My polka dot obsession aka V8766

It’s no secret to anyone that I like polka dots, in fact I went out the other day in this dress, polka dot shoes and my phone cover is polka dot also. Obsessed much? They make me happy, end of story.


So of course it goes without saying when I found a polka dot cotton in navy (my new favourite neutral) but with pale blue, white and red polka dots I snapped it up. It was such a dreary day that day in Montmartre, raining, depressing and no good for a tourist in Paris. I just knew this would cheer me up!


The pattern is Vogue 8766, a dress pattern with a simple four dart and options of sleeves, sleeveless and spaghetti straps.


I did my usual FBA, narrow shoulder adjustment, took it up an inch at the shoulders and shortened the waist. All normal adjustments for my short frame. I also lowered the neckline by approximately 1.5″ as I find this more flattering. I eyeballed this on the fabric so can’t be exact (oops forgot to transfer it back to my pattern).


This fabric was a super wide 150cm, unusual for a cotton so I was pleased to be able to get a full circle skirt out of it. Normally I’m a bit cheap with fabric and only buy enough for a pleated or dirndl skirt (old habits die hard).


I love the swooshiness of the circle skirt, but I have to say it certainly is not weather friendly right now. We have been getting some crazy wind of late and this has serious flasher potential!!


Now I am not sure if you would call this lazy or genius, but I made the entire dress on my machine. I attached the bodice lining using the Cambie lining technique, I then used stitch in the ditch at the waist to catch the lining down at the waist.

This pattern is a great simple one to use when you want to let the fabric do the talking, it is straightforward to construct, and fully lined so has a great clean finish. I will make more of these bodices, but the full circle skirt won’t happen too often as I don’t find it so great for every day wear. I can definitely see the bodice working with my beloved M6503 skirt.

Polka dots FTW!!

V7979 – A super cosy coat

Back in February when I found out I needed to be in Europe soon I had a small panic. My coat that I had was very worn, sad and pilled. Also it really wasn’t that warm (probably synthetic, it’s RTW) .  I have other coats, but not ones appropriate for judging or for the super cold. When I judge I am supposed to be unobtrusive and to wear dark colours, so obviously my two white coats I have weren’t an option. I have two puffer coats but these are not dressy enough for sitting on the judging panel of a major event.

Of course my sewing brain took over – I could make a coat! I had the fabric already (bought in November), I had the pattern and the buttons were already made. With two weeks until I was due to leave, did I have time to make it? I figured why not give it a go? Worst case I could take my old, sad (probably only to me) coat or one of my puffer coats.

With some serious dedication and some sewing just about every day I got it done in just over a week! (Plus I also managed to re-paint the kitchen, buy a block of land and worked full-time – yep, my blog title isn’t just a name)

The pattern of choice – V7979 (view A) which I have had in my stash for years, I mean look at that artwork, that is serious 90s business, although the actual lines of the coat are fairly timeless.  A quick muslin revealed that I needed to petite the pattern with an inch and a half out of the body and narrowing the shoulders.

The fabric is a lovely wool from my favourite shop in Melbourne Alannah Hill, only $10/m too!! I decided that I really wanted to make an effort for this coat to be super warm. I am not used to the cold and when I travel I always freeze so I interlined the whole coat with flannel to add an extra cosy layer and to stop the wind cutting through. I also interfaced with hair canvas. I haven’t done so much hand stitching on a project for ages! Of course in my haste to finish and get to the real sewing (as in putting the pieces together) I have no pictures so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

To interline the coat, I cut the shell pieces in the flannel and hand-stitched them to each outer shell piece.  Once the seams were sewn, I then trimmed the interlining extremely close to the stitching line to reduce the seam bulk. This was a little scary as I was worried I would cut the outer fabric.

The coat went together quite easily. There seemed like loads of pattern pieces (especially with the three layers and with the interlining it was a lot of fabric to handle but my little Janome coped just fine and no special walking feet or anything were required.  The most difficult part was making it in 30 degree heat! I didn’t want it on my lap for handsewing and it was not fun trying it on – too hot!! I know it sounds like I am complaining, I’m not, I love the warm weather, but off season sewing has its challenges!


I love some of the detailing of the coat. It has lovely hidden in seam pockets, top-stitching detailing, and I love the back belt too. The buttons I had made by a fantastic store, Buttonmania in Melbourne who make any kind of covered button you can imagine. Their service is fantastic and quick too and they post anywhere in Australia!

So tried and tested in London and Holland, this coat is super cosy – it is a definite wardrobe winner and I wore it almost every day – mostly like this:

Do you like how my handbag matches the letterbox?!

I am super happy with this coat and the extra effort and hand-sewing were definitely worthwhile.

What would I change for next time? Nothing!!  I love it!! (although a more exciting colour would be fun)

Now some extra pics for all you details peeps:

Silk lining

Pattern – Vogue 7979
Fabric – 3m wool & 2.5m silk lining from Alannah Hill and 2.5m of flannel from Lincraft
Notions – thread from my stash, buttons made by Buttonmania

Very Vexing Vogue 1247

Things are not always rosy in BusyLizzie-land. Do you ever have an idea in your head and it looks really good, but in reality it is just rubbish. This make is a big, big FAIL!!

Vogue 1247

I have always admired the lovely pattern detail on the top of Vogue 1247, I love the seam detailing on the front and thought it would be an interesting make as well as I thought it would be a nice comfy weekend top with jeans. Well, I was right on one count, it was interesting to make but I think it is the most unflattering thing I have made in ages!! The top is all constructed with french seams and it has a six pattern pieces to the front with diagonal seaming detail as well as shoulder pleating.

Vogue 1247

I think my biggest problem with it is how boxy it is. It is supposed to fall from my shoulders, but I think because my shoulders are narrower than the rest of my body, the concept of the design really didn’t work. It just kinda looks blergh 😦 
Vogue 1247

No, I am not fishing for compliments and comments of how it looks fine – I know it looks bad, but thought it was important to share with you the fails as well as the good.

Vogue 1247

I think it looks ok from the back, but really can’t walk everywhere backwards to avoid a front view.

Oh well, live and learn. Onto the next project. Anyone want a copy of Vogue 1247 cut out to a size 14? Seriously, never going to make this again, NEVER.

Vogue Mash-Up Dress

Recently my new friend Marjorie, also living in Brisbane, invited me around to check out her Burda collection. Not in the “check out my etchings” style, but in a generous sewing kind of way.  She ended up lending me a few patterns and Vogue 8663 (OOP) was one of them.

I loved the pleated neckline and immediately imagined as the perfect pattern for the teal ponti bought in the UK recently.  One problem…I didn’t have quite enough fabric for the full skirt.  However, in a stroke of genius (if I do say so myself), I remembered V8667 and the great box pleat skirt, so I mashed the two together. Voila!


This was super easy as they are both Vogue patterns and so the measurements are fairly similar.  Also any discrepancy in waist measurement could easily be hidden by adjusting the box pleat. Ha!

I really like the pleating around the neck although found it a little tricky to get sitting just right, the pattern is a little confusing as it gives the impression the pleats are stitched down. Anyway I forged ahead to get the look I was happy with and it seemed to work.  The only thing I am not 100% happy about is the dress isn’t lined so the neck is simply finished with bias leaving an obvious stitching line which I am not sure I like. No-one else seemed to notice though, so perhaps I am being overly critical.


Hmmm…a bit obvious I have been sitting in it today, sorry!

Pattern alterations:
– shortening the bodice length my standard 1″
– narrowing the shoulders slightly
– here’s the surprise  FBA not required – I guess the pleats provide enough ease


I know this may emphasise my boobs, but hey, they get stared at anyway, so what’s the difference?!

Whilst I love the end result of the ponti, for some reason my machine hated it and the sewing was painful with the machine skipping stitches all the time. So infuriating!! The worst was when I twin needled the hem – I used a stretch 70 needle and look at the result:


The left stitch was fine and the right kept skipping!  It was a brand new needle out of the packet.  I tried changing the thread, the bobbin, the tension and I tried a non-stretch needle. I threw it aside for a couple of days in disgust all prepared to take my machine to the shop, although it was sewing other fabrics fine. But then I had an epiphany, try every single twin needle I have!  I ended up using a size 75 twin needle with a blue marker on the top, I can only presume this is a blue tip needle?  I have no idea as I don’t even know where the needle came from, it is part of a large number of loose needles I inherited from somewhere. Anyway it doesn’t matter – it finally worked!! I was contemplating buying a new machine!!  (any excuse right?)  Perhaps a coverstitch machine might be the way to go forward…..hmm I digress.


Have you ever had a frustrating experience like this?  Did you persevere, or give up??