1960s revisit

Last year Kyle and I bought this fabric at Elliott Berman in New York. 

Hopefully you’ve read Kyle’s epic skirt posts. They’re really detailed and quite helpful.
The neckline has piping and I’ve used a grey zipper.
The pattern Simplicity 2154 is one we both chose without knowing it. Minerva Crafts UK supplied the pattern for my April project.

Kyle’s skirt posts are now my reference point for the pencil skirt so I made a test version using a fabric remnant from Pitt Trading

This fabric has great wool content and Kyle’s allergic to wool so you can follow her techniques if you’re also allergic to wool.

I find wool irritating so I followed Kyle’s advice.

This skirt and jacket are made using Simplicity 2154.

This fabric has no stretch to it but I love the colours in it because they brighten up Winter grey. 

I used a quilting foot on my sewing machine to baste the lining to the fabric but not adding lining.
I used white thread for the inside and grey thread for the outside of the jacket. None of this stitching can be seen on the outside of the jacket.
See what I mean. I’ve still made the jacket as per the pattern but prepped the fabric before construction.
I’m not a fan of binding seam allowances but I did it for this jacket.
The hems also use bias binding too.

The lining was quilted for the jacket so it’s quite boxy as you can tell from the back view.

Once I cut out the jacket, there was enough for the skirt. I made the most of this fabric.


I think I have a ‘thing’ for pockets. Ok, you’re allowed to chuckle.

Here’s how I used a template to make the pockets curve nicely.

Here’s how they worked out.

This is the final closeup of the pockets.
I have to say, this is the warmest suit I have in my wardrobe. The wool fabric is thick and with the lining and quilting, it’s great for a mild Sydney Winter.
I had a meeting in the city and I teamed this suit with boots and I felt quite cosy.

I’m ready to put this pattern aside – for now.

Dauntless skirt

I’ve finally, finally, finally made the 1960s pencil skirt for my Dauntless jacket (Burda 7140).

I’m so glad I made this skirt, just in time for Winter.

After making this skirt 3 times, it was fitting that this skirt is number ‘four’.

These are the initial 3 skirts. Simplicity 2154 is adaptable with different woven fabrics.

I’ve really love this 1960s pencil skirt (Simplicity 2154) because it’s so versatile.

The back view.

These fabrics for this outfit are from Minerva Crafts UK.

The original fabrics and notions from Minerva Crafts UK.

The wool fabric is a stretch woven so it’s wonderful for wearing in the office. 
Comfortable; lots of movement; easy to iron; doesn’t crease much.
It’s also lined so this skirt will keep its shape for a long time.

I’ve changed the brightness of this photo so you can see the additional pockets.

These pockets make this skirt more work friendly for carrying keys or coins to buy coffee with.

The skirt construction method is on this previous vintage retro blog post.

The waistband doesn’t cut into me so I can wear this skirt all day long.
Getting the back vent right is easy with these pattern instructions.

This Winter I’ve got some fun suit choices.

This is going to be my ‘go-to’ suit for Winter.
Stay warm this Winter.

Saler jacket test

Here’s my test Saler jacket from Pauline Alice

Test Saler jacket and Simplicty 2154 1960s pencil skirt.


I chose this pink poly fabric because I love the colour although the fabric quality is average. However this fabric was easy to mark up, interface and sew. This fabric was especially easy to set in the sleeves – bonus!
I love this colour fabric because it’s not my ‘usual’ colour choice.

The back of this pattern is a bit wide as you can see so I’ll tweak that in a future jacket.

Pattern adjustments

Here are the usual adjustments I check and adjust on my projects:

  • sleeve length and upper arm width (shortened the sleeve length)
  • front and back bodice length (ok)
  • sway back adjustment (adjusted)
  • bust, waist and hip width (size 10 (38) bust and the rest is size 12 (40) )
  • forward shoulder adjustment (adjusted on shoulder seams and sleeve cap)
  • neckline (ok)

As this jacket has welt pockets, I checked to pocket position and pocket depth. Why would anyone check pocket depth? I’m short so if I lower a pocket, it will end up in the jacket hem. I’ve done this before so I’m conscious of it happening again and again, as I’m not getting any taller.

This is the jacket prior to it being professionally pressed.

I lowered the welt pockets by 5cm. I then lowered them again on the pattern. They were a bit high for me. 

The instructions were easy to follow and the pocket bag pieces matched perfectly.
I interfaced the outer pocket flap without seam allowance.

This is the back view so you can clearly see the buttons on the sleeve.

These buttons are from Addicted to Fabric – $4 for the lot in two sizes.

Published pattern

When I pattern test I follow the instructions as written to identify any issues that need to be fixed. Pauline does a clean sweep of all her pattern test feedback and then adjusts her patterns. 

The pockets were lowered on this jacket because of our feedback. The published pockets are an additional 3cm lower than the pattern I’ve adjusted so I think this is a more comfortable spot.


There was just enough fabric left to whip up a pencil skirt using Simplicity 1407 but there wasn’t quite enough for the back pieces. 

From the remnant fabric resulted in the back pleating.

Hence the pleats at the hem line. Now called a ‘design feature’.

I feel quite confident to make up another jacket in the future,

Me made May 2016 final

The end of May was an absolute whirlwind but I did manage to photograph what I wore.
It was still warm in mid-May and you can tell from these photos.

Brynna dress

Some days at work I didn’t need a jacket so this cotton dress was fine for work. 

Simplicity top using John Kaldor fabric and a trusty red skirt from years ago.

It was nice to make and wear a new colourful Simplicity (1425) top to go with a trusty red skirt made way back. All of my skirts are fully lined.

McCalls 6460

Again it was a warm day so I wore this dress as I added pockets to the side seams for work.

Burda blouse and fully lined pants

The Burda shirt 2564 is a Minerva make from last year. The Burda pants are fully lined pants that work well when it gets cold. I made these 5 years ago.

Vogue 1204 jeans and Vogue 8815 top

When I got up in the morning, it was time for a bit of colour because there were a few office functions on that day. Both pieces are Vogue patterns and are three years old.

Then I got to wear a New Look top using shiny lycra top with my black jeans on a night out. It still was warm enough to go without a jacket. I can see why I like sci-fi costumes. The jeans were my Minerva jeans from 2 years ago.

Tessallate tee and Steeplechase leggings.

 Again I paired this new Tessallate tee from for Winter with a previously made pair of leggings. The colours work well together and brighten up a 5.30am gym room.

Vogue 1378 jeans, Burda 7140 jacket and Tessellate test tee 

So you can see the activities at the end of May drained a lot of my energies. I had to go to a workshop the day I wore this so I just threw anything together. The jeans are a Minerva Crafts project too.

Candor outfit made from factory cut offs
I loved wearing this outfit to work. It was another tough day but knowing I had two new pieces on made me start the day out better.
Butterick 6062 coat, stripe tee and Jalie 2908 jeans
On the last Saturday night is was cold so I got to wear my new coat with Jalie jeans and a green stripe top.
Burda 7140 jacket and Simplicity 2154 pencil skirt

The cold finally hit last week so I was able to drag out the boots for these Me Made pieces. So you’ve seen the Dauntless jacket again because it’s so comfortable. The skirt is a new one to be blogged. The top was made a few years ago too.

1960s Simplicity 2154 jacket and pencil skirt: to be blogged.

It was finally cold enough to wear this 1960s set using Elliott Berman fabric worn with a grey wrap top.

The bottom line is, Me Made May gave me to opportunity to wear new pieces with some favourite existing pieces. 
I hope everyone who participated enjoyed the experience. Thanks Zoe.

Sewport 2016

A weekend retreat at Port Macquarie (SewPort 2016) organised by the lovely Lizzy with Jenny, Victoria, Jenny, Pam, Wendy, Christine, Rachel, Anna, Alison, Emma and Ruth was well worth the drive.

The sewing space we had this year was amazing at the Glasshouse.

Photo taken by Alison

See what I mean about the space we had this year?

Photo taken my Alison
The lighting was great. The tables were sturdy and big! We had a full length mirror and a separate cutting space.
Rachel and Ruth
We did venture out on both nights to take in some of the great food in Port Macquarie and get in some more time talking about sewing and other important life issues.

Photo taken by Alison at the Town Green Inn

The staff at all the venues we went to were superb ie friendly and attentive. 

Photo taken by Pam

Victoria and I realised we both know Anne Whalley so we took this pic to ‘say hello’ to Anne on Instagram.

Dan (on the left) told us about how they set up ‘rain’ on stage at the Glasshouse. Lizzy took us on a private tour of the theatre.

Did we get any sewing done? Yes. Plenty. We shared lots of sewing ideas and helped with fitting toile patterns.
Pam and Alison did the fabric printing session.

We all survived the weekend storms in such a great location. Driving back to Sydney in torrential rain was an adventure.

Thanks to Lizzy for organising this weekend. I really loved it and I know everyone who went did too.
Thanks Pam for enabling me to buy another sewing roller bag.
Hey Emma, I’ll do an activewear post for you this week.

A coat with colour

This week Winter came to Sydney and my new teal coat using Minerva Crafts fabric is ready.

I call this fabric friendly coating because if you’re scared to make a coat, this fabric can be easily molded into shape as you sew.

The weave is firm, open and soft. It looks like a knit fabric but it’s woven.

When I needed to ease the sleeve into the jacket, the fabric was quite obliging and sat in across all the notches. Hand-stitching the lining and the press studs didn’t tire out my fingers and that’s why I felt this fabric is friendly.

Paisley lining
Minerva Crafts has recently purchased a huge range of paisley linings. Finding a matching lining for this coating would have driven me to distraction and this antique gold that was easy to choose from their website.

Butterick 6062 is a classic styled jacket but I prefer to use it for coats. There’s just enough shaping for my height.

Thick fabricThis coating is thick. Very thick so that can seem scary. How will my little sewing machine cope with sewing through 4 to 8 layers of this fabric?

The collar is where I had to sew through many layers of this coating. But I simply slowed down my sewing machine speed dial; took in a deep breath; relaxed; and started sewing slowly. Slower than usual.

This coating doesn’t fray so it held together nicely as I sewed through each construction stage.

I bet you noticed Butterick 6062 doesn’t have a collar? You were right. It doesn’t.

When I made the Burda jacket last month, the collar pattern was a simple rectangle folded lengthways and sewed onto the neckline. Such a simple concept!

That’s all I did.

While there are always constructions hurdle to tackle as you sew a coat, I love the detailing.
This is where I can add or subtract the details I want to add.

I really don’t like patch pockets. You have to be accurate and I’d love to find a patch pocket pattern where the lining doesn’t peek over the pocket opening.

Once I start sewing on the Berisford grosgrain ribbon, I got an idea of how the coat might look.

The pattern suggests minimal interfacing, but it suggests softer fabrics.
I wear coats and jackets all the time and what makes them long-lasting is using interfacing to keep it’s shape for longer.

There’s interfacing in the collar, on the facings and I’ve added interfacing across the front and back shoulders. 

The interfacing Minerva Crafts provided was a medium-weight iron-on woven. It irons on easily with some steam. The interfacing glue doesn’t seep onto my iron. 

The prospect of sewing welt buttonholes wasn’t in my plans because this fabric is quite thick so I chose these 15mm Prym snaps.

We don’t have a lot of Prym products in Australia so it’s a treat to be able to use these for this coat. They were easy to sew on too.

Thanks for keeping me warm again this Winter Minerva Crafts!