McCalls 6696

At the beginning of June, I kind of thought I’d try to write out some blog posts – it’s blogging June, but it’s taken me this long to write something up!

This is one of my #2019makenine and by the looks of the photos I took them around two months ago when it was still warm and before winter arrived.

This is McCalls 6696 which I have had in my collection since forever. The fabric too is something I’ve had slowly maturing in stash for some time.

The good thing about making something which is so popular is that there are so many reviews online to check out, which means it’s possible to get a pretty good fit without lots of trial and error. I like that! So my main thing to do was to get rid of some fo the fullness in the back. Many have mentioned this is just too full in the back, so I removed 1.25″ from the back and decided to use a single pleat rather than gather. It’s still quite full at the waist, but I’m much happier with how it looks at where it’s attached to the yoke.

The other thing I did was to lower the darts. This is standard for me. My girls sit low and I often have to lower darts. So these were lowered by 3/4″ and I also lengthened the bodice by the same amount, since I’m slightly longer in the waist than many patterns are drafted for.

Those are all the changes I made and I even followed the instructions! I’ve made any number of shirts for Mr N and I have to say the collar on this went together so much better than the collars on his shirts. There were no issues with the pleats on the skirt either.

Even though I made this towards the end of our summer, it’s had a lot of wear. I’m still thinking of ways to wear this in the winter. The fabric is quite a fine cotton voile which originally came from the Fabric Store some time ago. It has elephants on! And for those who know me, elephants are good things and you can never have enough!


All in all with elephants, lovely soft fabric in a fab colour and a great dress, there’s nothing to dislike for me. Oh and this dress has pockets too! In seam pockets are drafted in this pattern.

The details
Fabric:  Fine cotton with elephants embroidered marching across the fabric from The Fabric Store, some time ago.
Notions:  Thread, interfacing, metal buttons (from Pete’s Emporium) and bias binding from stash..
Pattern:  McCalls 6696, size 16, C cup.
Changes made:  Extended bodice by 3/4″, lowering the bust darts by the same amount. Took 1 1/4″ out of the centre back and pleated this top and bottom rather than gathered.
Another one/recommendations:  Why it took me so long to make up, I don’t know. I’ve been intending to make this up in this fabric for ages. Oh well, I’m happy now. I have a fab dress I can wear. I definitely recommend this pattern, but have reservations about the back as full as drafted. It’s definitely too full and I recommend removing some of this fullness.


Papercut Meridian

OK, so I’m useless at blogging and can’t keep up a regular schedule, but somehow I feel the need to continue. Mainly because I love reading blog posts for reviews when I’m looking at a new pattern. Although, I have to admit, I didn’t take long to stick this one in a cart and click buy! 🙂

As soon as I saw the tester versions, I was there. I love Papercut Patterns too, not just because they are local (although it counts), but I love their styling, drafting and just those little things which make their patterns stand out.

So if you hadn’t guessed, this is their Meridian dress which was released at the end of last year. I pretty much bought the pattern and decided on my fabric from stash. The fabric is a sort of seersucker I bought from Evans in Masterton last year. I’m not a seersucker fan, but this is so soft, drapes well and I love the pattern on it.

The Meridian dress is described as an elegant trans-seasonal statement dress. Featuring front wrap around ties, Back button and loop closure with invisible zipper, Front and back neck facings, Front and back pleats on skirt, Long or short sleeve, Two skirt length options. I made the short sleeve version but the length is half way between the two lengths, so just below the knee.

With most Papercut patterns I need to lengthen the bodice and also do an FBA. Well the latter definitely wasn’t happening, I just couldn’t work it out and also decided there was enough space in the bodice. I did lengthen the bodice by around 3/4″. It was actually pretty easy, it just meant the ties are 3/4″ shorter, since the ties are an extension to the main bodice pieces.

The drafting is really clever. As mentioned above, the ties are an extension to the main bodice pieces. They have a single seam which runs the full length of the tie where they are seamed at the end. I’ve not tried tying back to the front, I prefer just to cross these over and tie at the back.

The back with invisible zip and button closure is something I really like. Not sure why I like this touch of the zip finishing low and the button and loop at the neck. It’s just a nice touch.

My fabric is really fine and just a little see-through, so I decided to line the skirt with a white cotton voile, which I buy lots of for these types of projects. I also added in seam pockets to the side seams, because, pockets!

The pattern went together really well. I didn’t really have any issues, apart from working out how to add the skirt lining. In the end I just attached it as an additional skirt piece, which worked perfectly. Obviously for thicker fabrics, you wouldn’t need this lining.

The details
Fabric:  Fine cotton seersucker fabric with a blue/white flower from Evans in Masterton, bought September/October 2018 and a white cotton voile from stash, which I think came from the Fabric Warehouse.
Notions:  Thread, interfacing, invisible zip and button for the back of the neck.
Pattern:  Papercut Meridian dress, size L.
Changes made:  Extended bodice by around 3/4″, changed length by cutting between the two, inserted side seam pockets and lined the skirt.
Another one/recommendations:  The drafting for this dress is awesome, such a clever idea. My dress is really easy to wear and in the summer it got lots of wear. Not so much now the cooler weather has come, I’ve not tried it with tights, but it will probably be fine. I love the shape and it’s just completely different to everything else in my wardrobe.
I recommend this mainly because it’s so different, cleverly drafted and great to wear. And if you like Papercut Patterns, this is a no brainer – buy it and make it. It looks complicated to make, but it certainly wasn’t. I love Papercut patterns. The instructions are always really clear and easy to follow and if you get their print patterns, you end up with a lovely box to keep them in and instructions which you can turn into a cute little booklet.


Swim Style Jazz Tankini

Following the success of my Closet Case Bombshell swimsuit, I thought I’d make some more togs/swimmers. I contemplated making the Bombshell again, then decided to try something completely different. I like the idea of a tankini to cover my tum, but offering the flexibility of a two piece. The fabric I’ve had for a while and I was determined to make it up and it is one of my #2019makenine.

After a hunt around the interwebs, there were a number of different options and I finally settled on the Jazz Tankini from Swim Style Patterns. I’ve seen very few reviews from this pattern company, who are based in Australia. They have a lot of patterns, but this one-piece/tankini pattern spoke to me with the gathers on the bust and ruching on the front. I was nervous about making a swimsuit which had underwired cups.

I started to cut out the pattern and realised that there was actually no bottoms for the tankini! A quick email to the designer and she sent through the high-waisted briefs pattern. I was really impressed with the speed of her response. Thanks Sharon!

The pattern offers a number of different options. It’s available as a one-piece or tankini. Each of these has the option for a V-wire (a central wire), centre straps going into a halter neck or detachable shoulder straps. It’s also fully lined with wadding to provide shape for the bust area. Directly below the bust is a channel of elastic ensuring a great fit.

I chose to make the version with detachable shoulder straps. I made up a size 16/XL based on my full bust measurement. The fit for the tankini is pretty good, the length and back width are great, as is the front underbust. I should, however, have done an FBA. I have larger girls than the pattern is drafted for. No cup size is detailed on the pattern, but I guess it’s likely drafted for a B or C cup.

The tankini went together a lot quicker than I thought. The wadding is just joined together, not an overlapped seam. This is then strengthened using some of the main fabric. The upper back and lower bodice pieces are all lined ensuring the raw edges are completely enclosed.

The detachable straps can be attached to the made tankini using lingerie hooks and tape on the bodice. These also have sliders allowing you to adjust their length.

The high waist briefs are a separate pattern. These are also fully lined. They have elastic only on the back leg edge and the waist making them really comfortable. The leg edges are intended to look completely seamless, however, I was unable to get hold of the narrow 6mm swimwear elastic, so I ended up having to zig-zag around the leg edges to ensure they laid flat.

I was also running out of lining and the backs of the briefs have a seam down the middle of the lining. This doesn’t detract from the finished item. The way they are stitched together also ensures the raw edges of the side seams are completely enclosed.

I like the briefs, and made a size 16/XL based on my hip measurements. I actually feel they may be a tad big for me however and probably could have got away with the 14.

The details
Fabric:  Four-way stretch swimwear fabric from the Fabric Fairy, purchased in November 2017. The lining also came from the Fabric Fairy and is left over from the lining I bought for the Bombshell swimsuit, so bought in 2015!
Notions:  Lots! Thread, swimsuit elastic, sliders, lingerie hooks, channel tape, wadding. All the additional notions, except the thread came from Nellie Joans here in NZ, who was amazing and helped me put together everything I needed to finish this in time.
Pattern:  Swim Style Jazz Tankini, size 16/XL. Swim Style High waist briefs, size 16/XL
Changes made: The only change I made was to the leg edges on the briefs, mainly because I didn’t have the narrow elastic. I ended up folding over and zig zagging them all the way around.
Recommendations: I really recommend both patterns. I found the instructions are really clear and easy to follow. For the tankini, there is also an additional online tutorial for the upper front bodice. Each step has been described very clearly, which made this a relatively quick, easy and painless make. I thought I might be cutting it fine to get this ready in time for our holiday in Rarotonga in March, but it wasn’t, I got this finished with days to spare! Photos taken last week, some at the beginning of our holiday and the remainder at the end. (The camera steamed up from the heat outside, so I have some ethereal type photos!)

Papercut Sapporo

It’s not often I feel the need to blog something as soon as I finish it, but this coat definitely warrants it! I’m in love straight away.   

Yes there are lots of these Papercut Sapporo coats in the wild, just a search in Google finds hundreds. I had to join the merry throng! I bought the pattern when it was first released around 18 months or more ago. It’s taken me this long to make it, simply because I didn’t know what to make it in! Of all my fabric in stash you’d have thought there would be something!

This woven fabric (not sure what it is) I saw in Philp Wrights in Whanganui last December. This travelling for work is not good for my stash! The lining is a silk from The Fabric Store, I saw somewhere on IG and I decided I had to buy it for the lining. After all who doesn’t want liquorice allsorts lining their coats?

I ummed and ahhed for a while for which size to make. I often make a L with an FBA with Papercut Patterns. Was it worth muslining, which size? In the end the awesome Sandra told me to go down a size, don’t muslin and just go for it. I’m glad I did. (Have you seen her gorgeous black and white Sapporo?) I love the shape of this coat which seems to suit so many people.

The construction, I actually found relatively painless. I think I finished this over the course of three weekends, so a pretty quick make. I had a printed pattern and I’m glad I did, some of those pieces are big! The main coat fabric I could cut either way up which was very useful for ensuring I didn’t waste fabric. The lining I had to make sure I cut the same way each time.

I had no problems with seams not matching and it just went together like a dream. All raw edges I finished with my overlocker. I used a mix of grey and pink for the main fabric. Well why not? It feels good to think that all the raw edges inside are tidy. I had no issues with the corners and am really happy with my hand sewing where I bagged it and also where I attached the lining to the coat.

I decided to make the sleeve cuffs as in the pattern. So have changed the inside cuff to be made from the lining, but my outer fabric is light enough to use for the inside cuff.

The details
Fabric:  Pink, grey and sparkly linen look fabric from Philp-Wrights in Whanganui, bought in December 2018. Liquorice Allsorts silk from The Fabric Store, December 2018. Both fabrics were bought specifically for this coat.
Notions:  Thread and interfacing.
Pattern:  Papercut Sapporo Coat, size S/M.
Changes made:  None at all.
Another one/recommendations: I am in love with my new coat and the best thing is, Mr N loves it too. I need to get out and wear it, although we’ve had a bit of a cold snap here recently and this one isn’t really meant for cold weather. Although there is lots of room for layers underneath.
I love the shape so much. I would definitely recommend one of these for everyone. I’ve seen them made in wool, in lightweight fabrics, all sorts in fact (geddit? 🙂 ) Such a great pattern which looks smart and casual at the same time and as with all Papercut Patterns is drafted so well. Just another of those patterns which makes you fall in love with Papercut!
This is another of my #2019makenine. I’m getting through them, there’s others I can tick off, but haven’t blogged yet either.

Closet Case Bombshell Swimsuit

It’s taken a very long time to blog this, mainly because it’s taken a very long time to get photos! It needs very little introduction, but here is the Bombshell Swimsuit from Closet Case patterns.

For those who haven’t seen the pattern, it’s a hark back to the 1950s with ruched seams, a skirt like front and a shape which hugs the curves! It is also fully lined to boot. Both neck options offer a halter neck finish, although I think with the version I made it would be perfectly easy enough to change these to shoulder straps fastening on the back of the bodice.

The fabric I bought around 3.5 years ago and then bought the pattern a couple of months later. It took a lot of convincing myself that I could actually sew up a swimsuit which I would wear in public! I think the first time I wore it was October 2016! It’s been made a while! 🙂

Now I have to cast my mind back and also I’ve had a look through my pattern to see if I noted down any changes, it’s that long ago! Fortunately, it’s got notes on it!

The size I made at the time was a size 14 throughout based on my bust measurement. I’d also read in a blog post that it ran a bit short and so I lengthened it by 3/4″. I often have to lengthen the bodice for dresses, so I guess this was to be expected. Apart from that I made no other changes. I didn’t add the padding for the cups, this is only suggested. I decided at the time I wouldn’t need it.

I don’t remember this being a particularly difficult make, it was all just a bit new and different for me being my first set of togs and for some reason I was very nervous! Even when I did feel a bit confused, Heather Lou has written a fab sewalong which goes through all the steps with great photos. Most of the construction was done on my overlocker, although I used my machine to attach the elastic and finish the top and bottom edges. I kinda wish there was a way to enclose the seams on the inside, because my overlocker had a hissy fit and didn’t finish it tidily, but no one can see it and they don’t feel uncomfortable.

The details
Fabric:  Navy and white print swimsuiting fabric and white swim lining from The Fabric Fairy, bought September 2015!
Notions:  Thread and swim elastic (elastic also from the Fabric Fairy)
Pattern:  Closet Case Bombshell swimsuit, view A, size 14.
Changes made:  I lengthened it by 3/4″, otherwise I made no other changes.    
Another one/recommendations: I was tempted to make another one of these when I was making some more togs recently, it is a great pattern. I’ve taken this away whenever I was going somewhere where I knew there was a pool. It doesn’t provide massive support and I wouldn’t use it for swimming lots of lengths, but it’s great for relaxing swimming and lazing by the pool when away. These photos were taken just the other week on holiday in Rarotonga, Cook Islands. Our resort had these great private plunge pools for each of the ares (bures). The top of my back looks painful, but it wasn’t, honest.
I love the shape of it and it feels really good on. And I’ve had compliments when I wear it! I would definitely recommend this pattern. With the numbers made, it’s a popular pattern and looks good on everyone. I love the wee skirt bit on the front, although I’ve not pulled it down really in these photos!

Muse Patterns Hipi Top

I wasn’t expecting to be able to fit in pattern testing this year, mainly because I’m determined to sew from stash so it depends on the fabric requirements. I also am determined to complete my #2019makenine.

When the call went out for this top, however, I decided I could definitely make time to try it out and could use fabric from stash. So, welcome Muse Patterns latest release, the Hipi top.

This is a loose-fitting top with seams running from the half-way along the shoulder seams to the hem. This side bodice also encompasses the sleeve, creating a batwing sleeve. There are two neck options, a crew neck and scoop neck. There are also two sleeve options, short and long and two hem options, a band hem or regular turned under hem. The loose-fit style means it’s possible to make this in a woven fabric.

I made the short-sleeve, crew neck version with the turned-under hem. The fabric is a navy cotton knit, left over from the navy Nina cardigan I made about three years ago! There was just enough to cut this out, although it was not fun. The fabric was way off grain, the sides curled so much making it difficult to line up the seams, as well as even just cutting out! The image below shows how off grain this fabric is. The red line showing the line and the green where it should be!

All being told, this went together very quickly. I managed to get it sewn up in one evening. 🙂 The main seams were all sewn on my overlocker. The pattern doesn’t ask for top stitching on the sleeve bands, but I couldn’t get them to lay flat, so added this step. I then used my double needle to finish the hem.

The details
Fabric: Navy cotton jersey knit, from The Fabric Warehouse in 2015.
Notions:  Thread and black tape for the shoulders
Pattern: Muse Patterns Hipi top, size 40, short-sleeved, crew neck version
Changes made:  None
Another one/Recommendations: I’ve made a number of Muse Patterns and this is another winner. So quick and easy to make up. The drafting as always is spot on. This is such a wearable top which I reckon is going to be a wardrobe winner. The instructions are clear and easy to follow. It’s also possible to get this out of minimal fabric if it’s non-directional. (I had 0.8m of 160cm wide fabric.) I’m already looking at my stash to see what I can make the next one in. Mm, thinks, merino, winter is coming.
There have already been some awesome versions of this on Instagram. Some with a mix of woven for the front and back and a knit for the side pieces. I have so many ideas now going around in my head for different versions to use up small pieces of fabric which for some strange reason I may have kept in stash!
As always the funds from the first week will be going to a local community/charity. For the Hipi top, they will be donated to the fund for the Christchurch shooting victims. A cause which is very close to our hearts here in NZ currently.

Annalicity meets Les Fleurs

I feel the need to post this dress following Mel’s post the other day. I too, was one of those who just felt they needed this fabric! Enter Cotton + Steel Rifle Paper Co Les Fleurs Birch Periwinkle quilting cotton.

I went up to Carterton in the Wairarapa last September, with some friends to Fabric-a-Brac. A sample of this was on a stall. I ended up going to the shop in Greytown to buy the fabric. Like Mel, I just couldn’t help it. I needed this fabric! And in this colourway. Hurrah! I could finally join the masses!

This is a quilting cotton, so I needed something which would cope with a bit more structure. Queue a bodice I’ve made up a number of times.

And a skirt I’ve made up twice.

I blame Instagram and popular patterns showing frequently in my feed! Enter the Annalicity, made up from the BHL Anna bodice and the JLH Felicity dress skirt – pretty much a match made in heaven. Oh and it means I have pockets! 🙂

Normal problems arose with the skirt. This is a 3/4 circle and the fabric is not wide enough. Time for some pattern matching to piece extras on the corner of the skirt. Me, I am the Queen of pattern matching! Just check this out.

To be honest, what can say. Well my Annalicity loves the Wellington wind too,. Way she blows! Who needs a net petticoat when you have a circle skirt in the Wellington wind!

The skirt I hemmed by hand. Yep, I hand sewed a 3/4 circle skirt hem. Why not? I find it relaxing and gives a way better finish.

The details
Fabric:  Cotton + Steel Rifle Paper Co Birch Periwinkle quilting cotton from JET in Greytown, bought Sept 2018 – didn’t make it to stash!
Notions:  Thread, interfacing and a dress zip
Pattern:  Mash up of By Hand London Anna dress bodice, size 16 and Jennifer Lauren Handmade Felicity dress skirt, size 16
Changes made:  The bodice I did my standard changes, lengthened it by 1″, lowered the top of the darts by 1″, took in the top of the back by around 1/2″ each side and inserted a lapped zip rather than invisible zip (I didn’t have an invisible zip in stash).
Another one/Recommendations:  This is the fifth time I’ve made up this bodice and the third for the skirt. Both are awesome patterns with great instructions (if you need them). The bodice is easy to adjust if necessary  and lends itself to so many different skirts. The skirt has pockets and just makes be feel so girly wearing it. I love this dress and it’s been in high rotation since I finished it.