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Sewn Christmas gift - purple tween tunic

2 January 2013, 13:25

There was a massive sale on My Image and Young Image magazines a few months ago, and since I already own all the My Image issues, I thought I’d take the opportunity to buy all the Young Image ones for my niece Megan, who recently taken up sewing in a big way.

I figured it’d be inspiring for her to see at least one of the designs made up, so I thought I’d sew one for her before sending the magazines back to America.

My mom went through the stack when she was over in October and picked out some designs she thought Megan would like. Ultimately, I decided on Young Image FW12 Y1252 since I already had some perfect purple cotton jersey in my stash (you may also remember it from this skirt), which my mom also thought looked like her style.

Happily, most Young Image designs go up to tween sizes so I made her size 152 as the measurements matched hers almost exactly (she’s 5 feet tall already, how did this happen?!).

The gathering isn’t quite like in the tech drawing, though – the gathering on the pattern pieces is in one section in the centre front, rather than in two segments. I double-checked the pattern sheet to make sure I wasn’t just omitting a mark, and then also experimented to see if the gathering would work concentrated in two spots, but fell back on the one long stretch of gathering, which I think looks really good here.

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Holiday sewing update

28 December 2012, 15:51

Some (rather racy) panties


Remember how I had flu for 3 weeks earlier this month? Well lucky freakin me, because I got ill again on the first day of my holidays. I’ve essentially felt like crap since two days before Thanksgiving, arrrrgh. So on Christmas Day, I did a little bit of comfort sewing, in the form of some crazy, racy, leopard print and black lace panties.

Avert your eyes now if you’re of a gentle disposition!

I’d never buy leopard print of my own free will, but I’d bought a lingerie grab bag for a pound a while back, and this came from there, and I added some scrap black stretch lace to the sides. Nobody need know what my tastefully dressed exterior conceals…

Burda December cover dress muslin


The big project I wanted to tackle over the holidays is the Burda December cover dress (Burda Dec 2012 #112).

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Sewing Christmas Gifts

30 December 2011, 21:06

I know this is sure to shock you (ha!), but I received a fair few sewing-related Christmas gifts this year…

The Colette Sewing Handbook – I’ve only cracked the surface of the content here, but I love it already. It’s so comprehensive and ends up being greats for beginners as well as old hats like me. And how chuffed was I to see FehrTrade.com in the Recommended Reading List??

I received a slew of novels and cookbooks from my WishList, amoungst those were the sewing-related novels Pleating for Mercy and The Seamstress of Hollywood Boulevard. I’m just hoping they’re better written than Laura’s Handmade Life, which I struggled to even finish earlier this year and is now on the charity shop pile (god knows why it has so many 5 star reviews on Amazon – it was so bad it was almost insulting)…

I also received a really cute ModCloth spool headphone keeper – it’s made of silicone to look like an oversized thread spool, but to keep your headphones tidy (my earbuds are tucked inside).

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Christmas Present - Dr Who waistcoat

28 December 2011, 13:26

I didn’t get much of a chance to sew many Christmas presents this year, but James and I have been plotting and planning to sew a Dr Who waistcoat (“vest” in America) for his nephew for about three months now. It was all triggered by seeing this Tardamask fabric on Spoonflower, which is the exact same print as a Threadless tee James owns that little Rory went mental for when he saw James wearing it!

So we ordered the fabric months ago, then got his mum to take some measurements for us, and with that, I sifted through my patterns archive and found I’ve only got one waistcoat pattern for boys, from an old Knippie (KnipMode’s kids pattern magazine):

As you can tell by the line drawing, though, I did quite a bit of manipulation before I started sewing. I wanted to minimise the seamlines and thus, disruption to the print, so I taped the pieces together and eliminated the front pockets so the only seams are at the shoulders and sides. I wanted to make the entire thing from the Tardamask print, but I ran out of length inside, necessitating a horizontal seam in the lower front.

But ah-ha! I turned that seam into a feature by putting in some inseam pockets, just perfect for storing action figures or treasures or whatever it is little boys put in their pockets these day.

In any case, Rory loved his waistcoat! He’s 7, and the biggest Dr Who fan ever, so we were excited to see his reaction on Christmas. Little did we know that he’d turn up in a full suit and hat (it was under the tree for him earlier that day), which complimented the waistcoat perfectly!

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Piling up...

21 December 2011, 13:24

The number of posts I want to write is piling up at an alarming rate, and I have no time to do anything about it, what with work being crazy busy (I hate all of you who get tons of time off at Christmas – I only get 3 days off in total! And my days have mostly been solving one problem, and having five new problems pour in while I was fixing the one, then moving on to the next in a To-Do list which never, ever gets cleared.) and us spending all our weekends working on the boat (last weekend we spent 15 hours building the subfloor down there. No, don’t feel jealous – the boat blog is being neglected, too).

So rather than stress about the amount of things piling up, I’m going to present my pile to you in pictorial form.


This is what James’s desk looked like this morning. It’s supposed to be my temporary cutting table while we’re building in the hold. How can I possibly cut the bias Ruby Slip or Holly’s maxi-dress fabric on this?? I’m pretty sure Bosco isn’t responsible, though he does look a bit shifty there…


I finished my vintage midi skirt ages ago, but have had zero time to document, or photoshoot or anything. So here’s two photos to test the hem length (which is why it’s just basted here)


I sewed a little waistcoat for James’s nephew out of this Tardamask fabric on Spoonflower. It’s got hidden pockets inside! He’s 7, and the biggest Dr Who fan ever, so we’re excited to see his reaction on Christmas.

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Christmas Present - yellow leather & tweed handbag

13 January 2010, 20:16

While my mom was staying with us over the summer, she absolutely fell in love with my mustard yellow handbag and called dibs on something (anything!) made from the remaining leather. Since I didn’t have enough to make another Nairobi bag, I started looking through my stash and fashion mags to get some inspiration, and lo! from the Feb 09 Burda WOF “Australia The Movie” accessories feature (not on the website I’m afraid), there was the perfect handbag, already in yellow even!

There were only two pattern pieces to trace – the main bag body (I doubled the paper pattern so it was the full size rather cut than on the fold to make it easier to lay out on the leather) and the small flap. All the other pieces were rectangles of various dimensions that Burda list in the instructions – the only one I actually used was the piece for the side and bottom of the bag.

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Christmas Present - Grey stars hoodie shirt

11 January 2010, 11:21

I had an idea of what I wanted to make for my nephew, Logan, but with the kids being so far away I had to get the sizing correct, and all I had to go on were their US RTW clothes sizes. I definitely didn’t want to draft anything from scratch, so I had to find a pattern I could start from to ensure the sizing would be right. I ended up choosing Knippie Fall 2008, #13 since it was in his size range and had the long sleeve and hood, but that was about all I kept!

This pattern is meant to be a sweatshirt with assymetrical stripes, so I altered it quite a bit here, primarily by only tracing one half of the front and back pieces, and laying these on the fold instead (once again I’m happy to be working with patterns without seam allowances so I didn’t have to faff about with removing zipper facings or anything). I also shortened the body of the shirt since the pattern has you fold it up over wide elastic for a sweatshirt/jacket feel and I just wanted a teeshirt here.

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Christmas Present - Breton top & sweatskirt

10 January 2010, 13:36

The October 2009 Burda WOF magazine had some really cute winter girls clothes in it, but for me, the sweatskirt (#145) jumped out right away as a great present for my neice, Megan.

This was a really quick pattern consisting only of the skirt (the same for the front and back) and the kangaroo pocket, with a length of ribbing attached for the waistband! I was able to make this using the last leftover navy blue sweatshirting and a ridiculously tiny amount of leftover ribbing from James’s 2008 birthday sweatshirt and it was all done in under an hour. The only changes I made to the pattern was to lengthen it by about an inch because Megan is rather tall and lanky and I’d rather err on the longer side than shorter!

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Ticking Over

22 December 2009, 15:02

I’ve been doing loads more Christmas sewing but I can only show you the barest amount since so many friends and family read the site. But that just means there’s going to be a glut of posts going up between Christmas and New Year, plus I just got two KnipModes so I can show you my picks from October through January, plus I got gifted the Twinkle Sews book so I’ve got loads to say about that, plus it’s soon time for my year end roundup! So lots coming up, and it’s probably a good thing we’re staying at home over the holidays!

But first, two gifts I can show you some peeks of… My friend Pip has cottoned on to the fact that I can make her things in silk that cost way less than in the shops – last year it was the silk pyjamas, but this year she really wanted silk pillowcases, so I made her a pair in black silk charmeuse based on the measurements of my own cases, plus I added a bit of contrast reverse side and a line of piping to jazz it up a bit.

And even though James reads the site, he had so much input into his sweatshirt that it’s hardly going to be a surprise on Christmas morning!

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What I gave...

5 January 2009, 12:56

The tree and the outdoor lights are all taken down, the chocolates have been scoffed, and the last of the pine needles are being hoovered off the floor… My Christmas sewing was in overdrive this year, but it’s not until now that I really get to see how everyone liked their gifts!

My neighbour Jamaica was telling me months ago how impossible it is to find the cute little jersey balaclavas her 3 year old daughter loves, so she lent me one to copy after I had a good look at it. It’s really just one pattern piece, cut four times (two in each fabric) and sewn together along the back/top seam and also on the lower neck seam. You can see the pattern piece in the side photo on the left below (the right photo is the front view with the hole for the face). Then I connected the two around the face hole, turned them right side out, and serged the bottom edge together and left that raw (like the RTW one, which is just peeking out below on the left).

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Pink guitar pyjamas

26 December 2008, 17:35

Twas the day before Christmas and all through the boat, all the creatures were stirring, especially Melissa at her sewing machine and Bosco with his catnip mouse!

We were invited to breakfast on Christmas morning at a neighbour’s and she kept saying how we should all just come in our pyjamas for some bucks fizz, scrambled eggs and smoked salmon, so I thought it’d be fun to whip up some brand new pyjamas to wear! Christmas has always meant new pyjamas to my mom in particular – growing up, she and her brother and sister would always wake to find a new pair at the top of the stairs which they’d then be expected to change into so they were wearing new PJs in the christmas photos! I didn’t take it that far (I changed into the blue silk cocktail dress in time for dinner!), but it was awfully nice to wake up and put on new, comfortable clothes!

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Sewing Gift Guide

9 December 2008, 12:17

Christmas is coming up, and so I thought I’d offer a helping hand to all the friends, relatives, and significant others of the sewing obsessed looking for sewing gifts this holiday season. I’ve tried to roughly break this down into “beginners” and “everyone else”, but it helps if you can snoop around their sewing area first to have an idea of what they’ve already got before buying something off this list.

And if you’re reading this and are feeling truly overwhelmed, then:


  1. Print this page.

  2. Google for your nearest sewing or fabric store

  3. Give this page to a store clerk with a smile a “Can you help me please?” and let them show you what some of this stuff is…

For beginners


If you know someone who’s very new to sewing or is getting their first machine this Christmas, it’s a great idea to create a little bundle of all the necessary tools for someone just starting out. You can often find these pre-packaged at sewing shops, or to create your own for a new sewer, I’d recommend placing the following in a zippered pouch, box, or (if you yourself are a sewer) a sewn case:

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Christmas gift - Hannah Montana pink outfit

3 December 2008, 08:36

Oh yes, my niece is so lucky that she’s getting not just one but two Hannah Montana outfits this Christmas (even so, I’ve still got leftover fabric in my stash…)!

From the Fall (Herfst) 2008 Knippie idee magazine, I made #6 and the knit trousers from #19:

You’ll notice that #6 is actually a dress, but I saw the potential here for a great, basic long sleeved teeshirt by simply chopping off the pattern at the first frilly tier. Since my sister-in-law said that Megan’s not into frills anyway, this seemed like a perfect solution!

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Christmas gift - Hannah Montana polo dress

2 December 2008, 11:21

No, you did read that right – it’s just not for me! Luckily, my niece Megan will be receiving something that ticks two boxes off her Christmas list: “5. New Dress” and “Hannah Montana stuff”. We should all be thankful I didn’t attempt “8. bird costume with bird shoes”!

I found some fantastic Hannah Montana cotton knit from Crybaby’s Boutique and teamed it with some 100% cotton interlock in “rosepink” from Pennine Outdoor to break up the print a bit, then went looking for some nice kids patterns.

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Christmas gift - Luxurious silk pyjamas

3 November 2008, 14:54

I’m continuing to toil away making Christmas gifts, but due to the fact that my family and friends read this site, I can’t really get away with spoiling the surprise by posting many photos here! But my friend (and will-be bridesmaid!) Pip is a lady who knows what she wants, and who knows to get her gift requests in early, so hers isn’t a surprise at all!

She had a pair of RTW pyjamas that she really liked, except that they were made in polyester satin and she’d much rather they were made of silk for comfort’s sake. So I took her specifications and found that Jalie 2686 was almost identical to her other pair of pyjamas. On top of the fabric difference, Pip also wanted to leave off the chest pocket and turn the half-elastic, half-drawstring waist into an entirely drawstring one, both of which were easy changes with this pattern.

So I ordered the pattern, got fresh measurements from Pip, and bought some beautiful purple silk charmeuse from Classic Textiles on Goldhawk Road, which (you’ll recall) I ran all the way home with.

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Crafting for Christmas

22 October 2008, 12:17

It may only be mid October, but preparations for Christmas are already well underway at Chez Fehr. The electricity feeding my sewing room was out all weekend due to a bunf junction box (fixed by James’s dad yesterday, hurrah!) so I took the opportunity to do all the non-machine prep possible while that was out.

The craft table in the saloon is usually pretty clear as it’s where I do my cutting (conveniently, I can stand down the steps at the end so I’m not bending over too much) but right now it’s full to bursting with upcoming Christmas gifts:

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OrnaMENTAL!

19 December 2007, 15:01

This is the first year my boyfriend and I will be in our own place for Christmas, so we’re starting from scratch as far as ornaments and decorations go. We bought a string of lights and two packs of shiny baubles from the store, but apart from a few candy canes, the tree was bare.

I started with some festive bunting, by cutting triangles of fabric from an off-white curtain sample (donated by my boyfriend’s mother) and sewing them all together in a long strip of dark green bias binding.

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Fluffy fun

23 December 2006, 15:39

My boyfriend’s sister is expecting her second child in February, and I just happened to draw her name in the family’s Christmas exchange, so I thought it was fitting to make up another baby changing mat for her new arrival. This time I used a pale green hand towel and some red fabric with baby Japanese animals on it, which is very cute indeed! I used a few scraps from that fabric to make six lavender satchets to go with the mat (I figure I’m giving her the gift of sleep if she wraps up a few of these in the baby’s bedding!).

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Natural Born Santa

4 December 2006, 13:23

My father is the perfect man to play Santa. He’s got the big, white beard, a well-cultivated beer belly (he’s a Yuengling man, if you’re buying!), and a jolly Germanic red nose. He looks so much like Santa, in fact, that my friends in high school would call him that even in the heat of summer.

So it was a crime against Christmas that he didn’t actually own a Santa costume, especially since my brother’s kids are now at the perfect age for a “visit from Santa”. So I took it upon myself to correct this, and armed with Mccalls 8992, some red velour from the Utrecht fabric market (which may look familiar to you!), and some white fun fur, I made him a costume fit for a Santa professional.

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