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

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Burda Style 6252 Corduroy Skirt

I always get terribly excited when Tyger comes up to me and says "Mum, can you sew me something?"

Here it is!, I think - my chance to fashion her into my own image, so I readily agree.

"What's it to be, kiddo?" I enquire in a casual tone, lest I betray the excitement making my heart beat so.

"A skirt, I think", she says.

Vision of skirt-based extravaganzas fill my mind. "Rightio! Shall we do ruffles? Or tulips? Maybe a tiered tulle number, perchance?"

This is where she shoots me down. Gently, but her aim is perfect. "No Mum - just a simple A-line skirt."

"Okey dokey", I reply, trying not to be deflated. "Let's talk colour! Bright yellow? Or maybe a textured emerald green? How about hot pink? I know I've got some somewhere!"

Once again she holds me off at the pass. "Just black, Mum", she says, beginning to look at me pityingly.

"Plain black? Right, can do. Shall we do some fancy tabs? Or maybe some statement pockets?" I reply, trying to keep the note of desperation from my voice. After all, who is this person? Is she no daughter of mine? Me, who loves bright colours, and crazy textures, and all the crazy things... how can this plain loving girl be the fruit of my loins?

"Mum, you know what I like - plain black, no pockets, simple corduroy with buttons. That's it!" she says, giving me her sternest look.

This, friends, is the point where I fall apart, I'm ashamed to say. "Not even a pocket? Or some piping? Oh for the love of the sewing gods, give me something exciting to sew!" I moan at her, piteously, I'm afraid.

She comes towards me, arms outstretched. "Oh goody!", I think. "Í'm getting a hug!" No such luck - instead she gives me a firm shoulder shake, and says "C'mon Mum - keep it together, man!" Stopping only to give me a last, slightly condescending pat on the shoulder, she says "Black, Mum. Plain. You can do this!"

And as always, my beautiful girl was right. I could do it, and I did. Presenting one plain black A-line skirt, as requested:


Project details:
Pattern - Burda Style #6252 skirt, view A
Fabric - 1.1 metres fine cotton corduroy from Fabric Deluxe
Notions - 5 buttons from stash

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Vogue 9076

There is so much I love about this dress! Where do I even begin?



Let's start with the 1940s shirt dress vibe. I'm totally crushing into this style - you should see how many 1940s vintage shirt dresses I have pinned on Pinterest! This pattern captures that style perfectly - feminine, sweet, yet practical enough to do a days work in it and then look fancy for cocktails afterwards. That's my kinda dress! I'm a busy lady - my dresses need to keep up!



I was a little trepidatious when it came to the gathered sections on the bust. Would they pouf out and make me suddenly look like a size 36DD instead of my usual minuscule bust size? Fears were allayed - the fit on this is perfection! Phew! Likewise with the gathers on the back - they sit out perfectly, giving texture without adding any inches.


Also, this project taught me a new skill - making my own covered buttons. It was so much fun... I almost began to cover everything I owned in buttons, but managed to restrain my buttony impulses. But seriously, they look perfect on this dress, so I'm really glad I did them. Plus I used up cord left over from my Frocktails 2017 dress for the button loops - recycle for the win!


My only quibble with this dress is that my machine did NOT like the embroidered dots on the fabric. It quietly groaned at me every time I sewed over one, and it did make it a bit tricky to get perfect square corners with the swiss dots in the way. My overlocker, however, threw an absolute hissy fit over going over those dots, and in the end I gave it up as a bad job and zig zagged my edges instead. Total princesses, both my machines! That aside, the cotton is lovely. And the perfect fit for this style of dress.

So my friends, I LOVE LOVE LOVE this dress so much! It was a lot of work, but totally worth it in the end. I feel so sophisticated and elegant in it, and feel it work perfectly not only as a work dress, but also as a wedding guest outfit, or as an extra in a fancy post war movie (HINT HINT MOVIE PRODUCERS! I COME WITH MY OWN WARDROBE!)



Pattern: Vogue 9076, View C
Fabric: Cotton Swiss dot from The Cloth Shop, about 2 years ago
Notions: Interfacing, 13 covered buttons, cord for button loops.