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/recommondations: 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.


Wardrobe staples

Does something make you think I’m trying to catch up? When I’m making up something new, I like to search for blog posts and reviews. There’s definitely not so many now, but I think through blogging there is still a need for them. Which is why I’m still blogging and these older makes are going up. So these are some more older makes, which have made it to the TNT category in my sewing.

Papercut Ensis Tee

Are you the same as me when going on holiday? That overwhelming need to make something new? Well when we headed off to the UK last January (told you I made them ages ago), I decided I needed another warm tee. Enter the Papercut Ensis Tee which I’ve made once before.

I made no changes to the pattern, it’s a perfect fit as it is. The cream lower half is merino, so nice and cosy and warm. I honestly can’t remember where from though. The top, if you’ve been following my blog for a while, you might recognise this red stretch lace. I used it to make this shrug. There was plenty enough left to make the top of this tee. I think there may still be some left, I might make another with a black bottom? Mm, I’ll leave that until the weather starts to get cooler again! 🙂

The details
Fabric:  Cream merino for the main body and a red stretch lace for the tops. The cream was a remnant from somewhere and the red apparently was a remnant from the Fabric Warehouse.
Notions:  Thread and clear elastic for the shoulders
Pattern:  Papercut Ensis Tee, size L
Changes made:  I shortened the sleeves to give 3/4 sleeves.

Another one/Recommendations:  This is number two, it’s so easy to make up. I actually even changed my overlocking thread between the red and the cream, so that I could continue to use my overlocker. I’m definitely looking at another one, maybe I should make some short sleeved versions for summer, I need more t-shirts.

Sew House Seven Alberta Skirt

This is another pattern I’ve made up a couple of times, once in denim and a knit hack with a back zip. I do like a TNT. This fabric is an upholstery fabric which I think came from IKEA, Melbourne in Sept 2017. It doesn’t have the stretch that the Alberta skirt asks for, so I made a larger size to ensure my hips and backside would fit will sitting down.
I didn’t make any other changes, I even put the pockets on as they are on the pattern, although I was tempted to turn them the other way, so the lower side was on the side seam. I didn’t try to pattern match with the pockets. I didn’t have enough fabric and it was too much like hard work!
The details
Fabric:  Upholstery fabric remnant, I think from IKEA in Melbourne.
Notions:  Thread, interfacing and a dress zip
Pattern:  Sew House Seven Alberta Street skirt, size 16 to give more room for non-stretch fabric
Changes made:  I used a dress zip rather than an invisible zip and took the waist in slightly..
Another one/Recommendations:  This is my third reiteration of this skirt. It’s a great pattern which is easy and quick to make up. I definitely recommend it. It’s a classic shape and fits really well. I doubt this will be my last. 🙂

Sewaholic Renfrew

The Renfrew was the first pattern I made up when I finally felt comfortable with sewing knit fabric. I made up a couple of Renfrews, which have been worn a lot and have been staples in my wardrobe. To fill a gap with the need for more knit tops which I can just throw on and go with everything, I went shopping in my stash and found this white and grey striped knit, which I think came from Fabric-a-Brac. It was definitely a remnant.
What can I say about the Renfrew? Erm, it too is easy and quick to make. Since I made the first ones, I’ve bought my overlocker, so it was even easier to make this up! It’s the basic scoop neck version with 3/4 sleeves (my fave length). I’ve only ever made the scoop neck version, but it’s the neckline which suits me best! I made sure to stitch the cuffs and hem band properly this time, so these now lay flat much better than the originals.
The details
Fabric:  Grey and white striped cotton knit, possibly from Fabric-a-Brac
Notions:  Thread
Pattern:  Sewaholic Renfrew, view A with 3/4 sleeves, size 14
Changes made:  none
Another one/Recommendations:  A definite TNT. I’ve made two of these previously too. The purple merino version is still going strong, but the cream version didn’t last as long and has already gone from the wardrobe.

Sew House Seven Toaster sweater

This is my second Toaster sweater. The first I made from a boiled wool which had little stretch and was quite stiff, although very toasty. 🙂 After seeing a few other versions online, I thought I’d try another from this merino mix knit I picked up as a remnant.
Since this fabric is completely different, this version has come out so unlike my first Toaster sweater, but actually I love this version too. It’s actually pretty warm and so easy to throw on over a tee or top.
The details
Fabric:  Grey and white striped merino knit, possibly from Fabric-a-Brac
Notions:  Thread
Pattern:  Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater, version 2, between size M and L
Changes made:  Again I straightened the sides and also shortened the sleeves.
Another one/Recommendations:  It took me a while to make this second sweater, but am definitely happy with this second version. It’s so easy to wear and certainly fills a gap in my wardrobe. I love these sweaters. It’s been a great learning experience for me to make both of my versions in completely different fabrics.


Both Mr N and I have been in need of new PJs/nightwear/nighties/night clothes in the last year. We’ve had RTW night clothes for ages, and I’ve been sticking them in the machine with a complete disregard for the fact they had holes in, seams coming apart, etc.

Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey PJs

To be honest I really didn’t know what to make these in. In the end I went in to Spotlight and looked for some fabric which would be fun. I reckon these work!  The pattern is Simplicity 1520 which I had to make some changes to. This pattern is a multi-sex, multi-sized pattern. Mr N likes to have an opening fly on his PJs, so I had to make a couple of changes to incorporate that. So I extended both sides of the front and so that they would overlap at the waist and provide a fly. Sorry, I didn’t take many photos and didn’t draft any pattern pieces. It was a bit of trial and error.

To be honest apart from the fly, these were a pretty quick make. This cotton is so easy to sew and make up. These were sewn on my machine and the seams finished using the overlocker.

The deets
Fabric:  Dr Who cottons from Spotlight, late 2017
Notions:  Thread and inch wide elastic for the waistband
PatternSimplicity 1520, adult size L
Changes made:  Changed the front seam to incorporate a fly, shortened the length by a couple of inches and removed the ribbon tie on the front.

Recommendations:  Well I made two of these in pretty quick succession. It’s a quick and easy make. I didn’t really follow the instructions. Why did I need to? I’d already self-drafted the fly so I certainly didn’t need to follow the instructions for the rest! Mr N is definitely happy with his PJs, so I call this a success.

Nighties for me

Me, I’m not a fan of PJs. My legs get really warm in bed, so PJs don’t work. This first one hasn’t worked as well as I originally hoped. I had a nightie from Peter Alexander which was really comfortable, so I thought I would trace a pattern from the garment and use some fabric from stash.

The pattern has a yoke which extends to provide a kimono sleeve which has a cuff. The skirt falls with a rectangle and then godet type shapes on the side seams to provide a handkerchief hem. Not sure I’ve described that very well, so hopefully the photos help.

The fabric for the yoke is a pale grey and white narrow stripe left over from a T-shirt (not blogged), and was a remnant from somewhere and the grey is a viscose knit with a slight texture which I came from Fabric-a-Brac some time ago.

I have to say, this went together a lot easier than I thought, although the grey viscose hasn’t lasted that well on the side seams and is already showing wear (I only made this around 6 months ago).

The deets
Fabric:  Grey and white stripe, a remnant from somewhere and a grey viscose knit from Fabric-a-Brac.
Notions:  Thread
Pattern:  Self-drafted, copied from a RTW nightie.
Changes made:  No changes, since it’s self-drafted 🙂

Recommendations/another one:  Can’t really recommend the pattern since it’s self-drafted, but I’m happy with it. It’s comfy and it moves with me when I toss and turn at night, which I often do! I’ll keep my pattern, so I can make another if I want to.

I also made two more nighties. Yes, mine were really on their way out, plus going away for work on and off, it’s helpful to have a spare, just in case I’ve not managed to get a wash done, etc!

This time I bought the fabric specifically. These cotton knits came from Spotlight. I love them, they’re so bright and cheerful. The pain was that they weren’t exactly woven straight, so I think they will probably twist over time, but hey, I’m only sleeping in them! I don’t think I lined the yoke seam that well on the striped version, but that’s all good, I’m not worried.

The pattern is a Prima pattern from June 2010 which I’ve made up a couple of times before as a top. One I made up as a sleeveless version and the second, I added the short sleeves. I lengthened them both so they come to mid-thigh length to make them vaguely decent!

When I’ve made the tops, I’ve always added shaping with double pointed darts in the front and back. I didn’t bother with darts for these, they don’t need them.

The deets
Fabric:  Abstract patterned cotton knits from Spotlight, December 2018.
Notions:  Thread and interfacing for the yoke.
Pattern:  Prima patterns, June 2010, size 16
Changes made:  Basically lengthened them from the tunic length, adding approx 6 inches.

Another one/recommendations:  This pattern has been a really good one from Prima. I know there are a number of people who haven’t been that impressed with Prima patterns, but I’ve not had any issues. I amassed a number while living in the UK and the ones I’ve made up I’m perfectly happy with and this pattern I’ve made up 4 times now! Just check out that side seam on the striped version above!

And they are labelled with my labels I got from the Dutch Label Shop not long before Christmas. I can now label ALL THE THINGS!!

Oh and that ticks off number one of my #makenine2019.