Not such an ugly duckling… Vogue 8780

I love those ‘makes’ that seem like a crazy idea but just sing to you when you put them on…

Vogue 8780 - an easy layering piece

Vogue 8780 – an easy layering piece

This is Vogue 8780 – which I’m guessing many have skipped over in the catalogue because it doesn’t exactly scream ‘sew me’… well to me it’s a bit of an ugly duckling (jacket not model)… why did I pick it? I wanted a long draped cardigan/jacket layering piece and this had potential…

Vogue 8780

Vogue 8780 – the catalogue edition. I totally get some will love this but the high-low emphasis and colour is just not ‘me’. And drawstring pants? I’m out.

Yes it doesn’t have the shape of my McCalls 6844. It doesn’t have the cute peplum. I’ve deliberately sewn it in something with much more drape than pictured or suggested. It’s not a vivid colour…

Vogue 8780 - back view. A more softer flared shape than the deliberate peplum of McCalls 6844

Vogue 8780 – back view. A more softer flared shape than the deliberate peplum of McCalls 6844

I don’t care, I love it. I love its lack of deliberate shape and gentle soft flare. I love its neutral tones…

Vogue 8780. Soft gentle colours...

Vogue 8780. Soft gentle colours…

It’s quiet and easy. I could own a million of these… and it’s very easy to make…

Perhaps the only issue I have is a raw seam is visible where the collar rolls over (which you can just see in the back view image above). If I made this in another lightweight knit (I desperately want another in merino but will have to wait for my next city trip which should be soon), I would probably French seam the collar – it’s a short seam and would improve the finish. A French seam would clearly would not work with a heavier fabric which is why it’s not suggested. With my long hair, it is not a big deal but I do notice it (#OCD).

I don’t know what I was thinking but I made this ‘small’ rather than ‘extra small’. The sleeves are slightly too big… but I don’t really mind. I tend to shove my sleeves up, I’ve just pulled them down for the pictures. The fabric is so light it would look odd too fitted I think. I made the shorter version. I didn’t want to morph into Casper The Friendly Ghost… Although he’s kinda cute…

The only things I did differently was 1) use an overlocker for everything and 2) the hem on the neckline and sleeves. I simply didn’t hem them. I took my queue from one of my favourite RTW brands Metalicus - which often finishes its lighter pieces with a very simple overlock rolled hem. I also finished the hemline with a rolled stitch. I just dislike raw edges on my clothes. I know – I can be a bit precious.

no 'hems'. I dislike 'raw edges' so I finished the edges with a rolled hem on the overlocker

no ‘hems’. I dislike ‘raw edges’ so I finished the edges with a rolled hem on the overlocker

This merino was so light that I felt a hem would look clunky and stop the fabric from floating and settling around me. It’s rather wispy and cloudlike. I love that.

Vogue 8780

Sorry can’t see much of the ‘make’ but I love the stillness and natural tones in this shot.

I’ve paired it with a latte-coloured lace singlet. I don’t often wear such muted colourways but I think I’m falling in love. I’d love to wear this barefoot with a silk bias-cut slip dress in a soft floral print… that would be so pretty…

This is one of my favourite places. It’s right in town, a tiny secluded beach nook which is always sheltered and calm. I feel peaceful here.

One of my favourite places...

One of my favourite places…

I have a type of anaemia, it slays me some days - it’s a mystery what causes it and I no longer really care. The treatment manages it well enough. I suggested marking my medical file with #notbuilttolast or if that was too harsh #special would be fine. I suspect it makes me more susceptible to the cold which I am really struggling with this year. And also more vulnerable than I like to be – I don’t deal with that well… at all…

Fatigue can be insidious, it just quietly slides up, wraps its arms around you, steals your breath away and whispers in your ear. I guess that sounds like a rather bizarre description of how I view my fatigue but it feels like a creeping shadow that I never quite escape. Generally it’s fine but you have moments when it rules your life – I had several moments in Brisbane were I wondered if I’d have to catch a taxi because walking back to my accommodation was so daunting – but I always manage because like a fitness trainer once said ‘The day you turned up to bootcamp I thought, “man she’s a delicate one”. But you get this ‘look’ on your face and despite everything we throw at you, you just keep going… a tiny mouse that roars like a lion…‘. Physical limitations are annoying, mental fortitude is everything.

I’ll be OK. I’m always OK eventually.

Thank you all so much – I’ve had so many emails, messages, tweets and comments. That’s really the best medicine. Knowing there are people that want to put you back together. xo

Pattern: Vogue 8780
Fabric: cream NZ merino jersey from The Fabric Store, Sydney (it was a 2m remanent for just $19 – major score)

… and did you see that McCalls Pattern Company have a new blog?

 

The Girls’ Road Trip & Little Truck Stop Tops…

I love my girls. Love them. They are beautiful and funny – but more importantly they are sweet-hearted human beings. I always imagined being a mother to boys – but life had other plans and I’m more than OK with that.

This post seemed timely as I’m actually solo with the girls at the moment as the husband is away in Malaysia fishing (no he didn’t fly with Malaysia Airlines) until mid next week.

My girls... Giselle and Zoe - the very best of friends

My girls… Giselle and Zoe – the very best of friends. Just a random shot one night when they were being funny and sweet to each other. I love the spontaneity and love in this shot.

I made them some tops for the girls earlier this year – then I lost my blog drive (now recovered – and I save everything to Google Drive now!). It’s on the long list of things I need to blog about… and I’m finally getting there… unfortunately it’s been a long hard road this year, in every sense – but I will get there.

It’s The Little Truck Stop Top by The Makers’ Journal from Stitch56 (and sent to me by Stitch 56). It’s such a simple little pattern – perfect for using up your scraps and sending the kids to the remanent bin to find fabric for their next one! More about the make later in the post.

It’s so cold this winter and I need to channel some virtual sunshine into my life – so here they are. And I’ll probably be making more this spring and summer for them.

girls5

The crazy kid on the left is Giselle – she is going to need a riot squad as a chaperone when she grows up. She is a beautiful, generous soul with a wicked sense of humour… She ‘brings me back’ with a hug and a kiss when ‘Mummy looks far away’. I’ve always described her as the child that God trapped a ray of sunshine inside and it’s so true. She was an adorable little tot, always giggling and smiling… and making me giggle and smile… she still does…

giselle at 3

She’s always been so joyous…

Giselle 2

this one kills me every time. So beautiful.

… and the one on the right is my ‘big girl’ Zoe Rose. She’s so sombre and serious at times. She saves her money – and buys shares as investment… she’s a beautiful dancer… she studies hard… she’s one of the most driven individuals I’ve ever met. What makes me most proud? She stands up for the kids that can’t stand up for themselves, even at her own personal expense. She’s got opinions about bullies, boat people, gay marriage and discrimination. She’s quietly extraordinary. The world needs more people with big hearts and open minds like my beautiful, brave Zoe.

zoe ballet

She’s amazingly poised & elegant for her age

Zoe ballet 2

I’m terrified of her growing up, she’s too gentle & soft to get her heart broken.

 

The LITTLE TRUCK STOP TOP by The Makers’ Journal

There is always water somewhere nearby!

There is always water somewhere nearby! People get married every weekend at this beautiful place and now padlocks are appearing on the wires with the couples’ names engraved on them.

Such a simple and quick little make this Little Truck Stop Top – these will pop up a lot in their summer wardrobes. They are loose through the body which makes them cool and easy to wear – and hence very popular with the girls. Zoe also loves to throw her top over her leotard between dance classes.

I opted not to attach the frill to the hem - my girls are not the frilly types. While Zoe may dance obsessively, she’s got a rock ‘n’ roll, boho personal style thing going on (she loves leopard print and wears a fedora in summer) and Giselle is a low-fuss gal. That said, I think the frill is gorgeous – but perhaps on girlier girls than mine :-)

Once you attach one edge of the binding strips to the arm and neck you then leave the other edge raw. It creates a really cool little finish as the binding curls over a little. Making the tops look a little bit cool’. The hemline is just finished with the rolled stitch on my overlocker. They take no time to make and kids love them.

With Zoe’s top I rolled the binding over on the sleeve edges as an experiment to see what a clean edge would look like. I prefer the raw edge finish TBH.

Zoe is tall and very lean, so she wears her top with a singlet underneath (she’s also a layering junkie like her mother – must be in the DNA).

The pattern is beautifully presented. It is vacuum packed and printed on environmentally friendly recycled paper. It’s also got detailed instructions and comes complete with some fabric swatches so you know that types/weights of fabric will be suitable. You can see the packaging here on the Stitch 56 site.

girls4

We recently had a road trip together, just the three of us. We had such a lovely time… we did the much-wanted trip to Dreamworld… which despite all the anticipation wasn’t quite what they hoped… although we had lots of laughs which I needed…

Giselle Dreamworld

Yes, Giselle is always slightly crazy…

girls dreamworld

I couldn’t figure out if Giselle was trying to save Zoe… perhaps not…

and the things they loved the most on the road trip?

Staying on the top floor…

I confess I wasn't a huge fan of the 'water view', the river is brown #spoiltcoastal girl

I confess I wasn’t a huge fan of the ‘water view’, the river is brown! #spoiltcoastal girl

Walking along the river at night…

They loved our evening walks - there was lots of games and giggles.

They loved our evening walks before dinner – there was lots of games and giggles.

Visiting my grandfather’s house Glengallen (my grandfather was born in this house) near Warwick on the Darling Downs in Queensland…

I was always captivated by this house growing up - it was amazing to walk through the doors and see it partially restored.

I was always captivated by this house growing up – it was amazing to finally walk through the doors and see it partially restored. As a child I had only ever seen it derelict with the verandahs collapsing and windows smashed. I had always wondered about the house & the lives lived here - it’s just magnificent, I’m so glad we visited.

Horseriding for the first time…

I was shivering behind the canera - so cold! Thank goodness my cousin Megan is made of tougher stuff than me. #spoiltcoastalgirl

I was shivering behind the camera – so cold! Thank goodness my cousin Megan is made of tougher stuff than me. #spoiltcoastalgirl

Staying in a little tiny cottage – even though it was freezing cold…

Yes, let's all play spot the 'townie girl' car.

Yes, let’s all play ‘spot the ‘townie girl’ car’. I stayed in this cottage often as a child. It was referred to as Camp David. LOL. It’s been spruced up and there are even stairs into the cottage – I used to clamber up via a big rock – which was quite a feat… I was absolutely tiny as a child.

Feeding beautiful birds on a cold winter’s morning…

Rosellas at Queen Mary Falls

Rosellas at Queen Mary Falls

They are already talking about going back…

like the Little Truck Stop Top… the simple things in life are the best…

Thanks for reading :-)

MAKE DETAILS
Pattern: Truck Top Tee, The Makers’ Journal from Stitch 56
Fabric: remnants from Spotlight & Lincraft!

I love this dorky picture - it's just happy.

I love this dorky picture – it’s just happy.

and beautiful morning view at the holiday cottage…

Such a beautiful cold clear morning... although they need some rain...

Such a beautiful cold clear morning… although they need some rain…

 

Saved by accessories… McCalls 6844

I said that I was going to make another pair of jeans. And I haven’t. I will, just not within a fortnight. I’ve decided to be kind to myself. I didn’t want to rush and stress myself out any more than I have been lately. Sorry about that. I will blog at the end of July and see who else managed to battle through the Jeans Challenge!

I made some knit cardigan/jackets to wear with my jeans – compromise?

Today I’ll share with you the one I thought I would really, really like… and just don’t. Boo. Not the win I was hoping for – or needed.

Ever since McCalls 6844 came out I’d been dying to make it. I used a precious piece of divine blue NZ merino jersey from my stash (from The Fabric Store, Sydney). Perhaps if I’d made this in a heavier fabric I might feel differently, however I’m just not feeling the love for this pattern which has received such rave reviews on Sewing Pattern Review… I don’t think it’s a bad pattern, in fact it’s easy to make… it’s just not for me – or more likely I’ve made it in the wrong fabric. My bad.

Perhaps if I stumble across some heavier knit fabric I might give it another go…

McCalls 6844 - just not feeling the love.

McCalls 6844 – just not feeling the love. I was so disappointed as I adore this fabric. It’s lovely!

I wish I had not interfaced the collar piece as instructed. I think it would work much better without interfacing in this lighter fabric – making it more of a drape cardigan and much softer looking.

I found the collar once interfaced didn’t really line up with the hem of the jacket. Rather than hacking a ton off the hem (I didn’t want it any shorter). I simply left the collar slightly shorter than the jacket hem – I’m always going to wear this with a scarf which does help hide that small sewing sin… and really unless you have seen the pattern you wouldn’t know.

I do like the swingy peplum back, it’s super cute.

I made the smallest size – it’s not super small – I think the sizing runs large… or I run small… or the truth is somewhere in the middle…

McCalls 6844 - back view

McCalls 6844 – back view. My favourite feature, I love how the back hangs.

These light jackets and cardigans are a great wardrobe addition. I often have one in my handbag – they are not heavy enough to ward off a cold winter’s day but they are perfect to pop on to keep the chill off inside, under a heavier jacket or throw on during a spring or autumn morning/afternoon.

I used a light hem fusing tape to turn up the hem and sleeves. Then I finished them with a twin needle on my Bernina. This gave a great result – no tunnelling at all!

I’m rather OCD about some of my finishes and since I could not get a matching overlocker thread, I made this entire piece on my Bernina sewing machine, using lightening bolt & overlocking stitches, my walking & overlocking feet. You don’t have to have an overlocker to sew knits. It just makes it faster and easier – that is all.

DRESS THOUGHTFULLY

I collect accessories like some people collect stamps or coins. You can never have too many scarves, necklaces, earrings, bangles, stockings in your arsenal – simple little touches which can transform an outfit. While I don’t love this jacket/cardigan I do like it with a scarf.

I think it’s great to sew yourself sensational clothes. I think it’s even better to learn to wear them well. I rarely sew or purchase anything without thinking about the complete overall look. I see a fabric or a garment & picture the shoes, the belt, the bag and so on. It’s not just a piece of clothing, it’s a package deal.

I know plenty of people who have amazing clothes. Expensive, well cut, designer clothes. That doesn’t always make them stylish or interesting. Individuality and ‘wearing the clothes’ rather than letting them wear you is the key I think.

I get stopped frequently and complimented or questioned on the clothes I’m wearing – often by strangers. I’ve got a very diverse mix of designer, homemade, vintage and charity shop pieces – I tend to wear them mashed up. To be honest, those compliments always surprise me. I’ve never seen myself as particularly interesting – especially to random strangers. I don’t think I’m any better dressed than anyone else, in fact I’ve never ever perceived myself as glamorous, stylish or beautiful. I find it weird & unsettling some days – and sometimes highly amusing.

I love to select one statement item and then build the rest of the outfit around it. You can get ‘too busy’ in a visual sense. It’s important to figure out what the key element is and make sure it sings, rather than competes with everything else you are wearing. Any opera singer will tell you – there can be only one diva!

I’ve got lots of thoughts on style and clothes. I never really blog about them but I’ve been reading some different blogs that really interest me and I think it’s something I’ve been thinking a lot more about. Maybe it’s something I will write more about, not because I’m a guru but the concept of personal style interests me greatly… maybe…

Accessories are important

Accessories are important! And never underestimate how much warmer your legs are in winter in high boots LOL!

I’m a bit of a scarf and necklace obsessive – do you have an accessories weakness?

I’ve also made Vogue 8780 - which is a complete ugly duckling on the envelope and I love to pieces. It’s coming up next! I’ve posted a sneak peek on my instagram feed (yes I know you can’t see much of it – that’s why it’s called a sneak peek.)

Pattern: McCalls 6844
Fabric: NZ Merino from The Fabric Store, Sydney
Also see: Girls in the Garden | Suzy Bee Sews | Mimi G | Beebee’s Vintage Dress

Finally…
A huge thank you to all the people who have sent me messages, emails, comments and more. Your kindness and courage to say something when it’s often difficult to know what to say is much appreciated. Like so many people, I need more people in my life that value me enough to put me back together rather than pull me apart.
The people that weather the storm and wait on the other side.

“The winds are calling up we can’t stop the rain wish that you could take it back but it’s too late it’s too late… We could be lost then found.” One Republic, Lost then Found

BOWL

 

Fashionary – Giveaway

Fashionary contacted me several weeks ago and asked me if I would like to review their products. I was super excited because I really do love these products,they are great quality, simple to use, thoughtfully produced and useful resources.

I said yes because I already owned a Fashionary A5 Sketchbook and I love it. My sister-in-law gave it to me for my birthday, purchased from Stitch 56.

Fashionary A5

Fashionary A5 – I love this book

I’m more than happy to sing the praises of their products and share them with you. The A5 sketchbook is a hardcover book, lovely paper, three lightly printed figures per page and they also have oodles of useful information (reference book lists; websites; catwalk calendar, illustrations and names for a vast range of jackets, lapels, hats and more; as well as fabric type descriptions and common prints).

If you can’t draw – you can with a Fashionary. Thanks to the very faint figures on every page, you can get the proportions bang on every time. Seriously, you will feel like Leonardo Da Vinci (with ears). Some bloggers do amazing watercolours, colour and add prints to their designs (just check out Handmade by Carolyn who used this concept to document her paper doll project). Me? I’m a line drawing kinda gal. I’m that person who pretty much only looks at the line drawings on pattern websites. I love design details and that’s what inspires me, seamlines, darts, pleats etc – design possibilities based on the bare bones of a garment. But if you like to colour in, paint and whatnot – knock yourself out I say!

Fashionary A5 - sketches

Fashionary A5 – sketches

Really if you don’t have one – invest. They are brilliant. I have a BIG handbag (it’s from Madrid and I love love love it) so I carry it around for doodling when I feel like it.

What is Fashionary?

From their website: “Fashionary project started in 2009 – targets to bring efficiency to professional fashion designers and fellow fashionistas. Fashionary grew from a person’s vision to a fashion sketchbook line. Fashionary is an on-going project and it will keep improving with trends and customer feedbacks.

Fashionary sent me…

Fashionary Tape

Fashionary Tape

The new Fashion Tape… it’s… “the World 1st tape marked with advanced body measurements.  30 Womens Measurements and 27 Mens Measurements are precisely marked on the white and black side of tape respectively with womens size: 38(EU), 10(UK), 6(US) and mens size: 48(EU), 38(UK, US).” I’ve never seen anything quite like this tape so for those pattern drafters and prospective pattern designers out there I think this could be right up your alley! Or you could just love collecting sewing notions (yup, guilty as charged) and want to add to your stash.

If you are not sure how you might use this… check our their website, they have some great resources including a little video…

and they also sent…

A set of mini Neon Fashionary booklets… I am going to give away all three – to three winners. I figure this way more people get a taste of the fun of Fashionary… and you’ve got more of a chance of winning!

Fashionary Neon Light Womens

Fashionary Neon Light Womens

These are little Fashionary notebooks - and apart from their disco covers which makes me feel like dancin’ – they are seriously cool. They are pint-sized, perfect for throwing into your handbag, each page is perforated so you can tear out your sketches and they also have several reference pages covering fabric types, measurements etc.

Fashionary Neon - reference pages

Fashionary Neon – reference pages

and these fabulous, fabulous postcards which shall be used to decorate the renovated Sew Busy Lizzy ‘Sewing Treehouse’ (it’s not really a treehouse but I look out into the trees…). I’m going to frame these and put them up as a series in my room – and yes I will share that with you once I’m done. It’s a huge job so it’s going to be awhile yet! It took a whole weekend to sort and fold my fabric stash!

Fashionary Postcard Book

Fashionary Postcard Book

Seriously how cute are they? And they even have shoes, accessories and men’s clothing!

Fashionary postcards - shoes

Fashionary postcards – shoes

Fashionary postcards - mens

Fashionary postcards – mens

I love inspiration – and these are perfect to surround me in the sewing room. It’s a bit like being surrounded by Pinterest(I spend too much time there online so I need a bit of reality!).

I’ve spent quite a bit of time reading the Fashionary site and it’s well worth a visit… and there are more products that tempt me… particularly the tiger print Fashionaries… (hello Anne), and custom made Fashionaries!

ummmm and did I mention shipping is free… worldwide… hmmmm…

What to go in the giveaway draw?

So if you would like to win either the Fashionary Tape, a Neon Lite - or both – please complete this online form via Survey Monkey.

Your responses are completely confidential. I just realised that I could, and should, be using Survey Monkey to collect simple information for giveaways – so much faster, easier for you and me!

And if you just want to chat (or for some reason the form freaks you out) - comment in the WordPress fields below. Mwah.

Giveaway closes Thursday 31 August 2014. Winners will be selected via random draw.

Thank you Fashionary!

Jeans in June & July – my not-so-skinny Named Jamie Jeans

Yes, I’ve finally finished Jamie! My Jeans in June & July was rudely interrupted by a holidays – and life.

My daughter has nicknamed these the ‘Milky Way Jeans’ due to the slightly sparkle to the fabric. Photographs are not brilliant sorry – taken by sprinting out the back before the afternoon light faded and rain set in. Blurgh – hate winter.

Now these are the skinny-jeans-that-ain’t – well not on me. I’m lean – but my legs are quite muscled but I guess not in a bulky way - you may recall seeing them in many a Sew Busy Lizzy post with at time an excess of legs hanging out of the dress, skirt or my latest Drape Drape creation.

These simply do not cling to my legs in a skinny manner - I need to alter the pattern – for my legs and my waist which is much smaller in comparison to my hips/junk trunk. Some people refer to this as ‘swayback’ I much prefer ‘junk trunk’.

Me - trying to figure out whether I've been blessed with skinny thighs or child-bearing hips...

Me – trying to figure out whether I’ve been blessed with skinny thighs or child-bearing hips…

PATTERN THOUGHTS

While I’m not crushing on this make on me (at all) - I do like the pattern.

I love the top-stitched seam up the front. I used a grey top-stitching thread (increasing the stitch length to 3) to highlight the slight sparkle in the fabric.

I do like the angled front pockets & contrast trim (I used the reverse of the fabric). I love how the inner front pockets are attached to the seams and hence never ride up. Tricky design feature.

Named Patterns: Jamie Jeans. Front view

Named Patterns: Jamie Jeans. Front view

I sewed as many seams as I could before changing over my thread to top stitch the seams – otherwise I think you could go crackers.

The instructions are OK but I think if you are relatively inexperienced, especially at fly fronts, you might freak out a little. If you are attempting these and never sewn a fly front – check out Grainline’s tutorial - it’s excellent!

You need to know which side (right or left) of the front centre pieces to trim for the fly front – the pattern does not make this clear – it just directs you to cut one of each. I cut them out the same (with the full fly flap thingie – I’m a technical gal) and then adapted the other side as I sewed the fly front – it’s a simple matter of trimming.

When you join the legs at the centre seam, the instructions tell you to offset one of the sides slightly so you can sew a ‘jeans seam’. Brilliant but having sewn on the back pockets you run the risk of them being slightly ‘off centre’ relative to the back seam. My pockets were slightly off everywhere – which I noticed after I sewed the legs together. Doh! I sensed an impending disaster so elected to not totally destroy myself on these.

Named Patterns: Jamie Jeans. Back view

Named Patterns: Jamie Jeans. Back view.
Just way too baggy through the legs.

MY MAKE

These are by no means a stellar sewing affair. Overall I’m pleased - with the exception of the obvious fit disaster and the back pockets being slightly skewiff – meaning I’m unlikely to actually ever wear these. I’m a bit of a jeans junkie so I’m rather picky when it comes to my denim threads – never about brand but about always look & fit. The fabric is quite stiff and I suspect never going to succumb to ‘old beloved comfy status’ softness – very important jeans feature in my little world.

I’m pretty chuffed with my top stitching and overall I don’t think they look too homemade.

Named Patterns: Jamie Jeans. Side view

Named Patterns: Jamie Jeans. Side view

Fabric: this is a sparkly black denim from Spotlight – costing me about $22.50 for the jeans. So it wasn’t an expensive experiment. I think the fit will never been quite ‘right’ in this fabric. It’s not soft and pliable, the fabric just doesn’t soften up with washing - hence I doubt you could make a nice snug pair of skinnies. I do have some Bettina Liano denim in the stash for my dream jeans…

SIMPLE JEANS SEWING ADVICE

When sewing jeans – wear a pair. Or at least have a RTW pair at hand – I found this enormously helpful.

Named Patterns: Jamie Jeans. Checking out my own legs...

Named Patterns: Jamie Jeans. Checking out my own legs…

TOOLS OF THE TRADE

I’ve been sewing my jeans on my cheap & cheerful Singer Heavy Duty Machine. While it doesn’t have the finesse of my beloved Bernina – it’s a blast to sew on. It’s heavy (funny that) and ploughs through most things. It’s got this delicious little hum and is rather like the mongrel dog you can’t help but like, despite it’s lack of decorum and looks.

WHAT’S NEXT JEANWISE?

hmmmmm, I’m not sure… do I rush a pair of Angela Wolf jeans or take my time over the next month or so? I’ve checked out the Wolf pattern and am really impressed by the presentation and detail. Loads of resources and the pairs I have seen make up look great. Love bootcut jeans – so classic.

I’m also rather obsessed with Jess Jeans by Iconic Patterns, while labelled ‘skinny’ these hug the thighs and then flare out ever so slightly – which I think is much more flattering. I stumble at the button fly front – I will need to convert that which is easy enough.

I’m also massively impressed by the Jalie Jeans made up by Chris… I’ve got this pattern – won on the giveaway from the ever-lovely Vicki-Kate ages ago.

I’m kinda desperate for a high-waisted denim pencil skirt (very purple person just posted exactly that I’ve been planning to make! I love her blog – she’s a great sewist) - which I know doesn’t really fall into the Jeans in June & July category but it’s calling my name hard…

LIFE

Somewhere along the line in the last few weeks, I’ve parted company with several kilograms. I’m weighing in at a not-so-hefty 48 kilograms. Don’t freak out. I’m short and slight – usually weighing in around 50 kilograms (except for when I was 9 months pregnant and I cracked 58 kilograms – I went on to have a nine pound baby). I lost my appetite and I started running/exercising more (it clears my head which is rather a mess some days). I think I will return to my weights class which I so loved until I put my back/neck/shoulder out so significantly at the beginning of this year. It wasn’t just the back injury that put me off. I became rather perturbed by the biceps that popped out of my arms when I put my hair up – and my runty shoulders getting ever bigger. However those classes made me happy in a weird way so I’m going back.

Life can be complicated and difficult. No doubt compounded by rarely sitting down on my typical weekdays until 9pm. I’ve found it difficult to write, read or think. I’ve felt ‘blue’ (great for denim not so great for life). It’s created a sense of inertia that has been so very difficult to fight. However… I know that when I do write that I do feel better & more ‘me’ whoever that is - so I will blog more. In fact I have many things to blog, they have been sitting there for months.

COMING UP NEXT

A giveaway! Yes another one. Watch this space…

Sew Busy Lizzy: Name Jamie Jeans

Me… taken from ELH’s height… I’m 14 inches smaller than him…. yes he’s tall…

Jeans in June & July 2014

How the Battle of Silk Charmeuse was won – Mood Fabrics – Simplicity 1424

I’ve travelled the silk road with a length of divinely lovely amethyst silk charmeuse from Mood Fabrics NY – and returned with a rather wow-factor top to wear with jeans (as you do)…

For a remarkably simple looking top, this took me a loooonnnng time. However it was an interesting sewing journey and I’ve learnt a lot more about silk!

Simplicity 1424 in silk charmeuse

Simplicity 1424 in silk charmeuse

This is my second make for Mood Fabrics Sewing Network and my first ever with silk charmuese.

I’ve always been most curious about sewing with silk. You hear such nightmare stories. I have sewn with silk cotton blends and found them delightful so I had some degree of confidence that silk charmeuse could be conquered.

I had originally planned to sew a long, draped evening dress but I decided that I might appear to be drowning in a tidal wave of purple so I decided to sew a shorter dress and settled on Vogue 1344. It lists charmeuse as one of it recommended fabrics. I cut out the bodice pieces and spent eight hours sewing the lined bodice over two days… and I wasn’t happy with it. The pleats were not behaving and I felt the fabric was not right for the pattern. I could have solidered on but decided to take a different approach.

Then I did what I should have done in the first place – I patted the silk, ran it through my hands and draped it over my shoulder. Obviously what silk charmuese wants to do is drape… so I set about finding a relatively simple pattern which would let the fabric do the talking – too often we look for complex patterns – however the simple fact remains often the simplest shapes and designs showcase beautiful fabric the best.

Simplicity 1424 in silk charmeuse from Mood Fabrics NY

Simplicity 1424 in silk charmeuse from Mood Fabrics NY – I really should have given that side seam one more press with the iron!

I settled on Simplicity 1424 – described as a ‘top with back interest’ and recommends ‘silky types’. The back has a dramatic cowl back and the front has an upper layer which provides a double layer of fabric and creates a sweet doubled ruffled/fluted hem effect.

I only used 1.2m of silk to make this top. This pattern also has a cute little swing top that isn’t quite as revealing as this one – it uses even less fabric!

This time I did a few simple things which improved my sewing results enormously – and since this project is all about the fabric I’m going to share.

FLAT PATTERN PIECES

I used some ‘Crafting Trace & Toile’ – it was from my ‘stash’ and is sold alongside interfacings generally. I traced the pattern pieces onto the Trace & Toile as if I was cutting out fabric – and created full piece flat pattern pieces. This enabled me to more easily lay out the fabric as a single layer – no cutting on the fold. This technique meant the silk could move around a lot less.

Flat Pattern pieces for sewing with silk - Mood Fabrics

I created full pattern pieces to avoid cutting the silk on the fold.

NO PINS WHEN CUTTING

The ‘Trace and Toile’ is slightly textured and tends to grip the fabric a little. This also negated the need for pins – which I had found tricky with the Vogue 1344 pieces that I had cut… pinning the pattern pieces caused the fabric to shift and slide – very frustrating!

Glass tumblers as pattern weights

Heavy Glass tumblers make excellent pattern weights… I would not recommend draining them of whisky before one starts cutting silk. Just sayin’

I used some glass tumblers from the cupboard as my weights. This made the cutting process so much easier and more accurate. The glasses are also very heavy and smooth which was perfect for this purpose.

ROTARY CUTTING

I often tell people that a big cutting mat and a rotary cutter is an excellent investment – never more so when sewing with silk!

SEWING SIMPLICITY 1424 IN SILK CHARMEUSE- some tips

The Straps

For the straps I decided to block-fuse a piece of the silk with a very lightweight fusible interfacing. This made the straps a little more stable, lie flatter once ironed and were also also easier to turn. Rather than using the cut edge as a guide when sewing, I used the folded edge – doing this means that your straps will be the same width for the full length of the strap – which I think is more accurate than relying on the cut edge as a sewing guide.

Sewing narrow straps with Mood Fabrics

Using the folded edge of the strap as a sewing guide to achieve a consistent strap width.

I never use a loop turner, for narrow straps a bobbin pin is perfect. I cut a small slit about 1/4inch down from the end of the sewn tube. I then slide one side of the bobbin pin into the slit and the other into the tube itself. You then gently wiggle the end as begins to turn itself into the tube and thus the right way out. It does take a little patience to get the tube to start to turn but once it does it is quite simple to slide the bobbin pin along the inside of the tube – in the same way you thread elastic through a casing using a bodkin or a safety pin.

Turning narrow straps with a bobbin pin

Turning narrow straps with a bobbin pin

I left off the lingerie slides and made my straps a fixed length. I choose to do this as I think it would have make the straps ungainly and bulky. The silk charmeuse is silky soft and the lightweight interfacing means they lie beautifully flat on my shoulders.

Hems

The hems – I do have a rolled hem foot for my Bernina – however this silk charmuese simply did not want to obey and feed through the foot consistently. So I elected to do the three-step rolled hem manually. It does take a lot longer however there is a great degree of control which I think it great for this type of fabric.

I’ve sewn hems using this technique several times – however if you are new to this – check out the Craftsy Blog’s online tutorial for some help. This is better than the method Simplicity recommends for this particular fabric, essentially Craftsy has you stitch one extra row but the results are worth it.

Strap ‘Interest’ Variation

This pattern has fabric straps running horizontally across the front and back straps. I decided to leave off the front strap and replace the single back strap with very fine chains of different lengths so they fell in waves down my back – mimicking the flowing folds of the silk. I simply attached a metre/yard of fine chain to a jump ring on one of the lingerie circles and then across to another jump ring on the opposite shoulder’s lingerie circle – going back and forwards with the chain becoming increasingly longer.

So there you have it. A cute little cami with a little bit of wow at the back… in divine silk charmuese from Mood Fabrics NY. If you haven’t tried sewing with this type of fabric – you really should. It feels like water running across your skin.

Simplciity 1424 with Mood Fabrics Silk Charmeuse

A deceptively simple cami in Mood Fabrics silk with a little bit of WOW

Fabric: Amethyst Solid Silk Charmeuse from Mood Fabrics
Pattern: Simplicity 1424

 

JEANS IN JUNE & JULY! Update
Blog post coming very very soon – I’ve started a pair… made some blog buttons and half written a post. So sorry – life has been a runaway train at the moment.

Jeans in June/July

Jeans in June & July 2014

Jeans in June & July 2014

I know! I disappeared! Life has a habit of swallowing me up – especially in 2014. My schedule seems to have taken on a life of its own and I seem to spend much of my time trying to wrestle it into submission.

JEANS IN JUNE & JULY 2014

Yes still happening! I must have sensed an impeding ‘life’ speed humps when I set a two-month deadline to sew some jeans!

When I posted the Jeans challenge a few weeks ago – several people put their hands up – no pressure if your life has swallowed you up, but here were the interested bloggers!

Now if I’ve missed you – or you want to join in – let me know via comments or email to sewbusylizzy at gmail (dot) com.

Flickr: Yes, it decided to play nice & I’ve just set up a Jeans in June & July group that you can post pictures into (or get the blog button from).

Instagram & twitter: #jeansjj

Blog Buttons: Right click and save the image – or copy the html from Flickr (use the share button – if you get stuck, please contact me.

MY JEANS CHALLENGE?

I’ve been stitching up the Named Jamie Jeans (when the schedule permits) and am pleased to report that I only have the belt keepers, waistband and hems to do… I did most of the stitching over a weekend – it’s not as intense as I thought!

Jamie progress shot

Jamie progress shot

I’m less pleased to report I don’t think this pattern is for me – great pattern but it’s just not SBL style – but that’s for another a post just for Jamie.

Despite me not being ‘in love’ with the fit of these jeans, I am delighted to report that sewing jeans – ain’t that hard… so don’t be afraid – just grab some denim and give them a go!

JEANS IN THE WILD
Get inspired by the gorgeous Simple Skinny Jeans by Sew Liberated by the always stunning Jolies Bobines.

 

OTHER SEWBUSYLIZZY NEWS
This weekend I decided I just could not handle the mess in the sewing room – and tackled it… I spent hours folding fabric… but it’s improving… patterns next!

Here’s just some of it… my sateens, poplins, linens and yes… denim… told you I liked it!

Sewing Room Fabric Stash June 2014

Sewing Room Fabric Stash June 2014

Papercut Patterns Bellatrix and Jeans in June

JEANS IN JUNE & JULY

I’ve been busting to write this post & suddenly nearly half a year has zoomed by… and hello? It’s June??

I wear jeans a lot – I’ve often written about my love of denim… there is no such thing as too much in my opinion. They regularly pop up in my posts…

Bellatrix Blazer by Papercut Patterns

me in jeans… and on the beach… again… yes that’s a new jacket… a Bellatrix… keep reading…

I’d set myself a deadline to sew Jeans in June. As I’ve got so much on my schedule, I’ve decided to be kind to myself – and you! – and launch a Jeans in June & July Challenge!

Jeans seem to be the ultimate sewing challenge for so many people – and I’m arrogantly convinced they ain’t that hard, I just need a reason to take them on (yes I’m now waiting to fall flat on my face – pride cometh before the fall, blah, blah, blah).

So here’s my Jeans in June & July Challenge pledge. I’ll stitch up Named Patterns Jamie Jeans… and Angela Wolf Bootcut Jeans. I’m committed – I’ve even got a real ‘clapper’! Once I decided this must be done… Stitch 56 popped up with a 20% off special so I went bananas and purchased the Angela Wolf pattern (because I love the back of these jeans – they look potentially awesome), the DVD and a clapper – which is apparently the bees’ knees for pressing seams…

Angela Wolf pattern, DVD & clapper

Angela Wolf pattern, DVD & clapper – I don’t know what I was thinking with the DVD I rarely have time to sit still for that long!

I’d love to tell you I’m a jeans guru… although I’ve dedicated my life to wearing them, I’m sorry to say that I’m a novice jeans-maker, so bear with me! And you know, feel free to laugh at me if needed!

I think the spirit of this challenge is to muck in together and heave ourselves up the jeans mountain!

I’m making up a blog button – check back here soon… and I’ll keep you updated on my progress, I’ll review the Angela Wolf pattern & DVD… and watch this space… and GingerMakes is joining the charge! Are you?

So are you up for Jeans in June & July? What will you sew?

Tag your Twitter & Instagram with #JeansJJ
Sorry I’ve abandoned Flickr for tonight – apart from the weirdos it attracts, you now need a Yahoo account… seriously Flickr? I can live without you. I will set up a group for the non-Instagrammers but I’ll need to try another browser when I’m not so tired. Yahoo is being poo-poo tonight.

Let me know if you are sewing up jeans – comment below or send me an email and I’ll create a master list of everyone – blog links included where available.

AND THE PAPERCUT PATTERNS BELLATRIX BLAZER…

Oh yes… I made the Papercut Patterns Bellatrix Blazer…

It morphed into a ‘statement jacket’… I’m actually wondering what the hell I was thinking, it’s not so much as a statement as it makes my eyeballs bleed… anyways here it is…

Bellatrix Blazer by Papercut Patterns, front view

Bellatrix Blazer by Papercut Patterns, front view. The jacket has these cute little single welt pockets tucked into the peplum – and are a breeze to sew. I used the black sateen for the welts to match the lapel.

Bellatrix Blazer by Papercut Patterns, back view

Bellatrix Blazer by Papercut Patterns, back view. This could have done with shoulder pads… I can’t believe I typed that…

Bellatrix Blazer by Papercut Patterns, side view

Bellatrix Blazer by Papercut Patterns, side view

It’s just a humble print cotton sateen with lapels in black sateen. I’ve lined it with a vivid aqua silk (sorry bit blurry – late at night and using my iPhone #tiredblogger)

Bellatrix Blazer details

Bellatrix Blazer details. Clockwise from left: Lining, sleeve facings, sleeve shaping

The Sleeves…
I did find the sleeve heads a bit of a struggle to fit into the body & I was very glad my fabric had some stretch – I needed it!
The hems of the sleeves are slightly curved (and have a sleeve hem facing) and I love how they sit on my wrists/hands.
The instructions have you hand sew the lining to the sleeve facings. Since I’ve figured out how to machine finish sleeve hems, I choose to machine these. Really it’s the simplest way to finish sleeve hems.

The Pattern…
You really do need to buy at least one Papercut Pattern in your sewing life. Beautifully presented, unique packaging, sturdy paper, good instructions… yes expensive but the price includes postage anywhere in the world. You know you want too…

Overall Verdict on Papercut Patterns Bellatrix…
This is quite an easy jacket sew.
I think the sizing runs large – I made up the XXS and it feels the right length but is very generous around my frame.
The sleeves are a bit tricky – so watch out for that.
OMG there is a lot of interfacing. I think it would be easier to block fuse a lot of your fabric. Pretty much it’s just the back and sleeves that are not interfaced. It does make for a nice finish though.
I usually love cropped jackets but I think I’d prefer this in the longer length on me.
I think I’d like it in a solid colour as much as this is crazy fun (oh dear I must be getting sensible in my old age *sigh*).

I still want a bomber jacket…

Pattern: Papercut Patterns Bellatrix Blazer
Fabric: Cotton Sateen from Spotlight. Lining: Silk from Spotlight.
Also see: Let’s Tweed Again | Gingermakes | Handmade by Heather B | Girls in the Garden | Very Purple Person | Mercury Handmade Fashion (she has made it many many times – all gorgeous | Jolies Bobines | Alida Makes | alas I’m too tired to keep linking! There are so many out there – go to Google Images and search for Bellatrix Blazer… get inspired.

SBL LIFE UPDATE
Life’s been hideously busy, I’m overtired and just generally feel like I’m stretching myself in a million directions for everyone else… I’ve booked some days away all by myself so I can unwind. I’m on a countdown – 29 days to go… not sure I’ll be sane by then…

Pattern Parcel #3: April Rhodes Staple Dress

Pattern Parcel is back! It kicks off today. Until 13 June you will be showered by bloggers across the world sewing up endless variations of five (actually six!) different patterns (see the end of this post the tour schedule!) tempting you to buy Pattern Parcel #3 – a package worth $68+.

Pattern Parcel #3

So what’s in Pattern Parcel 3?

Pattern Parcel #3 includes:

  • Poppy Tunic by Make it Perfect
  • Water Bottle Tote by Radiant Home Studio
  • Jorna Tank Dress by Jenna Brand
  • Staple Dress by April Rhodes
  • Bombshell Swimsuit by Closet Case Files

AND a Bonus Pattern!
Pattern Parcel #3

Choose a price of $28 or greater for Parcel #3 and you will automatically also be sent the Bonus Pattern! “The Bonus Pattern for this Parcel is Prefontaine Shorts for Women by Made with Moxie. This shorts pattern has a retro trim, loads of pockets, two inseams and are so comfortable you won’t want to take them off. Includes sizes 0 – 24. Exclusive launch on Pattern Parcel. Be the first to own this pattern!”

Buy Pattern Parcel #3

I love Pattern Parcel. There is the feel-good factor of your purchases contributing to charity. From a selfish sewing point of view, you get five patterns and perhaps some you’d never considered sewing before. I actually love that part the most – sometimes you decide to make something unexpected and it turns out great! I’ve worn my Summer Concert tees from Pattern Parcel #1 a lot – my lace back one in particular!

When I saw what contents of the Parcel, I printed and assembled the Shorts pattern, I also printed the Bombshell and Jorna. Then just days from Pattern Parcel 3 deadline… I desperately wanted a simple autumn dress to wear with boots… and the only pattern I had never considered making suddenly rocketed to the top of my must-sew list – the April Rhodes Staple Dress. Thank you Pattern Parcel!

I’ve sewn this up in a lovely soft rayon twill. I have a ‘thing’ for paisley and tartan together. I also love navy for autumn wear – so much softer than black.

We took these photos in a desperate rush – as I’m actually standing in misting rain! I was in such a rush to take the shots that I forgot to put my cream lace scarf on with this which really makes it look cute. I got loads of compliments wearing this today… which always surprises me when I’m wearing such a simple make.

April Rhodes Staple Dress

April Rhodes Staple Dress from Pattern Parcel #3

This is a delightfully simple dress to sew. It probably took me less than four hours to assemble the pattern, cut the fabric and assemble most of the dress. It has a just five pieces. Front, back, neck facing and two armhole facings.

What had me bamboozled, and took four tries, was the waist shirring!

Shirring
I’d heard shirring was the easiest thing in the world to so. So I did my internet research, watched YouTube, wound the bobbin three times (loose, with slight tension, looser again), tried different stitch lengths – you name it. Every time the shirring was too tight and it was a DISASTER. So I heaved the Heavy Duty Singer out of its box, threaded it up and… perfect first time. Personally I suspect it’s the size of the hole in the Bernina bobbin case that the elastic has to pull through that is the issue or I need to release the bobbin tension screw (which freaks me put – stupid I know)… then again others find they can’t shirr with a top loading bobbin… it’s a mystery.

I would argue if you have had issues with shirring, it really might not be anything you are doing or not, simply that your machine is just not into elasticised waists.

I’m really glad I found a shirring solution as I love the regular gathers it provides to the waistline – even though I might always wear a belt with it, I much prefer the look of even small gathers, the dress falls much more nicely with them. It is also an extremely comfortable waistline! Not to mention it transforms a rather sack-like dress…

April Rhodes Staple Dress dress - pictured flat, no shirring (and yes, no hemming)

April Rhodes Staple Dress dress – pictured flat, no shirring (and yes, no hemming)

April Rhodes Staple Dress dress - flat with a shirred waist

April Rhodes Staple Dress dress – flat with a shirred waist

I think I will return to my old Jiffy dress - from the Pattern Pyramid and add shirring to it. I’ve worn it a lot but the bunching at the waist bothers me a little. Shirring is the perfect cure.

The Facings
The neckline and armholes are finished with facings – which are in essence just bias strips which are slightly longer on one side and they fit perfectly. This is such an easy dress to finish. If you are a beginner stitcher or even an experienced one, the very comprehensive instructions and finish of this dress is very satisfying.

The Pockets
I love the pockets on this dress. Yes, they are just pockets but I love that the instructions have you stitch them in such a way that they are attached to the dress front seam allowances – hence they always face forward.
The only thing I found odd was that the instructions do not have you understitch the pocket edges at the dress seamline – which I think makes for a neat finish and keeps the pockets tucked neatly into the dress – no rolling out.

April Rhodes Staple Dress, front view - OH LOOK! POCKETS

April Rhodes Staple Dress, front view – OH LOOK! POCKETS. And yes, I have a yacht mast springing from my head.

Overall Verdict
I love the kimono sleeves, the loose fit and ease of this dress. I know I’ve been blessed with a lean build but I don’t feel the need to showcase my shape or legs with everything I wear. Some days I just want to slouch about and relax.

I can see this being a great dress in many types of medium to lightweight fabrics – and I certainly think there will be many more in my wardrobe – I’d love one in silk or silk cotton for spring/summer. The patterns states 2m of fabric for 150cm wide fabric. I got my dress out of a lot less but then I do cut the smallest size so I can fit more across the width of the fabric I guess.

About Pattern Parcel: “Here at Perfect Pattern Parcel, we believe in supporting independent pattern designers. It’s our opinion that indie patterns are just, well, better than big box patterns, and we’re pretty sure our customers think so too. So, we allow customers to show their support in naming their own price for each Parcel. We also encourage customers to allocate part of their Parcel price to the charity Donorschoose.org in order to help classrooms in need. Pattern Parcel donates all profits after expenses from Parcel sales to the charity as well. Together we’ve raised almost $4,500 towards eliminating educational inequality.”

Buy Pattern Parcel #3

Parcel #3 Inspiration Tour Schedule:

Friday, May 30
Sew Busy Lizzy ||
Pienkel ||
SeamstressErin

Saturday, May 31
Design By Lindsay ||
the Brodrick design studio ||
Cookin’ and Craftin’

Sunday, June 1
Diary of a Chainstitcher ||
a happy stitch ||
Disaster in a Dress ||
sew Amy sew

Monday, June 2
Idle Fancy ||
Casa Crafty ||
Kadiddlehopper ||
Dandelion Drift

Tuesday, June 3
Our Family Four ||
Casa Crafty ||
Cookin’ and Craftin’ ||
a happy stitch

Wednesday, June 4
Lexi Made ||
The Quirky Peach ||
Stitched ||
a happy stitch ||
Casa Crafty ||

Thursday, June 5
verypurpleperson ||
Casa Crafty ||
sew a straight line ||
Sewbon

Friday, June 6
Shawnta Sews ||
Mama says sew ||
a happy stitch ||
Cookin’ and Craftin’

Saturday, June 7
Casa Crafty ||
sewninestitches ||
‘So, Zo… What do you know?’

Sunday, June 8
oonaballoona ||
A Stitching Odyssey ||
Sew Charleston

Monday, June 9
Sew Sweetness ||
True Bias ||
Ozzy Blackbeard

Tuesday, June 10
Welcome to the Mouse House ||
Sew Caroline ||
Adventures in Dressmaking

Wednesday, June 11
Peneloping ||
YoSaMi ||
sewVery

Thursday, June 12
la inglesita ||
La Pantigana ||
Sanae Ishida

Friday, June 13
Seamster Sewing Patterns ||
Paunnet

This is me giggling as the marine mechanic stands patiently watching for us to stop taking pictures. And when you see my hand bunched over like that… it means I’m stressed… I need a sleep… later peoples… oh and buy Pattern Parcel #3, it’s a ripper.

April Rhodes Staple Dress

April Rhodes Staple Dress

Disclosure: there is a gift for the blogger with the most blog referrals and for participating. Honestly I’m not motivated by that at all, really I’m not. I get more than enough from all over the world not to feel the need for giveaways or competitions – in fact I’d probably donate it back to Pattern Parcel or buy something to giveaway to my readers. I simply love Pattern Parcel because I think it’s awesome initiative. I’ve been involved in several fund-raising events for my own kids’ school this month, charity is something that’s important to me… and I just LOVE to sew. I just wanted you to know. Tis all :-)

Drape Drape takes flight with a Batwing Dress!

No. 7 from Drape Drape 2 - Batwing dress. Sewn by Sew Busy Lizzy from rayon knit from The Fabric Store, Sydney

No. 7 from Drape Drape 2 – Batwing dress, back view. I do love the peek-a-boo shoulders.

I’m on the fence about this one… and I think it’s perhaps I’m not so happy with pictures or the fabric feels a little too slinky for this particular style. I do love the style and the colour. So it’s a 50/50 debate at the moment.

The fabric is a lovely rayon knit from The Fabric Store during the Sydney meet-up in March. I think a slightly heavier knit, less slinky & more matte, would work better. While the drape on this is gorgeous for the top, it’s not ideal for the skirt. The weight of the folded skirt pulls downwards and I need to hitch it up in the most unladylike fashion – you know… with a wiggle and a giggle (I’ve not always been famed for my decorum so I’m OK with that). The fabric slithers over my hips, I think something more matte would cling more to my hips (this must be the first time ever I’m looking for hip-clinging properties in a fabric LOL) and the dress would tend less to pull downwards.

No. 7 from Drape Drape 2 - Batwing dress

No. 7 from Drape Drape 2 – couldn’t crack a smile for the camera :-(

Finishing

I found it impossible to match this shade of bruised blue and any overlocking thread looked dreadful – so I did all overlocking stitches on my sewing machine. I know you can’t see the overlocking stitches but it bothers me… I can handle hot ‘n’ bothered but not sew bothered.

The Neckline…

Once again with a Drape Drape make I found the finishing instructions on the neckline near impossible to achieve. Perhaps my knit was too soft, however the directions for finishing the neckline made it impossible to achieve a neat finish.

I found this impossible to achieve neatly with a rayon knit.

I found this Drape Drape suggested finish impossible to achieve neatly with a rayon knit.

I attached a very narrow band as per a Sewaholic Renfrew and I think this finish is much nicer.

No. 7 from Drape Drape 2 - the neckline finish

No. 7 from Drape Drape 2 – the neckline finish

Sleeves

The book has you overlock the edges of the sleeve openings and then turn them over once and machine them down. As the sleeves fall open you do see the inside finish of the sleeve. I felt it would look terribly messy so I machine overlocked the edges in a matching thread and then turned them under twice. I pinned them, hand basted them and then machined them. Yes sounds fussy but the finish was much neater.

The Skirt

The wonderful effect of the skirt is achieved by large downwards folds at the sides – I love it and could have the side benefit of concealing significant VPL sins (although I made wise underwear choices here – enough said…)

I made the S/M size of this dress (it only comes in two sizes and this is the smallest size). I took the skirt side seams in considerably – sewing seams of about 30mm instead of 15mm. If I had left the seams as is, the dress hangs like a massive sack from my shoulders and is most unflattering. The shoulder seams are quite narrow to support 2m of fabric and I think the skirt needs to cling for the overall design to work.

Preparation

I used tailor tacks to mark all the folds etc on this fabric – no chalk or pen would mark it well. I hand basted all the skirt folds and cuff pleats into place. Pins slide straight out of this rayon knit. Despite all that basting – this is a relatively quick dress to put together. It’s got slightly whacky pattern pieces but it’s not too much of a brain bender.

No. 7 from Drape Drape 2 - Batwing dress. Sewn by Sew Busy Lizzy from rayon knit from The Fabric Store, Sydney

No. 7 from Drape Drape 2 – Batwing dress. Still undecided about this make… it’s not for the ‘junk trunk’ shy.

On a positive note, it’s quite demure compared to some of my other Drape Drape dresses… this is about as risqué as it gets…

No. 7 from Drape Drape 2 - Batwing dress. Sewn by Sew Busy Lizzy from rayon knit from The Fabric Store, Sydney

No. 7 from Drape Drape 2 – Batwing dress. This is as about as revealing as this dress gets – apart from the clingy factor of course!

Most of the versions I have seen omit the open sleeves – however I love them. It could be a gigantic sack on me and I love that my shoulders and arms can be seen now and then. I do find that the dress wants to slide forward and I think it could benefit from bra-keepers to help the dress stay on my shoulders. I adore how the fabric drapes in such fine folds across my back. It’s like water.

No. 7 from Drape Drape 2 - Batwing dress. Sewn by Sew Busy Lizzy from rayon knit from The Fabric Store, Sydney

The ‘caboose shot’ however I do love how the fabric falls and folds across my back and arms.

I do love the feel of it and it’s quite wearable. I think it feels better on than it looks through a camera lens – so either my eyeballs are lying or the camera lens is being cruel. At least my legs are not hanging out everywhere like this memorable number… and while this one may have been short – I have worn it a lot…

I think I would love it in matte black knit as a work dress with boots. I work in a cultural centre so my wardrobe choices are sometimes a little less conservative.

I’m very tempted to chop off the skirt, add a lower band to the top and turn this into a highly wearable batwing top. The colour is lovely…

Perhaps I was having a general ‘blah’ day, bad hair, sea breeze to deal with, sun fast disappearing… perhaps I’m too self-critical…

These were taken on the river in my lovely home town of Port Macquarie, outside the venue where my wedding reception was held… many, many moons ago!

Pattern: No 7: batwing dress from the book Drape Drape 2.
Fabric: Rayon knit from The Fabric Store, Sydney

Also see: Cyber Daze | Small Things | Ancien Nouveau | The Somnolent Dachshund
Note – this dress does awesome things when made out of a stripe… tempting…

Giveaway: and I forgot to add a close date for my giveaway so let’s make it midnight, Sunday 25 May 2014 – I will draw it on Monday night.

If I seem to be absent lately – May 2014 has been hardcore busy. ELH was away fishing for nine days, I work fulltime, I have two young daughters. I have volunteered for 6 hours at Ironman on an aid station (until 10pm at night), helped run a school fete stall (this takes HOURS over several weeks – and then a whole weekend – the fete raised $25,000 so I’m happy to have contributed). My daughter is competing in a dance eisteddfod so I’ve been taking her to rehearsals, out of town for a solo performance and this weekend we are at the ‘dance group weekend’ competition for the Eisteddfod out of town – where I have ‘ballet mother duties’ ie shovelling 20 children into ‘circus’ lycra outfits at 8.30am on a Sunday morning… I’m tired just thinking about my schedule this month… I’m not quite sure how I survived it…
Massive apologies that I’m not commenting on blogs at the moment. I am reading everything – I’m just rather knackered at night & typing is tough. Sorry!