Red and olive colour blocked dress: Style Arc Mila

Another experimental dress!

How did this happen?

Well, I had intended to add olive cuffs to my last red Bella dress but the fit issues dampened my enthusiasm.

But you know how it is – I still had the olive fabric out and there was a sizeable remnant of the red fabric left. Plus a new to me pattern to try: Style Arc’s Mila dress, which seemed perfectly suited to colour blocking.

Why not give it a try?

This is a size 16 and I like the way it fits

That V shaped bit in the centre was less tricky to do than it looks

My two fabrics were both from the stash. I’ve told you about the red before – it is a woven rayon from a local designer roll end sale in 2014. Almost vintage! It has more structure than a rayon normally has, a dry hand, and no stretch.

The olive is a polyester hi-tech microfibre from emmaonesock with great texture, drape and mechanical stretch. It was bought with a garment for Felicity in mind back in 2019 but she was less than happy with its colour so it’s languished in the stash. Despite it’s loveliness.

The Mila dress is an interesting design. The skirt has no side seams and curves from that V just under the bust to well below the waist at the back

I really like it. What I now need to do is work out how to add long sleeves to it so I can make a winter version.

Any tips?

Sizing up Bella

Tessuti’s Bella dress pattern is an old favourite. Search through my blog – you’ll see I’ve made several Bella’s for myself and Felicity.

But I am no longer the same size thanks to having so many birthdays that I’ve hit menopause. So it was time to test another size.

Version one was in a red rayon fabric from my stash but originally from a designer fabric sale. It’s an odd fabric. Gorgeous colour but has a very dry hand and is prone to creasing.

I traced off and made a size 16 with shortened sleeves.

It was too big through the shoulders – the only bit that really needs to fit.

So I added a 1.5 cm tuck to the centre front,going down 15 cm, to remove 3 cm of the excess fabric through neck through the bust.

This sort off worked.

Although the armscyes are too low – I really should not be able to lift up the hem this much when I raise my arm! Another pointer to the size being wrong

Whatever. I have a dress I can wear. And the colour is still gorgeous despite the fit!

So for my next version I went down a size to size 14.

This one is made in an embroidered wool blend purchased on holiday in Leicester.

Souvenir fabric!

I didn’t have a lot of fabric but was pleased that I had enough to be able to line up the embroidered motifs reasonably well.

It’s lined with a polyester galaxy print which I bought as a roll end several years ago for a fabulous price because it was so last years.

Now so dated after sitting in my stash that’s it’s best used as a lining.

The facing is a grey linen. Because I thought the wool might be itchy. But it was a bit of an afterthought once I realised that lining right to the edge with the galaxy print might not be such a great idea. So I overlocked and stitched it on a top of the lining rather then doing things properly with a seam.

I used a wool 4 cm strip for the pocket openings for the same reason. And also just stitch an overlocked strip on top of the lining. What can I say? Consistently slapdash!

I used a wide stain bias from the stash for the hems -and the stitching just disappeared into the wool.

Love it when that happens

So. What do I think about the sizing? This is probably the right size. But the fit is not great. The shoulders are good but it’s a bit tight through the bust whilst being looser through the back.

And of course everywhere else is fine because the style is loose everywhere else

Bottom line -I like the dress. I’m not convinced Tessuti’s block works for me. It did work when I was a smaller size. Now, perhaps not so much.

So what other trapeze style dress pattern are out there that I should try? All suggestions most welcome 🙂

Style Arc Hope Woven Dresses: the midi versions

Style Arc’s Hope Woven Dress pattern is hugely popular. Several Instagram sewists (I’m looking at you @rou2an1_made and @johassler) have made more than 10 versions. Yes. More than 10! There’s even a hashtag for multiple sewing of this pattern: #hopedressspringseternal.

And it is deservedly popular. This style seems to look great on everyone, every body shape and every age. Why has it taken me so long?

My first version was in a chambray with an embroidered border. So I cut the skirt and all the other pieces out with the grainline running selvedge to selvedge rather than parallel to the selvedges. Seemed to work just fine.

It has pockets!

My fabric is soft and I only have fairly robust interfacing in my stash so rather than interface the neck facing pieces, I used vilene bias tape on the neck edge instead.

I cut the tape using the pattern pieces as my guide, pinned the tape at the centre front and seams, eased the neck edge to the tape with more pins and then pressed The neck edge has slightly stretched out but this process brought it back in. Luckily! I followed up the ironed on securing with machine basting. And then faced as per normal.

I love vilene bias tape.

The sleeves are described as 7/8th length, but either I have the sizing wrong (this is a size 16) or longer than normal arms – they are more 3/4 length on me. I like them pushed up a bit closer to my elbow joint to give a bit of puffiness

Waist? What waist? Why are you looking for one? Don’t think I can find mine.

This is a really comfortable dress to wear, but if you’re looking for a waist enhancing dress this is not the style for you. But oh so comfortable to wear! Did I say that already?

Version 2

Of course there is a version 2. This is also midi length.

I can’t get my hands out of the excellent pockets in this design

Style Arc says there is a knee length version too, and shows one in the line drawing but doesn’t include a pattern piece or cutting line on the skirt pieces for it. So I just cut out another midi length.

I thought a lot about how to fit this all on my not quite long enough piece of fabric and still place the ‘stripes’ were i wanted them. This meant the skirt was 4 cm shorter than drafted, but not the 20 cm or so it would have been if I was actually thinking about it being knee length. And a shorter skirt would hve made the pattern tetris a lot simpler!

So, just a little bit more thinking before cutting would have been good! Then I could also have lined up the sleeves better too- it’s almost but not quite pattern matched. how does this even happen?!

I didn’t even think there was any chance of pattern matching. My focus was on getting a bit more length onto the sleeves (I managed to get 5 cm more). Not that you can see the extra length in any of the photos- in all of them the sleeves are pushed up and sitting in my elbow joint – because I love the puffiness!

This fabric is a gem from my stash. It’s a rayon viscose blend double weave. A bit like double gauze and with lovely body and a slight shimmer.

I used a gathering tip from @kaleidoscopekatie_ : overlap the gathering stitching. This stops the gap that’s not gathered where you start and stop your gathering stitching in the same line and close to each other.

safety pin at centre front and bright red and pink thread for gathering
Look! no gap!

Thanks for the tip Katie!

Do you think I stopped at two Hope dresses? Well… I couldn’t… I had to make a knee length version. I might also be trying to join the #hopedressspringseternal club.

So, another Hope blog post is coming soon … just as soon as I can get photos!

Have you made a Hope dress? Could you stop at two?

Style Arc Adeline dress #2 and #3

I’m on a red dress roll. Must be Christmas!

This fabric was a souvenir from Barcelona. I fell in love with the colours and I love border prints. As a bonus it’s an overprinted jacquard. Almost certainly made from synthetic fibres but interesting and unusual.

Hand sewing on the front verandah

The base is white (as you can see above) and the looseness of the jacquard means that there are a few spots where this shows. Like below. The jacquard weave also made it very prone to fray. The overlocker was essential!

Separating red threads in the middle of the leaf showing the white base layer

Style Arc’s Adeline was just the simple dress pattern I needed to showcase the fabric. I made a size 16 (printed at 98% by mistake).

Adeline Dress Sewing Pattern – Dress Sewing Patterns – Style Arc

My souvenir fabric was a precut of 1.5 m. At least it was 150 cm wide and with a border printed on both selvedges! But there was no way I was going to be able to cut out this pattern as drafted with the longer turned up sleeves.

No centre back seam either

After some pattern and fabric Tetris and accepting that cuffed sleeves and pockets were not part of my vision for this fabric, I successfully placed the pattern pieces on with the border at the hems and just a teensy bit on the shoulder.

There were enough scraps left for the hem and neck facings, and some self drafted sleeve hem facings.

I placed the border so that the maximum width of the border was on the front. This meant that the last few cms of plain red under the border shows on the lower back hem. Perhaps I could have placed it differently? Or straightened out the hem? Would that have been better? I’ll never know!

Such a comfortable dress to wear.

On it’s first “outing” I wore it to a day event with bare legs and blue sandals and then changed to black tights and heels for an evening event.

He who Cooks thought the opaque tights were a bit heavy and needed balancing out with a chunky black necklace. He was right!

I love this pattern so much that I immediately made another one. This time with the cuffs and pockets in a turquoise silk nylon blend that’s been a long time stash dweller. The last time I sewed with this fabric was March 2011!!

It looks much less like scrubs in real life…. although these photos are starting to make me doubt…

I don’t think I’ve finished with this pattern yet.

Sequins: Burdastyle short swing jacket 11/2013 #115

I’d overlooked this design when I’d received this issue, and hadn’t considered it since. Something about the scratched old photo look, beanie and graffiti just didn’t appeal.

But look at the line drawing.

Perfect for sequins….a minimum of seams for which sequin removal would be required, and a drape-y style that would allow lots of movement.

And then I saw what Tanja W. created from this design!

Image from Tanya’s ‘Karl meets Coco’ project page on 

No more hesitation! This was clearly an excellent pattern for what I had in mind for some sequined mesh in the stash.

I wanted a light topper for a sort of boring evening frock I’d worn to the same event the year before.

The event was a black tie affair in the Great Hall of our National Parliament, so I figured a bit of sequined bling would work.

Lets talk about the fabric.

My sequined fabric is not your traditional sequined number. It is made up of clear plastic sequins sewn onto mesh, and then the whole thing is printed in an abstract almost wood grain pattern.

As you can see here where I’m part way through removing sequins for the neck binding strip, the sequins weren’t all beautifully lined up before printing, so there’s a bit of extra randomness to the design.

The colours are muted greens and browns, but the shininess of the plastic catches the light, so there is an overall silver-y fish scale-y effect.

I removed sequins from every seam allowance and from the hem. It took a very. long. time. And I chose a design with very few seams and then omitted a few more (like the centre back pleat and seam).

I omitted the facings too. The back neck was faced with a strip of the mesh cut across the grain so it was stretchy (after removing all the scratchy sequins). The fronts were cut out with a straight çut-on facing using the selvedge. The selvedge had a wide non sequin part, so that worked well.

I am still finding sequins everywhere.

I don’t think I’ll be sewing with sequins again in a hurry!

But it is a fun jacket to have in my wardrobe. I might even wear it with non evening wear

Asymmetric wrap skirt; BurdaStyle 12/2013 #109

Once upon a time, Sewingelle fell in love with a handsome skirt pattern

And then this came along from her favourite RTW store, Veronika Maine

How could she choose between these two loves?

As the initial infatuation wore off, she started to see faults. Why didn’t the RTW version come in navy? The wrap part looked a bit tacked on, like a straight skirt with an extra bit.

Luckily she remembered she was a seamstress and that she could combine all the things she loved into one garment.

This dream skirt stayed in her virtual wardrobe together with all the other garments she’d already sewn up in her mind. It’s a large space.

Finally her wish was granted.


Why did it take so long from inspiration to realization?

She isn’t a very fast seamstress.

A trial version of the pattern was made last summer. It never made it to the blog because Sewingelle always meant to go back and take better photos. Ones that she looked less like a zombie in.

She loved this skirt and wore it a lot. Too much. It got quite shabby. It was time to make the real version!

Technical Details

Pattern: BurdaStyle 12/2013 #109

Size: 34-44, I made a 42 (waist) + 44 (hips) with a 1.5 cm sway back adjustment.

Changes I made:

The trial version was just like Burda instructed, except I didn’t use petersham for the waist. Instead I cut a waistband from my fashion fabric as a simple rectangle, with a finished height of 3 cm.

I also didn’t trim the zip edges with petersham, but left them as they were. I didn’t have a separating zip the right size, and it wasn’t two way. What I did have was one of those chunky plastic separating zips that was a bit too long. So I cut it to size, zigzagged the edges (horror, yes I really was that slapdash) and added a cute silver zip pull.

The two toned version was similar, except I drafted a separate yoke piece. Yes I reused the snowman!

I decided on the back yoke depth by how long the darts were. I closed up the darts and smoothed out the curve.

There’s a little bit bubbling were the end of the darts should have been but this seems to have worked well.

The front yoke pieces were then drafted to the same depth as the back for the left side, and angled down parallel to the hem for the right side. I closed up the darts for these pieces too.

My fabric is reversible. It’s the last remnants from a piece that has yielded a jacket and skirt using this side and a peplum top from the reverse.

I cut the facing in the reverse, because I could. Satin bias tape was used on the hem.

Those of you paying attention will know that the last time you saw this yellow top, Felicity was wearing it. She rejected it. Now its mine, all mine!

Narrator: Sewingelle and her skirt lived happily ever after.



Top fail times three (or fourth time lucky)

This was the inspiration.

And this is what was eventually made.

Why did it take four attempts??

Well the skirt was the easy bit. I just had to find the fabric. Thanks, Mood Fabrics (and a work commitment that took me to the US!).

The top was the tricky bit.

First try was the top (03/2013 #116) as featured by Burda.

Nice and boxy isn’t it? Felicity needs a FBA for fit, so I added a side dart to my draft and made up a trial version in a drapey polyester.

So, it was “okay”, but the neck was too high, says Felicity. A dart in a lace fabric? says me. Why not try an FBA that doesn’t add a dart? Like that great tutorial by Paprika Patterns.

The next draft had an FBA without the dart, and with the neck lowered a bit. Sensibly, I made this is a silk mousseline which mimicked the stiffness of my real fabric a little better.

This got the thumbs down too. Partly because of the colour ( I though it was a masterly match with the yellow in the floral skirt but apparently it was too much like a set of sheets from her childhood that were not loved.. Kids!).

French seams and all!

And the most beautifully finished bias on the neckline!

Oh well, it was fun making it (and I can wear it , so.. score 1 for Mum!)

But as well as being an un-favourite shade of yellow, the sleeves were annoyingly tight (Fadanista said that too) and the dropped shoulders were not loved.

Time to look for another pattern.

What about a crop top, I suggested. BurdaStyle 02/2015 #127 should do the job? The teenager heartily agreed!

I added a small 1 cm FBA, since the amount of ease was generous. I rotated the FBA back into the diagonal dart so that the style line was preserved.

The test version in blue flowered cotton was approved.

I made it with a back seam (and a keyhole opening with a button at the top) rather than open, as drafted.

I was onto something here! My last remaining change was to lower the front hem a little and then I cut the “lace” out.

This is an embroidered organza. I purchased it from Gay Naffine’s final designer fabric clearance, but, coincidentally, Tessuti has posted something that looks identical this weekend (thanks Jann, for letting me know! I’ve been avoiding the Tessuti website for obvious reasons—seen my stash lately?!)

Organza meant French seams. On sleeves with pointed almost square inserts. I caved and sewed normal seams and then trimmed one of the allowances, folded the other under and stitched. Sort of like lapped seams.

The final effect wasn’t too bad ( this is looking down on one of the cap sleeves before the side seam was sewn).

I trimmed and turned under the darts too.

The neck and keyhole opening at the back was finished with bias plain organza. Which is apparently terribly itchy. Ahh, one must suffer for fashion I say!

Lets have another look at the finished item.

The shape is good

The stiffness can make it a bit cape-like.

The lower back hem is nice.

And the shoes are a great addition to a lovely outfit.

And, on a more serious note, our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Paris, and people everywhere living in the shadow of terrorism.

Thanks for reading.

Fabric shopping, Venetian style

Why did I wait so long to go to Venice? Have you been? Isn’t it wonderful?

I’ll post more travel stuff later. Right now I want to tell you about my fabric shopping.

I didn’t find any apparel fabric shops on Venice, but I did come across a great curtain and upholstery fabric store: Colorcasa in Campo San Polo.

This lovely brocade in Colorcasa didn’t want to be curtains. It wanted to be an evening jacket or sheath dress. So I helped it out.

Well, I found no *real* garment fabric in Venice itself, but there is certainly lots of lace on the island of Burano. And the most wonderfully colourful fishermen’s houses.

I bought some lace souvenirs home too…

Now all this talk about Venetian fabrics needs to end with a quick word or two on fabrics in Adelaide. Yes, back less than 24 hours and I bought more.

It was Gay Naffine’s closing down sale. Lovely to see several old friends and meet some new ones in Gay’s workrooms. And I’m not just talking about the fabrics!

I just *had* to bring these home to make friends with my Venetians.

Now I know what Helen, Grace and Di took home, but what about you?

Update on another WIP: the landscape dress

Remember me talking about this gorgeous fabric?

You were most helpful in deciding which pattern to use and I even made a muslin.

Then I got cold feet. Ruth of CoreCouture‘s pattern whispering of Vogue 9021 might have contributed to this

I worked out I could just squeeze this pattern onto my panels if I made the sleeves a bit shorter, and went for knee length.

But I was struck down with a case of fear-of-cutting-into-special-fabric

So I made a test version in a navy tropical wool first.

I like my test version.

The style lines (which you totally cannot see in this dark navy) are fabulous: slanted bust darts that meet up with one of the double skirt darts.

I underlined  through the bodice and lined normally in the skirt. I used Sunsilky lining- it’s polyester, but treated in some way to be breathable.It’s lovely to wear.

You’d think the almost bat-wing sleeves would make it limiting, but they fold down beautifully under jackets. I didn’t use interfacing in their facings, and that, coupled with the lovely drape of the wool is probably half the reason for their good behavior under jackets.

I think I love this dress!

The sleeve design does, however, have lingerie exposing tendencies. See my black camisole?

You could sew the side/sleeve up a bit more, but that might limit movement, and make jacket wearing more challenging.

I’m happy with the fit (size 14 out to 16 for the hips and a small sway back adjustment, i.e. standard for me). The only change I’ll make with the next one is to lower the neck a little.

so,  have I started on the landscape fabric?

Well, actually, no.

Not yet. It’s looking at me, silently condemning me.

Summer has flown and, with it, thoughts of light silky dresses. So the landscape fabric will just have to hibernate in the stash until spring.

You may recall that I also have a coat project in the queue. Autumn would be the ideal time to sew it, wouldn’t it?

The tale of two “muslins”

Are you a muslin (toile) maker? Or do you get straight into the pattern with your fabric and fit as you go (or, like me, hope for the best)?

Felicity’s Big Winter Coat, 2011

I have made muslins in the past, but not very many (like, all of two or three in the last six years…)

This last month, however, I’ve made two muslins, or “wearable muslins”. And not completely intentionally.

Muslin #1.

What is she talking about, you think, looking at this image. Looks like a nice dress, and those diagonal drag lines are probably just from her hand in the pocket. Perhaps a bit tight through the bust? Still, on balance, it looks okay, and the style lines are lovely. Nice fabric too. Looks like a lace overlay.

Yes, yes, yes.

But, wait. You haven’t seen the back.

We have a classic case of bad fabric pooling at the backwaist. This is after trying to fix it too by retrofitting a(nother) sway back (I’d already made that adjustment whilst tracing the pattern off).

This dress pattern is from an Easy Burda Autumn/Winter 2014 BurdaStyle Special: Dress 4e, minus the neck band and faux pocket flaps

The “lace” overlay is a rayon, polyester linen blend, bought from Gay Naffine’s sales some years back.

I underlined it with a self striped stretch cotton and used this same fabric for the plain central sections. I underlined the central section too, with a lighter weight stretch cotton.

The inside view

I know. I should’ve made a muslin first. Now all I’ve got is a nicely sewn wearable muslin using lovely fabrics.


Muslin #2

I didn’t want to make that mistake again, so, for my next dress, I trialed the pattern first in a polyester twill from deep in the stash.

And this one turned out almost completely wearable!

This is Burdastyle 09/2012 #134

No puddling at the back waist on this one, although there is some extra fabric under the arms.

You can see it at the front too: a bit saggy above the waist under my bust, and side on as well.

Apart from this, I’m pleased with the fit.

I might even wear it like it is, with its blue exposed zip (it was close at hand and the right size, and this was just a muslin), obvious machine hem (I needed to check hem length with heels, and this is a muslin after all), and slightly stretched out neckline (no staystitching, see previous comment).

This pattern was muslined for this fabric:

I am very happy with the pattern and still think it would work, but I can’t get Ruth of corecouture‘s, suggestion of Vogue 9021 out of my mind.

Then Gabrielle of UpSewLate recently made a beautiful version.

I might not have enough fabric for those big sleeves though… so still thinking about it. If Spotlight have a $5 Vogue sale anytime soon, you know what I’ll be buying!

Meanwhile, I have another muslin to make.


Formal Dress for Felicity

Felicity’s school has a formal in May for the Year 11 students as well as the Year 12’s. Actually, there is one formal but both years go, so that means a formal for two years. She has relatively low frock expectations for Formal Number One. Phew.

BurdaStyle 12/2013 #130 is her current plan. It’s a German designer pattern, Talbot Runhof, that doesn’t appear to be available as a pdf download.

We don’t have any fabric yet. It seems there is nothing suitable in my very large stash!

I will need to add a FBA to the bodice and the bodice overlay. I guess I will rotate the horizontal side dart I add into the neck tucks and the vertical dart into the side seam for the overlay. Any advice will be gratefully received!

It will also be interesting to see how this style works when it’s on a body that needs a FBA. Yay for muslining!

Yes, I have learnt my lesson.


Green shoes, split image skirt and Rachel Comey top

New shoes need a new outfit, right?

IRL, the shoes are a perfect match for the greeny-blue in the skirt fabric. It went from flat-pack-in-the-stash to pencil skirt in a few hours.

(image from Tessuti’s)

I did have a top in the perfect matching greeny blue, but I didn’t want to go overboard. Ahem, well known for my restraint with my favourite colours?

The real reason was that I “needed” to make up the Rachel Comey pattern that everyone in the sewing world already made several years ago.

(V1247, image from Vogue Patterns)

Guided by the squillions of reviews, I made a few adjustments to the pattern:

I raised the neckline by 2.5 cm at the front,

and back,

and went down two sizes everywhere except the hips.

So, what’s my conclusion?

  • Nice shoes.
  • It’s still loose fitting (and no, I don’t know what I am doing with my hands in this photo, but, whatever it is, it’s nicely symmetrical!)
  • The neckline is now quite modest. I might take it back down next time.
  • The horizontal (Hollywood) darts are way too low and too long. They need to come up at least 2 cm and end at least 2 cm sooner on both sides. I keep forgetting I am short waisted and need to check this with new patterns. Although, look at it on Eliza the dressmaking dummy. Her bust points are way above the darts too. She shouldn’t be shortwaisted now should she?

  • I did not follow Vogue’s instructions and use french seams. I could say it was because my tencel fabric was not sheer or light. But it was also because, really? French seams with all that piecing? That would have been a serious amount of work. I tip my hat to all the sewists who have done so. Instead I followed Karen of Did you make that? and chose to zig zag rather than overlock. It’s functional but not beautiful on the inside.
  • No French seams but I did do a nice baby hem.
  • The bias cuffs are delightful.
  • I love the seaming detail.
  • It also looks good tucked in.
  • I need to make another one!

This was (almost) my last make for 2014. I have a wrap skirt that is still to be blogged. It is demanding a new partner before it is willing to be photographed. I have very demanding garments.


The 2014 sewing year resulted in 36 garments. That must be some sort of record for me. It’s been fun. And the online sewing community is awesome. Thank you all for reading and commenting. It means so much.

Happy New Year!


New fabrics coming to live with me (Gay Naffine and Lucy Giles fabric sale)

I missed the first day of the sale. Gay and Lucy’s workroom looked very sparse this morning after that first day of frenzied shopping by others!

No doubt, everyone else’s shopping was a very good thing for my bank balance. And the groaning shelves where my fabric collection is stored.

I did, however, find some lovely evening wear fabrics to add to those shelves.

And also some great neutrals (a textured white and a stretch cotton beige), a bright striped cotton, zips and a lovely trim.

The muted colours of that first sequined fabric are a bit out of my comfort zone. He who Cooks was with me at the sale (yes, I know, potentially a very bad idea) and he really liked this fabric. It will work for me if I highlight the purple and green in this fabric, rather than the tan.

The sequins are on mesh, with a digital print over both the sequins and the mesh. He who Cooks thinks this fabric would make a great top. I bought enough for a dress, just in case.

The other sequined fabric is more me: black on stretch velvet. This fabric is telling me it wants to be a winter LBD, but it also thinks it could be happy as an evening coat.

And isn’t the trim whimsical and lovely?

Art Gallery Frock

An exhibition opening at an art gallery demands a New Frock. When the exhibition is designer fashion, the Frock specifications get a little more exacting.

Luckily, I had just the fabric in my stash for an Art Gallery Frock: embroidered black chiffon with largish bronzy paillettes.

Technical details


Pattern: 03/2011-106

I shortened it considerably, like 03/2011-104 without sleeves

I like the sleeves, I just didn’t have enough fabric.

Size: 36 to 44. I made a 44. My normal size is 42 with 44 hips and I could have just traced a 42 with this style, but I’ve had trouble before with raglan sleeves being small so I went for a 44. Then I didn’t have enough fabric for sleeves anyway!


The outer fabric is a polyester chiffon with pleather paillettes, from the last Gay Naffine/Lucy Giles fabric sale. It’s lined with poly cotton ‘Siri designer’ lining from Gorgeous Fabrics. This is the first time I’ve used this lining and it’s lovely.


I stabilized the armholes by fusing interfacing on to the lining.

After sewing the side seams of the outer fabric and of the lining, I stitched the lining and outer fabric together at the armhole edges, trimmed and turned and then under-stitched.

The collar pieces had all the paillettes removed except one in the centre. The shape of the pattern pieces meant all the other ones were in odd places.

I underlined the collar with lining and then used lining on the back as well. The back piece was interfaced. It’s stable enough to hold its shape yet comfortable to wear.


The centre back gave me some cause for thought.

If I cut the pieces out so the paillette ‘stripes’ matched at the side edges, I would have a line of paillettes almost perfectly down the centre back. That would look lovely. But could be a bit tricky with the zip.

Perhaps I could cut both the paillettes on each side of the seam in half and they could match up?

I left them mainly intact when I cut the pattern pieces out and gave a few things a try.

Happily, leaving them whole on one side worked just fine, and the zip was functional. Pity I snipped one or two of them when I cut the pieces out!

Sewing with these paillettes was not as tricky as it looks. These ones are large and soft and only attached at the top, so they were very easy to push to one side when sewing. I imagine sequins would be a whole other story.

The invisible zip and centre back seam really does look invisible from a distance!

This photo also shows where the lining ends. The lining was cut to the shorter dress length, with the outer fabric cut a little longer. That Burda pattern is short!

It’s a fun dress to wear. Now I just need to find some more occasions to do so…




Poodle coat finished and modelled

I think she likes it…

I like it too.

It looks great and it feels wonderful.

The fit is good too

Perhaps a bit big through the shoulders and back (but that means it fits me too… not that this was planned!)

You can just see the grey marl ponte under sleeves in the picture above.

I used the same ponte to attach the toggle buttons.

So far everyone has wondered why I didn’t use black leather. Clearly, matching the under sleeves is not being noticed!


I’ve never made anything with toggle buttons before and no-one in the house has anything with toggles for me to copy, so there was some experimenting.

I played around with bits of the ponte and the coat on Eliza the dressmaking dummy. Then I went shopping with a square of ponte and the coat.

Adelaide Arcade’s Button Bar came through again.

I tried quite a few toggles and buttons in the shop and settled on some lovely shiny black parallelogram buttons. Yes I am a math nerd as well as a sewing nerd.

The Button Bar didn’t have black cord so I went to Spotlight. They didn’t have any cord the right weight either, but they did have black soutache braid. Soutache braid came home with me. (So did some Vogue patterns. Oops. But, $5 per pattern, they needed rescuing, right?)


Twenty squares of ponte were cut out.

I reinforced ten with fusible interfacing and then made keyhole button holes in them.

The other ten had cords attached to them, 5 with the toggles and five just as loops. These were my base layers.

The cords were threaded through the buttons holes, and then the two layers sewn together with edge stitching. The edges are raw, but ponte doesn’t fray.

I closed up the buttonholes with bar tacking close to the braid.

(whoa, that flash is bright!)

That meant the underside had two lots of bar tacking; one to attach the braid, and the other from closing the button hole.

I really didn’t know what I was doing here. I was on a roll though, and didn’t want to stop and consult google. Please pipe up with the right way to do this!

My five toggle and loop pairs were then sewn onto the coat.

I put the first pair on at the bust apex, the next at the neck and then used this spacing for the other three pairs.


I think I will tack the cords down to the edges of the ponte squares. They look a bit too dangly like this. What do you think?


Technical details

Pattern: BurdaStyle’s Long Shawl Coat 10/2012 #131. I used the stand collar from the Fur Blouson Jacket 10/2012 #129 rather than the scarf.

Size: 20 (petite 40) with a 3 cm FBA (to adjust for a DD cup). This added 3 cm width on each side, so I angled the side seam back in to the waist rather than having a vertical bust dart that went all the way to the bottom hem.

Fabric: Faux fur outer, main body lined with lightweight very stretchy knit, both from Gay Naffines most recent sale, ponte under sleeves also from Gay some years ago, and a poly satin python print sleeve lining from the stash. Collar ‘interfaced’ with shirting fabric from Turin.

There are pockets! Fur one side and that soft knit lining the other. Lovely and soft and cuddly.

The daffodil yellow skirt is new too, but this post is already too long.


Thanks for reading.



Poodle coat construction

I am having a lot of fun with this project.


Stand collar ‘interfacing’: not a fusible, but lovely Italian shirting cotton

There’s something appealingly subversive about using “couture” techniques when sewing faux fur that looks like a poodle.

Mais oui, pourquoi pas? Of course a poodle needs couture treatment. It is French, no?


Dart trimmed then catch stitched down

A light weight knit underlining hand basted to the fur

Shoulder seam reinforced with cotton tape

The pattern has a two piece sleeve and suggests loden on the underside. I like this detail.

I used a grey marl ponte from my stash (have I told you how much I love having a stash?).

The finished product

After stitching the upper and lower sleeves together, I shaved the fur in the seam to reduce bulk,

turned the seam towards the ponte, and catch stitched it down

The last of the python lining in my stash slithered into the sleeves


The main body of the coat won’t be lined so I sewed the lining and the sleeves together at the bottom, right sides together.

and because the lining was cut shorter than the sleeve,

(that’s my shadow on the carpet, not a dirty patch)

flipping to the right side gave a nice turn up, which I secured in place with some, Ahem, not very couture machine stitching.



This is BurdaStyle’s Long Shawl Coat 10/2012 #131 with the stand collar from the Fur Blouson Jacket 10/2012 #129 rather than the attached shawl/scarf


There is still plenty to do.

And there are bits of fluffy poodle fur everywhere 🙂