27/52 Miss Bossy in Weigels

Miss Bossy at the Monthly Stitch did decree that we dig out 3 patterns from our stash that we had not yet made and then the readers would vote on the one to be made. Sometimes it is great to handover the decision to someone else. The results came in for my vote and the clear winner was the Weigels 1696 pattern.
I found some fabric that would do this pattern with its classic lines justice – a blue cotton from the Starfish Workroom close down. It is very soft smooth and hangs beautifully. It had to be used for a very special dress. As I sat down to cut I discovered that a previous owner of this lovely vintage pattern had HACKED the kimono sleeves off. I thought I might be able to salvage it from the back pattern piece by tracing out – nope that one was gone too.
Then I thought they might have left the pieces in the envelope (I have found this before)…. but no 😦 . So after complaining on facebook to my sewing friends I went back to the pile of patterns I had gone through to make my selection and found another Weigels of a similar era and style and best of all – ALL it’s pattern pieces were there.
This is a vintage pattern of the era of one size only and no printed markings on the pattern but do not let these put you off. Thankfully this one was Sandra size so no grading was required.
Once I started sewing this pattern it was very simple to do. Lovely little back darts at the waist and shoulders. Simple pleating on one side of the front that tucked into the large dart on the other side to form the cross over. Soft waist pleats gently draping across the front.
My favourite part of vintage patterns is that they put their instructions on one page. This means I am more likely to refer to them – and I did – especially when I went to attach the back skirt to the top and found it several inches larger. Oops there is a back pleat (to create the kick pleat at the bottom) that I had missed. I quickly rectified this and it fitted perfectly. I hand stitched the zip in but machined the hem.
I love dress – it looks complex but it really only took a few hours to sew. I might have to try it in a printed fabric next time. Have you had any vintage pattern missing parts that you couldn’t work around?






Colours and Winning

Today I did the colour run in my new espresso leggings and screen printed top.
I used some sale table lycra from Spotlight that had glitter spots all over for the tights.


And we enhanced the colour run t-shirts with the WSBN logo by screenprinting.





I am actually happy...





Wellington Sewing Bloggers in Colour

Zara, Mel, Me, Kat.

And last week I asked what inspired you and would reward you with a Natalie Bray drafting book… and I drew the winner tonight:


Kat said what inspires her  ” I get inspired by, well, pretty much everything, actually! Descriptions of things in books I’m reading, characters in books and movies, fabric, patterns, RTW, things other people make, you name it. I think that’s one of the really fun things about sewing – you can just let your imagination run wild whenever you feel like it and make something! Yeah!!”

So hopefully she will be inspired by the book.

26/52 Curtains to Walk-away In

When you think of a dress made from curtains it beings images of the Children in The Sound of Music



Or Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind


When I found a curtain at Fabric-a-brac in April last year I know it would become a dress, hopefully not looking like any of the above options.

I loved the colours in the print and just had to wait for a pattern that would work. Then at a recent WSBN swap Zara put Butterick B4790 into the mix – in MY size! This dress is a retro re-print and is also known as the ‘walk-away’ dress, because it was so easy you could “start it after breakfast…walk-away in it for luncheon!” It was not completely smooth sailing for me but it was pretty straightforward.


The dress is three pattern pieces, darted in front and back, with back waist and shoulder seams. The back wraps around to the front for a sheath-and-overskirt look. Because I was working with a curtain of material I was able to lay the back circle skirt piece on the fold and eliminate one of the seams.

I opted to highlight the green in my fabric by using green bias tape. The only notions I had to buy for this dress was premade bias tape from Made Marion. The pattern calls for “Three Packages of 1 /2″ Double Fold Bias Tape”, since I bought mine off the roll I guessed how much might be in a package and bought 9m. I used 7m at the most, but better to have too much than not enough.


My only hold up in making this dress was when I tried it on I had flappy wings above my boobs in the armholes. No photographic evidence of this but we all know flappy wings are not flattering so I had to unpick the bias binding along the edge and figure out what to do. I got Andrew to pinch out the offending fabric and it seemed like another dart was in order. I consulted the oracles of WSBN and they confirmed that I should try a dart. My only concern was that it was coming to another dart. Apparently I shouldn’t have worried as it worked perfectly.

How much needed to go in the flappy part


Inside view of what the dart(s) ended up looking like

I also fixed the problem of having the inside hem (of the sheath part of the dress) hanging low at the back as it spread across my bottom by adding a ribbon tie across this part. A lesson I learnt from Simplicity 8125 which I have shown below.




I think this style of dress either you love or hate (especially when reading others reviews in the web) and I definitely LOVE it, so much so that this was not the first of its kind, many years ago, pre blogging, and inspired by a dress from Kilt I made Simplicity 8125 – a pattern I had acquired from my Mum’s sewing stash. She had made this dress for herself as a young woman. I love that I have some of her history in my sewing room now too.


From 1969 this dress without side seams has scoop neckline, the dress front is fastened in back with ribbon ties. The dress back fastens in front with self fabric tie ends above normal waistline.  I made mine in a quilting cotton front and black crepe back.


Beans, Lego and Monstars

I have been attempting to tidy my sewing room recently and one of the things in a corner was a bag of beans for a bean bag. They were banished to the corner after I found the boys one morning swimming through a sea of white beans in the middle of the lounge floor and laughing “Snow, snow” as they poured them over their heads, under the couch and EVERYWHERE! So I finally made the bean bag they were intended for.
It uses some cot panels I got from the sale table at Spotlight and I thought I would give a brief run down on how I made it further down if you are interested. It is not rocket science – it is just a big pillow but I thought it was a cool idea.

Another make for the boys was a new bag/mat for the growing collection of Lego. It has been held in cool Lego head bag that Alex got for his birthday.

It is pretty cool but with another birthday coming up I could only see the Lego collection getting bigger so I made a simple circular drawstring mat from a curtain from the op-shop.

While on the roll with cool things made for kids I thought I would share my friend Vanessa’s cool blog Nowl’s Nest she has just moved over to WordPress and creates awesome softies including this little Monstar which you may recognise the fabric from a certain dress.


So if you want to make a Cot Panel Bean Bag…

First take two rectangles (mine happen to be cot panels 110cm x 90cm) and insert a zip about 5cm from the top (or bottom) edge of shortest side of your fabric

Next lay your two panels together – one will now be shorter than the other due to the seam created above. Even out the length so they match.

Ensuring your zipper is open slightly, hem all four sides with a standard seam allowance (I used 1.5cm).

Finish all edges to stop fraying – I used overlocking to add another layer of protection from popped stitches and escaped beans.

Turn in the right way and iron to make all the corners and seams crisp.

Next mark 1 inch into each corner from both sides (I know I was using metric before and I normally do but the 1 inch line is nice and big on my machine so is easy to line up for this part!) Sew a seam 1 inch in from all sides as a smaller rectangle creating a border around all edges. This is the next barrier of defence from escaping beans.

Finally fill with beans and I cut off the zipper pull with pliers so the boys cannot create a snowstorm again. I can still open the zip with a paperclip in the hole to refill the bean bag or to remove the beans to wash it.


My boys are pretty tough with our bean bags – they get jumped into A LOT and so far this one has been up to the test.

Inspiration and Winning

I was inspired by Jenna  a fellow WSBN blogger to make this tee without her even realising it.


She was wearing a similar RTW top the other day and it was just the push I needed to create my own lace yoke tee or the Jenna Tee. I used an op-shop 1980s pattern as the base – Simplicity 7449 (photo in evernote), view 3, as it had a great yoke.

IMG_4900The black lace is from a friend and has flocked flowers on it. The grey knit is from a Starfish workroom sale a few years ago, it is very soft and the stitches just sunk into it.  I had to re-do the neckline after sewing on the binding on the wrong side, I just cut it off close to the stitches and cut a new bit of black knit fabric.


I will make another of these tees and next time I will round off the shoulders a little to reduce the size of the armhole as it is a bit wide and gaping.

After these photos I went from this…to this


to this


Now onto the winning…I recently went to a book fair and there was a set Pattern Designing books that caught my eye, I snapped them up and then saw there was a second copy of one of them, so got that too and decided to give it away to one of you. The book is More Dress Pattern Designing by Natalie Bray.

The blurb from Amazon is “The techniques Natalie Bray pioneered and perfected revolutionised dress pattern designing, assisting the rise of the modern fashion industry. Her teaching has had a profound influence on design, production and education and her works are classics: fashions change but the principles of designing patterns in the flat do not.

This book covers advanced cutting, lingerie, tailoring and children’s clothes. It expands the basic course set out in Natalie Bray’s Dress Pattern Designing and shows the application of the basic principles and methods to more advanced styles as well as to specialised cutting.”


If you would like to win this along with piece of fabric from the stash (when I dive in) then let me know what inspires you in your sewing. I will randomly draw a winner on Saturday 29th March and am happy to post internationally.

PJs and Ham

Do you like PJs and ham?

I do not like PJs and ham!
I do not like them, Sam-I-am.

You do not like them.

So you say.
Try them! Try them!
And you may.
Try them and you may, I say.

Sam! If you will let me be,
I will try them. You will see.

I like PJs and ham!
I do! I like them, Sam-I-am!
And I would eat them in a boat.
And I would eat them with a goat…

And I will eat them in the rain.
And in the dark. And on a train.
And in a car. And in a tree.
They are so good, so good, you see!

So I will eat them in a box.
And I will eat them with a fox.
And I will eat them in a house.
And I will eat them with a mouse.
And I will eat them here and there.
Say! I will eat them ANYWHERE!

I do so like PJs and ham!
Thank you! Thank you, Sam-I-am!

Thank you Dr Seuss for inspiring my post today. I recently made flannel pyjama pants. The brown is from the $5/m rack of Petes Emporium, I love the retro feel of the little flowers. The grey is a btter quality fabric and is from Spotlight. Since I only got two metres I did a lace turn up for the ankle hems of the grey pair.
I bought the tees from K-mart late last year to embellish in some way. For the grey I used a scrap of fabric that I fused on then stitched down a few millimetres from the edge, then I applied a flocked stencil that irons on that I got from a sale bin for 80c. I have yet to decorate the red top.
I used a simple PJ pattern from my stash. Except they have stupidly wide legs.

And finally the ham I made with the help of Zara of off grid chic. I have wanted to make one for a while and she provided me a template from the Internet (Zara can you tell me where?) and the sawdust to fill it. I used an remnant of blue wool from the op shop and a furnishing fabric remnant that I had done a burn test on to ensure it was cotton, it has another layer of plain cotton on both sides inside. I think it took me longer to stuff it than to actually sew. It is a great tool that I now would recommend for everyone who sews.

Banana Plantain

On holiday last year I saw this top by stolen girlfriends club in doing research I found it that the pineapple print is one of their icons.


Then recently I was browsing Pete’s Emporium and found some fabric that I thought I could use in the same way.
And if it has bananas on it what better pattern to use than the Deer and Doe Plantain.

This pattern is a free download and was easy to print out and put together. I made the neckband in black contrast as I felt it was the most fitting of all the colours in the top.
I love the scoop neck and might try out the long sleeve option as it is getting cooler.

A great quick tee I would recommend to add to your basics wardrobe.

Blog pictures about to change.

Away from sewing for a moment.  I have a love/hate relationship with my hair.  It is extremely straight…99% of the time I don’t need to use straighteners.  It does not hold any sort of curl and I hate going to the hairdresser.  I love the recent colour streak I have but mostly these days I mostly just wash it and pin it back to get on with my day.


Sooooooo  I have decided to do something drastic.  On 21 March I am shaving it all off.  If you would like to join me in supporting Shave for a Cure. It is a great way to make a difference.
If you would like to donate go to

Everyone keeps asking me if I have a good shaped head…I have no idea, I have never done this before, so I guess we will all find out together.  This is potentially what I will look like…


But happier.  Anyway thanks and I will return to normal sewing news soon.

25/52 Deer & Doe-ish

Recently the WSBN decided to do Deer & Doe patterns at Staglands. I don’t own any of these and was not inclined to purchase one so I decided to use an ’80s pattern to make a homage to the Belladone.

I like the simple lines of this dress. I used a pattern from the 80s for the bodice which had triangles on the back. Not the same as the inspiration but I like them. The skirt was just a simple rectangle with a slight hip curve that was pleated with two large pleats in front as per the Belladone and darts in the back.
Since it was deer and doe inspired I appliqued a stag head that I traced off a search through Google images. The same fabric is the lining on the back and inside the pockets.
The back is fastened with a button and a zip and hook and eye on the skirt. I had to insert the zip twice, the first time I had to take out as the skirt was too big. It almost broke my heart as it had gone in perfectly, thankfully the second time was almost as good.
Did I mention it had pockets. Since I was basically making this up as I went I borrowed a pocket piece from another pattern, but I forgot it had no seam allowance so they are perfectly finished but a little small. They do fit my hands but mot my wallet.


The fabric is a cotton weave that frayed like mad so I overlooked all my edges. I did a burn test to figure out it was cotton. It is quite stiff so I think it might be furnishing weight. I have no idea when or where I got it.
I love my new dress and also discovering Wellington has some great sculptures to explore…

Miss Bossy in March Monthly Stitch

I try and do the challenges at the monthly stitch and this month there is a twist…Miss Bossy Patterns. Miss Bossy Patterns knows that you have more than one new pattern in your stash, uncut with crisp factory folds. Miss Bossy Patterns thinks you need some help deciding which new pattern to sew. Miss Bossy Patterns wants your readers to vote for which you should make, and then you sew the winner in March. So here are my options for you to choose from. image Weigel’s1696 view B with the short sleeves. image Burda super easy 3737 a wrap dress in view B. image Butterick 3494 dress image New Look 6910 dress view D

So vote now please.