Saturday, 19 October 2019

Pietra pants, Sadie tunic and Sorrento bucket hat

Summer is on its way and I was determined to find some time to sew. Time to sew, for myself at least, has been rather limited for a while, but it is always such a joy. This outfit began with the Pietra pants by Closet Case Patterns, which I was inspired to make after seeing the gorgeous versions on the Tessuti blog.

I had one metre of navy sandwashed linen from a recent(ish) sale at Morgan and Marks, a local Perth designer who sometimes sells off their excess fabric. There was just enough for these pants with some creative cutting, but I had to use a different navy fabric for the pocket lining, which does not show at all.

This was my second pair of Pietra pants. The first was a wearable toile in beige linen. I made these exactly according to the pattern. They are a bit baggy for my liking and the waist is very high, which I find a bit uncomfortable, possibly because I'm not used to wearing such high waisted pants. For the navy pair, I decided to remove 5cm from the rise of the pants by folding in the front pattern piece at the lengthen/shorten line and folding the top of the back piece, facings and front pocket pieces over by 5cm. 

I feel much more comfortable with the rise of the navy pair. I also took in the side seams of the navy pair for a closer fit.

The blouse is the StyleArc Sadie tunic, which I have made before. Both times I made it I shortened the length, but I can't remember by how much.

This Sadie is made in a light cotton voile with an embroidered flower pattern. I think this fabric came from a designer sale as well, but I've had it for so long I'm not sure!

The top worked quite well in this slightly sheer fabric, but the neck and hem facings are very visible. I was careful to make them as neat as possible! A flesh-coloured bra is also essential.

And finally, the hat. I was recently invited to the launch of an Image Stylist business at Garden City Shopping Centre by B, my friend and ally in all things sewing, fashion and food. B had won tickets to the event and we had a very decadent time drinking pink cocktails and surreptitiously inhaling the grazing table. The stylist, Peta Preston, showed us her picks for the upcoming season, which included a bucket hat! The model is wearing one made from white broderie anglaise, which I may copy. I made mental notes of all the pieces I liked and the patterns I would use to make them. The bias cut skirt (same model) was on my to-make list.  

I used the Sorrento bucket hat pattern, which is free from Perth designer Elbe Textiles and which came to my attention after being made extensively by Sue from Fadanista. This is a fab pattern and I highly recommend it. There will be more! Cheers x

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

The Prospects Dress - Naughty Bobbin Patterns

When I was asked to be a pattern tester for the newly released Prospects Dress by Naughty Bobbin Patterns, I said yes immediately! Savage Coco always manages to design something that makes you feel like a million dollars and this is no exception. 

The Prospects Dress is a lined, knit dress with flattering, cut-away shoulders (but not so cut away that you can't wear a bra), a high neckline and a figure-skimming style. It is available as a Print-at-home PDF, a print-at-copy-shop version or a printed pattern, starting at only $5.25. If, like me, you actually enjoy gluing PDFs together (yes I really do), this is a bargain!

I made my dress using a bright red slinky knit fabric that had been in my stash for a very long time. I rarely wear red, but I rather like this shade on me. It certainly ups the va-va-voom-I'm-going-to-strut-about-in-this factor.

The dress is not difficult to make and the instructions guide you through making a beautifully finished dress with no seams showing on the inside. It is also possible to make this entirely on a sewing machine, with no need for an overlocker.

I made a size Medium, according to the size chart, and it fits perfectly.

This is a gorgeous pattern and I love the dress. It really is one of those things that you put on and instantly feel amazing in. It is also incredibly comfortable and easy to wear.

Naughty Bobbin has got lots more exciting things in the works, so keep an eye out for those.

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Not enough fabric for my pattern - what now??

Last year a new, and rather lovely, fabric shop opened up in Myaree, Perth. It is called Woven Stories Textiles and stocks a stunning array of ethically sourced hand woven, hand dyed and hand printed fabrics for sewing and quilting. Being a bit short of money of late I was very restrained and chose just 1 metre of one fabric - this indigo dyed, hand printed cotton.

As we were in the middle of summer, I was hoping to make a simple dress to wear on the hottest days. I needed a pattern that didn't use much fabric and decided on the Eucalypt Dress by Megan Nielsen. I can't remember the width of the indigo fabric, but it was just not quite wide enough to fit the pattern pieces on. Hmmm....

I hunted through my scrap drawers and my stash for a fabric that I could use as a contrasting panel and all I could find was a tiny amount of cotton that I had dyed with indigo a couple of years ago. The cotton had a pattern cut into the fabric and was a good match in colour and rustic-ness (!) for my main fabric. However, there was too little contrasting fabric to use as a panel, so I cut it into uneven rectangles and made a panel with offcuts of my main fabric. I hand stitched around each piece with embroidery thread as an extra little detail.

I had just enough to make contrasting bias binding for the neck and armholes and for a strip around the hem of the dress.

I decided to lengthen the dress slightly more than the original pattern and have a straight hemline.

So there we are - the print doesn't match down the centre due to fabric restrictions, the contrasting fabric is fraying where it was pre-cut and the dress is very rustic and imperfect - but I love it. I adore indigo-dyed fabric and this is so floaty and comfortable to wear. I'm so pleased I was able to think of a way to squeeze this lovely, simple pattern on to my special fabric.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Xerea Dress - Pauline Alice

A while back, a lovely sewing friend gave me a gift voucher for Tessuti Fabrics. One of the things I bought was this Italian designer, stretch denim, panel print called 'Water Wheels' (now sold out). It was $49 for the 1 metre panel, which is rather more than I usually splurge on fabric, so I just got the one panel with no idea of what I would make with it.

I eventually settled on an old favourite pattern - the Xerea Dress by Pauline Alice. When adding this link, I wasn't able to find the pattern in the online shop. I hope it is still available as it's a winner. I have made this pattern a couple of times before and I still wear the dresses a lot. I chose the View A shift dress, but left it sleeveless.

I had to think carefully about cutting this dress. I only had one metre of fabric and the bold print could not be ignored for matching purposes. The large size of the 'wheels' added another cutting challenge as they needed to be centred. In the end I cut front and back pieces with the skirt section slightly narrower than the pattern piece so I could fit them on the fabric with the wheels in the right place. The side panel and internal pocket pieces were cut from a very dark grey ponte. I just squeezed the yoke pieces on and I added black piping between the yoke and main dress pieces for interest. I hemmed the dress with black bias binding as it seemed to need a line of black to balance the colours.

I didn't get an exact print match at the sides, but it's acceptable and seriously, this fabric is so stunning who's going to be looking at the side seams except other sewing people?!

I adore the colours and print of this fabric and the stretch denim was perfect for this style of dress. I do realise I have a target on my stomach, but I give not one hoot.

I was so pleased with this that I wore it on Christmas Day and will certainly be wearing it much, much more.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

The Utu skirt - Breaking the Pattern Book

Earlier this year I was a pattern tester for the new book, Breaking the Pattern, by Saara and Laura Huhta of Named Patterns. The book has now been launched and I was lucky enough to be sent a copy for my participation in the testing process!


The book is really lovely. It contains pattern sheets for 20 garments with ideas and inspiration for combining and customising patterns to create many more different looks. The presentation and photos are beautiful and the sewing instructions are clear with many diagrams. I definitely recommend this as one of the best sewing books I've seen.

One of the patterns I tested was the Utu skirt. This is a beautifully shaped, unlined wrap skirt with an attached belt and D-ring fastening at the side. The Utu pattern can also be made as a lined pinafore dress.

The Utu Skirt - Breaking the Pattern

The Utu Pinafore - Breaking the Pattern
I used a 100% cotton, mid-weight upholstery fabric with a blue and white print. The fairly sturdy fabric worked well for this pattern and the skirt sits and fits very nicely.

The belt continues around the back of the skirt through belt loops, which is a nice detail.

The skirt sits high on the waist and is a very flattering shape. The belt holds the skirt firmly over the tummy, which is good for smoothing over any rounded bits!

This skirt style would work well as a casual, work or evening garment. I'm looking forward to wearing mine a lot as the weather warms up.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

The Perth Dress - Carolyn and Cassie


Way back at the beginning of the year, Carolyn asked for testers for her first pattern. I jumped at the chance. The Perth Dress appears to be a classic shirt dress at first glance, but it has a unique collar opening detail that creates a pleat from the front neckline.

A single button is cleverly used to close both sides of the neckline opening. The sleeves and a back yoke and pleat continue the shirt-like vibe of the dress.

I used a lightweight shirting cotton for the dress, which my son tells me makes it look like a hospital gown. Now he's said that I am tending to agree. I may decide to convert this one into a top and try a dress in a different fabric. 

Thank you to Carolyn and Cassie for the opportunity to test their unique and lovely first pattern. I look forward to seeing what they come up with next.

Friday, 17 August 2018

Named Anni Building Block Pattern

I haven't had much time for sewing or blogging lately. Life has been complicated and time has been short. However, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to pattern test the newest Named Anni pattern. This was a special pattern released in celebration of Named's 5th anniversary. It includes pieces to make a huge variety of styles including a dress, jumpsuit and playsuit, each with multiple bodice, neckline and sleeve options.

With it being winter here in Perth, I went for a long sleeved dress with bell cuffs. Although I usually go for lower necklines, I couldn't resist making the diamond cut-out neckline and I was not disappointed. The construction is really cool and not too difficult (just be as precise as possible) and the result is lovely. The picture below has been lightened to try to show the seamlines. You might just be able to see the inset piece above the V neckline that creates the diamond.

The dress is made from a wool blend fabric that I got free in a warehouse smash and grab earlier this year. A local clothing manufacturer, Morris and Co., had shut up shop in the 80s and the warehouse hadn't been touched since. Just before renovations commenced this year, a few sewing ladies were allowed in to take what we wanted. It was a quite amazing (and dusty) array of fabrics, zips, industrial sewing machines and equipment, school and nursing uniforms, hats etc. I got a few handfuls of zips and buttons and a bit of fabric, including a massive roll of this black wool, which just about killed me as I struggled out of there and back to the car park!

The fabric was easy to work with and I love how the dress turned out. The style is elegant and flattering and it fits like a glove. The only issue I have is that the zip at the back is difficult to do up on my own. This is fine for the dress, but I'm not sure how I would manage in the bathroom if I'd made the jumpsuit!


This is a lovely pattern and I highly recommend it. It has unique details and the proportions are spot on. The number of options is also quite amazing, making this pattern excellent value for money. I am very keen to try a few more of the styles...when I have time!



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