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 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

 

 

 

Pants making is something that seemed very difficult to me for a long time. All the topstitching and a button fly made the process seem very daunting but I’m so glad that I finally decided to give it a go! I made my first pair out of a funky cotton print basically as a wearable muslin to check the fit. I was so excited when I found the patterned fabric earlier this year. It’s a nice weight for pants and has such a funky print with a subtle bit of cordroy (ish)  texture on the right side that I really like. 

My second denim pair had some minor alternations that have made them fit perfectly to me.

The Persephone seems like a good pattern for me to start my pants making adventure.  I’ve seen so so many versions of the Persephone pants and they seem to look so good on everyone and all different body types. I also chose them as I’d seen a few reviews stating they were easy to fit due to the absence of a side seam so fitting could be done only by changing the inner leg seam. 

This pattern is a very large PDF file with lots and lots of pages. I printed all of them but then found I actually didn’t need many of the pages. If I was to print it again I’d be careful and look at the file a bit closer to make sure I’m only printing pages I need. I also found the fabric requirement to be very generous. I had about half a meter less than recommended for my patterned pair and still managed to squeeze a pair out. That said, I cut one of smaller sizes and my waistband and pockets were cut on the perpendicular grain so I did compromise a little bit. 

For my patterned pair, I cut and sewed a straight size 8 with no adjustments. This was my first time sewing pants so I’m lucky the fit was alright. My hip measurement sat exactly a size 8 and while I found the fit to be fairly tight for the first few wears both fabrics have nicely softened and stretched so that the fit is perfect now. My waist measurement was a little larger than stated this did turn out ok. The waistband sits firm but doesn’t dig in at all. I did find that the waistband gapes a little at the back point which I easily rectified in my denim pair. 

For my denim pair,  I opted to use a curved waistband. I followed this tutorial by Sew Altered Style which was very helpful. This removed a little bit of the gaping that occurs at the back waistband with a straight wasitband.  I ended up overlapping the pieces about 5cm to form the curve.   My new waistband sits just as I want it and I don’t think I’d want to take any more out of the back as it does cause a subtle visual scoop in the back. I imagine if I took more out this would become more obvious.

Additionally, while the front pockets are a fun detail, I find they are not super comfy when I sit down with something in them as they tend to dig into my legs. I ended up serging these off in my patterned pair as they  weren’t really functional and didn’t always lay flat. I found the pocket sewing to be a little fiddly, not impossible, but I think they look cleaner without them. My denim pair has patch pockets and no front pockets. Anna Allen offers a patch pocket download free on her website that I’d use next time. I drafted my own pockets but think I made them just a little too small as I copied off a lower rise jean that I had. 

 

I found that overall the Persephone pants were a good pattern for me to start pants making and I felt like I levelled up my skills in the process.  The actual construction wasn’t difficult however the major difficulty for me was the topstitching. I’d never done that much topstitching so I got in some good practice sewing a perfect parallel lines. I’m glad my first pair were with a busy pattern so the wonky stitching is a bit disguised. The second time around I had worked out how to set the right tension and changed my needle which helped tremendously. I also learnt that my machine will be much happier when I thread the bobbin with an all purpose thread instead of the topstitching thread. I did also omit some of the waistband stitching for my denim pair as I wanted them to look very simple and I chose a very contrasting thread colour. 

Once I cut out the pattern this was a straight forward sew that only took me a few week nights, which as a slow/easily distracted sewist is pretty quick for a more involved project. I used the zipper fly extension pack and found the instructions to be very comprehensive and I ended up with a really nice zipper. I fabric covered a button for my pattered  pair and used a jeans button for my denim pair. I think the jeans button is v  cute and also much stronger as it is hammered in. This was my first time using hardware and I’d be keen to play around with rivets in the future to add to the jeans look. 

 

I wear both these pants very often so think another pair may appear in the near future. I’ve especially found the denim to be so versatile and have made me enjoy wearing ‘jeans’ again. Overall, I think this is such a great pants pattern and I really felt like I learnt some new and exciting sewing skills in the process!

Pattern :  Persephone Pants by Anna Allen Clothing 

Fabric : Clear It Fitzroy  (patterned)           Tessuti Fabrics (denim, link is to similar) 

The wattlebird jumpsuit is basically the perfect item of clothing for me. I wear a lot of jumpsuits all year round so really wanted a nice summery one to wear when it’s super hot. This linen wattlebird is lovely as it’s so loose and light.

I made this up in a mid weight green linen from The Fabric Store. It’s such a gorgeous fabric to wear and work with and I think I’ll be back to get some more.

I bought the wattlebird as a PDF but went to get it printed at the copyshop. I’ve never done this before but for a pattern with large pattern pieces this was a huge time saver. Assembling large PDF patterns is never super exciting so it was nice to miss this part of the process. This also made the large pieces a little more sturdy and easy to use. I will be doing this again for patterns with large pieces.

I really love the style of this jumpsuit but found I had to make a couple of modifications to the pattern in order to make it fit nicer.   I found overall the fit to be too large and have seen many others sewists who found the same. I’d size down from the given measurement to avoid this. As with my wattlebird top I had to insert some vertical pleats as the width of the top was too large and gapey. I also ended up taking about an inch out of either side as the arm hole was very wide. I also found that due to the binding being cut on the straight grain it does tend to sit out a little under the arm. This decision was made by Common Stitch in order to save fabric which is understandable as it is a long piece. I would however maybe consider cutting on the bias next time so that the binding sits a little nicer along the curves.

Some things I also would have loved in this pattern would be an inner leg seam measurement and marks to put back straps. I think these would have eliminated some guesswork out of the project. I did find the legs to be too long for my height and preference. However, I do really like the look of these cuffed so am happy I cut longer than I needed. To do the cuffs I just turned the fabric up twice and tacked where needed.

I did like the construction method of sewing the front and back pants to the respective bodice and then completing the pants. I was a little less complicated and twisty than my usual method which is to make the pants and bodice separately.

This is my second iteration of the wattlebird jumpsuit pattern and I’m sure it will not be my last. Now that I’ve worked out how I like this pattern to sit for my body I have plans for a few more versions. This jumpsuit has gotten lots of wear since I made it 6 months ago (and only just got around to photographing it eyy). In the warmer weather  it sits so nice and cool away from the body, and in the cooler weather with a long sleeve top underneath it is just as comfy. I really try to wear my makes as much as possible so it’s good to be able to wear this all year round.

Pattern – Common Stitch wattlebird jumpsuit

Fabric- Mid weight linen from The Fabric Store

 

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

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