Eucalypt Merino wool knit dress for Felicity: BurdaStyle 11/2021 #115

In March, Felicity and I started planning what she was going to wear to a wedding at the end of April.

We ended up with a shortlist of these three Burda dress patterns:

BurdaStyle 07/2021 #119, BurdaStyle 12/2020 #103 and BurdaStyle 11/2021 #115

After shopping the stash, no appropriate fabrics were found. I know. Amazing…

Off we went to The Fabric Store, and found many lovely fabrics. And came home with one that would work with 07/2021 #119, the white dress on the left, and another that would be fine for 11/2021 #116, the mint knit dress on the right. And some other fabrics for other projects which I might get to in the next ten years. Fabric shopping is dangerous!

The plan was to make both dresses and then pick which to wear on the day depending on the weather…

The end of April is usually cool and can be rainy in Adelaide. So I hedged my bets and made the long-sleeved knit one first.

This is Burda Style 11/2021 #116 in one of The Fabric Store’s many lovely 100% merino knits.

It’s a size 40 with a 1 cm dartless FBA – made using the pivot and slide method. Lots of great resources online on how to do this- I used this one on oliver+s’ blog. I also made the sleeves full length.

I like the simple neckline on this style

I used a light weight fusible knit interfacing to give a touch more stability to the collar. First time I’ve interfaced a knit. Always something new to learn!

I also added strips of interfacing to the shoulder seams and to the insert square bit that you can’t see where the collar joins the bodice.

I’m pleased with how it turned out. Let me show you a closer view. Two reasons – the awesome label from Kylie and the Machine and my lining.

Yes I lined this dress with power mesh! I only had this off white colour – a darker colour would’ve been better because there is some shadowing of the knit facing and seam allowances. But this is much less obvious IRL, and in the photo taken below on a different day

Using power mesh was another first. I immediately purchased more (from emmaonesock – 80% nylon and 20% spandex- much superior quality to what I can purchase locally, and less expensive, even with exchange rates and shipping to Australia). Fabulous stuff! Gonna line all my knit dresses with it now!

Here’s a back view. This also shows that the skirt lining is shorter by 6 cm and all the hems are done with a double needle

Felicity says the knit lining feels gorgeous – secret pajamas if she ditches the belt..

And the other dress? Yep, made that too. And another blog post is coming soon about its story

Sequins

You know those conversations when people find out you sew? Those conversations almost always include the question – where do you get your fabrics from? My answer has been “all sorts of places – local shops, online (at this point their eyes glaze over), gifted from other sewists, a tiny bit from secondhand shops (they are now looking around for excuses to escape), and mostly from my large stash which has accumulated due to all of the above plus collected during travel overseas or from designer destash events”.

Now I can add “from online auction”.

Because that how I ended up with two rolls of sequined fabric. Yes. Two rolls. 13.5m in total. Beautiful champagne reversible sequins. I know some of you are thinking “and what is the problem with that?” You are my sort of people!

But, really, how did this happen and what was I thinking?!

Mmm. Perhaps not thinking enough about how I set up my automated bids…. and it is possible there may have been a glass of wine involved.

The silver lining is that having an excess of lovely and special fabric certainly takes the edge off deciding what to use it for. My first and even second attempts can be unsuccessful – I’ve got more than enough to go back and try again! Or I can use it for a garment that’s only going to be worn once or for costumes or… so many options and so little pressure!

The reality is that I have already used up close to three quarters of it. My dear friend M took some of it of my hands and made a glorious long evening jacket and I’ve made two dresses. One for me and one for Felicity.

And the questions about which needle to use to sew sequins? I can very definitely report that, again, I’ve proved that a denim or leather needle is the only way to go.

And should you remove sequins from the seams? Yes, absolutely, and especially for darts. But if you’d rather poke your eye with a fork and the sequins are small you can ignore that advice for the seams. More on this below.

So, what have I made?

Felicity made the mistake of getting in first. I did all the practicing on her dress, and worked out what not to do. This includes working out that sewing with sequins and making something fast should not be in the same thought.

Her brief was a vintage themed dress to wear to SciBall 2021 – a gala dinner celebrating 130 years of the University of Adelaide Science Students Association. In sequins, because, well, see above. And by the end of next week, thank you and please. So it had to be simple.

How it turned out on the night before the sun went down-Rockstar glam. Photo credit: Andrew Jennsen

I was looking for a pattern with as few seams as possible and no zip or fastenings. Because sequins. The sequins are sewn onto a stretchy mesh so it seemed like I could treat the fabric like a knit. 13.5 m meant I could experiment.

None of my simple knit dress patterns got the nod, but this one designed for wovens, Burda 05/2019 #108, did.

image credit: German Burda website

I thought it would be fine with the zip removed. I could extend it to floor length, and with those almost thigh high slits, it turned into evening. The shoulder coverage meant that normal undergarments could be worn – a definite advantage for my comfort loving daughter!

No time for lining – Felicity said that would be fine – she’d wear a slip. Ask her now after having worn it if she would say that again! I faced the neck and sleeves with a cotton woven and covered the shoulder seams with grosgrain ribbon but it was still a bit scratchy.

It looked pretty good at the first try-on stage apart from being loose through the waist. This could be fixed by either wearing a wide patent leather black belt, or a black grosgrain riboon that happened to be in my haberdashery stash. I loved the wide belt look but the ribbon was deemed more vintage.

And she looked great on the night!

The President of the Science Students Association, and one of Felicity’s dear friends, Megan, with Felicity. Photo credit: Andrew Jennsen
All the gals. Photo credit: Andrew Jennsen
Photo credit: Andrew Jennsen

Sadly it seems that I have no photos of the back – and there is a very nice V shape to the back neckline.

Now let’s talk about my dress

I went super simple and used the Lodo dress pattern… side seams and shoulder seams only…

I lined it with a thin black ITY polyester nylon knit that’s in my stash purchased from Gorgeous Fabrics back in 2013. I’ve used it previously for knit dresses and I knew it would be light, soft and perfect as a lining.

I stabilised the shoulders, neck and sleeve edges by ironing on interfacing to the lining pieces. I used the facing pieces to cut the shapes for the neck and armscyes, ironed them on and then secured with stitching just inside the seam allowances.

The lining pieces were then sewn to the sequin pieces, right sides together around the neck and armscyes, but not the shoulder seams. Clipped and trimmed the seams and then turned right side out.

Then I machine sewed the front and back lining right sides together at the shoulders, and hand stitched the sequined back and front together at the shoulder on the outside. The reverse of what Burda and others sometimes tell you to do and shows a very unhelpful picture of the shoulder seam with a wooden spoon handle. What is that about??

So now I’ve got a dress lined to the edge of the front and back neck and the armscyes. The interfaced lining really helped keep everything in the right shape.

Yes there was a center back seam on the lining – it simplified cutting out

The last step was the side seams – right sides together for the sequined front and back from bottom to armsyce and then continuing on with the lining.

And as an aside, sewing any sort of seam with sequins is tricky, but its extra tricky with reversible sequins. These sequins are small, so they don’t need to be removed from the seams, but because they are reversible and the reverse side is a different colour, like black, once they’re caught in the seams they show up as that colour forever. Not a problem with standard sequins which are the same colour on both side.

If you are still with me, you deserve a medal!

Here’s some more images to go with all that text

I still haven’t hemmed this dress.

I was on the fence about the length and then I had to wear it to an event, so I left it unhemmed. I might have said it was to trial it at below knee length but it was possibly also laziness..

It was an unexpectedly cold night, so I wore opaque tights. Because, keep warm, but make it fashion.

Will I go back and actually hem it shorter? Probably, but it hasn’t happened yet.

There is only so much sequin massacre a sewing room can take!

Two Helen’s Closet Hazelwood Cardigans

I’m late to Helen’s Closet patterns but that will be no news to regular readers – I’m a late adopter of many new indie patterns. The Hazelwood cardigan struck a cord though, so I dove in this winter.

Blackwood Cardigan
Image source: https://helensclosetpatterns.com/product/blackwood-cardigan-pdf-pattern/

I made View A (the long version) in a size 16 B cup.

My first version was in a teal camouflage boucle wool blend knit.

It’s a lovely fabric up close but perhaps not so successful in a garment from a distance. Which might be why it was in the discount fabric bin at Ferriers Fabrics and languished in my stash since being purchased in 2017….

After reading a lot of reviews – and there are a lot of them because this is a very popular pattern – I decided to increase the width of the integrated collar and front band to 34 cm. This made it extend up my neck in a very cozy fashion even when folded back. I may have overdone it.

I interfaced the pockets and the pocket band because I knew I’d be putting my mobile phone in them – they are the perfect size.

I also interfaced the back of the neck. I drafted a facing based on Closet Core’s Sienna jacket neck facing and used this to cut out the interfacing. After I fused this to the neck I covered it by top stiching on another facing cut from a remnant of rayon.

I also added a grosgrain ribbon to the shoulder seams to add a bit more stability.

Despite teal camoflage in a boucle not being a great idea, the fabric is lovely to wear. Perfect for working from home. And I love the roomy secure pockets that are just right for my phone. Its been worn a lot more than I expected.

My second version was in a merino knit, also from my stash.

I reduced the collar/front band to 18 cm wide – still more than drafted but about half the width of the first version. This one is still nice and cozy around my neck but doesn’t need to be folded back.

This fabric has more stretch than the boucle knit so the pockets are slouchier and the deliberately slightly too long sleeves more obvious

I reinforced the shoulder seams with ribbon, interfaced the pockets and back neck and used a colourful Liberty lawn remnant topstitched over the interfacing on the back neck. But you’ll just have to take my word for it because I don’t seem to have a photo.

This is a great pattern. Next time I make it I’ll cut out the collar/front band as drafted rather than add extra width.

I think I might have almost nailed Nana Chic with this outfit. I’m just missing some knitting needles or a crochet hook sticking out of my tote bag and reading glasses on a bejewelled chain.

Silver crushed velvet dress: Burda 01/2018 #101

This is a story of going to the fabric store to buy fabric for a specific pattern but buying something we loved that wasn’t really suitable for that pattern. Anyone else do that? When we realised what we’d done, all the Burda magazines came out and Felicity and I spent a pleasant hour or so finding another pattern.

This is Burdastyle 01/2018 #101 in a size 40.

I did a ‘pivot and slide’ 2 cm FBA but it may not have been necessary given the stretchiness of the fabriv.

The waist twisty bit is a nice feature. The line drawing is a bit misleading for this bit (the tucks in this pattern piece end up on the part that you sew to the side seam – but the line drawing shows the side seams smooth). But, as the reviews on Pattern Review said, if you follow Burda’s instructions literally, it might seem nonsensical but it works out just fine.

The fabric is a crushed polyester velvet from Spotlight, and Felicity says its delightful to wear.

I omitted the zip because it is very stretchy fabric.

I wondered about changing the neck facings out for a binding, but thought this might give it too much of a sports look which seems wrong for crushed velvet so I stayed with the facings. Not sure I should have worried about a sports look being inappropriate. This dress is apparently perfect for riding a scooter in the city.

The facings are hand stitched down. But my commitment to hand stitching ended there – the hems were turned up 1cm and stitched with a simple zigzag. This made both the sleeves and skirt 3 cm long than drafted because I’d added a 4 cm hem allowance

So this is a story with a happy ending.

I still haven’t sourced fabric for the initial pattern though.

‘Bib Skirt’: BurdaStyle 10/2020 #118

Bib skirt. Burda. Really? What were you thinking? You have to hope it sounds better in German.

Brooklyn Farm, at which some of this pinafore was sewn, provided the most wonderful backdrop for these photos.

It’s allowed to look great – it was a movie set.

Of course once the pinafore was made it needed a top to go with it. Never mind that this orange top looked great with it. Especially with magical late afternoon light.

So far two tops have been made.

The first one is Simplicity 8982 – a simple long sleeved T shirt in an Australian aboriginal art print. Accessorized with a Venetian mask. Don’t ask me why.

The second is a Wilder top in Liberty tana lawn

Not yet actually worn with the bib skirt. But has been worn with a similar Burda pinafore made a couple of years ago.

So, let’s talk about the technical details.

The bib skirt is Burda Style 10/2020 #118 made up in a mid wale cotton corduroy from Spotlight. It’s a size 40 skirt and size 44 bib and straps (I drafted out to a 44 at the top of the bib pieces from a 40 at the waist – this adds 1.5 cm in length and width to each bib piece). Easiest FBA I’ve ever done!

Flannel Skirt 118|Burda Style 10/20

The skirt is lined with bemsilk and the bib and waistband with a slippery poly woven with a paisley design in a sort of jacquard from deep stash. Because I didn’t have enough of either to do both parts. The buttons are vintage – purchased from a second hand shop in Greenwich, UK, on holiday 4 years ago.

The wilder top was made from Liberty Tana lawn purchased from Liberty in London with Felicity 5 years ago on holidays. I’m seeing a theme here. Holiday purchases and time in the stash.

I added 22.5 cm to the length and 10 cm to the width of the sleeves. Then brought the volume back in with an elastic cuff (turned up 12 mm and then 25 mm to form the casing and inserted 20 mm elastic).

Hardly enough change to qualify as a pattern hack but I couldn’t resist using this label!

And the Simplicity 8982 knit top?

I had limited fabric so I cut this top out width wise (by that I mean with the hems of the sleeves and bodices aligned with the selvedges).

Not really a hack nor was the fabric a holiday purchase or a stash dweller. It’s a rayon spandex knit printed with one of Pauline Napangardi Gallagher’s designs, purchased from Spotlight and sewn up within a month. There’s more about this talented artist here.

Pinafore? Bib skirt? Whatever. It was fun to sew, and has already been worn more than just for the photo shoot. #winning.

And, talking about photo shoots, the Brooklyn Farm chickens weren’t going to let an opportunity pass them by. If their door was going to feature in my photo shoot then they made sure there was also a photo of them at our door.

Lodo dress times three

The Lodo dress from True Bias is my new favourite summer dress pattern. Three so far!

So much to love about this pattern. It has a nicely shaped V neck, it’s loose through the waist, has excellent shoulder coverage, is designed for a stable knit, a woven fabric is used for the facings and (bonus points) the instructions encourage you to use fun fabrics for the facings.

My first version was in a ponte from EOS that I didn’t love as much once it was delivered. I think it’s the slight brown cast to the background plaid. You know, the perfect fabric to use for a trial version.

It turned out to be an excellent corporate look that has worked perfectly for work Zoom meetings. Accessorised with bare feet. The hand, stretch and recovery of the fabric makes this dress a delight to wear and absolutely easy care. It’s a poly/viscose/spandex blend.

Despite the colour not really being one that makes my skin tone look the best it’s been worn at least once every week since made.

This was the trial version so I cut out the longer version with the back hem slit.

Super dowdy.

I removed 15 cm from the length and turned up the hem 5 cm That makes it 17.5 cm shorter than the long version and 10 cm longer than the short version is drafted.

Making a longer version and then chopping some of the length off also means it has a micro walking slit. All stitching, apart from the facings, was done with a narrow zigzag using a ballpoint needle. Slightly wavy stitching lines, as you can see below, but worked a treat.

Despite the encouragement to use fun woven fabrics for the facing I used a very boring black poly cotton wove. The back of my fabric being black ‘inspired’ me. I didn’t turn under the edge, just overlooked, so it’s wider than drafted. I like it.

Lodo is a loose shift dress with a slight cocoon shape seen from the front and back. Yes that is annoying pattern twinning on the back! Didn’t think of it whilst cutting out. At least the plaid matches well.

The straightness of the style is obvious in this side view.

The second version was in a softer rayon/nylon/spandex blend ponte from EOS.

This fabric drapes more and also creases more. The photo below was taken after a morning at work, an afternoon at a work Christmas party, an hour and a half in a car, unpacking at a beach house and then a stroll on the beach. Not too bad, but my first version would not have shown a single wrinkle or crease. But also nowhere near as much fun as bright red!

This dress has already had a busy schedule at Christmas events. Here’s another photo of it looking a bit more dressed up and ready to go out to a Christmas lunch.

As lovely as this fabric is, it was a bit of a problem to hem and my normal trick of stitching down the top of the inseam pockets (Yes! It has pockets!) resulted in skipped stitches and drag lines even without anything in the pockets – like in the photo below where my hands are actually in the pockets.

I unpicked the pocket stitching and secured the pockets to the dress with one hand sewn tack 11cm from the side seam.

The pocket tacks show as two evenly spaced dimples in the dress. Pocket bags flapping around on the inside would be worse!

I was a bit surprised by the issues I had with the hem. I’ve used this fabric before and my double needle worked fine. It didn’t matter which needle I tried – ballpoint, stretch, microtex, universal – I got skipped stitches. I suspect it may be because my double needles are blunt, but a ballpoint double needle and a normal new universal or microtex needle didn’t stop the missed stitches either.

All this happened after shops had closed so I hand sewed the hem because I wanted to wear the dress the next day. Of course it took less time to hand sew than all the trials on scraps with different needles and stitch styles and rethreading and rewinding bobbins *eyeroll*

No boring facings on this one. And these ad their edges turned under so they are as narrow as drafted.

The extended shoulder/sleeve facing shows as does the pocket lining when seated but when it’s as glorious as this Liberty print there’s nothing to forgive.

The third version is in a stretch cotton woven. Not a recommended fabric but worked perfectly well. Absolutely no issues with skipped stitches with this well behaved fabric! Look at that lovely double needle hem!

I made a 2 cm forward shoulder adjustment and took the centre back seam in 1 cm through the waist. This more structured fabric seemed to need these changes.

Back to boring facings and overlooking rather than turning the edge under. I like the wider look. I didn’t cut the extended shoulder/sleeve facing on the bias but ‘on the stretch’ (is that even a proper term?)

This one has pockets too. Also stitched into place with no issues.

All versions are size 16.

I haven’t worn the white one yet but its a likely contender for Christmas Day.

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate. I know many of you have had to cancel plans due to COVID-19 or , even worse, are back in lockdown, but I hope you can enjoy moments of peace, joy and love despite the circumstances.

Keep sane and keep safe!

Klimt the Kiss meets Tessuti Bella Dress

One of my favourite artists is Gustav Klimt and one of my favourite paintings of his is “The Kiss”.

I’m not an orphan in liking this painting, nor of items made from copies of it.

A quick web search revealed an umbrella available from the National Gallery of Art, Washington,

 Gustav Klimt: The Kiss, Umbrella

a hoodie from Cacofonia Milano,

a tote bag from Plumeria Museum,

Tote Bag Canvas, Klimt, The Kiss Gold

mugs from McIntosh shop,

and, best of all, a tram, launched in Austria on Valentine’s Day last year

Image source

(these are not affiliate links and I cannot vouch for the quality or authenticity of items for sale at these links!)

So you can probably understand that when EmmaOneSock had fabric printed with Klimt the Kiss, there was absolutely no way to resist!

No affiliate links here either 🙂

I can attest to how fabulous this fabric is, though. This cotton lycra knit is an absolute delight to sew and wear.

But then I had an agonising decision. What was I going to make from it?

Thank you, Covid-19, for helping me realise that no fabric is too precious.

#sewtheprecious.

And also thank you, Covid-19, for helping me accept that what I’ve done with this fabric didn’t have to be perfect.

This is Tessuti’s Bella dress, chosen for its minimal seaming and easy to wear trapeze shape.

That trapeze shape didn’t quite fit on the panel. So there’s a bit of fabric piecing action on one side seam.

The fabric makes something like this almost invisible.

I eliminated the centre back seam and centred the design of the second panel on the centre back, left to right. Getting the centre of the pattern from top to bottom wasn’t an option due to the aforementioned trapeze shape of the pattern piece and fabric restrictions! But, the bonus of this is that I almost have wings.

As much as I love this painting I don’t really love the olive background pattern of the fabric nor does this colour love my complexion. So I had the idea to add a neckband in a colour that would build a bridge between the dress and my skin.

I’m not convinced it’s a good feature. But I’ve left it on at this point.

I stabilised the neck edge with a special stabilising fusible bias tape whose name I’ve forgotten but might be Vilene. I then sewed the neckband on, wrong side to right side. That why there are pins in the image below – the special tape was already fused but the neckband needed to be secured. Once it was on I clipped and edged stitched, flipped to the right side, turned the edges under and top stitched.

#ithaspockets!

I stabilised the pocket openings too, with a woven ribbon. This made the edge very neat and firm.

I used up most of the scraps too but I give major side eye to this pandemic accessory. Despite its well centred pattern.

Flawed execution of this fabulous fabric? Yes.

Do I love it? Yes!!

Have I worn it two days running whilst working from home? Also yes.

With that other pandemic accessory – the headset.

Yes, some of my work videocalls are that exciting!

How I imagine I look most of the time is second left bottom row, but apparently I don’t…

Keep safe and sane everyone.

Fruit tingles top: Vogue 8805

I went to my local fabric store for thread and came out with thread and fabric.

The fabric is pretty cute. An oatmeal coloured marle cotton knit with rainbow freckles sprinkled throughout. Practically a neutral.

While I should have just bought the thread and left the fabric behind, I thought Felicity would like the fabric and that it would work as a top to wear with her cat skirt.

Right on both counts.

What pattern to use? After a long search through all my large BurdaStyle magazine collection, my smaller stash of PDF and paper patterns and some online exploration (long enough to have already sewn something!) we settled on shortening a simple shift dress pattern, Vogue 8805, into a top.

The fabric is a knit with some stretch but only in one direction, so I acted as if it was a delicate woven that needed stabilising – I used a straight stitch for all construction and added a woven ribbon to the shoulder seams.

Rather than finish the neck with bias binding, I trimmed to 1 cm by overlocking the edges, folded in on the stitching line and stitched the overlocked seam allowance down. This seems to have held up just fine.

This is size 12 with a D cup. I removed the excess fabric in the dart before sewing it and then overlocked close to the stitching.

This makes the dart look like a seam.

Such fun fabric. Goes with the cat skirt as planned but also look great with denim.

Now I want one too!

What not to do on Valentine’s Day, and Vogue 8921 to the rescue

I love Joy the Baker’s blog. She suggested a recipe that couples could cook together on Valentine’s Day. I thought yes, brilliant idea! Who wouldn’t want to prepare shrimp etouffee risotto (spicy Cajun stew with prawns and risotto) together and then eat it?

He who Cooks was much less enthusiastic. He was right that the recipe was more winter than summer. He was right that we’d need to go shopping for ingredients – and how romantic is grocery shopping?! He was right that it was Friday night and this didn’t sound relaxing.

What he didn’t say was how annoying it was going to be for him to have me, the unskilled amateur, in his kitchen. Much better when I’m perched on a stool with a drink and out of the way.

I pushed on and made the risotto part of the recipe whilst telling him what to do with the prawns. Who even am I?

Here’s the risotto part way through, after he had interfered and taken the thyme leaves off the stalks. What are you doing I said? Joy doesn’t tell me to do that! At this point I’m sure he wanted me well out of the kitchen.

But he’s such a darling that he just smiled sweetly at me.

It was delicious. The risotto was gloriously creamy and the etouffee had fabulous depth of flavour. Perfect winter food. Yes he was right about that too. At least we were having a slightly cooler spell from the very hot summer weather that’s normal in February in Adelaide.

Eventually we got to relax on the front verandah. A squeeze of lime and we’re back to summer food I said. He was unconvinced.

The day after Valentine’s Day I got it right.

I sewed. I kept out of the kitchen. We went out for dinner.

This is what I sewed – a glorious digital viscose print from Emmaonesock made up as view B, Vogue 8921. This pattern seems to be OOP now – I’ve purchased it a few years ago after seeing excellent versions on other people’s sewing blogs.

Image result for Vogue 8921

I cut out a size 16 and almost entirely ignored the instructions. Have the instruction writers at Vogue patterns not heard of overlockers and stretch stitches? And why would you ever think a zip was a good idea in a light weight stretch fabric? And what about stabilising shoulders? Seriously. Someone needs to rewrite the instructions!

I used a straight stitch for the pleats and most of the rest of the construction, followed up with overlocking the seams. I stabilised the shoulder seams and side seams with a ribbon. If you buy fabric online from Tessuti Fabrics, you’ll recognise this.

I know. Not all the threads from basted the pleats have been snipped off. And probably never will now I’ve worn this!

For the neck edge I overlocked the edges and folded in the seam allowance to the inside, sandwiching a light weight iron-in strip of interfacing between the outside and inside. I fused it with the iron and then stitched it with a straight stitch. This gave a very secure and non stretchy neck line. It is drafted ‘date night low’ so I hate to think how much it might gape without this stabilisation.

I can’t believe I am posting an image of my cleavage on the web! It does show the neckline stitching as well though, especially through the lavender flower and white leaves.

the dress was a bit loose through the waist and perhaps a bit long through the back bodice. I stitched elastic the length of my waist measurement (80 cm) into the waist seam stretching as I went. Slightly wonky stitching as a result. You can also see the ribbon stabilising the side seam below.

The elastic has made the dress a bit blousy. I might take it back out.

See what I mean?

You can also see the side seam (through the large lavender flower) isn’t hanging true but is pulling towards the front. I don’t know if it’s a fitting issue or a design fault . The front drapes are stitched into the side seam and might be pulling the seam? Perhaps I should go back and stabilise this seam with ribbon too.

So the morale of the story? I need to remember that he cooks and she sews.

My Missoni ‘Tee’ jumper: BurdaStyle 06/2016 #101

Back in 2015, I was incredibly fortunate enough to acquire this Missoni summer weight wool/viscose knit from Liz of designerfabricsaustralia.

It’s been sewn into many imaginary garments over the last five years. But they never got past the planning stage and actually into my wardrobe. It was one of those too-good-to-sew fabrics. Until now.

This is style 101 from BurdaStyle 06/2016 or #101burda06/2016 in instragramspeak

A very simple pattern – just right to showcase my Missoni knit.

I cut out the patterns pieces so that the hem of the sleeves and the front and back were on the zigzag selvedge. This meant the upper bodice/ sleeve piece stretched across the complete width of my fabric from selvedge to selvedge.

I spent a lot of time working out how to cut this out of my slightly too small length of fabric and I’m pleased how well it tuned out with all the zigzag edges meeting and matching. What I didn’t do is pay enough attention to getting the flow of the zigzags going the same way on the front and back. If I’d done this the shoulder seams would have been patterned matched. Not mismatched like they are, as you can see above. Oh well. Live and learn.

I stabilised the neck and shoulder seams (about 13 cm down from the neck) with a strip of very lightweight interfacing. The neck was then finished with bias binding.

I love it!

Kielo wrap dress

Why did this take so long? Both this pattern and this fabric have been waiting for years!

This is Named Patterns Kielo Wrap Dress, made in a ITY knit from Gorgeous fabrics with a lot of stretch but great recovery.

Such a cleaver design.

Hours of fun tying it different ways..

It is just as lovely in IRL as if is when posing for blog photos in my front garden.

The gorgeous M from Nonsuch  and I heading out to the fabulous Adelaide Sewists Christmas Function

This is such a great pattern. I already have several more versions (knee length, with sleeves, in a linen…) in my imaginary wardrobe.

Pencil skirts and turtle necks

No, I have not yet made an A-line skirt.  But I have made five pencil skirts and two turtlenecks. Why isn’t there a sewing related version of the Twelve Days of Christmas? Ahem, I digress.

Five pencil skirts. Why? Well.  All of the skirts in my wardrobe made from my go to TNT pencil skirt pattern had ‘shrunk’. Not sure why…..I’m sure it’s nothing to do with my chocolate habit.

I turned to a new pegged pencil skirt pattern, BurdaStyle 10/2012 #145 and traced off a size up (a 46).

Five skirts later and I have a new TNT pattern.

My first version was a wearable muslin – a stretch woven with an elasticised waist, no walking vent and no zip. Baby steps. The fit was a bit on the big size.

Still, I’ve worn this skirt quite a bit. It’s a good cool weather casual skirt. Yes it creases. Yes that is a Monroe turtleneck. More on that later.

Encouraged by this I made a second version in a grey pinstripe woven with no stretch. Lovely fit through the hips but the waist was a bit on the big size. Perhaps I’m not a 46? Perhaps I should have added the waistband this style is drafted with?  Despite the looseness, I have worn this a lot this winter. It’s fabulous for work in my corporate environment.

I then jumped to a yellow double knit jersey with an elasticised waist. Because I wanted a yellow skirt and I had this fabric in the stash. Yellow brightens up my work day!

I made a mistake with the cutting out though and forgot to extend up the waist to incorporate the elastic. No problem I thought. I’ll just cut out a separate waistband/ facing.

See that annoying bubble? That’s what happens when you attach a facing waistband with over-locking and then add elastic.

Another ‘innovation’ for this skirt was to line it with tricot. Lovely to wear.

I still haven’t hemmed the lining. Bad sewist.

Version four was made in souvenir fabric. A Japanese linen cotton woven from Raystitch in London last year.

By this stage I’d nailed the fit.

This skirt is lined and has a grosgrain ribbon waistband/facing

The final version was in pleather. And I seem to have a lot of silly and overexposed photos of it

I added a centre front seam and a curved hem.

Not the best skirt to sit down in!

Everything got topstitched. I couldn’t iron it flat but I could sew it flat.

This skirt was lined too. Leopard print seemed the only suitable choice for faux ostrich.

I used an invisible zip. I suspect I’ll regret that soon when it breaks and I have to unpick it. I top stitched here too.

I faced the hem with premade wide bias binding. And top stitched that too. This project was top stitching heaven.

And the two turtlenecks? You’ve seen them already.

They were made with Tessuti’s free Monroe pattern.

I cut the neck band down to half the height. A swan like neck I do not have.

My stripy version was shortened by 5 cm but the ‘foxes in London’ print version was exactly as drafted.

The print on this fabric is almost too cute for words.

I’ve got to say, though, that the lack of accuracy slightly annoys me. A fox as big as a bus??! A row boat the size of three trees?!!

So that’s my story of basics. My wardrobe thanks me.

Secret pajamas maxi skirt: BurdaStyle 12/2015 #115

I’ve been trying some new silhouettes, styles, techniques and fabrics recently. Not all successfully.

I think this skirt might, just, however, sneak over the line into the success category. Although I am challenged with styling it.

Dowdy with my liberty shirt.

More successful as pseudo evening wear with a velvet top. Think how much better this would look if I’d stopped by the hair and makeup department before photography!

I know. It’s hardly revolutionary for a sewist to make a maxi skirt. But that’s not the point. It is for me. I haven’t made or worn a maxi skirt for years. It’s pencil skirts all the time for me.

This non pencil skirt is BurdaStyle 12/2015 #115B

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I went a bit off piste and used a double knit, swapped out the normal interfaced waistband for an elastic one and skipped the zip. That turned the skirt into secret pajamas.

The yoke is a nice feature.

I like the lines of the wrap front.

The back hangs nicely too (or would if I properly straightened it)

I also like the freedom of movement this style gives me! And it doesn’t seem to come at the expense of wardrobe malfunctions.

You really have to try hard and flip that top wrap layer up to show much leg.

This is a good pattern.

Who knows what will happen next? Perhaps… gasp…an A-line skirt instead of another pencil skirt?!

Or … I’ll use a Frixion pen for the first time?

I am so adventurous!

 

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.

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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.

Fabric shopping in Madrid, another cocoon coat and another Bella

I’m sorry to report that the strawberry thief shirt has not been progressed since I posted last.

I have two excuses.

Excuse 1

I had a work trip to Salamanca in Spain. I didn’t take my sewing machine with me.

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Playa Mayor, Salamanca, 8 PM (before dinner, of course!)

However, my accommodation in Madrid en-route to Salamanca was fortuitously located very close to these two fabric shops;  Ribes y Casals and Tejidos y Novedades Paredes.

Ribes y Casals had a large selection of fabrics and fabulous haberdashery and notions. This is just a small part of their Prym wall. So jealous of such accessibility to such a great range!

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Their trim selection was pretty good too.

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Some of that multi coloured daisy trim came home with me

Two fabrics at Tejidos y Novedades Paredes won my heart too

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You can see I went for practical fabrics that will effortlessly slot into my everyday life..

I love sewing souvenirs!

Excuse 2

I’m going away again soon!  Sewing a travel wardrobe has taken precedence.

I needed a coat.

My local bricks and mortar store, Spotlight, had a lovely polyester wool coating that was the perfect weight and drape for an unlined coat. I wasn’t the only Australian sewist thinking this way. Christy (Clever Tinker) made a great Sapporo coat  and Carolyn (Handmade by Carolyn) made a delightful Sydney jacket (as seen on her instagram feed)

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This is Burdastyle 12/2011 #114. I swapped out the zip for a button band.

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It’s definitely boule shaped!  I feel like Aunt Fanny from Robots.

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The pattern placement was less than ideal through the centre back seam, and not quite symmetrical. Slapdash sewist that I am, I’ve decided I can live with it – it helps that it’s on the back..). The horizontal pattern matching it pretty good though!

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I also needed another Bella dress. This one is made from a very stretchy drapey ITY polyester knit from Spotlight with a solid navy  trim of bought bias binding at the neck.

20170820_043813084_iOS With the sleeves pushed and held in place with navy tabs, it should work when the weather is warmer.

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With sleeves down, hands in pockets and tights I’m ready for cooler days.

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And with a jacket and heels I’m ready for a night out. If it’s cold, I hope that tights and sandals are not considered the same as socks and sandals by the fashion police…

Where am I going? To England for a whole month of holidays, with He who Cooks, M of Nonsuch Sewing and her lovely husband Ken. We start in London at the beginning of September and end in Edinburgh at the end.

Yes we do plan to visit some fabric shops on the way. Anyone interested in a meet-up? In London? Bath? Oxford? Leicester? York? Richmond? The Lake District? At Linton Tweeds? (Yes, we are going to the showrooms and shop in Carlisle! He who Cooks is also the best itinerary planner ever).

I’ll return to the Strawberry Thief shirt soon.