Wednesday, 28 September 2016


Some more sewing for me.  And boy is it worth it!

This is the Pippa Dress* by Designer Stitch  And it's a bit fancy!

The pattern is a wrap around dress, with side tie. There's a bit of gathering where the bodice attaches to the skirt, and binding around the neckline which helps to keep everything in place.

My favourite thing about sewing for myself is making clothes that actually fit. For this dress, I blended from a smaller size at the bust, out to the next one up at the waist, which meant the skirt was spot on, ready to float over my hips. I am thoroughly convinced that my babies expanded my rib cage when they were tucked up in there, and it's never returned to its old size.

The material I used is a beautiful floaty chiffon (found it for a great price at the Remnant Warehouse). It was a little too see through to use on its own. So the bodice of the dress is lined with lawn.

It was a pretty simple process to line the bodice, I just sewed up two of them, and they're joined together at the armholes, neckline and sleeves.  When setting in the sleeves, I basted the sleeve to the main bodice around the armscye, then added the lining to complete the "sandwich". In order to allow for the sleeves to be sandwiched between the two layers, I left the centre back seam of the lining until last, so that I could turn it through. I don't know if there's a proper way, but it worked a treat.

The sleeve basted inside the armscye of the bodice
Working with such a light fabric, I opted for french seams. Between that and the lining, it meant sewing each seam four times, but the beautiful finish is worth it.
Beautiful French seams and darts.

The pattern includes two sleeve lengths (these are the longer ones), and three skirt lengths - peplum, above the knee and tea length (the length I made).  I don't have many dresses this length, but I'm glad I have this one (especially in this fabric). And I can't wait to sew up some peplum blouses. Make sure you check out all the tester photos in the pattern listing to see just a snippet of the potential this dress has.

This is the second pattern I've sewn up from Designer Stitch Patterns (check out the Kerry Capelet - hopefully with a blog post coming soon).  Ann's patterns are a great mix of clear instructions with high end finishes and techniques, giving you a garment that fits beautifully, and is sewn beautifully.

This dress was perfect for a night out to dinner with my husband. The only challenge was making it from the car to the restaurant in these heels.  It was worth it though, it's amazing the difference a special pair of shoes ,and perfectly matched lipstick can make.

The pattern is on special for release (grab it here), until Friday 7th October.

*This post contains affiliate links, which give me a small percentage of any pattern sales at no cost to you.  My opinions and sewing (and those shoes) and all my own.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Back to School: Mum Edition

Welcome to my stop on the EYMM Back to School: Mom's Edition Blog tour.*

I must confess that technically the kids haven't just gone back to school. We are getting back into the swing of things after holidays in July. Just in time for the next lot of holidays.

But it was high time I sewed something for myself. Especially as I've been meaning to replace my favourite top since April.

I work 4 days a week, and wear a uniform. Which is great. No wardrobe decisions of the morning. So on my "day off" I like to wear something a bit nicer, but still practical for all the running around.

Enter the Off the Shoulder Dress and Peplum Top from Everything Your Mama Made and More (EYMM).

This top is perfect for my ideal "day off". Sitting in the sun, sipping some tea and reading a book on my phone (it's totally a book, I promise I'm not checking Facebook).  I have my knitting stashed in my bag, ready to pull out and find some quiet space in my head.

I have road tested the top on a real day off. And it was still up to the challenge. This top helped me navigate through: school drop off; an aborted attempt at fruit & veg shopping (forgot my purse); Bible study; lunch; blood donation (which is why lunch was important); instagramming blood donation (more food involved there); successful attempt at fruit & veg shopping (hooray!); reading with the Kindy kids; school pick up; ballet lesson; homework; dinner prep (and eating); washing up; and sewing until way past my bedtime.  Success!

It's now my favourite top, and hasn't made it into my drawer yet - straight from the washing basket to my back. Which does tell you a little about how often I fold the washing (but don't forget I wear it on the weekend too).

I have been trying to work up the courage to try out a peplum top for a while. The problem was, that I wasn't sure if the peplum would be cute and fun, or be like a big arrow with flashing lights saying "Look at those hips, they're huge!"  Knowing that this pattern had a dress option as well as the peplum top, gave me a bit of confidence. I have a couple of knit dresses with circle skirts (skater dresses), and they look okay, so if the top didn't work out I could still have the option for a nice dress.

I'm now a fan of the peplum (except for windy days - breezy kidneys aren't too fun).

Just to be thorough, I tested it out with a jacket, in case it gets a little chilly

No problems there. And I can event throw on a scarf/pashmina if it gets extra cold.

Or pull the cowl down around my shoulders if it's warmer and I want to soak up some sun.

There isn't a whole heap of stretch in this fabric (because of the embroidery on it), but there is plenty of room for my arms and torso.  The arm pieces are cut on the fold (so same front and back), but the raglan construction and boat neck (hiding under that cowl) mean that it isn't a problem.

So the  Off the Shoulder Dress and Peplum Top has definitely passed all my requirements. Comfy, stylish, warm, and quick to sew (except for the hem, but circle hems and I are having 'issues' at the moment, so that's more to do with me). I can see some more tops - maybe in sweatshirt fleece, and probably a dress or two - in my future.  Check out all the tester pics on the pattern page to see what you can do with this pattern!

Make sure you  check out the other stops on EYMM's Back to School: Mom's Edition tour - the links below will be active on the scheduled day. And there's a code below for 50% off any adult sized pattern,

Don't miss any of the posts on EYMM's Back to School Tour: Mom's Edition! (Note: the links below will not work until their scheduled day, but feel free to click through and check out the rest of their blogs anytime!)
September 7 Sewing by Ti and Sprouting JubeJube and Call Ajaire
September 8 Inspinration and Idlesunshine
September 9 Boutique Birdie and Needles to Say
September 13 Recap at EYMM

The kids are back in school and parents and caregivers everywhere are excited to catch up after summer break! Use coupon code PARENTSROCK to save 50% off any adult-size patterns for men and women now through 11:59pm PST Tuesday 9/13/2016. This offer may NOT be combined with other offers including bundles.

*This post contains affiliate links. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase I will receive a small commission. The sewing, the posing for staged and unrealistic photos and the opinions on this post are all my own.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

The Bonn Shirt

I can see a new staple in my summer wardrobe. The Bonn Shirt from Itch to Stitch *

I have noticed recently that I am gravitating more and more to garments that I have sewn myself.  Partly because there a few more of them than this time last year, but mostly because they're clothes in the colours and fabrics I like, made to fit my body.

I am in love with the fit of this shirt. The sleeves are wide enough for my 'powerful' upper arms. There's plenty of room for movement around the arms and back.

It's long enough that I don't need to worry about it riding up.

The cut at the front isn't too revealing, and I love the look of this collar.

This version is sewn up in a mystery fabric I rescued from the op shop (thrift store).  It has a rather open weave, like a linen. I thought at first that it was some cotton synthetic blend. But it creases as soon as you look at it, and takes a good deal of heat when pressing. So I think it's more of a straight cotton.  Either way, it's cool and floaty and oh so comfortable.

I have a soft spot of Itch to Stitch patterns, having tested the Lisbon cardigan earlier this year (here's my post). The detail that Kennis includes is just amazing. And the techniques are all spot on. I think of it as 'proper sewing' - no cutting corners, and it shows in the finished garment.  I also purchased a copy of the Belize Shorts (but haven't sewn them up yet) - I think Bonn and Belize might just work quite nicely together.

I was a little nervous about sewing up a semi-fitted woven garment for myself. I have a few more lumps and bumps to take into account than the kids. But I didn't have to make many alterations to the patterns for fit - just widen the hips a little.  And the ease built into the back means that I didn't need to worry about my sway back and large/high bottom (I'm blaming that on the bike riding, not the chocolate after dinner).

If you do need some help adjusting the pattern, there are a number of tutorials on the Itch to Stitch blog. There are some really useful tips and techniques that can help give a professional finish to your sewing.

There are 4 different options for the sleeve. This is the flare sleeve. The other options are a short sleeve, a 3/4 sleeve and a long sleeve.  The sleeves are beautifully finished - make sure you check out all the tester photos to see how they look - they're in the pattern release post on the blog.

I can't wait to make up some more versions of this shirt, and maybe even a dress. It will see me through from Summer to Winter with a change of fabric and sleeve length.

The pattern is on sale for it's release (20% off). And as an extra bonus, if you buy two or more patterns there is an additional 15% off, at the Itch to Stitch Pattern Shop.

Itch to Stitch Bonn Ad 300 x 300

*This post contains some affiliate links. If you click on a link and purchase an item I will receive a small commission.  I was provided with a copy of the pattern for testing the garment.  All opinions are my own.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Into the Kosmos with The Eli Monster

The Eli Monster has released another gorgeous dress.

Say hello to the Kosmos Dress.

The neckline and shoulders are a little different.

The dress is a swing style - a-line straight out from under the arms with a rounded hem.  There's a facing at the bottom that could be interfaced if you wanted a bit more stiffness.

This version is in a basic woven cotton, but imagine it in corduroy, drill or duck, the skirt would keep its flare.

The original version is designed around a planet and a moon reverse appliqued on the skirt of the dress.  The cool thing with sewing patterns is that you can change things around a bit. Add as many circles as you want. Big circles and little circles.

Have you spotted the pockets yet??? (yep more sneaky pockets).

These aren't quite so secret. The smaller circles are the pocket openings.

There are a few cool techniques that Steph walks you through with this pattern - bagging the armhole, reverse applique, using a facing rather than a folded up hem.

It's safe to say that this will be one of the favourites this summer.  It passes the Mum test, with shoulder and back coverage for sun safety, and plenty of length for a 5 year old girl. Although bike shorts underneath will probably be a good idea.

Because it also passes the 5 year old girl test - excellent for running and jump, and climbing around.

The dress is on sale for US$7 (normally US$9) through to September 8, from The Eli Monster.

And to finish, I have to add just how much I love this fabric. What could be better than a geometric rainbow print????