Pink linen shirt dress: Burda 07/2004 #135

I’ve really gone back to the archives of my Burda magazine collection for this one. Moving up into the Plus size range will do that to you!

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This pattern is so old that the only Burda website that has it is the Russian one: : https://burdastyle.ru/vikroyki/platya/plate-burda-2004-7-136/

I’d learnt from my mistakes about sizing and this time I traced a size 46 with a 2 cm petite adjustment above the bust and out to size 48 hips. I omitted the band on the sleeves and went for the shorter length of style #136.

This dress is wonderfully comfortable to wear. Being made from lovely linen helps.

This is a very beautiful cross dye linen from Emmaonesock in hot pink fibers in the warp and sand in the weft. It has gorgeous sheen IRL and an overall salmon pink colour when you’re not looking at it up close.

I purchased it in 2018 so this particular fabric isn’t available anymore but it looks like other similar cross dye linens are still on the site. Yes I am tempted. No I haven’t succumbed. Yet. Also, I’m not affiliated in any way, just a very satisfied customer.

I wondered about the smallish hip level patch pockets. Would they look like they’d slid down from the bust? Would they add too much of a lab coat vibe? The verdict? – they are just fine.

And all those wrinkles? It’s linen. I’m embracing the wrinkles. These photos were taken after the dress had been worn for most of the day, but it did look almost this wrinkly within about 10 minutes…

I used ‘rescue buttons’ from a shirt of Chris’s that would have otherwise ended up in landfill, and thread leftover from a previous project. I love it when I have everything I need for a project already in the stash.

I didn’t interface the button band, and I folded it to the right side rather than the wrong side. There really is no wrong side to this fabric, and I liked the faux sewn on band effect this gave me.

I love this dress! Beautiful fabric is key. Did I say that already?!

NYC in the snow and rain dress: 04/2010 #108

I still haven’t cut into my yellow roses fabric….

I am often but not always this indecisive – I do sometimes sew up other fabrics from my stash that are irreplaceable or have a back story.

This fabric is the partner to the Paris street scenes fabric. Both were bought on a bit of a whim from Ribes & Casals in Barcelona whilst on holiday. How odd to think we used to get on planes and fly to places like Spain from Australia without any thought of infectious diseases. Seems so long ago.

I fell in love with the Paris street scenes fabric displayed at the end of one of the fabric tables and then saw the NYC version.

I could not choose. So a panel of both come back home with me.

And this spring I decided I’d use the NYC fabric for a Burda pattern that had been on my to do list for ten years: 04/2010 #108

I traced off a size 44, but really should have paid more attention to what my body measurements have changed to since covid baking. A size 46 would’ve been a much better choice.

It might look okay in these images from the front and back, but, really, its a bit snug all over, as you can see below when I’m not standing directly face on to the camera. Luckily the fabric has a teensy bit of mechanical stretch.

All that pleating across the stomach draws attention to my ‘full stomach’ (pot belly) when the rest of the dress is so snug. I should’ve gone a size up!

Shoulders back and pulling that tummy in doesn’t help much with the silhouette…

I do love the print though.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to put traffic lights and a one way sign on their bum?!

Going a size up isn’t the only change I need to make in the next version, I also need to raise the bust darts and neckline. This first dress already has a slapdash version of this adjustment.

Before I put the sleeves in, I tried the dress on to check fit. The bust darts were too low, and the neckline gaped and was a classic Burda plunging neckline. So I sewed the shoulder seams 2 cm lower, adjusted the facing and neckline and scooped out the armscye to make up for some of the reduction at the shoulder. Now it’s much better.

Despite its close fit and ability to spotlight the body part I most want to skim over, I really like this dress. The print is fun, I love the colours, the little puffed sleeves are cute and I like the neckline. And its perfect for Zoom meetings – it’s interesting enough without being too distracting, it looks good under a jacket and no one can see my full stomach.

Zero Waste sewing: Liz Haywood’s Ursa dress

It was impossible to resist Liz Haywood’s zero waste Ursa dress pattern when it was released – zero waste and a cowl neck? In a sack dress style perfect for a hot summer day? Exactly what I love!

The hard part was working out which of the several drapey fabrics in my stash I should use for my first version.

I settled on a rayon from Spotlight in my favourite colours of turquoise and blue in a smallish Moroccan tile pattern.

The fabric was 130 cm wide so I cut off 20 cm to make it 110 cm before drawing up the pattern directly on the fabric as per Liz’s excellent instructions. It seems a bit like magic doing this.

After construction, the dress seemed a bit long so I cut off another 7.5 cm before turning up 2.5 cm into the hem. It could probably go even shorter.

I cut out a size 16 even though my measurements suggested a size 18. It was very loose. I removed 1 cm in width by running in the front dart from hem to waist dart a bit. It is still looser than it needs to be.

I’ll size down to a 14 for the next version.

Liz’s written instructions for the underarm gusset are brilliant as is the video clip

Why is there a stray thread!!?

It is a very clever pattern.

Don’t be put off by my comments about its looseness. Its an absolute delight to wear on a hot day.

This dress was made in those magical days between Christmas and New Year. I am a bit early for the Sewcialists theme for February of zero waste sewing.

If you’re wondering if you should try zero waste sewing I say go for it. I’ve been very happy with both this and the other zero waste project I’ve made. I also have Liz’s zero waste sewing book* so I have plans for more..

* I am not affiliated with Liz Haywood in any way and I purchased my patterns and the book. I’m just a happy customer.

Jenny Shorts

This is another winner pattern from Closet Core Patterns! And I’ve only just scratched the surface by making the shorts.

The first version was a trial using an unloved fabric from the stash. Bright happy colours but not on my good list for showing some dye run during prewashing.

You know how this turns out don’t you? Much loved garment… worn multiple time since being finished….

The #KATM label on the pocket says it’s all. You really can’t buy this.

I confused myself when putting in the side lapped zip on the first version, so it goes the wrong way.

And that means the button tab on the waist band also goes the wrong way

This has not stopped Felicity from wearing the shorts. A lot.

For the next pair I moved the zip to the centre front and constructed it as a proper fly.

Why a green zip? It was in the stash. And it’s a lovely green. Also it’s vintage – from my mum’s notions stash)

Like all Closet Core Patterns, the instructions were excellent. Very happy with how the fly turned out.

This version has pockets on the back but not the front. Design choice by the client. Lack of pattern matching due to fabric constraints! We did spend some time selecting which dogs to feature though, from the limited choices.

The pockets on these shorts also have a #KATM label but you can barely see the pockets let alone the label. So here’s a photo I prepared earlier.

Loud patterns are really another form of camouflage

Both shorts are made from cotton drill from Spotlight.

Love this pattern! Did I say that already?

Paris street scenes dress: Burda 06/2013 #138

Burda 06/2013 #138 is another potential dress pattern for my delightful yellow roses fabric.

My trial version is in a souvenir fabric featuring street scenes from Paris. It’s a light weight ponte, so a good match in terms of drapiness and body to my yellow roses fabric.

It’s a lovely pattern and I like the resultant dress, but I’m not sold on this as the right pattern for the yellow roses.

This is good pattern for fabric with a large print that you don’t want to break up with lots of seams. My fabric was 150 cm wide with the two different panels across the width. The panels almost flow from one to another but not exactly. A bit like looking up a street towards the Eiffel Tower in one panel and then down the street in the opposite direction.

One panel needed to be on the front and the other on the back. Putting the Eiffel Tower on the front seemed like it had too much potential for looking like an unintended phallic symbol (maybe I was overthinking it…).

So, the decision was simple – the Eiffel Tower on the back

The bodice pieces with their integrated sleeves couldn’t both fit across the width of the fabric either, even if offset or one of them was placed upside down. A centre back seam, some fabric tetris and I solved that fabric meterage constraint.

I’d recommend a full centre back seam and zip in a simpler fabric, or one that wasn’t impacted by seaming. Eiffel Tower I’m looking at you! I know side zips work, but I really prefer to step into a dress and zip up though the back.

My side zip went in a bit lower than drafted, so a button and loop was added at the top.

This is a size 46 bust and waist out to a size 48 hips with a 1 cm forward should eradjustment and 2 cm petite adjustment above the bust. I think the petite adjustment was not needed when I look of where that bust dart ends.

The hemline is ever so slightly lower in the back than the front. I hemmed the dress 1.5 cm shorter than drafted.

The neckline is quite wide. I added my normal 1 cm seam allowance but sewed the facing on with a 5 mm seam allowance.

It also gapes a bit. Not sure what fit issue that might be – a need for a FBA? narrow shoulders (I’ve never had a large bust or narrow shoulders in my life..) I do wonder whether those drag lines are due as much to poor posture as they are to fit.

I don’t feel any closer to a pattern I’m happy to use for my special fabric but I do have two new frocks in my wardrobe.

Perhaps I need to audition some coat patterns?

Dark green dress: Burda 08/2012 #143

I acquired this very lovely piece of fabric from an etsy seller (JannsFabrics). Jann is a dear friend IRL and an inspirational sewist with an enviable fabric collection. She’s rehoming some of that fabric and I’m very pleased to have a few of her pieces.

It’s a linen silk jacquard and a delight. So delightful that I’m racked with indecision about what to sew with it. A dress? A jacket? A coat? I have 2.7 m – (too many) options!

So I’m making up a couple of patterns in other fabrics to audition their suitability – are they good enough for my beautiful and special fabric? Is this what I should use it for?

Trialling patterns is also needed due to iso- baking and menopause induced change in my figure. I’m celebrating by exploring the plus section of my Burda magazine collection. Yes, celebrating. #BodyPositivity

This is one of trial patterns.

BurdaStyle 08/2012 #143

I made it in a woven cotton damask fabric without the centre front trim. I also made a tablecloth in this fabric many years ago – this was the remnant. Yes I am that person who could match her dress to her table linen.

This pattern is drafted to be lined, but because this was a trial version in tablecloth fabric I used bias for the armscye and cap sleeve hem and drafted facings for the neck instead.

I’m surprised but pleased with how this turned out and how well this tablecloth fabric stands up to being a dress. I was expecting a lot more creasing. I should have taken more effort with a matching zip and overlocking thread!

It’s a loose fit through the waist and almost cocoon like in its narrowing down at the hem. The impression of being a sheath but only close fitted through the shoulders and bust. This is a size 46 bust and waist with a size 48 hips.

I like this pattern a lot. I’d have an elegant dress if I combine it with my yellow roses fabric. But perhaps too mother-of-the-bride and not enough fun?

Lodo dress times three

The Lodo dress from True Bias is my new favourite summer dress pattern. Three so far!

So much to love about this pattern. It has a nicely shaped V neck, it’s loose through the waist, has excellent shoulder coverage, is designed for a stable knit, a woven fabric is used for the facings and (bonus points) the instructions encourage you to use fun fabrics for the facings.

My first version was in a ponte from EOS that I didn’t love as much once it was delivered. I think it’s the slight brown cast to the background plaid. You know, the perfect fabric to use for a trial version.

It turned out to be an excellent corporate look that has worked perfectly for work Zoom meetings. Accessorised with bare feet. The hand, stretch and recovery of the fabric makes this dress a delight to wear and absolutely easy care. It’s a poly/viscose/spandex blend.

Despite the colour not really being one that makes my skin tone look the best it’s been worn at least once every week since made.

This was the trial version so I cut out the longer version with the back hem slit.

Super dowdy.

I removed 15 cm from the length and turned up the hem 5 cm That makes it 17.5 cm shorter than the long version and 10 cm longer than the short version is drafted.

Making a longer version and then chopping some of the length off also means it has a micro walking slit. All stitching, apart from the facings, was done with a narrow zigzag using a ballpoint needle. Slightly wavy stitching lines, as you can see below, but worked a treat.

Despite the encouragement to use fun woven fabrics for the facing I used a very boring black poly cotton wove. The back of my fabric being black ‘inspired’ me. I didn’t turn under the edge, just overlooked, so it’s wider than drafted. I like it.

Lodo is a loose shift dress with a slight cocoon shape seen from the front and back. Yes that is annoying pattern twinning on the back! Didn’t think of it whilst cutting out. At least the plaid matches well.

The straightness of the style is obvious in this side view.

The second version was in a softer rayon/nylon/spandex blend ponte from EOS.

This fabric drapes more and also creases more. The photo below was taken after a morning at work, an afternoon at a work Christmas party, an hour and a half in a car, unpacking at a beach house and then a stroll on the beach. Not too bad, but my first version would not have shown a single wrinkle or crease. But also nowhere near as much fun as bright red!

This dress has already had a busy schedule at Christmas events. Here’s another photo of it looking a bit more dressed up and ready to go out to a Christmas lunch.

As lovely as this fabric is, it was a bit of a problem to hem and my normal trick of stitching down the top of the inseam pockets (Yes! It has pockets!) resulted in skipped stitches and drag lines even without anything in the pockets – like in the photo below where my hands are actually in the pockets.

I unpicked the pocket stitching and secured the pockets to the dress with one hand sewn tack 11cm from the side seam.

The pocket tacks show as two evenly spaced dimples in the dress. Pocket bags flapping around on the inside would be worse!

I was a bit surprised by the issues I had with the hem. I’ve used this fabric before and my double needle worked fine. It didn’t matter which needle I tried – ballpoint, stretch, microtex, universal – I got skipped stitches. I suspect it may be because my double needles are blunt, but a ballpoint double needle and a normal new universal or microtex needle didn’t stop the missed stitches either.

All this happened after shops had closed so I hand sewed the hem because I wanted to wear the dress the next day. Of course it took less time to hand sew than all the trials on scraps with different needles and stitch styles and rethreading and rewinding bobbins *eyeroll*

No boring facings on this one. And these ad their edges turned under so they are as narrow as drafted.

The extended shoulder/sleeve facing shows as does the pocket lining when seated but when it’s as glorious as this Liberty print there’s nothing to forgive.

The third version is in a stretch cotton woven. Not a recommended fabric but worked perfectly well. Absolutely no issues with skipped stitches with this well behaved fabric! Look at that lovely double needle hem!

I made a 2 cm forward shoulder adjustment and took the centre back seam in 1 cm through the waist. This more structured fabric seemed to need these changes.

Back to boring facings and overlooking rather than turning the edge under. I like the wider look. I didn’t cut the extended shoulder/sleeve facing on the bias but ‘on the stretch’ (is that even a proper term?)

This one has pockets too. Also stitched into place with no issues.

All versions are size 16.

I haven’t worn the white one yet but its a likely contender for Christmas Day.

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate. I know many of you have had to cancel plans due to COVID-19 or , even worse, are back in lockdown, but I hope you can enjoy moments of peace, joy and love despite the circumstances.

Keep sane and keep safe!

Flippy skirts for Felicity: #108burda02/2020

Simple pattern. Cute skirt. Gorgeous daughter. Stash fabrics. These are some of my favourite things.

This is Burda 02/2020 #108. In size 40 waist and size 42 hips.

The first version was in a poly cotton tartan cotton for spotlight. Horrid fabric to sew – the weave is too loose. It turned out well as a garment. I credit lovely bemsilk lining for that!

The second version is in delightful Italian cotton shirting purchased a hundred years ago for a great little shop in Turin. Not actually a hundred years ago but in our COVID-19 world it feels like this.

A vintage button adds to its charm. Yes it probably is sewn on upside down.

I didn’t line this version but it may have hung better if I had.

These pictures were shot in my new sewing space. l love having a large dedicated sewing space! Even if is a work in progress – there is still a lot of stuff in random spots and the pictures need hanging.

Just look at the light!

In conclusion. Great skirt pattern. The goldilocks of flounce. Highly recommended.

Orange and blue top: #128burda02/2015

A colour blocked top in ponte is an idea that has been percolating in my head for a while.

It all came together this winter because I made a simple pencil skirt in an orange and cobalt plaid and I had ponte in matching colours in my fabric stash. I love my stash!

The project included the fun of playing with colour blocking combinations on the screen before I committed to cutting. This is style 128 from Burda 02/2015

The pattern is in petite sizing (17-21), which works for me because I am short waisted. Except that COVID-19 induced isolation, grieving and menopause mean I now need plus sized petite sizing. 22 or 24 would be perfect. But that is not really a thing. Luckily, the pattern is boxy and flat pattern measurements suggested it’d be okay as a 21.

It was.

I liked the split sleeves of the ¾ length sleeves on the dress/tunic version of this pattern but wanted longer sleeves.

I don’t know how the orange part of the slit turned out slightly longer than the blue and was perfectly matched at the seam but I suspect it was due to the orange ponte being lighter andstretchier than the blue and me not marking the slit point. I’m not mad at how its turned out. Its hardly noticeably different and if it is then I figure it just adds a little bit more drama.

I’ve worn this top as is and with a black turtle neck layered under it.  I love it – and am asking myself why it took so long to make this pattern

This is not a complicated sew – just requires precision around the piecing and the square corner of the armscye. I used a square of interfacing on this spot and marked in the stitching line with a FriXion heat erasable pen, reduced stitch length around it and crossed my fingers (virtually) when I snipped into the corner.

It’s ponte, so none of the seams are finished. How weird, but freeing, it felt to leave everything raw!

I used a double needle for the hems, and went to the trouble of changing colours for the different colour blocks. Slow mindful sewing was what I needed to do.

The skirt? It’s a simple pencil skirt made from a gorgeous wool knit from Tessuti’s lined with a fine merino wool nylon blend from The Fabric Store and an elastic waist using fancy elastic from Seamstress Fabrics. All purchased online, but that’s no surprise is it? It’s 2020 and there’s a global pandemic.

It is certainly not a subtle top or skirt but it makes me happy!

Grief control. Knitting, cakes and chicken tray bakes

Grief. It’s a strange thing. Different very time. Why did I think I’d feel the same after my dad died as I would after my mum did?

I guess it is (blessed) inexperience. But it has been so much harder.

Anyway. I’m out the other side of (most of) it now. And I have a very neglected blog.

I haven’t been sewing as much as normal. But I have been doing some cooking and knitting.

So. Let me tell you about it. Starting with the cakes first because my dad had a sweet tooth.

The cakes

Lemon and ricotta cake

Delicious on its own or with blackberry and strawberry compote and ice cream as a dessert.

  • 250g unsalted butter, diced and softened
  • 220g (1 cup) caster sugar
  • zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 250g ricotta
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 220g almond flour
  • 75g (1/2 cup) SR flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch salt
  1. Preheat oven to 160C (fan). Grease a 23 cm springform pan and line the base with paper
  2. Cream butter and sugar with zest until pale and creamy
  3. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well in between
  4. Beat in ricotta, a little at a time
  5. Whisk almond flour, flour, baking powder and salt separately
  6. Reduce speed, add vanilla, the dry ingredients and lemon juice to the mixture, and mix until combined
  7. Whisk egg whites separately until stiff peaks form and then carefully fold egg whites into cake mixture
  8. Spoon into tin, smooth surface and bake 50-60 minutes

This delicious moist cake recipe is from David Herbert’s column in the 25-26 July 2020 issue of the Weekend Australian magazine.

 

Persian love cake

This is a super easy gluten free cake that is deliciously moist and with fabulous spicing. Super pretty too, especially when you fortuitously have Persian fairy floss in your pantry and use it for decoration!

Adapted from Poh Bakes 100 Greats

  • 300 g (3 cups) almond flour
  • 185 g (1 cup) caster sugar
  • 220 g (1 cup) firmly packed soft brown sugar
  • 120 g (generous 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 250 g Greek-style yoghurt
  • pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons rosewater
  • 4 tablespoons flaked almonds
  • 4 tablespoons pistachios, roughly chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (fan).
  2. Grease a 24 cm springform pan and line the base with paper.
  3. Combine the almond flour, caster sugar, brown sugar and melted butter in a food processor until you have an even, sandy consistency.
  4. Divide the mixture in two and tip half into the pan. Press the crumb mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan.
  5. Add the eggs, yogurt, salt, cardamom, and rosewater to the remaining crumb mixture and whisk until there are no lumps.
  6. Pour over the crumb base and sprinkle the flaked almonds and pistachios over the top.
  7. Bake for 50-60 minutes

Serve this cake with a dollop of Greek yoghurt – it helps balance out the sweetness

The pistachio and almond topping makes this cake very attractive. No need for pink fairy floss to make it pretty – it already is!

 

The chicken tray bakes

Moroccan chicken tray bake

This is another one of David Herbert’s recipes from the Weekend Australia Magazine – the 13-14 June 2020 issue.

  • 4 tablespoons harissa paste
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 6-8 chicken pieces (David recommends skinless thighs – I’ve made this a couple of times, every time with something different – skin-on Marylands, skin-on thighs and skinless chicken chops – all good)
  • 2 red onions, quartered
  • 2-4 zucchini, cut into 2 cm slices
  • 8 capsicum pieces from a jar
  • 50g whole blanched almonds  (I used flaked)
  • 3 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley (I just picked the leaves off)

Couscous

  • 175g (1 cup) instant couscous
  • zest  half lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • seeds from half a pomegranate
  • 2 tablespoons sultanas ( I used currants)
  1. Preheat oven to 180C (fan)
  2. Mix harissa and vinegar in a large bowl.
  3. Add chicken pieces, onion  and zucchini and gently mix to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Transfer to a large roasting pan and cook uncovered for 25 minutes, turning halfway.
  5. Add capsicum and almonds and cook a further 10 minutes or until chicken is tender
  6. Meanwhile, make couscous:
    • Put couscous in heat proof bowl and add 350mL boiling water, stir, then cover and leave for 5-7 minutes.
    • Stir through Zest, garlic and herbs; drizzle with oil
    • Add pomegranate seeds and sultanas and toss well
    • Season with salt and pepper
  7. Scatter chicken with parsley and serve with couscous and lemon wedges (I made a space in the roasting pan, piled the couscous in, added lemon wedges and served it straight from the pan)

I highly recommend this – so simple and yet so delicious. It is almost my favourite chicken tray bake recipe.

Sheet pan chicken tikka

This queen of all tray bakes from Smitten Kitchen is still my favourite.

The version below is double the recipe (recipe serves 4) and so well and truly smothered in coriander and pickled red onion that you wouldn’t know there was chicken and potato and cauliflower underneath.

  • For the chicken
    • 4 cm piece of ginger, peeled and minced
    • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1 fresh green chili seeded and minced
    • 1/2 cup yogurt
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder or cayenne
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon paprika
    • 1 teaspoon garam masala
    • 1 kg chicken thighs or drumsticks (skin-on, bone-in)
  • For the vegetables
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 4-6 potatoes, peeled if desired, cut into 2 cm chunks
    • 1 small cauliflower, cut into 2 cm-wide florets
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • To finish, if desired
    • A few thin slices of red onion
    • Lemon wedges
    • Salt
    • Dollops of yogurt
    • A few tablespoons roughly chopped coriander, parsley or mint
  1. Combine ginger, garlic, fresh chili, yogurt, salt, and spices  in bowl. Add chicken pieces and toss to coat evenly. Let marinate for 15 minutes or up to a day, covered, in the fridge.
  2. Preheat oven to 180C.
  3. Add potatoes, cauliflower, salt, cumin and olive oil to the roasting pan and toss together with your hands until evenly coated.
  4. Remove chicken from marinade and leave excess behind. Make spaces in the vegetables for chicken parts throughout the pan.
  5. Roast in oven for 20 minutes, then toss the potato and cauliflower to ensure they’re cooking evenly, and return the pan to the oven for 10 to 20 minutes more (i.e. 30 to 40 minutes total roasting time), until chicken and vegetables are cooked through.
  6. While it roasts, if you’d like to use lightly pickled onion rings on top ( it adds colour and a nice tangy fresh zip to the dish) separate the rings and toss them in a small bowl with a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Set aside until needed.
  7. When chicken and vegetables are cooked, top with dollops of yogurt, herbs and scattered the above onion rings all over.
  8. Serve right in the pan.

Truly delicious!

 

The knitting

This winter I finished off two long term WIPs.

A cable hat

This is from Moda Vera Mawson yarn and the pattern was on the ball band.

Memorable mostly for my daughter’s delight in the truly terrible photos of me modelling it (actually I have to admit that it was a lot of fun taking these photos).

But also memorable because I finished this off in the hospice at the bedside of my beloved father. Plus I used a cute label from KATM.

A lacy shrug

This one was started on holiday in Yorkshire – that’s Richmond castle in the background! It’s the wrap from pattern #5954 in Wendy Aran with Wool yarn, both purchased in a little shop in the middle of Leicester.

Happy holiday vibes to this one.

I don’t have any ‘good’ modeled shots of me wearing this (this is as good as it gets), but it was worn a lot WFH over winter. It is one of those great things to add for a little bit of extra warmth whilst sitting in a chilly home office.

The sewing

I know. Its time to get back to sewing…

Coming to the blog soon..

My almost zero waste Lillypilly dress

Before I launch into a post about the latest thing I made, I want to say:

Black Lives Matter

I’m a white woman of privilege. Black makers like Renee, Elaine and Carolyn have said it so much better than me and written eloquently about murder, injustice, civil unrest, pain and anguish in a way I never could.

I don’t want to be trite. There are many things much more important than my sewing or this blog.

So. This is what I made recently while doing a lot of thinking and reading about race, prejudice and privilege, and realising I have a lot to learn.

It’s the Lillypilly zero waste dress from Liz Haywood, my local indie pattern maker. Her versions are all really cute:

Lillypilly dress all views
Image source: https://lizhaywood.com.au/new-zero-waste-pattern-lillypilly-dress/

I had a lot of fun drawing the pattern directly onto my fabric with chalk. And that was also where my mistake was made.

The armscyes ended up a lot bigger than they should have – a combination of blunt chalk, cutting out on the outer edge of the blunt chalk line and then not reading the instructions and turning the bias tape to the inside rather than binding the edge. Probably a bit of stretching out of the fabric too.

So I sewed the shoulder seam again, 4 cm lower at the shoulder point angling back to nothing at the top of the funnel neck edge. Now not zero waste and not the most beautifully shaped armscyes but much more wearable. Also, how good is my KATM mini ruler?

The fabric has been in my stash for 11 years. Well done past me for recording the date of purchase, fabric composition, length and width and provenance on a price of paper pinned to the fabric.

It’s a sophisticated silvery olive and black mid weight woven polyester that has never seemed quite right or been quite long enough for any project until now – 2 meters of 115cm wide fabric limited what it could be used for. So it languished in the stash.

Being a jacquard, the reverse side is nice too – which matters because you can see the wrong side of the fabric at the neck, The selvedge is particularly lovely so I left it to show at the hem.

Liz’s very clever zero waste design re-purposes the pieces you cut out for the armscyes as pockets. But they are not very big, even with my mistake.

I had extra fabric (see – another reason this project is not really zero waste) so I cut out regular sized in-seam pockets from the leftovers using the pocket pattern from Tessuti’s Bella dress. I have used the Bella dress pockets on so many garments as well as the Bella dress now.

I particularly like the organic shaped funnel neck on this dress. I didn’t do anything to style it for these photos – it just seems to fall into a nice shape.

This photo also shows the not straight hem. I could have curved it up into a more conventional hem line at the side seams but that would have been the third not zero waste thing I did, and would also have meant the selvedge hem had to go.

I think I might be sold on zero waste sewing ….. and I have 16 projects in Liz’s zero waste sewing book to work my way through.

Still sewing Wilder gowns

This last week I’ve been reminded again of the restorative power of sewing. My father is in the late stages of terminal cancer.

A few moments here and there working on this project among all the busy-ness of end of life care has been a tonic.

Is there anything better that having lovely fabric between your fingers and running through your machine? Especially with a pattern you love?

I might be a bit obsessed with this pattern.

The Fabric Store’s recent online sale on premium merino didn’t help my obsession.

Felicity loved the lilac colour and wanted a Wilder gown so who was I to stand in the way? Even though I was pretty sure it would look like a Victorian era nightgown. After all, this was isolation fashion so a nightgown seemed like a good idea.

It does look like a nightgown. Especially with creasing that makes it look like she slept in it. For the record she says she didn’t. But she did wear it two or perhaps three days running after I stitched the last stitch. I’m taking that as a compliment.

Looking less like a nightgown with a denim shirt knotted at the waist. Also accessorised with sparkly unicorn socks and a mug (and several rolls of tracing paper and interfacing on the side – there’s a sewist in this house!)

It has pockets.

This was a sort off size M (inattentive printing, see earlier posts) but with 2 cm added to the bodice length as a nod to an FBA. The gathered skirt sections were cut out according to the size M dimension for width and not as an XL and then a bit more depending on whatever the fabric width was. Which was what I did for my other Wilders.

Which meant the skirt sections for this one are less full. But as a bonus, there was enough leftover lilac merino knit for a t shirt for me.

The neck details of this gown are cute, and I’m loving the perfectly imperfect bow tying

I added one of KATM’s labels to the side seam and I love this little detail too.

Love this pattern.

Love The Fabric Store’s premium merino.

Love this girl!

Sewing competitions: another Wilder gown

I have just cut out and sewn fabric from Tessuti’s 2019 competition whilst the 2020 one is still open.

What does this say about me? Slow? Large stash? Not enough sewing time? Indecisive? All of the above?

Its not that I don’t love this year’s competition fabric – I have several pieces waiting for me. Just not feeling it. Perhaps its too autumnal now to be sewing a summery fabric? Not that that has stopped me before. But. I digress.

A cooler weather Wilder gown was demanding to be made to fill a gap in my working from home / Zoom/Teams/Skype meeting wardrobe.

This fabric is a delightfully drapey synthetic in the indigo colourway from Tessuti Fabrics 2019 sewing competition.

Again I’m sewn a sort of size M ( I printed the pdf smaller than I should have by mistake and I haven’t got around to reprinting it at 100%).

This time I added long sleeves – I cut them 12 cms longer than the longest sleeve provided. That wasn’t long enough. I cut out a rectangle the width of the sleeve and 7 cm long and sewed that on and turned it up because I wanted to add an elastic casing to draw the sleeves back in. Which would mean I added about an extra 2.5 cm after all the seaming and turn backs. None of this will help anyone else of course since I printed the pattern smaller than I should have.

Also pockets. Pockets are always a good idea. Of course I remembered to add pockets after I’d sewn and overlocked the side seams, so the middle tier is about 2cm’s less full than drafted.

I was going to unpick and resew but this fabric really shows the needle holes. And this was me using a Microtex needle!

Left is the unpicked seam showing every single stitch like a ghost. Right is before unpicking

So I unpicked and cut the overlocked edge off and then sewed 5 mm inside the original seam line.

But totally worth it to have pockets!

Love this pattern! And love this version!

Klimt the Kiss meets Tessuti Bella Dress

One of my favourite artists is Gustav Klimt and one of my favourite paintings of his is “The Kiss”.

I’m not an orphan in liking this painting, nor of items made from copies of it.

A quick web search revealed an umbrella available from the National Gallery of Art, Washington,

 Gustav Klimt: The Kiss, Umbrella

a hoodie from Cacofonia Milano,

a tote bag from Plumeria Museum,

Tote Bag Canvas, Klimt, The Kiss Gold

mugs from McIntosh shop,

and, best of all, a tram, launched in Austria on Valentine’s Day last year

Image source

(these are not affiliate links and I cannot vouch for the quality or authenticity of items for sale at these links!)

So you can probably understand that when EmmaOneSock had fabric printed with Klimt the Kiss, there was absolutely no way to resist!

No affiliate links here either 🙂

I can attest to how fabulous this fabric is, though. This cotton lycra knit is an absolute delight to sew and wear.

But then I had an agonising decision. What was I going to make from it?

Thank you, Covid-19, for helping me realise that no fabric is too precious.

#sewtheprecious.

And also thank you, Covid-19, for helping me accept that what I’ve done with this fabric didn’t have to be perfect.

This is Tessuti’s Bella dress, chosen for its minimal seaming and easy to wear trapeze shape.

That trapeze shape didn’t quite fit on the panel. So there’s a bit of fabric piecing action on one side seam.

The fabric makes something like this almost invisible.

I eliminated the centre back seam and centred the design of the second panel on the centre back, left to right. Getting the centre of the pattern from top to bottom wasn’t an option due to the aforementioned trapeze shape of the pattern piece and fabric restrictions! But, the bonus of this is that I almost have wings.

As much as I love this painting I don’t really love the olive background pattern of the fabric nor does this colour love my complexion. So I had the idea to add a neckband in a colour that would build a bridge between the dress and my skin.

I’m not convinced it’s a good feature. But I’ve left it on at this point.

I stabilised the neck edge with a special stabilising fusible bias tape whose name I’ve forgotten but might be Vilene. I then sewed the neckband on, wrong side to right side. That why there are pins in the image below – the special tape was already fused but the neckband needed to be secured. Once it was on I clipped and edged stitched, flipped to the right side, turned the edges under and top stitched.

#ithaspockets!

I stabilised the pocket openings too, with a woven ribbon. This made the edge very neat and firm.

I used up most of the scraps too but I give major side eye to this pandemic accessory. Despite its well centred pattern.

Flawed execution of this fabulous fabric? Yes.

Do I love it? Yes!!

Have I worn it two days running whilst working from home? Also yes.

With that other pandemic accessory – the headset.

Yes, some of my work videocalls are that exciting!

How I imagine I look most of the time is second left bottom row, but apparently I don’t…

Keep safe and sane everyone.

Virtual Venice travel jacket: Closet Case Sienna Makers Jacket

I am so lucky that the only casualty to COVID-19 for me is garments I intended to make for a holiday. So far, that is, and long may it last. And for your family and friends too, dear readers. Keep safe everyone!

I do feel a bit weird to be posting about sewing when there are many more important issues.

I’m guessing you will forgive me. If you follow this blog, you probably won’t mind a bit of sewing trivia against a backdrop of uncertainty, working from home and self isolation.

I made a Sienna Makers Jacket out of gorgeous cotton twill from The Fabric Store.

It was intended to be my hero piece for a trip to Venice at Easter to celebrate a wedding anniversary.

Perhaps next Easter?

This pattern has lots of lovely details already built in and plenty of opportunities to add your own.

I added bias binding to finish the edge of the facings and the hems and did a sort of double flat felled seam down the centre back.

I love the apple green background of this fabric. It’s almost reversible.

My slit for the belt was not well executed. And I’m okay with it. Perfectly imperfect.

The D rings for the belt went in wrong too. Another perfectly imperfect detail!

I had some diamanté D rings in the stash and. after some agonising, decided they’d be okay. And then installed them with the ‘jewels’ to the wrong side anyway. *eyeroll*

This pattern has so many pockets, including an internal one that I think will be just right for my passport.

Perfect for traveling. Some time in the future I hope to test that statement!

I made this in a straight size 12 and exactly as per the instructions, except for the breast pocket- I use 5/8 inch ‘seams’ ( ‘turn-unders’) instead of 1/2 inch because I didn’t read the instructions.

I love it. Great pattern. Great fabric, Gorgeous colours.