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February 2015

The Townmouse attic studio in our new house

Now that we are a few weeks into the school year I am finding the occasional hour to potter in my attic studio and I am loving it.

Come on in, I'll give you a tour.

To create the attic studio we sacrificed a small room on the first floor (or second floor for American readers) and used that space to install a staircase.  During the renovation the roof came off, the attic was built and the old tiles were put back on the new roof. This is what you see at the top of the stairs:

Studio landing

I love my glass lamp base filled with vintage thread bobbins. The bobbins I sourced on ebay.

Studio entry lamp base

Through the glass doors is my little haven in the treetops.

Studio door

The room is a great size (about 4 metres wide) and this is the view from the doors:

Studio view from the door

This is how the space looked on the day we moved in:

Studio moving in 1

Studio moving in 2

I loved unpacking all my boxes and seeing all my much loved crafty items again.  It was better than Christmas.

Studio Basil the cat

I now have lovely bookshelves to store my quilting and Japanese and French craft books.


Some favourite storage units and pieces of furniture are doing their thing.

Studio fabric stash

Studio threads

This little storage unit was once in my grandmother's garage storing jars of nuts and bolts.  Then it came to us and stored our CD collection (remember those?).  Now it's keeping my stationery items in one place.

Studio stationery storage

My quilt tops hang on this airing rack.  The hope is I will be inspired to finish them if they are sitting out on display rather than forgotten in drawers.  This tactic hasn't worked so far.

Studio quilt storage

I have my own little nook.  When Will pops up to the attic in the evening he sits on the sofa on the right and I sit in my nook in the window and we chat.

Studio my nook

I've made a couple of trips to Ikea in recent weeks.  I now have my overlocker and old domestic machine on this table.  The four machines I use are in a "U" shape which I can access easily from my swivel chair.  The ironing board makes up the fourth side of the area.

Studio view from my sewing machine

I also bought a second fabulous trestle table so that when I roll out wide rolls of fabric they don't spill over the edge of my single table.

All in all I'm as happy as a lark in my new studio.


Sewing a playsuit

When I was little I used to have outfits in my wardrobe that my mother referred to as 'playsuits'.  It's an old-fashioned notion I guess.  I consider this little ensemble a playsuit because it's casual and comfortable and easy to move around in.

Flutter top 5

These little shorts I whipped up as part of Kid's Clothes Week.

I used the Oliver + S Puppet Show Shorts pattern which I love.

Shorts 1

I made a couple of changes.  Firstly I graded the pattern up to a size 6.  Then when it came time to put the cuffs on I thought they might look sweet with a simple hem.  I didn't want them to end up too short, so rather than just turning the shorts up and hemming them I made a contrast band to put on the inside.

Shorts detail

You don't really see this detail when the shorts are on, but I love knowing the inside of a garment is pretty like the outside.

Flutter top and shorts 1

And the floral trim certainly made them more appealing to Adelaide and she couldn't wait to put them on.

Flutter top 2

A little more sewing

Where has this week gone?  I have found far less time to sew than I thought I was going to.  February is always so busy with school information nights and the like.

Yesterday I finished off this little top for Adelaide as part of Kid's Clothes Week.  Not much upcycling of fashion takes place in a house that has too much fabric stashed away:

Keyhole top 1

This is a simple top to sew and I've made it a few times since it first appeared in the range in 2006. In fact I sent a custom made one to Crown Princess Mary of Denmark when Princess Isabella was very young and found images of Isabella wearing it.

It was fun to sew this pattern again.

Keyhole top 2

I am very partial to a flutter sleeve and use this detail a bit in various patterns.  I also enjoy sewing the keyhole detail at the front of the top.  It's a simple way to add interest to an otherwise plain front.  With contrast bindings you can achieve a different look again too.

Keyhole top detail

This was the top as it appeared in the range in 2006

Charlotte in keyhole top

Next I plan to make a pair of Puppet Show Shorts to go with the top.

  Flutter top 1

Kid's Clothes Week Day 1

For the first time I am participating in Kid's Clothes Week. After being an observer of this fun initiative I am excited to be joining in. This time round the timing has worked for me.  A new school year has started and I have finally found some time to hang out in my new attic studio.

To ease back into the sewing groove I've pulled out an old favourite pattern from my range - dating back to 2004.

Ruffle dress pink 1

This is a moderately easy pattern, with a bit of fiddling around with the ruffle collar.

Ruffle dress pink 2

Adelaide was very happy with the fabric choice so I'm confident this one will see the light of day.

Ruffle dress pink 3

This pattern also works well with the sleeve and neckline ruffle in a contrast fabric.  This is how it was originally produced for the Townmouse range:

Scarlett in the Ruffle Dress

This pattern has always been a personal favourite from the Townmouse range.  I like the way it falls from the back too. It's not overly fitted so is practical on a hot day when some protection from the sun is required (not a problem in Melbourne this summer I'm afraid.)

Ruffle dress pink 4

Can't wait for some more sewing time tomorrow.  I have a little top cut out and ready to go.