“Long time no see…”

You know when you haven’t seen your buddy for ages and the first exhausting 1/2 hour is a turn taking exercise – filling in the blanks? Well, here goes, but it should only take a couple of minutes!

  • Mum popped over from England and has now departed (checks calendar) just over a week ago – whaaaat? It seems like a month since she left. We had a great time, last minute we flew to the Gold Coast for 5 days in search of sun – it rained. There’s a Mummy shaped hole in the house, I really miss her. Curse her move back to England.


Seriously, did no one spot the ‘unfused bleb’ on the mannequin’s right lapel – spotted in a high end boutique at the Gold Coast.


  • My darling husband has returned to Sydney. His job down here in Geelong was not at all good. The CEO thought that at the last minute they wouldn’t open rooms in Geelong as planned and perhaps my darling wouldn’t mind driving 3 hours a day to work in Melb. That was just one of the issues; all in all, a real fizzer. He will be visiting this weekend. OMG interesting link about conjugal rights folks!


  • It’s school holidays and the longest holiday (3 weeks) before finals for Princess. So she has gone to Melbourne for a residential winter school for the week. Our boarder has gone home to Sydney for the holidays.So it’s just Zelda (the legend) et moi holding the fort. Not sure what I’d do without her company, she’s a babe that dog (now 5 months). Seriously not looking forward to having the poor girl desexed at 8 months. I’d kind of like to get it over with but being a large breed she will be predisposed to cruciate ligament issues so delaying the withdrawal of oestrogen is considered worthwhile. As for my ligaments? More oestrogen please!


  • Fashion college is on 2 weeks of holidays – thank goodness, the workload is punishing, but more due to my procrastination than anything else. No one had finished their jackets, then we moved onto performance couture for 2 weeks (dedicated post forthcoming). That was huge fun, but the damned jacket just looms over my head. An absolute travesty we aren’t all working to put the jacket together step by step under instruction! After all this is supposed to be “Savile Row” techniques, unfamiliar to all (cough, cough). Turns out the instruction is something of a hybrid attempt at tailoring, but all in all its looking pretty good – more to come in another post – promise.


  • Scorses exhibition seemed soooo expensive but once inside I was hooked. Worth a visit if it visits your town. Naturally the costumes had me consumed! Fascinating to see the costume designer’s original concept then the result don’t you think?

IMG_6979                                                        IMG_6986

  • The college introduced me to a wonderful Italian tailor here in Melbourne – Charles Mamione. He is a charming fellow, so helpful and willing to share. Charles was attempting to teach me how to make a handmade buttonhole –  the perfect beginning bit is his work, the dodgy looking wonky bit is mine! Post forthcoming.


  • Princess tried on so many formal dresses at the Gold Coast, a surprisingly good location for fancy after 5 wear as it happens. Everything fit wonderfully if only there were sky hooks to support the ample chesticles. So I’ve wandered down the foundation garment path and boy oh boy, such a lot of bits ‘n’ bobs for boobs! I told myself life was too short to make bras and undies, but apparently that’s too bad! Princess found the most delicious silk chiffon print for her dress – couldn’t have been something easy like quilting cotton could it?! Here is a dress she loved from Scanlan and Theodore but the bust part is 2 layers of thin chiffon. Whats a girl to wear to maintain a little mystery?


  • Reading ‘Zero Waste Fashion Design’ which the Geelong Library bought at my suggestion – wee hee, thanks!


It’s really sparked some ideas about design and waste, especially as I have had to order another 150m roll of paper. Oooh look, right there on page 96 a design conceived by my patternmaking teacher in Sydney – Anita McAdam of Studio Faro. Here is Anita’s original post.


The author Holly McQuillan used Anita’s design as a starting point for a zero waste kimono concept. McQuillan and Rissanen’s other patterns from ‘Zero Waste…’ can be downloaded  here though sadly not the kimono.


Good to catch up with you all, my tea is cold now – what are you up to? Back to normal programming very soon!


Add yours →

  1. Gosh you’ve been busy! That gown is gorgeous (the fabric is stunning!), but I agree with you about the lack of undergarment friendly formal dresses. We don’t all want to put all our trust in double sided tape…

  2. Oh you have been busy . Life seems complicated with your poor man being so muddled about . I hope it works out for you . Is Mr Mamone on Sydney road? There is a tailor just around the corner from where I live and I have sometimes gazed through the window wishing I could just go in and sick up all that skill.

    • Not Sydney Road but 1, Crossley st, Melb. I hinted I could help him out but he has 2 apprentices and they are perhaps under employed! Why not just approach the tailor on Sydney Road? Perhaps ask something a bit specific and he may be happy to fill in the gaps? Best of luck on your journey Mem.

  3. Ooh love the dress on Princess and the floral print. How lucky is she that you can make something amazing for her and she’s a gorgeous woman so of course she will be a knockout for formal. I have been wondering myself lately about making bras (which I said I would never do) so am eager to see what you will do.

    Gee, where do I start. So sorry to hear that your husband’s job in Geelong was less interesting than expected. I can’t remember how many more months you have in Geelong as I think the original plan was a year? And sorry to hear about your mum going back to England. I recently had news that my mom is planning to move back here from the other coast next year. I was happy that she was out there with my brothers but honestly I’m a little bit selfishly pleased that she will be near to me. 🙂 I won’t claim to be the motivation for the move.

    Yes do give an update on your schooling, too. It all sounds so very interesting.

    Well with all of that happening I feel guilty that I’ve been asking you to bodice whisper away my novice’s bodice problems for me. Thanks a bunch for that! Haven’t had time to catch up further on the politics but will today when I’m supposed to be reading about something else…

    • Just another 8 months in Geelong ! No problem re: whispering, the best way to learn is to teach! I’m a little overwhelmed by all the hardware required but those in the know say bras are a delight to make. Will keep you posted X

  4. Sounds like disruption from every angle. Who’d have imagined a pup would end up the source of support and calm.

    As for conjugal rights, I did read that in a certain country it’s legal to ‘lightly beat’ one’s wife so take care where your husband’s work next takes you.

    Good luck with Project Princess!

  5. What an interesting post, despite your personal disappointments. I love having my family around me all the time, but of course that won’t last forever, as your experience shows. One son is talking of going to Brazil for a while and my Mum is miles away, and sometimes my daughter talks of moving to a place she can afford to buy a home, or even to Australia. But of course, as you know, being alone has lots of advantages – the chance to read, to study, to sew quietly and for extended periods, to do your homework. You are obviously being stimulated by everything which drives creativity.

    I looked at the Zero waste book in Waterstones and found it an exciting resource. But I couldn’t help thinking – if you want zero waste stop buying clothes/fabric/books. This is not meant as a personal criticism, but there are clothes enough in the cloth the world without making any more I would suggest. Intellectually, however, I find the no waste challenge very interesting.

    • I wonder if the authors are quite realistic in that you and I and everyone in the world are not about to stop sewing/buying clothes anytime soon. In fact I wonder what kind of financial crisis that might precipitate. The authors conduct workshops for industry and that’s their main focus apparently. I agree though that there seems little benefit from using a strangely shaped off cut as a facing, some of the suggestions seem a bit gratuitous. But if that off cut didn’t have to go to landfill that’s a good thing. Personally I really must start composting my scraps again; they make great weed mat too. You’ll have plenty of space to do that in your new home?

      • Interesting insights Lesley.

        New home doesn’t have a garden as such – just a “sky deck”. We used to have a great compost heap when we had a garden. I really loved how all that stuff turned to rich, deep brown loam.

  6. I always thought hand sewn buttonholes were a punishment my Mother handed me. I don’t know why she did it but I had to do my buttonholes by hand (and not too well). Perhaps we had a machine that didn’t do buttonholes? Looks like you are learning how to do them from an expert!

  7. Hi Lesley, nice to hear your catch up! Hand sewn buttonholes, yup encountered them this year on a students work and also hand sewn by a local tailor, I really should learn how to do these so I can teach them!!
    My daughter’s vintage prom dress this year was also in need of an undergarment for decency’s sake. We got a slip, in natural tones, from good old Marks & Spencer….hid everything without being spotted and made me happy.
    The funny thing about a refashion is that its a new fashion. I think the difference now, where it seems to be a trend, compared to when it was done through, say wartime necessity, is something we can only imagine, thankfully. I, like others will still sew anything that I want to.
    Great to here you’re working hard and enjoying your course. Have fun and pester them with loads of questions.

    • Love your refashions Linda, a very ‘green’ approach really – extending the life of a garment by refashioning. Alas, if a slip would only do the trick, but we’re going to need gravity defying hardware over here! x

      • Good luck in that search for the perfect under garment, you’ve probably already realised that you’re going to have to make it yourself… a labour of love, and you’ll learn as you go anyway!!

  8. Thanks so much for the mention and the link Lesley 🙂 Long time no see you! I hope you’re enjoying melbourne and your fashion studies. Loving your posts.

  9. great post. Love the illustrating, the photography, and the lovey dress on Princess.

  10. Wow…your sewing/tailoring level is so ….well you know I worship your skills!
    There was someone, somewhere, here on the internet who was doing a 100 button,,by hand button hole challenge. ( sorry I can’t recall her name to give the credit) I only paid half attention, but I did notice that she said button whole thread was hard to find. Do you know what we should do about the thread and hand made button holes?
    Fabulous post as always
    Joyce from Sudbury

    • Hi Joyce, I’ll have to look that up – 100 buttonhole challenge. I took a picture of the thread Charles Maimone used for handmade buttonholes, it was Coats Dual Duty hl – Tex 120 in black (013), serial no. SZCQ0455379. I recently had the tux buttonholes done by a professional machine buttonholer and he used Coast Astra Tex 045 – it’s much finer as needed for a machine buttonhole but still an adequate job. My tailor friend Brita uses something different again, I’ll contact her and write a post about the buttonholes I think – they’re my nemesis! I’m such a slack blogger, thanks for the motivation to get onto this!

  11. That was suppose to the, your the BEST- est

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