Our sixth castaway: Lizzy of Sew Busy Lizzy

Here’s something for the holiday weekend: a new installment of desert island sewing.  So who it today?

What can I say about Lizzy (from SewBusyLizzy) apart from her immense energy, prolific sewing & her inability to ignore a challenge?   So many (nice) things come to mind, but I’ll keep focus.  In my view this lovely lady is the closest real person I know who lives anywhere like a desert island….hailing from the southern hemisphere with koalas that creep into her backyard keeping the family awake at night with their antics, Lizzy’s sewing creations are not only gorg-ee-ous but her photos usually have me green with envy, being snapped on the golden sand, in the frothy surf, or on the headland.  This is where she lives people!  I want to swap locations & she knows!  Lizzy is coming across to the UK next month too, so that’s really exciting for us – maybe she’ll bring some sunshine with her?

So here goes, Lizzy has picked her choices ….have you got your cuppa ready for a good read?  Let’s set the scene  ….

You are stranded on a desert island, surrounded by beautiful crystal blue water populated by turtles & tropical fish (no sharks!).  You have a comfy cosy shelter, an abundance of food & drinking water & a solar generator.  Upon exploring the island you find a container that has fallen off a cargo ship & guess what?  It is filled with what seems to be a never ending supply of fabrics of all descriptions, threads & notions!!  What chance!

You are allowed to take your sewing machine & sewing box but which would be your 8 desert island patterns?  


Funnily enough a lot of my pictures make me look like I’m already on a deserted island. LOL.
I did spend my honeymoon on a tiny island in Tonga – with no electricity after 9pm. No radio. No TV. No phones. It was simple and blissful.

I’ve got some practical choices (as I’m not sure quite how long I’m on this island, I’m after a combination of comfortable practical items and dream sewing!)

     1. Maria Denmark Day-to-Night Top

My blue stripey version of this pattern is my most heavily worn t-shirt this summer. It’s quite simply perfect. It’s fitted enough to be flattering and drapey in all the right places. The cowl stays in place and the raw edges do no pop out. It’s my new BFF.


I’ve also figured out how to modify the pattern pieces to create a comfortable, flattering, slinky dress. It deserves a lifetime in paradise with me.

And I think I could draft up sleeves to provide me with short and long sleeved versions of this top.


I haven’t actually sewn shorts for my blog yet. While I’m not a big shorts wearer, I really think having a few pairs in the wardrobe would be essential, much easier to run about in, shin up to grab a few coconuts, make my beach lean-to shelter and all the essential things I might have to do (yes it can’t be all joy and sewing, I’m pretty sure housework in some form exists everywhere!).

I’m very fond of the new shorts pattern just released by Burda…


I think they would look lovely with my day-to-night tops as well.

3.      Vogue 1247

Ahhhh, me old matey Vogue 1247. The skirt would be most practical with its cavernous pockets and the top is lovely and cool to wear on a hot, humid day.

4. Vintage Jiffy (Simplicity Jiffy 4977)

I would take my vintage Jiffy pattern. It’s nothing flash but it’s so comfortable, looks lovely cinched in at the waist or if I need to flop about, it’s quite kaftan-like in its wide, loose, swinging style.

5. Shirt dress – McCalls 6696

I love shirt dresses, although bizarrely I don’t own too many of them. I’ve spent the last year searching for a perfect shirt dress and I think this might be it…


Collared tops provide much better sun protection than t-shirts – I’m sounding like a right Aussie nerd (and clearly I’m getting practical in my old age). These days most Aussies kids cannot play at preschool or school unless they are wearing a wide-brimmed hat. At preschool they also must wear ‘sun smart’ clothing, which means no singlets, sleeveless tops etc. I guess we spend our lives being hammered by the harsh Australian sun so we are learning to modify our lives and wardrobes.

My version of this is in the pipeline. Watch this space.

6. Swimwear, McCalls 5400

As much as I would ditch the swimwear pattern in favour of more clothes, I think I may also be able to use the bikini bottoms for underwear!

I’ve been looking a lot at swimmers lately and at the moment this is the only current pattern I’ve found that holds any appeal. I’ll keep searching and hope something turns up before my plane crashes…


It comes with the bonus pull-over cover-up – which in tropical sun is really essential. Trust me on this people, I live at the beach. Skin cancer and sun spots ain’t pretty.

7. Jacket – Vogue 8804

I almost picked Papercut’s Watson jacket but I would take


Why? It’s classic. It comes with couture instructions. It would keep me busy and give me something to learn. Plus the world never seems to have enough Chanel style jackets – does it?

8. Fancy Dress – Vogue 1162

I love fancy dresses. I like to put them on, sing ‘oooo la la’ in my head and preening in front of the mirror (but no singing into the hairbrush, I have some dignity). One day I would love to make this dress.


I love the style, I’m not sure how it would look on me (possibly dreadful I am of the vertically and curvaceously challenged humans) but I am really drawn to the sleeves, apparently each sleeve takes about 8 hours of hand sewing– if I’m on a deserted island (think Tom Hanks/Castaway) I’m going to have time on my hands. A little bit of hand sewing would not go astray.

You are also allowed to take two books, firstly which sewing related book would you take & why?
Hmmmmm, I’d probably pick Gertie’s Guide to Better Sewing. Not because I am necessarily a retro chick but because it looks gorgeous, has loads of useful fitting and general sewing advice ­– and there are a bucketload of patterns and variations which might come in handy if My Top 8 starts to become tedious after say… 5 years…



Secondly, which non-sewing related book would you take & why?

A non-sewing book… having majored literature at university this is tough!! Argh! I think that if I was stuck on a desert island I would probably long for home at some point so perhaps a book that reminds me of home, hmmmm I was so tempted to pick Cloudstreet by Tim Winton (one of Australia’s most beloved contemporary novels). I would take Secret River by Kate Grenville.

This book is very evocative of the Hawkesbury River just outside Sydney. As a young child we hired a Halverson cruiser, an old wooden holiday boat and cruised this river a couple of times. It was a back-to-basics holiday, fishing off the side of the boat, swimming in deserted river inlets, very simple and uncomplicated. This book captured the unique beauty and terror of the Australian landscape. I can smell the gumtrees, mangroves, see the bush rising up away from the water, the ravines and gorges, I can feel the eerie stillness of the bush. I often wonder at how terrifying and fascinating Australia must have seemed to the English when they arrived in 1788 – it must have been a huge challenge, completely terrifying and very alien. Funnily enough, I am a direct descendent of one of the first Governors of NSW and also the family that established merino sheep in Australia. I have a fascination with this period of our history –  a fascination tinged with sadness. It’s a terribly confronting story of Aboriginals and white settlers, a great read even if it makes you feel sad, angry or conflicted, sometimes those are important things to feel.

Next your one luxury.  What would you choose (doesn’t have to be sewing related this time!)

Hmmmm, a cellar with an endless supply of great chilled white wine and single malt whisky might be nice… or an endless supply of tea bags…


And finally if you could only take one disc of music what album would you choose & why? A really tough one! I would probably pick U2’s Rattle & Hum.


I love a wide variety of music but I never tire of U2, it also reminds me of friends, pubs, good times – and the songs are so emotive. I could spend years trying to decide which song was my favourite… I still haven’t decided and it came out in 1989!

Well, thank you so much Lizzy for your fabulous desert island choices and taking the time to share them with us.  I’d say this is a perfect desert island wardrobe & I can picture you wandering barefoot on the beach looking quintessentially Lizzy in your gorgeous choices.  Your desert island sure sounds comfortable too …. Everybody’s choices just seem to open up even more inspiration, don’t you agree folks?


10 thoughts on “Our sixth castaway: Lizzy of Sew Busy Lizzy

  1. Pingback: ALL AT SEA WITH TESSUTI & SCRUFFY BADGER… | Sew Busy Lizzy

  2. Philippa

    I haven’t commented on this series yet but I just wanted to say how much I am enjoying it! It’s fun to see all the different styles emerging. I really liked Lizzy’s picks, I am going to have a look at her blog!

  3. Andrea

    Reading Lizzies post reminded me of how similar we Kiwis and Australians are and the lives we live. Sun protection is a big deal here too as we have the highest skin cancer rate in the world, from memory. The great outdoors is firmly ingrained in our lifestyles so there isn’t any getting away from the sun. We have to learn to respect it.

    I think I may have to buy that Maria Denmark pattern. To Lizzie, do buy that swimwear pattern. I swear by it!

  4. LinB

    Lizzy has great legs! No wonder she wears so many skirts and dresses. I’d have to opt for a burkha, for sun protection. Not very interesting to sew, I’m thinking. (Where would one find a pattern for such a thing? she rhetorically asked.)


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