NZ finds

From time to time, we travel and that’s when we learn more about other cultures and traditions.


This is a collage of a few pieces currently on show at Te Papa in Welliington.

There are two corset pieces here amongst the 4 pieces in this photo. I’m keeping these as future inspiration.


This amour has great structure.


Here’s a traditional feather cape.


This feather cap uses a few types of feathers for this stunning cape.

Below is a dress from Napier Museum. More finds soon.


Tracey Reese dress

I keep learning something new on Instagram that was never taught in our schools. This month I started learning about  Black pattern designers through #bhmpatterndesigners run by Myra Rentmeester of @onesweetsew and @naturaldane to reflect black history month.

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Tracey Reese is one of many Black pattern designers so I made Vogue 1584 as my small contribution.


If you’ve made this dress, you’ll know I’ve shortened the skirt. The skirt was redrawn as a tulip shape to suit my height.

back view

February was a very hot month in Australia so as soon as I made this dress I was able to wear it.


Only the bodice is lined so they amazing shape stays like this for quite a while. The zipper wasn’t included on this version because it really doesn’t need a zipper. The fabric is two-way stretch.

The fabric was bought from Pitt Trading and it’s worked out really well.

Now to get back to watching Myra’s youtube videos.

Day & night dress challenge

Or ‘the challenge that keeps you learning’.

That’s how I see Elizabeth Farr’s yearly Day and Night Dress Challenge. This year’s theme was not to make a dress. Nope. Here is this year’s recipe in my case, the Yoyo dress.

Step 1: Take a dress you’ve made but neglected.


A lot of work went into making this dress so that it worked for my petite frame. I added pockets and this print is such a classic. But I want to wear it more.

This dress was made as part of my ongoing sponsorship through Minerva Crafts. They have sponsored by hobby for over 5 years now and I am very grateful for their support.

The dress is only a year old and I’ve worn it once to work but I want to wear it more as it’s great with this humid weather.

The dress is great in the heat but when I wear it in the office, the air con can give me the shivers across my shoulders.

Step 2: Create your day look. How you do this is your choice.

Step 3: Create your night look. Again, you choose what this is.

And that’s all you need to do.

Go to Elizabeth Farr’s yearly Day and Night Dress Challenge and you’ll see what I whipped up this year!

Things to note to be counted as an official entry:

  • Your extra items must be something that you’ve made until March 17th when the community challenge ends.
  • Post a picture of your day look and your night look to Instagram until March 17th. If you’re shy, you can totally post a pic of your dress form donning your looks!
  • When you post your looks, tag Elizabethmadethis on Instagram @elizabethmadethis with the hashtag #dayandnightdresschallenge to be entered for a prize.
  • Prizes will be drawn randomly from the pool of entrants after March 17th.

I hope you do join in.

a maze of blue

This knit dress pattern took me out of my comfort zone and I’m glad I adjusted this pattern too. Simplicity 8334 uses snaps to finish the look and Prym has a good range of snaps to choose from.


Because this dress has plackets and snaps, Art Gallery Fabrics was my choice this month. Their colours are great and the fabric is good quality.


I did test this style using a fine poly spandex fabric. By doing this, I could test out the size; practice sewing the placket and finally practice adding snaps to it.


My test version wasn’t finished because I wouldn’t wear it as it was. Nope.


There were some fitting issues I had to make before I cut into the Art Gallery Fabric I had.

My current shape is more ‘shapely’ so I’ll run through the adjustments I did to give me more room where I needed it. Sewing to fit where my body is at now is where the challenge is so I’m happy to share what works.

‘Prominent bust adjustment’

This is usually referred to as a full bust adjustment or an FBA. What I wanted to avoid is increased the bust areas without adding a seam.

I have a Fitting and Pattern Alteration reference book by Liechty, Rasband and Pottberg-Steineckert that I constantly refer to. What I wanted to avoid was adding a dart so I found a Youtube video by Louise Cutting. Louise is a long time Threads contributor and her video showed exactly what I wanted.


This is how the front bodice now looks like. The length of the bodice is the same, however there’s more room where I need it.

I also make a forward shoulder adjustment. You can see that I move the shoulder seam forward on the back shoulder line below.


Sway back adjustment

The centre back is cut on the fold for this pattern. The result on me is the fabric pools above my hips but there’s a stress point at my hips.

I ended up making the centre back into a shaped seam. This made the back sit evenly across my back.


The next adjustment I had to do was a ‘prominent buttocks’ adjustment.

I couldn’t find a Youtube video that helped so I used the ‘slash method’ and added room for my ‘buttocks’.


There’s a lot less fabric pooling above my hips now

Simplicity 8334

Once I checked the sizing for this pattern I knew I was bigger than size 16. This meant for the first test version I added 1cm to the side seams.


This dress is meant to be figure hugging and it is. The pattern has 2.5cm ease that’s why I added more than this for size 16.


The plackets were new to me as were adding snaps to the plackets. I love using Prym snaps because they are sturdy and Prym has Youtube videos to support us using their products.

See the neck opening here before applying the snaps.


Now have a look at the final version with the snaps from Prym.


Now look at the finished dress with the snap on the side seams too.


Once I made the pattern adjustments, I made a test version and I was really happy with the results.

The pattern comes with a no sleeves version that I want to try next, and a ¾ length sleeve.


After moving the shoulder point forward on the sleeve, I decided to use a short sleeve. This short sleeve pattern was traced off the sleeve pattern provided. No complex drafting needed.


Don’t be put off by the adjustments you need to make so that a pattern fits your shape.

Once you make a test version, you’ll feel more confident about your adjustments and then you’ll go creative crazy and use lots of unique snaps to make your dress suit your lifestyle.


Once you get this pattern to work for you, you’ll love how handy this dress style is when you’re juggling your daily time commitments.

There are so many lovely fabrics to choose from at Minerva that you could make this pattern up just twice and have them ready for any occasion.


This blue maze print suits my lifestyle. What version would you make?

Have fun!

staying active

My gym gear gets lots of use and right now so this blog post will start from the last pieces I made last month as part of Pattern Review’s activewear contest.

I know it’s hot and humid but jumping because I love sewing my own activewear.


The key reason I enter contest run by Pattern Review is to motivate me to make those pieces I’ve been thinking about but haven’t had the motivation to make. They’re not all great but I know for certain if they work for me or not.

The Pnema tank by Papercut patterns has been in my pattern library for a few years now.


On the left is the dress version I made after I made the tank top. The instructions were easy enough to follow even after stressing about this pattern for so long.


I’m happy to show you share this inside view. Finishing the bra section using elastic to finish in the edges suggested in the pattern looks untidy.


With my limited lingerie knowledge I used plush-back elastic on the bra and picot edge underwear elastic edges on this tank/dress.


Here’s how the tank looks on. It’s ok but not great and I can’t get the support I need from the bra to be able to wear it for running. Nope. But the bra is fine for no-impact sports.


Here’s how the second version looks using lingerie elastic. The finish is neater.


I know… this is going to be a beach dress.


The bra pattern was too low so I had to shorten it so my bust was less gravity-affected.

All of this fabric was sitting in my stash waiting to be used and I’m glad to have used the contest to finally use this pattern.