Shoes as inspiration

I have these shoes which I bought about a year ago. I love the colour of them and consequently am constantly looking for things to wear with them.

img_8473 I was looking through my stash and suddenly remembered this beautiful hand printed silk I bought in Thailand when we were last there in 2013.

img_8495My initial thought was to make a Sewaholic Pendrell, then decided I didn’t want to cut up that beautiful pattern with a pattern using princess seams. I ended up going with another Sewaholic Belcarra. Yes, it’s simple, but it shows off the fabric to it’s best advantage. And for me, I know the pattern works and fits, so I didn’t need to panic about making it up.

img_0455I made view B which is the option with the tucks on the shoulders. This fabric was really slippery to work with and my tucks, IMO, are not perfect, but they look fine in the photos. I’m just hyper critical!

img_8470There’s not really much else to say about the top. To finish the neckline I used a dark red bias tape. Most of the seams are French seamed, but around the cuffs, I finished the seam using my overlocker.

img_0456The deets
Fabric:  Pink hand printed silk, bought in Pattaya, Thailand, April 2013.
Thread and bias binding.
Sewaholic Belcarra, view B, size 12
Changes made: 
Another one/recommendations: 
Mm, this is my, erm, fifth Belcarra! Need I say any more? No I doubt it’ll be my last, I love the shape, the fit and the fact that it can look fab out of all types of material!

img_0494The other part of this outfit is also new! I decided a while ago that I wanted a black circle skirt for the winter which would also transition through spring. Strangely I’ve only made one circle skirt before and could I find my pattern? I had to do some maths (happy Nikki) and work out the pattern again. (And don’t tell me to use one of the many calculators available, I am too fat for them because they say so… Basically they say I can’t make a circle skirt because the fabric isn’t made wide enough! Bugger that!) This is actually a 3/4 circle and fortunately since the fabric is plain I could place some pattern pieces upside now and no one will notice.

img_0461 The skirt has just side seams, no centre front and no centre back. Both were cut on the fold. The zip is a lapped zipper in the left side. The waistband is just a self-drafted straight waistband made to the size of the pre-made waistband stiffening I have.

img_0453The deets
Fabric:  Black cotton gaberdine from the Fabric Warehouse, bought July/August I think
Thread, zip, waistband interfacing and a hook and eye for the fastening.
Self-drafted 3/4 circle skirt using the details on this page
Changes made: 
None, It’s self-drafted🙂
Another one/recommendations: 
No doubt I will make another circle skirt in the future. I honestly think it’s just as simple to draft your own rather than buy a pattern. As long as you let them hang so the hem drops out on the bias seams. This gaberdine was beautiful to make up, it dropped very little and it hangs like a dream. It’s given me a skirt to feel really girly in and I can twirl in it too🙂




Moa Point Pilvi

I’ve only seen one other of these dresses out in the wild, but for me, as soon as I saw the pattern it was one I had to make.

img_0408So if you haven’t guessed from the title, this is the Pilvi coat dress from the Named FW16 Evolution Theory Collection. It’s a little different from my normal style, but somehow this pattern called to me. It’s described as a fitted, coat like jersey dress with long sleeves. It has patch pockets, yes pockets, and a double breasted closure.

img_0416My fabric is a ponte double knit from the Fabric Warehouse. I went to have a look and one of my WSBN friends who works there suggested this lovely teal green colour. I reckon she chose me a good colour!

img_0365Following my measurements I cut a UK size 16. I attached the pockets and basically put the dress together and tried it on – too tight. It was showing far too many of my lumps and bumps! So I unpicked every seam – yes, honest, each one from just above the bust to just below the hips and stitched them again using a 1/4″ seam allowance. I also unpicked and re-stitched the sleeves at the top. (I’d used a long narrow zig-zag on my machine, not my overlocker.) I wouldn’t normally sew it this small, but it works with this fabric. I think perhaps my fabric stretch wasn’t quite enough…

img_0429The pattern instructions are really clear and easy to follow. The collar attached like a dream. There is also a facing around the back of the neck which attaches to two long front facing pieces. Basically that front section is four layers of fabric and there’s even stretch interfacing for the facing pieces.

img_0386I attempted to attach the belt loops and wasn’t happy with the placement, so I took them out and decided to go without. I’ve not made the belt either. I might change my mind to see what it looks like, but I thought a belt from two layers of ponte would be too thick.

img_0371Buttons are such a big choice. I went to Made Marion, MrsC’s fine emporium and get these amazing brushed metal buttons. My buttonholes aren’t perfect but when done up, that stretching isn’t obvious. There is also supposed to be a button on the inside at the top. Attaching this was difficult, so I’ve attached a snap fastner instead to keep that top part of the facing done up.

fasteningsIt looks like the crossover is a long way down, but it works at this position and doesn’t gape and is still high enough to be decent. Not that you can really see from my photos – the wind kept blowing the lapel up!

img_0440The deets
Fabric:  Teal green ponte double knit from the Fabric Warehouse, bought September time
Interfacing, thread, buttons and a snap fastner
Named Pilvi Coat dress, size 40
Changes made: 
I omitted the belt and belt loops, otherwise unchanged
Another one/recommendations: 
I like this dress and I’m reasonably happy with the fit, having let out the seams. It’s still a wee bit tight around the bust as you can see from the stretch lines. Unfortunately it’s now getting to spring/summer (that’s if the weather behaves) and I don’t think this is going to get much wear this year. The instructions are really clear and easy to follow and although it may look a bit 80s, it’s actually a great dress. I have some more knit fabric which I bought for something else. I’m wondering if it might work for this… It has a bit more stretch and might work better.

moa-pointAnd if you’re wondering about the name. Kat and I decided to take photos around one of the southern tips of Wellington, Moa Point. So we sat on benches, found signs, electricity cabinets, holes in the rock, etc, etc. It was very windy and we got just a little bit windswept, took some silly photos, watched the planes coming into the airport, checked out some things we haven’t seen and I found a pretty much whole paua shell🙂









Essential foundations

I’ve been in need of a full length slip for a while. I have a couple of half slips which are in constant use, but a full length slip means there isn’t that bulge of elastic around the waist and gives that extra layer when needed, albeit a thin layer.

img_0339Two weeks ago, I went along to a Mad Skills class at Made Marion here in Wellington. The class is run by the fantastic and knowledgeable MrsC. She covers a number of skills in the course such as pattern matching, sewing on the bias, French seams, flat felled seams, rolled hems and sewing with fiendish fabrics.

img_0350I’ve had this pale purple/dusky pink satin charmeuse in my stash for a while specifically for making slips. Having been on the Mad Skills course, I decided I could put my new found skills into practice.  img_0344 I used a slip pattern which I think often gets overlooked. It’s actually McCalls 6696. Honestly if you look up images of this pattern on the Interwebs, all I can see are shirtdresses. There is a bias slip in this pattern, yep there is, it’s not just a shirt dress pattern, trust me, I’m not a doctor, I’m a librarian!😉 Go check it out!

Image result for mccalls 6696

I stitched the side seams using flat felled seams for extra strength. I used a rolled hem finish around the neck and also around the hem AND I made the rouleau loop straps! The neck stretched a wee bit when I sewed the rolled hem, so I attached this pretty ribbon which was from Mum’s stash. I then attached lace around the hem to finish it off.

neck-and-hemThe deets
Fabric:  Pink/purple polyester satin charmeuse from Spotlight, sometime ago!
Thread, ribbon and lace.
McCall’s 6696 view E, size 16
Changes made: 
Another one/recommendations:  
Well if you’re after a really simple full length slip, this pattern works. There are no darts. It’s cut on the bias, so hugs the body perfectly. I really recommend it. It’s quick to sew, I left this to drop out, but it didn’t drop at all. I’d just recommend you take more time over the necklines than I did so that it doesn’t stretch that much.


A trio of patterns plus the odd photobomb by small human

Not really the title I was going to use, but hey, it kinda fits in with how a lot of my photos came out! The photos were taken up on the Southern Walkway after a lovely high tea at the SPCA where Kat‘s youngest wanted his part in the photos!

I have three new makes in this post which are all repeats.

IMG_0171Lindy Petal Skirt

This is the fourth version of this skirt! It’s quick and easy to make and is a really pick me up when you want something simple and satisfying to sew.IMG_0205Honestly not much to say on this one, I just did my standard adjustment to the size M, which was to lengthen the skirt by 1.5 inches.

IMG_0190The details

Fabric: Black and red double knit with a texture on one side from The Sewing Store in Blenheim, April 2016.
Notions: Thread and knitted elastic for the waistband.
Changes made: Lengthened by about an inch and half
Recommendatons: This is my fourth version of this pattern, need I say more. Versions one and two are here, and it looks like three wasn’t blogged!

Jenna jumper

This is the third version of this pattern. Second as a top. This time I used the Peter Pan collar from the expansion pack and added some buttons for added interest.

IMG_0188The collar is really easy to attach and is finished using bias binding on the inside. It took ages to decide on the buttons. I thought about using  one single colour, but in the end the three different colours seemed right.

FullSizeRenderThe sleeves I extended the top by about half inch, just because I wanted a bit more gathers around the sleeve top.

IMG_0187The deets
Fabric:  A fine textured cream knit from somewhere!
Notions:  Thread, three buttons, bias binding, interfacing for the collar and some tape to stabilise the shoulders
Pattern:  Muse Jenna cardigan, size 40 with both the sleeve expansion pack and Jenna expansion pack
Changes made:  Cut the front on the fold to create a jumper, extended the sleeve tops by half inch and added three buttons down the front.
Another one/recommendations:  You know you want to make this! There are so many different options with the expansion packs giving you the option to make so many different versions of this pattern. Versions one and two are here.

Juliet cardi

So the second version of this cardigan. A draped cardigan designed by the Crazy Gypsy’s mum, her pattern line is Apples and Pears.

IMG_0175Since I made my first version, the flounce has been changed slightly to make that bottom V on the back,  its a lot easier to sew. I didn’t have any issues this time at all.

IMG_0183My fabric choice was not great. Yes it’s perfect for the draped effect this cardigan needs, but it’s really loosely woven and so the cardigan has ended up quite a bit bigger than my previous version. The sleeves may need taking in at the bottoms…

The details
Fabric:  A fine red merino from Levana (sometime this year!) It was woven as a circular piece, so I actually had two folds and no selvedge.
Notions:  Thread and some tape to stabilise the shoulders
Pattern:  Apples and Pears Juliet Cardigan, size 16.
Changes made:  None.
Another one/recommendations:  Obviously since this is the second time I’ve made this pattern, it’s one I would recommend. I have some more fabric to make another. I just love the back V. It just adds something extra. Version one is here.


JLV Gable Top

One of my fellow Kiwis has released another pattern and I’ve been testing it!

This latest creation is the Gable Top from Jennifer Lauren Vintage and what a great wardrobe staple it is.

front 2The top has a 50s inspired slash neckline with the option of different sleeve lengths. It’s certainly a stash buster and makes up in no time at all.

backI made up one in a grey and black knit and straight away made up another in a cream and beige knit, I loved the pattern so much. Both were made up with fabric remnants and so have ended up with 3/4 sleeves. The fabric was wide enough to fold in both sides to cut out the front and back, then fold down the centre to cut the two sleeves. I think I used about 0.8m of 150cm wide!

frontThis was so well drafted and the instructions great, I don’t think I gave any changes back to Jen. The only change I made was to shorten the top by about 4 inches. It’s drafted long to go over skinny jeans. (The world will faint when I wear some skinny jeans, so I shorted the top to fit my wardrobe needs.)

back 2The neckline has a 5/8″ seam allowance, and the rest of the top just 3/8″. This ensures the neck lies flat. If the front neck is too high, it is possible to stitch it down with more than 5/8″ I just stitched it down probably at 7/8″. The top has a slash neck and any more the slash neck would look odd.

NecklineOne small touch, but really useful is to stitch a wee piece of ribbon in the back neck. It would be practically impossible to tell front from back otherwise and I don’t have personal garment labels.

IMG_7681The tops were both sewn up on my machine and seams finished on the overlocker since I wanted to match up the stripes – check these out! The hems and sleeves were finished with a twin needle.

stripe matchingThe details
Fabric:  Grey and black poly knit from Arthur Toye (before Jan 2014 when they closed!), cream and beige cotton knit from Fabric-a-Brac (I forget when!).
Notions:  Thread and tape to stabilise the shoulder seams.
Pattern:  Jennifer Lauren Vintage Gable top, size 16.
Changes made:  Shortened by 4 inches and stitched the front neck down by 1/4″ more than the seam allowance.
Another one/recommendations:  Go for it! This is a fabulous pattern. It’s a quick make and perfect for those times when you feel your sew-jo has gone and you need a quick make. It’s also an awesome wardrobe staple. Let’s face it, who doesn’t want a slash neck knit top in their wardrobe.

Oh and these photos were taken by Kat on a particularly wet, windy and chilly day down in Kilbirnie where the trolley bus terminus is, hence the mural on the wall and also my odd poses!🙂

front weatherPlus also photobombs from small people trying to look like the tram conductors…


The Anderson Blouse

I’ve been eyeing this pattern up for some time. Those images on the Sew Over It site are just so tempting! I’m not normally one for a full blouses which tuck in, but this one I just had to try.

pic3The fabric came from Evans in Masterton some time ago. I think it was a remnant. The bright colours just called to me. It’s a rayon, so the drape is perfect for this pattern.

My first gripes were with the PDF pattern. Far too much blank space. If they’d shifted the pieces around and put the test square inside one of the pattern pieces I reckon almost six pages of printing could have been saved.

anderson paperNext problem, the front pattern pieces have the grainline in line with the side seams, but the cutting layout has the front crossover edge as the grainline. I checked some other similar patterns and decided to go with the grainline marked on the pattern pieces. The fabric allowance is also way over. For 140cm wide it says you need 2.2m. I used about 1.5m…

pic6The pattern instructions though are great. They even have photos to illustrate the points. I will say though that I didn’t really use them much. I used them to check the basic construction and also how the neckline binding was attached. Apart from that I didn’t really use them.

pic2I made a number of changes. I changed the gathers on the shoulders to pleats, they just look flatter and better. The cuffs were also way too big on me and I didn’t like where the button placement right on the sleeve seam, so I followed Handmade by Heather‘s recommendation and cut a slit where the edge of the pleat would be and shifted the pleat across. The slit is lined and bound with a small piece of fabric attached to the front and folded in and handstitched down. I also added another pleat to give me a smaller cuff. I also interfaced the cuffs.

pic7I also didn’t add the casing on the bottom to add a tie. Quite frankly I am never going to wear this blouse like that. Just check what it looks like untucked… Nope tucked in all the way for me🙂

pic8The details
Fabric:  Bright coloured rayon from Evans in Masterton, bought in March last year.
Notions:  Thread, interfacing and buttons from stash.
Pattern:  Sew Over It Anderson blouse, size 14.
Changes made:  Lots, I changed the gathers to pleats on the shoulder seams, I completely changed the cuffs by taking them in more, moving the slit and interfacing the cuffs. I also removed the casing on the hem.
Another one/recommendations:  I’m on the fence about this pattern. I’m not sure if it’s the pattern itself or the fabric I’ve chosen is too much in your face. One thing which I’m not sure about is that there is so much fabric around the hem, that when I tuck it in, I can see bulging fabric below my waist around my hips… Let me wear it a couple of times and I’ll let you know🙂

One thing it doesn’t do, is gape and it doesn’t show everything when I bend forward either. I’m not sure how it’ll come out after washing, I have a feeling that neckline is going to be a nightmare, since it’s not stitched down really, just catch stitches to keep it together. Also, it certainly isn’t a difficult make. I cut this out Friday and finished it Monday and no I didn’t sew all day every day!


Copying RTW – again!

I started this skirt a while ago, but it got delayed by the need for a double ended zip.

I was visiting a customer last year some time and she had a knit skirt on with a full length exposed zip. I wasn’t going to let this opportunity pass.

pic9Although I probably could have used my own pencil skirt block, the Sew House 7 Alberta Street skirt seemed a better shape with the basque at the top. I actually cut it out before the denim version previously blogged here, so at the time it was a first time for making the pattern.

The fabric is a ponte knit from the Fabric Store which I bought in April. Nope, it didn’t stay long in stash🙂 I was pretty true to the pattern, I’ve just omitted the pockets and inserted a full length double ended zip.

pic13I honestly don’t have much to say about the skirt that I didn’t say in my previous post. The skirt went together really quickly again, once I’d got the zip! I took the top of the basque in again probably by about 3/4″. Due to the fabric choice this version definitely feels looser.

pic10The double ended zip came from the US, so obviously took a wee while to arrive – not to mention the postage costs! I originally thought to use an open ended zip finishing above the hem to give a split, but the original had a double ended zip and so I had to have one which went the full length of the skirt which I could open from the bottom to create a split if I wanted to.

pic15The details
Fabric:  Black and white Aztec print ponte from The Fabric Store, purchased in April 2016.
Notions:  Thread, interfacing and a double ended exposed zip.
Pattern:  Sew House Seven Alberta Street Pencil skirt, size 14.
Changes made:  Top of the basque/yoke taken in by 3/4″each side, omitted the pockets and changed the zip from an lapped zip to a full length zip, so removing the back vent.

pic12Another one/recommendations:  Erm well, this is my second version of this skirt – is that a recommendation enough. My first finished version, the denim one gets worn so much. This knit version too I love and have worn it a couple of times already. It’s quick and easy to make and the fit is fantastic.

Note to self: Don’t wear this skirt when flying and needing to go through security – it sets off the alarms🙂