Thursday, August 18, 2011

P365 - Day 230 - crafty mama (UPDATED 27/08/2011)


After telling Juniordwarf I’d make him a Very Hungry Caterpillar costume for his school’s Book Week celebrations this week, I had no choice but to come through with the goods.

Fortunately my ability to operate my mother’s sewing machine hadn’t deserted me, and I managed to come up with a reasonably respectable looking pair of green stripy pants last weekend.

During the week I roughly hand stitched some dark green stripes to Juniorddwarf’s green t-shirt and created some antennae out of a headband, pipecleaners and (bought, not made) pom poms. All I'd have to do in the morning was apply some face paint and we'd have ourselves a caterpillar.

Juniordwarf was very excited about dressing up. (It was also canteen day for him and, as a once a fortnight treat, I’m actually not sure if he was more excited about having canteen or dressing up!)

It all came together very smoothly.

Slabs and I both took him to school, and we hung around until the bell rang so we cold see all the other kids’ costumes as well. There was a huge range of book characters, and they all looked fantastic. The teachers made a huge effort too, although I wondered how some of them were going to make it through the day with costumes that looked decidedly uncomfortable.

They had a parade later in the morning, where Juniordwarf said all the kids had to tell everyone who they were. He said he was ‘a caterpillar’. It sounds like he really enjoyed it.

So I survived my first foray into actually creating a costume and, as he gets older, I’m expecting Juniordwarf to get involved too.

Fun times ahead!


When I was in my early teens, I used to read Dolly magazine. I don’t remember much about it, except that a very young Nicole Kidman once featured on the cover, and she was in an ad for a hair colour, I was once tempted to write to the advice column (but never did), and it was full of bad 80s fashion, hair and articles about what you could do with boys.

One year they ran this feature on how to make a pair of shorts in an hour, with this incredibly simple one-piece pattern that was so easy even I could whip up a funky pair of summer shorts.

And now to the actual point.

Last week we found out that Juniordwarf’s school would be doing a dress up day next week for book week. He decided he wanted to be the Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Sure, I can do that.

After a bit of thought and a call out for help on Twitter, I remembered how easy it had been to make the Dolly shorts, so figured I could just find a similar pattern for kids pants and make a green pair that would match his green t-shirt. Add some pipe cleaners on a head-band for antennae and bang, instant caterpillar.

I found what looks like a pretty easy pattern from Dana Made It, bought some cheap green fabric, organised with my mother to use her sewing machine on the weekend, and tonight I set about getting everything ready.

It was all going well until I came to the bit where it said ‘trace the pattern to the fabric with a fabric pen or marker'. Well I was sure I had one of those in the shed somewhere, with a lot of other sewing junk and patterns that I hadn’t looked at for years.

I headed out to the shed, found the bag of stuff, but of course there was no fabric pen in there. What really surprised me was that the original pattern from Dolly magazine, that I’d cut out of newspaper (The Australian to be precise), was there, tucked in amongst all the other paper patterns, most of which I'd never used.

The date of the paper was Tuesday September 2, 1986. I was interested to read some of the (page 3 and 4) story titles of the day:

“Unemployed on the dole take longer to find work”;

“Democrats ([remember them?] reveal uranium sale ploy”;

“Hooker legal action may stop tabling of police report”;

“SA wants fruit juice tax canned”;

“RSL national service call”; and

“Hawke tennis challenge to China leader”

A horse called High Quest, trained by John Hawkes, had won the Chanak Handicap at Moonee Valley, and shares in BHP Holdings were trading at 37 cents.

So, after that diversion into the past, now I’ve found my pattern, I have no intention of making shorts. However, if the costume making turns out to be successful, it might be the solution to the problem of never being able to find pants to fit Juniordwarf.

Crafty mama to the rescue.



  1. 1986 was the year we finally made it back to Adelaide after moving up and down the eastern states for just over 12 years.
    I'm not at all crafty when it comes to sewing.

  2. Your blog is a happy new discovery for this SA based Tasmaphile (is there such a word?) Thank you, I enjoy your photos and words. I have the very first Dolly magazine from 1970. Yes, I'm that old.

  3. Hello jebaru, nice to meet you. Thanks for stopping by. I don't see why Tasmaphile can't be a word :)

    River- 12 years is a long time to be moving. Must've been nice to be back home again.


Hi! I know you hate having to type in the words as much as I do, but I am being furiously spammed, so I've had to reactivate that feature. If you're a real person I'd love to hear from you :-)