Rose scout and circular tahi

I have so many things to blog about. I’ve been sewing up a storm, but not taking the time to photograph or blog. Yes, I could leave them unblogged, but I find it really helpful to make a record of my makes and where best but on here – one of the prime reasons for this site…

This time, more wardrobe staples: a Muse Tahi skirt and a Grainline Scout tee. Made last year and photographed in November just after the Kaikoura earthquake. Some of us met up in town and had tea and cakes at Louis Sargent where they make the most amazing cakes…

Muse Tahi Skirt

This is my third Tahi skirt. The others here and here. Consequently the pattern needs little description.

I always said I wanted to make a long floaty version, so this a long flared version (not a maxi length) using this black patterned fabric I think from The Fabric Warehouse. It’s not floating, this was quite a stiff fabric until I washed it. The big black circles are felted. It’s slightly see-through and so I lined the skirt with a grey polyester lining. The lining is cut to the straight A-line version.

I made no changes to the pattern at all. The feature piece is cut 90 degrees to the grain. I don’t think it’s obvious really unless you look up close since there is a slight stripe to the fabric background.

The details
Fabric:  Black patterned cotton with a felt flower from The Fabric Warehouse and a grey lining from stash.
Notions:  Thread, dress zip, waistband stiffening
 and a skirt hook and eye for the waistback
Pattern:  Muse Patterns, Tahi skirt, size 40, again taken in a bit, but possibly not to a 38!
Changes made:  None, unless you count shortening the maxi version or lengthening the short version!
Another one/recommendations:  If you haven’t made this, why not? I’ve two this length now and they are constantly being worn. This black version is great for those grotty wet summer days, it’s also perfect with tights for the winter. It’s a quick make and that feature panel is a great touch.

Grainline Scout Tee

I made this pattern for the first time last June copying a RTW top I had. I thought it was time to try the pattern for real, since the RTW knock-off had a knit back and woven front.

I got this red silk from Zara at a Fabric-a-Brac one year (too long ago to remember!) Just enough to make up this top. I cut the same size front and back, a 12, and also straightened the sides. This pattern really flares out at the hip. I think the hips are cut to a size 8! The sleeves have also been lengthened by about an inch. The neckline is also raised by about an inch on the front.

I had enough fabric to piece together the binding for the neck, so the main fabric was used for the bias binding too. All seams are French seamed, apart from the armhole seam which I finished with my overlocker. It does mean that instead of the 1/2″ seams on pattern, I actually took 5/8″ seams. I think the fit works well now, although it is still quite big on the back.

The details
Fabric:  A red silk crepe with a textured finish from Zara at Fabric-a-Brac
Notions:  Thread.
Pattern:  Grainline Scout Tee, size 12 and grading to an 8 at the hips. Last time I made up a size 10, but had a knit back.
Changes made:  Straightened the side seams, raised the neckline and lengthened the sleeve.
Another one/recommendations:  Well I have to say that more are in the making, so yes I definitely recommend this pattern. It’s not difficult to make up and gives a great woven tee to wear. I will however recommend you check the finished hip measurement. I’m not sure how low the front neck would be following the pattern. Perhaps I ought to make up one as per the proper pattern!


Liola Patterns Molly Cardigan

I made this cardigan last August and have finally managed to get photos when Kat and I went for a walk one lunchtime. Taken in a very windy Wellington day up by Brooklyn windmill…

This is the Molly cardigan from Liola Patterns, which I discovered by chance when I was looking at cardigans on It has some structure and also looks jacket like. I also really liked the collar detail. Even though I could find no others in the wild, I decided it was worth a risk!

I think the recommended fabric is for something with a bit more drape than the merino double knit I used. However it works well and is so warm and cosy for the winter!

Casting my mind back… I cut an XL based on my bust size. Since my fabric was really quite thick, I ended up sewing much of this on my machine with a walking foot and finishing seams using my overlocker. My overlocker doesn’t really like thick seams, even if I set the feed dogs with a little pressure as possible, and this certainly does end up with thick seams with the collar double thickness.

The pattern was really very simple to make up. The collar is dealt with first. They are big pieces cut on the fold and certainly with my fabric they took quite a bit of dealing with. the collar is attached right down to the side seam to give the curved front. The back piece is then hemmed up level with the collar pieces.

The instructions are clear and easy to follow, with good images attached. I have to say it was an enjoyable make. I didn’t have to make any changes, I just made it up as is, even following the instructions!

The deets
Fabrics:  Brown merino double knit from The Fabric Store, August 2016
Notions:  Thread and tape for the shoulders.
Pattern:  Liola Patterns Molly Cardigan, size XL, available from
Changes made:  None
Another one/recommendations:  I’m happy with this. It got a lot of wear in the winter after I made it. I love the colour and it goes with so many things. It’s warm and toasty particularly for a cold day. The fit is great, I love the length of this one. I also like the collar. It’s a quick and easy make and definitely makes a change from my four Style Arc Nina cardigans! I think there might just be another one in the making.

Oh and you wanna see a really funny photo… Check out this windswept look 🙂

Here’s the view from the top


Copying and proud of it

Before Christmas I was in Whanganui (about 3-4 hours north of here) and discovered two sewing/craft shops. Philp-Wrights is really known as a curtain upholstery fabric store, however down the back are lots of lovely dress-making fabrics, along with some samples on manikins. This one in particular took my fancy…

As you can imagine the rest is history, the fabric and the pattern came back home with me! It’s very rare nowadays that I buy a pattern on a whim too!

This is Burda 7031. It’s a while since I’ve made anything Burda for me, and so made up a muslin. It’s the first time I’ve sewn anything with French darts too. The were pretty much in the right place, but needed flattening out at the top slightly. These have quite a curve in them too. These darts are trimmed before stitching them.

As I’ve said, I completely copied the version in the shop! The fabric is a lovely quality cotton sateen and was really lovely to sew up.

I had to make a few changes, since the short sleeve version is lace with a lining. Obviously I didn’t line this dress, and so I just used a single layer and gave them a small hem. The sleeves are made up of a front and back. I also drafted some neck facings.

My invisible zip is not perfect, what also makes it more difficult is that the centre back seam is shaped. I’m not the best at sewing in zips in shaped seams. Once I’d sewn in the zip, the back was still too big, I ended up putting in darts. I might have done better to have sewn in the zip with straight seams and then adding the darts afterwards.

I actually think the front is possibly too big, but I can’t think at the moment how to shape it and make it a better fit.

The deets
Fabrics:  Cotton sateen from Philp-Wrights in Whanganui, December 2016
Notions:  Thread, invisible zip, some interfacing for neck facings.
Pattern:  Burda 7031, size 16
Changes made:  Darts lowered slightly, long back darts added and neck facings drafted.
Another one/recommendations:  I love this dress, it’s really comfortable and summery. There are very few out in the wild, but those French darts make for a great fit. I still think I could do a lot more to the fitting in the front. Whether I make another I’m unsure. I’m glad I saw the version in the shop and made it up though. It’s had a lot of wear already 🙂





More wardrobe staples…

I’ve spent some time over the past few months to make some staples for my wardrobe, in the form of tops, skirts and shrugs.

img_1378Yes, these are all something I’ve made before, but I’m trying to make a record of makes and any changes I make, plus I’m also interested to see which patterns become TNT patterns for me.

Tahi Shrug

I made one of these when I was lucky enough to test the pattern. Even though that one is in a black fluffy knit, it gets a lot of wear and I really wanted some more.

img_1401The red version is a stretch lace which I think was a remnant from The Fabric Warehouse. There’s still oodles left, which I’m planning on using for something else. The sleeves were from the selvedge and I trimmed around the edge to give the scalloped edge.

img_1380Although this version looks dressy, I love to wear it as a vest cover up in the summer. This pattern uses so little fabric, it’s possible to get it out of a very little.

img_1384Cue my second Tahi shrug… I picked up this remnant from Kat the other weekend. Immediately it had to be a shrug. I was determined it had to work. It meant I needed to seam the centre back, but I still have a shrug!

img_1407This one is like my first and has 3/4 sleeves. I love this length of sleeve, I don’t need to push it up to get it out of the way, plus it gives some more warmth than a short sleeve. The fabric also means this one is really warm and I nearly lost it to Kat when we were taking these photos.

img_1404The deets
Fabrics:  Red stretch lace (Fabric Warehouse), blue poly knit (from Kat)
Notions:  Thread and tape for the shoulder seams
Pattern:  Muse Patterns Tahi Shrug, size 40, one with the short sleeve, the other gathered top 3/4 sleeve
Changes made:  None
Another one/recommendations:  These are shrugs 2 and 3, do I need to say how good this pattern is?

img_1411Layered skirt

I made this skirt ages ago, so excuse me if I get some of my details wrong. The pattern is my self-drafted pencil skirt – if you ask me one of the easiest patterns to draft on your own.

img_1396The pattern I first drafted some years ago when I was in the UK. This version here is made with a navy cotton eyelet. The lining is some polyester which Sandra gave me as a leftover. I think she used it for a coat lining. I quite like this multi-coloured floral lining under the plain fabric.

img_1387The selvedges were plain fabric with no eyelets. I used this to make up the waistband. The zip is a centred zip and I used a purple button from my button box.

img_1385The deets
Fabrics:  Navy blue cotton eyelet (not sure where from), floral polyester lining (from Sandra)
Notions:  Thread, interfacing for the waistband and a centred zip
Pattern:  Self-drafted pencil skirt
Changes made:  It’s my pattern, I do as I like, but no, this is the pattern with no changes.
Another one/recommendations:  Drafting a pencil skirt is the easiest thing ever, imo. There will always be more of these in my wardrobe. If you want to try making your own, I would go for it.

img_1366And if you were wondering these photos were taken in Newlands here in Wellington at a children’s pay area near Brandon Rock with Kat and Sandra. Yes it was sunny and very windy, but we had fun playing on the swings and playground.


Muse Rua

Another fab new pattern from Muse Patterns which I was lucky enough to test.

img_1438On the website the Rua tee and dress are described as “perfect all year round. Featuring a semi-loose fitting bodice, a scoop neckline, two sleeve designs (a short puffed sleeve with cuff band, or a classic sleeve with a lightly gathered sleeve head), three sleeve lengths, and the choice of cropped tee, banded tee, hip-length tee, or dress.”

screenshot-2017-02-07-21-08-23I was in need of another white t-shirt (a girl can never have enough) and made up the hip-length with short sleeves. And it’s a great addition to my wardrobe. I need to make more!

img_1436I made a size 38 following my full bust measurement. I have just an inch between high and full bust, so I went for the full bust size. Personally for me, this may be an inch or so too long, but that’s mainly because I rarely wear jeans or trousers, but I prefer a longer tee over my skirts rather than a cropped tee.

img_1440The instructions as always were clear as a button. I’m a pictures person, not words and so follow the images for most instructions. The pattern layout all good. My fabric was wide enough to fold in both selvedges and cut the front and back that way. Minimal fabric use.

2017-01-11-20-30-17The facing for the hip-length version is quite different and I wondered how this was going to work. It is a really nice feature and makes the hem lay flat and sit on the hips really nicely. It also saves the use of a double needle for the hem.

img_1442So what’s the difference between this and something like the Renfrew? For a start, check out those options. For US$12, you have three different tee lengths and a dress, not to mention four different sleeve lengths. What a bargain. I personally think the fit is great. The instructions are clear and easy to follow. This longer line tee has more shape than a Renfrew and I really love the facing for the hem which gives a smooth finish. Kat has gone into a lot of work to get this ready and it definitely shows with the finished product.

img_1431The deets
Fabric:  White cotton jersey knit. I can’t remember where I got it from, but it’s good quality and has a great recovery
Notions:  Thread and tape for the shoulder seams
Pattern:  Muse Patterns Rua Tee and Dress, size 38
Changes made:  None
Another one/recommendations:  I would definitely recommend this. It’s quick and easy to sew up, the fit is really good and there are so many options in the pattern it’ll keep you going for ages, always making something different. I can definitely see another one in my future, even another white one, simply because I like white tees. Watch this space!

img_1445Excuse the photos in this, it was one of our few sunny days this summer and I happened to be wearing a white tee – sun and white fabrics don’t really match with photos! Oh and it was windy too – I do live in Wellington after all 🙂


All opinions above are honest and my own. I was given a copy of this pattern for testing purposes only.


A sweat of shirts (?) or aye aye Nelson…

I couldn’t find the collective noun for shirts, so asked Mr N (the in-house chef), he came up with “a sweat”, mm, not convinced! 🙂 The other photos, they look like Admiral Nelson!

The in-house chef is not a fan of posing for photos, and consequently the resident dress form (she is yet to be named) offered to pose for me. Now please note, the shirts are made for a male and the dress form is female, although they don’t look too bad on her!

7767-frontsI made the first shirt for the in-house chef four years ago. I used Burda 7767 having seen the many versions on Homemade by Carolyn‘s blog. I’ve made four more in the last four years – yeah, one a year, I’m so generous. Unfortunately a lot of the fabrics are narrow stripes and so we have some fine examples of moire – sorry, not sure how to get rid of that.

shirt-backsI’ve had to make some changes since my first iteration of this pattern. The in-house chef has one of those stomachs which has “taken years of honing and looking after” – you know the type? And so I cut a size 42 in the chest and grade out to halfway between a 44 and 46 for the waist/hip area. He also has short arms and small wrists (like me) and so I shorten the arms by 2cm and grade them in at the wrist to a size 40. Other than that, they are as the pattern. All seams are flat felled and everything is top stitched where you would expect it, ie collars and cuffs.

7767-collarsFollowing on from my first version, I always finish the cuffs with a larger metallic button to look like a cufflink.

7767-cufflinksThe variations
Fabric 1: Quite stiff pale grey and white striped cotton with dark grey buttons. Cufflinks are metallic owls. The fabric I think came from The Fabric Store, the buttons no doubt would have come from Made Marion.
Fabric 2: Blue and white stripe. I think it’s a poly cotton. It’s quite thick, but requires little ironing. I’m unsure where it’s from now. Small blue buttons for the front and the cufflinks have thistles on them.
Fabric 3 (the rainbow shirt): Plain blue cotton from The Fabric Store. I bought it for something else, then saw a shirt like this somewhere and just had to copy it. The fabric is plain and so I used multicoloured shell buttons from Made Marion for the front. The cufflinks are circular metal buttons. I also used this multicoloured cotton top-stitching thread for all top stitching and seams.

img_1364Fabric 4 (the Paul Hollywood shirt): Narrow grey and white stripe (a bugger to sew) I think from the Fabric Warehouse. I didn’t have enough and so lined the collar, cuffs and button band with a shot purple cotton (that’s been in my stash for ages). The front buttons are small purple coloured wooden buttons. The in-house chef then chose the solid looking square buttons (they aren’t metal and are very lightweight.)

img_1348Pattern: Burda 7767 (which I think is now out of print)

b6cae-x07767burdaNotions: In addition to the buttons. I’ve been trying different types of interfacing for the collars and cuffs. I found some great stiffer interfacing for the collars, but could only find it in white.
Changes made: I cut a size 42 in the chest and grade out to halfway between a 44 and 46 for the waist/hip area. Mr N also has short arms and small wrists (like me) and so I shorten the arms by 2cm and grade them in at the wrist to a size 40.






In-flight cardigan

I’ve made a thing – well I’ve made lots of things, but getting photos hasn’t happened around here. I’ve been on holiday and every time the weekend turns up, it seems to rain! Not particularly conducive to taking photos. Yes, it’s the summer, but there was snow on the hill range just up the road last night…

img_1115 I made this cardigan specifically for my holiday. I’d seen various versions online and it fitted the bill perfectly – hidden pockets to stick tissues and/or boarding passes in, long line so it covers up my bum, etc. If you haven’t guessed by now, this is the Seamly Wrapped Cardigan. Seamly produce “socially responsible clothing” and are based in Denver, CO. However, they have made the patterns for some of their creations available to the sewing community via Indiesew, who also happen to be in CO, but up the road in Boulder (a fine town and home to an old friend of mine).

img_1104The pattern has 36 pages – yes! The pattern pieces for the front to create that cascade are big. There’s no just getting this from a small amount of fabric, you need to make sure it’s wide enough, or you have enough. Based on my measurements, I made a size XL, for the long sleeve version with 60″ wide fabric, you need 3.5 yds, ie 3.2m of 150cm wide fabric – that’s as much as a dress!!

img_1120It’s actually pretty easy to put together, but be careful, the front pieces end up on the diagonal down the side seam, so you can easily stretch it. The pockets are made by the facing to the neck band. It’s quite clever really, they end up being completely concealed.

img_1176My fabric is quite loosely woven and frayed like anything. I got it from Mel, who decided she didn’t like it anymore! Initially I thought to make a Style Arc Nina cardi, then decided this would fit the bill better.

img_1171The instructions are clear and easy to follow with lots of diagrams to keep Nikki happy! The second step is a bit fiddly, the two front pieces are stitched together at the neck and the back is then attached to that in a very odd shaped seam. It worked, but it’s fiddly!

screenshot-2017-01-20-20-38-55The deets
Fabric:  Teal green and white striped knit from thecuriouskiwi – not sure of the composition
Notions:  Thread and tape for the shoulder seams
Pattern:  Seamly Wrapped cardigan, size XL
Changes made:  Possibly shortened the sleeves – I have short arms!
Another one/recommendations:  Not sure this on my make again list. It’s a fab cardigan for travel and throwing on while on holiday, and so another might get made in a different colour for that purpose. It had a lot of wear while we were away on holiday just recently, mainly for the pockets! (Proof in the pudding, this photo is from the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbour.)

img_0661I’ll see how much wear it gets now we’re back home.The fit is great and it’s a quick and easy make. Not everyone likes draped cardigans, but I thing this is a great make.