#VintagePledge – mission complete!!

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.

B5880 - 3

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.

B5880 - 4

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.

B5880 - 5

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)

B5880 - 2

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.

B5880 - 6

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?

Dress Up Party – M6713

I love to wear dresses and when Sara invited me to be part of her Dress Up Party, I decided to make and share McCalls 6713.


It’s a great little faux wrap knit dress with a pleated drape to really give the look of being a real wrap dress but without the security issues!  I opted to skip making a muslin and boldly went ahead with cutting into my fashion fabric. I figured being a knit it would be a little more forgiving.

I used an ITY knit from my local Spotlight store, and made View A with the fuller skirt. The fabric is a little slippery to sew, but using loads of pins soon sorts that out.


Instead of doing an FBA like I would do in a woven, I used the cheat technique of cutting a larger size in the front than the back to allow room for my lady curves! This worked a treat and the sizing is perfect.


I shortened the waist slightly, a normal adjustment as I am 5″2″. Other than that, the dress is made up exactly as per the pattern.


Despite being pretty low cut, it feels secure and I have worn this to work a few times and haven’t had any wardrobe incidents or accidents!! If you were not comfortable with how low cut the neckline is, you could always wear a tank or insert a modest panel.


I did think the draped skirt section would be really annoying and flap around, but it is attached into the skirt panel and does not flap around at all.

I am super happy with this dress and will definitely be making it again.

M6566 – Party in the Back Top

Back with Part 2 of my sewing for my Abu Dhabi trip!

I have been wanting to sew up this fabulous tie dye looking fabric for ages, ever since I picked up in the swap at the Brisbane High Tea last year. It is so lovely and soft and feels so comforting & cozy to wear. It’s like a favourite worn in t-shirt already! I believe it is from The Fabric Store and, correct me if I am wrong, is courtesy of the beautiful Sophie of AdaSpragg.

Edit: I am now informed the fabric was gifted by the generous and talented Alice


With this fabric I imagined something boxy and kinda fun – McCalls 6566 is just the pattern to play with! This pattern has so many options that are not immediately evident from the pattern envelope.  Even the website doesn’t have the line drawings of the back – in my opinion that is the best part!


For this top, I went with View C – check out the surprise back (ok not a surprise because I put an image above…oops):

The only change I made to the original pattern was to dip the hem in the back for a bit more booty coverage and more of a high-low (mullet)look. Weird, I don’t like a high low hem on a dress so much, but in a top, I love it.


The pants, if you were wondering (and you probably weren’t if you know me) are yet another pair of Hudsons! Quelle surprise!! This time in another woven, a rayon from Spotlight.


Tangenting now…some of you were curious about the attire for skating competitions in the UAE, this is pretty typical for the locals. Although all the international skaters wore more “normal” figure skating attire. The only other thing about the UAE that surprised me and that I hadn’t thought of was that pairs and dance skating is not allowed. Things you take for granted huh?

By the way, that’s me in the background!

So there you have it – appropriately covered for my travels. It was an interesting sewing mission, and a bit unusual from my norm. I’ve never sewn in this way before, making things based on coverage and fit, rather than just gong with what I love and want.  It goes against my nature to cover up, I normally have sleeveless items and like a lower neckline. In saying that, these items are still getting loads of wear now I’m back, I just style them a little differently and generally pair them with different items 🙂

Colour Block Mash Up

Happy Monday all!

I’m still getting used to the idea of working in an office again. It seems to be going alright so far, although really not used to having my time monitored. I’m more of the philosophy that it doesn’t matter as long as the work is done. Oh well, I’ll get used to it I am sure. More importantly…it’s all about what I’m wearing!

Here is another Simplicity 2174, although this time View C, sans sleeves.

Simplicity 2174

View C has a modernised subtle sweetheart style neckline which is high enough to still be decent for the office. I found the fit to be very much the same as View A so it was nice to make the same alterations. This time I omitted the facing and instead cut the pieces again in a cotton voile to line the bodice. Being a cotton, this has a good cooling effect too as my fashion fabric has a high poly content.

Simplicity 2174

Initially I was going to add an A-line skirt but it just looked odd with the colour blocking of the bodice, so I recut using the skirt pieces of McCalls 4829, an OOP sundress pattern with a paneled skirt option.

I cut the panels with nice big seam allowances so I could make sure the seam lines were nicely lined up and I am really pleased with the result.

Simplicity 2174

This is such a different silhouette for me, normally I’m all about the fit and flare. I have been branching out lately with some art teacher chic and now I’m trying the shiftdress. I actually like the shape and find that I feel a bit profesh. Whilst the shift is definitely great stylish work wear, I have to remember I am a “lady” and to crouch properly and sit nicely, you really have to move differently in this style!


For the side panels I used a gorgeous quilted fabric that I believe to be a Cue remnant. The centre panels are also supposed to be Cue remnants. Both bought from Pitt Trading and mailed to me from Sydney (excellent service there!). Cue is a clothing store in Australia and New Zealand that specializes in office wear. For me, the opportunity to buy their remnants was too good to be missed and I bought enough for four garments!

Simplicity 2174

– I am pretty happy with the fit
– great work wear
– the fabric is on trend
– the high poly content means less creasing and therefore perfect for my desk job!

Changes for next time
– perhaps shorten the bodice a touch

PS – I have Revenge on the telly at the moment – what great inspiration for stylish office wear! (terrible show though). Also really loving Annalise Keating’s outfits on How to Get Away with Murder.

Mash up magic dress

I told you I’d do it – mash up the bodice of V8766 & the skirt of M6503! It is everything I thought it would be – faultless simple four dart bodice and gently flared skirt.


I made it in a lovely Lisette cotton sateen fabric, bought from Spotlight (the Aussie equivalent to Jo-Ann in the US).


Construction wise it was pretty much the same as last time, except this time I “drafted” an all in one facing. When I say drafted, I really mean “cut a truncated version of the upper bodice”.


I also lowered the back by about 4″, mostly to make it easier for me to zip up, but also for a more summery feel.


Ummmm, not much else to say about this, so here’s a couple more photos:


Surprise Top – M6566

McCalls 6566 is a bit of a gem of a pattern. It has so many variations, a plain tee, a raglan look tee (it’s actually an overlay), a gathered peplum back and view D (my choice) which has really cool princess seaming detail. I really liked the drawing on the envelope with the stripes and wanted to copy it with my left over Tessuti Jaywalk fabric.


Little did I know, but upon cutting out the pattern pieces from the tissue I discovered the back had a really cool detail not obvious from the front of the envelope. The back has an awesome low wrap over detail!


Ok it is super low and definitely much lower than I expected, certainly not bra friendly hence the singlet, but a pretty cool detail nonetheless.


I love the back detail, but there is one issue, and kind of a big one, my shoulders are not particularly wide and with the V being as deep as it is, the bloody thing keeps falling off my shoulders! If it wasn’t for wearing a singlet there would have been some serious wardrobe malfunctioning today! I made this up yesterday, took the pics this morning and wore it to work, it didn’t really occur to me that it would be so determined to fall off. To fix this I am going to sew a strip of fabric and sew it from shoulder to shoulder across the back – whilst I know this isn’t quite the look the pattern is after, it is better than a bewb-flashing incident!

My construction notes:
– shortened the bodice by 3″
– narrowed the shoulders by 2″
– all sewing on the overlocker and hems with the coverstitch


I am definitely going to make this pattern again, I am super keen to try the other views, especially view C with the frill on the back. This is a nice quick gratifying make for those times when you don’t want to think about fit. Another good wardrobe filler and good for layering too. I declare this pattern a winner!

Flora Hack aka Another Dolly Clackett Dress

It’s time for a new dress! Summer is well and truly on the way. Already every day this week has been over 30°C/86°F and we still have over a month until it is officially summer – eek. This heat has made me re-think my whole wardrobe – does anyone else do this everytime there is a season change, or is it just me??

Flora M6503 Hack

I have had this Japanese Tana Lawn in my stash since last year waiting to make a sundress. The bodice is the BHL Flora and the skirt is McCalls 6503.

Flora M6503 Hack

My previous Flora had some gaping issues at the bust so this time I rotated out the excess to the waist dart and am so much happier with the fit this time around. I also lowered

Flora M6503 Hack

I am still not 100% sure this is the most flattering look for me as I probably suit a lower neckline. But, do you know what? I like the dress and if my lady cargo has attention drawn to it, well what’s new?!

I know there is a little wrinkling under the bust, but I do like a little space in case I have a food baby. I could also take a touch off the bodice length, however it is not wrinkly all the time so perhaps I am just slouching! Whatevs, that is just being super (and probably un-necessarily) critical.

Flora M6503 Hack

For the skirt, I didn’t have enough fabric to even consider using Flora skirt, but I also didn’t want a super full skirt either. I chose M6503 as I like the double pleats and the gentle fullness of the A-line shape, it was nice to not have to be fearful of the wind when taking these pictures (don’t want to give the pelicans a show now do I?!).

Flora M6503 Hack

I feel I am definitely channeling some Dolly Clackett styling – not only is it a Flora hack and it has little Eiffel Towers on it!

Have you just experienced a big season change that has influenced all your sewing plans? I am all over the place with plans and ideas at the moment and overflowing with inspiration. Next on the sewing agenda, a dress for Brisbane Frocktails!

Top 5 Hits of 2013

Now onto the fun stuff – my favourite makes for the year! I pretty much love everything that I blogged about this year, apart from the fails of course, and they all get worn regularly especially as my wardrobe is predominantly me-mades now.  Of course, some are worn more than others and become staple items or “go to” patterns. It was hard to narrow it down to five makes as this varies from season to season, being summer here it is easier to remember these makes over my winter ones.

Darling Ranges Dress

#5 The Darling Ranges Dress

This light voile dress is lovely and cool to wear and really comfortable, it is a good lounging dress and great for sitting cross legged on the couch. It was also a fairly easy make with nice design features such as bias trim instead of facings. This was a perfect fabric/pattern combination and I will definitely be making it again soon.

McCalls 6611

#4 McCalls 6611

This jacket gets lots of wear, especially when travelling. I feel the cold very easily, especially on the plane or at the movies and always wear jeans to either of these.  This little jacket is great to carry for those types of places where the airconditioning is a little enthusiastic.  I love this shade of pink and this soft colour palette – something I need to explore more in the New Year. I have another of these jackets in black that I haven’t blogged about. I would also like to try it in a ponte.

Scout Tee

#3 Scout Tee

I know this is not a pretty dress or a showstopper, but this little tee has become a good wardrobe basic for me. I have four so far, but this floral one is my absolute favourite and is in danger of being worn to death (in fact I am wearing it now). Luckily I have some more fabric to make up a spare.


#2 Elisalex Dress

Ha, now you all thought this was going to be number one didn’t you? Well I admit it was close, I do love this pattern and I have made it five times already.  Five?? But I only count four in the picture??  That’s because I still have one more to share with you that I finished for Christmas Day. Then I got preoccupied with eating and drinking and clean forgot to photograph it.  Oops.  Anyway gorgeous dress, always fits well, in fact this has almost become like a bodice block for me lately.  I would almost have to question “do I need more patterns in my life?”.

 #1 Belladone Dress

In answer to the above question, yes I need this pattern in my life.  I love this dress so much.  Everytime I wear it, I get loads of compliments. I have made another in black (yep unblogged still, sorry) and have another one planned.


Honorable mention

Goes to the Coppelia Cardigan – I have made this three times (only one made it to the blog though) and wear it loads in winter and when I travel to super cold countries. It is a great layering piece and works well with the Hollyburn skirt as above in the photo with the lovely (and tall) Rachel of House of Pinheiro.


I wonder what exciting new patterns await for us all this year…

A Drape Jacket – McCalls 6611

Just recently I was at my local Spotlight (chain fabric retailer) and they had all patterns on sale for $5!  This is not the norm here in Oz, normally even on special they start at about $10 each (approx US$9/£6), and at full price up to $25! I love a good bargain so spent some time flicking through the catalogues. I had been looking for a cute jacket pattern for a while, I wanted some waist shaping and a good layering piece – enter McCalls 6611.

McCalls 6611

Funny though, I got home and googled to find that the other Lizzy, SewBusyLizzy has made it before and so has SewBrunswick – both great versions too.

The jacket is fully lined, either self-lined or with a contrast depending on the look you are after.  I intend to make it in black, but thought I would start with a wearable muslin using some dusky pink fabric from my stash originally intended for an Anise (which I am still on the fence about).

McCalls 6611

I have always stayed away from the peplum look for a couple of reasons. One, I am not sure my hips or bum need emphasising and two, a lot of the peplums remind me way too much of my previous life as an ice skater!! The one on this jacket however doesn’t have that skater feel to me though so I kept it. It’s short though, so if you plan on wearing this with a shorter top or with low-rise jeans, you may wish to consider lengthening it.

Speaking of the peplum, the instructions do have a mistake in them, a step is missing to do with the attachment of the peplum. Fairly straightforward if you have seen the picture and have common sense, but it does miss the bit that tells you to turn it out the other way after sewing and then how to attach it.

McCalls 6611

The fabric I used is a soft-ish polyester blend suiting fabric and whilst drapey enough for the lapels, I am fairly sure that if the jacket was self-lined it would have been too bulky and certainly not comfortable to wear over bare arms.  I used a silky viscose lining fabric for the body and sleeves.

McCalls 6611

– narrowed the shoulders by an inch
– shortened the waist by 1″
– shortened the sleeves by 1.5″

If When I make it again:
– consider a ¾ sleeve
– perhaps narrow the sleeve
– try it in a knit, perhaps a ponte

McCalls 6611

Of course, when I finished, I spied this wonderful lurex cotton in my stash that would be perfect underneath, so ventured into making my first Wiksten Tank. Pretty sure I didn’t need to purchase this pattern, but it is a great little pattern if you want something quick and satisfying to make.

This is quite a different look for me as I mostly wear dresses, however sometimes on those mild days I like to wear trousers and it is nice to mix it up from time to time.

McCalls 6611

Pattern – McCalls 6611
Fabric – 2.2m of polyester suiting from my stash & 1.25m of viscose lining
Notions – thread

Pattern – Wiksten Tank
Fabric – 1.25m of lurex cotton & 0.5m batiste to line the front
Notions – thread