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September 2009
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November 2009

October 2009

Enough sugar to last a year

In our little pocket of Melbourne Halloween is embraced with enthusiasm.  There were gangs of ghouls and witches roaming the streets at dusk. 


We managed to attract a few to our house with our Jack-o-lanterns and bats.


The windows beside our front door open on hinges.  When there was a knock at the door, 4 year old Henri would dole out treats through the window, barking orders, "One at a time", "Take just one".  You have to admire such temerity.

Happy Halloween all.

So impressed

After exchanging some emails with Liesl recently, she generously sent me a lovely parcel with a few of her Oliver & S patterns.  I loved the look of the Jump Rope Dress at first sight and was keen to play with the pattern. 

Jump Rope Dress

This is my first attempt at an Oliver & S pattern.  It is a lovely pattern to work with.  I am so in awe of the precision of the design and the intelligent way the instructions are written.  You really can't go wrong if you follow the steps and accompanying diagrams.

Jump Rope Dress details

There are so many thoughtful little details in the design.  The collar sits beautifully (I'm very fussy when it comes to collars), and I love the fabric tie around the waist.

It's safe to say that Adelaide will end up with a few Jump Rope Dresses in her wardrobe.  I'd love to see it in a light weight denim, or linen.  I even thought it could look cute in a mix of shirting fabrics from Will's old Thomas Pink shirts that I've been collecting for years.  Stay tuned for more.

Winging it

When I bought my new domestic sewing machine 9 years ago, I remember finding the instruction booklet quite a revelation.  Prior to that, I had sewn on my mother's machine from the 1970s.  After reading the instruction booklet, I was amazed at how much my new machine could do.

Winged needle stitch

My machine is nothing super special.  It has a few decorative stitches, one of which I use every day for Townmouse appliques.  But with a few different needles or feet, it can do so much.  This detail uses a wing needle.

Winged needle shirt

Just the thing to add a bit of interest to a plain white shirt.

White shirt

 So if you've never paid much attention to your instruction booklet, you may be pleasantly surprised like I was.  

What clever tricks have you been able to do with your sewing machine?

Red shoes

Start Rites I look forward to the time when I can buy Adelaide a pair of little Mary Jane Sonnet shoes in red.  I love red shoes.  I always have a pair in my wardrobe.  They lift my mood when I wear them.

And I particularly love this English brand of shoes.  All our children have had a first pair of shoes like this.  Max and Tom had them in navy.  Henri had a divine chocolate pair that I bought in New York.  They looked particularly sweet when worn with his chocolate cashmere Townmouse coat.  (Yes, I know they are girl's shoes, but if they're good enough for the Princes of Wales...)

Red floral

This floral fabric will make a sweet dress to accompany the future pair of shoes.  Maybe in a style similar to this.  Or maybe with a collar - something like this.

A little bit of frill

There is something so sweet about a frilled Peter Pan collar.

White shirt

I enjoyed making this shirt for Adelaide the other night (yes, the pleat maker came in handy again).  The white fabric has been in my stash for many years.  It is a slightly waxed linen.  But best of all, the selvedge down one side of the fabric had a very pretty picot edge to it.  I used this for the frill around the collar.

White shirt detail

In the early days of Townmouse I had a lot of these more traditional garments in the range.  Sadly, there is a very small market for this style of clothing in Australia.  My customers want easier styles, no collars, no ironing.  I do love a collar though.  And a little bit of frill every now and then doesn't go astray either.

The perfect outing for a Spring day

NGV2 Today is a sunny and mild spring day - the perfect weather for garden hopping.  The women's committee of the National Gallery of Victoria had their annual open garden day today.   Some of Melbourne's prettiest private gardens were open to view.  Will's cousin, and a friend of mine had their gardens open and they were spectacular in their perfection.

On a much, much larger scale was this garden.  The house is currently for sale and the talk amongst real estate speculators is that it could garner Melbourne's highest property price ever.  The grounds were park-like in their scale.  It was a rare treat to peek beyond the front fence.

New tools

I felt it was high time I invested in a new cutting mat.

Old mat

I had worn such deep grooves in my old mat from cutting out too many creche bag panels.  I use the mat and a rotary cutter to cut out all my sample garments and sewing.  There were certain measurements on the mat I had to avoid if I wanted a clean cut.

New mat It's not until I compare to a shiny new mat that I realise how dire my equipment was.  So with a new blade in my rotary cutter, it was on to cutting out new creche bag panels.  As the orders pick up towards Christmas I want to get some of the fabric bolts off the floor and into the drawers in the form of cut pieces.

Circus fabric 

Two sites I have to share

A lovely blog reader in Spain sends me emails from time to time with links to children's wear brands she thinks I might like.  Recently I received an email from Spain with a link to this blog.  Thanks Rocio.

Some kind person has seen the need to post free cross stitch alphabets and motifs from very old pattern books.  You've got to love that!


Along similar themes, another site that has recently captured my interest is Chez Sucre Chez.


There is a lot of lovely embroidery here.  It's mainly initials, and some other cute stuff as well. (I'm sorry, I can't recall where I read about this blog.)