A drunk Candy Cane draped t-shirt… and goodbye 2014…

I decided to make a draped garment for Christmas Day… I know. Not surprised?

Drape Drape 2, Number 4. Back/side view.

Drape Drape 2, Number 4. Back/side view.

I had planned a ‘drunk candy’ draped tank dress (plenty of room of Christmas lunch). I loved the idea of messing with the ubiquitous candy canes at this time of year. However the only red striped knit I could find was a much finer stripe than I wanted to get the right look. So I decided to make a t-shirt instead – and settled on Drape Drape 2, Number 4 – previously blogged here.

Note: I didn’t get drunk on Christmas Day. In fact I very rarely get drunk, tipsy is about as exciting as I get.

Drape Drape 2, Number 4. Front view

Drape Drape 2, Number 4. Front view

Drape Drape 2, Number 4. Back View

Drape Drape 2, Number 4. Back View

This is such a simple t-shirt to make, one piece for the body & one piece for the neck. It took less than an hour to sew up – with sleeves & the hem finished on my coverstitch machine (a beast I am slowly taming & learning to love).

Construction tips: The neckline on this is huge – this is a Japanese S/M size and I tend to pull it backwards so it’s not indecently low. I’d also say if you are stripe-matching junkie – this is not for you. You just have to surrender to the crazy for this one.

Drape Drape 2, Number 4. Draped sleeve stripes - 'not' matching.

Drape Drape 2, Number 4. Draped sleeve stripes – ‘not’ matching.

Drape Drape 2, Number 4. 'Straight' sleeve stripes - 'not' matching.

Drape Drape 2, Number 4. ‘Straight’ sleeve stripes – ‘not’ matching.

We took the above photos post-Christmas in the first break in the rain (it’s been stinking hot and sunny ever since of course). On Christmas Day I looked so exhausted and I was – I slept for four hours during Christmas Day. I’m so glad that the offices are closed and I have 11 days to rest.

I can't ever remember being this tired on Christmas Day

Christmas Day – I can’t ever remember being this tired on Christmas Day 😦

So ends 2014…

I’m not a New Year type. I think I will wake up tomorrow and be the same person, in the same life. I guess that sounds cynical – but it’s also reality.

The last 12 months weren’t what I expected this time last year. Everything changes over time, that’s how life is – for the better and worse. People come into your life, some people leave. People may add to your life – others might just subtract. There are challenges and triumphs. Joys and sadness. You have memories to treasure and those memories you wish you didn’t have. Today I remembered a poem my mother once wrote in a book for me…

Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone,
Kindness in another’s trouble,
Courage in your own.
from Ye Wearie Wayfarer by Adam Lindsay Gordon (1833 – 1870)

That all sounds glummer than it should. It’s not meant to. I’m generally a positive person. I like to laugh. I like happiness. It’s a good way to live.

May your days be filled happiness – and on the not-so-good days – with kindness and courage.

Pattern: Drape Drape 2, Number 4.
Fabric: Cotton/polyester knit from The Fabric Store, Brisbane

Top 5 Hits – 2014 (or perhaps 4)

Before we even start this Top 5 blogging journey, I’d just like to say that I might not always blog ‘five’ things. It’s not that I can’t count, it’s just that I’d rather pick one thing, four things or maybe eight things or more… it’s just what feels right.

I enjoy these posts – for me. So skip over it or read on if you like. I find it interesting to sit back and think about the year just gone. Whether it’s sewing or life in general, it’s good to think about what worked, what didn’t and ‘where to next’.


Today I’m blogging my Top 5 Hits. The makes I’ve worn the most and feel most ‘like me’. It’s easy to get caught up in a trend but more and more I simply sew the things that appeal to me and my sense of style (or perhaps lack thereof!).

Drape Drape

My mother-in-law gave me Drape Drape book last Christmas – and I immediately ordered Drape Drape 2 & 3. These books really changed my sewing approach and ricocheted me off into a completely different style zone – where I’ve never felt more comfortable. They finally provided me with some options that were really what I wanted to create and wear. Some of the makes were perhaps a little crazy but I’ve found these patterns fascinating. Drape Drape posts are here…

As recently blogged, the draped singlet dress from Drape Drape 2 has been the runaway winner in this year’s sewing. This little make is simply a misshapen singlet/tank dress. It’s incredibly easy to make and takes just 1.1m of fabric. When I’ve worn them people want to know ‘who the designer is’ – that gives me particular delight with my red/white/blue one which cost me just $6 in fabric.  

No 2. from Drape Drape 2. Without the drapes in view, it is a very simple singlet dress.

Excuse the stupid pose. blowing a gale and the camera went flat. No 2. from Drape Drape 2. Without the drapes in view, it is a very simple singlet dress. This is perhaps my favourite. I love the lyocell DKNY fabric and the vibrant colours.

No 2. from Drape Drape 2. Side view - with the drapes.

Side view – with the drapes.

Vogue 8780 – the Ugly Duckling

Despite the incredibly uninspiring pattern artwork or even more ‘blah’ Vogue photography, this cardigan is one of my most loved & versatile pieces. It’s made from a very fine merino knit from The Fabric Store in Sydney – plucked from the remanent bin for just $19.

It’s lovely with dresses & jeans. I wear it at work as much as I wear it casually. It’s got lovely drape at the front, a flared hem and it’s fitted across the back. I will make a size smaller next time (this is a small) as the sleeves are quite roomy – but I don’t mind, I love wearing it as it is. To me, this is the perfect cardigan (or whatever you call this!).

All I can say is, you need this in your pattern stash, buy it before it becomes OOP.

Vogue 8780

Sorry can’t see much of the ‘make’ but I love all the natural tones in this shot.

Vogue 8780 - so versatile

Vogue 8780 – so versatile. That’s in the work lift… it has rather a lot of mirrors. Helpful for selfies! I didn’t make the pink dress, it’s an old Metallicus which I had bagged for the op shop – then I thought would lovely it would look with this cardigan. So glad I saved it!

Vogue 1250 & Maria Denmark Day-Night Dress

I’ve made five of these dresses, my most beloved is the Sew Dolly Clackett dress which I’ve worn to work many times. It’s a versatile, comfortable, fun & flattering dress. I’ve been surprised by how much people admire this given the somewhat ‘unusual’ print – it’s not for the faint-hearted! I love the quirkiness and the fact it’s a different colour palette to what I would usually wear.

I love this picture - not because it's a great one of me - but that 'window' in the print looks like a peephole into my soul... or belly button LOL

I love this picture – not because it’s a great one of me – but that ‘window’ in the print looks like a peephole into my soul… or belly button LOL

Grainline Alder Shirtdress

A very recent sewing hit. I’ve worn this a lot!. It’s easy to wear & I’m quite proud of my collar, placket & overall finish. I think I’m also emotionally attached to it as it was sewn on a happy, stress-free day – something I relished after some long, tough months.

I’ve got another Alder to share in the next few days!

Alder, view A - back view. I sense this will be worn A LOT this summer.

Alder, view A – back view. I sense this will be worn A LOT this summer.


There you have it. One indie (Grainline). One Vogue. One Vogue & indie (Maria Denmark) hybrid. One Japanese pattern book.

I love slightly fitted, draped clothes. I adore casual wear and love nothing more than an outfit that I can wear barefoot or with heels. It suits my lifestyle. I work fulltime (so corporate office wear five days a week) and when I’m not at work I like to relax – mentally and physically. We really do go to a quiet beach almost every weekend with the dog and spend plenty of time outside the house.

I’ve loved plenty of other things I’ve made, including my By Hand London Hollys or the dress Holly hack which were fun to make & joyous to wear (and I love that bodice). However for my everyday wear, these four makes/patterns are the ones I reach for the most often – clothes that feel most like ‘me’.

I often sew simply to experiment and challenge myself. I’ve always said I’m not always a practical blogger. I make things that are buzzing around in my head or make me happy (or I try to). My sewing room has many resident squirrels to distract me and one drunk monkey who wrecks havoc on my hems, buttonholes and topstitching when I’m too tired to fight him off.  However on my favourite sewing days, I’m making something I have envisaged and desperately want to wear – and it comes off the sewing machine like magic. Those are the great days.

Top 5 of 2014

Top 5 of 2014

The ‘not Birthday Dress’ 2014, Drape Drape 2, No 2 (again)

So I had birthday earlier this week. I’m not a huge fan of birthdays but I was very spoilt this year by my family, friends and workmates which was rather fun I confess.

I had planned to make a birthday dress but my sewing time in 2014 has been much less than previous years for a whole bunch of reasons. So that didn’t happen this year… alas maybe next.

However I did wear a made-by-me dress to all my birthday dinner events (there was somehow three!) so I figure that kinda counts as a birthday dress. It took me all of about 90 minutes from cutting to hemming.

No 2. from Drape Drape 2. Side view - with the drapes.

No 2. from Drape Drape 2. Side view – with the drapes.

No 2. from Drape Drape 2. Without the drapes in view, it is a very simple singlet dress.

No 2. from Drape Drape 2. Without the drapes in view, it is a very simple singlet dress. Necklace is a resin by a company called Polka Luca. I fused the hem up as I didn’t want to interrupt the fabric design with a stitch line.

No 2. from Drape Drape 2. Chevron side

No 2. from Drape Drape 2. Chevron side – sorry my arm is in the way and then the camera battery went flat and then I went out to dinner!

If you were at Frocktails recently you would have seen this – probably the most simply dressed person there, wearing what is basically a draped singlet. I struggled with fancy and fuss so I guess this little make personifies my style, something simple with a little bit of a twist.

This is actually my third version of this dress. I made one earlier this year that went unblogged, there didn’t seem much to say. This red/white/blue version is one of my favourite makes. I love the strong contrasts, if I’m wearing it out I wear it with my blue heels and a chunky white silicone Jellystones necklace. When I’m just banging about the house on a weekend, I wear it without jewellery and my flip-flops (aka ‘thongs’ if you are an Aussie). The fabric came from the bargain table at Spotlight and the fabric cost me about $6 all up.

No 2. from Drape Drape 2. front view

No 2. from Drape Drape 2. front view. Excuse the face – it was a late, hot, windy summer evening last February. I wore this to work on casual Friday once and was stopped by an elderly gentlemen in the foyer who wanted to tell me I looked ‘spectacular’.

No 2. from Drape Drape 2. Side front view - chevron side. I've sorted out that seam puckering...

No 2. from Drape Drape 2. Side front view – chevron side. I’ve sorted out that seam puckering… and congratulations if you have spotted that my shoes are exactly the same as above just in a different colour!

No 2. from Drape Drape 2. Back view - with the drapes.

No 2. from Drape Drape 2. Back view – with the drapes…. and now I’m wondering why I cut all my hair off… oh well it grows.

It’s interesting making the same pattern several times. It goes without saying that the drapier your knit for this design, the better. This final version is perhaps the best in terms of fabric. It’s a DKNY lyocell – which is essentially a rayon knit. It’s extremely lightweight and divine to wear.

This is one of my ‘tried and true’ patterns – in fact I’ve worn all three this weekend. Considering I wasn’t sure about this look on me at all when I made my first one, it’s proven to be a summer wardrobe staple.

Pattern: No 2 from Drape Drape 2, also blogged here.
Fabric: DKNY lyocell knit from The Fabric Store, Sydney. It was $25 a metre, I used 1.1m for this make, you do need fabric that is 150cm wide for this design.
All fabric, patterns, jewellery and shoes purchased by me.

And yes, I got lots of sewing related presents… here are the most ‘sew busy Lizzy’ presents.

Japanese sewing books, 'cotton reel' earrings, t-shirt (enough said) and a very cute silver spoon!

Japanese sewing books, ‘cotton reel’ earrings, t-shirt (enough said) and a very cute silver spoon!

An artwork for my sewing room - a gift form my parents-in-law. Yes, that's Japanese vintage fabric integrated into the work.

An artwork for my sewing room – a gift form my parents-in-law. That’s Japanese vintage fabric integrated into the work. A hasty iPhone photo while on the way to the dinner!


What birthday is complete without…





Drape Drape takes flight with a Batwing Dress!

No. 7 from Drape Drape 2 - Batwing dress. Sewn by Sew Busy Lizzy from rayon knit from The Fabric Store, Sydney

No. 7 from Drape Drape 2 – Batwing dress, back view. I do love the peek-a-boo shoulders.

I’m on the fence about this one… and I think it’s perhaps I’m not so happy with pictures or the fabric feels a little too slinky for this particular style. I do love the style and the colour. So it’s a 50/50 debate at the moment.

The fabric is a lovely rayon knit from The Fabric Store during the Sydney meet-up in March. I think a slightly heavier knit, less slinky & more matte, would work better. While the drape on this is gorgeous for the top, it’s not ideal for the skirt. The weight of the folded skirt pulls downwards and I need to hitch it up in the most unladylike fashion – you know… with a wiggle and a giggle (I’ve not always been famed for my decorum so I’m OK with that). The fabric slithers over my hips, I think something more matte would cling more to my hips (this must be the first time ever I’m looking for hip-clinging properties in a fabric LOL) and the dress would tend less to pull downwards.

No. 7 from Drape Drape 2 - Batwing dress

No. 7 from Drape Drape 2 – couldn’t crack a smile for the camera 😦


I found it impossible to match this shade of bruised blue and any overlocking thread looked dreadful – so I did all overlocking stitches on my sewing machine. I know you can’t see the overlocking stitches but it bothers me… I can handle hot ‘n’ bothered but not sew bothered.

The Neckline…

Once again with a Drape Drape make I found the finishing instructions on the neckline near impossible to achieve. Perhaps my knit was too soft, however the directions for finishing the neckline made it impossible to achieve a neat finish.

I found this impossible to achieve neatly with a rayon knit.

I found this Drape Drape suggested finish impossible to achieve neatly with a rayon knit.

I attached a very narrow band as per a Sewaholic Renfrew and I think this finish is much nicer.

No. 7 from Drape Drape 2 - the neckline finish

No. 7 from Drape Drape 2 – the neckline finish


The book has you overlock the edges of the sleeve openings and then turn them over once and machine them down. As the sleeves fall open you do see the inside finish of the sleeve. I felt it would look terribly messy so I machine overlocked the edges in a matching thread and then turned them under twice. I pinned them, hand basted them and then machined them. Yes sounds fussy but the finish was much neater.

The Skirt

The wonderful effect of the skirt is achieved by large downwards folds at the sides – I love it and could have the side benefit of concealing significant VPL sins (although I made wise underwear choices here – enough said…)

I made the S/M size of this dress (it only comes in two sizes and this is the smallest size). I took the skirt side seams in considerably – sewing seams of about 30mm instead of 15mm. If I had left the seams as is, the dress hangs like a massive sack from my shoulders and is most unflattering. The shoulder seams are quite narrow to support 2m of fabric and I think the skirt needs to cling for the overall design to work.


I used tailor tacks to mark all the folds etc on this fabric – no chalk or pen would mark it well. I hand basted all the skirt folds and cuff pleats into place. Pins slide straight out of this rayon knit. Despite all that basting – this is a relatively quick dress to put together. It’s got slightly whacky pattern pieces but it’s not too much of a brain bender.

No. 7 from Drape Drape 2 - Batwing dress. Sewn by Sew Busy Lizzy from rayon knit from The Fabric Store, Sydney

No. 7 from Drape Drape 2 – Batwing dress. Still undecided about this make… it’s not for the ‘junk trunk’ shy.

On a positive note, it’s quite demure compared to some of my other Drape Drape dresses… this is about as risqué as it gets…

No. 7 from Drape Drape 2 - Batwing dress. Sewn by Sew Busy Lizzy from rayon knit from The Fabric Store, Sydney

No. 7 from Drape Drape 2 – Batwing dress. This is as about as revealing as this dress gets – apart from the clingy factor of course!

Most of the versions I have seen omit the open sleeves – however I love them. It could be a gigantic sack on me and I love that my shoulders and arms can be seen now and then. I do find that the dress wants to slide forward and I think it could benefit from bra-keepers to help the dress stay on my shoulders. I adore how the fabric drapes in such fine folds across my back. It’s like water.

No. 7 from Drape Drape 2 - Batwing dress. Sewn by Sew Busy Lizzy from rayon knit from The Fabric Store, Sydney

The ‘caboose shot’ however I do love how the fabric falls and folds across my back and arms.

I do love the feel of it and it’s quite wearable. I think it feels better on than it looks through a camera lens – so either my eyeballs are lying or the camera lens is being cruel. At least my legs are not hanging out everywhere like this memorable number… and while this one may have been short – I have worn it a lot…

I think I would love it in matte black knit as a work dress with boots. I work in a cultural centre so my wardrobe choices are sometimes a little less conservative.

I’m very tempted to chop off the skirt, add a lower band to the top and turn this into a highly wearable batwing top. The colour is lovely…

Perhaps I was having a general ‘blah’ day, bad hair, sea breeze to deal with, sun fast disappearing… perhaps I’m too self-critical…

These were taken on the river in my lovely home town of Port Macquarie, outside the venue where my wedding reception was held… many, many moons ago!

Pattern: No 7: batwing dress from the book Drape Drape 2.
Fabric: Rayon knit from The Fabric Store, Sydney

Also see: Cyber Daze | Small Things | Ancien Nouveau | The Somnolent Dachshund
Note – this dress does awesome things when made out of a stripe… tempting…

Giveaway: and I forgot to add a close date for my giveaway so let’s make it midnight, Sunday 25 May 2014 – I will draw it on Monday night.

If I seem to be absent lately – May 2014 has been hardcore busy. ELH was away fishing for nine days, I work fulltime, I have two young daughters. I have volunteered for 6 hours at Ironman on an aid station (until 10pm at night), helped run a school fete stall (this takes HOURS over several weeks – and then a whole weekend – the fete raised $25,000 so I’m happy to have contributed). My daughter is competing in a dance eisteddfod so I’ve been taking her to rehearsals, out of town for a solo performance and this weekend we are at the ‘dance group weekend’ competition for the Eisteddfod out of town – where I have ‘ballet mother duties’ ie shovelling 20 children into ‘circus’ lycra outfits at 8.30am on a Sunday morning… I’m tired just thinking about my schedule this month… I’m not quite sure how I survived it…
Massive apologies that I’m not commenting on blogs at the moment. I am reading everything – I’m just rather knackered at night & typing is tough. Sorry!

Drape Drape 3: No.12 Draped Wrap ‘Dress’

also known as ‘A Wardrobe Malfunction Waiting To Happen’

After the modest, sweet delight of Sewaholic maxi skirt Gabriola, I appear to have done a massive u-turn and created something that could barely be described as a ‘dress’. Sorry about that! The Drape Drape journey continues.

I’ve come to think of this make as the ‘wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen’. Or perhaps a ‘lounge dress’ best worn in the safety of my own home, having late night drinks on the lounge with ELH!

Drape Drape 3 No 12. Draped Wrap Dress

wrapped side view

Funnily enough my draped singlet dress was described by Drape Drape 2 as a ‘tunic’ and I easily wear it as a dress (in fact I now have three of them – sorry not all photographed!)… whereas this ‘creation’ is described as a ‘dress’ but… it covers far less than the singlet dress!

This number is No.12 from Drape Drape 3. And this is how it’s showcased in a book – yes more hamburger-hungry models with poor posture. Then again… maybe she’s stooped over trying to hide her legs… let’s give her the benefit of the doubt!

drape drape 3 No 12

The ‘dress’ as illustrated in Drape Drape 3

This ‘not-dress’ was quite easy to put together. Much, much easier than the deep cowl-necked number. Unfortunately we have been enduring some rain (yes, not always sunny here) and the poor light really doesn’t show off the black/silver beauty of this fabric from Tessuti – purchased on my recent trip to the Sydney Bloggers meet-up organised by Made By Melanie.

Drape Drape 3 No 12. Draped Wrap Dress

The back view – somewhat more respectable.

I do adore the back of the dress and the lovely lazy draping that sweeps across my back at an angle. That’s created by gathering up one side of the skirt and sewing it to the bodice side… yes the bodice side. That’s what creates that rather ‘raunchy’ leg reveal – there’s just no fabric on one side below waist level.

I actually pinned the draped section over a little to cover more of my leg for the pictures. Yes, the draped bow helps cover my leg… almost up to my HIP! *faints*

Drape Drape 3 No 12. Draped Wrap Dress

ummmm, I think I just heard my mother faint.

The draped ‘bow’ is created by making three pleats and then gathering the whole section up, including the pleats, then sewing it across the dress and creating the ‘wrap’. It does create a lovely draped section… perhaps it just needs to be longer… much, much longer…

Drape Drape 3 No 12. Draped Wrap Dress

at least the ‘draped bow’ is covering something!

I did use my Janome coverstitch machine on the neckline and skirt hem – I still need to practice more with the beast. I did hem the ‘draped bow’ but it made it seem less fluid. So I unpicked it – massive job. Then used my overlocker to roll hem the ‘bow’ section – and I also used the overlocker rolled hem function to finish the sleeve hems. This gave the edge of the bow & sleeves a much lighter finish, slightly fluted lettuce edge hem – much better for this make that needs to retain its softness to create the lovely draped lines.

Drape Drape 3 No 12. Draped Wrap Dress

Draped side view – love this view. I feel almost respectable

The sleeves are just sewn into armhole and the underarm seam is left free – so they feel ethereal wings to wear.

I find this design quite interesting. It’s got an incredibly immodest leg line… the neckline is not much better… then these enormously billowing sleeves – it’s a fascinating mix and I do rather like it. But how to wear it?? I slapped on my old trusty black skinny jeans when I got home and it looks OK. Sorry about the foggy lens… I think that was a raindrop!

I have had some people suggest I should wear a slip under it – but I disagree. A slip would change how the dress moves and I think spoil the lines of the design – I think it’s better as a tunic.

Drape Drape 3: No. 12. Draped Wrap Dress

as a tunic… now that’s better!

Pattern: No.12 from Drape Drape 3 published by Laurence King
Fabric: black/silver knit from Tessuti, Surrey Hills store, Sydney

This must qualify for the Sew Sexy Sewalong! Yes?

and an out-take with my crazy little cracker – Miss (just-turned) 9. She explaining how I could pose better as a superhero. Doh! Why didn’t I think of that!

Drape Drape 3 No 12. Draped Wrap Dress