Wedding guest dress: Vogue 9021

This pattern made in this fabric has been in my virtual wardrobe for some time.

I made a trial version of the pattern back in May 2015. Then moved on to other things. As you do.

Finally I had the right occasion for such a dress – my niece’s wedding.

This is truly stunning fabric from emmaonesock. It’s a panel print polyester in my favourite colours with an incredible silky feel. I went though about 3 Sharps needles sewing this – every time I hit a pin, I turned my Sharps needle into a blunt one…..

The pattern has a waist seam, so I cut the bodices and skirt pieces to maximize the landscapes and minimise the silvery grey filler between them.

It is a Rorschach print but complex enough to not be very obviously mirrored. I decided not to stress about getting the pattern centered. It would have only been possible on the front – the back would have been not matched at all.

Actually,  I’m not sure I would have liked it perfectly mirrored anyway!

I continued the side seam up a little further into the cape sleeves than Vogue instructed. My first version of this dress has serious lingerie exposing tendencies. As you can imagine looking at the image below of the two dresses lying side by side – see how close the bottom of the “sleeve” is to the waist on the navy dress

I didn’t use any of the facing pattern pieces for this dress, rather I bound the neck and sleeve/armhole edges with premade 12 mm bias binding.

I was planning to line the skirt, but I ran out of time. A slip was pressed into service on the day.

Due to fabric restrictions and my print placement, the hem was just about perfect without being turned up. So I hardly did! I faced it with 25 mm premade bias binding.

I am very happy to have finally used this lovely fabric.

No lining, no french seams and premade bias binding, but this fabric moved from being almost too good to use into a lovely dress that felt right for a summer garden wedding.

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The bridesmaid dress that wasn’t: BurdaStyle 05/2014 #103

My beautiful niece let me know her wedding plans in a very cute way: “Aunty Liz, how would you like to make a bridesmaid dress for Felicity?” Of course I would!!

Some research was required, and so she and Felicity duly went to lots of places for Felicity to try on different styles and colours. One of them got the tick, and the mother of the bride promptly purchased it.

I was both disappointed and relieved. Weddings have such expectations and emotions wrapped up in them. At least I wouldn’t be disappointing the bride by making a dress that wasn’t exactly what she imagined when she looked at the fabric and pattern.

Except the size was wrong. And it was lace with french seams. Probably close to impossible to alter successfully.

It was a style I could easily replicate from my large stack of BurdaStyle magazine patterns. I couldn’t get exactly the same lace fabric, but I could get something similar. Back to me making the bridesmaid dress!

It turned out fabulous.

Spoiler alert. This was not the dress she wore on the day *

But you are not here for the wedding details, you’re here to read about the sewing!

Pattern: BurdaStyle 05/2014 #103


The pattern was in Tall sizes. Felicity is tall but not in a Tall pattern way (she has long legs but not a long torso ). She also requires a FBA. I made a trial version in a stretch cotton after some pattern adjustments.

The fit was okay, but some further changes were needed. I had the bust point a bit wrong and I’d shortened the bodice too much and the waist was loose. Which you can’t really see in these photos because of the awesome bright print.

Also, Felicity detests yokes. Who knew? I had enough leftover fabric to recut the front skirt with darts as long as I added a centre front seam.

The back still has a yoke:

Love this fabric! A gift from Jann. Thanks Jann!

After tweaking the bodice fit, I had the pattern sorted and it was time to cut into the lace.

We were using a stretch lace with a stretch crepe lining.


The lace had a subtle scalloped edge, and we wanted to put this at the hem of the dress and sleeves and around the neck.

This meant the lace bodice pieces were cut on the bias. I cut the bodice lining on grain which put the lining neck edge on the bias so that was stayed with a thin woven ribbon.


And because the scalloped edge was ‘free’ around the neckline, the lining was lined. Phew. Lots of layers. Specially at the waist where the double bust darts were.

Sleeves are unlined.

Amazingly, there is enough coverage at the shoulders to hide bra straps. I guess that’s due to legendary BurdaStyle drafting!

I am so happy with the fit and how this dress turned out. Felicity says it is lovely to wear. She looks stunning in it. I am not biased at all, of course.

Gorgeous shoes too. She’s set now for the next garden wedding she’s invited too.

* for those interested: this is the dress that was worn for bridesmaid duties (not me-made)

Bridesmaid Felicity with her cousin but without her bouquet

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Baby pink linen Kalle shirt

I wish I was writing about having made multiple Closet Case Kalle shirts and shirts dresses.


Sadly, I have only made one. So far.


This is such a great pattern.


I made the cropped version with the faced hem, but with 10 cm extra length.


I like the idea of the chest pocket, but I added it to the wrong side. Oops.


I was lazy and drafted a grown on button band rather than cutting  out a separate piece. I also didn’t interface anything. Don’t tell the sewing police.


Aren’t the buttons delightful? They are souvenirs – vintage buttons purchased at the Portobello Road Markets.

I love this shirt.


This first version is made in a linen cotton blend from Spotlight. I have several other virtual versions made in lace, patterned linen, chambray, silk chiffon….

I just have these things called work and Christmas and a family wedding that are preventing my sewing plans proceeding in an orderly fashion.

Anyone else have that problem? Any solutions, apart from winning the lottery?

Should I make a shirt dress to wear to the wedding? Should I make the bridesmaid a shirt dress? Don’t answer these last questions. I know I want to.



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Souvenir T-shirts are nice, but souvenir fabric is the best

I’ve been on the most glorious holiday to the UK. Some quality souvenir shopping was done. You would think I would come home and immediately sew some of it. Or perhaps some of the souvenir fabric from Madrid from my last trip that I wrote about in my last post?

But no.

Even older souvenir fabric was still waiting to be sewn.


This wax print fabric comes with lots of lovely memories of being in Montmartre with Felicity last year.

It’s a striking colour, has great body, and who doesn’t want a frock with a pot or two or twenty on it?


This was not the easiest fabric and design to match to a pattern, and then to cut out. I had some misgivings about a large jug and pot on the bodice front.

All three of the different pots in the design found their way onto the dress –  even if the small round ones feature only on the back shoulders!


A rich brown regular dress zip was the exposed zip feature. I stabilized the edge of the knit under bodice with iron-on interfacing. Yes that’s a little bit of the facing showing at the top of the zip, and I did use a piece of hat (?) elastic for the button loop.


The over bodice edges were self faced, and trimmed with cream premade bias binding from the stash, as were the seams. Can’t accuse me of not finishing this dress off nicely!


This really is a fabulous pattern BurdaStyle 12/2013 #130. I’ve used it before, in its full length glory, for a formal dress for both Felicity and for myself.


The skirt has a tulip shape due to the deep inverted pleats at the waist. I love the way it phloofs out. As well as looking great, there is plenty of room for pockets.


I did intend to turn up a narrow hem, but Felicity loved in with its selvedge sentence. So that’s the way its staying.


Now that’s out of the way, let me tell you about my much more recent souvenir fabrics!

TMOS (The Man Outside Sainsburys) in Walthamstow Market did not disappoint. Plus M and I had a bonus unplanned meet up with Karen of Did You Make That?

TMOS walthamstow market1

I bought a print woven rayon and a solid silk jersey. One of the side shops selling all manner of trims also tempted me with their cute pink embellished buttons.

Other London fabric purchases were from Raystitch. I came home with my own pieces of fabrics used in display garments in the shop: the navy and cream linen cotton of the dress on the left and a grey irish linen wool blend of the dress on the right.


A few patterns also made their way into my suitcase from Raystitch and Sew Over it. What fabulous shops both of these are!

Leicester exceeds expectations with its marvellous Richard III exhibition and museum. Plus we stumbled upon two fabric stores in the centre. Just like that! Without even trying!


Shop #1, Crafty sew and so, had the most delightful triple crepe (the solid colours at the back of the photo). I wanted to bring at least three of them home, but common sense prevailed and I finally settled on red and nothing else. Still wish I had some of the teal. And the purple..

Shop #2, Material Magic, won my heart with an embroidered medium weight grey wool. The coffee shop afterwards was good too.


And I am saving the best to last.

Linton Tweed.

linton tweed

All these lovelies were shipped home to me by the fabulous Linton Tweed staff.

Why so many? Well.

They had 1 metre length at two for the price of one, and  remnant box of almost 1 metre lengths for 5 pound.

Resistance was futile.


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Fabric shopping in Madrid, another cocoon coat and another Bella

I’m sorry to report that the strawberry thief shirt has not been progressed since I posted last.

I have two excuses.

Excuse 1

I had a work trip to Salamanca in Spain. I didn’t take my sewing machine with me.


Playa Mayor, Salamanca, 8 PM (before dinner, of course!)

However, my accommodation in Madrid en-route to Salamanca was fortuitously located very close to these two fabric shops;  Ribes y Casals and Tejidos y Novedades Paredes.

Ribes y Casals had a large selection of fabrics and fabulous haberdashery and notions. This is just a small part of their Prym wall. So jealous of such accessibility to such a great range!


Their trim selection was pretty good too.


Some of that multi coloured daisy trim came home with me

Two fabrics at Tejidos y Novedades Paredes won my heart too



You can see I went for practical fabrics that will effortlessly slot into my everyday life..

I love sewing souvenirs!

Excuse 2

I’m going away again soon!  Sewing a travel wardrobe has taken precedence.

I needed a coat.

My local bricks and mortar store, Spotlight, had a lovely polyester wool coating that was the perfect weight and drape for an unlined coat. I wasn’t the only Australian sewist thinking this way. Christy (Clever Tinker) made a great Sapporo coat  and Carolyn (Handmade by Carolyn) made a delightful Sydney jacket (as seen on her instagram feed)


This is Burdastyle 12/2011 #114. I swapped out the zip for a button band.


It’s definitely boule shaped!  I feel like Aunt Fanny from Robots.


The pattern placement was less than ideal through the centre back seam, and not quite symmetrical. Slapdash sewist that I am, I’ve decided I can live with it – it helps that it’s on the back..). The horizontal pattern matching it pretty good though!


I also needed another Bella dress. This one is made from a very stretchy drapey ITY polyester knit from Spotlight with a solid navy  trim of bought bias binding at the neck.

20170820_043813084_iOS With the sleeves pushed and held in place with navy tabs, it should work when the weather is warmer.


With sleeves down, hands in pockets and tights I’m ready for cooler days.


And with a jacket and heels I’m ready for a night out. If it’s cold, I hope that tights and sandals are not considered the same as socks and sandals by the fashion police…

Where am I going? To England for a whole month of holidays, with He who Cooks, M of Nonsuch Sewing and her lovely husband Ken. We start in London at the beginning of September and end in Edinburgh at the end.

Yes we do plan to visit some fabric shops on the way. Anyone interested in a meet-up? In London? Bath? Oxford? Leicester? York? Richmond? The Lake District? At Linton Tweeds? (Yes, we are going to the showrooms and shop in Carlisle! He who Cooks is also the best itinerary planner ever).

I’ll return to the Strawberry Thief shirt soon.


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Bella Dress #2 and #3

I knew I couldn’t stop at just one. Such a satisfying pattern!


Bella Dress #2 is  for me. I added an infinity scarf made from the leftover metrage, inspired by Lara from Thornberry. It’s a good way to get rid of scraps!

#2 was made from a light weight ponte bought online some time ago from Gorgeous Fabrics. Construction wise, I treated this like a woven (straight stitch) apart from the sleeve and dress hems. They got the double needle treatment.

I finished the neck edge with purchased poly cotton bias tape and stabilized the shoulder seam with a satin ribbon

Without the scarf, the neckline is a gentle bateau shape.


The “wrong” side of the fabric is a lovely solid blue so this dress goes  from bracelet to elbow length in six seconds!

And then back to bracelet length for a photo with my “little” boy.


Taller than me! Even when I am in heels!

Keeping with the family theme, the next Bella was for Felicity.


We love those pockets!


Bella #3 was made from novelty sweat shirting from my local Spotlight store.



I finished the neck on this one with purchased bias tape too, but didn’t need to stabilize the shoulders – not much stretch in this fabric.

I used bias tape on the sleeve hems too. Because I could. And it’s pretty!


We could not resist the Dalek reference. Daleks come in a rainbow version don’t they? If not, they should.


Side view. Yes it really is a sack dress.


Back view


No complaints about pattern placement ( yet…)

And the obligatory twirl!


Am I done with this pattern yet? Well, no, I’d like to make a linen version and a drapey viscose version, and… but I have other sewing lined up.

Such as a Liberty strawberry thief shirt for me.

I started with the collar and I am very happy with how it’s looking.


I used Heather Lou’s (Closet case patterns) thread tail method for the collar points. It’s brilliant!  Also, taking care cutting out so I avoid comments about pattern placement from my hyper vigilant daughter might have helped…


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Vegetable jacket: BurdaStyle 11/2014 #110

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you might have noticed I have a weakness for IKEA fabrics. Dresses instead of curtains. Skirts instead of upholstery. That sort of thing.

When faced with this


Instead of thinking cushions like most sensible peolpe do.

16x16 Ikea Farmers Market Fabric HEMTREVNAD Pillow Cover with Insert, Throw, Couch, Bed, Fun, Colorful, Veggie, Vegetable, Unique, Kitchen

image from Beego Homemade

Felicity and I thought jacket.

And she requested one as a birthday present.

Happy Birthday darling!


This is BurdaStyle 11/2014 #110

I’d made this pattern for myself, so I already have a 42 traced off, with a few tweaks. Felicity tried on my version and I worked out it could sort of fit her with a bit pinched out the back.. And it would cut up the pattern less if I eliminated the waist seams.

You know, this was novelty print. Proper pattern adjustments and seaming were not justified…Slapdash sewist? Guilty as charged.

Not totally slapdash, because I added a lovely aubergine coloured faux suede collar and lined it with lovely soft white fleece.


And I added patch pockets


Although,  I have to wonder what sort of monster have I created. She said ‘what sort of pattern placement is this mum?’

Its always good to have lots of leafy greens….

RTW, be very afraid.



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