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)

I’ve had this brown linen left over from my wattlebird top for almost a year now and have struggled with what to do with it. I was very happy when I found an old pattern someone had donated to an op shop. I love a good boxy top that just hangs away from the body in summer, so this was a perfect option for me.

This is a vintage pattern from 1989 is part of a Butterick Esprit collection. The notes on the pattern say that in September 1989 the previous owner made a red and white spotted blazer. It was kind of nice to think about how almost exactly 30 years earlier someone had been using this pattern. Hopefully her blazer was worn and loved as much as my top has been.

This was a very quick sew and took me only an afternoon to make. I didn’t make any alternations to the pattern however when I measured myself for this pattern I sat at a size 12. The pattern I have is only a 6-10 but as this is a very wide boxy style  I chose to just cut the 10 and hope for the best. It still sits very wide and boxy on me so I’d say this pattern runs a little large. I’d even be temped to cut an extra size down if I made it again just to reduce some of the width of the body.

The fabric I used had a lovely selvage that I used to the hem of my wattlebird top. As I usually tuck my shirts in I chose to use this selvage for the sleeve hems this time. I think it adds such a lovely detail to the top (and as a bonus saved me from hemming which is my least favourite sewing task:)).

I’ve worn this a few times with my trusty denim skirt as pictured here but have also found it’s nice with high waisted jeans when it’s a little cooler. As it’s so versatile I imagine I’ll be making a few more of these this summer.

Pattern – Butterick 3453

Fabric – Crinkle Linen from The Fabric Store 

This jersey has been sitting in my fabric stash for a long, long time. My first instinct with any jersey is to make a turtleneck or mock neck top, because during winter thats what I wear 5/7 days of the week when it’s cold. However, I’ve really been trying to diversify my wardrobe and wanted to make some sort of ‘elevated basic’ with this top, something that will work with lots of pants/skirts but with a little more design than my usual turtleneck.

I really loved the twist of the Joni dress (Tilly and the Buttons – Stretch!) below so used this as a base to make my top.

As this is a dress pattern I did make a few modifications. I chose to cut a 3/4 sleeve which I hemmed with a zigzag. I also chose to modify the neckline. The initial pattern has a higher neck but I changed it to a  deeper V neck by modifying the knot pattern pieces. I also lengthen them on the bottom so that the horizontal seam sits further down. When I tuck it and wear high waisted pants this then can’t be seen. It does have a little bit of a tendency to ride up so am considering altering this into a body suit at some stage in the future. This also keeps the knot from bagging around the chest area and keeps it tight. I added the neck binding and hand stitched it to the underside of the garment, instead of following Tilly’s recommended method. This resulted in a little bit of pulling so some careful ironing had to be done, however I do like this now as there is no visible stitch line at the neck. As I’ve been sewing for a while now I do tend to not read instructions as carefully as I once did, often to my own detriment. This happened when I was making the knot and caused a few problems. The instructions are really clear and it was fine once I read them properly but it did take me three tries to get it looking as I wanted.

For most of this shirt I used my overlocker. I did attempt to use my overlocker to do the seams near the knot but found it difficult to get the precision I need. Using a sewing machine and then overlocking the seams where needed is a much better way to do this. Basically, if I read the instructions better, it would have been easy!

Overall I really love how this top worked out. The fabric has such a lovely texture so it’s so soft and comfortable to wear.

Pattern- Joni by Tilly and the Buttons from the book Stretch

Fabric- jersey from The Fabric Store

 

I’ve been wearing the same pair of tracksuit pants for a few years now. They are very very faded, not nearly as soft as they were, and also a little shrunk from all the washing.  I tried very hard to find exactly the same pair again but every time I went to the store I couldn’t find any. They were just plain grey tracksuits pants but I wanted THE EXACT same pair again. After no luck I decided maybe I’d have to make my own pair. I wasn’t sure if it’d be worth making a pair of tracksuit pants over buying a similar pair. It is a bit of work for something I’ll just wear inside my home but I’m so glad I did as I was able to get them sitting just as I want and added a few nice touches in there as well.

I chose to use the Tilly and the Buttons’ Stella Joggers pattern to make these. I’ve made a few patterns from Tilly’s book Stretch now (see my Freya & Joni). I really really love how simple they are to make but I always learn a few new skills making her patterns.

These pants were a fairly quick sew once I’d cut out all the fabric pieces. I had a little trouble using knit interfacing for the first time and did fuse the drawstring channel together :((  but once I got over that it was very simple. I used my overlocker for most of the seams which gives suuuch a nice finish inside. I found this pattern true to size and didn’t make any alterations.

One nice detail I like about these pants is the ‘piping effect’ I’ve got going on the pockets. I used some jersey scraps I had left over from my Joni top for the pocket bags. This was just so that I didn’t have a huge amount of bulk around the pockets as the body material is quite thick. When I flipped the bag to sew to the pants the thinner jersey had a tendency to wrap around the serged seam creating a faux piping. I kind of liked this so kept this when sewing the pocket bag down to the pants.

I chose to use a pink drawstring as another nice touch. When I started making these pants I thought they would  just end up looking like any pair of grey track suit pants but I really like that I’ve added the darker grey and pink thread to make them look a little more individual.

Although I do love these alot I think I’d do some things differently next time. I potentially would shorten the leg a little bit as I like my tracksuit pants to sit just above the ankle.  I’d also want to secure the drawstring to the elastic at the centre back as the drawstring and elastic do sometimes get twisted. I think this would just allow the waistband to sit better when tied. Fabric wise, I’ve noticed a little rubbing on the fabric so may investigate a different fabric choice next time but overall I am super happy with how these turned out.

These pants have been doing great in keeping me comfy and warm. I basically spent all my evening during winter in these pants, have worn them on flights and sooo many of Melbourne’s cold days and they have been perfect.

Pattern – Tilly and the Buttons Freya Joggers – from the book Stretch!

Fabric and Notions – Main Fabric and Drawstring – Spotlight

Pocket lining – jersey from The Fabric Store

Often when I sew I make a style that isn’t in my current wardrobe so it’s a bit of a guess as to what the final garment will look like on me. However, as I basically live in mock neck tops in winter, I knew exactly how this would sit on me. Hence, I  have gotten a lot of wear out of this Freya top.

This isn’t a difficult pattern to sew, although when the fabric & my serger weren’t getting along, it was a bit challenging.

To make this top I used the Freya Pattern from the book Stretch. The first Tilly and the Buttons book, Love At First Stitch, taught me how to sew; how to finish a seam, insert and zip and make wearable garments. It’s a reference point for me whatever I’m making, so it’s nice to know, that  now have a guide as I adventure into knits.

This fabric is a dead stock sparkle knit from Alannah Hill. It’s a loose-ish knit so was prone to stretching and fraying when sewing which made the neck piece insertion a little tricky. However I did manage to successfully insert my first neckband so this wasn’t a huge problem. Also, as this was such a loose knit the shoulder seam stabilising elastic was crucial to the longevity of the top. I spent a while trying to get this perfect by fiddling with tensions and stitch widths on my machine, but now feel confident with elastic and have used it for a few projects since, again referring back to Tilly’s instructions.

I found this pattern to be true to size. I didn’t make any modifications and chose to cut a 3/4 sleeve.

Fabric- Dead stock Alannah Hill from ClearIt 

Pattern- Freya Top– Tilly and the Buttons

Before this project swimsuit sewing was something that sounded terrifying to me.  However, after seeing so many lovely handmade swimsuits on Instagram I was inspired to make my own. I was lucky that I chose a pattern with very comprehensive written and video instructions that helped me with the construction process.

The swimsuit I chose to make was the Vernazza Two Piece pattern by Friday Pattern Company. This is the second pattern of their’s I’d made after testing the Adrienne Blouse last year. After having read her instructions for the top, which even in the testing stage were  detailed and clear, I felt confident that her style would be helpful to me as a first time swimwear sewist. That however is not to say that I found this an easy project. I have limited experience with stretch sewing, am still relatively new to my serger, have never made any underwear, sewn with lycra, lined anything or inserted elastic. 

I bought this glorious leafy swimwear fabric from Tessuti. I spent a long time finding places in Melbourne that carry swimwear fabrics. I wanted to make sure it would be a good quality so that it would last after I put all the effort in to make it. I’ve only worn this swimsuit a couple of times however so far its survived and retained it’s elasticity. I also bought the foam cups and elastic from Tessuti.

I reversed the order of the instructions and made the bottoms first. They seemed slightly simpler and lower risk to me. In hindsight though, both the bottom and top had challenging elements. I didn’t make any alterations to the bottom’s pattern and chose the high waisted version.  Luckily for me the sizing was true to the final product and they fit well! I had a few practices inserting elastic before trying to insert it into the leg holes however I still ended up redoing this. The first time I did it too tight and on the wrong side of the fabric. The video provided accompanying the instructions was super helpful and after sitting down and watching it carefully the elastic insertion made a lot more sense. 

Before starting the top I did make a toile using a thin jersey with a similar stretch to my swimwear fabric. I figured that this would be the most difficult part of the swim suit to fit. I also made a few alterations to the pattern. I deepened the back scoop and thinned the straps. I also chose to include foam cups between the lining and outer fabric. These are hand stitched to the lining.

I’m really happy with how this swimsuit turned out. It is definitely not perfect, the fabric in some places stretches in strange ways, however the dark colours and busy print do a lot to disguise this. I think it’s mostly me who would notice.

I always love wearing what I make out for the first time and seeing how they work in ‘real life’ ,wearing a swimsuit I made myself was extra exciting. I think it definitely shows a progression in  my skills and is something I didn’t think I’d be able to make wearable on my first attempt.  There was 100% a part of me that was so scared it would fall apart but I was more proud of me that this was something I’d made. However, It’s been perfect so far!

I’m already looking at other patterns, styles and fabrics in prep for making another swimsuit next summer!

Pattern- Vernazza Two Piece– Friday Pattern Company

Fabric & Notions- All from Tessuti

– Main fabric – Lining – Foam cups – Elastic (in a variety of widths)

 

These shorts are the perfect make to help expand the diversity in my summer wardrobe. I wear a lot of blue shorts ,skirts and dresses in summer so it’s nice to inject some more colour into my clothes and have a change from my usual style.

This is the second Common Stitch pattern I’ve made now and I’ve really enjoyed the simplicity of their designs. Sometimes I find with simple designs that I make them too quickly and then don’t enjoy the process of making and wearing them as much. Neither the wattlebird jumpsuit, which I made as a top here, or these shorts took a long time to make but they are so easy to wear and have a few nice details that make them feel rewarding anyway. I do however wish there were some notches on the patterns for pattern matching purposes and a lengthen/shorten line to make modifications easier.

The shorts are made in this cotton/canvas blend from The Fabric Store. This is much heavier and stiffer than is recommended by the pattern. I was a little worried during the making that this would make the shorts sit funny. It was a little difficult to sew parts of the elastic casing and pockets due to the stiffness, next time I’ll make these in a softer fabric. However, the fabric did soften with a little bit of wear and washing.

I’m a little impressed by myself that I matched the stripes at the crotch seam. I’ve never really tried to pattern match before but realised its not nearly as complicated as I thought, so that maybe something I’ll add into future projects.

Pattern – Bellbird Shorts, Common Stitch Patterns

Fabric – Multi Stripe Cotton Canvas, The Fabric Store

With the arrival of summer this top has very quickly become a favourite in my wardrobe. The linen and loose fit means that it holds almost no heat, making this perfect for hot summer days. 

 

 

I made this top by modifying the Wattlebird Jumpsuit by Common Stitch. It’s made in a linen blend (similar to this I think)  my mum bought me from the fabric store earlier in the year. 

To make the top I used the top half of the jumpsuit (the top front and back pieces and the straps). I lengthened the body, both front and back pieces, by about three inches as the jumpsuit body/pant seam sits quite high. I also raised the back by an inch at the top, following the drafted curve, as I wanted mine to sit a little higher than was drafted. 

This fabric has a really lovely decorative selvedge that I figured I could use as both a design element and a way to avoid hemming. Consequently I did have to remove the curve along the lower edge of the patten pieces and level it off to accomodate this. 

Using the given measurements I was between two sizes and picked the larger. Yet due to the loose fit this ended up being too large and I took 4 cm from the side seams on either side. This was a little difficult as I had already sewed down the straps which bind the top edge of the top and added lots of bulk.

Consequently, the top also gaped at the top. In order to make this sit flat I’ve added pleats at the top by folding part of the top back towards the strap on both sides. It’t a little difficult to explain but can be seen in the photo above.

Next time I should be more careful and try it on beforehand!  I would recommend sizing down/grading if you are between sizes. 

The resulting top is similar to the Wattlebird Cami, also by Common Stitch and it likely would have been a lot easier to make with just that pattern. Yet as I only owned the jumpsuit pattern I figured hacking could be possible from the base. As this top was simple to sew up once made it was fun to spend a bit more time working on modifying the pattern so that it was exactly what I wanted. 

This isn’t a fabric I’d buy for myself as it’s not a colour I’d usually wear, yet as always mum was able to find something that is a little outside my style but I’ve so easily made it feel like me. As it was a linen blend it was a little stretchy so I did have to be careful when sewing that I didn’t stretch out and disfigure the seams. Some extra practice using my overlocker should also help with this.

I’ve worn this top so much since I made it a few weeks ago. It’s so light and breezy. I’ve taken photos here with a denim skirt but I’ve also worn this with denim shorts for a more casual (and perfect for the beach) look.

Pattern – Modified Wattlebird Jumpsuit by Common Stitch

Fabric- Linen Blend from The Fabric Store

 

I pattern tested the Adrienne Blouse for the Friday Pattern Company about a month ago.  The top was very different to anything I’ve got in my wardrobe hence I was a little worried about sewing this as I wasn’t sure how this would sit on me (+ I couldn’t do my usual instagram stalk of everyone else who has made it to see what it would look like out in the real world). The sample is styled with structured pants but in order to make this top feel more like me I wore mine with my Ninni Culottes. I really enjoy this style as there is so much drama in the big sleeves and wide legs.

I only made a few minor alterations to this pattern. I shortened both the neckline and sleeve elastic for a closer and tighter fit, I also shortened the body by two inches.   In hindsight I shouldn’t have made the shoulder elastic shorter as I think I like the lower neckline of the sample version but I still enjoy this version. If I made it again I’d follow the recommended length.

The testing pattern didn’t have a spot to change the fullness of the sleeves however the released pattern does. I think this would be so lovely with a lighter, more drapey fabric and a slightly less full sleeve. I really love how the bodice sits and it would be fun to see how the mood of the top could be changed with some alterations.

Now the pattern is released, I’ve loved seeing how all the testers styled their own versions, with skirts, jeans and overalls. I’m looking forward to seeing more and working out all the other ways I can incorporate this top into my wardrobe.

Pattern- Adrienne Blouse – Friday Pattern Company

Fabric- unknown stretch material from The Fabric Store

I’ve been wanting to make a pair of culottes for a while but have struggled to find the perfect pattern. I wanted a nice blend of structure and comfort that was also an easy sew.  Although the Ninni culottes lack structure, the simple design looked so comfy and easy to sew.

As the pants are such a simple design they are super easy to fit so I didn’t need to make any fit alterations. Disappointingly, I didn’t add the pockets as I was eager to use my serger and disregarded the instruction, serging up the side seams, making pocket insertion too tricky! I’d only had my serger for a few months at this point and was so excited when I fixed all the tension issues.

I had a little bit of a problem with the elastic waistband because my fabric was a little bulky and stiffer than what was used in the samples and I was very very worried about breaking a needle! I had to do this slowly but it worked out alright in the end. Next time I think I’ll also put in a slightly longer elastic as I didn’t think about the effect of the fabric adding extra bulk to the waist so they were a little too tight for the first few wears.

 

These pants bear a little bit of resemblance to my high school music performance skirt as they are so billowy. I do not miss having to wear this uniform for choir and guitar performances! Hence, I was a little undecided on how much I liked these pants for a while. They are a little outside my usual style so it took me a while to work out how to style them.  However now I’ve worked out how to incorporate them into my wardrobe I’m loving them. I lost them for a few months after moving house and was very sad about this, I’m so glad they’ve made a reappearance before the weather heats up! They are so comfy and the perfect weight for this awkward time of the year when sometimes it’s hot and sometimes it’s cold within the same day. 

Fabric- unknown from  The Fabric Store

Pattern- Ninni Culottes Named Patterns