2018 makes (2) – bicycle dress

My makes of 2018, spread out over 9 blog posts. This is blog 2, with photos.

Knipmode 06-2016 dress 11, aka bicycle dress

2018-01-06: Pretty happy with the fit of this toile. Made so many changes to this 2016-06 @knipmode dress that it almost feels like my own design. The pleats in the back happened when I made changes to fit the shape of my lower back. I like them!

Already modified the pattern pieces, so ready to start version 2!

2018-01-07: It’s a good thing @corriedekleermaeker got me plenty of this push bike fabric when she visited. This is a fabric hungry pattern, especially if you can’t cheat with upside down pattern pieces. @knipmode 2016-06 dress 11, version 2: the real deal.

2018-01-09: May the cutting begin!
The balcony table matches beautifully with the dining table, so I’ve got me a temporarily kick-ass-sized cutting table 😎

2018-01-13: My interpretation of @knipmode2016-06 dress 11, in a jersey knit from #JanSikkes gifted by @corriedekleermaeker featuring plenty of bicycles 🚲🚴‍♀️🚵‍♀️ First made quite some changes to the fit in a wearable muslin first and now remade it in this slightly heavier jersey.

Finished it with a rolled hem, because I wanted to preserve the length and also just because I can now that I have my-first-overlocker. The hem curls outward a bit too much, so probably should have used the differential feet better. Not entirely happy with the arm scythes, which might turn out a bit too tight for the Brisbane climate. Also not certain about the pockets, adding bulk to the hips and tend to stay open. But then again, you got to have pockets!

Sometimes you finish a perfectly fine dress without jumping for joy, not sure why in this case. Guess I’ll need to take her on a test run and see how she goes.

BTW, the big ass cutting table made up of the dining room table together with the balcony table worked swimmingly. Thank the engineers for standardised sizing.

2013-01-13: What a difference 2 cm make in the armpit. Changed my dress from uncomfortable to just what I planned for!

2018-03-31: Last weekend I made another Burdastyle dress, since my push bike version has proven to be a favorite. This time I used a heavier knit, getting towards scuba in a beautiful bordeaux. I’m happy with the look and feel of it in this dress.


2018-02-10: Believe it or not, but making a petticoat has been on my wish list for many a year. Today I made it so!

Photos are: without, with and only a petticoat. Does it have the right amount of fullness you think?

I made this with tulle cut offs from @reversegarbageqld and got plenty left for a full length petticoat, or another short one with more layers 🤔. Having an overlocker definitely made the job a lot easier and faster 😁. It’s more a winter accessory though, tulle works nicely as insulation… 😫

Pleated skirt

2018-03-31: Yesterday I finally picked up this lovely print from Voodoo Rabbit to turn it into a pleated skirt, making it up as I went along. No cutting, apart from the pocket, but quite a bit of unpicking as I stumbled through the process. Now I can finally put my petty coat to use!

Also, the skirt is nice combo with this t-shirt from Plotz in the Netherlands featuring cutting scissors 😀. #SewHereNow

2018 makes (1) – work outfit

My makes of 2018, spread out over 9 blog posts. This is blog 1, with photos.

Deltares work shirts, 2018 edition

2018-01-01: A new year, a new sewing project. Made a 2nd work shirt in my 2018 style, but added some flat piping to the neckline (left one). Used both of my machines this time, do everything is threaded up with royal blue. #Classy
That makes two down, so a few more to go!

2018-02-03: First attempt to transform left over collars and sleeves from my refashioned work shirts into something. Currently thinking pleated skirt. I don’t have enough material to make an entire skirt though. Maybe it would work with a straight /plain backside. Thoughts?

Upcycling dress to pencilskirt

2018-01-02: Shapeless dress (on me at least) turned into knee-length vixen pencilskirt. It works great with my work-polo-turned-classy-top. Now I’ll have to wear fancy shoes into the office 😅

I reused the collar as waistband, with some elastic hidden within. Nipped the sides in a smidgen. That was all. Overlocker FTW.

Original dress donated by @mariandk42over a year ago *blush*. #waronwaste #slowfashion

Summer pants (wearable toile and the real deal)

2018-11-04: Summer pants! Planning on more, cause Summer 😎. Will tweak the waistband a bit in the next one.

#highwater #sewherenow #prettyinsides#KnipmodeWithTweaks #Lowrise

2018-11-06: Played a serious game this morning with a enthusiastic group of Indonesian delegates. Had great fun, but also shared with them that my pocket lining was in fact an Indonesian print. At the end they gave me this beautiful bracelet made from local stones, so I guess my confession was appreciated 😊. #imakemyownclothes #detailsmatter#prettyinsidesFTW

2018-11-18: Focused on some details and new techniques this weekend. Added a welt back pocket to my new pants yesterday and am working my way through concealed buttons and sleeve placard today. YouTube college FTW 😉 It’s fun to learn new things and take your time to find a nice way to do them. #alwayslearning#sewherenow #wearabletoile#myfirstbuttondown

2018-11-29: Happy work pants! @knipmode2018-09 pattern #16. This length combined with bare feet make me feel like Uma Thurman.

Modifications: ➕ swopped straight waistband with shaped #GingerMidrisewaistband, previously hacked to be a LowRise ➕ hidden button and hook for closure ➕ added welt pockets in the back.

#MorePockets #sewherenow #prettyinsides #twist

Deltares work shirts, 2019 edition

2018-12-16: There’s no such thing as too much coverstitching, right?

Making things up as I go along, hacking this Burda 08/2017 dress into a top, in knit instead of woven, omitting the lining, fabricating some neck facing, coverstitching all the seems.

I think it might need some tweaks (for starters get rid of those buste darts), but will happily test wear it tomorrow!

#workoutfit2019 #sewherenow #4moretogo #freshshirteveryday


2018 makes (0) – new machines

I’ve been all over Instagram in 2018, neglecting this blog. I think this blog will have a bit more staying power than random Insta posts, so I’ve gathered all my makes, in semi chronological order in a few blog posts. More for my future self than anyone else, mind you! It worked out to be 9 blog post, so I guess this was my 2018 make 9 :).


We start here with the changes in hardware in 2018 and the 2018 Christmas drinkies with the Spoolettes :).  Here’s the link to the photos.

Sewing machine troubles

2018-06-23: My trusty machine decided enough is enough earlier this week. At her age I think I have to respect her wishes. So after a week of research I’m shopping for a new companion today. Just spend 2 hours looking at Husqvarna, Brother and Bernina, next up is Janome. I have learned my Husqvarna 1200 had an exceptional collection of features and will be hard to replace!#YouOnlyMissThemWhenTheyAreGone
#SidewaySewing #AutoTension

2018-06-29: Topstiching like a boss on my new husqy. La Opal and I are getting to know each other. Let the weekend begin!

#NewMachineDay #HusqvarnaViking#Opal690Q #TheyCanFixMyOld1200Too#Yay

New machine, it’s a coverstitch!

2018-11-16: Not sure what I’m happier about: one last unexpected swim on the reef on Samoa Friday arvo or learning that my new coverstitch will be waiting for me at home tomorrow on Saturday morning!#AndTheHBtoo #GoodLife#WorkLifeBalance

2018-11-17: Out-of-the-box results, coverstitching in the round shoulder seams and all. No skipped stitch in sight, obviously I need to work on my sewing straight skills 😂. Follow up test runs did have 1 or 2 skipped stitches, so I will join the ranks of those struggling with this. But first some more practice to get a feel for the effect of the different settings, and to minimize user error 🤓

2018-11-22: My first coverstitch hem! Sure, you can get all technical and call it my third one, but who’s counting. BTW, did you know it’s super easy to unpick a coverstitch 😂

Definitely room for improvement, but I took the plunge and moved from scraps to garment. Bring it on! (the orange hem stitching is mine, the grey is the original from the upcycled shirt) #learningcurve#coverstitch #CycleQueensland

2018-11-25: T-shirt with coverstitched neckband and hems (!) put together in 1 morning. Roughly 75% of that time was spent attaching the neckband with the knit binder attachment 😅

Some observations: ➕ cut binding strips along the grain (stretch lengthwise), anything else will fail ➕ every time you stop coverstitching, you get a skipped stitch ➕ it seems to be impossible to coverstitch a hem in one go without stopping, let alone a neckband ➕ not sure how to bring these last two points together 😭

#sewherenow #coverstitch #knitbinder#learningcurve (Yes, I used new needles, checked the threading, flossed the discs, checked the needle settings and made test runs. The stitch quality is beautiful, except for the places where I stopped and continued, without as much as lifting the foot, just to reposition my hands.)

2018-12-01: Coverstitch project #2, a short sleeve Tee for the hb. Tension is better under control, but still some skipped stitches. Let’s see how they hold up in real life.

Had some fun coverstitching the neck and sleeve seams. Getting more comfortable with my new tool, but it feels there’s still a ways to go… For those paying attention: hb still only wears black, except when visiting a Buddhist temple. #holidaysewing

#sewherenow #learningcurve #coverstitch


2018-12-16: Christmas drinkies with the @brisbanespoolettes

Deltares work shirts

Out with the old, in with the new. I’ve finished the 2019 edition of my work shirt and I’m super happy with it. It’s not easy to find a fun pattern, that’s suitable for work, can be made out of a polo shirt (fricking center front button placard!) and has room for the company logo.

Top is the new line (hack from dress 120 Burda 8/2017). Left is the semi-wearable toile, before some major improvements (lengthen by 8 cm, reduce bust shaping). Middle 2 are sewn on sewing machine, finished with a double needle on the coverstitch. Right 2 are sewn on the overlocker, finished with a chain-stitch. I batch-sewed these, which worked well since I had to swap cones between the overlocker and coverstitch a lot, which is worth it for 2 shirts. I feel doing 3 in a batch might have been a bit too much for me! Last version is def the best, and as pretty on the inside as they are on the outside (swipe for pica).

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The old editions are from left to right: 2018 with a boat neck, 2017 with a waterfall neckline and 2016 which was just a fitted polo. Every edition has its place, and I enjoy seeing the progression over time. This year is the first time I used a pattern. Previous years I’ve been inspired by RTW neckline features, and made it work.

I’ve included a photo with me in the new shirt. Bonus: I think I’ve salvaged enough collars to make a cheerleader skirt! Just need to figure out what fabric to use in between. Also, I’m due for a change of color on my machines and sew something else than work shirts!

#sewherenow #sewingtall #deltares

Sri Lanka – land of green colors and delicious curries

TL;DR, Sri Lanka is a beautiful lush country, rich with culture, welcoming and generous people, the most delicious food (bring on the local spice!)  and terrible traffic. Here are some photos of our 2 week trip to Sri Lanka, our first adventure in this part of the world.

When Jaap’s colleague Sudam asked us if we wanted to join him visiting his parents and his home country, we didn’t skip a beat and took him up on his offer. Thus began the planning and execution of a beautiful trip.

At the center of this trip is the warm and welcoming family of Sudam. Sujeeva and Dileepa took us in like family. Dileepa cooked us a wide variety of Sri Lankan dishes, Sujeeva had and endless supply of fresh tea and together we had many stimulating conversations. It was truly a pleasure to have Maharagma as our base camp for this 2 week trip.

The  holiday was split in 4 main parts: exploring the South coast and tea country near Galle, a family trip to the history rich North Central Province, the climb of Sri Pada and driving around hill country hunting for water falls and elephants.

Our 4 road trips on Sri Lanka
Rough outline of our road trips

Southern Province

Catching the bus from Maharagma to Galle takes you whizzing over a practically empty toll highway and grinds to a halt in the local hectic traffic of Galle. Traffic rules, who needs them? Turns out, Sri Lanka could do with them :).  But bending the rules is handy when you want to rent a car and you forgot to bring your passport and the owner is out for a holiday. The owner’s nephew was happy to vouch for us. He told us about his experiences at uni during the war over a cup of tea and tasty little Sri Lankan bananas, while we waited for the owner of the car rental place to come home. It’s all about connections in Sri Lanka. With the time we had left, we lucked into visiting the Nandana Tea Factory, a proud family business with a dapper head of the family braving pouring rain, but not the lightning, to tell us all about his garden, tea plantation, tea factory and tea tasting. A couple of hours well spend, and lots of tea to bring home as a bonus.

Back in Galle, we got in touch with our VOC roots spending the night in a former Dutch merchant house with a four-poster bed. The strong walls of the fort itself are said to have reduced the devastating impact of the 2004 Tsunami.  The difference in ambiance inside the fort (tourist city!) and outside (local life in all it’s wonderful complexity) was very stark. We were led to a beautiful spice stall, where we made some purchases so we (I mean Jaap) can try to recreate the dishes back home.

Central North Province

Next up was all the history, irrigation and Buddhism you can squeeze in a 3 day family trip. Led by Uncle, the whole family got in a mini-van for an adventure to Central North.

The practice of irrigation started centuries BCE with small village tanks. Much later, King Parākramabāhu I  of Kingdom of Polonnaruwa (1153-86) constructed further extensive irrigation systems. His most famous adage is “not even a little water that comes from the rain must flow into the ocean without being made useful to man”. We visited some of the bigger tanks (Deduruoya Reservoir, Rajangana Reservoir, Kale Wewa Reservoir). Time has not stood still though, more often than not you can see the remains of the old bunts close to location of newly erected ones.  Some very impressive engineering then and now, enough to make this engineer very happy.

Anuradhapura, the Sinhalese first capital and the center of Sri Lankan Buddhism for many centuries is famous for its well-preserved ruins of an ancient Sri Lankan civilization. The area was uninhabited for many centuries, but the local population remained aware of the ruins. Various excavations have taken place, beginning in 1884 and continuing until current day. The amount of Buddhist temples and the remains of monasteries, baths and hospitals are amazing. Anuradhapura must have been quite a bustling center of activity back in the day when 5-10,000 monks called it home.

Sigiriya is a combination of beautiful gardens, a challenging ascent to the top of the rock, and the story of King Dhatusena and his two sons. Mogallana his youngest son by one of the most desired and finest of his queens, and Kassapa, by a less significant consort. Upon hearing that Mogallana had been declared heir to the throne, Kassapa rebelled. What happened next illustrates the importance given to water in early Sinhalese civilization. Threatened with death if he would refuse to reveal the whereabouts of the state treasure, Dhatusena agreed to show his errant son its location if he was permitted to bathe one final time in the great Kalawewa Tank, of which the construction he had overseen. Standing within the tank, Dhatusena poured its water through his hands and told Kassapa that this alone was his treasure. Kassapa, none too impressed, had his father walled up in a chamber and left him to die. Mogallana, meanwhile, vowed to return from India and reclaim his inheritance. Kassapa, making preparations for the expected invasion, constructed a new dwelling on top of the 200-metre-high Sigiriya rock – a combination of pleasure palace and indestructible fortress. It can also be seen as a dictionary definition of a golden cage.

Sri Pada

Next up was a longstanding wish of Sudam to climb Sri Pada, at the top of which a footprint mark can be found, left behind by Buddha when he visited Sri Lanka. The mountain (and footprint) is considered sacred as well by the Hindus, Muslims and Christians, so it’s a special bushwalk no matter your background. At the top a Buddhist shrine has been erected near the footprint. The preferred way to make the climb is to ascend by night to arrive in time for sunrise, after which you make your way down again. We chose the Kuruwita-Erathna trail, which is the least steep, but also the longest and most challenging trail. The 2 km climb over 12 km and the same route back again within 24 hours left us somewhat exhausted. However, the experience was quite hard to top, from the tea shops along the trail (!), the river of white faces that came up via the Hatton route after the quiet and local experience on the route we used, to the actual sunrise and “floating” shade cast by the mountain at the top. Sujeeva summed it up nicely afterwards with a well-known maxim: only a fool would never climb Sri Pada and only a fool would climb it more than once.

Udawalawe National park and Hill Country

After Sri Pada, we said goodbye to Sudam and his friend and continued our route to our very first safari ever, in National Park Udawalawe. Here you are bound to come across an few munching elephants and plenty of peacocks along the way. Next time, we would love to visit Yala National Park to hopefully see some big cats, but now we chose to explore the Hill Country instead. While Jaap was expertly maneuvering our Toyota Prius through the local traffic and over the small hill roads like the international driver he is, I was clinging to the dashboard screaming like a cheerleader. Business as usual for us, so we had a jolly good time. The many waterfalls ranged from easy to reach tourist infested water holes to beautiful sights viewed from peaceful meadows infested by leeches. In between lay many a tea plantation, coloring the landscape all shades of green.

All good things must end

Fortunately, there are plenty of good reasons to return to Sri Lanka. So many sights that still need seeing, so many provinces not yet visited. We did however manage to squeeze in a quick visit to a hand loom factory, where we got a tour and full explanation of how these full-body-workout hand loom apparatuses work. We weren’t allowed to take pictures, but it looked very much like this video, including the operator ladies whom I would not like to face in a hand-wrestling competition.  Afterwards they showed me how to wear a Sri Lankan Saree and had loads of beautiful fabrics for me to choose from. I’m on a self-imposed fabric ban, but these are souvenirs :).

Sri Lankan Saree and the women who made it




Those Dutcheese (TM)

TL;DR: Tasmania was amazing, here are the pictures.

Almost 400 years after Abel Tasman reached Van Diemen’s land we went exploring Tasmania as well. This state may be only 1.5 times larger than the Netherlands if you measure it on a globe, the actual surface is many times more than that of our Dutch pancake (poffertje) of a home country. It’s rimmed with beautiful beaches, but harbors nothing but mountains on the inside. This caused some challenges for our non-4WD rental here and there, but the landscape is simply spectacular and different behind every corner.

We had 10 days to do a circuit, which is just about doable because of said mountains. We set ourselves a berry and sheep mission, to eat and photograph (in that order). Along the way we fulfilled both, with the help of a farmer who looked like he came straight out of Amish country and a curious sheep. But it was on Bruny Island where we finally ate all the cheeses.

Australia has some nice cheeses to offer, but somehow hasn’t mastered the art of the cheese platter, nor the chatter to go with it. Munching on the delicious cheeses of Tasmania, we came up with the alternative to our engineering life. Delicatessen shop “Those Dutcheese” (TM) will offer a small selection covering the best cheeses this world has to offer. Think a piquant Gruyere, ripe blue cheese, creamy brie, and of course old and savory Gouda cheese, to name a few. But what really sets this shop apart is the full back story for every cheese, and the advice to combine it with the right sips and bites. But the best thing, we get to eat the leftovers :).

Below the map, you can find the full trip report.2017-12 Tasmania route

The East Coast has beautiful beaches on one side, and meadows filled with cows and sheep on the other.  Along the way we’ve scuba dived with seals (Eaglehawk Neck), soaked up some history (Port Arthur), watched Little Penguins use the stairs (Pirates Bay), climbed a mountain (Wineglass Bay), ordered diner just before 8 PM (Bicheno),  left our car on the road to South Sister (St. Mary), felt at home in the dunes (St. Helens point) and looked at ocean (Bingalong Bay).

If you venture further inland, the mountains take over. Here we’ve marveled at the ability of cars to ignore gravity (Launceston), photographed the view (Brady’s Lookout), had coffee in a Lucky Luke-like saloon (Mole Creek), twinkled with the glow worms (Marakoopa cave), pretended to have a 4WD and made a campfire at James’ caravan, saw an echidna and missed a wombat (Cradle Mountain) and learned that roads with an A in their designation can still be tiny mountain roads.

The North Coast was more familiar to us Dutchies, being a bit cooler and with the sun setting almost in the water. Still plenty of beach, but a much less beach-friendly climate. Here Burnie was the highlight of disappointment, where even the Little Penguins sleep in concrete bunkers. Fortunately, Stanley was the complete opposite with its picturesque buildings and the deliciously weird Nut, which we ascended with some assistance of the chairlift, like proper old people. A trip to the Dismal Swamp (yes, we took the slide down) brought us to the West.

The West Coast holds the Edge of the World, where you can feel the full force of the roaring forties (Arthur River). From there it’s 80 km of gravel road to get to Strahan, which you need to traverse without delay to be able to catch the last ferry at Corinna at 5pm or 7pm, depending on which sign you believed. The views along the way are breathtaking, but so was the realization that the combination of a flat and no mobile reception would be a recipe for disaster. We saw 1 car and 2 motorbikes (!) on this particular stretch of road… The towns along the way show the eras when the local mining business was booming with their beautiful art-deco styles (Zeehan). The Empire hotel in Queenstown was established in 1901, with all the splendor that goes with it. However, the environmental impact of the mining boom has left the surrounding landscape barren.

Back on the South Coast we lavished in the art at MONA and looked at all the beautiful things for sale at the Salamanca markets, that we could not fit within our baggage allowance (damn you, diving gear!). From there it was a short trip to Bruny Island where, apart for the aforementioned cheeses, we also ate all the oysters (Jaap), all the chocolates (Simone) and all the berries and cherries. We ended our road trip with a visit to mount Wellington and the latest edition of Star wars. May the force of Christmas be with you, always.

Party time

Hold the presses, project settling-in-in-a-different-country has been successfully been completed: we gave our very first party!

Turning 40 was the perfect excuse to throw an Australian party the Dutch way. So we shoved the table to the side, stocked up the fridge with drinks and snacks and invited a whole bunch of people to our home. I must confess, the original plan was to throw a Dutch party the Australian way, with a barbie on the roof and perchance a dip in the pool. However, since we chose by far the wettest day of the week (dare I say month) for this affair, we had to resort to plan B.

We had the bestest of times with some lovely people we’ve met over the past two years. It was a mix of friends from the neighborhood, colleagues from 3 different organisations (the benefits of flex-desking) and of course some dear sewing friends. Due to the size of our apartment, I decided not to invite our scuba diving friends. Alas, next time!

There was much mingling going on, and even the rekindling of an old friendship. It’s such a small world we live in. All the under 18’s managed not to electrocute or maim themselves in our less than childproof home, so that was a bonus.

When we were cleaning the apartment after everybody left, we noticed we had more beer in the fridge than at the start of the party. Some true Ozzie magic right there by our friends. This of course just means we’re all set up for the next party :).