Sunday, 30 December 2018

Made in 2018 (Warning: long post!)

Hello to those still following this blog! I haven't blogged since 1 January 2018, so it's probably about time I posted a round-up of my 2018 handmades.
It's a long post! So here's a summary for those after a quick fix: 
2018 was a year of boxy tops and dresses, ruffles (sleeve, back and bum!), and lovely linen fabrics. I had success with a new pants pattern but the second half of the year focused on maternity friendly dresses. Hoping to get back to sewing pants late 2019. Below are some very glamorous selfies taken in the spare bedroom, work toilets and foyer. Enjoy!

1. In Progress...
In addition to a couple of unfinished dresses I'm hoping to get to before the end of summer, we're expecting our first baby due in March 2019! All is well with both baby and I. I haven't been sewing any maternity clothes per se but my love for tent dresses has really come in handy.

2. Black Feather Viscose Tessuti Lois Dress
This Lois Dress was a follow up from my wearable muslin - details here.  I prefer my first version which got a lot of wear last summer. But this black version has been a great option this summer as the floaty skirt still fits over my baby bump and is less sheer than the white version.

3.  Pineapple Ruffle Sleeve Noelle Top
I get so much wear out of my navy spotty ruffle sleeve top made late last year - another version was a no-brainer. I made both tops from a slightly modified version of the Ulooop Noelle top pattern, but those ruffle sleeves are a simple addition to any boxy top pattern. 

This version was meant to be a casual summer vibe -  but I wonder if it's actually pyjama resort wear?

4. Double Weave Linen Cotton Gingham Dress
This dress is another modified version of the Ulooop Noelle top pattern

Modifications include: cut width from the Centre front (see previous ruffle sleeve tops for details), sliced the back piece below the underarm for a ruffle back (details in ruffle top version), and lengthened for a mini dress. 

I found the double weave linen cotton blend (bought from The Cloth Shop) too heavy for me, but the dress found a new home with a good friend, and it has since received the love and wear it deserves.

5. 2* Butterick 6182 Box Top
My first Butterick 6182 is a copycat from a display at The Cloth Shop in Ivanhoe. After months of eyeballing the fabric pattern combo I made my very own out of this beautiful cotton soon after to be followed by a navy linen/cotton blend.

I followed the pattern as standard - no changes necessary. The sleeve bands and front darts make this pattern a little more interesting and well fitted compared to other boxy tops I've sewn.

I've gotten a lot of wear out of these tops and thankfully they also work well with maternity skirts etc. I particularly love the navy version which has a nice drape.

6. Linen Tessuti Lisa Dress
I made this Tessuti Lisa Dress early 2018 and it got some good wear at the time. But it's been a godsend this past month or two as the weather heats up. There is so much room in the skirt that you almost can't tell I'm pregnant which is a nice change.  

I think the buttons may be cut just low enough to also work as a nursing dress without any modifications. Otherwise, I could lower the curved bodice/skirt seam a little and add an extra button for a great nursing dress/top. 

The pattern comes together well with lovely neat insides. I made the size small. Personally, I think the armscye is a little big with the underarms cut too low. On me, you can spot the side of my bra.  But, that's allowed for more bust room which is helpful at the moment. This version is made from a green/white chambray waxed linen from The Cloth Shop. I will definitely be making this one again.

 7. Black Linen Megan Nielsen Flint Pants
Not much to say as these are my fourth pair of the Megan Nielsen Flint Pants/Shorts. Details on previous versions here

As done previously, I've removed the front box pleat and added a double side button rather than one bigger button. I find the double button to be more secure and keeps the waistband from folding down.

 I LOVE this pattern and look forward to squeezing back into my Flints.

8. Denim Persephone Sailor Pants 
The Anna Allen Persephone Sailor Pants & Shorts were my first foray into sewing Jeans and a button fly. To sum up - I think this is a great first jeans pattern for those starting out!

The covered button fly means you can have some fun with your buttons rather than using metal jeans buttons. I went with plastic white and navy striped buttons on the covered fly and a navy sailor button at the waist. Next year I need to conquer metal buttons and hardware. 

I used non-stretch denim and found the fit pretty good but not super comfortable when sitting. Next year I'd be keen to sew up a black stretch denim pair.  

9. In the Folds Peplum Dress
If you haven't already checked out the free In the Folds patterns available on Peppermint Sewing School - Stop and do so immediately! There are a handful of fantastic patterns available, including the Peplum Top. I've sewn the top up twice before - both getting a lot of wear. Given how high the peplum starts the top is maternity friendly if you extend the peplum length. 

I made a dress version out of some gingham linen (also from The Cloth Shop) to get me through a big-bellied summer. I intended to make a size up for a little more bust room - but accidentally went up two sizes making the dress a little too big. But it works for a comfy summer dress and I'm keen to make another slightly smaller version. 

10. Burnt Orange Bum Ruffle Dress
By far my favourite make of 2018! This dress is the very popular Vogue 9237 Back Bum Ruffle Dress sewn in a vibrant medium weight burnt orange linen (Yep - fromt The Cloth Shop). The fabric easily transitions from winter to summer outfits - but I actually prefer it layered up with winter tights, boots and cardigans.

 Ruffles, Pockets, Maternity friendly - what's not to love?

Well actually the armsyce and neckline are way too high and restrictive, but both are an easy fix. I took around 1/2" from the neckline and the underarm. I have summer version in progress in a lighter fabric.

Thanks to those who made it through this giant photo dump. I'm not sure how often I'll blog next year. I mainly use instagram to follow along with the online sewing universe. Hope to see you there!

Happy New Year!

Monday, 1 January 2018

Favourite Things Top: Ruffle Sleeve Noelle

There were several more makes for 2017 that I'll (maybe) blog another time. This is my very last make of 2017. Finished just in time to wear for a relaxing New Years Eve with Tim. Featuring spots, ruffles and navy fabric, this is definitely my "Favourite Things" top!


My sister and I saw some fabulous linen tops and dresses with ruffle sleeves being sold at a local market recently. We fell in love, but, as all too common for us, didn't make the purchase and later regretted it. I searched for the designer online and at the same market a month later but haven't come across the tops/dresses again. This top is inspired by the one that got away. 

I started with the Ulooop Noelle Top pattern (sewn previously: V1, V2). The Noelle pattern is an incredibly simple (but effective) design: boxy top, dropped sleeves, no closures, bias bound neckline. My first version was very cropped (with nearly no allowance for then hem) and roomy in the front bodice. For this version I made the following mods: 
- Added 1.5" to length and removed curved front and back hem. 
- Removed 1.25" width from the centre front of front bodice piece. There is still plenty of room to get the top on and off without an added closure. But, the neckline sits more comfortably now and I'm less swamped by the fabric. 
- Used a wide 1.5" hem and included 2" slits at either side seam. 
- Cut 5" (including seam allowance) wide ruffles, twice the length of the sleeve opening. Overlocked and hemmed outer and side edges and attached the ruffle to the sleeve opening.

The fabric is a gorgeous Japanese linen blend (?) from The Cloth Shop. Its a dark navy with lighter shades throughout and an off-white polka dot pattern. This fabric is what my dreams are made of!

I've really happy with how the top turned out, and I feel great in it!  I'd like to make one or two more in block coloured linen fabrics. But, I find it difficult to look past beautiful blues. My motto is, of course, all the things in blue! This makes it difficult to pair tops and bottoms together without looking too matchy matchy. Not to mention, also heavily matching with Tim's navy dominated wardrobe.  Perhaps I'll start slowly with a few white and black items in 2018. 

Tessuti: Spotty Alice Top

The Tessuti Alice Top pattern is one on my most sewn and worn items.  I previously sewn two for myself (V1, V2), and the first version I made in 2014 is still on high wardrobe rotation! I've also sewn two for some special women in my life (V3, V4). I know I'll continue to sew and wear this pattern for years to come!

This Alice is made from a transparent white and black polka dot cheese cloth fabric recycled from summer maxi dress a friend gave me.  It's wonderful when friends and family see potential in an old piece of clothing and generously donate the fabric to me.

I lined the upper bodice in off-white cotton I had on hand. I added an extra  few inches of width to the lower bodice front and back in the hopes that the extra fabric would reduce its transparency. No luck, so I typically wear the top over a cami.  I like the look of my Alice tops tucked loosely into my jeans or shorts. The fabric stays lovely and flowy (so I can eat all the things!), but I find the cinched in look a bit less overwhelming. 

I've been reaching for this top a lot this summer! Note, when berry picking the Alice top does not provide adequate coverage to avoid sunburn or thorns.

Tessuti Lois Dress: Very Wearable Muslin

Tessuti released some great patterns in 2017! I was most facinated by the Lois Dress. Lois has a low cut front, is midi length and skims over the stomach and hips. All beautiful features, but ones I would normally avoid for myself. This is a dress I would walk straight past when shopping thinking it wouldn't suit my shape. It turns out I'm more adventourous when sewing my clothes compared to buying, and I'm really glad about that! 

For my first attempt I used a cotton fabric, white with black squares, from my stash. I cut a size 10 with size 8 shoulders. I followed the intructions with some very minor deviations: I stay-stiched rather than using tear away vilene around the neckline and waist, and I cut and sewed the darts in one piece (as ususal) rather than as the pattern / instructions detail. I dont think either vilene or the alternative darts are nessecary.  

The dress comes together reasonably quickly and the instructions a great! Lots of detailed photos to take you through each step. The most fiddlly aspect was joing the top to the bodice at the centre front. It's tricky (but doable) to get a nice point at the neckline, and worth taking the time to get it right. I love the 3-step process for attaching the bias binding, which creates a really firm and neat neckline. I was worried about the low-cut neckline, but the plunge stops just above my bra bridge. Perfect!

As usual for Tessuti patterns, the number of pages to be printed is execcesive!  The pattern could definitely be repositioned to spread across fewer pages. It would also be useful if a legend was included stating which pages need to be printed for what pattern pieces. This way I could have avoided printing pages for the vilene shields and the bias binidng piece - niether of which are nessecary, IMO. This would also be useful if you need to reprint a pattern piece gone missing, or go up a size only in the bodice pieces, for example. 

Overall, I really like this pattern and am pleasantly suprised at just how flattering it is on me, and on women of varying shapes and sizes across the sewing blogger community. This dress was intended to be a muslin, but I've already worn it a heap! I've also sewn another version in a darker viscose. Looking forward to seeing what patterns Tessuti release in 2018.

Megan Nielsen Wool Flint Pants

Happy New Year! I hope you have had the chance to take a break over the festive season and make plans for a wonderful year ahead. I didnt blog much throughout 2017, but I actually sewed quite a bit. So, I thought I'd take the chance to post a few makes before getting into my 2018 sewing.  


First up, my navy wool Megain Nielsen Flint pants. I actually made these before my linen version but found it difficult to get good photos. Given it's now summer, I'm going with my early morning, pre-work photos, bad lighting and all. The overexposed images really pick up every crease and pull line and they don't look particluarly flattering. But, I actually love these pants and feel great in them; bad phtotos be damned! 

Fabric is a midweight boiled wool from The Cloth Shop. Construction: Similiar to my other versions (1, 2), with following modifications: flat front, wide hem facing, double button closure. Given these are winter pants I intened them to be a little longer than the cropped length, but I forgot to add length before cutting the fabric. An obvious fix was to add a wide hem facing, and I really like the added weight and swing of the hem. 

Looking forward to wearing these again next winter. In the mean time, I might need another linen pair.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Party Gabby Dress

Hello again so soon! It was my little sister's 21st birthday this week and I wanted a new party dress for the occasion. A quick and easy silk Tessuti Gabby Dress did the trick!

I initially cut a straight size small (short length) out of some lovely patterned crepe silk bought from a fabric sale at Phillips Shirts. Pre-hemming I tried on the dress and found it a little too short. I rummaged through my fabric stash for some inspiration on how to add length. I wasn't convinced by a straight contrast hem panel (View A) - a ruffle is much more party-like! 

The ruffle is made from a spotty black textured silk from The Cloth Shop. I was saving it for a summer blouse - hopefully, I still have enough for that project. The gathered ruffle is 2.5" after attaching and hemming. During sewing I worried the ruffle might look like an afterthought and a bit too 'crafty',  but I think it actually makes the dress. 

I've made the Gabby twice before (12). I've worn my rayon floral version to death and quite a few times since holes started appearing at the seams. I'm glad to have a new version I know will get heaps of wear winter through summer.  The shape may not be the most flattering on me, but it's so comfortable! And, I think the Gabby looks great cinched in with a belt too.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Megan Nielsen Flint Cropped Linen Pants

Hi there, long time no blog. This very intermittent blogging is beginning to become a pattern! I've sewn a few bits and pieces this winter. I'm definitely not sewing at the rate I was in 2014. These days, I tend to sew less, sew more slowly and only spend my time on garments that are going to be well loved and worn. This approach is more sustainable financially and environmentally, but also emotionally.

In May I blogged about my Megan Nielsen Flint shorts, which I loved! I've since made two pairs of Flint pants. The first is a beautiful heavy weight blue boiled wool. I haven't been able to get photos of these yet. I find it difficult to match up sunlight hours, good weather, and motivation for outdoor photos during winter. The second pair I made is a lovely navy linen cropped summer pant.

I'm more of a shorts and skirts girl in summer, but our travels to South East Asia have meant having a couple of pairs of light weight pants in the wardrobe for more conservative tourism. I have some easy-wear harem pants for this purpose. I really hate them and I'm thrilled to have replaced them with my new linen flint pants! I made these the weekend before heading off on a holiday to Malaysia with Tim. These photos are taken from our hotel balcony in Langkawi.

The fabric is a medium weight linen from The Cloth Shop. I made these pants in exactly the same way as my modified flat front Flint Shorts with two changes. 1) I used the button closure option instead of the bow. I like the look of two small buttons in line on the edge of the closure. This also feels more secure and the fabric lays flatter at the corner.  2) I like the longer cropped length but also wanted a deep heavy hem. So,  I added a 2" hem facing instead of hemming as instructed. 

These pants worked well for a day of touristing as well as for fancier dinners out. They were very cool and comfy to wear in the heat. I hope that they will be a good summer work wardrobe option as well.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Megan Nielsen Flint Shorts

I fell quickly in love with the shorts version of the most recent Megan Nielsen Pattern, "Flint".  The high waist with side tie closure were perfect! But I had my doubts about the open front pleats. I was worried that the pleats would always want to sit open, with my large-ish thighs, and perhaps be unflattering. Thankfully, Meg put together an easy to follow tutorial on removing the pleats to create a flat front. Arent we spoilt!

I made Version 4 in a straight size medium. This fabric is a lovely light cotton denim bought from The Cloth Shop. I've used it previously for a Ilsley skirt and Miette skirt. It's a super versatile fabric and very lightweight and comfortable for summer. It's Autumn here and much too chilly for shorts, but I actually really like them over tights. Bare leg modeling will have to wait for an upcoming trip to Malaysia. 

I followed the instruction booklet exactly with the exception of the front flat and reducing the hem by 1/2". I also back tacked at the bottom and top edges of the pocket opening to strengthen and take some load of the main seams. The instruction diagrams and steps were clear. Really, sewing this pattern is a cinch and so quick. Very surprising for a shorts/pants pattern.

I'm reasonably happy with the fit. There a couple of minor issues. The internal waist button is not in the right spot (you can see the pulling), but thats an easy fix. There is a small amount of excess fabric at the back waistline that could be pinched out and then added to the crotch. There are also a couple of pull lines around the front waist/pockets but this is really an issue of excess winter layers (and winter weight).

I now really want to try out the pants, perhaps in a heavy linen or lightweight wool. There are some beautiful versions in the blogosphere. I especially these "magic pants" by Helen (FunkBunny).