Pink dresses: McCalls 7922 and Butterick 6677

An invite with a request to wear something pink. Some people would add a pink accessory. Not Felicity. She needed a new pink dress.

It was no surprise that there were several pink fabrics in my stash. But, also no surprise, none of them were deemed suitable. Apart from the delightful silk charmeuse with some pink in it that I had earmarked for something else, but lets not dwell on that….

It has pockets

So for attempt #1, a light weight poly cotton gingham from Spotlight was wrestled into McCalls 7922.

McCall's 7922 Misses' Dresses
McCalls 7922

I made View D in a size 14 out to a size 16 for the bust and shoulders with the neckline raised to that of a size 22. Why multi-sized? I wasn’t sure how to do an FBA on this style or how to petite the bodice so this was my fix for a fuller bust and a shorter torso.

Pretending to like it

I say wrestled because I really did not enjoy sewing this fabric. Perhaps it was the fiber composition. The end result was quite cute on but Felicity didn’t like how it felt. I’d say that was due to fiber composition, the knot and how that made it feel loose through the waist.

In other words, the dress turned out as the pattern designer intended, but that doesn’t mean it was a success! One wear and then donation was its fate.

Attempt #2 turned out so much better.

Obligatory matching mask

The fabric was a mid weight cotton woven in a very cute Australiana print (May Gibbs flannel flowers) lined with polka dot cotton voile.

Fully lined with polka dots. Because. Well. Why not?!

The pattern is Butterick 6677 and was previously used to make one of Felicity’s favourite dresses. This time I made View A in a Size 14 with an 2 cm FBA.

Butterick Dress B6677 - The Foldline
Butterick 6677

I lined the flounces with the same cotton voile I’d used to line the dress rather than hemming them.

Even the pockets got lined with polka dots. Love the way these two fabrics play together!

Attempt #2 went to the pink party.

This one’s a winner!

The last of the summer sewing

The season has turned, I’ve brought my winter coats back into the wardrobe. It’s almost too late to be blogging about summer sewing… but not quite!

This top is Burdastyle 06/2016 #129

Crepe Tunic 129 | 06/16

I’ve even used a similar colour to Burda.

Crepe Tunic 129 | 06/16

Mine is made from a floaty cotton voile that has been in my stash almost forever (9 years – I’ve patted it appreciatively and admired its colour and hand many times since it came to live with me). This fabric is designer deadstock – from Gay Naffine/Lucy Giles.

I made several adjustments to the pattern to get the fit better.

I traced off a size 46, petite-ed the bodice by 2 cm above the bust dart and made a 2 cm forward shoulder – which meant I also brought the tucks in the sleeve head forward. Are you supposed to do that?

The adjustments certainly worked for the shoulder fit, but the bust darts ended up a touch high.

The neck depth is good but it is quite wide though – if there is a next time I’ll consider bringing it in a bit.

I didn’t include the front slit but I did keep the idea of regular tacks down the front band by adding pearl buttons (shining in the bad side light of the image above)

I used a very light interfacing for the neck band and the front bands as well as to reinforce those square seams

A KATM tag on the side seam above the slit because I can.

I promise this is the last ‘touching my hair’ photo!

The skirt is an old favourite made in my new larger size – 46 waist and 48 hips – Burdastyle 07/2012 #134

Yes this is from the Russian Burda Site. I have no knowledge of the Russian language, but the site is more useful than the US based one.

I love the quirkiness of the darts at the hem. I didn’t sew the darts to the outside as per the pattern for this version. There was already enough going on with the stripes.

This is a stretch cotton that’s been in my stash for even longer – 11 years. Bought in 2010. That’s deep stash. This fabric is also designer deadstock- from Gay Naffine.

The second summer top is Friday Pattern Company’s square neck top.

It is the second version I made – the first one was an XXL as per my measurements but with the neckline raised by 2.5 cm. It was too big in almost every dimension except through my hips. It was made up in a beautiful blue shirting cotton but that wasn’t enough to save it. It has already been donated.

The second one was a XL bust out to XXL hips plus 2.5 cm removed in the bodice above the dart and through the sleeve and then the neck also raised by 2.5 cm.

It’s still not quite right – the cap sleeves pull when I move my arms forward. I doubt I’ll make another one unless I use a knit.

The fabric is lovely though – an embroidered linen cotton remnant from my local Spotlight. It is also from the stash, but it has only been marinating for 3 years.

Stash busting, three garments I can wear and two I love!

***EDITED to add how I do a petite adjustment to the bodice***

I’m very surprised to find that I couldn’t easily point Sandra to a youtube or blog post from someone else that explained how I do this. Either I haven’t looked well enough or what I do is different to what everyone else does. Or perhaps both.

This comes with several warnings:

  1. Writing tutorials is a skill that I don’t have – it’s highly likely that none of this will make sense.
  2. Drawing simple diagrams is also a skill I don’t have – it’s not going to be pleasing to the eye.
  3. This works for me but possibly works for no-one else on the earth – try on something unimportant, like a muslin/toile before you commit to this!

The green lines A, B and C are your cutting lines

  • Line A: draw this in starting at the centre front and perpendicular to centre front, at least 2 cm below neckline (if you’re doing a 2 cm petite-ing, more if you’re doing more, less if less) out to just before before the armscye stitching line
  • Line B: draw this in also perpendicular to centre front but start 2 cm below armscye on the side seam (or more or less depending on your adjustment) and stop at about the same position as Line A.
  • Line C: this line joins Line A and B and is parallel to the centre front

The purple dashed lines are the lines you’re adjusting to.

  • Measure up 2 cm (or more or less, depending on your adjustment) from lines A and B and draw in a line parallel to them (this is the purple dashed lines).

The red bit is the amount you’re going to remove.

  • Cut along your green lines.
  • Shift the pattern piece up to the dashed lines and tape it back together

Now do the same to the back bodice piece

Why I do it this way:

  • It doesn’t change the armscye, which means you don’t have to adjust the sleeve. I don’t usually have an issue with where the sleeve joins the bodice being too low so I avoid having to make this additional change.
  • It takes length out only above the bust, which is where I seem to need it to get the bust point in the right spot for me.

This isn’t what I did on the square neck too (I just took 2 cm out from centre front through the cut on sleeves) but it is what I normally do and what I did for the V neck Burda top.

Sandra: Hope this helps and good luck with your fitting journey

Does this make sense? Does anyone else do this? Is there a better way to do this?

Lovely pattern but with not quite the right fabric: Sew over it Eve dress

You know how sometimes you get the match making a bit off between pattern and fabric? No? Doesn’t happen to you?   It does to me. Sometimes,  I even quite like the mismatch. But that usually requires a brief time out.

This was one of those times.

Seduced by the cool vibes in London in September I purchased a couple of indie patterns: Sew over it’s Eve dress and a Merchant and Mills coat pattern.

Sew Over It Eve Dress Sewing Pattern

Later in the trip we were in Leicester and just happened upon Crafty Sew & So. They had the most delightful triple crepe. Perfect for Eve or some other drape-y dress.

Back home I decide I should trial that Eve dress pattern before cutting into precious souvenir fabric from Leicester. Also, the pattern suggested I needed more than the 3 metres I had of crepe. Seemed unlikely. Lets see about that.

Months passed. Now it was very hot and I had 4 metres of a navy print cotton voile I wanted to sew. M made a shirt for K out of it, and I love it. A dress in navy print could fit into my sort of summer corporate SWAP. Perfect fabric for a trial version. Well, hello, not really. Its cotton. Even though its voile, its still cotton and not very drape-y. But summer holiday brain didn’t get this far.

I cut it out anyway. No problem fitting it on 3 metres. So far, so good.

Beautiful fabric to sew. Drafting was excellent. Instructions detailed and clear. Sewing on the stay tape to the bias cut neckline worked very well. Bodice fit was checked and all was well. Continued with the sleeves. Skirt went onto bodice just fine. I like the hi-low hem. What can I say. Child of the eighties.

Had a ‘duh’ moment turning the ties the right way out. It took 20 minutes doing it the wrong way and 20 seconds doing it right. You know which one I did first.

Time to try it on. Yes, this style does not instantly shrink my waist. Yes, this is not the style I like the most on me. Yes, the non drape-y nature of the cotton voile isn’t the most elegant rendition of this pattern.

But, such lovely fabric. So nice to wear. Perfect hot weather dress.

And its a wrap dress but with a no gape neckline.

Wardrobe malfunctions unlikely with the skirt either!

A very happy ending.

I’ve worn the dress several times already, and there was enough left over to make a shell top. Both garments get lots of compliments. It seems everyone like navy and dandelion prints!

For the record, I cut out a 16 and made no adjustments. The pattern includes finished garments measurements, and they were spot on.

Flouncing around: BurdaStyle 07/2017 #119

I’m following M of Nonsuch’s mathematical approach in one of her recent blog posts

“I want to sew this fabric” + ”I want to make something with flounces” =  new top

I’ve been wanting to sew this fabric for a long time. It came from Liz of Designer Fabrics Australia. I am simultaneously wishing Liz was still actively managing her stash by making it available for sale, and relieved that she isn’t!

[image from Lizs blog post ]

So many things to love about this fabric: border print, yellow, the tribal and ethnic style of the pattern, Hugo Boss provenance and that its been made into a frock worn by an Aussie girl who met a Prince in a pub in Sydney and then married him and lived happily ever after in a palace in Denmark.

I have also become enamoured with flounces*. This BurdaStyle pattern from last July (07/2017 #119) quickly became my new favourite .


The flounces are like a cross between a cape and a sleeve.

Burda says this pattern needs a fabric with two good sides. Mine has a right and wrong side, but the difference is subtle. I constructed the sleeves opposite to Burda’s instructions, which meant that the wrong side was on the less noticeable lower part of the flounce.

I did a baby hem on the edges, rather than Burda”s instructions to zig zag and trim close to the stitching. Really Burda?

I added slits to the lower edge, because I am most likely to wear this top like a tunic

It can be worn tucked in, but that’s not my preference, especially with this deep border print.

Much nicer untucked


* Don’t worry. Flounce obsession seems to have passed


Sewing at the beach: BurdaStyle 07/2014 #108

Happy New Year!

I hope you’ve had a great start to 2016.

I had a lovely time at the beach: swimming, reading, catching up with friends, fishing and … sewing.

He Who Cooks graciously made room in the car for my sewing machine ..

..and.. the overlocker.

He’s a keeper!

Can you think of a better view whilst sewing? We were just south of Tumby Bay in South Australia at Thuruna Campsite, with a lovely group of extended family and friends, right on the beach front.

Given the location, I really should have been sewing bikinis, or cover-ups. But inspiration had previously struck elsewhere, and a top was already cut out of this fabulous ‘shoe’ panel print fabric

Technical details

Pattern: Burdastyle 07/2014 #108

Size: 36-44, I made a 42.

Fabric: The outer fabric is cotton voile, one of my Mood NYC souvenirs. I lined it with a silky polyester woven from one of Gay Naffine’s designer fabric sales. So sad that there will be no more of these.

Changes I made

This is a cropped top. I lengthened it considerably and lined it. Both lining and fashion fabric were sewn separately at the shoulders and side seams, but sewn together at the neckline before a facing from the fashion fabric was added.

The lining and the upper fabric were separately hemmed, the lining a bit shorter. At the sleeve hem the lining and fabric were sewn together (sort of like bagging a jacket) and since the lining had a smaller seam allowance, the fashion fabric wraps inside a little.

It looks okay tucked in, but then the not-so-neat high heeled shoes part of the panel is hidden.

The big question that still remains is.. what shoes do you wear with a top covered in shoes of every colour?

Paco’s draped top

Yay! Back to ordinary sewing.

I’ve made a top I can wear everyday if I choose to, not something that only get out of the wardrobe once a year for an art gallery exhibition opening or a black tie event.


This lovely top is from a designer in Barcelona: Paco Peralta. I’m not sure if he is still trading in Etsy but I knew quite a few sewing bloggers have his patterns

I’ve had the pattern for a while. Lots of sewing bloggers before me have already made this top. I’m not an early adopter it seems (much worse than you Gail!)

Size: S-XL (bust 80 to 104 cm). I traced off between L and XL based on my bust measurement being in the middle of sizes L and XL. Flat pattern measurements suggested a L would be ok, but experience told me that its easier to take out width than put it in.

After construction I took the side seams in by 1.5 cm at the waist, grading from the armscye to the hip. I could have cut out an L.

The top is loose, but this seems to suit the style, and I don’t need a zip to get it on.

I also added an extra 6 cm to length. This is probably a little bit too much. The bottom of the top shows when I wear it with one of my jackets. The next version will be made about 2 cm shorter!

Fabric: Cotton voile. The cowl would work better with a drapier fabric, but it’s okay in this too.

This fabric was a large remnant from a previous blouse and skirt combination made before blogging or Pattern Review. It was purchased on my first visit to Cleggs in Melbourne about ten years ago. I’ve loved this fabric for a long time, even after wearing and wearing my first makes from it. You know how sometimes you get sick of a print after you’ve worn it a lot? Didn’t happen with this one. I still love it! I have a white skirt under construction that this is going to look great with too.

About the pattern:

The bias insert for the cowl is clever. You get lovely draping in this section without the disadvantage of shifty bias in the rest of the garment. The lovely insert detail is perfectly camouflaged by the busy print in my fabric, so I’m pointing it out for you here!

There is a lot of ease drafted into the back shoulder (I don’t think I cut it out wrong?)

These pieces needed to be sewn together.

Gathering helps

The busy print and the gorgeousness of cotton meant that lots of steaming hid the easing, but this would be more obvious in a solid. Next time I’ll either add a small dart, or trim the extra off.

Paco’s instructions (here and here, and thanks to Google translate and photos!) for the sewing order of the cowl and back neck facing are useful. I sort of followed them, plus the way Vogue instruct for the cowl for dress 1250.

After sewing the back facing onto the back neck, the shoulder seam is stitched together with the neck facing to the cowl facing,

then the back neck facing is turned back down, in line with the shoulder seam and, after turning the cowl facing to the back too, stitching over the same line of stitching (where the orange pins are)

trimmed and overlocked,

then the cowl facing flipped back to the front.

Here’s how it looks turned over to the right side

It makes for a nice finish, even if the shoulder seam allowance ends up ironed to the front rather than the back.

The armscyes are finished with bias strips, before sewing the side seams:

First step after sewing on the strips was trimming the edges (I like using my pinking shears!),

then I flipped the strips over and stitched the edge of the bias strip down from the wrong side.

A simple and neat finish is easily achieved.

It’s a very comfortable top to wear and will be great for hot summer weather. I see some more in my future…that is, after I clear my ridiculously long to sew list…





Graphic print maxi skirt

This fabric had been earmarked for me even since I bought it. Clearly it spent too long in the stash, and it defected to Felicity…

The defection had a good ending, of course!

Technical details

Pattern: BurdaStyle 10-2013-120

Size: 34 -44, I made a 40. It was a bit roomy through the waist for Felicity and would be more a hipster look if I didn’t then remove about 4 cm overall through the waist and hip after I had sewn all the yoke pieces together…

Fabric: Cotton voile border print from Gay Naffine and navy cotton voile for lining


Maxi length rather than mini length, and with all pieces cut along rather than across the grain, because this was a border print. The final skirt is about 1 metre long. Felicity is 1.75 cm tall, and she has heels on in these photos.

The lining was also cut longer, to 60 cm, i.e. just on the knee for Felicity. The lining pieces are a continuation of the yoke so the lining is very straight fitting. Burda suggests leaving 12 cm slits in the side seams of the lining. That’s okay when you have a mini skirt, but not so good when the lining goes to the knee. So I slashed each lining pattern piece from the hem up to the yoke in three places to give 4 strips and then spread them out to 2 cm between each strip at the hem. This gave a flared gored skirt effect to the lining, and means that the floaty-ness of the cotton voile pleated skirt was maintained.

I moved the zip to the side seam. Burda has the zip only in the yoke but I was worried about that making the skirt a bit tight to squeeze over the lower hips. Cotton voile is not the strongest of fabrics! I didn’t want to have a center back seam in the pleated section so I moved the zip to the side seam.

Felicity is a leftie so I put the zip on the right side. She’s since told me not to do that … Teenagers!

Just in case she gets confused with RTW skirts, I added a tag to the back.

I need to get some ‘He Cooks… She Sews’ tags made…

The skirt seems to have been given the thumbs up.