Vogue 8997 – just a delightful dress

Sorry Рblog binge Рtwo dress posts in one day. I am too pleased with this one to wait!

It’s easy to be seduced by the pages of designer patterns offered by Vogue – I am all.the.time. However quietly lurking in the back of the catalogues are pages of timeless designs that look equally gorgeous sewn up.

So here’s one of the unsung non-designer heroes from the ‘Vogue Easy Options dresses‘ catalogue pages. Sorry for the photo spam but there are so many things to like about this dress. After we took the river shots I suddenly remembered this charity If We All Had Wings wall art and wanted to use it as well – because #wings #ifweallhadwingsūüôā

Vogue 8997 - if we all had wings

Vogue 8997 –¬†a classic ‘pretty’ dress

described by Vogue as:

Lined dress has princess seams, close-fitting bodice, front and back V-neckline, raised waist, stitched hems, back zipper, and unlined sleeve variations. A: Butterfly sleeves and narrow hem. B, C: Sleeveless. A, B, C: Flared skirt. D, E, F: Semi-fitted skirt, and back slit. D: Short sleeves and contrast panels. F: Three-quarter length sleeves.

Includes separate pattern pieces for A, B, C and D cup sizes.

Vogue 8997 - pattern cover. Image from Vogue patterns.

Vogue 8997 – pattern cover. Image from Vogue patterns. https://voguepatterns.mccall.com/v8997

Things I Love

The back! I love, love, love the v-back on this dress.

I love the back view of this dress. LOVE IT,

I love the back view of this dress. LOVE IT.


Vogue 8997

Pockets – and I also love the v-neck. I think it’s one of my favourite neckline styles.

I love how the skirt falls in eight panels from the bodice. It skims across your waist and flares out beautifully. Plus it is very comfortable to sit in, eat a large meal in… I know this because I have!

I feel super girly - yet not too fussy - in this dress. I love it.

I feel super girly – yet not too fussy – in this dress. I love it.

Princess seam bodice… and it comes in A, B, C and D cup sizes.

Oh and the TWIRL factor.

Vogue 8997

Twirling – I don’t do this much, since I had children my balance is seriously out of whack!

Construction Notes

I used an invisble zipper so changed the construction slightly to accommodate it.

I turned up the dress hem with bias binding as I like the finish.

I attached the lining differently to the instructions.¬†I find the usual Vogue instructions are much more fiddly and don’t result in such a clean finish. Rather than create a huge online tutorial on this – you can read all about it on the Slapdash Sewist’s blog. I don’t often see the point in reinventing the wheel.

I hand sewed the lining to the zipper as I sometimes find it easier to get a neat finish at the top of the zipper pull. I also hand sewed all the hems. Yes, it took a couple of nights but it’s relaxing and I don’t use my machine once the kids are in bed.

The bodice pieces are all interfaced.

I decided to line the dress with fine cotton lawn. This makes the skirt rather full but I love it.

Minor Things

I think I need to fiddle with the fit a little as it feels a little roomy across the upper bust.


I do wish that the lining had a faced lining around the neckline.

I might run the skirt seams in a little if I make this again as it’s just a little large through the waist… but then again… oh so comfortable.

Holy heck, it’s a lot of hand hemming to sew the lining and the dress hems on this one!

I’m feeling inspired to sew a few more dresses right now!

Thanks Vogue for a lovely pattern, don’t send it to the OOP sin bin too fast!

Pattern: Vogue 8997. Size 6, B-cup.
Fabric: Linen/rayon blend from Lincraft, Australia. Sadly sold out at my store and I can’t see it online *sobs*. I just adore the vivid colours and the drape of this fabulous fabric.
Also see: Barbara Jane Made | Zoopolis | Madame Sew & Sew with lace Рso pretty! | Dellia | Sew Limitless | Elle L Silks 

Wall Art: If We All Had Wings – a local charity that supports families with cancer patients.

An ‘out take’ with my self-proclaimed ‘posing coach’… she’s 11… stop growing child!

She's kooky and I adore her. My lovely little Giselle.

She’s kooky and I adore her. My lovely little Giselle.

Vogue 1499 – playing with stripes

I’ve had a few of these projects in the last 12 months, the things that just miss the mark. While I’m not ‘in love’ with this dress, I don’t dislike it terribly. It’s a fun design and I enjoyed making it.

Vogue 1499, Anne Klein design, side view

OK but not quite right – fit or style wise

While I used to berate myself for wasting fabric, bad choices and so on… I don’t feel that way any more. Every garment or project contains a lesson in itself, whether it is better understanding fabric choices, personal style, new construction methods and so on.

I’ve been on the hunt for some ‘pretty’ dress patterns. For casual ‘weekend’ clothes I prefer¬†loose t-shirts, simple dresses, jeans, maxi skirts and so on. However¬†the rest of my wardrobe is work/event/going-out and is quite different and I’ve been looking for dress patterns to refresh that part of my wardrobe.

I started with Vogue 1499, an Anne Klein design. Like many sewers, I’ve drawn to sewing with stripes. The fun you have stripe matching and the way stripes can quite alter your silhouette is endlessly fun.

The dress is described by Vogue as: Lined dress (partially cut on crosswise grain) has fitted bodice, cap sleeves, side-front and side-back seams, pleated skirt, and invisible back zipper. Note: No provisions provided for above waist adjustment.

Vogue 1499, Anne Klein design

Vogue 1499, Anne Klein design. Image from Vogue Patterns

While this double ikat (I think that is what is called when the stripes run both directions) is quite lovely, I think like the Burda shirt, the colour & design is just all wrong for me.

The fabric has been sitting in my stash for a couple of years so I was happy to use it.

The dress bodice and it’s cap sleeves are¬†lined with a cotton lawn and I used bemsilk for the skirt lining. The skirt has separate pattern pieces to the pleated outer skirt and is a loose a-line shape.

I did iron this – however it got slightly crushed in the car driving into town to take some rushed photos after work. Plus I think the seat belt put a huge crease in the front bodice (these are compulsory in Australia). We had to try a few spots in the CBD to escape the ever-present wind at the moment.

What’s not quite right for me

I also think that this design would have looked much better in a smaller stripe. I’ve taken a pattern and sewn it in a very casual fabric and not quite achieved my usual ‘casual’ style or a¬†dressy dress. Such is life!

The fit seemed quite roomy and I ended up having to unpick the neckline, add two back neck darts. The front bodice is still a little large at the neckline.

Vogue 1499, Anne Klein design, back view

I spent some time matching those stripes and was quite pleased with the result! It was a very windy afternoon unfortunately!

The sewn down pleats seem to length my already long torso and I am considering unpicking them.

The waistline, despite all those directional stripes, isn’t as flattering as I hoped. It seems to thicken my waist.

Maybe my shoulders are scrawny but the cap sleeves also seem a little too large.

Vogue 1499, Anne Klein design, front view

My waist seems to go on forever! Not sure if unpicking the sewn-down pleats would help.


It is an easy sew and spending some time, hand sewing some elements results in a really nice finish.

Despite not being my ‘dream dress’, I think it’s a lovely pattern and would be delightful on others. The bodice lines and the nice little bust darts are really lovely.

I think using some solid colour blocking on the side panels, rather than using stripes, could potentially look fabulous combined with a print.

I’ve¬†since made Vogue 8997 and LOVE it so that’s coming to the blog very soon.

Pattern: Vogue 1499
Fabric: Cotton Ikat from Spotlight Australia
Also see: Amanda’s Adventures in Sewing¬†| Pattern Review

Papercut Adrift Dress – a birthday dress

or When You Almost Exactly Copy The Pattern Envelope…

I had this lovely spotty rayon fabric in the stash and while I tried to resist more or less replicating the Papercut Patterns version, I couldn’t resist this pattern/fabric combination.¬†My Grainline Alder Dress¬†was made from the same fabric and has been a much-loved¬†summer dress… so here we are with a new summer dress!

Hello Papercut Adrift Dress

Papercut Adrift Dress - front view

Papercut Adrift Dress – front view

This pattern comes with a skirt and dress variation. Obviously this is the dress. The skirt option has front and back waist darts and a waistband.

Described by Papercut as…¬†A feminine dress for warm summer days. Features include gently ruffled sleeves and hemline, wrap skirt, bust darts and gathered waist with additional wrap skirt option. The wrap-around skirt option features a waistband with front and back darts.


Very simple. The pieces went together beautifully.

Skirt Construction

I did hit a snag as I traced the pattern pieces and constructed the garment without much (any) reference to the instructions Рother than a cursory glance.

When I went to fit the bodice to the skirt, they did not match at all… after a ‘what is wrong with me’ message to ever-helpful Papercut team, it turns out the skirt pattern pieces have darts marked on them but do not indicate it is for the skirt option only.

So if you are a derp-head like me and don’t always reference instructions, then you will hit a snag. Darts are only for the skirt option – this is not indicated on the pattern sheet. Once I unpicked the skirt¬†darts, it went together perfectly.

The instructions (when I did read them) have you attached the flounce/frill to the skirt pieces and then sew the front and back pieces together. I chose to sew the front/back skirt pieces together. Then the flounce pieces together. Then I attached the flounce as one piece to the skirt pieces.¬†I’m sure that one continuous seam doesn’t make ‘that’ much difference to the overall flow of the flounce… but I would prefer to construct the skirt that way.

You do need to do the skirt hem before you attach it to the bodice as the front flounces are sewn into the waist seam.¬†On the bright side, you won’t have a project hanging about that just requires a hem. This one forces you to hem mid project!

Papercut Adrift Dress - back view

Papercut Adrift Dress – back view

Seam Allowances

As the seam allowances are only 1/2 inch, I think it’s best to neaten all your edges before you sew the seams. In some cases the instructions do tell you to overlock before you sew the seam. In other cases not. Having sew a few Papercut Patterns I knew this was a issue and overlocked most things before I sewed the seams. I chose to overlock the skirt/flounce edges together after sewing the seam.

I find overlocking 1/2 inch seams a little more fiddly (after sewing a seam) and the results not as neat as those with a larger seam allowance. Some fabrics might distort while overlocking Рso be mindful of that.

Neck facing

The instructions also have you top stitch the neck facing down. I’ve chosen to catch stitch it¬†down at the shoulder seams and this has not been a problem.


The skirt and sleeve hems are finished with a narrow hem.

Papercut Adrift Dress - side view

Papercut Adrift Dress – side view (just befor birthday lunch at a local vineyard)

Waist tie

I did insert cord as instructed but didn’t like the look. ¬†So I made a thin cord of self fabric instead. I think next time I will try inserting elastic as I prefer as elastic gathers in a skirt at the waist – much more tidy. This would also mean no buttonholes at the waist for the cord.

The cord and fabric cord doesn’t slide as easily and I tend to arrange the gathers to be more evenly spaced.

I also found having a white cord hanging at my waist amongst the flounce at my waist was a bit visually messy.¬†Perhaps with a more patterned/floral fabric, the cord wouldn’t bother me – it all comes down to fabric choice and pattern.


I do rather love this.

A fairly simple sew – provided you have patience with attaching curved flounces and rather endless curved narrow hems.

Cute and fun. Feminine without being twee.

I love the sleeve/skirt flounces and the loose fit of the garment.

It’s best suited (in my opinion) for fabrics with some soft drape.

I thought I might add a little to the bodice length next time… I am 5 foot 4 but very long through the torso. Then again, the slightly raised waistline makes my legs look long when I wear heels… might not be such a bad thing?ūüôā

Papercut Adrift Dress - sleeves

Papercut Adrift Dress – sleeves

I’m surprised we haven’t seen more of these on blogs and social media, it’s a nice little summer dress.

Oh and it’s the ‘birthday dress’… because I wore it today for the first time, took photos after lunch and it’s my birthday… counts as a birthday dress… yes?

Pattern: Papercut Adrift Dress, XXS
Fabric: Rayon (woven), Spotlight (Australia). Purchased during a clearance sale for $3!
Shoes: Jo Mercer
All purchased by me.

Also see: Carly in Stitches  |  tagged Instagram posts


This post first appeared on www.sewbusylizzy.com

Alix Dress, By Hand London (the tester version)

This is the ‘tester’ version of the Alix Dress from By Hand London. I haven’t made up the newly released version.

Alix Dress - the tester version from By Hand London

Alix Dress – the tester version from By Hand London

It is described as: “ A high-waisted prairie dress with a V-neck yoke, inset waistband, tie back belt and a full skirt, pleated at centre front and back. And best of all, no zipper! With long, billowing raglan sleeves secured at the wrist with a delicate elasticated cuff and three skirt length options (& everything in between!)”. It’s got a 70s vibe which is one of my favourite eras. I made the tester UK 6 / US 2 size.

When I went to sew this dress up, the feedback from the earlier testers was the pleats were a little ‘pointy’ on smaller bust sizes and perhaps using gathers instead of the pleats might be worth trying.

I did this. However I think the gathers need to be spread over a larger distance than the pleat space as I ended up with a ‘puff’ of fabric directly under my bust with nowhere for it to go. You can see this below on the left hand side of the image.

The released pattern has been changed to have an option to change the pleat into a gather and from the purple sample on the By Hand London website, the gather has been eased across a greater distance on the inset waistband than I did here. That should remove the ‘puff’ of fabric issue.

It’s a shame as the general bust fit is OK on me and the neckline is lovely. Low but it is OK on my build.

Alix Dress, By Hand London

Alix Dress, By Hand London

I thought there was a considerable amount of easing to get the front bodice piece to fit into the arm. I think it is why there is bubbling above the bust along the armhole line. It’s not terrible but I would prefer a smoother fit. And I dare say I’ve put up with worse in RTW before I started sewing.

The fit does change depending on my bra choice as you would expect but that bubbling the upper bust remains. I have had a lot of compliments when I have worn it (from the non-sewing non-fit people in my life). Perhaps those people don’t zoom in on my bust zone!

I had to reduce the pleats in order to get the skirt piece to fit onto the inset waistband. I’m going to have to cut out the pattern again to see if this was some sort of idiot pattern cutting accident as apparently I was alone in this issue.


I don’t believe there have been many changes to the pattern I tested (other than the pleat to a gather option) and apparently my issues with the bust and upper bust fit were limited to me, the feedback on fit was generally very happy. Maybe I’m just becoming too fussy, I sewed it up too fast or my bust/upper bust is weird!

Despite all my issues, the print of the fabric hides many sins, I had to zoom in with the camera to capture the issues as once you step back the fabric puffs and bubbles seem to disappear. I have worn this dress a few times in the last few weeks as the rayon is cool to wear and I quite like long sleeve for a change. I’m not a massive fan of elastic in my wrist cuffs but it’s not a huge issue.

I made the mini dress version and while it is short, it is not self-consciously so – you should note I am 5 foot 4 or 164cm tall.

This dress has no buttons, zips etc. It simply slips over your head and ties pull the dress in for a neater fit.

The perfect accessory - an old happy greyhound

The perfect accessory – an old happy greyhound. Banjo was beetling around off-the-leash at his usual furious pace!

I’ve got lots of dresses I would like to make this summer but right now I need some sleeveless ones sooner rather than later!

Dress: Alix Dress, By Hand London (tester version), size sewn UK 6 / US 2.
Fabric: Woven rayon from Fantazia Fabricland, Tweed Heads QLD
Also See: Adventures of a Young Seamstress | Lily Sage & Co | Sewn by Ashley | Sweet Shard | Sew 2 Pro |

And this is what the first splash of cold water feels like some days…

Alix Dress, By Hand London

Alix Dress, By Hand London

Thank you all so much on your feedback on my last few posts. My work life has been exceptionally busy and I’ve been ‘on the road’ a few times in the last few weeks – however I have read them all and will respond as soon as I can!

The Unblogged – The Burdastyle Shirt

During the times I have been steamrolled by life, lots of things I’ve made have not made it to the blog. So I’ve decided to ‘release’ them as I stumble across them on my hard drive or wardrobe – for better or worse. I’m calling them the ‘unblogged’ which once the posts go live, they will no longer unblogged but whatever!

Some things I have loved & worn to death, others I’ve failed to love but worn anyway. Some I’ve never worn.

I made this shirt in May 2015. I actually spent a great deal of time squeezing the shirt out of the chosen stash fabric, a lovely soft cotton check.

Burda Gathered Peplum Blouse 03/2015 #109 sewn by Sew Busy Lizzy

Front view

I’m yet to wear it. I even photographed it twice. Trying to fall in love with it. I was feeling pretty blah – which never helps. I suspect this is one of ‘those’ garments. I can’t bear to throw it out as I hope I might suddenly figure out how to wear it. I did put a lot of effort into finishing it well.

Burda Gathered Peplum Blouse 03/2015 #109 sewn by Sew Busy Lizzy

front/side view

I ditched the placket pieces from the pattern and referred to the David Coffin Shirtmaking book to create my own pattern pieces. I do love how the long placket features a button mid way to prevent gaping. The two buttons on the cuff are cute too (I used pink here due to not having enough of the clear buttons!).

Burda Gathered Peplum Blouse 03/2015 #109 sewn by Sew Busy Lizzy

Sleeve placket

I cut the button bands, plackets, pockets and yoke on the bias.

Burda Gathered Peplum Blouse 03/2015 #109 sewn by Sew Busy Lizzy

Back yoke

Burda Gathered Peplum Blouse 03/2015 #109 sewn by Sew Busy Lizzy

Button Band

I cut and attached the pockets with care.

There is nothing ‘wrong’ with it. I’m sure some people roll their eyes when I call it a fail or dud. However I consider garments I’ve made for myself and not worn as a dud. After all, if you are sewing for yourself and it doesn’t work out – whether it’s construction or style – if you don’t wear it, well what was the point?

I think Sue on instagram nailed it with “The fabric is all kinds of wrong for you… dye it black (as above) or move it along for someone else to love” And believe it or not it was MARCY HARRIELL who made the most unexpectedly outragreous suggestion of dyeing it BLACK. However they are both right. It’s just not right and maybe it’s as simple as the colour… unless it’s the shape…

Burda Gathered Peplum Blouse 03/2015 #109 sewn by Sew Busy Lizzy

back view

Burda Gathered Peplum Blouse 03/2015 #109 sewn by Sew Busy Lizzy

I’m now seriously considering the black dye option.

Maybe if I had made it in a more sheer voile type fabric… maybe if I’d made another shirt… who knows.

It makes me feel like a ‘country girl’ and I’m really not.

Fate currently undetermined.

Pattern: Burda Gathered Peplum Blouse 03/2015 #109
Also see: Nine Stitches – LOVE this version
Fabric: cotton check shirting from Spotlight

Tunic Bible Winner…

Wow thanks to your huge response on the Tunic Bible giveaway – unfortunately there is¬†only one winner… and (determined by random number generator) the winner of the Tunic Bible winner is jaelh!

The Tunic Bible

The Tunic Bible

You can grab a copy of the Tunic Bible¬†at C&T Publishing ‚Ästall new customers receive a 30% discount by signing up on their¬†website and the ebook is now available. Or of course there is also¬†Amazon and other retailers.

Note: for this post I received a digital copy of the book The Tunic Bible from C&T Publishing to review. All opinions my own.

The last of the dancewear – Jalie Patterns to the rescue

I know that most are not particularly interested in dancewear. However as it’s a blog about my sewing, I’m blogging about it as it was a sewing tangent I decided¬†to disappear down for a while¬†for my daughter.

This will be the last of the dancewear posts for a long¬†time – I am burnt out from sewing dancewear¬†and attending about¬†48 hours of dance eisteddfod in two weeks… this is in addition to my full-time job. Most of her dancing was at night and on weekends, convenient yes, exhausting¬†most certainly.

Sewing the tutu made me realise I needed to have more confidence and that I perhaps could sew my daughter’s eisteddfod (competition) costumes. I’ve always lacked the confidence (and interest) to give it a go before!

So I took a deep breath and away I went.

None of these were particularly difficult but thank goodness I have an overlocker!

The Jazz Oufit

This outfit has based around the rather sparkly and floral lycra that we found together on a Cabramatta shopping trip with Susan of Measure Twice, Cut Once (thanks Susan!).

Just warm-up photos of this.

Just warm-up photos of this.

While it looks quite complex, in reality it wasn’t. The most fiddly past being the attachment of the v-neck band and the chevron seams on the sleeves. The pattern is a Jalie pattern – a cheerleading one – called Anne (No. 3466).

Just warm-up photos of this.

Just warm-up photos of this.

The silver stripes are first appliqued onto one of the main fabric pieces and then the other edge is captured in the garment seam. Jalie has you simply stitch it down with a raw edge. I thought it would look rather shoddy. So I added a 1/4 seam allowance, turned this under with Wonder Tape and then used honeycomb stitch to applique it to the edge – I got this idea from a sewing lunch – sitting next to Sue (who was wearing a Jalie cardigan from memory) and admiring and discussing her honeycomb hem stitch choice!

It was fun to sew. And age appropriate. Some of the things people let their children wear on stage is just frightening.

The Contemporary Outfit

This was a mutual design job between Zoe and myself, she showed me some outfits she liked and away we went. She wanted a vivid blue and chose electric blue stretch velvet. We were fortunate to find a matching corded blue lace on sale. I bought 1.5m for about $15 – usually would have cost over $50!

Zoe in Jalie 3247, modified to include a hankerchief lace circle skirt

Zoe in Jalie 3247, modified to include a hankerchief lace circle skirt

We used Jalie Gym Shorts & Crop Tops pattern No. 3247.

I underlined the front of the top with plain blue lycra. I added a seam allowance to the neckline and arm holes as I didn’t like the fold-over elastic finish. I simply used elastic and a zigzag stitch. Worked perfectly. I also added a fabric band to the bottom of the crop top to lengthen it a little.

The neckline embellishment is simply a ‘bling’ necklace from my collection of accessories. It originally cost me $5 – it’s no great loss and works perfectly here! I simply sewed it to the neckline and it really gave the outfit a lift on stage

Zoe in Jalie 3247, modified to include a hankerchief lace circle skirt

Zoe in Jalie 3247, modified to include a handkerchief lace circle skirt

The lace skirt was 1.5m square so I simply cut a circle in the centre, larger than her waist and gather¬†it into the waistband seam of the shorts. I left it square to achieve the ‘handkerchief’ hem effect.

Due to the weight of the lace, I threaded some thick elastic through the waistband so there were no ‘wardrobe malfunctions’ on stage.

Third place

Third place

She wore this for her ‘own choreography’ item in the ‘open’ section and¬†she came third!

The Demi Character Outfit

This one I love. Incredibly simple yet she looks so striking on stage. She needed a ‘jewel thief’ outfit so this is what we came up with.

Zoe dressed as a 'Jewel Thief' in a Jalie Ballet Unitard with stretch lace sleeves.

Zoe dressed as a ‘Jewel Thief’ in a Jalie Ballet Unitard with stretch lace sleeves. Yes, she needs new shoes! No time to break a new pair in¬†before this event unfortunately!

The ballet unitard pattern from (you guessed it) Jalie, No. 2105. Sewn in plain black shiny lycra with stretch lace sleeves. The front is lined to the waist with the same black lycra. The neckline is turned under with black elastic and stitched with my coverstitch machine.

The lace mask came from a local sewing dancewear fabric shops that stocks costumes. It cost $5.


And there you have it. From no dancewear to a tutu and three dancing outfits! It can be done! Jalie patterns have a huge range on offer and can be easily modified. You are just limited by your imagination.

Everyone asks – does she want to be a ‘dancer’. No not really. She’s quite ambitious and wants more than to dance from life. However, she LOVES to dance. So I support her – some kids play hockey, soccer, netball or football… my daughter dances. It’s no different and this has been a lovely project to work on together (although sometimes stressful for me!).

She danced well… she danced a lot… she got some places and some highly commended ribbons. A big achievement considering she is dancing in ‘open’ when she should be in ‘novice’ – her teacher convinced her to dance up at a higher level. It was much tougher but she was a trouper and pleased with her achievements. For her, she simply likes to dance as well as she can. Places are nice but not necessary.

One of the backstage volunteers commended her on her friendliness and manners towards other competitors Рit can be unpleasant or unwelcoming backstage at times as some of the competitors can be fierce. I guess everyone deals with these things in different ways. I am proud of how Zoe deals with it. With a smile.

No more dancewear for a long time I promise – back to selfish sewing!

Thanks for bearing with me through this little sewing tangent.