Friday, 30 December 2016

B6024 Boho Smock Dress

Hello holidaying sewists,

My last make for 2016 is a dress version of the Butterick 6024 collection of smock tops. I wanted to make the sleeved top into a dress and the mustard linen was bought a few weeks ago with this in mind. I should of course have been knocking out something more appropriate for heatwave weather but hey that's how I sew.
I love this pattern. I first went 'oh, I gotta get that' when I saw it made up as a white artist-style smock on the McCalls Facebook page, indeed there is a light breezy voile smock in my mental queue. I googled and searched Pattern Review for other fab versions including this one. Yes Annette I even took note of your colour choice. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and I do live on another continent ;)

Finished and crumpled but it's getting a wash and a press before I put it away in the hope of cooler weather..

Alterations:  I fiddled with the height of the neckline and added 1.5cm all round to the height then ended up trimming about 1cm away when I was putting the binding on, so all in all it is about .5 cm higher all round and a total of 2.5 cm narrower across the back. Which brings me to the back. I narrowed the upper back and back neck area by putting in two pleats that match those on the front and sleeves in depth and width. I had already done a sway back adjustment for my previous version reviewed here. I think it adds some visual interest to the back too.
I added 1.5 cm to the edge of the shoulders tapering to nothing at the notches to preserve the effect of dropped sleeves. This would not happen on my wide straight shoulders otherwise. Then I added 20 cm to the length. I was squeezing it out of my material - I try not to buy too much as I am short but I got carried away and  had to shorten the sleeves by 3cm by folding out the casing allowance then gathering them into separate bands. I like this look better anyway.
A note on the neckline finish. I used a folded over self bias band as instructed ( I pieced it) and sewed  the doubled over circle to the wrong side of the garment then flipped it over to the outside and top stitched it down a millimetre or so lower than the seam line. This gives a clean finish and is quite easy to do.

I was keen to take photos and get this review in. I took them yesterday at dusk when there was a bit of breeze blowing but you don't see the cold facecloth I had handy! I did not photograph inside as don't like how the colour of my interior walls look in photos.
By the way I am growing my hair out and letting it go natural. I'll do my best to spare you my brindle skunk phase. You could be seeing creative headgear for a while..

A happy 2017 to you all,

Friday, 23 December 2016

Merry Christmas

Hi everyone,

Thank you for reading my blog during the year. Thank you for commenting. I got distracted this year with a job that didn't work out and then a photo group venture run with a friend that didn't work out. It often felt like 2016 was a year of taking risks then failing... Thankfully there was always the mental relaxation of sewing and the pleasure of knocking out TNT's for my daughter or the usual selection of randoms for me, or catching up on blogs. So as I take stock and  count my blessings, thank you for being out there blogging about life and sewing too.

Merry Christmas and Joyous New Year,

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Style Arc Lola goes Cargo in cotton/hemp and a dress revamp

Hello sewing friends.

If you read the previous post about modifying the Lola pants into cargos you would have seen my photo of a bargain table piece of cotton/hemp that I picked up at the Fabric Store, Sydney. I've quickly made them up. It was a squeeze to cut them out of the yardage and I had to piece the pockets but I kind of like the look. The pants feel remarkably light for a sturdy material and the loose style allows for some air movement.

'This location is not going to work' out take.

On another note I have been doing some revamps of existing clothes. This RTW linen dress is a favourite but has always been hard to wear because the neckline would slip down and occasionally reveal too  much. My solution - a colourful appliqué from the jersey I used for the B6024 top. I  glued black cotton poplin to the back and experimented with freeform zig zag for the first time ever, then sewed it into place.

At christmas I am looking forward to partying with family, having more sewing time and of course more time at the beach...

Happy sewing everyone,

Friday, 16 December 2016

Style Arc Lola goes Cargo

Hello guys.

Right now there seem to be cargo pants everywhere I look, from designer collections downwards. They are an ideal summer pant and I decided to take a summer pant pattern that I knew worked well on me and turn them into cargos. I used Style Arc Lola's  blogged before  here  I used some jungle print cotton voile with just enough body for lightweight pants. 

I didn't want the stovepipe leg shape so, going by the leg circumference of some other pants I've got I added 2 cm to the width of the front leg at the hem on each side and then added 1.5cm to the width of the back leg at each side and tapered going up to hip level. The ideal leg hem circumference for a loose but not wide pant on me is 42 cm (16.5")

I redrew the side of the front where the slant pocket was and played with the idea of a round patch pocket but then went with the classic cargo style pocket that gets incorporated into the waistband and side seam. Then I added square back patch pockets and two rows of elastic in the waistband, the lower one ending in ties. Then I added some loops and button at each side hem for rolling up the legs and viola! Summer cargoes.

Front - excuse the wrinkles. This is after wearing them all day!

Back - patch pockets

They are regular length triple folded and help with a loop and button.

These were actually the trial run but I wore them today to lunch (my fashion critics approved of them) and a quick photo shoot in the park.
I have some pale gum leaf green cotton/hemp blend from The Fabric Shop just waiting to be cut out for the next pair.

p.s. Here's some other linen goodies I bought the other day:

I've been looking for a gold or russet colour linen for a dress and I hit the jackpot. (psst  enabler alert. I used my Fabric Store December voucher to get $20 off )

Above and below are two Tessuti beauties.

The Mustard linen may well become a B6024 smock dress and the Duplice is earmarked for  a little dress pattern coming to me all the way from France. Stay tuned! What a splurge, Merry Christmas me. (But what I spent would purchase one RTW pure linen dress, you know, so I've saved really..)

Happy sewing,

pps re advertising. I don't advertise on my blogs but if I am a fan of a store or I find something great I share it. Same goes with honest criticism.  I haven't been paid to flog anything, Just in case you were wondering.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

B6024 Top

Butterick 6024 is a versatile smock top that can look arty, casual, boho or just summery according to variations of it I've seen on the web. The version that first caught my eye was a floaty white artist smock that I saw on the McCalls blog Facebook page. A google search turned up some other great variations as well.  Anyway..
I sent away for the pattern. It wasn't on the books here because our two big fabric chain stores are so slow to move with the times that they only keep pattern books that are one issue behind. It's frustrating and I don't think they realise the sales that they are missing especially now that they don't have $5 dollar sales any more. Time to talk to store managers I think and voice dissatisfaction.

Butterick 6024

I made up View A without the duck tail out of a lovely Liberty cotton jersey from The Fabric Store and have been wearing it often. I am going to make it up in a floaty multi coloured speckled voile in my stash. Trying to decide on sleeves or no sleeves :)

Those cute flowers are really a fly swatter..

My alterations:  The pattern is designed for lightweight wovens but I made it from a one way moderate stretch jersey. The usual recommendation is to go down a size for knits but when I had a look at the pattern pieces I decided to stay with my usual medium size for the front but had to do something about the enormously wide back neck. I have straight square wide shoulders and paradoxically this kind of neckline (on me) needs bringing in either through the body of the back or at the side neck to sit properly. I considered doing back neck darts but then I ended up folding a vertical pleat out of the whole back piece to effectly bring the back piece down to a size small. Also the whole neckline sits a bit lower than in the illustrations so I will raise it 2 cm on the next version. I folded out a tiny sway back alteration at the waist. (see last photo)
On the next version the vertical back fold will be folded out and turned into a pleat sewn down partway like those at the front..maybe.

The pattern has you finish neck and armholes with bias strips attached then folded to the inside and stitched. I cut mine on the crosswise stretch one size shorter to take out a weeny bit of stretch. The neckline became a neckline border instead of folded in. I turned the armhole ones under and stitched as per instructions.
My pleats are folded to the inside not outside as I did not want to top stitch them and I pressed them all going in one direction when I was finishing the neckline. The directions have four pressed one way and five pressed another. This doesn't make sense from a construction or appearance viewpoint IMHO.
Also, on my next version I will bring out the side shoulders 2cm tapering to nothing at the armpit to give more of a cap sleeve effect. That's because of me not the pattern, for the previously mentioned wide shoulders.

Vertical 1cm folded out to reduce overall width, Horizontal small sway back adjustment 

It sounds like I tweaked it a lot but it did not take long. This is a quick sew and the pleats are placed beautifully and makes for a nice summer pattern.

Happy sewing,


Friday, 25 November 2016

Skirt from Jeans refashion

Hi everyone,

My daughter came over today and walked out with a skirt I made for her out of a pair of bootleg jeans she was not wearing any more. It was a experiment but lets just say she liked it! I was waiting for her to try it on and give a verdict and I had left the bottom of the skirt unfinished, thinking I could run a line of topstitching a couple of cm from the edge to stop fraying but she wanted it left raw and got busy pulling out a cm of threads out leaving an edge of white fringing - after I took the photos of course.

The bands are made from the jean legs so they are on the lengthwise grain but there is a bit of elastane and it worked ok.
The How:  
First I unpicked the crotch for about 10cm each side. then I cut across the jeans at the level of the unfolded crotch seam allowance. I unpicked both the back and the front curved parts of the crotch seams.  I overlapped the fronts until they lay flat and topstitched with rust coloured Gutermann topstitching thread, straight stitching down along the original fold. BTW I used normal white thread in the bobbin. I used the same method on the back because the bum had bagged out a little bit. I did not finish the inside of anything in this skirt, just trimmed off the excess.
I cut 2 x10 cm deep strips 4cm wider than the width of the 'skirt' from one of the jean legs. I curved them ever so slightly, following the existing knee curve of the inner leg of the jeans. I overlapped each piece over the other at the sides by 2cm and topstitched using a wide triple zig zag. I trimmed off the excess.
I attached this to the skirt using a straight triple stitch.
Then I cut the lower bands from the other leg, using the finished width of the first band plus 4cm and also went 10cm deep. I repeated the method used for the first band.
You can glimpse the band zig zag topstitching in the photo below.

It was all very quick and easy and nothing but the jeans and thread was needed. 
Happy sewing!

Saturday, 19 November 2016

V9176 Vogue Wardrobe Sheath Dress

Hi all,

Here we are with just over a month to go till Christmas and time just seems to speed up faster every year in the busy-ness of it's approach. Parties and get togethers galore, work and more work, plans and deadlines.  In Sydney we don't get a white christmas but we do get hot summer nights that are great for parties and pre-christmas dinner cruises. Last Friday night was such a night for my work's Christmas party harbour cruise. When the invitation came in I had the 'what will I wear' moment even though I of course have things to wear .. I had patterns I wanted to try and wanted something simple. I chose  V9176,  ran up a quick cotton muslin, refined the fit then decided to risk it in heavy *silk from the stash.
*Edited to add I did a burn test and found out it is not silk. I think it is cotton sateen. It's ultimately a mystery but it is a beautiful quality fabric I bought from either Tessuti or The Fabric Store, Sydney. I really should keep notes..


I lined the dress as per instructions. I also interfaced the neckline and armholes. Strangely, no sort of reinforcement is  mentioned in the instructions. I did an invisible zip, the best one I have ever done, following the sewing divas invisible zip tutorial

Just for my own records I am going to summarise what I did in my own words:

Pin back seam together, mark where zip will end, leaving 5cm of zip below the mark. Mark this with chalk on the zip, and also by your preferred method on the seam allowances.
Machine baste to mark then change stitch length and sew a few stitches, reverse a few stitches then sew the rest of the seam shut.
Press seam open.  Make sure you have pressed it enough so it will hold the crease when the basting is taken out.
Press the zipper tape and teeth open, carefully, on low heat.
Undo the basting stitches. Align zipper, face down on the seam and pin to seam allowance so that teeth are aligned with pressed edge. Pin zipper to seam allowances.
Machine baste zip to seam allowance down the middle of the tape. This is what I do to keep the zip in place for the proper stitching - it really helps. You can also do the zip up and check that both sides are sitting evenly.
Then switch to a zipper foot and sew close to the teeth from top to bottom, both sides, stopping at the chalk mark and back-stitching a few stitches.
That's it. Easier than stitching the bottom of the dress seam last, but I find even if I have to redo the bit below the zip it's somehow easier with this method. Thanks Els!

My alterations: Square shoulder adjustment, shortening the pattern at the waist by a total of 6cm and bringing out the waist curve a bit. Adding back 3cm to the hem. Note:  Watch the dress length, it's designed to be a mini. Pinching a scant .5cm out of the front neckline 'v' curve just above the bust to prevent gaping. The previously mentioned neck and armhole interfacing.

This will now be my go-to sheath dress pattern.
Leaving you with a couple of shots of Sydney harbour :)


Thursday, 22 September 2016

M7361 Top - View D


I am editing this post to add a second top made from View B, the V neck view of this pattern, but with a level hem not the high low, even though on my body it still falls a bit high-low.  I extended the facing to meet the side seams and to go below the bust for stability. I made it from a poly crepe with a nice drape. It might even work as a dress. What do you think?

View B

Back to the previous version of this post:

BTW I still have the patterns mentioned in my earlier post in the mental queue but I got distracted by new-to-me M7361 and two pieces of bargain table cotton prints from Pitt Trading. I sometimes work nearby which is dangerous when combined with a bad day and the need for fabric therapy. The sleeves are from leftover stash lightweight linen.The front and back panel lining is from stash lightweight cotton.

The black linen pants were made using V9067, view D.

Notes re making the top: The fit is described as loose. The sleeves are cut on the bias. After taking flat measurements I made a size 14. The instructions are good, mostly. The sleeve seam is sewn half way then pivoted to be sewn onto the sides of the top. They never mention clipping to the pivot point, which makes this type of construction so much easier. I interfaced the neckline with lightweight iron-on interfacing then self lined the complete front and back instead of doing facings. I lowered the front neck by 1/8 of an inch, the tiniest bit. I also swung the back panel seams out over my but by 1/4" Note: The front is high so if I make the level hem version I will add length to the whole top. Would I make it again? Yes. I was originally inspired by a version online that had added panels from the sides of the shoulder downwards. I can't find the photo darnit.. But if the right fabric comes up I'll make it again. In fact I've got some crepe which is saying 'make me, make me'...should I listen?

Back to (hopefully) making a wearable muslin of my in the queue vogue pants...

Happy Sewing,


Friday, 16 September 2016

Cynthia Rowley 1366 and thoughts for spring

Hi sewing friends. Next to my sewing space - aka - my kitchen table, I have a cork board where I post notes and sketches and outfits ripped out of magazines and little lists headed with things like 'The Classic French Woman's Wardrobe". Maybe I should get real and write a list titled "How an Australian woman of unmentionable age will get through the summer heat" wardrobe haha. Anyway I am working on it. I have plans. I have more lovely material and patterns than time but I am determined not to waste time and actually do what I've planned!

Recently I was in Sydney looking for a stripy knit - one of my perennial favourites and I stumbled across a gorgeous expensive linen in a giant ikat print in Tessuti's instead. I could see it made up as a loose summer top. The price was in the 'gasp' category. I bought it anyway, took it home, washed it, ironed it, got out the TNT pattern I had in mind. Then I fiddle-faddled about getting out other patterns and retaking my measurements and hesitating. The ikat design is freeform, not really even or symmetrical which added to it's charm but also added to the 'this may be a waste of time& money' factor. Then just I held my breath and did it.
Note for the notice board:  life is too short not to cut into good material
This is the result. I have sewn this pattern, Sim 1366, a lot. See here No doubt there will be more.

So what are the summer plans? I've bought this Anne Klein pattern for a zippered top and pull on stretch pants. V1517. Instant love.

I have designer blue denim that I will use for the jacket, probably without the lining. I also have white stretch denim to make the pants, but I'll try them out in stash cotton sateen first. Meanwhile there is another top pattern from last summer I never got around to making,V9004 that's next in the production line. 
TNT's are good but I'm resolving to sew patterns when I buy them, not put them away to be forgotten.
Another note for the notice board:  sew that new pattern now!

Happy sewing,

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Butterick 6183 Lisette Top

Hi guys,

How's everyone sewing? harhar..  I've been looking at my collection of top patterns and looking at my stash - especially my impulse bargain table buys and I am determined to marry the two. This is the first effort, essentially a wearable muslin of B6183. The pattern came out a year or two ago and I've been eyeing it since then so I ran it up. The top has a front yoke, different cup sizes, princess seams and a little exposed zip at the back neck. The front yoke is self lined and then the whole neck edge is finished with bias binding. BTW the pants with the pattern are described as 'slightly flared' - form the hip! the legs are wide but they look like a cool loose-at-the-leg pant for summer..must dig through the pants section of the stash :)

I eliminated the zip and did not do the yoke facing. Why would you unless your fabric for the yoke is sheer? I put in a CB seam and a button and loop closure at the back neck. Then in the end I sewed it shut and left the smiling cat novelty button (from All Buttons Great & Small, Newtown) as a decoration. I can pull the top over my head.

The verdict? I don't know. I like the idea of it but it needs something. Firstly it's short, high hip level. Then it's 'semi-fitted', neither fitted or boxy, but to be honest (again) I did add .5 cm of ease to the CFF and the CB to accommodate my wide shoulders and neck. On the positive it is almost there. Definitely wearable.

Happy sewing, whether it's spring or autumn,

Friday, 26 August 2016

Burdastyle Jacket 11/2015/102

Hello! I'm back!

It took me a while but I've finally finished Burdastyle 11/2015/102 jacket. It is made out of a lovely black matelaisse quilted stable knit from Emma One Sock purchased about six months ago. I loved the material and loved the pattern as soon as I saw them last year. Now that I've sewn and worn the jacket I wished I'd made it sooner but that's the evolution of sewing for me these days. I'm even attempting to blog fast, rather than not blog at all. Busy with life and other projects and all that...

The pattern:  This jacket, cropped jacket or coat is beautifully drafted, beautifully shaped with front and back darts and hidden lapel-roll darts. Fashion wise it sort of looks like part of the sleep wear for day wear trend I am seeing in magazines, although that on my part was purely accidental. The sleeves sit nicely as you can see in the side view. The instructions made perfect sense for once.

The Positives:  Easy to wear style, with a shawl collar extended to wide lapels. The fit at the neck and the back/neck/shoulder area is good. The jacket is surprisingly warm and very comfortable. The pattern comes in four lengths. I like the casual look, and it is lined, always a bonus.

The Negatives:  No pockets! It is roomier than I thought and I could have gotten away with a bit less ease but that could be because of this particular fabric. In 'a crisper fabric or fabric with high sheen coating' (one of the fabrics recommended) you would need the ease. Looking at the photos I could have taken the body in a bit at the sides and moved the shoulder up a bit. I may yet do that but right now I want to wear it for the last blast of Sydney's winter. The sleeves are long, right to the knuckles. I thought about taking them up a bit but I like the way the sleeve length turned out to be the exact jacket length. (View C)

The Conclusion:  Very nice pattern but watch for the amount of ease in relation to the ease of the fabric.

Edit:  I secured the facing to the body of the jacket with invisible back stitching by hand along the lapel darts. See diagram at end of post. This stopped a bit of migration that was happening when I wore the jacket and everything hangs better now and I am happy with it. The things pattern instructions don't tell you ;)

Burdastyle 11/2015/102

Happy Sewing,

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Revamp of Burdastyle 09-2007-104 Coat

Hi everyone.

Do any of you mull things over, put them on the Yeah-when-I-get-to-it list then find yourself doing the  thing almost subconsciously at a later date then go 'Why didn't I get around to it sooner?' In my own defence I am not usually a procrastinator. For the last few weeks a new job has taken all my energy but yesterday I had a day off mid week and the result was getting time to take 4 1/2" (11cm) off the length of this coat.

Burdastyle 09-2007-104

The wrinkles are still falling out of the fur. 

The 'Before' I remember it was mid summer, hot and rainy. After the photos I ran inside to the air conditioning!

The coat was blogged about here  I made it knee length and hardly ever wore it, much as I loved it. I want a more informal length to get more use out of it. Fur, real or fake is in fashion here right now so this was the time to get out the scissors and the vacuum cleaner. and shorten it. The cool (by Sydney standards) weather is continuing so I hope to wear this to a party on Saturday night. This coat - I guess I should call it a jacket now - will definitely see more daylight. I want to swan around Pitt Street mall* wearing it.

By the way if you have the issue of Burda, this is a classic and well drafted raglan sleeved coat pattern. I saw a character in a TV show last night wearing a summer coat out of black printed Japanese crepe that was virtually identical.

Line drawing and model from the archives

I'm toying with the idea of keeping the offcut, lining it and putting hooks and eyes on the piece and the coat hem and having the option of attaching the piece as an extension. See post in three years time haha ;)

Have a good week,

*where all the designer shops are