Comfort Sewing, for winter and stress…

I’m keeping it pretty short and sweet today, however I do have two garments to share with you today!

This time of year is super busy for me – I’m in the financial sector (insurance) and with it coming up to end of financial year (known as EOFYS in Australia), things are ramping up something crazy at work. There is light at the end of the tunnel so I will keep pushing through!  Only a week and a half to go (and counting!).

As work has been pretty stressful the past few weeks I have been mostly looking to sew simple and gratifying garments – no brainers and avoiding any potential fitting woes. The Mabel skirt and V8780 perfectly fit that bill.


I am super late to the Mabel Skirt party (I expect I’ll make the Sydney Jacket, currently taking sewists by storm, sometime next year!) and I didn’t expect the style to really suit me. I’m not normally drawn to a pencil skirt but thought it could be fun to try, everyone had told me it was a winner and I am always on the lookout for secret work pjs.

I got myself some heavy stretch fabric from Spotlight – it was remnant priced and only cost me $2.40 – being that cheap, there was virtually no risk to trying this new silhouette!!

I love the drape on the back of this cardi

I cut the size L based on my measurements and went ahead and sewed it up. Knits are pretty forgiving and this one had loads of stretch so I figured it wouldn’t be too much of a gamble. Hurrah! It worked and I am super happy with the result!  The only change I made to the original pattern was to add 3″ to the length as I like the midi length.

The cardi is my new ‘go to’ cardi, V8780. This time I sized down to the small and the fit is much better across the shoulders and arms compared to my previous version.


Not too much to say about the construction of either garment. They were both sewn using only the overlocker and coverstitch and were completed in an afternoon.

Sometimes this kind of sewing really hits the spot, especially when a de-stress brain escape is needed.  Do you sew to de-stress too? What patterns are your ‘go to’ patterns.

Sacre bleu Dress

Last weekend hubby and I were fortunate to spend the weekend down on the Gold Coast at a gorgeous luxury resort. So relaxing and so much food! I have to say I am a sucker for a good buffet breakfast and caramelized banana on waffles? What an awesome way to start the day!

So of course a beach location mini-break means a new sundress! This is made from some of the lovely fabric haul I bought in the Black Friday sale last year (yay more stashbusting) and at the time of writing it is still available here if you like it as much as me.

Sacre Bleu Hazel

The pattern is Hazel from Colette Patterns but with the skirt switched out to a dirndl (with pockets of course).

Sacre Bleu Hazel

For the construction of the bodice I used the same sizing as last time. The pattern has facings on the bodice, however I chose to fully self-line it. When I made it with facings they drove me crazy and kept wanting to pop out at the back.  Also I like how much tidier on the inside it is when fully lined as it catches in the waistband. I also topstitched around the waist to ensure the gathering sat nice and flat. No-one needs extra bulk around the waist!!

Sacre Bleu Hazel

The skirt is my often used gathered skirt, just two panels, each cut using the full width of my fabric and gathered.

Briefly, my method of gathering involves sewing two rows of stitching at a length of 4.0, one row at about 6mm from the top edge of my skirt fabric, the other about 2cm from the edge. I then pull the bottom threads up to gather the fabric to the desired length and ensure I am happy with the spacing. Then when I attach this to my bodice, the spacing is nice and even. With a seam allowance of 1.5cm it means you won’t accidentally sew over the gathering stitches and they will be nice and easy to pull out.

Sorry, no pictures of the back, I guess I forgot!  Oh well, just imagine, lapped zipper and straps nicely covering my bras straps. I promise it is the case! I do have more pics of me being a dork though.  Hubby was director/photographer again:

Sacre Bleu Hazel
Hubby: “Look pensive”
Sacre Bleu Hazel
Me: “Like this??”

Such a nice couple of days away, we did absolutely nothing except eat and relax, oh yeah a few cocktails may have been consumed also!

Ahhh, this is the life!

Pattern – Hazel by Colette
Fabric – 2.5m of Amy Butler Cameo Forget Me Not cotton from
Notions – zipper & thread from my stash

Stash update:
New total = 159.8m

Ce n’est pas Parfait, mais son OK

First let me thank you all for the lovely comments on my latest Elisalex, I know I don’t respond to all of them but I do read and appreciate every one of them 🙂

Now onto a new (to me) pattern, the Colette Patterns Parfait dress.  I have had this a while but had never gotten around to sewing it.  When I bought some seersucker recently the first pattern I thought of was this one, I don’t always have an exact pattern in mind when I buy fabric, I always know whether I can see it as a dress or top or skirt or whatever, but not always specifically a pattern.

I have always been intrigued by this pattern as I felt with the bust gathers it probably wouldn’t need an FBA and would be easier to alter.  Gathers are much easy to adjust compared with darts!

So voila, the finished product:

Colette Parfait

As is usual with Colette patterns for me, I cut a different size front and back, I always find they are so generous across the back. I cut a size larger than normal for the bust piece to save doing an FBA. I tested this theory first on a muslin and it worked well.

I had to narrow the waistband by about an inch as I am short-waisted, well actually I’m short everywhere!

Colette Parfait
These pockets are cool!

I am not 100% sold to be honest.  I feel like it makes me look even more busty than normal, hence my title translated as “It’s not perfect but it’s ok”. I also don’t love the silhouette of the skirt and I would be more comfortable with a fuller skirt like a dirndl or even a circle skirt.

Colette Parfait
I like the back view

These photos are all taken on a recent weekend away with darling hubby – our 9 year wedding anniversary – I can’t believe it has been that long! We spent a lovely peaceful and relaxing long weekend at the beach.  It looks like we are the only people there, but it was actually super windy so everyone was avoiding the exfoliating properties of the sand and wind!! We didn’t end up spending much time on the beach but we had a fabulous time chillaxing in the sheltered area by the hotel pool. I did lots of reading and soaking up the sun.

Hubby took the photos, I am not sure he is much of a director but we had fun – here are some out-takes:

Colette Parfait
Arrgh – my hat is going to blow away!
Colette Parfait
Hubby: “Do a pose”
Me: “How ’bout this? I saw it on America’s Next Top Model!”
Colette Parfait
Hubby: “What about dinosaur arms like that other blogger?” (my tribute to Amanda)

I digress, back to the dress.

The good:
– I like the button detailing on the straps
– The pocket detail is cute
– it was easy to sew together and the instructions were clear

The bad:
– the side zipper is really annoying, I much prefer the zip in the back. I have restricted movement in my arm and find it hard to reach.
– not sure it is the most flattering of silhouettes for me
– it has facings – I hate facings! If I make it again, I would cut the bodice twice and self line it
– where the overlap is on the shoulder straps does not sit properly so I had to hand stitch it in place to stop it sitting wonky

Would I make it again:
Hmmm…maybe with a few changes…actually unlikely but I might steal some design details.

Colette Parfait

Pattern – Colette Parfait
Fabric – 2m of cotton seersucker
Notions – 12″ zipper, thread, 4 x buttons from my stash

MMM – the final days and a couple of new things

Well MMM has now wrapped up, and whilst I like wearing me-made each day, it turns out for the most part I wear at least one me-made item each day, taking a picture of myself everyday is a little tedious.  I apologize in advance for the pics that all have the same backdrop.  I am now back in Brisbane and it turns out winter is well on the way and it is now dark at 5.30pm so I can’t go outside to take pics.

Day 20
A bonus for you – two outfits today! One a new one, still not sure how I feel about it though. The top is a Sorbetto (free download don’t ya know!), and the skirt a simple dirndl.


That evening I met up with Erin of MissCrayolaCreepy for ice cream in Arroyo Grande.  I had emailed her for some fabric shopping tips and she suggested we meet up. “Hell Yeah” I thought, what a fun opportunity.  Of course we talked sewing patterns, adjustments and blogging all over the most delicious ice cream!  I had Strawberry with a chocolate fudgy ribbon and Erin had one called Motoroil, a super chocolate-y one!  Yum-o!  If you haven’t checked out Erin’s blog, go do it, she has some lovely makes and is currently hosting a Gatsby Challenge.

It was a little cooler and I wanted to wear a cardi, so I wore my Spring has Sprung Hazel.

 photo courtesy of MissCrayolaCreepy
Day 21
Off to LA in my I Feel Pretty Hazel.  Here I am rummaging through fabric at The Loft where they sell fabric offcuts by the pound, and when I say offcuts they were mostly 5-10 yards a piece! I bought 9lb of fabric – go me!!

MMM '13 - Day 21

Day 22
Guess where we went today (in Colette Sorbetto blogged here):

MMM '13 - Day 22

Day 23
Lunch at the Cheesecake Factory, wearing Tiramisu (appropriate perhaps??).

MMM '13 Day 23
Day 24
We had a super long day as our flight was not until 11.45pm. We filled most of the time in an Outlet Mall for some last minute shopping. This is a new top, a variation on the Banksia by Megan Nielsen.

Day 25– Ha – we totally missed this day on our flight home!

Day 26– No pics sorry, I was feeling super average after our long overnight flight. I can’t even remember what I wore!!

Day 27
My Buttons are Expensive Dress

MMM'13 - Day 27

Day 28
Hmmm, black photographs so badly, I have tried lightening the photo, but now it looks like my top is see-thru!! It’s not, but it is printed with little charcoal polka dots that reflect the flash. The skirt is my basic black made last year and blogged here.


Day 29
Breakfast meeting today so I had to look presentable, wearing Vintage Vogue 9463.


Day 30
More black – what can I say, it feels like winter today and the colour seems appropriate. Merino ruffle top and BurdaStyle skirt.


Day 31
Working at home today, yay, in my Hollyburn skirt, look out for two more soon!

MMM'13 Day 31
MMM Summary
So I really learnt about my wardrobe shortfalls this month, although perhaps it wasn’t super indicative as I was away for most of the month and my travelling wardrobe is always different from what I wear day to day.  Not sure why this is, I guess the majority of my time is spent at work so I need work appropriate attire.  But being away made me really notice how many casual clothes I need to make. Tops and skirts will be the go before my next trip away, whenever that might be!! This week I have also noticed a desperate shortage of work appropriate winter wear. I have started on some of these items already and hope to blog them soon. 
Whew, so glad to not have to photograph myself everyday – that is hard work!!  How did you all go?

Polka Dot Sencha

I’m back with more polka dots – yep I just love polka dots and especially red with white polka dots.  I really should be participating in Polka Dot Frock Fest by Scruffy Badger, but as I am away for most of February I didn’t think I would commit.

This linen fabric I bought on my NYC trip last year with the original idea of a dress.  You will note this is not a dress….because the dress was a disaster! I think I have finally have learnt the importance of a muslin.

The pattern I used was Simplicity 2180. The dress was supposed to have white piping around the waist band and around the neck and in my head looked lovely.  The reality was not so great.

I know the envelope is fugly, but I could see it working, and I will try again soon (with a muslin next time).  Unfortunately the fit was not close to the measurements on the pattern.  I cut out the recommended size, did an FBA following a tissue fit, but the back was just huge.  I also discovered that my fabric would have been too sheer for the skirt. Yes, I know I could have lined it, but that was my excuse to myself to hack it into something different…and the polka dot Sencha was born!


My alterations:
– I changed the neckline to a scoop neckline
– omitted the buttons on the back,  I have no idea how one is supposed to do those up, I certainly can’t reach!  It is easy enough to put over my head anyway.
– I used bias to face the neck edge
– narrow shoulder adjustment
– narrow hem on the sleeves and machine stitched


I still really like this pattern, it is a great little top that I can dress up for work or wear with jeans in the weekend.  With the polka dots, I love the retro vibe this has. I like that this is a quick pattern to make up, almost instantly gratifying.  I have read online that many people have had issues with the fit, but I think I have this sorted now.  This is my third Sencha now, one blogged here and the other not yet blogged and it really does work in a number of fabrics.


Quick info:
Top – made by me, pattern Colette Sencha
Notions – only cotton!
Jeans – Target

PS – I am still planning on doing a pocket tutorial like I used on the Hollyburn skirt, but I don’t have any fabric to make a skirt from.  I know, weird right? 🙂  I am away for a couple of weeks later this week and will buy some fabric whilst away so I will do a tutorial when I get back.

PPS – if my posts are sparse over the next couple of weeks it is because I will be away and may not be able to blog

The I feel pretty Hazel

I may just have a new love and a TNT summer dress pattern.  When I first made this Hazel pattern by Colette I didn’t love it.  Don’t get me wrong I just liked it.  The fit was a little bit funky and I didn’t think the skirt was full enough, issues fixed recently during Project CPR.

However when this fabric arrived in my hot little hands all the way from following my Black Friday p, I knew that instead of a top as originally planned, the fabric was calling out to be a sundress and Hazel #2 was born.


This time around the fit is much better, perhaps due to this being a plain cotton as opposed to a seersucker which has more give.

I like that I have kind of ignored the V shaped seams and just treated them like darts, there is no clever pattern placement to make a feature of the shaping, as with a striped fabric.


This time I cut the back at a size six and the front a ten which has prevented the gaping under the arms I ended up with last time.

As before I changed the skirt to having inverted box pleats front and back as I really don’t feel the skirt has enough fullness to gather it with a successful result.  Last time I tried that it stuck out weirdly, and from a search on the interwebs, many have had the same problem.  The box pleats give a cleaner line and are more flattering, plus much, much faster that gathering.


The back closure is a lapped zipper, these are my zippers of  choice right now.  BTW check out the happy accidental pattern match below the waist!  Could not have been better if I planned it!!


I really pushed the boundaries of fabric frugality with this one.  As I said at the start, I bought this fabric to make a top, this mean I had what I thought was 1.5m.  I knew that my last Hazel I got out of 1.6m, so I thought if necessary I could make it a little shorter.  However, I forgot that the fabric is from the US and therefore not metrically measured, which meant I had 1.5 yards (1.4m) – eek! 

Challenge accepted, I decided to forge ahead and make it work.  Consequently, my pockets, facings and understraps are a different fabric (a plain cotton batiste in cream), but who would know!! 


On a side note, if you are wondering what is going on in the background, they are kite surfers. It was a perfect day for it as you can possibly tell by my windswept look!

If you are wondering about the polka dot dress I blogged about as being on my sewing table recently, well this is not going as well as hoped and the fit is in need of some work.  I have put it aside for the moment and have been working on some more pressing projects that I will share soon.

What are you all working on at the moment? Is anyone taking part in Jungle January held by Pretty Grievances?  I am still on the fence as I can’t seem to find a fabric that would suit me. I love animal print on everyone else, but I just feel it’s not me.  Perhaps I’ll make some Pjs as I really want to join in the fun.

Floral Sorbetto

OK not very imaginatively named I know.  Not really my forte coming up with fabulous names for garments, but here it is nonetheless, my floral Sorbetto.


First of all, this was a stupid day to try and take pictures, it was 40 degrees Celsius (104F) which was ridiculous. So here I am cowering in the shade to take pics to share with you all!


Enough whinging and onto the sewing stuff. The pattern is Colette’s Sorbetto able for free download, thank you again Colette for this winning pattern!

This time around I cut a size 6 in the shoulders grading to a size 10 on the bust and size 12 through the hips and I am much happier with the fit.  I also added about 1.5″ to the hem and curved it up at the sides to give a nicer look when worn out over pants.


I started out by making the bias binding using Colette’s continuous bias tape tutorial.  IMHO this is way faster than the individual strip method if you want to end up with a large amount of bias. I started with a pretty big square of fabric so ended up with heaps of lovely bias, enough for this top and something else in the future.


You will see above that I used the pin method to fold my tape.  I set up two pins just wider than the iron and fed the folded bias through them I then lay the iron between the pins and just guided the fabric through using both hands as the iron just lay there.  Nice and quick and a good result too.


The other addition I made was to add a trim just under the pleat on the front. I sewed this under the pleat but left the pleat so it was not sewed down as I didn’t want it to have the top stitched look.

The fabric is from my Black Friday haul that I ordered in from A cotton called Mackinaw Island for Benartex according to the selvage. The main thing for me is that it is nice and cool to wear, especially with this crazy heat wave we seem to be having. 


My biggest problem with this heat is getting into my sewing room, it is like a sauna as it is upstairs and I guess closer to the roof space. I have an aircon unit, but it blows my sewing all over the place!  Might have to relocate for a bit I think.

By the way, the bush I am standing in front of is a Hibiscus, isn’t the flower pretty and a stunning colour?


Spring has Sprung Hazel

As my lovely followers will know I was in NYC recently and prior to my trip I just had to make a dres (one always needs new travelling clothes!).

Anyway I had picked up this cute cotton seersucker recently with the original intention to make a top, however I had 1.5 metres @ 150cm wide which is way too much for a top.  I was pretty confident I could get a dress out of that amount and the Hazel seemed perfect for the job!

As I was due to leave in two days, and had to go to work both of those days (damn having to work for a living!), I whipped this up super quick.  When I say “whipped up”, I mean “no muslin, just cut, sew and hope for the best!”.  In all truth, I don’t tend to do muslins often at all, yeah, yeah, I know, but it has worked for me so far!


Due to my haste and lack of measuring, I did have a few issues with fit due to cutting the bodice a size or so too big. I ran the seams in a bit to get the bodice to fit better but I think next time I’ll make more time to fit it better and will cut a size smaller in the bodice also.


Notice the gaping under the arms?  In saying this, the dress is super comfy so I don’t mind too much and won’t alter this one.


The experienced Hazel makers amongst you will notice I changed the skirt to pleated instead of gathered.  The gathers did me no favours as it stuck out funny and as one other blogger (can’t remember who) noted recently, it made me look “pregnant in the front and back” – terrible.  The pleats are much more flattering I think.  I may try a fuller skirt next time.


The fashion fabric turned out to much sheerer than I thought so I lined the whole dress in a cotton batiste for modesty, plus this had the added bonus of not having to use facings!!  Brilliant – I don’t like using facings because that normally requires hand-sewing and I am not a fan of hand-sewing. 


Sorry, I forgot the back photos, so here is another front one, I can assure you the back is just fine!


I finished the dress in time to take it away with me and was pleased to be able to show it off at the NYC Meet Up

I am now back in sunny Brisbane, and Spring has officially started, I know this will be a firm staple in my Spring/Summer wardrobe! Yay for Hazel!

Birdie Sencha

Birdie Sencha

My first version of the Sencha Blouse by Colette.  I did a toile first which showed I needed to make a small shoulder adjustment as it was not comfortable to wear.

I underlined the whole garment as the original fabric was pretty sheer and used french seams throughout.


I used a size 6 in the top (and adjusted for narrow shoulders) and then graduated to a 12 for my waist and hips.  I found that due to the blouseyness (is that a word?) of the pattern an FBA was not required.

I omitted the neck facing and instead incorporated the underlining to make a nice clean neck finish.


I also omitted the back buttons as there is no way I could reach to do them up!  I cut the back on the fold instead and like the clean lines this option gives.  I may do a version in the future with a faux back button opening as I found the pattern has enough room in it to go over my head just fine.


For those followers, you may recognise the fabric, it is a hack of my previous fail garment.  I am much happier with this and took great pleasure in cutting the failure into pieces!!  I am really happy with the fit of this blouse and it is comfortable, wearable and I think flattering. I shall definitely be making more.