Mood Sewing Network – a Mini debut

*faints* *gasps* *giggles* *runs outside in pjs to read email to husband*

That was my reaction to receiving an email from the revered fabric kingdom Mood Fabrics NYC expressing an interest in little old me, Sew Busy Lizzy in far-flung Australia joining the Mood Sewing Network.

My first outing as a Mood Sewing Network blogger

My first outing as a Mood Sewing Network blogger

So many bloggers I have followed and admired since I started blogging are part of this network – the skill, personality and individual style of this crew is quite fabulous. In fact since I started sewing I’ve become so enamoured of Mood Fabrics it was already on my travel plans for 2014! Yes I will be in NY in October – I can’t wait!

I can’t tell you how I agonised over my first Mood make. I felt I needed to be fancy, couture… then a sewing friend said that perhaps I was asked because I had a distinctive style, perhaps Mood just wanted me to be ‘me’. Suddenly it all became easy.

It’s so easy to become swallowed up by what you might imagine other people expect of you. Defined by your own expectations. Trying to be the best version of yourself – which too often is framed by what you imagine others expect.

At the end of the day?

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” (quote often attributed to Oscar Wilde)

Mood has so many fabulous fabrics… the range feels endless. Fabulous fabrics destined to be ‘fashion’ makes ­- fabulous individual creations, the very reason why we love to sew. I really wanted my first Mood make to be ‘me’… in extraordinary fabric (of course – this is Mood Fabric after all)… something I couldn’t obtain elsewhere…

So denim it was (I have suffered from a lifelong denim affliction – I strongly believe there is no such thing as too much denim in a wardrobe, jackets, jeans, vests, skirts, shorts, capris, dresses – just waiting for a medical term for this obsession. True, I don’t ‘do’ ‘double denim’… this girl has some standards).

Not just any denim but Italian denim… printed with a bronze damask design… I fell in love with this Italian Printed Denim. I love the slight grunge style of the print. It’s decadent but not quite perfect, it’s not gold but bronze.

Mood Fabrics Italian Printed Denim

Mood Fabrics: Italian Printed Denim

I’ve often read about how metallic denims lose their lustre or print in the wash… me being me decided to throw caution to the wind when preparing this fabric for sewing. I threw it in the washing machine on a ‘normal’ cycle, hung it up to dry… and guess what? The world didn’t end.

And then I sewed… a Grainline Studio Moss Mini Skirt. While some might argue that a simpler pattern might have sufficed and the construction details are hidden, I love the fact this fabric gives this simple yet classic fly-front skirt design a rockstar makeover.

Mood Sewing Network: Grainline Moss Mini Skirt in Italian Printed Denim

Mood Sewing Network: Grainline Moss Mini Skirt in Italian Printed Denim

I’ve found this pattern wants to sit low-slung on me – which delivers the look I was after and suits the grunge element of the design.

Lovely design details... front slant pockets, top stitching, fly front and more - I would even been fooled into thinking it was RTW!

Lovely design details… front slant pockets, top stitching, fly front and more – I would even been fooled into thinking it was RTW!

 

OK. Yes. Rather proud of this pattern matching. #sorrynotsorry

OK. Yes. Rather proud of this pattern matching – yes there is a vertical seam running down my centre back. #sorrynotsorry for showing off.

Just a few tips when sewing with this fabric… a part of the selvedge is not printed – so I decided to trace around the pattern pieces with tailor’s chalk on the right side to avoid running pieces onto the non-printed section (you can just see later on what happened when I didn’t do this with the inside waistband). I’m that girl who is guilty of squeezing every inch out of her fabric. So I traced each piece carefully. While it takes a little longer it’s easier to pattern match and you will make the most of your yardage.

Going crazy with chalk.

Going crazy with chalk.

This fabric did not bother my Bernina sewing machine at all and I used a denim needle. Likewise my Brother overlocker had no issue with the fabric. While the drape is stiff, the fabric itself is not overwhelmingly heavy.

I did quite a bit of top stitching which finishes the skirt beautifully by holding down the seam allowances and adding a professional finish. Fabric that is this fabulous deserves a good finish. I’ve rather proud of its innards too – that’s what is so nice about being a sewing blogger – I can’t wear my makes inside out but I can show you guys!

Grainline Moss Mini Skirt - insides

The insides – because I can’t wear it inside out…

I couldn’t find a bronze button that perfectly matched (I’m a little bit OCD about some details) so I finished the waistband with a heavy black trouser hook & bar from my stash. I also chose to use a metal jeans zip from my stash as it adds to the ready-to-wear finish of the garment. If sewing a fly front freaks you out completely – I strongly recommended a few things:-

  1. Use Jen of Grainline Studio’s excellent fly front tutorial
  2. Get your hands on a RTW garment with a fly front and use it as a reference (and do yourself a favour and use a women’s garment as a man’s fly does up the other way)…
  3. and if you are terrified – try making a muslin first to gain some confidence.
Grainline Moss Mini Skirt

oh and I’m also not keen on unzipping my fly while the skirt is on – so here is the non-risqué version of the fly front

Funnily enough as I was hemming this garment a blog post from Grainline Studios popped up and guess what? It’s Moss Making Month over with Stephanie at Makes the Things and Sara at An Elemental Life – how’s that for coincidence – for once I’m running ahead of schedule. Unintentionally but I’m OK with that.

We are hitting autumn in my part of the world – it never gets truly cold in my beautiful seaside Port Macquarie, Australia. I’m often barefoot on the beach in winter and we never see a frost. Seriously. However the days are getting shorter and it was a race against sunset to take these pictures after work. I love how the fading evening light really brings out the amazing metallic print of this fabric. A little bit rockstar!

If I’m not looking my usual relaxed self – I was fretting about the fading light and my deadline… but I was also taking tips from the Posing Super Coach…

GrainlineMossMini_moreposingtips

I know – heaven help me when she hits her teenage years. She’s going to be a whole lot of hilarious trouble.

Thank you Mood Fabrics… I’ve got a mini skirt my non-sewing friends are lusting after!

Still figuring out how to wear these boots... but I'm getting used to them

Still figuring out how to wear these boots… but I’m getting used to them

The good news… as I originally planned to make jeans… I think I’ve got enough for a fitted dress or a high waisted skirt… watch this space…

Fabric: Mood Fabrics: Italian Printed Denim
Pattern: Grainline Studio Moss Mini Skirt, size 4 (as suggested to me via Instagram by Unique Schmuck – thanks Oanh!)

Also See: Vogue 8330 skinny jeans by Kadiddlehopper I was so tempted to make jeans initially – but it would have been hard to top these amazing jeans…

Now there is a ton of awesome makes going on all the time over at the Mood Sewing Network – so get yourself over there now and put them in your blog reader…

Drape Drape 3: No.12 Draped Wrap ‘Dress’

also known as ‘A Wardrobe Malfunction Waiting To Happen’

After the modest, sweet delight of Sewaholic maxi skirt Gabriola, I appear to have done a massive u-turn and created something that could barely be described as a ‘dress’. Sorry about that! The Drape Drape journey continues.

I’ve come to think of this make as the ‘wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen’. Or perhaps a ‘lounge dress’ best worn in the safety of my own home, having late night drinks on the lounge with ELH!

Drape Drape 3 No 12. Draped Wrap Dress

wrapped side view

Funnily enough my draped singlet dress was described by Drape Drape 2 as a ‘tunic’ and I easily wear it as a dress (in fact I now have three of them – sorry not all photographed!)… whereas this ‘creation’ is described as a ‘dress’ but… it covers far less than the singlet dress!

This number is No.12 from Drape Drape 3. And this is how it’s showcased in a book – yes more hamburger-hungry models with poor posture. Then again… maybe she’s stooped over trying to hide her legs… let’s give her the benefit of the doubt!

drape drape 3 No 12

The ‘dress’ as illustrated in Drape Drape 3

This ‘not-dress’ was quite easy to put together. Much, much easier than the deep cowl-necked number. Unfortunately we have been enduring some rain (yes, not always sunny here) and the poor light really doesn’t show off the black/silver beauty of this fabric from Tessuti – purchased on my recent trip to the Sydney Bloggers meet-up organised by Made By Melanie.

Drape Drape 3 No 12. Draped Wrap Dress

The back view – somewhat more respectable.

I do adore the back of the dress and the lovely lazy draping that sweeps across my back at an angle. That’s created by gathering up one side of the skirt and sewing it to the bodice side… yes the bodice side. That’s what creates that rather ‘raunchy’ leg reveal – there’s just no fabric on one side below waist level.

I actually pinned the draped section over a little to cover more of my leg for the pictures. Yes, the draped bow helps cover my leg… almost up to my HIP! *faints*

Drape Drape 3 No 12. Draped Wrap Dress

ummmm, I think I just heard my mother faint.

The draped ‘bow’ is created by making three pleats and then gathering the whole section up, including the pleats, then sewing it across the dress and creating the ‘wrap’. It does create a lovely draped section… perhaps it just needs to be longer… much, much longer…

Drape Drape 3 No 12. Draped Wrap Dress

at least the ‘draped bow’ is covering something!

I did use my Janome coverstitch machine on the neckline and skirt hem – I still need to practice more with the beast. I did hem the ‘draped bow’ but it made it seem less fluid. So I unpicked it – massive job. Then used my overlocker to roll hem the ‘bow’ section – and I also used the overlocker rolled hem function to finish the sleeve hems. This gave the edge of the bow & sleeves a much lighter finish, slightly fluted lettuce edge hem – much better for this make that needs to retain its softness to create the lovely draped lines.

Drape Drape 3 No 12. Draped Wrap Dress

Draped side view – love this view. I feel almost respectable

The sleeves are just sewn into armhole and the underarm seam is left free – so they feel ethereal wings to wear.

I find this design quite interesting. It’s got an incredibly immodest leg line… the neckline is not much better… then these enormously billowing sleeves – it’s a fascinating mix and I do rather like it. But how to wear it?? I slapped on my old trusty black skinny jeans when I got home and it looks OK. Sorry about the foggy lens… I think that was a raindrop!

I have had some people suggest I should wear a slip under it – but I disagree. A slip would change how the dress moves and I think spoil the lines of the design – I think it’s better as a tunic.

Drape Drape 3: No. 12. Draped Wrap Dress

as a tunic… now that’s better!

Pattern: No.12 from Drape Drape 3 published by Laurence King
Fabric: black/silver knit from Tessuti, Surrey Hills store, Sydney

This must qualify for the Sew Sexy Sewalong! Yes?

and an out-take with my crazy little cracker – Miss (just-turned) 9. She explaining how I could pose better as a superhero. Doh! Why didn’t I think of that!

Drape Drape 3 No 12. Draped Wrap Dress

Superheroes!

 

Sunshine Sewaholic Gabriola – a mega yellow maxi skirt

I do love maxis. They can be such a statement piece without being overdressed. I particularly love them in strong solids – they pair beautifully with tanks, vests, jackets and accessories. I had been searching for the perfect pattern…

…then along came Gabriola by the ever-clever Tasia of Sewaholic.

While I struggle to wear yellow, I do adore it… and Gabriola screamed to be yellow. I just had a picture in my head of it paired with a white tank, denim and neutral-tone beads. And here’s what happened…

Sewaholic Gabriola Maxi Skirt

Sewaholic Gabriola Maxi Skirt

The chevrons hip yokes and lower skirt panels do really beg to be seen. While they create a lovely shape even concealed with a patterned fabric, they do set this particular design apart in the world of maxi skirts. So why not show them off?

Sewaholic Gabriola Maxi Skirt - side view and seam details

Sewaholic Gabriola Maxi Skirt – side view and seam details

CONSTRUCTION

As I’ve earlier confessed, I’m not as tall as I appear in my blog (apparently the camera adds 10 pounds to some but it also adds 10 centimetres vertically to me). I love a maxi skirt to be MAXI. I like to wear them with heels (it’s actually unusual to see me without heels on – except at the beach of course).. However Gabriola is quite a lengthy affair. I ended up taking at least 2 to 3 inches off the length of this skirt. It was LOOOONNNNGG.

I made a size 2. The waistband is a little big but the overall fit is great. I know. I’m small and it’s just a stroke of genetic luck. I actually reluctant usually to blog what sizes I make. There are a few bloggers out there that make narky comments about people like me – but like being green – it’s not always easy being small either. People say nasty stuff both in the virtual and real world – because apparently I’m 10kgs lighter if you remove my thick skin. Anyways, such is life.

Sewaholic Gabriola Maxi Skirt

A really lovely casual skirt. I think I could wear this anywhere.

Gabriola is a most agreeable lass and is not tricky to construct. Perhaps the front seam which pivots where the front skirt joins the yoke might be difficult for newbies but it’s OK if you are patient.

Sewaholic Gabriola Maxi Skirt

Seam detail – I love how the skirt falls. So pretty.

I did French seam all my seams – with the exception of the front seam where the skirt joins the yoke and the back seam (which I roll hemmed the edges of). I used French seams as I decided the fabric would clearly show all the seam allowances so I wanted them to be consistent and neat. I also managed to get all my seams to meet – which made me feel most chuffed!

I simply overlocked the hemline, turned it over twice and machine stitched it in place.

I do find the waistband sits away from my waist a little – which I suspect is caused by the fact it is drafted as a straight waistband rather than a curved one? I also found the waistband could do with being a little longer as the overlap is quite small. I’m planning to run the zipper up through the waistband next time. Most of my RTW maxis are finished this way and I think it is neater than a button or hook/eye fastener.

I used an invisible zipper. I put in a normal zipper but felt it looked messy. I couldn’t find a yellow invisible zipper so I used a white one… fortunately it actually is invisible so it doesn’t matter too much. I don’t plan to get undressed in public so my secret is safe.

Sewaholic Gabriola Skirt - back view.

Back view. I know it’s long but I like them to sweep the floor and I’m on an uneven pathway – I’m a beach bum like that.

It’s just a plain rayon, nothing fancy. I had a vision of a yellow skirt in my head for some time and this just seemed the perfect opportunity to make that a reality. The fabric is a lovely colour but it does crease with wear – which I hate – and it would be much better lined. I think it would be lovely as a lined skirt in a soft floaty solid voile. This one gets rather saucy in strong sunlight…

Sewaholic Gabriola Maxi Skirt

hello – I think I’m on fire!

I’ve made this as a muslin for my next version (think silk charmeuse – did I just hear you moan in anticipation?).

Did you notice something else? I’ve got SHOES on! During the course of this week I found a word to describe me - Nelipot one who walks without shoes; one who goes barefoot“. I shall wear that description as a badge of pride!

And while it’s a little clingy – I love the movement in this picture. Experience the full swish of Gabriola…

Sewaholic Gabriola Maxi Skirt

Gabriola – she likes to make a sweeping entrance!

And if you need another excuse to try this gorgeous pattern – why not enter the Sew Dramatic, Sew Gabriola” Competition at Stitch 56! You can win a $100 voucher and buy more patterns!

Pattern: Sewaholic Gabriola. Purchased from Stitch 56.
Fabric: Yellow rayon from Spotlight

Also see: Cirque Du Babe | Lilacs & Lace

And yes, I’m also not at the beach – I’m on a pathway behind my house… koalas live here…

Lots and lots of very big trees!

Lots and lots of very big trees!

Rum Tum Tugger Summer Concert Tee & the PATTERN PARCEL

While every sewing blogger seemed to be madly sewing Plantains (which is lovely!) I just couldn’t stop thinking about the Summer Concert Tee… and it made me feel like a right Rum Tum Tugger… what was wrong with me?? Plantain is French, chic, I downloaded and printed it… and still I wanted a Summer Concert tee.

I love all types of clothing – I am a true wardrobe eclectic… and in my spare time… I am a denim/khaki junkie & often a slouchy mess – I love edgy, I love grunge and I love casual. Remember, SewBusyLizzy does love to have her shoes off… Summer Concert Tee seemed so very me.

…and funnily enough days later it landed in my inbox courtesy of the brilliantly clever Perfect Pattern Parcel. Of course I immediately made two Summer Concert tees – in two evenings… because that is the SewBusyLizzy way… go hard or go home.

The classic red striped version…

Dixie DIY Summer Concert tee - the classic version

Dixie DIY Summer Concert tee – the classic version

Dixie DIY Summer Concert tee - the classic version

Dixie DIY Summer Concert tee – the classic version side/back view

and then there is the lace-back version – I made this from a piece of left-over Japanese rayon knit and some lace from a remanent bin… which I had considered binning but rather glad I didn’t.

Dixie DIY Summer Concert tee - the lace backed version

Dixie DIY Summer Concert tee – the lace backed version (yes, yes, you will see the lace soon)

Dixie DIY Summer Concert tee - the lace backed version

Dixie DIY Summer Concert tee – see there’s a little bit of lace…

Dixie DIY Summer Concert tee - the lace backed version

Dixie DIY Summer Concert tee – there it is!

and a naughtier/younger version of me might have worn it like this…

Dixie DIY Summer Concert tee - the lace backed version

Dixie DIY Summer Concert tee – the lace backed version – this one is for Sown Brooklyn and crew’s Sew Sexy Sewalong!

It’s a tee – easiest thing in the world to sew. I did cut my own neckbands without the pattern piece as it looked a little short. With the lace version, I simply roll-hemmed the edges of the sleeves and lower hem with my overlocker. I also decided to let the double layer sleeve hems hang separately as I liked the softness of them. I also used a doubled over strip of the Chantilly lace to bind the neckline. It’s super girly.

I’m actually smaller than the smallest measurements for this tee by 2 inches… so it’s very roomy – but I love it to pieces, it’s so very easy to wear and layer… there will be many more!

I’ve worn these ever since they came off the machine. LOVE.

Parcel 1 Collage

And in the first ever Pattern Parcel you get FIVE patterns…

Personally I’ve been dying to make the Lady Skater to slouch around in at home. And Ava has been ringing my bell but I want to make her grungy because she’s so very pretty and I like a bit of ‘nasty’ with my ‘nice’. I’ve made the Dandelion top (which is very different and a great project to make and wear) – and heck who doesn’t need a bag? My girls seem to think bags are required in double digits.

ABOUT PATTERN PARCEL

Now we all need MOAR patterns in our lives – am I right? Great news, Pattern Parcel is the perfect solution for you! So what is Pattern Parcel?

About Perfect Pattern Parcel:
Put together two entrepreneurial makers driven by their internal voices and one self-taught hacker with an “if you build it, they will come” mentality, and Perfect Pattern Parcel was born. We are passionate about supporting independent designers in their craft and fostering a community of makers to grow. Our mission is to offer high-quality pdf sewing patterns written by indie designers while supporting children’s education.
About Donors Choose:
Donors Choose is an organization that matches up the needs of teachers and their students for specific projects with willing donors. The funds raised from each Pattern Parcel sale will go to help K-12 students in minimizing educational inequality and encourage a community where children have the tools and experiences necessary for an excellent education.
About Parcel #1:
Pattern Parcel #1 includes sewing patterns for women that are modern classics, featuring both flattering silhouettes and garments that are comfortable to wear. From a new little black dress to weekend play wear, the patterns in Parcel #1 have got you covered.
Support Indie Designers
Independent designers create patterns that are innovative, imaginative and in line with current style trends. Their patterns encompass a broad range of sizes and fabulous “out of the envelope” fit because they’re thoroughly tested by real people. With detailed and well-explained instructions, these patterns often teach as you sew. Independent designers are approachable, providing support, suggestions, publishing additions to your favorite designs, and hosting interactive sewing events. When we are patrons of indie designers, we are supporting small, mostly women owned, businesses. We are developing the community around us. We are helping to making dream come true.
Now the really cracking thing about this deal is that by buying patterns you can choose to support a charity – yes, I know. This is brilliant. “I’m not buying patterns honey… it’s about charity… yes really it is… I just have such a big heart“.

Seriously who is not going to believe that? Five fab patterns – some serious rockstars of the sewing world. Buy it – it’s on sale for just TWO WEEKS! In fact at time of posting this, there was just 11 days and 3 hours left…

Perfect Pattern Parcel Buy Now

and wait for it…

  • a Rafflecopter giveaway to boot. Go forth and support charity… and perhaps add to your pattern stash along the way… just sayin’

What does this cost? The retail value of this parcel is $48. You decide what amount you want to contribute in order to truly support the Parcel’s designers for their work – read more here… It is a personal choice. As sewing bloggers and participants in the blogosphere, I know you support indie designers… so focus on that fact – the purpose is to support independent pattern designers and charity.

Also bloggers participating:- One Little Minute | SeamstressErin Designs | One Girl Circus | casa crafty | the quirky peach | Kadiddlehopper | Sew Caroline | Groovybabyandmama | Fishsticks Designs | the Brodrick blog | verypurpleperson |sew a straight line | Adventures in Dressmaking | true bias | Idle Fancy | La Pantigana | Crafterhours | Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy Crafts | Max California | YoSaMi | la inglesita | Diary of a Chainstitcher | four square walls | Lauren Dahl | Sewbon | mingo & grace | Dandelion Drift | VeryShannon | Sanae Ishida | buzzmills | Sew Jereli | Figgy’s | Froo & Boo | a happy stitch | Disaster in a Dress | Things for Boys | mama says sew | sew Amy sew | Made With Moxie | imagine gnats

RUM TUM TUGGER?

And if you don’t know what the Rum Tum Tugger reference is… it’s from Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by TS Eliot. My father read this to me as a child and I love every poem dearly… (I am also a huge fan of all of TS Eliot’s poetry…)

Here is an excerpt…

The Rum Tum Tugger is a curious beast:
His disobliging ways are a matter of habit.
If you offer him fish then he always wants a feast;
When there isn’t any fish then he won’t eat rabbit.
If you offer him cream then he sniffs and sneers,
For he only likes what he finds for himself;

So you’ll catch him in it right up to the ears,
If you put it away on the larder shelf.
The Rum Tum Tugger is artful and knowing,
The Rum Tum Tugger doesn’t care for a cuddle;
But he’ll leap on your lap in the middle of your sewing,
For there’s nothing he enjoys like a horrible muddle.
Yes the Rum Tum Tugger is a Curious Cat–
And there isn’t any need for me to spout it:
For he will do
As he do do
And there’s no doing anything about it!

FLORA Nightshade, By Hand London – the PM edition

Hello Flora Nightshade, the new By Hand London dress pattern – and some amazing fabric courtesy of Tessuti Fabrics (thank you very much!). Colette at Tessuti sent me images of a range of options – and I just immediately fell in love with this strong & striking blue/black classic print.

It’s an amazing cotton sateen with a satin finish… and I just adore black and blue together, possibly my all-time favourite combination.

While predominantly dark, the repeat does have a small amount of white – I chose to use this in the bodice and keep the skirt dark and dramatic.

BY Hand London Flora Dress - wrap bodice version

Do I take my shoes off at every opportunity? ummm… yes… oh course I trimmed just that little too much off the lining hem and now need to attach some bias tape to the hem to hide the reverse of the fabric. SewIdiotLizzy

BY Hand London Flora Dress - wrap bodice version

Back view – I moved the zip to the underarm so I didn’t have to break up that lovely print

BY Hand London Flora Dress - wrap bodice version

Just proving that sometimes I do wear shoes…

By Hand London Flora Dress - wrap bodice version

Just love this shot – even if it is blown out. It’s so soft in comparison to the other images

Pattern Modifications

  • I lined the skirt
  • I added elastic to the warp bodice edges
  • I moved the zip to the underarm so I didn’t disrupt that beautiful pattern.

Hem Alert

Please be aware that I am not particularly tall. People are often (politely) surprised when they meet me. I’m a very unimpressive 5 foot 4. I make the smallest size in By Hand London patterns (US 2 / UK 6). So I’m not just short but also have a very small frame – yes, at some point I forgot to grow in all directions – sorry about that. This skirt is quite short at the front. If you are a leggier lass than me, you might like to consider that when cutting your fabric.

Fabric Choices

I’ve said this once and I’ll say it again… you need WIDE fabric. This fabric was certainly wide enough… except the pattern repeat wasn’t quite centred… so it was either have an off-kilter pattern repeat… which would have been terribly obvious in such a strong and striking print… or centre the print and find a solution.

I was bamboozled for a while… rather than decrease the volume of the skirt, I cut as much of the skirt pieces as I could – which left a triangular wedge at each side of the dress. This needed to be filled – so I cut wedges from the remaining fabric and sewed them into the side of the skirt… see if you can spot them in the above photos!

Even I find the wedges hard to spot – one is directly below my hand in the side shot above.

The wrap bodice

I was concerned about the slight bodice gaping with the Flora AM version.

After some investigation I tried something new *faints*.

I studied Couture Sewing Techniques: Revised and Updated by Claire Shaeffer and came across a technique to prevent necklines from gaping using elastic.

While Shaeffer has you create a tunnel with herringbone stitches along the inside of the neckline which you then thread the elastic through, I was bamboozled as to whether these were in the inside or outside of the lining.

In the end I created my own little technique – well at least I haven’t seen it elsewhere.
After attaching the lining to the front wrap pieces, I then understitched the lining. Then I sewed another line of stitching in the seam allowance, in effect creating a tunnel running alongside the line of understitching. I threaded some narrow flat elastic through this. I secured the top end in the seam allowance. I let the elastic relax and then gently pulled about an inch out at the bottom end and secured it to the seam allowance.

This is no way gathers up the wrap edge but does create a slight tension which helps the bodice sit more firmly against your chest.

Do not gather the elastic up excessively or you will end up with a puckered bodice edge. I dunno that might be the look you are after – but I dare say not.

I don’t think this is a solution if the neckline is gaping massively – it just helps it sit firmer against your chest. I did find taking in the back by straightening up the centre back seam helped the front bodice fit enormously.

Is that clear enough? Or do you need pictures?

Pattern: Flora, By Hand London
Fabric: Cotton Sateen with a satin finish, Tessuti Fabrics

Also see: Dolly Clackett | Gingermakes | Jolies Bobines | Diary of a Chainstitcher | A Stitching Odyssey | Dixie DIY | Nette | Lladybird | Zo Sews

I took this for you Little Stone Cottage

Lighthouse Beach, Port Macquarie

Lighthouse Beach, Port Macquarie

and this one is for you Begonia Sews

Kookaburra

Kookaburra… this one is for your Begonia Sews!

FLORA (AM) By Hand London – the muslin edition

BY Hand London Flora Dress - wrap bodice version

I just love this shot… such a beautiful classic Aussie beach (plus a pretty dress)

Slightly behind schedule – life has a habit of getting in the way at the moment… By Hand London’s latest pattern – Flora.

Like any sane sewing blogger – when asked by the By Hand London gals if I was interested in pattern testing… I said YES, YES, YES… (rather in the vein of ‘When Harry Met Sally’.)

This is actually my ‘muslin’ Flora – made up from a stashed cotton sateen… I wasn’t going to blog her but I know you always want MOAR. So here is the Flora prelude to my final version.

By Hand London girls were rather fabulous and organised Tessuti Fabrics to provide some completely amazing fabric (cotton sateen with a satin finish) for my second version. I will photograph it this afternoon. While it’s the same mock-wrap version… it’s completely different due to the dramatic fabric provided by Tessuti. I’ve called it Flora Nightshade. I’ve also lined the skirt. Flora Nightshade is dead posh :-)

This pattern comes with two bodice options and two skirt options. There is a modest high-neck bodice and (for the floozies like me) there a lower cut mock-wrap bodice. – The skirt is a massive indulgence in ‘oomph’ - so full-skirted addicts out there… Flora is your gal.

Anyways… here’s my Flora (AM) – as in daytime – version. She’s rather rough as guts on the inside (I pinked the skirt seams – errrr couldn’t be bothered to change my overlocker thread that night) but still very pretty and wearable… I couldn’t decide what pictures to use so prepare for a visual onslaught. Pick your favourite!

BY Hand London Flora Dress - wrap bodice version

Note to self – holding up the front of a mullet skirt in no way helps the back from not getting wet…

I often think I should crop my pictures more as this is a sewing blog… it’s supposed to be all about the clothes. I just can’t make myself do it – sorry. They are part of my identity, my makes, my lifestyle.

BY Hand London Flora Dress - wrap bodice version

Mullet hems – they do look so cool when you photograph them….

By Hand London Flora Dress - wrap bodice version

back view…

BY Hand London Flora Dress - wrap bodice version

Back view… I do really love how the back armholes just come in a tiny bit… (also love a good bit of reflection in wet sand)

BY Hand London Flora Dress - wrap bodice version

side view – mullet hem in all its glory

Pattern notes…

The pattern testing version came with just the high-low (aka mullet hem). Great news – the released pattern has a straight hem as well! In the words of the By Hand London girls… (check out the square neck version – it’s lovely and I’m tempted to make another…)

Fundamentally feminine and universally flattering with her cinched waist and voluminous pleated straight or dipped hem circle skirt, Flora is the definitive party dress. Choose from two entirely different bodice variations: a classic sleeveless faux-wrap style or the more demure tank bodice, with her high square neckline and simple shoulder straps.”

Back neckline
I found the back neckline gaped slightly – so rather than put in back neck darts I straightened up the centre back seam as it curved out a little at the top. I found this also helped the front sit better. I’m sure there is a million reasons why I should have done darts – but hey, this worked for me.

Wrap bodice
This version does gap a little. I did some research and found a slightly different solution which I will share on Floral Nightshade post.

Fabric Selection
The skirt is a fabric-munching monster – you will need a WIDE fabric, 150cm no less – also remember that the mullet option means you will see the underside of the fabric. I cut the skirt for this muslin on the crosswise grain.

BY Hand London Flora Dress - wrap bodice version

I did find the bodice gaps a little – I found a cure for that and I’ll write about it in my Tessuti Fabric’s Nightshade Flora post… coming soon…

Also see: Dolly Clackett | Gingermakes | Jolies Bobines | Diary of a Chainstitcher | A Stitching Odyssey | Dixie DIY | Nette | Lladybird

Thank you so much for all your lovely comments on my last post - I’ve been giving myself some rest so I have not had a chance to reply – but thank you, every single one was much appreciated xo

Drape Drape 2: No.6 Three-piece deep cowl neck dress

Drape Drape 2: No.6 Three-piece deep cowl neck dress

Drape Drape 2: No.6 Three-piece deep cowl neck dress. I have no idea where these arm muscles keep popping out from – I swear I struggle to open a jar of Vegemite most days.

Yes, it’s another Drape Drape project – if you accuse me of being obsessed, I’m not going to argue.

I’ve become rather fascinated by this particular style of clothing. I suspect it’s because it’s not something that I ever imagined wearing. It’s become a personal style journey. I’m rather fascinated. I think I’m falling in love… for now…

Drape Drape 2: No.6 Three-piece deep cowl neck dress

Not quite sure what to do with myself…

I confess Japanese clothing design always used to leave me a little confused. However right now I’m enjoying the visual contradictions it presents. It’s shapeless yet oddly sexy. It’s casually draped yet strangely highly structured.

Drape Drape 2: No.6 Three-piece deep cowl neck dress

You spend a lot of your time rearranging the cowl in a heavy onshore breeze… fortunately not every stitcher has this weather to deal with. And seriously? This drapes all the way down to my underwear… and I don’t wear granny knickers… just saying…

The different construction and pattern pieces always spellbind me. It’s like a visual cryptic crossword. If you enjoy a puzzle (I certainly do) Drape Drape is for you.

Drape Drape 2: No.6 Three-piece deep cowl neck dress

“Honey does my bum look big in this?” errr yes probably…

While this dress is styled as an extremely revealing piece in the Drape Drape 2 book (picture it with no camisole…) it’s remarkably easy to wear with a camisole. I think a long-sleeved t-shirt and boots could look quite fab in winter… I’ll let you know in a few months…

THE DRESS

My first two Drape Drape 2 projects, the dress & tshirt, were very simple projects. They look complex but in fact the appearance is achieved through unusual pattern pieces and draping.

Drape Drape 2: No.6 Three-piece deep cowl neck dress
The line drawing – not actually very helpful for construction

This was another matter. The construction itself was not difficult – once you figure out how that cowl was attached – that’s the tricky element. The cowl and front skirt is actually all one piece. Part of the cowl is attached to the front facing (which you can’t see), another section of the cowl swoops out to the side seams, attaches to the back neckline and one folded end tucks back into the front of the cowl itself.

Drape Drape 2: No.6 Three-piece deep cowl neck dressThe line drawing - not actually very helpful for construction

The cowl and front skirt piece

I know the above explanation makes no sense. Sorry. I think if I hadn’t had a dress form to put the dress on during construction I might have given up – once it was on the form and I had partially pinned the cowl in place across the back neckline, seeing it drape across the dress suddenly made sense.

CONSTRUCTION TIPS?

Use a walking foot. Seriously. These things make sewing knits so much easier.

I also added clear elastic to the shoulder seams as there is quite a lot of fabric hanging around that neckline.

LIFE

You know I wasn’t going to use these pictures. The outcome is in no way reflective of ELH’s camera handling abilities. In fact he’s perhaps rather captured me too well.. tired, pensive, reflective… far away… and in all honesty, sad.

I’ve been so very very tired… which explains my sporadic blogging. I’m actually medically tired which isn’t a disaster, it’s good news. When I got the blood tests back earlier today, I was elated – strange reaction but it’s a relief that at some point it ends. Physical exhaustion becomes all consuming – dominating and defining your life, mood and decisions.

Don’t fret on my behalf for goodness sake – I’m quietly content that the mystery exhaustion has been explained. Hallelujah.

Sometimes the beauty of the long bleak cloud of exhaustion is the brilliant sunshine that follows.

Drape Drape 2: No.6 Three-piece deep cowl neck dress

One of those moments…

Drape Drape 2: No.6 Three-piece deep cowl neck dress

Deemed no good by ELH – too clingy… yes because that neckline is soooo modest you need to worry about people looking at your legs.

I usually don’t write such things in this happy little space… however I’m human – we all are…

Pattern: No.6 Three-piece deep cowl neck dress from the book Drape Drape 2
Fabric: grey/black stripe viscose from All About Fabric in Tamworth NSW.

I had intended this for the Sew Sexy Sewalong – I need to take some more photos when I’m feeling more ROARSOME. LOL. I did take some without the camisole… but they are just not quite ‘there’ or perhaps I wasn’t.

If you are in Sydney this weekend for the meet-up – see you there!

Drape Drape 2: No 4 One Piece Scoop Neck Asymmetric Top – it’s love…

Thank you so much! I found all your comments on my last post so encouraging, interesting and a big confidence boost! Mwah.

So without further ado, here’s my second Drape Drape project…

Pattern No. 4: One Piece Scoop Neck Asymmetric Top

I’m completely sure about this one… this could be my favourite t-shirt ever. Slouchy, sexy, loose, scoop neck - and hello sleeves without setting in a sleeve – yes it’s pure magic!

Drape Drape 2: Pattern No 4 Asymmetric Scoop neck shirt
Love this – it’s all sorts of slouchy sexy goodness.
Drape Drape 2: Pattern No 4 Asymmetric Scoop neck shirt

back view

Drape Drape 2: Pattern No 4 Asymmetric Scoop neck shirt

I’m doing you a favour and editing me out!

I think this is a superb slouchy sexy t-shirt. I love the quirky sleeve hem on the slouchy side. I love how it drapes and wraps around my body. It’s just perfect. I could make a million of these.

Construction thoughts

I’ve made the small/medium size.

Again, easy as pie to construct after I studied the pictures. I actually didn’t refer to the instructions once I started. It’s quite simple and logical once you get going.

This is an incredibly fine black/silver lurex striped knit. It wasn’t fun to sew, it curled and the bands were difficult – it was worth it though! I think the shirt would look quite different again in a heavier knit (or even normal weight!) but I do love the softness of this and how it falls across the body.

I attached the neckline the same as I did for No.2 dress and actually slip stitched the binding over the wrong wide onto the overlocked edge by hand. The machine was determined to eat the neckline and I was determined it wasn’t going to happen – as unpicking this would have been impossible. The overlock seam for the doubled over binding strip provided some stability and firmness that was lacking with any other neckline finish.

The knit is so fine I’ve chosen to wear a strappy tank under it – if you follow me on Instagram you will know why! LOL.

Drape Drape 2: Pattern No 4 Asymmetric Scoop neck shirt

Before sewing…

Drape Drape 2: Pattern No 4 Asymmetric Scoop neck shirt

Finished shirt flat. I know looks freaky off but magic on!

And just because I love it so and often wear it in my photos – my favourite bangle…

bangle from the National Gallery Shop in Canberra
it’s made from two old forks! Purchased nine years ago at the National Gallery Shop in Canberra.
Drape Drape 2: Pattern No 4 Asymmetric Scoop neck shirt
So what are you waiting for? Go forth and drape!

Funnily enough Funk Bunny has made one too – so watch her blog for hers!

Pattern: Drape Drape 2: Pattern no. 4
Fabric: fine lurex knit stripe from All About Fabric in Tamworth NSW.

Also see: Sew Brunswick | Top Notch | Sew Smitten | Lula Louise |

Drape Drape 2 – No 2 Dress – tell me what you think…

For Christmas I received Drape Drape from my very thoughtful parent-in-laws (thank you!). I liked it so much I immediately jumped online and purchased Drape Drape 2 and Drape Drape 3… so you can expect some drape bingeing in 2014…

First up is a very simple draped singlet-style dress – or the ‘one piece side drape top’… it’s photographed as a dress in the book and I’m not much of a tunic wearer so it’s a dress for me too! Helen of FunkBunny in Melbourne discovered Drape Drape around the same time… and has made a nearly identical dress! We discussed on twitter how long this dress should be – I think perhaps longer, I’m wondering whether as the hemline rises, the hips look bigger… or is more legs a bonus?

I’m throwing a bunch of images at you so you can see the dress from different angles and in motion… one of the things I enjoy most are bloggers who include lots of images and angles… particularly of the clothes ‘in motion’ after all that’s the reality of wearing them – I like to see how they ‘behave’. Some things look fabulous when you stand still and then hideous with movement. This garment does change with movement, sliding across curves and hanging loose, it’s interesting…

I can’t quite decide what I think about this look on me… I do think that it will be worn a lot in summer, it’s too easy, loose and cool not to wear… but does it suit me? I’m sure you will advise accordingly – please feel free to be honest – I’m interested in your opinion.

Drape Drape 2. Pattern No. 2, the one-piece side drape top

walking…

Drape Drape 2. Pattern No. 2, the one-piece side drape top

walking…

Drape Drape 2. Pattern No. 2, the one-piece side drape top

more walking…

Drape Drape 2. Pattern No. 2, the one-piece side drape top

Showing off the chevron side seam…

Drape Drape 2. Pattern No. 2, the one-piece side drape top

more showing off…

Drape Drape 2. Pattern No. 2, the one-piece side drape top

side/back chevron side – the knit has a sheen and you can see this where the chevrons meet and the colour of the fabric appears to change.

Drape Drape 2. Pattern No. 2, the one-piece side drape top

the ‘drape’ bit

Drape Drape 2. Pattern No. 2, the one-piece side drape top

side/back drape side

Scared of Drape Drape?
Don’t be. If you can sew knits you can conquer these books. Once you wrap your head around the different style of construction, the unusual pieces and trace off the patterns, the projects are mind-bendingly fun.

The finished garment shapes are achieved from either draping (as in this project), gathering, pleating – and a combination of all in some cases. It’s a great exploration in different pattern shapes and fabric behaviour – I’m fascinated I confess.

The sizing is small as it’s Japanese – I’ve cut this as the small/medium size.

Drape Drape 2 - No 2

Pattern piece

Drape Drape 2. Pattern No. 2, the one-piece side drape top

This is the completed dress flat.

The neckline is supposed to be finished with a bias binding style finish. I tried this and it was just impossible with this fabric weight – it’s just far too flimsy. So I unpicked the neckline… which was overlocked. Yes it took forever. I finished the neckline and armholes with bindings ala Sewaholic Renfrew style.

Drape Drape 2. Pattern No. 2, the one-piece side drape top

Neckline – I know my thread is the wrong colour but I still only have red, white & black thread for my overlocker. I know…

Fabric: lightweight ‘crushed’ rayon striped knit from All About Fabric in Tamworth NSW (amazing little shop).
Pattern: Pattern No 2 from Drape Drape 2

Note: I’ve got heels on because I had a quick ‘car change’ as we took photos of another Drape Drape project before this!

SewRetroBatwings – Vogue 1337

This was going to be a classy DVF-inspired wrap dress…

The wrap dress that wasn't - Vogue 1337

The wrap dress that wasn’t – Vogue 1337

Then I woke up the morning I was planning to sew… and decided that the wrap dress had somehow morphed into a batwing mini dress.

Vogue 1337 for Minerva Crafts

Vogue 1337

I’d love to explain my creative process to reach this point – however it was one of my more random, arm-waving last moment decisions… I just suddenly didn’t want a wrap dress… and I needed a retro batwing mini in my life.

Vogue 1337

Vogue 1337

Thankfully Vicki at Minerva Crafts was more than accommodating at the last minute!   This pattern screams 80s to me… massive shoulders, batwings, slender skirt… you know – some times clothing should just be fun… too many people take their threads far too seriously! This is fun - fun to make & fun to wear.

Vogue 1337

Vogue 1337

I think for my first venture into the world of batwings and 80s power dressing, the option of making this in black made moving outside my comfort zone easier. I know lots of bloggers become enamoured of sewing knits – some even appear to be addicted and sew little else. I’m not one of those girls, I’m still grappling with the techniques required for a good finish…

There is a great big long post over at Minerva with more pictures – and information about how I attached the elastic to the sleeves and waistline… go forth and read…

Vogue 1337 - clear elastic

My elastic attachment.

No I didn’t make the self fabric belt… and I changed the neckline to have a narrow binding rather than a facing because the pattern facing is the work of the devil… all the details are over at Minerva :-)

Pattern: Vogue 1337
Fabric: Black knit from Minerva Crafts.
Kit: available here.