McCalls 6886 T-shirt dress

Thursday, March 31, 2016

My girls rarely ask me to sew for them, so when Georgia found this fabric in Spotlight and asked if I'd make her a t-shirt dress I was only too happy to oblige.


I was up against a deadline (we were flying to Fiji) so I decided to use a pattern rather than trace off a t-shirt and make my own.  In my opinion, when it comes to sewing Erica Bunker can do no wrong, so when she had great results with McCalls 6886 I was happy to go with it.


This is view A in a size 8 with the deeper neckline of view C.  I removed 4.5 inches from the length and added a neckband to finish the neckline.  I could easily have used the size 6 but Georgia requested a slim, but not tight, fit.  I think we got it just right.


This was a pleasure to sew, it was so simple and the shape is great.  I can see several more of these in the future both for the girls and for me.  Georgia's only request was for the skirt to be pegged next time.  


We only got back last night and we're already missing the sunshine, warmth and slower pace of the Islands!  On the bright side it's time to start planning and sewing my winter wardrobe - first cab off the rank will be some new jeans.

StyleArc Ricki top

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The cross over back of the Style Arc Ricki top really appealed to me and I figured if I left off the sleeves it would make a great summer top.  

I actually had a long sleeve version cut out in a beautiful Tessuti ponti, so I basted that together to check the fit.  Turns out I wasted that lovey fabric because it needed quite a bit of work to fit me.


This is a size 12 and I found that the bust darts were too high for me, the weight of overlay at the back pulled the shoulder seams back too far, made the neck ride up very high and I had significant gaping at the front and back neck.


I dropped the bust darts by 1 inch (and they're still not quite right). I added 1 inch to the shoulder seams at the back and removed 1 inch from the front so that the seam sat correctly on my shoulders.  I also lowered the front neckline by 3.5 inches and lowered the armholes by 3/4 inch.

I also took 2cm (yes, I mix imperial and metric) from the front neckline and about 1 inch from the back neckline to stop the gaping.  The final alternation I made was to add some gentle shaping to the side seams as this is a very boxy style.


The photos show that I should have done an FBA and the cross over back doesn't sit as neatly as I would like, BUT I really like this top.  It's a great little summer top and has been worn more than I expected.  I have a big stack of Style Arc patterns and I'm really keen to start sewing them up.

Getting started in 2016

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Happy New Year!

My first finished item of  2016 is the Grainline Studio Moss Mini and I'm pretty happy with the outcome.  I made view A using a coated twill from Joy's Fabric Warehouse which gives it a bit of a leather look (it also shows every wrinkle).  I cut this out over six months ago but I think I made a size 14 with several inches extra length.  I'm not sure of the exact amount because it was so long ago.  At a guess I'd say I added at least four inches and then removed two when I hemmed it.


I'm pretty excited to be back sewing.  I had a fantastic day in the city on Saturday with Mum and my sister - we hit up Darn Cheap Fabric, The Fabric Store and Tessuti, had lunch at Chin Chins and then saw Fiddler on the Roof.  Talk about kick starting the mojo!  I had such a great day and I can't wait to sew up the fabrics that I bought.


My only issue with this pattern is the instructions for the fly - they're just nuts. I'm tempted to make this again and if I do, I'll use the method from the Ginger Jeans.  It gives a much nicer finish.

I think I need to invest in a tripod and remote. When I asked Wade to take my photos he told me to spin slowly like a rotisserie chicken!  Ah well - at least I'm back sewing and blogging again.

Morris Blazer

Thursday, August 6, 2015

This jacket nearly didn't make it to the blog.  I didn't want to be the only sewing blogger that struggled with this pattern.


I love the pattern and the combination of fabrics that I chose, but the fit is just terrible on me.  I used a stretch sateen for the majority of the jacket and faux leather for the lapels.  Maybe I should have gone up a size to account for using stretch woven rather than a knit.


I measured myself up and my numbers put me right on a size 14.  I left the body length alone, but added  xx inches to the sleeves (should have gone more but couldn't believe I needed that much extra length to make them full length).

I had a moment with the instructions for joining the facing.  One step tells you to fold the facing in and press, and the then next step you join them together.  To get the join to work you need to unfold and sew what you have just folded up, but this isn't mentioned.  Not a huge drama, but it did seem counter intuitive.


As you can see from the photos the shoulders are way too wide for me, not something I usually have a problems with.  I also have fold lines on the sleeves in the bicep area and a great big fold across the back where the jacket is clearly too tight.  Sorry I didn't get any photos of the back when I was wearing it, but the wrinkles tell the story.  I also found that the armhole felt really small and tight.  I'm wondering whether the combination of the too tight armhole and too wide shoulders are contributing to the pulling across the back.


I really wanted this to work, it would be perfect for the more casual environment I'm in at work.  I'm not sure whether to work on the pattern (it really wouldn't be that hard to fix) or just move on to something else.

Second time around - Ginger and Jalie

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Dodgy photo alert!  I finished two and a half items over the long weekend, but I'm not sharing any of them today!


These Ginger jeans and Jalie 3245 top were made over my unintended blogging break.  Unfortunately my camera isn't working at the moment so I'm reduced to iPhone photos and you can't really see the details.


The Ginger jeans are almost exactly the same as last time but with a half inch adjustment for excess fabric under the butt and pull lines explained in this post.  I also slimmed the calves down even more to make these a truly skinny jean.  


The fabric is a really stretchy Ralph Lauren over dyed denim bought from Emma One Sock earlier this year.  It's beautiful and the fabric was lovely to work with.  I also used standard thread this time - my machine just doesn't like top stitching thread.


I've made the top before too but it seems I never blogged it.  I've used a gorgeous coral wool jersey I bought at The Fabric Store with my sister earlier this year.  From memory the only change I made was to add an extra inch in length.

Two nice new basics for the wardrobe.  Love the colour of the top and the shaped hem, but think I could have gone down a size.  I also love that I have jeans that are comfortable and long!  Oh the joys of sewing.

I love the feeling of the high waist but I'm not sure I like the way they look when you can see it through a top (like in the photos above).  I'm also not sure I have the right body shape for the high waist look, so I think I'll try the lower rise at some point in the future.

Day Dreaming

Tuesday, June 2, 2015





I've had such high hopes for my sewing but I haven't been able to turn those dreams into reality.

You know how it goes - there's a party so you think you'll make something awesome to wear, there's a job interview so you need a new outfit to give you that extra boost of confidence, there are important meetings where you want to be at your absolute best and you can't find anything in your wardrobe that feels right.  Surely I'm not the only one!  All these events have come and gone without a stitch of new clothing in sight and I've survived (I even got the job!).

But I'm itching to sew.  I bought some gorgeous new fabrics on a trip to Sydney, I've indulged in online shopping and even Wade has suggested that I'm going to struggle to make up all the patterns that are arriving in the mail.

It's time to put my foot to the pedal.

We have a public holiday on Monday which means a long weekend and for the first time in months I don't have to be out all weekend at kids sport.  Given that I'm the worlds slowest sewer I figure I can get through three simple garments, anything else is a total bonus.


So here's my Queen's Birthday long weekend sewing list:

The Morris Blazer - just need to pre-wash my fabrics and I'm ready to go.
Morris Blazer
Image via
Simplicity 1366 - So many versions of this top out there, but I just think it would be a great winter layering piece.



Papercut Patterns Anima pants - I have a beautiful bamboo/tencel french terry set aside for these and I can't wait to wear them.

Anima Pant
image via

Hopefully having a dedicated list will stop me from becoming overwhelmed by everything that I want to sew - I've been going into my sewing room and looking at all the lovely fabrics and patterns and not quite knowing where to start.

Do you have any weekend sewing plans?  Do you ever get overwhelmed by the long list of things you want to sew?  How do pick what you're going to make next?

Ginger Jeans - take one

Monday, March 30, 2015

I'm so impressed with this pattern!  It gives a great result and the sew-along is just fantastic.  I am ridiculously happy with this pair of jeans even though I know that they're far from perfect.


These photos were taken after a long day at a netball tournament and these jeans passed the wear test with flying colours.  Despite sitting down, standing up, jogging and climbing spectator viewing stands these jeans were completely comfortable.  The only twinge of discomfort came from my jeans button, it's irritated my stomach.  I think that's likely the cheap button (not nickle free) - I'll be buying the good hardware from now on.

So, the details.  These are Closet Case Files Ginger Jeans view b (high waist, skinny jeans) in a size 14.  I added one inch in length above the knee and narrowed the calves by taking in both side seams by 1/2 inch tapering to nothing 4 inches below the pattern notch near the knee.  I also moved the position of the back pockets up 1/4 inch and in 1/4 inch.  I also extended the front pockets to form a bit of a waist stay - love the way that worked.  I used a stretch cotton blend fabric for the pocket linings and waistband facing and chose to leave out the waistband interfacing and the leave off the belt loops.


As you can tell from the photos the fit is not perfect.  I'd say about 50 per cent of the wrinkles are due to my poor fabric choice.  I used a moleskin fabric of uncertain content that I bought at Joys Fabric Warehouse back in November.  It has some horizontal stretch, but no vertical stretch and doesn't have great recovery so by the end of the day the knee area and the back of my legs felt really baggy.  My machine really didn't like the top stitching thread, so I ended up with three machines set up and now my sewing room looks like a bomb hit it.  The fly insertion method is unique, but I absolutely love it will use that method from now on.


The areas I really want to focus on for my next pair are the front crotch area (removing the wrinkles there) and removing some of the wrinkles from the back thing area.  Both of these fitting adjustments are covered in the sew-along so I just need to read over it again.  And next time I'll use denim!  


I'm not sure the novelty is going to wear off any time soon - I've already started planning my next pair and I'm thrilled that I've finished one of my top three for winter :)