(more than just) a Late Lunch Tunic: Liesl + Co

As you know… I go to the beach… a lot… it’s what happens when one lives in a town that is littered with them. You just sort of dawdle along and splat… you find yourself on the beach again with sand between your toes and saltwater drying on your skin. It’s a tough life but I’m coping well. Here’s one of my favourite beaches… Nobbys (aka The Dog Beach)… it’s a friendly beach where everyone says hello and you can let your dog off the leash, a rather fabulous feature when you own a whippet… it’s rather rocky but that’s what I love the most about it. It’s just magic at Nobbys.

The ever-beautiful Nobbys

The ever-beautiful Nobbys, Port Macquarie

It’s springtime here. Sun protective clothing, hats & sunnies are indispensable again. I decided I needed something new to throw on over my swimmers on the dog beach mornings (I’m tired of daggy old sarongs)… what to make?

When the Liesl + Co patterns were released I was underwhelmed. They looked big, shapeless… not ‘me’ at all… especially the Late Lunch Tunic… I’ve never even owned a ‘tunic’. Seriously.

I’m the girl that bolts down a meal and skips onto the next thing on my ‘to-do’ list. Food is merely fuel to keep the SewBusy machinery operational. So the Late Lunch Tunic held no lifestyle appeal – and it looked… so boxy… then I saw Sown Brooklyn’s Tough as Silk Tunic… and I went back to the patterns and had another look… and with a couple of clicks it was sitting in my inbox. Oops!

Hello Late Morning Beach Tunic…

Liesl + Co Late Lunch Tunic SewBusyLizzy

The Beach edition of the Late Lunch Tunic (and my Michael Jackson moment). Please note I AM wearing swimwear under this. I’m a nice girl.

I’ve always had a penchant for sheer shirts, not fitted ones but soft, billowing sheer shirts that just hint at what lies beneath, modest but not dowdy – I adore them. I’ve been wearing them since high school.

This is made from cotton cheesecloth in the palest pink. It’s easy to care for, light and cool to wear and so so easy to sew… not to mention I paid about $12 for the fabric – all 3 metres of it. I also adore the crinkle of cheesecloth… let’s just say I like ironing when I’m sewing but ironing laundry is not my gig.

Now even I don’t go to the beach all the time (it just seems that way) and prance about in swimwear… (in fact I think that’s the first time you have come close to seeing me in swimwear on the blog). So how would I wear this out – if I was so inclined to sit around all afternoon and eat?

The Late Lunch Tunic when you actually want to go out and eat lunch...

The Late Lunch Tunic when you actually want to go out and eat lunch…

Liesl + Co Late Lunch Tunic - back view

The more demure way – with proper clothing… & an ‘up do’ because I’ve got Beach Hair going on…

I’ve paired this with skinny jeans, heels, earrings and a nude lace cami. The yoke has a double layer of fabric which creates a bit more ‘coverage’.

I can imagine wearing this in plaid/flannel with leggings & flats in winter – dead cute, comfortable and warm! that would make me look as short as I actually am… I’ll have to think about that…

My handsome (but v.stoopid) whippet Banjo decided this was THE day to photo bomb…

Photo bombed!

Photo bombed!

and again…

Photo bombed by the hound

Photo bombed again by the hound

and sometimes I admit I’m not always so keen to get wet at first…

It might be warm - but the water is cold until you get used to it some mornings!

It might be warm – but the water is cold in spring/summer until you get used to it some mornings!

STITCH 56 – a new blogging gig

This is my first project with Stitch 56 – I’ll be blogging some of my makes over at Stitch 56 and some tips on how I finished my makes. Stitch 56 has a really big range of sewing accessories, patterns, digital patterns, patterns for clothes, homewares, hats, bags and more – go and have a look!

I want my blog to continue SewBusyLizzy style – it’s my little creative playground and I want to keep it that way. Strangely, in this virtual corner of the world I discovered a new way of looking at life and feel part of a worldwide bunch of beautiful generous people who have become my sewing circle and life. My blog is a bit like a butterfly, I don’t want to touch its wings…

At Stitch 56 I will be exercising some of my more serious craftin’ muscle (not too serious – I’m not I’m capable of that) and write some instructions, tips and reviews. I’m a former craft editor – I have a formidable arsenal of skills – from interviewing, writing, editing, technical writing, freelancing, photo shoots (not in front of the camera – I’ve always been camera shy – go figure) and broad knowledge of ‘craft’… I’ve turned my hand to many crafts – including wood carving and turning, folk art, bear making and silver jewellery, crochet, knitting, patchwork, embroidery… yes, I am bona fide creative machine, you can read more about that here.

So subscribe to the Stitch 56 blog for more product reviews, sewing pattern reviews and more SewBossyLizzy sewing tips… I’ve written more about the Late Lunch Tunic over there today… and I’m writing up another post for Stich 56 which is just some of the techniques I used to make the tunic this week as well… it’s nice to have somewhere to put all that extra information that might be of use to others!

I’ll be sewing a wider range of things at Stitch 56 – which is interesting to me. Helene has been good for broadening my horizons… I’m interested in things like sewing for tweens, hats and what not. So things like that will be popping up over at Stitch 56 too and I’ll let you know when (I would have made an excellent lollypop lady).

So if you are curious – yes, I purchased this pattern and bought my own fabric. And yes I do really love it.

I thought long and hard blogging for Stitch 56 and decided that I didn’t want to accept cash for my posts. I blog what I like, I sew what I love and I say what I think – that’s going to happen here and over at Stitch 56 – because that’s the SewBusyLizzy way 🙂 Helene at Stitch 56 has provided me with patterns that interest me and a discount – and I have purchased quite a lot of patterns LOL – hello Thread Theory! I see it as a mutual sponsorship.

I’m still going to be sewing plenty of Big 4 patterns, independent & free patterns at SewBusyLizzy just for you guys because *shuffles feet* I have a lot… and I like sewing my own crazy stuff and sharing it with you – it’s the highlight of my sewing projects!


  • Next week I’m going to blog my first Minerva make (25 November) The Christmas Skirt of Happy Happy Joy Joy. And it is – I had so much fun making, wearing and photographing that skirt – buckle yourself in for sewing fun!
  • I’m sewing up the new Lolita Patterns Gunmetal top – I had rather an epic journey in getting it printed (I’ve learnt my lesson, now I’m just avoiding my local Officeworks printing department whenever possible, hello Xerox) so I’m behind the blog release schedule. Patience people! And there will be a giveaway.
  • I was also selected as a tester for the Thread Theory Goldstream Peacoat so ELH is finally going to score a treasure from the sewing room.
  • The sewing room is almost re-organised. Oh it’s sooooo much better! Pictures when I’m done.
  • I’m waiting for By Hand London Georgia Dress pattern to arrive and Papercut Patterns Bellatrix Blazer… I’m so impatient. Australia Post is horrifically slooooooow….
  • Finally… I’ve nearly finished My Hot Mess Birthday Dress… which is TOMORROW!

Sorry can’t stay and talk… must sew more…

Pattern: Late Lunch Tunic by Liesl + Co from Stitch 56 pssst… it’s a download so you can start right away! Great pattern, great instructions and great finish.
Fabric: pale pink cotton cheesecloth from Spotlight.

Stitch 56

Stitch 56

Running hot & cold… Burda 7401

aka The Jacket of Poo… not

Burda 7401 - a modern-day trench

Burda 7401 – a modern-day trench (OMG I’ve got my sunnies off – note I do wear my sunnies whenever I am outside – it’s an Aussie beach girl thing.

Oh, it’s not so bad… now I’m finished… I feel this sense of impending DOOM as I sewed.

The construction was an epic battle and at one stage I desperately hated it and banished it to the wardrobe. Funnily enough now I’ve fallen in love with it, it’s rather like the artful trench that wasn’t (hey, I’ve never claimed to make much sense).

Burda 7401 front view closed.

Burda 7401 front view closed.


I sewed like a woman possessed. Then fell outta love. Hard. I tweeted and bemoaned how this project had morphed into The Jacket of Poo. And I hated it. With a passion. I even banished Betty and the jacket to the wardrobe for a week. I got up on Saturday and pinned the sleeves on… and it restored some balance and I felt better… and nearly missed my weights class as a result… ah the sacrifices!

WARNING… dangerous sleeves ahead…

Yes, they are kimono sleeves. No setting in a sleeve. Hooray I hear you cry… however they have a gusset under the arm… and it is hell on earth to sew. A straight piece of fabric curling around a sharp curve… it’s like driving on buttered bald tyres on an icy road… you desperately try to hug the curve but it just doesn’t play nice… and you have to sew it four times… oh how the drunk monkey howled in mirth

Burda 7401 - sleeve gusset... so much harder than it looks.

Burda 7401 – sleeve gusset… so much harder than it looks.

Most of this jacket I did not find technically difficult however the sleeve gussets are a nightmare. I tried pinning, basting, hand-stitching… regardless of my approach they are just incredibly disagreeable and that one step makes this jacket an advanced project in my opinion.

SHHH… secret pockets!

Yes, it’s got pockets. Where??? The front panels are also pockets. They open at the side seam and are the full width and depth of the front panel. I personally would not use them to stash things in as it would ruin the drape of the jacket – however they are excellent when slouching around town.

Burda 7401 - concealed pockets
Burda 7401 – concealed pockets

CONSTRUCTION… embrace it…

This is not a lined jacket.. and I don’t believe everything needs to be lined… I know, shock horror, I’m a sewing radical.

It’s a very modern jacket, with interesting design lines, pockets hidden in the seams, softly folded lapels, standing collar, an angled flared peplum. I think seeing the seams is interesting and also the reverse of the fabric, it’s all part of the feel. I didn’t really want to see fraying or neatened seams… so I flat felled many of the seams… excluding the sleeve gussets and the peplum. The sleeves and peplum I attached as usual and then sewed the seam allowance down through all the layers so every seam had a secondary line of stitching as per a flat felled seam.

TIES… the closure that nearly wasn’t…

I added the ties – which I thought were epic cool – I created them from the furry selvedge as I discovered that there is a Million Shades of Beige and no ribbon would match. They matched perfectly and… I hated them. I tried creating the wrap ties like Carolyn did on her beautiful jacket for her daughter – but I disliked them crossing the smooth peplum at the back and pulling on the drape of the front.

Burda 7401 - deciding on the closure... can you tell by the slouch of my shoulders I'm feeling dejected at this stage?
Burda 7401 – deciding on the closure

I almost cut off the ties and replaced them with a hook and eye…. almost. Then I simply trimmed off the furriness (as suggested by ELH) and suddenly things looked much better. The overall feel of the jacket and the fabric is just too slick for any soft textures.

Burda 7401 - how I love the back view of this jacket....

Burda 7401 – how I love the back view of this jacket….

I found this fabric – this rather amazing shimmer twill at the Alannah Hill outlet in Melbourne. It’s only downfall… it is epic beige- not my favourite shade. I was so delighted when I found similar fabric on the Minerva site – shimmer twill. I’ve now got some in raspberry and green… I may have just purchased some more in ice blue… I highly recommend this fabric. It’s absolutely perfect for jackets – make a Sewaholic Robson in it! It’s the perfect weight, practical sturdy fabric that doesn’t fray badly and has a lovely soft metallic sheen – trust me – you will love it.

OH THE IRONY… I made a Shiny Beige Jacket… *face palm*

‘Beige’ is the disparaging colour I apply to people I find dull. Beige People come in many forms – people who are so righteous it’s tedious, people so lacking in real opinion they talk without saying anything, people who never really say what they mean for fear of offending, people with no opinion but the opinions they spout of others.

I also have an aversion to Shiny People. I probably loathe Shiny People more than Beige People. Shiny People are those people impressed by appearance and stuff – what lies beneath doesn’t matter as much as the surface and the price tag that it came with. They never really seem to have ‘friends’ so much as impressive people in beautiful clothes that they hang out with because they are the right sort of people to be seen with. The type of people that you never really feel you actually know…

Burda 7401 - side view

Burda 7401 – side view

Life should be lived, in all its colour spectrums (the odd moment of beige is OK, and heck Shiny can be hellishly fun… Shiny can be like eating three courses of dessert with loads of grog – let’s be honest) and a little bent around the edges… because life is like that if you open your eyes and really look… imperfection is what makes life interesting and beautiful. Shiny Beige jackets and all… perhaps this is in fact my very own flak jacket against the army of Beige/Shiny People that live out there… and a reminder of who I’m not going to be…

SewNotABeigeShinyPerson (most days I hope).

Inspiration: Handmade by Carolyn (beautiful gorgeous make) & Pretty Grievances (Anne scared me off this pattern for a while with her tale of woe!)

Pattern: Burda 7401. This appears to have recently gone out of print. I think it may still be in Australian stores.
Fabric: Beige Shimmer Twill from Alannah Hill outlet, Melbourne – purchased on the Frocktails trip. Similar fabric from Minerva Fabrics… on clearance!
Location: Port Macquarie Town Green… a block from where I work… I know… life’s tough… shot in my lunch break…


I’m a Minerva Blogger!

Minerva Bloggers Network

I’m in the gang along the likes of Winnie of Scruffy Badger, Clare of Sew Dixie Lou, Miss Dibs, Emmie of My Oh Sew Vintage Life, Handmade Jane, Seamstress Erin, Kathryn of Yes I like That!, Rachel of House of Pinheiro, Nicole Needles, Shivani of Pins & Needles, Anna of ::Paunnet::… and Maria of How Good is That also from Australia! Plus there is a number of other bloggers in the mix… so I will be loading up the good ole blog reader with more blogs to follow… because it’s not bursting at the seams already!

Now… in this gang there is no hanging out behind the school toilets, smoking cigerettes and kissing boys. There is no time for such frivolity (maybe just at morning tea…*giggles*) , this gang is spread across the globe… slaving over our machines, and keyboards, smelling of sewing machine oil and covered in stray threads… yes ma’am – we are all about glamour!!

Each month I search through the Minerva site (which requires several bottles of Gatorade as their site is GINORMOUS…. they are one the UK’s largest stockists of fabric, yarn, and all a myriad of craft supplies. I seriously thought I was going to have to send up an emergency flare so someone could find me and drag me out of the fabric section late one night!!). I choose some supplies, fabric, patterns and then sew to inspire you!

If you get such a blogger crush on the project, the good news is Minerva can help you there too! Yes, you too can be just like me and buy a kit of my project. I know it’s going to be such fun, I’m picturing a happy little hoard of SewBusyLizzys trotting about the globe in fancy frocks and whatnot (fret not, I don’t demand that you sew at the same pace that I do – and sorry, I’m fairly certain I can’t kit up my hometown sun, surf and sand, you will have to close your eyes and imagine… or buy a tardis…).

My first project appears on 25 November (five days after my birthday.. just sayin’). I’m excited as it’s going to be The Skirt of Happy Happy Joy Joy. And if you like it – you can grab the kit from Minerva (patience, 25 November – there is stacks of time before Christmas) and on Christmas Day we can all clutch our bottles of bubbly in our SewBusyLizzy Skirts of Happy Happy Joy Joy and celebrate together in a weird virtual way!

I like happy – it’s my favourite state of mind. I do an excellent impersonation of a fire-breathing dragon but I do try to keep her in the wardrobe along with my drunk monkey. So let’s sew and be happy.

Hop over to Minerva and check out all the gorgeous talented virtual gang (if I don’t say so myself) – and maybe you will spot on of their kits that you simply must have… but don’t forget… The Skirt of Happy Happy Joy Joy is coming your way in November 🙂

Mwah… ’tis all for tonight xoxo

Sinbad & Sailor O’Keeffe Skirt – A Sweet Folly

This is one of those makes could surprise you…

Sinbad & Sailor O'Keeffe Skirt, front view

Sinbad & Sailor O’Keeffe Skirt, front view. I’m standing in a typical coastal afternoon breeze, so it’s not sitting as hanging as straight as it would in the office (where onshore breezes are not such an issue).

This is the O’Keeffe Skirt by Sinbad & Sailor.

It wasn’t that I didn’t expect to like this skirt – but I was wary of the asymmetric pleats…

I think most of us are symmetrical people, we seek balance, proportion and order. I am a very visual person. I can procrastinate over a make, taking off trims, draping differently, trying another colour and so on (I’m guilty of this at the moment!). Things can annoy me when they are not ‘just so’. It’s the No.1 time waster in my sewing life.

Sinbad & Sailor O'Keefe Skirt

Sinbad & Sailor O’Keefe Skirt. Front view, hand in pocket.

Turns out I actually love this skirt, it’s quirky, edgy but so incredibly wearable… oh and it has an enormous pocket under those pleats…

Sometimes we should let our little symmetrical mindset go… (note to self: this is very sensible advice and you should listen to yourself more often). Let yourself be surprised. Trust me it’s not that scary… (hang-gliding, rappel abseiling, caving, diving are all a little scary at the start I can tell you from experience… but so worth it) so walk on the wild side… clothing or sewing should not get you into a lather of asymmetric sweat and stop you trying something new…

So, let’s hold hands, sing kumbayah and get through this scary asymmetric stuff together… deep breath…

Sinbad & Sailor O'Keeffe Skirt, pleats detail

Sinbad & Sailor O’Keeffe Skirt, pleats detail – nice huh?

OK now we have smashed through that barrier, let’s just chat about the skirt.

I met Hannah of Sinbad & Sailor in London at a dinner (with rather a lot of alcohol I recall) organised by the gorgeous Clare of Sew Dixie Lou – (check out the pictures here). Hannah is just lovely and was wearing this skirt at the dinner (well not this one, that would have been impossible as the fabric was sitting in my stash at the time). She was still working on the pattern at that point. She did send me the pattern to proofread but I was having some explosion of work/life at the time post London trip and just could not get to it (my life in 2013 it seems). So it’s been sitting in my ‘MUST MAKE THIS NOW’ pile for quite a few months.

I worried about what fabric would work well with the pleats (more procrastinating). In the end I chose this heavy soft crepe from my stash. It’s perfect for this. I think the pleats need something with some drape but also some structure to sit nicely and not collapse or crease. I also think the solid colour compliments the pleats.

It’s super easy to put together, it is beautifully drafted and fits me perfectly. I made this in a couple of nights. No unpicking, no swearing, no long shifts at the machine – one of those nice little makes when you sing la la la and finish with a little mirror twirl.

The only thing I did slightly differently was run a row of basting stitches on the seamline of the waistband facing so I could turn it under exactly when I handstitched the waistband facing down – I suck at eyeballing allowances. Not rocket science but a simple trick to use when you have fabric that just does not hold a crease.

I used lining for the pocket lining – in black – simply because it was at the cutting table and I wanted to sew this NOW. You know that feeling!

The fabric is quite bulky (although a dream to sew, hello crepe where have you been all my life) and I wish I had of drafted a lining piece for the pocket bag as well so the pocket was a little lighter. You live and learn (and have an excuse to sew more – a blessing in disguise). And I should have lined it… *sigh* *smacks self* thanks heavens for slips…

The contrast pocket

The contrast pocket, my sewing machine tension is being naughty…

It’s got an invisible zip on the other side to the pocket… I love this feature because the skirt is lovely and smooth across my backside… after my last two shorts posts (1 & 2) I think we have had enough of my junk trunk for a while, yes?

Sinbad & Sailor O'Keeffe Skirt - side view

Sinbad & Sailor O’Keeffe Skirt – side view. I’m rather impressed with myself on how neatly this zipper went in.

Now you may be in shock (not from the asymmetric business – we got over that ages ago) but there is no beach in my pictures! Shock, horror!

I’m standing beside a public artwork known as Folly by Rick Reynolds. I love public art, it’s often quirky and makes you stop & think. I particularly love public art that invites people to walk around them, touch them… and even play. It’s not just to be looked at – you engage with it.

Folly by Rick Reynolds, Port Macquarie NSW

My lovely home town is has some quite significant colonial history. It’s one of the oldest towns on mainland Australia – they used to send the really naughty convicts here. I know, steal a loaf of bread and get sent to Port Macquarie – hello?? has there ever been a better advert for crime??

This artwork reflects on some of our early colonial history. It’s by Rick Reynolds and is called Folly (ie garden feature). It’s name is a clever play on the original name of the area, Gillman’s Folly (an early lookout built by Major Gillman to spot approaching ships). Folly is the wooden shaft and stone grinding wheels of the mill which once stood on the site, built by Major AC Innes to grind wheat and corn.

It located by one of Port Macquarie’s most lovely lookouts called Windmill Hill… however the onshore breeze was just not playing nice so I retreated to the public art area which was more protected.

Onshore breeze and suddenly I'm Cousin It.

Onshore breeze and suddenly I’m Cousin It.

Would have loved to have hang around and taken some more shots, not our best pictures… but we were running out of afternoon and we had to take the dog for a surf… so we rushed home to get changed…

Sunday afternoon at Nobbys Beach, Port Macquarie

Sunday afternoon at Nobbys Beach, Port Macquarie

So go rock your world with a little bit of asymmetric pleating… freak out those sensible office people in their regular RTW clothing. You know you want to…

Pattern: O’Keeffe Skirt by Sinbad & Sailor, also available from this Australian online store www.stitch56.com
Top: some Victorian-style lacy number I’ve had for years. Love it, a bit old-worlde, a bit goth, a bit girly.
Stockings: Leona Edmiston (love her Pins line, I have a lot of stockings…)
Shoes: Diana Ferrari (this season)

If you live in the UK – try this triple crepe from Minerva Crafts with this pattern. I think it would be perfect and comes in a range of colours.

URBAN BUTTERFLY – Grainline Maritime Shorts (take 3!)

Grainline Maritime Shorts, Take 3. Size 4

Grainline Maritime Shorts. We didn’t take this deliberately but it’s kind cute with the butterfly wings – now I wonder if there is angel halo graffiti anywhere…!

Here we finally are in Grainline Maritime Shorts in size 4. Sorry, looking a little creased we drove around for ages – it was excessively windy! Paired with my gym shirt at the suggestion of ELH.

I couldn’t stop until I mastered these shorts (previous two pairs are posted here…). Yes, I can be a little bit obsessive. I really love these ones, I confess that I am a camouflage print fan (yup, bet you never guessed that!).

Grainline Maritime Shorts, back view

Grainline Maritime Shorts, back view. How cool – camo pockets – yes they are really there!! The sand is blowing off the beach in this shot and absolutely stinging my skin from head to toe. Ouch. These dunes have eroded due to storm action, high tides etc – hence the safety fencing.

Once again I took a massive wedge out of the back seam and waistband pieces after I tried them on (I think if more men realised how much time women spent semi-nude sewing, they would be rushing out to purchase sewing machines for their wives and girlfriends…. just sayin’). The ‘butt fit’ is pretty good I think. The only change I might make (next time) is tapering in the leg ever so slightly.

I made the buttonhole horizontal rather than vertical. I checked all my jeans, denim mini skirts etcetera (I have a rather large collection of denim) and their buttonholes were all horizontal. I think it makes sense. It provides a little bit of ease, the button has room to slide rather than pulling against the buttonhole. I also double stitched the hems – just because.

Fabric is from the stash (it’s just cotton drill – purchased for $3 and even the zip came from the stash!). My workmate explained that this camouflage colourway is referred to as ‘urban camo’ as it is concrete greys rather than jungle greens. If it wasn’t for the reflective logos on my gym singlet you wouldn’t even know I was there…

Grainline Maritime Shorts

I’m missing my butterfly wings! And I have this weird leg muscle thing going on – maybe too many lunges, burpees and squats at the gym that day…

Here’s one of the things I love about sewing. I would never have even tried a pair of short shorts on in a shop – yet I sew them, photograph them and discover that my legs are not as heinous as I thought. Maybe I am a ‘shorts’ girl after all… ELH agrees.

Nothing much to say – except I love these little fellas. Cute as.

Make ’em – I know you want to…

Pattern: Grainline Maritime Shorts.
Fabric: Cotton Drill from Spotlight, $3

Pattern details & adjustments – check out this blog post…

Now I haven’t made a dress in a while…