Still sewing



Hello! If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen these garments posted months ago. I have a few things I’ve made over the last year or so that I just fancied blogging even if they’re not new and shiny anymore.  I haven’t checked in on WordPress in so long that it’s completely changed and I am still figuring out my way around and even discovered a bunch of unread messages – opps! Bear with me if anything looks odd.

OK… let’s do this!

These cropped trousers are made using New Look 6459 using a triacetate polyester blend from The Fabric Store. This is one of those shades that is difficult to photograph true-to-colour, it’s a slightly dirty burnt orange – I absolutely love it! I have been stopped by strangers and complimented on these trousers a few times (stylish strangers at that!). I don’t think they actually look amazing on, but they are something different and I guess that’s their appeal.

I like cropped trousers but I have pretty short legs with prominent calves so I think this longer cropped length works best on me combined with the high waist.  I will say that these fall in the “WTF?” category for my partner, he does not get the leg length at all!

I made them a couple of months after having my daughter, so they were a size up from my usual and I ended up making adjustments to them as my body changed. As a result their construction is not ‘perfect’ – I had to take them in from the side seams and it affected the way the pockets sit. The shifty fabric was a little hard to cut out and the bouncy, press-resistant nature of the fabric means that any discrepancies in the seam lengths haven’t been discreetly eased in, so there are a few wavy areas. I previously made these in a more stable fabric and didn’t have the same problems. I don’t really mind about the flaws though. It’s hard to make adjustments to garments when you’re working around pre-inserted zips and waistbands and who’s paying that close attention anyway?

In terms of the pattern, it’s a pretty straightforward one. The centre back invisible zip closure may not be for everyone, but it does create a nice clean finish.


The top I’m wearing is self drafted. I did night classes at a community college where we used Winifred Aldrich’s book to create our own blocks. I really enjoy pattern drafting but it’s a skill that needs to be honed (for example, learning the right proportions and curve shapes) and I don’t have enough time for all the trial and error right now. Also there are so many good patterns on the market!

Having said that, I tried on a top in a store and of course thought ‘I could draft that’! The rtw fabric was also a bit silky/shiny for day-to-day wear so creating my own version seemed worthwhile. Like the inspiration top, I wanted a slim/relaxed silhouette with V front and back neckline. I made a toile, did a few tweaks and almost got the desired result. The front armhole doesn’t sit quite flat so I’d want to work on that if I was making another.

The fabric is pretty lovely – it’s from Drapers Fabrics and is made from eucalyptus. It’s listed in their online store as ‘spike’ and comes in several colours. It feels somewhat luxurious, but also raw, and is really nice and soft. I planned to do an all-in-one facing but realised that it wouldn’t look great due to the very slight transparency of the fabric. I wanted to line it but only had enough for a half-lining (similar to the ogden) which is obviously still affected by the transparency, yet is passable.

Anyway, the verdict is that I like both these pieces and have been getting good wear from them over the past few months. I’m not even sure if cropped pants are still cool but I really hope they are, as I’m keen to make a couple more pairs of these for autumn! I took these photos one evening in front of a closed cafe (Queenies, for any Aucklanders). It’s such a gorgeous building but how strange is it posing in a public place? Very! I started off attempting to pose but it just looked awkward, so then I decided to not pose – but there is apparently an art to that too! Oh well, this is as good as it gets right now – just look at the clothes!



Linen skirt

Hey guys, long time no post.

I’ve been joining in with me-made-may on instagram and took a few extra pictures so I could finally share some of my recent projects on the blog. First off, here is a recap of my first few MMMay garments


Day 1: Linen skirt


Day 2: Peach cami and orange skirt. I don’t wear the cami that often as the fabric is a bit funny and without the correct undergarment the facing looks bad. I really like the concept of it though so if I find a similar coloured fabric I may recreate it.


Day 3: Linen dress. I also don’t wear this very much as the waist is a little snug. I can do it up but it feels uncomfortable in a sitting position. Bearable, but not something I really want to be dealing with often.


Day 4: Flannel shirt

I will go in detail on the orange skirt and flannel top soon – Today it is all about the linen skirt.


Which doesn’t really have hanger appeal!


So this project was inspired by pinterest (of course) and constructed over a year ago! The pattern is actually a dress pattern (the popular Mc’calls 6696) which I used the skirt pieces from. I was pregnant at the time though so didn’t attached the front placket for fear that I’d make it too tight. It sat in my WIP pile giving me the evil eye.

A few months post-baby I dug it out and attached the placket and buttons. I did try it on at the time but somehow it turned out too loose. Cue a little more languishing in the WIP pile before I unpicked the placket top and waistband and fixed it. All that unpicking meant that it’s not the tidiest sewing you’ll see, however I much prefer something imperfect that fits!


I really like the finished garment but it definitely has it’s faults and I’ve learnt a few things to take into future projects.  I really should have constructed it with the waistband continuing across the placket. It’s just not strong enough as it is and pulls horribly. The linen also contributes to this, you can see how it retains the ‘wonky’ shape – the shirtdress above does similar.


It’s a shame I didn’t have enough leftover to make another waistband as I’m not sure it will last well. I try not to wear it too frequently or for ‘active’ events where it may get distorted further. sigh. Despite this I really love the fabric and wooden buttons and think they work together perfectly.

OK I think that’s it, I’ll be back soon with some more MMMay updates and new garments.

Gatherer bags

After making the Noodlehead Tote I was keen to experiment a bit more with bags. Luckily, the designer recently shared a free bag pattern as a collaboration celebrating the release of a new line of fabric. The great thing about this pattern is that it’s a small bag that sews up relatively quickly and can make the most of those scraps of precious fabrics that you can’t bear to part with. The size is perfect for nipping out to the shops or carrying around at an event.

With bags, I don’t think that using a pattern is always necessary as the pieces themselves are simple shapes, however it’s nice to be walked through the construction. I’ll probably just do my own thing from now on though. I made a few changes to the Gatherer – mainly widening the flap and changing the button stud closure to a magnetic clasp.

Noodlehead Gatherer Festival 4

I really struggled getting the magnets to line up properly though, on both these bags they are about a cm off so the flap doesn’t sit as nicely as it should when secured. No one else I showed it to thought this was a big deal but I was like “argggh, such a bummer, it’s totally crap.. etc, etc.” It’s hard not to be picky about our own work!

Here is the first iteration, a ‘festival’ bag for my cousin.

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I tried to get the ikat to sit perfectly horizontal, but it just wasn’t woven that way. It’s really bugging me in that photo but didn’t so much in real life.

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I really struggled with the decision-making on this. I wanted it to be quirky and bright, but kept thinking “Is this too quirky and bright? Is it juvenile? Is it just plain hideous?”. I had it almost completely finished with a smaller flap in different (brighter) fabric and yellow piping when I decided that I didn’t like it and the unpicker came out. I actually presented it to my cousin with the original flap inside and the offer to reattach it if she preferred… that’s how indecisive I was! I’m still not 100% sold that it’s fulfilling my ‘vision’ but whatever… let it go Naomi.

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I had a fun time making the pom poms, tassels and little leather bit. I am pretty sure my cousin liked it and she’s planning to use it at a festival this weekend.

When I showed it to my mum she said “I want one”, which confused me a bit as its not really her style. She requested one in black or mauve velvet. [sidenote: I’m pretty sure my mum is the only person I’ve heard say the word ‘mauve’… has it gone out of fashion?] She also seemed excited about tassels but I only gave her one pretty lame one in the end, I just ran out of time.

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It’s probably obvious but the photos of it are overexposed because it was impossible to see the details otherwise. The exposure makes the fabric looks a bit crap and linty though – promise it’s nicer in real life. I found it hard to track down the perfect velvet and I regret my choice a little bit it, a longer pile would have been a bit more luxurious and to my mum’s taste. The lining fabric is really beautiful though.

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This pattern uses a thin iron-on wadding type of interfacing/structure, which is fun. I also used it in the flap of the black version for the quilting. The piping is self made from the velvet and the places where it met with the body of the bag and straps meant the thickness was problematic, but I think I did the best I could. I really loved my walking foot for the quilting and all the multi-layered seams btw – what a gem!

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Finally, this bag is not technically finished as I need to suss out a strap but I may as well include a picture. The beads are just there for fun at the moment but I kind of like their vibe.


It’s made from the leftover velvet and some fabric a friend bought me back from India (or Thailand… I cant remember!). It’s a bit patchy but I think it has character. I attempted a zip top and omitted the flap on this one and it doesn’t quite look right – it’s the positioning of the handle carriers(?). They’d look better attached at the top. Maybe I’ll unpick and alter… most likely not!

I like the idea of a zip top bag, so now that I have the hang of construction order I might come up with my own dimensions and try something different.

I wanted to say Thank You to Naomi from Spare Room Style too for nominating me for a Liebster award as well. It’s always so nice to know that people read this. I actually did one a couple of years ago which I was going to link to, but it kind of pains me to read things I’ve written about myself in the past, (like when you hear a recording of your voice  and it just sounds strange,) so I’ve summarized. Apparently my favorite movie genre was ‘hugh grant’ and I wanted to make jeans (still planning to!). One of my random facts was that I taught llama care at summer camp USA, but really didn’t like the llamas. Not much about sewing in there but I guess you guys know I love it 🙂

Floral shorts and peach cami

I picked up some peach fabric awhile ago to make a summer top. It seems to be some sort of poly-crepe, so nothing special, but I really like the colour (which isn’t showing up well in these photos) and wanted to use it for just the right project. I eventually settled on a ruffled cami from The Great British Sewing Bee book, which is fairly basic,  but I like the fact it’s not cut on the bias like the other cami patterns I own – they flare out too much for my taste. Once I’d attached the ruffle I thought it was a bit long so I trimmed a few cm. Then I hemmed it.


Hmmm, this fabric has quite a lot of body. The ruffle was sticking out at a strange angle and the ruffle is not really full  enough in my opinion. I decided to unpick it and go for a plain look.

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Its a bit tight in the bust, but should be better when I’m no longer breastfeeding. I like it and thinks it looks good with the shorts, however in real life it takes a bit of rearranging before it sits well tucked in, due to the fabric’s body.

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I made the shorts too. They’re Simplicity which I’ve made three times before, here, here and here. They are the best fitting shorts I’ve made but the high waistband can be a little uncomfortable in some positions, or if I’ve eaten too much!

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I really love this fabric, and I’m not alone. I’ve seen at least three other pics of it on instagram – used for both skirts and culottes. It’s Ottoman suiting from Spotlight which is a funny fabric to work with. It’s a bit slippery during cutting and can fray easily, but also ‘grips’ nicely when sewing due to the texture. I hand stitched a few places but the stitches don’t seem to hold that well – it feels like they slip right out despite being tied securely!

(The top pictured is a different one in these indoor photos btw).

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I had barely enough to make the shorts and my stitching on the waistband was right up against the edge of the fabric.


Sometimes a lack of fabric can lead to fun combinations though..




Dress up clothes/scrapbusting

I feel bad when I post too many kids clothes in a row because: boring! But this is the last bunch of kids stuff I have to show from 2015 and so far, I’m being a much more selfish sewer this year!

These projects are the result of my wanting to use up some of the scraps I have amassed, and a looming Halloween party. We don’t really celebrate Halloween in New Zealand although there are usually a couple of trick or treaters that pop round (very cheeky ones in my street that return several times in different masks!). Harry’s daycare was throwing kids and parents party and when I had a look at the shops for costumes the only options I found were somewhat pricey licensed movie characters made of shiny flimsy polyester.

I have a decent pile of scrap fabrics and old garments with stains etc, that I feel like I should use rather than send to landfill so I decided to see what I could come up with from that. Some of that fabrics aren’t very nice so it made sense to use them for costumes rather than try to force myself to make regular clothes with them.

Obviously I only needed one outfit for halloween, but I made others for the dress-up box.

First up the beloved buzzy bee.

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I used a romper pattern for this and attached strips of black scraps onto the yellow (a previous attempt at a skirt). I bought wings and antennae to go with it and Harry loves it.

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He’s worn it to daycare on regular days. I’m now thinking I should have done a stinger!

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The nurse apron and hat is really cute, but tiny! I chose the apron style as it could be adjusted to fit for a number of years, but I needed to go a bit bigger. Oh well!

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Nina was rocking it. I thinking she was 3 months old here.

Next, a very easy super hero cape.

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I wanted to add a bit of weight to the thin blue cotton so lined it with one of Kelvin’s old tops. I made a belt and wristbands too but this mainly gets worn alone. A mask could be a cool addition.

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This dress here was a lifesaver really. I mean, how else was I going to use the baby blue lace that had been sitting in my stash for years… certainly not for real clothing! I combined it with some silver and broderie anglaise scraps as well as some blue binding I randomly happened to have. I made the back lace-up so it can fit for a bit longer. It needs a crown or something to finish it off.

Finally, my little chef.

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I initially thought of this because Harry is always pinching the oven gloves and running around with them – “I know, I’ll make him some miniature ones to play with”. He just ignores the little ones and keeps stealing mine though…
Coincidentally, the one issue of Ottobre Kids I have features a chefs hat on the cover! You really don’t need a pattern for this – it’s an oversized circle gathered into a head-circumference sized strip. Harry is not really into it (maybe an older kid would be)… but that’s the beauty of using scrap fabric… if he’s a fussy little so-and-so it’s only my time that’s been wasted, rather than money (…yeah still pretty annoying to waste time!).

I wasn’t messy with the construction but wasn’t precious about it either as I’m not really fussed about having perfect dress up clothes. Despite that, they look so much better quality than the shop polyester ones. I was really happy with how these turned out – it was a win-win for using up clutter and stocking the dress-up box. I have an elf and another tutu in the works (may have to buy some tulle for that if the curtain netting looks bad) plus a list of ideas including a pirate, police and maybe even the elephant head from the great british sewing bee book.

More sewing for little girls

Here are a few of the pieces I made last year but haven’t shared on this blog yet.


A shirtdress made from fabric my cousin bought me from India. I have a wee bit of this fabric left but am not sure what to do with it. It’s cool, but not a colour I usually wear.


A dress made from cotton sateen, modeled by my son! The sleeves are pretty huge and the length is a bit shorter than intended as my kids seem to be on the skinnier end of the spectrum.






I used a light cotton to line it, the same fabric I used for Nina’s bonnet:


I probably could have done with a stiffer interfacing for the peak, but it’s OK.

Next up is a little romper made from an ikat (?) type of fabric. I was trying to go for that minimalist ‘ace & jig’ hipster type of thing but I don’t really know if it works on an infant! I think that cute fabrics are probably better suited.



The biggest bummer is that blemish on the fabric right on the center front.


There are snaps at the crotch. I just used some tape but it’s made of polyester and I’d rather use cotton if I can find it next time. The snaps were annoyingly spaced so that they didn’t fit the space as well as I’d like.


The leg holes were absolutely huge so I removed the bands, cut off about an inch then reattached.

I’m not going to lie, it’s a pretty weird garment – like kind of cute but I probably wouldn’t make one as a gift incase the recipient thought ‘wtf?’. It looks nicer (well, less revealing) over a top, but it’s been hot here and its quite good as a cool option on it’s own.




I also thinking I’d attach the straps wider apart at the back next time – to make more of a cross.

Lastly, with scraps I made Nina a headband – mainly just for fun.


I used the headband pattern that was included with the romper. I didn’t really need to and actually made the main fabric piece about 1/4 of the width specified (personal preference) but sometimes it’s nice to have instructions to follow when you’ve not done something before.


Yes, those are big eyes!

My aim for this year is to refine my skills and take on some more complicated projects. I would love some suggestions if there is anything you’ve made that was particularly challenging.

Swan top

We have visitors from Paris this week, so of course the weather is behaving terribly. It’s rainy and muggy, and we’re running out of ideas of things to do. Hopefully the next couple of days improve at least a little, so we can show off some of the beautiful New Zealand scenery.

Prior to the rain I got a few pics of my new summer top:


It started with a swan print rayon from ‘the shop in Otara that’s not Nick’s Fabrics’. Aucklanders will know what I mean. I have no idea what it’s called.


Pretty cute I think. I also thought this pattern from Burdastyle had a sweet vibe, so caved in and bought the issue.


It was really easy to make. This is my second version and I made it a bit bigger that my first – I didn’t want to trace out the next size up so just added some width at the sides. I don’t think it mattered much because the pieces are very simple shapes.



I ran out of fabric, but also wanted something different for the straps so used black textured cotton.


It’s probably obvious that the bust is a bit tight. There are definitely some bra issues as it doesn’t feel supportive enough without one, but needs something that won’t show and look tacky. I’m still feeding Nina so I expect that in a years time It might fit better in the bust.


I’m not really sure how to ‘style’ it yet, but am really happy with how it turned out. I think the fabric and pattern are a good match although the fabric crinkles pretty badly.

Short and sweet today – enjoy the weekend everyone!