Top Misses of 2013

Top 5 of 2013 - An Annual Blog Series

Following Gillian’s lead, I though I would follow the trend and do a bit of a recap on my creative 2013.

Let us start with the lows (that way I can finish on a high note). My year actually wasn’t too bad on the whole and in my view most of these aren’t complete duds. I have linked to the original posts if you want to click through.


On first glance this looks ok, but bear in mind I am stationery. As soon as I move, I am doomed, the skirt does not move at all, the fabric is way too stiff. A classic case of poor fabric match to a garment, this has been sent off to charity. In retrospect I should have salvaged the fabric for a purse!


Not a total dud, but so wide on the shoulders it is just frustrating to wear.  I wear it around the house, where I can rock the Flashdance look (kitty doesn’t judge). I have tried this pattern again taking it in at the shoulders, but it was still not good. This pattern is never to be re-visited again unfortunately.


This Tiramisu is Super comfy, but that is about where it ends. Again, a good lounging dress, but it is too saggy in the wrong places!  This came down to the wrong fabric and the pattern requiring some alteration through the bodice, fixed in my second version.


Now I like this dress, but I do feel a little self conscious in it, it is very “boob enhancing”, it kind of circles each one and goes “here check this out”.  But I still wear it when I feel summery and like flaunting it 😉

Vogue 1247

Now to my epic fail of 2013, this was all sorts of wrong. From the pattern shape on me, to the fabric choice.  All sorts of wrong.  BTW – I still have the pattern if anyone wants me to gift it to them (does my version not sell it to you??)

Honorable mention goes to:
Cambie fail


This was intended to be a Cambie, but I just wasn’t feeling it. After I started making it, the fabric felt too festive, too green and just too busy. I have treated the bodice as a muslin and plan to cut the skirt up into sleep shorts, so no great loss 🙂

I am not unhappy about these makes and for each one I learnt something either about me or about my body shape or style. I am getting much better at taking time to finish things properly and getting the fit correct. I have done more muslins this year than I have ever done and this has resulted in more wearable items. In fact, 90% of my wardrobe is now me made!

Roll on 2014 and all the awesome projects I have planned 🙂

Scout tee – when one is not enough!

This is Reana’s fault, she made me do it!!  Well her and Amanda of Bimble & Pimble. First Amanda very kindly sent me the pattern and then Reana went and made up three of these lovely tops, so of course I had to give it a go too.

I was extremely sceptical, I mean, how is a woven, baggy top without any darts going to look any good on a somewhat boobilicious less than waif-like body?  Well, I tells ya, it does, I just love it…so much I made three! Well I couldn’t have Reana beating me or anything, life is a competition right?? 😉

I don’t have too much to say about the construction, it’s pretty straight forward, there are only 4 pattern pieces; front, back, and two sleeves. Plus there is a bias piece you can either cut from your fabric, or of course you could substitute with your own purchased bias.

The first version I made with a lovely soft cotton voile – I bought about 5m of this so I wasn’t too worried if it didn’t work out.


I got to use my new coverstitch to finish the hems, which has really given it a professional look. The best thing I really like about the twin-needling is that it doesn’t pull like it used to when done on my normal machine.

After this Scout was finished, I was hooked. Not only did it look good and was comfortable, it only took 1m of fabric and about an hour to make! Brilliant for a quick satisfying make and I think we all like those from time to time.

Next I decided to make one in a poly georgette that I have been hoarding saving for the right project. Pretty sure this had been in my stash for at least two years!


The sleeve and hem were finished using my rolled hem foot, and the neck (due to the curves being tricky) were finished using the manual method of rolling the hem.

Finally, for my third version, I used my new obsession, metallic finished fabrics. This is a foil voile! (hehe I like the rhyming).


Sorry, it is really hard to capture the foil finish of this fabric, but I can assure you in real life it is lovely. Essentially the right side of the fabric is printed with an opaque gold/silver finish – fun!  Again, I finished the hems and neckline with the coverstitch machine.

The pattern recommends 1 7/8yds of fabric, but I only used 1m for each of these tops. I cut the back and front side by side and then the sleeves laid out beneath. The bias piece I folded in half and then cut from the double layer of fabric. This uses much less fabric, you just need to remember to add the seam allowance for joining the pieces.

It’s not often that I fall in love with a pattern and make it back to back and then again! If you haven’t tried this pattern, give it a go, it is nothing short of sheer brilliance!!  Thanks Amanda and Reana for your enabling!!

Pattern – Scout Tee by Grainline Studio
Fabric – 1m of voile/georgette/voile
Notions –  thread

Floaty Flower Power Banksia

I think this is my fifth Banksia top!!  Previous versions here, herehere and here. So sorry for another of the same pattern, but on the plus side you all get to see how easy it is to change this pattern up for different looks!

Floral Floaty Banksia

Can you just tell I love this pattern?  It is such a great basic for making those wardrobe staples that we all need.  Just to let you in on a bit of a secret, I have about three more currently planned so look out for those in the coming weeks.

This time I had an inspiration to draw from, this lovely top from Ruche. If you haven’t seen their site, go check it out, they have some gorgeous stuff, but I think the postage to Australia would be a killer, besides I can copy/mimic right??


So as I said, I used the Megan Nielsen Banksia pattern as my base and made the following alterations:
– placed five pintucks around the neckline.  I didn’t compensate by adding any extra width to the neckline as I find the top to be roomy in that area on me anyway and I normally pinch some of this out of the pattern
– sewed mini ric rack over the pintucks and around the collar
– omitted the placket (obviously)
– raised the shoulders by ½”
– reduced width of collar (I have always found this collar to be too large and flappy)
– I didn’t need to alter the collar length to make it meet in the middle as the pintucks already took out enough fabric out of the neck opening

Floral Floaty Banksia

The fabric is a viscose from my favourite clothing store, Alannah Hill who make fabulous (but expensive) pretty, girly clothes, but also have a clearance store in Melbourne that sell the fabrics.  Whenever I am in Melbourne I make sure I go there.  This fabric is from last year’s haul purchases.

Floral Floaty Banksia

I love getting good value out of a pattern – sort of makes up for the duds doesn’t it?

PS – the offer is still there if anyone wants V1247 – free going to a good home?? Let me know in the comments.

Snuggly Sweater

My original plan for this top was just going to be a comfortable and warm hoodie, but it kind of evolved as I was making it.  I started by cutting around an old favourite hoodie that I have just about worn to death. It is tired, pilled, faded but oh, so comfy. The shape started as just a normal sweatshirt, however on trying it on, it just looked blah.  Plus I didn’t have any ribbing or enough fabric for the hood, so really my plan was doomed from the start.

Faux Briar
Firstly, I cut the neck wider and deeper and finished the cuffs.  But the length was still meh and felt really unflattering.  Having seen so many of the Megan Nielsen Briars online I thought I would try a similar hemline to see how it looked. Normally I do not like a high-low hem at all, so I am not sure kind of madness made me cut into my fabric without thinking! However, I love my new snuggly sweater!!
Since finishing it I have been wearing it to death.  I really like it over the top of my Tiramisu dress but it also works over a long top with jeans.

Faux Briar

The colour is a light aubergine, not one I would normally wear, but it feels really appropriate for winter. I only seem to wear it with black but that is the majoirty of my winter wardrobe anyway. What other colours would this go with do you think?

Faux Briar
Sorry for the frowning, our sun is super bright!

Construction-wise there is nothing fancy, I sewed all the pieces together with my overlocker only, and then finished the hems and neck by simply turning them under once and finishing with a twin-needle. It came together in about an hour even with all the hacking!

Have you ever started something and then just hacked it to get a result quite different from the original?

Pattern: Self-drafted
Fabric:  NZ Merino –1.25m x 150cm wide 

Noir Coppelia

Finally I am getting around to blogging this, for followers you many have noticed it pop up on a couple of posts, but I have never posted it in detail before now. 


The Coppelia by Papercut Patterns is a lovely ballet style wrap around cardigan with long ties. Now I am not going to lie, these patterns are pretty expensive, in fact I think this is the most I have spent on a pattern. But, they come in the most adorable packaging, a cardboard box with a photo on the front and its own built in hanger! The patterns are printed on fabulous sturdy recycled paper, and of course you are supporting an indie designer.  On top of that, to put my parochial hat on, they are based in New Zealand – so what could be better than that?!

I was drawn to this pattern over other wrap cardigan patterns out there as I really liked the raglan sleeves and thought the style would wear better and provide a better fit.


I made this up in a medium weight NZ merino knit and cut a size medium which in hindsight is a little big for me and would cut the small next time.  I found it was too big across the shoulders and the sleeves were too wide. I have taken the sleeves in by 1.5″ but as you can see in the pictures they are still roomy.  I feel the neckband is too long and doesn’t quite pull it in the way I would like. I would recommend taking 2-4 inches off to enable it to pull in a fit better.  The waist ties are also super long, in fact I can wrap mine around the back, to the front and then to the back again!


Even though it is a little big, I just pull it a little tighter and it is all good and cozy. This is a great silhouette with A-line skirts and circular skirts and I love it with my Hollyburn, as seen in my meetup with House of Pinheiro’s Rachel.


I have another of these on by work table right now in the smaller size, and already I can tell the fit is better.  All told, this is a great pattern that goes together easily and is easy to adjust to fit if needed.  Give it a go and hang the cost, it’s one of those patterns you would use more than once so it gets cheaper the more you make it!

Have you sewn any of the Papercut patterns? I’d love to hear your experiences 🙂

MMM – Days 6-10

So far Me Made May is going well but I am definitely learning my wardrobe shortcomings and where I need to focus going forward.

MMM is also really good for getting me to blog some of the items I haven’t previously blogged as I didn’t feel they deserved their own posts.

So, onto what I wore and some things I have learnt so far:

Day 6

MMM'13 - Day 6

Skirt – Kelly skirt 
Top – Coppelia Cardi by Papercut, to be blogged soon 
From prolonged wear, I have realised this skirt is still too big around the waist and I really should have used a stiffer interfacing to stop the waistband stretching further. I have already altered this once and am not super keen to pick it apart again…hmmm hot wash perhaps?? BTW – the picture is taken at our gorgeous B&B we stayed at in Kentucky, a historical mansion. 
Day 7

MMM'13 - Day 7 
My Lorna Suzanne cardi blogged here.
I love this cardi, although the collar means I can’t wear it with any of my Banksia tops as collar on collar looks weird. The three quarter sleeve also limits wearability. I still love the pattern though.
Psst…check out the brekky, yum-o, this is what we got served in the morning at the B&B!
Day 8
MMM'13 - Day 8
Top – Colette pattern SorbettoSkirt – BurdaStyle Denim skirt
I love this skirt and wear it loads, it seems to go with everything and makes a nice change from jeans.
Day 9
MMM'13 - Day 9 
Skirt – Kelly skirt again from above Top – Hole-y moly Banksia
Day 10
MMM'13 - Day 10 Ok, so this day I kinda cheated! We went to Mammoth Cave on this day and the caves are really cold, so I wore long cargo pants and a thick jumper, not made by me at all, but practical and warm. I didn’t pack for super cold weather and so didn’t really have any much warm with me, besides what if I got my nice me-made things dirty? So we walked a lot and exhausted when I got to the hotel I changed into my Pjs which I remembered I did make! Not previously blogged as I didn’t fancy posing on the internets in my jammies, but you get the idea!

Beige, bland…never!

My latest outfit is a vision of beige! This is not a bad thing I feel as it makes for two super versatile pieces.  I’m not too sure about wearing them together all the time, but for a classic summer look I think it works.


For the top I used the Megan Nielsen Banksia pattern, my TNT top pattern of late.  I really like the fit and it is easily modified.  As usual (for me) the armholes and neck are faced with bias binding.  I also modified the collar to reduce the depth, I ended up taking about 1.5″ off the total depth, which with my narrow shoulders I feel works better, it’s not so overwhelming on me.


The skirt is the Kelly skirt also by Megan Nielsen but with the button placket omitted. To do this I simply used the buttonhole markings as my centre seam and cut on the fold. I did not cut the back on the fold as instructed, instead I cut it with an extra seam allowance on the “fold” side so I would have room to put in a lapped zipper.  I am pleased with the end result although my fabric is stiffer than I expected and it creases like a mofo!  I will eventually make this in a gabardine or something that doesn’t mind being sat on. 

I have noticed the weather starting to change so I have to start thinking about my autumn/winter wardrobe.  What are you working on for the new season? Do share, I am super nosy!!

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