Our seventh castaway: Carolyn from Handmade by Carolyn

Oh dear readers, have I got a feast for you today!  Whilst out lounging on my lilo I came across the awesome Carolyn, from Handmade by Carolyn on her very own desert island!  Now I first came across Carolyn through the various me made months via Flickr.  She never failed to impress with her comprehensive & I must say it, unique outfits (I know when we sew we all make unique clothing, but Carolyn, well, Carolyn’s range is extensive & ambitious & shows what a skilled sewster she is.  She sews everything!).  But she also takes the most wonderful photographs with wonderful light & gorgeous scenery to really set off her makes beautifully (& her dog …..I am in love from afar).  Yes, another talented lady who lives by the Australian coast.  Too many reasons for just a little bit of envy!

So to set the scene, as I do …

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?

Gday! Here I am on my desert island… what bliss!  I’m not even pausing to check out the food and water but just ripping straight into the essentials for life; those boxes of fabric supplies.  Good thing I’ve got my favourite patterns!

1. So first things first; I’m reaching for McCalls 2772, my swimsuit pattern.  Well, I’m at the beach and so I’m probably going to spend a lot of time in my bathers.  And fortunately the bikini pattern is also the one I use to make undies, since I am going to want to wear real underwear at least sometimes.  So, yay! I’m decent!


2. And my bra pattern KwikSew 3300.  So I can be “supported” as it were.


Here is Carolyn’s post to read more about it.

Oh my, that’s two patterns down already, and I haven’t even got to any proper clothes yet!

3. For a skirt and a top I’ve got Vogue 1247.  Blogged by Carolyn here

I love love love the little skirt pattern, and I think I could happily make this skirt alone for the rest of my days.  The top is so loose and comfy and will protect me from the sun; great for those long hot days when I’m taking a break from sewing and instead kicking back on the beach, sipping a g & t.  Hey wait, I do get to have g & t’s in the food stash, right?  I HOPE so! [Absolutely!]

4. For those cool nights, so I’ll need a pair of jeans, which means my old trusty Burda 7863.  It is easily adapted to be flared, skinny or bootleg; so I’m all set to have nice warm legs in the whole range of flare-nesses.  Essees.



5. And for long sleeved shirts I’ve got Burda7767.

Yup, it’s a mens shirt pattern, but I’ve made a few for myself too and I like wearing mens shirts.  I like the looseness and the bigness of them.  And heck I can always cut those sleeves short if I want a different style  What’s more, I can make shirts for my husband, if he cares to drop in and visit me on my island paradise.  I guess I’m going to want him there every once in a while, hmmm; you know, for conversation or whatever, when I’m not hunched over my sewing machine, or swanning about on the beach looking fabulous in my new garb.  I’m going to need SOMEONE to see me swan about looking fabulous!

But, first things first, ahem, back to business…

6. I’m on the beach.  That dictates shorts.  For that I have Burda 7723, another old favourite.

I love this pattern to death!

Even though the envelope contains a jacket and a trousers pattern too I‘ve only made the jacket once and the trousers not at all.  It’s always been all about the shorts here!

7. And for those cool evenings, and for when I feel like curling up under the palm trees for a bit of mindless knitting; I’ll take my cardigan pattern too… Jo Sharp’s fitted cardigan.


8. A dress?  Why, yes!  Hmmm, that one’s kinda hard to narrow it down.  I’m a one-night stander when it comes to dress patterns… make it once and then it’s on to the next one!

But I’m taking Burda 8071 because it’s the one of the few dress patterns I’ve made over and over and over again and also it’s the perfect beachy sundress.


Now for my sewing book: well the only ones I’ve got are the Pattern Magic books, so it will have to be one of them.  I’m choosing Pattern Magic 2, since it’s the one I’ve used the least so I have the most to do in it.

Plus I think it’s the most challenging so it will keep me occupied and amused and stave off boredom for ages.  Plus I think the concepts in it look the most varied and interesting and easily translatable to actual clothes.

For my non-sewing related book… hmm this is tough!  Want to hear something pathetic? This is the part that I had to think about the longest!  When I am reading a book I get soaked up in it, and LIVE it; but once I’ve finished I toss it blithely aside never to be read again and move on to new pastures.  Oh OK I don’t really toss it anywhere, I’m loving towards books, honest.  There’s no tossing involved. I meekly and dutifully return it to the library and select another.  But for a thoroughly immersive read I’ve tucked Brideshead Revisited in with me for the ride.

I re-visit (haha) this book every few years and something about the whole work just speaks to me, and moves me afresh every single time.

Luxury item.  Hmmm.  That would have to be my subscription to Australian Vogue magazine.  My one luxury would be that a plane fly over and drop off my monthly dose of glossy sartorial gorgeousness for me to wallow in and gain inspiration afresh.

Disc of music.  OK so this is totally dating me, but I would choose something either disco or something New Romantic like Spandau Ballet.  Maybe an anthology of greatest hits from the early eighties.  My kinda music, the stuff we used to bop to when I was a spotty teen.  Either that, or David Guetta.  I’m currently digging She-Wolf.

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Thank you so much for giving me my island paradise Scruffy Badger!!  Maybe I’ll pop into my outrigger and paddle over to visit you and all the other desert islanders on your islands, and we can parade our creations… how fun would that be!

Right now I’m off to pop the top on that g&t… cheers!

Chink chink!  So that’s Carolyn set up for her desert island of sewing.  A big thanks to Carolyn for taking the time to think & share her choices!  But I have to say that pulling the post together has been a total pleasure – I think I gasped at each photo!  That’s it.  I’m emigrating!

13 thoughts on “Our seventh castaway: Carolyn from Handmade by Carolyn

  1. Lizzy

    Carolyn is amazing. I don’t know if she’s blogged anything I don’t like! Beautiful pictures, top-notch construction and one of the best blogs for serene beautiful images. Love!

  2. Roobeedoo

    Now this is really really fascinating. Carolyn is the first person in this series to have a wardrobe full of “normal-looking” clothes that she has made herself. None of these garments would look out of place in a high-end department store. You could wear them to work! (Well, maybe not the swimsuit…)
    And I look at the patterns she has chosen and I can see straightaway that I don’t own any of them. And that I probably wouldn’t look twice at them in a pattern catalogue. And what does that say to me? That if I am serious about having an entirely me-made wardrobe, I need to be looking out for more of these classic, contemporary, elegant basics. I need to start SEEING these patterns!
    And I need to move to somewhere sunny. Obviously.

  3. nancy anson

    Read your blog every day, and find inspiration galore in your weekly collections. I love the fact that you aren’t afraid to try anything and everything. The knitted cardigans intrigue me, I’d love to learn to knit. Having crocheted all my life, I certainly admire the refinement of knit garments. Would you tell me where the Jo Sharp cardigan pattern is printed, she has several books. I’d really like to give it a try. Thanks very much for your blog — beautiful!

  4. Susan

    Thank you for introducing me to Carolyn. I now have a new blog to inspire me. I have almost finished the same cardigan about 2 years ago. All done apart from the bands. I’m going to dig it out now and finally finish it !

  5. Susan

    Thank you for introducing me to Carolyn’s blog. It’s a fantastic desert island collection. I knitted the same cardigan about 2 years ago or so… It’s sitting unfinished. I have been telling myself I can’t do the bands as good as I’d like so it’s blocked me. Seeing how nice it looks on Carolyn I’m going to dig it out and get on with it.

  6. Pingback: Desert Island Sewing - Handmade by Carolyn

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