My Sewing List


…or how I keep all my crazy projects under control…

Amanda at Bimble and Pimble has been running a Sewvember sewing photo a day challenge on instagram and the topic for November 17 is Planning so I thought I would share in more detail one of the ways I plan for my sewing.  My day job is working with project plans and helping people keep things on track so I have tried several tools and versions to corral my sewing and blogging.  My current way is a version of a kanban board, except it is portable and I have made it work for me.

to doI used to have lots of to do lists with sew this, pictures of this, post that etc, except I had to keep writing them and things changed through stages. So I decided to write the item on the list once and them just mark what stage it is up to.

Kanban icons

Top L – R Cut, Sew, Photgraph Bottom L – R Write/draft, Publish, blank options

I cross off the tasks I have done and circle the one i need to do next.  I can use the blank square to write if it doesn’t fit any of the five options.  It is one A4 page and it folds small enough to go in my wallet or phone case.  I have tried digital lists but I found I like the old fashioned pen and paper.


If you would like to try this method yourself then I have the file available here


It prints on A4 page.

fold on dotted linesYou fold on the dotted lines.  When it is folded in half cut on the bold line.

wobbly pagesWhen cut and un folded it will look like this

make into bookletFold in half length ways, then make a star shape like above to make it into a booklet like below.

to do bookletI have inserted a fashion croquis on the outside – it is a slightly curvy girl, but you could print the other side as another list or leave blank for your own sketches.

croquisFinally one last in use picture…

FlossieFT TO DO


I was lucky to be asked to test the Jenna cardigan by Muse.  I used from random stash knit in cream.  I made the waist length, long sleeve option with front yoke.  I loved all the options given and went with the one I thought I would wear the most – as it can go over all my pretty dresses.

Jenna FrontThe sleeves are quite long and in the larger sizes can be quite wide.  Once I had finished testing  I took mine in from the elbow to the wrist in a wedge to give a slimmer look I prefer.  I also unintentionally shortened them by adding my cuffs on inside a out and needing to cut them off – I wasn’t going to unpick all that overlocking.

The yoke was easy to put together – I gathered it on my normal sewing maching but them sewing the remaining of the cardi on the overlocker.

cropped jennaThe buttons were from a christmas swap from Juliet.  I love how they are big and bold on a simple little cream cardi.

back jennaThis cardi helped me get over my fear of buttonholes and they all turned out great.  I will be making another Jenna Cardi in the future – I just need to do the other twenty-something projects in the queue.

dance jenna


Going Out Cake


I first posted this in the Monthly Stitch …way back in June… but for completeness wanted to have it here on my blog as well.

Ever since I made my first Pavlova top by Cake patterns last year I’ve had plans to make another and when deciding what to make for Indie Pattern month’s fangirl competition I decided to go for it as it was once of the few patterns that I had more than one piece by the one brand.

I used a grey light/lacy knit that I got for $3 a metre at the Fabric Warehouse sale last year. I wanted this top to be more versatile than my first version so I lengthened the bodice so it could wear with more of my skirts or jeans as I find it hits my waist and can leave a gap across my stomach with some clothes. I made the ties as long as I could fit on my fabric and I also lenthened the sleeves so they are wrist length instead of 3/4 length and put a cuff on them to finish it off.

The skirt is the Pavlova Skirt from Cake. I have made this before – most recently here  – and my lesson learnt on this pattern is that I have to cut two sizes smaller than my measurements for it to work for me. I don’t know why Cake patterns cannot do basic maths to make a circle work, but after making three I am adamant it is not correct.  You are better of using a circumference calculator and doing some simple maths yourself.

I used a fabulous brocade that I found on the sale table at spotlight for $8/m. I love the colour and the balance between the soft grey and the stiff brocade. A used a button from my stash for on the waistband.

This outfit came together exactly as I wanted and I feel very glamorous in it.  I have worn it out many times now and it is a firm favourite in my wardrobe

I had never seen the Simone, from Victory Patterns. before Kat made her version and I was inspired.  I bought this retro printed polyester birds from spotlight last year with no real plan in mind but it suited this dress perfectly – although it does get a lot of static cling.

simone 1


Close up of the fabric

swallowsI tried to follow the instructions for the yoke with the tab and it did not work for me at all.  I suddenly had the tab on the inside, I needed to unpick, so I threw the instructions to the side and made it work.  I used a button from the stash to tack it down and I love how it looks.

Simone 2Since I wasn’t following the instructions I didn’t put a zip in on the side and it isn’t a problem.  However since Kat had issues with the chest size I had cut the largest size (slightly bigger than my measurements) and then took a small wedge out of the underarm to make it fit correctly when I was sewing up the side seams.

Simone 3

Simone 4

I love how this dress makes me feel when I wear it – like a strange combination of ballerina warrior woman as it flows out behind me as I stride around.

Simone Super hero


Nettie Bodysuit.


Warning! I may be in my body suit in some of these pictures – please proceed only if you have a strong stomach…

I remember bodysuits from the early 90s as a teenager. I had two from Glassons – one was white and the other was black and white houndstooth. My Dad was with me when I got the houndstooth one – and I still remember him saying – after he had bought it – “have you just conned me? is this what your Mum said no to last week?” “Of course not Dad” I replied – that was something else completely impractical, although the short denim skirt that I got at the same time was probably border line impractical for Ohakune winter. Of course there is the saying “If you wore a trend the first time around, you don’t get to wear it the second time around” but fashion seems to be going round and round faster than ever so I am throwing that rule out the window. So I present to you the Nettie bodysuit by Closet Case Patterns.

The description of the Nettie is “a quick and easy to make wardrobe staple. Close fitting with high cut arms, she can be made into a knit dress OR a bodysuit. This pattern is infinitely customizable with a choice of 3 sleeve lengths, 2 neckline and 3 back variations…The bodysuit variation has a low cut bum to prevent annoying panty lines, along with an optional snap crotch so you don’t have to get naked to use the ladies’ room.” I found a random piece of polyester knit fabric to test this pattern on – I think it was from the remnant bin at the Fabric Warehouse and it is VERY stretchy in every direction. By my measurements I cut a 16 in the bust and a 18 in the waist and hips. For the first version I cut the high neck, high back, long sleeve version. It is simple to put together with self fabric binding the neck and leg bands. I butchered the snap tab a little – i think my mix of fabrics did not help here – but it works and is functional.
Nettie take 1 shouldersDue to the stretchy nature of this fabric this Nettie is SUPER comfy – I forget I am wearing it. However it seems like the pattern is drafted for narrow shoulders so I made an adjustment for this on my second version.

back view nettie 1
I used an online tutorial to increase the shoulder width by 3cm – making sure to increase the front and back by the same amount.

better shoulders

For my seond Nettie is used a Merino blend remnant that I got from Levana. As it was only a narrow piece I had to join the crotch tab at the back and could not do full length sleeves.

sleeve hackI found a matching cream knit in the cupboard and used it for the neck and leg bindings as well as creating a long cuff on the sleeves to bring them to wrist length. I also went for the scoop neck as Ii found the high neck was too high to go under many of my tops.

some decorum

As the stretch in this fabric is considerably less than my first version this one is snug – still comfortable, but just more form fitting. I think it will be great in winter to stop the gap of tops riding up when in jeans and also perfect for skiing since I made it in Merino.

Finally I made a third one and decided to be daring and make the low back/shelf bra version for going out. I used some firm black knit and omitted the snaps due to the large neckline. This was not a good idea. Have you ever tried to go to the bathroom in a circle skirt with no snaps on your bodysuit? Long story short it was not easy and I will not be repeating it in a hurry.

This version was not successful for another reason. As I had made an adjustment to fit the shoulders on the previous versions by adding width the shoulders now slip off/down as there is nothing holding them together. I have no photos as it is on the fix it pile…I think I will fix it… but not yet as the sewing queue is long.

Skiing Hoodie


I had some awesome pictures taken at the Remarkables skifield near Queenstown… but I didn’t upload them to my dropbox correctly and my husband’s phone had a spasm and needed to be rebuilt and I lost them. So instead you get less action shots :( .Sometimes things turn out exactly how you expect… and this was one of them. A few weeks before a long planned skiing holiday I found this fabric for $4 in an open shop. I knew it was destined to come on holiday with me.

The fleece backed knit was a square and not enough to do the whole top so I dove into the stash and found a dark blue knit (also likely from an op shop) to complement it. I used the PDF of the Undercover Hoodie from Papercut Patterns . Since I had to get creative due to limited fabric I did not do the pocket but I need make the longer version in the largest size which was perfect and comfy for on the slopes.

I lined the hood with the contrast fabric for extra snuggliness and neatness. I simply cut a second hood and joined it round the edge seam.

I used the opposing fabrics as contrasts for the waist and wrist bands. This was a simple sew that I completed the night before going away. I gave it a spray with fabric waterproofing spray- what you would use to protect canvas sneakers – this meant it would not hold up to a downpour but would be ok if it got a little damp.

It is now my turn to take part in  Gemma from 66 Stitches “Great WSBN sewing  room tour” a blog tour featuring our sewing spaces.  My space is not glamorous or worthy of pinterest.  In fact it is a well used, over stuffed space that I probably should be embarrassed of…but I am amongst friends and I haven’t had time to tidy…so here she is.


Such a lovely sunny spot to sew in my bay window.  My Brother sewing machine is a basic workhorse I got two years ago for Christmas.  My overlocker is an Elna of undetermined age and pedigree that I got from the op-shop 3 or 4 years ago.  It has no instruction manual, just a decent threading diagram and some permanent pen marks on the tension dials for optimum overlocking.  My thread catcher is a cool ceramic container also from an op-shop.

Maybe we shoule zoom out a little



My desk is an old door on top of a bedside cabinet and a filing drawer.  The pile on the left are recent pdf patterns that need to be filled and some abandoned projects.  My seat is an old piano stool that I need to recover.  The drawers are filled with notions, buttons, patterns and other stuff I can cram in there.

Maybe we should zoom out some more…


Arrrrgh! The mess!  That is my cutting table, that I can barely cut on as it is always covered in fabric from past, current and future projects.  I mostly cut upstairs on the lounge room floor.  Just ignore the mess on tne floor… I have no idea where it should live…if I did it would be there.


The ironing station (in pinterest speak).  This gets used daily by my husband ironing his work shirt and my sewing, so it is normally clear.  The iron is a Phillips and the only thing I would change about it is for it to not be pink.  The bags hanging above are projects cut out and ready to sew.  Behind that door is a narnia world of fabric. Or a least a wardrobe full.


This is directly behind my sewing desk.  The shelves are filled with old sewing books, burda and pdf patterns and some oither random books.  Tallulah (my dummy) is modelling a badly made knit skirt and my second hand corduroy bomber jacket that I need to make longer wrist bands on.  Across her back is my unfinished Belle bow blouse.


These are a few of my favourite things… my pin cushion given to me by a friend.   My thread snips which I use at the end of each seams so no tails of thread in my garments and my quick unpick because I like to keep it close by.

Finally some fabric pretties


Some cottons for summer tops/dresses that hopefully I will make before the year is out.

So that is my space…hopefully it helps you realise that the sewing room doesn’t need to be perfect.

I first posted this suit a few days ago on the Monthly Stitch Indie Fan-Girl competion.  If you have not voted yet pop over there and check out the great entries.  Mine are ‘Miss Bella Chalmers’ and ‘In Cake all Over’ if you feel inclined.

So how did I come to the place of creating a bold floral suit?  The first Papercut pattern I ever made was the Miss Chalmers skirt from the Home Sewn book.  Then I saw the new Anima pants and I made some harem style pants.  The final twist was seeing amazing versions of the Bellatrix blazer across the internet.  I envisioned a fabulous floral suit all coming together nicely using the fabric I bought at the start of the year at Centrepoint Fabrics in Auckland. It is a cotton stateen with birds, large white flowers on a black background.  A quick google search brought up MANY options for floral print suits and I was convinced I could make it happen.


Inspiration by Google

I made this production style… sewing as many seams as I could before ironing, overlocking and then sewing the next round of seams.


Piles of pretty pattern pieces

The Miss Chalmers skirt is a simple skirt the only change I made was to add 6cm to the length to make it more wearable for myself.
I did a quick muslin of the Bellatrix Jacket and went with the largest size.  Making the muslin also helped me make a few mistakes early – like sewing the front bottom panels on the wrong way round and remember to cut all notches for ease of construction in the real thing.
The jacket is lined with silk/cotton from the Fabric Store and feels devine.  The button is a green one from my collection.


Lovely lovely lining

I did not try to pattern match on this fabric, instead I attempted to cut the panels so there were birds or decent flowers on each one.


Wow look at that welt

I love this as a statement piece that can be worn with the skirt or with a little black dress, my green jeans or many other pieces in my wardrobe.

Finally the Anima pants… in this crazy birds and flowers!  It is quite full on even for me who loves prints.  But I think I can make it work, even if it gives you a headache if I wear it all at once.
This was the second time I had made the Anima pants so I knew my fit was right. I will post tomorrow how I made a knit pattern work in woven for a bottom my size.


Zippers about to fill the gap

However I wanted to make the ankle cuffs in cotton sateen not knit so added some metal short zips that I bought several years ago that were just waiting for this project to come along.

I didn’t do the rows of stitching on the waistband as I wanted to keep a clean look across the front.

You know you want one now… a crazy floral and birdie covered suit!

Anima Pants


Loose casual pants are in every store at the moment. Some are very casual but many are work wear. As this is the unofficial year of Pants for me I decided to give the Anima pants by Papercut Patterns a go. I also seem to keep getting theme songs stuck in my head and for these pants it was Animal by Def Leppard

A wild ride, over stony ground
Such a lust for life, the circus comes to town
We are the hungry ones, on a lightning raid
Just like a river runs, like a fire needs flame
I burn for youI gotta feel it in my blood whoa oh
I need your touch don’t need your love whoa oh
And I want and I need And I lust animal
And I want and I need And I lust animal

Not the most classy lyrics but they were on high repeat in my head. Now that I have it stuck in your head I will go on about these fabulous pants.

I got a harem pant pattern from the op-shop that I thought would make up into stylish casual pants as per the current fashions – like below.

So I decided to test it using some of the huge roll of lightweight black knit I got second hand. It was a simple pattern and I proudly wore them upstairs to show my husband. His response: “Cool – you have made some trackies” (tracksuit pants) image

This was not the response I was looking for – nor were the pants the look I was going for so they are now my never leave the house pants. image

A month or so later I saw the Anima pant pattern and although it is designed for knits I knew I could make it work as the fashionable pants I desired. I dug out this black rayon with white and green flowers from the stash and got to work singing the song above.


I am right on the upper edge of Papercut sizing with my bottom and making it in a woven added another variable so I took the pattern pieces from my smooth sailing pants that I knew fitted well and overlapped them on the Anima pieces. The J-curves of the crotch matched nicely – I just had to add 4cm to the front and back side seams in the waist and hip. I maintained this increase all the way down to ensure they fitted around my calves. I added this increase to the waistband and ankle cuffs as well which I cut out of black knit. image

The only other change I made was after trying them on I found the ankle cuff was a bit flappy at the bottom, so I pinned it in and then sewed out a wedge from the bottom to the top of the cuff. I over locked the excess and it fitted perfectly. It means that is is no longer all enclosed in the cuff but I have altered my pattern piece for the next time – as there will be a next time. image

I made this version before the Floral Suit as a wearable muslin and the are very wearable. image

And I will be making more as they rock! image


This dress was inspired by the WSBN Facebook group, when someone posted this fabric in a different colourway.

I liked it but it was not WOW!  I was in Auckland at the time and had a small amount of time to fabric shop so I went to Centrepoint fabrics and after being overwhelmed by all the prints


and doing several laps of the store I ending up leaving with a dress length of two birds fabrics – this one and this (which I hope to sew soon).

Again I had to wait until I found a pattern that really shouted out to be matched with the fabric and I went with the princess seams of McCalls 6741 which I got from Arthur Toyes closing down pattern sale.  The great thing about this print is that birds are evenly distributed with heads up and down so I could easily lay out my pattern pieces.  I also managed to avoid bird boob – bonus points for that.

This dress has in-seam pockets in the princess seams which are almost invisible till I flap my hands about in them.

I was planning on making the sleeveless version, however since it is definitely Autumn…almost winter I thought to add the cap sleeves.  I work in warm office so a cardigan, slip and tights will see me through with this.  Before I did this I had to do my favourite adjustment a LBBA (Low Big Boob Adjustment) by taking out excess fabric in the princess seam above the bust so I don’t have flappy fabric on my upper chest.


Pinning out my LBBA

The only other change I made was to do a facing instead of fully lining it – mostly because I’m lazy and could be bothered cutting out a whole other dress in lining.  I just traced the neckline off the pattern pieces to make neat little facings.


This is a twirly swirly fun dress and thanks to Mel for taking sneaky photos at the Fabric Store the other day.


Just a little something to take home


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