Hot! The “Sydney Memories” Outfit

The Facts
Fabric: Australian “Kangaroo Fan” cotton $14, rayon striped knit- I’m calling it free.
Pattern: Simplicity 2512 (skirt) and Stretch & Sew 1505 (top)
Year: 2009 and 1979
Notions: 7″ zipper $1
Time to complete: ~8 hours (8 episodes of All On The Line)
First worn: Just for pics
Wear again? Too right!
Total price: $15
If you peeked at my blog within the last few weeks you may have seen that I was obsessing and freaking out over this challenge because I was stumped. I had to do Sydney but my mind was blank on how to translate that into clothes. But then divine inspiration struck (or something) and I stumbled over this purple cotton in a fabric shop close to my work that I’d never been to before – because they keep weird hours and it’s slightly inconvenient to get to.

They are a tiny place but cram in a TON of fabric, and there were four full shelves of Australian Aboriginal prints from M&S Textiles Australia. I saw this print by Nambooka first in red and also in orange. I thought it was pretty neat with the wave/scallop pattern but the colors weren’t doing it for me. Then I moved a quilt block sample that was hanging and obscuring part of the shelf and there it was, in purple. With only slightly more than a yard left on the bolt. I had to have it!!

Sure, it’s sort of expensive for cotton but when you’ve gotta have it, you’ve gotta have it amirite?!

So as to why I “had” to do Sydney, I went to Sydney Uni for grad school a few years ago. I was taking the opportunity to help further my career so I could be super serious, successful, single, career lady. Then I met this American guy at orientation for international students and we sort of never stopped hanging out after that. And now we’re back in the US and married.

Doing this challenge meant I had an extra reason to be sentimental about our time in Sydney. The purple is for the jacarandas in bloom – which bloom in November (spring) and are not native to Australia, (thanks, Trish!) but there is an old one in the quad at Usyd (and a few more around campus) that I’m sure all of us students are fond of. I thought the grey/white stripe was reminiscent of the tile on the Opera House…I guess. It’s a stretch, I know.



Liz has been sewing since April 2011 but has been crafty all her life. Her full-time job is as a museum curator at a smallish institution, where her DIY skills often come in handy. Liz likes to sew while watching TV, which she uses to measure the amount of time it takes to finish.


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  1. Lovely skirt! Jacarandas remind me of uni days as well – I went to UQ where there are tons of them!

  2. Ah, that is a sweet skirt. Jacarandas, not native no, but very pretty and they really stand out in a sea of green eucalypts. I immedietly got the curve of the bridge in the print too. And now I know where to get Aboriginal print fabric from – it’s not that popular here! But I have seen a little around lately. So nice to hear your sentimental Sydney story (I was wondering what the connection was). Lovely work!

    • Since finding this print I’ve seen this line in several more quilt shops in Michigan. I don’t *think* we have a large Australian population, so I don’t know *why*! It must be popular otherwise they wouldn’t carry it, right?!

  3. Oh my, the jacarandas are so wildly startlingly beautiful when they’re in bloom. Cool inspiration! I love love love that fabric. (I had no idea you were a transplant, too! We’re opposites except Bne is no Sydney.)

    • Thanks, Steph. Not really a transplant – I’m American too. We both randomly decided to go abroad for grad school. But we do talk about moving back to oz at least once a week. If it wasn’t so. far. away! we’d do it in a heartbeat.

  4. Hey Liz, love the fabric design, the curves remind me of the Opera House in Sydney. I love the color of purple and way to go in putting good use to a yard of fabric.

    • Thanks! When I work with only a yard I know it’s going to be something short and semi-fitted. I cheat by doing any facings or unseen pockets in scraps. Plus, if you don’t worry about matching the print you can pretty much lay it out however you want.

  5. Sydney is a beautiful city – I did think of the Opera House when I saw the close-up. Such a gorgeous colour and a sweet skirt.

  6. Gorgeous job Liz. I have a jacaranda in my backyard, I love it when the flowers lay a blanket of lavender across my lawn. Sydney is a gorgeous city with the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House and all but between you and I *whispers* Melbourne is w a y better hehe

    • Thanks, Kazz! I wish we had gotten to Melbourne when we were there. We did holidays around Tasmania and to Cairns. WHEN we go back we’ll have to do a better tour ;)

  7. No I totally see the slope of the Opera House tiles there! Gorgeous colour that purple too.