Simplicity 2444

Time to attempted to blog all of the Make Nine items I’ve made up before the end of the year and perhaps blog some makes which haven’t been blogged. Mm, well, I guess if consciously attempt to type up posts and take photos and post regularly, I might actually make it. So here goes. Here’s the first of them.

Simplicitiy 2444 is a pattern I’ve had in my stash since I started sewing reguarly again, over ten years ago. It’s now out of print, but was one of the Pattern Runway patterns with lots of options. You’ll find the dress I made in 2010 here. This was the only version I made of this pattern and it’s been sat maturing in my stash since. Then back in July this year, I was invited to attend the NZ Children’s and Young Adult Book Awards with a theme of neon candy. Well to be honest I’m not sure what neon candy is and really hadn’t a clue, until a friend of mine posted in a FB fabric group that she was selling this fabric. Oh yeah, not really neon, but candy definitely.

I couldn’t wait for that fabric to arrive! What I needed was a fit and flare pattern and considered buying the Sew Over It Betty dress, then I realised I had the perfect pattern already in stash. Welcome back Simplicity 2444!

I’ve learned a bit more since 2010! I made the dress up in its simplest form, ie no collar, no sleeves and no front bow. I ended up lengthening the bodice by ¾ inch and actually lowered the bust darts by the same amount, so the length kinda went between the armscye and the top of the darts. I also lengthened the skirt by a couple of inches. My previous version of this dress has since gone, as I’ve put on a bit of weight, but it was quite a bit shorter than the length I prefer now.

The skirt pieces were too wide, so I had to piece corners on these. That’s all good, I’m the queen of pattern matching. 🙂

So for the Awards evening, I wore this dress with a green cardigan (very old RTW from Monsoon) and my Liquorice Allsorts Sapporo coat made earlier in the year.

I also gave the dress another outing for our Wellington Frocktails about a month later. This time I borrowed a multicoloured floof from Sandra.

You may be thinking that neither Simplicity 2444 or this smarties looking fabric have nothing to do with my Make Nine, well rather conveniently, I shall segway to our LIANZA (Library and Information Association New Zealand Aotearoa) conference dinner. The dinner had a GLAM/Awards theme, but the whole conference was open to and encouraged our partners from the Pacific Islands to attend and so I decided I needed to make something for a Pacifica theme. Queue this fabric I bought in Hawai’i a couple of years ago, which just happens to be part of my Make Nine! Ha, got there!

Originally with this fabric, I’d thought to buy the Emery dress and then I thought, what am I doing, Simplicity 2444 fits, I have it in my stash and I’ve made it before. Perfect. And so we have exactly the same rendition of this pattern as before, just the simple sleeveless bodice and pleated skirt. I just love the boatneck and the pleated skirt. I also love those diagonal double darts on the front bodice which provide the shape and mean there’s no need for a side dart.

Again I had to pattern match the skirt, but as much as I panic beforehand, as long as I sit down with time and not feeling pressured, I can get these matched easily now.

For this conference, I wore my own white floof I made some time ago, my black Tahi shrug and was given this frangipani lai to wear. There was also a frangipani in my hair! 🙂

The deets
Fabrics:  Possibly a quilting cotton covered in Smarties from Juliet and also a red cotton fabric covered in frangipanis bought from Fabric Mart in Hawai’i back in January 2017.

Notions:  Thread, dress zip for the black version and an invisible zip for the red version, some interfacing for neck facings.
Pattern:  Simplicity 2444, size 16, basic version with no collar, no sleeves and no front bow.
Changes made:  Bodice lengthened by 3/4″, darts lowered by same amount. Oh and pockets added to the side seams, because pockets.

Another one/recommendations:  This is another TNT pattern now for me and I think will be a great go to. I’ve got it fetting really well and it looks good on. No doubt I’ll find some more fabric to find another. I don’t think I’ll use the collar again, it’s possibly not me any more, but those short sleeves are quite cute and might be a good addition. I’d definitely recommend this if you can get hold of it. I love the double darts in the front bodice and also the overlapping please in the front of the skirt. Don’t forget to add those pockets to the skirt though!

Self-drafted maxi skirt

I’ve had this lovely flowery polyester chiffon fabric in stash for a long time. I’m not sure when I got it to be honest! I suddenly decided that it would make a great long maxi skirt. Some of my sewing has been like that this year, a sudden decision to make something.

Fortunately I also had some plain black polyester chiffon in stash to line it with. I think I bought that to line something else and it’s been used for numerous projects rather than what I bought it for!

Rather than try to find something to make a waistband with – it would have meant going to the shops to get some wide grosgrain ribbon in black and I didn’t have time for that! I decided on an elasticated waist.

The skirt is a basic A-line shape with a slightly less full lining. Both the lining and the skirt have French seams. I attached the lining to the main fabric, overlocked the edge and then ran gathering threads through the top before gathering and attaching to 1” wide black elastic. The lining isn’t as full as the main skirt to give my some modesty when the Wellington wind blows – like when I was taking these photos! 🙂

The length is kind of arbitrary. I wanted to be able to wear ankle boots and also shoes, so it was trial and error to find a length which worked. The hem on the main fabric is a very basic rolled hem. I tidy the edge using my overlocker, fold over and hem and then fold again. It’s not perfect, but it works relatively well. The lining I did a rolled hem using my overlocker.It’s the first time I’ve used this. It’s worked out quite well.

The details
Fabric:  Flowery polyester chiffon and black polyester chiffon lining.
Notions:  Inch wide black elastic for waistband
Pattern:  Self-drafted long maxi skirt
Changes made:  It’s mine, I’d do what I like!

Another one:  Not sure if I need another one, although I wear this skirt a lot, it’s cool and floaty. Strangely because of the length, I find it warm and great for this cross-season weather. The colours in the fabric also mean it goes with so many different tops I already have.


Itch to Stitch Newport top

I have a number of Itch to Stitch patterns (ahem, eight!), but the only one I’ve made up is the Lindy Petal Skirt. Time to change that! This is the Newport top, described as one garment you won’t regret making…

I made this after realising I had a gap in my wardrobe for a light coloured (read cream or white) merino top. Rather than make another Sewaholic Renfrew, change a Muse Jenna cardi into a top or make a Papercut Ensis from single fabric, I thought I’d try something new. Why try something which works? Well I had the pattern in stash and decided I’d give it a go.

The neckline was the part of the design which caught my attention, I thought it would make a change from the normal round necked tops and I love these boat necklines. My merino was also perfect to provide some drape which is needed.

I cut a size 12 based on my high bust measurement. That was a mistake. There is so much ease in this top that I ended up taking it in. The main body was so big! I made up the long sleeves but shortened these to straitght ¾ length pretty soon after sewing the seam, I knew straight off that bell shaped sleeves would be a pain. This is a before photo below which is too big.

I ended up taking in the side seams by about ¾ inch each side. It fits a lot better now. I wasn’t so sure about the neckline too when I first made it up. I’m still not completely convinced by the neckline, but I have to say this top has been worn a lot since I made it, and I mean a lot! It has been a great addition to my wardrobe and I don’t think that is just because it’s a cream coloured merino top! I think it’s actually growing on me!

The details
Fabric:  Cream merino knit. I’m unsure where from, it’s been in my stash for a while.
Notions:  Lightweight knit interfacing
Pattern:  Itch to Stitch Newport top, size 12
Changes made:  I took it in by about 3/4″ on the side seams and also shortened the long straight sleeves to 3/4 length sleeves.

Another one/recommendations:  This is a really good simple pattern. It’s easy to make up and the neckline is really effective. Although I wasn’t sure of this originally, this top has been in high rotation since I made it up.

Copying Vogue

I have been after a copy of Vogue 1247 for years, and I mean years and mainly for the skirt part. It’s out of print which means the only way I’d get a copy would be to find it in an op shop, or hope to find a copy online somewhere. (The only copy I’ve found in an op shop was the small sizes and each piece cut to a size 10, which I am way off.) So, I decided to draft my own copy of the skirt.

Some years ago, I drafted a pencil skirt and have used that pattern no end since, so I thought I’d use that and make the adjustments to add those pockets to the front piece. I copied my front pieces and cut them at the hip line. I then drafted pocket pieces, adding them to the two front pieces, also adding the seam allowance.

The front pieces were sewn together in one piece. I finished the edges of the front with some bias binding I had in stash. Once this was folded down and pressed, I had pockets! Easy!

The rest of the skirt was easy, I was using a tried and tested pattern of my own! I inserted a lapped zip in the side seam.

The fabric I used I got from some destash site online and it’s a lightweight cotton with stretch so I decided to line the skirt with some fine white cotton voile I buy lots of for such occasions!

The details
Fabric: Stretch cotton, possibly from a stash sale somewhere. White cotton voile from stash
Notions: Interfacing for the waistband, bias binding, zip and waistband hook and eye
Pattern: Self-drafted pencil skirt pattern (made numerous times), cut at the hip with pockets added
Changes made: It’s my own pattern, so I can do what I like! 🙂

Another one/recommendations: Well I’m really happy with this skirt. When I first bought the fabric I thought it was a bit loud, but I love it made up. It’s got browns, purples, a kind of greeny chartreuse colour and white, so goes with loads of stuff, looks great with boots and tights and will also look perfect in the summer with pumps or sandals. Once I’d got my head around the pockets and what I needed to do, it was really quick and easy to draft. The worst bit for me was attaching the bias binding around the pocket edges. I did this to make it look similar to the Vogue pattern, but to be honest it probably would have been fine finished using my overlocker!

 And because I like it so much and I took more photos, here’s another pic!

James Bond 007

Some time ago, erm nearly two years ago, I had a conference dinner to go to. The theme was James Bond. I spent ages trying to decide and then thought why not just go as Bond, the man himself! So I made myself a whole dinner suit and white shirt! The bow tie I borrowed from Mr N.

The jacket

I have a number of jacket patterns, but decided to use Papercut’s Bellatrix Blazer. I made up a quick muslin, it was a perfect fit straight away. Hurrah! No need for changes. Although I’ve noticed this back view looks awful!

The main fabric is a lovely black wool suiting which came from The Fabric Warehouse in Wellington. I also bought some one-sided fabric used for jacket collars. It means I have a shiny collar like a dinner jacket! This fabric is great, it’s quite stuff and also saves the need for applying interfacing and potentially ruining the line of the jacket.

The lining came from stash. It wanted something vaguely muted, ie grey, but I love the flowers on this. I don’t think it’s silk, I think I bought it as a remnant somewhere because I had to make a small join on one piece.

The blazer is view A, which has a longer line. The only change I made was to deepen the pockets as much as I possibly could. I made up a size L which is my normal Papercut size.

It’s a while ago, but I remember this jacket being pretty quick to make up. I had no problems with it at all. Papercut drafting and instructions coming up trumps again.

The button also came from stash. Although it took a lot of deciding which one to use!

The details
Fabric:  Black wool suiting from The Fabric Warehouse, black collar fabric also from The Fabric Warehouse, lining from stash.
Notions:  Thread and a single button from stash. I think I did use a wee bit of interfacing for the pockets.
Pattern:  Papercut Bellatrix blazer, size L
Changes made:  None, apart from slightly enlarging the pockets.
Another one/recommendations:  As much as I hoped I’d wear this jacket lots, I haven’t, even though I really love it. It might be that shiny fabric I used for the collar, it might be the type of jacket it is. Although, as I’ve said, I do love this jacket. I love the fit, I love the shape and style. I’d definitely recommend making this up, if you need a structured jacket. It’s perfect.

The Trousers

I’ve not made trousers which fit and I’m also not a big trouser fan, so I decided poetic licence, I’d make long flared trousers, read culottes! Yes, I could have made up some trousers, but to be honest, I didn’t feel in the mood to try to make them fit and also thought I could shorten the culottes after and they would get more wear. These culottes are Butterick 6178.

These were also made up in the wool suiting, which was perfect for these. It has a beautiful drape, so they hang in a great way.

My original plan was to make up view B, lengthening it to floor length, with a view to shortening them once the event was over. When I made them up, they just looked silly – far too full. So they ended up as view C. I think I made up a size 16.

These also were a breeze to make up. They also have pockets, in seam pockets. I didn’t use the waistband from the pattern, I made up my own to make sure it fitted and also use the waistband interfacing/stiffening which I prefer to use for waistbands as much as possible.

The details
Fabric:  Black wool suiting from The Fabric Warehouse.
Notions:  Thread, waistband stiffening and a waistband hook and eye from stash.
Pattern:  Butterick B6178, view C, size 16
Changes made:  Only lengthened to floor length and recently shortened to just below the knee.
Another one/recommendations:  I actually really like this pattern. It took me around 18 months to finally shorten them to just below the knee, but they are now in high rotation in my wardrobe. They are very warm, being wool, but it’s great for some of the cold weather we’re now having. I sometimes wish they were lined so they didn’t cling to tights but they’d be even warmer then!

The shirt

I obviously needed a shirt which had a full shirt collar, since I had the intention to wear a bow tie. I also wanted something which would look good tucked in but also left lose, since I rarely tuck shirts in.

The pattern and fabric have both been in my stash for some time. The pattern is McCall’s 6035, which I think is now OOP (sorry out of print – that’s my work speak!) It had a shirt collar and the princess seam was a deal breaker, meaning it would be easier to adjust if it didn’t fit. I made up view C, but lengthened the sleeves, needing long shirt type sleeves for this. So I lengthened the sleeves straight, so that I could pleat the bottom into a drafted cuff. Having made a number of shirts for Mr N, this wasn’t difficult! I also didn’t use a button and buttonhole. The intention was to wear cufflinks of Mr N’s, so I just made two buttonholes, allowing me to use cufflinks.

I think this fabric was the oldest fabric in stash! I bought it a long time ago, and I mean around 20 years ago! It came from John Lewis in Bristol when I needed to make a white blouse for the choir I was singing in. For some reason, I decided I didn’t like it at the time and bought something else, so this sat in stash for all that time. I can’t find the exact year, but I think it was around 1998!

I wanted buttons to stand out for this shirt too, it was intended to be a dress shirt, so found these black buttons with a silver coloured edge in stash, which are perfect.

The details
Fabric:  White cotton, with a kind of pique finish, bought from John Lewis, Bristol, UK probably back in 1998!
Notions:  Thread, interfacing and buttons from stash.
Pattern:  McCall’s 6035, view C, size 16?
Changes made:  Lengthened the sleeves to wrist length and added cuffs.
Another one/recommendations:  What a great pattern and I’m surprised I’ve not made it up until now. The is great and I didn’t need to make any changes to the bust line at all. This fabric is perfect for this pattern. I don’t often like shirts with full stand up collars, but this works. Considering the number of good reviews on Pattern Review, it’s a recommended pattern. Lengthening the sleeves was not a problem and they worked perfectly.

James Bond 007

And so we have a James Bond outfit. To finish off the outfit, I got a colourful mini water pistol from a $1 shop! 🙂

And yes, I’ll have my martini shaken not stirred!

The only photo I can find from the evening is this one! I wore long sparkly earrings and a couple of pins for a laugh (one is a librarian pin).


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.