Monday, May 31, 2021

McCalls 7834 shirtdress

Hey guys! As part of the Minerva Brand Ambassador program I was gifted this glorious Liberty Wiltshire linen/cotton blend, so I made it up into a McCalls 7834 shirtdress. Read all about it here! xx


Monday, May 10, 2021

McCalls's 7351 Shirtdress


It was the hem that got me in the end. I tried and tried to resist, but seriously - who could say no to a fitted shirtdress with an incredible handkerchief hem? Not this sewist, that's for sure!

And also: tabbed rolled up sleeves. I am an inveterate sleeve roller-upperer, and  am never going to change, so this feature wasn't so much calling my name as screaming it nonstop in my ear!

So really, in the end there was only one thing for it: I had to put aside any misjudgements I had regarding the yardage that would be chewed up by the skirt, and just go for it. So I did!

This is a great pattern. My only regret was not putting in pockets (hand on heart, I love a pocket in a dress!), but I had purchased this fabric on a whim and didn't quite have enough to squeeze pockets out when I was cutting it out, although goodness knows I tried. But apart from that lack, it's one pretty awesome dress. It gives me total Carolina Herrera vibes, but in the best way! I'm considering another in a bright broderie anglais... stay tuned!

The fabric is the most deluxe shirting I have ever seen! Officially a jacquard, it almost behaves like a shot silk, changing colour as it moves and the light hits it. It practically glows! So lovely - I'm really glad I splurged on it!

Project Details:

Pattern: McCalls 7351 

Fabric: Maroon and Navy Diamond Spotted Jacquard Cotton Shirting from Mood Fabrics

Notions: Fusible interfacing, buttons

Monday, May 03, 2021

StyleArc Hattie Woven Dress

Up until now, I have never had the pleasure of making a StyleArc pattern up, and for the life of me I cannot figure out why. But now the cherry has been popped I shall be coming back and making more and more and more, because this pattern was brilliant!

I will be honest - StyleArc patterns don't have a nice little technical drawing showing you exactly what you need to do every step of the way, so I would urge beginner sewists to proceed with a degree of caution. However, for an experienced sewist the instructions provided should be clear and simple enough, as was the case with this dress. 

I made it in a quasi-animal print rayon from Spotlight, which was a great fabric choice for this pattern. I love the front twist detail, and the fit is beautiful - flattering whilst still allowing freedom of movement.

I'm so impressed with the skilled drafting of this pattern that I'll be making another for sure, although probably altering the sleeves to make them full length, rather than 7/8ths.  

So if you are looking for a perfect day dress that can take you from work to dinner, look no further - the sweet Hattie is the one you should make!

Project Details:

Pattern - Hattie Woven Dress by StyleArc Patterns

Fabric - Rayon from Spotlight

Notions - Invisible zipper, interfacing

Thursday, April 01, 2021

Pink and Red Gingham Dress

 Toot toot! Look who has finally boarded the gingham dress train! 😀

And seriously, how could I resist? Pink and red, in different sized checks? I'M BUYING A TICKET!

The fabric for this dress was pretty awesome - it comes in panels of large checks then small checks. I took advantage of this to make the bodice in the smaller checks and the skirt in the larger ones, to create a vivid graphic effect, and am very pleased with how it turned out. It is a cotton sateen by Nerida Hansen, and was lovely to work with. 

I used Vogue 8184 for the bodice, and Simplicity 1876 for the skirt. I am a big fan of this skirt - not only do the gathers on the sides of the waist add interest to a plain pencil skirt, but they also allow room for you to eat all the burritos! What is not to like, eh?

The only downside to this dress was trying to match the checks. Some are pretty good, others... not so much. However, you can't win them all and I'm pretty happy with my check matching success rate here.

All in all, I am very pleased with my contribution to the Gingham Fashion Canon. Traditional gingham, with it's white base, does nothing but wash me out, so this pink and red version is perfect for a pasty specimen such as myself!

Project Details

Patterns: Bodice - Vogue 8184,
Skirt - Simplicity 1876

Fabric: Nerida Hansen pink and red cotton sateen gingham check

Notions: 35cm invisible zip

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Pattern hack: McCalls 7937

It's springtime in Paris! Ah, who am I kidding - it's actually autumn in Melbourne, and I don't think I'll be getting to Paris anytime soon, what with things being how they are (cough corona cough), but a girl can dream, and if I try hard enough I can make that super cute awning in the background FEEL like Paris.


Anyway, you sure don't need to be in the fashion capital of the world to appreciate a dress this cute! I always loved the Dolce and Gabbana hydrangea dress, so when I saw this fabric I pounced so I could make my own cut price version. If I do say so myself, I think I did pretty darn well!

I used McCalls 7937 for the bodice of the dress, redrafting the lower bodice section to provide some length, then added a simple circle skirt. In hindsight I should have probably added another 3 - 4cm to the bodice length, as it is a smidge short for my liking, but I have a feeling that the only person who would pick up on that is me.

The fabric is a cotton sateen with a bit of stretch in it that was lovely to work with. I am very tempted to make another version of this dress, but this time in red lace. How cute would that one be?

All in all, I'm very pleased with this floral number. Paris can wait - I'll celebrate springtime with my wardrobe, instead!

Project Details:

Pattern - McCalls 7937 bodice, self drafted circle skirt
Fabric - Cotton sateen from The Cloth Shop
Notions - 35cm invisible zip, interfacing

Monday, November 30, 2020

Butterick 6323

 Hi folks!

Just popping in very quickly to share a project I made for Minerva - this beautiful Butterick 6323 one shouldered dress. Yes, of course I made it in red! The fabric is a cotton sateen that was a dream to work with - you can read all about it on my Minerva page!

x Leisl

Monday, September 21, 2020

Simplicity 8130

Long time readers of this blog will remember how much sewing I used to do for my girl. Pretty much everything she wore was made by me! But as the years went on she eschewed my sewing efforts, and was content in RTW tees and denim shorts.

So you can imagine how thrilled I was when she requested I sew her a top. No matter that it had to be exactly the same as the one on the pattern envelope - I was in!

Thankfully, she LOVES it! She even gave me a 2pm deadline to get it finished today, so she could wear it to see her friend whilst they did their government allowed 2 hour walk, but such was my joy at actually getting to sew for her that I didn't mind in the least!

This was a quick and easy make - I especially enjoyed putting the bias edging onto the band section. I'd never done bias edging like that before, but it was super easy. Now I just want to edge EVERYTHING!

I left the boning out of the lining, as she wants to wear this to school, and the boning wouldn't have been very comfortable. And I'm not risking sewing her anything that might be deemed uncomfy - she might never ask for anything else again!

Project Details:

Pattern - Simplicity 8130, view A

Fabric - Cotton gingham fabric and plain black cotton fabric from The Cloth Shop

Notions -  5 buttons

Sunday, September 13, 2020

McCalls 7752 Green Dress

2020 has been one heck of a crazy year, but at least it has delivered on the green dress front!

I made this sweet baby using McCalls 7752 bodice, then attached a circle skirt. I am so loving this bodice - it fits like a dream, and is so versatile. Bookmark it kids, because you'll be seeing it over and over again!

The fabric is a thick cotton jacquard I picked up from The Fabric Store ages ago. I had no plans for it when I purchased it, but experience has taught me that when you see the perfect green fabric, you grab it with both hands and swing your handbag wildly about to make sure no other fabric customer can steal it from you. Joking...maybe 😛

The bodice is interfaced, lined and boned on the side seams. I love the structure of a well fitted bodice, and think it really is worth the extra work. 

Full skirt made for twirling... I'm a satisfied green dress customer!

Project Details

Pattern - McCalls 7752 bodice, self drafted circle skirt

Fabric - 2m cotton jacquard from The Fabric Store

Notions - 40cm invisible zipper, boning, interfacing

Thursday, September 03, 2020

The crazy sequin lockdown dress

I think I have corona-fever. Not the actual corona virus itself - thank goodness for that - but a weird form of cabinesque fever, induced by corona enforced restrictions, curfews and general worries and malaise. Because that is the only reason why I can fathom that my addled brain thought it would be a genius idea to make a crazy sequinned dress in the middle of a frigging global pandemic!

To be sure, opportunities to wear this piece of sequinned goodness are few and far between at this point in history. But who cares - making it cheered me up no end, and since all the fabric was already in my stash it was economical to boot! And when we are all working on reduced incomes, I'll take all the penny saving sewing I can get!

I made this using McCalls 7752 for the bodice, and my trusty old Vogue 8184 for the skirt. I am so happy with how this turned out - the fit on the bodice is perfect, and the straight skirt is perfect for showing off these long sequins! 

The sequinned skirt has a skirt lining underneath it. To sew the sequin fabric, I unpicked any sequins that lay in my seam allowance. Yes, it was a laborious job, but worth it to get nice flat seams, and ensuring the sequins next to the seam lay flat. If the sequins had have been shorter, I may have considered just running over them with my machine, but they are really quite long so I decided to Do Things Properly! The sequinned fabric is from Mood Fabrics - I had a bit of a splurge with my birthday money, and treated myself! I'm so glad I did... these are the most glamorous sequins I have ever seen, and in the perfect shade of green to boot! Long time readers will know how much I love my green. Seriously, there was never any chance of me resisting these!

I finished the dress off with a grosgrain ribbon - it adds a nice touch, and hides the weird gap between the backing tulle of the sequins and the bodice. The bodice was fully interfaced with Whisperweft, and is boned on the sides - I love boning my bodices now! It takes a wee bit more effort, but bodices look sooooo much better with that structure hidden inside. 

So I think this is my new favourite dress... I have plans for a few more in a similar vein!

Project Details:

Pattern: Bodice was McCalls 7752, and skirt was Vogue 8184

Fabric: Emerald green sequins from Mood Fabrics, textured viscose for bodice from Draper's Fabrics

Notions: 35cm invisible zipper, Whisperweft interfacing, boning

Friday, July 17, 2020

Sassy red Vogue 8949

Sometimes, it all falls to pieces. You buy the beautiful fabric in London, drag it all the way home to Melbourne with you, let it sit in the stash for 2 years, then when you cut out the dress you have decided on, you balls it up and forget to cut 4 pieces, and instead cut 2.

Yep! I can be THAT stupid sometimes!

Thankfully, I have a golden rule: Never fart on Mum. I also have a good rule for sewing: Never throw away your scraps until the project is completed. So when I found I only cut 2 of the side skirt sections, instead of 4, I was able to find the scraps, locate a long skinny piece and then cut a thinner version of the pattern piece out. Admittedly, my skirt isn't as full as it should be, but I think it worked out just fine (and thank goodness for scraps!)

Apart from that daft mishap, I'm pretty chuffed with how this dress turned out! And I am beyond grateful to those scraps forever, because (a) I'm pretty sure the store wouldn't have any left and (b) can you imagine the shipping charges to Australia? *shudders*



Once I got over Skirt-Mishap-Gate, and got to the try on stage, I was met with a rude shock. This dress looked frumpy. Normally I wouldn't choose a pattern with such a high waist for a reason - it does NOTHING for my figure, and that was becoming painfully true and I stared aghast in the mirror, and the minutes ticked by. So I did what any sensible sewist would do in my place: I grabbed my pins and pulled the hem up hugely! So now, rather than being Frump Central, the dress has a cool groovy Mod Style look with it's super short skirt! I find when confronted with frump, short skirts are usually the way to go! And to be completely honest with you, I like the dress much better this way!


So apart from cutting the skirt out wrong then giving it the haircut of a lifetime, I didn't make any other adjustments to this pattern. The fabric is a beautiful textured wool, and whilst it feels heavy when you initially put it on, it makes up for it by being deliciously warm! It's perfect for work, and I had loads of compliments when I wore it, from both fellow staff members and patients! As I'm a complete sucker for a compliment on my hand made wardrobe, you can just imagine how that made my day.

So all in all I call this dress a win, although it was a near thing at one stage!




Project Details:
Pattern - Vogue 8949, view D
Fabric - Wool from Misan Fabrics
Notions - Lining, interfacing, invisible zip