Galloping Around

Hey there, don’t mind me, I’m just horsing around in the bushlands.

The bodice is self-drafted, yet another attempt in my constant battle to fit a bodice correctly. This isn’t perfect, it is still a little tight along my underarms, particularly along the front. Nothing like light chaffing to get compliments pouring in from strangers. The skirt is actually an altered version of Colette Pattern’s Macaron. And by altered I mean increasing the width of the skirt. Complex stuff chaps.

I completely lined the dress and used the same fabric for the pockets. I really like the placement of the pockets on the Macaron dress; in-seam pockets tend to add width to my hips and lets face it I’ve already got the ‘could bear children’ look down pat I don’t need additional help.

The fabric is (say it with me) cotton printed drill from Spotlight. The lining is a very stable poly crepe from my local discount quilt shop. It was on their clearance table due to some running of the black print along the edge. Now if only they did that with their Liberty prints… Funny story* whilst buying both fabrics (oh at least 12, maybe 18 months ago) both sales assistants asked me what I was planning to do with the fabric. I’ve literally run out of ways to say “my stash”. I said “oh you know I always need horses for my things”. Couldn’t even think of the word projects. The lace is from my Nan’s stash and whilst it might seem unnecessary on a casual summer dress it does make me feel fancy when I inevitably fall over and flash some leg.

And not a single horse was matched.

Pattern: Self-drafted bodice and collar, Colette Patterns Macaron skirt

Fabric and notions: 1.6m cotton drill, 1.6m poly crepe, lace from stash, 16’ invisible zip

*not very funny



OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGuess who’s back, back again?

Ridiculously white girl’s back, back again

Back with the one and only Simplicity 2444. Ah yes the infamous 2444. Dem darts. Dat skirt. Dose pockets. Who am I to resist?

This is actually my second iteration of the 2444. And yet it doesn’t fit as well. DON’T CHA LOVE THAT? I’m not sure if that’s because of the collar or if it’s just because the dress is  cursed. Whatever it is, it is tres annoying as it stops me from wearing this dress as much as I would.

I know the dress is fairly twee but hey I enjoy twee. Give me a piped collar and a nautical (help I keep trying to write nauticool) any day of the week. The fabric was from the kid’s area of Spotlight and is fully lined in bemsilk. I also added bias strips of the fabric on the inside of the shoulder seams as a facing so that you can’t see the lining if it gapes open.

I took these photos ahem several months ago. It is currently absolutely freezing in Australia and looking at these photos is making me long for summer. At which point I will be boiling hot and dreaming of winter. Also probably sunburnt. Urgh summer.

Derp derp check out my kneecap! The longer you look the weirder it is.

Pattern: Simplicity 2444

Fabric and notions: 1.6m cotton blend, piping, red cotton bias tape, 16’ invisible zip

Alterations: Lined dress, shortened the skirt by 4cm, reduced curve of skirt in order to fit on the fabric, removed center skirt seam

Gingham Guy Gets a Shirt

Don’t I look pretty here, so feminine in my shirt.

Keen observers might note that this is not in fact, me, but rather a man. A rather dashing man at that. This is my boyfriend, Gingham Guy, rocking out in a shirt that I made. A MALE SHIRT WITH A PROPER YOKE AND BUTTONS AND A COLLAR AND STUFF. Can you tell I’m proud? 

This shirt started two years ago. Oh that hurt to say. In my defence I didn’t start making this exact shirt, but rather mentioned to Gingham Guy that I wanted to make one, and I purchased the pattern accordingly. The pattern comes from my fanboi fave Colette Patterns and is the Negroni, or as I pronounced it whilst sewing those goddamn flatfell sleeve heads ne-GROAN-i. Because many groans and screams of “DON’T YOU DARE CATCH THE SLEEVE THERE. LIE STRAIGHHHHTTTTT” reduced the joy of this project. Not that it wasn’t a joy, it was, it was just a steep learning curve from the soft lines, darts and French seams (ohhh French seams) of my usual sewing. 

I made many alterations for Gingham Guy (sah demanding). He wanted a much shorter shirt than the pattern called for, as well as smaller sleeves. I reduced the size of the front facing as I felt it was unnecessarily wide, but I’ll think I’ll remove more next shirt, and maybe top stitch it to stop any wiff of flapping about (I DO NOT ACCEPT FLAPPING ON MY SHIRTS). I also omitted the pocket, not because I don’t like pockets (um excuse me but is that even a thing?) but because mid sewing Gingham Guy came over, and I had to quickly hide the shirt. In all the flurry it was lost in my pile of doom aka my UFOs. I actually found it today- don’t worry, I wasn’t actually doing anything about the pile of doom, rather re-smooshing it so it looked neater- but I quite like the shirt without it so I don’t think I’ll bother attaching it.  Laziness at its finest.

The collar was another story entirely though. After SLAVING over his shirt, Gingham Guy tried it on, SCREWED UP HIS NOSE and asked “Is the collar supposed to be that big?”. And that my friends is why you should be selfish and never sew for others. After refusing to talk to him for a few hours I calmed down and decided to take it as constructive criticism. As the shirt was already constructed, with the yoke firmly sandwiching away all access to the collar I took the hack route. I cut 1cm off of the finished collar and just turned the collar under and topstitched it. Not the best technique but it worked well enough.

I also added many more buttons than the pattern called for. This wasn’t actually a choice per say but rather the result of not measuring correctly when I was sewing the buttonholes. After sewing the second one I realised what I had done and instead of having two weirdly spaced I decided to just go with it. It’s a fash-un feature darling. These tortoiseshell buttons were from the stash. I got a huge bag of them from an op shop for a dollar a year ago. I love op shops.

Since giving this to him, Gingham Guy has worn it nearly everyday, except for ya know, when it gets smelly and stuff. Now if only I can get my making time to below 2 years…

Pattern: Colette Patterns Negroni

Material: 1.5m of 142cm wide cotton voile, 9 buttons

Alterations: Shortened length and sleeves, removed pockets, increased buttons used, reduced width of collar

Running late to catch the Mad Men Train

Mad men4_ gingham girl

As per usual I am running late to a craze. That craze is, of course, the beauty and glamour of the TV show Mad Men.

Mad men3_ gingham girl

This dress isn’t inspired by any particular look per say, but rather the general feel of the show. I felt like sewing something fancy and by god is the show fancy.

Mad men2_ gingham girl

I used Colette Patterns Macaron (yes, again) as I know it fits well and lends itself to ‘fancifying’. I used Dupion Silk as I love the rough texture of it and it isn’t as delicate to work with as a crepe. I lined it with some cream synthetic from ‘the stash’ that frayed like crazy and made me say many bad words. Keeping with the ‘fancy’ theme I handsewed a large portion of this dress (because what screams fancy like multiple stab wounds on my hands and a twitching squinting eye?) because I didn’t want no ugly seam action on the inside. I left off the sleeves and finished the seams with bias tape made from the silk. The bodice is boned, not necessarily because I needed to, but because it seemed fancy. Clearly I know fancy.

Mad men5_ gingham girl

A few years ago I inherited my Nan’s sewing supplies. Within them was a huge button collection that she kept in colour-coordinated jam jars. In the black jar, the magpie within me honed in on these incredible sparkly ones, with a faux diamond façade that catches the light. They are quite heavy too which makes me suspect they are made of glass.  Definitely fancy and definitely at home on my dress.

Mad men1_ gingham girl

And now I am off to find a cocktail and be fancy.

Pattern: Colette Pattern’s Macaron

Material: 1.5m Dupion silk, sheer black organza, 6 buttons, boning

Alterations: Omitted sleeves and pockets, sliced back yoke and added a button closure at the back

Black and White Hearts

Fulfilling my need for more basics that are wearable with more than one item of clothing in my closet (ahem I’m looking at you novelty print dresses), I decided to make a simple button down skirt.

But I don’t really do ‘basics’ as such, so I picked a rather busy print (from Spotlight, naturally) and added some “now you see them, now you don’t” loveheart patch pockets.

Construction-wise this pattern went together quickly without any major hiccups. I used French seams as is my obsession and a narrow machine hem. The waistband in sewn in as I could not be bothered to hand sew (yes I’m lazy and I accept it). For the pockets I finished the edge first with the bias tape, then I used a cardboard template to turn the edge, after which I edge stitched them on. The buttons are from my stash, which means I’m counting this entire project as a stash buster. Because. Then I can buy more right?

I’ve made it again and I made the waistband narrower as I feel it is a bit too wide in this skirt, which throws the proportion off. I try to wear a belt with it IRL to break it up a bit, which helps.  All in all this skirt is a good ‘basic’ with enough of a twist for me to wear it. But only when the novelty print dresses are in the wash, of course.

Pattern: Simplicity 6778

Materials: 60cm Cotton Sateen, 6 buttons, white bias tape, interfacing

Alterations: Took in the sides, shortened, added novelty pockets

Double Dotted Trouble

This dress started with the fabric.

Double Dotted Trouble5_gingham girl

I went to Tokyo last January, which of course led to much fabric shopping (too much if you are of the opinion of my boyfriend and have to give up suitcase space for “just a few more meters of cotton”). I spent the day in Heaven, aka Nippori, the fabric district. This dotted fabric appealed to me immediately, I love polka dots (like, obsessed if I’m honest). It feels like a silk cotton blend, it washed well so I’m sure there is some poly content, but it still feels luxurious to wear.  Of course when I got home I was too nervous to actually use it, as I was plagued with doubts of “what if I mess it upppp?”. I also could not just do ‘anything’ with it, this fabric was special, it deserved the best.

After looking through my pattern stash and not finding anything that fit the bill, I decided to draft a dress. I knew I wanted a double layer skirt, a keyhole opening, soft kimono/grown-on sleeves and pleating at the waist. I started with the Colette Sencha Pattern as a base for the bodice and altered the sleeves to be slightly longer.  I deepened the keyhole opening and finished it with self-fabric bias tape. I cut the pattern at the waist and added pleats on the double-layered skirt. For closure I added an invisible zipper to the back and finished the two layers with lace hem that I hand sewed down.

Of course I made a muslin out of the pattern. No way was I cutting into my Nippori Goodness without one. From it I deepened the keyhole opening more and removed some fabric out of the back. Clearly I didn’t remove quite enough as there is still some pooling in the back but not so much that a bad posture can’t help hide.

I like this dress but it does feel slightly more ‘grown up’ than I’m used to. I think that’s mostly the length, in order to wear it more I think I should take it up an inch, but as I hand sewed the hem that will take some motivation. Like maybe a new season of Project Runway? hmmMmm

Pattern: Self-drafted based on Colette Pattern’s Sencha

Materials: 2.2m black cotton blend, red and white bias tape, lace, 18’ black invisible zipper

Devious Datura

I have a secret.

I didn’t make this Datura by Deer and Doe for myself.  But I still intend to keep it ;). For Christmas I like to make my sister’s girlfriend a top, and when I saw the myriad of cute but classic Datura’s popping up on the interwebs I knew I’d found it. And so I forged ahead with Version 1 using the leftover rayon from my tiger top. It was all going to plan until I tried it on. And then there was no going back.

I made a straight size 38, which is just a smidgen bit too loose for me but still feels like it fits within the aesthetic of the top. This is really not my usual look, I prefer some waist definition but I want to step out of my comfort zone with clothes this year. Stealing someone’s top works with that…right?

I used French seams throughout and 3 (non functional) buttons on the back. CHECK THEM PATTERN MATCHING SKILLZ OUT.

I sewed all but the hem the week before Christmas and then just kind of…left it. Left it but still um maybe still wore it. SO lazy I know but the hem was hidden and it was too cute to just leave on my sewing pile and I love new things and blah blah blah I’m lazy. Whatever it’s finished now and it’s awesome and that’s all that counts.

Pattern: Deer and Doe Datura

Materials: Leftover rayon from my Tiger Top, 3 vintage brass buttons from The Stash

Alterations: Cut 38 but used 42 hem length, buttons are non functional and sewn down

Basics means gingham, right?

Yes, another Colette Patterns. What can I say, they make amazing clothes. This is of course the Sencha; a top that somehow straddles the line between casual and put together (well as put together that I ever get).

I’ve made this top 5 times now (DON’T LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT). And one of those was for my sister. Which leaves four for me. I am very good at sharing obviously.

gingham sencha5_gingham girl

For this version I wanted a basic top that would fit in with the variety of black skirts I inevitably reach for, as well as shorts (both denim and black) as well as being able to fit a variety of occasions without being overdressed or underdressed. Oh and obviously look nice. Not too much to ask from a garment right?

I used version 1, but scooped out the neckline to give it some vintage feels and also so it wouldn’t feel like I was just sewing the same top over and over. Unfortunately the shoulders slip off a bit because of this, but nothing a bit of constant vigilance can’t curb. I used French seams because well. French seams. This cotton is so lovely to wear too, it is thick without being stifling (required in Adelaide’s crazy heat) and the size of the checks is spot on. Good on ya Spotlight. The buttons were vintage from my stash, they used to be my nans.

Sah Vintage

Despite my ridiculous expectations of it, this top does actually fit my needs to a t. It fits into my criteria of wanting easier to wear clothes that don’t look just thrown together but also don’t look too fancy for everyday wear. Viva la new years resolutions!


Pattern: Colette Patterns Sencha

Materials: 1m cotton gingham, 5 black buttons

Alterations: Scooped out neckline





Are Zebra’s black and white or white and black?

Judging by my latest makes it would appear that I am obsessed with an open back, and you know what, I AM OK WITH THAT. I find it a gazillion times cooler and as Adelaide is in the midst of a 44 degree heatwave anything that can keep me cooler is my friend.

I made yet another garment using my drafted square top pattern. This time I sliced the back into two straight lines and made some black and white bias tape to weave between the two sides like shoelaces. I basted these on before sewing a lining to ensure that they would be evenly spaced (they aren’t but HEY I TRIED). I then simply pleated a skirt and attached to the waist before adding a side invisible zipper.

As it may be (WIDELY) apparent from the photos this dress is a bit of a disaster. I originally made it floor length (DON’T LOOK AT ME LIKE THAT) in a move I solely blame on some hardcore PMS crazy. Like I legit made a floor length gown covered in zebras. AND the back was originally going to be the front. Ah gawd it sounds even crazier when I write that. This is what happens when I am not attached to a chocolate drip.

Despite the dress being a little wild (GET IT??) it does kind of work as a knee length dress. The waist is a tad loose but nothing my trusty belt can’t fix. The high neckline also makes me feel slightly classier despite showing my bra strap at the back. Well if it worked for Carrie in Sex and the City…

Pattern: Self-drafted

Materials: 2.5m cotton print (some of which was chopped off), 14’ invisible zipper, scrap cotton to line bodice, scraps black and white satin

Alterations: Squared off back of pattern and sliced into two pieces, adjusted width to accommodate bias strips




Playing with Gingham

Lacking in my life was an outfit fit for a playful seafaring lass. What is a seamstress to do but make her own?

Using the pattern I drafted for my tiger top (YES I AM ACTUALLY AN ADULT) I altered the back to include another tie and flipped it back to front. This was a highly scientific process, which involved drawing around the pattern on craft paper until it ‘looked right’.

Clearly this was not the greatest plan, there is uneven spacing between the ties and the first one hits too high. If I had chosen to make a muslin I would have discovered this but priorities. And by that I mean Project Runway.

I constructed the top much the same as the Tiger one as I enjoy my seams being hidden. Woah girl you party animal. I don’t particularly like the cotton lawn I used, it tends to wear quite poorly but that’s what I get for shopping at Spotlight.

The shorts I made from the same pattern I used to make the shorts portion of my Macaron Transformers playsuit. They started off as McCalls M6331 but after I muslined them, I lengthened the crotch (sigh tallgirlproblems), shifted the darts into a more flattering place and changed the curve of the leg to instead form ties at the side. I cut the waistband on the straight grain because I was worried about it stretching out if I cut it on the bias. I added a vintage button from the stash, which means it qualifies as a stash busting project…right?

I absolutely love these shorts, high waisted shorts are my best friend (and always available to knit with) and they go with literally everything. The top is one of the things I am trying to change about my sewing this year, it is a little too Wes Anderson-dreamworld instead of real world. It also requires constant vigilance to ensure no accidental boob flashage. TMI? Just wait till I accidently stop monitoring it.

As a whole I love all the ties going on in this outfit. It feels very put together and even somehow conservative despite all the skin showing. Or maybe I’m back in dreamland ;)

Pattern: Self- drafted, based on my Tiger top, McCalls M6331

Fabric and notions: 1.5m gingham cotton, 1m black cotton lawn (left over from lining the tiger top), 1m black cotton drill, invisible zipper, vintage button

Alterations: Altered the curve of the ties to include another on the top, for the bottoms I lengthened, shifted darts, altered leg curve into side ties and added a waistband