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The next lot of finished tops ….

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Still in my top making phase I finished my last lot of shirts.

07/2012 #108


The third top I made was from a lovely cotton silk blend that I got from The Fabric Store.

The fabric is quite delicate so I fussed a lot with it.  I didn’t want to stretch the hems so they are just held in place with Vliesofix T10 tape instead of left raw like the pattern suggested.  The fabric is cut on the bias so it does hang beautifully.



I do like this shirt though the bust darts are a little high.

These next two patterns I liked (below) are the same pattern with different sleeves, and the top one has the tie on the front.

07/2012 #116


07/2012 #108 

I bought some lovely peach chiffon to make the second pattern but thought I would make a wearable muslin just to check the fit first.

Using a printed chiffon from spotlight I cut out  #116 – accidentally forgetting the add the seam allowances.  I thought that this would be OK and I was very wrong.

The shirt looks great, but I can’t lift my arms.   There is no movement at all between the sleeves and the body of the shirt (most likely due to my lack of adding seam allowances)

Some small modifications were to put the tie on the back instead of the front and doing a simple folded hem on the sleeves instead of  bias binding.

I also made a sorbetto from this fabric.

I actually made this one first just to see how easy it was to use premade bias binding on such a flimsy fabric.  The shirt turned out ok apart from the fact that when I ironed the front pleat – the iron was too hot and I burned a hole in it.

So, over the past two weeks I have made 6 shirts: 1 sorbetto and 4 burdastyle patterns (the green and white dot are the same pattern).

I think that I would wear only one of them out of the house.  I am ok with that.  Even though I wanted some new summer shirts this has turned into a “process” rather than “finished product” project.

It could be the fabric/pattern combination.  I really wanted to play with shear and lightweight fabric.  Maybe these patterns weren’t suitable for that type of fabric.

It could be the patterns.  The burdastyle patterns weren’t great.  They are very simple styles with minimal shaping (darts or curves).  I also find the instructions difficult to follow and often just did what I thought was best.  I hate not having seam allowances included, but I think it is something that eventually I will learn to love.

Then maybe it could be me.  Maybe I am not as skilled as I thought and still need to have my hand held for fabric choice and instructions.

Whatever the reason, I am done with tops for the moment.  I still have some beautiful fabric to make 07/2012 #108 but maybe I might wait until I can find a better pattern.


mini mismatched maxi

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I bought 1.5m of this great stripey fabric from spotlight. I have a navy shirt that would go great with it.

I was going to make a style arc Fay skirt with it but thought the fabric may have been too heavy.

Icandy handmade did a post not so long ago about maxi skirts. I thought that the mismatched striped version would be the way to go because I wouldn’t have to worry about matching the stripes as much.
They have a few simple maxi skirt patterns as free google docs.

I didn’t measure the pattern for size and just blindly cut it out. Of course it didn’t fit me.

Well it did fit but it was very tight. Next time I will need to add at least 1.5″ to each side seam.

Even though it didn’t fit I wasn’t all that happy with the way it looked. Possibly the more complex stripe make it look too busy. I would have been better using the classic pattern with horizontal stripes.

Not to waste what I had done – I made it into a mini maxi for my little girl.

I made a yoga band for the waist and brought the side seams in by about an inch and chopped a foot off the bottom.

She seems to like it. I still like the idea of having one in this fabric for myself and have not ruled out the idea of buying some more.

top number 2 of 4 – 08/2012 #122

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08/2012 #122

Scarf neck tank.

This pattern was featured in this issue of the magazine.  By this I mean that instead of the normal limited information this one had 4 pages within the magazine of instructions and pictures for each step.

I used some georgette that I had leftover from a maxi dress I made earlier this year.


The top has turned out nice and fits ok.  It could do with some shaping around the bust.

The pattern needed 3m of fabric to be able to cut the scarf on the bias.  Because I was using stash fabric I did the best I could fitting the pieces to what fabric I had.

This is the back.

This  fabric is a little too heavy for this pattern.  The scarf pulls the neckline down quite significantly at the back.  I had to stitch the facings to the main fabric to try and prevent them from flipping over all of the time.

If I made this again I would ensure I got the right yardage.  If the scarf was cut on the bias I think it would sit so much better.

I don’t think that this shirt will get any wear either.  When I have it on I am constantly adjusting the cowl neck and fiddling with the knot at the back to make sure it is right.  Maybe with the right fabric this might a great top.

So 0 for 2 so far for something wearable for work.


Burdastyle magazine tops – 05/2012 #110

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I have been subscribing to burdastyle magazine for almost a year now.  The initial set up was a little difficult to do but getting the beautiful magazines each month is so worth it.  Up until now I have not made a single thing from these magazines.  I love looking at the pictures and the patterns and the wardrobe ideas and combinations.

Every couple of weeks burdastyle online release the patterns from the magazine for purchase as a download.  Each pattern is about $5.40, I am not sure how much the annual subscription costs me.  It renews around my birthday and I just pay the Euro and treat is as a gift.

With a need for some new work tops I went to my burdastyle magazines instead of the usual sewing search.

I found four tops that I liked.

The patterns number are done by issue of the magazine 07/2012 and the pattern number #122.

And for once I even prewashed my fabrics.


The stripe is going to be a maxi skirt and the brown some wendy pants.

05/2012 #110

I really wanted this pattern to be great, but it is a bit  … meh.  The pattern has two versions.  Realistically it is the same pattern.  For a woven the pieces are cut on the grain and for knits they are cut on the bias.

I made it first in a bright green lawn from my stash (it didn’t get sold a fabric-a-brac).  I cut the pieces on grain.  The neckline is just funny.  I guess it hanging off to the side is supposed to be a design feature but I just don’t like it.  It is also a little small though the hips.

The arms look funky and stick out because I should have stabilised them first before sewing the hems but didn’t.  I won’t be wearing this shirt.

Really wanting to make this pattern work I tried again with a little more success.

I modified the pattern pieces to include a curved waist and a slightly wider front and back (probably the same as going up a size).  This time I used a chiffon and cut the fabric on the bias which made the cowl neck drape so much better.

But because it was on the bias the fabric was a little “stretchier” so my pattern alterations were totally unnecessary.  In fact the back turned out too big and had to reduce the amount of fabric with a centre seam.  Because it was cut on the bias the seam gathers the fabric a little and doesn’t look great.

If I were to attempt this pattern again I would definitely use chiffon again.  Cut the front on the bias but leave the back on the grain and use the original pattern pieces.

Finishing the hems and neck line I used a technique from my fabric-a-brac dress.  You fold the hem over and sew it near the fold with a small zig zag. then with a pair of very sharp scissors trim the excess fabric.

I think it is a really nice finish.  Especially if you can’t be bothered changing the thread and settings on the overlocker to make a rolled hem.

This shirt won’t get worn to work but may look great over my swimmers with my denim shorts on the way to the pool.



three new dresses

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Now that spring has sprung I am back in dress making phase.  I have started wearing a few of the dresses that I made last season.  I figured that if I wanted to make more I had to wear the ones I have too.

Vogue 1250

Lara has  made this dress quite a few times with great success.

The pattern is basically made from two pattern pieces strategically put together. Very clever.

I made a slight error with my pattern tracing and then cut the fabric incorrectly.  The pleat in the front shoulder is a lot wider on mine which has reduced the size of the cap sleeve.  BUT I am so much happier with this.

It sits quite nicely on my shoulder rather than hanging over.  I cut a smaller size so the dress would be more fitted than flowy.  The fabric is a cheap polyester which wasn’t that great on the roll, but perfect for this dress.

I will definitely make this pattern again and also consider shortening it to make it a top.

Burdastyle 8836

This is my “fabric-a-brac” dress.  I got the pattern for $1, 2m of lining and 3m of main fabric for $10.  Best thing is that both pattern and fabric have only been sitting in my stash for weeks – not months.

For something a little different to my normal style I made the version with the frill.  I haven’t made a burda pattern in a long long time and I was really impressed with the instructions.

Searching for a picture for the blog I came across this aussie pattern shop that has quite a few burda patterns at very reasonable prices ($4).  Patternsplus is well worth a look.

The options for construction for this dress is two layers of fabric or two layers plus a lining for the skirt.  I went with two layers of fabric, one of those being the lining fabric.  At the beginning the two layers are basted together and then treated as one piece for the remainder of the construction.

The dress is made from a medium weight chiffon and I learnt a lot working with such a light fabric making this dress.  It has a long centre back zip and next time I would use an invisible one.

For some reason I didn’t get the neck edges to line up at the back either but a little bit of unpicking and 5 minutes hand sewing and it is all good.

The dress fits well and is very wearable.  Though taking a quick photo for Susie gave me a glimpse of what it would look like as a tunic. It may get more wear as a shirt but I will leave it as a dress for the time being.

Vogue 8489

The third dress isn’t quite finished.  And it is one of those projects that I am not sure I want to put in the time needed to complete it.

I have done most of the work for this dress.  I just need to hem the arms and the bottom and handstitch the facings in place around the neckline. I am not sure I could be bothered.

I am not totally thrilled with the back.  The contrast isn’t lined up all that well and the tension in my overlocker wasn’t quite right so I can see the thread in the seams.

I got the fabric from Susies stash.  There wasn’t enough for all of the pieces so I used a black knit as contrast.  The dress is pretty enough – but maybe a little bold for me.  I think the black really makes the print stand out.  But I guess if there was no black the print would stand out anyway.

I knew this dress had a very low neckline.  But not only is the neckline low but the gathers around the bust, and the black contrast really draw attention to your cleavage.  It could easily be worn with a crop top or singlet underneath or even over a pair of swimmers.

So for now it is back in the project box, one day I might be inspired to get it out and finish it.  It is so very comfortable to wear.

Now that I have a few dresses done I am going to move on to tops next.  I have lots of grand plans with fabric and patterns just waiting for my attention.

The goal is to complete something every three days over the next 3 weeks.  So that is approx 7 items by 14 October.  Lets see how we go.


last piece of winter sewing McCalls 7359

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One rainy day I lent my little girl my tessuti new york cape to keep her dry.  She has been wanting her own ever since.

I found some great wool fabric at “The Fabric Store” on sale and picked up 1.5m.  Then I went in search of a kids pattern.  I wanted a cape that was lined, at least thigh length, with a hood, a neck closure and slits for arms at the front.

I settled on an out of print pattern – McCall’s 7359 that I got on etsy and made view D.

I didn’t have as much fabric as was required and it took all of my puzzle solving skills to get the pieces from the fabric I had.

The lining is a cheap crepe backed satin that was in my stash destined for a fairy costume.



The only other modification I made (apart from shortening it) was to round out the shoulders.  The pattern is designed to be worn with shoulder pads. So just simply straightening the shoulder curve made it sit much better on her.

It doesn’t show up very well in the photos but at the neck is a cream Chinese frog closure.  I bought 3 of them but decided that one was enough.

Even though I think we have seen the last of the cold weather it still might get some wear.  And hopefully it should still fit her next season.

Not to be left out, the little boy feels he needs to wear his cape too when she has hers on.

fabric a brac

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Like most crafters I have a problem with my stash.  It’s not really a major problem it is just the fact that I have more supplies than available storage space.  My crafting stuff is starting to creep into other rooms and wardrobes.

I have a stash of quilters cotton – fat quarters and yards of prints and collections that caught my eye or were destined to be something.

Over the years balls of yarn have made their way into storage containers in the spare room.  There’s lace and sock yarn as well as a few sweaters worth of 8ply.  There is even enough for a blanket.

I knew I was in trouble when I started buying yards of fabric for potential garments.  I just do not have the room.  This is my storage space next to my sewing table.

So I started with a spring clean and I was brutal.

I got rid of a good portion of my yarn on a rav destash.  I was surprised at what sold.  All of those balls that were just waiting for the right pattern are now gone and I feel “lighter” for it.  Don’t get me wrong I still have a decent stash of yarn remaining and there is enough left to satisfy my needs if inspiration strikes and I need an immediate fix.

For fabric I managed to get rid of a fair bit at the fabric a brac a few weeks ago.

Susie and I shared a stall and we did quite well.

What didn’t sell was sorted and a “to donate” bag was created.

There was a little temptation from the other stalls but I managed to come home with only a few new patterns

and some fabric (5m @ $2/m) to go with one of the dress patterns.

And really that fabric is not going to be added to stash it will be made into that dress soon and the scraps thrown away.

I think that is the way that I want to operate – have the pattern or the idea – buy what I need, make it and then move to the next thing.  It is difficult in practice because there is always something new and shiny that will divert my attention, which will then lead to the potential of that item not being made and the supplies to become stash.  But I guess it  then becomes fodder for next years spring clean.

I think it will be a never-ending battle but I am heading in the right direction.  Have a little bit on hand, buy what I need and not get too far ahead of myself with a huge queue of projects.

I still have a stash but now there is a little more room on those shelves.

Did you spy the kitty in the first photo too?


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