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🙂


It’s not really RTW

Honest, I find it really difficult to buy RTW clothing and these definitely aren’t RTW, but they are RTW knock-offs.

IMG_9982aLast year when we went back to the UK, one of our flights got delayed and although there was time for us to got on the connecting flight, our luggage didn’t make it. We arrived in Heathrow at some ungodly hour in the morning to find our luggage and clothes were still in Hong Kong! First job in the UK – to go buy clothes to tie us over!

To cut a long story short, I ended up in House of Fraser in Cheltenham. I thought it would be good to buy things which I wouldn’t normally make or would find hard to make. I eventually found a blouse in French Connection and contemplated a denim skirt for some time, but at over GBP 100…

The blouse

The French Connection blouse has been a staple in my wardrobe since I bought it, I wear it so much. It’s a fine poly crepe front with a knit back. The crepe edges the bottom and there is also a pocket on the front. My fabric is slightly different, the French Connection top has a cotton knit back, I couldn’t find one with a crepe to match, so I ended up with a poly/lycra knit.

IMG_7429I eventually thought the Grainline Scout tee would be the best to copy. This is the first Grainline pattern I’ve made and although the whole process was pretty painless, the seam allowances are half an inch which confused me completely. Patterns are either 3/8ths or 5/8ths, but half inch?

IMG_9979 topI made a few changes. The finished hip measurement was enormous, so I took in the sides probably about 4 inches all told at the bottom of the top. I also changed the neckline slightly. The Scout tee neckline was lower at the front, so I raised this slightly. I also lengthened the sleeves by about an inch.

IMG_9984aThe scout tee obviously doesn’t come with a pocket, so I had to draft that – not exactly difficult, but this fine blue crepe was impossible! It was so slippy and fine. How many pins to attach it? I’m not completely happy with the result, but I can only get better!

IMG_7371The details
Fabric:  A bright blue fine poly crepe and a bright blue knit both from the Fabric Warehouse, April 2016. I’d have used less than a metre of each fabric and I reckon the top cost me a total of NZ$ 30. That original French Connection top cost about GBP 50.
Notions:  Thread.
Pattern:  Grainline Scout Tee, size 10 and grading to a 6 at the hips. Note I did have a knit back, so maybe a 12 without the knit back.
Changes made:  Straightened the side seams, raised the neckline, lengthened the sleeve, added the crepe trim to front and back, and added a pocket. Oh, and added a slit at the sides. Phew!
Another one/recommendations:  This pattern is really good. The instructions were clear and I like the fit of this top. It’s also very quick to make up. The main bug bear I have with this pattern is the seam allowance, it’s just far too confusing!

OK, this particular version needs a bit more refining, but I’m happy with how it’s turned out.

IMG_9987 top

The skirt

So, even though I didn’t buy the denim skirt, it was on my mind the whole time. It was a faded black denim pencil skirt with princess seams and pockets in the seams. If I was purely copying it, then this pattern from Sew House Seven wouldn’t have been perfect, since it doesn’t have princess seams, but the overall silhouette with the pockets giving a false princess seam works well.

IMG_9979 skirtThe pattern is not difficult, it’s really quick and easy to make up. Proof is that I cut this out and made it up in one afternoon/evening! That is pretty much unheard of for me! I didn’t read the instructions word for word, but I remember thinking that they were clear and easy to follow and didn’t do anything strange or unexpected.

IMG_9990I used a metal centred zip, which I think works best with this fabric. I’m not completely happy with the pockets, I think I would actually prefer them with the opening the opposite diagonal, ie lower on the sides than in the middle.

IMG_0006The fit is good and this is a size 14 pretty much out of the box. The only thing I did change was to take in the top of the yoke a bit more. I don’t really love skirts sitting on my hips, so I took it in, so it would sit at my waist. I thought the hips would be tight since they pretty much have no ease in them, but no, this skirt fits!

IMG_9994 skirtThe details
Fabric:  Faded black denim with about 5% lycra content from the Fabric Warehouse, June 2016. I used about a metre of 130cm wide. So my skirt probably cost me about NZ$ 20, just a bit cheaper than the original inspiration of over GBP 100!
Notions:  Thread, interfacing and a zip.
Pattern:  Sew House Seven Alberta Street Pencil skirt, size 14.
Changes made:  The top of the yoke was taken in by about an inch.
Another one/recommendations:  I think this pattern will be made up again. It’s quick and easy to make up, the fit is fantastic and this skirt is really wearable and is definitely going to be a staple.


And… That will be my final make for IPM

2016_06_IPM RTW Copycat

Fleurlicity Dress

The other week, I received the Maison Fleur summer blouse pattern as a gift and made up view 3 with the puffed sleeves. Then I thought it would be pretty cool with a skirt attached as a dress. Enter the Fleurlicity dress (try and say that after a few!)

IMG_9953I used the Maison Fleur blouse view 1 and combined it with Jennifer Lauren Vintage Felicity dress skirt. I was lucky enough to be a tester for this dress pattern and I’ve been really wanting to use the pattern again. And the skirt has pockets!!

IMG_9927I considered keeping the blouse at it’s proper length and having a drop waisted dress, but adding the circle skirt to this would have been a nightmare and I didn’t want gathers. The pockets would also have been odd at hip level. I also considered using view 3 blouse again, but it just wouldn’t have worked with this skirt.

trial imagesThis fabric I bought a few years ago. It came from Arthur Toye, a fabric store which used to be in the centre of Wellington. This was a last minute purchase on their closing day on 31 January 2014. I saw someone else with the bolt and decided I needed some in my life. I think I got the end of the bolt, around 4m because even at the time it spoke circle skirt to me. It’s a very fine cotton and I describe the pattern as covered in doughnuts🙂 The problem with this fine cotton, meant I needed to line the dress. This dress has taken ages to put together and mainly because of the lining!

IMG_9958For the bodice, I lowered the bust darts slightly, I decided from the blouse they were too high, so just lowered by about half inch. The side seams I obviously had to grade in so that the bottom of the bodice was the same size as the waist of the skirt. It’s still a wee bit big, but not terrible.

IMG_9951The skirt I didn’t change at all, it is the same size I made up last time. The only thing I had to do was piece the skirt. This is a 3/4 circle skirt and the fabric wasn’t wide enough, so I carefully pattern matched corners on the skirt. Can you see the seam? I am the Queen of pattern matching🙂

pattern matchingThe lining – ARGH!!! As mentioned above, this became the bane of my life! The blouse has facings. I used the main dress fabric to make facing for the neck – this facing is the back of the ties, so they needed to be in the main dress fabric. I squared off the facings and attached the fine white cotton something I had in my stash. Silly girl, I didn’t cut it long enough, so instead of a high waist on the lining, I pleated what I’d done onto a narrow waistband and attached a half circle skirt. Phew! Yes, this lining took way longer than the dress to make up!

liningI’m not completely happy with my invisible zip either. Somehow I’ve managed to stretch the zip while sewing and so the fabric has gathered slightly. I’ve tried pressing it out but it’s still not perfect.

IMG_9934The details
Fabric:  Doughnut patterned fine cotton lawn from Arthur Toye, Wellington, January 2014. Fine white cotton something I think came from Fabric-a-Brac, but really don’t remember! I think I used approx 3m of the blue for the dress.
Notions:  Thread, interfacing and a zip.
Pattern:  Maison Fleur summer blouse, view 1, size 16, graded in at the waist and the skirt from Jennifer Lauren Vintage Felicity dress, size 14.
Changes made:  Lowered the bust darts by half inch, took in the side seams of the blouse by an inch or more to fit the waist of the skirt and shortened the blouse to waist length.
First worn:  Photos at Truby King Garden in Wellington. It’s winter here and there was a strong cold wind blowing – not the weather for a summer frock! I’m not sure this will get much more wear until November time, but then it’ll be perfect for a windy Wellington summer day🙂

IMG_9959Another one/recommendations:  I’m really happy with this combo dress. I’m looking forward to the summer when it’ll get a lot of wear. I’m pretty pleased with the fit, the waist is a little lose, and may take that in later. However all in all, I love it. I’m glad I’ve managed to find the perfect pattern for this fabric. It’s been sat there in my stash for three years and it was definitely worth cutting into it for this.

IMG_9932And so, we have another entry for The Monthly Stitch Indie Pattern Month.

2016_06_IPM Hack It