Drafting binge

I’m being impulsive and adjusting my basic block patterns for the next two Outlander dresses. 

These are my no dart blocks

Drafting  class notes from the community college course

As soon as the weather cools down I’ll be making trousers again so I really have to get these dresses out of my system.

Adjusted bodice

One of my makes has a contrasting piece that runs from the bodice to the skirt, hence I’ve been redrafting the bodice and developed it to suit. 

First test bodice using polycotton non-stretch fabric

Once I was happy with the dimensions of this bodice it was simple to do the same treatment to the skirt, after I drafted out the skirt darts. You’ll see this dress next week. Promise.

Then the final make is a corset and skirt combo. This time I decided to adjust a similar styled vest and convert it to a corset. I just couldn’t find the right corset and decided to grab a Simplicity costume pattern as the base. 

Original vest tested for size

This pattern has the boning placement on the side bodice pieces so I’m using polyester boning as corset making isn’t my forte, but I wanted to give this garment a go.

Practicing with polyester boning. Will soon try using steel boning as a comparison.

This time I decided to treat the skirt fabric for a long line skirt to see if it works on my shape and height. On each test version I’m using polycotton fabric with no stretch.

I don’t know as yet if any of these design ideas will work but I’m having a ball trying. 

So I’m hoping that by the time I get these two dresses finished, the second part of Series 1 will be on tv and I can sit back and enjoy the costumes again.

Interview with FunkiFabrics

Funki Fabrics interviewed me recently because I love to sew my own activewear.

I’m a small blog in a big online sewing community.

While I do sew for myself, I’ve enjoyed sewing with Funki Fabrics for the family too so I know FunkiFabrics suit the Australian climate.

From time to time keep an eye on Funki Fabrics pinterest board too as I’ll be posting easy activewear sewing technique posts.

26 Feb: Updated information from Funki Fabrics for Lyndle’s question:

Composition of Funkifabrics’ fabrics

​The composition of the fabrics differs depending on which type of fabric/design it is. These details can be found on each individual product page. However, on the whole, the composition of the printed fabrics is 82% Polyester and 18% Elastane. The weight is 190 g/m² (grams per square metre). 

Are they all the same or are there different types?

While this question seems broad, all of the fabrics use the same print base product which makes them consistent. We have different prints and textures of fabric but the print base remains the same so they are all of the same quality.

Are any of the fabrics wicking?/What is it like wearing normal togs Nylon Lycra for working out?

Although the fabrics aren’t technically wicking fabrics, the print base that all​ of the fabrics have is fabric that is designed to be the ideal partner for all sport activities including cycling, running, skating, dance, sailing, skiing etc. The fabric has been worn and used during activewear by many sewing bloggers (including yourself and Erin at Miss Crayola Creepy). 

Erin recently published a blog post featuring Funkifabrics discussing the fabric and how she found it during exercising – here is what she said “Saturday morning my friend and I walked 4+ miles on the beach in a lot of soft sand and through dunes/hills. It was pretty warm (in the seventies) and we were both sweating. My legs were dry (the Polyester in the fabric helps with that), but since I was wearing a cotton shirt, my upper half was sweaty.” http://www.misscrayolacreepy.com/2015/02/linden-and-ooh-la-leggings-beach-edition.html

Being realistic

Realistically, can you incorporate a historical piece into your everyday wear? When does it become costuming or a Cosplay outfit?

The pic and drawing above are from Outlander. Ignore the reference if you’ve not read the books or seen the TV series as yet. 

This dress idea is the first of three dresses I’m developing with aspects from these their costumes that have blown me away. This first dress uses my block patterns.
Here’s my line drawing and basic bodice block.

My dress
The skirt I’ve added isn’t the same as the costume dress. I’m a bit too short to carry off a full gathered skirt and not have this dress look like a costume piece.  

A close up of the dress bodice. It’s fully lined

The bodice style and fabrics used reflect Claire’s surgery dress.

This skirt has pockets in the side seams using a Kwik Sew pocket pattern piece. The pocket is sewn into the side seam and joins into the waistline.
I left the bodice darts and concentrated on getting the bodice angles and neckline to work

Initially I thought the sleeves were part of the dress but when I looked closely at the pictures above, they’re separate pieces.

Here’s a close up of the shoulders/neckline

The dress fabric is made of $2/m shirting bought at Cabramatta. I’ve used piping from my stash on the neckline and armholes of the dress.

Bodice back view using self covered buttons and an invisible zip.

My zipper wasn’t long enough for the full dress length so I added three self-covered buttons so this zipper length worked on this dress.

The blouse fabric is made from reused curtain lining I bought at a local Vinnies shop. I’ve used my basic no-dart block pattern for the blouse.

Mustard poly poplin skirt lining just in case…

Now if I want to be a bit Vivienne Westwood/Steampunk, I can hitch up one side of the skirt and reveal the skirt lining.

I’ll leave it up to you to decide if this works as an everyday dress.

There are two more dress ideas are being made up as we ‘speak’.

One of these dresses will look like a costume but it won’t have anywhere near the detailing on the original dress.


It’s Summer and seeing as though Mr V splashed out and bought me some roses, at the last minute, I decided to grab Style 1874 and make a special dress.

Nothing fancy. Just a plain, simple dress.
This pattern was published in 1990, and it’s been in my pattern stash for ever.
This remnant fabric is from Mood in New York bought on a shopping day with Kyle
I cut the mid-thigh version of this dress and on a petite like me, it was the perfect length.
In my haste, I grabbed a grey invisible zip and dropped the back neckline so it would work. The swirls are placed dead centre so I have eyes on my back. That was intentional.
The other intentional aspect was avoiding the ‘eyes’ on the front of my dress.
This is fully lined and the pattern instructions were so easy to follow and well illustrated.

I’m grinning because this is my first ‘vintage pattern pledge‘ dress. After spending time with Sue last week when she visited Sydney, all those patterns from ages ago in my pattern stash look enticing to make again.

Minerva make – Steampunk

Making basic work and weekend gear is what I do. But what if I decide to add a few Steampunk elements into my basic work wear? How would true Steampunk look on someone of my height?

Take a simple poly cotton fabric for a shirt and a wool blend check for a skirt. Sounds ordinary. Vicky picked the buttons again. She’s a Wiz at choosing the notions.

And then used a basic front button blouse and a simple A line skirt. Still sounds run-of-the-mill. Maybe the exposed metal zipper at the back might be a bit ‘out there’.

I would agree. Except for the detailing.

Throw in some pin tucks, a few ruffles and some metal buckles and you have a few Steampunk pieces.

The technical notes for this Equestrian tail coat blouse is here.

I’ve never been to a historical or Cos play event. But I can probably sneak through now.
The technical notes for the skirt are here.

I like the idea of using the blouse with black jeans on the weekend.

And the skirt (Beige/Black Check Polyester/Wool Blend Suiting Designer) will look great in the office in the Winter.
Especially if I make a Equestrian-influenced wool jacket like this or this or this.
Seriously, the possibility of no longer being a wall flower are endless.

Thank you Minerva Crafts for these fabrics. They’re lovely to wear and easy to sew with. 

Tech notes: Equestrian tail coat blouse

Here’s the Equestrian tail coat blouse that I wanted to create for my February Minerva make.

I decided to use a basic McCalls blouse pattern as the basis instead of finding the exact pattern.
So the test version above confirmed the fit and then I did a rough redraft of the neckline based on my line drawing.
Line drawings are not my forte but they help plan projects

I’ve folded the neckline to a v, then drafted new facings

There are no sleeves on the equestrian blouse, so bias made from the same polycotton fabric was used to finish the armholes.

These are the strips for the ruffle and pin tuck trims. The trim width was a ‘guestimate’.

Then I had to create the ruffle and pin tuck trim. 

The trim edging was roll-hemmed.

The trims took 3 hours to make. There was a lot of thinking and testing time involved.
The final hurdle was figuring out how/when to add these trims to the actual shirt. 

I’ve laid the trim over the test shirt above to get an idea of trim length required.

It’s all part of the fun:)

Above is the work in progress blouse. 

The toughest part wasn’t pinning the hem up for the hip detailing. The hardest decision was how to sew on the ruffle and pin tuck trim.

You’ll see the finished pieces later this week. 

Apologies to my dear IG peeps. You’ve already seen this blouse in the making. #Thursday!

Clipped skirt

At the moment I’m trying to develop a couple of Steampunk pieces for a bit of variety. I keep collecting style prompts on my pinterest board.

Dawn specialises in Steampunk. She goes through lots of gear I’ve not considered before. I’ve been reading Dawn’s posts on military-inspired steampunkHer ‘clipped skirt’ image is what I thought was doable and wearable.

This skirt is a basic a-line skirt with a high waistline. When I looked closely at this image, I thought I could so a similar job with a few variations for my height.

Minerva Crafts UK has this fabric in stock (Beige/Black check polyester/wool blend suitingand it’s got the right feel and weight to it for this skirt style.

It didn’t take long to rough draft a high waistline to my basic a-line skirt pattern.

Below is the lining pattern and after I made up the lining in a woven fabric, I ended up taking out more width at the darts. I used the dart seams to sew the boning for a firmer waistline fit.

Initial skirt lining pieces

Below is a photo of the boning sewn onto the lining.

inside view

The metal zipper and back buckles are a cool feature. I would have liked to add more hardware onto this skirt but it would have looked too heavy on me.

Back view

Next up… the Equestrian tail coat blouse and then… the full steampunk reveal on Thursday.