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 ūüôā 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 ūüôā 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!!

My Shirtdress… and the 15 Pound Aussie Project…

I’m no supermodel but I can sew!

Vogue 8028 mash-up - and the Shabby Apple inspiration dress

Vogue 8028 mash-up – and the Shabby Apple inspiration dress

The hemline doesn’t look even but it is – it was just BLOWING A GALE! More on that later…

I fell madly in love with this dress when I spotted it on LLadybird’s blog for a Shabby Apple promo months ago. Unfortunately when Shabby Apple do promotions via blogs they are only ever for USA residents so I needed to make this myself.Then along came the RTW Challenge on Pattern Review and I could think of no better excuse to make it.

I had grand visions of my blog photo for this dress. Alas, the Blogs Gods were not smiling upon me. In my little corner of the world it has been raining forever (not really but it feels like it!) and we are recovering from one of our biggest floods in decades. I’ve had to ‘make do’.
RTW/Designer Knockoff Contest

I’m SoSadLizzy as I really really really wanted to win this competition. First prize $200 Mood Fabrics voucher, second prize $100 Mood Fabrics voucher. My lust is insatiable – before this was announced I had been drooling over my dream Anise fabric. Alas our river is in full flood, our jetties surrounded by flood debris, our glorious beaches are trashed and the rain continues to fall. Boo. Sob. Howl. Life can be so unjust!! If that’s the worst I’ll ever suffer in a flood I can live with that.

Many of the entries so far are fancy – and I respect that and no doubt they will smash me in the voting stakes, lace and couture stuff is sexy. That’s OK, I love this dress, I will wear it alot and I’ve been dying to make it for months. I’d rather make a dress that I love and wear often than a statement piece that I wear once. Oh dear I’ve become so practical…

I think my dress is similiar in spirit but (ahem) better than Shabby Apple’s. When I really really looked at the Overboard dress, I really didn’t like the collar – it had no band, it wasn’t notched. The button placket makes my eyeballs cranky as the pattern matching is poor. I also didn’t like how the skirt pleats created a visual mess at the waistline. My alterations addressed this, don’t we always gloat that made-by-me is better, so why slavishly copy an original? Improve it!

I used the top of Vogue 8028 (this is out of print, I got it on ebay for about $5). This pattern is a full shirt dress, buttons to the hem – Overboard is not, it’s a shirtmaker dress – buttons just to the waist with a zip under the arm. This Vogue pattern also does not include a pleated skirt. In the end I just used the top pattern pieces.

I changed the construction order to suit my alterations. I made up the front and back as instructed and attached them at the shoulders. I inserted the sleeves flat. I did not sew up the sides at this point. First I created pleated skirt panels. Pleating gingham is super easy – you just use the checks as a guideline. I pleated so the navy gingham check forms a visual waistband – the pleats point inwards. I then attached skirt panels to the tops. Without the sash my dress looks like this at the waistline…

Vogue 8028 mash-up - waistline

Vogue 8028 mash-up – waistline

I then inserted an invisible zipper under one arm (which broke the first time I tried on the dress! Growl!). I sewed up the sides and hemmed the dress. Yes, it really was that easy!

I only made the top button a ‘real’ buttonhole. Shirtmaker dresses are great if buttonholes and buttons scare you. I sewed the buttonholes through all layers of the fabric – with the exception of the top buttonhole so I can leave it open & casual. The buttonholes secure the front, there is less chance of the buttons pulling and gaping. I simply sew the buttons over the top of the buttonhole, noone can tell and the dress front sits nice and flat. You escape the dress via an invisible zip under your arm!

I made the sash from scrap red lawn I had. Buttons were $2.99 at Lincraft.

I think my check matching was reasonable, not perfect but better than Shabby Apple by a long shot.

So in a few days I will probably be back, begging, crying, pleading for your vote on Pattern Review… I’m totally cool if you are not a fan or you prefer the other entries (I may cry for weeks but sewing therapy will get me through – and there are a stack of other things on Shabby Apple I want to make up). You can only vote if you are a Pattern Review Member for at least the last 3 months. I like Pattern Review and use it a lot, it is a good solid resource to check any potential pattern purchases against – it’s the first place I check out. (Note to self: get over there in the next two days and load up your review, images and entry – stop talking about it and start typing!)

What makes me most proud is that I modified pattern significantly – I never imagined I could achieve this sort of customised result when I started blogging last April.


In January I was contacted by Will of Abakhan Fabric via Twitter, he asked if I would like to be part of a budget bloggers’ project. Invited bloggers can select goods to the value of 15 pounds from their website once a month and make anything they choose. I pointed out that I lived in Australia but Will said that was OK. I have quite a lot of UK readers/followers so it made sense to me – and what a fun challenge!

This is great project for me, I’m a budget stitcher. The majority of my makes come from the bargain table, yes I’m picky and they are often beautiful voiles and lawn, but I freak out at paying a fortune for anything. Must be my ancestral Scottish blood (or the Welsh or English bits of me – or it could just be the cheeky cheapskate Aussie) can be blamed (or credited) for this!

Ten Pound Poms is Aussie slang to describe the British who migrated to Australia after the Second World War under an assisted passage scheme run by the Australian Government. Adults could migrate for 10 pounds sterling and children for free. So I’ve called myself the 15 Pound Aussie. Any of these Abakhan Fabric projects I’m going to tag as 15 Pound Aussie on my blog. Keep an eye out for them and if you are in the UK especially, don’t underestimate their range, it took me DAYS to choose! When I’ve over in the UK in 1 month and 17 days (not counting, really I’m not) I shall be buying up their bias binding range!

I made this dress from fabric sent to me by Abakan Fabrics in the UK.

This is my first project from this blogging challenge. An enormously wearable dress which used less than 2 metres of fabric at the princely sum of £3.35 pounds a metre, so £7.70 for the fabric plus $3 Aussie for the buttons. The RTW dress is currently on sale for $US 86. Bargain I say.

15 Pound Aussie win. Thanks Abakhan Fabrics!

Images credits: Shabby Apple and Sewbusylizzy.

The Tardis Skirt

Vogue 1247

Singing in the Rain

Well I have been busy… very busy…I’ve been stitchin’ up a storm and have several dresses and skirts to show for it. However rather than just flood the blog right now I will blog about them over time… plus it gives me time to possibly take some respectable pictures! As interesting as my lounge room wall is, and as professional as the fuzzy photos taken by my girls on the iPhone – I think I can do better.

So first up is the skirt I have nicknamed THE TARDIS. What can I say but – I LOVE THIS SKIRT.

Hello Vogue 1247. Verdict: Sew Cute.

OK the photo is not great but the weather is not helping. Believe it or not I live in Port Macquarie, which the CSIRO once said had the best climate in Australia (they might have said it years and years ago but us locals are still clinging to that). It’s been raining forever. Well not forever, but it feels like that.

I love everything about this skirt. It looks so simple but it’s like the Tardis.

I was a massive Dr Who fan as a kid. It was perhaps the one thing that inspired me to chomp my way through mashed potato (a pet hate) and whiz¬†through the drying up. I was¬†terrified¬†of Davros but that’s another post… I love this skirt as much as I loved Dr Who as a kid – and that’s saying something!

Why is this skirt The Tardis? Well it’s blue. It looks like a simple, practical,¬†functional object… but¬†it’s actually whiz-bang cool inside. And it’s transported me to another universe of joy and satisfaction (happy hand clapping).

It has enormous pockets! TWO enormous pockets! psssst…. I lined them with sew-cute polka dot fabric.

And it has the most adorable finishes, all hidden inside but I think that just adds to the satisfaction… it’s mine… all mine… evil chuckle. It’s my little secret (and now yours – no pressure).

If you don’t believe me – check out the hem below… and that’s just the Hong Kong finish and there is so much more¬†on Flickr…

The entire world should own a skirt like this. It’s just too good not to own. Trust me. Although there are plenty of posts on Pattern Review about this skirt, including this one by the¬†talented and inspiring Carolyn,¬†I think I will contribute another. It’s just too good not to blather on about endlessly.

I know there are a billions things I could have done better, should have spent more time. Coulda, shoulda, didn’t. I was so ‘loved up’ with this project I just had to have the finished product asap. And I’m sure I will make it again at some point so perfection can wait ’til then. This was all about satisfaction.

I have¬†not sewn clothing since I was 18… and that was errrr…. a while ago. I was lucky enough to have a Mum who is an amazing craftsperson. My Mum made me everything¬†when I was a kid. Everything and oh how I longed for a ‘shop bought’ dress when I was a little tacker¬†(ha that’s funny!). While I might not have appreciated it then, I love her for it now. She taught me how to sew, knit and more – and she is teaching my daughters!¬†I’d love to think I could be as good as her one day but she’s super fastidious. Me not so much, I’m more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda gal. Despite our stitching differences, it’s rather nice to sit with my Mum and hand stitch over a cuppa tea (although she’s probably secretly fretting about my imperfect stitch length).

So I’m back at stitching after a prolonged¬†hiatus and this skirt was such a rewarding project to kick-start a new sewing binge. It might have tipped me over the edge into addiction… (lots of happy hand clapping)

The Tardis Skirt - Vogue 1247

Need to stop sewing…

and get myself organised!

Thought I was tricky sitting up late last night setting up my blog (now I am just tired and very cranky). So I logged on today and sighed. There is so much to do….

  1. Organise the widgets.
  2. Clean up the sidebar.
  3. Set up a decent theme.
  4. Write some generic pages.
  5. Take pictures while I sew.
  6. Stop getting my little girls to take pictures of the things I make on my iPhone.
  7. Take decent pictures.
  8. Starting commenting on other blogs.
  9. Start posting my projects into forums, Pattern Review and whatnot.
  10. Make a more comprehensive thoughtful list…

However I am finding time to sew… whenever I can!! So far I’ve stitched two Colette Sorbetto tops (just to get my back into the swing of sewing!), one Colette Crepe Dress, one Vogue 1151 and one Vogue 1236 (love love love this pattern). Yes,¬†in just two weeks.

And I confess I have started a fabric stash. I am also accumulating patterns… and there are so many more I want… they are just SOOOOO expensive in Australia!

Yes, yes, pictures soon (please refer item 6 in list above).