A beautiful old mystery machine…

On a recent trip to Canberra, I visited the tourist-y area Gold Creek with my family. We had a lovely day of wondering shops and afternoon tea. On our way back to the car, there’s always one last shop to look in…


And look what I found! The shop lady said it was still in working condition, thought the electric cables need to be replaced for safe use. We opened the case and the little box of goodies that came with it all over the shop floor…Β I was in love… but how much was it? $50?? OK then…

It came home with me.

I was determined to carry this extremely heavy ‘travel’ model back to the car myself, but it turned into a shared family experience as they took pity on me taking a break every 20 metres. So we all took turns taking it back to the car together.




Back at home I took all the bits our to see what I had collected with more time and a glass of whiskey.




Complete with operating manual! Check out those illustrations!




Certainly it’s not a Singer, but a pretty machine nonetheless. With the little research I’ve done so far I think it’s a model from the late 1930s or mid 1950s.




I haven’t gleaned much about the manufacturer of the sewing machine motor yet, Warner Drayton Co. of Australia Pty Ltd operating from Footscray, a metro suburb in Victoria. Although I did find this advertisement in the National Library of Australia archivesΒ which shows the company was still going strong in 1963, with electric fans just in time for the summer heat!


At the moment my new old sewing machine awaits patiently in Canberra. Once it is serviced and it comes home, I’m thinking it will be my dedicated corset-sewing machine…

Oh the joys of my craft hobby.

Stay creative!


Mug Shots of Pencil Skirts #08: Nick Swing

Here’s one of my favourites! However I’m not sure if I’ll ever wear it…

This one gets its name from the swingin sixties design of the fabric combined with the putrid smell of cigarette smoke (NICotine!!!) and old man that terrorised my nostrils when steam pressing it.

Nick Swing Pencil Skirt

Nick Swing Pencil Skirt: Back Detail

Nick Swing Pencil Skirt: Back

Other than that, this skirt is awesome. After I finished making it an before its final press, I tried the following:

  • washed it normally.
  • washed it with eucalyptus.
  • soaked it.
  • dried it.
  • soaked it in vinegar.
  • hung it out in the sun.
  • forgot about it.
  • left it in the rain for three days.

I’ve yet to steam pressed it again to see if my efforts worked, but in the meantime I’m enjoying the illusion of having a larger wardrobe.

Mug Shots of Pencil Skirts #05: Cause for Trouble

I knew when I made this into a pencil skirt it would have to be named with a reference to hot librarian teachers who don’t take silliness from students.

Cause for Trouble Pencil Skirt

Cause for Trouble Pencil Skirt: Zip

Mug Shots of Pencil Skirts #01: Bat

Happy New Year! I hope you’ve all had happy holidays and settling into another year quite well. I am. This year I have only one ambition and that is to Be Relaxed.

Whatever else that I happen to get done and achieve is a bonus. Yay!

2013 saw a trend of batch-crafting on this blog. Months of intense crafting followed by months of intense nothing. I was much happier in 2012 where the crafting and posting was timely and consistent, before things went wacky. But 2014 is an even number with only one odd number in it so as always things are already different this year.

As a result I have a batch of Pencil Skirts from the end of 2013 that need posting about! What I have planned for you now is an onslaught of Pencil Skirt posts in the form of Mug Shots, one per day until we are done. The Final Post will be Something Rather Different, then we will start on 2014 projects. Hooray!

First up: The Bat Pencil Skirt.

It seems this fabric will never end. I got it from an op shop years ago now and made the Batface DressΒ from it with tons to spare. So it went in the Pencil Skirt Party pile and I still have enough left over for something else.

Bat Pencil Skirt - Front

Bat Pencil Skirt - Back Vent

Bat Pencil Skirt - Waistband

Bat Pencil Skirt - Back waist fastening and zipper detail

Bat Pencil Skirt - Back waist fastening and zipper

Nice job 99, if I do say so myself.

However, a plain ‘ol maroon pencil skirt wasn’t enough for me and I’ve started embellishing it with black sequins. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Stay happy!

Completed: Dreams Come True Pencil Skirt

Here we are, the last item from my day in the sun camera in hand. We are now officially up to date with sewing projects.

Completed: Dreams Come True Pencil Skirt

This is another opshop-found fabric, but this one was long enough to make the below-the-knee length skirt I like. I love the satin stitch diamond pattern!

This fabric has been in my stash for nearly two years – when I started sewing I didn’t imagine I’d be the kind to have a sewing stash with fabric that old in it! Somehow when buying the little roll at the thrift store, I thought this skirt might never be made. I must have been having a bad day as I do believe in unicorns and dreams do come true.

Completed: Dreams Come True Pencil Skirt

I wanted to try something different with the waistband fastening here, a pretty lone button from my collection was perfect! Please disregard the pink chalk lines… I promise I washed it off before wearing πŸ™‚

Completed: Dreams Come True Pencil Skirt

Such a lovely vent.

Sewing dreams do come true πŸ™‚

Completed: Jersey Hippy Swing Skirt

Yay! Modern Hippie Happiness.

Completed: Jersey Hippy Swing Skirt

In all honesty I don’t like this fabric. I got 2.5m of it from an opshop one day as I thought it would be good practice sewing with knits. I thought of making a wrap dress with it but the idea of being wrapped in this pattern was sort of off-putting so the sewing of the wrap dress kept being put off.

Completed: Jersey Hippy Swing Skirt

Here is the wind demonstrating the drape.

Completed: Jersey Hippy Swing Skirt

That aside, check out those seams! Pretty happy with it πŸ™‚

I’m more likely to wear this now it only covers the lower half of me, but I don’t think it will be one of my favourite skirts. The sewing pattern however, I hope to make many more of these in other fabrics!

Stay happy

Completed: Jersey Hippy Swing Skirt

Completed: Woollen Croak Cloak

More opshop fabric goodness! I couldn’t believe my luck when I found this awesome wool and a whole lot more at one the opshops I frequent. It ended up being one of my biggest spends ever in a opshop.

Completed: Woollen Croak Cloak

I believe this rectangle of wool was intended to be a blanket. It still had a loose thread and needle in one side and the hem was incomplete. I finished the hem, and in winter I needed a warm jacket to wear out and about and thought a super simple cloak design would be great for this blanket.

Completed: Woollen Croak Cloak

It’s almost a crime how easy this was. After checking the measurements against my body, all I did was cut a slit to the centre and hem it. To wear, put the end of the slit behind your neck and throw one side over your shoulder…

Completed: Woollen Croak Cloak

And/or the other side over the other shoulder!

Completed: Woollen Croak Cloak

I believe I saw something like in a Vogue once.

Hooray for thrifty warmness!

Sew 2012 #027: Purple Portrait Blouse

Here is my third but not final attempt at Gertie’s Portrait Blouse.

Sew 2012 #027: Purple Portrait Blouse

I’m not really digging this version, but I keep it as it’s wearable and would be a good layering piece under jackets and stuff.

Sew 2012 #027: Purple Portrait Blouse - Back

In all keen to get this one right!

Sew 2012 #025: Sub-lime Portrait Blouse

I’m talking about failures here.

Sew 2012 #025: Sub-lime Portrait Blouse

This blouse has remained in my in-progress pile for too long. It’s time to decide: Finish or Forget.

I choose forget.

Aside from being a horrid colour on me, it doesn’t make me feel nice wearing it and I don’t like the fit. I should have written it off as muslin and tried again without trying to finish this… but hey.

Completed: Green Mini Skirt

One of my habits is finding likable lengths of fabric in opshops with the view to make a Pencil Skirt. This was another such likable length of fabric.

Completed: Green Mini Skirt

The trending problem that arises from this habit is that I often find out how long the length is at the cutting stage. I take a rather relaxed approach to my sewing.

So, often times I end up with a mini pencil skirt instead of the knee length one I’d hoped for.

Completed: Green Mini Skirt

In this case, I cut my pieces but the fabric had originally been cut on a bad angle. So the back pieces ended up much longer than the front piece. I sewed the back vent in so I could trim the hem evenly in the last stage, and then, well I ended up with one inch of vent. Sigh.

Completed: Green Mini Skirt

But of course, surprise lengths of fabric isn’t always a bad thing! Check out my funky Green Mini Skirt!