Busy and still sewing… Named, Sewaholic, Burda and more!

I have been on an unexpected blog break for a few weeks. There are a few times of the year when work, life, family collide and the result is utter chaos. This is one of them.

Rather than bore you with some chest-beating wail about everything that is going on, I’ll simply say amongst the endless storm of life, I’ve been grateful for small pockets of sewing, it has felt like the calm among the chaos.

Firstly – the winner of Stylish Remakes Giveaway is PHYSIC KATHLEEEN (I wonder if she knew that was going to happen!). I’ll send you an email Kathleen to organise postage of your book.

Secondly – what have I been sewing. A bit of everything to be honest. And many things probably won’t make the blog – for all sorts of reasons, some times it about finding the time, the ‘worthiness’ of blogging a simple item or it becomes one of those garments that I wear and totally forget about documenting (which is probably why I should!). So I’ve decided to just provide snapshots of those types of projects.

Here’s a few of those:


Named Patterns Beverly Bikini - a selfie

Named Patterns Beverly Bikini – a selfie

This project lifted me out of a post-Christmas and work stress fog. I was inspired to give these a go after Measure Twice Cut Once launched a sewalong. For those of you in the Northern hemisphere and about to enjoy summer, I recommend these as a fun swimwear project. My first piece of swimwear and nowhere near as daunting as I thought it might be! Sorry – no photos. I thought about it but just don’t feel comfortable – but I applaud those that do. I’ve been destroyed by carrying to two rather large babies and regardless of how awesome they are… I really do hate my stomach. We all have things we dislike about ourselves and for me, it’s my stomach – disaster zone! Such is life. Will some indie designer please release a pair of one-piece cut-outs that are a bit skimpy and sexy? Thank you 😉
Pattern: Named Beverly Bikini


Dolman Dress 06/2012 #134 - I really do need another of these!

Dolman Dress 06/2012 #134 – I really do need another of these!

One of those fun dresses that is incredibly simple to make and makes you feel rather sexy. This is a rayon knit from the Spotlight remanent bin. It has low-cut armholes and I omitted the shoulder details due to the busyness of the print. I opted to make a very skinny tie belt – which you don’t see under the fold of the ‘bodice’ or upper part of the dress. I use it to simply to keep the dress from slipping down and to provide some waist definition.
Pattern: Dolman Dress 06/2012 #134.


Sewaholic Cambie - No.5. Yes unhemmed. I had was camping and just completed some handsewing. I knew there would be no blog pictures, I couldn't resist trying it on for size...

Sewaholic Cambie – No.5. Yes unhemmed. I had was camping and just completed some handsewing. I knew there would be no blog pictures, I couldn’t resist trying it on for size…

Yes, it is unhemmed. I never took blog photos of this as it was a birthday gift. I took this camping to finished some hand sewing on the lining and dress, I hemmed it with some bias tape when I got home. I couldn’t resist trying it on for size. I do so love this pattern, a beautiful dress inside and out – and an utter delight to sew.
This is a cotton sateen from Spotlight.
Pattern: Sewaholic Cambie

And a sneak peek of some upcoming finished projects!

April & May 2016 projects

April & May 2016 projects


Thank goodness I am on holidays for a month at the end of this week, I am dead on my feet from exhaustion!

I have been super busy making/knitting things but need to take some pictures and finish some projects off in the next couple of days. I’m working on two skirts – one of which is my next Abakahan Fabrics 15 Pound Aussie project. The other I’m hoping to wear to the meet-up. How fabulous does this day out in London sound?? Thank you Rachel of House of Pinheiro who has done all the organising – can’t wait to meet you!

The gorgeous Rachel of House of Pinheiro

The gorgeous Rachel of House of Pinheiro (IRL I probably only come up to her kneecap)


Like all truly hopeless marathon runners, I hit the wall of exhaustion hard after the Tessuti competition.


TESSUTI GRIDLOCK – sleeves rolled back.

I thought it was a pretty neat entry. Thought out, well executed, highly wearable and stood out from the crowd, an imaginative use of the fabric. The photos were well styled and the backdrop was awesome! Unfortunately Tessuti did not agree – or at least not in a winning or honorable mention kinda way. The winner was an outstanding creation and they also decided to award five runners-ups with $100 Tessuti vouchers. And no, I didn’t make that short list either. They are all great projects, there were some in particular I really liked right from when they were posted.

I never ‘expect’ to win these comps. I’m fairly uncompromising person at times, I make something I will wear and suits the fabric – that’s not going to win me accolades – but I’d rather be ‘me’ and someone else’s version of ‘me’. At some point in our lives we all get caught up in being the someone other people want us to be or think that we are, I’m past being that person. I simply am who I am. Take me or leave me. I’ve never been a fan of reptiles of any shape or size – so my chameleon qualities are non-existent. My conclusion was that either:-

  1. my stitching is not up to scratch; or/and
  2. my fitting is not top-notch; or/and
  3. my style is not ‘Tessuti Style’; or…
  4. it actually doesnt mean much at all…

I admit, I felt quite despondent about entire process. It was one of those ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ moments. The feeling you get when you know it doesn’t matter what the dumper says to the dumpee, it’s simply a sugar-coated version of the truth.

Then I came back and read all the comments on this post, read the comments on the Tessuti post, the Twitter feedback and realised that to humble old me it’s your opinion that counts more. I might not be a stitcher to attract Tessuti applause but you gave me a standing ovation.

Thank you.

I’m annoyed with myself for being distracted by the Tessuti project and thinking about the outcomes and what that meant about me, my style, my ability. It took me a few days to realise it meant precisely nothing. I’m just me and I’m happy with that. $1K would have been nice or just a pat on the back – but you gave me truckloads of encouragement and admiration. That’s more than enough for me. I sew & blog because it makes me happy. That’s all.

My disappointment is no criticism of the Tessuti winners, the judges or anything else. It’s simply an interesting reflection about me & the process. And I’m tired, very very tired and that never helps.

It even manged to stop me stitching (it can and does happen LOL) while I gazed at my bellybutton in long sorrowful moments of self reflection & doubt. So much so that I lost faith that I could make my pink jacket. Stupid I know.

Burda 03/2013 jacket

Burda 03/2013 jacket. A pretty wool blend.

I have these wonderfully perfect buttons from Buttonmania in Melbourne – thanks to the ever-wonderful Rachel of My Messings. I could finish the jacket before I leave but I would botch the finish. And that’s not worth it. So it shall now wait for my return. I feel really bad about as Rachel made a huge effort to get them to me on time. Thank you Rachel you are fabulous.

I had a go at making my own buttons, they were horrendous. The fabric was thick and frayed awfully. I wish I’d taken a picture of my efforts but I tossed them aside in disgust and outrage! This buttons are perfection. You need buttons? Check out Buttonmania in Melbourne, Australia. Go on spoil yourself. I know you want to.

Perfection: Buttons from Buttonmania

Perfection: Buttons from Buttonmania

Me? I’ve gotta go. Sew & pack for London, Paris & Madrid. Yes, sucks to be me.

Thanks for hanging around with me and putting up with my random rumblings and sewing creations.

Love Lizzy. 🙂


Footnote: You know this post always bothered me a bit and I’ve frequently thought about taking it down. I think people misread it. I genuinely like Tessuti, I’m a customer and I actually didn’t mind not winning. At all. I know the winning entry would have been impeccable. I know people who know and highly respect the sewist (sorry just can’t type sewer when I talk about someone) and her & her skills are held in very high regard.
I guess the point I was making was simply I didn’t understand the criteria and I had no idea how to improve if I was to sew in a competitive sense. The more I sew and blog the more I’m not bothered by these things. I think Tessuti have more than a right to run their competitions however they like. I work in a highly regulated environment and initially struggled with anything that wasn’t strictly governed, had guidelines and so on. These days I kinda like that. I don’t mind how designers or fabric shops run their business – it’s none of my business. I’m happy to support them. In fact I love Tessuti and frequently buy fabric there.

SewUndecidedLizzy… the Tessuti challenge

I really need to get started on my Tessuti fabric challenge.

I’m ‘almost’ settled on this fabric becoming a jacket – and I will make a skirt to pair with it.

I can’t imagine wearing this as a suit – that said, I think I Heart Fabric’s Tessuti outfit is fabulous – yup I never make any sense. I am shorter than average (yes really – there seems to be a wonderful blog mythconception out there that I am much taller than I really am, that’s OK people let’s stick with that). I tend not to wear too much pattern, particularly darker ones, as I think it visually shortens me – when you have an excessively tall husband you think about these things!

My original plan had been to make up a dress with a bolero. A Simplicity 2444 dress style and a figure hugging bolero using the reverse side of the fabric for trim around the neckline etc.  However after much fabric patting and excessive amounts of umming and ahhing, I just don’t think it’s ‘me’. I just can’t comfortably wear that amount of ‘matchy matchy’.

I think it’s going to be a casual jacket with a skirt with trim, I’m not participating in sewing challenges or competitions unless I can do them the SewBusyLizzy way, I’m interested in makign things which are ‘me’, a reflection of my style, taste and lifestyle. Anything else feels like a sellout.

I’ve narrowed it down my jacket choices to four. Yesterday it was two, the indecision is killing me!!

The contenders

I’ve had a crush on this pattern ever since Handmade by Carolyn made it for her daughter – I love the slouchy style of it. I can imagine wearing it and loving it – with a short skirt or coloured skinny jeans. I’m just worried the fabric is a bit ‘busy’ for it, then again sometimes those visual conflicts work a treat. Love the soft flippy peplum. Would make the long sleeve version.

McCalls 6611

McCalls 6611

I’ve made this before and really love the jacket. I like the peplum and the cropped style.

Clearly I’m developing a peplum obsession (and excuse me that chick looks like she wielding a riding crop – so stern!). I’m small and I like the shape peplums create, a bit of curvy illusion is good for a skinny wench. I like both the short-sleeved and long-sleeved version. Worried it’s a bit mother-of-the-bride in a so much pattern, not creating it as a suit.

Crossover blazer - Burda Style

Crossover blazer – Burda Style

Just love this one. Would have to buy it online and tiled it all together… and no seam allowances make things more complicated again…

I’m interested in your thoughts, I think ELH is sick of hearing about it…

I often find hearing people’s thoughts help me clarify my own. And quite frankly having mental conversations with myself has been going on for weeks, I’m getting quite sick of the little person in my head prattling on endlessly! Let’s shut her up.

Have you seen Karen’s (Did You Make That) fabulous Minoru in the Tessuti challenge? That girl can sew!


I’ve started this jacket. Looking nice… so far… I’m up to the fringing. I wish Burda Style had more patterns starting at 32 or 34. So many of them start at 36.

Burda 03/2013 jacket

Burda 03/2013 jacket. A pretty wool blend.

So I searched the Burda site again and found this jacket which could be contender No.5.

Stop looking Lizzy and sew something!!! SOMEBODY STOP ME.

Focus Lizzy… Focus!

I tend to talk and write a lot. What can I say I talk, I type and words just come out!

So I’m attempting to rattle on less tonight, it’s getting late and I need to sleep 🙂 otherwise I end up SewCrankyLizzy.


Voting is now open on the Pattern Review website for the RTW competition. I’m quite sure that there are a few entries there that are going to smash my humble little gingham shirtdress but I’ve decided that if by some miracle I do win the $200 Mood voucher, I’m going to buy something (in addition to my dream Anise fabric) to giveaway on my blog. I figure you all want something from Mood Fabrics just as much as me – so part of being happy is about sharing it around 🙂 You are all so generous and kind to me, I would like to give a little back in the form of Mood fabulousness if possible. I guess that would be interpreted as an enticement but it’s not intended that way. A lot of what I have achieved has been inspired by your kind words and encouragement, you are all as much a part of my sewing as me. Maybe I should have wait til after the competition. Ah, I prefer to be upfront and just say things like they are. It’s just something I want to do & it’s not an afterthought Read more about this project here.

My Shabby Apple RTW dress

My Shabby Apple RTW inspired dress – I love it with my dark red belt, patent red slingbacks. I have worn this A LOT. Making it a sewing win regardless of Pattern Review competition outcome.


I’ve also made up a vintage pattern – see if you can pick which one…. Thank you SuzyBeeSews! The bodice of this is very much like the Peony but it fits without alteration. I made this from an old doona cover from a charity shop – I as nervous about the fit but it fitted perfectly. The skirt is a little too gathered for the dress, I just used all the leftover fabric once I cut out the fabric. I didn’t have enough doona cover for the flared skirt in the original. I love this bodice. I want to make the dress again – sleeveless version.

Vintage McCalls

Vintage McCalls. That’s one of my beloved pieces of furniture, a early 1900s settee, from my childhood bedroom.


I’ve been distracted by Sewalongs. I can’t help myself. I have almost finished my New Look 6000 for Scruffy Badger’s Polka Dot NL 6000 sewalong. It’s more splodge-a-dot but I like it. I love this pattern. I confess I had been put off it because the envelope was so thick LOL. The neckline on this is not playing nice, it looks smashing but the facing does not want to stay put – damn you drapey fabric… although the pleats look lovely… I want to make it in a ponti fabric for work. Love this pattern.

New Look 6000

New Look 6000

Despite having the perfect pattern for the Sew for Victory Sewalong…

Sew for Victory

Sew for Victory. An original 1044 pattern.


I’ve decided that my London trip is too close and I would like to attempt to make a jacket to take. Hmmmm, I know ambitious….

Burda 03/2013 jacket

Burda 03/2013 jacket. A pretty wool blend.

I also got this raspberry stretch lace and would love this little cardigan from the latest Burda magazine. Don’t you think it would look fabulous with a black Charlotte skirt and a skinny belt…

Burda 03/2013 lacy cardigan

Burda 03/2013 lacy cardigan

Focus Lizzie. Focus!

Oh and my Tessuti competition fabric arrived…

Tessuti package

Tessuti package – how awesome is that packaging!!


BurdaStyle called this a ‘gardening vest’ in their March 2012 issue. Personally I think it just fitted in with the theme of the photo shoot but that’s OK, with a little imagination we can all conjure up a different background….

Fishing vest!

Fishing vest! (please excuse the crimped hair – the hair is the result of Speech & Drama Eisteddfod mode – her poem was Bedhead…

A couple of months ago I came across Tanitisis and found a wonderful post about the fishing vest she had custom-made for her daughter. I was really inspired – and remembered the ‘gardening vest’ BurdaStyle pattern. It’s got the large pockets which can take little fly/lure boxes and all the other bulky essentials that a dedicated fishergirl needs – plus a pocket for lollies and another for a handkerchief…

I was a little scared off attempting a Burda pattern after reading tales of Burda woe from Pretty Grievances

And then the pattern sheet really made by blood run cold… I’ve since discovered if you treat the sheet like a Where’s Wally/Waldo book, it becomes fun in an odd sort of way!

But once you find the pattern you are after, how to trace??? Thank heavens for this post by Handmade by Carolyn where she mentioned how she traced patterns. After a quick visit to Spotlight, I came home clutching a 20m roll of white plastic party tablecloth. And all I can say is… the woman is a guru. Go and read that post… now and wail no more about tracing!

I found this pattern quite straight-forward. The wording of the instructions are a little different however I found if I took it slow and played with the fabric, everything went very smoothly.

I know this isn’t glamorous or gorgeous sewing project in any way… but I had sooooo much fun making it! And in the words of Tanitisis herself, I am “Inordinately Pleased With Myself”.

I went slowly and really enjoyed the process. It’s made from a very plain cotton drill.

I hand basted all the pockets and seams with silk thread (I know I laughed too) before I machined them. I also machine neatened the pocket front and side panels together – it made the inside of the pocket much neater (not to mention it saves thread).

BurdaStyle 03/2012 #117 Children's Vest in progress

BurdaStyle 03/2012 #117 Children’s Vest in progress.

Then I went bananas with trim. Prepare to be amazed at just how much you can trim a fishing vest…

I found these metals buttons with fish scale pattern on them.

BurdaStyle Children's Vest 03/2012 #117 - the pockets

BurdaStyle Children’s Vest 03/2012 #117 – the pockets and fish scale buttons

The inside of the vest and the inner pocket flaps are lined with a quilting cotton fish print. The pattern did not call the line the pocket flaps – clearly Burda is not into excessive trimming…

BurdaStyle Children's Vest 03/2012 #117

The fish print lining! BurdaStyle Children’s Vest 03/2012 #117

Then I decided it was a little beige, boring and boyish on the outside. So I purchased some very decadent rose braid to trim the outside neckline. I hand stitched it down with tiny stitches in beige silk thread. Then I really went OTT and stitched tape with imperial measurements inside the vest (it would have been more functional to sew it along the inside lower edge but it would not have looked as cool). I have no doubt she will try it to measure a fish on this at least once…

Inside and outside trim - the BurdaStyle fishing vest

Inside and outside trim – the BurdaStyle fishing vest

I spent a lot of time making this vest and I enjoyed every minute. What I have enjoyed even more is how much the munchkin loves it…

BurdaStyle Children's Vest - Thumbs Up

BurdaStyle Children’s Vest – Thumbs Up. The happiest fishergirl in town – the type of person whose glass is neither half full or half empty… it’s always overflowing!

I’ve now subscribed to BurdaStyle – I can’t buy it locally and the Australian suppliers of subscriptions made it very expensive, then I remembered a post by Adventures with Tigergirl. This is much cheaper than buying it at the newsagent!

BurdaStyle haven’t made this pattern available online so I’ve scanned in the magazine page just so you can see what the original looked like. This model is much more ladylike than my poppet! However my poppet is off trout fishing in Tasmania in a week’s time so this is part of her holiday wardrobe.

BurdaStyle  03/2012 #137

BurdaStyle 03/2012 #137. From BurdaStyle 3/2012, page 11

And if you were wondering if my other daughter is at all interested in fishing, the answer is absolutely not… this is how she spends her time (and no I don’t make these costumes)…

the ballet girl

the ballet girl – the littlest at the front… waiting in the wings for her dance. Their faces are blown out but I love the mood and it’s just like it is side stage…

I’ve had a rather horrendous week but finishing this and going on our ‘fashion shoot’ this morning really made me happy 🙂


I’ve just finished a new top Vogue 1247 – I love it!

And I must share with ou a little sewing project, a detachable Peter Pan collar.

I’ve loaded all my patterns available for the Patterns and Postcards swop – check them out here!