Betty or Joan

Betty and Joan have their unique style and both styles suit their body types and life. For Julia Bobbin’s Mad Men Challenge I had my foot in both camps. Double trouble, this is my take on The Monthly Stitch’s Sewing double theme.

Using my block patterns I trialed a Joan-based work style with a stretch woven that Mel gave away at the Sydney Spoolettes swap.

These photos were taken by a Mad Men fan. Thanks Kylie!



Here’s the ‘scoot and run’ shot before work:)

Then I tried a Betty inspired evening dress.

Here’s my dress block version with a smile.
But I loved the pic below
So I did a double take.

The fabric is a silver lace mesh and interlined is with chiffon.


Here’s my Joan choice.

I have the print fabric…for another day.

Have fun sewing everyone! And take a look at Julia’s blog for the wrap up! There are so many great entries. Love your work Julia.

Work or weekend?

What started out as weekend cargo pants are now work wear. How did that happen?

Was it the fabric?

This fabric was an unloved stash from a local sewer. Even I thought this fabric would be an ‘ok’ pattern testing fabric. 
It’s a bit scratchy and flimsy.
It’s a non-colour on both sides so I used the dark side.

Front view with a me-made top.


Was it the pattern?

This is clearly a cargo pattern. Cargoes are usually a forgiving style (weekend worthy) and I made the 4 grading it to 6 at the hips. Peggy of Silhouette Patterns uses this block for her jeans pattern.

Was it the notions?
Probably. I’ve used stash buttons and zipper in the ‘beige-est’ of beige. 



How about the finishings?
I did use triple thread coverstitching in a few places but not a lot. The fly front stitching uses a nothing colour so it’s not obvious. See the lining.


I cut the outer leg pockets to a smaller size so that weren’t as big as designed. These pockets are designed to sit flat and they do.


About the pattern
This pattern is multisized and comes in 4 – 18 and 14W – 28W. 

It took me over an hour to cut out all the pieces. That prep time included pattern adjustments for length and depth. The techie stuff is below.


Peggy suggests making these cargoes in 3 steps. 
1. Cut out the pieces. 
2. Make up the front and back legs. 
3. Sew the pants together with the outside pockets and tabs.

I took an hour to make the back welt pockets and sew in the zipper.

The outer pockets were another sit and concentrate session. 
So I’ve made these cargoes in 5 steps to focus on these features.

I like how these cargoes are fitted at the waist and hips and not saggy, baggy cargoes, so they are work appropriate.



The technical stuff:
My adjustments basic trouser adjustments:
1. Deepened the back crotch curve 
2. Sway back curve.
3. Shortened the leg length (#shortgirl)
4. Shortened the pocket bag (#shortgirl)
5. Added room for my thighs on the front and back leg (Cylindrical lower torso).

On this top, the lines at the centre back seam matched 🙂

My ‘go to’ pattern fitting book is Fitting and pattern alteration or what we refer to as ‘the big red book’. Not much tweaking needed 

Thanks to The Monthly Stitch for getting me to focus on Smarty pants this month.
Thanks for stopping by:)

Grainline Maritime Shorts #2

This time I decided to use Jen’s fly front zipper tutorial. When I’m working to a deadline, learning new techniques are harder. I don’t absorb anything. This time I wasn’t working to a deadline and I decided to follow Jen’s instructions and learn a new technique. New year = new technique.

Jen’s fly front zipper method results in a dead straight result from top to bottom. I like it. I’ll use Jen’s technique again. The tutorial on Jen’s website is the same as the instructions in the pattern. The difference is the online tute has real photos of the fabric pieces instead of the illustrations used in the pattern. This was what made me more confident that I was following her instructions correctly. Check twice then sew helps me a lot:)

While I was working on this black pair, I had the rare opportunity to attend a Coverstitch workshop run by Michelle from Babylock Australia. Let me tell you, once I got home I just couldn’t wait to try using what I’d learnt at this workshop on something. Anything. These shorts were it! So this black pair has 2 needle coverstitching on the back pockets, the front pockets, the belt loops and on the fly front.

I’ve used left over fabric from the play suit for the pockets.

Then I used the 3 thread finish for the hem. I could have used the down feller for the hem but the excitement to sew these up took over. 


I bought my Coverstitch attachments from Sharp Sewing Supplies. I now know how to use the attachment. Sharp Sewing Supplies had all the attachments I needed for my Coverstitch machine and their service was fast and friendly.

These shorts were a great practice for attaching rivets on the pockets and working with a jeans button. They were made in the sewing room and in the garage. DH is used to my working in the garage from time to time.

Black goes with anything.

Can you tell I’m gearing up to make jeans or cargo pants? I have the hardware to make either.

Playsuit – McCalls 6362

In the 70’s View A was short jumpsuit. Now it’s called a ‘playsuit’, ‘romper’ or ‘onesie’ for the kiddies. PS. The People’s choice Macquarie Dictionary Word of the year in 2013 is onesie.

I’ve made the View A with an Australian natives twist using this white on black cotton print from my local fabric haunt MyHung. Happy Lunar New Year y’all.

The neckline and armholes are finished with cotton bias binding and I’ve used an invisible zipper along the centre back seam. Elastic is used in the waist seam casing and I’ve made the belt with leftover fabric. I did check the bodice with my bodice block so I knew the neckline and armholes would sit well on me. And they did.

The glamorous views in this McCalls pattern would be perfect for date nights or clubbing using a satin or slinky feel fabric. But for me, this cotton version is stock standard coastal wear. Shelley Beach in fact in the afternoon of a great Summer’s day with no humidity. Sydney is humidity central in February so will be my standard attire while it’s hot.

No real print placement took place. There are Koalas, Rosellas, Emus, Platypus and golden wattle throughout this print.  Now this bird had better get back to her sewing machine and leave the jumpsuits for others to make.

A glamour shot wearing my havaianas

Mr V took these photos. We hung out at the beach for the rest of the afternoon and had fun in the waves. It was a long drive home so we had dinner at Terrigal, another great beach town.