Tessuti Gridlock Pop – mission complete

This project has been an endurance sport. I feel like that little athlete from an unknown country who staggers into the Olympic stadium about 3 hours after the winner of the marathon has crossed the line. A little nobody with no energy but simply determined to finish.


The original post from Tessuti was to “design an outfit incorporating this fabric. Make it up however you like but make it just for you! Our brief is simply to create something stylish and appropriate as day wear.” That later seemed to morph into ‘garment’ but I had this ‘outfit’ concept stuck in my head.

I spent ages looking at this fabric. It sat next to me on the lounge some nights and I draped it over myself quite a bit. I learnt about the fabric, how it draped and felt against my skin. This fabric is hot to wear – it’s 21% cotton, 77% poly and 2% polyurethane – there is no way I would make this to wear as a ‘daywear’ dress in my climate. I would ‘glisten’ terribly at any time of the year (that’s sweat in ladylike terms). It’s ‘breathing’ properties are limited. It’s a great jacket fabric though.

I chose my trusty Fashion Star jacket in the end. Like everyone I loved the Burda Crossover Blazer and Burda 7491 came in a close second (I even traced Burda 7491 and purchased the Crossover Blazer pattern). Those jackets are lovely but I don’t think Gridlock would have done them justice. Thank you Trish & Felicity for their advice.

The fabric had arrived wrapped in an old McCalls pattern – it seemed like fate.

The colour, while being a very beautiful blue, looked dead against the cream background. It needed a ‘pick-me-up’ so I decided a burst of colour was required.

My first choice was dusty pink but when I visited the fabric store this cerise cotton linen leapt from the pile of bolts, saying ‘Whattaboutme?’. It made the Gridlock POP so I found some matching lining and away I went.

Tessuti Gridlock - POP

Tessuti Gridlock – POP

I think the temptation with this competition is to clad yourself from head to toe in Gridlock. I decided to create a statement piece (the jacket) and a dress is to complement the statement piece. They complement each other without being ‘matchy-matchy’. The items can be worn by themselves or together as an ‘outfit’. I wore the jacket today with my jeans for a TV interview!

That was the EASY PART.


The optional extras that I inflicted on myself:-

  • Continuous bias binding
  • Made-by-me piping
  • Topstitching. Not just the jacket shell but also the lining – in contrasting thread (pink on blue and blue on pink)
  • Covered buttons


As I prefer to make my life as difficult as possible, I made up Fashion Star pattern (6699) to pair with the jacket. It’s got cute contrast pockets, skirt vent and waistband. The Gridlock fabric is quite bulky so I chose to add strips of it to the pocket lining.

To the dress I added:-

  • Topstitching to the neckline and armhole.
  • Piping to the waistband (self made as for the jacket). I’ve really proud of the zipper as the piping is pretty close to perfect.
  • Underlined the skirt, I was concerned the pockets would show through the skirt.

I will write up a post later in the week about how I did a few things with this project – right now I’m too tired and over it to say much more (except I want to make a t-shirt for therapy).

There are some seriously awesome entrants now for this competition – which you would expect with $1000 on the line.


OK. Let the pictures speak for themselves. A little creased due to car travel – no ironing facilities at the lighthouse!

I can’t help but point out – how perfect are these shoes for this outfit!!?? The right colour and even a bit ‘Gridlocky’, it was pure luck, I’ve had these for years!

Even the ominous clouds seem to be the right colour. I have not colour altered these pictures at all.



TESSUTI GRIDLOCK - alternate view

TESSUTI GRIDLOCK – alternate view

Tessuti Gridlock. The dress - Cerise with contrasting Gridlock elements

Tessuti Gridlock. The dress – Cerise with contrasting Gridlock elements


TESSUTI GRIDLOCK – sleeves rolled back.



Tessuti Gridlock - back view

Tessuti Gridlock – back view. Alas cotton linen is very ‘crushable’.

Some detail pictures…

Tessuti Gridlock: lapel, button, piping, topstitching

Tessuti Gridlock: lapel, button, piping, topstitching

Tessuti Gridlock - pocket

Tessuti Gridlock – pocket

Tessuti Gridlock - zipper

Tessuti Gridlock – zipper

Tessuti Gridlock. Shell - construction

Tessuti Gridlock. Shell – construction

Tessuti Gridlock. Lining - construction

Tessuti Gridlock. Lining – construction. Please note I’ve top stitched the lining with contrasting thread!

Thank you in particular to Trish, she endured regular random emails from me – which I am sure made little or no sense some days – I even inflicted progress shots on her. Thank you, thank you, thank you. This stopped what was a hard project from also being a long & lonely project.

Thank you also to the Tweeples who checked on my progress and cheered me on, especially Bimble&Pimble with her derby cheers and pom poms.

Good Luck Tessuti Gridlock contestants…

The Little Red Dress (McCalls 6433) & the Pick My Pattern idea…

I enjoyed this project so much I’m feeling inspired to run a little sewalong/blog swopfest called “Pick My Pattern.”

What you talkin’ about Lizzy?

Well, here’s the story, Anne from Pretty Grievances sent me this pattern a little while ago. She thought it would look nice on me (clearly getting me into animal print wasn’t enough to satisfy her!). Apart from being the sweetest thing to do, it was lovely to have someone throw a dress into the virtual sewing change room to try!

from my personal stylist

from my personal stylist – the woman who got me into animal print!

Funnily enough I had looked at this pattern many times and not teetered over the brink with my online cart to purchase it. I suspect slightly more frivolous choices might have won the day… what me buy pretty dress patterns? NeverOK, only every other month…

This whole experience reminds me of going shopping with my friends, or rather when I used to go shopping with my friends! We would all troop into a shop, try on clothes – often trying on clothes that others suggested for us. And sometimes that’s when you find the best clothes of all – the things that you don’t think are you… but your friends know they are…


I think maybe a bit later in the year (there are soooo many sewalongs on at present my head is spinning!) and after my trip to London  (did I mention I’m going to London soon LOL), it might be a fun activity. People nominate, I conduct a random draw aka Kris Kringle style and people pick a pattern for another person. One pattern is relatively cheap to mail internationally… compared to fabric anyway!


I have not got around to hemming this Pick my Pattern creation yet but here are some pictures to share.

My Little Red Dress: front view

My Little Red Dress: front view

Next time around I think I will lift the neckline a little, as when I put this on I keep doing this…

My Little Red Dress - gape!

My Little Red Dress – gape!

I think I need a cut the back a size smaller. It feels a little roomy across my back but fits reasonably well across the bust, waist and hips. I made this in a crepe-type fabric, it’s fairly bulky and I think this has caused issues under the arms, the seam is quite thick and heavy. The sleeves are double thickness – and this fabric is reasonably heavy – making for three fabric thicknesses in the armhole seam. That’s a whole lotta fabric to contend with.

My Little Red Dress back view

My Little Red Dress: back view

I love love love the skirt pleats – how cute are they! I think next time I might make the sleeveless version in black. I think this is the most work-friendly pattern I’ve made up and I think black would be very practical. I made the very stupid mistake of inserting a slightly smaller zip than suggested (hey it was in the stash – I can hear you tsk tsking Winnie). It’s a bit of a wiggle to get off. Worse I made the mistake of trying it on one morning just after I got after the shower and it was VERY humid. The lining stuck to my skin (I had not catchstitched it down at the waistline, I know I know, more gross stupidity) and the lining tore along the zip as I pulled it off. Stupid weather!

Despite the fititng mishaps (hey not everything is going to be a winner first time! Plus the fabric was on sale so no tears there) I think this pattern is a great shape. I love the shape and the style. I have this tiny sneaking suspicion that the swayback poses of the model have something to do with the neckline of the dress being so low and how the shoulder pleats cause the sides of the neckline to gape a little. It could just be a SewBusyLizzy body flaw… I think having the back slightly more narrow and the neckline a tiny bit higher would alleviate this gaping problem. Then again I checked out the McCalls website and the models have similar fitting issues. I think the depth of the neckline needs to be raised. I don’t think this is a modesty thing. I honestly think the depth & shoulder pleats create an issue together.

I did really like the instructions with this pattern. They are very clear and better still they have quite a good outline of how to tissue fit the pattern.

So thanks Anne for picking my pattern. I think I will be making this one again – always a good sign that it’s a winner!


I feel like I haven’t had any time to myself lately – which is kinda true. I’ve managed to squeeze in the odd 15 minutes here and there (when you are fitting it in around dinner, bathtime, dressing for work and more it is very frustrating and exhausting) and made a muslin of a vintage dress pattern… out of a doona/duvet cover… and it’s actually not that bad! More on that soon…

Oh and I also made a gorgeous shirtdress… well I like it!


And what to you think of the Pick My Pattern concept? Hot or Not? Would you be interested in participating?

Fashion Star Winner… London calling… vintage patterns…

Quadruple whammy post of extreme excitment!

The Fashion Star Draw

Yes I finally got around to drawing the McCalls 6611 Fashion Star jacket pattern. I admit some of the delay may be due to my sewing room transforming into a complete war zone (me vs the stash – we are currently negiotating a truce).

Shut up Lizzy we don’t care about your messy sewing room just tell us who the winner is… *sniff* OK I get the hint…

The winner is… (courtesy of good old random.org)


Blogless Anna wins the chance to become a FASHION STAR!

Blogless Anna wins the chance to become a FASHION STAR!

just goes to show that karma is real! Blogless Anna sent me the most amazing length of silk DKNY last month (that’s it in the background) what goes around comes around!

And in more exciting blogging news (well exciting for me)…


The gorgeous Rachel of House of Pinheiro is organising a bloggers’ meet-up on 20 April at the V&A. We can pretend to be genteel while drinking tea (with some hugging, giggling and squee-ing thrown in). Then onto Goldhawk Road where I shall be happily led astray (really ELH they made me buy it).

Anyway, hop over to House of Pinheiro as Rachel is the fabulous organiser and needs numbers etc. So if you are in London or nearby (which is pretty much anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere, after all I’m flying for 24 hours straight just to get to London, thank goodness they allow knitting needles these days) please come along, I’d love 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)

So I must race off and start sewing a squillion things (I never exagerate) as I’m sure this will lead to a wardrobe crisis like no other!!


A delightful work collegue gave me the most beautiful vintage patterns this week. It was such a surprise – they were her grandmother’s. Her generosity is overwhelming. How precious are these??

Grandma's patterns - too precious!

Grandma’s patterns – too precious. She must have been a snappy dresser!

Grandma's patterns - I've just realised what the blog accessories department is lacking! GLOVES!!

Grandma’s patterns – I’ve just realised what the blog accessories department is lacking! GLOVES!!

Grandma's patterns - this one is a magazine pattern from Australian Home Journal. I just love that advert!

Grandma’s patterns – this one is a magazine pattern from Australian Home Journal. I just love that advert, who would have thought a rollette rolled on??

I’m so grateful to have them and can’t wait to try some of these vintage numbers out. I hope I do grandma proud.

And just before I left for Tasmania I receive the most awesome package from the Trouser Making Champion herself – Suzy Bee Sews! After my vintage Jiffy post, Suzy contacted me and asked if I would like her collection of vintage patterns that were not her size. I’m still in shock, awe and amazed. However I did pass on one of the patterns Suzy sent me to Pretty Grivenances… it was not my size and she was tweeting about making a jacket and it was just so it just seemed right to pop it into the koala canoe and send it over to her.

Patterns from Suzy Bee Sews: How cool is that skirt pattern!

Patterns from Suzy Bee Sews: How cool is that skirt pattern!

Patterns from Suzy Bee Sews_web 2

Now I just adore that envelope that reads “the envelope contains ANOTHER RELIABLE DRESS PATTERN.

And what did I send to Anne?

A Coat for Anne

A Coat for Anne

Can’t you just see her now, swanning about, gesturing grandly with the adorable German hounds?

As much as I loved and adored this coat… it was destined for another 🙂

And that’s what makes our sewing blogsphere so cool…

Not a Fashion Star… just me in a cute jacket… & McCalls 6611 giveaway

So begins The Year of the Jacket…

McCalls 6611 - Fashion Star

McCalls 6611 – Fashion Star

Nothing like starting 2013 with a little bit of reality TV – hello McCalls Fashion Star, 6611.

McCalls 6611 - side view

McCalls 6611 – side view

I’m still on holidays but I was missing the blog so decided to write up this post, while sitting in the holiday house in the central Tasmanian highlands (well when you live at the beach where do you go for holidays!?!).

This jacket started when Suzy Bee Sews blogged her version of this jacket. Her’s was not a happy story – so much so that she gave away the pattern. And I won it. After sewing so many indie patterns, it didn’t occur to me that the pattern would not be in my size. Doh! I must be really perverse, as despite Suzy’s tales of woe and not having the pattern in my size, I immediately became obsessed with making this jacket.

Next time a BMV sale came around I took the opportunity to get the pattern (and maybe a few more…) and when walking through Spotlight one day this gorgeous cotton sateen literally threw itself off the rack and into my arms, pleading to find its moment in the sun as McCalls 6611, who was I to say no?

McCalls 6611 - back view

McCalls 6611 – back view

So the outside of this jacket is a floral cotton sateen. I used a contrast cotton sateen for the drape lapels and peplum lining, the body is lined with cotton batiste and I used bemsilk for the upper sleeves (to make it easier to slip on) and the contrast sateen for the lower sleeve lining (more on that in a minute). Yes it’s a bit of a hodge-podge on the inside, partially to do with the fabric stash offerings and my alterations.

This is a simple jacket to construct. I only made a few changes to the pattern.

I cut the back as one piece. It’s supposed to have a seam down the centre of my back, however I didn’t want to cut up the pattern more than necessary.

McCalls 6611: inside jacket back

6611 inside jacket back

I serged the front lining seams and then decided to top stitch these seams… just because I felt like it 🙂 I also serged the jacket front shell seams as I didn’t want them shifting about. I simply neatened the back seams, clipped and ironed them open as directed by the pattern.

I cut the lining slightly wider around the armholes as I thought it would allow for more movement up and around the seamlines. A while ago I saw a blog tutorial on Sewaholic, A Fashionable Stitch or perhaps Grainline’s blog on how to alter pattern pieces for a jacket lining. I wasn’t quite so exacting, i just recalled the post as I was cutting and I just did it by eye! When I get home I’ll look up the tutorial and amend this post with a link.

I also set the sleeves in flat… this is the easiest (and happiest) way to put in sleeves. I learnt this from A Fashionable Stitch during the 1880 sewalong. Great technique – try it!!

6611 inside jacket lining

McCalls 6611: inside jacket front

McCalls 6611: inside jacket shell front

While this was an easy jacket to construct, I spent quite a bit of time pondering the sleeves. They felt overwhelming in the floral print. I almost chopped them off to 3/4 length. However I’m a girl who likes to keep her options open, so I decided to leave the length but use the contrast cotton sateen for the lower sleeve lining. This way when I roll the sleeves back, the sleeves match the lapels which I think looks nicer than seeing common-as-muck bemsilk. I think I’ll always wear this with the sleeves rolled back – I love the informal look – but the option is there for full length if I like or an evening turns chilly (I am now too old and sensible to shiver in the name of fashion).

To my eye the cropped jacket length is better balanced with cropped or slightly shorter sleeves, particularly in this busy print. I considered cuffing the ends but I love jackets with the sleeves shoved or rolled up the forearms. It appeals to my casual sense of style (…that’s if I have something you can call style).

While this pattern does not call for lining fabric, it appears you use sateen or something similar throughout, I think it would be very stiff hence the use of bemsilk and cotton batiste instead (which came from the stash).

I love the peplum as it gives me some shape. I do think the jacket would be great with a button closure, maybe a button and loop, as the lapels don’t really ‘drape’ and I like the look of it closed with the contrast lapels, they don’t look so great flopping around as they are rather pointy than soft and floppy.

Do I feel like a Fashion Star. Nah, not so much – I’m only 5 foot 4!

McCalls 6611 - lapels

It will pain you to know that we took these pictures in my lunch break. This location is our Town Green (riverside) and is all of 90 seconds walk from my desk.

…and one bad hair day shot for laughs… I’m waiting for that sponsorship call from a shampoo company…

McCalls 6611 - bad hair day

McCalls 6611 – back hair day

OK finally what you have been waiting for sooooo patiently, reading my rambling and skimming over my pictures….

Want to be a Fashion Star too? As you know the start of my journey to make this jacket began with the wrong size. I’ve been emailing Suzy and she is cool bananas with the giveaway (thanks Suzy!). So if you would like to join the McCalls 6611 congo line please let me know in the comments below. The giveaway is for size range 14-22

Suzy also sent me a sensational little package of vintage patterns – I’ll blog them when I’m home again – thank you Suzy I love them!! I’ll be home again soon enough.