Wednesday, 28 June 2017


By now we all know that I'm not the best at regular blogging. Still, to my utmost surprise I made it to the list of Top 100 Dressmaking Blogs and Websites for Dressmakers, Tailors and Custom Sewers. There are so many amazing and bloggers listed there so go and have a look if you need some sewing inspiration. The super talented Leimomi, a fellow member part of WSBN (Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network) is listed there as well - well done us!

So to celebrate I decided to write a blog post! How very fitting, right? The subject is not too exciting though - my millionth version of Astoria top with altered neckline and short sleeves.  I also extended it by about 15 cm so I could wear it with jeans. I don't think I will ever stop sewing Astorias, it's one of these patterns that just keep giving!

The best part of this T-shirt is that it's covered in dinosaurs! The fabric can be found at good old Spotlight. Unfortunately the fabric quality leaves much to be desired. It will probably not last long but I am going to enjoy every minute of wearing it!

Also, since I don't post here too often you can follow me on Instagram and see all the sewing, cooking, travelling and other silly-billy things!

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Little blue skirt

In my last post I mentioned that I got the same fabric in two colorways so here it is - my little blue skirt. Exactly the same fabric in beautiful deep royal blue - my absolutely favourite colour.  I think I might be using the left side of the fabric, last time intentionally, this time because I got distracted! I accidentally sewn the darts on the wrong side and I just kept going. It was supposed to be a wearable muslin anyway. 

The pattern is Alberta Pencil Skirt from Sew House Seven sans pockets. I bought it some time ago in a pattern bundle. After hearing Nina praising this pattern I finally decided to give it a go... and there will be about a million more of them in my future! It's the perfect pencil skirt pattern, especially for an office worker like me!

Just so you know I did have a few issues with this pattern. Unless I missed something in the instructions, there is nothing there about printing only selected pages for certain sizes. I printed the whole file and there were about 6 or more pages that I didn't need at all - what a waste! The other thing were the instructions - they felt very counter-intuitive. According to them, the yokes should be attached to skirt parts first, then back of the skirt put together, side seam and then remaining yokes. I messed up the split in my skirt - I got a bit confused! Next time I will just follow what feels right - side seams, yokes, zip and back of the skirt. I also need to work on my invisible zips - this one is not very invisible where the waistband joins the skirt. 

I am super happy with this skirt! It looks good with tops and shirts and it is very comfortable to wear. It is a bit wrinkly but I've been wearing it a lot!

Monday, 3 April 2017

The sea of turquoise

It's not a secret that I love all shades of blue although I don't often wear turquoise. And then I saw this beautiful jacquard fabric and I could not help myself. I actually have this fabric in royal blue as well.

The dress is actually a mash up of Sew Many Dresses off the shoulder bodice and Simplicity 1880. I really wanted to make something using one of the sewing books I own. Somehow I never remember about them when I want to make new clothes! It would be a pity to have these books just sitting on my shelf! I picked up "Sew Many Dresses" mainly because the patterns were attached in a paper form. There are quite a few gorgeous options in there. I like the whole "mix&match" thing. The books also shows the basic dart and pattern manipulations to get the desired look. 

I did have issues and I'm not really happy with the fit of this dress. I chose size 8 in the waist and graded up to size 9 in the bust. The off the shoulder part caused me a lot of headache! Firstly the shoulder seam angle was (and still is) wrong. Secondly it was way too loose across and it was gaping terribly. I've tried taking it in at the seams but it was not helping much. As I finished the edge off with bias binding, I have also tried easing the bodice in with little improvement. Finally I decided to add couple of darts at the neckline. Not happy with the solution but it kind of worked. The instructions are not too very great when it comes to finishing the dress - I opted for bias binding but was not sure on how to finish the armholes. After trial and error I have sewn the bottom of the armhole as I would normally do. The top edge was machine stitched to the dress and then stitched by hand so it's not visible one the outside. 

I should have lined the dress. It would look much nicer and hopefully that would be enough to fix the back wrinkle issues. This dress surprisingly gets tons of compliments and I always feel a bit weird hearing them! I mean it's ok when people like things I made well but to me this one is just not good enough. I probably won't be wearing it often. But I think I learnt a few things so there's that!

The armhole finish (my overlocker had tension issues but I've only noticed it after it was all done!)

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Snow white Astoria

Astoria is one of these patterns that needs no introductions - it seems that everyone has made at least one, I am no exception. In fact I made 5 of them (one already retired) but only one made it to the blog! Don't worry, I will catch up!

Astoria is supposed to be boat-neck cropped top but that doesn't really suit me much. I have modified the pattern to have shallow crew neckline and extended front and back pieces by 5 cm. It's still a bit short but works well with skirts and higher jeans. The sleeves are hemmed with triple zigzag stitch.

The fabric came from one of the fabric sales. It's some sort of poly-cotton knit with a nice texture. Easy to sew and  has nice recovery.  

The photos were taken at Castlepoint on the east coast of the North Island. Such an amazing place! New Zealand will never stop dazzling me with its beauty!

Monday, 2 January 2017

Favourite make

Finally my favourite make of 2016 made it to the blog! I have been meaning to write about this dress for a while but life got in the way, as it does from time to time.  It's one of those dresses that makes me feel sexy and good about myself the moment I put it on. I think everyone needs at least one piece of clothing like that!

The pattern is from Burda 10/2012 #118. I made it few times before (here and here) and I love them all. As usual I skipped the darts in the back in favour of more waist shaping and extended the facing by 5 cm to make it sit below the bust not across it. I played with the length of the sleeves but kept the original hem length. Because I'm quite short the dress is knee length but it grows to midi-length due to my fabric choice.

The fabric is the softest rayon knit ever with nice amount of stretch to it. And it came from the fabric sale so the total cost of my dress is about $7! The only problem was that my sewing machine hated it with a passion. It was made mostly on overlocker but the hems had to be sewn by my machine. The easiest way would be to use twin needle but the walking feet doesn't play nicely with them. So I went for triple zigzag stitch and it's kind of ok. No one really pays attention to hems anyway, right?

I made this dress back in August and it was worn to my firm's 120th anniversary. I apologize for the photo overload but in was one of the rare cases when all the photos turn out great so I'm having trouble to choose only a handful - not a bad problem to have!

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Little Blue Dress

It's almost mid-November already and I was hoping that my merino dresses would be put aside and wait for next winter... Silly me! It's still cold and I've been living in my merino dresses. I guess spring just decided to skip New Zealand this year! I hope that summer will be stunning to make up for the shity spring we are having now!

Anyway, in winter I prefer close-fitting dresses - it means I can wear more layers to keep myself warm. I decided I needed a simple, lengthened T-shirt dress in my wardrobe and then found perfect merino piece bought over a year ago at Levana in Levin. The pattern I used is Tonic Tee by SBCC and it used to be free to download - now you have to subscribe to receive Tonic Tee and Tonic 2. Now that I think of it I might have used Tonic 2 as the base of my pattern! I need to take proper sewing notes as I can't remember what I made few months ago.

Obviously I lengthened it as much as my fabric would allow. It ended up being too long for my liking so I cut off like 20 cm... Unfortunately I didn't measure anything and just kind of eyeballed where to cut. Guess what? It got so short it wouldn't be decent anywhere, especially not in the office! I had to  use the cut-off piece and make it into a band to make the dress longer.  To make the fit of the dress better I had to take it in around the waistline and then taper the bottom a bit more. I made the neckline deeper as well.

It's one of those very basic dresses but I ended up wearing it quite a lot in winter months. Combined with a black jacket/cardi, slip and thick black tights, this dress was pretty good in the office. And what's most importatnt, it kept me really warm!

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Brighter and brighter

The first time I wore this dress everyone kept saying that it was very "bright". No wonder - in Wellington everyone wears black all the time. I got super self-conscious and I wasn't sure if I actually should wear it in the office.  Luckily I got over it and this dress became one of my most worn over past few months!

The pattern is another version of Burda 10/2012 #118. There are few changes I made - I extended the facing piece so the edge doesn't go across my bust but below it and I did swap side gathers in favour of pleats. Oh, and I also extended the sleeves by 7 cm or so and shortened the skirt by 10 cm. As per last time I omitted the darts. This pattern is a winner!

The fabric came from the fabric sale and cost me whole $4 to make this dress. Not bad, huh?  The fabric is some sort of polyester knit and it worked well with the pattern - the drape is good, there is enough stretch to make it very comfortable and I can throw it in the wash without worrying about my dress. And I'm very glad that I got some photos taken by Gemma after a lovely lunch we had with Kirsten and Kat. We need to have them more often!

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Shirtdresses forever!

It took me quite a lot longer to blog about this dress than expected, but here it is - my second M6696 shirtdress. I had some issues with my first one but I started wearing it more often and I think it might be my summer office staple. I decided it was time to have a sleeved version.

shirtdress M6696

This time I took 5 cm out of the back piece. Looking at the photos I should have shorten the length by ~2 cm or so to stop blousing. But I am so much happier with how the back looks now. The other major change was the sleeve head shape. Thanks to some fitting issues with my coat I figured out how to fix my sleeves to be less restricting and more comfortable to wear. You can see the changes in shape on one of the photos below. Such an easy fix but the difference in wearing is colossal! I also changed the pocket piece to be bigger and deeper - the original pockets are way too shallow. Now I can actually carry my phone with me. And because I was too lazy to get my pattern out and trace the cuff piece I just finished my sleeves with a mini band.

The fabric came from a fabric sale - it's some sort of shirting cotton mix in tiny grey and black stripes. It was really nice to saw with - pressed well, didn't move too much and holds the pleats quite well. I used a medium weight interfacing, which it a bit heavier than my usual. I quite like it, the collar is nice and stiff. Unfortunately I forgot to trim the waistband and button band seam allowances and there were too many layers for my sewing machine to handle the buttonhole at the waistline. I had to do it with normal zigzag stitch and it's a bit messy. Luckily it is covered by a belt so it's not a big deal. The buttons came from my tin of random buttons - luckily I had several sage buttons that were the right size and they look alright with with my fabric.

Needless to say I am very happy with this dress. It fits nicely and it is very comfortable to wear. I also don't think it's my last M6696 - I think the pencil skirt option will be next ;)