Tag Archives: Sewing

A New Smocked Play Dress

Green Dress Green Dress 6

Green Dress 3Green Dress 5Green Dress4 Green Dress 2

This dress has been a regular visitor to my sewing basket for over a year now. I bought the material on a whim simply because I like the colour and the softness of it. I brought it home and promptly pleated it up – the same time as this dress actually. I had no idea what I was going to do with it, what pattern to use, what smocking design to stitch. But I did love the colour: smile.

The fabric is so light and flimsy that is was not easy to smock. So I shelved it many times, deciding to forget the whole process. But the colour kept calling me back and I would attempt smocking once again: smile. We moved house and it nearly didn’t get packed, in fact is was in the ‘throw out’ pile, but somehow it moved itself – that colour, I tell you…..

Then the year was getting later, December had arrived and our hot, Australian summer was in full swing and I decided it was now or never. I had to either make this up or forget it for good – after all this girl of mine was growing and it wouldn’t fit her forever. A week long holiday by the beach was just what I needed. This dress has memories of waves, sand, beach, pool and family holiday fun smocked into each stitch.

I made up the smocking design as I went. Doing all that green, lattice smocking without any real idea of what I would do next to brighten it up, but thinking of Susan O’Connor’s beautiful designs all the time. In my basket was a selection of bright, flower garden coloured, threads which I kept looking at, trying to get inspiration on just how to use them. But after several attempts I couldn’t get my ideas to work. The flimsy fabric limited what I could do (lots of bullion loops covering the bodice just wasn’t going to hold). After so many attempts, I’m finally very happy with the outcome.

But I still had to decide on a pattern and make it up. Light, green, summer, flowy fabric just needed a summer, sundress. Digging through my rather large (almost complete), collection of Australian Smocking and Embroidery Magazines I spotted the sundress here. Decided.

Then Christmas Eve I was totally organised for going away, bags packed, cooking done, children all occupied and still about 4 hours till my husband would be home from work and we were to leave. So I sewed it up. Such a quick and easy pattern to sew, no sleeves to fit, no bodices to line etc. I even had plenty of time to hand stitch the hem and do a (very quick) photo shoot and still be well and truly ready to go visiting our families. And Holly had a new, cool, sundress to wear on Christmas Day.

Ahhh….. That’s the way I like a sewing project like this to end.








Guess What I’m Dreaming of…


Guess What I'm Dreaming of

The weather has grown warmer and it’s been such quite a pleasant surprise to have at least one of my children appear with nice-looking, good-fitting pyjamas to wear on these warmer spring nights. Earlier in the year I shared the first pair of pyjamas I made here. But what I didn’t tell you at the time, was that while the machine was buzzing in a pj making mode, I whipped up a second pair out of all sorts of mismatched, leftover fabrics and stowed them away till the warmer weather hit once again. So it was with quite a surprise that my now 6 year old discovered these in his drawer this past week. And I’ve enjoyed the fact that a new, hand made outfit was discovered and given it’s seal of approval by the recipient – these pj’s have been worn every night he’s been at home since their discovery. After all when you are six and have the option of sleeping surrounded by bright, fun cars, mismatched buttons, newspaper advertisements and funky tags – why wouldn’t you choose them?

Guess What I'm Dreaming of 2

Guess What I'm Dreaming Of 3 Guess What I'm Dreaming of 1




Pattern - Kwik Sew 3945: I found this to be true Kwik Sew style, very simple with easy instructions. The nice thick paper the pattern is printed on makes it easy to trace out and I like that I can make winter and summer pj’s for all the children out of this one pattern. The sizes are a bit confusing as XS, S, M, L, XL could really be any size from newborn to adult. I have a size guide on my shop which I used to compare and used size S for my 5 year old, height 115 cm.

Fabric – My newest favourite fabric company whom I’ve only just discovered is Riley Blake designs. So many of their fabrics are just begging to be made into children’s clothes and I’ve used quite a few already. The ribbon trim is also Riley Blake spot grosgrain.

The Funky Details – Sewing Boys Shorts

The Funky Details

It was a while ago now. He came to me, this biggest boy of mine, with a request. A quiet voice, uncertain smile and sincerity in his eyes.

“You’ve made shorts for the other boys. Can you make some for me as well?”

A request like this from my soon-to-be-10-year-old son. Well, how could I resist.

“What do you want your shorts to be like?” I questioned.

Hmmm….. The thinking process lasted a day or so. Obviously such an important decision, required much thought.

“It’s the funky details I like the best. ‘Cause you’re a Funky Mummy. Any shorts, just a bit longer than the little boys though. But they must have Funky, Mummy details!” (Ever since this comment this boy has found ‘funky’ things I like in shops and magazines and calls me his Funky Mummy. I never realised I used the word ‘Funky’ quite so often.)

Well, the challenge was set. I’m a Funky Mummy. Said with such endearing love. I felt a little chuffed at that remark. With the ‘funky details’ ringing in my ears, I delved into my fabric stash, sat at the sewing machine and set to work.

The outcome delighted this big boy of mine and these shorts were well worn until the weather turned a little too cold.

Now that spring has hit us here in Oz, it’s time to revisit the wardrobes and discover what still fits and who needs what in the way of new clothing. With these shorts in hand, it’s been decided that all 4 children need some new, funky shorts for the summer days ahead.

Big Shorts 6

Big Shorts 5

The newspaper, car-classified section, fabric was a previous purchase chosen by Nicholas when we were making pencil cases together. So naturally his choice was to have the newspaper splashed across his shorts as well. Yellow was his chosen colour – “just because it works Mum.” Who am I to argue with that?

Big Shorts 4 Big Shorts 3 Big Shorts 2 Big Shorts 1

Little Dolls

Doll 3


A gift from her Aunty provided the inspiration – a beautiful sewing book, just perfectly designed for beginning sewers.The photographs are delightful and provide hours of browsing time when sewing isn’t ready to happen (read: Mummy is too busy to help). The projects are simple enough to be attempted while being practical as well.

After several smaller projects had been made, Holly decided a doll was essential. Not for her but for her little cousin. This cousin’s birthday was still half a year away, so we had plenty of time and Holly set to work.

This little doll has been totally made by Holly. Cutting out, stitching completely by hand, turning in right side, stuffing, sewing pretty clothes and embroidering the face on the completed doll. The head was slightly lopsided so she decided a big hair bow would solve the problem. I think she did a fantastic job. She diligently sat working with painstaking concentration to achieve small, strong backstitches. Then the face details were worked and reworked to look ‘just right’.

Doll 2Doll 1This little friend (who wasn’t named because that honour was left for her future owner) sat in my sewing nook for several months. She became a much loved addition adding some prettiness to our sewing / school nook. Then as the little cousin’s second birthday loomed closer, Holly realised she had a new little girl cousin who would be turning 1 soon as well. So the logical solution was to make a little friend for her doll. With only 1 week left till we would be seeing all the cousins, Holly set to work with a diligence rarely observed in her. She sat and stitched just as long as it took to finish off her doll and a couple days later we had two little girls sitting in my sewing nook. Ahh, how pretty and special as they were made with so much love.

Holly Doll 2

Holly Doll 1


I think a 7 year old girl must understand exactly what little girls love because these were received with great delight by her two littlest girl cousins. Along with an immense look of pride and delight on their maker’s face. Ahh…. the sweetness of little girls.

Holly Doll 4Holly Doll 3

Why Do I Sew?

When Friday rolled around last week, it translated into ‘SewingDay’, in my current way of thinking at least. Sewing is a past time which I have struggled to make happen these past few years. Every day seems to get filled with far more urgent things and by the time the evening quiet comes, my creativity is hard to rustle up. So I do a few stitches here and there. Steal 10 minutes to do some mending on the odd occasion. But a dedicated time to be creative has eluded me.

This year I’ve made some severe alterations to the rhythm and routine of our family. Part of this unpacking of our commitments and shuffling around the way we spend our hours has included a whole day with ‘sewing’ as it’s prefix. Now, I may be an idealist, but I’m also a realist with my feet planted firmly in this adventurous family of mine, so I don’t have any wild notion that the entire day will be dedicated to sewing, oh no. Just a moment here or there. Maybe a whole hour with only a minimum of distractions if I’m really lucky. But the biggest thing is my attitude. I intend to do some sewing every Friday. Whether that translates to 10 minutes or 6 hours will depend on the day and my family’s needs.

To make this idealistic dream easier to become a reality, I now have a dedicated sewing nook set it the best place for it. Just off the main living area of our home. Tucked away so a bit of mess won’t really matter, but close to all the action and happenings. This means I can sit at my sewing machine and hear spelling words or listen to a child read – yup, I tested this last week. It means that a few minutes can actually mean a seam stitched instead of just finding the machine which had become an integral part of lego city. I’m sure you realise just how brilliant a sewing machine works as a burning building for the lego fireman to rescue, or a castle for the lego princess to live within, or …. well I’m sure my home isn’t the only one that works like this.

So far my sewing Friday’s have accomplished a skirt and machine embroidered top for myself (sorry no photos) and a pair of funky shorts for my 5 year old who insists on continuing to grow, no matter what I tell him.









Two of my boys and myself (trying to protect my camera somehow) ended up piled in a heap of giggles, while taking these photos. The joyous delight was contagious. This boy of mine was rather thrilled with the newest addition to his wardrobe. His first comment as he tried them on was, “Wow, Mummy, these are just for me and you made them. I LOVE them.”  At which point I posed the question to myself, “Why do I sew?”

:: I love the creative design process of any project.

:: I enjoy the tactile aspect of working with fabric.

:: I love getting lost in the process of embroidering or smocking, as something beautiful is created from what is essentially a blank slate.

:: I am rather addicted to the feeling of accomplishment as any such project is complete.

:: I delight in dressing my children (and now myself) in my creations.

: I feel a sense of family history as I carry on a tradition which my Grandmother, Mother, Sister and Daughter continue as well.

:: Most of all, it’s a ‘soul restoring’ activity for me. A walk along the waters edge in solitude is a comparable activity. At the end of which I feel alive and connected. It feels like I’m in the right place for me. Utilising the creativity stored within me. It’s like my inner-self is given an opportunity to show itself during a creative, sewing project.

These reflections have taught me a lot about myself. I realise I probably am as crazy as I thought I was (smile). I realise why I can never quite accomplish just ‘running up’ something quick. A pair of home shorts for my growing son, using fabric from the stash, really could be made in next to no time, but that’s not my style. I get caught up in the process and invariably end up adding funky, fun details or some colour or embroidery or drafting my own pattern or something equally ambitiously creative. And I’ve come to the conclusion that that’s a good thing. Simply because that’s me. It represents me and my purpose in sewing and the reason I feel alive and at home when surrounded by beautiful fabric with my machine at my side.


:: Live Your Love ::

—- Corinna —-