pleats on pleats

On a quiet Sunday morning, Bobbin and Ink hosted a swap in Sydney. Laura of Bobbin and Ink is such a great host and on the day, it was really fun to see her pick up at least one pattern on the day.

Susan from measuretwicecutonce handed me the fabric above and said, ‘I saw this fabric and thought this would suit you.’ I said thank you and decided to work this fabric into a skirt I could wear casually. What you see here is the wip skirt.

The front has diagonal and vertical pleats. I also sewed in pockets within the side seams.

I was able to use this lace invisible zipper that the lovely people from Prym gave me. 
The back of the skirt doesn’t have pleats so what you see here is the uninterrupted print.

As Summer is still sticking around, this is how I’ll be wearing this skirt on weekends.

It’s just way to hot to wear anything that is too fitting.

So let’s say for example, I have to wear it less casually, I think this could work.

Based on the back view, I’ll stick with leaving the blouse untucked. It’s still too hot and humid to be neat. 

I’m also still working with my physio to get my feet to walk properly hence no shoes worn in this blog post. The plan is I should be walking normally by the end of this month. Running will take a few more months to achieve.

What you see here are the fabrics I brought home from the swap.

This was just one table of sewing patterns at the swap.
The fabric table you see here was topped up with fabric throughout the morning.

I think you had to be a very strong person to only drop off fabric. I was not one of them.

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Sydney Sewing

This was a special week for this humble sewing bod.

Heading off the couture sewing school

In Australia we’ve never had access to the sewing experts that reside overseas but I know that since Susan Khalje graced our shores last year, other have started to see Australia as a place to visit and meet local sewing people.


Last year we were treated with Susan visiting Australia and running her classes in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

Day 2 off to school

I was lucky enough to attend the couture workshop in Sydney and the guipure lace skirt workshop in Brisbane. Those classes were filled with sewing people who love what they do and everyone extended their skills.


Susan gives you the ongoing encouragement to extend your skills and knowledge.

I haven’t looked back at the guipure lace techniques I learnt last year and I certainly have to stop myself from buying more lace.


This year I worked on a Vivienne Westwood jacket design that I really didn’t have the pattern for. I don’t have the pattern for the skirt either but through Susan’s guidance, I now have a pattern for both of these pieces and I’m ready to make more.

Last year Gertie came to Australia twice and I’m sure she has plans to visit Australia again.

This week Jenny Rushmore (Cashmerette) and her colleague Carrie came to Australia after 2 long haul flights from the States and met a few of us in Sydney on Friday night at Bobbin and Ink

Jenny is running a Sewing Retreat in our neck of the woods. Not bad right!


In Sydney we’re lucky to have Mick (Quick Buttonhole Services 02 9699 2050) who professionally sews buttons, snaps etc for the garment industry.


I needed 3 buttonholes sewn on my couture jacket so I went to his workshop and he sewed them for me with no fuss or bother. Now that’s what I call customer service.


I did call Mick the day before just in case he had a huge industry order deadline. Again, he was lovely to deal with on the phone. I know Mick will do orders over the phone if you need to courier your work to him.

Now to recover and keep sewing.
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Maternity activewear

Kwik sew 2723 seemed a good starting point for a couple activewear tops for my pregnant niece who teaches pilates. The final fabrics used are courtesy of Funki Fabrics. Funki Fabrics loved the idea of making maternity activewear.

You’re correct to say ‘that’s not a maternity top pattern‘. I used the top to develop a colour blocked version while adding the additional room in the front bodice for the baby. Voila – a basic maternity top.

Between the two of us we found some lovely styles online and we made up a pinterest board with maternity activewear ideas.

Modified top version #1
The first version has colour blocking at the neckline. There is room for the growing baby curves. 

The neckline block was wide but I wanted the neckline block to be sharper so I redrew it.
This test version was an ok length but a bit more length made ‘Mum’ and myself happy. I added a safe 10cm to the hems. 

To my surprise the built in shelf still worked on the test version so I kept this for the next version.

Top # two:
You can see the changes I made to make this Mom/baby-friendly.

 I’ve used flare acid (RUB142) for this print.

You can see the ribbon and toggle we’ve used to allow Mum to adjust the hem.


I’ve used a three-thread overlocking stitch on the seams so the seams are finer.
Every single pattern change is on the front bodice piece below.
This adjusted pattern also have an additional 10cm hem.

I added seam allowance with the magnet below. Kwik Sew patterns have 6mm seams and the magnet below allows me to add seam allowance while cutting the pattern.

The main skill to get the arm and neckline finishes neat and firm is to use clear elastic.

Below is the paler version using the same grey neckline.
Again you can see the toggle and ribbon used for this hem.



I’ve used Holy Smoke pink/aqua TS594 for this top.



We decided that a hem with cord or ribbon and not elastic would allow ‘Mum’ to adjust this top to suit her shape as her shape changes. I’m still looking for decent cord and colourful toggles to go with both tops. 


Modified pants
This modification was a bit trickier because I’ve got not idea regarding shape but there are plenty of Youtube videos showing how to cover the baby bump by modifying existing jeans/pants.

So I developed Kwik sew 3988 in a medium size to check where the baby band should sit.
There are some cool inset spot on this pattern and a gusset so I thought this pattern would be easier to modify for a changing waistline. ‘Mum’ is still wears ‘small’ in Kwik Sew so the only change was for ‘baby’ hence the front pants and waist bands are different.

When I checked the test version, the belly needs room, hence the curve from the hips to the waist. The centre front seam is a lot shorter. 

And here’s how the maternity front pants piece looks. I’ve used the measurements that I saw on YouTube.

And the finished pants using Charcoal nylon NE3024 now has a very long and wide waistband for the baby bump. The waistband is long so it’s worn folded over itself. No elastic is needed and the hem is left unfinished!

Wishing you all the best with the bubs.
Thank you Funki Fabrics for these fabrics. It was really difficult to pick a pattern from the range you guys offer and continually update.


I also want to thank the ladies who go to Bobbin and Ink sewing sessions. The Mums in the group were really helpful in developing the ideas for making these activewear patterns useful. Their real life experience and Juliet checking my pattern drafts along the way, was invaluable. 


About the fabrics 
Funki Fabrics are a polyester print base and they are also: 

  • Ultra chlorine resistant
  • Pilling resistant
  • Shape retention
  • Two way stretch 
  • UV protective

Read Susan’s activewear post if you’re ready to sew your own activewear.