Contrado fun

Last year Contrado checked in with me while I was recovering from surgery and asked if I wanted to design fabric again.

It was easy to say yes and I jumped into my photos to figure out what fabric to print again.

I had plenty of time to run through my photos to plan the fabric without having the fabric sample in my hands. Their website does provide lots of details about each fabric so I had a good idea about what would work best.

Dress cover up

This beach cover up is printed on their loose knit jersey.
“With 5% elastane, loose knit jersey has excellent stretch and recovery, making it a comfortable and easy fabric to wear. This is a very breathable fabric and has an interesting construction. The knit is somewhat uneven, creating a random pattern where the yarns are dense in some places and sparse in others. Loose knit is ideal for creating beautiful lightweight summer clothing.” 

I chose purple images because purple is big this year. I changed the images for a rich purple colour and this dress shows how good my photo turned out.

Wendy Ward’s new knit book “A beginner’s guide to sewing with knit fabrics had the perfect tee pattern that made the most of the print for me – Winnats tank.

I did pattern test this pattern so I would know how to best use the print.

The instructions and pattern pieces were spot on.

What I could have done to make my project decisions easier was to get the swatch pack offered by Contrado but as you can see from the fabric description, I was happy with this result.
classic natural paper swatch packs
Next time.

Garden party dress

With our ongoing Summer my next Contrado choice was their linen fabric.

Above is the original dress using my basic dress pattern and it worked out fairly well.
But then I thought I should do something more to make it more contemporary.

Above is the adjusted version with a sleeve ruffle.

Once I tried this on with the sleeve ruffle, I didn’t like where the ruffle was sitting.

After a spot of unpicking the ruffle I remarked the ruffle on the dress and used these cool chalk pencils from Prym to place it on the right spot.

As you can see from this close up, I’ve used my block pattern with a square neckline and I added a ruffle sleeve attachment.

I’ve machine sewed this ruffle onto the dress. Once this cold shoulder crazy ends, I’ll remove the shoulder ruffle.

The linen in this fabric took a lot of the purple saturation from the image out of the print. This print has a 1950s, country woman feel to it. Initially I was disappointed with the outcome but I decided to make this print work for me.

Contrado do offer a service to send you a test version of your print. That’s what I should have asked for before committing to this fabric.

The green in this print was the base of the image I used so I decided to use is at in the skirt.

Thanks to Contrado to giving me this opportunity to work with their fabrics again. I really enjoyed this experience and I’ve learnt more about how the extra services they provide so you can get a good result.

Simple and sophisticated

Style Arc’s Mia dress is described as simple but sophisticated. I’ve been wearing this dress a lot and it is simple and sophisticated. The fabric and pattern are sponsored by Minerva Crafts.


The fabric is Art Gallery Fabrics Paradis Woodlands rayon dress fabric. When I read the description, I knew this would work beautifully with Style Arc’s Mia

“A dream of softness, our AGF rayon is 100% natural and perfect for your best apparel sewing. Lightweight and flowy, it has an ultra smooth hand and delicate drape without sheerness. It is absolutely perfect for warm weather, and transitions incredibly into the cooler seasons because of its high density weave.”


Here’s a closer view of the gathers across the shoulder seam. There’s no gathering skills required. You sew on elastic across the shoulder seams after you’re sewn these seams together. It’s that easy.


This is a closer look at the back neck finish. You use this binding using the same fabric and it sits nicely.

There is an armhole facing you can use to finish the sleeve but I decided to keep the sleeves light-weight and did a small hem finish.


The clever sleeve design gives you lots of arm movement without the risk of flashing at the sides, when you’re reaching for something on a top shelf.


The back sits nicely too and I didn’t have to bother with a sway back adjustment.

I only needed to shorten the skirt. was the length that I needed.


I really love this dress from any angle.


There are so many strong colours in this print, it makes it fun to wear different shoes with it.


See what I mean.

Have you seen the Style Arc designs Minerva has now? When I visited Style Arc’s offices last November their staff were thrilled to be able to have their paper patterns sold in multi-sizes internationally.

This is the second Style Arc pattern I’ve made. I thought there would be some hurdles but I checked for the important information first – seam allowances, trims, suggested fabrics and any sewing tutorials. When I made my test version, all those details are in the pattern so I was able to make this dress up very quickly.

I hope you find this pattern an easy one to make again and again.

Fabric and Napier

We decided to take a mid week break from our other commitments and stayed a few days in Napier. This meant I needed to find somewhere to be for “That Sewing Blab”.


Joanne (left) owner of JJ’s Crafts in Taradale was more than happy to let me broadcast from her quilting store. Sharon (right) is as wonderful as Joanne for great customer service. Their notions for sewing and knitting are impressive. I bought a couple of La Maison Victor magazines.

Meanwhile, down the road of where we were staying was Little & Fox with their furnishing fabrics. We just happened to drive by their store and the ‘fabric sale’ sign caused us to pull over.

By the end of the week, I went back into the store and decided to snaffle a couple more pieces. I don’t buy t-shirts as souvenirs to remember a trip. I buy fabric.

Cheers for now.

NZ finds pt2


Having to take time out gives me the opportunity to get inspired by the creativity around us today including the creativity that’s already come and gone. The photo above is from a collection at the local museum in Napier.


These two pieces were also here in Napier.


This local piece was hand stencilled.



The techniques used in the past are certainly ones I’ll try to use in the future.


This dress uses a combination of laces and silk.

Lately there have been some changes in sleeve silhouettes so I thought you might want to see this dress as a historical example for a future design.

More finds soon.