Size matters

We used Connie Crawford’s Butterick 5538 pattern at a bust cup adjustment workshop. Our tutor Marea Drayton, had lots of patterns to look at for fitting ideas, and she gave use a sheet to record our measurements and calculate the adjustments we needed for the pattern.

Marea had lots of patience, she was great at keeping up with the less demanding sewers, but most importantly Marea was genuinely interested in helping us achieve a good fit.

She used Fit for real people used because she’s Palmer Pletsch trained. Later I was told Marea used Connie Crawford’s fitting techniques. I missed out on Connie’s visit to Sydney last year but I have her books and I saw her at Sew Expo in 2011. Connie’s amazing and a straight forward speaker with industry experience. Talk about a wealth of sewing industry knowledge! Connie is a real sewing treasure.

Anyway the pics below show the steps Marea took to increase the bust width on a princess seam. This pattern below had the width added by adding a vertical line that pivots from the shoulder seam. What you see below is Marea closing the side dart and adding room at the bust point. 

The side dart below is being taped closed.
Below you’ll see the the front side is longer that the centre front so the centre front is then dropped to match the side front hem.

I did this workshop because I do need to know how to make this adjustment for anyone who is C cup and above like Mum or SIL or my first dear niece.

Pondering my next sewing project… You can see I need to get out into the sun eventhough summer is here.

Sway back XD

I’m wearing the mustard pants Vogue 1204 I made earlier this year. I also made these in festive green and a red test pair.

The back now fits better.

We were also asked to bring Frixion pens.  I had no idea what these pens were for but I bought a couple anyway. They’re erasable pens so I suppose you can scribble out your markings and rewrite over your paper or fabric. I’ll buy anything that gives me the best outcome. Have you used these pens before? Mine pens are still in the pack!

Here’s what’s on the net about these pens…
The ink laid down by the Frixion rollerball disappears under friction! The end of the pen has a hard plastic eraser, which when rubbed over the writing causes the colour to disappear from the ink. You can then write over it again with the same pen. How does it work? It’s a type of thermo-reactive ink. The heat generated by the friction causes the ink to become translucent (at 65°C fact-hounds!). Stick it in the freezer (-20°C) and your scribblings will re-appear – albeit slightly faded.

SIL dresses

Making a couple of knit dresses is motivation. I can cut the dress out before work and after work, pull it together within a couple more hours. That’s if I’ve made it before and the fabric is behaving.

McCalls 5752
This was a pattern I made for myself a couple of years ago in a zebra print knit so the bodice already have an FBA. The blue version is a well worn work version. So this was easy to cut out and sew up again. Would you believe I found a mistake in my original version by sewing it again? Anyhew..

The green knit is toile fabric which you’ve seen recently from the Missoni dress. This fabric is still from the Pitt Trading $20 garbage bag of fabric remnants.

The mistake was not including the vertical gather on the front ruching.

McCalls 5974
Instead of adjusting the round neck version, I used the cross over bodice that creates a v-neckline. No zipper was used for this version but I’ve kept the back shaping even though it would have been easier placing the centre back seam on the fold. I’m hoping the back fit will be great on SIL.

Now to do a fitting. I’m hoping I’ll only need to adjust the width and length. My unpicker and I are becoming great friends.

Sydney sewing blogger meet up
I attended my second Sydney sewing blogger meet up last Saturday. My first Sydney catch up was during Made Me May. Our summer weather was just kicking in so by the time we’d chatted and fabric shopped at Tessuti’s and The Fabric Store, we earnt a well deserved drink at the Clock Hotel on Crown St in Surry Hills. Here’s the great pic Christy took.

It was a great way to end a fun afternoon fabric shopping and catching up with our blogger friends in real life. Thanks Christy of Little Betty and Kristy of Lower your presser foot for organising the meet up. They both have lovely posts about our meet up and hopefully we can do this again in February.

Thanks to Kyle for letting me know about this meet up. Kyle let me know about the meeting up while she was keeping safe during Hurricane Sandy in the States.

2013 ASG workshops:
In case you’re interested Rhodes ASG has a few sewing workshops in the pipeline.
At this stage the workshop wish list is:
– a workshop on tips for sewing knits with zips,
– a session on trims and neckline finishes and
– a fitting workshop on sleeves and armholes.
Let me know if you’re interested in attending and I’ll send you the details when they’re available next year. I’ll keep you updated.

Silhouette Patterns webcast 17 December
If you want to check out Peggy Sagers webcast, the 2012 webcasts have officially finished. However there’s a special ‘off the record’ webcast that won’t be recorded on 17 December. That’s actually 18 December at 1pm Sydney time. The official webcasts will start again in 2013 and previous webcasts are on her website.

A finished trench coat

All I wanted was a strong coloured single breasted trench coat that needed the least amount of hand sewing possible. The lining is machine sewn to the coat and I hand sewed the buttons and some of the buttohole detailing – and that was it.

Here are the previous trenchcoat posts:
Trenchcoat sewing
Jalie city coat trench : 2680
McCalls 5525: single breast trench
McCalls 5525: a hood in the collar
McCalls 5525: pockets
McCalls 5525: shoulder detailing
McCalls 5525: bound buttonholes
McCalls 5525: belt carriers

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

Not a bag lady

I had all good intentions of making a bag this year. I only made a hacker job doggie bag for the littlest niece.

You see I had really good intentions as I attended a zipper workshop in October and I learnt lots this year about sewing leather through the Leather workers guild association and at the Powerhouse Musuem and I even bought bag patterns and bag notions. On the weekend I joined the free Craftsy bag class. There’s also my Zipperstop haul of zips that I bought last year that I can use for bags.

Each bag pattern, as lovely as they are, have become UFOs.

1: Spice of life bag
I have the pattern and have cut out leather pieces and snakeskin look lining. I even have the handbag frames that I bought from Ghees’ online store. The yellow clips are holding the leather pieces together and now that I’ve actually sewn leather, this could be next on my sewing table. That was my intention.
The belt in the background was from a bag I had but gave away. As a sewing hoarder, I found the belt in the back of a wardrobe.

I also have the Moonshine Bella bag pattern too.

2: Computer satchel
There’s the green denim leftover from my green jeans just waiting for the McCalls to be cut out and fused. There’s unbleached bag tape and green pre-made binding to add. The bag feet were bought online from Ghee’s. I even intended to use matching binding and lining.

3: Large satchel
This bag uses green leftover drill fabric from my skinny leg jeans. The lining zipper pocket is done as is the outside covered zipper pocket. I sewed in these 2 zippers at a workshop but I haven’t wanted to revisit this piece of work while working on the trench coat.

4: Accessory pattern
Another gunna project. There are plenty of zippers from and fabric in the stash to get a bunch of these bags made. That was my intention.

Maybe next year.

I think the trenches took it out of me, although I do love making clothes that fit well and bags – I just don’t know.

I’m still pondering a SWAP collection of gymwear to street wear and I’d love to do Marina’s pencil skirt sewalong. My fear is the SWAP collection will also become more UFOs.

But I think it’s back to sewing a knit dress for SIL either McCalls 5752 or McCalls 5974.

She has a holiday booked (a looming self imposed deadline) so I’d like to give her a dress for travellingl. I think McCalls 5752 might be first cab off the rank, with a possible waist tie, a v-neckline and no back zipper ’cause it’s a knit fabric.

Doggie bag

The littlest niece and I have slowly been working on a fabric fusing kit and she chose the doggie design. She loves dogs and animals even though she’s a city kid and has no pets.

I found the eyes at lincraft and I’ve zigzaged the doggy outline so that it does stand out a bit.
Inside the pillow is a fashionable pillow that her mum can use once the littlest niece has grown out of cuddly things. I’ll miss that stage when it happens.

Then I had an idea to make a purse with the left over dog print fabric. Alison made the cute purse below and gave it to me for Christmas a couple of years ago. The fabric is left over silk that she’s quilted the fabric before assembling this into a coin purse. It’s beautiful and I keep it in a safe place.

Alison is the queen of coin purses and bag crafts. Go and check out Alison’s bag reviews.

After having another look at Alison’s handy work, I decided to use her advice – make the bag to fit the zipper. So I found a standard brown zipper in the stash, checked the finishing Alison did and made a doggy bag.

The look on the doggy faces is the same look my littlest niece used when she meekly asked, “Is my pillow finished yet”. How could you say no to that face. The lining is bright red with white dots and beige ribbon sewn onto the fabric. It’s very girlie. The zipper pull is animal print shoe lace that I bought for no real reason this year – except that it is animal printed. What I should have done was fuse the fabric. I will from now on.

So here’s her doggy set.


Can you feel the Aunty guilt lift too?

Tequila Chanukah Cake

This is a Tequila Chanukah Cake recipe from a dear friend of mine.

Once I make it, I’ll post up the pic.

1 cup sugar,
1 tsp. baking powder,
1 cup water,
1 tsp salt ,
1 cup brown sugar,
Lemon juice,
4 large eggs,
1 bottle tequila,
2 cups dried fruit


  1. Sample a cup of tequila to check quality
  2. Take a large bowl, check the tequila again to be sure it is of the highest quality then Repeat.
  3. Turn on the electric mixer.
  4. Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.
  5. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar. Beat again.
  6. At this point, it is best to make sure the tequila is still OK. Try another cup just in case
  7. Turn off the mixerer thingy.
  8. Break 2 eggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.
  9. Pick the fruit up off the floor, wash it and put it in the bowl a piece at a time trying to count it.
  10. Mix on the turner.
  11. If the fried druit getas stuck in the beaterers, just pry it loose with a drewscriver .
  12. Sample the tequila to test for tonsisticity.
  13. Next, sift 2 cups of salt, or something.
  14. Check the tequila.
  15. Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.
  16. Add one table.
  17. Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find.
  18. Greash the oven.
  19. Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over.
  20. Don’t forget to beat off the turner.
  21. Finally, throw the bowl through the window.
  22. Finish the tequila and wipe the counter with the cat….. 🙂

Approved by the international tequila board of drinking and safety and the country women’s cooks – alcohol chapter or something like that!

M5525 – Belt carriers

McCalls trenchcoat has a main belt across the waist as well as the faux belts near the sleeve hems so a stack of well-finished belt carriers are worth making – if you have the time.

This stage of making the trench drained my energy because I knew that I could finish it fast once I attached and finished the sleeve belts (plural) before sewing on the bagged lining. Sewing on the lining includes hemming and that’s when I can really feel the end of the project near. The last steps are attaching the buttons and making the buttonholes and then the trench would be finished.
But not just yet.

At the beginning of construction, I made up the belt carriers. I didn’t use tape like Steam a seam lite 2 or any fusable hemming tape. The belt carriers worked out without tape but after doing a zipper workshop, I saw how well finish this detailing becomes when you use fusable hemming tape. So I’ve used hemming tape on the coat hook loop at the back of the trench. 

And the sleeve belt carriers were constructed the same way.

The belt will have a buckle – now that I bought a few from Birdsall’s leather, the leather saddlery place at Botany.

A note from Heavenlyprincess:
I just finished up a red wool coat with trench detailing! In fact, it won a state fashion design competition on Saturday. We’ll see how it does at Nationals.
Anyway, here’s a link to the post I wrote about
understitching while making this coat.
All the best at National HP!
I’m really loving the webcast Peggy Sagers(Silhouette Patterns) has on trench coat construction and finishing.

I also had the chance to ‘participate’ in the holiday blouse webcast that Peggy did this week. She has a lot of industry knowledge. The webcast was a great experience from a viewers point of view – if this makes sense. The whole hour was live and the audience could interact with each other via ‘instant messaging’ during the webcast. Peggy answered our questions as they were asked. The webcast replays are just as great to learn from but I thoroughly loved the interaction too. Thank you Peggy and your wonderful team.

007 Skyfall:
Judi Dench’s character ‘M’ wears a double breasted light coloured trench. She also wears a dark brown/aubergene two- button duffle woollen coat with welt pockets in a country scene so even M has at least two winter coats.  M’s office wardrobe is dark, fitted and fierce!

These are the trenchcoat posts:
Trenchcoat sewing
Jalie 2680: city coat trench
McCalls 5525: single breast trench
McCalls 5525: a hood in the collar
McCalls 5525: pockets
McCalls 5525: shoulder detailing
McCalls 5525: bound buttonholes
McCalls 5525: belt carriers
McCalls 5525: finished