Bouquet Emery

My second Emery dress!



In all honestly, construction-wise, this dress was a breeze!


I sewed it all up in little teeny bursts around study and then one day – I had a dress!

This is a straight size 12.  I think it fits reasonably well.  There are a couple of little issues I’ll adjust for next time, but this is great!

The fabric was a random clearance fabric I added to my basket on at the last minute.

I liked it on my computer screen, but I absolutely loved it when I got my mitts on it.  Hence it maturing in my stash for two years…


I absolutely adore the colour, but now it’s made up into a dress, I’ve sort of realised that I prefer wearing smaller scale prints.  It doesn’t stop me from loving this dress and I’ve been wearing it heaps, but it’s something I’ll keep in mind in the future.

Also, longish-sleeves = instant class.  I really don’t know why I haven’t had dresses with sleeves like this before.  Love!





The Garden Party Dress

Love this dress!


This is my first incarnation of the Emery dress from Christine Haynes.  It’s a gorgeous pattern – completely my style, so really, it was kind of a given I’d love this.


I sewed up the size 14, sans muslin.  I’m not sure if there’s a lot of ease, or if I’m just really bad with the tape measure, but this came out way too big.

Now, when I was a newbie I had a minor epiphany – just because a pattern is lined, doesn’t mean you have to line it!  This is only the second dress since then where I’ve actually followed the instructions and lined a bodice.  I wanted it to be really pretty!

Anyway, then I realised it was way too big for me.  I did some hugely slapdash alterations – I just basted the side seams further and further in until I was happy with the shape, then sewed it and serged off the excess.  Needless to say, my beautiful neat insides got ugly very fast.  But heck, there was no way I was undoing an entire dress, including lining, just to size down.  There are serious type hobby sewists, who focus on fit and doing things properly, and then there are people like me, who avoid the boring bits like the plague.  Unpicking an entire dress = big time boring.  This is meant to be fun!


Ugh.  It turned out fine, anyway.  It’s definitely wearable, but not exactly the best fit in the world.


Back to the pattern!

I really liked the technique for lining the bodice without having to hand stitch everything down.  I’m a terrible catch-stitcher.  I’ve only worn my Penguin Dress a few times, but already the bodice is half falling out, where the hand stitching has broken.

I also wasn’t in the mood for handstitching  the bottom of my bodice lining down, so I machined it instead.  I like this way of doing it, even though my execution left a little to be desired.  I stitched-in-the-ditch from the outside of the dress, so it wouldn’t show.  But then I missed a few bits on the inside and had to go back for them.

I think next time I’ll stitch from the inside, so I catch the whole lining.  In a coordinating thread, the stitching is almost invisible.  Unless of course, you stick your face right up near my belly.  But that would be weird.  And I prefer wearing my dresses with a belt, anyway.


The fabric is a quilting cotton my mum gave me for Christmas.  It was a really excellent gift – I still have one more 2m length of fabric left that I can’t wait to use.  I wasn’t sure on the colour when I first saw it.  I liked it, but didn’t think it would suit me.

To counter-act it, I made the collar in contrast pink, which I thought would look better near my face.  But after I’d sewn the dress shell and could hold it against myself in front of the mirror, I decided to go without.

And you know, the colour actually looks pretty good on.

Mother knows best.  :)

And now I have this song in my head.  Gah.

I love that movie.

I digress.

I put in the pockets as drafted.  When I first started sewing, I was really curious about this mysterious Liberty fabric everyone kept talking about, so I bought a fat quarter off Ebay.  It was one of those things that were a peculiar combination of this fabric is too precious to use/I have no use for a piece of fabric this small.



So pockets they became.  To be honest, I won’t put them in next time I make this pattern – or any other pattern, really.  I just don’t use pockets in dresses.  I’ve worn this dress a whole bunch since finishing it and never use them.  Mostly I forget they’re there.  So not really worth the effort of adding them in.

Despite my sizing dramas, this actually turned out great!  It was tense there for a while.  :)

I’ll definitely be making this again – I have a few fabrics that would be great!  Fortunately Missy, my cat, is guarding the fabric until I need it.









White Miette Beginnings

This was the very first article of clothing I knit.  I don’t tend to count it though, as I never actually looked at the pattern, just followed the verbal instructions Gran gave me.  It’s a beautiful alpaca-silk blend, so it’s super soft.  The knitting is also surprisingly well done, given my gumbie level of skill at the time.


But, it’s just not my style.  I’ve left it vegetating in my wardrobe for about five years and haven’t worn it once.  Which is a shame, really.

I’ve had vague plans over the last few years about frogging it and making something new.  I have the vest, plus a 50g ball and a half of the yarn.  I decided I’d like to make another Miette cardigan.  Now, it’s been so long since I knit the vest that I really don’t remember how many balls of yarn I used.  But holding it up next to my blue Miette, it looks like I’ll probably have enough.  The Miette is cropped, where this vest isn’t, plus I have my extra ball and a half.  I think I’ll knit the sleeves simultaneously and maybe have them a little shorter than the pattern intended, if I must.

miette-collageI went through and frogged the vest yesterday.  I planned to put a movie on, pull apart the vest (which would surely only take 20 minutes or so) and then spend the rest of the movie knitting.  Um.  No.  It took me the entire movie, and then I still wasn’t done frogging.  I was, however, cursing my woven in ends.  Why did I do that so well?  I had to rewatch a couple of my favourite scenes before I was done.  Crazy!

Anyway!  I’m about halfway through the yoke and it’s going much more smoothly.  Except for the time I realised I was doing yarn overs wrong, so had to rip out all the lace around the neck, which I’d just finished.  It was good though, because it really wasn’t looking much like lace.

I really love knitting – I miss it when I don’t have a project on the go!

The Penguin Dress of Awesomeness

This is the first thing I made after my Wardrobe Architect epiphany.  I love it very, very much.



It’s the Elisalex dress from By Hand London (my last for a while – I swear!) with my usual flared skirt adjustment.

However, one thing I changed from last time was to lengthen the bodice one inch.  It made a huge difference!  I can’t believe it took me 4 versions  of this dress before I realised that maybe the waistline was a bit too high.  Like almost empire line.  My belts have never sat over the waist seam, which irritates me and the waist seam was always up on my ribs, but I never though “I SHOULD FIX THAT”.

What an idiot.  But I got there eventually.


This was made using a super cute cotton my mum bought me for Christmas.  The teal is my absolute favourite colour right now, so it’s nice to add a little splash of it to my wardrobe!


I swear the birds are penguins, but everyone else I know says they’re just regular birds.  I refuse to be swayed.  I like the dress more if I think of them as penguins.

I lined this dress (for the first time ever!) with some gingham I found in the remnants bin at Spotlight for 30c ($1/m).


I like the overwheming business of the two prints together, but it made it just tad bit too tight.  If I make it and line it again, I’ll reduce the seam allowances to 4/8″.  Although I probably have enough for now.

Gah!  Love!  Especially with the sleeves.


This pose looked more graceful and carefree in my head, rather than just demented.  Although you can see my beautiful penguin-matching across the princess seams, which I am ridiculously proud of.

The Maths

Main fabric: Christmas present – $0!

Lining fabric: 30c remnant

Zipper: $1.50

Total: $1.80.  Seriously.

Hairy Tales

As I spoke about last post, I’ve been following Sarai’s Wardrobe Architect posts.

After I finished the 2nd worksheet and creating a style board on Pinterest, I came to the conclusion that my hair really doesn’t work with my overall look.

I used to have quite long hair – halfway down my back.


In 2011 I took part in World’s Greatest Shave – basically people sponsor you to shave your head, with all the money going to the Leukaemia Foundation.


I really liked not having hair.  It took approximately 32 seconds to dry after a shower and it was so much cooler in hot weather.

The annoying part was being constantly mistaken for a boy.

The best example was when I went to Bali for a cousins wedding.  A couple of nights before the actual wedding we went for a big dinner in Kuta with pretty much everyone there for the wedding.  I was walking along the road to the restaurant with my dad and brother.  I had a number 3 haircut, wearing heels and a maxi dress.  It being Bali, people were trying to sell us stuff as we walked. One man decided that I looked like I wanted to buy something, so he chased me down the street shouting “Lady boy, lady boy!!”.


My brother and I, shortly after the lady boy incident.

Not too embarrassing or anything.

Anyway, my hair grew back (so… slowly…) until it was just below my shoulders.  I had a growing out fringe and just…hair.  Not style, no inspiration for style.

There’s another factor – my primary mode of transport is a scooter.  Seriously, it’s ridiculous.

I’d put my hair up in the morning, put helmet on, take helmet off, redo hair.  Repeat that 2-10x per day and I really couldn’t be bothered keeping my hair style respectable.

I’d had on-and-off ideas about getting a pixie cut for about 6 months.  Then I did the Wardrobe Architect Pinterest style board and I came to the conclusion that my hair just didn’t suit the style I was going for.  It’s hard to look polished and ladylike when your hair looks like a birds nest that’s been forced into a pony tail.

So I cut it.  It looks respectable no matter how many times a day I wear my helmet.


And I love it short!  It takes so little effort and I feel all chic!



Wardrobe Architect Musings

Like everyone else, I’ve been following Sarai’s Wardrobe Architect posts with great interest.

Seriously, what an amazing resource.

I’ve completely changed my sewing plans for this year – but it’s good.

I live on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, which has a real beach culture.  The “uniform” of girls my age is short denim shorts, blouse/singlet.  Skirts/shorts either reveal butt cheeks or are an inch away from doing so.  Any dresses are the same length.  In winter, shorts are swapped for skinny jeans.  Noone ever wears anything that sits on the waist.

Anything more than this is considered “dressed up”.


By contrast, my 5 core-style adjectives from week 2 were:

  • classic
  • floral
  • feminine
  • elegant
  • ladylike.

I like dresses with fitted bodices and full skirts.  I won’t wear a skirt that’s more than an inch or two above my knee.  I feel ridiculous in shorts, pants or anything that sits on my hips or doesn’t define my waist.  I don’t even like skirts much.  I like necklines that have a reasonable amount of coverage and I feel naked in a strapless dress or spaghetti straps.

Since I’ve started sewing, I’ve made a lot of things because that’s what I’m supposed to do.

I started the year off trying to decide on a shorts pattern, because everyone’s always blogging about “tackling trousers”.  I forgot that I don’t actually like wearing shorts.

I’ve made knit tops because I needed something to go with the patterned skirts I never wanted to wear.

not-meI know these are perfectly nice clothes, but they just don’t feel like me.  Tasha from By Gum, By Golly!  wrote about this same dilemma the other day – much more coherently than me!

Doing the Wardrobe Architect exercises, I finally worked out what I like to wear (check out my Pinterest Board if you’re interested in exactly what this looks like).

Using Polyvore I made my silhouettes and, uh, wow.


They’re pretty much all exactly the same.

I like dresses with fitted bodices and full skirts.  I’ll add a fitted, cropped cardigan or blazer and tights in winter, but pretty much all 4 silhouettes are identical.

I’ve made so much stuff, but I still only have a small selection of clothes I reach for on a regular basis – and those are the items that fit these silhouettes.

This year, I want to build a solid selection of clothing that fits within these parameters – I want to actually wear the types of clothes I love to wear on a daily basis.

I mainly sew these sorts of dresses in wovens, but I’m really keen to try some out in knit fabrics as well.  Closely fitted, woven dresses aren’t always hugely practical, but the same sort of thing in a knit is a lot more comfortable and wearable.  I want to look classy and feel like I’m wearing pyjamas!

So that’s my goal – make clothes that I love to wear.

Wish me luck!

Pink Floral Maxi Anna

My latest Anna from By Hand London!

This is actually my first successful iteration of the maxi skirt – my first was a total disaster!


I tried out bias tape on the V-neck, which worked… semi-okay.  I’m keen to try it again, actually.  I used a bright pink contrast bias, because why the heck not!  I also used a bright pink invisible zipper.  I’ll admit this was mostly because it was the only one I had on hand that was long enough.


The one slightly unexpected issue was the shoulders.  The pattern doesn’t call for stay-stitching the V-neck – I thought that was a bit weird at the time, but was feeling lazy so didn’t add it.  And, of course, the neckline stretched out a whole bunch.

I used a lovely drapey rayon challis too, which is probably (? I think?) more prone to stretching out and losing its shape than the super-stable quilting cotton I tend to favour.  It’s more of an off-the-shoulder dress now.  I don’t really mind though.  It ended up a bit more dressy than expected, so it sort of works.  I definitely need to start stay-stitching!


Also – have you seen By Hand London’s new Flora dress?  It’s just gorgeous!  I almost had a heart attack when Lauren and Sonja’s versions popped up in my Bloglovin’ feed.  I’ve been stalking their Australian stockists, but noone seems to have it yet and I’m too cheap to spring for $12 postage from the UK.  Maybe if the Aussies don’t get it soon I will have just suck it up.  She will be mine!

The Maths

Fabric – $6.98/m x 2.5m = $17.45 (from

Invisible zipper – $4.99

Bias binding – $3.49

Total: $25.93 – Not too shabby!

A Pretty Blue Elisalex

Yet another summery Elisalex dress!live-front

I made this dress side by side with the pink floral version I posted a few weeks ago.  I love when I know a pattern fits me and I can just blast through the process!  The fabric is a sheet set I bought, once again, at the op shop I work at.  Seriously, I get so excited when I get to sort through the newly-donated linen.  I’ve found some great stuff!

blue-manne-collectionThis is quite a heavy sheet (maybe the same weight as a quilting cotton, but with a coarser weave).  This isn’t quite as summery and light as my voile version, but it’s really cute and, to be honest, will probably get more, best of all, I still have enough sheet left to make another dress, at least!  And check out my lapped zipper – I’m getting better at this!live-back

Bluegingerdoll Mae

I feel so pretty in this top!


It’s the Mae blouse from Bluegingerdoll patterns and -gah!  It’s so pretty.  I was originally drawn to this pattern because, duh, scalloped neckline.  It was kind of a no brainer.  It sat around for a while and then… I made it up with this pretty cotton I bought at Spotlight.front-weird

I used these lovely black and gold buttons – Hannah from Made With Hugs and Kisses sent them to me during the Spring Sewing Swap.  I love how they look with the fabric, but they’re probably a tad heavy for my light fabric.  Oops.

back-insideI just managed to squeeze this out of 1m of fabric.  It was pretty tight.  The sleeve facings are in a contrast cotton.  And technically, I cut the back pieces upside down.  I’d forgotten that the print is directional – there are little bunnies dotted over the place.  Oh well.  I figure if I didn’t see them when I was cutting out, it’s unlikely anyone would ever notice.  At least I did it at the back, not the front.

sleeve-adjustOnce I’d made it up, I decided I wasn’t happy with the kimono sleeves.  They were a bit poofy for my taste and I felt like I had a lot of my underarm exposed.  So I stitched some of the armhole up, facing and all.  It’s not perfect, but it’s fine.


The Maths

Fabric: $10 from Spotlight

Buttons: free – thanks Hannah!

Contrast fabric: free, stash scraps