern number Burda 7525 and was quite easy to follow and put together, I did have to make some changes as my partner is very broad across the shoulders, still not quite enough so next time a tad more…

Have  a fantastic Christmas one and all….

Cheers Fleur


Waste not

elizabeth's_avatarIt’s been bothering me for a while the amount of scrap fabric I produce that isn’t big enough to be useful.  Some of it can be composted but a lot can’t, so it goes to landfill.  When you consider the resources that go into producing fabric (water, labour, petrochemicals and so on) this is an appalling waste.

But what to do?

Ignore the cat, it has no patienceHere’s one idea.  Take a remnant of upholstery fabric and cut six equally sized squares.  In this case about 5ocm x 50cm.

Sew the first two together using a basting stitch, then insert a zip along this stitch line and pull out your basting, making sure the ends are secure.

Then sew the rest of your squares together in a hopscotch arrangement to form the top, sides and bottom of a square.  Overlock your seams to make them strong.

Open the zip and turn your square around the right way.  Proceed to fill it with your fabric scraps until it is full and you have a footstool.

Try to keep the cat off the work in progress…

Elle’s Recipes from the May SWA 2013

Undoubtedly one of the best parts about our recent Sewing Weekend Away – besides the sewing – was the FOOD! Elle being a uber foodie (she grows a lot of her own produce) and BSCP’s own version of a Master Chef, kindly voluntered to cook ALL the meals for the WHOLE time we were there.

Elle kitchen

Head Chef Elle in her element!

Thats 2 dinners, 3 lunches, 3 breakfasts and snacks for morning/afternoon tea! And if you think she got away with serving toast and cereal for brekkie, or store brought bickies for afternoon tea think again- EVERYTHING was made from scratch and we had cooked breakfasts both days yum yum!
In fact I (half) joked that by the time we left none of us would fit into our garments we had been making as we would all be at least a size bigger.  Elle made sure we all were VERY well fed!
Someone very sensibly drew up a roster for everyone else to take turns as clean up crew and “sous chef” – so be assured Elle did actually get a break from the kitchen!

Oh and did I mention Elle also brought along freshly ground coffee that her husband has roasted himself? LEGEND!

So everyone was super impressed (and stuffed) with the dishes Elle created and she has very kindly provided some of her recipes:

elles cake

Elle’s Jammy Plum Cake

Elle’s jammy plum cake
(makes enough for about 12 people

Preheat oven to 180deg C
Line a lamington tin with baking parchment
9oz unsalted butter
9oz sugar
4 eggs
Drizzle vanilla extract
9oz SR flour
About 6 plums (or peaches or apricots or strawberries or blueberries…)
More sugar to sprinkle
Cinnamon to sprinkle, optional

Cream butter and sugar
Mix in eggs, one at a time
Mix in vanilla
Sift in flour and mix well
Use a floured spatula to spread cake mixture into your tin
Arrange the sliced fruit on top and sprinkle fairly generously with the sugar (and cinnamon)

Bake about 45 mins

Fabulous served hot.
Bread and butter pudding
(for four)

Preheat oven to 180deg C

Sliced white bread (any bread, include brioche or fruit toast works too)
Unsalted butter
Strained marmalade
Five eggs
1 cup milk
Half a cup cream
Dribble vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sugar

You can cut the crusts off your bread, but I don’t.

Butter your bread, then spread thinly with strained marmalade
Arrange loosely in your baking dish.  Three layers is usually enough
Whisk together eggs, sugar, vanilla, milk and cream.  Depending on  how much bread you use and how big your dish is, you might need two lots of this custard.
Pour custard over bread/butter/marmalade making sure bread is soaked.
Sprinkle extra sugar on top if you like a toffee crust.
Bake until custard is set
Serve with icecream.

Fish in creamy wine sauce
(for four)

Three fillets white fish (whiting, cobbler, ling, basa, whatever you have at hand) cut into cubes
Half a cup of plain flour
Salt and pepper
Oil for frying
Handful chopped dill
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (roughly)
1.5 tablespoons of flour (roughly)
Half a bottle of white wine
Half a cup of cream

Preheat oven to 200deg C

Mix salt and pepper into flour and dredge fish
Fry fish in batches until crust is crisp and golden
Put fish into baking dish
In a saucepan melt butter gently, stir in flour and wine to make a white sauce.  Stir over gentle heat until it thickens
Add cream and dill to sauce, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour sauce over fish
Bake about 30 minutes until fish is cooked and sauce has started to go golden and crisp on top.

Lemony, garlicky broccoli
(for four)

1 head of broccoli cut into florets, doesn’t matter what size so long as they’re about the same size.
1 quarter preserved lemon rind
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped finely
Pepper to taste

Boil broccoli until cooked but still crisp
In a small frying pan, melt butter and sauté garlic and finely chopped lemon.  Don’t let the garlic go brown. Season with pepper
Pour lemon/garlic mix over broccoli and toss to coat.

If there are any other recipe’s of Elle’s you would like please leave a comment and we will see what can be done!

Girl’s Day Out

On Sunday, Lily and I joined Sarah M, Elle, Debra and Ellen at the museum to see the Unveiled exhibition of wedding dresses from the Victoria and Albert museum. Some of the highlights included Dita Von Teese’s purple wedding dress designed by Vivienne Westwood, and Gwen Stefani’s dress designed by John Galliano.

But for me though, the highlight was the dress known as the May Primrose dress, made in 1885 by court dressmakers, Gladman and Womack.


I’m a bit of a fan of the 1880s, partly because I like the look, but also because it was such an exciting time historically, smack bang at the height of the industrial revolution, and bursting with optimism about technology, science and modernity. I’ve spent a bit of time researching old pattern making and sewing techniques from the era, including visiting the WA museum archives to get up close and personal with a jacket they have in storage. (Such a bummer, I can’t publish the photos I took – it is an AMAZING jacket)

So, to see the Real Deal was so special. There is so much detail in the dress, and a lot of it can be the starting point for detail on a modern garment. The lace is stunning, but it’s just frills, and the richness depends on the quality of the lace. The draped pearls and tassels are gorgeous, but I am a bit too clumsy to have bits that dangle and get caught in things. And I love all the drapery – it’s enormously difficult to get draped skirts to look like the folds just landed there by chance – but with my hips, it’s not a look I’m going to try anytime soon. So, I looked a bit lower. The pleats around the hem, in fact. They look like little evenly spaced petals, but they are simply groups of three knife pleats attached about 1/3rd from the top, with the top edge folded down and caught onto the frill. Somewhere on my computer is a PDF book from the 1880s, downloaded from, which shows how to make these sort of frills, but I’m not near my computer now, so I grabbed a paper napkin and tried out some pleating until I got something that looked right.


I’m making a simple dress at the moment for a class, I think I might see if a row of these petals can land somewhere on it.

There’s an article about the conservation of this dress on the V and A website. It’s quite interesting – apparently they dismantle the entire dress for cleaning,

I’m going to visit the museum again, hopefully with a bit more time and a bit of research under my belt.

Thanks to Ellen for the heads up on the V and A website.

Boxer pants meet

Our next meet on Sunday August 19th, has been designated Boxer Shorts day. It’s not obligatory to make them, but if you’d like to, here’s a bunch of patterns and tutorials to consider.

Now, call them boxer shorts and wear them to bed, or tap pants and wear them under skirts, they are easy to draft and quick to sew. I’ve included a few links to tutorials for various styles.

Simple & Modern: these are the easiest to draft and sew.

Sweet & Vintage: scroll down to the circular tap pants and download the PDF. These are a little harder to sew, but have the advantage of no centre front and back seams. And I’m happy to help, once you’ve got the hang of it you’ll never look back.

If you like the idea of the circular tap pants but want a pant that isn’t so full and uses less fabric, I have a draft in an old Women’s Institute book from the 1930’s or 40’s. It’s fabulous.

I also have a few patterns for simple pants and if I rummage around I have a couple of genuine vintage “bloomer” style patterns. (Just like my Nana used to wear, I couldn’t make them without laughing uncontrollably.)

A pair of boxer shorts can be whipped up in no time, so if you haven’t got something more pressing to work on, bring some cute fabric and sort out your summer smalls.


Craft day at the museum

I received an intriguing phone call from Renae Woodhams at the WA Museum today, inviting us to join them from 11-4 on Sunday 1st of July to make dinosaurs.

Hi Sandra The Western Australian Museum is hosting a craft day on Sunday 1 July and encouraging Perth sewers to come along and make toy dinosaurs. It’s a free event and we’re encouraging hand sewing – so no machines please! But knitting, crocheting, hand sewing etc. are all encouraged. Craft kits will be available to purchase for those who don’t have supplies. If you would like more information it is on our website Many thanks and we hope to see you there.