Self Sewn Wardrobe Progress Report

This short sleeved sweat was designed around a cast off broken bracelet. I pulled it apart and couched it around the necline and sleeve hems – the black faceted beads look like rhinestones at night. Parallel to the beading is a chain stitch using topstitching thread – watcha think?

We’re all moved into our little piece of paradise. That is, until we move house, demolish, rebuild and move back! Lotsa moving on the horizon!

This is our daily commute, I take my husband to the mainland in our boat so he can jump in his car and drive to work in the big smoke Last night we had huge storms, I love the spookily lit sky… “look out, the heavens will open – you were warned”. Sunshine is all well and good, but give me a storm any day, they have real personality!


Back to our usual programme wherein I belly button gaze some more, oh and I unpacked the sewing room… I’ll taunt you with some makes!

pencil skirt

I cannot tell you how stimulating and thought provoking I found Andrea Eastin’s free course – Create a Self Sewn Wardrobe.  That was a link to Andrea’s blog, the enrolment form is at the top of each of her posts. Every morning, while we waited to pack up our house (there was a lot of waiting) I opened my ‘inbox’ to find another email from Andrea, then I’d think about the things in her email all day while I sorted and packed, then the next day – as they say – ‘rinse and repeat’! Okay, so some ideas that really got to me (paraphrased).

  • if you’re going to the trouble of sewing your own wardrobe then you are your own designer – “oh no”, I thought, I have no design training, does that mean I will look like Betty Butterick for the rest of my life? After spending so much time making your own wardrobe, you owe it to yourself to make sure the stuff you make is the stuff you like to wear. I know everyone sports their ‘me madest in May’, but is what you’re wearing what you really loooong to wear? I wouldn’t wear crap RTW, so stuff I make had better be bloody great, not just good.
  • Stuff you make should combine with other stuff you have made/bought to create a plausible collection. Andrea supplied some ‘worksheets’ to lead us through a process to really nail down my individual style. Thats a very tricky thing to do in real life – don’t you agree? Do you, like me, often dumb down your sewing choices to make them ‘easier/quicker’ to sew? A major stumbling block for me, because I draft a lot of what I sew. Perhaps I should embrace the ‘pattern companies’ so that ‘stuff’ gets into my wardrobe while I still have calcium in my bonesDSC05305
  • And it has to go with the other stuff – don’t forget that! Clearly I’m not making things that go with other things – I am failing to design a collection, instead creating wardrobe orphans. I know we’ve all heard this stuff before, but Andrea’s process led me down a path… I practically smacked myself about the head yelling “no more orphans, okay?”. Just this morning I’m trying to decide on the next ‘designed by me’ piece to make and am sorely tempted to wander down a path that probably doesn’t fit in my ‘collection’. Don’t they say you have to exercise the self control muscle to make it stronger? But the black hole of “crikey thats so pretty…” is drawing me in…
  • Pinterest boards are all very well, but until those ‘pins’ are printed or if you’re old school – ripped out of magazines, they have no longevity, they get lost. There’s too much stimulus. The pictures/ideas need to be tangible – wow, that was a game changer. After printing my favourite styles, allocating adjectives to describe their essence – a theme emerged, and then it was possible to edit for my real life.
  • Sometimes you have to go offline! I am so distractible, but have you ever noticed how some folks make lots and lots of newly released patterns? How/why do they do that? This might be one time I can enjoy not being an early adopter!

The free course was really great I thought, lots to think about and plan. I’ve never been a planner, this is going to change, look…


I’m wearing this ensemble to dinner tonight, must let you know how it felt … till next time x

Zelda at Lovett Bay
Zelda is loving the new location! Thats our house, earmarked for demolition.



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  1. The clothes you show here look like they could match together, though. They don’t look like orphans.

  2. You piqued my interest in Andrea’s course, I’ve downloaded it but not read any of it yet. I’m working my way through The Maker’s Atelier patterns, a collection that does work together and I have been surprised at the versatility they have. However, these are work looks, so my aim would to make casual, probably all jersey, weekend wear and I agree, it would have to be miles better quality than the supermarket clothes I wear now.

    I love the colours you’ve put together there.

    • The Maker’s Atelier have lovely basics, they’re so ripe for pattern hacking. Take that gypsy dress, lower the neckline all round and i can see a gorgeous off the shoulder blouse – apparently they do great instructions- how are you finding them? Yes, i like these colours, the claret originally bought for a Gryffindor quilt!!

  3. Zelda looks lovely … what kind of dog (breed I suppose) is she?

    • Groodle, or what they seem to call a Goldy poo in your end if the world! Golden Retriever x standard poodle. Placid and friendly but she does live to steal the neighbour’s bait. Caught her rolling in a well matured dead squid yesterday – eeeuuuw!!

      • Stephanie Rooney 13/06/2017 — 2:56 am

        We would call her a golden doodle … there are many lovely Zelda relatives on the beach here every day. We have an Aussie doodle or what the originator would call a cobber dog … she is a mini so only 25 pounds. She loves to roll in dead “things” at the beach – just caught her before she got to a seal the other day. Zelda is a lucky girl to have water right in her back yard.

      • Uuurgh, the rolling in things – yeeuuuck! I’ve been known to shower Zelda 3 times in 3 days – which is likely the reason for her wanting to roll in dead things with a side order of garden worms! I wonder what makes your dog ‘Aussie”? Is she crossed with something from ‘downunder’? They’re not so common here, but I think they’ll catch on as they’re such lovely animals.

      • An Aussiedoodle is a cross between an Australian shepherd and a poodle. They have also had some wheaten terrier, cocker spaniel or another kind of spaniel whose name totally escapes me. She is sixth generation so we knew exactly what we were getting with just some minor variations in colour. She’s a mini so will likely weigh 25 pounds when full grown and as an Aussie doodle we have been trying to get her to say g’day mate.

      • Gorgeous combo, we see very few Aussie shepherds here, strange they’re quite prevalent in North America x

  4. I’m guilty of creating wardrobe orphans! I keep saying I’ll stop and then off I go and make another one! More focus would be good.

  5. I’m getting the emails too now – but I’m a bad student and have yet to really get into them. I’m with you on wanting no more orphans and if that course helps it will be worth the time.
    You new location looks divine – but I’m not sure about a stormy water bound commute!

  6. Yes. I get the capsule wardrobe, but I have never ever succeeded with it…too dull too boring! How do you ever try something new without veering of occasionally. Embrace the orphans they may lead to something new? I still accidently find shapes or silhouettes that I didn’t realise I suited, and that’s after 30 years of sewing and shopping!
    Today I went High St shopping, I love the thrill of a find, I bought 8 rtw garments and I’m returning all 8. That’s why I draft, hack, refashion or anything I feel like doing with fabric.
    Embrace the exciting fabric find, or pattern and as long as you enjoy it, sew whatever you like.
    Great observation and discussion as always Lesley.
    Haha I think you’re going to be preoccupied with room colour schemes and curtain choices soon! That’s fun too. X

    • It is difficult but I’m convince that if I were to sub in my ever so exciting designs for their ‘one navy cardi’ perhaps I can achieve something unique! You do have great skills Linda, and fearlessness – thats so important!

  7. I always enjoy your posts . I do envy you your Pittwater location. My brother lived there for many years in Elvira Bay .so beautiful.

  8. Thanks for the review and I am excited to see where you go with this Lesley. I am even more excited by your house-changing plans. How unbelievable to be on an island. What a thrill to use a boat to get to work…

    • Thanks Kate, i do love design and have often reflected that our house interiors are quite avant garde, but my dress stye is so safe and lazy!! Perhaps what I really need is tattoos and pink hair! In reality we live beyond the island but back onto National Park so still have no road access, boat or nothing for us but I’ve got fingers crossed it doesn’t wear thin on the man ‘o’ the house!

  9. What a beautiful location ! and as usual completely aspirational sewing. I should do the course, but I don’t think I would ever have the focus to do something with it and, ahem…unlike you I have poor sewing skills. Absolutely love the pieces here. What a lovely post

  10. I love all the topstitching on that pinkish item. Beautiful work. How lovely to be far from work too! I live 45 minutes away from the City in a heavily forested area and it is very peaceful – as I am sure you find your area is too!

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