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Showing posts from 2015

Birkin Flares! Pattern test :)

I was recently very lucky to be chosen to be one of the testers for Baste and Gather’s Birkin Flares!  I was very excited to be chosen, as I have been waiting (as many have) for the reign of the skinny jean to end, so I could re-embrace the boot cut and the flare J

The Birkin Flares were released this week, and I can safely say that so far, I haven’t seen an unflattering version.  The tester group had all sorts of body types accounted for and everyone looks smoking in these!  Here are my version:

I made these in a fairly firm denim from Lincraft, with some stretch.  I used orange top stitching thread and went the whole hog with rivets, proper jeans hardware, and leather tag (these are all part of the pattern detailing).


For my version I lengthened them considerably – both for additional leg length (I am 6 foot tall), but also to create a deeper hem at the bottom, which feels more retro.  I actually wish I had made it even deeper.  I also did a large waist adjustment (there isn’t a ni…

Scirocco Dress by Figgy's for Issy

Before we went away for our trip my daughter asked if I could make her a new dress.  She came to the fabric store in Surrey Hills with me, and chose some wildly inappropriate (light and difficult to wash) fabrics, after I steered her away from the Collette Dinnigan silk.

I made the Scirocco Dress from Figgy's, which she chose because of the flouncy tiers and open twist back.


She is pretty happy with it.  We layered the fabrics she chose and included some optional details, like the trim either side of the central pleat.

She is right on the upper end of the size range for these patterns, so am glad I got to make this for her this year.  The fit is fairly good, though I wouldn't want it to be much smaller.


The twist back is interesting.  We added a contrast fabric to line it with - so there are peaks of pale green at the twist and when she moves.  The construction was fairly straightforward, but if you do want to line with a contrast you will have to plan to do so before you cut …

Sallie Jumpsuit (or Secret Pyjamas)

When Closet Case Patterns released the Sallie Jumpsuit a while ago I bought it straight away.  I don't have a jumpsuit and have never been sure if they would suit my figure, but this one looked flattering and comfortable.  I also love Sallie Oh's blog and her style, which was an influencing factor!

While I love Heather's black, long and wide legged pant version (here), I was staring down the barrel of a trip to Greece in mid-summer, so I modified the pattern to make a shorty version.


I used a black and white print I have had in the stash for ages (result!  stash busting!), with a contrast red version (same print) for the lining and the tie.

To make the shorts from the pants I made two changes - first was to shorten them to the length I wanted (plus hem allowance).  The second was to modify the shape to make them essentially straight leg shorts - a little wider than they would be if they were the top of pants.  I did this by drawing a straight line from the top of the patte…

Sloan Travel Bag from Sew Sweetness

This is one I made some time ago as a pattern tester, but never blogged as I wasn't sure when it was released.  It's the Sloan Travel Bag from Sew Sweetness.



This is definitely the biggest bag I have ever made!  I used a blue and white kind of weird fabric from the dreaded Spotlight:


The reason I say this fabric is weird is that it is kind of like an ikat, in that it has the opposite colours on the reverse side, but it's actually two fabrics glued together.  I have no idea what that's called (aside from kind of weird).

As usual with Sara's patterns, this is an easy to follow pattern, even for more complicated construction elements.  There is lots of cutting out which always feels like it takes forever (I just want to start sewing dammit!) but lots of cutting it out is how you end up with lots of pockets, so it's totally worth it.

This bag doesn't look so big just sitting there in a picture does it?  Here it is with me for scale:


So - pretty big!  It's a…

Book Week Outfit - Darcy from the Magic Ballerina (and I'M BACK!!!)

So I haven't posted SINCE MAY.  As my six year old son would say:  "what the...?"

I did go away to Greece and the UK for a while but tbh, that was only 3.5 weeks of this time! Anyway - no apologies, straight back into it with some catch up posts.

When we got back from our trip, I realised that the dreaded book week was nearly upon us.  I really loathe book week, mostly because I usually don't remember about it until it's upon us, but also because as a parent who can sew I feel a totally ridiculous (and largely self-imposed) pressure to sew something for it!

This time I was fairly organised and this is the result - Darcy from the Magic Ballerina books:

I made the dress and we had some fun painting the shoes to be the special red, magic ballerina shoes.



We used fabric paint from Spotlight and then I sewed some red elastic for the "ribbons".  I didn't want to use actual ribbons, as they would probably fall down all the time.  The elastic worked a treat…

A dress win! McCalls 6884

I recently did an audit of my patterns (see here) and was disturbed by how many of them were dresses.  The upshot is, I own about 20% dress patterns when I would probably wear them less than 5% of the time.  I also discovered I make more dresses than other things, despite them not ever really making me feel comfortable.

So, of course my most recent finish is a dress (argh!).  This is McCalls 6884 in Robert Kaufman Laguna Knit Jersey and was a kit from Craftsy.


Sorry for the terrible lighting - it was a rush job on a cloudy day before work..Also - what am I looking at??

I have to say I like this dress.  I believe it to be more flattering than it looks here (though perhaps I have made the crossover a little too high, given I am likely to wear a cami underneath anyway).


Overall the dress is pretty comfortable and I like the length of the sleeves.

The pattern was pretty straightforward to make up, though I didn't like the way the wrap at the front was handled.  I came very close to s…

Onyx Shirt from Paprika Patterns (Pattern Test)

I put my hand up to test for Paprika Patterns a while back.  I had a great experience with making the Jasper sweater and it's getting a lot of use now the weather her in Sydney has chilled down a bit.

Their newest pattern is the Onyx Shirt, which is designed for lightweight to medium wovens.  There are a number of variations between sleeves, necklines and cuffs, as you can see from the line drawings below:


I made two versions, both with the scoped neckline shown on view B and both with sleeves.  They both have a hi-lo hem, which is more exaggerated on the crop version than the longer version.  While a crop top isn't usually my thing, I thought I might try this out:



I used a thinish woven of unknown composition acquired from Spotlight some years back.   I think it actually has a small amount of stretch but not much.    I lengthened this top by about 2 inches and think it was 0.5 inches (or maybe a full inch) too much.


Excuse the terrible pressing job on this and the awkward po…

Patterns I Own - a disturbing exercise...

A couple of weeks ago I got a new little file drawer thing to keep sewing patterns in (not all of them, because it's little, more the "working set" or queue).  It was a bit of an impulse buy but it's soooo pretty:



Anyway, the purchase led to some sewing room reorganisation.  That sounds very grand, but "sewing room" is actually part of our bedroom, and "reorganisation" means I swapped one shelving unit and the chest of drawers around :)

The "reorg" led to me deciding on a whim to catalogue all the patterns I have.  Because that wouldn't take long right?  I figured I would use Pinterest, as it's visual, and when Sara Lawson (Sew Sweetness) starting doing this a while back I was jealous.

Many hours passed...



WHAT???  I own 93 patterns for women alone (note - this is now 94 as I realised when writing this I had missed one).  You can see them all here.  This doesn't even really capture it because several of those pins are entire …

Princess Jasmine / Bollywood Costume

A little while back Issy got invited to a Bollywood party.  I saw this as an excellent challenge and way to use up some of the more garish fabrics I bought when I thought I might make her a gymnastics outfit


I used the Made by Rae Flashback Skinny Tee in the 6-10 version and my first ever Burda pattern for the pants.  I think I tightened the tee a bit more after this shot.  For the tee I just made the flashback with short sleeves and cropped it, then added a band around the bottom (using the same method for the sleeve / neck bands).


For the pants, I used a pattern out of a Burda magazine (no idea which one as I have since tidied up).  It was a pattern for kids woven pants with an elasticated waist.  I made two versions (kind of).  The first was a shorts version which was sized to be very close (actually slightly under) her actual measurements .  I made these in a super stretchy spandex dance-wear fabric and these are the little shorts underneath the massive trousers.  Then I made a ve…

Thread Theory Camas in Fantasia from Art Gallery Fabrics

Note:  I received the Camas Blouse for free to review and the Fantasia fabric as a gift from Sara Lawson, the designer.  All opinions are my own :)

Sara Lawson recently offered to send out some of her new line Fantasia (for Art Gallery Fabrics),  It seemed from her email that she really just wanted to get the fabric out there and experience the joy of seeing what people made with the fabric, so she cut it all up and sent it out to people who were happy to make something over the next few weeks.  I put my hand up for some of the knits and she sent me a couple of yards of the Kokka Sprites (Teal) knit:


I have to confess, I am not usually drawn to patterns, particularly larger scale ones (the sprites are probably about 6 inches tall, for reference).  I don't dislike them, I just never feel I know what to do with them or how to wear them.

I would have picked this, given the choice - which is about as close to a non-pattern print as you can get!!!


Happily for me, Sara had Sprites left…

Jasper Sweater Dress Review (Paprika Patterns)

You can find my review of the Jasper Sweater Dress from Paprika Patterns at the Curvy Sewing Collective blog.  There is also a giveaway to win a copy of the pattern.

You can find my full review here:  http://curvysewingcollective.com/jasper-sweater-review-and-giveaway/ and a sneak peak of my version below:


Hey June Evergreen Jacket (Pattern Test)

I can't believe I didn't post this sooner - it's been on the bloggy backlog for too long!  I put my hand up to test Hey June Handmade's Evergreen Jacket back in February.

This was perfect timing for me as my old winter coat is looking very shabby.  I originally wanted to make a copy of it, but since moving to warmer climes that probably isn't a good idea as it wouldn't get much wear.  My version of the Evergreen Jacket is a great lighter weight option instead:



The Evergreen is an asymmetrical "biker" jacket with ribbed cuffs and waistband.  I had to put "biker" in air quotes, because it seemed odd any other way, given the semi-floral print I used :)

The pattern is designed for stretch fabrics and can be made in anything from sweatshirt fleece to a woven (assuming you are careful about sizing appropriately).  I really want to make another in a ponte, though I feel like even that might be too warm for Sydney...



I used a cotton sateen (from Sp…

Named Alexandria Peg Trousers (Shorts) - Pattern Test

It's been a while since I got to blog much of what I have been making - a few pattern tests recently and a lot of other life going on!

When Named (Uber-cool Finnish pattern company) asked for testers for their SS15 pattern range Ticket, I jumped at the chance (I literally jumped up and down when they sent my pattern to test!).  In particular, I was excited to see they included 5 plus size patterns in their range (actually 6, as one is a two-in-one).

I tested the shorts version of the Alexandria Peg Trousers and Shorts:


I didn't have many issues with the pattern - it was mostly very straightforward and a pretty quick make.  The pattern is a "three scissors", which means average difficulty - I would say that was accurate.  I had some trouble the first time I sewed the facing onto the edge - the advice in the pattern to handstitch at the top of the vent is a good suggestion!  Once I did that it fitted very well and lay nicely.

I actually made three versions of these sh…