Friday, September 23, 2016

Baggage :: Portside Duffle and Desmond Backpack

Here's two bags I sewed up for gifts recently! When sewing garments as gifts often sizing/fitting can be an issue, so sewing bags is a great alternative!!



The first is Taylor Tailor's Desmond Rolltop Backpack for my Brother. 

  • I used a thick grey cotton in from my stash, almost a denim? The hardware is mostly repurposed from old bags. I would have loved to buy one of Taylor's hardware kits but shipping to Australia made it a bit prohibitive for this make (and I was sewing to a rather close deadline!)



  • It was an pretty easy sew, just taking it step-by-step with the instructions. 
  • Between the instructions & the great sewalong I definitely learnt a few new tricks for sewing bags. I really liked the specific notes and guidance for the reinforcing stitches - when and how to do it, to make for a strong & useable bag. I would highly recommend this pattern! 
  • The result is great! It's definitely a pretty hipster looking bag, but so functional & my brother loved it!!

Next up: a Portside a Duffle was then made for my Brother-in-Law. This is my second Duffle & it's also an easy sew.


  • Fabric is Striped cotton canvas from IKEA, and black upholstery fabric from Sporlight. 
  • Zip from Spotlight - I bought the zipper "by the metre" as I liked the colour match the best, and it worked out cheaper too. This worked really well, especially as I added in zipper tabs as I feel they were missing from the first bag that I made. 
  • I harvested the straps off a nylon duffle I picked up at the Op Shop (thrift store) for $4.50. This was a real game changer as I could use the hardware & strapping, which is commonly the more expensive element of sewing bags. I used some self-fabric to make fabric "straps"which are anchored onto the bag from the bottom of the bag to the D ring, which is where the repurposed strapping starts. 
  • Lining was picked up at a Brisbane Spoolettes swap! (cranky fish) So, apart from the bag I thrifted & the zipper, everything for this make was "from the stash".
  • I added a rectangle of cardboard into the base to add structure before sewing the lining in. I made "anchors" from some interfacing to hold it in place onto the base. 




Again, another satisfying sew & a happy recipient. I will admit I found it a bit hard to part with both these makes as I loved both outcomes!!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Emerson & Archer

Two new makes in this post - the Emerson Shorts by True Bias & a Grainline Archer (fairly modified).





I started the shirt about this time last year, trying to make it before an overseas trip. I got up to sewing on the sleeves (no plackets or collar) before I had to let it sit unfinished (I didn't want to rush this make! The fabric was too lush). Once we got home from our holiday it was summer so I left it until it cooled down again. I guess you could say it is definitely "slow fashion" and worth the wait!


The shorts are the new Emerson Shorts pattern by True Bias, which just about jumped into my cart the second they were released, and made up pretty soon after that. So I guess these are more a "fast fashion" make! They are exactly what I wanted in a summer short- pockets and an elastic waist, but not too frumpy! I am envisioning many more in my future! Those True Bias patterns are totally my jam, I love the fit and the modern designing too (see, Southport & Colfax).

There are some making-notes below, if you're interested. Happy sewing, friends!!

Modified Grainline Archer

  • Fabric- plaid shirting 100% cotton from The Fabric Store last year. This stuff is gorgeous! I am totally reminded that quality fabric is worth it. 
  • Pattern modifications- mandarin collar, placket cut on the bias, yoke extended into the front with some gathers added. Fitting notes similar to this make.
  • I was a bit nervous about all that plaid matching, but just used all the tutorials I could find on the sewing interwebs. It was easiest to cut and see a few pieces at a time, which gave me a better feel for what I needed, where. 




Emerson shorts

  • Fabric is a Cotton/Linen blend from Spotlight. I'm hoping the addition of cotton will minimise the creasing a little bit (although I do like a little bit of rumple!) Colour is indigo. 
  • Size made- 10 - I used my hip measurement as the more important number. I made no fit changes, and I'm super happy with the result.
  • I do love a cuff, so I hemmed these shorts on the right side into a faux cuff. Basically I hemmed them completely opposite way (turned the wrong side out to the right side. Both sides of my fabric were identical). Because the side seams (serged) were visible, I used some self bias strips to give a Hong Kong finish. 










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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Blouse Marthe & Navy Dots

Indie patterns are my jam, as a mum of small kids it's just so much easier buying a digital pattern & being able to print it without having to leave the house! BUT there are so many great patterns out there that I think sometimes they get a bit lost in the interwebs, and it's easy just to ride along on the wave of new pattern releases (yes, I did just sign up to the Sophie Swimsuit workshop in the middle of our winter!!). 

All this to say, I have loved this Blouse Marthe pattern since its release in 2014, so why did I wait so long to make it? I love it! (I joked on Instagram about my hashtag #justbloodymakeit , which was inspired by the vintage wearing pledge #justbloodywearit . Sometimes I need to just make it, instead of thinking about it and thinking about it some more...)




Perhaps I was waiting for the right fabric to come along, and this is a perfect fabric-pattern match. I picked up the lovely navy silky silk at a recent Brisbane Spoolettes High Tea swap (Thanks Jenny!). I used the matte "wrong side" as the "right side" so I can wear it in my casual mum-life more easily. 




Some notes...
  • Pattern is the Blouse Marthe by Republic du Chiffon
  • This PDF Pattern comes in both French & English instructions and was easy to follow
  • Size made: 40. I made a toile and my changes were only to omit back fastening (it fit over my head) and reduce the length of the ruffle, by about 5cms. I'm a shortie!
  • I made sure to stay-stitch the neckline, and maybe I should have stay-stitched the raglan seams too because my back shoulder seams stretched slightly in this shifty fabric. 
  • French seams throughout except for bodice/ruffle seam which i overlocked/serged.
  • Sleeves - I make them elbow length and added a small cuff.
  • Neck - I used self binding and hand stitched it down.
  • Hem I used the baby hem method as explained on the Colette blog and this worked a treat!
  • I added a little row of blanket stitch along the neck binding at CB in lieu of a tag.



Now I'm wondering which other Indie pattens I need to go back to revisit? Maybe after I make my Sophie Swimsuit, of course :)

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Nani Iro Hero Vest

Finally it's cooling down around here! 

This is the Hero Vest by Toni from Make-It-Perfect. A vest can get daily wear around here in our fairly mild cooler season. I picked up this pattern on sale recently through Indiesew, and waited for the right fabric :)


About a month ago I joined the Brisbane Spoolettes for a High Tea in the city. It was my first sewing meet-up and it didn't disappoint! What a lovely afternoon it was. Of course there was the imperative fabric & pattern swap and before you knew it I had some Nani Iro double gauze in my hot little hands! (THANK YOU! to the kind person who brought it along!). This fabric is from the "water windows" series in Odayakayo colour way. It has large squares of watercolour print in beige, purple, taupe & grey. To be honest the taupe/grey wasn't really my scene, but I loved the purple and beige so thought long and hard about what to make from it! Cushions crossed my mind, but the double gauze is just so yummy I knew I wanted to wear it somehow. The vest was a perfect match!

Thanks to my Official Photographer 4year old Son for these pics... taken on the way to kindy... with the kindy toy kookaburra!!

A few notes
  • This is a size Medium with no fit changes
  • I used the Nani Iro as the outer fabric, cutting the pieces to maximise use of the purple/beige squares. I added a CB seam because of the fabric/symmetry I wanted.
  • Also used was white flannelette as the lining (super snuggly) and grey ribbing (from the stash) as the hem band & bindings. I had to make the hem band slightly thinner because of fabric constraints.
  • I used the tutorial on Toni's blog to sew a concealed zipper which gives a lovely finish.
  • Sewing time: one night to assemble pattern & cut out fabric, a second night of sewing. So a pretty easy & quick make.



The end result? A dreamy vest that I love wearing! 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Tencel Colfax Dress


My latest make! It's the new & shiny Colfax Dress by Kelli at True Bias. I think she has an absolute effortless style and I love everything she makes and the patterns she drafts. I have made 5 (!!) versions of her Southport Dress alone. Her patterns fit me with minimal changes needed, so we are definitely talking TNT AND #fangirl territory. 

Her latest dress pattern is a lovely summer dress- cutaway/racer back style in a slightly A-line shape. The pattern has a lovely front yoke (which I then proceeded to omit... More on that soon.)

I think this style is quite timeless so I used a dark Tencel for my version (Spotlight). I loved some of the inspiration ideas Kelli linked to- there are also lots of denim/chambray swing dresses to be seen on Pinterest and I don't think there's one I didn't look at! In the end I got an idea for an exposed zip in my head and I had to go down that route. This style reminds me a bit of the Tessuti Ruby dress, but I like that this pattern has the front darts.


I used a method similar to her front yoke to make a facing for the zipper. Instead, my facing is turned to the wrong side. I fudged the exposed bias in this area so that's a technique I need to work on. The dress was then sewn as-per the pattern, but I used a bias facing instead of the self-fabric hem facing as written. I wanted to maintain the fluidity of the dress and I am very happy with the result! 


This is a size 8 with no fit changes. 

While I love the True Bias designs, my only qualm is that this dress was released just as our (Southern Hemisphere) summer is finishing!! No matter! While sewing up this dress I tried it on over my raglan tee to check the bust darts. I loved the styling and you can bet I will be wearing this dress as a "tunic" throughout our Autumn AND winter. It is shown here with my Papercut Patterns SJ tee (one day I need to fix that wide neckline on that pattern!). 





So that's my new dress! I wore it this morning and a friend commented on it: "You made that?? Even with the zip??!!" It made me smile that it's pretty easy to impress non-sewing friends :)






Monday, February 22, 2016

Almada Robe : a Lovefest







Dressing gown, robe, kimono, cover-up, wrapper.  Call it what you will but I am a total sucker for them. I get so much use out of my Nani Iro kimono robe (it is total double-gauzy-dreaminess) but was instantly taken with the lastest Almada Robe from the February Seamwork magazine. I made two in two nights, both gifts sadly. Sadly because I want to keep them for myself. I have dreams of a liberty version... Wouldn't that be perfect? 



Some notes


  • I made up the XS as both my recipients are quite petite. It fits me pretty well so I think I will stick to that size. As this style is a fairly generous fit it makes sewing for a gift pretty easy!
  • This pattern is drafted so beautifully. The gorgeous curves of the seams and cut-on sleeve means using French seams is a breeze. (I always get caught on how-to French seam the right-angle corner of the sleeve/body in a traditional kimono pattern. This pattern negates that with a beautiful curved seam. ) 
  • Fabric used is a printed rayon (navy) and a poly crepe (cream). Both have a lovely drape and heaviness to them.
  • I used bought satin binding (navy robe) and self bias (cream robe) for the neckline. 
  • Cutting and sewing time was definitely in the 2 hours recommended- a quick sew! 
  • Seriously, the trickiest thing for me was doing a baby hem in the slippery fabrics. More practice needed! 
  • I still need to sew on the fastening snap... tonight!!
  • Edited to add, if you left of the ties and the snap, this would make a lovely "fashion" kimono to wear out-and-about (not just at the breakfast table!).




This is a lovely pattern, an interesting yet easy sew and feels so glamorous to wear! I hope my recipients like them as much as I do!



Monday, December 7, 2015

Chambray Kate Top

Summer sewing is in full swing! I couldn't resist one of the newer patterns by Tessuti Fabrics - the Kate Top. Tank tops are daily wear around here so I knew I couldn't go wrong. And also, they're running a competition if you sew it up! Run don't walk, friends!



The Kate top is a boxy-cropped tank (on trend!). I found some delicious chambray at The Fabric Store (Brisbane). All the cool kids are wearing chambray but I've never been able to find the right fabric. This one is a lovely weight and colour. I do like breezy tops and worried the chambray would be too hot for summer, but made up this top has a lovely structure while still keeping me cool.


Some notes
  • I made view A - scoop neck.
  • After a muslin in size Small, I decided to cut an X-Small. I added seam allowances and made a CF and CB seam for detail/decoration. The fit is great on me! 
  • I used the exposed binding (self bias) and loved the idea of contrasting topstitching so went a bit crazy on the CF, CB, hem and binding.
  • I added a pocket! A ridiculously small pocket: I used the template from the Tiny Pocket Tank by Grainline Studio. 
  • I will definitely be using the clean method Tessuti use to sew the side-split/hem. It does add a few extra steps but it's not hard and definitely gives a professional finish.
  • I sewed in a little Tessuti label in the back, along the seam. 
  • The tank is pretty short, I'm happy with the length but I am also pretty short (165cm). Taller ladies beware!

All in all a great top, definitely some of my best sewing (nothing like a competition to bring out the perfectionist in me!).