34/52 Go with the flow with Simone

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.

Welcome to my world!

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.

Birds and Flowers…what the suit?

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


33/52 Fine feathers make fine birds

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

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

35/52 It’s a Wrap

When I first saw the video for the Teach Me Fashion wrap dress I was fascinated. I don’t usually enjoy watching sewing videos – I am more a pictures and words girl for my tutorials and I get distracted by perfect manicures – yet this one lured me in. I had funds burning in my paypal account that were equal to the pattern price $10 USD so it was meant to be! I downloaded this puppy, printed, taped and was off and sewing in less than 24 hours from coming home from the fabric store (on a work night too!).

The official model

The official model

If you are making this dress please heed the recommended fabrics – not all knits are suitable… especially not undrapey Ponte like I chose for my first version. Thankfully this became a perfect muslin as I had a few issues with the sizing of the pattern. It is one-size – which normally I wouldn’t do as many indie patterns cater for a smaller size than me but I was within the measurements on their charts so I went with it. Full Disclosure: I am 170cm tall with Bust 104cm, Waist 94cm, hips 114cm. I found this dress TOO big!!!

FlossieFT-TeachMeFashion-Wrap1 The arm holes were too big and there was too much fabric across the back even for my wide load. It also finished mid-calf with was not flattering.


I made a second version with some lovely drapey knit from my stash of dubious origin…I think maybe an op-shop…maybe for $8 for over 2 metres. I took up the hem by 8 cms and took a wedge out of the back starting at 1 cm on the fold at the neck down to about 3 cms at the bottom. I also did a slightly smaller wedge out of the front fold.


This is a clever pattern, with only two pattern pieces, with the front and back cut on the fold with just a slightly lower neckline on the front and the wrap ties.


This is the clever part – they join into the side seams to create the ties that can be wrapped in front or back….


OR you can pop the ties inside the dress to make soft hip pockets.

FlossieFT-TeachMeFashion-Wrap5The instructions are pretty thin as the you tube video is a key reference and this explains how the main pieces go together – I just fast forwarded to the part I wanted – and then noted the key points on my pattern piece.


Final verdict: I love it! As I was sewing I was imagining who this dress would suit and how many others I could make up. It is a definite hit for me with the minor fitting alterations.

36/52 Ava Raccoons

Or how to avoid the dreaded raccoon boobs in 3 easy steps

I loved this fabric the first time I saw it on Dolly Clackett and Rhinestones and Telephones, then the Curious Kiwi shared a parcel of fabric she had with it in it and my little brain realised that I could have raccoons too!!! After much googling, checking on shipping options and for the first time in my life checking with my husband if I could buy fabric… not sure why but I did I was buying it anyway. I got my own Raccoons which is actually Tula Pink – Acacia winter (I am not sure if I have ever had a fabric with a name before).

AvaRaccoons2 I got the Ava Pattern by Victory Patterns in the first Pattern Parcel. I thought it would be the perfect pattern to showcase this fabric as there are not too many seams to cut off raccoon heads. I found a plain cotton poplin at the Fabric Warehouse that matched one of the accent colours nicely and I was off. I spent a decent amount of time holding the pattern piece to my chest trying to see where it sat. Then I traced Racoon heads and tails from my fabric onto the pattern piece and checked again as I did not want little noses pointing out from my bust.

This is the key to how to avoid the dreaded raccoon boobs in 3 easy steps and I think I managed it! I put all my cut out pieces in a bag to be sewn for the Monthly Stitch Indie Pattern month Dresses competition and carried on cutting out other projects.

For the top of the bodice I used a solid poplin so I cut two of the front and back so I could self-line the top of the bodice instead of a binding on the neckline. This means I have a nice clean neckline which I prefer.  I went with the cap sleeves of version 3 but the tea length of version 1 with no ruffles or binding.  The instructions on how to create a crisp point on the sweetheart neckline are great.

bodiceI went to attach the skirt to the bodice and realised I had only cut out one of the front/back pieces and one of the side panels.  I then remembered that I had intended to cut out a second front/back panel on the fold, but I obviously got distracted.  I got out the remains of my fabric and realised the next problem… I only had about 1 metre left by 60cm and a few scraps… and I had to cut two large semi circular panels.  The fabric is a quilting cotton so is 112cm wide and I had only bought 2.75 Yards (which is 2.5metres for us metric folks), and the Ava version 1 needs 4 3/8 Metres… so I was a little short!

So I went to a calm space and remembered ‘I’m a pattern matching ninja and good at maths’. I managed to eek out half of a back panel out of my large section of fabric and carefull matched and pieced the other half.


Can you see the joins?

Joining Seams

There they are






Now I had THREE panels.  Since I was one short my skirt waist seam was 63cm and the bodice was 99 that it had to match… so I did MATHS!


Using a circumference calculator online I found how much to increase the radius of the circle. I was hesitant and only cut off a 1.5cms at a time as I didn’t want to go the other way and go too big.  AvaRaccoons1I love that I made this work.  This skirt does not have as much volume as the pattern intends and I do want to make another to show it off to its twirly swirly best.

IMG_5105p.s. why am I taking photos in the dark?  I was at my boys rugby and wanted somewhere different to take the pics…and I had a deadline to meet 🙂