VOGUE 1247 from head to toe

Vogue 1247 - top and skirt

Vogue 1247 – top and skirt. First Vogue 1247 outing, we had a picnic dinner on Town Green, it was getting dark so not the best picture but I do like the vividness of the fabric in this light. I look exhausted… I am….

Vogue 1247 - back view

Vogue 1247 – back view. This is the next afternoon, on the ‘dog beach’.

The Vogue 1247 skirt was one of the first things I made this year. I nicknamed it The Tardis Skirt because it has hidden pockets in the yoke seam – they can hold a truckload of stuff. I was inspired to return to this pattern after Karen from Did You Make That? recently posted her 1247 skirt – I had already purchased the fabric for a skirt and top so Karen’s post provided the motivation I needed to get started.

I had planned to make the Darling Ranges dress first in my Spring/Summer Sewing plans but the bodice muslin was a disaster so I’ve put it aside for now. Vogue 1247 is the first one I can tick off my seasonal sewing list.

Vogue 1247 - on the beach

The top took three evening sewing session in total to trace, cut out and sew. I had been intimidated by all the French seams in this top and allocated it to my mental ‘too hard’ basket. I’ve recently started to French seam anything I can… mainly because it’s faster than zig-zag or overlocking stitch, the interior finish is much neater and saves a lot of thread!

The trickiest part of this project was cutting out the fabric for the top. Rayon is not much fun to cut out so I used my rotary cutter as much as possible.

Despite not feeling confident that I could manage to get all those seams to meet at the front, it’s almost perfect! It’s probably out by less than a millimetre but I think I can live with that. The print is very ‘busy’ and I could have missed by a ‘country mile’ and it would be very hard to spot when I actually have the top on.

Vogue 1247 - French seamed top.

Vogue 1247 – French seamed top.

I machined the hem as the pattern directed but I didn’t like how the hem fell. I ended up handstitching the hem and unpicking the machine stitching. The top is much more fluid as a result, the hem less obvious. It was worth the extra time.

I just adore this pattern and can’t recommend it highly enough.

The top is large but in a soft fluid fabric, it moves beautifully. I can see myself wearing this with the skirt, jeans, a black skirt to work, skinny black pants with heels – it’s very versatile – although I do need to wear a cami under it as the neckline is very wide. It’s the sort of top you could make as a gift, it could fit and flatter just about anyone. I’m slender and blousy things can swamp me but paired with a fitted skirt/pants, I love them. I’m definitely going to make the top again, perhaps in a plain rayon now I know that I can conquer all those French seams.

The skirt only took me two nights to make – including the bias binding finish, I love the finishes on this project – it’s what makes it so special. The skirt is a sensational, practical design as well as an easy flattering shape to wear. I didn’t add any length to the skirt as I like my casual skirts to be shorter. Others might prefer to lengthen it – I could just be a hussy. It’s perfect in hot weather with bare legs and flip-flops (or thongs as us Aussies call that sort of footwear!). And I’ve worn it all through winter with leggings/tights, boots and long sleeve tops – it will definitely be in my bag for my upcoming long weekend trip to Tasmania. I could never have too many of these skirts in my wardrobe. My girls have begged me to conjure up something similar for them. 3 Hours Past has just posted the Book Report dress that she made for her daughter which has similar pockets. That dress is a little young in style for my girls but I could definitely alter a pattern to incorporate hidden pockets in a yoke seam now.

Vogue 1247 skirts

Vogue 1247 – my most recent on the right. Evidence that an invisible zipper foot is really worth every cent!

What I’ve enjoyed most about this project is seeing how my sewing is improving. My second skirt is so much neater. The zip is perfect – it certainly helps having an invisible zipper foot, I also lapped the waistband the wrong way on my first skirt – it’s simple to fix but I can’t be bothered, I love it anyway. My bias binding finish is also much neater. A sewing win!

It’s great to revisit a pattern and see your skills progress. It’s a little exercise I plan on conducting more often. There are lots of things I would like to sew, but I also think it’s also valuable to go back and improve your skills. Not to mention getting value for your pattern spend!

I’m a little disappointed in the pictures as I love this outfit but I don’t think it looks as good in the pictures as it does IRL. The Ever-Lovin’ Husband approves and thinks it looks v.nice. My blog posts feel less than inspiring – I’m battling enormous fatigue and my gift of the gab is somewhat limited. Hopefully some long sleeps will sort me out.

Pattern: Vogue 1247
Skirt: light/medium-weight black denim. It had an unpleasant chemical smell, I washed it twice. ThePerfectNose advised via Twitter to give it a salt wash as the ‘denim’ smell is sometimes caused by the indigo or sealant used in the dyeing process. Two washes fixed it but next time I will try the salt wash!
Top: cotton rayon mix
Time: five evening sessions to trace, cut out and sew.

QUESTION: Are Vogue patterns really that hard? Is it just an urban sewing myth? I think so. I’ve had a number of women, older women in particular (including my mother), tell me that Vogue patterns are more difficult than the other patterns.

Yes some Vogue patterns are difficult and Vogue is so kind to tell you up front. They even tell you if they think it’s suited to your  body type (I just wish they had a symbol for vertically challenged skinny people – but you can’t have it all I guess). I’ve always found Vogue instructions to be clear, well illustrated and I’ve never had any trouble.

What do you think – have I just been lucky with Vogue?


Koala in my backyard

Koala in my backyard

The koalas around my house are driving me nuts. It’s breeding season, and despite their cute and cuddly looks these little fellas are very very noisy when they are out and about looking for a ‘good time’ – and some little fella carried on a treat until 2am a few nights ago. Despite having a koala-unfriendly fence, they still manage to get into our backyard – which gets Banjo (our whippet) most excited. Dogs and koalas are not a good mix so Banjo is enjoying lots of inside and lounge time!

So that’s one project (or two really!) achieved out of my Spring/Summer sewing plans… what next??


Last weekend was more Busy Lizzy than Sew Busy Lizzy. Fear not I managed to squish in a bit of sewing – a remake of an old skirt but a new sewing challenge for me.

Maytime markets outing - Vogue 1247

Maytime markets outing – in my beloved Vogue 1247, aka the Tardis Skirt!

I spent half of Saturday folding up other people’s old clothes for the school’s Maytime Markets. I should count my lucky stars I wasn’t the store organiser who spent weeks picking up clothes and sorting them into sizes etc. Saturday was back-breaking work and quite overwhelming. There was hundreds and hundreds of pieces of clothing from babies through to old lady stuff, hand bags, belts, hats and more. Yes I thought it sounded like paradise as well… until I was faced with helping stack them into some sort of order in a classroom! Sunday was spent at the markets helping ‘man’ the stall. It was a hoot, people went bananas, most things were $1 and the ‘fancy’ stuff was $2 or $3.I confess I did bring home the odd thing or two…

maybe three or four…

coulda been five or six…

ok I lost count!

However I did buy two skirts that were huge on me – purely to chop up and remake into something new. One of the skirts was brand new with tags still on. Neither of them were ‘fancy’ brands but I loved the patterns and figured it would be a cheap experiment. At $1 and $2 each I threw caution to the wind.

So I bought this…

Maytime Markets Skirt No 1

Maytime Markets Skirt No 1. Too big for me! Purchased for the princely sum of $1

I am saving the second post for another post : )

damper – Jabba the Hutt of the food world.

I loved this fabric. It’s from a cheap nasty chain store and the fabric is not fabulous quality. Still the colours and pattern really appealed to me and there was quite a bit of fabric without seams running through it so it looked promising for an overhaul.

The original skirt needed about 10cm (4 inches) taken out of the waist and in my former pre-Sew Busy Lizzy life I would have just tossed it aside with a sigh of regret. I felt it was just too big to alter successfully – and full skirts just made me look like a little dumpling – I’m sure they are delicious but they are not the most visually pleasing of food items. And anyway Aussies are more damper than dumpling people (which looks like the Jabba Hut of the food world – although tastes excellent out of the camp fire, covered in charcoal with lashing of butter and golden syrup…).

But no more! I took it home at the end of the markets and promptly set about destroying it with vicious glee. I was very upset when the zip broke as I had wanted to make this a total remake but it wasn’t to be. The zip went to stitching heaven and I got a new one for about $1.50. Alas.For the last couple of weeks I had been wanting to try out Simplicity 2451. It’s had gushing reviews and it’s as cute as a button. However I am loathe to try out a new pattern when I’m never quite sure if 1) it’s going to have fit issues or 2) the design will suit me – and I hate to waste fabric! Then along came Maytime Markets Revisited Skirt No. 1 – match made in heaven. With some jiggling and squeezing I managed to get all the pattern pieces out of the main skirt, I ended up having to do an extremely dodgy piecing job for one of the pockets…

Maytime Markets revisited skirt - The 3 Buck Wonder dodgy pocket

Maytime Revisited Project, Skirt No. 1 – the dodgy pocket. Made using Simplicity 2451, view D

and used the skirt’s original lining for the inner pockets…

Maytime Markets revisited - the pocket lining

Maytime Markets revisited skirt project – the pocket lining made from the original skirt’s lining

I did rush through this project – I did not bother too much with finishing the seams. To be honest I wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did! I’ll go back and pink the exposed seams. I saw this as an experiment and a challenge, fortunately a successful one!

And here is the somewhat-smaller-than-the-original Maytime Markets Revisited Skirt No. 1 which I have nickname Cheap & Cheerful. It’s been a busy week so have not had a chance to get out of my work clothes and into this for a photo (it’s dark so early now and cold!) but I will take one over the weekend as I really like this one (IMHO)

Maytime Markets skirt - 'my' finished skirt using Simplicity 4470

Cheap & Cheerful Skirt. My Maytime Markets revisited skirt project – ‘my’ finished skirt using Simplicity 2451