A line skirt block


During one of my pattern making classes at Workspace-FADS we all decided that we needed a good A-line skirt block. Now I think that Vogue 1247 is the quintessential A-line skirt. I love the shape and the fact that the pattern is pretty easy to hack. However, I think that this one might become my new favourite skirt.


So, what can I tell you about this skirt? Well, it has perfect hand sized pockets, and my favourite part which is the scalloped hem. For some reason I’ve always wanted a skirt with a scalloped hem.


Can you see the scallop lining? It’s a gorgeous Liberty Viyella that I’ve had in my stash since I made my stepdaughter a dress from it more than 20 years ago. I am so happy to have used it up!


The skirt yoke and pockets are lined with the same Liberty fabric. Here’s a better shot of the hem. I am really pleased with my even scallops.


I am wearing a new Nettie bodysuit with it. I have been hankering after a black bodysuit for ages, and I found some viscose in my stash which was absolutely perfect. Not sure about the prissy facial expression, I think it’s because I was being rained on!


I am in the process of making matching underwear to go with the bodysuit. I have made the undies from a 1990s Knitwit pattern, but can’t show them as the leg line is so reminiscent of Olivia Newton John’s outfit in “Let’s get physical”. You know the one – right up to the hip bone. Although they are old fashioned, they are really comfortable, so I’m voting for a return of high cut undies – oh wait, I’m making them so I can do what I want :). I am playing around with drafting a bra for the set, using the book “Bare Essentials” as my guide.

Details: Skirt is self-drafted and is made from a 90¢ corduroy remnant from Spotlight. Lining is Liberty Viyella bought at the Liberty shop in Claremont, which closed down many years ago (sob!). I had a tiny scrap left and I am pleased to have used it. Black Nettie bodysuit from some black viscose bought at Knitwit and made whilst camping last weekend. I am also wearing my red Miette cardigan, and Victorian mourning necklace.


Presto Popover top


When I blogged my third Jenna cardi, I wore a top under it, and a couple of my keen-eyed followers spotted it. I can now show you that top – drum roll please – it is the newly released Presto Popover by Savage Coco Patterns, and it is a very clever top indeed.


I love the shawl collar and the body shape of this top, although now that I look at the photos, I might need a FBA. I’ve already cut a second one out, so it’s too late for that one! I might have also stretched out the bottom slightly, so I shall stabilise the hem of version 2.


The construction, though, is where the design really shines through. There are two front pieces and they are sewn together down the middle and then folded back to produce that lovely shaped neckline. The double layer prevents the front being see through, and of course it’s lovely and warm.


The only issue is that extreme pattern matching is required should your fabric need it! Mine did require it and worse, the lines on my fabric were all wobbly making matching tricky. I think I did a pretty fair job, and when I made the Jenna Cardi from the leftovers, I managed to match the pattern on the cardi to that on the Presto, which isn’t that obvious here, but trust me, it’s perfect and I’m really pleased with myself, for once.DSC04786


Details: Presto Popover top by Savage Coco Patterns, and Jenna Cardi, both made from a tribal printed knit remnant from Potter Textiles. I have accidentally finished up making a twinset!


How many shirts in a sheet?


So how many shirts can you get from a sheet? Surprisingly only two!


This is my old favourite pattern, KwikSew 3422, made from a new flannelette sheet that was surplus to requirements. I must say that I chose the sheet colour knowing that I was going to turn the top sheet into shirts, but I had planned to dye them. Mark liked the rather bland colour, so I added some red flannelette to this one to give it a smidge more interest.


I made these shirts for Mark to wear gardening or just cruising round the shops, so imagine my surprise when he put it on and headed off for work. Luckily it was a non-meeting day!

Having made the one with the red trim, I had a dig in my flannel scraps stash and decided that I liked the tartan contrast with brown buttons and brownish top stitching. I think I prefer this one.


When I was fossicking through the flannel scraps I decided that I had enough to make Tom and Bridgette a flannel scrap quilt. This was my very first attempt at a quilt!

I loaded a massive box of scraps into the car and took them camping for the weekend. Tom and Bridgette came too and Bridgette helped me go through all the scraps and we cut a large number of 15cm squares for the rug. Scraps from the sheet were also incorporated, as well as some new flannelette material that Bridgette and I found in the Nannup op-shop. Here I am sewing up the squares on a very chilly morning!


In spite of my careful calculations, I think the quilt is a little small, so I’m going to make a few more rows and add them on.

In case you’ve never seen one of these quilts, they are easy, they have no batting, and the raw edges get snipped with scissors. There is a nice tutorial on Sew So Easy. I looked everywhere for the ragging shears needed for the edges. None in the local shops, I deemed the online ones too expensive, and then I found a pair in a quilting shop in Bridgetown, which is a lovely town about 270kms from Perth. They were $13, which was a bargain. I am constantly astonished at the things I find in country towns that I can’t find in the city.


I decided that I didn’t have enough squares the same to create a pattern, so took the random approach. This worked out ok mostly, but I do have a few identical squares next to each other. Not that Tom notices! He and Heidi clearly enjoy it!


So, my one queen size top sheet made two shirts and a bunch of squares for the quilt. I think I might even have a few more scraps left…

Dressing gown for my mother


I’ve made my mother a dressing gown for her birthday! This garment had a few requirements – it needed to be super soft and snuggly, it needed to be blue (her favourite colour) and it needed to have a cuteness factor.


Here it is on Doris, and please note that it doesn’t fit at all. My mother is 4″8″ tall and is quite, ahem, curvy.

I used one of Mum’s own patterns for this – Style 2999 from 1976, so this actually fits my vintage pledge as well. I note that she had never actually made this pattern up, so it has sat in her stash since the ’70s. I really like this pattern; the stand up collar and the shape of the gown itself. I have a bit of a yearning for the bed jacket for myself…

Scan 1

The problem I faced is that Mum has clearly put on weight since buying the pattern, and this is a single sized pattern, so I had to do assorted grading up, particularly in the bust, and I am not terribly good at this.

You will also see that the fabric is rather, er, childlike. Yes, this is the case. The minute I saw it I knew that Mum would love it. She has dementia (the happy sort) and loves teddy bears. Looking at these photos I note that the teddies all appear to be upside down. Actually they are upside down, but there are a few that are the right way up (look at the bottom left). Strangely enough, and even though I took the teddy direction into account, the bulk of these teddies face upwards, so not sure what’s happened. However Mum will love this, so I’m pretending that it’s a design feature!

The pockets are doubled over so that they are fleecy on the inside too. I hope that she can find them to keep her hands warm on our chilly mornings.

I had a strip of fabric left over so I bound it with satin bias binding and turned it into a little wrap. I thought that she would be able to snuggle into this when she’s dressed in her day clothes. Do you like the nonchalant pose?


The fabric is pure plastic fleece. It was a nightmare to have present in my house. It shed bits like snow and I was constantly cleaning up. I had to wear an apron to protect my clothes – this is what I looked like if I didn’t


All the tiny scraps are now hermetically sealed in a plastic bag.

Details: Pattern is Style 2999. I cannot find any reference to this pattern at all on the internet, which is interesting. The fabric is a polyester fleece from Spotlight. The buttons came from Mum’s own stash. I can’t wait to give this to her and just hope that it fits!


The Lilly dress: a new pattern!


Hello everyone, there is a new pattern hitting screens all round the world, and it is the Lilly dress.


This dress is inspired by the Lilly Pulitzer dresses that everyone but me has heard of, and was designed by the incredibly creative Deby Coles at Sew Sew Easy.


I was lucky enough to be a pattern tester for this dress, and I really enjoyed the experience. Deby was an accountant in a previous life and her precision and meticulous attention to detail show through in both the pattern design and the instructions.  There are several innovative ideas in the pattern instructions:

  •  the pattern is layered. I had never seen this before. What it means is that you choose your size prior to printing and only that size gets printed. Need to grade between sizes? No problem, just print the sizes you need and do your grading.
  • There is a quick checklist for more experienced sewists, so they don’t have to wade through all the (for them) irrelevant detail.
  • Tricky components of the construction are supported by tutorials.

Although I made my dress in the middle of winter, I have been able to wear it with the addition of one of my Jenna Cardis on some of our slightly warmer days.


This is the kind of basic shift pattern that is a must in any wardrobe. The opportunities for hacking the pattern are endless. Change the neckline, add darts at the front to give a bit more shaping, make it from a thick ponte knit for a winter option, add sleeves, add pockets, and so on.

The changes I made to mine:

  • sway back adjustment
  • I pinched a dart shaped piece out of the arm scye to stop the armhole gaping
  • I added front darts to add shaping as I looked a little second trimester without it.

DSC04447      DSC04430

I decided to quickly make a ponte version to wear in the cooler weather. I wanted pockets on this one, but didn’t want them inseam, so using a compass I drew a semi-circle, added some straight lines and hey presto, I had pockets.


It all looked a bit plain, so I cut a couple of strips of bias and used Sashiko techniques (after a fashion) to stitch the binding to the top of the pockets. I made my binding slightly longer than the width of the pockets so that I got a gathered effect. I then Sashiko sewed around the edge of the pockets. They are not perfect, but I’m ok with them.


I consulted with Megan from Meggipeg and she suggested that I put stitching round the neckline too. So I’ve now done that. She’s right, it helps.


I didn’t use a zip or line this version. Without the lining I needed to finish off the neckline and armholes, so I managed to scrape a few scraps of bias from the leftover fabric and did a regular binding (I have no fabric left from this one, which is wonderful).


Details: Pattern is the Lilly Shift Dress just released from So Sew Easy (pattern here). My first one is made from a cotton remnant from Potter Textiles that I’ve had in my stash for years. I lined it with some blue lining also from my stash. The second one is made from a mid-weight ponte remnant that I may have bought at Pitt Trading. The cardigan is my purple Jenna, blogged here.

Jenna cardi take three


I mentioned that I was inspired by Winnie from Scruffybadgertime to make the Jenna cardi by Muse patterns. I have made this cardi a couple of times (here and here), and of all of them, the black and silver one is my favourite partly because of the longer length, and in retrospect, I should have made this one a bit longer. Oh well.


Please note that my teeth haven’t disappeared, I think my tongue has made an appearance!

I haven’t acquired a new pet, sadly. I have been dogsitting Megan’s (from Meggipeg) dog, Truffles. He is extremely sweet and quite funny, keeping me amused for hours.

I did a good job with my pattern matching on this one, even though I made it on a camping (glamping) trip.


I bought the fabric in Potters about three years ago. It was a half price remnant and I managed to get this cardi plus another top out of it, bringing the price of each to $2.50. The buttons on this cardi are out of my stash and match absolutely perfectly – sometimes I get lucky!


I’ve worn the cardi several times already, and the keen eyed will notice that I took photos on two different occasions.

Details: Jenna Cardi by Muse patterns, made from a remnant of unknown fibre content bought at Potter Textiles. Buttons were bought in an op shop and I seem to have rather a lot of them.

I am also wearing my brown Nettie, Vogue 8859 (brown trousers), StyleArc Elle (black trousers), and the rather odd shoes are Sorel boots – so comfortable.

And an action shot of Truffles and me!


Stashbusting knits challenge


June was knits month in the Stashbusting Sewalong group, and I thought I’d do a roundup of all the knits I’ve made this month but didn’t blog.

All of these garments have been made whilst camping as I find that knits are really easy to put together in a fairly rough environment. In June I stash busted 15.7m of knits (plus some 7m of woven fabrics), which is pretty good going.


Probably my favourite make is the Jasper Sweater/Dress from Paprika Patterns. I was inspired to make this pattern by the stunning examples produced by meggipeg and marjoriesews. They both chose the collared version, but I do love me a hoodie, so I chose View A.


This is a really elegant hoodie. It has princess seams in the front which give it a lovely flattering shape. A big plus is those welt pockets. As you can see the hood is oversized, which gives me a slightly monkish air, but I tend to only use a hood when I am really cold, so I don’t expect to use it much.


I really liked the placement of the buttons, and managed to find three lovely vintage buttons in my stash, which I think add an interesting element to the design.


It rained pretty much the whole time I was taking these photos and the fabric stood up really well to the dampness, so I deem this hoodie a success.


Next up was this striped Nettie bodysuit


I did my level best to match the stripes on the armholes, but not overly successfully. Looks ok in this photo, but it’s not wonderful. I pinned every stripe to get the matching right, but the angles were all wrong.


However my side seams are epic!


Luckily I will probably never wear this bodysuit without something over the top, so it’s no biggie.

I also made several t-shirts for Mark (which I did press, honest), which I am showing here so my family know that I don’t just sew for myself! The first one is a lovely striped cotton.


and the other two are made from some really thick merino wool fabric that I bought years ago in Dunedin, NZ. These t-shirts are smaller so that Mark can wear them as a thermals under jumpers (only one is shown, but he now has two identical thermal t-shirts). I had to laugh because the first time Mark wore one of these, he complained that he was too hot and had to take it off.


I made this top No 6 and 11, the Square Top, from the Japanese pattern book “She wears the pants”. It’s nice because it can be worn as a shrug (with arms in sleeves, rather than the way it’s styled in the book) and as a top.  This fabric was leftover scraps from my 1960s 3-arm dress, and I still haven’t used it all up. I have struggled to make this top look acceptable. The fabric is supposed to be crinkled but it just looks scruffy. I’m not overly fussed as I really wanted to see how the pattern would look on me. I’ll wear this top camping where no-one will see me!


I was going to cut my bottom half out of this photo, but I thought I would include the full catastrophe – yes, I had my slippers on – wonderful styling!


I also made some new undies from tricot instead of cotton – this is so that I have underwear which dries quickly when I’m travelling.  I cut these undies out when I was camping and to my horror I found a little chunk out of the top which I hadn’t noticed when cutting out.


I scrabbled around in the very limited supplies that I take camping and found some non-matching lace, but artfully arranged it so that it covered the problem.


They look ok and are divinely comfortable to wear.


Jasper Sweater/Dress by Paprika Patterns, made from some blue fleece I found in the $2 bargain bin at Potter Textiles. The buttons are really old and came from Buttonmania in Melbourne.

Bodysuit is the Nettie by Closet Case Files, made from a remnant from Potter Textiles.

Mark’s t-shirts are the Metro Men’s t-shirt from Oliver & S. The striped fabric came from Pitt Trading where I was happily enabled by Susan from Measure Twice Cut Once. Once again thanks to Maria of Velosewer fame for taking me to such a fabulous shop. The green merino is from Global Fabrics in Dunedin, NZ.

The striped top is pattern No 6 and 10, the Square Top, from “She Wears the Pants” (the book used to be entitled “In a Mannish Style”, but I was slow to buy so got the less attractively named version). The fabric came from Knitwit and was bought in their sale so I had far too much of it.

Undies are the Watson bikini and are made from navy tricot I bought from Susan at Pitt Trading. The lace was a scrap.

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