This year I’m trying to work on making  few more dressed up items, as they are missing in my wardrobe. I’m in the year of 21st birthdays, so while all events are postposed at the moment due to COVID-19, I’m sure I’ll have some uses for nice clothes after the lockdowns are over.

I initially bought this fabric from The Fabric Store for a self drafted dress I wanted to make. However I didn’t consider that that striped pattern on the skirt wouldn’t sit super nicely as a circle skirt. I had a bit of a sad sewing moment here but was very happy when this free wrap skirt pattern appeared in my instagram ads (and has continued to appear in my ads very often since!).  Made label have a currently minimal social media presence but seem to be a new sewing pattern company that have released this pattern to gain some interest. It’s a very simple and nice sew and the style works well in a more casual way, as they have styled it in animal print below, or more formal like mine.

This skirt calls for 3m of fabric, however after some inventive pattern cutting I managed to squeeze it out of 2m. I didn’t cut all the frills on the grain line, hence the pattern is going in different directions around the frill. I thought this would effect the hang of the frill a little but I didn’t have too many problems. I think the visual impact is minimal and mostly hidden in the busy print so I’m not too sad about this. I also ended up having to piece some pieces together with multiple bits of fabric so I would not recommend making this with 2m of fabric, however it’s probably possible to do with less than 3m.

I also ended up cutting the frill and waistband with a different right side than the body of the skirt. I really liked both sides of this fabric  and think the combination of the two adds some v nice visual interest to the skirt!

The instructions for this skirt are just written text no pictures. This is mostly fine for a simple skirt like this where, for someone with some experience with garment construction, the steps are fairly obvious. However, the waistband instructions perplexed me. I read and re-read but without pictures the instructions did not make any sense to me and I just chose my own method. I made a button hole on the waistband where the straps crossed for me, however I think the instructions were indicating a clearer method where instead of a button hole a seam made an opening  in the waistband. Made label indicated they were working on video content to accompany the instructions which would likely clear this up!

This pattern is a one size fits all, due to the wrap style, making it adjustable. This is a good feature as it is easy to fit however I would probably make some changes if I made it again to make it fit better for me. The side seams sit a little to the front of my body so I would like to reduce the width of the back piece so that they sit more on my sides.

I also ended up sewing the front frill into more of a swirl. This was how the fabric wanted to sit however (potentially because I didn’t cut on the grainline) wasn’t structurally strong enough and awkwardly hung forward instead. I think I may have pressed this down a little too much for photos and it has less movement than unpressed but I do this this creates a really nice effect.  As I used a heavier weight fabric than what was recommended  this reduced fabric bulk at the front of the skirt. I also decided to omit the top frill on the wrap side that was underneath. It caused wrinkling of the upper fabric where the skirt sat, and was hidden by the upper part of the wrap anyway.

Overall I am really happy with this skirt. I think this fabric may have been a little too much as a dress so I’m glad this pattern appeared in my feed just when I was ready to leave this fabric in the cupboard for another time. I wore this skirt just with a black turtleneck for our household isolation family easter lunch and very much enjoyed wearing it. It was also nice to get dressed up after staying inside for a few weeks, even if it was just to go to the living room. I’m very excited to wear this skirt outside of my home later in the year!

Fabric – The Fabric Store (I think it’s some sort of textured cotton blend/weave but unsure!)

Pattern- Frankie Wrap Skirt– Made Label

 

 

 

I spent a few days in the summer holidays organising the many boxes of fabrics that I own. I genuinely didn’t believe that I had a stash of fabrics but now know otherwise. I found so many pieces of fabric I didn’t even know that I had, either that I’d bought and forgotten about or that was left over from other projects.  I found fabric that was left over from this bag I made a few years ago. I think it’s a light weight cotton that’s maybe been blended with something else as it holds a little bit of body. This was the perfect project to use up this left over fabric as it uses less than a metre of fabric.

This top is so versatile. You can tie it at the front or the back, or wear it as a wrap around, again at the front or back.

I made this top using the free morning glory top pattern by Sarah Kirsten. This is the second one of Sarah’s Patterns I’ve sewn (I made this modified Walnut Wrap skirt last year).  Both patterns have been more like a guided self drafting project than a more traditional pattern. This makes them very simple but satisfying sews and produces garments that are super easy to modify.

I made a few small changed to this pattern. As directed I hemmed around the neckline and arm holes but instead of hemming the ties I folded them in half and sewed them together. This was as the wrong side of the fabric was clearly noticible and I wanted to hide it. I also put a hook and eye about half way down the neckline just so that I can keep it more together at the front if I chose.

When using this pattern in future I’d  widen the armholes. I think I made them a little tight which occasionally causes some pulling near the sleeves.  The top moves a lot with activity and although the hook and eye helped with  this I’d make sure to add a little extra room next time. I initially had a plan to scoop the neckline and add a few buttons here however the fabric was a little too stiff for this to sit nicely. I’d love to make another version of this pattern using a softer fabric and adding the buttons.

Although the weather is cooling down here hopefully I’ll get a few more wears out of this before winter arrives, or else I’m sure this top will be something I’ll were lots next summer.

Fabric- Darn Cheap Fabrics

Pattern- Sarah Kirsten Morning Glory Top – Free Pattern

This is probably one of the easiest tops I have ever made.  This simple cami took less than an hour to make which is perfect for when I’ve only got a small amount of time to sew.

I modelled my own cami off this version by Ashley from buttermlked. I modified my self drafted pattern I used to make this blue and white stripy top.  For this version I made the straps skinnier and shortened the body pieces so that it sat better over jeans. I also serged the edges and used french seams as the fabric frayed quite a bit after it was cut and I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t have fabric fluff all over me when I wore this!

Fabric- Spotlight Nylon Twinkle Satin

Pattern- Self Drafted

As soon as the Monroe Turtleneck was released by Tessuti I knew I had to make one. Luckily for me my grandmother bought me a serger for my birthday this year which made the whole process so much easier. This was the perfect project for me to learn how to use it as the pattern is so simple and also free!  I made two of these in a week and have plans to be making a few more for next winter.

I had worn my  RTW black turtleneck so often in winter under jumpsuits, with skirts and jeans that  I knew I’d get so much wear out of the Monroe Turtleneck. I bought the black  fabric from the Life with bird Fabric sale for $4 and was eager to use it on my new serger.  I figured that even if this sew went horribly wrong, and my serger cut it all up, I wouldn’t be too upset as the fabric cost me so little.  Luckily it did work as this is such a warm fabric and the top is super comfy to wear.

The Tessuti instructions are comprehensive but aimed at someone with a knowledge of knits and a serger. As  I was completely new to knits and my serger I had my copy of Stretch, by Tilly and the Buttons, open the entire time for some extra help. I had no idea where to start when I opened the machine as I had limited knowledge of how a serger works. I didn’t know what a differential feed was or how I was even meant to start threading the machine, not to mention I was also very intimidated by the blade and was sure I’d cut into the fabric accidentally at some point. Tilly’s serger set up advice was a life saver.  It helped me to thread the machine and work out how to adjust tension and stitch width. I didn’t get it perfect in my first attempt, my black version of the monroe top, but I’m ok with that. Now with a little more practice I am so much more confident using the machine. I would definitely recommend the book to anyone new to stretch fabrics and an overlocker because even if they don’t intend to use the patterns the technical advice is so useful.

The only alteration I made to the pattern in my black version was to add a centre back seam. This was more out of necessity than style design as I didn’t plan my fabric layout well and needed to cut the back into two pieces. I also cuffed the sleeves as I don’t have a twin needle and thought the zig zag hem I did on the bottom didn’t look as nice for the sleeves.

This pattern was such a joy to sew that I started cutting up the next one in a green merino from The Fabric Store the day after I finished my first one.  By my second attempt I’d sorted out all my tension issues and had some cutting practice so finished the entire garment in one afternoon.  I hadn’t even finished the hemming, but was too excited to wait so wore it the next day under overalls.  It is so warm, just perfect for a Melbourne winter,  and such a different colour to what I normally wear. I ended up hand stitching the hem using a catch stitch which made for a clean but subtle finish, even though it took a little longer to complete. Since the rest of the process was so quick it was kind of nice to slow down and finish it with a bit of hand stitching.

Pattern – Monroe Turtleneck – Tessuti  – FREE

Fabric – Life With Bird fabric sale (black) and merino from The Fabric Store (green)

For me I find the most exciting part of a costume party is the brain storming and creating a costume. With Halloween just around the corner here is the the costume I made last year – the evil Queen of the Forest.   As I was studying in year 12 last year, and halloween fell just prior to my final exams, I had very little time to dedicate to making a costume. This costume was quick and easy and the perfect study break project. This costume had three elements, a black dress out of the wardrobe,  a black cape I sewed  and the crown I made. 

For the crown I first found this blog post with a similar idea and based mine off this. This project was great as it is  unique and worked really well for the costume. I followed the steps detailed by Jessica Andersdotter and then added some small black hair elastics to the sides of the crown and placed bobby pins through them so that I had a way of securing the crown to my head throughout the entire night.

For the cape I adapted this pattern using fleece for the body, hood and lining and a wide ribbon for the closure. The thick fleece was a little bit of a pain to work with as the seams were so bulky but the warmth was needed for the Melbourne weather, that always unpredictable around October. I used the basic idea and construction to then make exactly what I wanted. I modified the hood so it was less drapey and to reduce bulk as I used a heavy fleece. To do this I just rounded off the point at the top of the hood so it was more fitted to my head. I also shortened the cape section to make it about a mid length. I made two of these to match with a friend and it took about a day to complete both.

Happy Halloween!

Cape

Fabric- Spotlight Fleece

Pattern- modified from this

Crown 

Instructions here

Materials- twigs from my backyard and other materials from Spotlight

I’ve been meaning to make a wrap skirt for a while as they are so simple to make and easy to wear. I’m super happy with the end product of this skirt and am looking forward to wearing this all year round, either with a cami in summer  or turtleneck in winter.

I was initially inspired to make a wrap skirt after Sarah Kirsten released her ‘Walnut wrap skirt pattern’ to email subscribers. Her ‘no pattern designs’ are so clever and make for simple but satisfying sews. I was initially going to make her (also free pattern) morning glory top with this fabric but didn’t have quite enough so made the skirt instead.

The walnut pattern is not a ‘pattern’ as such but does provides building blocks to make a garment perfectly to your measurements. It was really easy to alter so that the skirt looked exactly how I wanted it. This made it such an enjoyable process to sew. I made a few changes when drawing up the pattern but otherwise followed Sarah’s construction method exactly.

Firstly, I made the overlap smaller (the final W measurement) so that the skirt was more asymmetrical. Consequently to make the overlap sit on the side the darts were slightly off centre so that it would sit where I wanted. The pattern had two darts in the back, and I then added two side seam darts as it wasn’t sitting quite right. I found that the measurements for darts used in the walnut pattern worked perfectly with my body which made things so much easier. I initially tried to measure them myself but ended up spending sooo long on the darts as I couldn’t get it right! I think I redid them 4 times trying to measure them out against my body myself with no luck. I also widened the waistband to about double the given width as my skirt sat a little higher than anticipated after the darts had been put in so I felt like a wider band would sit a tad nicer.

The fabric is an old cotton that my grandma had in her stash, the label on the selvedge reads 1990 so I’m impressed it has stayed in such good condition since then.  It’s kind of strange to think that this fabric is older than I am.

Overall I’m really happy with this design although I may do some final alterations next time I bring out all my sewing supplies. I’ll potentially put a button hole in the side so that the fabric sits flatter around the waist band. This fabric has more body than the linen used  by Sarah so it doesn’t sit as nice at the waistband overlap as the pattern photo. I also may add a stitch in the fabric just so the wrap doesn’t expose too much as I walk!

This was such a fun and easy thing to sew, I really enjoyed using the Walnut pattern and will have to get around to making the morning glory top another time.

Fabric- from my grandmother’s stash

Pattern- Sarah Kirsten Walnut Wrap Skirt

I made this top using the free Purl Soho Boxy Tee Pattern a while ago. It is the first top I ever made that I wore out in the real world. It is not  perfectly made, but I am happy enough with it and love the strawberry fabric. The first time wearing this top on holiday I felt like such an accomplished seamstress, which makes me laugh now. However, I still do feel a nice sense of accomplishment whenever I wear something I made.

I usually wear this top back to front as I prefer the more boat neck style at the front and lower back. Luckily for me there are no darts in the body so wearing it like this is fine.

I learnt a few new skills when making this top. The T-shirt was my first time using bias binding to finish a neckline, which scared me so much but worked out mostly ok. I liked the finish of the bias binding, however I do tend to stick to using facing where I can as I much prefer sewing facing than bias bindings.

This pattern is such a good way to get into t-shirt making for a few reasons.

  1. It’s boxy, so super easy to fit and alter if needed.
  2. It uses woven fabric.
  3. It’s free, so even if it doesn’t work out it’s still ok.
  4. It’s overall a really easy pattern to make with no set in sleeves , darts or super tricky elements.

Pattern- Purl Soho Boxy Tee (Free)

Fabric- Cotton from Spotlight

Over the past few years that I’ve been sewing I’ve only ever made clothing for summer. Maybe because they are often simpler and my fabric of choice is  cotton, which is a good summer fabric. Since I’ve started the blog and had more time to sew I’ve grown to really love wearing all my handmades and do not want this to stop when the weather cools. Here  are some patterns that I’d love to make.

1.  Delphine Skirt – Tilly and the Buttons from her first book ‘Love at First Stitch’

I bought this purple and blue patterned and textured fabric to make this. As it’s a thick material hopefully this will work with boots and a turtleneck all winter. This pattern was the first pattern I ever made and wore out in the world. It will be nice to return to the same pattern years later with much better sewing skills. Hopefully I can get the invisible zipper right this time!

2. Munroe Turtleneck – Tessuti

This is a free pattern and I’m really looking forward to making as it will be my first make with knit fabric. I hope this will be a good starting pattern and the boxy fit should disguise any potentially dodgy stitching. I’ve got some navy knit fabric to make this in.

3. Burnside Bibs– Sew House Seven

I’m thinking these in a black cord but haven’t yet found some fabric. I’m really trying to move away from my go to dark skinny jeans I wear all winter so hopefully these wide legs will add some diversity. I really like this version by Designs by Lindsey. As much as I love these I do own a few pinafores, jumpsuits and overalls so this will be last on my list as I need a bit of diversity!

4. All the patterns from the new Tilly and the Buttons book ‘Stretch

Many of patterns in this book look like things I could imagine wearing all winter long, although I particularily like Freya pattern, both the top and dress. Tilly’s last book was so useful to learn some skills as Tilly’s instructions for both construction and theory are so well explained, so I’m really excited for her new book.

5. Ninni Elastic Culottes – Named Patterns

These just look so comfy and a good winter pant wore with boots. I love the elastic waist that means no zipper to insert and leaves a nice gathered drape. It will make these super easy to wear as they nice but not too formal for everyday wear as culottes with pleats can sometimes be.

6. Kommatia Patterns Open Back Bodysuit 

As I own a few turtlenecks and have a few on this list, I will probably be living in them this winter. They are so comfy, warm and always make an outfit look put together. I’m a little nervous about trying this pattern for a few reasons. Firstly, I’m inexperienced with knit. Secondly, Kommatia Patterns doesn’t show the final garment on a person and I can’t find many versions of this online. However, the line drawings do look good and I like the idea of an open back turtle neck bodysuit that would dress up any outfit.

As Uni is now back I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to sew until the July holidays,so until then I’ll just have to gather fabric and supplies so I’m all ready to sew when the holidays come!

I probably should have called my blog ‘Shades of Blue’ as I just can’t seem to drift away from making things in blue. Here’s another blue top!  This  camisole style top is super easy and quick to make.  It uses very little fabric so is great for using up fabric scrapes.  My top is made from left over fabric from my Kimono Sleeve Dress.

 

I made this top in an afternoon, which for me is quick asI am a very slow sewer.  I had never worked with rayon before so took a bit of time to get used to the feel but overall enjoyed the drape the fabric has, which cotton (my go to fabric for sewing) does not. 

The top is two identical rectangles that I made from my own body measurements ensuring I added a few extra cm for hem allowance and to allow it to drape. I simply sewed the sides up using french seams as they always feel nicer against the skin and there is no need to finish the seams as they are enclosed. Here is a really though tutorial about how to do french seams.

To make the straps I folded two long strips of fabric right sides in lengthways and sewed with a 0.5cm seam and turned inside out. I pined them to the top using bra straps as a guide for where to place them and joined them to the top of the top.

This top is really easy to wear in just about any season, either in summer with a denim skirt as I have here or jeans, boots and a nice long cardigan in winter. I think it will be getting a lot of wear out of this top and as it is so easy and quick to sew. I’ll probably be making a few more but maybe not in blue this time!

This top was made using a pattern by buttermlked (go have a look at her sewing, it’s super funky!) drafted from a RTW top she already had.  This is a super simple design, quick to make and perfect for a beginner.

The construction is really simple. I’ve added my measurements which should fit a size 6/8 aus however it would not be too hard to alter these by taking a few simple body measurements. Helpfully, the measurements don’t have to be exactly perfect as the lace up back makes it very easy to fit and alter once it’s already been sewn.

  1. Sew the tie pieces lengthways right sides together closing one end. Turn inside out and press.
  2. Sew the two body pieces together right sides inwards with the neck ties enclosed in the seam and leaving the bottom open. Turn inside out and press.
  3. Repeat for the back pieces making sure to include the tie loops in the seam between the lining and fabric.
  4. Sew the back pieces to the body.
  5. Fold and press the unfinished bottom edges inside the top 1cm and pin. Top stitch 0.5cm from the bottom of the top enclosing the unfinished edges inside.
  6. Thread the back tie through the loops in a criss cross fashion, press and its all done!

There are lots of ways to vary this pattern either by adding multiple ties at the back instead of loops, making the neck strap fixed instead of tie or closing over the back,  or adding a zipper or buttons to make it more bra friendly.

Again, it seems I’ve made more blue things.  I will have to focus my winter sewing wardrobe on adding some different colours!

Pattern – Self drafted by buttermlked

Fabric   – Both blue patterned cotton and white lining cotton from Spotlight