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.

S2174 - 1

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.

S2174 - 4

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!!!

S2174 - 2

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

Vintage Simplicity 4525

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.

S4525 - 1

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.

S4525 - 3

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.

S4525 - 5

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!

S4525 - 4

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.

S4525 - 6

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!)

Canberra Frocktails and Vintage Simplicity

I bought this fabulous cotton sateen fabric at a recent Spotlight sale. I asked my dear darling husband “do these colours suit me?”. “No” he says. So of course I ignored him and bought it anyway (what was he doing in Spotlight anyway??). I just couldn’t resist the vibrant colours with the vintage feel. It just had to be made up into a vintage dress, the only question was which one?!

I settled on Vintage Simplicity 3316 which Wikia says is from late 1950s/early 1960s. I was particularly drawn to the kimono sleeves and the coat (which I have a plan for soon).


I did a muslin of the bodice and it fitted really well and so with no adjustments I cut into my fabulous fabric. I sewed the majority up on the Sewaway weekend in Melbourne, but it was too cold to constantly try it on so I left the finishing for home. I ended up taking 1¼” off the shoulders as I had some fabric pooling under the arms, but apart from that, no adjustments. No FBA!!


Of course this fabulous dress needed a fabulous event and Canberra Frocktails was it! Those girls sure know how to organize a fun shindig! Blimey there was a lot of champagne, so much for the two glasses included, more like 5 or 6. I must have had a dodgy canapé though as I was talking to the porcelain telephone later that night 😉 Oops!



Can you guess who took my photos? The fact I can’t stop laughing might give it away.

3316Oh dear, the pics are getting blurry now – always the sign of a good night!! 😀

raptorPictures taken by the wonderful lady that is Amanda – this girl is so warm and genuine and of course an all round sewing wizard with rad raptor poses! And blimey she can rock a tulle skirt!!

PS – that’s the second of my Vintage Pledge dresses complete – one to go!!

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.

Back to Black – Simplicity 2174

I’m still on a mission to increase my very miniscule work wardrobe. I plan to make a few basics and then a few more colourful and interesting dresses. This LBD is View A of Simplicity 2174, one of their Amazing Fit range.


A princess lined dress with two neckline options, two lengths and A, B, C & D cup sizes. I love this idea of Simplicity’s to make patterns with different cup sizes. For those of us that always need to do an FBA (or presumably an SBA) these patterns are a godsend.

There is a little pulling in this photo but that is not apparent in real life

I admit to being skeptical at first and figured it would at least be a good start and I could always adjust further from there. Not necessary. I used the D cup pattern pieces (a couple under my normal size) but found these to be more than sufficient.

The pattern pieces are also made with a 1″ side seam so you can baste it all together first to check sizing and then adjust as necessary. Genius idea. (of course one could just add a larger seam allowance any pattern but I often forget)


I used a suiting fabric bought at Levines in LA a couple of years ago. This was fabric by the pound and so cheap – I ended up with about 5m of this fabric and used the balance to make a M6611 jacket (to be blogged soon).


Not many adjustments were required to my size 14 due to being able to avoid an FBA. I did cut the shoulders a size smaller and shortened the bodice at the waist by about 1″, but will likely shorten it a touch more next time. I ended up taking in the sides a touch more than the 1″ allowance, particularly at the bust level where I needed to take it in another ½”. I actually wondered if perhaps I should have used the C cup pieces, but in my rashness binned them so not an option! My fabric has a little stretch to it, so this may be difficult to gauge until I use a non-stretch fabric.

Here’s how I look at my new office “you want me to do what?!”

– pockets!
– I am really happy with the fit
– great work wear
– I think it is pretty flattering
– I love the little neck vent
– did I mention it has pockets!!!

– none! (and that is pretty unusual for me)

Handbag picked by Lizzy (does she know me or what?!)

I feel like I could wear this dress a couple of times a week and no-one would notice, but wear a patterned or more statement dress and it would be pretty obvious. Whilst I build my wardrobe up, this dress is a great staple.

Silk Cotton Simplicity 1660

This is a good example how different fabric can completely change the look of a top. This is another Simplicity 1660, made fairly quickly after my first one (although taken an age to make it to the blog).

Silk Simplicity 1660

The silk cotton (bought at Darn Cheap Fabrics in Melbourne) used on this is much lighter with less drape than the rayon of the previous version. This resulted in a very voluminous back, kind of giving me a hunchback and definitely not flattering:

Silk Simplicity 1660

Not one to give up easily, let alone throw out this gorgeous fabric, I resolve this by I unpicking the back and adding a centre back seam. I removed all gathering and shaped it in a little through the waist. With the busy print I thought the centre seam would not be obvious. The result is much better:

Silk Simplicity 1660

This fabric is great for travelling, super light, does not crease easily and most of all feels divine to wear. Silk cotton is wonderful to sew and certainly not as intimidating as silk crepe de chine or suchlike.

Silk Simplicity 1660

These pics were all taken at the Kyu Shiba-rikyu Garden in Tokyo back in October. We then followed up with an amazing lunch including King Crab – super delicious:


Simplicity 1419

Gosh I am doing so well with imaginative blog titles huh?

Today I am sharing with you a new jacket that I feel Simplicity is trying to keep secret. The pattern is, of couse, Simplicity 1419, where the pattern envelope is all about the dress. The jacket gets relegated to a drawing off to the side like it doesn’t matter, like its design is not worthy of being made into a real garment. Well I am here to make that little jacket feel better, it does matter and it is a winner of a pattern.

Simplicity 1419

Really, how could it go wrong? A simple unlined jacket with a a frill on the bottom – how cute is that?!

I used a navy cotton sateen with a small amount of stretch and made the pattern in a straight size 14 with no alterations to the pattern.  I might normally do an FBA, but I figured that as it is worn open and doesn’t have a closure it wouldn’t be an issue and luckily it wasn’t.  Next time though I would shorten it by about an inch as the top of the frill is probably supposed to line up closer to my waist.

Simplicity 1419
This is supposed to show you the binding but really just shows you how cat hair gets on everything!

There is a facing (is anyone a fan of facings?) but I can attest that it does stay to the inside and isn’t one of those annoying ones that needs tacking down everywhere!  I edged mine with a beautiful bias I have had in the stash forever.

Simplicity 1419

I was nervous that the frill might look junior or cheapen the whole look, but I am super happy with it and have worn the jacket a lot since finishing it a month or so ago.  I’m loving wearing this jacket with my Simplicity 1660 top and a pair of jeans for those days when jeans are my item of choice. They are my go to item when the weather is changeable and kind of in between seasons.

On a side note, we have had so many weird in between days lately, too hot for a dress with tights but not warm enough for a dress without tights. During the day is lovely but the mornings and home time are a little chilly, and I must admit to being a bit of a wuss with the cold weather!

Simplicity 1419

Further side note, have I shared with you my new love of the colour navy? For years and years I have avoided it after wearing a dark navy jumper one day and someone asked me “are you ok, do you need to sit down? You look awful.” I felt fine and realised the colour just didn’t suit me. Now I realise that was the dark navy, almost an ink colour and that a lighter navy is fine on my skin tone. In fact it is actually so good I am gravitating to it over my previous favourite black.

Simplicity 1419

I don’t have too much more to say about the jacket as I just sewed it up “as is”. The instructions were good and I don’t remember deviating from them at all (sorry, I didn’t write notes but that normally means there were no issues). The fit is pretty good, although perhaps a little roomy across the back, on the flipside the extra room makes it perfect for layering. I think this is a really flattering jacket, it’s not too boxy and the frill highlights the waist.

Simplicity 1419

So what you think?  Not too cute-sy?  Do you know of any other “secret” patterns out there that lurk within another, just waiting like treasure to be dug up??

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!

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

Simplicity 1880

Hello peeps! I hope you are all fine and cheery on this lovely day? Well, it is here in Brisbane, an unseasonably warm 29 degrees. Not bad for the beginning of Spring, although kind of makes me dread how hot the impending summer might be.

Today I am sharing with you a sort of re-fashion!! I’m not normally a person who re-fashions (I’m just not that imaginative) and if I’m not feeling a garment after it’s finished it would normally go to a charity bin for someone else to make the most of. But this time I liked the fabric too much and I had enough left over for me to reconsider what to do with it.

Simplicity 1880

Long term BusyLizzie readers may remember this dress, B5748. I was never happy with how the bodice sat and found I didn’t wear it at all unless I had a cardi over top. I loved the fabric and its swooshiness and determined to make it into something more wearable. I had about half a metre of the fabric left, so decided to take the skirt off and replace the bodice with one cut from the previously untried Simplicity 1880.

Simplicity 1880

I love a shirt-dress and seem to have a bit of obsession with collecting shirt dress patterns, I have loads of vintage ones and to be honest this Simplicity one is similar to ones I have so I am not sure what possessed me to purchase it. Although it is Project Runway branded and I am a bit of a sucker for those.

This pattern has two bodice options, one button up, the other a wrap and four sleeve options. Given my shirt-dress infatuation of course I made the buttoned version. I cut the size 16, graduating to a 10/12 in the shoulders and I am happy with the fit (I did tissue fit first). there is no pulling at the bust across the buttons or anywhere to indicate I need an FBA. This is most unusual, but of course the bodice does blouse so there is a bit of room to play with.

Simplicity 1880
Construction wise the bodice went together in a straightforward fashion with no unexpected surprises. The pattern has lots of little details that I really like, the back yoke, multiple waist pleats instead of darts, the sleeve pleats, the circle skirt and of course a vintage feel. The front buttons are completely decorative as there is a side zip for access. I used buttons from my stash of vintage buttons bought in the States last year.

My drapey fabric is much more suited to this pattern than a fitted bodice. I would suggest that a crepe, voile or rayon would be perfect for this pattern, the fabric really needs to have some drape to enhance the pleating and gathering detail. Aah fabric choice, such an important part of the creation process.

Simplicity 1880

I am so much happier with this dress for this particular fabric, although I still may shorten the skirt as it feels a little long. I am just not sure I can face doing all that hemming again. Last time I did a machine rolled hem and all that stitching, pressing and trimming took me forever!!

Simplicity 1880

So there you go my version of a re-fashion! Yay to a now wearable garment. Have you ever done this or do you just bin the project?