Textile investment

Is it sad that I took an annual leave day to get to Gay Naffine’s sale? I think anyone reading this blog will understand…

I met a few of you for the first time at the sale; that was so nice. And saw some ‘old’ friends too! It was particularly cool that yummymummy38 and I wore garments made from the same fabric bought from the sale a year or so ago.

So what did I get?

He who Cooks described them as tablecloths, curtains and chux wipes.


The greys and blacks:

  • Grey faux fur (Felicity sees this as an egg coat for her)
  • Cotton blend black and white jacquard (the ‘tablecloth’, I’m thinking a dress, but it would also make an awesome swing coat)
  • Grey laser cut poly blend (skirt, with contrast lining? jacket?)
  • Chiffon with pleather paillettes (dress in a simple shape for going out, its sheer and those discs have great movement)

Navy and blue (the ‘curtain’ fabric and the ‘chux wipes’):

  • Mechanical stretch poly blend self striped navy (probably a pencil skirt)
  • Plain navy wool (not sure what this will be, but this is a gorgeous fabric that would work for lots of things)
  • Blue and black poly blend jacquard (the ‘curtains’, but I am imagining a jacket and skirt, or a coat)
  • Blue and white silk chiffon (Felicity can see past the ‘chux’ and into a maxi dress for her)
  • Blue, navy and black rayon viscose blend double weave plaid (no idea what this is going to be, but I love this fabric)

 Summer, brights and maybe linings:

  • The plain red and plain white fabrics are rayon shirting weight (they might end up as linings. At $5 a metre they needed to come home with me and let me know later what they want to be)
  • Oyster and grey graphic print in silk (Felicity imagines a floaty summer dress for her)
  • Fine grey wool poly knit (this would be great stretch lining but could also be a top)
  • Lemon stretch cotton (summer skirt or shorts for Felicity?)


It was a fun morning with lots of other sewists, commenting on each other’s choices and hoping there would be enough left on the roll after the person being served had her piece cut…

I almost came home with a double faced window pane wool in grey and black too, but I was too slow. Gay came out and took the roll back with her; she’d just had a back order from a customer and needed to make another jacket.

Such an exciting morning!

Now, I need to know what you bought if you were there.

And if you haven’t been yet, off you go! The sale runs until Sunday.


A very ‘hip’ skirt and ‘Hannah’s’ blouse

I have ‘interesting’ but not always wise pattern choices.

This is the fashion shoot photo:

Those ‘wings’ are interesting aren’t they? They seem to draw attention to her waist, contrasting the difference between waist and hip.

This tulip shape has worked for me before. Would it work again, now I’m older and stouter?

Lets see, using a similar pose.


Its not as bad as it could have been!

(Actually, I’ve decided I quite like it)

The top is new too, and was inspired by one made by my dear friend Melissa (blogless), who made a gorgeous lavender version for her lovely daughter Hannah. Chris of Handmade by Chris has made a beautiful silk version too.


Pattern: BurdaStyle 11/2013 #123

Size: 34-44, I made a 44 with a 1.5 cm swayback adjustment. Its turned out a bit loose through the waist. I normally make a size down, but I have put on weight, so it seems wise to go up in size.

Fabric: The same stretch cotton woven as the one I used for Felicity’s Downton Abbey dress, lined with a stretch satin from deep stash. The pattern has a separate lining piece for the side front skirt panel.

Changes I made:

Lengthened by 3 cm. Mid knee is a better look on me than just above the knee.

I cut the lining out in one piece, so there was just one seam (like I did here). This was because I was lazy and because I was using a remnant of limited length.

Burda’s instructions for the waistband were particularly good and gave a lovely smooth finish to the top of the zip.

They have you sew the waist band to the other fashion fabric before you put in the invisible zip, which ends at the middle of the waistband piece. Then Burda says to sew the lining to the waistband, then the short end of the waistband, then fold the waistband in half and stitch in the ditch on the outside at the waistband skirt joining seam to catch the lining in.

Yes I know. That’s clear as mud. Just as well Burda don’t have me writing instructions.


Pattern: BurdaStyle 12/2013 #107

Size: 34/36, 38/40, 42/44.

I made a 42/44. I feel like it’s a bit big, but that could be the style. The sleeves are certainly too long, even with my arms stretched right out.

Fabric: Polyester chiffon from Gay Naffine’s fabric outlet sales last year

It was fun placing the pattern on the fabric; trying to balance the bright and dark parts of the feathery print on shifty chiffon…. I love this print, though, so it was a pleasure to have this challenge!

Changes I made:

I made the ties as long as the bias strips I cut out, probably close to 1 metre each rather than 75 cm. Even when the bow is similar in size to the line drawing, the ends of the ties are way past my waist.

I used organza as interfacing for cuffs. I have had bad experiences with iron on interfacing and light fabrics in the past. And using organza makes me feel fancy!

No French seams, unlike Chris and Melissa. I took the lazy way out and overlocked everything.

But I do have French cuffs.

This was an unintended change.

excuse the wonky cufflink

I finished the blouse and tried it on and then realized I had the button holes in the wrong side of the cuffs. Duh. ( I had looked at the line drawing and replicated the sleeve that is drawn flat- the one on the right, instead of the folded sleeve, the left one. The left one is the one drawn correctly. They have it right on the back view too. Trust me to pick the only one that was wrong as my guide!).

So I made another set of button holes in the other side of the cuffs and used cufflinks instead of buttons. This is improved but still not quite right. The vent is integrated into the seam between the front and back upper front/sleeve pieces. On a real shirt, the vent is not in the seam.

If I make this again, I’ll do a real vent in the right place.

Plans. I have too many of them.


Downton Abbey dress

Do you look at the fashion pictures in BurdaStyle and think unflattering  or dowdy or I wore it in the seventies/eighties/nineties why would anyone want to make and wear that again?

I thought all of this, and more, when I saw this pattern (BurdaStyle 08-2013-109)

Flip, over went the page.

But my daughter did none of the above. She thought it would be a great style for a winter church dress.

Buttoned up to the neck I said, a V neck would be more flattering on you. I can undo the buttons she said. My shirt dress has the same style she said. I really like it she said.

How could I resist?

Technical details

Pattern: BurdaStyle 08-2013-109

Size: 36-44. I made a 40 with a 3 cm FBA (added 6 cm overall to the bust measurement) and some adjustments through the waist and at the armscyes. Looking at the photos, I probably could have taken a bit more in, but the ease makes it comfortable to wear, and the style has the loose look about it..


Well, this one has quite a few.

  • Main fashion fabric: stretch cotton woven, from Gay Naffine’s fabric outlet sales last year
  • Sleeves: silk chiffon, from deep stash. Bought from one of the fabric stores in Adelaide CBD before they closed or turned into something else (Johnsons Fabrics? does anyone remember back that far?)
  • Cuffs and collar: stretch velvet, also from old stash from Gay Naffine about 5 years ago
  • Lining: Stretch satin, in silvery grey, bought just days before sewing, from DK Fabrics on Port Road.

Changes I made:

  • Shortened by 5 cm. It’s still 1940’s in length.
  • Lined the bodice and skirt. This was so worth it – oh it feels lovely said Felicity

  • Didn’t add the ribbon armscye detail. I still might. I ran out of time. Instead I overlooked the seams with black thread and ironed the seam back into the sleeve. It gives a similar effect to outline the shoulders.

Oops, that big gather should’ve been straightened out for the photo! And that’s a flesh coloured ‘spencer’ underneath: Felicity’s skin doesn’t have a shoulder seam

The sleeves are very gathered with a very high sleeve cap and the armscyes are a bit cut in, but not so much that a bra strap would show. It’s a nice effect, particularly with sheer sleeves.

  • Left the in seam pockets off. This was not intentional, I just forgot.
  • Drafted a mandarin collar rather than sewing on a velvet ribbon as Burda instructed. I used Rhonda’s great instructions.
  • I made the cuffs from the same velvet as the mandarin collar, rather than from chiffon. The velvet is stretch so organza was used as interfacing.


And the best thing (well the second best thing after making a dress that my daughter loves)?

There is enough of the blue stretch cotton left for a skirt for me.

I have this skirt pattern cut out (BurdaStyle 11-2013-123)

Yes. Another pattern that lots of you probably just turned the page on. You were thinking, pleats out from the waist? How unflattering would that be? Why would anyone want to add extra bulk there?

I guess we will see…






Not-a-designer-knock off green cardigan

It worked!

I have another cardigan to love to death. And a pattern for the next time I need to make one.

What I did

I traced off a pattern from my RTW cardigan for the front and back and used the sleeve pattern from a My Image cowl top (M1152). The armscye was very similar to that of the My Image cowl top except the front was about 1cm longer on my tracing. So I added 1 cm width to the My Image sleeve pattern between the apex of sleeve head and underarm seam.

I’m not sure what you would call the method I used for tracing off. I layered my tracing paper under carbon paper and then my garment on top, spread flat from hem to armscye (the rest scrunched up). I traced over the seams with a tracing wheel and the carbon paper transferred this dotted line through to the tracing paper below. Then I put weights down at the top of my tracing (salt and pepper shakers, glasses, anything handy!) and flattened out the top bodice piece then traced that the same way. I cut out my traced pattern and then compared it to the garment, and to other patterns. It looked like it would work, so off I went.

Back view:


I used a drapey slinky stretch viscose. This one has been in the stash since 2009 and was an early Gay Naffine purchase. I love this colour.

It has 70% stretch width wise and 50% stretch lengthwise. My pattern needs 1.6 m of 150 cm wide

How does it compare to the other two cardigans I made recently?

Well the pattern is quite different, as you’d expect. My green cardigan is long line and trapeze shaped, the other two both have waterfall fronts. You can see the trapeze shape a bit clearer in this photo

My pattern for the front with the neck and front band:

Style Arc’s Nina (I’ve folded out the fullness of the lower bodice and lower part of the neck band- they are both rectangles):

My pattern overlaid on Simplicity 2603 with the armsyce, shoulder and centre back neck lined up:

I’m very happy with how this turned out.

It’s a clone of my favourite cardigan but in better fabric!

And finally…

The fashion modelling of the red sack (BurdaStyle 02-2014-112)

It’s short

Its sack shape makes it great for dinners with lots of yummy food

and it has pockets!

It might get more wear than I originally thought. It will work with fancy tights and boots in cooler weather too.

I just need more occasions to take it out the wardrobe!

It is a red sack

Very nice fabric though!

Of course, the hanger shot accentuates its lack of shape.

There have been compliments when I’ve worn it. This might be something to do with the how short it is (about 40 cm from the waist) and it being Valentines Day….

Despite its sack-likeness, I like this dress. The fabric is delightful, the colour is vibrant and it’s a happy fun dress to wear. It’s been good to move out of my comfort zone of pencil skirts and fitted sheaths. And it has pockets!

Technical details

Pattern: BurdaStyle 02-2014-112

Size: 34-42, I made a 42

Fabric: Silk cotton metallic blend as the outer fabric, with a silk crepe facing and acetate lining, all from the most recent Gay Naffine fabric sale

Changes I made:

The length.

When I traced off the pattern, I didn’t pay enough attention. The dress is also in longer version without the hem band. So I traced off and cut out an almost knee length dress, then added another 20 cm or so with the bias hem band. It was very Pilgrim like in length… not hot date material at all.

The bias hem band was chopped off, and the bottom of the dress pinned up into a deep hem. He who Cooks liked the new length so the hem was sewn (by machine with a blind hem stitch- I was running out of time) .


My outer fabric has metallic content and past experience tells me it would be scratchy. I faced the neck with matching silk crepe and then used a pinstriped taupe acetate for the rest of the dress. My little tag on the back neck facing is the same taupe lining. For the sleeves, I cut out the sleeve pattern and added 5 cm. The lining ends around where the flounce starts once I hemmed it. I’ve left both the sleeve and skirt lining loose, and there was no peep through when I wore the dress, so it looks like tacking it down won’t be necessary. I did secure the neck facing down by stitching in the ditch in the lining just past the facing.

Lining and the extra layer of silk facing at the neck was needed with this fabric. Even with the lining there was a bit of scratchiness around the waist when I tried the dress with a belt. I can imagine how irritating the neck would be with a self facing, or even just with the one layer of acetate lining.

It’s a fun dress. I was inspired to make this after seeing Tany’s lovely version. Both Burda and Tany used boucle, but I thought that my crinkly silk cotton metallic blend might work too. I think it does.

Tany has now made a second version. She shortened both of her versions too and commented about its shapelessness. Her styling is, as always, marvelous and inspirational.

Silver square neck top from 1992

The pattern is from 1992, the top is only a week or so old!

This was one of my favourite top patterns and I used it several times in the nineties. Felicity thinks it’s vintage. He he. (Hmm, I guess that means she thinks I’m even more ancient..)

It was made to go with the graphic print maxi skirt, but we both think it looks pretty good with the skirt from her Maggy London peplum suit too.

Technical details

Pattern: Vogue 8257 now OOP. Copyright 1992.

Size: This pattern came in 6-8-10 and 12-14-16. I had the 12-14-16 with the 12 cut out. I made a 12 for Felicity with a 3 cm FBA (this added an extra vertical tuck at the front and a horizontal bust dart). After she tried it on, I took in the side seam by a further 1 cm at the waist then back out to a 12 at the high hip and at the horizontal bust dart. I should probably have started with the size 10, but it’s a loose blousey style so we think it’s wearable.

The horizontal dart is a little high, so I will move it down 1 cm when and if I make another version

It’s a bit big through the back and the shoulders are a touch wide too. To be fair to the pattern, it is drafted for shoulder pads. Early 90’s. Duh, of course!

I love the buttons down the back. They were selected and purchased at a local store despite the poor customer service. Don’t get me started. We should have gone into the Button Bar in the city.

Fabric: Silver grey tencel (cupro and lyocell are its other names) from Gay Naffine. It’s a woven fabric similar to rayon with delicious drape, a lovely smooth silky feel with a shiny and a matte side. Its presses well. I have plenty more for a dress for me (Yay!).

Steph of Cake Patterns has an excellent blog post about this type of fabric if you’d like to know more.

Felicity can now confirm that tencel is lovely to wear, even on a warm day!


Butterfly shift dress

Happy new year!

I’ve enjoyed the summaries and reflections from other bloggers but have left it too late to make a serious post about my sewing year. Expect to say (see I can’t help myself!):

  • Almost 40 garments sewn, and only two complete wadders (I think I have been playing it safe)
  • More fabric sewn than purchased (just as well, I was running out of room for storage)
  • I still love BurdaStyle (but I have bought some Vogues, Collette’s Macaron, some of Paco Peralta’s designs and some Style Arc patterns)
  • The sewing blogging world is marvelous. Thank you, thank you, thank you for letting me be a small part of it.

So, on to the last project from 2013:

Technical details

Pattern: BurdaStyle 02-2011-141

Size: 44-52; I made a 44 with no adjustments. I usually make a 42 in Burda grading out to a 44 at the hips but I wanted a dress with more ease than normal. I did the same, sizing-wise, last time I made this dress.

Fabric: Cotton woven, a sort of discontinuous brocade: the blue threads all end at the edges of the butterflies: they don’t extend all the way across the fabric. I’ve made a dress for Felicity out of this fabric.

I reinforced the neck and armscyes with strips of light weight iron-on interfacing and then faced with silk habatoi.

Changes I made:

I made the dress 5 cm shorter than Burda drafted it.

I didn’t add the band around the neck and I made the slit a little wider than Burda suggested, angling down to the point right at the very end

The slit is perhaps too soft and floppy. Not an interfaced facing and using very soft silk as the facing will do that to you! Beautiful on the skin though.

I am toying with adding eyelets and some blue cord. Since I’ve already worn it three times, I can’t be very serious about this idea…

I drafted an integrated neck and armscye facing, rather than using the separate pieces Burda suggested. I find the separate armscye facing on my first version of this dress tend to flip out. An integrated piece seems to stop this (I know, I know, so would hand sewing the facings down, but I didn’t want to handsew)

There are lots of good tutorials out there on drafting these facings, but one blog post that shows what I did (and has lots of info on other neckline variations too) is ikatbags.

This is a very comfortable dress. There is a little shaping though the back, but it is still delightfully loose through the waist.

The perfect hot summer day dress. Loose, light and made up in cool refreshing colours.


The after effects of the fabric sale


  • Graphic blue and grey print silk cotton blend
  • Blue border print silk cotton blend
  • Blue and white stripe silk chiffon ( to coordinate with the border print, perhaps..)
  • Teal blue stretch cotton woven


  • Cream and taupe stripe stretch linen woven
  • White Italian linen
  • Crinkle poly cotton blend
  • Plain white cotton polyester blend with 20% spandex (very stretchy, this is going to be gorgeous to wear)
  • Cotton silk blend budgie print (too cute!)

Reds (and lining)

  • Plain red midweight silk woven
  • Plain red linen cotton metallic blend (the sheen on this is gorgeous due to the metallic thread content, but metal makes the fabric scratchy, so the red silk is for linings and facings)
  • Coral stretch cotton woven
  • Grey and brown striped acetate lining. I like having a selection of good quality linings on hand.

My fabric stash thanks Gay Naffine and Lucy Giles, and so do I 🙂


Attention Adelaide sewers

This post may cause fabric stash expansion.

Gay Naffine’s fabric sale starts tomorrow.

Gay only sells her fabrics twice a year, and much of the fabric is from her and Lucy Giles current seasons collection.

I highly recommend these sales. You will get access to beautiful designer fabrics at excellent prices. I’m not associated with her or her business in any way, just very happy to have access to the fabrics. In fact, I shouldn’t really be publicizing her sales, because then there would be more for me…

Below are some of the garments I’ve made this year from her fabrics.

The sale is held at her workroom on 29 Hamley St, Adelaide (the southwest corner of the CBD).

  • Friday 22 November 9 – 5
  • Saturday 23 November 9 – 4
  • Sunday 24 November 11 – 3

Happy shopping!

Stripes, asymmetric gathers and a cowl

This was a fabric and pattern plan that could have ended badly.

How weird would the stripes look as they bent around my upper body?

Are gathers at the waist just a flag that says “there’s a pot belly trying to hide here”?

Would my stretch cotton be too robust for the cowl?

Hmm. Looks okay on the hanger. Perhaps I don’t need to be worried.

Of course lots of clever and stylish sewists in blog land had made a great version of this dress (kbenco, Alison.C, Kristy, The Slapdash Sewist, Dawn, LazyLinchen, Sigrid, to name a few). But they were not me, nor do I have their figures. I am a brick and they all have waists.

I don’t know what gathers look like over my abdomen. Unchartered territory!

Aren’t I brave?!

Technical details

Pattern: BurdaStyle 10-2012-118

Size: 34-42, I made a 42 with a 15 mm swayback adjustment, in other words, the normal for me. This pattern is close fitting (or perhaps it is just the end of winter?!).

I didn’t add more ease because I guessed the fabric might give a little once I wore it.

I can report that it did- I wore it to work today. It’s a very comfortable dress to wear.

Fabric: A medium weight navy and oyster striped stretch cotton

Changes I made:

Burda has the front cut with the skirt part on the bias. I wanted to use my thicker stripes on the hem, so I cut it on-grain. So did lots of the sewing bloggers who went before me with this pattern. Not being bias cut might have added to the close fitting-ness

I shortened the sleeves. I didn’t have enough fabric so there was a bit of piecing to get the thicker stripes on the bottoms of both the sleeves, but it’s on the back near the seam. Not so noticeable, certainly not to me!

Because the fabric is a stretch woven, and because there is no walking slit in the skirt, I used a double needle for the hem.

This is an easy project (no lining! yeah!) and I’m pleased with the results.

I think there is a flag on those waist gathers about my belly, but I really don’t mind.

Egg coat

The egg shaped coat.

More fashionably known as boule shaped.

I think I might have found my most unflattering style ever.

Fun, though.

And not terrible from all angles.

I’ll probably wear it a lot.

Technical details

Pattern: BurdaStyle 12-2011-114

Size: 38-46, I made a 42.

Fabric: Medium to heavy weight wool synthetic blend knit. Probably a sweater knit.

Changes I made:

No zip, no petersham ribbon trim, no hip length seam or pockets, no lining and not the normal facing.

All of these were to do with my fabric choice.

It’s a thick knit with an interesting selvedge. The selvedge was my petersham ribbon trim replacement down the front.

The fabric was too thick for a facing so I redrafted one just for the neck and used organza.

I didn’t retain the extra horizontal seam because there’s a lot going on with this fabric already and I wasn’t going to do the petersham trim to define this seam. I wonder if the seam might make the shape even less flattering, but perhaps not? That will be for me to find out with the next version, if there is one!

No pockets because there was no horizontal seam. I drafted and cut out patch pockets but haven’t put them on.

No lining because it’s a knit and I was planning a big casual jacket (and because I wanted a fast project…).

No zip because without the lining and without a facing and without interfacing, my fabric wouldn’t support a zip. And how often would I have zipped up an egg?

“Oh my goodness. What do you ask? Of course I can have that chocolate dessert after two entrees and a main course and the starter earlier. Haven’t you seen what I’m wearing?”

Yes, I can see that I will wear this often…


After five coat

After five coat, after the event.

As it turned out, the weather in Sydney last week for my conference was absolutely glorious, 20 °C and 21 °C most days and sunny. Wearing tights, I could’ve got away with a light wrap or no coat at all for the gala dinner, even by 2 am (yes, occasionally I do stay out late..).

Here’s the dress. The colours look much better at night time. Direct sun is not really flattering for anything is it? But it is grey and raining here back in Adelaide the last few days, so I took my chance for a photo for the blog. We didn’t get any taken on the night. Too busy having fun!

I’m very happy with the fit and the style-fabric partnership of this dress (BurdaStyle 08-2009-124, and I will post more about it soon). It received lots of compliments on the night, even from Chester Osborne. I’m not certain whether Chester’s compliment says as much about my stylishness as the coloured and interesting pattern of the fabric. (Chester is the loud shirt wearing, curly haired, gregarious chief winemaker at d’Arenderg Wines in South Australia). We did get talking about his sideline business in shirts and I put him onto Spoonflower- nothing like a bit of fabric knowledge sharing at a wine technical conference!

Technical details

Pattern: BurdaStyle 12-2012-117)

Size: 36-44, I made a 42.

Fabric: Wool cashmere coating with pleather in the side panels (underlined with silk twill) and a polyester lining.

This is as easy coat to sew with no collar and simple sleeves. There is no tailoring involved, only interfacing in the front and neck facings and strips of interfacing around the curved section seams where the pockets sit, the armscyes and the shoulder seams. Seems a shame for such lovely fabric but I had limited time.

I still haven’t made the belt. Well, I did try to make one in the stretchy pleather I used for the side panel inserts, but it was a hot mess. Clearly, I “need” to add one of those special feet for vinyl to my collection. Or make a belt in the teal coating…

Overcoat pressure

Thanks for all your great suggestions on cardigan patterns. I wish I could just get straight on to making one of them. But I have a coat to make.

By next Sunday.

Why such a ridiculous time frame? Because on Sunday night I get on a plane to go away for work for 3 weeks, and I can’t take my sewing machine with me!

This would be a good week for Hermione’s time turner.

I’m using this pattern (BurdaStyle 12-2012-117) and fabric:

It’s to wear with this newly finished dress (BurdaStyle 08-2009-124) at a gala dinner in Sydney. The gala dinner includes a harbor cruise, in the middle of winter. I’ll be very cold without that overcoat!

I’ll post more about the dress later but right now I have a coat to make… and a deadline to meet…


Leopard (and snake) in a cage

Teenage daughters have a good sense of style.

Case in point:

I was uninspired by the picture in the magazine. Why make a dress that looks like a top tucked into a skirt? Why not have separates?

Felicity, however, saw its potential. And dislikes tops that come untucked.

Technical details

Pattern: Burdastyle 09-2011-109

Size: 36-44, I made a 40 with some modifications


The top is a ponte knit from Gorgeous Fabrics.

The skirt is a wool cashmere stretch from Gay Naffine’s designer fabric sell off. It is a truly delightful fabric that’s been in my stash for about 4 years. The good thing is that there is still enough left for me.

The skirt lining is a mid weight poly satin from Spotlight. I could not resist adding snakeskin to the leopard at the top and the cage like trim to the skirt. Sewing has to be fun!

Changes I made:

I did not use the skirt ‘pattern’ for this style. It was a rectangle gathered onto the top at the waist, and flannel was the recommended skirt fabric. Hello? Why would that be a good look on most people?

And don’t even start thinking about the weight of the flannel on the knit of the top..certainly a good plan for a growing child, provided the growth rate of the fabric was similar to that of the child.

I used a recent Burdastyle lace skirt pattern (03-2013-109) as a base for drafting a maxi skirt that fitted at the waist and I also added a lining:

To make it wide enough for the maxi length I needed for the dress, I angled the side seams out to end up with the same bottom hem width as Burdas rectangle would have given me. I did the same for the lining.

The trim on the skirt is petersham ribbon sewn on vertically down the centre front and horizontally every 26 or so cms. Because the skirt is shaped rather than rectangular, the horizontal trim curves out to the side seams and then slightly back into the centers of the front and the back.

(yes, my almost 15 year-old daughter is taller than my dress form, and me..)

I sewed the petersham ribbon on after marking a chalk line and before sewing the right seam. I think this would be a nightmare to do with both seams sewn up. My edge stitching foot got a workout, but it certainly made getting a straight topstitch easier!

Felicity is a leftie, so the side zip went in one the right seam.

Another thing I love about sewing your own clothes: customisation!

I surprised myself with the good matchup for the trim through the invisible zip. You can sort off see it above, but not very well. You’ll just have to trust me on this one.

This is what I did.

  • Sewed the first side through as normal.
  • Zipped up, and pinned the other side over the trim section only.
  • Upzipped, machine basted just over the trim section.
  • Zipped back up to check with seam ripper at the ready.
  • Smiled when I saw the seam ripper was no needed.
  • Unzipped and machine basted the other side.
  • Zipped up again to check, again with seam ripper.
  • Smiled again.
  • Proceeded as per normal.

How lucky was that! Probably never to be repeated, but at least I now have a record on the web that I can do it. Even if it does turn out to be the only time ever.

The top was taken in about 4 cm each side seam from the bust through to the waist to make it less loose fitting. Now it fits the skirt smoothly.

I followed the excellent advice of Kathy from Kathy Sews for the neck band length (15% less than the opening) and her technique for construction. Not bad for just a twin needle and an overlocker by a novice, even if I say so myself!

And, the final construction detail: interfacing strip attached to the shoulder seams.

11 buttons, 9 metres of petersham ribbon, 2 metres of wool cashmere suiting, 2 metres of snakeskin satin and a metre and a bit of leopard ponte that fly all the way from Boston. All it needs is some fabulous boots.

We are still looking…

A photo shoot will follow purchase of said boots.

Soon. I hope.