Thursday, December 29, 2011

Initial tripfits

Hey, did we mention that we've booked a holiday? Kitty and I are venturing to Europe - it was a choice between that or the USA to explore the Smithsonians and other ports of call... but London, Paris and Rome and points in between won out.

We are going in the last week of March, coming back in the third week of April - so the weather is a bit unpredictable. The travel wardrobe I took this March to Belgium / France / London worked really well, although I hardly wore my coat at all.

But... what's a holiday without themed sewing in the lead up?

So we are in the middle of working out where those points may be, researching fabric districts, and of course thinking of said tripfits! I'm contemplating a black / blue / green theme. So far I've made a dress / pinafore from Simplicity retro 3673 in self-striped bengaline

A day bag from Butterick 5273 with the leftover bengaline, with an embroidered motif of  a sweet graveyard, tree and owl (from

Oh, and did I mention that I caught the fever and got my own Singer Featherweight? It's a 221K rather than the 222K - the difference being that this one doesn't have the free arm.

It's so lovely to sew on!

Next things to attempt - shrugs, a cape, shirred or faux wrap skirt, and a couple of knit dresses...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Style 2323

Style 2323, made from the same lace print knit fabric Moggy used to make this frock.
I made view 1. I didn't put in the pockets. The pattern is for wovens and knits, hence it is extremely tent like before the waist elastic goes in. I still might take the bodice area sides in, as it takes a bit of fiddling to get it to sit nicely up top due to the low armholes and extra fabric.

A very straightforward pattern.
Bit obsessed with elastic-waist knit frocks lately, in case you'd not noticed.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Reversible gifts

This morning I made 2 reversible pursibles, for Christmas presents for work colleagues:

Excitingly made up on one of my new Featherweight 222Ks!

Umm, one of, yes. I recently developed a bit of an obsession with these tiny machines after seeing one in a pawn shop (not for sale sadly). I bought one on eBay and then two more came up at the auction house near where I live. I put in low absentee bids on both for a laugh, and was unexpectedly successful on one of them and now I have two almost identical machines. Oops.

They do sew beautifully. Such fun, and so little! Here's one next to my regular sized Singer 348:


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Another McCalls 6069

Yup, made another one.

Snake print ITY knit from, bought when it was on clearance a few months back.
No pockets this time.
I forgot to mention, this dress is quite short as drafted, so if you don't want to show your knees, you will have to add length. I sewed the teensiest hem ever on this.
Here's a slightly clearer pic on Betty:

I made a narrow sash for this one as well, as you can see.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Latest projects

Latest sewing: A shirred cotton frock for a 4 year old friend and McCalls 6069, in a poly knit from Spotlight.

No pattern for the shirred frock, just a large rectangle with 12 lines of shirring and 4 straps, one seam down the back, hem top and bottom and done.
The fabric is a quilting cotton (the design is called floragraphix III.) I didn't notice I had shirred the wrong end until I had done all 12 rows, so the swallows are flying upside down. Sigh. I couldn't bring myself to waste all that shirring elastic by unpicking and starting again. I'm trying to decide if I point it out to the young one's mother or keep quiet and see if they notice. Maybe I can claim it is to make the design more abstract. We'll see.

The McCalls dress has several reviews on
Like some other sewists, I used the square neck front bodice for the back, because I didn't fancy a cowl back on this. I rounded off the back neckline as you can see in the photo.
Some reviewers also noted that the skirt seemed quite tight, which wasn't a look I wanted in an elastic waisted frock, so I added a few centimetres width to the skirt. I did the side seam pockets too, but I think I'd leave them out if I made this again, they don't sit neatly in this drapey fabric and give a bit of a harem skirt look around the hips. If I don't end up liking the pockets after wearing, I might sew up the sides and take the pockets off, easy enough to do. Shame, as I love pockets in a frock. I made a thin self-fabric tie belt too, although it's barely visible on the busy print.
Here are the pics:

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Easy stitch 'n save is Easy

At the end of last week, Kitty made a quick visit to Melbourne. Do you think we might've snuck in a bit of fabric shopping? Why, yes we did...

We both bought some poly (I think) knit with a lace print from Spotlight ($5/m knits MUST be bought you know) and also McCall's 6308 - one of their Easy Stitch 'n Save patterns (Clegs was having a half price sale, so we got 'em for $4).

This looks a bit similar to the Out Of Print McCall's 6070, but with a different back and the midriff band doesn't go all the way around.

So, they seemed like a great match. Today is Melbourne Cup Day, so Melbourne gets a public holiday (for a horse race... hey, don't look a gift horse in the mouth!). So I sewed her up today.

I made a few minor changes - added 3cm to the front band to make it more like a midriff band (an added the same to the back of course) and 10cm to the bottom. It was a very quick - under two hours. It would have been even quicker, apart from having to rethread the overlocker from coverstitch to overlocking to rolled hem back to overlocking... phew! I coverstitched the neck instead of using the suggested neck binding.

I also changed the back neckline from a v back to a shallow scoop - it ended up a bit raised, which is a nice effect:

It ended up a little low in the neckline, so I've tacked it closed so it's decent for work...

Monday, October 24, 2011

New New Look... pleatorama

As soon as I saw New Look 6067 in the catalogue, I knew it must be mine! Front pleats? Check! Tulipy skirt? check! Little cap sleeves? Check again!

I liked it so much I couldn't wait for it to come out in Australia so I bought it from, along with a few other patterns that no doubt will be revealed in coming weeks  (hint: New Look 6069 is one of them).

I made it out of some lovely shot orange/red bengaline I bought at Remnant Warehouse last time I was in Sydney with Kitty. It's the same fabric as New Look 6000 in pink (which I now realise I didn't blog - here she is:

I've also got some in sky blue - I still need to decide what dress to make out of it.

One thing I keep trying to get to stick in my head is that Bengaline stretches across the grain (almost 50% I reckon) and not at all down the length - so it's important to remember to check the stretch.

Anyway, back to 6067...
For some reason in the first picture she looks like she has Tyrannosaurus Rex arms - she doesn't really, honest!

Here's the detail of the bodice.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I had a peasant weekend

I found this splodgy voile at Spotlight, and decided it wanted to be a peasant blouse. The pattern is a frock with a midriff, but I just traced the top and extended it straight down. No need for a zip. I cut self fabric bias to make casings for the sleeves and neckline. I'm a convert to cutting my own bias, when I have enough fabric.

I shirred the waist for a bit of shape.

I recently made 2 skirts out of frock remnants. Both are double- knittish fabrics. The slimmer skirt is the Burda wool skirt pattern again, with heaps cut off the pattern because the pattern runs big. The flared skirt is New Look 6977, view C, but I added side seam pockets. I managed to sew a twist in the waistband of the flared skirt, which you may be able to see in the (blurry, sorry!) photo. Rather than unpick overlocking, I'm calling it a design feature, as you do.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Vintage Butterick 8861, literally

A fairly literal interpretation, I admit. I doubt the original was meant to be made in comfy cotton elastane though (think thick leggings or yoga pants material). The ribbon ripples like that when I move, but looks worse in the photos than in real life I think (hope).

Black hides the front bodice pleats, but they're there.
I sewed the front bodice and skirt pieces together, then the back bodice and skirt, then joined them at the shoulders so I could sew the under sleeve and side seams in one pass. I knew I'd have to remove the ease making it in a stretchy knit, and it was easy just to whoosh it through the overlocker to remove the excess.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Pastoral Peter Pan, Parallel Pintucks

I liked my first  version of Butterick 5315 so much, I made another this week.

I've had this Alexander Henry Midnight Pastoral toile sitting in the sewing room for a few months  and had always thought that something sweet and feminine would be a lovely contrast with the print (which, until you look at it closely, is also sweet. I just can't resist skeletons it seems). I've got some of the blue as well, but for this one I was all for the etchiness.

I made one small change - I decided to put some pintucks in the front. Unsurprisingly, I did this the easy way - pintuck the fabric, then cut the pattern. I measure the first one and did the rest by eye.

I might add some buttons (sans buttonholes) - I've sewn the placket down for now, and will wear it with a brooch like I do with Francoise.

As you can see, Spring is springing all over...

Monday, October 03, 2011

New Look palate cleanser

Hooray for long weekends!

I was excited to make Butterick 5674 in some snakeprint ITY knit from (sold out now, but $2.09 per yard on sale!) As the pattern is new and not available here yet, I downloaded it and taped the 50 or so pages together. The frock has a lining, but I've never found it necessary to line a knit frock. The instructions looked a little complicated, so I decided to make a muslin. Unlike me, but I'm glad I did. I tried for a few hours to put the bodice together, but it just wasn't working, perhaps because the lining does something magic? I don't know. Nothing seemed to line up and I couldn't make out the instructions at all. I ended up chucking the bodice in the bin. What a disappointment. I'm glad I didn't waste any snake fabric on it!

I made New Look 6000 in navy ponte instead. Ahh, love New Look! Such a nice, well drafted pattern.
I extended the shoulders a little. The button was one I removed from the epaulette of a jacket a while ago, because buttons on my shoulders interfere with my handbag strap. Recycle-y!
I also recently finished knitting another moderne baby blanket, with an i-cord border this time, and less wonkiness!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Francoise hardly

As soon as I saw this French General fabric, I knew I needed it for... something. My job involves words, so what better fabric? I got a few yards of the stone (which ended up being brown-grey), a yard of the red, and a couple of the blue. My initial thought was napkins for my sister (which I will still be doing), but I had enough of the stone to make a dress.
I wanted something vintagey, and for some reason a peter pan collar popped into my head. I went through my patterns and found Butterick 5315, which is a relatively recent pattern.
I mucked around with pattern a bit - didn't add the faux back pleat, and made the skirt pleats into inverted pleats rather than flat ones.  I also left off the buttons down the front and just sewed the placket down - I will close it at the neck with a brooch instead.

I'm pleased with the result:
She's called "Francoise" because I was listening to Francoise Hardy and Francoiz Breut while I sewed her...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Burda skirt and Style Arc pants

A simple skirt (burda 10/2010) with pockets, in stretch sateen from Spotlight. This turned out waaaay too big in my burda size, probably due to the stretch in the fabric, and how I completely ignored the fabric recommendation. I made the front gathers into 4 pleats to decrease the extreme poufiness of the gathers in this fabric, and took in the back, but the waist is still a good 5 cm too big and would need to be taken apart to fix. I wore it today, and with a shirt over the waistband it's all good.

Here's the Style Arc Linda pants in dark navy stretch bengaline from The Remnant Warehouse. These were super quick to make. Ready to wear pants always fit like this on me, with a slight baggy bit on the outer thighs. I'm not bothered enough to try and fix it. I was happy to see putting elastic in the waist was optional, so I left it out and they are fine.
If you need nice slimfit stretch pants, I recommend!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hello Sailor!

I wanted to make some trousers for work, out of some inky blue bengaline I recently bought. I'd heard good things about Style Arc's Linda pant, so I ordered the pattern. It was a nice surprise to find out that you get a free pattern with your order, and August's free pattern was the Ollie Tunic.
This stripey knit is from Pitt Trading (not sure of the fibre content, but feels like a cotton/poly blend maybe?) and I thought it would work nicely for the Ollie Tunic as there are no darts to interrupt the stripes.
I lengthened it to dress length, shaped the waist a little more and widened the neckline a smidge, although I was hoping for more of a boat neck effect.

Still, a very quick and easy sew!

I will eventually get to the Linda pants, but frocks are so much more fun.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Copying myself again

I am wearing this sparkly frock a lot, so I made another version, in a teal coloured wool-blend jersey I bought while I was in Melbourne. Moggy bought some of this fabric too.

I widened the neckline a smidge to make it more boaty, but I went too far. My bra straps peek out a little. Why do I have to tinker when I already know I like the way it turns out? Why?

It's ok, my hair can cover it.

For years I used my hair to cover the top of dodgy back-zip insertion in frocks. Now I have my fab invisible zipper foot my zips are neat, so I could really cut my hair. If I didn't need it long for this bra strap issue, obviously.

Sunday, August 07, 2011


 When Kitty visited the other week, one thing we did was go fabric shopping - here you see some faux silk twill (the red with bit fat grey roses - $2.99/m marked as silk but it wasn't - no problem at that price, will be fabulous lining), self stripe bengaline (yay stretch - I see a pinafore) both from Brunswick Fabrics, and some faaabulous silver leopard from Clegs (for an eveningy frock of some description):

From GJ Fabrics in Lygon St, from left to right is green wool jersey (actually like a light doubleknit), emerald-y ponti, and lovely teal wool blend.

While she was here, Kitty also helped me to make Jane more... Moggy. Her proportions were never quite mine, so while she was fine for hanging hems and taking (inaccurate) photos, she wasn't doing what a dressmaker's dummy should do.

Now she does, as you can see on the left.

First we put a suitable sized bra on her, then used wadding to pad her out. Once her proportions resembled mine, I used New Look 6968 to make a tight fitting cover out of some stretch purple denim.
To celebrate, I used the new Jane to make a scoop necked version of good ol' Butterick 6522. I finally made a proper right-sized version of the bodice out of interfacing so I can make another thousand versions of it. 
If the fabric looks familiar to those who follow bloggers, it's the same as Livebird's lovely drapey dress.

Hands up all who share the stretch cotton sateen love.

Another reason to appreciate said fabric is that with a frock like this - no need for a zip. Yay!