Better Late Than Never?! Right?!

A long, long time ago Melissa, Kat and Juliet – the lovely women who coordinate The Monthly Stitch announced their first theme – Capes. This was perfect for me – I had a cape crying out to be finished. I began sewing it way back when Adam ways in shorts … At least 18 months ago. I finished it in the nick of time – the night before I hopped on the plane to the UK. It’s taken me an embarrassingly long amount of time to get round to post this! Here we are:


From the top picture you can see me demonstrating, in a 1970s catalogue sort of way, the armholes and the pockets. These were by far the hardest parts for me to sew. I began sewing these when I was still using my grandmothers WWII-esque Elna Grasshopper. Whilst this machine looks like a tank it struggled to get through the four layers of felted wool required to make those seams lay flat. Many needles were broken. Much colourful language was used.


This pattern is a nice combination of fitted and loose. The front is fitted in the bust when the dome is fastened whilst the rest if the cape has plenty of easy to move about in. I didn’t get around to sewing all the domes on, just the one at the bust so I could demonstrate the shape.


This is Vogue 8776, surely out of print by now. I’ve probably said it before but I was inspired by Erica Bunker’s camel cape from a few years ago – so sassy and classy – typically Erica. I’m a pretty big fan girl! The fabric is (looks down in shame) from the (coughs) remnants basket at The Fabric Store, Newton. I was super lucky and found two bundles of this off white felted wool. Enough to make this cape and some left over.


I’ll be the first I admit that I wasn’t sure how much I’d actually wear this garment. Capes can certainly seem costume-y. It I’ve seen tonnes in the shops here in London (like this one and this one) so I reckon they’re gonna be a big thing in the next New Zealand winter.


The Very Yellow Minoru

The other day I posted this selfie on my Instagram. I am SUPER PROUD of my Sewaholic Minoru. It is the first jacket I’ve ever made – moreover – the first sort of outerwear that I’ve completed full stop. So the fact that it is wearable is pretty amazing to me!


I asked my sister if she could take these photos in front of a garage for old times sake! This one is at my parents house… So shall we get onto this jacket?


I made my Minoru out of a heavy weight cotton. Yes it is as saffron yellow as it looks I the pictures and yes it does have a shine to it. I’m such a magpie. I originally bought this fabric to make an A-line dress but decided against it as the fabric was too heavy. It’s much better as a jacket right?

I cut my pattern as an 8 and graded down to a 4 at the hips as (we all know) Sewaholic Patterns are designed with pear shaped women in mind. My fabric was, in truth, a bit if a mare to sew with as it had a bit of a stretch to it. Holy heck it was hard to get that hood zipper in! If I was a smart person I would have interfaced around the zipper slash to prevent stretching. Alas, this only occurred to me much later. Also I’m a bit bummed that I couldn’t find an open end zipper in yellow. But you can’t get what the shops don’t have.

I’m not entirely convinced about how waterproof this jacket will be bit I’m sure it will serve as a great wind breaker! Here’s a wee close up of the front and collar:

I made a few mistakes with the construction order of my Minoru, particularly with the collar/ hood. This meant that I had to do a whole lot of hand stitching. However this was entirely my fault as I was very casual about following the instructions. I find that while I study the pictures very carefully, I often fail to read the words on the instruction sheets. Le sigh. I got there in the end!

[Currently in London]

Houndstooth Skirt

I made a skirt –


Here’s a close up:


And the back:


I made it using Vogue 7101 c1980 which I bought from the SPCA Op-Shop in Glen Innes. It looks a bit raggedy but it had all the pieces and hadn’t been used! This pattern only went up to a 10 so I added 1cm to either side of the front, back and pocket pieces and 4cm to the waistband. The material is a wool blend houndstooth that has a tiny bit of stretch:

The total cost in making this skirts was around $25.00 (including material, fasteners and lining for pockets, everything else I already had so that makes it free, right?!)

This skirt was the skirt of firsts – pockets, belt loops (aka carriers!) and pleats. But the most exciting first was that I didn’t have to re-do or unpick anything – success!!


Have you had a success story recently?

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Coming up this month is Dresses and Me’s six-month-aversary. To celebrate this momentous occasion I thought I’d pick the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the things I’ve made so far this year. Without further ado…

The Good

My Bow Dress, My Sister’s Vintage Pattern Dress and my Mad Men Skirt are my favourites so far because they went together easily, I’ve gotten heaps of wear out of them and I (or in the case of my sister’s dress) she actually likes it!

The Bad

 My cape is here because I thought, for a long time, that I had bitten off more than I could chew. It is getting there, but I was not counting on felted wool being as hard to manage as this is! Seriously – rangling it is a real endurance test!

The only reason my orange singlet isn’t in the catagory below is that I love the silk I made it out of. However, this top ended up the Bad because of my experience with the bias seam binding – disappointing.

The Ugly


I don’t even know where to begin with this dresss. Click the link to read all about the failblog that this was. And in case you were wondering – yes, it is still unfinished.


I feel a bit mean for putting this dress in the Ugly category. I was so proud when I finished it because it was the first dress I had made since I took up sewing again and the first dress I had made in about 6 years and I made it in about 10 days flat (record!). However, when I look at it with my six-months-more-learned eyes I wish I finished the seams in some way and that I had lined it. It’s ugly on the inside.

So that’s my last six months. I’ve made a lot of other things too and learnt
so much in the process. Thanks for reading this blog and all your words of support!

What have been your favourite items you’ve sewn this year?

McCalls 6460

I’ve finished my McCalls 6460 dress!


I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out considering this is my first time sewing with lace.


I found the sizing for this pattern really strange. I originally cut a 14 as that was what my measurements were the closest to. However I found that was too big and ended up cutting off about an inch on either side. As there is little ease in this pattern I’m confused about why this would be. I guess my cutting accuracy could be partly at fault…


I made a keyhole opening in the back – the idea of sewing a zip onto lace nearly made me faint (ooops you can see my bra).

I also decided to cut the skirt a bit shorter than the pattern suggested. I thought the material looked a bit ‘heavy’ and ‘dense’ (if you know what I mean) so I cut off about 2 inches from the bottom and then sewed about a 2 inch hem too.


I’m also wearing a black faux snake skin belt (Grandma’s) and my T-Rex necklace (present for my 21st birthday – officially old lol).

What have you finished recently?

WIP Wednesday

I’ve been working on two things during the last week – my cape and my evening dress. Im the kind of person who finds it easier doing two things at once. If ones not working I’ll do the other in the meantime, otherwise I’d get too frustrated and possibly implode.

First up – I’m pleased to announce that I’ve finished my m6460 black lacy dress!


I’m still not sure I made the right decision with the lining however I’ll let you make up your own on that one… Photos to come.

My v8776 cape is also coming along nicely.


Its been a lot of work getting it together but I’ll be so proud when its done – my first coat! And luckily I’ve only had ONE broken needle so far:


How are your WIPs going?

New Season Vogue Patterns – Fall 2012

The new vogue patterns are out! Without further ado here’s my two cents worth on what I would make and what I think of them:


I think this looks like a lot of work – recommended for “average” sewists – indeed


A nice loosing fitting jersey material dress. Looks comfortable and can be dressed up


THIS PHOTO IS HILARIOUS. I mean how can anyone call it ‘high fashion’!? Again, it looks comfortable but the economist in me thinks – is this a waste of material?? Also this only suits hour-glass figures (according to the style guide) I think this may be telling…


This is my favourite so far. I like the ‘mod’ style and the exposed zipper especially. I don’t know if I’d make it in different fabrics though…


ANOTHER jersey fabric dress. Is there a theme appearing?


LOVE THIS DRESS. I think of the whole collection this is my favourite. I know I already said that, but really this is. The shape, the bow, the neckline – it all works in my mind. I’ll be buying this one for sure.


When I first saw this I liked it, but upon reflection I think it was the houndstooth I liked!


Despite the fact that this coat is described as “very loosing fitting” I’m very drawn to it. I think I like the drama of the collar and the shoulders. Practicality?


Glad to see a cape pattern for this season. I think the right kind of person could pull this off, but not me. You need swagger to wear this.



This pattern is for the pants and shirt. Alas its a no and maybe/ no from me. Maybe/ no is for the shirt – I think this could work in a light cotton as a summer top. And hell no to the elasticated waistband pants!


This pattern is also for the top and skirt. I’m really undecided on this one. I quite like the top and skirt but I wonder if they look too OTT together? If I was in the corporate world then I guess it would be different.



Whilst I don’t think I’d make a suit for myself I’m totally sold on the blouse. I have been seeking out a pussy bow pattern for a while now so I’m glad to see vogue has answered my plea to the universe! I would follow suit (hilarious pun, I know) and also make it out of a silk or silk-like fabric.

So that’s what I think. What do you think of the new patterns??


So, yet again I have been distracted from my current sewing project. I’m currently making a cape (here for look) however, it seems I have been distracted by another thing I want to make. I am still making progress with my cape and promise to post a WIP update later  this week.

In the meantime let me tell you about my latest distraction – McCalls 6460



In case I haven’t told you before (we’re all friends here right?) I’m going to a ball! I haven’t been to a ball in absolutely ages. I thought that I wanted to wear quite a simple dress that with any luck I can wear again. So here is my inspiration: 20120716-182325.jpg

Don’t Judge! Yes it’s Taylor Swift, but look at the dress, isn’t is lovely?!

Here’s a similar dress but one with a full skirt:



Once I started googling I found that most of the images under “black lace dress” had sleeves. I orginally was going to opt for the sleeveless version but after seeing these I think I’m won over by the elbow length sleeves (like Taylor’s).


Yes I have already bought the fabric and the pattern (danger – what if I don’t get onto this project in time and it ends up on my shelf with the copious amounts of other fabrics yet to be made up!?!?!)

I bought a black floral lace and a champaign-pinky satin to line it with. Upon reflection I’m a tad worried that this will look a bit rude. When I said I’d like something to line the dress with the shop assistant picked up some black and looking at all the photos on google they’re all lined with black too… Please tell me it won’t look rude!


Hopefully the bodice will look something like this (above)


And I will look something like this lady – elegant and introspective!

One last note: I despise wearing strapless bras as they are forever cutting into my ribs which is only a tad better, in my book, than being too loose. Anyway, I found this great link giving instructions on how to sew a bra into a dress, I’m definitely going to give it a go!

Inpiration: Capes

Well, as everyone says – or at least as some of us think – If Victoria Beckham’s wearing it, it must be fashionable, right? So here are some capes – for inspirations sake. 
(Click on the photo for the links)

The fashionista was spotted recently wearing this cape:

She was also seen a wee while ago wearing this stunner (looks a lot like the vogue pattern I’m using don’t you reckon?)

Cape Newport News

Have you seen any great capes recently?

I’m Making a Cape!

The other day when I was choosing fabric with my sister for her birthday dress (link here) I saw these in the end of roll basket.

I know – white wool – what an extravagance!!! …and how impractical…

A long time ago I blogged about Capes, Yay or Nay? after I first fell in love with Erica’s Camel Cape. Since then I’ve seen some lovely capes that other bloggers have made. The overwheming response was that people in blogland think that capes are awesome. And who am I to argue with bloggers? (A very opinionated lot!) So I guess I’m making a cape.

I think I’ll go with the same pattern Erica used – Vogue 8776. I love that this pattern is loose fitted and has the high collar so snuggle my face into when it gets cold.

So more opinions please – shall I go with this pattern and this fabric?