Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Little French Jacket No.2 (and a big fat fail)

I've been beavering away at my second Little French Jacket for the past couple of months...

and I was making good progress until I was side-tracked by the release of the Holly Jumpsuit, which jumped to the front of the blog (here), before my other finished projects.

I was so pleased with the first Holly, I made the wee adjustment to the back crotch curve, went fabric shopping especially and picked up this lovely viscose for a long pant version.  In the weekend just gone, I got it all stitched up enough for a quick fitting .... and then this

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Smitten by Holly

When By Hand London released the Holly Jumpsuit I was rather smitten by the wide legged, cowl neck version and every one I saw in the blogisphere convinced me it was a pattern I needed to sew this summer.

Holly Jumpsuit

While I agree a jumpsuit can leave you feeling rather vulnerable when you need to visit the loo, I figured that I would probably only wear it during the summer months and it wouldn't be any worse than going to the bathroom in a bikini!  Totally normal for summer right?

I decided that my first version needed to be beach/weekend wear, so went with the top of version 1 and the shorts from version 2 - lengthened to me more age appropriate for me.  I added 2" to the length of the pattern shorts.

Holly Jumpsuit

Monday, 17 November 2014

Inspiration Station

It's not often I copy a RTW look to the tee.  Usually I troll through Pinterest or designer websites for inspiration on styling and the detail that leads me to what I pull together.   On one of my 'internet window shopping' sessions I came across this dress...

Belcarra Dress Inspiration

I thought this dress would be the ideal, easy wear, summer, work appropriate addition to my wardrobe - simple but classy.  Immediately the Belcarra top pattern came to mind - how easy would it be to simply add some length to make it a dress.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Take Two Lola!

I don't know about you, but I have developed a habit of making everything twice!  I haven't made any pattern more than twice, so I don't think I can say I have a TNT pattern, but I'm not sure what's up with this little ritual I have of putting everything in the wardrobe two by two???

Yep, so this is version two of the Lola dress by Victory Patterns, which I made earlier here.   On my first make (which I have only worn once) the shoulder/armseye area was a bit tight and while I really liked the dress it was uncomfortable to wear.  This time 'round I made a size 6 for the top and bottom.

Black Lola

Monday, 27 October 2014

Meet Gillian - THE. Wrap Dress

Gillian Wrap Dress

This is Gillian!  She is the new release from Muse Patterns.  When Kat asked our local sewing group if we were keen to test her new pattern, I was keen as mustard.  At that stage I had planned and cut my frankenpattern wrap dress the "Midnight Dream Coppelia", so I really wanted to sew an actual wrap dress pattern for a comparison.

Gillian Wrap Dress

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Midnight Summer Coppelia

Just over a month ago, I joined The Frankenpattern Contest on pattern review and set to looking for the most appropriate patterns to mash together.  After working through a number of options I settled on a couple of Papercut Patterns which would produce my first wrap dress.

Midnight Summer Coppelia

I took the skirt (and tie) from the Midnight Summer Dream, a garden party summer wrap dress, and the Coppelia, ballet style raglan sleeve wrap cardi, and morphed these into a Spring appropriate wrap dress.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Duffle Coat

This one has been coming for a wee while.  It was my son's birthday back at the beginning of May and he was keen for me to make him a winter coat ... after a bit of coercion :-)

Duffle Coat

We went shopping together and got this fabulous wool coating from The Fabric Store - perfect for a men's coat.  Finding an appropriate lining wasn't so easy.  Originally we picked up some striped acetate, but after a bit of deliberation I realised that it wasn't going to add any warmth to the coat and that it would be useless for the Wellington winter.  So the hunt was on for some flannelette.   At Spotlight I found a similar coloured stripe with red stags - boy appropriate I thought!

Duffle Coat

Monday, 29 September 2014

It's just a jump to the left ...

Well I was walking down the street just a-having a think, that this is the month for a bit of a 'behind the scenes' filming.  Earlier in the month I took on a wee tour of my sewing room 'that was' and 'that is'.   On that very same day Tanya from Mrs Hughes nominated me for the blog hop - well actually she, ever so politely, asked me if I would like to join her in the Blog Hop Around the World.  But you know what, I think I wanna hop on over to where Tanya lives ... the weather looks warm all year round and she gets to make loads of summer dresses, my fav!  Oh and have you seen her sewing room!

It just blows me away that by simply writing about my sewing adventures this has connected me to so many people around the world.  I've jumped aboard this tour, because on the tour plane are blog hoppers like Heather from Handmade by Heather B, Melanie aka Poppykettle, Lisa from Notes from a Mad Housewife, Inna from TheWallInna and so many other cool people.

So let's get to the questions ...

1. What am I working on?
In my head I'm working on everything!  But what is actually on my sewing table ... I've just finished some secret sewing that had me scratching my head, but after some perseverance I am totally happy with it.  Last week I started working on my bodice moulage - the more I sew, the more I want to understand it's beginnings and what aspects of a pattern are for fit and what are style-lines.  I want all the technicalities, cause hopefully this is gonna help me understand fit better - yeah I know a bit geekie right!

I have the pattern traced off for the Jenna Cardi that is going to be made up in this beautiful merino.

Pretty Merino

But recently the Holly Jumpsuit from By Hand London has jumped to the front of the cue.  Inspired by this version by Sew Busy Lizzy and this version by House of Pinheiro.

Holly Jumpsuit

Before that happened I had the Jamie Jeans PDF pattern all assembled and ready to trace, as well as planning my next little french jacket or tailored blazer.

2. How does it differ from others of its genre?
Gee, I'm not sure that it really does.  My blog isn't the reason I sew, sewing is the reason I blog.  I write about what I've been sewing and my learnings along the way.  I try to blog about projects in the order that I finish them, so I've got a reference for future of approximately when I made what.  Although at the moment it's taking me about two months to get stuff to the blog - yep, I've got a bit of a back log to get through! I suck at taking pictures :-(

3. Why do I create what I do?
I sew to full my own wardrobe and what I want to wear.  Every now and then I'll do some sewing for my kids, but they have to want it (which leads to appreciation - well that's my theory anyway and I'm sticking to it!).  It's unfortunate but they are the throw away generation, a product of cheap RTW.

I also sew stuff that has construction techniques that are new to me, I like to learn but that is balanced with sewing things more than once so I can master the techniques.

But I don't just want to sew stuff that looks like RTW, I want to make stuff that looks like it's been bought at a designer store.  This is probably why I'm fascinated with couture sewing techniques and tailoring - these have changed the way I approach sewing, for the better!

Marfy 1756

4. How does my creative process work?
OMG, I am a complete neat freak and my organisation is probably OTT for most.  So the process starts with an organised space and a clear desk - everything is put away, except for what I need to begin the new project.  While I might have more than one project on the go at any one time, I only have one project at a time on my sewing table.  Actually, I'll only have more than one project on the go at once if I need to stop and think about what next, or it might just need buttons or a decision on lining or length before hemming.  Most of the time I'll start one project and see it through to the end, before starting the next.  But I never, never, hardly ever put a due date or deadline on my projects, otherwise that would just feel like work and I'd be over it pretty quickly.  So it's all about the journey :-)

Before any project makes it to the sewing table it may have been on the to do list for quite a while or it could be a idea I just had.  Hmm, a to do list probably isn't the right description, its more like a "to do pool"!  And in that pool are patterns waiting for the right fabric, and fabric waiting for the right pattern, but just because both pattern and fabric have been matched doesn't mean that it automatically makes it to the sewing table next.  I have to be feeling it.

I tried using Evernote to create a to do list and put things in order of what I would do next, but it just didn't work for me - strange as that sounds for the organised OTT person!  I think this is where my creative process comes into its own and all lists go out the window and the whimsical takes over.

And then it's a step to the right ... hoping over to Sew Melodic.  Melody is a prolific sewer who always has a variety projects rolling off her sewing table.  She has this fantastic post on fit issues and how to adjust the flat pattern to remedy.  I love reading about her construction journey and she always has a pic of the inside of a garment (which I love btw).  Over to you Melody - can't wait to read :-)

With your hands on your hips ... a second hop is open for self-nomination.  If you would like to take part in the blog hop around the word and share your creative processes, please take this as your personal invitation to do so (this is total legit btw, cause Katie from Katiekadiddlehopper said so).  The way the blog hop works, is that you acknowledge your nominator, you answer the questions above (or similar if you want to change it up) and you nominate another one or two people to hop on ... a bit like passing the batten.  You get the picture.

I've really enjoyed reading about everyone's creative process and why they make what they do.  The sewing community is such a great place to be :-)

Happy sewing xx

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Lux fabric pattern hack = little red dress!

Warning:  before you read any further you might need to go get your sun glasses and put them on!

Why?  Because I've had a bit of a mono tone, near the black end of the colour scale, kinda obsession.  Just check this out for proof!  Then this happened ...


Nope, no gradual introduction of colour over here - just jump right on in there a sew a red dress!

Well actually it's not just any read dress, it a beautifully soft wool crepe red dress.  And while the photos look bright the actual colour is more like a raspberry / ruby kinda mix.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

The Great WSBN sewing room tour

It's probably really well known around the sewing bloggers that the WSBN are always up to something either in real life or in cyberland - gee I can barely keep up with the FB Group we have!  But then one of our lovely members (Gemma at suggested we should do a sewing room tour to get us out of our winter slump and ready for spring - oh yeah, who wouldn't want to do this! 

I think I've said before, that in March my eldest daughter moved to Australia which meant for the first time ever, I could have my own wee sewing room, and return the dining room to it's original purpose.  When I say wee, it is really wee compared to others I've seen on the WSBN sewing room tour.  Only 3.25m x 2.25m with a window on one long wall and the door on the short wall...
Sewing room plan

I started planning before my daughter had even left home (sad I know!), well this is what I had finally settled on.  I purchased the furniture second hand knowing the dimensions of the room were limiting - then they sat in the shed while I renovated the room.  Yep, I decided that if I was going to have a new sewing room then it needed to feel sparkly new.  Let me show you a picture of the pre-renovation room ...

Monday, 1 September 2014

Marfy Free Jacket Pattern - The End!

Back in April this year I wrote Part 1 of the Marfy Free Jacket Pattern.  It is now officially Spring and I'm finally at the end - writing the blog post!

After I got the muslin fit to where I was comfortable - that alone was a 5 week journey, on 25 April I got to cut my real fabric.  While that sounds quite straight forward, sadly not because of my fabric choice.  I bought this lovely wool coating from The Fabric Store - it's so soft and bouncy with a medium weave - so it easily frayed but not so much that it was uncontrollable.

Begin thread tracing

I cut all pieces on a single layer, carefully ensuring I had all the squares in the right places for each piece.  While this was a little time consuming it wasn't too hard - the pattern pieces didn't have any seam allowances, so where the pattern piece fell was indeed the stitching seam.

Pattern matching at centre back

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Silk Kielo Wrap

Named is a Finnish indie pattern company that is all about clean lined simplicity with some interesting design detail. The Kielo wrap dress caught might attention with it's interesting take on a wrap but without adding any bulk and remaining very feminine.

Kielo Wrap Top

Back in April when I made this we were heading into winter down-under but I was still keen to get a Kielo into my wardrobe that I could wear at least during autumn and spring.  So rather than a maxi dress of the original pattern design, I decided on a long top that I could wear with a pair of leggings and a jacket/cardigan would be more season appropriate.


Sunday, 17 August 2014

Belcarra and Elle

It's been a little quiet around the blog lately, but it's not that I haven't been sewing ... it's that I've been really really bad at taking photos.  Come the weekend and I really can't be bothered doing my hair or my face or going outside, because it is sooo cold!

With my hair freshly done, today was the day to get in front of the camera.  I'll start with a couple of wearable muslin ... the Belcarra top by Sewaholic and the Elle Pant by Style Arc.

Belcarra & Elle

Let's start with the Belcarra.  As soon as this pattern hit the world I knew I had to order it - I knew that this is one of those patterns that would be a staple in my wardrobe.

My body shape doesn't fit the Sewaholic profile, so I selected a size 10 based on my bust size and graded to a size 8 at the hips. 

Sunday, 20 July 2014

A Little Black Marfy Dress


A little black dress, yes I've sewn a pretty plain looking black dress, but the construction of this little dress was more than simple.  Well that's what it felt like while I was in the middle of it.

This is Marfy 3358, one of the free patterns in the 2014/15 catalogue - I see that these patterns are now available for PDF download.  I was drawn to the pattern by the style lines - the empire line taking on a chevron rather than being parallel to the ground under the bust; the bodice princess seams and the high neckline.


Sunday, 29 June 2014

Office Warrior - Bellatrix

Did you know the name Bellatrix is Latin for "female warrior" which is a pretty good description of my first Bellatrix Blazer!  This time however, yes a second Bellatrix, it's a bit more "office warrior".


I wear my first Bellatrix Blazer all the time.  It's such an easy jacket to wear, over a dress or with pants ... and in all reality an easy make.  This one I made in one weekend.  For this particular jacket my favourite part is ... the lining.

Just look at those pretty faces!

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Marfy Shift Dress

My discovery of Marfy patterns led me to the purchase their latest catalogue, which also comes with 20 free patterns.  I figured that 20 free patterns made it well worth the investment and shipping from Italy.

I thought I would start with a nice simple shift dress.  I took a fancy to the uneven hemline with slightly curved corners, matched with a square but curved neckline.  The side darts add waist definition as well as room for the bust.


Monday, 9 June 2014

Mission Maxi Hack

The month of May was not only Me-Made-May but it was also Sew Stretchy over at The Monthly Stitch.

The idea of a nice warm knit dress for winter has been brewing away in the back of my mind for a little while - but not anything as simple as finding a pattern and getting to work.  No, no, no!  This was a long-sleeve t-shirt dress which was a combination of the Mission Maxi by Jamie Christine, a Renfrew for the scoop neck (so I didn't have to calculate the neck band) and contrasting of the Ensis Tee.  Now put that on boil and stir occasionally.

Mission Maxi Hack

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Moss Mini - for the fun of it!

Back in February when the weather was still warm, I thought I needed an easy to wear skirt for the weekends rather than just going for shorts all the time.  I came across the Grainline Studio Moss Mini while stalking the Flickr Group.  The measurements where perfect for my body shape, so immediately clicked the buy button and downloaded the PDF pattern!

Moss Mini Muslin

I didn't want to bother making a muslin, so though I would use fabric recently left over from my Wolfies (stretch cotton twill) and Brasilia Dress (cotton sateen stretch) to make a wearable muslin.  Here is what I got with only one minor adjustment to the length.

Moss Mini Muslin

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Me-Made-May 2014


I, Sandra of, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '14.  I endeavour to wear at least one item of me made for each day for the duration of May 2014.

I learnt about this challenge completely by chance last year, when my feed reader was full of people talking about wearing their own makes during the month of May.   It is such a great challenge to celebrate your own handmade wardrobe.  You can read more about the Me-Made-May Challenge over at So Zo.

This is my second year of ready to wear fasting, and my wardrobe has been growing steadily, although there is still at least 1-2 days per week where I won't wear something me made.  I don't consciously make a decision to wear or not to wear me-made, its more about what goes together on the day.  So this May I am going to make a conscious effort to wear one item of me-made per day and identify what items in my wardrobe need building.  I suspect it is more casual wear for the weekends and tops but let the month of May tell the true story.

I can't promise to do a daily photo diary but any attempts will be posted to Instagram.

Happy Month of May :-)

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Marfy Free Jacket Pattern - Part 1

This is the garment that I've been most looking forward to, the Marfy Jacket 1756 - one of the three free patterns made available this year.

I began by selecting a size 46.  Traced the pattern and cut my muslin.  Now here's were it get's interesting as there are no construction instructions.  The only thing that you have to go on is the artist impression and markings on the pattern pieces.

I started by sewing up the centre back seam and then attached the side back pieces to give me a complete back - easy!

Friday, 21 March 2014

HELP! Sewing v Bloglovin Conundrum

Work and life has just stepped up a gear now that the honeymoon with the new year is now over.   Because I own my own business work takes first priority after ensuring kids and husband are all organised and loved.  Which means time for things such as sewing take a back seat :-(

But now I've got a conundrum of what to do with the little time I do have and a Friday evening is most definitely still my wind down time - for the past two weeks I've been so exhausted it's been blob in front of the TV kinda evening.

This week I have a little more energy despite already working some long days this week.  But what do to - shall I spend a little time trying to finish my muslin for my Marfy jacket sew-along (that I am so far behind with) or should I spend some time reading my 500+ Bloglovin feed, and show some lovin to the sewing community that gives me so much inspiration and encouragement.

Sew Along  v.s  Follow on Bloglovin

On top of this, I have three blog posts that I can be writing and comments on the existing post that I need to reply (which I will do in a moment).

How do you decide?  What do you do? Please help, Please ....

Okay for now I might just procrastinate a bit more and go watch some TV!

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Wolfies on the Longside

This was going to be my Project Sewn entry for the shoe inspiration challenge - but life got in the way and I didn't get photos taken and edited in time to add the link.

Snake Skinny Wolfies

The shoes are Mia Piaci that I got on my last trip to Auckland.  You may have seen them on my Instagram feed!  I totally love them.  Let me show you a close up ...

Snake Skinny Wolfies

These shoes look best with a skinny jean/pant, so I decided it was time for a couple of pattern hacks, ha-ha-ha!

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Shinny Bellatrix

When Papercut Patterns released the new Constellation Collection I fell in love with the Bellatrix Blazer and immediately placed an order.  It has taken me a wee while to actually sew it up, but I'm pleased to say the first iteration is now in my wardrobe.


I dithered a bit about the fabric, but when I pulled this from the depths of my stash, it was obvious.  This shiny PVC/polytester blend that has a kinda suede feel was a little acquisition from The Fabric Store at one of their sales last year at something ridiculous like $6 p/m.

The black lapel and welt pockets are actually the reverse of the fabric.  I've got no idea where I got the button from, it was a solitary find in my button jar.  The match is so perfect you might think that I made a self-covered button, but no!


Sunday, 9 February 2014

Stripe T-shirts

I hatched a plan in my head for a Lace Ensis Tee, and once it's in my head ... then it must happen! This is the result...

Lace Ensis Short Sleeve

I have sewn this pattern once before HERE.  Whilst I was happy with how the top-half fitted I was keen to get a better fit on the lower body this time.  I cut a XS size exactly to pattern and it is perfect!

Lace Ensis Short Sleeve

The upper sleeve is cut exactly to pattern and I made sleeve bands the same depth as the neckband. I applied the sleeve band first, then attached the sleeves to the body in the flat, sewed up the side seams and under sleeve including bands. Then I folded the band under and top-stitched. I'm pretty pleased with this application because the seam is neatly finished with no raw edges. Stripe matching was pretty easy with this fabric, it was beautifully on grain.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Jungle Marfy

I recently got introduced to Marfy patterns, quite by accident.  Carola posted a question on the 2013 RTW Fasters FB page back in September, wanting to know if anyone had sewn a Marfy pattern, because they don't come with instructions.  What?!  No instructions, who are these people ... internet research revealed they are an Italian indie pattern designer that hand cut all their patterns before despatching.

As the LFJ sew-along got going there were loads of Marfy patterns posted to the inspiration board, this is when I started to look closely at them.  Then in December Leisa announced that she would be hosting a sew-along with the free Marfy patterns - a top, a skirt and a jacket.  Without hesitation I signed up (really I'm not a free freak, but what better way to get introduced to a new pattern brand).  Anyway enough reading, let me show you some pictures....

Jungle Marfy

Jungle Marfy

Sunday, 2 February 2014

My Little French Jacket #1


Say hello to my very first Little Black French Jacket!  Total hours to completion 55, which I'm pretty happy about, because before I started I expected it would take about 75!

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Lining the Brasilia

Did you download the FREE Brasilia Dress pattern on Christmas Day?  Well if you didn't you should do it now!  HERE's the link

Back in November last year I was able to test the pattern and I fell in love with the fish darts, well at least I think that is what they are called - they're the bust darts that stem up and out diagonally from the bottom of the rib cage.  Anyway I digress ... the pattern is unlined and recommends either using bias tape to finish the neck and armhole edges or drafting your own facing - either provides for a great finish.  I myself love a lined dress, so of course I had to make another Brasilia Dress and fully line it.  You can read all about my first dress here and changes I made to the pattern.

I was always gonna make another Brasilia Dress, but it had to be lined!  Let me start my giving you a peek at the finished dress ...
Lined Brasilia

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Satin Summer Bomber

I promise, this is the last post for my 2013 makes!  This jacket has been a real journey, and for no real reason.  It started back in May 2013 during the Burda sew-along when I was checking out the patterns available on Burda Style.  It look me a couple-a months to print and tape together, at the same time I went fabric shopping (yay).  But it was September before I cut into the fabric.  Once cut it sat simmering away for a few more months before it made it to my sewing table - by this time Papercut Patterns had release their new range which included a bomber jacket.  Gee my subconscious must have been telling me something!


Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Plaid Peek-a-Boo Party

The December challenge over at The Monthly Stitch was "The Party Dress" (I know we are just about half way through January and I'm just getting this to the blog!)

I did start a formal party dress, but I've got fit issues with the bodice that I have to fix, so instead I made a completely new dress, one that I could wear on Christmas Day ... because I always, always wear a new outfit on Christmas Day.  This was most definitely one of those sew like crazy projects that I started just two days before needing to travel.


Sunday, 12 January 2014

Bring on a maxi summer!

Before the Christmas holiday season hit I'd been rabbiting on about the maxi dress being a must have this summer and I'd brought more than a little bit of fabric with a maxi dress in mind.  I'd been doing a lot of thinking and stashing and NO actual doie ... well that was until the Jamie Christina patterns went on sale.


I started by sewing up a muslin in some very cheap crinkle stretch cotton I picked up at the Fabric Warehouse summer sale for just $3 p/m.  I traced the pattern off starting with a size 8 in the bust and grading out to a size 12 at the waist and hips.  I made version A, adding 1.5" to the length.  The only change I made to the muslin was to pull the hips back to a size 10 so they weren't like wings!


Saturday, 4 January 2014

RTW Fasting Firsts and Fails

I joined Goodbye Valentino this time last year for 12 months of ready to wear fasting.  This in itself has been amazing for my sewing.  It has made me push my boundaries and try new things and think about what is actually in my wardrobe instead of buying RTW on a whim.

So when Sarah put out the call for RWT Fasters for 2014 I didn't hesitate to take the commitment again.  Although I can't say that it has been any better for my bank balance - I would have spend more money on patterns and fabric in 2013 that I spent on RTW the year before, but hey I'm not complaining at all, I still get to indulge my shopping addiction!


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