Gertie Sweetheart Sundress

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Soooo, long time no post huh? Oh well, life and all that. Before I knew it several months had passed. Oops! Time flies when you’re having fun!!

For a fun first post back in blogland I thought I would share with you my Gertie Sundress. I made this a few months back just prior to a trip to Hawaii. What better place to take some blog photos?!

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The pattern is from the first Gertie book that I have had for ages but never gotten around to making anything from.

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I wanted a sundress that was both cute and comfortable. With the shirred back this definitely fits the bill. The comfort of knit but a woven – genius!!

All the shirring!! Plus flamingoes!! The makings of a fun dress!

A photo posted by Liz Alexandre (@_busylizzie) on

Making shirring is so much fun. Essentially you hand wind the elastic into your bobbin, change the stitch length to about 4 (like basting stitch) and then go for it. I normally do stitch lines  approx 1cm apart. Once you’ve filled your piece of fabric the hold an iron above and give it a shot of steam and watch it contract. Super fun!

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I used a cute flamingo print from my stash and cut the size corresponding to my measurements. Gertie says she drafts for a C cup but I think possibly more generous as I didn’t do an fba.

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I omitted the contrast bias on the top and replaced with piping for a simpler look, plus I didn’t want that much pink. I added patch pockets to the skirt which I drafted by pretty much tracing around my spread hand, plus seam allowance and then adding a piped band at the top.

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I am super happy with the dress and it is a great summer travel item, especially with the pockets!

PS – photos taken on Big Island, swimmers underneath just before an afternoon of lazing on the beach!  That’s hubby dearest in the ocean🙂

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PPS – I’ll try to make it not such a long spell before my next post!!

The Zeena Dress

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As part of Indie Pattern Month, I am pleased to able to share with you my By Hand London Zeena Dress.

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If you haven’t see it already, the lovely gals over at Monthly Stitch have organized a month to celebrate Indie Pattern Designers. They have three different pattern bundles to offer with 3 patterns in each or the extended versions with 6 patterns.  The savings are huge – up to 50% of the standard pricing!!

I went with bundle 1 which is the Chill Out bundle – a capsule of garments for casual wear:

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It was so difficult to decide what to made as this is a great bundle.  My wardrobe is sorely lacking in dresses with sleeves so the Zeena dress won out. Although I feel the Sophie cardigan and Liana jeans will follow soon…oh and an Olivia dress (depending how my Appleton goes).

I used a light chambray polka dot denim – because polka dots!  They are a neutral right?!

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The Zeena pattern goes together super easily, there are no darts and no sleeves to set in.  I have to say, I didn’t like the look of the release box pleats on the bodice so I changed mine to sewn up box pleats, I find this much more flattering on my busty shape. The neck is a touch wide on me but I’m not too bothered by the excess I have.  The skirt is a super easy box pleated dirndl – with pockets! The back is finished with a invisible zipper.

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These pics were taken after several hours in the car (roadtrip!), so not bad that it isn’t completely crushed – I’m calling that a win. BTW – super fun roadtrip 2.5 hours south of Brisbane to buy liqueurs – it’s good to have goals right?

I like that this is a nice basic dress, easy to wear as is for our autumn days or pair with a cardi, tights and boots for winter. You will note that it was a very windy day when these pics were taken so I and my dress are a little windswept!!

If you needed an excuse to buy the pattern bundle – the profits from the sale of these patterns is split evenly between the designers involved, The Monthly Stitch, and a charity chosen by the designers. For the Chill Out Capsule, the charity is the Starship Childrens Hospital.

Happy Chilling Out!!

Sunny Southport

I have been super busy sewing lately in preparation for a couple of holidays. Does anyone else do that? I always feel like I have to have something new for any trip – on the flip side, it does mean I spend very little time looking at the shops when I’m away and more time seeing the sights.


I made my first True Bias Southport dress about 3 weeks ago, prior to heading to the Great Barrier Reef for the weekend. It’s much hotter in the north and so a light rayon dress was in order.  I love this dress, it’s so easy to wear, it’s one of those great chuck it on dresses. 

This is a super quick make, with no tricky closures. I made the placket front, but didn’t bother with actual buttonholes, I just sewed the buttons on through both layers. Easy and less worry about any potential gaping.  For me, I found the armholes to be a little big and I get a little bra flashing, but really there are bigger things in life to worry about, I’m still wearing it. I found the fit to be easy and didn’t do an FBA, although did cut a larger size for the front. As usual for me, I cut two sizes smaller in the shoulders. I think I will alter this one to take the hem up another inch or so, not much, but a touch above my knees (I can’t remember if I cut the pattern length or not).


I used a nice flowy rayon from Spotlight’s boho range, it is so nice to wear and doesn’t crease as much as other rayons I’ve used previously.

This is a great travel sundress and the drawstring means it is perfect for all that eating that just seems to happen when travelling!


I have already made a top version of this pattern and have a couple more dresses planned, although the weather is starting to cool down in Brisbane so I either need to start thinking about winter sewing….or I need to plan holidays to warm places!

PS – I’m in Hawaii right now, so probably shouldn’t be thinking about more holidays!😉

Colour me surprised!

Well blow me down with a feather, I was so adamant that the shift dress was not for me. That it would be unflattering, shapeless, I won’t go on.  But with some forceful encouragement from Marjorie, I decided to make the Inari Dress.

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Lo and behold, I love it! (I have since made two more, but I will share them at a later stage).

There are some a couple of things to watch with this pattern – it is short.  I didn’t make any changes to the length and it is pretty short, especially at the side splits when you sit down. Also the way the fit is across the shoulders, when I lift my arms up it is positively scandalously short! As my Dad used to say, you can see what I had for breakfast!!😀

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I made this using a shibori linen from Spotlight. It is buttery soft and oh so cool to wear – a summer must! The fabric was ridiculously marked down to about $10 total for the dress – who doesn’t love a bargain?!!

This is a super quick make, there are really only four seams, sleeves to set in, finish the hem, neck and sleeves and you’re done!  Fit wise, I used the 42 for the shoulders and graded out to a 46 for the hips and I am very happy with the fit, I didn’t even do an FBA, yep super lazy I know I probably should but it seemed to work (and really, cutting smaller shoulder has a very similar result).

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I love the high-low hem, like a mullet without being one. I am also loving how the side seams wrap to the front. Somehow, it does something clever to the way it hangs and makes it less sack-like. Can you tell I am an instant fan? I really did think this was another one of those blog fads that would wear off, but I can now see why this dress is so popular.

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Dammit, I hate being wrong!!  Yay for the freedom of sewing though and being able to try new things.

Mash-up time

Nope, not a combination of your favourite songs, cos that never seems to work out well. This is a classic mash-up of differing bodice and skirt patterns.  It’s one of the things I love about sewing, you take a bit of this and a bit of that and generally you can mash patterns together.  This one is the bodice of Simplicity 2174 View A with the skirt of Vogue 8555.

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I did alter the skirt to omit the side darts, for two reasons, one, the fabric was quite thick and I didn’t want the extra bulk and secondly I didn’t have enough fabric for this width anyway!

The fabric is a poly ponte bought at The Fabric Store. Even though it is poly, the quality is amazing, wonderful stretch recovery and oh so comfy to wear.

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As the fabric has some stretch, I omitted the back zipper (so lazy!!). I also omitted the lining and instead went with an all in one facing.

I absolutely love this dress and wear it to work every single week – I love how comfortable it is to wear – it’s like secret pajamas (I seem to be accruing a few of these!!).  I NEED more of these dresses!!!

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Now if only I could find more of this fabric in other patterns…

The Bird Massacre Top aka Sutton Blouse

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Confession #1 this isn’t my first Sutton Blouse, I made another one before this, but there was a bit of a saga…

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I printed the pattern at work (we all do that right? It’s like a staff perk!), however little did I realise for the first time ever the printer scaled the pattern to (I think) 120% ish. Of course I didn’t figure this out until the blouse was cut out and sewn together.  At the first try on, I realized I had inadvertently made a nightie.  Much “grading” and adjustments later I made it into a wearable garment. I figured there was no point sharing it as it’s not accurate to the pattern. Besides it’s boring plain white, and this one has birds on it!!

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This version, my Bird Massacre top, is from the now corrected pattern pieces. Confession #2 – I was too lazy to re-print them, but I am now happy with this version.

The fabric is from Spotlight and is sold as “polyester that feels like silk”. I agree it does feel lovely and floaty and it’s not scary to wash at all so that’s a bonus.

I used a bias trim for the neckline, seams and sleeve trim.

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You might have noticed I have a different location for these pics – following Gillian’s quest for better blog pictures, I thought I’d try some indoors. Mostly because it is too flipping hot to wear pants and closed in shoes outside!!

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Here’s me looking nonchalant😉 Bwahaha!

This is a great little versatile top and is a great length to wear with jeans/pants. There will definitely be more as it’s quite a wardrobe staple.

Confession #3 – many birds were slaughtered in the making of this top!

Dotty Gauze Felicity

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This is my second JLV Felicity dress, to be honest whilst I like my first one, I don’t wear it very often as the rayon creases so badly. I feel so self conscious about having such wrinkly clothes. However the fit was so good that I had to make it again.

Felicity 1This version is in a lovely double gauze that I picked up in Japan late 2014. It is the most amazing fabric to wear, so cool and floaty I wish I had bought loads more. Guess it’s another excuse to go back to Japan huh?

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Anyway back to the dress, I combined the bodice of the Felicity with the skirt of M6503, my go to, not fabric hungry skirt. I did keep the pockets of the Felicity though as these are just the perfect size and depth.

I didn’t have enough fabric to make self bias binding so I opted to use store bought white bias.

FelicityAfter seeing Jennifer’s recent post on ways to finish a bias neckline, I liked the idea of the little bow with the bias trim and chose to add this with a dome closure to finish the top of the zip in a cute way.

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You may have noticed this fabric wrinkles a little too, but these pics were taken having worn the dress a few times so its not too bothersome. Besides the double gauze can be forgiven for any faults, it feels too amazing for me to care!

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I have some 1″ turquoise gingham that I think would look amazing in this pattern – what do you think, too twee or age inappropriate?

Vintage Simplicity 4525

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Inspired by the Vintage Pledge of 2015, I thought I would continue into this year by making up some more of my patterns. It has been stinking hot here recently and I desperately needed to make a new sundress as last year’s ones either don’t fit any more or I’m no longer in longer in love with them or quite the opposite and I’ve worn them to death!

Time for a new dress (it’s always time for a new dress though right?)!!

Searching through my patterns I found this little treasure I’ve been wanting to make for a while, vintage Simplicity 4525 from sometime during the 40s.

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You will note my copy is for a 32″ bust, which I definitely am not!  To “grade” this, I first tissue fit the pattern i.e. held it up to my body in the mirror. I could see it needed to add extra at the centre and definitely some more at the sides. I ended up cutting the front bodice and yoke 1″ from the fold, with a 2″ seam allowance on the sides. The back I also cut with a 2″ side seam allowance.

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This method seems to have worked beautifully, the fit pretty good and required only a little tweaking at the side seams for fit.  I didn’t overfit as I wanted the dress to be looser fitting to be a little cooler in our sticky summers.

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The back buttons are ridiculous! How the heck is anyone supposed to do them up, I certainly am not fancy/rich enough to have a lady’s maid nor am I so flexible to do them myself. I made the buttons functional but also added a side zipper so I could get dressed on my own!

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You will also note I left off the sash ties.  I did have them on originally, however hubby dearest didn’t like them as you could see the reverse of the fabric which being white stood out. I couldn’t double them over as the seersucker I used for the dress was too stiff.

I love the pockets, they are huge!!  I did debate the addition of rick rack, but felt combined with the polka dots it might all be a bit twee.  I am happy with this decision.

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I really enjoyed making this dress, it’s so different from sewing a modern pattern. The cover artwork is lovely, the instructions comprehensive and well illustrated and as with almost all vintage patterns there are extra design details which make the garment a bit different.

I’m already thinking about making a navy version with white trim for a nautical look.

PS – this already counts towards my self-imposed pledge to make at least 5 vintage patterns this year (even though the vintage pledge hasn’t been announced for 2016 yet!)

#VintagePledge – mission complete!!

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Earlier in the year I pledged to make three vintage garments for the #VintagePledge run by Kestrel Makes & A Stitching Odyssey.  I wasn’t sure I would get them done given I am so easily distracted! However, here is my final vintage garment for 2015, Butterick 5880, a reproduction 1951 pattern.

B5880The bodice is as per the pattern, although I did need to make a couple of alterations. I took it up at the shoulders and had to take some extra fabric out from under the arms – fairly common with a kimono sleeve and large bust combination.

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Although you can’t see them with this fabric, there two parallel bust darts and no waist darts. I love this little point of difference that you so seldom see on modern patterns.

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I made this using a cotton sateen after running up a quick muslin to check for sizing. I just adore this print and couldn’t resist purchasing it, I love the vibrant blue against the black background.

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Construction of the dress was very straightforward. I chose not to line the dress and instead made facings. The sleeves I finished with a narrow hem. (I think next time I would line the dress just to give a more professional finish inside and out)

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For those familiar with the pattern, you may have noticed I have swapped out the skirt for something more wearable for my every day.  The skirt is from McCalls 6503, one of my favourites, full, but not too much, also not too fabric hungry. Of course I added pockets, because, well, pockets!

I will definitely make this pattern with the intended skirt at some stage. I love the wrap & sash but I see it more as something I might wear to Frocktails or a work function or suchlike.

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I’ve really enjoyed the Vintage Pledge, it has meant I’ve ended up with a few different styled garments, off trend but in a good way. I like that I have made up patterns using the design features I love but with modern fabrics to make garments I can wear every day without feeling costume-y.

I already have more vintage patterns lined up to make now I’m in the groove! Wheeeee – watch me go!

Did any of you participate in the #vintagepledge?  How did you go?