Summer travel set

This month’s post started off simply – make a pair of espadrilles. 

Then I decided to make a matching bag. 

In this case a backpack that converts to a shoulder bag or a cross over bag. Finally I thought a the Art Gallery fabric could be made into shorts so these pieces become part of a Summer travel set.

Having some sewing knowledge was a good thing and was also a challenge. Let me explain.


About the espadrilles: Prym have developed the notions you need to make espadrilles

The type of espadrilles are really something you can create so I used their basic pattern. Prym provide the pattern for this basic espadrille. The Prym interfacing is really firm but light to hold. 


The interfacing is really all you need to make a firm shoe and have minimal layers to stitch through. Adding another lining was a real ‘learning’.

The Prym thread is a three thread ‘wool’ so I learnt how to use a tapestry needle and an awl tool. My thimble wasn’t the right shape for my fingers so next time I’ll invest in a good thimble.

I decided to line the sole, hence the use of a spray glue to ensure the fabric stayed in place while I stitched up these espadrilles.

Prym have an easy espadrille video that shows you all the steps for making your own espadrilles. The pinning and sewing technique were easy to understand. The video suggest using a 110cm length thread which was perfect for this kit. I eventually waxed the threads as they sewed up more smoothly. 

Oh. The piping was a leftover from a previous Minerva project. I’d love to try the Prym sneakers in a future post.


Onto the bag. I’ve been helping Vero of Sacotin Patterns proof the English translations of her French patterns so I knew her Limbo would be the perfect travel bag for Summer. This bag can be worn three ways.

It was a quick and easy decision to choose this pattern so I stash dived for the handbag notions and only needed to buy 4 extra D-rings and a zipper.


The instructions were easy to follow and I sewed this bag up in 7 hours. It really didn’t feel like 7 hours because each step was very easy to achieve. At one point the bag shape sort of looked like the head of a Stormtrooper.
That’s when I decided to take a break and grab a cup of tea.
The instructions to make the straps give you an option to add fleece so they’re more comfortable and this really makes a huge difference.
I have enough contrast Art Gallery print for the outside of my Limbo bag but not for the lining so I used some Minerva Crafts remnants. It’s a stretch woven so I made sure I interfaced the lining body and the zipper areas.

Yes…I had these two pink zippers in my stash and they matched this fabric.


 The instructions to sew in these zippers was easy to follow and master.

This pattern also suggests adding a layer of fleece into the bag gusset and again, this made the bag a firmer shape. 


I made the largest version and it sits nicely on me.


Above is the backpack style and below is the shoulder style or cross back style. 

The external zipper works well for the shoulder style bag.


Lastly were the shorts. Summer has arrived and I when it’s hot I live in shorts and tees.

I made these Maritime shorts by Grainline patterns in 2014 so I knew this pattern works for my shape.

This pattern has a sway back adjustment and a lower centre back curve.

The fabric is quite firm so I added 2cm at the side seams.  

The fabric sews up really nicely and the weave is something I love.


Again I stashed dived and found some more remnants from previous Minerva Crafts project for the pocket lining.


I used more stash notions for the closures.

When I ordered my fabric, I didn’t know if I would get time to make these shorts for this post but I’m glad they worked out this month.

I love the pocket detailing of these shorts. When I sew pockets, I pin mark the turning points for a sharper finish.


The waistband pieces are marked to line up these pieces.


So now I can pair these three travel basics with any tee and be comfortable. I can wear the same bag three different ways, which is handy when you’re on the go.


Thanks Vicki for this month’s huge kit. You really know how to put together a kit for a shoe making novice like myself.

As a top

This basic sheath dress (New Look 6000) has been so easy to repeat, hence a top using African wax fabric.

Same pattern, different look with jeans.

The ribbon at the bottom of this top balances the print size and I’ve used the v-neckline.

This pattern really needs a holiday. Making the subtle style changes were easy. It’s voting time so have a look to see what others have made for this challenge on PR.

It’s been a fun challenge I’ve got plenty of options for the party season ahead.

Palazzo trousers

It’s the start of a new week so would palazzo trousers suit me?

Here’s a link to the chiffon I used for these trousers. White Tree Fabrics UK provided me with this fabric.
I also did a test version before making this pattern (for work) and they were brilliant. Comfortable. Elegant. Work appropriate.


Seam finishing techniques:
Chiffon is a fine, see-through fabric, and I chose this fabric because I wanted flowy trousers. I’ve used various seam finishes on these trousers:
– French seam finish
– Flat fell seam finish
– Turn and straight stitch seam finish

The other aspect I built into these trousers were shorts lining that are mid thigh length. They give these pants a 60s feel to them. I can also wear these out in public.

I love how sheer style clothes are coming back and while we’re now in Summer, I think these trousers will be perfect for all the celebrations we’re about to have.

Step 1 Prepare the waistband
Zigzag finish the bottom edge of the waistband. I’ve used a Birch white interfacing so it’s quite firm but light. This does make the waistband a lighter blue underneath this chiffon fabric. 

When I looked at how to wear palazzo trousers, I’ll be wearing a tops over the waistband, so I’m fine with this finish.

With right sides together, sew the top and bottom waistbands together. Then trim off excess seam allowance for a flatter finish. Fold the right sides out and press the waistband.

Step 2: Darts 
Stitch the darts on the back trousers and then press the darts towards the centre back seam.

You might notice the centre back seam is higher than the pattern. That’s deliberate to overcome my sway back shape. It works.


Step 3: Back trouser 
With right sides together, stitch the back trousers together along the centre back seam from the waist to the crotch. Sew a shorter seam at the bottom of the crotch curve to reinforce this seam.
Press the crotch seam open.

I used a french seam finish on this seam.

Step 4: Front trouser 
With right sides together, join front trousers at the crotch stopping just short of where the end of the zipper will be and press the seam open.

On the test version I took off 3cm at the centre front.


Step 5: Pockets 
With right sides together, fold over the pocket bag and press. Then you need to stitch each side of the pocket mouth to the front and then the back trousers at the side seam, aligning pockets carefully. Stitch from upper to lower notch.


Stitch the bottom of the pocket back. Do not include the side seam of the trouser into the stitch. The pocket construction is quite clever.

Step 6: Trouser side seams
With right sides together, lay the front trouser on top of the back trouser. Keep the pockets outwards. Using a 1.5cm seam, start stitching from the top of the trouser waist and stitch a short distance down to the first notch.
Start stitching again from the second notch near the end of the pocket, all the way down to the hem.

Flip the pocket so it is lying across the trouser front and stitch across the top of the pockets to secure them in place.

With right sides together, sew front and back trousers together at the inseam. Start at the crotch down to the hem for both legs.

Step 7: Waistband
With right sides together, attach the bottom edge of the waistband to the trouser waist, sewing from centre front to centre front.


Step 8: Invisible zipper
With the trouser right sides out, flip waistband up and place left hand side of zip right side of fabric together with the trousers, place the top of the zipper at the halfway point of the waistband just under the seam line. Pin and then tack in place. Remove the pins and use an invisible zipper foot to stitch the zipper in place.
Repeat for the other side of the zipper. Fold the inside of the waistband over zipper so that it is right sides of fabric together with it.

Sew a small line of stitches over the edge of the waistband. You’ll be stitching through the zipper tape and both layers of waistband. 
Snip through the corner of the zip and then turn the waistband back through so it is right sides out again. Press flat.

Now with the trousers inside out from the last stitch you sewed on the zipper, stitch down the centre front to close the seam.

Step 9: Hem
All you need to do now is to hem your trousers. Because I’ve used chiffon, I stitched each hem turn separately for a clean finish. 


I could have used a 10cm hem to have a different hem effect, but I though this might be too much for my height.

What I changed
The inner shorts made this pair a bit more of a challenge until I realised, I simply needed to make them up as shorts but keep the seam on the inside of the trouser so you can’t see them through the trousers. I sewed french seams on the shorts.

I’ve used a New Look 6160 for this top.

I also used an invisible zipper. This still worked well with a bit of hand stitching in place.

Thanks to White Tree Fabrics UK for this chiffon. It’s made these palazzo trousers from Simple Sew patterns easy to make and wear!

For Summer

This embroidered print I bought a Selective Fine Fabrics in Brisbane recently is great using New Look 6000. OCD much (Lollipop and Blue poppies).

No sleeves this time so this dress works for Summer parties. I used the embroidered selvage for the hem.

The waist darts help me adjust this dress to fit as my waist changes. Underlining also made sewing in the invisible zipper easy work.

Originally I wanted to used FOE on the neckline and armholes but caved and used lining. The lining gave a better finish both on the inside and on the outside.

A few weekends ago I had a great day fabric shopping in Brisbane with Marjorie and Jenny visiting a couple of high end retailers. We spent ages looking at fabrics at Selective Fine Fabrics and this was one of the fabrics I decided to splurge on.

Why did I make this so quickly? I have a ladies lunch last Sunday hence a new dress! 

Then I decided to be brave and make View A using this John Lewis fabric I bought in the UK a few years ago. John Lewis doesn’t post fabric to Australia which I wasn’t aware of when we visited the UK 3 years ago.

Again I’ve fully lined this dress. I used View E front as the lining pattern. This made the front fit a lot easier to do.

One thing that makes this dress so easy to make and wear is using a 50cm to 55cm invisible zipper. I buy these zips from My Hung because they’re close by and affordable. My Hung have their zips hanging flat so I never have the iron out the kinks from packaged zips.

I think I’ve done this pattern to its limit for now. 

Well I thought I was until I decided to use an African wax print for a vintage-style version.

This is the dress I used for the square neckline tutorial.

Those butterflies are so lovely.

So I suppose I’ve finished working with NL 6000.

As this was an easy pattern to redo in a few different ways, I decided to enter these into PR’s One pattern many looks contest.

I certainly can’t say “I don’t have a thing to wear” in the lead up to Christmas this year.

Back to the sewing room.

Vintage square neckline

High square necklines are easy to do for a vintage look.

I’ll show you how.

New Look 6000 has a wide round neckline. I’ve extended the shoulder seam in by 1.5cm and pinned the square on an angle so it covers my bra straps.

I’ve used full lining in the animal print for this dress. What you see above is the interfaced neckline and the lining now stitched to the dress. The square needs to be clipped before trimming back the seam allowance.

I’ve clipped the corner and stopped before the stitching. Then trimmed back the seam allowance.

Here’s the neckline post trimming and ironing.

To get it looking sharp, I’ve pinned it ready to topstitch.

Those pins make top stitching easy.

Now the zipper in sewn in and the lining and side seams are ready to finish.

The back neckline is square.

The front neckline is now square and more vintage like.
Try it!

Lollipop print

My new dress pattern ‘de jour’ is New Look 6000 using this lollipop tree print from Minerva Crafts UK. This style is a basic dress block with a few variations and it’s really easy to customise to your shape. 

Earlier this year I used this fabric for a retro blouse. Jo originally used this fabric for an a-line dress which looked fabric. She does influence my style choices.


Making this fabric dress-worthy
The pattern recommends a medium weight fabric and this fabric is light weight so it was a ‘no-brainer’ to fully line this dress to give it more body. 
Here are the prepped pieces.

I only lined the main dress and not the sleeves.


Interfacings and finishing touches
The sleeve cuff needed a very strong interfacing so that it looks sharp, so I used a paper type interfacing and these cuffs have really kept their shape. I normally used a softer interfacing but this paper style iron on interfacing worked was the perfect solution.

I used strips of interfacing to stabilise the neckline, the centre back seams and the centre back split.


My button stash came in handy on this occasion. I only had two of these buttons and they are a bit like the lollipop tree so that’s what I used.

My overlocker ‘spat the dummy’ and didn’t play nice so I used french seams on the sleeves. I haven’t finished the dress seams because the dress in lined and the fabric doesn’t unravel easily.

Because this is an all-over pattern I used a pale-coloured piping at the neckline.

Pattern adjustments:

I used the size 10 at the neckline; size 12 at the bust and used size 14 at the hips.
Then I shortened the bust dart by 2.5cm. 


I also shortened the sleeve length so it hit my arm at the right spot.

The dress length from the waist is 50cm and I shape the back hem so it doesn’t sit too high up and looks even from the side.

Here’s how the sway back adjustment turned out.

The v-neckline was easy to achieve by folding the pattern into a v-shape based on how low I wanted it to be. In this case it’s 10cm below the bodice neckline. 

These sleeves sewed in really easily.

I took a lot of care to mark the notches but I still double check as I sew.

There have been times when I sew the cuffs in the wrong way.

As you can see, the fit is great.

The shaping worked.

The other beauty of this fabric is you can’t see the creases so it will be brilliant as an office dress.


Thank you Minerva Crafts for this fabric.