Getaway (at home) Weekend Blouse Liesl & Co

I’m blessed to live in the town of ‘getaway’. We have a multitude of beaches, waterways and hinterland to frolick about in on a daily basis. As result unless I’m at work, I dress like I’m on holidays… casual dressing is my forte.

After my happy experience with Liesl & Co Late Lunch Tunic (aka the beach cover-up) I wanted to sew another Liesl & Co… so I decided that the Weekend Getaway Blouse & Dress pattern was just the ticket.

Getaway Blouse

Getaway Blouse

Let me tell you THIS IS THE EASIEST TOP EVER to construct. You can read about my thoughts on the pattern at Stitch 56 and you can get the downloadable PDF here… and in the meantime here are some ‘frolicking in the sun’ pictures in my Getaway (at home) Blouse! And it’s more ‘mad Hawaiian’ in spirit

Lovely easy shirt to wear... especially in silk cotton...

Lovely easy shirt to wear… especially in silk cotton…

Liesl & Co Getaway Blouse - back view

Liesl & Co Getaway Blouse – back view

Liesl & Co Getaway Blouse

That’s me gloating about having a collar and sleeves with zero effort.

Dog bombed again!

Dog bombed again! Yes, he doesn’t enjoy his mornings at the beach much…

and finally…. I do appear to live in paradise… yes they are dolphins swimming by as I stroll along the beach with the mad whippet Banjo… life is tough…



Don’t you think a sewing weekend away in Port Macquarie is just the ticket? Think of the blog shots!

Pattern: Liesl & Co Weekend Getaway Blouse & Dress

Fabric: Silk cotton from Spotlight.

The new girl in town, Georgia dress from By Hand London

When Elisalex of By Hand London contacted me and asked if I could like to try their new pattern – I think nearly jumped through the computer screen with excitement.

And here she is…

GEORGIA! As or I call this version… My Georgy Girl.

The new kid in town - Georgia from By Hand London

The new kid in town – Georgia from By Hand London

Georgia Dress, the back view

Georgia Dress, the back view

I’ve got about four Georgia dresses buzzing about in my head (she is as demanding as Anna was, I have warned you). However since I have been dying to make a fitted denim dress – this just seemed to be the perfect opportunity!

This is stretch cotton denim from Spotlight. An amazing bargain table find at $4 a metre. It didn’t look that great on the bolt but I love it made up. It’s perfect. Soft blue, faded cream, irregular print. Perfection.

This is fabric so soft and stretchy, it’s like wearing PJs. Seriously. Yes, even as a fitted dress.



The skirt has six panels. I was a little nervous about the skirt fitting over my junk trunk (I know, typical girl) so I graded the skirt from the bodice downwards out to a size 10 – better to have more fabric in my seams than none I figured!

I then machine basted the skirt together (with the longest stitch) and tried on the skirt inside out. I found this the easiest way to see where I need to grade the curves in and back out to achieve a good fit.

My inside-out approach to fitting the Georgia Dress

My inside-out approach to fitting the Georgia Dress

I basted the new seams (back to size 6 anyway you idiot Lizzy) and when I was happy, I machined the final seams, removed the basting, then used my overlocker/serger to trim/neaten the seams.

I also pegged the skirt in just a little at the hemline for a more streamlined fit.


I found the bodice to be an excellent fit. You will notice that I gathered the centre of my bodice. This is simply because my denim was stretchier than I thought and the neckline stretched out a little and was gaping along the edge. I considered unpicking the entire bodice and then remembered how the gathering stitches had changed the fit of my Hot Mess Birthday Dress bodice. The denim was a little heavy for gathering stitches so I did three small pleats instead. Seems to have worked – although probably increased the va-va-voom of the dress which always freaks me out a little.

If you are using a fabric with some stretch. I would advise stay-stitching or lightly interfacing your bodice shell fabric or at least the seam line to avoid the neckline stretching.

Georgia: the bodice lining, quilting cotton & boning.

Georgia: the bodice lining, quilting cotton & boning.

I also stitched lightweight polyester boning to the seam allowances of the lining. I just use the Rigiflex (?) boning which you can machine stitch through, it’s quite flexible and very easy to apply. It doesn’t make the dress uncomfortable, I actually think it makes dresses with a structured bodice easier to wear as they just sit and don’t lose their structure with wear.

I understitched the lining. The instructions don’t tell you to do this but it improves the finish of the dress.


This dress has an invisible zipper. Georgia’s zipper insertion is per ‘normal’ and then the instructions have you handstitch the lining to the zipper and along the bodice lower edge.

I machined the lining to the zipper using the Sewaholic Cambie method of attaching a lining to a zipper. It’s neater and quicker. Just sayin’.

It’s easy to do – once you have sewn in the zipper, just turn the lining back so the right sides of the bodice shell and lining are facing. Line the lower seam allowance of the lining back (in line with the bodice seam. Pin along the zip. Then using your normal zipper foot sew down alongside the zipper teeth (on the side closest to the seam edge). Turn the lining back out and you have attached the lining. So simple.

Attaching the lining to the zipper by machine
Attaching the lining to the zipper by machine.

So there you have it – there’s a new girl in town… and I think she’s bringing her friends… stay tuned.

The ELH’s reaction was just ‘Wow’ when I walked down the stairs wearing this. I think that’s good, yes?

Georgia Dress

Later in the evening, a little crumpled… we have had a lot of rain this week but the sun came out on Sunday afternoon – I think Georgia wanted to meet you…


Madly stitching the Thread Theory Goldstream Peacoat.

Ordering some fabric for my Lolita Patterns Gunmetal top – and there will be a pattern giveaway when I blog it. I have this idea in my head for this top/dress – and although I’ve tried to make do with what’s available in town, I just can’t – stretch fabric is harder to find than you might think in my town. Online ordering it must be! I should have blogged this on its launch – but I’ve had all kinds of challenges and things going on in my life… sometimes you just can’t do everything… boo.

Pattern: Georgia Dress, By Hand London. Sent to me by the By Hand London girls (mwah – love you as always. And yes I stalked the postman ’til it arrived – I’m not ashamed LOL).  Available in Australia at:-

Fabric: Cotton stretch denim from Spotlight, Australia.

Also See: The amazing version by Roisin of Dolly Clackett | Sally Bee makes gorgeous blocked plaid Georgia


Here’s a quick little post with a Black Friday deal for you! Black Friday – Cyber Monday Sale

11/28/2013 – 12/2/2013

  • $5 Deals – Over 100 patterns to choose from for just $5!
  • Spend $25 or more and get the new Whimsy Winter Bench Pillow Pattern by Kimberbell for free
  • 10% off on all orders over $40


SewBusyLizzy WIPs

Now I must rush too… I just have a Thread Theory Goldstream Peacoat pattern test to finish… a ByHandLondon Georgia dress underway and also the long-awaited Lolita Patterns Gunmetal project to finish – had such trouble getting the fabric I want for this project… unfortunately I’m a little obsessive about getting the ‘right’ fabric for a pattern and I have a Gunmetal in my head – I just need to find it in the fabric store. *sigh*

A Very Merry Christmas Skirt Kit Update

If you liked my Christmas Skirt – but found the pattern sizes were not for you – Minerva is quite happy to change over the envelope to the other size – just let them know when ordering the kit 🙂 their customer service is brilliant. (mwah Vicki)

A VERY Merry Christmas Skirt! Vogue 8882 – Minerva Blogger Network

Hooray! I am in a state of shock – while I did not manage to punch out a birthday or Christmas make in 2012 – this year I have done both!

Last week it was the Hot Mess Birthday dress – a rather complicated but very pretty and enormously satisfying make.

This week I have my first Minerva Bloggers’ Network project to share.

A Very Merry Christmas Skirt

With my Minerva makes I wanted to make things that I felt anyone (any age, any shape) could wear, sew and feel fabulous in. I also wanted the kit to have pretty much everything they needed to start sewing, or at least most of it… the fabric, pattern and thread. So once you have pounced on the postman, you can rip open the envelope and get sewing. You might need the odd notion or some interfacing – but many stitchers do have these things in ‘the stash’.

I’ve always wanted a ‘Christmas’ skirt or dress but never quite got around to making one (and I have rather a lot of party clothes anyway…). The festive season hits and life is a merry-go-round of parties, concerts, holidays, meals, drinks, family and friends. Life gets busy – no time for sewing…

So make that Christmas skirt now! I’ve chosen a project that will minimise your time at the sewing machine and maximise your time at the party.

I know. I’m good to you 🙂

Vogue 8882

Vogue 8882

I’ve been eyeing off this skirt since Vogue released it – even though big skirts aren’t really my gig I just fell in love with it. When I spied this this lovely shot WINE taffeta on the Minerva site, I felt it was a match made in heaven.

The taffeta transforms in different lights…

Vogue 8882 as the sun grows down

Vogue 8882 as the sun grows down

The colour transforms when the setting sun hits it!

The colour transforms when the setting sun hits it! hmmmm, I have that bronzed Aussie look going on as we approach summer…

Bows and frills scare me BUT I can’t imagine the skirt without that monstrous sash and bow. It’s perfection…

As my Christmas Day is never ‘white’ except for the sand on the beach, I paired by skirt with a simple cream tank top and rose gold strappy heels. I think this skirt could easily be translated into a wintery wear – the claret tone looks gorgeous with black (yes, I experimented for you too).

You can read lots more over on the Minerva site… so go over there for more pictures and how-to.

My major changes were…

  • Invisible zipper instead of standard.
  • I did a roll hem. My legs would look like toothpicks coming out of a even oomph-ier (yes, that’s a technical term) skirt.. If you like lotsa ‘oomph’ I’m guessing you have some petticoats stashed for this purpose!
  • Taffeta is not a fan of iron-on interfacing – use sew-in. Listen to SewBossyLizzy and weep no more.

So let’s twirl together this festive season… I know you want to…

This skirt is loads of fun to wear… it even rustles! I’m not a gentled-footed creature. I sound like a mini herd of elephants stampeding through the African grasslands but I’m ok with that.

Giddy with Happy Happy Joy Joy.

…giddy with Happy Happy Joy Joy… and I’d just like to let you know that it takes a lot of concentration to not wedge a stiletto heel into timber decking! Check out the Minerva site where I’m spinnin’ like a whirlgig.

Miss 8 teaches me to party with attitude!

Miss 8 teaches me to party with attitude!

Pattern: Vogue 8882
Fabric: Wine shot taffeta.
Kit available from Minerva Fabrics – you know you want to – I’ve done all the shopping and pattern testing for you! Sew one and party on (perhaps Miss 8 should do a blog post about party style – she’s got it down to a fine art)

If you are concerned about shipping costs… I purchased 4m of this blue fabric from Minerva (apparently I’m a Shimmer Twill piglet – I need MOAH) and the shipping was just 10 pounds and arrived in no time at all. Love.

Hot Mess Birthday Dress

Last year I cheated on a birthday dress project because my mother-in-law gave me a beautiful vintage 1950s lace dress

This year I got SewBusy with less than a week to spare. That is the SewByTheSeatOfYourPantsSewBusy way.

Naturally I opted to pick a dress with at least 15 bodice pieces… because that is the ObstinateSewBusy way.

Naturally I opted to match a fabric with the pattern which was an IN YOUR FACE SewBusy option.

At the Melbourne Frocktails fabric trip in September, we spied a bolt of black/white gingham sitting on the counter at Alannah Hill. Several of us loved it, I think it was MyMessings, Petticoat & Peplums, Busy Lizzie and Bimble & Pimble (I’m getting old – forgive me if you are not in the list…). I suggested we do a Gingham Face-off and see what happened. We decided it could be paired with anything: piping, contrast fabric and whatever took our fancy – just use 2 metres of the fabric (I’ve used much less I think I have enough for a sleeveless shirt!).

I originally planned a shirtdress (my first thought), then I thought a Grainline Archer, then a strapless dress… then I was seized with a severe bout of IndecisiveSewBusy.

Then in one moment, I decided it had to become this…

Simplicity 2250

Simplicity 2250 – Cynthia Rowley design

Oh course! Let’s pair regular gingham checks with an irregular darted, pleated, seamed bodice with a crazy pleated, gathered skirt – hell yeah. And make those perfectionist stitchers’ eyeballs boil looking at all those mis-matched gingham checks… that’s the SewBusy way.

And I give you The Hot Mess Birthday Dress…

Too short!
Hot Mess is also v.short!

Today is (or was) my birthday. I totally understand if you don’t approve (of the dress – not the birthday). However I love it.

This dress has had mixed reviews… personally, I adored sewing it. I think it’s a little too short – but I love the pattern and would definitely make it again.

Hot Mess Birthday Dress - the back view

Hot Mess Birthday Dress – the back view

In typical SewBusy way, I loathed this pattern on sight. It was only when I pictured it with this fabric I went YES!, punched the air and purchased it.

Personally, and I totally get if some of you are rubbing your eyes at my crimes against pattern matching right now, I love how this pattern teamed with directional prints or a plain fabric. I think the whole point of all those crazy darts, pleats, tucks, gathers and more, is that you ‘see’ the hot mess of the bodice and skirt. It’s madness and I love it.

The craziness going on inside the bodice!

The craziness going on inside the bodice!

The bodice has tucks, darts and pleats. The bodice is underlined and lined. The bodice – without the contrast band, back bands ties and straps is a mere 15 pieces. The skirt is pleated, gathered and flat in places. It’s all kinds of crazy. It’s a blast to sew.

Things I did differently…

I attached the lining to the zip in the same way that the Sewaholic Cambie bodice is lined. I think the way this bodice is finished is messy *sniff*. The Sewaholic way of finishing conceals all the seams – soooo much nicer.

I boned the bodice with Rigalene – it’s easy enough, you just sew the boning to the wrong side of the bodice lining seams (minus the seam allowances). It provides a nice structure to the dress – I recommend this!

I changed the ties to have a straighter shape, the petal/balloon shape of the pattern ties just scared me.

I did do a tiny bit of pattern matching down the centre back bodice seam – don’t know why I bothered as the ties cover it… I marked the seamline on the pattern piece – I find this the easiest way to match checks.

Matching checks technique

The line under CB (centre back) is the 5/8 inch seam allowance – I use this line to match the checks

Freaking me out…

The length of the skirt… I added 1.5 inches to the contrast band. I wished I added 2 inches to the main skirt pieces, it’s just sooo short! If I make this again, it’s going to be loooonger.

The Hot Mess Birthday Dress
The Hot Mess Birthday Dress

Final thoughts…This dress has had some shaky reviews and some good ones. It is not a walk in the park but it’s not that difficult either. Really. There are a billion and one steps (I never exaggerate) however if you mark all your notches, dots and more, it’s not that complicated. Really. Just go slow.

Check the finished measurements and choose your size from there. I like about 1 inch of ease in a fitted bodice so I made size 6. If I went by my body measurements, my size would have allowed 2.5 inches of ease in the bodice… way too much for this style of fitted bodice/dress in my humble opinion.

Pattern: Simplicity 2250
Fabric: from Alannah Hill, $10 a metre with black rayon fabric contrasts.

Confessions of a birthday blogger… I have more pictures of the interior of the dress… but it’s my birthday and I wanna have a drink, it’s late… *shuffles off stage left with a glass on Nant in hand…*

On the beach before Birthday dinner

On the beach before Birthday dinner