A little too ladylike… Sewaholic Nicola

I haven’t sewn a Sewaholic pattern for quite a long time… and like every Sewaholic pattern  I’ve encountered so far in my online sewing life (Gabriola, Cambie, Lonsdale, Renfrew, Pendrell, Tofino, Alma, Hollyburn), the drafting and instructions for this Nicola were excellent.

Sewaholic Nicola

Sewaholic Nicola – excuse sulky pout… it was FREEZING… and WINDY… I wore it with a plaited belt and a self-fabric belt… I think I like the self-fabric belt best.

That said, this dress isn’t quite right on me – rather like my issues with the very popular Hollyburn skirt. I know my style… so I’m not quite sure why I was so tempted to sew this dress. I think curiousity got the better of me and I felt like making a ‘pretty dress’. I know, shoulda stuck to grunge!

The neckline of the Harwood seems a bit severe to me, however the Nicola appeals to me as a feminine, pretty shirtdress.

The Nicola reminds me of the Colette Patterns Hawthorn, albeit a softer style over all with its yoke and gathers, and flaring gathered a-line skirt.

Sewaholic Nicola with heels - back view

Sewaholic Nicola with heels – back view

Construction comments

This is a neatly finished dress, seems to be a Sewaholic trademark!

The yoke is finished ‘burrito style’ and the instructions are perhaps the best written instructions I’ve seen for this technique. Tasia certainly nails her instructions every time, they are concise but ample enough to achieve a well-finished garment.

I French-seamed the bodice side seams and skirt seams. The only visible overlocking is on the raw edge of the facing pieces.

Sewaholic Nicola - side view

Sewaholic Nicola – side view

The front yoke gathers do seem to be a little puffy. When I referred back to the Sewaholic site it appears to be there in the sample dresses for the long-sleeved version – this is easier to see in a solid fabric than my printed version or the printed sample. It seems to puff slightly above the bust.

It’s a lovely feminine shirtdress. I don’t hate it, in fact I think it would be gorgeous on plenty of women, it’s just not quite my thing.

This is a great pattern for anyone who has been put off collars. While it’s not a traditional collar-band finish, it is a very easy collar to sew.

Some friends have commented I should shorten the dress… I think it would throw the proportions of the dress out and look a little odd… a sweet dress needs a sweet length I can’t imagine it shorter. It’s not really a ‘sexy’ short dress to me… what do you think?


Not for me… but another great pattern from Sewaholic that I think deserves a little more attention.

Sewaholic Nicola - back view

Sewaholic Nicola – back view

While I might not be sold on this dress on me… sewing with Sewaholic again is tempting me to make another Gabriola and it is such a lovely pattern…. and I do love a maxi skirt…

Side note

I do love the new Sewaholic Vancouver collection. I have no interest in ‘activewear’ (well not right now) – however I like the Cape and I especially love the Seymour jacket… if it had been provided as a PDF A0 file I probably would have ordered it & had it printed immediately. However printing 36 inch files is painful or impossible where I live – and I actually prefer an A0 PDF to a tissue paper pattern… so I’m in holding pattern (pun intended)… I might yet succumb…

Final thoughts…

I’ve wondered why there seemed to be so few Nicola and Harwood dresses out there – after the huge popularity of the Cambie and the Lonsdale a few years ago.

Perhaps it’s the sheer volume of independent pattern companies out there and we are now seeing the same volume of dresses but more diversity.

It’s a mystery as to why some patterns take off like a rocket (hello By Hand London Anna dress) and others seem to simmer slowly or simply fade away. Without a doubt there are dresses and t-shirts aplenty to choose from these days and I suspect it dilutes the impact of a new pattern release… there are so many ‘new kids’ on the block, it must be harder to make a splash.

What do you think?

… not an exciting blog post so I leave you with a Banjo photo bomb and some beach shots…

I couldn't resist including this rather classic Banjo photo bomb!

I couldn’t resist including this rather classic Banjo photo bomb! For the record there was nothing exciting in the tiny cave. Alas.

A cold and windy day but the surfers didn't seem to notice! Nobby's Beach, Port Macquarie

A cold and windy day but the surfers didn’t seem to notice! Nobby’s Beach, Port Macquarie

A sea eagle...

A sea eagle…

Pattern: Sewaholic Nicola (purchased from Sew Squirrel), size 2.
Fabric: Woven printed rayon from Spotlight, Australia ($9.95 a metre on special)
Buttons: Lincraft ($0.29 each, great button range at Lincraft compared to Spotlight!)


or The Skirt I Simply Had To Make.

Fumeterre Skirt by Deer & Doe

Fumeterre Skirt by Deer & Doe

I simply love maxi skirts. Adore them.

Someone commented on Instagram that this was ‘very you’ and indeed it is. There isn’t too much to say about this skirt… it had eight gores with a button front, it’s flared and long. It’s simple, a bit retro and I liked it immediately.

I managed to resist a few days before I gave in and ordered it from Deer & Doe. I’m not a ‘fan girl’ as I’ve never made a Deer & Doe pattern before. I do own the Datura & Pavot patterns but not made them up yet – they were purchased in Paris several years ago.

You could probably find a similar design in the Big 4 in a sale… however I love to be swept away when inspiration hits – and I knew exactly what fabric I wanted to use. Tracking down a Deer & Doe ‘bricks and mortar’ supplier in Australia and then phoning to order it was just too complicated for me. I’m a ‘click and go’ girl so I ordered online. The postage from France isn’t horrific and it arrived within a week.

Fumeterre Skirt, Deer and Doe: front view

Fumeterre Skirt: front view. While it looks like a floor sweeper, it’s slightly off the ground – I’m barefoot and slightly sinking into the sand here.


This is a fairly simple pattern and is described by Deer & Doe as “High-waisted maxi skirt. Version A is buttoned at the front with belt hoops. Version B has a fly front zipper and patch pockets“. I made Version A.

The skirt has eight  gores and there are two pattern pieces for these. The side front and back pieces are the same (the back panels are the same as the front panels, minus the button placket). There two pieces for the waistband (which is straight) as the waistband has seams at the back where the elastic is inserted. There is a small pattern piece for the belt loops and a piece of hem facing) the facing is in four pieces.

The pattern is printed on sturdy bond paper and not overlapped. It comes in a nice large envelope with two instructions booklets, one in French and one in English. There are plenty of diagrams to accompany the instructions. When making garments purely for myself, particularly simple garments, I tend to gloss over every single detail in the instructions. I refer to them for order of construction rather than word-for-word guidance.

I would advise cutting the notches on the skirt pieces to ensure you piece them together correctly.

The instructions are adequate – it’s not a difficult project and you don’t need a huge amount of instruction. While Deer and Doe give it 3 stars out of 5 for difficulty I think it would be a good beginner project (OK the hem gave me a headache but flared hems are often like that!). I often think ‘beginners’ are far more capable than companies, and the beginners themselves, give them credit for.


The Fumeterre Skirt appears to be drafted for someone MUCH taller than me. I am 5 foot 4 (about 164cm). I took the skirt pattern pieces up 4 inches below where the buttons finished rather than taking it from the hem. I did this to preserve the flare of the skirt which I think is the lovely graceful feature of the pattern. I re-drew the pattern piece from where the length was removed to the hemline. I cut off approximately another 1/2 inch during the hemming process. It’s turned out the perfect length for wearing with flats – or barefoot.

I’m not a huge fan of how the waistband is attached. You sew it to the inside and then turn it over to the front and top stitch it down. I prefer to sew it to the outside, turn it to the inside, slip stitch it to the inside by hand and then top stitch it. I think it is easier to achieve a neater finish. However that is my personal preference on construction – not necessarily right or wrong.

I only used the belt loop pattern piece for width reference. I cut a much longer strip and then cut it into four pieces – rather than making four individual belt loops which seems excessively fiddly to me.

Fumeterre Skirt, Deer and Doe: back view

Fumeterre Skirt: back view – it hangs softer than that, I live with a permanent sea breeze it seems.

I did use 25mm (1 inch)  elastic in the back waist as recommended but it was a very neat fit in the casing, so I removed the piece of elastic and put in 20mm wide elastic and I much preferred the finish. I know people are put off elastic in the back of waists – however, in my skirt, the elastic seems to be more about providing a little ease than being gathered.

I French seamed the skirt panels and then top stitched them down.

I did attempt the hem facing as per the pattern… however in a soft rayon it was a complete nightmare. I couldn’t see the point in weighing down the hem of a flowing skirt with a rather wide piece of hem facing – perhaps I might have thought differently in a heavier fabric. I took it off and hung it overnight again. The hem dropped all over the place. I hung it on a coathanger and pinned what seemed to be a straight hem line, put it on and got my daughter to check the pins where the same distance off the floor. I trimmed it again and then used some readymade bias tape to turn over a narrow hem.

I used the reverse side of some buttons I found at Lincraft as they seemed to blend better with the fabric. I didn’t want feature buttons as I love the fabric’s shifting tones and colours, I didn’t want distracting buttons.


I suspect this may be the sort of fabric that people either like or loathe. It’s not conventionally pretty and I love its swirling tie-dyed tones and the barely-there floral overprint.

I had this fabric in The Fabric Library (aka stash). I purchased it from East Coast Fabrics when shopping with Lizzie in Brisbane in March. It’s a lovely soft rayon, that’s not too light or transparent – it seemed perfect for a maxi skirt. It also doesn’t crush too badly (enjoyed this recent post from SunnyGal Studio Sewing about fabrics and pattern matching – I am definitely a Scruncher). However when it does crease, the tie dye pattern disguises creases beautifully. When you get close to this fabric, it’s got a delicate floral overprint. It reminds me of the grunge fashion period of the 90s… which I loved… and still love.

Fumeterre Skirt, Deer and Zoe

Fumeterre Skirt: I stopped the buttons just above my knee

I think this would photograph much better in vivid sunshine however I couldn’t wait, I haven’t blogged for a few weeks and I wanted to share this – so it didn’t end up in my pile of unblogged things – yes, we all have them! The colour is actually a lovely soft mossy slightly-greyish green… which is not great to photograph on an overcast day (the current weather is forecast to last for at least another week). As an editor I used to advise our commissioned project makers against selecting mauves and colours with grey in them as they were often very difficult to light, photograph and print to capture their true colours. Clearly I don’t listen to myself :-) I’m ok with that.

Fumeterre - a nightmare hemming experience. However a better shot of the skirt's true colour.

Fumeterre – a nightmare hemming experience (this is post hem facing removal) – however this is a better shot of the skirt’s true colour.


I was curious about the pattern name – so I looked it up while writing this blog post. The Free Dictionary tells me it is a “delicate European herb with greyish leaves and spikes of purplish flowers; formerly used medicinally” and the word originates from the “Middle English fumetere, from Old French fumeterre, from Medieval Latin fūmus terrae : Latin fūmus, smoke + Latin terrae, genitive of terra, dry land, earth;” ‘aka smoky earth’.

It seems like a beautiful twist of coincidence that my swirling tie-dye mossy skirt has a delicate overprint of a flowering plant. Perhaps it is a pattern/fabric match made in heaven.


The Fumeterre Skirt is easy to construct, nicely presented and it has two quite different closure options (buttons or fly-front with pockets).

This is a simple skirt pattern. There are plenty of flared and/or maxi skirts on the market across many of the pattern companies, independent and Big 4. I think it comes down to personal preference which pattern has the features you are after. This one immediately appealed to me and I didn’t try to resist it, I like the flare over pleats and gathering. Waiting for a Big 4 pattern sale in Australia for a particular company can be a tedious experience.

I enjoyed making this and will no doubt wear it a lot.

Pattern: Fumeterre Skirt, Deer & Doe
Size: I ummed and ahhed about the sizing and decided to made 38. I didn’t want a super neat fit or any strain on the buttons as I hate it when there is pulling at a button closure, it looks awful.
Also see: Very Kerry Berry | Attack of the Seam Ripper
Location: Lighthouse Beach, Port Macquarie

Random useless fact: This skirt makes me want to sing Sweet Child O’ Mine… random but true. I love it when clothes bring back memories, they seem the sweetest garments of all. I loved the grunge fashion period and this skirt feels like a step back in time… or perhaps I never really left this style behind…

“She’s got a smile that it seems to me
Reminds me of childhood memories
Where everything
Was as fresh as the bright blue sky”

Fumeterre Skirt, Deer and Doe

My skirt also appears to be also handy for camouflage purposes… plus if you look carefully you can see the bias hem tape. I admit – this fabric was impossible to match with anything, thread, buttons or tape!

Papercut Patterns, Guise Pants aka Does Lizzy Wear The Pants?

It’s been awhile.

I was in a sewing ‘funk’, didn’t know what to sew or where to start. So I asked Instagram how to drag myself out of it. Amid the many suggestions was a very funny comment from Jen of The Stitcher and Gatherer to make some pants. As she pointed out, I make a lot of skirts, dress, tops and jackets… and I needed to challenge myself.

So I did.

Hello Guise Pants from Papercut Patterns.

Papercut Patterns Guise Pants - front view

Papercut Patterns Guise Pants – front view

Now I will be 100% honest, I had plenty of reservations about this pattern – and I even told Katie of Papercut Patterns that :-)

  1. I generally prefer skinny jeans or wide-legged flat-front trousers – it’s all or nothing with me; and
  2. elastic back waist. I live in a holiday/retirement destination and elastic waists of any description remind me of sensible shoes and comfortable pants worn by a significant proportion of my community…l’m not ready to go there yet!; and
  3. I wasn’t sold on the pattern photography – not my colours and styling. That said, I like to look beyond that and see if I can ‘make it my own’ – that’s part of what inspires me to sew.

However I love a challenge.
Katie had sent me the pattern (along with the Flutter and Sway) when I had enquired about the Papercut Pleated Pants – that’s another blog post in the not too-distant future.
Plus I had traced the Guise out weeks ago, I fell in love with the new tencel denim at Spotlight and the rest is history!


Size: There are a few versions of these pants floating about the internet (see end of post for links) and a couple mentioned that they had sized down or would next time around. My hip measurement fell just below the XS size so I decided to make the XXS. I admit, making pants that are too small terrifies me as there is nothing more ego deflating than too-tight pants. I could have made a toile/muslin… however having made a few Papercut Patterns I decided to trust my instincts and just leapt in.

Fit: I don’t know!
I don’t often wear pants of this loose-fitting, pleated and casual style. In fact, one of the reasons I made the belt as I really don’t own belts for trousers.
They feel OK and are certainly very comfortable.
They do seem very generously sized. Even sizing down, they are a little droopy about my waist and hips. However I think the soft drape suits them with this fabric choice.
I love how the legs are taper around my calves and ankles. I cut about 1 inch off the length (I’m 5 foot 4). I’m going to try these with the hems rolled up a little. I like how Jolies Bobines styled hers.
There is quite a lot of ‘room’ in the crotch however they seem to sit nicely over the junk trunk and hang well at the front.
If you are a pleated pant fit guru – please share your thoughts!

Papercut Patterns Guise Pants without a belt

Papercut Patterns Guise Pants without a belt

Construction: The pattern went together without a hitch. One of the easiest makes yet. You can read quite a detailed post about it at Gingermakes – and she notes an error in the instructions and some other quirks with Papercut Patterns – it’s well worth a read if you are making these.
I found the instructions really straight-forward and comprehensive. I have sewn welt pockets and fly fronts before – however I found these instructions really helpful and clear. There wasn’t any ‘support’ from Google search.
I did overlock all the edges of each piece before I sewed. I don’t always do this as I think overlocking can distort the fabric edges. However as this fabric was stable, I overlocked the edges – as I find Papercut Patterns 1cm seam allowances rather small when feeding them through the overlocker (not overlocking both together). They just never turn out as neat as I would like.

Pockets: Four pockets! Two front and two back welt pockets. I had some floral silk fabric that I decided to use for pocketing. I found this on a remanent table at my local independent fabric shop in Port Macquarie. All five metres of it for $5. I’ve been hoarding it for lining purposes.

Papercut Patterns Guise Pants, sewn by Sew Busy Lizzy

Back pocket detail

Papercut Patterns Guise Pants side pockets, front pleats and self-fabric belt

Papercut Patterns Guise Pants side pockets, front pleats and self-fabric belt. Sorry my belt is twisted – no mirrors at the beach. I pulled these on in the car!

Welts: My back welts are not quite perfect – but they are OK. I love these little details. I thought the welt fusing piece (inside the trousers) could be just a little bit narrower so it isn’t visible above the pocket on the inside. That’s just a visual detail if you like picture perfect garment guts.

Papercut Patterns Guise Pants - welt pockets

Papercut Patterns Guise Pants – welt pockets. I’m mid stride here.

Fly front: I found the pieces and instructions fabulous, this is one of my best fly fronts yet.

Waist: The pattern has you neaten the inner waist band edge and stitch it down. I decided to finish my edge with bias binding for ‘neatness sake’. Gingermakes widened her pattern piece and folded the raw edge under – do whatever rocks your world I say.
I machined the bias on the right side and then took the pants to work and handstitched the bias edge under to the wrong side. Why so pedantic? Mainly because I do like neat finishes… and then I could get sewing on the rest of the pants as soon as I got home! I love to maximise every minute of my day.
The elastic back waist may be a deterrent for some. It was for me at first. However the back doesn’t make the fabric fall in an unflattering way over the ‘junk trunk’ – or mine at least.

Papercut Patterns Guise Pants - I've included this so you can see how the elastic back looks. It is not 'that' gathered

Papercut Patterns Guise Pants – I’ve included this so you can see how the elastic back looks. It is not ‘that’ gathered

Belt and belt loops: I laid out my pieces with the intention of having a skerrick of fabric left running down the selvedge to make a self-fabric tie belt. It’s a little wider than the belt loops but I wanted the belt to look like that – I know, not everyone’s style but it was the look that was in my head. I would have loved it slightly longer and flared at the ends… but no fabric left!
I opted for the fabric belt as well as sometimes a different coloured belt seems to chop me in half and visually shorten me.
If I make these again, I would make the belt loops slightly longer, they seemed ‘just the right’ size. I would rather cut them slightly longer and them trim them back. That’s just how I construct things. I like a bit more room for fiddling.

Fabric: Tencel denim from Spotlight, Australia. This is LOVELY stuff. Beautiful to work with and I will be curious to see how it wears. (Note: after 6 hours of wear I was pleasantly surprised at how this fabric didn’t crease excessively).
I opted for tencel denim as I decided that anything with too much body would potentially make the pleats a little too ‘sticky-outie’ and result in unwanted lower tummy/crotch ‘poofiness’. I’m really happy with this fabric and pattern match.
I think these would be great in a light wool crepe for casual office pants aka secret pyjamas.

…and how I’m most likely to wear my pants… beltless & casual… that’s how I roll (or prefer to).

guise pants_me1

Beltless – they really need a belt to hold them up… but the seagulls don’t seem to mind so much.

Also See: Gingermakes | Jolies Bobines | Craft Sanctuary | The Monthly Stitch

Thanks Jen for the suggestion – I’m back to ‘normal’.

sewing again and back at the beach

sewing again and back at the beach

Pattern: Papercut Patterns Guise Pants
Note: Papercut Patterns provided this pattern for preview purposes. All opinions my own. No affiliate links in this post.
Shirts: RTW – Just Jeans, Australia
Shoes: Zensu (lovely red patent leather… never-been-worn from the op shop for the princely sum of $5)
Earrings: Pandora
Location: Oxley Beach, Port Macquarie

This post first appeared on http://www.sewbusylizzy.com


Floral Riot, Burda 6849 from Mood Fabrics NY

On the side, I’ve been suffering from a quiet obsession with shirts… this one I’ve made as my Mood Fabrics NY project, using a lovely Pink Carnation Floral Printed Cotton Voile.

I took two lots of pictures – one just as a storm was hitting at lunchtime – then about 24 hours later on the beach… this winter has been ‘all over the place’! I decided to use a few from both as the stormy backdrop really did make the colours jump off the screen – I habitually roll up my sleeves – fortunately I managed to get one photo before the sleeves assumed their ‘normal position’, half way up my forearm.

Burda 6849, sewn with Pink Carnation Floral Printed Cotton Voile from Mood Fabrics NY

Burda 6849, view C – yes it’s mid-winter here…

When I unpacked this fabric I immediately thought of making a shirt. I think voile would be one of my favourite fabrics. It’s not as fancy as silk or wool but it’s one of the most wearable and washable fabrics I’ve encountered – which means that it passes my ‘lifestyle’ test with flying colours.

According to the Mood Fabric Dictionary (this always helps me when I’m stuck wondering what some mystery fabric is in BurdaStyle!) Voile is: “Plain, loosely woven. Characteristics: A thin semi-transparent dress material of cotton, wool, or silk. Sheer and very light weight. Usually made with cylindrical combed yarns. To obtain a top quality fabric, very highly twisted yarns are used. Voilé drapes and gathers very well. The clear surface is obtained by singeing away any fuzzy yarns. Has a hard finish and crisp, sometimes wiry hand”

This fabric is not loosely woven and is not semi-transparent as I would expect with a voile. It strikes me more as a lawn than a voile. A fabric of this nature is perfect for shirtmaking – I found it an exceptionally easy fabric to work with to create finishes such as flat-fell and French seams, rolled hems and more. It’s remarkably easy to cut out and iron. In short, it’s a dream to sew with.

Shirts have a few tricky elements if you have never sewn one before – I confess my first few shirts gave me several heart attacks during construction. Perhaps that is part of the addiction, conquering the challenges one by one. There is no doubt for me that sewing with a lightweight fabric with high thread count certainly makes those tricky elements much easier to handle.

Burda 6849

The insides – no overlocker required! I flat felled the centre back seam and then French seamed the sleeves and side seams.

Shirts are a staple in my wardrobe. I tend to wear dresses to work however my out-of-work uniform tends to be denim jeans/skirts with t-shirts and button-up shirts.

I decided to wanted a feminine, slim-fitting shirt and Burda 6849 delivered. It has a shaped centre back seam, four fish eye darts at the waist, shaped side seams and a curved hem. The sleeves are also quite slim fitting.

Burda 6849, sewn with Pink Carnation Floral Printed Cotton Voile from Mood Fabrics NY

Burda 6849, view C

Due to the nature of the print and the weight of the fabric, the seams, darts and pockets just disappear and you focus on the silhouette created by the sewing pattern. And this fabric just sings, it’s so pretty!

Burda 6849

Pocket and buttons

As this lawn was so lovely and fine, I flat-felled the back seam with a neat 4mm seam. I also decided to French seam the sleeves and side seams. These types of seams are so easy to achieve in a high-count light-weight cotton.

Burda 6849

The cuffs

I did add a slight curve to the cuff edges. The placket is a simple one and while I thought about adding a tower placket, I decided not to as I liked the light nature of the fabric and how neatly it rolled up at the sleeve end.

Some techniques used:-

Burda 6849, sewn with Pink Carnation Floral Printed Cotton Voile from Mood Fabrics NY

Burda 6849, view C

Pattern: Burda 6849
Fabric: Pink Carnation Cotton Voile, Mood Fabrics NY
Also see: Creating in the Gap – gorgeous shirt by Margo. I’d like to steal it :-)

Buttons: the buttons were a surprise gift from Vicki Kate Makes – which were also perfect on my daughter’s Japanese shirt. They just seem to go with everything! Thank you xo.


I think shirtmaking is a long journey, I have many miles to go. I love making shirts, I find them methodical and precise – it’s like sewing yoga to me – I really relax when making them.

I decided to invest in a few resources including both David Page Coffin books (read GingerMakes. review of The Shirtmaking Workbook). I’ve made a couple of shirts (sorry behind in blog posts), stalked menswear stores for inspiration (just the shirts I promise!) and crawled my way across Pinterest.

So I hope there will be more shirts to share in the future.

Out & About

Busy times coming up with three weekends away. This weekend it’s Newcastle for dancing mum duties, then Melbourne for Frocktails, followed by Brisbane for the theatre – Dracula! Somehow must find time to sew.

Burda 6849, sewn with Pink Carnation Floral Printed Cotton Voile from Mood Fabrics NY

Burda 6849, view C. Sometimes I get demure and cover my wrists…

Not a city girl anymore… Sydney Jacket by Tessuti Fabrics

I expected to love this more… maybe it will grow on me – never say never. I can take a little longer to fall in love or warm to things… so I’m trying to be patient (not one of my finer qualities).

Sydney Jacket by Tessuti Fabrics, Australia.

Styled to death :-) because that’s how I roll.

This is the Sydney Jacket by Tessuti Fabrics. Every other blogger in the southern hemisphere seems to have made this (some multiple times), talked about it, considered making it or read about it – OK I’m exaggerating but that’s how it feels! It will be interesting to see if Sydney fever hits our northern hemisphere friends as their winter approaches.

It’s certainly a different jacket pattern with a fresh take on construction techniques. We all love a challenge, so curiosity might get the better of some bloggers – certainly did me!

I loved it as soon as it was released. It’s got all of the perfect ingredients – a slightly deconstructed feel, modern, perfect for layering, exposed seams and of course… draped. It should be my perfect jacket. I’m Sydney born and bred so this was a sentimental make, I adore Sydney but I have lived on my beautiful coastal patch for nearly 15 years now. Maybe the salt and sand has seduced me after all.

Sydney Jacket by Tessuti Fabrics, Australia.

I love the shorter sleeves, it’s very cool layering piece

There are lots of things that I like about this particular style, I love…

  • the short sleeves – it’s ideal for those not so cold days, perfect for layering and accessorising
  • the seam details
  • the pockets
  • the length – I love a longer line jacket for when I’m cruising about, they have a bit of flair and drama about them

I think a slightly heavier or more textured fabric might have worked better. I’m not a massive fan of the curved back yoke on me, I feel a little slumped. The lapels feel massive. Yes, I guess I could have fiddled with them for the photos… but this is how they fall on me so that’s how I left them.

This pattern is available as PDF (and printed) and at $10 for a PDF it’s a competitive price. It also comes with an A0 print shop version… which is often a deal clincher for me. My local Xerox shop prints A0 sheets for about $2.50 each. I really can’t stand sticking together A4 sheets and will avoid it whenever possible. It also comes as a ‘print at home’ file option.

The fabric is Italian cashmere coating from The Fabric Store, Brisbane – I can’t go to Brisbane and not go there, lovely store and lovely staff. This is gorgeous fabric that has a beautiful sheen and feels like liquid. If I don’t even up wearing this, I’m hoping to salvage enough fabric from my leftovers and the jacket itself to make a smaller jacket… I’m going to wait.

Sydney Jacket by Tessuti Fabrics

No scarf… BTW I made up the ‘petite’ version of the Sydney.

Despite my bellyaching, I really like this pattern and recommend it if you are a little jaded of traditional jacket patterns – or lining, collars and buttons/zippers scare you. It’s fun and interesting to make. Most of the seams are overlapped by 3/8 inch and you sew down the centre of the overlap. The side seams are sewn in a traditional manner.

Sydney Jacket by Tessuti Fabrics, Australia. Construction, the seams

I marked 3/8 inch in from the edge with pins, overlapped the edges and then sewed down the middle. You could choose to mark this with chalk or with thread – or by eye!

The instructions provide lots of photographs which is helpful. However sometimes the text is on one page & the photo is on the next. It’s not a drama it’s just a couple of times I’d find myself looking at a photograph at the top of the page & reading the text underneath… then realising the associated text was on a previous page. It’s just how I read, nothing wrong with the pattern instructions. I just found flicking between pages for one step threw out my rhythm a little.

There are pockets… not in the side seams… and no welts… oh no, you cut through the front of the jacket piece to gain access… yes, that requires a little bit of faith! And yes, more raw edges. The pockets certainly made for an interesting construction step – I love trying and learning new things.

Sydney Jacket by Tessuti Fabrics, Australia.

Those lapels swamp me. I didn’t fiddle with them for photos and that is how they fell which I think has to do with the weight of the fabric.

All the edges are raw. So if you hate hems – this is the pattern for you! You do need to keep that in mind when selecting fabric as something that frays will not be suitable. Think boiled/felted wools, neoprene and ponte.

I really enjoyed making this – fun pattern, interesting jacket… Love at first sight doesn’t always happen – how many times have you dreamed of a garment, tried it on RTW and felt slightly deflated? Or felt lukewarm about something and then worn it forever? Well, that happens with sewing as well. This is definitely a case of ‘it’s not you, it’s me’. Great pattern.. perhaps not on me (I feel like the lone blogger *sobs*).

Sydney Jacket by Tessuti Fabrics, Australia.

Taking a moment to soak up some warm winter sun.

Sorry can’t type much more – I’m typing like demented drunk monkey as I managed to sew straight through the pad of my left index finger on Friday morning… twice… yes, it hurt and still hurts – a lot. Funnily enough, I was madly stitching down fused (but not cooperative) stars onto my daughter’s ‘superhero’ tshirt (complete with gold net cape – her special power was ‘kindness and generosity’) so she could read her story to the kindergarten class in character that day.Giselle was thrilled (apart from the bleeding and swearing mother element) as the teacher said that if there was a ‘best dressed award’ it would have been her – more exciting because it was all thought out and designed by her. Superhero daughter status… but right now I’m sewing and typing a lot slower for a while!

There are lots of gorgeous version out there to inspire you…

Pattern: Sydney Jacket by Tessuti
Fabric: Cashmere coating, The Fabric Store (Brisbane)
Boots: Flore from Duo, scarf from Metalicus (old fave), beads from Portmans (years ago)

There’s potential for scoring a part-time job as a windsock at least…

Sydney Jacket by Tessuti Fabrics,

A little bit of swooping action… who doesn’t love a dramatic coat?

A Casual Flutter (Tunic) & Papercut Pattern Giveaway Winner

or One Good Flutter Deserves Another…

I’ve worn my rayon Flutter Tunic several times and was even stopped this week by a lady who asked “where did you get that amazing dress?” I was wearing it with my beloved black Avani boots as blogged – plus opaque black tights, a white scarf and long red wool coat.

And one good Flutter deserves another… yes? So I decided to try a more casual look…

Flutter Tunic, Papercut Patterns. Front view.

Yes those are crazy OTT vintage cowboy boots… they inspire deep hatred or love. I don’t mind either way – they are fun to wear and make me smile. Although the lower front boot cut makes my legs look longer (or tunic shorter!) than my styling of the first Flutter dress!

Yes, it’s short but you only live once, my new boots (in transit) which I planned to wear with this, finish closer to my knee – which means less legs and the tunic doesn’t look quite as… frisky… I’ll wear this with tights in winter – it was such a beautiful winter afternoon I couldn’t be bothered. All the headlands and beaches were packed with people, walking and watching for the migrating whales. We saw a whale breach near the lighthouse – I still get excited by that stuff!

This Casual Flutter was inspired by Kirsty of Top Notch – she blogged her gorgeous frocktails Silk Flutter last week and mentioned she’d like a denim one. So when this paisley denim fabric threw itself out of the stash on Saturday afternoon shrieking it needed to be a Flutter, I made it – in less than three hours. I’m not the only one who has a chatterbox fabric stash am I?

I’d like to make another in plain denim with feature stitching and pockets. Pretty sure that might happen soon.

Flutter Tunic, Papercut Patterns. Side view.

Flutter Tunic, Papercut Patterns. Side view. My more sensible (flat!) Flore Duo Boots.

Flutter Tunic, Papercut Patterns. Back view.

Flutter Tunic, Papercut Patterns. Back view. While the tunic is loose, I don’t think it’s shapeless.

I used readymade bias binding for the neckline as I felt the denim would have been bulky. It worked beautifully.

Flutter Tunic, Papercut Patterns. Neckline binding

Flutter Tunic, Papercut Patterns. Neckline binding

I overlocked/serged all the pieces before I sewed the seams. I don’t usually do this for fear of warping or stretching the edges – however denim is quite stable to work with. I find the 1cm seam allowance is a bit fiddly to feed through my overlocker after sewing the seams so I decided the neaten the edges before I began.

Wow, there were a lot of entrants – over 120! Thank you so much for your interest and comments. I put everyone’s name in a spreadsheet to provide each name with a number. Then I used random.org to generate a number… and the winner is…

PIPS! of The Girl in a Teacup!

Flutter Tunic, Papercut Patterns. Front view.

Ahhhhh, those flutter sleeves… I love them! Flutter Tunic, Papercut Patterns.

Pattern: Flutter Tunic, Papercut Patterns
Fabric: Paisley printed denim, Spotlight
Boots: Flore Duo Boots & vintage American boots (obviously I suffered a severe bout of boot indecisiveness today)
Scarf: Cotton lace of forgotten origin. It is a paisley pattern though. Pure coincidence!

Note: Papercut Patterns provided this pattern for preview purposes. All opinions my own – I’ve made it twice just because I enjoy making and wearing it so much. No affiliate links in this post.

Oxley Beach, Port Macquarie.

Oxley Beach, Port Macquarie.

This post first appeared on http://www.sewbusylizzy.com

Flutter Tunic, Papercut Patterns

I didn’t expect to knock out another Papercut Patterns project so quickly… but when the inspiration strikes, one must sew along with it… meet my new Flutter Tunic (with a little bit of grrrrr)

Papercut Patterns, Flutter tunic, front view

Flutter Tunic, front view

This is a garment shape that people either love and shy away from. One of the responses I have had to this is “grrrrrrr” which is apparently manspeak for “sexy“. Not quite the response I anticipated to a loose & simple dress.

I planned to make the Flutter blouse – then I spotted this blue/blue/white splatter print rayon ottoman suiting in my stash… and it just seemed the obvious choice for the tunic. I love this fabric, it’s got a bit of weight to it yet has a nice drape.

Papercut Patterns Flutter tunic, side view

Flutter tunic, side view

I added 1.5 inches to the length as it seemed a little saucy… and then cut it off when I finished the tunic – perhaps I’m a hussy at heart after all :-) The added length transformed the  ‘flutter’ into a ‘feedsack’. On my frame and height, the loose silhouette needs to be balanced by a shorter length. I turned the hem up by 1.25 inches. I’m an un-statuesque 5 foot 4 if that helps with your future Flutter tunic length decisions.


The tunic has French darts to provide some shape to the boxy body. The shoulders are dropped, the sleeves are flared and the back hem dips slightly.

Flutter tunic - Papercut Patterns package

Flutter tunic – Papercut Patterns package (in the background is a hoarded silk I’m thinking about turning into a Summer Flutter Tunic…

My fabric is rather ‘busy’ so here is the line art so you can see the detail.

Flutter tunic - Papercut Patterns: line art, measurements and fabric requirements

Flutter tunic – Papercut Patterns: line art, measurements and fabric requirements

This is an easy sew… the most work is the bias binding on the neckline, which in this fabric was not at all fiddly and was easy to achieve a nice neat finish. I didn’t have quite enough fabric to cut the strip on the bias… so I cut it on the ‘semi bias’ ie at an angle but not quite 45 degrees… it seemed to work, probably helped along by the agreeable nature of the fabric.

Back neck detail

Back neck detail, finished with self-fabric bias binding. Sorry, pattern matching impossibility with this one!


  • This is an easy garment to make. There are a couple of darts, you set the sleeves in flat (then sew up the side seams all in one go) and the hem only has a slight curve to it. The neckline is finished with a bias strip. You could do this in a contrast fabric or trim as per the pattern envelope.
  • I didn’t expect to love this quite as much as I do. It’s one of the strangely fabulous garments to wear. I stitched it up with a sickening ‘sack dress anxiety’ sensation and got a big surprise when I put it on! I’m wearing it out to a work dinner tonight.
  • I like the wide neckline with the v-back.

    This wide deep neckline is growing on me...

    This wide deep neckline is growing on me…

  • Yes it is short… however as it is straight there is no ‘oops’ that can happen with the Saiph circle skirt tunic in a sea breeze (which happened once… in front of a bunch of bikies… seriously).
  • I can imagine wearing this with leggings, a long scarf and a light, loose wool jacket on colder days. I think it would make a gorgeous summer dress as well in a different fabric.
  • I suspect some people will be tempted to add shape to this silhouette with some darts or a belt… however I love it as is. I think the loose shape works in a shorter length. The legs get enough attention without drawing more attention to the rest of my figure. This is definitely ‘all about the legs’ garment for me.

Pattern: Papercut Patterns, Flutter Tunic/Top. I made the tunic in XXS, choosing my size based on bust measurement, no grading for my XS hips. I left the length as drafted, I am 5 foot 4.
Fabric: 1.5m Rayon Ottoman Suiting from Spotlight, Australia. About $15 per metre, I think I scooped this up during a 30% or 40% off sale.
Necklace: Jellystones
Boots: Avani, Duo Boots

Also see: Beautyfull Handmade Tunic & Blouse | High tea & Hydrangeas Tunic & Blouse | Jolies Bobines Blouse

(now closed – thank you for your interest!)
Katie from Papercut Patterns has generously offered to send one of my readers a Papercut Pattern of their choice – anywhere in the world – thanks Katie!

Just let me know the comments below if you would like to be included in the giveaway draw! (giveaway is now closed. Closed on Sunday 6 July, 6pm – Australian Eastern Standard Time). My Sway Dress and Flutter Tunic are from the recently released Chameleon range. The full Papercut Patterns range is available here.

Note: Papercut Patterns provided this pattern for preview purposes. All opinions my own. No affiliate links in this post.

Papercut Patterns, Flutter tunic, side view

These photos were taken in Port Macquarie, at the end of the ‘eat street’ in the CBD.

This post first appeared on http://www.sewbusylizzy.com