Gertie Sweetheart Sundress

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!

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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!!

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! 😉

V8998 Navy workhorse dress

For something different I am writing this from the train travelling from Graz to Vienna! I have been in Graz for the past few days judging a competition of some of the best skaters in the world. What an amazing opportunity that I am proud to be a part of.

But on to the dress that I am sure is the real reason you are here 😀

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This is Vogue 8998, a princess seamed bodice with waistband and two skirt options. Although I didn’t take either skirt option, I switched in my new favourite skirt from V8555 with the box pleats and side seam pockets. I also omitted the side pleats because (a) I didn’t have enough fabric and (b) I didn’t want the skirt quite that full.

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The pattern has cup size options, of course I went with the D cup, but with the excess fabric I had to take out I am wondering if the C cup might have been better and will toile this soon to check. I still have a little excess fabric between the bust and shoulders that is somewhat bothersome but I am sure a non-sewist would not notice!

I used a navy sateen that wrinkles a fair bit, but is not as noticeable in real life as the pictures, or I am choosing to ignore it! 

I like this dress a lot and find it is good to wear to work, not super corporate but dressy enough for the office. It is also easy to chuck on a bright coloured cardi and shoes to make it more cheerful. It is already on high rotation.

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Here’s my fun little addition though, secret stripey pockets! I love that mostly I am the only one who know I have these. Well, except for when I go round saying “check out my fun pockets!” 😀

Likes:

  • The scoop back
  • Princess seams
  • pockets!
  • Versatility, this is a great basic dress pattern which I can see me using again and again

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Changes for next time:

  • reduce some of the excess in the upper bust width
  • Try the next cup size down for comparison

All in all I think this pattern has big potential to become my next TNT. 

So now back to my train trip, only 2 hours to go and I’ll be back in Vienna in time for my flight back to Australia tonight.  I’ll bore you with some photos on my next post but for now, here I am at a rooftop cafe on a gorgeous sunny day in Graz during a break from the competition.

  

Simplicity 1660

For real, this is my new favourite-ist (who says I can’t invent words) top ever! No lie, I have worn it twice this week already and plan on wearing it tomorrow!

Simplicity 1660

The pattern is Simplicity 1660, another ugly duckling pattern. An uninspiring pattern envelope, but looking past the blue chiffon and yellow georgette to the line drawings, has some really nice detail.

Simplicity 1660

Using a rayon I made View B in a straight medium with no pattern alterations.  I was happy with the sizing and the result of the fit. This pattern goes up to a 48″ bust, and even has what I presume is a plus-size model on the envelope (she doesn’t look plus-sized IMO).

Simplicity 1660

The instructions are clear and well illustrated and the only time I deviated from them was with the front neckband. The instructions have you sew the front neckband to enable the bottom of the band to float free. I instead folded it with the hem which, oddly, is exactly the same way as it is constructed on the pattern envelope. Mostly I did this as being a shorty I thought I would need to shorten it (I didn’t). I think my method of construction makes the pleat sit better and stops it flapping about.

Simplicity 1660

This is definitely a new favourite. The pattern has enough to keep it interesting but is quick and straightforward to construct. I love how well it works with skinny jeans and it layers well too. *Spoiler alert* it’s coming up soon in a jacket post!

Simplicity 1660

I love the rayon to wear, it is cool and floaty, great on a hot day. The only downside is the creasing. In the interests of keeping it real (or perhaps I had just driven and worn a seatbelt) you can see how it wears and the wrinkles. I don’t mind that so much, it is too comfortable for me to care. Of course this would not be so noticeable in a different fabric, one with a bit of polyester perhaps or a pattern to disguise it. The pattern envelope also recommends a lightweight jersey but I am not confident that would hold the pleat well.

The only warning I have is that being so loose fitted, when you bend over the neck can gape and onlookers could potentially glimpse your lady cargo!!  I recommend either crouching or a don’t care attitude.  Lacking the required decorum, I have gone with the latter.

Don’t you just love it when you find a winner of a pattern that works with no tweaking? Instant TNT for the win!

Details
Pattern – Simplicity 1660
Fabric – 1.4m rayon from Spotlight
Notions – thread

Hop along Lizzie

I am sure if you follow a number of sewing blogs (as I do) you will be well aware of the Blog Hop going on. I have been nominated by the lovely Debbie of Lily Sage & Co to share with you my responses before making my own nominations. If you don’t follow Debbie already, go and check her blog out, she is super prolific, uses gorgeous fabrics and makes some super styling outfits for both herself and her kids. Her style is unique and she is not afraid to try new things, also she really knows how to rock a two piece setacular!!

Lily Sage & Co

Why do I write?

I started my blog about two and a half years ago after having made a Burdastyle dress with loads of fit issues. I googled after making the dress and came across several blogs which described fitting issues similar to mine. I thought “wow, there is a whole world of sewing blogs out here, I want one!”. So I started my own, with no idea what the intention was, except to chat about my sewing to anyone who might listen and for me to have a bit of a record of what I was making and any modifications I had made, what worked and what didn’t. I also wanted to have a record for myself of just what I was making and finishing as I used to have a habit of not finishing things off, they would get to a point and then I would just abandon them. I suspect part of the reason was not addressing fit issues.

Now I write because I love the sewing blogging world and the friends I have made. Who would have thought that such good friends would come out of the internet? The sewing world for the most part is very supportive and friendly and I just love being part of this world.

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What am I working on?

Right now I have nothing on the go, but my head is super busy planning. I have just got back from another skating judging trip and was painfully aware of some gaps in my wardrobe. I need some more dressy but warm clothes for judging, a merino Kielo Dress like Nicki’s one would be perfect but in black, I also need a new black blazer. As a judge is is important that I be unobtrusive and wear dark colours. Although I have to say, it is hard to get motivated to sew black things, I really do prefer to work with colour!

As the weather here in Brisbane has just started to heat up (today is 32 degrees Celsius, I am dreading summer) I am now thinking of summer dresses and fun, funky bike pants to go under them. I have been biking to work and need to avoid the undie flash – also they have the added bonus of stopping the dreaded rub together those of us without a thigh gap suffer!

How does my blog differ from others?

I am not sure that it does really. I just like to share my makes, the good and the bad (luckily I don’t have too many mega fails) so that others can see what works, what doesn’t and hopefully inspire some ideas. I like to try new patterns and have a constantly growing collection of new and vintage patterns (really need to sew some more of the vintage patterns). At the moment I am playing a little game with myself where I alternate between one new pattern and one TNT. This has been quite fun and is helping me get through some patterns. In the interests of not hoarding I plan to get rid of any that don’t work.

I suppose one difference may be that I travel a lot. I am fortunate to have at least two overseas trips each year, I do try to share any fabric shopping tips and will set up a separate tab on my blog detailing the places I like to shop when I travel to different cities.

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How does my writing process work?

I just sit and write. Sounds odd I know, but after I finish a garment, I eventually get around to photographing it. This is always the hard part, I often just start wearing the garment and forget to blog it. No big deal really, but if it is something new, I do like to share. Currently I have a backlog of garments to be photographed but it is too hot to wear them!! I might just have to suck it up and get it done!!

Once I have the photos, I cull them to find a few that show the garment properly. From there I just start writing. It all just comes out of my head with no planning at all (that’s how I roll), I write like I think. I go off track, come back, random thoughts etc. I then re-read it to see if it kinda makes sense and then I hit post! Done!

Sometimes I write up a post in my lunch hour, sometimes at night in front of the tellie. I write whenever the mood takes me and when I have something to share.  I don’t have a set schedule or a plan of posts.

Nominations

As far as nominations go, I am struggling, having just been away I am still catching up on blog reading (only 104 posts to go at last count) and I don’t know who has done it and who hasn’t. Anyone want to put their hand up??

New Look 6587 – Yet another Shirt-dress

I make no secret of the fact I love a good shirt-dress and have made quite a few. New Look 6587 is an oldie but a goodie, first made a couple of years ago here.

New Look 6587

I made this up in a Denyse Schmidt quilting cotton bought at Harts Fabric during our travels last year. If the print looks familiar it is because I used the turquoise colourway for a Belledone earlier in the year.

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Sans belt just so you can see the construction

Construction was much the same as last time, although this time I did put on the collar stand. I also piped around the collar and around the cap sleeves as I feel the grey isn’t quite the best colour for me and needed a little ‘pop”. The flat piping I made from strips of broadcloth in my stash. Essentially made the same as bias binding, but folded in half.  The bias cut really helps it go around the curves and corners of the collar.

The buttons were also in my stash, originally intended for a Beignet skirt that never eventuated (and likely never will, having worked out high-waisted skirts are not for me).

New Look 6587

I added the capped sleeve option and I changed the skirt to have box pleats that line up with the princess seams instead of the gathered skirt with the pattern, it is also a little narrower.

These changes arose from two things. First the fabric is a bit heavy for a gathered skirt and I like the smoothness of the pleats. Secondly, my habit of trying to get a project out of fabric much less than actually required. I had bought 2.5 of this fabric as I often do with a dress but, oops, forgot it was yards and not metres. That is a big difference if you want sleeves and a full skirt! The fabric was only 44 inches wide, so I had to play “Pattern Tetris” as I so often do!

Old habits die hard, I really struggle mentally to buy more fabric than required. On the plus side, at least I don’t have lots of scraps left over in odd sizes too big to throw away, but too small to do anything with!

New Look 6587
Probably could take some length off the back but it feels ok to wear, perhaps I am just standing weirdly?

I have to say, I haven’t been wearing this one too much yet.  Whilst I like it I just don’t seem to feel like grabbing a grey dress when I am choosing my outfit for the day. I only seem to wear it when it is cool enough for a red cardi and red shoes to brighten it up. Overall I am happy with the dress, and the construction, but the colour needs some more time to grow on me.

New Look 6587

Speaking of Tetris, how fun is this game still? Or am I just showing my age?? Aaaah…memories…and there goes my afternoon!! (work shmerk)

PS – Sorry for the average pics, not sure why I was so frowny or looking down all the time. Must have been a glary day!

Shopping for fabric in Paris

For those of you that follow me on Instagram you will realise that I am galavanting around Paris at present. Today I went on a tour of various fabric, knitting and sewing related shops around Paris and I thought I would share a few of my favourites.

Most of you would already know about Montmartre from other blogs so I will skip those. I went yesterday separate from the tour (as I had been before) there are loads of shops almost all next to one another so it is easy to browse. Personally I did not have any shopping luck there, but I have been told by locals it can be very ‘hit and miss’. The miserable weather possibly didn’t help my shopping mojo!

Lil Weasel
This little independent shop I first visited two years ago. Since then they have expanded, they have one shop dedicated to fabrics, patterns and notions and across the way, one dedicated to knitting, yarn, patterns, supplies. I love the feel of this place, the staff are lovely and speak English very well.

They stock the Deer & Doe patterns as well as the Atelier Brunette and a couple of other French made fabrics.

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Generaldiff

This shop appears tiny from the outside but has a great treasure trove downstairs of Coupon de Tissus, fabrics sold in 3m pre-cut lots at priced very reasonably. I bought a grey knit printed with silver stars for 10€. Upstairs is silk and lace and a fabulous selection. They were also selling Hermes silks although I can’t say the prints were to my taste.

Tissu Market

My favourite fabric shop in Paris. The range is phenomenal, silks, wools, wool crepe, gaberdine etc. All the fabric is beautiful quality and is perfect for making wardrobe basics. Most of the fabric is solids and is for coat, pant, suit, skirt and blouse making. This is cake making stuff, although there was some lovely fabric for frosting coats!

What made this my favourite? The organisation of the fabric, the super high quality and the prices were reasonable. No bargains here but if you are looking for quality at a reasonable price this is the place. I bought some fabulous marine blue polished cotton fabric for a trench.

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Les Tricoteurs Volants

A gorgeous little knitting shop, owned and run by a lovely man (who speaks English also). This shop sells many independent yarns as well as supplies and is just so cute! Easy to find with the yarn bombing outside 🙂

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Maison Sajou

I am just going to let the picture above speak for itself. Suffice to say, you must visit this shop!!

Of course there are many more fabric and knitting shops in Paris, but these are some of my favourites. I did a tour with Barbara of Stitching Up Paris. Barbara creates tailor made tours based on your sewing, knitting, quilting or needlecraft interests. Originally from New Zealand but having lived in Paris for over 20 years, she speaks fluent French and helps with the purchasing process (some of the stores are peculiar).

Barbara took me to several other shops not listed above (I can’t give away all her secrets). This is the second time I have toured with her, and last time we visited completely different stores. I know this might sound like and advertisement for Barbara, but I can assure you it is not, I just really enjoyed my day out and seeing a few places off the beaten track.

Cocooned in Kindness

Sometimes I am a bit overwhelmed by the amazing friends I have made through blogging as well as their generosity. I have been invited to sewaways, to stay with people I have never met before, out for dinner etc, all because of this little ol’ hobby called sewing.

It is amazing, the only thing we know we have in common is stitching and yet somehow it unites and makes us feel like we have known one another for ever!

Jalie Cocoon Cardi

Recently Kat of All the Whimsical Things arranged a weekend away in a gorgeous place setup especially for hobby weekends, a Sewaway if you will. I jumped at the chance and on a long weekend in June, fourteen of us descended on a lovely spot about an hour outside of Melbourne for a fabulous weekend of sewing, eating and some partaking in wine 🙂

Jalie Cocoon Cardi

One of the great things about sewing with so many others was the opportunity to share patterns, ideas and try one another’s garments on. Enter the Jalie Cocoon Cardigan. Kat was whipping this one up and it looked lovely so I had to try it on. Being at least 6″ shorter than Kat it looked completely different on me. It sat way longer past my butt and to me was the perfect fit of slouchiness, comfort and style

I love the layering potential as well as the bat-wing detail and the simplistic lines. Of course I asked Kat if she wouldn’t mind me borrowing and tracing the pattern.

Jalie Cocoon Cardi

A few weeks later and lo and behold MASSIVE SURPRISE – she sent me not only the pattern for tracing, but the whole jumper!!! TO KEEP!! How flippin’ generous is that??!  Yes I am shouting, but hell, I was (and still am) excited!!

Kat told me is was too slouchy for her liking and she is going to make a much smaller size. But OMG, her generosity is just amazing! I love this cardi and wear it loads. It is made of a lovely wool with a rib type pattern to it, although it really isn’t stretchy. But most of all it is unbelievably cosy.

I can’t comment at all about the construction process as I haven’t made it yet. Let’s just say it is a super cardi pattern and I definitely recommend it.

Jalie Cocoon Cardi

So what did I get done over the Sewaway? Sweet FA actually. I finished my green blouse. I started a Robson coat, but ran out of thread and couldn’t get more, then I started my Bleuet dress/shirt. Amanda and I were both struggling to finish anything, but we did finish more than a couple of wines!!

Jalie Cocoon Cardi

I am so grateful for the sewing community and all the wonderful people I have met. Hugs to you all!!

Perfect Travel Wear – Lady Skater Dress

I do believe I have found my perfect go-to winter travelling wardrobe piece…the Lady Skater Dress.

On my recent trip to Europe I needed pieces with that were warm, comfortable and could be dressed up. This little dress ticked all the boxes, so I took three with me. You have already seen my polka dot one which I love to death. Whilst it is great, it is pretty distinctive and definitely can’t be worn on consecutive days, people notice. Well aware I needed a couple more dresses less obvious I made these babies:

This is actually the first Skater Dress I made (the polka dot one was #2):

Lady Skater Dress

I used a rather cheap polyester ponte which does not have as much stretch as required, resulting in my dress being slightly tighter than I would like. I think that is why I have the armpit wrinkles. Another unfortunate side effect of the poly is static, it does stick a bit to my tights.  On the plus side, being poly makes it super warm!  So not perfect, but still quite wearable with some anti static spray.

My second one is made with a fabulous wool/angora blend that is soooo warm:

Lady Skater Dress

Obviously with full length sleeves this time, I wanted this baby to be warm! I strongly considered adding a cowl neck, but for easier layering left it off (this time).  The dress is much longer this time, not because I cut it differently but because this fabric actually stretches! Being black I could wear this for a couple of days in a row with different cardis or jackets and no-one was any the wiser hehe.

I should tell you that the pattern calls for elastic at the waist.  I didn’t realise this until I read someone’s blog post recently. I didn’t actually read the instructions at all, I just cut and sewed. Oops.  Not sure that it matters though, I am happy with the finish “as is”.

Lady Skater Dress

I think if you haven’t got this pattern, what are you waiting for? Super quick make, easy to fit, feels like wearing pajamas but looks pretty respectable! For two weeks travel, four of these dresses and some tights and cardis and that is all you need, leaving heaps of room in the suitcase for fabric!! (Note: I had only three dresses and felt like I needed just one more)

How did I actually style this when I was away?

Lady Skater Dress

Layers.  Lots and lots of layers. Oh, and I really did button my cardi up properly…eventually 🙂

Now, I have a question for you fellow sewing enthusiasts (if you have got this far).  I can’t help but notice that this pattern, the Moneta by Colette and other new releases are all looking pretty similar.  Has anyone tried the others?  Is there a reason I should try them?  In particular the Moneta, I was recently given as a gift but I haven’t printed it off yet.  It is currently taking the blogosphere by storm – is it worth it? Is it mindblowingly different from the Lady Skater or is the hype just because the size range is extended?  Someone convince me either way pleeeease.

Details
Pattern – Lady Skater Dress by Kitschy Coo
Fabric – 1.5m of dodgy ponte from fabric.com & 1.75m of lovely wool/angora blend from Alannah Hill
Notions – thread from stash