Colette Jasmine – LOVING IT



The Jasmine pattern is a loose fitting blouse-y top with a faux tie collar. I thought this top was a tad costume-y when I first saw it and wondered if it would be easy to wear on a day to day basis. FEARS AVERTED. What was I worrying about? Now that I’ve finished this top now I think it’s casual and feminine.


I found the sleeves on the on the Jasmine to be quite a lot of work. They’re made from three pieces (sleeve, cuff and the cuff facing) which all need to be trimmed and pressed after being sewn together. But the look created is highly satisfying so it was worth it!

Will not apologise for the crinkles on the back. Yes I have been wearing this top all day because I love it.

I made this top out of a silk cotton, which in case, like me, you hadn’t previously heard of this, it is a blend of silk and cotton. It is a very lightweight fabric that is actually see though when held up to the light. I was a tad worried that this top would be translucent but that fear appears to be unfounded.


Will I be making this pattern again? Hells yes! This version is a size 4 straight of the envelope. I think if when I do I’ll add about an inch or two to the length. I think it looks alright in these pictures but when I sit down it finishes just above my jean’s waistband. I may shorten the sleeves a touch and perhaps make the view A sleeves (gathered at the shoulder) instead but keep the view b collar.


This is the first Colette pattern that I’ve sewn. I’m looking forward to making the next one!

Candy Floss Skirt

I’ve just completed another SPCA Op Shop pattern – Very Easy Vogue 9946, view A circa 1987.


The material is a linen viscose blend and was only $9 from The Fabric Warehouse remnants. I do love remnants. It has a good drape and doesn’t seem have the horrors of wrinklage that 100% linen does (I know the skirt looks super wrinkly now but I was at a barbecue to celebrate Waitangi Day the day these photos were taken). Double bonus – when I pre-washed it the colour stayed pretty much the same. Phew!


I really like the buttons on this skirt, they were what sold the pattern for me. As whenever I stitch buttonholes, I was pretty anxious about cutting them open. The idea of cutting into the front of my if they were in the wring place is a stressful one. I decided to shorten the skirt to be just above the knee (I’m not a super tall person). So I moved the buttons closer together, from 11.5 cms to 10 cms between them. Not sure if this is usual practice but it made sense to me!


I usually love me a good waistband but following the advice given by the pattern (all the women on the cover of the pattern envelope) I too put a belt over the top of the skirt covering the waistband. In case you were curious this is what it looks like sans belt here you go:



Nostalgia: Plaid Apron

Often, in this blog, I talk about how I’m very new to sewing. I appologise, but that’s not strictly accurate. While it is true that I’ve only really taken sewing seriously for about a year I had actually been sewing for a long time before that. I sewed badges on my Girl Guide and Brownie sashes, did small cross-stitches and learned to knit very badly too. And before you think I’ve been leading you horribly astray I’d like to mention that before January 2012 I hadn’t used a sewing machine in at least 6-ish years.

So, with that in mind, I’d like to share with you one of the first things I ever sewed:


This blue plaid apron was probably made circa January 2004, when I was about 14 or 15. I’m guessing that it was made in January, because this is when we have the long school holidays in New Zealand.


I used newpaper to trace around an apron that we had in the cupboard at home and added an abritrary amount on the edges for a seam allowance. Unbeknowest to me, I made a pattern!

It looks to be made out of plain old quilting cotton. Check out that topstitching! There was definately something wrong with the tension here…


I even included a facing! Go 14 year old me!


I clearly wasn’t too hung up on things like accuracy and neatness…


In case you’re wondering why this looks so worn out, it’s because it is. To this day my dad still proudly wears this apron when cooking.

What was the first thing you ever sewed? How did it turn out?

Vogue 8872: My First Blouse!

After a brief fret about button hole spacing I have completed my very blouse! This is Vogue Easy Options 8772:


I made view E which is sleeveless and is a longer than the other versions. In spite of this I took out a whopping *16* cm from the waist (lengthen or shorten here line). This would definitely be a dress if I had left it as the pattern suggested.


I decided to cut a 14 for this pattern as I have an absolute and deeply held loathing of blouses that are too tight in the bust. (This surely stems from high school when our uniforms consisted of blouses that were slim fitting and had little allowance for any bust siriusly??) Despite this I took the blouse in by 1cm on either side beginning after the dart. I could have perhaps taken it in a little more now that I look at the photos…

20130109-173610.jpg It’s a hot and windy day in Auckland

The other alteration I made was that I found the bias tape for the arm holes was 2cm to long. Aside from that this top went together pretty easily. As I was the first time that I’d sewn anything with buttons or collars this was a test run for one of my New Years Aspirations: to make some blouses and shirt dresses. I think it went pretty well and there were no great debacles to be had, if anything there was a bit of hemming and hawing, but it was probably good as it meant that I slowed down and actually read the instructions!


Now I face the dilemma of making another blouse (really enjoyed it!) or making something from my Christmas present The Colette Sewing Handbook (really looking forward to getting into it!)

Work Skirt #2

In case you didn’t know, and I don’t blame you if you didn’t, I started my first full time job this year. And amongst other things that meant that I needed more clothes. Like work appropriate clothes. And whilst I love making evening dresses like my Black Lacey Number


… The clothes that I really need to be more every day than that. A few weeks ago I finished my Super Boring Work Skirt That I Love. And here is my next creation in all things practical Vogue 8603:



I spent a lot of time hunting for the right type of fabric for this pattern. I wanted something that would be warm but not too thick so that the gathers wouldn’t be too bulky. In the end I bought this amazing lightweight wool from The Fabric Warehouse in Mt Eden – “thoroughly uninspiring website, totally inspiring fabric” is their byline… Or at least I think it should be. Did I mention that I love this fabric? It was very easy to work with! And it was 20% off! BOOM!


I didn’t do much in the way of pattern adjustments, except that I decided that I was not going to put the gathers in the bottom of the skirt back. When I saw the line drawings I thought that’s a lot of gathers on one skirt so I omitted them and cut the view C centre back piece instead.


I also decided against making a lining, as the pattern required, as I thought that would add bulk in the gathers. In the photos I’m wearing half slip instead (same thing, right?)

Have you made something practical?

The Super “Boring” Skirt That I Love

Oh yes, I have completed the third of my patterns from the big pattern splurge I had a wee while ago. This may look like a super boring skirt. Plain black. Straight. No waistband. No frills. No pockets.

BUT BEFORE I PUT YOU OFF – let me say that I love my new skirt and let me tell you why.

First – look at that luscious material! It’s 100% wool and 100% machine washable. It’s delicious and warm and has a lovely subtle sheen to it.

Secondly, I love the fit! I sewed a 12 straight of the packet even though my measurements are definately for a 14. Previously I wanted to do things ‘right’ and would always cut a 14 but I always ended up taking it in so I’ve decided that I don’t care what McCalls says I think I’m a 12 – and so far it’s working out well. The sewed the petite (short person’s) version of this pattern as I usually have to take two inches of the bottom of anythign I make! Aside from that adjustment, the only chage I made to the pattern was to install an invisible zipper instead of a normal one.


Third, I love the pattern. I used McCall’s M5523 and made view D (the yellow one). And without further ado here’s the most exciting part of the shirt – the back (I feel a bit odd posting a photo of my backside to the internet so be kind!)

I think the pleats really make” this skirt if you know what I mean. I think they’re simple but dress the skirt up without being fusy. The material I chose doesn’t hold the pleats in place quite as firmly as I’d hoped but all the same they do stay.

Similarly to Sew Busy Lizzy this was the first project that I used a double needle on. This, along with my new serger, I think, isstarting to make my sewing look a lot more professional than when i started at the beginning of the year. In case you were interested I found this video about sewing with double needles:



The “Lady In Red” Dress

You may have noticed I’ve been a bit absent from the blogosphere of late and boy do I have lots to share. I have made a muslin for this Very Easy Vogue dress, completed view B of this McCall’s skirt from of my patterns from my McCalls/ Vogue splurge, complete the third of my patterns from my splurge and …. wait for it … wait for it …


Pretty exciting right? So, just because I’m like that, I’m gonna tell you about those four things in this order: 3, 4, 2, then 1, got it?

So here’s my Lady in Red Dress


I used Vogue 1250 by DKNY and double woven wool jersey to make this dress. I picked the fabric up from my favourite place – the remnants basket at Global Fabrics – for $25 – boom!


There was just enough to make this dress at 1.2 x 1.3 metres. I originally intended to make it in a dark colour, like favourite navy blue, but the only knit fabrics I could see were super thin cotton and looked more suited to t-shirts etc. I really wanted the material to be a bit thicker as I thought the knit fabric could be a bit unforgiving. So I ended up buying red fabric and making a replica of the dress on the front of the pattern! How naff …


The construction of this dress was incredibly simple, and this coming from the woman who finds it difficult to finish anything in less than two weeks. But I finished this dress in 2 hours – I know – SAY WHAT? Yes two hours. This was partly due to the fact that this pattern is only three pieces (front and lower back, upper back and neck facing) and partly because this dress is designed to be loose so I wasn’t too hung up on fitting issues.


As for construction, this dress only has shoulder darts which are pretty easy to put in. They’re kinda disguised by the cowl neckline but this photo is the best I could get of them. I can’t get over how simple this pattern was. There were no zippers, hooks and eyes, clips, hand stitching – just a very simple dress.

It was incredibly satisifying to whip up an entire dress on a Sunday afternoon

I highly recommend this pattern!

Party Peplum Top

Yay I’ve finished the first of my recent batch of patternsvogue 8815


I made it out of white silk with a tiny touch of cream and lined the bodice with generic lining fabric.

I was reading Green Apples yesterday and found that she has just finished this top too! I found myself agreeing with a lot of the points she made about the pattern. I, too, think the shoulders sit quite wide on me and the neckline is quite high. On top of this I have a bit of an aversion to bias binding. So, like her, I made several alterations to the pattern. Namely, that I added 1.5cms to the edges of the neckline and armholes for seam allowance to get me out of my bias bind.


My laisse-faire sewing technique, exhibit a.

Fully lining the bodice meant that I had to pretty much change the entire construction of the top. I used this technique.

I also, decided to use Karen’s technique of making a pleat instead of a dart in the lining at the shoulder and back of the bodice. I found this worked well for my sewing style/ level of concentration – try as I might I find it is a rare occasion that I manage to line up the darts on the lining and the fashion fabric! This was a good compromise for me!


And now I’m on to the next adventure – Woop!


New Look 6035 – Take Two

I made another singlet – and this time it was a success!


I used new look 6035 again but unlike last time it actually worked! I will definitely be wearing this top a lot in the upcoming summer. The bias seam binding is sitting flat and the gathers are even – perfection!


I think there are two reasons why this top turned out so much better than the last one. First, the material I used was a lot easier to handle. This is a light cotton with a bit of one-way stretch (total $6!!). This meant that the binding was easier to wrangle and stretch into place. Second, my new machine is a dream to work with. The slow speed setting and the accurate makes it a lot easier to be accurate with the top stitching.


I decided to cut a 16 (last time I cut a 12). Although I ended up taking in 2cms on either sides I decided not to take the shoulders in. Last time I thought it sat a bit high.


I can defiantly see myself making more of these tops in the near future. Watch this space.