Sunhat to rule all sunhats

I’m a large person. Accordingly, my head is larger than average. It’s not outrageously big… 24″/61cm… but I’ve seen women’s hats where a size L is 58cm.

Also, I pootle about on a bike, which means stuffing sunhats into panniers while in transit. Straw hats don’t generally enjoy that kind of treatment.

For weeks I’ve been hunting for a hat that is a) squishable, b) large enough and c) generous of brim for true sun protection. No joy anywhere. Lots of hat vendors trying to sell me ladyhats for pinheads.

TO THE INTERNETS! Where I found this RIPPER tutorial for drafting a hat:

Weekend Designer – wide-brimmed summer hat

It took a couple of hours to draft from scratch but cripes, first go and I’ve got the perfect hat.


I even made it reversible.


Not only do I have the perfect hat, but I have the perfect pattern. Infinite sunhats! Thank you, Weekend Designer! Now go draft yourself a hat!

(This one from Ra Ra Superstar looks nifty also, but I really wanted a wide brim. Maybe next time.)

Swirl dress sewalong

I’m a binge sewer. I like to cut something out in the morning and wear it that night. Terribly impulsive and impatient, me. When Beccie posted about a sewalong for a swirl dress, I signed up in a flash. It’s an old-skool design I’d always wanted to try but hadn’t a pattern (or energy to draft one). Huzzah! But then I had a pattern! And I wanted to sew it up! So I did. swirl I added about 2″ to the bodice length but found the skirt surprisingly long. I also tucked one edge of the pockets into the side seams. Pink is not really my colour, so it was a wearable-muslin sort of effort that I might end up passing on to a friend who is less pink-phobic, and I’ll make it again in a more me-ish colour. I can attest to its comfort and utility, though, particularly in hot weather!

I’m very much looking forward to seeing all the other versions pop up in the sewalong, but looks like, this time, I’ll just have to be patient…

That turned out rather well, didn’t it.

Butterick 5880, a reissue of a 1951 pattern, is a winner!

frock frock2

It’s made from an old gold polyester curtain that probably came from an old dead person’s house. In fact, my fella said “We had those curtains in orange,” when he saw it. It has a weave shot with nubbly yellow and black, so it has that metallic shimmer that’s incredibly difficult to photograph.

This make is a cautionary tale in overcompensation. I added 4.5cm to the bodice length (for tallth, you know) only to shave it off again. Likewise, I cut the skirt wider only to resew all the seams 4cm narrower. Ah well – better too big than too small.

And because I love nose-to-tail eating, I used the curtain lining (lovely soft cotton sateen) as the interlining. If you look closely at the guts of the frock below, you’ll see bands of yellow staining from its decades of curtainry. This delights me no end. (Also, not shown: a tear in the front where light damage weakened the fibres. About this I am somewhat less delighted.)


Here’s more adjustification – pulling in the back waist darts and the back skirt seams to better follow the curve of my terrible posture.


Anyhoo: I declare this a win. And will make again, if I can be arsed.

Double flannel

Why should babies have all the fun?photoI’ve made a few quilts for babies over the years, which are nice and all, but you know, babies. So I thought I’d scale it up and make a queen size quilt for a 40th birthday present. The non-infant human recipient liked it. Quite a bit.

I went back to uni this year. Because I’ve been busy jamming all sorts of interesting new stuff into my head and still working more or less full time, I haven’t had much room for makin’ things. I did invent a genius garment for coping with winter, though: double flannel PJs. You heard me. I made two pairs of PJ pants and joined ’em together. TWO LAYERS of flannel. Freaking fabulous.

Last night I started cutting out Butterick 5880. Now the race is on to finish it before uni goes back and I hit the books again!

Jungle January in by a cat’s whisker

Deadlines. Sometimes they’re oppressive. Other times they’re inspiring. Jungle January, by definition, finishes today and look at me scraping in just in time!

As promised, I made a frock from vintage Japanese silk twill with some kind of animally dot. I don’t think any real critter is bedecked thus, but this is as close to animal print as I’ve ever been or, in all likelihood, will ever get. I worked out why most animal prints make me wince – it’s the beige background. I loathe beige. Ugh. No matter how wacky the spots and stripes are, if the background is beige, I declare BEGONE FROM MY EYES.


The fabric came from Rathdowne Remnants in two pieces. It’s clearly from some old lady’s stash – sometimes RR has utter diamonds buried in their remnant buckets – and smells faintly of mothballs when wet. One piece had the end of the roll stamped with the manufacturer’s details, which is why I’m clear on its Japanese origins. It’s the softest, slinkiest stuff and required a good gelatining before it would sit still enough to cut and sew.

Soft folds at waist

Soft folds at waist

I made Butterick 5850 view B but left off the bow (for I am not a box of chocolates, thankyouverymuch) and added length and width to the skirt. For those keen to make this pattern, be aware there’s an error in the neck where one piece (back neckline) is impossibly too big to fit to its intended neighbour (the collar). I did some darts in the spot fabric and gathered the lining to compensate. It’s ugly, but works. Not sure I’d recommend the pattern for this reason though.


I think the animal print discombobulated me because I put the bloody zipper in upside down! Ah well.


Warming up for Jungle January

I am not a proponent of the ‘pard, nor spruiker of the snake. The closest I’ve ever been to an animal print fabric was a bike seat cover in fake tiger fur. But for our beloved Pretty Grievances, in thanks for many years of sewing LOLs, I will sew me a zoo this month.

I thought I’d ease myself gently into this alternative lifestyle with a couple of almost-animal-prints. I took this here op shop pattern (Simplicity 8523) and modified it a little – added kimono sleeves, shifted darts, added length, bound the neck – to make a go-to woven tee pattern to use up all those little bits of lightweight stuff I’ve been hoarding.

The first is in a voile printed with fake ikat that looks a bit, if you squint, like snake scales. The second is a silk chiffon spot. Both are a bit ace to wear.

And next? Boldly, a frock, in true animal print. Well, sort of – not sure what animal these spots came from. This is a vintage Japanese silk twill remnant from Rathdowne Remnants. To the pattern stash!