Dolores by So Zo

I was really lucky to win a copy of So Zo’s Dolores batwing top.  This is one of first blogs I followed and I have always liked her style.  I also love batwing tops so I got onto it right away.

I found some knits that I got from op-shopping that I had obviously been saving for this very top.  I cut out and raced to the overlocker.
Joy from a Charm of Magpies also won a copy so we buddied up for some pics but I think we managed to goof off more that have photos taken…or maybe that was just me.


What we discovered is that my top is less batwing than Joys. Mostly because I cut the largest size and just assumed it would be close enough and Joy properly graded for her size. Lesson learnt for me.


Also I did the short sleeve and the band barely fits around my bicep.

I know I have guns but it is a little snug.

I do like this top and intend to make another just a little bit bigger.

Jenna – a Muse test

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


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.

Pendrell and Pavlova

I want to show you my new Pendrell top.  It is the first time I have sewed a Sewaholic pattern and I got got it from Dresses and Me a few months ago…what do you mean you can’t see it….pendrellandpavlova1

How about now… No?

Pendrell and Pavlova 2

Okay…winter is definitely coming to Wellington and I am about to show off my new short sleeve blouse…

pendrell and pavlova 3

I used a quilting cotton from the sale table at Spotlight and the only intentional adjustment I made was to take 8cm off the length as this is a very long top.  I did make one other small change… I added a keyhole feature to the neckline which is held shut with an awesome brooch from Smash Palace who use old plates to make their jewelry.


I created this feature as I had an overlocking incident when finishing my inside seams and I accidentally cut a wedge out of the front neckline.  I just curved out the missing chunk and bound the edge before binding the rest of the neck.


I will definitely be making another one of these – hopefully without any extra alterations.  I also made another Pavlova skirt by Cake Patterns to go with this top.  After the first one not fitting I wanted to give it another go as I really want a circle skirt that fits.  I re-took my measurements, re-read the instructions and cut into some burgundy wool from the stash.  I sewed the side seams and tried it on.

PavlovaTake2The pin above shows where my side seam should be…8cms from where the current side seam is.  This means the skirt is 16cm too big for me.  The pattern states it has 2 inches of ease – which seems too much in my opinion – but 16cm = over 6 inches!   So I put all instructions aside, cut off the offending inches and made up the rest as I went along.

In my random making up  I didn’t leave a big enough gap for a zip so I went old-fashioned and put domes in and a hook closure with non-functioning button on top.

Pavlova Closure

Now I have a circle skirt that fits.Pavlova

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.

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.

Matchy Matchy Penguins… or the cute and the ridiculous.

A few weeks ago I picked up this cute penguin fabric from the Salvation Army store. It is a polyester with a soft/light texture on the printed side.

I bought it to make one of one boys a hoodie… but it is very cute and I do like riduculous clothing, so I thought I could sneak it as a top for myself. So I asked facebook if it was for Lewis or for me… and they replied… FOR LEWIS! So I felt guilty and found my kids sweatshirt pattern – a kwik sew one from the op shop. In laying out the fabric I knew I would have to use a stash black knit for the bands and other parts as I only had just over a metre.
I managed to fit the front of my top and the front/back/hood of the hoodie for Lewis. The rest I got out of black stash knit and repurposing an old tee for the armbands asnd waistband of the hoodie.


Lewis pile on the left, mine on the right.

I finished the hoodie on Wednesday night but the boy was fast asleep so I tried it on ted and left it there for the morning.
I was happy with the result, I think I need to re-do the waistband as it is a little tight, and the hood is a little small as I traced it off an existing top, which if I recall now, is also a little small.
I made another Blank Canvas tee for myself which took no time on Saturday morning to whip up. I love the shape of this top. The side seam does not go down the middle of the side, it goes more towards the back.
So here we are… matchy matchy… him being cute and me being ridiculous.

And just one more cause he is so cute.