Brisbane Spoolette high tea combo

Earlier this month the Brisbane Spoolettes held their annual high tea and I loved joining them again this year.

It just so happened I was testing Simplicity 2154 retro 1960s jacket and I used this stretch woven fabric for it.

The jacket pattern isn’t designed to be closed so while I added a snap closure to the front of the jacket, it did affect the look of the back of the jacket.

On the Wednesday night I decided to grab my block patterns and come up with a dress to go with it. 

So really this is my test dress and I do need to make some adjustments to the bust under the arms.

If I had the chance to wear this outfit again I would. The fabric is super comfortable and unlined so it’s prefect to wear in humid weather.

Thanks Brisbane Spoolettes for putting on another high tea event. You all looked fabulous.

What if

After jackets and jeans, I back off for a while and play with design ideas I’ve seen but can’t find the right commercial pattern. That takes a bit more thinking space but once the plan is ready and tested, it’s usually a quick make.

The idea
Four years ago I carved up a basic tee pattern to make this dress from an Anthropology RTW idea that was popular at the time. Now you can now buy this pattern but it wasn’t available at the time.

With the possibility of colder weather approaching (it’s still Summer here) I went back and rechecked the fit of KwikSew 2683 on me.

I still don’t like the neckline binding finish provided by Kwik Sew pattern. I’ve resorted to simply folding the fabric under once and then coverstitch it or use twin needle on my basic sewing machine.

The fabrics I used

I bought this floral/stripe knit from My Hung Parramatta and underlined the bodice with a really thin factory off-cut. A friend gave me a stack of factory fabric off cuts that are what I use to test ideas. You’ll see these off-cuts used from time to time.

This test top has worked. I wore it to the office where it can get cold throughout the day and I felt fine all day. The trousers are RTW and a go-to for work.

The trousers are RTW and a go-to for work.

When I originally made this pattern, I got the back bodice hem wrong so these two new tops, the hems now work well.

Why go to all that trouble?

I’m still considering a top/blouse to bundle with my 1960s style Elliott Berman suit using Simplicity 1543 and the fabric I bought with Kyle in November last year. 

More soon…

What a free pair of specs? emailed me to try their glasses. So I chose to give you the opportunity to try their glasses as my prescription is complex. is an online eyeglasses store that I’ve never heard of because I don’t shop for glasses online. I’ve only bought contact lenses online. to offer varieties of prescription eyewear in high quality yet at affordable prices.

You can read more about from their website. gives you a virtual ‘try on’ option.
What do I get from this giveaway? Nothing. It’s for you, if you’re interested.
There are two offers
One complete pair of prescription eyeglasses with free shipping to the US and Australia. The free pair covers one frame, 1.50 index single vision lens and free shipping fee. 
(All frames here are available to choose from)
What else is on offer?
Five pairs of glasses without free shipping (first time customer only). 
This offer covers the frame with 1.50 index single vision lenses. 
The winner need to pay the shipping depending on the country and handling fee. 
You’ll need to supply your PD measurement with your script. PD stands for Pupillary Distance, which is the distance between your pupils in millimeters
a. This giveaway is only open to US and Australia peeps. 
b. You need to comment on this giveaway post with the link to the glasses you like. 
And that’s it.
Have a look at their range if you’re interested in this giveaway. You have until Saturday 30 April to enter. I’ll announce the winners on Sunday 1 May. 
What my real order would cost
I did a dummy order on for Australia and express shipping was $US12.95 within 5 to 7 days. The full cost for my order came to $US92. 
Locally my glasses easily costs 3 times this amount.
Have a look for yourself on Google for previous reviews.

Bootstrap Fashion jeans #1

Pants, especially jeans, can ‘do your head in’ when you first start trying to make them. After sewing pants/jeans, the adjustments I make are always the same. Grab a cuppa and continue reading.

I’ve been watching Bootstrap Fashion very closely. When they first launched I wasn’t sure what they were about. Now I’ve seen how they’ve developed. Right now there’re looking for both ideas and funds to continue to grow.

The pocket design is very unique.

Yuliya is very active on social media and she’ll answer anyone’s issues and questions. After a few online conversations, Yuliya asked if I was interested in making her Vado jeans. I was curious to see how a custom pattern could work for me with all my ‘lumps and bumps’.

While planning which Bootstrap jeans to make, I kept jumping back to Lara’s great post about Bootstrap Fashion and her first Vado jeans.

I chose the flare leg jeans and chose a slight flare so I didn’t look clownish. The finished jeans below look straight legged but that’s all the flare I wanted. 

Finished and ready to wear.

Lekala patterns and Bootstrap Fashion both use the same Leko software for their patterns, which allows you to order patterns customised to your measurements.  They both re-sell Russian Leko patterns, which is why you will find some of the same patterns on both websites. The kicker for Bootstrap Fashion is they also sell patterns from other designers, and have a design centre feature where you can design your own dress pattern.  

Yuliya, who you may have already liaised with, has developed Bootstrap Fashion to ‘first base’ stage. Bootstrap Fashion will eventually be extended to all sorts of garment styles, which I’m keen to see.

Bootstrap Fashion are currently crowdfunding through Indigogo to continue to improve their website and software offerings to act as a central source of customised fashion designs. They’ve already raised enough funds to add two more libraries –  tops and pants.

I’ve bought Lekala patterns before so it was easy to agree to try out Yuliya’s vado jeans. 

This time I chose A0 version patterns because I really, really wanted to try this jeans pattern and avoid piecing A4 pieces of paper together. Cutting out this pattern once saved time #happy.

My jeans fabric has minimal stretch and was purchased in Melbourne last year.

The pocket bag is the same as my RTW jeans which impressed me.

My first few attempts at entering my measurements were odd. By the time I was ready to enter my real measurements (I’m 4kg over my normal weight) I could see there was a calculation bug on the system.

The topstitching was worth doing.

Let me tell you, Yuliya was onto it super fast. Yuliya receives hundreds of emails daily but she’s got her eye on every order and acts real quick to rectify it. She contacts you directly. There was no special flag on my jeans order and I’ve seen how responsive she it to others.

They look perfectly fine worn the way I usually wear jeans.

Yuliya is on every online sewing discussion thread I follow and she lets people know a) when there’s an error, b) how long it’ll take to fix, c) that the system is now fixed. She thanks people for their ideas and questions. 

Yuliya takes all issues and criticism about Bootstrap fashion into account and fixes things. She doesn’t vet anyone out.

I’m resizing back the jeans body including the pockets. My top is tucked in so you can see how the back looks.

So what was I saying?
I read Lara’s review and Beth’s review about their Bootstrap Fashions jeans experience.
By the time I printed out my pattern, a very comprehensive set of jeans constructions were emailed to me.
There aren’t heaps of notches on the patterns but they’re in the right place to guide your sewing.

Here’s how the front looks.

Long story short, my husband doesn’t like high-waist jeans on me. I don’t consult with him on fashion but I also felt these are very high-rise for a short person like me. I was kidding myself about this style.

Pattern adjustments:

You guessed it. I’ve since taken 6cm out of the body of the jeans so the pattern matches my RTW mid-waist jeans. I still like this pattern because it’s the most RTW jeans pattern I’ve seen.

I’ll be making another pair soon and I have a few more Bootstrap patterns to try so it’s onwards and upwards for me;)

Post script: 
If you want to check out the jeans I’ve made so far, in 2011 I made my first low rise Jalie jeans 2908. That was after making my first woven jeans using Vogue 1204. Both patterns have been reused a few times now. Last year I made super comfy Sew Liberated skinny jeans. Once I get a pattern to fit, they definitely get reused.

Vintage 1950s blouse

I chose Simplicity 1460 in December before the Vintage Pattern pledge began this year and it’s now one of my vintage pattern pledge projects.

From the measurements I chose size 14. That’s my current waist size and the review I read mentioned the waist measurement as an issue to keep in mind. 

This blue retro print version was the idea I felt worked best for this style. I love it.

The rest of this pattern has the ease I need to drive a car, reach for things on a shelf while not unintentionally flashing my tummy. 

I chose view A top and view C’s shorter peplum. The longer peplum might not suit my height so I’ll keep that in mind next time I use this pattern. For now, I’ve stuck with the shorter peplum.


Susan of measure twice cut once, gifted me this Gertie fabric and a perfect great test fabric.
The metal buttons are ‘vintage-like’ from my notions stash.


On the paper pattern I did a forward shoulder adjustment from the shoulder notch to the sleeve. Would you believe the bust points were accurate for me?

Here’s the final front bodice pattern with adjustments

Once I half sewed up the blouse, the waist wasn’t sitting at my waist. I took off 1.5cm off the blouse length and finished this test blouse.

Now that I’ve worn this blouse to work, I’ll lower the neckline by 1.5cm because the collar juts against my chin.

Paper pattern adjustments

I took out 2.5cm out of the centre front seam just under the bust so it doesn’t billow out as much. I do still need the room to move etc just not as much.

There’s a drag line from the shoulder point to my waist but if I pinch this ‘excess fabric’ out, I won’t be able to lift my arms. 

Here’s the test blouse

About this fabric
I love the cherry print.
The red in the cherries is awesome and there’s plenty of green in it too against a white base fabric.
This fabric is easy to cut, feels crepe-like and sews nicely.
In our ‘Game of Thrones’ Summer this fabric isn’t very comfortable to wear so this 1950s blouse style is the perfect choice as it sits on your waist and is a soft style.

A great blouse that sews up quickly.

Vintage retro

What do you get when you combine a vintage blouse, a retro suit, denim and a touch of Erudite office style? This month’s Minerva Crafts UK project.

You could say I’m very easily influenced by lots of ideas and none of these ideas are mine. Truly.

Let’s take a simple 1950s vintage style from Simplicity (1460) and a retro print from Minerva Crafts.

I first discovered this retro print when Jo, a talented fellow Minerva Crafts blogger, when she used this print for a retro dress last year. Hi Jo!

So my project uses View A to and View C peplum of Simplicity 1460.

When I made the test blouse there were some tweaks needed to make at the front waistline at the right spot for me. A forward shoulder adjustment and slightly shortened front bodice is all I needed to make this pattern work.

The sleeve is built into the bodice so if I had taken out the fullness across the bust, I wouldn’t be able to lift my arms so this blouse is roomy.

Now let’s take that 1960s retro suit from Simplicity (2154) and research from Kyle’s epic skirt posts to sew a great lined pencil skirt. 

One of Kyle’s suggestions was to interface the hem before you start sewing the skirt together and this gave the hem a sharper finish.

Kyle also had some good research on lining and finishing the skirt vent.

I had no problems climbing up the airplane stairs wearing this skirt. I raised the skirt vent by 3cm.

This denim holds it’s own after an early morning flight. 

I’ve washed this denim (both fabrics really) in the wash and they’ve kept their colours.

The print colours held well under the Australian sun and the denim didn’t colour my fingers blue as I worked with it.

Workwear for me means suits and fitted clothes, so I wanted to take a risk and make a denim suit. Wearing double denim to work sounded like a risk I wanted to take.

Lastly a few weeks ago I watched Divergent, quickly followed by Insurgent. I love the military styling worn by Dauntless and the structured clothes worn by Erudite and Candor. So of course I looked into the design ideas by Carlo Poggioli

This suit is tailored and has a lot of blue in it like Erudite so I decided to use the blue ribbon from a previous Minerva Crafts project last year to add more blue to the jacket. 

The blouse collar is high so I’ve used that detail too.

Simplicity 2154 jacket is unlined and has fake pockets so I traced out a basic pocket bag to match the pocket flap patterns supplied. I’ve again done a forward shoulder adjustment and added 3cm at the centre back seam.

This jacket has no closure so it’s easy to wear. I had planned to make this jacket for my May project but it simply made sense to make this whole suit right now.

It’s still quite warm here even though it’s April but I found this suit was perfect for a full day’s travel and work.

Thanks Minerva Crafts for these new work clothes. I’m so tempted to try another faction outfit from the Divergent series.

PS: Both patterns are part of my Vintage Pattern Pledge 2016.