With the addition of this dress the Wattlebird jumpsuit  is now the most made pattern in my collection. With a few modifications each time, I’ve made a top, a jumpsuit and now a dress. While this block doesn’t fit me perfectly I think I’ve finally been able to get the top to a place where it’s the perfect fit for me so I’m still keen to make some more.

For this version of the wattlebird pattern I made a simple dress with a tiered gathered skirt. This is very similar to the wattle-fawn set that they sell. I also had this version as some shorter length inspo.

I bought a metre of this lovely red linen from Tessuti Fabric in my pre-uni semester fabric shop. I don’t really have time to venture out to the city during uni semester (and with the current situation I can’t anyway 🙁 )  so tend to buy a few nice pieces before uni starts so I’ve got something to sew. I didn’t have a plan for it but knew I liked wearing red and think linen is the nicest.

This presented a challenge when cutting out this dress. The length and width of the tiers were dictated by the amount of fabric I had left after cutting the top. The lower tier is made up of three panels in order to get a longer length.  I had just enough at the end to cut out a scrunchie which I was very pleased with. This also meant I used all of this fabric with only very minimal waste created when I cut out the top front, everything else was carefully placed together squares.

I cut out an extra small. I do measure between small and medium but have found this  pattern to be very oversized so cut  smaller and found the fit to be better. This extra small is the smallest size offered in the pattern  so I would maybe be inclined to make a toile to test the fit if you measured this size. (A note – I have the older version of this pattern which has only 4 sizes however I believe common stitch has since extended the size range, however I’m not sure if this is both smaller and larger.)

In both my previous versions, in size M and S, I have created vertical pleats on the top, which have helped to reduce gaping at the armholes and made the top of the bib a little bit smaller as it also gaped at the top. However in this smaller size the width of the top was perfect for me. As I still had problems with the fit of the armhole,  I instead opted to create a second dart to help with the armhole fit.  I find the drafted horizontal dart looks nice but doesn’t create the best fit for my body shape. I did think of cutting the binding on the bias as a solution to it flipping out in previous versions, however I didn’t have enough fabric to do this. I removed the binding and measured a dart on my body to take out the gaping fabric. This has created two radial darts on the side. It’s a kind of funky look but I don’t mind it too much as the fit is so much better on the bodice than other versions.

For the skirt I cut two rectangles. The first was 1.4 time the length of the top hem. The second was 1.7 time the hem. This was purely due to fabric restrictions and I would have liked a fuller skirt, especially for the second layer. I then gathered these at the top edge and attached to the top. The zipper was the last thing sewn in at the back as it reached into the first tier.

I made the matching scrunchie using a tutorial from the Hemming. I have straight ties instead of her rounded ones, due to the amount of fabric I had left, but rounded off the ends. The scrunchie is also only 8cm wide. This was a super cute and very simple project for using up the scraps and I’ve already made a few more with left over fabric!

I am really really happy with this dress and I think it will be a staple in my wardrobe. I’ve worn it the same way I wear my wattlebird jumpsuit (with a t-shirt or sweater underneath) so that I’m able to wear it when it’s nice and sunny but also when it is a little chillier.

Fabric – Linen from Tessuti Fabrics (link to similar)

Pattern – modified Wattlebird Jumpsuit from Common Stitch

This Ruby dress from Tessuti was one of the things I made in my pre-holiday sewing spree in July. I was leaving the Melbourne winter for the northern hemisphere summer and wanted a light, easy to wear sundress. This was very nice in the weather in a lovely cotton/linen blend.

I made a few modifications to this pattern to make it more similar to the Tessuti Bondi Dress pattern, which is based off the ruby dress. Tessuti have a detailed blog post here which shows how the original Ruby dress was modified. I didn’t use the horizontal back seam but added a centre front and centre back seam which were then topstitched. I chose the use a fringe hem however instead of fringing the fabric myself used the selvedge of the fabric. I initially cut this just as the hem of the pattern however ended up having the dress too long for my body. I then removed 3 inches from the bottom and re-attatched the selvedge using Tessuti’s technique. This involved sandwiching the selvedge between the body of the dress and a hem facing (it’s all detailed in their blog post with plenty of pictures). This was such a lovely way of finishing the hem with the facing and makes the hem look very neat.

I also used inside binding as opposed the the visible binding suggested in the Ruby pattern.  As I’ve made this dress with the bound neck and arm holes, french seamed the side seams and topstitched the centre front and back seams there is no raw edges to be seen in this dress. It makes it so nice and soft on the inside and has such a clean look.

I’ve only ever made the Tessuti Monroe turtleneck pattern before which as a simple design had minimal instructions. Although the ruby dress is not complex, I found the instructions to be really thorough and used some lovely techniques to achieve such a nice look both for the inside and outside of the garment. Hence I really enjoyed sewing this dress and was very proud of how it looked in the end. It’s simple but with so many small lovely details.

The only minor problem I have with this dress is that it isn’t really bra friendly. The armhole comes in a little too much to conceal a bra strap. Although it is a nice halter-ish cut on the body I would likely chose to extend the arm hole further towards the shoulder for more of a square bodice shape so this wasn’t an issue.

I wore this dress a fair amount while I was away and it’s already gotten a few wears on the rare sunny days we have here.

Pattern – modified Ruby Dress – Tessuti

Fabric – Linen blend from Drapers Fabric   (I’m not 100% sure but I think it’s this)

One of my favourite things about sewing is being able to sew things in styles I already know I like without looking in stores forever to find something. This dress was copied off a similar shift dress I already own.  My checked ‘schoolgirl’ dress is one of my favourite winter dresses as really like the shape. I also love denim dresses and wanted to do something with this denim I had. Hence, It made sense to me to  copy the dress I owned instead of buy a pattern or a new dress. This wasn’t too hard as the dress I copied is actually a children’s size dress, so it’s made simply with little shaping. 

To do this I traced the main pattern pieces of the dress directly onto this fabric from Spotlight. (This fabric is super useful for tracing double sided patterns, making toiles and copying clothes so is a good fabric to always have a stash of. I usually buy a few metres of it when Spotlight has a sale so I’m always well stocked!) It’s a little tricky to trace the sleeves but possible if you flip them up so that you can follow the curve of the seam allowance when tracing and then cut the pattern piece you traced on the fold. 

After tracing I added seam allowance as it’s a little easier when the dress isn’t in the way and I can lay the fabric completely flat. My little ‘sewing hack’ for this is to use a ~2cm wide strip of paper with the desired seam allowance marked and place this along the no seam allowance pattern pieces at intervals and mark. Then just connect the dots and cut out. This just speeds up the process a little more than if a ruler was used. I then cut my pattern pieces from the fabric. 

I followed a standard dress construction method finishing the seams using a zig zag stitch, hemming the sleeves and bottom of the dress and using bias binding to finish the neckline. I added a keyhole opening at the back as I didn’t want to insert a zipper. The button is one I bought in Japan a few years ago and has a deer on it. The shop I got it from was a super cute florist that also sold buttons. It’s nice to remember it when I wear this dress.  I also decided to add some patch pockets on the front to add some interest as the dress is quite simple on it’s own. As always, when I’m sewing something I haven’t done before, I referred back to  ‘Love at First Stitch’ by Tilly Walnes for instructions to do this. I could not speak highly enough of this book. She uses patch pockets in the Margot Pj Pants that I adapted to use for this dress. 

Being able to make new clothes using existing RTW items is a really useful skill to know and makes it easy to make clothes you know are in your style and fit well without a whole load of guesswork, especially for simpler items like this dress. I know I’ll be making lots of copies of my existing clothes in the future. 

Fabric- about 2 meters of a heavy weight denim from Spotlight

Pattern- Traced off a RTW dress I own

This was my first, and also as yet only, big 4 pattern I’ve ever made. I always get put off by the sometime questionable styling choices on the packages and daunted by the sheer amount of patterns they offer. This pattern I saw in a Frankie magazine and it was made up in a similarly bright cotton for a Spotlight advertisement.  If I had  not seen the dress presented this way I doubt I would have chosen this pattern even though I do have a few dresses in a similar shape in my wardrobe. 

I made this dress 2 years ago when my  grandma bought me sewing lessons for Christmas. Without the help of someone really experienced I likely could not have completed this. If you live in south east Melbourne I would highly recommend Sue from Sew Good with Sue who was really lovely and helped me learn so much about sewing through her skills and attention to detail. This made the dress a great learning experience as it has button holes, zippers, lining, pleats, pockets, interfacing and back and bust darts, none of which I had done before this dress. Now I’m super glad I picked this dress to make as I learnt so so much.

Overall I’m super happy with this dress as it’s a little more formal than the rest of my handmade wardrobe and I love the pleated skirt and pockets. This dress a little shorter than I would have liked (a mistake I’ve made often) as I think the pleated skirt might sit a little better had it been longer. 

I think I’ll continue to mostly use patterns from indie designers  because it’s always much easier to work out what the finished garment will look like due to the styling of the clothing, plenty of different makes on social media and the detailed instructions that make the entire process so much easier. Also, as I normally buy PDF patterns as it’s sometimes cheaper for me to buy this way. That said this dress did work out really well so maybe I’ll give another pattern from one of the Big 4 a go.

Pattern- Simplicity 2215

Fabric- printed cotton from Spotlight.

This is the first Papercut pattern I’d made and I  learnt a few new techniques in making this dress.   I would highly recommend this dress for sewers who are just starting because there is nothing too tricky in it like zips, bias hemming  or darts (elements that I always try to avoid or leave last in a project). It uses the burrito method to attach the facing, which although seems a little daunting at first, is super easy. I’ve added this technique into many other projects since as it makes the insides look very clean with minimal effort.

I love this dress as it has pockets and hangs well. The only problem I do have with this pattern is that it’s very short, so  I haven’t got as much wear from this dress as I thought it would. Next time I make this pattern, which I’m sure will be as I loved making it and really do like the pattern, I will make sure to add a few inches to the hem to make it a little bit more wearable.

However, apart from the length, the style is a perfect wardrobe addition because depending on the fabric it can be worn dressed up with heels as I have in the photos or just to the beach with sandals as a bather coverup, as it’s nice and floaty.

This dress has become an unexpected favorite in my wardrobe. I never had a very clear idea of what this dress was to be when I started it and the dress constantly evolved over the sewing process. I had two meters left of a blue and white striped rayon from another project and wanted to make a flowy dress that would be easy to wear. I did a bit of Pinterest searching for inspiration and ended up with this blend of a few dresses I saw. This dress is made of  three rectangles so is a great simple design that made with rayon (which has a fair amount of drape) allowed for a little bit of my dodgy underarm stitching to be covered up.

  1. Cut three rectangles of fabric. One that is twice the height of the sleeve x length from end of each sleeve (I just used the entire width of the fabric and hemmed later). Cut two rectangles the width of body rectangles x length of skirt. Remember to include seam and hemming allowances in measurements. 
  2. Cut neck hole in bodice rectangle by folding it in half twice to find the middle point then opening it up and tracing an oval around this point. My neckhole has an 8cm radius and was 13cm deep at the front and 3cm deep and the back.
  3. Measure to find the desired width of the body and sew from either end of the body piece to create sleeves, I sewed 33cm in for mine. 
  4. Gather the top length of the skirt pieces to the width of the body.
  5. Sew the skirts together along the side seams.
  6. Attach skirt to bodice. At the point where the skirt and top meet under the arms there is a large bulk of fabric due to three seams meeting so it is helpful to cut down these seams and maybe hand sew a bit at the point just to make it look a little bit cleaner. You could also sew a little higher as indicated in the dotted line on the diagram and trim seam allowance to further eliminate this bulk if it makes the sleeves hang badly. 
  7. Cut a V shaped slit in the middle back of the neck hole 10cm long.  Sew the long stripes of fabric right sides in lengthways to create 2 long tubes. Turn inside out and sew to the tops of the neck hole V slit on either side.
  8. Finish nec khole (I used bias binding) and hem armholes and skirt.

This dress ended up super flowy and exactly what I needed in my summer wardrobe. Although it took me 5 days of procrastination to finally finish the seams and hem I am very glad I got it done with plenty of summer left so I can wear it often!

Pattern- Self Drafted

Fabric – Spotlight

It’s summer and with no school there is plenty of time for sewing. This is a quick, easy and inexpensive dress  to make that is perfect for the holidays.  


My inspiration for this dress was threefold – gingham, nostalgia and mum! I’ve loved all the gingham I’ve been seeing round this summer and really wanted to make something gingham for my own wardrobe. On my last day of high school Mum showed me this photo of my first day of kindergarten and I thought the dress I was wearing was sweet. Finally, I also really liked this khaki dress my mum has worn during the summer which had a similar shape however slightly more grown up than what I wore when I was 3 years old.


I self drafted this dress which was a little bit daunting and took a little bit of trial and error. I had multiple attempts at shaping the top of the dress as I cut it too wide initially. However I suppose its better to have it too large than too small.

It’s a basic two piece garment, one front and one back piece which were cut identically. I then cut about 10cm off the top of the back dress piece in order to have the back sit a little lower than the front of the dress and added vents to the side seams for ease of movement.

I created bust darts unscientifically by measuring them out while I wore the dress. I would not advocate for this method and would be a little more careful next time maybe tracing the darts of an existing pattern I know works for me. The darts were not exactly right initially and I took a few attempts and a few days of procrastination avoiding doing them!

I really like the buttons that hold the straps on and they allow me to get into the dress as I didn’t include a zip. However, in hindsight, I should have put buttonholes on the dress and buttons on the straps so that the end of the straps would not be seen, making it a little cleaner. Now I know for next time as I am sure I’ll end up making another dress like this.

This dress is really easy to wear, very breathable and allows for movement and has become on of my favorite outfits that I’ve sewn.


FABRIC:      Premium cotton gingham from Spotlight.  2 metres. https://www.spotlightstores.com/by-the-metre/premium-cotton-gingham/p/BP80281690

PATTERN:  Self drafted