The Zeena Dress

As part of Indie Pattern Month, I am pleased to able to share with you my By Hand London Zeena Dress.

Zeena 3

If you haven’t see it already, the lovely gals over at Monthly Stitch have organized a month to celebrate Indie Pattern Designers. They have three different pattern bundles to offer with 3 patterns in each or the extended versions with 6 patterns.  The savings are huge – up to 50% of the standard pricing!!

I went with bundle 1 which is the Chill Out bundle – a capsule of garments for casual wear:


Zeena 2

It was so difficult to decide what to made as this is a great bundle.  My wardrobe is sorely lacking in dresses with sleeves so the Zeena dress won out. Although I feel the Sophie cardigan and Liana jeans will follow soon…oh and an Olivia dress (depending how my Appleton goes).

I used a light chambray polka dot denim – because polka dots!  They are a neutral right?!

Zeena 4

The Zeena pattern goes together super easily, there are no darts and no sleeves to set in.  I have to say, I didn’t like the look of the release box pleats on the bodice so I changed mine to sewn up box pleats, I find this much more flattering on my busty shape. The neck is a touch wide on me but I’m not too bothered by the excess I have.  The skirt is a super easy box pleated dirndl – with pockets! The back is finished with a invisible zipper.


These pics were taken after several hours in the car (roadtrip!), so not bad that it isn’t completely crushed – I’m calling that a win. BTW – super fun roadtrip 2.5 hours south of Brisbane to buy liqueurs – it’s good to have goals right?

I like that this is a nice basic dress, easy to wear as is for our autumn days or pair with a cardi, tights and boots for winter. You will note that it was a very windy day when these pics were taken so I and my dress are a little windswept!!

If you needed an excuse to buy the pattern bundle – the profits from the sale of these patterns is split evenly between the designers involved, The Monthly Stitch, and a charity chosen by the designers. For the Chill Out Capsule, the charity is the Starship Childrens Hospital.

Happy Chilling Out!!

Cat Lady Challenge Dress


Yep – I made a dress for this challenge. I know I could have made a pair of PJs or a tote bag or something more subtle, but heck, everyone who knows me knows I am a cat lady. On a side note, not as crazy as my mum, I only have one cat, she has three!

The dress is the Elisalex bodice mashed with the skirt of McCalls 6503, my current favourite skirt. Just the right amount of fullness, nice little pleats and no danger of the wind catching it and flashing my undies to the world.

Cat Lady Challenge Dress

The construction of the dress was the same as my previous Elisalexes/Elisalexi?? So not much to tell you that I haven’t before except that this time I ran into a small snag. We shall call this snag “winter padding” or “proof I love food”.  The damn dress is too tight!  I can do it up but breathing becomes optional, as does sitting!  It fits first thing in the morning but there is no way I am wearing this to go anywhere until I have lost a couple of centimetres.  *sigh* I hate watching what I am eating.

Cat Lady

Anyway, the zip is beautifully inserted with excellent pattern matching however as you can see, pulls way too tight and the concealed zip is there for all to see.

Cat Lady Challenge Dress

Unfortunately a few kitties did have to be sacrificed in the making of this dress and I couldn’t make the bodice without splicing a few.  I looked at a couple of other bodice patterns but this one was the most kitty friendly.  To paraphrase the ever stylish Jen, cat bewbs and pussies on my ‘ahem’ were inevitable!!

BTW – how utterly adorable is this fabric? I picked it up in Amsterdam earlier this year and absolutely love it! Amy said it reminded her of Doleres Umbridge’s plate collection

Another closeup of the kitty awesomeness:
Cat Lady Challenge Dress

PS – if there ever was a time for my kitty to feature on the blog, now is the time:

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!

The “I was wrong” Anna Dress

So I am pretty sure I am the last person in the world to make the ubiquitous By Hand London Anna dress. Ever since it came out I was quite convinced that it would look hideous on me. The neck is too high to be flattering, the shoulders are wide and would make me look boxy and the darts were bound to really enhance my “lady lumps”*.

So all that aside, the pattern still played on my mind and I kept seeing them over and over and over again in the blogosphere. I finally relented and borrowed the pattern. After all no need to buy a pattern that was clearly going to look awful, I just need to get it out of my system.

Anna Dress
Well, colour me surprised with a big red crayon! I actually really like it and think it is quite flattering. Ok, I do look well endowed, but in the words of the lovely (and honest) Reana Louise “I hate to break it to you Liz, you do have big b00bs*”

Anna Dress

I cut the size 14 in the front, graduating to a 12 in the shoulders (cheats FBA), and 12 for the back, only shortening the bodice. Of course you will have notice the skirt is altered from the pattern. It is a dirndl, but gathered only at the sides, I saw this style on a vintage pattern recently and thought I would try it for something different. It feels a little like those really cool wide dresses from the 1700s! (oh how I would love an excuse to make one of these!)

pannier dress Source

I have very little to say about the construction of this dress except to say it went together extremely quickly and easily. This is a fast, satisfying make and a good wardrobe addition. As demonstrated by Roisin, this pattern works well with a plethora of different skirts.


Anna Dress

I made this up in a Repro Depot cotton from the local Spotlight store. This fabric range has cute patterns that supposedly are vintage reproductions. I just liked the cute flowers and with the red and yellow accents and thought the print would work well for winter & summer, plus it was on sale at 40% off so who would pass that up?!

For next time (and I know there will be a next time) I’ll decrease the width of the neckline as it is a bit of a bra strap flasher, and I will decrease the width of the shoulders.  I’d also love to try it with a different skirt, perhaps a circle, half circle or even my beloved Belladone skirt.

Anna Dress

So there you go, I was wrong, chalk that one up hubby dearest, doesn’t happen often 😉

Do you ever step out of your box and try a new pattern that all logic tells you won’t work? Or do you stick with TNTs?

* for fear of coming up on weird internet searches