Three new things

I’ve been working on building up my wardrobe of winter clothes, as well as sewing some distraction projects – the ones that I feel like sewing as opposed to actually needing!


I’ll start with the things in the ‘need’ category. This Grainline Studio Driftless cardigan is so cozy!! I made it with the same merino blend fabric as this dress. It was heavily inspired by Lisa’s version, posted on the Tessuti blog, where she used the wrong side of a thickish knit. I wasn’t brave enough to go all-in with the wrong side so instead I just used it for the hem, cuff and front bands. It’s very warm and each time I wear it I feel like I’m wearing a big hug. What could be better?


The cowl is another essential item, but I knitted it way back in March. At the time I had a major obsession with this colour, rusty red, which admittedly I’m still in love with. I found my dream pattern/yarn combo with the Elena cowl and Quince and Co Chickadee. The cables look impressive but they were simple and fun to knit. The colour is bold but seems to go with everything in my wardrobe.

Now for the top that I probably didn’t need but that I really love!


This is a Rachel Comey for Vogue pattern. I’ve probably said this here before but I LOVE Rachel Comey. I want to own/wear pretty much everything she designs. This pattern (Vogue 1503) came out in the most recent release from Vogue, along with some other beauties, all of which I snapped up in a hurry. Recently I made my first version of this pattern out of some linen scraps (posted on Instagram) and pretty soon I decided to made a second one.


The coolest feature of this design is probably the shoulder, where the back overlaps to the front. It’s very simple to construct but is a really great detail. The sleeve cuffs and front ruffle are also bonuses in my book.

For this version I used some Marimekko linen that I had been coveting for some time. It was pricey so I only bought 0.8m! Pattern matching was out of the question, and I had to use the selvedge at the CB and the sides of the ruffle. One of the sleeves is cut on the cross grain, and due to fabric shortages I used a black linen from my stash for the lower back and the cuffs. The scraps from this top are non existent.


I kind of like how you can see the designer’s name on the CB join. The laundering instructions from the selvedge are visible on one of the side seams but I’m just rolling with it.


The only drawback to this pattern is that the armholes are cut quite low, so range of motion is slightly impaired, but only if you want to do some arm swings. I like the way that it fits with my arms down and it’s still very comfortable, so I didn’t make any adjustments. I’d guess that raising the armhole would not have helped my range of motion issues considering how loose this is under the arms anyway. This is a Vogue size 12 which is the size that corresponds to my measurements. I’m happy with the fit but some people might want to size down depending on ease preferences.

So there you have it! Two cozy things and one thing that I just felt like sewing. Now back to sewing the pile of merino tees that I actually need 🙂


Pattern Fantastique Falda Jacket

Hi! I’m here to show you my Falda Jacket by Pattern Fantastique.


I was a tester for this pattern back in November/December and what a fun make this was! As other people have commented, the pattern pieces don’t look much like shapes you’d usually associate with a jacket, and putting this together was so much fun.

Being the end of the year I had a lot going on so went for the easier, unlined Style A. I used a mid-weight black denim which I chose for its rigidity – I really wanted a fabric that would hold the shape of those fantastic sleeves. Now that I’ve made this view up I am very keen to try this in a thick winter wool with welt pockets and a full lining. There’s plenty of room in those sleeves for a thick jersey, perfect for the coldest days!


Unfortunately due to my black fabric it’s quite hard to make out the details, but there’s a lot of fun topstitching on this jacket, including on the front patch pockets, the sleeve facings, and also on the back. Most of the seam allowances on this pattern are a hefty three cm which I think is a really nice detail.


I highly recommend this wonderful pattern if you’re looking for an interesting and original jacket design this winter!

Meanwhile I have plenty of un-blogged projects to share, including a Jac shirt and an Archer dress that I’m particularly partial to. Me-Made-May is here already so maybe that’ll be my push to get those photographed.

Have a good week 🙂

Billowy goodness

Ever since coming home from holiday, all I have wanted to wear is this billowy dress, posted a few weeks back. So I took my cue and made three more (more is more, right…?!), based on the same idea: take an existing bodice pattern, crop it, and attach a gathered skirt.


This version was made using the top from Simplicy 1366, a very popular pattern in blog land. I like it for the cool easy fit and fashionable dropped shoulder seams. I have already made another gathered dress from it, in my all time favourite Marimekko linen. I haven’t blogged about it but I did post it to Instagram. Back to this dress though: 


For this version I used a Nani Iro double gauze from my stash. I think this print is called Jewel Song. Double gauze is so soft and perfect for hot weather so I know I’ll get a ton of wear out of this one. The only modification I made was to scoop out the neckline a bit and finish it with a top-stitched facing. Facings seem to get a bad reputation but I really enjoy sewing them!

This type of dress gets to the core of what I enjoy about sewing: find a beautiful fabric and parade about in it! In fact, making this dress has cured me of the sewing doldrums so it must be good.  You’ll find me swishing around in these dresses until the weather cools down – my latest version is made from a large scale peach and white gingham linen. If you see someone looking like a giant picnic blanket, that’s me!  


Alice and Alexandria

Whoo it’s hot here!! We’ve just spent five weeks in the (non-humid) South Island and I got used to the drier heat. Now we are back in Auckland and it’s sweat central! Luckily I got some summer sewing under my belt before Christmas, the last-minute, pre-holiday kind that has totally paid off. 


Linen is my absolute favourite in the summer, and I made these Named Alexandria pants out of a cool double faced linen/cotton. It has the appearance of a loose weave linen but without the transparency, thanks to the bonded cotton under layer. (I got it at Drapers Fabrics on Teed St in Newmarket, for anyone interested in Akl fabric shops.) I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it on the blog but I’ve made this pattern FIVE times! Talk about a TNT! Two pairs in black dress fabrics for work, and three in linen. This pair is my favourite though, and get the most wear. A few things that I love about this pattern:

  • Elastic waist
  • Useful pockets that are neatly integrated with the front pleats
  • Back patch pockets
  • Tapered leg
  • Comfy!

So much to love. Over my various pairs I have: raised the crotch, so that I can wear these low on my hips; lengthened the leg a little; put a smidge more width in the calf to account for non-stretch fabrics. Beware that if your calves are on the muscular side you might need to take this into consideration as they are quite pegged. 


Ok moving on to the more colourful part. This is of course the Tessuti Alice top, another winner of a pattern. This is my second go – the first time I made it in size XS, which came out too big for me. For this version I made an XXS and it’s a better fit. For reference, my bust measures 84cm/33″. I used the Liberty print Felix and Isabelle, and I chose to interface the arm wings as per the pattern.  


It’s lovely to have the use of my sewing machine after such a long time away, but unusually for me I’m feeling a bit low in the inspiration department. I have plenty of lovely fabrics but am feeling so indecisive! Let’s hope that a bolt of sewjo hits me soon.

Anyone else suffering from a sewing malaise? Got any tips to escape the sewing doldrums?

Summer Stripes

Despite my admittedly irregular blogging schedule, 2015 has been a bumper year for sewing. With the exception of one or two things, I think I’ve finally achieved a fully handmade wardrobe and I’m so happy about it! Nothing beats the satisfaction that comes from being able to execute ideas with a wearable and maybe even stylish result. Hooray sewing. 



I wanted to squeeze in one last post for 2015, and it seemed appropriate to share this striped number in my new favourite summer silhouette. This dress is an Inari hack using a linen/cotton blend that was all over the sewing blogs a little while back. I ordered it from a few months ago and it marinated in my stash before I settled on this shape.  


The fabric is perfect for this breezy dress,  and the soft drape means that the very much undefined waist doesn’t get overly unflattering. I really love the way that it swishes around, and the low-cut armholes on the Inari pattern keep it breezy around the arms, too. 


In terms of pattern modifications, I simply cut the Inari tee off at about 35cm below the CB neck and attached a gathered skirt. Easy peasy! Because I only had two yards of this fabric there was some creative cutting involved, including placing a seam down the centre of the back bodice. I also originally wanted the stripes on the skirt to be horizontal like the bodice, but to get the gathering I wanted I had to place them vertically, which I actually really like now. In a perfect world where I had more fabric the skirt would be a bit longer, but that’s ok.

As always, the online sewing world has been incredibly inspirational and I’ve loved being a part of it. I’ve made some great new friends both online and off and I’m so grateful to this amazing community. Happy holidays to you all and see you in 2016!

Finished: Tamarack Jacket and Lark Tee

Hello readers!

Today I have a project that I’ve been obsessed with ever since Jen of Grainline started hinting at her new pattern on Instagram. I’ve always been a bit partial to a quilted jacket (not so much the puffer jacket variety although they have their place), but the perfect pattern had never presented itself. Until now, that is.

I finished my Tamarack a few days ago, and yesterday I convinced Ben to join me on a walk around our neighbourhood  to take some photos. Our blog photography is still firmly embedded in the experimental stage (i.e.  no idea what we are doing) but I think we got some cool shots.

Tamarack jacket

Tamarack jacket

Lately my sewing has been pretty frenetic, with a lot of quick projects being pushed through my machine. Which is great, lots of new clothes and all, but I really enjoyed slowing down and taking my time on this jacket. I’ve had a bit of spare time over the last week so I was able to take my time with the quilting and binding that this pattern requires.

For my fabric I looked to my stash, which I must admit has become a bit overwhelming. I’m making a concerted effort to sew from it instead of buying more fabric (not entirely successful) but I did find the fabric for this jacket in my existing collection (do I get a gold medal?). For the outer I used a really beautiful linen/silk blend. It has a subtle irregular woven stripe parallel to the selvedge, and going the other way are lovely silk slubs, raw silk style. I had been hoarding it for who-knows-what and I’m so happy I used it for this. For the inner I used a gorgeous silky Liberty lawn that I ordered from Shaukat a few months ago. I think that these photos show the colours the best:

Tamarack jacket

Tamarack jacket

I went to Spotlight to find batting, and ended up getting both wool and cotton batting because I couldn’t decide. I’m pretty sure I’ll end up making another of these jackets so I don’t mind having extra on hand. After quilting a couple of samples I chose the wool batting, as my outer fabric has some body and I felt like the wool batting had more drape and softness. I didn’t find it puffy to work with but it probably depends on what thickness you get, not sure if there are thickness options but mine was reasonably thin. Some of the loft flattened out with pressing, too. I quilted straight lines about  2″ apart, using my *new and amazing* walking foot. The guide that it came with meant that I didn’t need to chalk many lines on my fabric – I just set the guide to my quilting width and used that for each new line.

Tamarack jacket

In keeping with my relaxed sewing pace I chose to bind all of the inside seams using bias binding cut from my inner fabric, including the pockets. This pattern calls for lots of binding and I would recommend practicing on some quilted scraps, which I didn’t, because it tested my skills at times. The instructions are great but when binding two layers of quilted fabric, as I did on the inside, there are some serious turn-of-the-cloth issues to contend with. You’ve been warned! Here’s an inside shot, although the colours were hard to capture indoors:

Tamarack jacket

While I’m here I might as well show you another Grainline project I sewed up recently, which is the Lark tee. Now that I’m not buying any RTW clothing, making tshirts is a necessity even though knits aren’t my favourite thing to sew. This was relatively pain-free though, and as usual I am a mega fan of the fit of Jen’s patterns. I used a cotton knit for this tshirt and chose the boat neck + 3/4 sleeve combo. It’s super comfy! My overlocker and I are not best friends right now but once we’re back on good terms I’ll definitely be making more. My one comment would be that this pattern is longer in the body than I expected, which is great for tucking in, but next time I’ll shorten it a smidge. I am about 166cm/5ft 4″ for reference.

Grainline Lark Tee

Grainline Lark Tee

 So there you have it, two Grainline slam dunks that I am super pleased with!

Do you have any plans to make a Tamarack? And how many quilted jackets is too many? Because I know I’ll be making more….

Have a good week!

Alders for Spring

Hi everyone!

Lately I’ve been churning out Spring appropriate clothes in anticipation of warmer weather. Today was one of the first bare-legs days so far, so I twisted Ben’s elbow and we hit the streets to get pics of two of my newest Grainline Alder dresses.

Grainline Alder

This first one seemed quite popular when I posted an in-progress shot to Instagram and I think that’s all down to the amazing fabric, which is a gorgeous medium-weight cotton that I bought at Tessuti on a visit to Melbourne last month. It has a fantastic geometric pattern that I think looks quite cool broken up across the Alder style lines. With a full-on print like this I don’t think you can go past self covered buttons, so I had some made at Hawes and Freer. I like the way they blend in while still providing an opportunity for some extra print placement fun.

Grainline Alder

Grainline Alder

Grainline Alder

For this view B version I cut a size four and lengthened the hem by about an inch, as well as raising the bust darts a little as they sit a bit low on me. Originally I sewed the pockets on but removed them after determining that too much was going on. I’ve been wearing this with my favourite new cardi, which has proved to be super versatile and is featuring in most of my outfits at the moment!

Grainline alder

My view A denim Alder came about on a bit of a whim, as its my belief that since sewing is my favourite hobby I’ll sew what I want, when I want, otherwise the fun might diminish! Anyway it was very enjoyable to make and I am surprised by how much I love the finished dress – I thought that I preferred the view A gathered style but I’ve really fallen for this one.

Grainline Alder

Grainline Alder

The denim that I used for this is a lovely medium weight. I’m not sure if it’s technically denim or more of a thick chambray, but either way I’m into it. I used some nice black metal buttons that I got from a wholesaler, and I really like the way that they look with this fabric. Looking at the photo below I wonder if I should have played with the shoulder slope a bit, but I’m not too worried about it – I’ll definitely wear it even if it has some shoulder wrinkles.

Grainline Alder

Grainline Alder

I used a scrap of Japanese quilting cotton for the inner yoke and the armhole bias binding. I love the way it looks!

Grainline Alder

I’m so happy with how these two dresses are fitting into my wardrobe, they seem to go with everything. Right before I made these I sewed up another view B Alder in a gorgeous dark navy cotton with a textured stripe, and it’s been on high rotation. I would show it here on the blog but I’m not sure that photos would accurately depict the fabric, and at this point I don’t think I need to blog a fifth Alder! You can see my previous two versions from last year here and here.

How about you guys, are you sewing for the new season?

Tutti frutti

Of all the things I love to sew, my favourite is a woven top. Having been sewing for quite a while now I have no shortage! Archers, Scouts and Belcarras abound, especially in prints. They form one half of my self-imposed work uniform (the other half is jeans), so why not add another one to the mix?

RDC Marthe

I decided to make a Republique du Chiffon Marthe blouse after seeing Kirsty’s version (if you haven’t seen her hoodie interpretation, click here, it’s a thing of genius!). Originally I tried to modify the Scout tee with a hem ruffle but it didn’t work out, and being a sewist of limited patience I just caved and bought the Marthe pattern. I really like the combination of the raglan sleeves with the hem ruffle, plus the volume created by the A-line shape makes it really fun to wear.

RDC Marthe

RDC Marthe

I decided to use some Liberty that I ordered from Shaukat a while ago. This print is called Jack and Charlie and is covered with pears! The muted blues are really lovely. I’ve really enjoyed wearing this top. But when a gust of wind comes along, behold, triangular torso woman:

RDC Marthe

RDC Marthe

What’s your take on ruffles? Are you a fan? Any other excellent top patterns that I’m missing out on? I’m probably at wearable capacity but something tells me there will be more in my future!

Vogue 1298 // Rachel Comey

I’m back with another pattern that didn’t initially catch my eye, but that I’m now smitten with! This is my version of Vogue 1298, a design by Rachel Comey.

Vogue 1298

I am a huge fan of Rachel Comey’s designs in general, so I’m surprised it took me so long to buy this pattern. Inspiration struck via Pinterest (as it so often does), where I stumbled upon some images of the original designer dress made up in a paint spattered white denim. Here are some pics of said dress, arranged into a collage using my extremely rudimentary photo editing skills:


If you search for ‘Rachel Comey Tippet dress’ on Pinterest you’ll be able to find these images. The dress pictured on the top left is another original Rachel Comey version. Sometimes pattern envelopes don’t show all of a garment’s true potential (this dress is shown on the pattern envelope in a purple snakeskin-ish print, neither of which are my thing) so it’s good to know the style name of a designer dress in order to seek out alternative versions. For example if you search for ‘Rachel Comey Navigator top’ you’ll see some really great versions of the original designer top that is featured in the Rachel Comey V1247 pattern. Maybe this isn’t news to you but it opened up a whole new world of inspiration for me!

Vogue 1298

Garment deets: the pattern envelope suggests lightweight linen, silk dupioni and sateen, but having been inspired by the denim version I went with a medium weight silk cotton from my stash. It has a denim-y, twill weave to it but has a smooth feel on the wrong side, which makes it good for wearing over tights. The medium weight meant that I didn’t need to line the skirt. I lined the bodice with a scrap of left over Liberty:


Construction was fun, and the instructions were clear, however I had a few issues with the back waistband (the two pieces adjoining the top of the zip in the photo above). The pattern piece was odd looking but I went along with it, only to find that it was too long and deep for the CB seam. I had to cut off about an inch on either side to make it meet correctly in the middle and line up with the bottom of the bodice. I spent quite a while trying to figure out my mistake and I’m still not sure what went wrong, but it all worked out in the end.

Vogue 1298

The back is definitely where all the action is with this dress! I originally wasn’t sold on the open back since I’m not usually an open back kind of person, but I think it looks pretty cool over this striped top. You’d run into bra issues if you wore it on its own, plus it makes a great winter dress layered over a top and tights.

Vogue 1298

It’s hard to tell in these photos, but another very cool detail is the curved hem, which is finished with a deep facing. If I make this again I’ll ensure that the skirt is a couple of inches shorter all the way around. As it stands I think it’s giving off a bit of an apron vibe. I think for a summer version a shorter length would be a must. Excuse the wrinkles below, I had been test driving this dress all day!

Vogue 1298

All in in all I enjoyed sewing this dress and I really really like it. The fabric was nice to work with and the pattern has all sorts of great details, so I’d definitely recommend it. Unfortunately the Vogue website lists this pattern as being out of print, but perhaps there are some leftover copies to be found online. I really hope that Vogue releases some more designs by Rachel Comey!

Top No. 64

Lately I’ve had a bit of a thing for raglan tops. And kangaroo pockets. Top No. 64 by Merchant and Mills has both!

Top 64

You know how sometimes you see a pattern and it registers vaguely but you have no intention of making it? And then, a few months later, something clicks and suddenly you just MUST have said pattern? Yep.

Top 64

This happened to me when I saw Lisa’s version on the Tessuti blog. I think she made it a while ago but I only recently saw it, and all of a sudden I saw untold potential.

Anyway enough about what convinced me to buy the pattern, let’s talk about the top I made. The pattern suggests canvas and the like for a kind of work top look, but I went for a squishy boiled wool from my stash. For once I did a toile first, using some wool flannel, but the resulting garment was a bit restrictive for my liking, and the neckline a bit high. For the version you see here I widened the neck by about 1cm all around, and sewed the underarm seams at 1cm instead of 1.5. It helps that the boiled wool has some give to it, so this came out like a very cozy jumper. Bonus: boiled wool doesn’t fray, so I didn’t need to finish any of the seams! I just turned and hand stitched the hems. I used an interfaced Liberty scrap for the neck facing.

Top 64

Top 64

This is the first Merchant and Mills pattern I’ve tried, and I really enjoyed the experience. I didn’t splash out and get the super duper cardboard pattern, I just got the tissue version, but it was lovely to use and I liked the way that the instructions were illustrated. I’ll definitely use this pattern again.

I’ve been wearing it to work over Scout tees and with jeans, and it has proved to be a very practical and warm addition to my wardrobe!

Top 64

Have you tried a Merchant and Mills pattern? Which one and what did you think? I’d be keen to try others!