A Summer Liberty top

From my last trip to the States, I have a Liberty print stash that’s standing the test of time.

Pammy from LA took me downtown and this print was a piece we both bought and I’ve finally made it up.

‘Pretty’ is how I’d describe this top – Butterick 5608. A very pretty top that’s as billowing as my height can handle.

With the humidity we experienced in Summer, this top is a keeper. This top does need fabric that has good drape.

The nice part of this blouse style is you don’t need to sew buttons, or snaps or zippers.

It’s a ‘cut and sew’ pattern and it’s forgiving if your waist keeps changing.

I’ve also paired this with my purple work staples because this print has a similar purple in it.

But with the cooler mornings we’ve started experiencing, this pattern will have to wait for another Summer to come blazing back again.

I hope everyone had a lovely Easter. Follow(function(d, s, id) {var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if (d.getElementById(id)) return;js = d.createElement(s);js.id = id;js.src = “https://www.bloglovin.com/widget/js/loader.js?v=1”;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, “script”, “bloglovin-sdk”))

Trench coat wrapped

Sewing coats and jackets are my fav. It was a simple choice to make Simple Sew’s Trench Coat this month to welcome our warmer weather.

I love strong colours so I zeroed into the strongest Liberty colour-way print (MILLINERB) from White Tree Fabrics UK as the basis of this trench.

Granted, this lawn wouldn’t be a coat choice fabric. It’s true to say an Australian Spring can be quite hot so I only needed a light layer and this fabric works.

Oh. The print doesn’t readily show creasing and that’s the other reason I chose this fabric. 

I really should have read the suitable fabrics list, but now this coat is finished, I’m glad I didn’t (Breathable waterproof fabrics, heavyweight cotton, suiting, tweed, taffeta, denim,boiled wool).


Coats are an over layer and they often get thrown around – with respect of course. 
With that in mind, the two aspects I kept in mind was to ensure the:
  • inside finishes would show and
  • need for interfacing and reinforced seams were a must.
Nice inside finishes = binding the facings and pockets
Reinforces seaming = fake machine felled seams
Interfacing for the facings, pocket opening and the belt.

Remember, if you don’t want to do this type of work, this coat is simple to sew by using a medium-weight fabric with overlocked seams.

Sewing planning:
There’s only 24 hours in a day and with work and family commitments this trench coat was sewn. In the wee hours of the morning before work I sewed up the initial pieces of the coat.
I kept the front coat pleating for when there were no family interruption. MrV was at the gym for the night so I had more time to work out the pleating.

Because the fabric is cotton, I ironed the front pleats from the waist to the hem. The skirt of this coat now sits better on me and is more balanced for my height.

The coat facings are interfaced.

The pocket openings are also interfaced because I use coat pockets a lot, so I felt it worth the effort to reinforce them.
I used bias binding to finish the pocket seams, facings and the waist join.

As the coat came together I kept thinking this trench coat could be a fab wrap dress. Is that crazy? The front bodice has bust darts and all you’d need are a couple of snaps at the waistline and ‘bam‘, there’s your wrap dress.

1. Mark and sew in bust darts in front bodice pieces.

2. Sew in a know and thread at end of dart, do not back stitch. Press dart downwards.

3. Right sides together, join back bodice pieces together. Press seam open. I used fake machine felled seams to reinforce this fabric.

4. Join and sew front and back bodice together at the shoulders. Press seams open or finish using fake machine felled finish. Join and sew front and back side seams. Press seams open and finish them.
5. Join back skirt pieces together and sew at the centre back seam.
6. Press open. I finished this seam with fake machine felled finish.
7. Take two pocket pieces and with right sides together sew them where the pocket markings should be. I finished the pocket seams with fake machine felling.

My pattern didn’t have the pocket markings on the back skirt pattern so I traced off this marking from the front skirt pocket markings. Claire knows about this issue and the pocket markings will be on the next print run of this pattern.
8. Moving onto the from skirt pieces and mark in your pleats along the skirt waist. Hand tack or pin them in place. Claire recommends hand tacking and pressing them in. 

My fabric was a cotton so I was able to simply use pins and the iron. The fabric is great to work with.
8a. On the right side of the fabric, machine stitch the pleats in place and press them.
I pressed my pleats from the waist to the hem.

9. Take two pocket pieces and with right sides together sew them where the pocket markings are. Make sure these pockets align with the bottom pocket piece.
I finished the pocket seams with fake machine felling.
10. Pin your front skirt in place on top of the back skirt with right sides together. Match up the opening of the pockets.
11. Stitch from the top of waist to the start of the pocket opening. Back stitch and cut thread. Start stitching again from the bottom of the pocket opening all the way down to the hem. Press the seam open. Now stitch all the way around the curve of the pocket. You can overlock or zigzag stitch the pocket curves. I used bias binding for a neater look. 

12. Your coat skirt will look like a wrap skirt.

13. With right sides together, join and sew the skirt and bodice together, aligning the side seams. Press open. I finished the seams with bias binding.

14. With right sides together, join back neck facing to front facing. Press seams open. I finished the seams with bias binding.

15. With right sides together, pin the facing onto the coat and stitch it in place all the way around from one hem to the other. The seam allowance here is 1cm.
Press seams open. Snip around the neckline curves. Then turn facing inside the coat and press flat.

16. With right sides together, attach and sew under-sleeve to top-sleeve. Press sleeve seam open. I finished the seams with fake machine felling. Attach remaining side of the under-sleeve to the remaining side of the top-sleeve. I did a french seam here. Turn up the sleeve hem, press and stitch in place.

17. Fit sleeve head into armhole right sides together and ease sleeve in to fit. The seam allowance here is 1cm. Stitch in place. Press.

 I finished the seams with bias binding.

18. Right sides together, join belt pieces together. Start sewing from one side and sew all the way around, leaving a turning opening along one side. Turn through to right sides, press and the slip-stitch the opening closed. I machine finished this opening.

Fold the edges of the belt loops flat, top stitch the edges down carefully and then machine stitch the first side onto your coat right side together where marked on the pattern.

19. Turn up the hem all the way around, press flat and stitch in place.

While I like fitted styles, this wrap trench has a great shape to it.

Cheers and thanks Claire and White Tree Fabrics Uk for this coat.

Jumpsuit Summer

I tend to fall for jumpsuit patterns especially in Summer.

I made this McCalls (6362) jumpsuit a previous Summer but it felt uncomfortable after making it a slimmer fit. You need room to move in jumpsuits so after giving the previous version to charity, I remade it using this Liberty art print.

It’s an easy to sew pattern and I love the pockets. 

I’m not a fan of the back zipper – it sticks out too much but I need a zipper to get in and out of this jumpsuit. The back zipper is uncomfortable to zip in and out of when you need to ‘zip in and out of it’ quickly.

I’ve had great wearing success with this jumpsuit when I’ve had to country drive for hours in our Game of Thrones Summer. I’m sure a long leg version will be handy when the heat eases up at some point in time:)

Future plan:
Jumpsuits/rompers need lots of wiggle room so making long leg version using a cotton fabric isn’t the smartest move for me.

Using a rayon woven without the zipper might be a smarter approach. This pattern uses elastic in the waistband so that’s what I’ll stick to in the next version.

Liberty rethink

This is one of the first Liberty print fabrics I bought 4 years ago but I was too scared to cut into it. It’s called Daydream blue/purple and it’s a silk cotton voile.

I bought this print because the colours are dark and the print is two-way. That makes it much easier to ‘match’ across the body.

While it’s now a new work Liberty shirt, it’s much softer and I probably should have made this into a soft-styled top and not a traditional shirt. 

I do enjoy wearing this and this new shirt does work with my work skirts and jackets.

What’s next?
There are a few more Liberty prints in my stash that I bought at Mood LA with PammyOh on my last holiday so I’ll have to do some research to figure out a better way of using lighter weight prints. Got any suggestions?

Liberty love

This Strawberry thief print was a remnant from my previous White Tree Fabrics dress. It’s too lovely to let languish in the fabric stash so it’s now a shirt (McCalls 5433).

Work look

The original plan was to make a short-sleeved shirt, but there was enough for a basic long-sleeved shirt. I can always roll up the sleeves when I wear this shirt to work.

I had a couple of hours one morning with no power at home, so in desperation to do something, I cut out two shirts. I don’t like wasting time but I wasn’t going to do the housework as a substitute to sewing.

When I work with prints, there’s always the issue of print placement and do I add piping or not. Thankfully this pattern has a folded button band at the front so I can play with print placement and button placement.

Heading out to drinks look

This year one of our local retailers sold Liberty print shirts and when I saw the retail price I decided to make my own shirt from the remnant fabric.

The fun part of using such a dominant print like this was to line up the birds across the shirt body and sleeves. Originally I thought I might only have fabric left for cap sleeves but there was enough for long sleeves using a mock cuff.

I love the darkness of this colourway of this print and I wear plenty of blue to work and on weekends so it made sense to apply blue piping on the collar and button band and use blue buttons between the bird print.

I know we’re in the middle of a blisteringly hot Australian Summer but the cotton in this fabric breathes well and is a lovely weight for this shirt. With the prospect of wearing this shirt a lot, I applied French seams and folded over the armhole seams so this shirt will survive many, many washes because it’s going to be worn a lot.

Piping and machine feet:
I started with store bought piping so I used the cording foot on my machine to prep the piping.
Then I used the zipper foot to sew the piping on the collar and front seam.
When I sewed up the collar, I used the piping stitching to guide my sewing. Yes, there were some instances where I had to resew part of these seams just to get the piping to sit neatly.
back view

Work or weekend?

Clothes for work and weekends sit separately in my closet. I do this to keep these too aspects of my life separate. But this shirt might just throw me off kilter.

Best news of is I now have my very own Liberty shirt!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Spring smells so sweet

Wearing less layers is how I like to welcome in Spring so a decent frock made from Liberty print fabric from Minerva Crafts UK and a Cynthia Rowley pattern is my October project of choice.

While this style is very contemporary, I did a ‘u-turn’ and applied the shirt collar to the dress, giving this dress a 50s ‘Roman holiday’ feel to it.
Now the Liberty fabric followers among us know Liberty fabric is lovely quality both the fabric, print and feel. Stop me from gushing about this fabric now.

To check the fit of the bodice, I made up the shirt version and loved it. The dress doesn’t come with the collar but I love a collared dress, hence I added it to this dress without checking the length of the collar to the bodice neck seamline.

I initially had heart palpitations about the collar not being long enough to reach the centre front and I was about to rip it out and add leftover fabric to lengthen the collar. Hmmm. Then I slept on that idea and in the morning, I left the collar the way it was.

I’ve lined the bodice with leftover blue lining from my earlier Minerva projects. The skirt is unlined and lovely to wear. The buttons were easy to find on their website.
Here’s a progress photo I took to check the fit of the dress before I sewed up the side seams. 

I’ve gotten into the habit of taking photos as I sew to give me a different perspective on my sewing projects. Sometime I’ll put these photos on instagram for feedback.

Then I’ll take photos to help me style up or learn to wear what I’ve made.

Either way, checking your work as you go helps make the finished project work. The last test I do is to wear it for a day and see how it feels. Once the weather warms up I’ll put my Winter boots away.

Liberty and Olive

This month I’ve made two Olive tops from a Liberty print provided by Minerva Crafts. Olive is my favourite peplum with two different sleeves.

The print was my choice to pair with the work gear I’ve made using Minerva Crafts fabrics this year. It’s a strong print and an equally strong cotton fabric.’

I’ll say the obvious – Liberty fabric is lovely to sew, wear, wash and iron. It’s a real treat for me.

Olive is a work/party peplum from Lolita Patterns that I’ve tested and sewn before so I knew this would be the pattern for this print would work.

I originally made these tops about 6 weeks ago and in that time I’ve been doing weights – and it shows through the tightness in the back of these tops.

Oh well. It’s back to the drawing board and size up on the next Olive top I make.

Wardrobe collection choice
Working a full time job means I have to make work clothes that work together. The pieces I’ve been making with the support of Minerva Crafts has helped me develop some easy, tailored pieces that have refreshed my Winter work clothes.

These pieces have green in them and I’ve tried to bring in strong colours to look cohesive.

I wouldn’t have picked a ‘floral’ with a ‘plaid’ but I think this experiment has worked for me.

Olive has a pleated peplum that doesn’t seem too frivolous, so it’s my ‘go to work’ top.

The cap sleeve version is earmarked for weekend wear. I’ve taken the cap sleeve pattern from New Look 6808.
I’m wearing the cap sleeve version with my Minerva Crafts jeans, made last year.

I made this Liberty fabric go further by using a similar plain fabric for the facings.

The piping adds a bit of interest along the seams and neckline too. 

The dark green piping works well on the cap sleeve version.

The hem of the cap sleeve version is finished with the bias so it will show if I’m reaching for files from a tall shelf etc.

I’ve got some lovely pieces that have refreshed my Winter work clothes this year.

Unlike a button front shirt, the side zipper on this blouse means, the buttons won’t pop open. The side zipper is also easier for me to reach than a zipper on the centre back seam.

This pattern has 3/8″ seams so it’s an easy pattern to whip up on an overlocker.

So with all those good aspects, I’ll keep using this pattern and adjusting the size to suit my changing shape.