I have FINALLY made this dress! I have read maybe a dozen posts where people made this and said ‘I must be the last person on the internet to make this!’ Nope. And I won’t be either, but boy it did take me a while to get around to it. Although my email tells me I bought it in February 2014 – I had thought it was longer than that! I got it from sewsquirrel, who I really recommend. Great range of patterns, equivalent prices so you’re not paying the Antipodean Tax, free postage and they send them out really quick!

I first muslined this some time in 2014, at a Craft Camp. I tried the size 18 and it clearly needed an FBA – it was pulling at the side seams and the back wouldn’t meet up. So last June I took it to Craft Camp again and did the respobsible FBA adjustment and muslined it up again. It backfired – it was massive on me.

Not exactly the elegant, figure-skimming dress I was hoping for – and that the first muslin had promised. Plus weird wings of fabric at my underarms, and all kinds of fitting issues. I threw it in my WIP pile in a miff and sewed other things. I thought about it now and then and eventually I thought I’d try sewing the original bodice onto the skirt and see how that went.


It was perfect.

Ok not perfect, still a little right in the stomach area, but… pretty perfect! I have lost a teeny bit of weight, mostly off of my boobs, so perhaps that is why? I wouldn’t have thought it would be such a drastic change but if there’s one thing I’m slowly learning after having it hammered in to me by dumb mistakes, it’s that a little difference can hve a huge effect, when it comes to fitting.

So I got to sewing, because not only had I been dreaming of this dress for a while, but I had an event in October that I wanted to wear it to.  Besides, I was reading Genevieve Valentine’s VMA recap (if you don’t read her blog you should, it’s great) where she comments on all the ‘leg pops’. So I figured that the trend will be over soon and I’d better get on it!

It even fits my swayback pretty well!

Fabric is rayon from DK fabrics bought ages ago with the Anna specifically in mind. It was pretty narrow so I bought 5 metres and I used most of that. I initially cut the skirt as the pattern specifies, because I wanted to see how the length was. In the end I took about 6″ off, though, so I could probably squeeze this out of 3 metres of wider fabric – it’s the long skirt pieces and the way they flare out at the bottom that makes this a fabric hog. That 6″ would mean I could do some tesselating and save some fabric.

I did initially try toget it out of some other rayon I bought at the same time, which is wider but was a bolt end so I had something like 2.4m or some odd number, and it wasn’t quite enough. Enough for a midi version though!

This rayon is quite thick and heavy. I have to hang it folded over the hanger because if I hang it normally it sags and pulls at the waistline. Plus side is, if I hang it to dry, gravity pulls all the wrinkles out!

I french seamed everything except the skirt seam where the split is, which is overlocked and then sewn as a regular seam, and the split turned twice and stitched. I could have been more precise in this – the split angles out a bit but since the split is quite far to the centre, I don’t think I would get the appropriate amount of leg flashing otherwise :P. I shortened the split considerably – by about 6″ – because I am not comfortable flashing that much leg, and also I always wear bike shorts so it would be a moot point. My longer shorts do still peek out. I’m considering doing some unpicking and shortening the split another 4″ or so.

I included this one to prove that my hands aren’t welded to my hips…

My sweetie, S, took these photos for me in the Botanic Garden, which was lovely. It was actually really fun, and people were very friendly and nice about us hogging the path. Someone even stopped and offered to take a photo of both of us, which turned out great and is nice to have because S hates having his photo taken so I don’t have many of him! I was really shy about having my photo taken in public but it was actually great! I wish I’d had the energy to try a couple of different locations, especially because the shadows make this black dress hard to see. But it was the end of the day and we were both tired.

I bought these bracelets to be part of a costume. They turned my wrists green.

I took a bit of a wedge out of the front bodice to deal with the hollow chest effect, and stay stitched the neckline pieces IMMEDIATELY after cutting, to prevent sagging out. This worked really well and the neckline sits wonderfully. Oh, except, I used a facing as per the pattern, and facings are the devil. God I hate facings. That said, once I wrangle it into submission after putting it on, it does sit nicely – a bias finish wouldn’t look as neat. Next time I would consider lining the whole bodice so I didn’t have to do a facing!


I went and took a quick backyard selfie so that you can see how the pleats release a bit strangely. I’m not really happy with how they sit but I fiddled a bit and couldn’t seem to make them any different, so I gave in and accepted it. I was unwilling to keep fiddling if I wasn’t sure it would fix things. Maybe if I made three smaller darts?

I read Mary saying that she made the darts bigger and that fixed it but it didn’t seem to help me. I also tried tapering them in, which also appeared to do exactly nothing. In the second muslin I converted them to darts to solve this problem so I guess I could try that. I’ve already lowered them and that did help but there seems to be a sweet spot and I’m as close as I can get to it and they still do that weird hollow thing. If anyone knows how to make them sit nicer, please let me know!

After typing all that out I went and had another look at the By Hand London site and all of theirs release like that, too. So maybe I’ll just get over it :P

This photo tells me I should maybe put in a hook and eye

I took the neckline in about an inch – just drew the shoulder line another inch out and then used my french curve to re-draw the neckline. As drafted it would have exposed my bra straps.

The only other adjustment I made was to sew the pleats and skirt seams in the stomach area a bit looser. I wasn’t very precise about this, but I added probably 3/4cm all up. I need to trace off the skirt pattern pieces so when I do that I will also retrace the bodice, and adjust all the front pattern pieces a bit more precisely. I did have to do a bit of easing to get everything to line up, and it’s still not perfect so it would be good to have it prepared for next time. Still, the black hides a multitude of sins.

In the end, this adjustment worked perfectly, it fits very comfortably, and I ADORE how I look in this dress. I feel like a goddess, and the rayon scroops as I walk.! I am going to make the midi version out of the teal rayon I have, and I am contemplating mashing this bodice together with the Japanese Flowers skirt for another version.

The event I wanted to wear this to was a Spring Picnic with a ‘things of the forest’ theme. I found some sparkly poly mesh in Spotters and decided I would make my anna and then make an overskirt for it. I made the anna skirt again, and sewed some ribbon on for the waist, and tied it around, and ta-da! Costume!

I think this would look really good for an overskirt sewn in to the waistband, too, and caught and turned with the split seam. I just tied it so that the opening of the ‘wrap’ skirt was over the split.

This face is because Steve was teasing me about something, who knows what. Good thing the wind didn’t change…

I am so glad I finally made this dress. I know there have been some comments on the internet as to the quality of the BHL drafting. I’m not sure I can speak to that – I do know I found it very hard to adjust, so I guess I’m glad I magically fit into it again! It is a lovely finished dress, though. I can’t help thinking how lovely it would be in silk, like Foxgloves and Thimble’s version. I’ve been planning this dress for a couple of summers now, I’m glad to finally have it to wear!

I am being so creative with my titles lately.

If thinking about what you want to sew = finished items, I’d have about twelve of these in my wardrobe by now. When I sewed my Christmas skirt, I kept thinking how I loved the shape and how versatile it would be in my wardrobe – except not in a novelty Christmas print. Gingham, I thought, would be perfect. Goes with everything, and besides, I have a longstanding Thing for gingham. I just love it. I wanted this skirt so much, and it fits so well with my current wardrobe needs, that I kept reaching for it before forgetting I hadn’t sewn it yet.

Fabric is a 1″ check 100% cotton from Spotters. Fabric Tragic just made a Grainline Archer in the same fabric.  It’s a lovely fabric, but probably a bit light for a skirt. Although realistically, I mostly wear skirts in warmer weather anyway – in winter and autumn I just want to wear dresses, with their no-chance-of-letting-wind-in waists.

Like my Christmas skirt, I used the waistband from my trusty Ottobre skirt. Unlike my Christmas skirt, I decided to pleat rather than gather. This was one reason this took me so long – I kept doing the maths wrong. Although at least gingham makes it easy to pleat precisely! The back has a box pleat in the middle and then is pleated all the way across, making it very floofy, which was my aim. The front has a 5″ bit that’s flat in the middle, and then some pleats at the side. I forget how many – I did adjust this to make it fewer because when I basted it together it was hanging a bit strange.

The front hangs too low – or the back too high I guess. I took some of the curve off the bottom of the back yoke, just as I was sewing it, to adjust for my swayback. It looks to me like I need to do the same thing at the front – and maybe smooth out the top curve just a little, as well. You can see in the above photo that it goes alright for a bit and then droops drastically. Part of this is that it’s a bit big. I had to take it in considerably – probably four inches all up, I think? It was un-adjusted in the photo above. And it’s still a little bit large, so I actually find myself sticking my stomach out to hold it up.

It’s a bit less extreme now, in this adjusted version, but still present. Anyone peering very closely at the photos will be able to see that the yokes are different. I initially cut the yokes on the straight grain, because 1) I thought I was going to be tight for fabric and 2) I didn’t think about it very much. But although I didn’t hate it, it didn’t look great and I knew it would bug me. Plus, it accentuated all the existing flaws in the skirt. So I ended up re-cutting the yoke on the bias. I like it much better, now. This was also when the drastic taking-in happened. I just nipped it in at the side seams, and as a result the pattern matching is a bit off. The pleats are less precise, too, because I wasn’t as careful sewing them the second time.

I cut both the front and back on the fold again, with an invisible side zip which I remembered to put on the right hand side this time. And once again just cut the fabric in half down the middle and that set the length. The hem is overlocked and turned and top stitched, to keep the length. I like the idea of a slightly longer, midi version, but it might be a bit overwhelming on my frame? Not sure.

Managed a twirl!

I really like this skirt, although I do NOT like ironing it. Because I re-sewed the pleats less precisely, they are more difficult than usual to iron. And the fabric does crumple pretty easy – I am not sure if you can tell here, but it is pretty wrinkled after a day of wear. I had to sneak photos in quickly before work one day. Although I find that if I hang it on a skirt hanger to dry after washing, it’s within acceptable wrinkle quota, just not quite as crisp as is ideal.

Me reacting to S coming to see ‘what all the weird beeping in the front yard’ was. You can see how taking it in made the pattern matching at the side a bit weird.

I wore this once in Bali but with all the sweating and constant stairs I lost just a bit of weight off my stomach and it hung too loose. Now I’m back in Aus and better hydrated, it fits again, although it could do with another 1/2″ off the side seams, I think, to fit really well. I’m not sure if I can be bothered or not. Really do not want to unpick and re-sew that zip. Again.

I lined it with some white rayon and I need to top stitch it down a bit more because it likes to peep out at the top – you can see it in some of these photos – and that’s made worse by the skirt hanging low. The lining is just sewed atthe yoke and left hanging inside.

All up, not a perfect make (what’s new!) but very wearable and fits right in with my current wardrobe. I anticipate getting a lot of wear out of this one! I would really like a black version, maybe with one or two big box pleats on front and back rather than all the little ones. I’ve got my eye out for a suitable fabric!

Kitten approved

And lastly, a note about the photos.

Still following along with the Better Pictures Project. I’m trying to improve my photos even if it’s incrementally rather than all at once. I’m not aiming for professional blogger levels, just general improvement, and getting things blogged still trumps finding the time to have an elaborate photo shoot. I was hoping this spot indoors would be a good inclement weather location, but it’s a bit dark and I had to blow out the photos to be able to see the skirt properly. That said, I think it’s probably better (if less interesting?) than the spot I was using in my sewing room. At least here the light is regular enough that I can edit it to be viewable. I’d love to hear what you-all think about how they compare.

Still trying to get outside when possible, although the front yard is looking dry and gross, I guess summer is here, in the middle of spring! Also there were several in this set of me being swooped by the Noisy Miners nesting across the road – unlike magpies they don’t try to make contact but it’s still alarming!

Anyway, the point is…. The project continues. In promising news I figured out how to turn the autoflash flash off on my camera! I was finding that unless I set it to ‘no flash’ autosetting it wanted to use flash constantly, which is not a good look. My camera is a Nikon D3200, and the way to turn it off is in the ‘i/information’ setting, I found the information here. So these were all shot in portrait mode, I’m hoping to find time to experiment with the settings a bit and see what works best.

I’d love to hear if anyone has opinions on locations or other things – I’m genuinely interested to hear what people think! (But be nice)

No, this is not me being early – this is last year’s skirt! I was going through a period of not blogging when I made this, and this skirt isn’t very exciting so it never made it up here. But I just made a similar skirt and I wanted to reference this, so here it is!

I found this rad Christmas cockatoo fabric at spotlight last year, and decided I had to have it. I have now bought several more Australian-animal Christmas fabrics, that may or may not make it into garments. I feel fine about having these in the stash – any time I see an Aussie-centric Christmas thing I buy it, pretty much on principle. I was initially going to make a shirtdress out of this other fabric I bought, featuring kookaburras. I was planning to use Simplicity 1459.


Kookaburras and contrast fabric. I haven’t decided which bits of the dress should be which.

However, it will definitely need an FBA and maybe other adjustments and I didn’t leave myself enough time to muslin it, and then I realised I wanted to wear it to my work Christmas party which was in early December, leaving me even less time. So I decided to fall back on my backup, and just make a simple skirt.


Close up cockies. The text says ‘Merry Christmas’

I used the waistband of an Ottobre skirt which I have made a million times, although it looks like only three have made it to the blog. It was the first Ottobre pattern I made, I think I traced it from Sue M’s magazine although I think I’ve since bought the edition – it’s  5/2007. I know it fits me, although I have historically had to make various adjustments depending on the fabric, because the waistband will sit differently. Also I think my waistband has been getting bigger over time, because when I traced it I added seam allowances, but I usually just sew it on the overlocker which means I don’t need as much. Anyway, long story short, it’s a curved yoke which I find much easier to tweak to fit my actual body, rather than a straight one.

An attempt at a twirl. These photos turned out darker than I realised, sorry.

I wanted a gathered skirt, with a decent amount of flounce and from memory I had limited fabric – I can’t remember exactly how much, maybe 2 metres? I ended up just cutting the fabric in half, lengthways. Then I sewed it together, and gathered it to fit the waistband, and sewed it on. Tada! I put in a side zip rather than a back one because I didn’t want to have to think about where to split the fabric, and I had uneven panels because I’d cut the waistband out of one of them so it was shorter. I didn’t think about it and ended up with the zip on the left side (the front and back yokes are different), which is annoying and means I have to zip the skirt up with the zip facing the front, and then scooch it around to sit right. I also didn’t bother to think about adding pockets.

What is this pose? Who knows.

To mazimise length and cut down on sewing time (I was now down to the day before the party) I just serged the hem and turned it up and sewed it. I did line the yoke with a facing, just using some random lining fabric from my stash, adn then top stitching that down along the yoke/skirt seam.


I can’t remember if there were any fitting issues with this one, it’s too long ago now. I do know the back dips – it’s a bit exaggerated here because of my posture but also does happen in real life. I think this is because the yoke sits out from my swayback, so the weight of the skirt can pull it down. I should have shaped the waistband there more, I guess. I think it needs for the bottom curve of the yoke to be smoothed out and less curvy – you can see that bit kind of sits out of line with the rest of the curve.


Fuzzy work bathroom selfie with the skirt as worn to my work do, with one of my ‘painted roses’ rayon tops.

I wore it to my work do, and also on Christmas day, and it was a hit. I know there were things I was unhappy with when I first sewed it – it’s certainly not the most elegantly constructed skirt. But given I can’t remember what most of the issues are, I’d say it’s a good lesson in focusing on the things that matter and not getting caught up in little imperfections, since my goal is generally ‘wearable’ rather than ‘couture’.


And as worn to my Christmas lunch with the family.

I’d still like to make the kookaburra dress for this year (I probably should get moving, then) but if I don’t – or even if I do – I’ll happily pull this skirt out over the holiday season. I’d wear it all year if I could.

This is another one from the same magazine as my last make – Ottobre Women 2/14. This one is pattern number 19, called “Japanese flowers” after the fabric that the magazine version is made from. Like the last one, I made this a month ago and then ended up making adjustments. The first part of this blog was written before I did the adjustments, and I’m too lazy to re-write it so I’ll just tack onto the end.

As with my last make, I made this to fill a wardrobe gap. It’s from a woven rayon from Spotlight, and is the same colour as one of the “Painted Roses” blouses I made last year. I sewed a size 50, graded down to a 46 at the shoulders and neck. It fits well but pulls a bit at the shoulders, I think if I made it again I would just make a straight 50.

It’s supposed to have a zip down the back but on basting it together to check the fit, I found I could easily get it over my head, so I skipped the zipper. I think it hangs a lot nicer than it would with a zip, so that’s all to the good! I thought about doing some shaping at the backseam for my swayback, but with a gathered bodice, I thought that was a bit pointless.

I was a bit on the fence about the gathering details – its a very different shape to what I am used to. But it’s growing on me. I did move the gathering at the front so it starts 3 inches either side of where the pattern indicates. I found that as drafted it was too bunchy, and not under my boobs so the bodice sat weird.


The bodice with gathers as drafted. Probably lovely on a smaller frame, with fewer ins and outs, needed some adapting for me.

I also took some length off the centre front. As drafted it curves so there’s more pouf at the front, and I trimmed it so it’s a lot straighter. It would have been better to do this at the start because I feel like I still got it a bit uneven, but that’s what you get for adjusting on the fly, and I don’t think it’s too obvious.

The front as drafted, with two inches more length at the centre front.

I don’t love the way the gathering bunches at the back, but I can live with it. If i made it again I might cut the back on the fold and even the gathering out across the whole back, so it’s less bunchy – that little pouch on the left in this photo bugs me. Otherwise, I like the room it gives to the bodice.

The skirt drafting is wonderful. It’s got some clever darts that go out and THEN in, and also a steep swoop on the side seam. I just love the way it looks, on, and I think I’ll steal this skirt to attach to various bodices. It also balances out the blousiness of the bodice really well, I don’t think I would like it as much with a more ordinary straight skirt.

Clever dart and side shaping.

I french seamed everything because why not? Although the hem is just overlocked and turned up, because I didn’t want to loose too much length. The rayon behaves itself beautifully. It will need ironing but I seem to be going down that route anyways, so help me. Once again, that’s the payoff for wearing natural fibres, and that’s what I like to wear. I don’t mind ironing so much if it’s a garment I really love and has the pros of natural fibres as well as the cons.

French seams

Sewing the bias onto the neck and shoulders was a DELIGHT. I have not quite enough fabric left to do anything with, I think I might make bias binding out of it because it is just so lovely to use as binding. I’m sure my various makes would benefit from it. I bought 2.5m while the pattern calls for 1.5, and I used most of it. Next time I’ll buy 2 and lay it out a bit better. I didn’t line it, either, although the pattern calls for lining the skirt. It would be necessary in a lighter fabric but I don’t think this one needs it, and no lining makes it extra cool and breezy.

Bias binding at neck and arms

The top of the bodice is also a bit loose, I wonder if I stretched it out a bit before sewing – you can see the little bubble in the photo above. Could have done with a stay stitch, probably. The blousy bodice hides a multitude of sins, though. I am really coming around to the shape, It’s drafted well enough that it looks like an intentional style rather than a baggy mistake. I think it’s a little bit toga-like, so I took a couple more photos next to the columns on our verandah.

This was a really fast make – I cut it and sewed it all in about three hours, including mucking around and basting and tweaking. I can see some more of these in my future!


After writing all that, we had a hot day and I thought I’d road test the dress by wearing it to work. I ended up changing before I left the house because the arms were so tight that they were uncomfortable. I ended up unpicking the shoulder seams and resewing them. I overlocked them and then sewed the shoulder-side as narrow as I could, tapering back up to 1.5cm at the neck. Maybe you can sort of see it here:


And then I re-bound the sleeves, trying to give myself a bit more give and easing in the bias binding more generously. This brings it much closer to a straight size 50, with a size 48 neck. The sleeves are still a teeny bit tight, but not enough to stop me wearing this dress in Bali, and loving it. It was the perfect dress for the weather – the rayon is so light it feels like wearing nothing, but my shoulders were covered and protected from the sun. I wished I had ten more. I wore it on our day trip, to have lunch in front of a volcano:

IMG_5923 IMG_5925

Thanks Lara for the photos, all contrast issues are my own, it was a very bright day!

And to buy ikat from a weaving family in Tenganan village, looking very pleased with myself:

IMG_5957 FullSizeRender

Thanks to Roz and Suse for these photos!

And here are some quick snaps I took at home

I think it maybe makes the front gathering sit slightly less flatteringly, but since it’s actually wearable, I think that’s an ok tradeoff!

A helper!

He did not sign up for this

I still really like this one, the only downside being that it’s so freezing in my office that I won’t be able to wear it to work, even in the inevitable heatwaves of summer. Still, it’s a wonderfully comfortable and cool summer dress and I will definitely be revisiting this pattern!

We’re back to a dodgy photo location for this one because it was an unseasonable make, and it was incredibly windy when I took the photos – so windy that half of my lettuce plants got blown over, and my hair collapsed in on itself despite being styled when I started the photos. This was the best location I could find that was sheltered enough and close enough to a door so I could run back to my tracksuit pants the second I was finished. Which was good timing because as soon as I was indoors it started raining.

Look at that accidental almost-matching pattern on the front. Actually I know that’s going to annoy me.


This dress is from the Ottobre Design Women’s magazine for Spring/Summer 2014. It’s pattern number 12, called ‘Tennessee’. Just a simple knit dress. When I first got this issue I thought there was nothing in it I’d ever make, as I usually do when I get a new edition of this magazine. And, as usual, a year later I was thinking ‘I wonder if I have a pattern for a simple dress with a loose-ish bodice’ and here we are.

There were some birds. It’s non stop excitement here, I tells ya what.

In fact I specifically disliked this pattern when I first saw it, because of the loose gathered bodice and cut on sleeves. But now I see this silhouette everywhere in RTW, and I am coming around to cut on sleeves, so as usual Ottobre is right and I am wrong. I love that this magazine is chock full of wearable basics, and they also clearly have an eye on trends. Not the bleeding edge of fashion or anything, but general silhouettes and the kind of thing that normal people wear.The subscription isn’t cheap (especially since I just had to renew it with our crap dollar. Ugh) but I definitely feel I get value for money out of it.

Anyhow, the sewing of this was slightly fraught as I found holes in the fabric as I was cutting it out. The fabric is just a rayon knit from Spotlight, I think it’s a new line for them. (She says casually, as if she is not perfectly aware of the state of Spotlight’s fabric lines. Side note… is it a bad sign when the servers at your big box fabric store recognise you and call you ‘a regular’? And not only ask what you’re making, but ask about specific pieces of fabric that you bought previously, and ask if you’ve made it into anything? It is, right?? Really gotta upgrade my fabric buying habits and/or quit buying any at all, but the fact that my office will be moving into the same building as spotlight at the end of the year is probably not gonna help things).

I took the holey piece back and they replaced it even though I didn’t have my receipt, which I really appreciated. The person who served me said she thought maybe one of the nightfillers had cut it with a boxcutter when getting it out of the shrinkwrap – and indeed, it did look like knife nicks, all the way down one side of the roll.

The fabric is pretty thin and drapey and annoying to cut but feels really nice and behaved itself very well in the actual sewing.

I cut a size 50, with the neck and shoulders graded down to 46, as per my measurements, for a cheaters FBA. I forgot to add seam allowance but figured it was a roomy knit, so I’d be right. In fact it turned out quite a bit too big, and I took 5/8 of an inch off of the side seams. It was still pretty roomy then, though, and hung really limply. I wanted something breezy but I also want to feel comfortable in it, and that means it can’t be a sack or I’ll feel self conscious.

The skirt is gathered in to the bodice with clear elastic, so I thought maybe I’d gather it again, to suck in the waist. I originally did the whole waist and of course it was then too small, so I unpicked the front and now i’ts just gathered on the back. I also took in the seam at the shoulders about 5/8 of an inch, which meant I had to re-reinforce the shoulders and the stitching is visible on the outside. But since I never have to look at that, I figure it’s better than having a droopy dress.

Shoulder reinforcement

Back gathering

Back gathering. A bit messy but it does the job and when it’s on, the gathers hide it pretty well.

I didn’t pay attention to how they have you do the neck and sleeve bindings, and just did them as usual, to my cost. he instructions have you sew them to the right side of the dress, turn them under and stitch with a straight stitch, so that instead of a band on the outside, you are basically using them as a facing. This would have been much better in the thin rayon, mine came out all wibbly. I turned the band under and top stitched on the arms and it made the problem different but not any better.

Tired face, wibbly sleeves

They’re all still wibbly. And I neglected a close up of the neck but it’s pretty loose, I suspect it will stretch out quite a bit over time. On the one hand I’m glad I did the more traditional binding, because it gives me a bit more height at the neckline (must remember to cut any future version a wee bit higher). On the other hand, I don’t think this rayon has enough recovery to really hold the neckline in enough.

Wibbly sleeve

So, after writing that I decided that I couldn’t live with the sleeves as they were, that it was just going to annoy me and I’d never wear it. I tried binding them with a more stable knit but I think the problem is just that the rayon is too rigid when sewn on the vertical. In the end, I just cut the binding and turned over parts off all together, had another quick photoshoot, and then shoved it in a drawer.

Sleeves with bindings cut off

I was feeling really unhappy about it, and thinking that it fell into the same unfortunate category as most of my me-made knit dresses and summer home-wear, where it covers my nakedness but is sloppy and makes me feel bad about it. The general failure of it, plus the fact that the sleeves are now much shorter than I’d like, made me feel not good. I had originally sewn it to bulk out my summer wardrobe so that I would have appropriate clothes to go to Bali with the retreat that Suse organised (it was amazing, I am hoping to blog it but if I don’t manage it Lara’s written some wonderful blog posts about it. Dates are up for next year, you should consider going!) I didn’t end up bringing this dress because I was so down on it. That said, now I look at the photos I’m feeling ok about it again. It might get a look the next hot day we have, and I’ll reassess.

I do really like the pattern itself, and the mistakes were my own so hopefully that means I could improve on them next time. I did grab some more of this knit to make another, but I don’t think it’s a good pattern to fabric match – I might try a moneta so I can line the bodice and not need facings. If I make this pattern again, I will:

  • Use the adjusted pattern which I am definitely going to adjust immediately so I don’t forget what I’m doing (edit: It’s been a week and I still haven’t done that sooooo… good job, me?) (edit: it’s been a month now. Gold star work).
  • cut the neckline higher so I can do the turned-under binding without it being too low.
  • Not use a rayon, or other knit that won’t manage the vertical sewing. If I do, I will just leave the sleeves raw to begin with
  • do the bindings as instructed
  • cut a piece of clear elastic to the size of my actual waist, rather than the size of the bodice, to use for gathering. I like the way that makes the top just a tiny bit blousy.
  • I think the elastic I used the first time was not really stretchy enough, while the second lot was. So I’ll make sure I use a stretchy enough elastic, and I found a slightly wider elastic was easier to control as well.

Hack – “hak” – verb
1. cut with rough or heavy blows. “I watched them hack the branches” synonyms: cut, chop, hew, lop, saw; slash


Yeah, this one isn’t an elegant mashup of patterns. It’s more slashing and hewing.

This started its life as another Bonnie. I was sewing my flannel M6696 and I thought that, since I couldn’t wear a long sleeved jumper over those sleeve cuffs, I may as well go ahead and make another Bonnie, with 3/4 sleeves. I wear my first one so much that this seemed like a clear winner. I even had more of the same fabric that I made my first one with!

Or so I thought. Actually it turns out I’d bought two different kinds of fleecy knit, when shopping at the Fabric Store on a trip earlier this year. I’d intended to buy a fleece and a thinner merino knit, but must have picked up the wrong roll. I’d assumed the fleeces were the same. NOPE. The second one was thicker, with less stretch and less recovery.


I didn’t notice this until I got to the sleeves. I’d cut the bodice out of the original knit, using up the last scraps. So when I cut the sleeves and bands out of the new one… it immediately became clear that they weren’t the same fabric, and any garment made from the two of them together would be a disaster.

Instead I cut the whole top again, out of the new fabric. As soon as I tried it on I knew I’d miscalcuated. The lack of stretch meant what was a flattering negative ease in the other fabric was tight and bunchy in this. Add into that trying to get sticky fleece over sticky flannel… well, it wasn’t going to work.


It was too tight to work as an over-things top. So I decided I’d add on the violet skirt, like I had to the moneta bodice before. I don’t seem to have taken any in-progress photos, so you’ll have to use your imagination. First, I cut the bottom band in half and sewed the skirt to that. Unfortunately, because the bonnie top is looser at the waist than the moneta, this resulted in a back that was super baggy and awful looking.


This is the IMPROVED version



I tried taking it in and up various ways and then ended up just hacking the band off and attaching the skirt to the now even shorter bodice.


Even so, I still had to take both the skirt and the bodice in a couple of times, and scoop out the back. Doing this in the middle instead of at the start pulled the fabric out and puckered it. It eventually went back with a good steam, but the end result is a skirt that is about 1″ off at the side seams. I think as a result of this, it pulls to the left as soon as I move, twisting around. And it’s short. At least 1″ shorter than I’m comfortable with.



Not only that, it ends up pulling up at the centre front. I could pretend it’s a trendy hi-lo front, I guess. But the reality is, I think this one might be a big fat lose. I wore it to work last week to see, and I just felt awkward and uncomfortable all day. Objectively it’s not completely terrible, and I could wear it with tights. But unfortunately I think I’m just always going to feel weird when wearing this one.

I wish I’d given up on this one sooner, because I knew early in it was going to fight me and tbh, in the time I spent wrestling with it I could have sewn half another shirtdress. At least it didn’t become another WIP hanging over my head, I suppose. I guess you can’t save ’em all.

I don’t know if anyone noticed some new, more varied locations in my last post about my latest M6696. I was inspired by Heather’s post on Gillian’s Better Pictures Project, about taking photos in public places to get better shots.

Although I would like to learn to use my DSLR a bit better, I try not to be too fussy about my photos, I find it gets in the way of actually blogging which is my priority. But I am generally unhappy with two things – the backdrops and how I always end up doing ‘Ima stab you’ face. So I’m working on them! I took my camera and tripod down to the beach at the end of my street.


This is a five minute walk from my house. How lucky am I to live here?! It does mean a long commute, but it’s worth it.

I was nervous about looking weird in public, and people commenting but it was fine! I did get a few curious looks but no one was weird about it at all, although to be fair there were only a few people there because it’s still COLD. But it’s a fairly community beach – I mean, there was a body boarding class, some surfers, and a bunch of dog walkers. People go there to do things, so I guess I didn’t stick out too much.

As you can see in my last post, I tried a couple of spots. The cliff face is gorgeous but in the end it was just too windy!


Being blown away, or something

I ended up on the steps down the cliff, and just put the camera down on one of the steps. Lovely! Although it would be harder on a warmer day, because it’s usually a fairly high traffic area. I ended up having a great time, though, and I absolutely will be trying it again! I found it easier to make actual facial expressions for some reason. I also found a spot in my front yard where I can take photos, and that will be a good backup, I think.

Dog!! Also stretching side seams, but this isn’t a sewing post.

What worked:

  • Being willing to take a lot of photos and move position a few times.
  • The more photos I got, the more relaxed I got about it. The later photos are much better.
  • Listening to Stop Podcasting Yourself right before I left the house, so I was still laughing about some of the jokes.

Laughing at myself for being excited about a dog. It’s a dog beach, so….

Things to remember next time:

  • Think about where the sun is. I knew I should have gone down earlier, because the sun would have been behind the cliff and it would have been much less glarey. But I couldn’t lever myself out of bed in time. This also is why the front yard is better than the backyard – it means I can have my back to the sun and not squint all the time.
  • Remember the wind. It’s often less windy on the beach than on the top of the cliff, but not today! Figuring out a few different locations will help with this.
  • Take the opportunities when they present themselves – I thought about putting it off till the next morning, to try to get the sun in right place, but decided just to go for it. Good thing too, because the next day was rainy and wet and even windier, and photos would have been impossible.
  • Think about some of the other places I saw today – I was hoping the local school on my street might have a wall I could use, but there doesn’t seem to be anywhere that would work. There were a few on-the-street spots that looked nice but I’m not sure I’m brave enough for that, yet.
  • Don’t take the first batch of photos in the location I like best. As I said, I warmed up as I went along, so the first dozen or so photos are not very good. I’d be better off shooting some practice photos, and then going to my favourite location.
  • Make sure the camera is fully charged. It was close to flat when I left, and I didn’t realise. It makes the remote a bit more patchy, which was frustrating. It meant I had to point it exactly straight on, which limits poses, and it also would just randomly not work, which meant a lot of photos looked like this:


  • Have fun, and it’s ok to be/look stupid! There are some real dumb photos in my batch, but because I had fun doing it I don’t feel embarrassed about them, they just make me laugh. I tend to get in my head about things, but I just reminded myself that I have just as much right to use the beach, and to look silly in public, as anyone else, and that seemed to work!

All in all, I feel really good about my photography adventures! I would like to learn and play with my settings more, but I never seem to have time and brain, and I do find it a bit overwhelming. Hopefully I’ll work up to it soon!


Yeah. Another McCalls 6696. Even I’m looking unimpressed with my lack of adventure. What can I say? I knows what I likes.

Also, I cleaned out my wardrobe of all the things I didn’t like or didn’t wear, and I was left with about four outfits.


This is pretty much everything except tshirts and yoga pants

Since there are five days in a working week, this was making things a tad repetitive. And you’ll recall that I said, when I made my first one, that I was dreaming of a teal version. This isn’t voile, it’s cheapo broadcloth from spotlight. I bought it to line the skirt of my flannel version, and just got an extra three metres for this dress at the same time. It was on sale for $5 a metre, which means that the buttons and thread cost more than the fabric. Can’t argue with that – well, I could if I wanted it’s not the best quality, I suspect it’ll have some colour fading issues eventually, given my experience with similar fabrics, and how it looks when I press it. But I wanted a teal version and I wanted it NOW, and I wanted a weight I could wear now, too – everything else in my stash is quite a bit lighter and would be too cold for this weather.

I will say, it was a really pleasant fabric to sew, though. Presses nicely, behaves itself, the lot. And I know what I’m doing with this dress well enough now that I could take my time with the bits I know matter, like getting the pleats pressed right the first time, and paying attention when sewing the placket, and the gathering at the back.

The only thing really worth noting is that I ‘drafted’ a curved waistband by slashing and spreading the existing band. I took my flannel version apart to deal with the too-small skirt issue and after some mucking around I’ve decided I need the size 20 above the waist and the 22 below. Wearing my anchor version I notice that the waistband pulls at the bottom and not the top, so I thought I’d give the curved band a go on this version, as a tester. It seems to work really well! That, and some press studs either side of the waist button, have all but eliminated the gape I get there. I don;t want to make the band much wider itself, because then the centre back pulls down at the pleat/gather, and is baggy and frumpy.

Slashing and spreading the band until it measures size 20 on top and 22 on bottom.

Slashing and spreading the band until it measures the same as size 20 on top and 22 on bottom – a 2 inch difference overall.

I did the waistband as a half, to cut on the fold, but I need to go back and even out the curve at the centre. I also ‘drafted’ a bigger pocket bag by drawing around my hand, but should have compared it to the existing bag. It IS bigger, but the side seam part doesn’t go down low enough so I can’t get my hands into it. I’m going to go back, cut it in half, and add in a bit of fabric in the middle, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.

New pocket bag

New pocket bag

Fit wise, it has a few issues. The sleeves/armscye still aren’t perfect, the front bodice where I adjusted it by trimming some off the centre line is a bit weird, and the dart is too high. As a result of this combination, plus just having a belly so my waist is actually the widest part of my torso, at least on the front, the bodice rides up a bit.

Riding up to above my waist

Which I’m not a super fan of, and you can see the pull lines on the bodice that would argue it’s too tight. But loosening it anywhere leads to bagginess, and I’m even less a fan of that, so this is ok.

From the side and the back, though, it’s exactly how I want it and I’m so pleased.

And I feel very comfortable in it, both physically and because it’s basically exactly how I want to look, always.

I especially love it paired with my Bonnie jumper, which is looking a bit hard used, because I wear it almost every day. I need to make some more.

I also hemmed it a bit longer – I find because the skirt is so wide, it does tend to blow up a bit (see above…), so I hemmed it 4cm in total – 1cm turned under, 3cm turned up, which is less than the instructions say, I forget by how much. I think this is about perfect. It also means it’s long enough to wear my petticoat with it.

Be petticoated

Not going to lie, I am pretty into this look and also how it feels and sounds when I sit down in it, and I wish I were brave enough to wear it to work like this.

With petticoat

You can see here how the bodice is riding up because the dart is in the wrong place:

I think the dart needs to be lower and maybe also a bit shorter. I did think about turning it into a double dart, but I just wanted to sew so I didn’t bother. As I said, I know this fit could be better but it’s an acceptable compromise to me.

Here are some innards:


Turns out I sewed the snaps a bit wonky so I’ll have to fix that – they make the waistband sit a bit off line. The buttons are in the right spot, thought. Buttons picked, once again, by the lovely Veronica at the Button Bar. I feel very lucky to work right across the road from there. Veronica ALWAYS picks the perfect buttons. She’s just magic.


I french seamed the bodice, overlocked the sides of the skirt, and sewed the skirt together with a straight stitch. Luckily, because that will make fixing the pockets easier! The centre side of the skirts were cut right on the selvage so I didn’t need to finish them, and I overlocked the bottom seam of the waistband once I was sure it was working.



I’m finally happy with my workmanship on the gathers, for this one.

I kept an informal count of how long this took, it was about 7 hours cutting to buttons. And the last two hours were buttons, because I was doing it over a couple of evenings when I was SO TIRED and it took me longer than it should have. I am really pleased with this one – with how it fits, how it looks, my workmanship and how I took it from start to finish without any hissy fits at all! A true winner.

Or: Unflattering pictures of my butt and other parts.



I winced a bit at the thought of blogging these, because 1) it’s impossible to get a flattering shot of them, so ~~bodyfeels~~ 2) they are essentially underwear, even though they are covering a lot, and I am not a person who feels natural about putting photos of herself in her underwear onto the internet. But these are essential things that I wear every day, and I want a record of what changes I made, and also, all the same reasons that Nicole blogged her bra.

So! I made some steeplechase bike shorts by Fehr Trade. I wear bike shorts every day I wear skirts or dresses, which is basically every day. I can’t stand chub rub, and it’s nice to be confident to move freely without worrying you’ll flash someone. I was using a pattern adapted from leggings that I had been refining over the years, but they always wore out at the inseam long before they did anywhere else, and also the inseam itself occasionally caused chub rub. I was trying to get my mind around how to make a pattern with no inseam, when the steeplechase leggings/shorts were released. I figured the hard work was done, and much better than I would be able to!

My measurements fell somewhere between L and XL for the hips, and above XL for the waist – waist 99cm, hips 116cm. But I know from experience that my waist is functionally a smaller size than its actual measurements, especially for elastic-waisted things, because of where the width is. I have a belly so that my waist is actually my largest place on the front, but that’s balanced by a big swayback, so for elastic waists or tight fitting yokes, I generally need a size down from my measurements because it sits closer to my sacrum than a measuring tape will.


Because of the funky (and so smart) way the pattern is drafted, I wasn’t sure how to blend between sizes. I sort of wunged it and traced a bit between the L and XL lines, for this first one. If I’d read the instructions all the way through properly, I would have seen that there’s instructions for sizing up the waist yoke by slashing and spreading. If I’d stopped to think I’d have known to do that without needing to read the instructions, since that was where I needed the most room. But I’m trying to sew even when I’m not 100% at my best, which is resulting in a much higher output in both actual, wearable clothes, and also dumb mistakes. So.


Also, there is a lot of underwear bunching going on at the hips but that’s life.

As you can see, these are too large. They have enough positive ease that they actually chafe a bit – I find that for shorts I need exactly the right amount of negative ease or they are loose at the bottom and rub. I also had some pattern adjusting shenanigans because I initially put these on back-to-front and there was way too much height at front. I still find them quite high in the stomach area, but it helps if I put them on correctly! The leg seam should go at the back, which handily removes any need for a tab or anything to tell front from back.


v. saggy

I also found them too long, I have to be careful they don’t peek out the bottom of skirts, so in future versions I shortened the pattern by 1″.

So after that I cut a straight L


These were much better, but after about a half day of wear they relax enough to have slight positive ease. The back view of these ones are at the top of the post.


So then I cut a straight size M.


I was initially really pleased with this. However, after wearing them a few times, it’s clear they are too small at the waist – the L sit above my belly and sit flat and still – high waisted might not be particularly attractive but for undershorts it’s much better because they sit nice under clothes and it means I don’t have two waistbands in the same spot if I’m wearing a skirt. Whereas the M are too small to stretch all the way around my belly at its widest, and not high enough to go above it. I find myself needing to adjust them every time I go to the bathroom during the day, and sometimes they bunch weirdly beneath clothes. They also are too short, and the hem hits high enough to be in the Chub Zone, which means they chafe a bit. I mean, duh, more negative ease = less length.


Pulling down at the sacrum, too small everywhere across my butt.


You can see the belly issues – that’s sitting at my widest point while the L sit comfortably above it.

Annoyingly, I thought I’d cracked the fit and made three of the M. They’re still wearable, and still better than the ones I had made before from my own pattern. I’ll need to make more anyway, so I think next time I will slash and spread the yoke to be a M at the bottom and an L at the top, and use the M legs, which do fit pretty perfectly, once I add back in that 1″ of length.

I serged them all with grey thread because that’s what was in my machine and who cares. It shows through a bit when they stretch but… they are very unsexy under-wear anyway, not to mention muslins, so it’s not a big deal.


Thread show through

I have to say, these were really fun to make. They are a cool draft, the instructions are great, and I felt smart once I sewed it, even though they actually weren’t hard. I just followed the excellent instructions blindly the first time, and now I know how the origami of them works they don’t seem any harder to make than a regular thing with legs. I also really like the way the instructions have you insert the elastic – mine is very functional and comfortable but not neat, but if you were wearing these as outerwear it would be easy to take just slightly more care than I was bothered about and have the insides look nice.


I made a couple out of scraps of different colours.

I will definitely be making more of these, as soon as I can source some appropriate fabric. It needs to be stretchy but breatheable, which is a hard ask. Spotlight has some ‘performance knit’ which my last batch before this were made from, which was great but it’s $24 a metre or something which I guess is not particularly expensive but it is for spotlight and also for something as boring as this! But given that I’ve failed to find anything else appropriate, I’ll be buying some. At least I know how it behaves – the trouble with sewing something like this is that every fabric is slightly different. For instance, the M shorts that I’ve shown here have slightly less length-ways stretch and so are too short to wear by themselves without chafing, while the M shorts made from the same light blue fabric as the L size are closer to long enough.

At least the long-but-short nature of the pattern pieces means it’s actually better for being parsimonious with your fabric use. I got all of these out of scraps left over from various projects – there was a lot of fabric but in weird shapes, but I managed to get these out of it. I did cut one cross grain by accident, but since this fabric has pretty close to 50% stretch each way, I don’t actually notice it at all.

I really love these shorts, and am so glad I tried this pattern. If it’s something you would wear or use, I definitely recommend it.

Who wore it better?

Who wore it better?

When last we left the garden, it was pretty much a blank canvas. What a delight! I had a long list of plans in my head even before we moved in, but I wanted to sit and see what I could observe before I did anything permanent. Besides, there were plenty of other things to do around the house, so I kept any planting to the pots and bits and pieces.

In January, my sister came home from Ireland, where she’d been living for four years. She stayed with us for about a month, which was as delightful and also as infuriating as you’d expect. It was so so lovely to have her, and it was also lovely when she left. She’s living in Melbourne now, going to Melbourne U, and I definitely wish she was closer, but this is closer than Ireland so I’ll take it!

Anyhow, while she was down she VERY kindly helped me measure up my garden and draw up a plan, and then she made it up for me in Sketchup. With a minimal amount of swearing, for that kind of process.

Here is the to-scale plan of the garden as it was in January, minus the prickle tree and palms because we already knew they were coming down.

Kate's Backyard amended


I would like to point out that I do not actually have a giant ‘google’ sign on my shed. You can download things that other people have made, in Sketchup, and that was one of them. Why not? The man comes with every plan, for scale.

I thought a lot about what I wanted from my garden. I want less lawn (I hate mowing, I’m allergic to it, and the kikuyu is super invasive). I want greenery PACKED in, I don’t mind if it’s often overgrown although I would like the possibility of keeping it under moderate control. ‘Lush’ is the word I’m looking for. I want it to be beautiful and pleasant to sit in, although I don’t need designated seating areas as we already have the verandah, but it would be nice to have little nooks. I want chickens, eventually, and I’d like them to be able to be integrated into the garden system as a useful tool, and to expand their diets. I want a garden that we can eat out of often, but that can also go through ebbs when I’m busy or tired, that doesn’t need constant, everyday care, or even every weekend, since in winter I have very little opportunity to be out there. But I want it to be flexible enough to ramp up in summer when I have more time and energy, and I want the opportunity to expand the productivity of the garden if the chance arises so that means using space efficiently to leave room for future plans.

Here are some observations I made about my garden:

  • Very windy – we get the strong wind right off the ocean. Wind can be quite strong and quite drying. Anything in line with the shed is ok but after that things will need to be able to support themselves, or will need supports and windbreaks. It would be good to plan for more trees etc to break up the wind, in the future.
  • Because the garden is long along the E-W axis, it gets a LOT of sun in the summer. It especially gets a lot of afternoon sun, even in winter. And even in winter, that afternoon sun is HOT. Plan for sun protection, both temporary and perhaps plan deciduous trees to shade in summer.
  • Don’t bother with anything along that western facing fence, it will cook. Possibly that space can be used later, when there’s more in the garden to shade it.
  • No point planting anything much under the gum tree.
  • The back bed will be annoying to plant in – it’s barkchips over river pebbles, lined along the front with HEAVY rocks. Excavating all that will be good – those resources can be used elsewhere in the garden – but certainly not trivial.
  • The Kikuyu is invading the shed. Honestly. Any garden in the lawn area will need some solid defenses against the grass.
  • The bins already live behind the shed. The compost bin and potting bench is there too. That area gets accessed fairly often but I don’t want anything there that needs keeping an eye on. Beds would ideally be close to the kitchen door, or at least with a direct line between them. Chicken coop too, for scraps and for checking on them and collecting eggs. I also need to keep enough space open for the bins to be taken back and forth.
  • In terms of zones, though, because the yard is long and thin, it’s pretty easy to access all of it. Nothing feels very far away, although there’s still plenty of space. The only bits that are hard or annoying to access is behind the shed, where there’s quite a lot of room but it’s a bit of a dead space, access and attention wise. And also down the side of the house where the water tank is is hard to access.

I’d already decided that I wanted wicking beds. While this does limit the way I use the space in the future – they’re hard to move, although it’s certainly not impossible – and they are a big resource and time investment up front, it solves a few problems. First, it gives me a bit of extra wriggle room in terms of timing of care. Second, it protects a little bit from the wind and the sun, giving plants a bit more reserve than they would have just in the ground. Third, since they’re raised up, we can put them on top of weed barriers and protect against the kikuyu.

I looked for materials in a bunch of places, and found that it was hard to find timber not treated with arsenic and copper. When I could find it it was prohibitively expensive. I didn’t want metal beds because they would get hotter and also we’re close enough to the beach that corrosion is an issue. I ended up finding dovetail timbers and ordering from them. Because of shipping costs, I knew I was going to get three beds at once. I’d originally thought I might just do one and see how I went but since shipping for each extra bed was minimal, I thought it would be better to get multiple. All up, the price of the three beds, plus shipping, was really reasonable (although not cheap) and I LOVE my beds. I’ll talk about them more in a future post when I detail the building of the beds. Suffice it to say, at the planning point I knew I was going to order three beds, 2.4m long x 1.4m wide x 0.6m high. That would give me enough room for 25ish cm of wicking reservoir, and a good amount of soil, but not so much that wicking would be compromised. Again, a lot of planning went into the beds themselves but I’ll leave that for another post.

So I wanted three beds. And I wanted fruit trees, and chickens, and still a good amount of walking and working room around the beds. Here’s what we came up with.

Kate's Backyard FUTURE


The structure under the existing gum tree is to be the chicken coop. It’s easy to access from the kitchen door (the door is roughly in line with that first bed). It will have a dayrun attached, room for maybe 5 chickens to be comfortable even if they never get let out of their coop/run area. But they’ll also have the run down the back bed – I’m not sure you can really see it in this shot but you can see the end of it up against the yukkas (you might need to use your imagination…) There will be some fruit trees in this run. There’ll also be another run down the west facing fence… maybe. I’d like to maybe plant berries or something there, perhaps. Or bananas? It’d get hot enough! Still unformed at this point, we’re also debating a line of water tanks there. I’d like to grow a grapevine or something over the everyday run, to utilise the growing space and provide summer shade. Ideally the rocks lining the back bed will go, to be replaced with a perennial border lining the extra run’s fenceline, but I’m not sure that’s possible because they are very heavy. I might have to work/plant around them.

We’ve also go two trees (probably two nectarines, although it’s up for debate, I want to plant them next winter) and the three beds. On the right, down the east facing fence, we’ve planned for three citrus (now planted). I’m privately plotting for another bed, probably in-ground or slightly built up, between the washing line and the shed, but that’s a longer term plan involving killing off kikuyu,

Speaking of killing things off, by the middle of February we’d had the trees cut down – the prickle tree up the back and the three palm trees, which I was kind of sad about but citrus beats palm tree, every time. And the temperature of the backyard and house went up by a significant amount, I’d say probably almost five whole degrees.

Where the prickle tree isn’t.

The lagunaria had shaded most of the backyard for large parts of the day – everywhere got sun still but it meant it wasn’t all sun, all the time. Thankfully next door has privacy film on their windows – unfortunately it probably made them a bit hotter, too, although I bet it saves them some dollars because they have solar panels on one side of their roof. It definitely upset the pigeons, who used to nest in the tree (I did wait until everyone had fledged before getting it chopped) and now huddle miserably on next door’s solar panels.

You can see by the long shadows that this is afternoon – I probably took this about 7pm, I’d estimate, and look how bright and sun-filled that backyard is. Also note the grass browning off from the heat. I don’t appear to have taken any photos, but I later poisoned a whole swathe, and then laid black builders’ plastic over it to solarise. Lots of it was already dead anyway. It seems to have been pretty effective. Killing off the grass also kicked the temperature up a degree or so. Hopefully that means that with more vegetation in there this summer, it won’t be as brutal? From that point of view I’m pretty keen to get going on the front yard, but it’s not really a priority.

And baking sun over where the palm trees aren’t. And citrus will be one day.

Flickr Photos

BHL Anna

BHL Anna

BHL Anna

BHL Anna

BHL Anna

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