Sophie wins: BurdaStyle 03/2018 #117

M of Nonsuch and I have just enjoyed a delightful sewing weekend. One of the daughters benefited more than either of us planned.

So. How does that work?

Something to do with everything looks good on her perhaps?

M made Tessuti’s Alice top in a delighted watermelon linen from Spotlight. It was remodeled into a cropped top and claimed by her daughter. Read all about it here.

I made BurdaStyle’s Cardigan 03/2018 #117 in a smudge-y gray oyster knit from my stash.


I know. It looks like a shapeless garment. It is. I was seduced by Meg’s version and I thought it might work as part of a corporate wardrobe.

Mmm. No.  It is really so much better on S as part of a casual outfit than it is on me as something to wear to work.

And in other news, Smitten Kitchen has the best recipes for delicious cake!

This weekend we enjoyed her Cannoli Cake

.and just in case the link doesn’t work, here’s the recipe, with the very minor changes made by He who Cooks;

Cannoli Pound Cake
1 cup caster sugar
Finely grated zest from 1 orange
Finely grated zest from 1 lemon
1/2 cup olive oil
250 grams ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 pinches allspice
1 1/2 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
1 cup mini-chocolate chips
about 1/4 cup walnuts and the same of apricots, chopped small

Heat oven to 175°C. Coat a standard (8 1/2-x-4 1/4″) loaf pan with butter.

Place sugar in a large bowl, and add zest. Whisk in olive oil, ricotta and eggs. Sprinkle baking powder, salt, cinnamon and allspice over wet ingredients, then whisk to combine. Gently stir in flour, then chocolate, nuts and apricots until just combined.

Scrape into prepared loaf. Bake in oven for 55 to 65 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out batter free. Let cool on wire rack in pan for 15 minutes, then invert out onto rack to finish cooling. Cake is great the first day, and even more amazingly moist on the second and third. Just ask the craft ladies!

Very yummy.

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Orange dress: BurdaStyle 09/2010 #122

Despite the fitting woes with sewing stretch fabrics into garments for me, I’ve had a success with sewing for Felicity.

This dress is made from a very orange viscose based ponte and BurdaStyle 09/2010 #122: one of Burdas best patterns, IMO.

Look at all those fabulous style lines!


Pretty good IRL too

I made a size 20 with a 2 cm FBA. Not so easy to work out how to do it with this pattern. I winged it by sticking the upper front pieces together, pretending the gap out to the side was a dart, did a regular FBA, then redrafting them again as single pieces. Clear as mud? Mmm, not so much to me either. Wish I’d taken photos. Luckily this was stretch and there was some negative ease, so it all worked out okay

The sleeves have a bit of a Star Trek vibe to them. And they are not sitting as well as they should on the right side. But we love them anyway!

This is a very cute dress. Felicity is wearing it here with a RTW roll neck sweater, tights and ankle boots, but its also good on its own.

In other news, I’ve had a business trip to Spain. And managed to squeeze in a tiny (tiny =  less than 10 metres worth) of fabric shopping.

This is my haul from Barcelona

Clockwise from left:

  • An embroidered navy viscose woven
  • A red polyester jacquard border print
  • A light grey embroidered prefaded cotton woven
  • A darker grey woven linen with a coated surface.

Aren’t they lovely? They’ll likely have to spend some time in the stash until I’m ready to sew for summer again though.

I love souvenir fabrics!

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Third time’s a charm? BurdaStyle 02/2014 #141

Not a very accurate title, as fourth time may be the charm. But whatevs

Diagonal Panel Dress (Plus Size) 02/2014

I really like this pattern. Have wanted to make it for a long time. Finally it made it to the top of my to sew list.


As I was drafting it, I realised how fabulous it would be as a simple sheath dress for border prints. And I had a laser cut faux suede in my stash that would be perfect.

I could not get this idea out of my head.

I know the fabric has absolutely no stretch (its backed with some sort of black synthetic layer).

I know sheath dresses are uncomfortable in fabrics with no stretch. Ask me how I know. African wax fabric cut on the cross grain, I’m looking at you.

I know I’ve put on weight and am probably not the same size. Perimenopause, its all your fault, not my diet or lifestyle.

I went ahead anyway.

You know how this ends.

The style was fine.

The cut outs on the hem worked really well.

It has a lovely darted sleeve head.

But the sizing, not so good.

Sadly it’s too tight through the upper body and sleeves. So tight I can’t move my arms to even try and zip it up. Once zipped up it dreadfully uncomfortable and reminiscent of sausages. I’ve spared you the photographic evidence.

The dress is now waiting for me to lose weight. Or turn it into a skirt. Now that’s an excellent idea!

But I still saw possibilities with this pattern. I added width to the pattern and made another version in a scuba print.

I know.  I’ve both sized up and used a fabric with stretch. Not the cleverest move.

This scuba print has the best pattern (also I love my strawberry thief background).

I finished the neck with bias binding. And scuba meant no zip and easy zig zag hemming. Colour matched of course!

It’s a very comfortable dress to wear, but this ridiculously busy print hid the fitting issues.

It’s too big through the back and the bust darts are too low.  But I only know that because I made third version. I don’t notice any of this with this fun dress.

The third version was made with a ponte and another stretch woven from my stash, both with LOTS of 4 way stretch.

Look at all that extra fabric through the back!

I really am not winning with my fabric choices!

But my children are delightful.

Bottom line is that

  • I love this pattern
  • I wish I had been smarter with adjusting the fit
  • A fourth version, that fits perfectly, with some of the width taken back out, needs to be made
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Sewing Competitions

Sewing competitions. Why do I enter? Because I love the community feel of being part of something bigger than me and my sewing machine.  Not so much because I think I could actually come first. The skill of entrants in these competitions is truly humbling.

Plaid matching and excellent grading and looking as good inside as out? And everything else fabulous about sewing? Love it. But not anywhere near as much fun when it has to be done to a deadline and someone else’s schedule!

Tessuti Fabrics runs a competition every year and the fabrics are always interesting and often very desirable.  I didn’t participate the last two years and regretted this, either when the fabric sold out while I procrastinated, or after the competition ended and I saw what could be done with the fabric in the hands of fabulously creative sewists. Or both.

This years competition fabric was a cotton linen viscose spandex blend plaid. It wasn’t instantly appealing… but FOMO struck so I purchased.

Then, what to do? I fell down a Vivienne Westwood early nineties Anglomania rabbit hole. Pinned lots of inspiration and potential patterns.

Draping would be so much fun. Ruth of Corecouture has made some fabulous garments this way. Studio Faro is another inspiration.

Then reality hit. Very busy at work. No way I had time to play with draping and pattern making if I wanted to make the competition deadline. I should have stopped there and realised the competition was the problem. I didn’t.

Even my sewing machine was trying to warn me with this project!

I wanted something draped and maybe a bit twisted to have fun with the plaid.

What about Burda? Surely Burda had some skirt designs over the last ten years that were Westwood-esque? I could make a top too. Combined they would look like a dress, but I’d have options with other garments. The colours should work with my sort of summer corporate wardrobe SWAP. Good plan I told myself!

Burda didn’t disappoint. Several options, but I kept coming back to this.

Flat pattern measures told me I needed to draft a size up. Bit tricky with the strangely shaped pattern piece, but a competition should have some challenges shouldn’t it?


Decisions, decision, decisions. Should I put the waistband on the bias or straight grain? The back skirt is on the straight grain, so I went for bias for the waistband. Love how this looks.

I love the bias binding finish on the inside of the armscye too. What can I say? Simple pleasures!

But what about the front of the skirt? It’s a mix of directions. I went for the front waistband on the straight grain. Hindsight says it would be better on the bias too.

I shamelessly copied Ruth and made a matching top using Paco Peralta’s draped front top pattern. BTW this is a fabulous pattern. I already have several versions in my wardrobe and wear them a lot.

So, how do they look together?

Hmm. Interesting. Almost like a dress.

The top will probably get worn more often on its own. Like this. Perhaps with better shoes. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE these shoes. But I do  wear them way too much.

Also I added about 5 cm length and next time I won’t. I know. I could just reduce the hem on this one right now.

But then I’d lose most of that lovely upside down V on the side seam.

And what did everyone else make from this fabric? Some absolutely spectacular things. On Pinterest here, and on Instagram with #tessutisklinescomp.

Note to self. Buy the competition fabric if it appeals. Sit back and watch what everyone else does if unsure or uninspired or time poor or all of the above. Make something later, when I feel like it.

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Is it still Summer? Another Kalle Shirt dress

The equinox has been and gone but it still feels like summer. Highs of over 30oC. No wonder I’m still sewing for warm weather!

Yes another Kalle shirt dress. This time in tencel. I love this pattern. This is the fourth time I’ve used it. And I’m not tired of it yet.

Some of the features of this version


I added an extra 10 cm because I knew I’d be more comfortable, especially wearing it with a belt. Here shown with a simple self fabric tie.


I finally made a version with a collar! I removed 10 mm in height for both the stand and the collar because it looked a bit big to me and I don’t have swan-like neck.

Yes I did match my inner yoke to the soft furnishings. Yes I do love William Morris designs. Just in case you were wondering.

The collar turned out lovely, but probably would also be fine as drafted.

I was lazy and didn’t draft a separate undercollar –  just took a few mm off the second collar piece after cutting it out.


This version has both a breast pocket and in seam pockets

The inseam ones are from Tessuti Patterns Bella dress and my topstitching shows up their clever design.

Back Vent

I sewed the vent back together again at the waist to help control the fullness when belted, but it looks good without the belt too

Here’s some with and without belt images to show you what I mean.


Navy and yellow make me happy.

I topstitched almost everything I could, including the side seams.

You can also see that I didn’t use self bias bindng for the hem.

I sewed this dress at a sewing weekend with M of NonSuch, and this was her gift to my dress.

Sewing weekends and sewing friends are the best!

This weekends project is a struggle with Tessuti Fabrics sewing competition fabric.

It’s not all going smoothly…

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Something old and something new

Well this is an unexpected bonus. My new sparkly linen top works very well with one of my old favourites.

This skirt was recently rescued from the depths of my wardrobe. It’s a bit faded but still loved!

But let me tell you about the fabric in my top.

It’s a coated linen from The Fabric Store in Sydney.

No I don’t live in Sydney. But I have worked out I can fit in a quick visit to The Fabric Store on the way to the airport if my Sydney meeting finishes by 3:30 PM. And lots of them do.

Both The Fabric Store, and Tessuti Fabrics Surry Hills store, are located close to Central train station. Hop off the T8 line out to Sydney airport. Take a short walk there and back, then continue on your way to catch your flight. With new fabric…

The Fabric Store also has an excellent and extensive selection of Liberty. Even some on sale. I resisted. This time.

So jealous of sydneysiders with these two stores as their local fabric stores!

This is a repeat pattern make. I didn’t notice that the darts are a smidge low the first time I made this. But this plain linen shows everything! Even wrinkles after 5 minutes of wear.

At my age (#fashionoverfifty), I’m embracing the wrinkles!

This is an excellent pattern. Uses less than a metre of fabric. I can see several more in my sewing future!

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Ditzy floral meets Eve

Felicity looks so good in my Sew Over It Eve dress that I made her one of her own.

And this time I used a drape-y viscose. See how nicely it hangs?

I was either lazy or efficient (you decide) and used the pattern pieces in my size with just the shoulders trimmed by 2 cm. I’m sure this breaks all sorts of pattern adjustment rules.

Hey I figured the ties would sort out the waist adjustments that were needed and all the blousing through the bodice would hide a multitude of sins.

And it does.

I promise I’ll cut out the right size and do a FBA on the next version. But this one is acceptable don’t you think.?

The wrap front is genius. Hugs your body even when bending forward.

Some clever drafting by Sew Over It going on here. Plus the stay tape keeping the bias under control.

I cut the front skirt a little less full due to fabric restrictions – I folded out about 10 cm at the hem through to zero at the waist in two long wedges.

I don’t think the slightly narrower skirt is a problem

And the final change was to add pockets.

Because. Pockets.


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