Friday, December 6, 2013

Simplicity 1693

When your kid shouts out “Ooooh Mum are you making me a new nightie?” when you are in fact making yourself a new top, it does kinda diminish your enthusiasm for the project pretty quickly!

Admittedly, I did intend this to be a knocking around the house top, and I had a whole heap of this fabric, and it has turned very hot all of a sudden, so all up I am not too disappointed that Miss C thinks this fabric is better suited to sleepwear!

Here are the details:
Simplicity 1693. I made View C in a size 12.

Vintage cotton print from the stash. It has quite a crisp handle, even after prewashing, which I don’t think is necessarily the best kind of fabric for this style. A softer fabric with a better drape would probably work better.

I didn’t need to do any fit alterations for this pattern, which I am really thrilled about. I bought this pattern on sale a while ago, with the intention of it being a good basic pattern that I could use for summer. The fit is great, the wide neckline is very flattering and there is good coverage over the shoulder.
I changed the elastic casing detail to a waist frill, see my review here, and while I am mostly happy with this, I don’t think that the placement of the frill is really in the right spot for me, and I am not sure if it needs to be higher or lower.
I have cut out View E in a wide stripe so it will be interesting to see how this one will turn out.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Never too old for grunge maxi dress!

 As promised, here is the maxi dress from a couple of posts ago. I decided not to sew elastic in the waist and just use a belt to cinch it in. I like it with the belt, but I also like it without, especially for those really hot days or to pop on over my swimmers when we head to the pool.
Everyday styling

Back view

Too much Christmas pud styling!

Footy playing styling!
Here are the stats:
Pattern: Simplicity 7127
I made a few alterations to the pattern. Lengthened the dress to ankle length, this meant reducing the flare a tad so that the pattern piece would fit on the fabric. Omitted the pockets, used a grey marle ribbing to finish the neckline and armholes instead of bias binding and took the side seams in by 1.5cm as my fabric was a stretch instead of a woven.

Fabric: Vintage blue and white knit. Most probably some kind of cotton blend. This was a huge piece that I found at my local op shop. It was about 3m for the princely sum of $3, and I still have enough of a bit left for a tank top or a mini.

Sewing: Not much to say about this really. It is just two shoulder seams, two side seams, finishing the neckline and hem. I did everything on my four thread overlocker, except for the hem and topstitching, which I did on my regular machine.

All up, I am pretty happy with this. The dress cost me less than $5 and I am sure I will get a lot of wear out of this. I didn't prewash the fabric though, so I really hope nothing scary happens when it does go through the wringer!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Not skinny enough

I am talking about my pants of course! These were made using Vogue 8837, and the pants in the Vogue pic are much much skinnier than mine!

I was after a skinny, stretchy pant with an elastic waist, that was a bit more substantial than a legging. I don't know about you, but while I love the look and comfort of leggings, I always feel that there is not enough fabric between me and the world when I am wearing them! I don't mind so much at home, but I always feel a little exposed if I wear them out of the house.
And I really only chose to use this fabric to make my first pair because firstly, I had it in the stash, secondly, its black and white and will go with just about everything in my wardrobe, and thirdly, it is a very similar stretch to some denim that I have that I will use for my next pair. I am considering the option of dyeing them though as they are so very loud!
So while I am feeling a bit meh about these, they will get worn quite a bit and I will definately use this pattern again.
The full pattern review is here and in other news, the maxi dress is done, I am just dithering over whether to sew elastic to the waist or not.
Oh, and if I am looking a tad more surly than usual in these pics, that's because they were taken between dinner and bath time, not my finest hour for looking my best! And, if the tone of this post seems a little more surly than usual, it is past 11pm and the twins have only just gone to sleep!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Grunge......the second time around

Kate Moss! Seattle! Flannie shirts! Black skinny jeans! Doc Martens!
Old grunge............ pic from
What were you doing in 1991? And more to the point, what were you wearing?
I was a freshly minted design graduate, dressed in secondhand, too big ripped jeans, with a $7 flannie tied around my waist and black lace up boots bought from the army surplus store, sweating it out in the moshpit watching Nirvana at the very first Big Day Out in Sydney. I guess you could say that grunge was my hey day, in much the same way that baby boomers think of the ‘60’s as their glory days.
So it has been interesting seeing grunge turn up on the catwalks again.
New grunge........pic from
Even back then I remember thinking that while grunge seemed perfectly placed in the worlds of music and film, it was a much more difficult fit in fashion. In those days it worked for me and my friends as we had no budget for clothes (money was better spent on beer and getting into gigs!), everything we wore was either opshopped or sewn from scratch by necessity, so the idea of paying a lot of money for something that looked thrifted seemed a bit hard to swallow (this article is a good summary of the times and says it much better than I can).
So will I wear it the second time around? Well, I am getting into gear for some spring sewing, and I do have this navy and white stripe jersey fabric that reminds me of that time.
I am thinking a maxi dress (summer is forecast to be HOT) using this 1976 Simplicity pattern.
And while the younger me would have worn this with a sleeveless denim jacket and scuffed Docs, the older and dare I say more mature me, will probably see how it looks with a skinny leather belt and pretty sandals!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

New/old jumpsuit as a cami

I managed to churn out another version of the vintage McCalls that I used for Miss C’s jumpsuit. I had the intention of making a dress, but I didn’t cut the skirt with enough fullness, so we decided to make it into a cami instead, which I think will actually end being much more wearable than a dress.

Vintage cotton check from the stash. The check was way off grain, so I didn’t’ even attempt to match checks on the horizontal, and I could have been a little more careful placing the centre front of the bodice in a better position. I used a little scrap of vintage orange ric rac, vintage seersucker for the button tab and straps, and Miss C chose the buttons from the stash. So all up another stash project done!

So that means I have made this pattern twice in two weeks, and I think I am done.
Do you have a threshold when sewing from patterns? I think sometimes I end up trying to do too many variations too soon, and end up with sewing binge and then I can’t bear to look at the pattern again! So I think I will put this back in the pattern tub for when the twins are the right age for it.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

When is a peplum not a peplum?

When it’s a pleatlum! Hee hee!

This is the first post in my Catching up With the Backlog series.
I made this top on a bit of a whim when we had a flush of lovely warm weather about a month ago. It has of course since returned to being bitterly cold, so this went straight into the wardrobe.
But today the sun shone again, the planets aligned and I had a wee window of time to get all gussied up. For me, that means putting the unwashed hair into a quick bun, cleaning the teeth and putting a slick of lip gloss on!
So the kids got herded onto the verandah, the big kid got free use of the phone camera for a bit and I have some nice new pics to show off!

Vogue 8906
pic from Vogue patterns
I cut a size 10, which seemed to be a tad on the snug side when I got to the side seams, so I sewed the sides using a 1cm s.a instead of 1.5cm and this worked out fine. I think going up a size would mean the top would end up being a bit too big.

Fabric and notions
Some kind of linen from the stash. It is a bit scratchy (even after being washed) so I suspect that it may be a home dec fabric. To counter the scratchiness I used a smooth cotton lawn for the facings.
Vintage buttons from the stash.

This was a super easy make. The trickiest part is transferring the pleat markings to the fabric, but after that it is all easy peasy sewing. I love the fit, I like the deep V neckline, and I love the peplum that is not really a peplum shape.
I don’t normally wear fitted at the waist tops, but this one is very comfortable and quite flattering. I will definitely make it again. Possibly in a silk, and in a plain colour for a bit of variety.
Now back to the sewing for the kids pile!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

New/old jumpsuit for the big kid

Here is Miss C wearing her refashioned grunge era skirt as a jumpsuit ensemble!

The fact that she put it on hot off the sewing machine and didn’t take it off until bedtime makes it a win in my book!

Though there is not much to say about the pattern. It was super easy to make up. And I do love the fact that vintage patterns have only one size. It makes cutting out so much easier!

McCalls 6598, dated 1979

Cotton chambray that was once a skirt

I cut the front bodice so as to retain the button placket from the skirt. I am glad that I did this, as the jumpsuit would have been very plain without it.
No alterations at all. The pattern is a size 7, and probably a tad big for this summer, but that means Miss C will hopefully get two summers wear out of it.

I love it, she loves it, there will definitely be more!

In other news, I have a whole backlog of me clothes that I have sewn over the last couple of months. I am just lacking the motivation to actually wear them and take some decent pics.

Friday, August 9, 2013

This weeks project

Is to turn this hideous 90’s chambray skirt

into this cute 1970’s playsuit for the big kid.

The Sewing for Children Contest is on again over at Pattern Review and it is always a good way to get motivated to getting some things made for the kids.

While the skirt is pretty horrible, the fabric is lovely and soft and faded which is why I bought it in the first place. And with the pattern and the skirt both purchased from the op shop, it looks like the elastic and thread will be the most expensive part of the garment!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Not a maxi skirt

Actually, it is a maxi skirt, I’m just not telling myself it’s a maxi skirt.

Up until now I have sidestepped the whole maxi trend, assuming that the style wouldn’t work for me. Most of the styles I have seen are usually made up in a floaty, printed fabric that just isn’t me, and while I am not averse to the neck to ankle look, gadding about in full length garb generally doesn’t mix with my current lifestyle (in other words, I don’t need to get my legs tangled up in extra fabric while trying to catch small children before they climb the bookshelves).

But then I saw This skirt on a new to me blog School Gate Style, and I realised that I could maybe try one out for me.

I had the fabric, dark grey cotton jersey in the stash, I had the pattern (a sort of self drafted flared skirt that I attached to the waistband from these Burda pants) and I even had the overlocker set up with the right amount of thread cones and ball point needles.

And I really needed a no brain project after the concentration sapping duffle coat (which I have now realised that I have spelt incorrectly all over the web!).

There is probably a tad too much flare in the skirt, I basically flared the skirt enough to just fit the pattern piece on the fabric width, but it doesn’t bother me enough to alter it.

Otherwise I am quite pleased with it, although I have yet to actually venture out of the house wearing it!

And if you have a hankering for one of your own, this pattern would be a good fit.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Duffel coat....done and dusted!

I am really pleased with how this coat turned out. The fit on Miss C is great, she is happy to wear it, and best of all it's super toasty warm!
I am also really happy that I managed to make the entire project from what I had on hand, even the thread was leftover from other projects!

I will let the photos do the talking. Detailed info about the pattern and sewing at the end!


Hood on!

Hood off!

Fastening detail

Sleeve detail

Hood fastening

I am pretty sure the stylists assistants don't get to play in the dirt on a Vogue shoot!

You said I could have a go with the camera Mum! Oh all right then!
Burdastyle 10/2011. I combined the boys and girls version of the pattern, tracing the girls size 110, lengthening it, and using the patch pocket and flap from the boys style.

Vintage wool fabric for the coat
Viscose jersey for the hood lining
Poly/cotton gingham for the lining
Mystery ribbing for the sleeve 'windcatcher'

This is a beautifully drafted coat. All the pieces went together without a hitch. I did have to pay attention during the prep stage though, but once the pattern was traced, fabric was cut and the fusing applied, the sewing was pretty fast. Miss C did complain about the fabric being 'scratchy', but fortunately the lining and rib detail at the sleeve means the outer fabric never really touches her skin while she is wearing it.

Patternreview is here.

Now if I was really smart I would have made two for the twins to grow into!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Why is my shoe missing its shoelace?

Because the lace has found a new home on Miss C's duffel coat!

I had quite a difficult time finding a suitable fastening for this coat. I really wanted to use the traditional wooden toggles and cord, but the only supplies I had in the stash were black or white, which just didn't work with the grey/green wool. I did have the perfect buttons though, but I didn't want to do buttonholes on the thick wool, and I did try to do self fabric strips, but the wool was just way too bulky.

And then I had the bright idea to use shoelaces. And my running shoes (which despite being purchased 6 months ago at the post Christmas sales, still look brand new) fitted the bill.

So I am one shoelace down, but nearly one jacket finished. Now just to sew the lining to the hems, pop on the buttons and its done!

Sunday, June 2, 2013


We have had a bit of an odd lead up to winter here, warm sunny days, cold windy days, gloomy rainy days, a frost and some foggy mornings, and so I have spent the better part of the last few weeks sorting clothes into various piles in order to see who needs what for the colder months and put together some kind of sewing strategy.

The twins have got loads of hand me downs, and growing oh so fast, so I probably won’t sew much for them this winter, and I am pretty much sorted, but poor Miss C’s one and only winter jacket from last year is a size 4! She must have fitted into it last year, as it’s the only one she has, and as we pretty much walk everywhere we need to go, it was pretty urgent to get something together for her before it really gets cold.

As she is now a very headstrong 6 year old, I figured that if I wanted her to actually wear the jacket then I should let her pick the fabric and pattern. I narrowed down the choices and we ended up with this.

The pattern is a Burda duffel coat from the 10/2011 issue and the fabric is a bit of a hodge podge collection of different pieces. The body is a remnant from my MIL’s stash (and has been in my stash for about 8 years), the lining is a poly cotton gingham remnant, and the hood lining is a lovely soft viscose jersey.
I think it is going well so far, but oh so slowly!

I haven’t attempted anything like this for a long time so I have really had to concentrate.

It took two nights to trace the pattern, one night to cut the wool, another night to cut the linings, another night to fuse, and today I managed to get the yokes, hood and seams of the coat done. Phew!

I had forgotten what a joy wool is to sew. This piece is vintage, probably 1970’s, and extremely good quality, so it presses and handles beautifully. I could never afford to buy wool like this today, so I am lucky that I was able to squeeze the pieces onto the slightly less than 1 metre that I had.

The fit though is very slim, so I will be lucky if she gets two seasons out of it, still if she likes it and actually wears it this winter than I will count that as a win!

Now just to get it finished before it snows.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Drape Drape 3 WIP

This is a quick post to show you what I am working on at the mo.
I have a busy couple of weeks coming up, so it may be some time before I get to a) finish it and b) photograph it.

It is my first go at one of the styles from Drape Drape 3, which I was very fortunate to receive courtesy of Fashion Incubator and Laurence King.

I couldn't find any reviews or other reference to it in blogland, and while the instructions are in English, and the drawings are very clear, I have needed to 'fill in the blanks' a bit!

And I am out of my comfort zone sewing jersey, so it will be interesting to see what it looks like on.

This is the photo from the book.

And this is the tech sketch and instructions.

This is mine on the dummy.
Let me just tighten this bit a bit............
Do you think your bum will look big in this Mum?
At this point I think it will be a bit tighter than I expected (I have made the largest size) and probably a bit longer than expected but we shall see!

What's on your sewing table at the moment?

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Burda 6/2011 Style 104

I did try really really hard to come up with a better title than that, but after 2 ½ weeks of school holidays, my brain is full of Justine Clarke song lyrics and pretty much nothing else!

This shirt has been on my wish list for ages and it has been finished for about 3 weeks, but I just didn’t get a spare minute for a photo op until today (that is, the photography assistant couldn't be bribed, er persuaded until today!).

And while I tend to moan and whinge about all the extra work involved in tracing and adding seam allowances, Burda’s consistency with fit and excellent drafting makes me want to toss out all of my envelope patterns!

So, more about the shirt.

Burda describe this as an ‘overshirt’ but it’s not. The fit is quite slim, with only a small amount of ease which did surprise me, as the pic on the model seems quite roomy, but she is wearing it unbuttoned and is probably a size too big for her.

I wanted this to be a good transeasonal garment, of which I don’t have a lot of, so wearing it over singlets and long sleeve spencers, as well as on its own, was important to me, and I can only just do that.

But I have to say that the fit on me is superb. I didn’t have to do any alterations save for the length, and just look how that neckline sits on my shoulders!

I think that I will get a lot of wear out of this shirt and will definitely make more.


Burdastyle June 2011

Style number 104
Size: 38

Fabric and notions

Cotton chambray with vintage buttons

Construction notes

I eliminated the centre back seam and cut the back on the fold instead.

Shortened the length by 4.5cm and curved the hem (like a traditional menswear shirt) instead of sewing the side seam splits.

I fused the cuffs and bagged them out before sewing them to the sleeve, creating a split at the underarm seam. I think that Burda used this technique on the dress version of this style. Note, that the cuffs are quite slim fitting, without the split I probably wouldn’t be able to layer a long sleeve top underneath.

I used white thread to topstitch, which I really like, except for the buttonholes, where the close satin stitch just ends up being too white. It doesn’t bother me enough to do anything about it though!

Maybe I should have called this blog the Lazy Seamstress!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Hello Bloglovin

Like just about everyone else on Planet Blog I am setting up camp over at Bloglovin before Google turns off Reader’s lights in July.
Follow my blog with Bloglovin
Come on over and join me, and if I happen to fall off your followers list, it will probably because I missed clicking something somewhere, but hopefully all should transfer smoothly.
Oh, and I do have a few sewing projects on the boil at the mo, just too frazzled by end of term madness to take photos at this point!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Phew! It's done!

The Gridlock entry that is. I ended up using Vogue 1217 (OOP now I think) for the dress.
This is my inspiration board.

I was going for a 'Mia Farrow on vacation on the French Riveria circa 1965" look.
Which, considering that a) I look nothing like Mia Farrow, and b) the chances of me getting anywhere close to the French Riveria in the next 15 years is practically nil, was perhaps a tad fanciful.

Still, I am happy with my dress. Here it is.

Yoo hoo Mia, wait for me!
 I used the 'wrong' side of the fabric for the dress, a chambray from the stash for the sleeves (which I cut on the bias as the fabric was quite stiff), both sides of the fabric for the frilly bit, and the fluffy selvedge to trim the neck and hem.

Neck detail
 I didn't have to muck around much with the pattern, save for taking in the hip about 3cm and adding 3.5 inches to the hem.

I will get around to doing a proper pattern review in the next few days. First I have to figure out where I left the kids and clean the house!

Oh, and entries can be seen here.