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

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)

 

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

 

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 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