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

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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!

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For this top, I went with View C – check out the surprise back (ok not a surprise because I put an image above…oops):
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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.

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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.

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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:

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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!

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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.

Snap poll – sleeves or no sleeves?? I'm kinda thinking the sleeves are a bit swamping.

A post shared by Liz Alexandre (@_busylizzie) on

As usual you guys were right 🙂

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

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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.

Geometry

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.

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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!

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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.

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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

M6566

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!

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!

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

Back to (polka dot) basics

First of all, thank you all so much for your wonderful feedback on my Kielo dress! Already it is in high rotation and I may even wear it to a wedding this weekend!!

Every now and then it is nice to make a few “no brainer” pieces, items where you don’t have to worry about fit, so you can just sit and sew and enjoy the process. Don’t get me wrong, I love trying out new patterns and making them work, but sometimes it is nice to take the easy road. Enter the Hollyburn skirt.  This great little skirt is straightforward, few seams and you only need to fit the waistband. I have made this a couple of times before, here and a couple un-blogged.

Hollyburn & Wiksten

I originally intended to take this overseas with me as I figured the black polka dot pattern would make it a good neutral, I know it is polka dots, but they really do go with everything! My plan was not to be, I inserted my invisible zipper, tested it and it promptly broke.  Not happy. Not having a spare, I threw the skirt aside in disgust to fix when I got back.

I have a bit of a bad history with invisible zips having had several break, I have now decided that from now on I will only buy the Vizzy “lifetime guarantee” ones. I am not sure whose lifetime – mine? the skirt? the trend? Either way, the fact it says lifetime guarantee at least says to me that they have tried to make something unbreakable. Whilst it means making a special trip to a different store from usual, I think it might save some headaches in the future.
Hollyburn & Wiksten
Now a Hollyburn skirt by itself might be a boring post, but how about if I spice it up with a fun Wiksten Tank?  This fabric is another amazing piece from my Alannah Hill hoard collection of 2013. I believe it is a silk blend and it feels delicious, (although creases like a bitch!).  It was challenging to cut out, what I thought were regularly spaced large polka dots are not, so making sure they didn’t end up where they shouldn’t was tricky to say the least.  I cut the front in single layer to avoid any weird pattern placement.

The tank was made with the same adjustments as previously, but this time due to the super drapeyness of the fabric I had to take the shoulders up a further ½” in order to reduce the size of the armholes also ensuring my darts end in the correct spot.  All the seams are frenched and the bias around the neck and arms I have turned to the outside and topstitched.

Hollyburn & Wiksten

For the neckline I decided it needed something to make it more interesting, I know the fabric is fab, but it just looked like something was missing, so in true Alannah Hill style, I decided to embellish it with a little trim.  This is some ribbon from my stash that I pleated and then stitched on.  To make your own, just pinch the ribbon with pleats every 1.5cm and sew down the centre (let me know if you’d like a tute or more photos of this process)

Excellent cat hair collecting fabric

To be honest, I am not 100% sure this is my best most flattering look, I think I suit dresses better than separates as I think the single colour/pattern is better for my shape. I feel like the separates cut me in half and make me look a bit shorter and wider. Of course if I wear the skirt with a black or dark more coordinating top this changes the look completely and I feel less cut up.  The top is great with dark capri pants. So all is not lost, I am just not sure this particular combination is a winning one.

Hollyburn & Wiksten

PS – the matching nails are just a coincidence!!

Details:
Pattern – Hollyburn Skirt by Sewaholic Patterns
Fabric – 1.5m light cotton drill from Spotlight
Notions – thread & one zipper from my stash, and one new one

Pattern – Wiksten Tank
Fabric – 1m silk blend from Alannah Hill (from stash)
Notions – thread & ribbon from my stash

Can you feel it?

I made a couple of the Maria Denmark Kimono Tees before Christmas and hadn’t got around to blogging them. Why? Because I am just not feeling the love.  Since making them, one in November, the other late December, I haven’t really worn them. But in the interests of sharing the good and the bad, here we go:

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I like the one on the right a little more, perhaps the broderie anglaise on the fabric helps give it a more girly feel? I feel a bit masculine in the stripes outfit.

I was trying to figure out what the problem is. Is it:

a. the colour?
b. the style/silhouette?
c. the fabric choice?
d. or all of the above?

So this led me to thinking about colour palette…maybe I am not really sure what colours suit me.  I know what I like, but are they the best for me? Some stumbling about on the webs and I found this post regarding colours and what suits various colourings.  Based on this I am either a Summer or Spring, I can’t quite decide.

Summer Colour Palette
Spring-colors
Spring Colour Palette

When I look at the palettes and what I think suits, I think I am a Summer, some of those Spring colours really do me no favours. I am terrible with yellows and yellow-y browns. But then I found this article which said I should have cool undertones and the Spring description seemed more like me. So now I am more confused than ever. I really like the colours in the Spring Palette, except the yellows, orange and browns. I like more of the Summer colours, although have never really explored purple/lilac. Argh – dilemma!!

Then I got to thinking some more…perhaps it is the silhouette. Normally I wear fit and flare dresses, or alternately tighter pants with a loose top.  This is just kind of baggy all over and I don’t have a waist.  Would the tops work better tucked into a skirt? I have been following along the Colette Wardrobe Architect series and interestingly this week is about exploring shape, not my shape, but the shape of clothing I feel most comfortable in.  On reading the post, I think I have had a personal revelation. I need a waist, I somehow need it defined, whether it be with a fit and flare dress or with a belt, it needs to be defined.

So in essence there is nothing wrong with these tees, but I need to find a way to wear them.  I think the first option is to make a girly skirt to balance out the lack of detail and to give me a waist. Or am I wasting my time? Is this colour not for me? Honesty please! (side note – perhaps I should wear makeup)

Have you looked at the Seasonal Colours before?  Do you think they are for real, or a bit of rubbish?

Shorts!

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT:
This post is picture heavy, it contains pictures that may be disturbing to others (of my butt) you have been warned!

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Something you won’t have seen from me before…shorts!  Plus another Wiksten Tank.

Please excuse the wrinkles – it was such a humid day, which really makes it worse. These pictures were taken right before a tropical storm.

There are some great shorts patterns out there; Sweet shorts from Pattern Runway or the Grainline Maritime ones, but they are not for me, I don’t like short shorts on me, I just don’t have the legs for them.  However I do have a favourite RTW pair that I have had for at least 4 years, but tragically recently I wore them to death.  Not able to let go, I hung on to them with the idea I would take a pattern from them. Originally I was going to unpick them, but the seams were predominantly double top-stitched and overlocked.  Scissors were the much faster option.  I carefully cut one half of the shorts apart leaving the other half intact so I could refer to it for construction.

Original shorts

I ironed and then carefully traced around the pieces adding seam allowances. From there it was just cut out my fabric and sew them together. With the other half of the shorts still intact this was reasonably straightforward especially if you have made pants before.

LizShorts-1
Faux coin pocket

The shorts have loads of interesting detail, a divided front section, front yoke, back darts, patch pockets, fake coin pocket and lots and LOTS of top stitching. Those of you who follow me on Instagram would have seen my excitement as they started coming together. Man, that top stitching took forever.

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All the top stitching was done using my normal machine, my normal foot and a steady eye to make sure it was lined up. I couldn’t use my coverstitch machine as I had lots of sharp corners to negotiate.

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I can see there is some extra fabric under my butt in the above picture, but as the fabric has no stretch, I need this so I can sit down.

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Excuse the wrinkles, I had been wearing them all day!
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Proper fly insertion – even a fly backing!

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In my excitement I nearly forgot to mention my Wiksten tank. Made from a floaty (but creasy) rayon. The only change to this pattern was to do an FBA, or in reality add a bust dart which was rotated out of the armscye. I cut the small in the shoulders, grading out to a large in the hips and shortened it by an inch.

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Can you tell I am super happy with how these turned out? The fit and length is just what I wanted, I love the detailing and I don’t have to mourn my old pair any longer!

Happy dance!

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Details:
Shorts:
Pattern – my own
Fabric – 2m of cotton duck from Spotlight
Notions – Lining, zipper & thread from my stash

Top:
Pattern – Wiksten Tank
Fabric – 1.2m of rayon from Spotlight
Notions – thread from my stash

Stash update:
169.5m – 2m-1.2m = 166.3m

PS – Reana took the photos, isn’t she amazing?!