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!)

Sewaholic Hollyburn – nice but not ‘me’

The Sewaholic Hollyburn was of those patterns I had always been curious to see what all the fuss was about. So when I received a copy from Stitch 56 it seemed the perfect choice for a navy linen midi skirt I had in my head.

Sewaholic Hollyburn

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a red striped Tessuti Mandy Boat Tee (free pattern, unblogged) and a blue glass beads from Arthouse Industries (mine)

Then I lost the pattern in my sewing room for months… when it eventually resurfaced I made it up.

The pattern is lovely, easy to sew and you get a nice result. It’s got pockets – which some people seem to go barmy about. I’m a bit weird about a few things… and one is that I don’t put things in pockets if it distorts the line of the garment – that’s what a handbag is for. These sorts of pockets are just for hands in my life.

I decided to line the skirt as linen is notorious for creasing and lining does help alleviate that to a degree. I would share a picture of the immaculate insides… however I just can’t find the skirt. It’s as if the Hollyburn doesn’t want to be part of my life!

I cut a size 0 with the longest possible length.

It’s a well made skirt and I’m pleased with the finish.

Unfortunately I don’t think the midi length is for me. The skirt is lovely but like a few other 2014 makes just don’t feel like me. As you can see I tried a number of tops and accessories – and still struggle with how to wear it and feel like myself. I guess the upside of sewing things that don’t feel quite right is that you learn now about what you do like!

The photos were taken late in the afternoon so the light was bad – with the exception of the first one below, which was taken several weeks earlier – then I spent a while trying to figure out how I might wear it. I think most simply it’s just not me, I feel like I should be drinking cups of tea and eating scones, I’m convinced my mother would love it. It doesn’t fit into my work or casual wardrobe.

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a floral shirt

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a floral shirt

Sewaholic Hollyburn

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a red striped Tessuti Mandy Boat tee and an Arthouse Industries necklace. Probably prefer this look the most. It’s timeless.

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a white tank and a scarf

Sewaholic Hollyburn with a RTW white tank and a scarf (Just Jeans). The ill-fitting RTW tank top has been ditched. Quite like this combo – the scarf works well.

Sewaholic Hollyburn with Maria Denmark day-to-night tank

Sewaholic Hollyburn with Maria Denmark day-to-night tank

Sewaholic Holllyburn with RTW white shirt.

Sewaholic Holllyburn with RTW white shirt.

I made this months ago – all the way back in September. I just didn’t feel particularly inspired about it. So other makes overtook it in the blogging queue. My workload in the final months of the year is always excessive and ‘life’ stuff has been less than great, so the urge to write all but disappears some days. Anyway all things, good and bad, come to an end eventually.

If I seem quiet here, you can usually find me on instagram – where I’m posting WIPs, project ideas, what I’m wearing some days and other ‘stuff’.

This pattern has been very popular – you only need to google it to see just how many times it has been made. It has had rave reviews. It reminds me of my McCalls shirtdress experience. It’s a perfectly nice pattern, it’s been made over and over again, all over the internet. It’s just not my style. I think I prefer pencil skirts or long floaty maxi skirts – I also like yokes over waistbands. However just because it’s not for me – doesn’t mean it’s not for you.

I really struggle with skirts and dresses that are flared and have a centre seam. Is it just me or does that make the skirt move awkwardly when you walk? I find it’s more inclined to tangle between your legs – and I hate fiddling with my clothes when I’m wearing them.

Pattern: Sewaholic Hollyburn, provided by Stitch 56
Fabric: Metro linen shell, lawn lining from Spotlight.

I’ve made five tops recently. Four knit tshirts and one woven top. The weather has been horrid lately so there has been little or no opportunity to get outside and take some pictures. Hopefully the rain eases soon.

I got some lovely Christmas presents this year, including tickets to see Lior, an independent Australian musician… enjoy…

Sunshine Sewaholic Gabriola – a mega yellow maxi skirt

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

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

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

Sewaholic Gabriola Maxi Skirt

Sewaholic Gabriola Maxi Skirt

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

Sewaholic Gabriola Maxi Skirt - side view and seam details

Sewaholic Gabriola Maxi Skirt – side view and seam details


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

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

Sewaholic Gabriola Maxi Skirt

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

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

Sewaholic Gabriola Maxi Skirt

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

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

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

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

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

Sewaholic Gabriola Skirt - back view.

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

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

Sewaholic Gabriola Maxi Skirt

hello – I think I’m on fire!

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

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

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

Sewaholic Gabriola Maxi Skirt

Gabriola – she likes to make a sweeping entrance!

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

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

Also see: Cirque Du Babe | Lilacs & Lace

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

Lots and lots of very big trees!

Lots and lots of very big trees!

When Chuck met Cambie… or I knitted a jumper…

Just a quick little post… I knitted a jumper!

Chuck by Andi Satterlund - front view

Chuck by Andi Satterlund – front view. Dear God – how tired are those eyes!

This one took me waaaaayyyyy longer than it should of. Once you understand how to knit cables, it’s not that tricky (really, I swear it’s easy – would I lie to you? Thank heavens for YouTube is all I can say…). It’s just concentrating that’s difficult and making sure EVERY SINGLE STITCH you knit/purl/cable corresponds with the knitting graph – that IS the challenge. One stitch wrong in a pattern like this and it’s obvious.

I had to rip back the first 15-20 rows in the pattern… not once but twice! I almost gave up but I knuckled down and I’m glad didn’t give up – and trust me I was soooo tempted to knit something else!

Chuck by Andi Satterlund - pattern not quite perfect but it's FINISHED!

Chuck by Andi Satterlund – pattern not quite perfect but it’s FINISHED! Yes, I was thinking that I completely rocked at this moment.

There is one tiny hiccup near the top of the second pattern repeat. It’s so minor I left it. The thought of ripping back about five or so rows was soul destroying. So I decided to keep my soul in tact and knit on. It’s barely noticeable. I’m glad I kept my soul in one piece.

Love this wool – it’s Malabrigo Worsted in Buscazul Buscando Azul, it’s so soft it feels like cotton wool. I purchase it from yarn.com and it comes down to less that $10 a skein (I used three) + postage.

I think the wide neckline of this design may be somewhat limiting for wear however it’s got the great visual trick of widening out the shoulders while the waist nips into providing a great hourglass shape.

Chuck by Andi Satterlund - back view

Chuck by Andi Satterlund – back view

I do love Andi’s designs, they are snug and cute as a button. They seem to be the perfect paring for Sewaholic Designs (I’ve paired Chuck with my Cambie Pox Dress – and I think they fell in love… he loves her spots and all). Andi’s designs are quite short but they finish bang on your waist and are perfect with retro-style dresses.

when Chuck met Cambie...

when Chuck met Cambie… this photo was taken by Miss 8 – camera settings not quite right (too dark and shadowy) but she was thrilled to have a go at blog photography!

Cambie was also perfect with Marion remember? She’s a versatile lass.

Sewaholic Cambie & Andi Satterlund's Marion

Sewaholic Cambie & Andi Satterlund’s Marion

Next up Andi’s Agatha – in RED!

Jumper: Chuck by Andi Satterlund, Wool from yarn.com
Dresses: Cambie by Sewaholic (if you are in Australia, it’s available from Sew Squirrel).

Psst…. Don’t forget to check out my Crazy Barbie Doll dress and enter the giveaway!

SEWING SURPRISES SWOP (and maybe a new Cambie…)

I’ve been amazed at how frantic life has been since my return from holidays. I should have posted this when I got home – however it was so sweet and lovely I wanted to take lovely pictures… thank you Sparkly Super Nova for organising this! On the upside this post has been lost in the tidal wave of posts following a swop!

Sewing Surprises from Musings of a Seamstress

First up – check out these lovely hair bows that Sarah sent to me for my girls. I know – soooo cute. You can buy these from Sarah Etsy’s shop which will help fund her adoption project – please take some time to read about it here

Bows for Adoption

Bows for Adoption – my girls love these!

She also sent me this necklace which is just perfection. I love love love love it. I know – green with envy? I’m not sure where Sarah got this but it’s perfect and I love it. Even the chain is beautiful and dainty.

Sewing Surprises Swop - neckalce

Sewing Surprises Swop – necklace

And watcha wearing with that Lizzy?

Sewaholic Cambie - Little Skulls

Sewaholic Cambie – Little Skulls. Note to self: iron dress before photos next time Lizzy!

ummmmmm, it might be Cambie No.4…. OK stop laughing. Cambie 1, Cambie 2 & Cambie 3 are all much loved members of my dress family and they wanted a little sister. She’s a bit naughtier than the others… if you look closely…

Skulls Sewaholic Cambie

Skulls Sewaholic Cambie

I love the sweetness of the Sewaholic Cambie shape combined with the quirky little aqua skulls. When I started knitting the cardigan I had an immediate vision the Little Skulls Cambie with it.

There really isn’t much I can’t tell you about Cambie that I haven’t already. It’s a lovely shape, well drafted and by far the easiest full lined dress I’ve made so far.


Sewaholic Cambie - Little Skulls

Sewaholic Cambie – Little Skulls with Icecream Marion

Cute cardie… did you make that too? Yes I did! I’ve been a bit ‘knit obsessed’ this year. this delightful little monster is Marion by Andi Satterlund. It’s a new release and I just HAD to knit it as soon as I saw it. I adore the cables and I really wanted a longer sleeved cardigan as I wear my Whole Wheat cardigan a lot – cream goes with just about everything. When this cream Malabrigo arrived from yarn.com I was a little disappointed with the colour. Fortunately as soon as I started to knit it up, I fell in love. The colour reminds me of icecream and hence I call this cardigan my Icecream Marion.

It’s perfection with Cambie as it finishes right on the waistband… and Tasia of Sewaholic fame is in fact also knitting this, I spied her over on Ravelry with Marion WIP.

Marion by Andi Satterlund - available on Ravelry

Marion by Andi Satterlund – available on Ravelry

I love the buttons, they are coconut shell. The shop only had one card of four buttons and the pattern said I needed five. Then I read the pattern (I know, novel idea) and I only needed four for the smaller size. If I knit this again (and I’m tempted to in red) I will just do three button holes.

At the Historic Cemetery

At the Historical Cemetery

It just seemed perfect to photograph this dress in our Historical Cemetery. It is no longer used as a cemetery but it is where the free settlers were buried in the early days of European settlement in Port Macquarie, the graves are scattered randomly through beautiful grass and trees, it’s quite serene (this from a girl that freaks out at the idea of serenity). It’s now a beautiful park at the end of our main street.

Dress: Sewaholic Cambie (purchased from Sew Squirrel)
Cardigan: Marion by Andi Satterlund from Ravelry. Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted from yarn.com

I’ve been fearsomely tired this weekend with a crashing headache for two days. Not great pictures but hopefully I’m not looking so drained for my By Hand London Victoria Blazer – which is not far off being finished!!

And my hair is HORRID. Off to get that fixed this Tuesday!

AND! I went to the recent Sydney meet-up organised by Kristy of Lower Your Press Foot – you can check out all the pictures here at Little Betty’s blog… I felt like I cheated but my 1950 vintage lace dress just seemed the perfect choice for High Tea!

The Sydney Meet-up outfit - 1950s lace...

The Sydney Meet-up outfit – 1950s lace…

SoSleepyLizzy – Sewaholic Tofino Pants

Sewaholic Tofino Pants

Oh look SewBusyLizzy – she’s awake!

Agreed. I’m a notoriously busy person. If I’m awake I’m working, exercising, reading, writing, knitting, driving ‘mum’s taxi’, cleaning (not so much…), cooking, talking, laughing,making exceptionally bad jokes, tweeting, facebooking, blogging… and of course sewing!

Every now and then I sleep. Yes really, I DO sleep. Sometimes.

I confess I do sometimes wake up & if I can’t sleep I check Twitter & Facebook… Clearly I find it very hard to ‘stop’. If I’m conscious, my brain starts whirring. I can’t handle yoga, mood lighting & candles horrify me, and don’t even start me on rainforest / whale-singing relaxing tapes.

Since I started sewing my brain has been happily whirring with colours, patterns, design ideas – which has been infinitely more happy to endure than work stress & other stuff. Sewing doesn’t make me sick with anxiety, if my brain is going to be busy – well sewing ain’t such a bad thing to be thinking about, yes?. These days my brain is blissfully happy with creative ideas in spare moments. No brainer right? Sew more people!

So when Karen from Did You Make That? launched the 2013 Pyjama Party I decided perhaps a little more sleeping was in order.

And we all know I like… (OK LOVE) Sewaholic patterns so it was necessary I join in! I jumped online and ordered my Tofinos from Sew Squirrel.

Ta da! Tofino pants!

Sewaholic Tofino Pants

Sewaholic Tofino Pants

These are black voile Swiss dot with pale pink piping. I opted to use a double-sided satin ribbon for the waist sash rather then fabric and I think it’s rather cute. I wanted something a little ‘fancy’, ‘evening wear’, ‘tuxedo’ style.

Paired them with my favorite old concert tshirt – (Chris Isaak, I still love you MWAH).

I had planned to sew a top to go with the pants but my old Chris Isaak tshirt seemed perfect. Can you believe this was sold as a one size fits all?? I guess if it didn’t fit, you could just use it to wipe drool from your chin while watching Chris Isaak perform… (Lizzy enough of the celebrity crush….! ENOUGH).

What can I say? It’s another well-drafted pattern by Tasia. It’s easy to sew. Goes together quickly. It’s got simple yet effective design features… mock fly front, piping to make your pins seem longer, little details to make your PJ bots more than just ‘daks’.

I like the impact of the pink and the black, it’s kinda girly, dressy, masculine all at the same time.

Sewaholic Tofino Pants

Me being a dork (this happens with all too frequently)

I did think about turning up the cuffs and hemming with more piping. HOWEVER! That piping makes stumpy pins look longer. So no external piped cuffs for me. Elle MacPhearson move over. SewBusyLizzy is in da house.

Sewaholic Tofino Pants

Sewaholic Tofino Pants – lotsa piping

I have a deep loathing of tracksuit pants – even if they are warm… however I’m seriously tempted to make these in fleece… somebody stop me!

Me likely. Tofino THUMBS UP. Thank you Tasia MWAH!


I know BEST.SLIPPERS.EVER. Sheepskin from NZ. Love

BTW. I’ve nearly finished Cambie no.4 & Cambie no.5 is in progress…

BTW2. My Abakhan fabrics 15 Pound Aussie project is also nearly completed. It’s cool! Watch this space!

BTW3. My By Hand London Victoria Blazer is also in progress (yes I’m a stitcher with ADHD at the moment) and its looking WICKED. Silk dupioni, vintage sari… patience people!

Thanks Karen!


Firstly thank you so very much for all your lovely comments on my last post. It was surprisingly cathartic to write and I really appreciate your comments. I never expected to win, I suspect my reaction/thoughts are simply the outcome of working in a highly regulated environment where opinion, personality & relationships cease to exist. Everything is done by ‘due process’… and I sew to escape it. So rather than looking for reasons, explanations, criteria – I’m just going to except there isn’t always going to be those things in my sewing world and that’s what I need.

£15 AUSSIE RETURNS: Abakhan Fabrics
I finished my £15 Aussie project for Abakhan Fabricsbefore I left for London. This month I chose a lovely grey wool suiting and I must say I was rather taken with it!

I used Simplicity 2451 – a skirt much beloved by bloggers. I added a lining and hand stitched the zipper in.

For £15 this is a brilliant work skirt. I loved wearing it. There will be more – no time for detail pictures, I had to fly to London! I should not have put my hands in the pocket for this picture, it looks like it pulls and it doesn’t.


And I’ve been busy sewing and knitting other things…

a detail shot of my just-finished Vine Bolero (Ravelry)


And a Japanese rayon knit Sewaholic Renfrew


and I’ve managed to squeeze a skirt out of this.


Must go. I’ve got to pack a bag for Paris…

PS: Abakhan sent me a ‘few’ things for the meet-up…