Welcome to Clothesline Patterns

-the home of Simple, Speedy Sewing.

Birthday Gift Dilemmas

Do your friends regard the opening of birthday gifts as a party activity in it's own right? Some of mine do.  It's fun to ooh and aah over pressies as the birthday girl opens them, but gifts can sometimes look a bit Scottish!  At a recent birthday present unveiling I was seeing Royal Doulton among the brand names and calculating price tags as anything up to $100.  Sorry, my piggy bank doesn't hold that much!

Let's see...fabric $12, D rings $3, 2 hours labour at $60 per hour, that adds up to quite a pricey gift!

Let's see...fabric $12, D rings $3, 2 hours labour at $60 per hour, that adds up to quite a pricey gift!

Hunted high and low for a bee print for my bee-keeper buddy!

Hunted high and low for a bee print for my bee-keeper buddy!

Fortunately, if you're a bit crafty, you can still get some oohs and aahs with far less cash and just a little time and effort.  These aprons were made by using my husband's very ratty BBQ apron as a template. The cash register may not have registered very much in buying the materials, but when you take into account the love that went into making them, their value transcends mere money!

 

Last minute Christmas gifts to sew!

Looking for last minute Christmas gifts to sew?  If you're looking for heirlooms that took months to create, better look elsewhere.  All these projects can be knocked over in a single crafternoon!

 

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Made from thrift shop twill fabric, vintage button and vintage lace using the Swinging 60s Shift pattern

 

Leather hairbands sew up in a jiffy.  Try Megan Nielsens free Boab hairband pattern

Go Italian, with faux pasta using felt or scraps of material.  Serve up in empty spaghetti sauce jars with toy kitchenware.  Try here for a selection of pasta party ideas.

Go Italian, with faux pasta using felt or scraps of material.  Serve up in empty spaghetti sauce jars with toy kitchenware.  Try here for a selection of pasta party ideas.

Books for kids serve double duty by improving reading skills.  Package your offerings in handmade book bags.  I made mine extra cute with contrasting casings and tabs on the ends of the drawstrings.  I measured books and made my own bags, but  these instructions look quite similar!

Books for kids serve double duty by improving reading skills.  Package your offerings in handmade book bags.  I made mine extra cute with contrasting casings and tabs on the ends of the drawstrings.  I measured books and made my own bags, but  these instructions look quite similar!

Aussies with their "trust everyone!" way of life need a safe place for their passports when travelling.  A lot of the shop-bought passport holders are very ugly.  Sew up your own for travelling friends.  I kind of made it up as I sewed, but here's a tutorial for something similar.

Aussies with their "trust everyone!" way of life need a safe place for their passports when travelling.  A lot of the shop-bought passport holders are very ugly.  Sew up your own for travelling friends.  I kind of made it up as I sewed, but here's a tutorial for something similar.

To market, to market...

Trying a market stall at Paxtons Night Market here in Mackay this Friday 5:30 to 8:30.  Will bring a bit of everything -  some children's wear, toys and toy bag/mats to collect them up in, simple sewing  projects (ie luggage tags, peg bag) to buy or try, plus clothing patterns to sew up yourself.  Come and say hello if you're a local and love to buy local!

Elke Dress - just a couple of these for sale, but you can always sew your own from our downloadable pattern available at our Etsy store - Clothesline Emporium.

Elke Dress - just a couple of these for sale, but you can always sew your own from our downloadable pattern available at our Etsy store - Clothesline Emporium.

Will have a small range of  hard copies of Clothesline patterns to save you some downloading from the internet, cutting and pasting. They come in a nice sturdy string envelope too!

Will have a small range of  hard copies of Clothesline patterns to save you some downloading from the internet, cutting and pasting. They come in a nice sturdy string envelope too!

Perfect gift to stash away for a newborn baby!  The Archie Playsuit was designed by my step-daughter Anna especially for hot weather and ease of dressing.  Yes, instead of pushing unco-operative limbs through the garment, this playsuit opens out  flat and clips on around baby. It's reversible too!  Pattern coming soon, but I have a few prototypes for sale...

Perfect gift to stash away for a newborn baby!  The Archie Playsuit was designed by my step-daughter Anna especially for hot weather and ease of dressing.  Yes, instead of pushing unco-operative limbs through the garment, this playsuit opens out  flat and clips on around baby. It's reversible too!  Pattern coming soon, but I have a few prototypes for sale...

What's a market without quirky trinkets like cloth farfalle, tea bags and ravioli?  Make your own, it's fun! Links to tutorials to start you off can be found at our new  Pinterest board. 

What's a market without quirky trinkets like cloth farfalle, tea bags and ravioli?  Make your own, it's fun! Links to tutorials to start you off can be found at our new  Pinterest board. 

Will also bring some samples of dresses made using Clothesline patterns so you can see how simple they are to sew!

Will also bring some samples of dresses made using Clothesline patterns so you can see how simple they are to sew!

Depression Lace Embroidery

I love finding second hand aprons and tablecloths embroidered in cross-stitch on gingham. I didn't realise their origins date back as far as the depression.   In those tough times, ladies wanted something pretty and lacy, so embellished plain check fabric with easy cross-stitched designs.  By using the coloured squares judiciously, a lovely result occurs with minimal effort.

Here's the beginning of my efforts using a great tutorial from Riley Blake Designs.

Cross stitch and ric-rac on checkered fabric produced this lovely lacy effect on a thrift store apron.

Cross stitch and ric-rac on checkered fabric produced this lovely lacy effect on a thrift store apron.

 

O Caftan, My Caftan

Caftans have had some bad publicity!  In Australia, they are inextricably linked with schmaltzy singer Kamahl. The ABC network in Canberra has instigated Caftan Friday, as a joke to poke fun at this classic 70s clothing item.

 

 
Rachel Zoe, stylist to...well, just about anyone and everyone... loves her vintage Pucci and Missoni caftans.

Rachel Zoe, stylist to...well, just about anyone and everyone... loves her vintage Pucci and Missoni caftans.

Kamahl, simultaneously resplendent and terrifying in a black and gold lame caftan

Kamahl, simultaneously resplendent and terrifying in a black and gold lame caftan

But stylist Rachel Zoe swears by her beautiful vintage caftans. We know they're comfy but can you wear one if you're not going to the beach? 

 
Here's a poolside caftan that you could wear anywhere from US retailer Tuckernuck.

Here's a poolside caftan that you could wear anywhere from US retailer Tuckernuck.

Made this caftan in thrift shop finds - a sky blue silk and a white seersucker fabric.

Made this caftan in thrift shop finds - a sky blue silk and a white seersucker fabric.

Caftan from Michael Kors.  Christian Dior 2012 resort collection showed a very similar caftan as well.

Caftan from Michael Kors.  Christian Dior 2012 resort collection showed a very similar caftan as well.

Thought I'd try sewing a less voluminous, practical caftan to wear even after you've left the pool.  After a few trials, I trimmed back the draping sleeves (to prevent caftan wearers from becoming a fireball at a barbeque) and shortened the hem (to avoid tripping up stairs).

Inspired by a lovely Michael Kors caftan, I made my own version. Photo instructions are here. Downloadable pattern coming soon so you can make your own Seventies caftan! 

 
 

Fathers Day wrap up

Fathers Day was yesterday.  Here's what Mollie the dog gave my husband - a handmade pencil roll (recycled from a teatowel and scrap fabric) to take his gear to school in.  What a clever animal!

Okay, I did help her make this as she doesn't have opposable thumbs.

Okay, I did help her make this as she doesn't have opposable thumbs.

Mary Q Shift dress pattern released!

Inspired by Mary Quant and all things sixties, Clothesline presents the Mary Q Shift dress pattern. This classic style is listed in Erin McKean's field guide to the most iconic styles of our time, "The Hundred Dresses." 

Traditionally worn as short as you dare, Clothesline's Mary Q pattern has extra length added.  Feel free to adjust the skirt length to suit yourself!

Traditionally worn as short as you dare, Clothesline's Mary Q pattern has extra length added.  Feel free to adjust the skirt length to suit yourself!

In true classic style, a version of the Mary Quant dress can be updated and in fashion at any time as these 2014 versions show.

L to R.  Original Mary Quant shifts from the 1960s, 2014 Mulberry campaign, 2014 Alice& Olivia Spring/summer collection

L to R.  Original Mary Quant shifts from the 1960s, 2014 Mulberry campaign, 2014 Alice& Olivia Spring/summer collection

The Mary Q Shift pattern is:-

*fully lined   *reversible  *adapted to longer skirt lengths.  Not everyone has the legs for a mini skirt!  This pattern has been made a little longer (knee length on me at 160cm (5'3") tall) so that you can cut it to a length you're comfortable with.

*easy to sew for all levels.  Great seamstresses can use the one-page cheat sheet for instructions.  If you like more visuals, there are 16 colour photos and on-line explanations.  For raw beginners, tricky parts have an accompanying video to spell it out in detail.

Instant download pattern available at our Etsy store - Clothesline Emporium- for just $5.50 AUD.

L to R:  Mary Q Pattern Cover, Mary Q Cheat Sheet, Online Instructions, Online Videos.

L to R:  Mary Q Pattern Cover, Mary Q Cheat Sheet, Online Instructions, Online Videos.



Daisy Dress Variegation

The Daisy Dress pattern is quite loose fitting around the waist and hips to allow it to slip on, as it has no zips, buttons or closures. This pink Daisy variation in a crisp cotton has sewn in ties and is custom fitted at the back.

Ties inserted in side seam

Ties inserted in side seam

TO SEW TIES

Cut 2 straight strips  each measuring 75 x 8cm (30 x3"), fold  in quarters ( so you won't have to turn them inside out!) and topstitch all around, tucking in short ends.  Mark your waist level (make sure it's the same on both sides by measuring distance from bottom of  armhole). Insert tie into side seam, sandwiching between front and back.  (Unpick a small section if you've already stitched the sides.)

 

Back view before altering back

Back view before altering back

 
Back view after adding a seam down the centre back.

Back view after adding a seam down the centre back.

TO ALTER BACK

Make back of dress narrower by sewing in a new seam in the middle of the back.

Make back of dress narrower by sewing in a new seam in the middle of the back.

Crisp fabrics that don't drape well can make your Daisy dress look a little voluminous, particularly at the back.  A quick alteration to reduce the back by 5cm (2") in width is to create a centre back seam.  Fold dress  carefully along centre back and stitch a 2.5 cm (1") seam in.  (Check to see you can still get in and out of your dress first!)  Trim seam back to 1 cm (3/8") seam allowance and zigzag/overlock to finish.  

NB:If you'd like to reduce the back width but don't want a seam here (maybe your flowers look disjointed!) adjust the pattern piece before you cut out the back.  Simply fold under 2.5cm (1") at centre back (long straight edge of the pattern piece) before you cut it out.

If you'd like to try these variations but are a bit confused, just let me know.  I'll explain more fully and draw some diagrams for you!