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

 

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)

I love this new winter skirt I made.  A Delphine skirt from Tilly and the Buttons was the first garment I ever made and wore out in public. I used a floral blue cotton that my grandma’s had and wore it to be a ‘nerd’ in my school’s production of High School Musical. I made three versions of the skirt before I got it wearable as I couldn’t get the fit or invisible zip just right. A few years later making this skirt was so much easier. I really loved noticing how much my skills have improved in three years. This time around I had some problems with the zipper but it did turn out much much better and I don’t have to keep cutting off loose threads or worrying it will break every time I wear it!

Part of the reason this was better than my first one’s was due to this gorgeous fabric I used. It’s a quilted Italian jacquard that I bought it at a fabric sale from the brand ‘Life with Bird’.   They used this fabric in the amazing dress below.  It was so exciting to drive out to the sale and see a range of gorgeous fabrics that were so different to what i’d normally see at a fabric store.  This fabric is really warm and I love the texture and pattern of it. It’s also really good to hide any dodgy stitching as the dark colours combined with the texture make it almost impossible to see the black thread. This was useful to attach the waistband facing by stitching in the ditch but not useful when I had to unpick the zipper as the thread as it was difficult to see!

I made a few adjustments to the pattern.  I took out some extra fabric around the zipper to make it sit better. I think it sat funny as my measurements are in between pattern sizes and I just picked the biggest instead of grading, leaving me with a waistband far too big.  I’ve never graded between sizes before as normally I just pick the bigger size which is probably not good sewing technique. However not grading was a little frustrating as I had to take out my invisible zip which I did a really good job of and start again. My zip wasn’t quite as good the second time! Now I know this is what I should do for garments that are more fitted. I also shortened the skirt about two inches.

I really love working with any of Tilly’s patterns.  The instructions are so easy to follow as they really step you through every process. I would really recommend her book ‘Love at First Stitch‘ for any beginners as it’s so helpful for many basic skills even if you don’t make all the patterns. I’ve referred back to this book for extra help on many of my self drafted garments and other patterns when I need help with elements so well explained in this book.

Even though I’ve still got a few final alterations (@ the invisible zip 🙁 ) to do before I wear this I photographed it as I’m really excited about this skirt. It’s the first winter item I’ve made.  I’m really missing wearing all the clothes I made over summer but I’m sure I’ll get a lot of wear out of this!

Pattern – ‘Delphine’ from Tilly and the Button’s book’ Love at First Stitch’

Fabric  –   bought from a Life with Bird fabric sale