Falling Leaves {McCalls 8040}

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A while back I ordered a few of the new McCalls patterns, shipped directly from the company because it takes us approximately three seasons to get them in Australia (not even joking). The shipping is a bit costly, but if you get the patterns when they’re on sale and make the most of the shipping, it’s a bit more worthwhile.

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Out of the patterns I ordered, M8040 topped the list as the one to make first – quick, straight forward and those sleeves. I don’t have a whole lot of woven top patterns, so it’s nice to have something to wear with jeans and work pants.

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I used some Dear Stella quilting cotton I’d had hanging around for a while and made the cropped version. The only change I made was adding a bit of extra volume to the sleeves. if you’re going to have a crack – the cropped version is proper cropped. I’m quite short waisted and it’s pretty short on me, often I still have to shorten cropped bodices, but not this one! And, as always, check the finished measurements. I get the vibe that McCalls are trying to look a bit more like the indie pattern companies with their new line drawings and pattern names (this one is called Emmie), and it seems like the heap of ease they used to have is shrinking. I usually make a 16 in McCalls (even though my measurements put me in an 18 or 20) and I made a straight 18 in this one.

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So what’s the next logical step for a girl who likes a top? She turns it into a dress bodice, of course. With double gauze from Spoonflower. I threw caution into the wind with this one, which I would like to say is due to the state of the world at the moment, but it’s not. I just get a bit like that with sewing.

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I shortened the top another 1.5cm above the ‘crop’ line on the pattern pieces, but once I’d attached the skirt pieces later it was still a bit long in the bodice, so I had to decide whether to unpick and shorten or add elastic to the waist seam.

 

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I decided on the elastic because I figured it would give my wardrobe a bit of variety and the gauze gathers up quite nicely. I thought it might end up pulling at the button at the waist though (and it did), so I added a hook and eye there to secure everything.

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I ended up with 14 buttons in total and I stitched the facing down so it doesn’t curl up and flap around, as it tends to do on lighter weight fabrics.

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I just squeaked it out of three yards of fabric and even then, my sleeves had to be cut shorter and one of them on the bias. Ooops. I wasn’t willing to forgo my giant sleeves though, I love them.

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Kick Out The Pleats {Simplicity 8652 + Megan Nielsen Rowan Hack}

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Hi. It’s me again, sewing things for the job that I might not have very soon. Don’t ask me why I had an overwhelming desire to sew a pencil skirt when:

(a) I don’t think I’ve ever worn one in my life

(b) I struggle with the shape of my lower half

(c) I was convinced it wouldn’t fit me

(d) the whole job vs pandemic thing

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BUT HERE WE ARE FAM. So, this is an excellent pattern (Simplicity 8652). Quite excellent. The little pleated kick pleat is a particularly nice touch. I also like the fact that it’s for wovens because I’ve had a bad experience with a knit pencil skirt pattern a while ago. Apparently I needed one then too. Actually, maybe that was part of the reason I was convinced this one wouldn’t work out. It’s the whole hip to waist ratio thing.

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I used sateen from Spotlight because once again, that forgiving smidge of stretch is quite excellent. Using the finished measurements, I graded between the 18 (waist) and 20 (hips) and also swapped out the straight, rectangle waistband for the curved one from the Peppermint wide legs pants pattern. I’d just made those pants and knew that waistband was a good one. I had to adjust it slightly to fit the skirt pattern (longer front, shorter back pieces – which makes sense because they’re reversed on the pants because the fly is at the front).

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The jumper is another Megan Nielsen Rowan hack, more details in this post. The cable knit is from Spotlight and I love it. It was easy to sew with, has a nice weight and came together quickly. The only thing is I bought it online and didn’t pay much attention to the composition. It does have a bit of poly in it, making it a definite winter item.

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And now I’m ready to get called up for the part of Joan in Mad Men. Excellent.

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Guess Who’s Back? {Megan Nielsen Rowan Hack + Peppermint Wide Leg Pants}

Phew. While things go a bit bananas all around us, I figured now was the time to catch up on a bit of blogging. And why not? I have a (mostly) captive audience and who knows, maybe some of you will use your isewlation to start sewing or just need some inspo to keep boredom from completely devouring you.

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AND WHAT BETTER PLACE TO START THAN WITH A FREE PATTERN? Oh yes. The Peppermint x In The Folds wide leg pants pattern has been around for a while now, but as always, I was a bit slow to jump on the bandwagon. I’m guessing Officeworks isn’t an essential service, so there goes the A0 option, but if you’ve got more patience than me, you can download it from here and get sticking.

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Here are the things I like about this pattern:

– It’s free (c’mon)

– It’s well drafted

– It has a curved waistband, which is perfect for curvy selves like me

– The wide legs mean that the fit is pretty forgiving if you’re generous of thigh (also me)

The only downside that I can think of is that there is a mistake in the instructions. When referring to the fly, it’s called the fly shield and vice versa. But if you ignore that and just go by the diagrams, you’ll be golden.

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The pattern is for medium and heavy weight non stretch wovens, but I cheated for my first pair and used sateen from Spotlight, which has a smidge of spandex but is still a pretty nice weight. Just because my hips and thighs are forever a pants fitting nightmare and that bit of spandex forgiveness is nice if your hips don’t lie. Next time, if I do use something without stretch, I’ll need to grade the hips up. For this pair though, I just used a straight size F.

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And lets talk about the hare in the room. Look at this delicious See You At Six French terry from Maai Design. Gosh. Is it not amazing? Not a colour I would have normally chosen either, but I love it. The clever thing about See You At Six is their perfectly matching rib. Look at it. OMG. The quality is as amazing as you’d expect too.

Pattern wise, I used Megan Nielsen’s Rowan pattern because I already had it on hand. Here’s what I changed:

– I sized up (the fabric doesn’t have as much stretch as the pattern required and it’s still pretty fitted, although that’s what I was after – something to wear with high waisted skirts and pants),

– Cropped it

– Added a nice wide band for the bottom

– Shortened the sleeves to accommodate the ribbed cuffs

– Scooped the neckline a smidge

I think that’s it. Of course, over the last few days we’ve reverted to summer, but when it cools down again I am ready. So ready. I have to consider work outfits suitable for school these days and this one is a winner.

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Queen of Hearts {that linen one with the big sleeves}

Well. It’s been a minute, hasn’t it? And it’s not like I haven’t been sewing. I’m always sewing. Then I diligently photograph, post to insta and then the blogging part has sort of dropped off. Partly for time reasons, partly because I feel like I make a lot that is same-same and I don’t really have the words to say the same thing yet again but in a different way. Partly because blogging is a bit of a dinosaur now but I still like it anyway, ok?

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I’ve been drafting a bit myself lately and that sounds way more fancy and complex than it is. When I say ‘drafting’, I mean ‘making up my own patterns by cobbling pieces together in a way that doesn’t look too shit’. I’ve never had formal lessons, just a bit of good old Nanny YouTube and a lot of trial and error.

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My last post was back in July and I was into tiered skirts then and I’m still into tiered skirts now. And so it seems, are a lot of you. So I thought I’d share my process of making these dresses. It’s not hard. A bit tedious, but not hard. (PS this is wonderful embroidered linen from Pitt Trading. I love it and so does everyone else because it sold out very quickly. Twice. And as a PSA, buying from places like Pitt Trading and The Remnant Warehouse is nice because they sell mostly designer remnants. So you get cool stuff, at a decent price and it saves it from going to landfill. More designers should sell off their end of bolt stuff. It’s cool. Some companies do it through their own websites – check out Lazy Bones and Doops Designs).

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I start with the bodice. I use this boxy, cropped, dartless one ALL THE TIME. I started by tracing off the bodice of an old 80s smock dress pattern. I changed the front and back necklines, the shoulder slope, raised the armholes and waistline and then drafted the facings to suit. Which is really easy, you just follow your new front and back necklines. Or you can finish with bias tape. Whatever floats your boat. I used to hate facings but now I think they look more polished, I just stitch them down in the shoulder seams (ditches) so they don’t flip to the wrong side. Oh and clip and understitch. Annoying little extra steps, but don’t skip them, it makes a huge difference. Anyway. Find your bodice. Change it until you’re happy. MAKE SURE YOU CAN GET IT OVER YOUR HEAD. If you don’t have a pattern you can steal one from, you could try the free Peppermint Magazine/In The Folds one. It doesn’t have sleeves though.

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So. Sleeves. I change them up too. I have the original version from the 80s pattern. It was puffy (it was the 80s!), so I flattened the sleeve head to reduce the ease. Sometimes I cut out a rectangle of fabric double the length of the sleeve opening, gather it to fit and presto! Cute frilly sleeve. Look, same bodice! One with a peplum, one with that same peplum lengthened to a skirt. Oh the possibilities!

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But for the white linen dress, I re-traced that sleeve, lengthened it and slashed it from the bottom, leaving the sleeve head in place so it would still fit into the armscye of the bodice. Like this.

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You can leave then sew the sleeves up as normal and add them just like that or you can add elastic into the hem, which is what I did for this dress. Yay! Big silly sleeves! So even though the bodice remains the same, just changing the sleeve can make it feel like a completely different dress (or top). Sewing magic.

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Now for the skirt. This is the easiest part, I swear. It’s just gathered rectangles. Sometimes I’ll do three tiers, sometimes two. It doesn’t really matter as long as each tier is 1.5x the width of the first (which is 1.5x the width of the bodice). So, for the linen dress my tiers were:

  1. 16″ (wide) x 15″ (high) cut on the fold (x2 – one for the front and one for the back). Gather those suckers until they are the width of your bodice. Put the pockets in this one if you so desire.
  2. 24″ x 15″ cut on the fold (x2). Same again. I like to hem it before I attach it to the tier above, but you can do that at the end if you want. Gather it to fit the tier above.

Gathering. Everyone always asks me for tricks or shortcuts. I have none – sorry. In fact, if you try to shortcut, it probably won’t look as good. I mark the centres of each rectangle of fabric with a little notch. I run two rows of gathering stitches across the top. I gather those rectangles to fit where they need to go and then I find those little centre notches and match them with the centre of the piece above, pin them in place. That way everything is even and I spread the gathers out so they look nice and are running straight up and down (so no little bits get twisted and caught up when they are sewn on).

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Now you have a cute new dress. Excellent work! If you want, you can make a waist tie by sewing two long rectangles together. Just make sure you leave a gap for turning (I like to leave it in the middle) and then sew it up from the right side. Or don’t have a waist tie and just swan around in your big old sack dress like the queen you are.

(I hope that all makes sense. Sorry I talk so much).

 

Tiers of a Clown

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Help me. I’m obsessed with tiered skirts. It’s all I want to make. I’m a full skirt lover from way back, of course. I wear dresses with gathered skirts almost every day. I laugh in the faces of people that say gathers are unflattering on large hips. HA. Have you seen my 44″ beauties? Gimme more hip floof, I say.

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Why the tiers though? I don’t know. More twirling power? Fond childhood memories? I was born in the 80s, so remember stuff like this one:

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LOOK AT ALL THAT SKIRT! Tiered skirts have been around much longer than that, of course. Check out these lovelies:

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So. I’ve become a bit distracted with getting more of this in my life. I do have one pattern with a tiered skirt (McCalls 7834, which you can see here):

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But it only has two tiers and I was keen to try three, which meant a bit of an adjustment in height and maths. Still easy though. You can do it. My first version was entirely self drafted, a smocky fit and made out of amazingly light and floaty cotton/silk from Potter and Co.

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The fabric is 136cm wide and I used 4m in total. The top tier of the skirt is 2x the width of the fabric (one for the front and one for the back, gathered to fit), the second tier is 4x and the bottom is a whopping 6x. So much fabric. Felt like I’d gathered 11kms of fairy floss. But holy heck, it floats around like a cloud and I love it so much. Room for food and plenty of comfort. I used the same fabric in blue spot for the pockets and bias facing at the neckline.

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But was this enough? Nah. I needed something more fitted and maxi, obviously. This was my birthday dress but alas, I finished it a day late. Not a big deal, it would have been far too chilly for the movies and out to dinner at this time of year anyway.

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Ohmygosh, this fabric. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t gravitate towards florals as a rule, but hell – look at this. It was giving me allllll the hippy dippy love child vibes and I needed it in my soul. It’s a mid weight cotton (quilting weight, I guess) from Nerida Hansen, designed by Ayang Cempaka. It looks like it’s currently out of stock though.

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The weight of the fabric meant that I could do a more structured bodice and even though I’m mostly a boat-necked, sleeve having bodice kind of girl, I thought the sheer amount of fabric might drown me, so I used good old Butterick 6453 instead. I’ve made this in the past and it’s a nice, simple make. Do look at the finished measurements though (there’s a lot of ease, I’m generally a 16-18 in the Big 4 and this is a straight 14 with a smidge extra added to the princess seams, a total cheaters FBA).

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Anyway, I made the tiers here taller (obviously) to give me a maxi length skirt. Because the fabric is much heavier than the cotton/silk I used for the last version, I was conscious of not using quite so much. As it is, it’s ended up quite heavy! I might end up adding a waist stay to support it. The fabric is 140cm wide and I used around 70cms width for the front and back on the top tier, 2x the full width for the second tier and 4x the full width for the third. In hindsight, I think the 2nd tier could do with a touch more fullness but I’m not worried.

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Spring is coming, I can feel it. Can’t wait to wear my new boho babies all summer long.

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Ducks Fly Together {Grainline Studio Cascade Duffle Coat}

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People tend to laugh at Queenslanders when we talk about the cold, but it’s all about perspective, right? Sure, our wintery days might end up a mild 22 degrees, but last week the mornings were starting at 6 degrees and while it might warm up outside, our houses are designed to keep the heat out and it’s often warmer outside than inside the house. It’s not unusual to add layers while inside the house and shed them when out in the sunshine.

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ANYWAY, the point is that I do occasionally have a need for an extra outer layer. Plus I enjoy the process. Be nice to your Queenslanders.

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My need for a new coat began when Potter and Co posted a sneak peek of this lovely pink herringbone wool. It was love at first sight. In my early 20s I had a RTW coat from a cheapy chain store in a similar colour and I loved that thing to death and ran it into the ground after a few years. It was time to create a similar version and relive my youth.

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I have a couple of coat patterns hanging around, but a fancy wool calls for a fancy pattern and the nicest one I have is Grainline Studio’s Casacade pattern. It has a lot of pieces. So many pieces. Separate linings and outer and interfacing pieces. Neat little hem and sleeve facing pieces. Two piece sleeve, yoke, upper and lower outer pieces. Many, many pieces. It’s all worth it though. It feels very fancy and couture once it’s finished.

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This isn’t my first Cascade coat rodeo, I made the short version a few years ago. I thought I blogged it, but maybe I didn’t because I’m having trouble finding it. Here she is:

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The tartan is cool and all, but I don’t wear it a lot because I tend to live in prints and it clashes a bit. Hence the sensible pink. Also, how nice is it to have a warm butt? The shorter version isn’t as toasty on the rump. I remember struggling with my first Cascade a bit at the time, but I’ve learned a heck of a lot since then so wasn’t too worried about giving it another go. There’s an excellent sewalong for it and the instructions are good. Don’t fear the coat. But don’t think it’s something you’re going to smash out in a couple of hours either. It’s slow fashion at its best.

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It’s possible I was somewhat overconfident going into this one and I did end up having a couple of issues. Not huge deals, but definitely a few things to think about.

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The wool is quite lightweight, which is ideal for our winter. I don’t need anything super heavy. It also makes it nice to sew, because you’re going through about 6 layers of fabric at the centre front. No broken needles, I’m pleased to say. It did however, stretch and move a fair bit. I unpicked and sewed those pockets on about three times before giving up. They wanted to stretch and move no matter how many pins I used. I didn’t prewash the wool as it’s dry clean only but I did steam the hell out of it as recommended, to preshrink it before cutting. Go me.

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My downfall was possibly the use of the devil’s very own fabric, satin. I really wanted a slippery, slidey but fun lining and those ducks/egrets/cormorants realllllly appealed to me. The colours are ideal. I knew it was going to be a bit of a challenge when I started cutting and it was leaping out of the way of the scissors and generally just being a pain in the bum. Then of course, there’s the pressing – the delicate balance of actually trying to get it to stay flat versus melting it.

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In the end my lining has ended up too big and is bagging a bit on the sleeves and at the hem. I could unpick and attempt to fix, but I’m not going to. It doesn’t hang below the hem so I will just deal. The satin seemed to grow or shrink as I sewed it, depending on whether it was sitting closest to the needle or feed dogs. Words were said.

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Another couple of things for next time:

– I think I need heavier interfacing. This one was quite lightweight to match the wool, but I feel the bands would sit better with a more gutsy interfacing.

– The zipper bands should be interfaced. I really don’t know why they aren’t and I’m really annoyed at myself for not doing it. I know better.

– The bottom of the coat wants to sit open. I can’t get those bands to sit flat. Might be my giant hips, might be because it wants another closure, might be because my interfacing is too flimsy. Could be a combination. I will say though, I searched through blog posts and instagram hashtags and found that almost every single other maker has the same flippy band at the bottom. So at least it’s not just me. And am I really bothered? No. Do I feel like I have to point out every flaw in my sewing? Yes. Ha.

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Challenges aside, I bloody love this coat and will wear the heck out of it for the 12 days of winter we actually have.

PS Toggles seem hard to find, but Grainline have a good tutorial on making your own. Mine are from Spotlight, but I’ve had them stashed for a couple of years.

 

 

 

From The Sea {Megan Nielsen Cottesloe}

I was given this pattern in exchange for a review. Just in case that’s not clear below.

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You lot know how I am about swimmers, right? The same way I am about sewing underwear. I love it. It’s hard to explain, but there’s something very satisfying about those little seam allowances and stretching that elastic so it’s juuuuust right. Or maybe it’s because I don’t have to try them on my size 14  dimpled and pale body in little change rooms under fluro lights anymore. Or maybe it’s because they are not traditionally ‘home-sewn’ things and when people ask where you got your rad swimmers and you say you made them, their minds get a little bit blown. Plus they are fast to sew.

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Now, for the most part my swimmers are based on underwear patterns because there aren’t a heap around that tickled my fancy. In fact, some of my faves are based on Megan Nielsen’s Rowan bodysuit pattern. So when lovely Anita from Megan Nielsen got in contact and asked if I’d like to review one of the new patterns, I was keen. Super keen. But I had a lot on my plate, so I tried to be a responsible adult and decline the offer. Anita told me that was totally cool, gave me a later deadline and flicked me the Cottesloe pattern anyway, just in case I could make it work.

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WELL. Curiosity got the better of me and I opened the files to have a look. One thing lead to another and here we are. I couldn’t resist. It was the simple swimwear pattern I’d been looking for. I knew it wouldn’t take long to make and I was super keen to give it ago. In fact, I managed to bash out two pairs in one afternoon.

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This floral version was my toile. I made the straight size 14, from the standard 0-20 pattern (my measurements put me in between the 14-16). The fabric was given to me quite some time ago, but is quite possibly from Boo Spandex and I’ve lined it with lightweight black swim spandex (as opposed to lining, it’s nicer to work with and a bit more supportive). That’s it. No changes, all very simple and the fit is pretty close to spot on. It’s got a surprising amount of support (no foam cups in this version) and the fit is better than I expected – especially since there are no bust seams for shape. For reference, I’m somewhere in the vicinity of a 38DD.

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With my very wearable toile complete, I moved on to my good fabric. Spoonflower sport lycra in a Beetlejuice themed print I designed. I’d been holding out for the right project and this was it – no seams to cut into those sandworms. Here I’ve got my lining (again, lightweight swim fabric) underneath and my fabric on top so I can cut them out together. Did I mention I love that nothing is cut on the fold? More accurate when working with knits like this, for sure. Plus, you can check how the print is placed.

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One slight change I wanted to make was to move the back straps more toward the centre back. This is a common adjustment for me. I literally chopped the straps off the pattern piece just above the armpit curve, moved them about 2cms in towards the centre back and then redrew the curves. I’m not sure if that’s technically correct, but it worked well. You can barely see a difference in the images above, but I can definitely feel the difference when they are on.

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I added foam cups to my second version to see if there was much of a difference in support. There is a  little bit of a difference, but not a huge amount. I didn’t find my first version unsupportive though. The foam does give you slightly less stretch across the front too. Not enough for it to be a problem for me, but maybe something to keep in mind.

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I ran out of wider swim elastic for my second version, so lined the band with powermesh instead. It worked very well.

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You can see the scoop of the back is more pronounced since I moved the straps across.

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This is a simple, fast sew and a great introduction to sewing swimwear. As always, Megan Nielsen’s patterns are well drafted with excellent instructions. She’s recently extended her sizing, so these go up to a size 30, which is bloody brilliant.

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I love the high waisted bottoms and am impressed with the amount of support I get from the top. A top in this style is always going to provide more compression than shape, but I think it’s one that will suit a variety of sizes. When summer comes around again, I’ll definitely give the one piece a go too.

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Things I’ve Made Lately But Have Been Too Lazy To Blog {Woven Edition}

Here we go again, a bunch of recent makes that don’t really require a blog post of their own – this time in woven.

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This one is good old peak 80s, Simplicity 5884. The cool thing about this one though, is that I designed the print. You can find it here.

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Next up, another version of my old faithful self drafted (Joan) dress. This time with a collar and metal zip. The magic here though is in the fabric, obviously. May Gibbs artwork is quite iconic and I bought this sheet from Kip and Co because I needed to wear it on my body.

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New fave: McCalls 7834. I’ve made this twice so far and I’m not gonna lie, I could go another one. This particular version is made from rayon from Spotlight. I made the straight 16, but mine seems to have much more ease that those pictured on the pattern envelope. I changed the sleeves on this one too. Next time I might size down but I’ll definitely need a FBA. It’s comfort city and probably makes me look like a blob of leopard, but I seriously don’t care. I’ve worn it heaps since I made it. I can’t remember if the pattern has you interface the button placket (I mean, why wouldn’t you?!), but I did. I also interfaced both pieces of the collar and stand, because rayon.

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Another comfy rayon (again, Spotlight) sack, this time dashing back to the 90s to steal the big collar, empire waist vibes. Simplicity 8602 from 1993, to be accurate. I love the sleeve length of this one, which I adjusted to be between the short and long length. I also added the bottom ruffle, which it probably doesn’t need but I was just so in love with it on the leopard dress. It’s becoming quite the autumn staple as well.

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Next. Grown up Wednesday Addams. Simplicity 4119 from 1952. That’s a 67 year old pattern, friends. She’s pristine, she’s got no printing – just notches and punched out holes. I felt kind of bad unfolding it all because it was so perfectly preserved in the envelope. But patterns are made for sewing, right? Luckily I’ve made enough Carolyn PJs to know how the collar needs to be constructed so I didn’t really need to refer to the (very brief) instructions.

It’s a bit of a funny fit, as these vintage patterns can sometimes be. I graded it up slightly, after comparing it to my most loved, self drafted bodice (see above), but in the end I took it all back it. There must be an unbelievable amount of ease in it, since the pattern is a 34″ bust and I’m a 42″. I used cotton shirting with a slight bit of stretch so the fit is more forgiving. I love those gathered darts, but they need to be a big bigger at the waist for me. I also shortened the bodice a bit too much. I think next time I’ll make those cuffs a bit bigger so they can be buttoned together.

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And finally, McCalls 7200 in another of my own designs and printed on Crepe De Chine from Spoonflower. A very quick and simple make, but another that will see me through until winter. I made the length somewhere between the short and long versions on the envelope and laughed in the face of all the hand sewing the instructions request. I tacked the band down at a few points (back of neck, shoulders and bottom hem) so it stays put a bit easier. The CDC is very flippy floppy otherwise and there’s no interfacing in the band.

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All finished, well done.

 

Spoonflower Denim Hop {Thurlow Shorts}

The nice folk over at Spoonflower have once again asked me to work with some of their fabric, this time it’s their Dogwood Denim and coincides with a promo that they are running – 10% off 1+ yards of their Celosia Velvet, Dogwood Denim, Linen Cotton Canvas, Lightweight Cotton Twill and Cypress Cotton Canvas from February 7-February 10. There is no promo code required.

The fabric was sent to me free of charge but as always, my thoughts are my own.

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When Spoonflower first emailed me to ask if I would take part, they did suggest that I use the denim for a home decor project, rather than clothing as it is quite a heavy fabric. But since home decor isn’t really my thing, I decided I’d throw caution into the wind and make something to wear out of it anyway.

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The obvious choice would be jeans, of course. But since we’re currently averaging 32 degree (about 90F) days, I thought shorts would be a better choice. And because I’ve recently made Sewaholics Thurlows and wear them a lot, I knew another pair would be a welcome wardrobe addition.

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Right, fabric base sorted. Pattern sorted. So time to browse the huge range of prints Spoonflower has on offer. Now you know I’m a crazy print lady through and through, but I thought making something slightly more neutral would make the shorts more wearable. So what better than this mudcloth inspired print by my friend Michelle Aitchison. In a delightful dusty pink, no less. SOLD. I was pretty impressed when it arrived – the colour was nice and saturated and it washed and dried very well, without any fading.

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I did make a few changes to the pattern and the construction to make sure I wasn’t sewing through too many layers of denim (FYI it’s 395gsm or 11.7oz per square yard and doesn’t have any stretch at all, it’s more like a traditional, rigid denim). Firstly, used a heavy duty size 100 denim needle and sharp scissors. I used a lighter weight quilting cotton for linings and facings wherever I could and I finished raw edges with my overlocker before sewing pieces together, so I could press them open to avoid added bulkiness at the seams.

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It all worked really well, the only sign of a struggle was stitching those belt loops down along the top of the waistband. I’d already anchored them at the bottom by basting them on before adding the waistband, instead of sewing them on after the waistband is finished, as per the instructions. I think the finish is nicer and it’s another way to avoid added bulk.

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I treated these like a bit of a jeans hybrid by adding extra top stitching, a jeans button and a metal zip. The later two were op shop finds from a long time ago. See? It does pay off to grab stuff for ‘one day’.

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Oh yeah, she’s a fancy summer girl.

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Her welt pockets still need a bit of work, but the fit on these is pretty damn good, if I do say so myself.

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And on fit – for my first pair I made a straight size 12 and had to take them in a huge amount at the centre back seam. I quite like that method, by the way – you leave the CB seam open until the end, baste it and then try on. It means you’ve still got a bit of leeway for fit. For this version though, I graded down to an 8 at the waist and kept the 12 everywhere else. Mwah mwah! Tip top fit. Sewaholic patterns are geared towards those of us with a smaller waist and bigger hips and thighs. NOTHING fits me in the thighs straight out of the envelope, but these did. Happy jiggly thigh dance.

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Do love these, would 100% make again from the Dogwood Denim. I think as long as you make provisions for the heaviness of the fabric and use the right pattern, you’re golden.

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I managed to make a tote bag (using this pattern) out of the scraps too.

 

Man Sewing {Thread Theory Fairfield Shirt}

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So hello, here we are in 2019. The shirts in this post were sewn last year though, it’s just a lengthy process trying to get my husband in front of the camera. Shirts though, I’ve found a love for them over time. The little extra details and the fiddly bits are all quite rewarding when you pull them off. It’s a bit like bra sewing, I guess – little details that will make you yell, either in frustration or jubilation.

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I bought the Thread Theory Fairfield pattern during the black Friday sales, so it was quite a bargain. I grabbed the PDF version because they had an A0 option (I was NOT taping this sucker together) and toddled off to Officeworks to print it. I toiled this shirt because upon googling reviews, I ready many times over that it runs small. As in, comes up smaller than the finished measurements on the pattern. I measured my husband according to the very helpful Sewalong and his measurements were all over the chart. Apparently he has a big neck (really, though? I don’t think so) as well as long arms (that’s true and unsurprising for a 6’4″ human). So I toiled and made the medium, graded up to the large at the neck with some added length for height. And what do you know? It came up too small all over – even though he fit smack into the body measurements.

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Anyway. For his next version, I went with the size large, but graded down to a medium at the shoulders and armscyes and up to an extra large at the neck, as well as adding some length to the sleeves and the body, once again. And hey, look – that fit is pretty good! Still too tight at the neck (doing the top button up is uncomfortable) but he doesn’t mind as he never has a reason to button all the way to the top. This version is made from some really lovely Egyptian Cotton shirting from The Remnant Warehouse.

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New work shirt for the worker. I photographed it untucked to show the length. But he wears them tucked for work. Actually, this is a problem with RTW for him, shirts tend to be too short and they come untucked easily. Not this one though.

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I enjoyed making that one and learned so much that I immediately cut out another in this Dear Stella quilting cotton. I know, quilting cotton. The big companies have realised we use QC for clothes now though and some of them feel amazing. This one drapes really quite nicely and so does the Art Gallery range. I love them.

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As a rule, he’s not much of a print wearer, but when this fabric arrived I asked if he liked it and to my absolute shock, he said yes. He later told me it’s because it reminds him of Sailor Jerry rum, but whatever, I jumped on the idea of making him a shirt with it.

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Same process again, you can see the detail that has gone into designing this pattern. Every seam is enclosed, whether it’s frenched or flat felled. Flat felled armscyes scared the hell out of me at first, but the instructions are awesome and the sewalong is really helpful too and honestly, the end result is so worth it.

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It was also my first time doing tower plackets and now I love them.

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So here we have a happy husband. One new work shirt, the other more of a casual Friday thing. And a wife that is pretty bloody chuffed with her efforts, just quietly. Yes, he grew a beard between shoots. He does grown them quite quickly, but it does show how long it took me to get him into it.

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