The Bird Massacre Top aka Sutton Blouse

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

Sutton Blouse 1

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!!

Sutton Blouse 2

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.

Sutton Blouse 3

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!!

Sutton Blouse 4

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!

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 🙂

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:


Geometry Top

Lately I’ve been going through my wardrobe and trying to fill some gaps, kind of like sewing with a plan, but not as focussed as there is always a squirrel project loitering and pulling my attention away 🙂

I had another competition to attend recently and decided I needed some more tops to go with jeans, smarter than a t-shirt, but not so far as a button down (really not my style). I needed something comfortable, practical and wanted to be a little on trend. I also wanted to be able to layer it. Enter the Geometry Top which suits the bill perfectly.

Geometry Top
See how squinty I am without sunnies!!


What a great little pattern – simply four seams, some hems and you’re done! No fitting – love that for a quick, gratifying make!


Using a lovely rayon (hello flamingo awesomeness) bought on Goldhawk Road earlier in the year, I made a straight size 10 of View A. With such a loose fitted top of course I didn’t bother with a muslin (rebellious I know) and luckily this worked. The armholes and neck are faced with bias binding and the hem is simply overlocked and turned under. No fancy couture techniques here.

Swear this doesn’t always sit on my butt like this!

For those familiar with the pattern (anyone? I haven’t seen these around the blogosphere) I have omitted the sleeves. After unanimous Instagram voting it was decided they swamped me.

As usual you guys were right 🙂


I like the pattern so much I quickly made another one!


It sits a little differently due to fabric choice, the grid fabric is a polyester and doesn’t have the nice drapiness of the rayon. However, it does have the marvelous ability of not creasing and this is a major bonus for sitting and layering.


I genuinely like this pattern a lot, I was not paid or rewarded to say this, in fact I am pretty sure Katy & Laney have no idea who I am, I just like the pattern a lot. I get loads of compliments when I wear it, so just goes to show that sometimes the simple things are best!

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!

BurdaStyle Blouse

Hey all! I hope your week is going well. For me, I am a little glad the weather has calmed down a bit over the last couple of days. I am no longer stewing in my own perspiration, it has cooled a little and there is a nice breeze – a welcome reprieve!! But enough about the weather…

Burdastyle Blouse
This is my second Burdastyle #122 blouse from the 1/2008 issue (version 1). This time made in a gorgeous embroidered cotton from The Fabric Store in Brisbane.

The fabric was not 100% the right choice for this blouse and the pattern really demands a fabric with more drape & weight to it. Rayon is perfect, but creases like a b****. The cotton doesn’t crease half as much but can be a little poofy so I have to be careful that I don’t get mistaken for a pregnant woman! (anyone who knows me knows that is not happening!)

Burdastyle Blouse
Hopefully not looking pregnant here!

That aside this is a good “shirt with jeans” pattern, easy to wear. Although not so easy if you want to layer. Because the sleeve cuffs are loose and big enough to fit above my elbows, if I put on a cardi or jacket they ride up and sit uncomfortably. I think this could resolved by finishing the sleeves with an elastic cuff, that way you could at least retain the circulation in your lower arms if you wear a jacket.

Burdastyle Blouse

I have made a few alterations to the original pattern:
– added 3″ to the length (it would be super short if at the original length)
– omitted the placket
– omitted the sleeve vent and button
– shortened the sleeves by 2″

Burdastyle Blouse

Otherwise the construction was pretty much the same as before, except that this went together well and I had no issues with the neckband like before (I still wonder if I got those pieces back to front last time).

Detail shot of pleats and topstitching

So all told an okay blouse to wear with jeans if the weather is stable. I don’t mean to sound underwhelmed, I do like the blouse and the detailing, it just doesn’t get worn so much. I think I prefer sleeveless tops for layering, the three quarter sleeve is just a little annoying at times. Fusspot? Perhaps.

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

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!!

Bleuet Shirt

Recently I made a bit of a pledge with myself: I want to make more new patterns this year and in order to do so I am planning to alternate a TNT with a new pattern. The biggest reason for this is that I have been “collecting” patterns, not in a methodical stamp collector kind of way, more in a crazy hoarder kinda way. I plan to try and get through a few more of the stashed patterns, vintage included. I am certainly not banning myself from buying more, I just want to even up the stats of used vs unused a little. I’ll do a proper count soon and might bamboozle you with pie charts soon 🙂

Bluet Shirt

This is a new pattern to me, the Bleuet dress by Deer & Doe.

Bluet Shirt

The super observant amongst you may have noticed this is not a dress 🙂 It did start as a dress, but once finished the fabric was just too light and it felt weird to wear, almost like I was wearing nothing! Plus it was see-thru and no-one needs to see my butt, so I cut it off, and I love the result!

Bluet Shirt

This is my first version of this dress and being princess seamed I decided to wing it and skip a muslin. I figured will all those seams it would be relatively easy to make any necessary adjustments.

Just like my Belladone, I found this mostly fitted out of the packet with few adjustments. I cut a size 44 based on my bust and hip measurements but graded down to a 40 in the shoulders. (this is a bit of a cheats way of doing an FBA on a princess seamed garment). Weirdly I didn’t shorten the bodice, I am only 5’2″ and this is one of my normal alterations. I feel this pattern is designed for a fairly short person so I would recommend a tissue fit before making if you are any taller than me. I think for next time I would maybe take an inch out, normally I take two.

Bluet Shirt

Construction wise, this went together really well and the instructions (which I used) are very clear with loads of diagrams. The only exception is the collar, the instructions for this I feel were a little lacking in diagrams and there are better ways to construct than that described. Next time I will construct with my usual method.

I piped around the collar and above the sleeve bands with contrast satin bias. The fabric, buttons and bias have been in my stash for about three years so it is nice to finally use them.

I am a little on the fence about the puffed sleeves and in a heavier fabric these would be super poofy. Not sure this the look I am going for. I do love the bow in the back, such a cute detail and fun to have surprise on my booty!! Like almost all the Deer & Doe patterns, this is such a sweet design with cute details. I will definitely make this again.

BTW – if you are wondering, I have not turned in a copy cat stalker type of Sew Busy Lizzy with my photo locations. I have moved to a new place by the water about 45 minutes from Brisbane. We are in a rental whilst we build a house but I expect to be here for at least a year. It’s not an ideal location being so far away from the city, but it is cheap and I plan to make the most of the beach lifestyle whilst we are here.

Project Details
Pattern – Bleuet Dress by Deer & Doe
Fabric – 2m of cotton (perhaps tana lawn?) – would have used a lot less for just the shirt though
Notions – buttons, thread, satin bias binding