Month: October 2014

A happy skirt, plus coat making plans

I don’t often visit mudflats, and if I did, I probably wouldn’t wear this outfit! But on a grey and dreary day it seemed like as good a place as any to photograph the most colourful thing in my wardrobe.

Bellbird skirt

I bought this eye-poppingly bright Nani Iro double gauze from Miss Matatabi. On the selvedge it says ‘Freedom Gerden’, which must be a typo for ‘Garden’. It makes me chuckle and in essence this is just a very happy skirt!

Bellbird skirt

Bellbird skirt

To make it, I cut two rectangles of fabric roughly twice the length of the finished waistband, and I cut the front one in half and added a button placket to each side. For reduced see-through factor I lined it in cotton voile, and gathered the whole lot up and sewed it to the waistband. I wanted the waistband to sit a bit lower than the narrowest part of my waist, to allow for eating and breathing, so I made it about three inches bigger than my actual waist measurement. It’s perfect and very comfy!

Bellbird petersham waistbandI interfaced the waistband but in the end it wasn’t enough to stop it folding over on itself, so I added my new favourite sewing thing: petersham ribbon. It’s great! It stabilises without adding bulk, looks nice, and feels soft. I hand sewed it in after attaching the waistband but before I did the buttonholes. I’ve also used it in the waistband of some culottes, which are yet to be revealed, but will be soon!

In other sewing news, I’ve decided to make a coat. Lindsay and I are starting coat projects at the same time and have decided to do a coat-along! Feel free to join in if you’d like, we’ve set ourselves a deadline of December 4th (in bold to remind me I should get started!). Lindsay will be making a Gerard coat, and I have plans to embark on this Burda Style bubble coat, sans ruffle. I’ve got a rust coloured wool coating in my stash and a silk twill lining to match. So far my toile is cut out and ready to sew. You can read a bit more about our #coatalong on Lindsay’s blog, along with some links to helpful coat making tips. It’s very low key and just a fun way to keep each other company through a big project. Let me know if you want to join us!


New favourites

I’ve had a bit of a thing for Breton tops for a while now, and the prospect of making one (or five) has been percolating for a few months. This week I finally made one!

Breton top and moss skirt

Since I was in a bit of a classic clothing mood I also knocked out another Grainline Moss skirt, and I’m pretty pleased with how the two garments look together.

Burda 7970

For the top, I used a pattern that I’ve had for a couple of years but have never made up. It’s Burda 7970, simply described on the pattern envelope as a close fitting t-shirt. The smallest size was a 38 which is technically a size too big for me, but since I wanted a relaxed look, it turned out to be perfect. Rather oddly, this pattern includes bust darts, which I think is a bit weird for a knit garment. I considered eliminating them but in the end I like the subtle shaping they provide. One change next time would be to raise them an inch as they are quite low on me.

Burda 7970Modifications that I made to the pattern before making this up were to raise the front neckline 8.5cm/3.5″, as the original pattern is very scooped and I wanted to have a boat neck. I drafted facings, which I interfaced and stitched down by machine. This is a look I’ve been really into lately, and I plan to incorporate it in future knit makes. I think that as long as the knit is pretty stable it works really nicely. I also shortened the top by about 4″. This pattern includes a dress length too, so I’ll be making a dress version as soon as I have time! We are going overseas soon and I think some more knit tops and dresses will be perfect for travelling. I used my sewing machine to sew all seams for ease of stripe matching, then finished everything on the overlocker. The hems were done with a small zig zag.

Burda 7970 and Moss skirt

I don’t have too much to say about the Moss skirt, except that I love this pattern!! It’s so easy and quick to put together. I think I did the cutting one night, and all the sewing the next. I made it up in a black corduroy that I got on sale at The Fabric Store. I think that all up this skirt cost about $10! I’m really happy with how the fly turned out, I think it’s my best yet, and I used a really nice Riri zipper and a cool textured gold metal button. Sewing satisfaction!

Grainline Moss

In in case you were wondering, these photos were taken atop Mt Eden, one of Auckland’s volcanic cones. Turns out blog photos feel a lot less awkward in a tourist location swarming with other people wielding cameras!

Burda 7970 and Moss

An Albion and an Archer

I made a jacket! It’s the Albion pattern from Colette.


When this pattern was first released, I’ll admit I wasn’t queuing up to make it. That all changed when I saw Emily‘s amazing version. To say that I was inspired by her jacket is a HUGE understatement! I pretty much accelerated to the fabric shop to hunt for a jacket-worthy cotton twill. That I did not find. But I did find this wonderful coated cotton, perfectly suited to a jacket like this. This fabric repels water and has quite a nice rugged waxy look to it which I can only imagine will increase over time. The only problem with it is that pin marks really show, and there are some permanent tracks from where I accidentally went off-piste (technical sewing term) with my sewing machine and had to unpick! Luckily it’s not ultra noticeable but it’s a little bit annoying.


The jacket is unlined, but I bound all seams using some cotton lawn from my scrap pile. It was my first time doing proper Hong Kong seams, and although it did not always go according to plan, I am not so traumatised that I wouldn’t use this finish again. It does look really nice on the bits where I didn’t mess up! Other details include using top-stitching thread for all seams visible from the outside. One thing to keep in mind is that a top-stitching needle makes a huge difference with this kind of thread. At first I was just using a regular universal needle and the results were not good!


I got my rather lovely buttons and toggles from a button and trim wholesaler here in Auckland. I went with the wonderful Reana Louise, who was invaluable in helping me pick out the right ones for the job! I am completely enamoured with the wooden buttons I used for the sleeve tabs.


Because this jacket pattern is mens/unisex I spent a lot of time hemming and hawing over which size to cut. In the end I went with XS, and the only adjustment I made was to shorten the sleeves slightly. I knew that without any adjustment the shoulders would be too wide, but I went with it anyway, and as they stand the shoulder seams are pretty dropped. I don’t mind too much but I think that if I were to sew this again I would narrow them a bit.

I wore this to work yesterday with a Liberty print Archer that I made a few months ago. This Archer has become one of my favourite pieces of clothing, there is just something so mysterious and intriguing about the print! I think it’s the combination of the purple tones with all the swirls. By the time Ben took these photos my outfit had endured a full day at work so you’ll have to excuse the wrinkles:Bellbird/Archer


This shirt is one of three Archers that I’ve made so far. I’ve got more fabric stashed away for more shirts, so it’s only a matter of time before I make another one. There is something so inherently satisfying about making a shirt, don’t you think? Come to think of it, the jacket was pretty fun to make too.

Until next time!