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… 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 archives 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!


Lovely Lamp for my Dresser

This lamp belonged to my great grandmother. Then it hung around in our house I grew up in. Then it came into my possession…

Through all this I never remember this special class of kitsch ever having a lampshade, so I began regularly including the lampshade section whenever I wandered around opshops.

Eventually I found one that would suffice.

Lovely Lampshade: The Beginnings

Now you might think we’re done here. That looks like a mighty fine match.

No. Nice lampshade made the base look respectable and that’s not what we want. We want over the top kitsch that not even a mother could love.

Queue hot glue and my fabric rose collection.

Lovely Lampshade: Ready for action

I’m not sure if we’ve improved this here but we’re certainly on a path. Never mind that I almost set it on fire.

Once it was in place and turned on I sat gawking at the girly-ness of my dresser for a good 15 minutes.

Lovely Lampshade: Lighting up the Dresser

Lovely Lampshade: In Action

It’s fun being a girl 😀

Mug Shots of Pencil Skirts #09: Perfect Sitting

One craft I remember my mother doing was reupholstering my desk chair in my bedroom.

The original was a lovely cream textured cover but you could just imagine how long that would stay looking nice in a grubby teenage bedroom.

The fabric she chose was this nice black tapestry style. The offcuts followed us around for years and I’d always wanted to do something with it.

Around the same time she covered the chair I made myself a needle book which I still use today. But there remained a sizable scrap.

Perfect Sitting Pencil Skirt

Perfect Sitting Pencil Skirt: Back Detail

Perfect Sitting Pencil Skirt: Back

Perfect Sitting Pencil Skirt: Fabric Detail

This is where the joys of spending hours on Pinterest proves itself useful. Inspiration struck and BAM skirt.

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

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 #023: Crash Velvet Portrait Blouse

I bought myself a gift a while ago, as you do, which was the most amazing Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing.

Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing

I love love love this book! The styles are beautiful and Gertie lays out the instructions clearly and nice for someone with a bit of sewing experience like me can begin to understand. I can’t say how many times I’ve flipped through the pages imagining I’m a better sewist and I’m making all the different versions I can think of.

Being time-poor and pretty new to sewing means it’s taking me a long time to get through my first project, which is the lovely and simple Portrait Blouse. I bought this book over a year ago and I’ve yet to settle on the adjustments to the blouse I’m happy with! Being large-busted means I don’t get the blouse-y effect Gertie gets in the book, instead it looks a lot more fitted. Sweetheart says this a good thing and it looks nice on me. I say I need to get out of the habit of buying baggy or stretch-y tops and embrace this fitted idea. (Posture, please.)

Sew 2012 #023: Crash Velvet Portrait Blouse

So! After having this fabulous book for a month and wondering when I was going to get myself into it, I found myself with a few hours to spare pondering what to wear to a party. I know! A New top!!

Trace, cut and sew a new project in a few hours with no testing to wear that night? I’ve done crazier things. Turns out, I had the top made and pretty well fitting in that time, paired it with my Back Up Christmas Skirt and off we went!

Truth be told, I just zig-zaged the neckline, armholes and hem and off we went. Such a minor detail won’t be noticed in semi-darkness, right? Well, it wasn’t noticed. ;D

Sew 2012 #023: Crash Velvet Portrait Blouse - Back

The Portrait Blouse was so easy to sew, by the end I was so happy I didn’t care if it didn’t fit me I was happy enough with what I’d done I would finish it and maybe gift it to someone it did fit. But it did fit me, albeit not as blouse-y as I’d hoped and probably about an inch too short to be properly comfortable.

This has started a slew of ‘wearable’ muslins, old-bed-sheet muslins and pattern cuttings. Gertie has totally sold me on the idea of the Portrait Blouse and I am determined to perfect the pattern for my shape and make a million of them!


Lovely Cotton Stole – Crochet Gone Vintage!

Lovely Lace Cotton Crochet Stole

I bought this cotton yarn over a year ago, when I was first exploring fabulous yarns. I bought it online just to see what it was like. Well I loved it. But Inspiration had not struck so I didn’t buy more and I stayed in my stash all this time, until now!

A few weeks ago it was a friend’s birthday, and all of a sudden I knew what had to be done. I looked in my stash for an appropriate colour, but all I had was black! And good thing too, because I don’t think this could have turned out any better.

After some hunting, I found this Japanese crochet pattern on Ravelry and got to work! Once I started on the fringing, I worried there wouldn’t be enough yarn to complete it, and it turned out I was right. I decided instead to do one row of single crochet all around and I think it actually turned out much nicer. And you know what else? No pair of scissors ever touched this yarn. All I had was 3 inches left to weave in and that was it! My modified version was the perfect fit for this ball of yarn!

Clearly it was all meant to be. My friend loved it!

Stay creative

Sew 2012 #016: The Small One Skirt

This skirt is lovely! It’s a Kwik Sew 3852, View B. It’s made from an old bedspread – One of Sweetheart’s! As we were culling our linen cupboard, this was a king-single bedspread he hadn’t used in such a long time. It reminded me of a story I used to watch as a kid so I couldn’t get rid of it! Skirt it must become!

Its only drawback is it required alot of ironing. But I like it nonetheless!

Stay happy

Unpredictability and Fabric


The Force was with me this month and I’ve been really busy and pretty productive. However not particularly productive with crafty business, so I haven’t had much to say there. But not to worry, there’s been no shortage of ideas!

Just so I don’t feel like I’ve neglected May 2012, I’m sharing my third-ever Instagram pic above! Awww!!

I wouldn’t say it holds a candle to any other of the awesome Instagram pics I’ve seen, but what is does show is AWESOME FABRIC I GOT FROM AN OP SHOP FOR $15 TODAY AND GUESS WHAT THERE’S 6.5 METRES OF IT!!!

*does a little dance*

As I was walking away from the shop and back to the office job my mind stopped whirring when it reached the conclusion:

40s-Length Pencil Dress with matching 3/4-Length Jacket.

Oh yeah.