About sewbusylizzy

Australian sewing blogger

The Spoonflower Grainline Portside Duffel

Aka the Crazy Love Duffel for Giselle

If you are interested in trying Spoonflower – here’s a discount code Lizzy10 to receive 10% off your order – valid until 17 July 2018.

Grainline Portside Duffle, fabric printed by Spoonflower and designed by Giselle Brennan

Grainline Portside Duffle, fabric printed by Spoonflower and designed by Giselle

Now onto blogging business!

When Spoonflower asked if I was interested in their fabric…. of course I said yes! I’d always been curious about this service and I know so have plenty of others.

For those who don’t know what Spoonflower is… from their siteSpoonflower is the world’s first web-based service for custom, on-demand fabric creation, making it possible for individuals to design, print and sell their own fabric, wallpaper and gift wrap. 

So really the limit is your imagination – or wallet.

SpoonflowerDesign

I decided that I had more than enough clothes for myself – and thought it would be a unique opportunity to create something memorable and special for my youngest daughter Giselle. She’s not the dancer. She’s my crazy love girl: kooky, kind and funny as the day is long.

While I could have chosen an existing design, I thought it would be more fun to try out the design element of the service as well – and to capture a moment of Giselle’s creativity and personality.

I walked into her room one evening and immediately loved one of her mad ‘doodles’ that she had stuck to the wall. And that’s when I realised what I wanted to do wih the Spoonflower offer…

I scanned in the doodle and loaded it to the Spoonflower site – incredibly fast and easy.

I chose ‘dogwood denim’ which is a great heavy non-stretch woven fabric, perfect for bag making. I’ve paired it with a black non-stretch denim from the stash. This bag should last for YEARS.

Grainline Portside Duffle, fabric printed by Spoonflower and designed by Giselle Brennan

Grainline Portside Duffle, fabric printed by Spoonflower and designed by Giselle

I love the selvedge on the fabric -complete with details. It’s almost like a old-fashioned silver hallmark.

I was initially concerned about the tiling of the design and how to manage that in the project – however it turned out to be a dream to pattern match & made for some fun positioning on elements of the bag.

Giselle’s Verdict

The coolest thing EVER.

Thank you so much Spoonflower!

I do also have some matching fabric in the organic knit – so watch this space!

Pattern Comments

I’d definitely make this again. In fact I know I will. Very easy to put together. The biggest barrier is finding the notions, d-rings etc. I still haven’t found any swivel-clips locally – hence no shoulder strap yet.

Some of the cutting notes on my pattern pieces didn’t always specify to cut interfacing – however the cutting layout diagrams did. Regardless of this inconsistency, I think it is up to the individual to decide which pieces require interfacing, based on their fabric choice.

The most challenging element of this project was simply the weight of the fabric and the size of the project.

I’ve got the pieces cut out for the Dopp kit & travel pouch to go with these – however I ran out of time & am currently in Perth to run a half marathon relay leg in the Western Australian Marathon (about 4000kms from home). Home to sew soon!

Thoughts

I really enjoyed this process and particularly enjoyed the smile it bought to Giselle’s face. A really special sewing project. Thank you Spoonflower.

Fabric: SpoonflowerinDogwood Denim, design by my daughter Giselle
Pattern: GrainlinePortsideDuffelbag

Fabric supplied by Spoonflower – all opinions my own.

Random

Looking for Australian Sewing Blogs to follow? Check out this list – surprised to find myself on there but delighted to see familiar & some new faces as well.

This post first appeared on www.sewbusylizzy.com

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Claudia Dress – Tessuti Patterns

And now for something completely different.. and quite a large departure from my ‘usual’ style – whatever that is these days.  Perhaps not everyone’s cup of tea on me, that’s OK.

Claudia Dress by Tessuti Patterns

Claudia Dress by Tessuti Patterns. Note to self, take hands out of pockets for photos! – ruins line of dress!

I fell in love with this dress when it was released by Tessuti Fabrics.

Described on the Tessuti site as: this stylish, pull-on sundress features narrow shoulder straps, bust darts, stitched-down pockets and above-the-knee side splits with wide hems and topstitched details. Suitable fabrics include medium to heavy weight linens or linen blends and cottons. Not suitable for lightweight or drapey fabrics.

Excuse creases and wrinkles - that's linen for you - and I took photos of four different garments in this lunch break! You have to make use of spare time when you can find it. Let's not talk about the ten surfers that came and jumped into the water as I took the photos...

Excuse creases and wrinkles – that’s linen for you – and I took photos of four different garments in this lunch break! You have to make use of spare time when you can find it. Let’s not talk about the ten surfers that came and jumped into the water as I took the photos… a beautiful late autumn day and the water was warm.

I measure slightly above the Tessuti XXS sizing chart – however this is too large on me. Perhaps I could scale down the pattern when printing if I make it again.

I took up the straps a lot (sorry detail escapes me as I sewed this a few months ago – bad blogger – must blog faster).

Thoughtful design details

The pockets are beautifully inserted. I guess they are called ‘single welt side pockets’? They are much more complex to construct than the simple side pockets you get in many patterns – however the instructions are excellent (illustrated by photographs) and they are sewn to the front of the dress which is a nice detail. I did topstitch in a lighter topstitch thread around the pocket opening but then opted to make all the other topstitching less obvious as I rather like the denim-y plain look of this fabric.

You can perhaps see all the potential top stitching in this line drawing from Tessuti.

Claudia Dress - line drawing courtesty of Tessuti Fabrics

Claudia Dress – line drawing courtesty of Tessuti Fabrics

I love the mitred hem finish. My fabric is so dark it’s hard to see all the details so please visit the Tessuti blog post for more detail shots – and a much better model!

I wish more patterns had thoughtful detaqils like mitred hem finishes. It really does make the dress so much nicer!

I wish more patterns had thoughtful details like mitred hem finishes. It really does make the dress so much nicer!

The neckline is lovely, square with narrow straps.

Claudia Dress, front view

Claudia Dress, front view

The simplicity of this design really appeals to me. It can also be worn with a tshirt on cooler days.

Thoughts

An absolute sack on me. Perhaps not the most figure-flattering shape on me… but does everything have to be? Some days you much want to mooch about in an extraordinarily simple linen dress.

I’m fond of it anyway. I have no desire to ‘cinch it in’ at the waist or belt it in any way. I prefer it as it is.

There is something lovely about slightly crumpled linen sack dresses that makes me feel happy.

A fun pattern, a classic shape and highly wearable on a warm day.

It’s hard to beat a Tessuti PDF Pattern at $12 – and the PDFs come with an A0 copy shop file – always a thumbs up from me!

Pattern: Claudia Dress, Tessuti Fabrics
Fabric: described as “Italian Linen” purchased many many years ago on Goldhawk Road, London

Claudia Dress, Tessuti Patterns

Claudia Dress, Tessuti Patterns

 

Sous Sous by Norah Gaughan – KNIT

Knitting… one of those endlessly therapeutic crafts… once you master it!

I had the Sous Sous jumper in my Ravelry queue for quite some time, it looked quite complex, large and daunting. However when you keep coming back to something, at some point you either abandon it – or you rise to the challenge.

Sous Sous - front view

ref=”https://sewbusylizzy.com/2018/06/06/soussous/sousous3/” rel=”attachment wp-att-6512″> Sous Sous – front view. There’s some colour pooling at the front lower edge… you can’t ‘un-see’ it once you’ve ‘seen’ it. One of the dangers of beautiful but variegated hand-dyed yarn. I love it despite the ‘flaws’.[/ca

It didn’t take me quite as long as expected – and it also wasn’t as difficult as I had imagined.

It was a pleasure to knit with beautiful Madelinetosh Merino DK yarn and a gorgeous set of circular needles I received for Christmas.

I was guilty of being very excited about this project right from the beginning!

I was guilty of being very excited about this project right from the beginning!

Construction

The front and back and knitted in two pieces. The shoulders are seamed and you pick up stitches to knit the sleeves. The side seams are then sewn… and it’s done!

There is an enormous amount of moss stitch and the cables are quite simple once you get into the pattern.

Sous Sous - back cable detail

Sous Sous – back cable detail

I did have issues with the sleeves. After ripping out my first sleeve attempt about four times, I just knitted in pattern in a way that made sense to me and that worked rather than following the pattern word for word. Very brief notes on Ravelry here.

Sous Sous - moss stitch

Sous Sous – moss stitch

I’ve only steam blocked this. I think it will soften and relax again with a gentle wash and block later.

Tips

I’m no knitting guru. Every project you learn something, gain more confidence, try something new. And every project I’m on YouTube deciphering and mastering a new technique!

I’ve found Very Pink Knits on Youtube very helpful. Clear concise demonstrations of techniques.

Thoughts

It is an unusual shape and I was slightly concerned when I finished that I may struggle to wear it. Turns out I love it. It’s a lovely casual layering piece, easy to slip on over everything and anything. Perfect for those in-between days when it’s neither cold or hot. If I had the time and patience I would be tempted to knit one in a few more colours!

Sous Sous - back view

Sous Sous – back view

The back is large and weighty and I find the weight makes wants to slip backwards… but I love it enough to forgive it for that. However when you look at the back photos on the pattern itself, the shoulder seams are set over the back of shoulder.

I originally thought I would like to change the front curved hem or raise the neckline – however I’m so glad I left the proportions as they are… for me, it just ‘works’ and has been worn quite a lot… in fact it’s perhaps my most loved thing I’ve ever made!

Sous Sous jumper, design Norah Gaughan, yarn Madelinetosh Merino DK. Knitted by Sew Busy Lizzy

I tell no lie, this jumper is very roomy!

I was so impressed with the design of this pattern that I purchased the Cable Source Book by Norah Gaughan. It’s an absolutely beautiful and detailed book which includes techniques and patterns – highly recommended to all the knitting people out there.

Details

Pattern: Sous Sous, Norah Gaughan on Ravelry here, purchased via Ravelry.
Size: the smallest one – finished bust size 132cm or 51 inches.
Needles: Knit Pro Golden Light Gift Set, purchased from Morris & Sons (on sale!)
Yarn: Madelinetosh Merino DK in Cloud Dweller, purchased from yarn.com

No affiliate links – purchase where you choose.

action shot…

Sous Sous jumper, design Norah Gaughan, yarn Madelinetosh Merino DK. Knitted by Sew Busy Lizzy

as randomly snapped late on night in the work lift – thank goodness for mirrored lifts!

Me?I’m doing OK – thank you

Me?

I’m doing OK – thank you to those who send me lovely messages and check in on me.

I’m running but not excessively. I run about 30kms a week. I don’t push myself too hard but somehow have taken a minute off my pre-accident 5km personal best (and my calves are getting too big for my long fitted boots and also my jeans LOL!). I have plenty of restrictions, no weights, no lifting anything above my head, rollercoasters, contact sports, painting ceilings, chiropractors and other things – things I can live with. Sometimes anxiety eats away at me – and I get sad or emotional – but that voice gets quieter as I leave ‘that day’ further behind.

I managed to complete the run leg of a 70.3 Ironman in Port Macquarie about a month ago (that’s a 21.1km – or 13.1 mile – run), you read about it here. It wasn’t a stellar effort – running on a hot day at midday, about 26 degrees celsius, full sun and no breeze. I agree, it was perhaps not the smartest idea but it did go some way to restoring my faith in my physical abilities again.

Next weekend I’m in Perth running in the Western Australian Marathon event. I have no intention to attempt a marathon until I’ve ‘passed’ an MRI or get some sort of clearance from the endovascular specialist – my next one isn’t until November. I’m just running another half marathon in a relay team with a lovely friend – who is running her first ever marathon. No stress. Just fun with friends.

First appeared on ww.sewbusylizzy.com

Style Arc Ariana Dress

It’s been a while!

So let’s start by talking about the new Style Arc Ariana Dress. I sewed on the last button and photographed this in the evening in the final minutes of sunshine. It’s autumn here but still deliciously warm.

Style Arc Ariana Dress

Style Arc Ariana Dress

This pattern was released last week. I have collected a couple of vintage patterns that are quite similar but for a variety of reasons, this one inspired me to sew immediately and so I did!

Style Arc describes the pattern as follows: You will love this gorgeous button through sun dress. The bodice is beautifully fitted. The shaped bust seams and the shirred back allows this dress to fit perfectly and be comfortable to wear. The skirt has gathers falling from the waist and has two large patch pockets. Not after a dress? You can make this one as a midriff top too!

This was only intended as a ‘test run’ version, I’ve often struggled through Style Arc patterns and instructions – and I wasn’t sure if I would like the style on me. So I raided my stash and came up with this lovely cotton/linen which seemed perfect for the task – and I’ve rather fallen in love with it!

Style Arc Ariana Dress – image courtesy of Style Arc

The Pattern

I purchased the PDF version, which only comes as an A4 print-at-home option. I contacted Lena of Iconic Patterns and she created two A0 pages from the pattern for $10 which I had printed at the copy shop – all done in less than 24 hours. Expensive solution but I was impatient and haven’t felt such an urge to sew for ages! I couldn’t bear to wait for a paper pattern in the post.

Apparently Style Arc will provide an A0 file if you request it. Call me petulant but I don’t think you should have to ask for something which most other independent pattern designers now provide (thanks for listening Carolyn) or that they could provide but chose not to in the initial purchase. It’s absolutely Style Arc’s right to make that business decision but I’m also entitled not to like it. I chose to use resources available to me to be able to print it in an easy-to-use manner – as soon as possible! Thanks Lena.

Style Arc Ariana Dress

Style Arc Ariana Dress – lots of buttons… I think they cost me more than the fabric!

INSTRUCTIONS

Sparse at best! That said, Style Arc are notorious for their very brief instructions. If you can sew and have experience in different garment construction it’s not a bother – if you don’t … it is. So I would not recommend this pattern for beginners.

I found the instructions were adequate but I think many might chose to do some things slightly differently.

I found the instructions to attached the shirred panel to the bodice very brief and I figured out a way to do this by myself.

I didn’t like how the bodice was attached to the skirt – or at least the way I read them. perhaps style Arc assume you will figure out the best way to do so – rather than giving you a method. The way the shirring panel was created meant I had to do some unpicking to obtain a neat result on the inside of the bodice. I sewed the skirt to the outer bodice and then slip stitched in the lining into place along the waistline.

SHIRRING

Style Arc Ariana Dress - back view

A shirred back panel. Easy to create IF you know how!

If you are hoping to find detailed shirring instructions in this pattern – you won’t. There are some diagrams but they don’t actually tell you “how to shirr”. You need to figure that bit out by yourself.

I have shirred before but if you are looking for helpful hints, this Craftsy post helps. Google and YouTube will be your sewing friends if you have never shirred before.

Style Arc Ariana Dress - bodice back

Style Arc Ariana Dress – my shirring is not perfect but I only intended this to be a ‘test run’ and experimented a bit!

I find it impossible shirr with my front-loading bobbin case fancy-pants Bernina. Instead I borrow my daughter’s basic Singer machine that has a top-loading bobbin. I hand-wind the shirring elastic onto the bobbin and increase the stitch length. I also find gently providing some tension at the back of the fabric as it goes under the sewing foot helps pull the fabric and result in a more even and neat shirr. That said, I think the shirring experience varies vastly from machine to machine – do a test run first… the panel has 29 rows of shirring!

POCKETS

It has large patch pockets however I didn’t have quite enough fabric to make pockets so I opted to leave them off. I think it would be a lovely feature in a solid linen.

LIKES

  • A classic sundress.
  • It’s very comfortable. Not too fitted on me but not a shapeless sack.
  • Not too many pieces and quite quick to construct… if you can get yourself through the brief instructions and figure out a few construction issues.
  • Some might be deterred by the shirring. However it is a narrow panel and it makes the bodice fit nicely. I like it.
  • The bodice is fully lined. I chose to use the shell fabric as the lining. Many of the other patterns I have considered have a facing to finish the top edge. I think I might try one to see how it compares.
Style Arc Ariana Dress - bodice lining

Style Arc Ariana Dress – bodice lining. The other bonus of having the lining and shell the same – I could choose which pieces to use on the outside and avoid ‘flower’ bewb’

  • I like the neckline shape and strap placement.

DISLIKES

  • Construction as per instructions. I would approach construction slightly differently next time around.
  • A4 PDF pattern or a paper pattern and having to wait impatiently for delivery. I believe US customers can purchase copy shop PDFs from Amazon.

DETAILS

Pattern: Style Arc Ariana Dress, can be purchased as a paper or PDF version. I sewed a straight size 6 with no alterations.
Fabric: Cotton/Linen blend – Still available online – my piece was a remnant bin find for $12 for a 1.7m piece.

Style Arc Ariana Dress

Also excellent for clambering over rocks

I’ve been absent from ‘blog land’ for quite some time – for a range of reasons. As you can see, I’m still here and kicking despite last year’s massive health crisis. I’ve also sewn quite a few other garments and knitted a jumper… blog posts to come… sooner rather than later I hope. More about my damaged carotid artery adventures later.

Style Arc Ariana Dress

Style Arc Ariana Dress

… or there is the Jessica Dress

I’ve almost purchased the Mimi G Jessica Dress several times.

At the moment Mimi G is giving away her Jessica Dress pattern which is quite similar to this dress in many ways. You do need to sign up to her database in order to receive an email to download a copy. I’m not sure how long this offer lasts for… so delay at your peril. It has bodice facings and the skirt button front is looks like it is finished differently. Busy Lizzie (another sewing blogger & friend) recently posted her Jessica Dress on instagram which she had added a shirred panel to. Bonus – gorgeous chevron stripe bodice! I downloaded this pattern today – it comes with an A0 option.

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

Wrapped in Flowers – maxi wrap dress Vogue 9251

I had a maxi wrap dress in my head… and here it is… Vogue 9251.

This is a maxi length version of Vogue 9251 with flutter sleeves.

The rayon fabric has lots of drape and is very fluid, even in a strong late afternoon breeze, it is a delight to wear.

I finished this dress length midway between the midi and the maxi length on the Vogue pattern… I’m 5 foot 4 for reference.

I underlined the bodice in white lawn. I d cured to do this after an Instagram comment from AnnaKatherine who has also sewn a dress in this fabric. It is a fine lightweight rayon and it is bearing a lot of weight in that long, long skirt and the fabric is slightly sheer.

I used my Bernina rolled hem foot to hem the sleeves. I hand basted the bodice and underlining together and then used this fabulous technique to baste my bodice darts. This kept the fabrics together beautifully. Try it, it’s easy & very neat!

I found this dress a little too roomy… I tried stitching elastic to the inside of bias tape finish on the neckline (I had to get creative as I’d trimmed the seams). This is a technique I picked up in a Claire Shaeffer couture book. I used it successfully on my Flora dress.  Even with a tiniest bit of tension I didn’t like it. There’s a millions reasons this was a bad idea BUT it was fun trying it. I didn’t like it. So I unpicked it and tried something else. I strangely enjoy experimenting and trying new things, even when they don’t work.


I unpicked the neckline again and then placed two small back neck darts in the neckline and this improved the fit. Thanks to the print you can’t really see those darts at all. I do wish that this pattern went down to a size 6.

I love this dress and worn it a few times already. Yes, it’s a bright burst of colour… but it’s a dress that makes me feel happy and noone can argue with the virtue of happy wardrobe choices.

Life: still fairly restricted activity wise but hanging in there… less than two weeks until my MRI and CT scans in Sydney. Hooray. Staying positive.Pattern: Vogue 9251. Size 8.
Fabric: Rayon from Spotlight Australia. I bought the last of the roll at my store, last year. Sorry!

Moonstone in the Sunshine – McCalls 7242

Sometimes you just need to revisit a pattern because you love it so much the first time.

So I did.

You can find it over at Maaidesign blog. Maaike contacted me and asked if I was interested in writing a blog for her in return for some fabric… and although I have said no to a lot of things since my accident… an Australian business and lovely fabric seemed like a nice thing to blog about (I may have purchased some extra fabric because I liked it so much!). You can read more about it and see some more images over at Maaidesign blog.

McCalls 7242, the 'water view'

McCalls 7242, the ‘water view’

Fabric: Courtesy of Maaidesign, all opinions my own (I liked this fabric so much I purcashed some in addition to the 2m supplied)
Pattern: McCalls 7242

Wrapped in stars – Vogue 9251, a wrap dress

Vogue 9251 - woven wrap dress in viscose crepe

Vogue 9251 – woven wrap dress in viscose crepe

Another blast from the post-injury ‘go slow’ phase. This is Vogue 9251, view A.

They say not to wear wrap dresses on windy days but I did. These were taken in my lunchbreak (my workplace is about 200m away from this spot) and it was ridicolously windy. So the dress in turn clings and blows out in these photos – sorry but at least they are ‘real life’ photos!

Vogue 9251 - taken on a windy day!

Vogue 9251 – taken on a windy day!

I’ve made this as a work dress but I do really love the style and considering a floral maxi as a casual dress.

I love wrap dresses in summer. Easy care and easy to wear.

Modifications

I made view A with the flutter sleeves and shortened it by 2 inches.

I used purchased bias tape on the neckline, to hem the sleeves and skirt. Depending on the fabric weight, I sometimes find this makes for a much neater and flatter finish.

I used my Prym Turning Set to turn the ties… these make turning your narrow fabric tubes SO much easier!

Dislikes

I love the sleeves but do dislike how you can see the wrong side of the fabric and the sleeve hems, likewise with the skirt… but the dress is lovely and I can live with that. My fault for not choosing a fabric with a less obvious right/wrong side.

In these photos there is a wrinkle at the shoulder – which is not there when I’m looking in the mirror… the risks of walking and moving your arms I guess!

Vogue 9251 - side view

Vogue 9251 – side view

Verdict

I think I need another of these… lovely pattern.

It is slightly big, despite making the smallest size available, I wish I could pull it in that little bit more. I might try raising the neckline a tiny bit.

The skirt is a generous wrap and reasonably ‘breeze friendly’.

Vogue 9251 - a generous wrap for windy days

Vogue 9251 – a generous wrap for windy days

Pattern: Vogue 9251, size 8
Fabric: woven Italian viscose crepe ‘Star Gazer’ from Ruche Fabric. Seriously lovely stuff, doesn’t crease badly and is lovely to wear. Purchased on holiday in January.
Also See: Emily Hallman Designs, Brittany J Jones, Sewing Pomona, Sewing Pattern Review

Me
I’m doing OK. Not much to say about anything as my lifestyle is fairly restricted – hopefully things change after my November review. I’m deliberately being conservative as I figure it’s more likely to heal with less drama. I’ve had enough of medical drama for this lifetime.
I miss running. However I volunteer every week at Parkrun and am treasurer of a local running club so I’m staying in the mix and praying for a return to the pavement sometime soon.