Friday, May 29, 2009

100 posts and a Giveaway!

It is time to celebrate!
Pinktulip is celebrating it's 100th post today! As is tradition in blogland, I will celebrate this with you, my blogfriends that visit, comment, inspire and encourage me. As I mentioned before, there will be three prizes:
Will be a handmade bag, made by Pinktulip, just for you!


The latest copy of my favorite local craft magazine. Ideas covers handmade projects, home decor, fashion and style as well as food recipes. Really nice issue too! My favorite article inside this issue is how to create a specific theme in an unused corner of your house. Featured is a reading area, yoga area or a craft area.


A copy of another of my favorite local craft magazines, Stictches 'n Bears. (Excuse the crappy photo!) Several easy bag projects inside this issue, embroidery and knitting patterns.

In addition, I will throw in some yummy, colourful African cotton fabric with each of the prizes! Here is a sneak peak of the fabrics up for grabs:

I will draw three names on Monday, June 1, 2009. All you need to do is leave a comment on this specific post by midnight Sunday, 31 May 2009. Just in case you are the winner of the handmade handbag, please tell me what colours you really like in a bag, also maybe what size bag you like. Good luck!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Giveaway at Pinktulip!

I am fast nearing my 100th post on this blog and I have been thinking about a giveaway, as is customary in blogland. Since this post will happen this week, I have to come up with ideas very fast!

I have decided to give away three prizes - some African fabric and beads, a local crafty magazine and a craft book.

Watch out for my post this week to stand a chance of winning!

Weekend Sewing

I had a great sewing weekend, although sewing clothing takes a bit longer than making bags or other smaller items, so I get a bit less done these days. I also spend a lot of time deciding on fabrics and patterns. For a while now I have wanted to make an overdress. Since we are in the grip in winter here in the Southern Hemisphere, it always looks great over a polo neck jersey or just a stretch knit top. In a recent post I showed a picture from Sew Simple # 11 where they made a similar dress with stretch knit fabric. That was the original plan and I had the fabric ready and washed ( I also had my fabric ready for my purple chiffon skirt with it's own slip; a denim skirt and a few other items!) but as always, I go with what I feel most like sewing.
I recently bought this lovely, soft, pink and maroon tweed fabric with exactly this kind of dress (we call it a pinafore) in mind. This fabric just spoke to me...
I did not have a pattern for this dress and was not keen to buy one. So I spent most of Saturday organizing my patterns and deciding which one I can adjust to make this dress. Eventually on Sunday I remembered the "Summer Dress" in Sew Hip! No 6. It was ideal! So I traced the pattern and cut out the fabric with a few adjustments. The dress was huge! I had to cut off some of the volume on the sides and I cut facing for the neck, inserted a longer zip at the back and cut the neckline a bit deeper.
This is a close-up of this fabulous fabric. Also of the pockets I sewed on. I could not decide on the colour bias binding I wanted for the pockets and armholes. Eventually I decided on this pink that matched the pink stripes in the dress fabric perfectly. I planned to use my new serger for more professional finishing of the hems, but I got stuck with the threading of the machine! I will have to take it in to the local Singer Shop this week and ask for help.
Back view of the finished dress with the pink zipper just showing. I love this method of sewing zips. I saw it on a blog recently and it takes all the hassle out of zips. You just mark the end of the zipper on your fabric, sew the back hem closed, but use larger sticthes where the zip will be. Then you sew the closed zip on the wrong side and take the stitches out. How easy is that?

I really like this dress and want to make another one from some brown/creme tweed fabric I found on Saturday. I will however make a few changes to the pattern again. The dress was very big, so I will trim down the size. I also need to do something about the neckline, which on the above dress is a bit too wide for my shoulders.
I am currently very keen to make a bag again. I love this pink tweed fabric so I might make a matching bag for this dress. I have also bought so many purse frames, so I really need to make a few. And of course I still have some home decoration to finish off. Time! Wish I had more of it!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Fab free sewing projects!

I found a great site whilst reading one of my new magazines mentioned in the last post - If you love sewing, I suggest you visit their website and blog. They have marvelous free projects you can download in three categories: Fashion, craft and home decorations. I especially liked the "Party Dress in an Instant"; Simple scarf halter top and the Two skirts in one projects. There is also a dress you can make from a bra! Remember Madonna in the early 80's wearing her bra on the outside? Well, this dress is essentially taking a stunning bra and making it the bodice of your dress. Really nice!

For those that love bags (like me!) there are several stunning clutch purse projects and my absolute favorite, the "Sweater purse". Very simple and looks stunning.

I also paid a visit to Another nice website that offers free projects for download, from skirts to tops to bags. Many of the projects are refashioning existing clothing items.

I looked through several magazines yesterday and I am seeing more and more fabulous ideas to refashion clothes, home dec items, etc. I have never really liked displaying knitted or crocheted items in my house, but a local design magazine featured knitted throws and pillows in the latest issue ( and it is growing on me...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sew Simple Inspiration!

I ordered a few magazines from Sewing District in November last year and after a bit of a battle, the magazines finally arrived yesterday! I am so thrilled as there are several projects in the Sew Simple No. 11 magazine that I have been dying to try out.

You mentioned "skirt pattern" and I am right there! This from someone who a year ago, owned one dress and two skirts! Now I own far more skirts than pants. Love these ideas for a skirt with 3 variations on a frill. Funny, this style skirt has been in my mind for a while now, I just have not done it yet.

This is another style I have had in my mind for a while now. It is sort of like an overdress or tunic that you can wear over knit tops. I had a tweed dress like this with lovely buckle detail on the shoulders, but it is MIA. I have some lovely dark grey stable knit fabric that would be perfect for this style dress. I started last night to look at my patterns to see if I can use parts of other patterns to draft a pattern for this dress. I have some lovely plum and pink tweed fabric that I bought for a skirt that would also look good in this style...

This issue also focus on fleece, how to sew with fleece and an owl softie pattern as well as a lovely scarve pattern is provided. I have plenty of fleece in marvelous bright colours that will come in useful soon.

I originally purchased this issue of Sew News because I thought this office set was adorable! I have subscribed to Sew News since then and I find the articles very useful even if there aren't many projects inside.

I went on a book-buying spree recently...Last week I ordered Heather Ross' Weekend Sewing, Betz White's Sewing Green and Wendy Mullin's Sew U Homestretch. It will only arrive next week but all these books had rave reviews all over blogland so I am sure I will enjoy them. Of course this week I ordered a few more books...

Still doing research on how to use my new serger. Time has been a bit limited lately but I hope to start on a small project this weekend.

On another note, I am fast nearing my 100th post on this blog so I have been thinking about a give-away. I have some lovely traditional African fabric in my stash and maybe some local craft magazines to add to that. This will happen in the next week so keep watching!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Say hello to my new Baby!

I have always wanted a serger but did not see myself paying the exorbitant prices they seem to go for. Then recently I discovered a little Singer shop close to work that sells second-hand machines of all kinds and also now do all my sewing machine services.

From time to time they find used sewing machines, service them and do any repairs required, and then sell them. I asked the staff to call me if they have a well-priced serger in stock. On Thursday afternoon I got the call....I was there first thing Friday morning to have a look. What to do? Do I buy a serger and we eat soup for the rest of the month? Or do I wait for another bargain? What do you think I did?

Of course I bought it! So here is my "new" baby! An Empisal Mercury 404. I have never worked on a serger before so this is a learning curve for me. I received a 30 minute lesson on how to operate it from the expert at the Singer shop. I am amazed at what this baby can do! And how long it takes just to thread it! I had to go and stock up on thread of course. This baby eats thread!

I took it out the box and stared at it, touched it and marvelled at what it can do this weekend, but I am too scared to try it yet! I need to find a project to use it on. Soon. Oh, and I need to do some research on what this baby can really do.

I did not do much sewing this weekend though. I started making a pink satin top, but it's not finished yet. I re-organized my fabric and just chilled reading a new book in the sunroom on Sunday. On Saturday I spent some time shopping with the boys which does not happen often now they are teenagers. I hope to catch up on my sewing soon.

Pink Peasant Blouse

I mentioned in the previous post that I am in LOVE with the Peasant Blouse pattern right now. I have cut out a few more on this pattern but started work on a pink floral blouse first. I used 100% cotton made in South Africa, believe it or not!

Close up detail of the elasticated sleeves and neck. I think this fabric is fabulous. I have the same pattern in orange as well. But I think I must make some more stretch knit tops now. Our winter has truly arrived now with the weather being rather icy (6 degrees celcius is by no means icy to anyone in the Northern hemisphere, but for us down in sunny SA, it is freezing!) at the moment, so no chance of wearing these summery blouses for a while!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Peasant Blouse

What a pleasure to sew this easy-peasy adult size peasant blouse from a FREE pattern I found on I wanted to make one from new fabric I bought but since you are given instructions to make your own pattern, I decided to try it first on some older fabric I had in my stash. Teresa's instructions are great! I made my own pattern and although I made the first one a bit bigger to be sure, the pattern is perfect as is.

A close-up view of the stunning fabric with red roses border and the sleeves which I also elasticated. It is such a cute blouse. I bought this cotton fabric for making a bag but I think it looks so much better in a blouse!

I have cut out two more of this pattern and am busy making a pink floral blouse at the moment. I highly recommend this pattern. Thank you Teresa for great instructions and a fab pattern!

Purple is the colour!

LOVE this bright purple fabric! It's another jersey knit I recently purchased. I was browsing in one of my favorite clothing stores looking for ideas and found a lovely knit skirt that I copied here. The skirt has 4 panels in a A-line that you sew together and then a contrasting band at the bottom and knit ribbing for the waistline.

So easy to sew on and it looks lovely. This is a closer view of the ribbing waistline. This purple fabric is really something. I sewed the ribbing on without making any changes to it, but after walking down the hallway (fortunately at home!) the other night and finding it suddenly difficult to walk, I have changed my mind! I looked down and the skirt was around my knees! Oh dear, I need to take in the ribbing as this cannot happen in public.

Another view of the skirt showing the contrasting plain black jersey knit hem. I really like this skirt. It was so easy to sew and wears like a dream too. I will be making more of these soon.

Mix & Match dress

Ta da! Finally, a picture of the mentioned Mix & Match dress I mentioned in a previous post. This dress is from a pattern published in the Spring issue of Stitch magazine, by Interweave. You can download a FREE copy of the full-size pattern (and several others) from their website right now at I made the dress from bright pink jersey knit fabric I had in my stash and used plain black for the sleeves and the contrasting band in the front.

I made a few alterations to the pattern though. As the dress is very lose I added ties. This is the back view with the ties. I also used the ruffle neckline methods as posted by both Kate at and Rae at recently during Rae's Spring Top Week. It came out lovely and was so easy to do!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Fabulous Dresses!

I did some great sewing this weekend! I made two fabulous skirts (sorry, no pictures yet!), a dress and started on another dress yesterday. I have recently started buying the Burda Fashion magazine locally and just love the patterns inside, even if most are too big for me. I made the BIG mistake to visit the website on Friday night and saw pictures of what will be featured in the next issue - fabulous dresses! Do you think I can wait THREE WEEKS for the next issue to be available locally? No way! I HAVE to make this dress NOW.

Isn't this dress fabulous?! (The above dress is featured in the Burda Fashion Magazine, May 2009 issue). I cut out the fabric based on another dress pattern I have, modified the front for the overlap, but now I am stuck a bit. I am having a bit of trouble with sewing the overlap front neatly into the band just below the bust. I finally developed a headache last night from trying to make this work, so I gave up, for now. If anyone has some advice, please leave a comment!

I also wanted to share this fabulous FREE dress pattern. Recently, a new sewing magazine was launched - Stitch. Stitch is published by Interweave and the second issue just came out. It will only be available locally in June (takes about 2 months to get here!) but they post some of the projects on their website. If you are into sewing clothes, visit there website on and download the free patterns. There are three fabulous dresses, a biker (wrap) skirt and a cute bangle bag to choose from. My favorite is the Mix and Match dress which I already made this weekend in pink and black. I will post some pictures soon.

Hope you all had a great Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

New skirt

This is made using my favorite skirt pattern, New Look 6735. This skirt has several panels and flair at the bottom. This is another colour of the same green stretch knit fabric I used for the dress I made. This fabric works so well with this kind of pattern as it is supersoft and hangs nicely.

Browsing through my book, Sew What! Skirts, looking for ideas on how to sew the elastic waistband, I decided to try the bias binding waistband. This was supereasy! You sew it the same way you sew bias binding to any edge but instead of overlapping the ends, you fold each end under and leave a gap so you can thread the elastic through. The book does not recommend you sew it closed afterwards, but seeing how the skirt came out the wash, I just might sew the two bias binding edges together by hand.

After seeing how nice the lilac bias binding looked at the waist, I decided to use the same bias binding to decorate the hem - or maybe I was just too lazy to sew a hem! I think it looks so nice. I just forgot to iron the bias binding hem!

New wardrobe!

I have forgotten how amazing it is to wear something you sewed yourself! On Monday I wore the skirt and matching bag I posted about last week, to work. It is so nice to know you made it yourself, never mind the money you saved by not buying it! Above a picture taken by my budding photographer son showing the skirt and matching bag.

You might remember that I made a contrasting yoke in this skirt. I tried to show the yoke in this picture, so that explains my clothing appearing a bit messed up!
I bought the March 2009 copy of Burda Fashion recently. One of the few sewing magazines sold locally, I really like this book. It is such a pity though that most of the patterns provided are too large for me. Why do most patterns start at size 36?! There was however one dress pattern inside that I really liked and although it was a size 34, I decided to make it. I used a lovely, soft stretch knit I recently bought.

Fortunately I bought matching plain green fabric as well and this was perfect for this pattern. The pattern has a stunning pleat feature that I tried to capture in this picture. It also called for a zipper under the arm. Now this fabric did not work well with a zipper at all! I had to unpick several times. In the end, the zipper was unnecessary as I can just slip the dress over my head without using the zipper! Maybe it is also because it was one size bigger than my normal size, but I must say, I would not like the dress to be tight!

I really like this dress! I added a frill at the bottom and also the green trim at the neckline and arms. I now find myself browsing clothing stores looking for ideas instead of actually buying. I get attracted to interesting embellished necklines and styles that I would like to copy. Whilst browsing I recently found this lovely skirt for just $6.

The skirt is marked as a size 34, but it is HUGE! I plan to make a pencil skirt using the current zip and waistband and there might even be enough fabric for a matching handbag! I am busy repurposing another skirt I found in the shops on sale for $3 at the moment. Watch this space for updates on these projects.