La Boheme

La Boheme holds a very special place in my heart, of ALL the fabulous operas out there!

In 1991 I spent my first ever date with my (now) husband sitting next to him during the last act of La Boheme at the English National Opera. Wow, that was really special…

During my time at the English National Opera i did work on a production of L B sometime between 1992 and 1994. It was a beautiful show designed by a very nice German designer, who I work with later in Hamburg on Macbeth. 

More importantly – I saw L B during the Sydney Festival in 2015 with my brother in law, Matthew and it was such a moving performance, during which both of us cried through the entire show, that I decided to quit academia and return to costume work!

Thursday night Patrick and I attended the dress rehearsal for L B on Sydney Harbour. It was raining cats and dogs… but the show just went on. My costumes were in Act I… so we admired the acrobat that was flown in on a hot air balloon and the accordion player… and went home to enjoy a cup of tea in a hot bubble bath… brrrr.




In the City

I have had such a long summer, surrounded by bird sounds, sun, fresh air, beautiful light AND solitude… it is a bit of a shock to the system to catch the train every morning in the dark and being surrounded by people at close proximity all day.

But hey, it’s all worth it and I managed the transition just fine. One person who is very nice to have around me is Beryl, a lady I worked with at the English National Opera 26 years ago, oh what a puny world we live in… to find ourselves here in Sydney in the wardrobe department -after so many years – is a bit of a hoot!

I have been making stuff for Opera on the Harbour, a production of La Boheme, which I just love! There is this coat for an accordion player.


There also have been a vast amount of alterations to existing jackets and finally, I am making the Toyseller Parpigol, who always gets a wacky costume and this production makes no exeption! The role is played by a lady acrobat, just saying… it is fairly wacky, here is just a tiny sneaky preview…

It is nice to catch up with the tribe over lunch, all the other freelancers who are floating from show to show, finding out who works currently where and where the next gig might be.

It feels like most nights I have stayed in town after work for various events, making the days rather  long. I continue with my life drawing at the Django Bar on Wednesday nights (and will treat myself to some decent art supplies today).  









There is beautiful light here in the city, too! 

And moments of reflection, if one walks around with open eyes…

It was fun to visit the opening night of Charlie and Issy’s exhibition – a great way for people to come together…




The Summer is coming to an End…

I am starting a contract at Opera Australia today, it feels a bit like my first day at Kindergarten. Toolbox and lunch packed the night before, anticipating problems focusing in a new work environment and being surrounded by people all day. 

Luckily i finished my major renovation project in the nick of Time, I actually painted all the wood and cupboard doors in the bedroom… oh so seventies. I absolutely love it! 

The Dark Prince

This quilt was made in a hurry, hand quilted in the dark of the early morning hours and it is made in a very unusual dark color scheme… therefore I shall christen it The Dark Prince.

I did write about this project some months ago, how I have to hurry with personal projects so I can slot them into the workroom in between jobs – otherwise I never end up finishing anything… Now that the quilt is finished I care even less that it was machined together – you know, this is usually a job made by hand, with the English Paper Piecing technique.

But I turned all the edges of each hexagon by using a cardboard template and a hot steam iron and then I machined them together with a zig zag Stitch.

On the reverse side I simply patched some brown linen on to the wonderful hand printed fabric I made in a course many years ago. I like the reverse side a lot, I usually find it difficult to be letting my hair down, ie stop measuring and just going for it…


Summer Sashiko

I have decided to post a few tiny stories about what has happened in the workroom over the summer.

Some time ago I picked up some tiny sashiko kits somewhere on sale. I stumbled across them and had a go. It is very soothing to play with plain thread and plain fabric and turn that combo into something stunning.

Here is a sampler that will find its way eventually I to some quilt, I guess. I also played with Perle quilting cotton on linen – whilst it is a bit unconventional, it looks lovely…

This was so much fun, I decided to find a real life application for my fairly new shirt which started developing a hole on the yoke near the collar. I Put an entire yoke sized piece of cotton under the yoke, before embroidering this.336E1991-C768-48AF-AABF-50565662613F

Look out for your own sashiko kit (in the sale!) and have a go…


Summertime and Social Media

I have had the most amazing summer break – I cannot recall having enjoyed summer this much for a long time. I guess part of it is the fact that the kids are a bit older and are doing their own thing to a certain extent… and I have this amazing workroom, so all I need is a great idea and – BOOM it’s done!!!

So, a lot has happened in the workroom, and a lot outside the workroom…

I have noticed that I have written less and less blog posts since having started using Facebook 2 1/2 years ago and a few days ago I started Instagram… I guess a blog is by now very old fashioned – but contains a lot more reflection than the above social media platforms. Often it is a question of time …

Outside the workroom… we went to Coolangatta (in Queensland) for a week before Christmas. we had an apartment near the beach and simply enjoyed sun, sand and surf; and a bit of new age spirituality on my birthday at the Chrystal Castle.

Just before we went on holiday, both dogs had teeth and tumors removed.

Christmas was a small affair this year. There was plenty of great food and Vincent made this amazing sustainable graffiti Christmas tree.

I have enjoyed BIG swims in our pool, hot yoga sessions, learning to run with a running app (couch to 5km, LOL) as well as getting back to try to learn to surf. Surfing… well, I think I will not get the hang of it in this life… but the next one… but it is fun to try… We also have been snorkeling a few times at Shelley Beach and saw some amazing fish.

It has been great to catch up with so many dear friends over the summer – and also to combine outdoor physical activity with female companionship on all the walks with the Sydney Sole Sisters.


Esther and I spent a week at Macquarie Lakes with friends, there was plenty of outdoor activity and sun!


I am running out of steam and will have to do a thorough show and tell about all the workroom activity another time. So long, Little blog… good to be back ❤

Willy Wonka 2

despite my best intentions, I didn’t do an amazing job documenting the making of the tailcoat for the rugby promotion. But here is what I have got!

actually, the only interesting photos I took are of the preparation of the canvas. The canvas is the inner shell of a suit – it is sculptured into the body shape in the chest area and the shape is “locked in place” by padstitches. After a good press with plenty of hot steam, the shape stays in the canvas permanently… and this is the secret of a good quality suit.

there are many ways of cutting the canvas. I still have not got the “one and only” way to do it. My cutting of the canvas is usually determined by what types of canvas I managed to get hold of, since that usually poses the first problem! The quality and thickness of the main fabric also plays a roll in choosing the canvas type and shape. This tailcoat was made from fairly thick furnishing fabric, so I chose to add a shoulder piece.

The main canvas piece, the largest one, has the same grain as th main fabric. The grain of the chest piece, usually cut from horsehair canvas, is determined by the angle of the break line. Both canvases have 2 darts to give shape to the chest. These darts are closed with fusing tape, that is iron on tape. In addition, after the tape is applied, they are secured by zig zag stitches.

the break line is pulled in and prevented from stretching by either applying fusing tape or, when doing it the “proper way”, by basting a piece of selvage from lining fabric tightly in place. A slightly tightened break line promotes additional room for the chest.

in the above photo the pad stitches are clearly visible. All layers are held in place with padstitching – and the direction of the stitches gives a clue that the  layers are rolled into different directions whilst being stitched together. An additional layer of thin wadding gives extra volume to the chest shape.

This photo illustrates the main fabric having been mounted onto the canvas, the cut in the canvas through which the pocket bag of the chest pocket has been pulled and the lapel having been padstitched. Finally the canvas on the front edge is being cut back to the actual sewing line and fusing tape is applied to hold it in place before sewing the lapel fabric to the main body.

and then… as if through magic… the coat has got sleeves and lining and a collar!