Welcome to Clothesline Patterns

-the home of Simple, Speedy Sewing.

To dye for...

Natural food dyes can  produce the prettiest colours! These samples show the results of frozen blueberries and raspberries on silk.  Even the mordants (stuff you add to enhance colours or make them more permanent) can be kitchen items like vinegar, salt and bicarb.

Basically this berry dyeing involved boiling up a pack of  frozen raspberries or blueberries in a couple of litres of water and stewing your fabric for half an hour.

My experiences with using chemical dyes (Drimalene K) are not so much fun.  My whole laundry looked like a battlefield, with red stained door, sink and almost a red and black Border Collie (sorry Monty!)  Just the tiniest dusting of chemical goes everywhere. I think I lowered  the water level on our local dam just from rinsing colour out of the cloth.

piccie from http://blueberrydyeworkshop.blogspot.com/Natural dyes are not so concentrated and of course, way less toxic. Try Google for dye recipes - even spices like turmeric and paprika can be cooked up to  turn out some pretty colours.


Handmade pressies!

My favourite handmade gift from my sisterI love giving and getting home-made presents.  Often they don't cost much to make (except if you count your labour at say, $50 per hour - now they're expensive!) My sister Jeannie told me not to show anyone her craftsmanship, but I love this crocheted cup too much. Stamped and sewn teatowel




Got this lovely hand carved Indian stamp for my birthday.  Printed and sewed up a sweet tea-towel for Kia that really is a one-off.  (I have a very short attention span and only made one!)

Make-up bag made for (Crazy) Judy out of garage sale silk remnantFlaws are part of the charm of handmade pressies - they're living proof that this is not a mass-produced item! 

Why not have a shot at this little make-up bag?  There's a great little tutorial here at Three Bears.

Who's obsessed with Masterchef?

Hmmm.... chillis for a logo? or maybe two lamb chops?Lots of friends are ardent Masterchef addicts, picking favourites already!  (Not so much me, I'm still mourning the end of SYTYCD - go Robbieee!)  But it does make it easy to hand-craft birthday presents for foodie friends.  I found instructions for this chef's hat here, but frankly, they're really hard to follow.  I gleaned that the pattern is a circle and a rectangle, and from there I just made it up in much the same way as I'd sew a pleated skirt!

Not for the faint-hearted, but if you do give it a go, personalise your hat with different fabrics or an embroidered on felt logo...

What's not to love about op-shopping!

Just part of my new stash of fabric...When I spotted a stack of Vogue Designer sewing patterns (circa 1980), I suspected this St Vinnies might have some nice fabric in stock. 

True to form, I found crisp linen (pristine white and prints), crepes, real wool and  shiny silks tucked in amongst their stash. 

And the price?  A princely $16.50 for some twelve metres of material.

Spot the op-shop jeans...Seriously, who can tell the difference between my brand new $65 no-name jeans and the $4 Levis I found op-shopping in country Kenilworth? 

It was so hot camping that I bought the jeans on the right to cut up into shorts, but in the end figured they were too nice and deserved better treatment!

Easiest ever way to convert your jeans to shorts


For those with the same urge to cut up your jeans, I spotted the easiest way to do it on some shopbop.com shorts.

Just turn up the edge once to the outside and stitch.  No messing around trying to put cuffs on your shorts - it stops the fraying just a bit and you get a great look for minimum effort!




Make Your Own Christmas Decorations!

Deck the Halls - bruise your hand!Saw some nice Christmas decorations on the cover of Inside Out magazine and thought to myself- I can make those! 

Quick and easy to whip up on the sewing machine, they're simply cardboard and paper dots, layered and stitched together. 

They almost need no explanation to make, but the speediest, easiest methods are here in the Free Projects section.

They're very minimum effort/maximum effect... I used them in a shop window display and got very favourable feedback!

New Free Sewing Project - A Wrap Skirt made from two pillowslips

Finally!  Our wrap skirt project instructions are up on-line! 

This skirt is super easy as it is essentially a tube shape with ribbons and hammer-on snaps attached.  Also because it's made of two pillowslips, a lot of the seams are already sewn for you.  The sample skirt in the how-to's is sewn in contrasting colours, just so you can see how it works.

I've also managed to doctor all the How-tos in our Free Sewing Projects so that if you click on a picture, each can be viewed as a slide show with instructions.  Not a grand accomplishment for some, but for a direct descendant of Ned Ludd like myself, I was well pleased... 



Cheap Craft on a budget of $0 / ManCraft

Spent a week camping on Moreton Island - big outdoor kitchen shaded by casuarinas,  the Blue Lagoon instead of taking a shower, the roar of the surf as you drift off to sleep... Yep, got pretty good at blocking out the sound of the 70 school students we took with us!  Every year I organise craft activities for our church camp.  This year was particularly primitive - no electricity, (what! no power tools!), no running water (bye-bye screenprinting) and worst of all no budget. 

Tie-tanic - handcrafted on Moreton IslandOur recession crafts were made from donated scrap fabrics that were sewn into props for our "formal" dinner night on the beach.  I thought the boys would enjoy a handsome 80's print tie to wear over their T-shirts and boardies.  And for the girls, who wouldn't want an an attractive corsage! (How-to instructions at Pink Paper Peppermints).  Scrap fabric CorsageTurned out to be a lovely night - who knew that dancing on sand kicks up so much dust? - it looked like we hired a smoke machine!


Getting the guys at our camp interested in craft takes some planning.  Samples of mancrafts from previous campsHere's some mancrafts that have proved popular over the years -  leather wrist cuffs, Maori bone-carving, hardware jewellery and macrame friendship bands or anklets (technically known as manklets for boys). 



Great resources:-

Summer Crafts by Marjorie Galen (easy macrame instructions)

Hardwear - Jewelry from a Toolbox by Hannah Rogge (lots of cool jewellery ideas from gear you can buy at Bunnings!)

Another gem from Garth Johnson's Extreme Craft blogAnd for the ultimate mancrafts visit Garth Johnson's fabulous Extreme Craft website!


Re-Fashioning your denims...and the Art of Thrifting!

from ReadyMade April/May 2009Wandering past City Beach, saw some patched denim jeans and said to myself "That'd be so easy to do!" Here's how to attack them, courtesy of a great re-fashioning article in ReadyMade  magazine.

Try it out first on some old jeans- I found a great $8 pair of Levis at an op-shop.

Went out op-shopping recently with a big group, looking for 80's clothes for a fancy dress party. Found that some people hate op-shops, there were cries of "let's get out of here, it smells!".

Personally, I love op-shopping (sorry, Mum). One day I bought a Miss Sixty vest, Country Road shirt, vintage gloves, couple of hand-embroidered cushion covers,and still had enough change from $20 to buy lunch!

For op-shopping novices, here are some tips on thrifting from cult 13-year-old blogger, the Stylish Wanderer.