Jumping into winter: Stokx Patterns Hacker top

I’ve been intrigued by Stokx Patterns for a little while. Of course. Why wouldn’t I be. An Australian born Berlin resident designer for middle aged women.

What’s not to love? Like Burda but better.

A hoodie and a long skirt? Why not? ‘Styling’ this hoodie is all about adding a cozy layer to whatever I’m wearing, its not about trying to look good…

The @adelaidesewists challenge to ‘jump into winter’ was the nudge I needed to combine the Stokx hacker top and a burgundy knit in my stash.

Image from Stokx Patterns

It’s a bit of an odd fabric. Online purchase from EOS in 2018. Polyester and spandex in a micro quilted look with a striped reverse side. Just begging to be made into something in which the wrong side shows. But burgundy and camel..? Not my normal happy colours. Hence the long time in the stash.

The hood was a great way to take advantage of the reversible nature of this fabric. I debated whether to cover the overlocked seam in the hood with a coordinating bias stripe. But you can see that doing nothing won!

The back view of the hood plus bonus progress shot of growing into grey hair

I also used the reverse side of the fabric for the hood band and the cuffs

I made a size 6 with a 2cm petite adjustment above the bust dart (normal for me- I’m short waisted). This might have been one size too big – I took 4 cm of the sleeve length before sewing on the cuffs. It looks a bit big through the bust too. The hem flares out but this is a design feature intended by the designer- it doesn’t require the wearer to stand with their hands on their hips!

And the hem is wavy because I lazily turned it up and zigzagged rather doing a proper double needle hem. A bit more enthusiastic pressing might smooth the hem out!

The end result? I don’t really like it. The pattern – yes , the fabric- no

That’s enough photography of this hoodie that I don’t really love! Thanks as always to He who Cooks for the photos!

Despite that, I did pull it on every night over whatever I was wearing that day for a week after I first made it. Such a cosy layer to put on after work.

I think that makes it a win!

Losing at noughts and crosses: Vogue 1590

I’m continuing the theme of my last post – unsuccessful sewing.

This one is about SUPER unsuccessful sewing. This jacket has never been worn. Not once.

Not even for the short period of time required for a blog post photo. Which is a total shame because it’s a potentially great pattern made in great fabric constructed with love and care.

And, why haven’t I even modelled it for the blog? It makes me look like Jabba the Hutt wearing a bathrobe. If my neck was more swan-like and I had more waist definition and it wasn’t cream, it might have looked better?

I kept it for about 6 months, hoping the magic wardrobe would transform it, or my feelings about it.

It didn’t.

And then, in a flurry of sorting stuff out, I donated it before I could document what it looked like on me for the blog. But, you know, Jabba the Hutt in a bathrobe. No-one needs to see that. You’re welcome.

But you might want to see some of the sewing details and hear my thoughts…if so, read on.

Great pattern? Probably. Just not for me.

This is Vogue 1590, and there are several positive reviews of it on Pattern Review.

I made a size F (sort of an 18 or 20 I think – its a Sandra Betzina design with Sandra Betzina sizing).

Great fabric but perhaps not for me in this pattern?

This is an embroidered cotton/linen from Tessuti’s Knots and Crosses competition in 2020. It is delightful fabric and many amazing garments were made from it.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be too quick to judge the fabric as not a good match for the pattern, because it looks like one of the top ten entries was made using this pattern, and the modelled version looks like it’s in a eyelet lace too.

Sigh. It’s not you, you lovely fabric, it’s me.

Perhaps my issue was the colour and lack of lining? Plus the wrong pattern, for me?

The construction

I made this a year or so after the competition, so the care I put into this was because I wanted to try a few things out. Not because I was hopeful of winning the prize.

Ha-ha. Not much chance of that when you see the talent that did enter the competition!

I used both fabrics – the larger diagonal crosses for most of the jacket and the smaller squares for the collar, belt and part of the neck facing.

I used silk organza as the second layer of the collar. I like how this looks, but overall the width and height of the collar at the neck is overwhelming on me. The height of the collar even looks a bit much on my dressmaking dummy.

The necks tucks might not be helping the collar situation, but this is how the collar was drafted, so I went with it.

Silk organza was also used as interfacing on the neck and front facings,

I ‘interfaced’ the facings with the organza by sewing the organza to the facing at the outside edges, right sides together, and then turning the right side out. This meant the outside edge was enclosed. I then stitched the facings down, so I probably didn’t need to worry about enclosing the organza! But at least this stopped bits of raw edge poking though the eyelet holes.

See! No raw edges poking out!

Silk organza was also used in the sleeve hems and in the middle part of the belt that goes around your body, but not the parts you tie – it’s a nice touch that keeps the knot softer and the tie ends drapier.

Super unsuccessful sewing if success is ending up with a garment I like and wear, but successful in terms of a learning experience. Silk organza is brilliant as an interfacing.

There. Knew I’d find a silver lining!

Not so successful pattern hacking: Stylearc’s Adeline dress as a top

I know it’s hardly pattern hacking when all you do is make a top from a dress pattern.

But it didn’t turn out very well. Partly due to fabric choice but mainly due to my inexpert hacking.

I need to document that!

The main issue is the uneven hem. I know. I know, Why didn’t I think about how the front needs more fabric to get to the same point at the high hip than a back because it has to go over a bust?

The Adeline dress has a high low hem, but that’s deliberate! This wasn’t…

The other issue is the fabric. This is a Japanese ‘technical’ fabric I picked up at the @adelaidesews fabric swap, originally from Tessuti. I’ve made other garments from this type of fabric and its delightfully silky.

The softness of the fabric really does not suit this style. Much more body is need to make the cuffs look sharp. Mine just look wrinkly!

To avoid this on the hem I faced it with super wide pre-made white bias binding. This, at least, worked!

The startled and wooden look of someone unused to selfies! But it does show the neck well

I matched the neck facing to the bodice so there wouldn’t be show through of a black square under a white one. This also worked- I almost have an invisible facing.

You can’t win them all! And this top will probably work quite well under a jacket, so it hasn’t gone to a better home yet…

Summer dresses in autumn: Vogue 9237

I made another summer dress.

And accidentally matched the late summer flowers in the Adelaide botanic gardens that I photographed the other day on my lunchtime walk.

I’m not mad at all about that! Such gorgeous colours.

It’s still sunny and warm in Adelaide rather than being rainy autumn weather. So I’ve even already worn the dress!

The fabric is a polyester crepe from seamstress fabrics, an Australian online sewing shop. I’ve not purchased from them previously but they had a sale on something, probably pins or needles, so I bought fabric as well. Like you do.

I really like the colours, the print and the texture of the fabric.

This is Vogue 9237

Many of the reviews noted that the sleeves were tight so I did a large bicep adjustment and added 3.5 cm.

I made a size XL and added about 5 cm to the finished length. It’s a touch too big (that could be the mechanical stretch of the crepe) and possibly a bit too long too.

It looked better without sleeves, but I needed to see if my large bicep adjustment worked, so it has sleeves!

And now I’ve seen the photos I see that the hem is a bit uneven too. Perfectly imperfect.

The back ruffle is a cute touch. And if you want to see it in a twirl from a 50 plus woman, you are in luck!

And, what’s more, this dress has pockets!

I’m marking this one up as a success. Very easy to sew too.

Perfect a long sleeve version could work for actual autumn and winter?

In The Folds Ruffle sleeve top

The In The Folds ruffle sleeve top is another pattern I’ve recently made two of.

This pattern was first published in Peppermint magazine and is available as a free download on the In The Folds website. I’m probably the last sewist left who hadn’t already made it.

My first version was in Liberty Tana lawn leftover from making a Kalle shirt for Felicity back in 2018. It’s an almost monochrome astrological print.

I wasn’t sure of my size in an In The Folds pattern so I went with a size G with 1.5 cm added to the length. And sewed the whole thing up, facings, hem and all, before I tried it on. What was I thinking! The shoulders were good but it turned out way too wide from the bust down/ I could have found that out much earlier if I’d been more sensible!

So some retrofitting was required.

I lengthened the bust darts by 2.5 cm, took in the side seams and top of the sleeve seam by 1 cm, tapering to zero at the hips, made a 3 cm tuck at the centre front tapering to zero cm at the base of the V neck, and did the same at centre back, tapering to zero at a point level with the armscye. This removed a total of 12 cm in width through the hip and between 4 and 5 cm through the bust.

Now it’s wearable. Luckily the very busy print meant the extra centre front and back seams are not noticeable.

Another change I made was intentional right from cutting out – to draft and use a simpler neck facing than the designer included. Theirs was a deep facing that extended to and under the armscye- as you can see in the sewing instruction diagram below giving an inside out view of the garment st the hemming stage.

This would certainly stop your facing from flipping out, but I didn’t want to use that much fabric just to finish the neck!

I like the top and I’ve worn it quite a bit this summer so I transferred my changes to the pattern in case I decided to make another version. I mad e anothe ne.

And the photos are evidence of the time progression – we move from the verandah floor sanded ready for repainting, to actually repainted!

The second version came about when I had leftover coordinating viscose from the Fernbird dress and decided that lining the sleeve ruffle with a coordinating fabric could be fun.

It was!

I also used the coordinating print on the neck facing (and modified the facing again so that the back neck facing extended below the front necks lowest point – to look as pretty as possible!).

I love this special detail that I get to see when I pull this out of the wardrobe!

Interestingly, the viscose version is looser than the cotton lawn one. I don’t think I cut it out any bigger. I might have. I’m presuming it is more likely due to fabric difference. The rayon is a looser weave than the cotton lawn.

I’m happy with this second version too. Given the changes I had to make to the pattern I’m unlikely to make other In The Folds designs – it seems they draft for figure types with much narrower shoulder than me.

Impulse pattern purchase: McCalls 8252 in pink gingham

As soon as I said I almost always start with fabric rather than a pattern, I remembered all the times this isn’t true. Like the second dress in my last blog post.

And this dress.

Felicity saw McCalls 8252 sewn up and on display at my local Spotlight. And said how good it would look in the blush pink gingham linen I had in the stash. Matching patterns to fabric like a pro. Of course I bought the pattern for her!

I made View C, initially, although we both thought we’d end up with View A’s skirt length. And we did!

It actually looked great in this length on Felicity too. But the shorter skirt was definitely more fun. So out came the dressmaking scissors and off went the length.

The other change I made was to add 2 cm to the base of the bodice from the side seams back to zero about three quarters the way from the side seam to where the bodice was gathered onto the ring at the front and to all of the bottom of the bodice back.

This is because I made a toile in calico of the straight size 16, and as I suspected, because I usually do an FBA for Felicity, the top was a little short and showed a bit of the bottom of her bra.

The shoulder fit seemed okay. The back was a bit too wide and blousy so I removed about 2 cm from the center back at the base angling back to zero at the slit.

I started with a size 16, because that was the smallest size in my local store and I thought I could make it work. Given the shoulder fit, looks like it did! Looking at where the skirt is sitting, perhaps not – the pattern pieces could have been narrowed here because it is sitting a bit low. But Felicity was happy with the toile, so I left it as it was.

I reinforced the top of the skirt with iron-on interfacing strips before binding with premade bias binding. Quite a bit of the skirt ‘waist’ is on the bias, and there’s only one bit attaching it to the top. It seemed like a bit more structure might be useful!

You can also see some basting on the right in the image above. This was a guide for the part that was gathered onto the ring.

The ring feature is fun. I was super surprised that the pattern does not refer to the diameter of the ring anywhere or at least I could not find any reference. And diameter is sort of important!

Luckily I am not the first person to make this dress – Erica Bunker says in her review of this pattern that she used a 3 inch ring. I had one almost that size in the stash. For what reason or where it was from I have no idea, but I do love it when my stash comes good like that!

Construction was a bit clunky for this bit – I folded the fabric over the ring, aligning the basting line with the inner side of the ring, pinned and then stitched close to the other edge of the ring. Mostly but not completely without puckering – there’s a lot of fabric gathered into a small awkward space.

And here she is, taking that dress out on for an evening of late summer fun!

I’ll leave you with my sewing room floor at the cutting out stage – love that I was wearing my yellow bold gingham linen dress whilst cutting out the corresponding blush pink bold gingham linen fabric! Both lovely linens from The Fabric Store

The Sewing Revival’s Fernbird Dress x 2

The Sewing Revival’s Fernbird Dress might be my favourite pattern this summer.

My first version had all the fun of mixing two patterned fabrics.

These two viscoses just wanted to be together. They are both from my local bricks and mortar fabric store, Spotlight.

I bought three metres of each fabric. Because I wasn’t sure what they’d end up as. Eye-roll required. As it turns out, most of the red and almost all of the other fabric have now been sewn into three garments.

The Fernbird dress flanked by Newlook 6471 and In The Fold ruffle sleeve top

Back to Fernbird

This is a super easy pattern.

Totally love how this turned out. Get so many compliments every time I wear it. And I feel great in it every time I wear it.

So of course I made another Fernbird. Also using Spotlight viscose.

The back story to this one is that I specifically had this pattern in mind when I bought two fabrics to make it up in (not like my last post!) Two fabrics.. Because. Worked so well last time.

Yep. Totally good idea. But, see the dress?

The second fabric never made it.

And I’m not mad about it.

This is a fabulous dress pattern. 10 out of 10 would recommend!

Plaid everything but trousers

Fabric or pattern? It’s often the question among the sewing community. Do you start with a pattern or garment idea you want to sew and then find fabric? Or the other way round?

I’m almost always the other way round.

The fabric is my starting point.

This fabric was a lucky find at Spotlight, my local bricks and mortar fabric store. It’s sort of a Prince of Wales check (plaid?) with blue and red highlights and it’s a bengaline.

I know. Not a natural fibre. You could almost say it’s a nasty synthetic. But perfect for corporate wear. And I love a good check. And these colours.

Four meters came home with me because I was thinking the fabric would make great trousers. And maybe something else. Which I knew I’d work out later.

It’s now later and I’ve made three garments from my four meters. Not one of them trousers.

The first thing was an elastic waist pencil skirt with an asymmetric drape. Because that’s what the fabric seems perfect for when it had spent just a little bit of time communicating with the other fabrics in my stash.

The skirt worn with an In The Folds ruffle sleeve top in a coordinating print. Because who doesn’t love print matching?!

The pattern is Style Arc’s Halle skirt and I made a size 18. And I love it!

More “print matching”. Or perhaps print oneupmanship. The Missoni top is winning.

The second thing was a jacket.

I scoured through my extensive Burda magazine back catalogue for a design that wouldn’t require too much pattern matching – none of the many lovely princess seamed jackets made the cut – and settled on this one: Burdastyle 05/2014 #134

I made this in a size 48.

All the jacket photos were taken at the end of the day, after sitting at a desk or computer with my arms bent most of the time. Yes, there are some wrinkles. But not too shabby. Thanks synthetic fibres!

The jacket turned out a bit big through and below the bust. Which is particularly noticeable when buttoned up.

Not so bad unbuttoned. Which is how I’ll normally wear it.

My fabric has stretch, body and is smooth. I decided I wanted to keep the comfort of the stretch so I did not interface the front or upper back (I am depending on that body to keep the jacket in shape!) or line it ( and here I’m relying on the smooth surface to make the sleeves easy to put my arms in).

This could’ve turned out badly. So far it hasn’t. Apart from the softness between the bust and waist. I expect it may not age as well as a jacket made ‘properly’. It is, however, wonderfully comfortable to wear.

I made some other minor changes to the pattern too.

1. A button hole integrated into the bodice peplum seam rather than a snap closure

Highlighted in lurid green because it is almost invisible IRL

2. A small pocket in that same seam (for my work fob and key).

Napoleon, eat your heart out. I’ve got an actual pocket for my fingers.

The pocket is a red poly cotton non stretch woven faced with a strip of the plaid. I gave it ‘arms’ to anchor it to the side and front seams and used Tessuti’s pocket construction teshnique to sew it all to the peplum. This gave me 100 times more chances of matching the pocket plaid to the peplum plaid.

Why the ‘arms’? I was a bit worried about the pocket distorting the peplum due to the peplum being partially on the bias and stretchy fabric anyway. And not interfaced.

3. A facing for the peplum and then lining. Burda has it ‘lined’ with self fabric. That seemed a bit much to me. So I made it totally too much in a different way with red poly cotton lining.

I finished all the seams with bias strips of a red poly cotton from my stash. Love the way this looks.

I used the continuous bias method to make my strips. Sensible people would listen to the advice of the tutorials that tell you to start with a 25 cm square. I thought why not use the full fabric width and start with a 110 cm square? More than 40 metres of continuous 2.5 cm bias later, I think I know why! Expect to see red bias for years to come….

I spent a lot of time thinking about where the stripes of the plaid should go and how to match them across seams. The actual cutting and sewing to match the plaid went pretty well thanks to cutting everything out single layered and using lots of pins. Also, being prepared to unpick when it wasn’t good enough!

Surely the last thing I made was trousers?

No I did not.

I only had 1.2 metres left after the first two garments. I’m blaming the pattern matching but in reality making a jacket and knee length skirt out of 2.8 meters in a plus size is pretty good!

I was tossing up between a simple sleeveless dress like true bias’s Lodo (could look good under the jacket?) or a simple top like Closet Core’s Cielo (to wear with the skirt as a matching set. Or under the jacket. Or with other garments).

It was a tough decision. My heart said dress but my head said top.

I went for the top.

Closet Core’s Cielo top
I’m putting tiny pockets in everything!

To add interest – and to not be annoyed by lack of pattern matching at the shoulder seams because it was impossible if I wanted a stripe down the centre back and front – I used a coordinating grey blue lining for the back shoulder yokes. It’s a bit soft so I interfaced it. And then lined it with the last tiny bit of that red poly cotton.

The neck facing is also the same linen as the back outer yoke and it’s bound with red poly cotton strips. As are all the seams. Except the armscyes.

What can I say? Red bias strips for everything? Until I was over it and just overlocked the armscyes.

I haven’t worn any of these items together yet. But I might one day!

Meanwhile, the skirt and the jacket are getting plenty of wear as separates in my work wardrobe.

Yellow light weight summer jacket: BurdaStyle 02/2009 #134

I’m still picking out older BurdaStyle designs to sew. This time from 2009.

I had an unusual fabric in the stash that I thought would be a good match for this pattern. And, the fabric was the perfect yellow to go with my yellow floral gathered shirtdress. The stars had aligned!

The fabric is a fluorescent yellow nylon mesh bonded to a very tightly woven white cotton. It’s lightweight, not quite opaque, creases a lot and puckers even before you’ve sewn a stitch. The last bit might be a slight exaggeration – but let me just say that inserting the sleeves was a bit of a nightmare.

It’s hard to get the colour accurate in these photos taken indoors, but it really is bright – safety sign yellow brightness .

The coloured mesh on top of the white woven gives it a pleasing edge – in the same way that cross weave linen and chambray have a lovely depth and sheen.

The fabric is from The Fabric Store and has been in my stash for several years. Why did I buy it? Mainly curiosity – what could one make from such an interesting fabric? Wouldn’t it be fun to have it in my stash and work that out?

It was!

Sizing: I traced a straight size 48 rather than my now normal 46 bust and 48 hips. I figured I could check on the sizing through the shoulders once I’d sewn the fronts to the back.

What I forgot was that I usually remove 2 cm above the bust to get the dart apex in the right place. Hard to do that once you’ve sewn the darts and cut out armscyes and the neck. So my bust darts were too low.

I raised them slightly by angling the shoulder sewing line down from its original position at the neck to 2 cm lower at the armscye and re cutting the armscye, but the dart apex is still not where it should be. Given the loose style of the jacket, it’s a small and slightly annoying detail rather than a dealbreaker.

I am A LOT happier about this jacket than my face would suggest!

I didn’t line the jacket – I was going for the soft light weight summer jacket feel. This meant I had to think about what the seams would look like and how to finish the lower panel so that the pockets were enclosed.

I solved the latter by self lining the lower panels.

Classic hand-in-pocket-to-show the insides pose

The fabric doesn’t fray, so I simply stitched the seam allowances down about a cm out from the seam line. I like how this looks from the outside. And I like the contrast this gives on the inside against the white cotton backing fabric as well as securing the seam allowances in place.  I did go through a lot of thread though!

Keeping to the soft light weight summer jacket feel, I didn’t interface anything. The collar turned out soft but fine.

But the front opening edge looked a bit limp and I was worried about how it would deal with buttons and buttonholes – particularly the top one. So I added a strip of fusible interfacing to the facing after everything had been sewn. Not a recommended technique. Perhaps I should be calling this a wearable toile!

The bottom line is, despite its flaws, I’m very happy with the end result.

My eyes are not closed because my jacket is too bright – my photographer is simply excellent at capturing my every blink

I expect I will wear it a lot. Who says fluorescent yellow can’t be a neutral?!

Shirtdress mashup: Burdastyle 05/2004 #129 and 07/2004 #135

Mashing up patterns? What could possibly go wrong?

Luckily for me, this turned out much better than expected!

The patterns:

Burdastyle 05/2004 #129 (below left) and 07/2004 #135 (below right). The links go to and the images are reproduced from the Russian Burdastyle site because they’re from so long ago that’s the only one that still lists them

I’ve always liked #129, the green one, but never got around to sewing it. Until now. Nineteen years later.

I’m not in this size range anymore. But that didn’t stop me. I’ve already made #135, the red one, in my size (46 bust 48 hips) so I mashed them up.

My starting pattern had a bust dart so I rotated that to the yoke seam and then converted it into gathering. That was the easy it of the mash up!

I marked up the panels on my front dress pattern piece and then drafted new pieces with extra width at the top for the gathering, using the 05/2004 #129 pieces as a guide.

You can see from the pattern pieces that the gathering isn’t additive – the top of the piece is gathered in but the bottom of the piece is back to what would be the regular width of the base pattern. I replicated this on my pattern pieces. The gathering is modest – about 1.2 times the width of the straight piece it’s sewn onto.

I lined the yoke with white batiste. When my fabric is doubled up, the black shows through the other colours a bit and dulls them down. The white makes them pop.

The gathered and then restrained-back-in panels give the dress a cocoon shape feel – which is a silhouette I love.

Grey hair don’t care

I added pockets – because pockets are always a good idea – and used white batiste for the pocket pieces facing the outer fabric. For the same reason.

Smug sewist because she added pockets

I used the pockets drafted for the Cloud dress. They’re fabulously large.

The lovely fabric I used is a Japanese woven cotton from The Fabric Store. Wonderful to sew and gorgeous to wear.

Such a happy dress!

Silver party dress: BurdaStyle 12/2010 #130

I didn’t intend to make another party dress but a bit more free time than I was expecting on the weekend prior to a gala dinner in November, some old Burda magazine pattern perusing (I was looking for a blazer pattern for sensible sewing. Yes really!) and delightful fabric in my stash made me do it.

Look at this image. What more could you want? A party dress with great sleeves, a sparkler, multiple necklaces, a slouchy knitted hat and a man how clearly adores you! With glasses! What’s not to love?

Line drawing from the Russian BurdaStyle website: https://burdastyle.ru/vikroyki/platya/plate-burda-2010-12-130/

Finishing the hem at midnight on the day before the event – which was, of course, in the middle of the working week because it was a corporate event – did make me question my judgement.

I didn’t add the contrast hem band. Very happy with how it turned out though.

The fabric is a wool and metallic boucle that came from @pinpoint_textiles through the Adelaide sewists fabric swap this year. Thanks Belinda. Its beautiful!

I underlined it with green bemsilk rayon lining from Spotlight. Green because I liked how it looked with the silver and underlining because its boucle and I was worried about it not holding up to stress.

You can see in the image below how I also stitched the underlining to the boucle through all the tuck and pleat markings in the sleeves. I did the same for the darts. Hopefully reducing any possibility of fraying and pulling apart at the seams to zero!

The sleeves are supposed to be gathered slightly onto a self fabric band that is turned to the inside and lightly elasticized. Using boucle for this sounded like a nightmare, so I used a premade satin bias strip from the stash instead.

I sewed it onto the sleeve before I sewed the sleeve seam, leaving a small section unfinished, sewed the sleeve seam, inserted the elastic and then finished the opening by hand.

I faced the neck with an interfaced black poly cotton remnant. Sometimes I remember to sew the interfacing on first and then turn it over and fuse it. I did this time. It makes such a neat finish that I wonder why I don’t always do this?

The neck trim is a strip of black powermesh from EOS stitched into the neck facing seam and then slip stitched down onto the dress once the facing was turned in. The pattern calls for piping, but I didn’t have any in the stash or inclination to make some.

I like the trim a lot more than I thought I would. Particularly happy with how it echos the shadow created by the vertical pleat in the sleeves.

I made this up as a size 48 bust, 50 hips, back to 48 at the hem. This is a size larger than I have been making recently, but its an older Burda pattern that seems to be drafted a bit smaller than the more recent ones, its delicate fabric and I wanted it to hold up to the strain at the side seams when seated.

I felt great wearing it on the night. And I have my very own adoring man with glasses.

We were under yellow lights – my hair does not look this colour, anymore

And, this story gets even better.

Within about 2 weeks of the gala event, my office had its end of year breakup party. It was a coolish day. Could I wear the dress again? The dress code was not silver dress, but.. I feel like I glammed it down enough with sneakers…


Twixtmas sewing: Cloud dress by Sewing Patterns by Masin

The relaxed days between Christmas and New Years, a heatwave and an air conditioned sewing room. The perfect recipe for sewing a Cloud dress!

I love the way this dress has been drafted. Racer back with huge puffy sleeves! Genius. Big sleeve energy without the enormous shoulders.

Line drawing from https://www.sewingpatternsbymasin.com/sewing-patterns/cloud

This gorgeous linen from The Fabric Store was a delight to sew, even all that gathering went well (apart from the bit where I sewed one of the layers to the bodice wrong side to right side. Duh)

I paid a lot of attention cutting out to getting the squares lined up and even – a double layer of yellow at the bodice/tier one seam and a smooth transition at the next tier down, plus matching across the vertical seams. It was worth the effort. Uneven seams on gingham irritate me. And there’s been a lot of gathered gingham dresses for sale to be irritated by!

All this pattern matching meant that my fabric length was not quite enough for a full length second tier. Not by much though – 8 cm – and the length looks fine on. Perhaps a longer first tier and shorter second tier would’ve been more aesthetically pleasing for uneven length tiers but that’s being very critical!

You’ll notice that the hem dips up at the front – because the bodice does too. It’s not because my hands are in the pockets!

I’m not convinced the hem should dip up – none of the modelled versions do this. It might be because I sewed a size down from the one that my measurements suggested and that resulted in my bust hoicking it up? I chose this size (4) because the finished garment measurements gave me 5 cm of ease though the bust, which was just at the limit of the ease suggested, and my actual size (5) gave me twice as much as the maximum ease recommended. I like the closer fit through the bodice so I’ll add more length to the centre front on the next version.

The back bodice is buttoned. Which is very cute.

I used vintage mustard buttons from the stash They are larger than recommended so I used 5 buttons rather than 6. I didn’t adjust the facing width to work for my larger buttonholes. Which was a mistake. Macgyvered with iron-on interfacing.

I repurposed a damaged linen pillowcase for the facings. Because it meant that I didn’t have to think about more pattern matching than I needed too.. I know. It’s cream and the gingham is white and yellow. But it works. I didn’t swap my overlocker thread from cream to white either. Slapdash seamstress.

My tip for gathering? Mark the centre front and backs and half way between centres and sides of the non gathered piece with a fabric marker. Do the same on the gathered pics but add safety pins to the markings. Because your marking may disappear when you gather all that fabric up.

I couldn’t resist adding a label to the outside. I had a teeny tiny handmade tag from KATM in mustard. It’s on the lower tier skirt side seam. And probably only I will ever notice it. But. So cute!

I love this dress. Can you tell?

I wore it yesterday on a family trip to the zoo and it was perfect. Swishy. Cool. And SunSmart – crew neck and almost elbow length sleeves.

Why the zoo? Nostalgia. The kids and I used to always go in the holidays when they were younger. Seems like they still enjoy it as adults!

And how could you not when you get to see meerkats after a big night out?

Happy new year everyone!

Shirty September with Pattern Fantastique’s Phen

Pattern Fantastique’s Phen shirt pattern has intrigued me for a long time. Just look at that shape! Even the simplest cuffs for this pattern are curved!

(Yes, I did print my pdf pattern on pink paper)

The Shirty September theme of #magamsewalong (make a garment a month) was the perfect reason to try it out.

(A new shirt and a new skirt! It was a shirty and skirty September for me. The skirt is another version of Burda 09/2008 #134 in a wool cotton blend)

I used a small floral cotton shirting from my stash but originally from someone else’s stash – I scored this lovely fabric from one of the second hand shops at Port Elliott. It has “Cloud 9 organic cotton” printed on the selvedge and has a crisp shirting weight feel to it – if it’s quilting cotton, it’s very nice quality!

Small floral on a dark background – almost the worse fabric for a shirt with lots of details:

– like two front pockets with rounded corners and placed unusually high. Bet you can’t see them unless I put my hands in them

(Look at the pockets! Don’t look at the waist with some of the facing showing. It doesn’t pay to tuck your shirt in quickly and without a mirror before a photo)

– a deep back yoke with stitching at the top of the pleat and a hanging loop, completely camouflaged

– two piece sleeves which turn into the “placket”, those curved cuffs I already mentioned…

The only thing that isn’t lost in the florals is the amazing dropped shoulder batwing sleeves.

I made a size 18 and its a smidge tight at the hips.

I didn’t baste the side seams to check the fit – an excellent tip from Beck, IsewthereforeIam for this pattern – and I think I probably continued the seam too far. The curved seams mean a few mm too far and you’ve gone down a size or three.

The curved seams also mean that you can have an incredibly blousy top without a lot of volume to tuck in. Genius design.

(Untucked. With bonus tired face)

(Tucked in. With the same tired face, and a touch of shirtiness to my expression)

This pattern has very comprehensive instructions and many of the steps also have diagrams. The only one I ignored was interfacing. Instead of using iron on or sew in interfacing, I just added another layer of fabric. Except for the front button band. Which was a mistake – the button holes are a bit puckered on each end.

I appreciated that the instructions included trimming for turn of the cloth for the cuffs, collar, collar band and yoke. You don’t usually get this level of detail on a shirt pattern.

(The result of my attention to trimming to get the right amount of turn of cloth is impossible to see with this patterned fabric. But I know I did it, and it worked!)

But it’s those instructions that made this a Shirty September sew for me.

Either the instructions were written a bit differently to what I expected, or I’m used to next to no instructions and just doing my own thing. I seemed to spend a lot of time reading them and checking them rather than just sewing. And that made me shirty! Beck has also recently made this pattern and written a great post about it – I agree with everything she says about the instructions!

Will I make it again? Probably! I’m intrigued by the “bunny ears” tie collar and tie cuffs version and I’d like to try it again in a drapier fabric. And I won’t need to read the instructions next time!

From Ikea throw to another Newlook 6471 top

You might see an IKEA VALKRASSING throw. I see 2 meters of 150 cm wide cotton double gauze.

The throw was reduced to $20 – that’s $10 per meter. Bargain. Perfect way to tip my toe inexpensively into sewing and wearing double gauze. And what better way to do it than with Newlook 6471, the pattern I’ve just used?

Mum jeans – #sewoverfifty

After I cut out my pattern pieces I discovered it was triple gauze. I presuming that makes it even warmer to wear and a bit loftier?

That line on the sleeve is not a dropped sleeve seam- it is the T-shirt sleeve hem I was wearing underneath. Also, look how much my natural colour has grown out! #greyharidon’tcare

The triple layers made me decide to go for a rolled collar rather than bind the neck with self bias. Two reasons – this seemed like it was going to be a cold weather top so the extra neck coverage would be welcome and sewing bias binding neatly and evenly in triple gauze onto gathers didn’t sound like fun.

The pattern doesn’t come with a rolled neck. I used the neck tie pattern pieces without the ties but with a centre back opening. To which I added button holes and buttons. This was the only place I used interfacing – a 3 cm strip underneath where the button holes and buttons were going to go.

Front, back, buttoned, unbuttoned. Also look how good this throw would’ve coordinated with my bedspread – perhaps I shouldn’t have cut it up after all?

The instructions are good for this pattern. I like the way the seam allowances for the gathered edges are 3/8 inch and that means the first line of gathering stitches is very close to the raw edge – makes it much easier to sew after it’s gathered because everything seems to stay better in place.

Sewing over pins and stictiching on top of the gathering stitch- #livingdangerously

The cuffs weren’t interfaced. I did the same as last time – cut them wider, sewed one long edge to the gathered edge of the sleeve, folded the cuff in almost half (butted the edge up to just touch to seam allowances which were pressed towards the cuff) and then folded up again and stitched. This means my cuffs are four layers of triple gauze! No wonder they look padded!

Last time I made this I felt the sleeves were a bit short. So this version has 5 cm extra length added to the sleeves. Now a tiny bit too long. Goldilocks sleeve length is still to be attained!

I’m still liking the idea of the high low hem. So for this one I cut the hem edge on the fringed ends of the throw. In fact, given the fringes are the selvedges, all of this top was cut across rather than with the grain, apart from the bias cut collar.

Serious face because I’m on the fence about the fringe

What do you think? Should I cut the fringes off and hem it normally?

Navy border print top: Newlook 6471

If you’ve been reading my blog posts recently you’ll be detecting a theme – stash busting and dated patterns. Here’s another example.

I’ve had the pattern for at least five years and the fabric for ten.

Yep- still keeping it real with wearing wrinkles from a morning of sitting, again

This pattern was a freebie in a sewing magazine I purchased whilst travelling. I rediscovered it recently whilst organizing my small pattern stash (ahem, not mentioning the extensive Burda magazine collection…).

I’d pulled out the fabric whilst looking through my fabric stash for all fabrics suitable for tops to go with my two new skirts (the mustard and turquoise ones). Why not put the pattern and fabric together I asked myself? The worst that could happen was bad pattern meets lovely but incompatible fabric.

Inspired by Giedre of Giedre Style who recently made a long sleeved top from a border print and put the border print on the sleeves, I decided to do the same. In hindsight, this very deep and linear border was not the best choice for sleeves, because the upper ‘line’ of the border looks a bit like a dropped sleeve seam, which I don’t like on me, but I sort of love the top anyway!

The fabric is a cotton silk woven from a local designer end of bolt sale in November 2012. I miss those sales! She’d used the fabric in a sheath dress with an overlay of the border running down one shoulder. I’d always thought I’d replicate it. But no. I made a border sleeved top instead.

I made some small changes to the sleeves. I cut the bottom of the sleeve out on the selvedge – I didn’t curve the edges up as per the pattern. This doesn’t seem to noticeably make the sleeves hang wrong.

The pattern has the ‘cuffs’ on the bias. Instead I cut the cuffs out double the suggested width and not on the bias- I used the same part of the border that the sleeves ended on. I sewed the cuffs on folded into thirds- resulting in a 2.5 cm finished width.

The sleeves turned out shorter than I expected given the pattern envelope photo. Other reviewers noted the same. Next time I’ll make the sleeves 5 cm longer. The shorter sleeves might have been because I made a size smaller (18) than my measurements suggested, and I have broad shoulders.

I cut the neck tie in two pieces due to fabric restructions. A centre back seams is not a problem though. Made it easier to orient my KATM label!

I made the high low hem of Style D rather than the regular hem of style A. I paid a lot of attention to centering the mirrored pattern on the front and the back.

More wearing wrinkles

But completely disregarded aligning the pattern horizontally. Which is a problem when you make the high low hem of Style D rather than the regular hem of style A because you think the high low hem will look good when you wear it untucked

Its about 4 cm out. So annoying. Only noticeable when worn untucked of course. So you know how I’m going to avoid that issue!

I like this pattern a lot more than I expected to, so another one is on the cards.

There’s probably lots of sewists out there who bought the sewing magazine with this pattern. But it doesn’t seem like it has been used much – not many reviews on Pattern Review. Is it just that we don’t value things we get for free? Or did the modeled photo put people off? Certainly didn’t encourage me to make it!