Black Tweed Shorts

These tweed shorts are ancient! But since winter is upon us in the Southern Hemisphere, I had to blog them because they are my winter go-to item that I wear quite often with black opaque stockings.

Before having lived in Europe, I had never seen or heard of winter shorts worn with stockings. I only knew summer shorts! So when I discovered them, I jumped on the bandwagon and made myself a pair. I also thought they were warmer than a short skirt in the cold and looked kinda chic with boots. They were quite trendy amongst girls and women in the colder seasons.

I made these out of the fabric remnants of a jacket I made a long, long time ago when we still lived in Germany. The fabric is a black wool and silk tweed.

 

There wasn’t much fabric left to use for anything much but I managed to squeeze out these guys. They ended up being a little too short for my taste, so I had to use small pieces to lengthen them with strips of fabric on the bottom of each leg as much as I could. It came down to every centimetre!

For the pattern, I just used another pair of pants I had that fit me well, lay them flat on top of the fabric and cut around the edges, leaving enough for the seams. To be honest, I don’t even know which pants I used for the pattern. That says a lot about their age!

They are loose fitting, totally comfy and sort of just sit on the hip. And…they are quick and easy to make!

The shorts have two darts each front and back and are lined edge to edge with a simple black lining fabric. There is no waistband and a dress zip closes them off at the back.

I like to wear these shorts with boots. Heeled or flat ones. And of course opaque stockings, (which I coincidentally didn’t in these photos😬).

Sometimes an outfit in one colour looks great and I do like an all black look. But I also like to throw in a splash of colour to pep things up. So that was the red coat’s job here. And also sticking to the autumn colour scheme, as it was when we took the photos.

There are some more winter shorts planned for this season in thicker, wintery fabrics. They are a nice alternative to skirts when it gets cold. Worn with tall or ankle boots. Maybe even a winter playsuit? Let’s see what the stash has to offer in suitable fabrics!

Do you have an older clothing piece that is your favourite or go-to in a particular season?

LOCATION: Mt. Buffalo, Victorian High Country

STYLING: coat – Zara, boots – Zara, hat – FCUK, sunglasses – Agenda, top – Zara

The Ladies Tux

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I made this black lace jumpsuit, which is my version of a ladies tux for the Tessuti Cut Out Lace Competition late last year. Unfortunately I didn’t win any of the prizes with it, but taking part in the competition was a lot of fun and I got a nice evening style jumpsuit out of it.

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The lace fabric is from Tessuti in Melbourne. It’s a cotton/polyester blend and despite the pattern going through it, easy to sew. The fabric came in panels. I bought 3 panels for this jumpsuit just to be sure I would have enough to match and mirror the pattern where needed.

 

My inspiration for the sleeves of the jumpsuit was a jacket I saw by Carolina Herrera in black lace. The sleeves were just the thing I was looking for! Although the sleeves on her jacket are quite a lot more voluminous and longer than mine. I wanted mine be somewhere between three quarters and seven eighths long.

  

I used Vogue V1471 by Nicola Finetti for the top of the jumpsuit. I had no idea whether the plunge in the front was too deep or not because I didn’t bother making a muslin to try it out before cutting into the limited amount of lace I had.

  

I used Simplicity 1665 for the pants and extended them by about 5cm to make sure they went down to my ankles. I measured  the length I thought the pants should be but was still risking it a bit because I wanted the edge to be on point in length, as I was using the selvage with the dotted pattern as my hem. I measured and remeasured and remeasured again until I was 100% sure it was the right length before cutting. There was no room for error! It just wouldn’t have looked nice if the edging had been sewn on. It had to be in one piece.

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Cutting the pattern out was pretty scary because I could not afford for any mistakes to happen. I only had the three panels to use very cautiously and didn’t want to end up buying more.

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I was tossing up between lining the whole thing in skin coloured dance fabric or just lining the bodice in skin coloured fabric and the legs in black. I opted for black legs because I thought it would look too risqué if it looked like it was skin coloured everywhere. I think I made the right decision in hindsight, especially if I really plan to wear it anywhere!

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So for the legs, I used black taffeta as lining and beautifully soft skin coloured dance fabric for the bodice as lining. I didn’t line the sleeves to save time and felt it wasn’t necessary.

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To make the bell sleeves, I sewed the bottom part of the bell sleeve with the dotted pattern to the top gathered part and then attached them to the main sleeve. To give the sleeves a rounded shape and make them stand out a bit, I used black boning that I encased into the seam of the top and bottom of the ruffled sleeve by hand stitching it in place.

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The decollete did end up being somewhat more revealing than I would have liked it to be, so I used the dotted pattern in the lace to cover up a bit of exposed flesh (!) by sewing it into the seam in the front and around the back. Even though it is quite narrow, I do find it helps to cover up at least a little and adds more to the overall look by repeating the dotted pattern on the sleeve and pant edges.

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The most challenging thing about making this jumpsuit, was to make sure the pattern matched up perfectly where it should and having enough of the fabric to do so. I was always playing around with the pattern pieces before cutting to make sure I was getting the best part of the pattern on each piece.

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I pretty much used up most of the fabric and only have bits and pieces left that I still hope to utilise in some way for a small something.

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When I was sewing this jumpsuit, I was very unsure of whether I would like it or not. Every time I tried it on to check for fit and adjustments, I thought: I am either going to love it or hate it when it’s finished. Well, I have to say I do love it, which surprised me because I really thought it would be the opposite. I just have to have an event to wear it to now!

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I am happy with the matching up of the lace pattern in the front and back. I put in a very long invisible zip to make sure I could get in and out of the jumpsuit comfortably and also to keep the pattern in the lace as undisturbed as possible when zipped up.

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To neaten up the inside, I used a skin coloured dance fabric to line the bodice. It’s very soft, stretchy and comfortable to wear. The inside of the arm holes are finished off with black bias binding.

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I have to admit, I am in a kind of jumpsuit phase at the moment! I am loving all kinds of jumpsuits: long legged, short, strapless, casual, formal. Anything jumpsuit style! I do hope the fashion sticks around for a while. Do you like jumpsuits too?

 

LOCATION: the backyard!

STYLING: necklace and bracelet: Zara, sunglasses: Margot by Tom Ford, shoes: Zara.

Striped Set

Anyone who has been following my blog for a while now will have very quickly realised that I am definitely a dress person when it comes to sewing. But in everyday life, I DO wear pants, shorts and jeans and not very often, but sometimes I actually do make these too! I haven’t had much luck in sewing well fitted pants in the past, so I am a bit wary of making them. Nevertheless, after a whole lot of dresses, it was time to make and blog something a little different.

Even though I am not your tallest person, I absolutely adore wide legged, palazzo and flared pants. Especially the 70s type.  I know they look better on taller people than myself, but I still love them! I tried to elongate the legs of these as much as possible by making them almost down to the ground.

For this set, I used an original 70s pattern by Teal Traina for the pants and matched them with a strapless top using a modern strapless dress pattern by Kwik Sew, cutting it off about 25 cm below the waist.

    

    

My fabric comes from Tessuti in Melbourne – a beautiful linen/cotton blend in a navy denim look and white stripe. It has a great thickness and drape to it. The stripes are horizontal on the fabric. But I wanted vertical stripes on my pants, so I risked it and cut them out against the grain. I was afraid that the fabric would stretch or go out of shape while wearing the pants because I had cut it against the grain, but luckily, it seems to be holding it’s shape.

The pants were very easy and quick to make. They are darted into an inside ribbon waistband and I used an 18cm invisible zip in the back to close them off. No fussing around.

When it came to the top, I didn’t want the it to have all the stripes going in one direction and definitely not all vertical, because it would just be too boring. I thought it would make it visually more interesting if the stripes middle front and centre back were horizontal and the rest vertical.

The strapless top took a bit more time to make up than the pants. I cut the top using size S and should have known that it was too big for me from the last time when I used this same pattern for my Capri dress. But I was in a rush and thought better be safe than sorry if XS ended up being too small. I will know better next time!

To underline the top, I used a nice, old cotton bed sheet that I had put aside for lining. It had outlived its use as bed linen, but was still very good quality, fine cotton and a shame to throw away. I used two layers of the cotton bed linen as underlining and at first thought it would be too much, but two layers turned out to be a good amount to give the top a good shape and thickness.

I took in each seam until the top fit me in a snug way. Then I contemplated which type of zip to use. I couldn’t use an invisible one, because I wouldn’t be able to get a fitted top on and off without an open end zip. So I bought the shortest open end zip in navy blue I could find and was going to put it in the centre back. But the zip was too long for the back and I didn’t want to cut it and potentially ruin it. I was playing around with it in front of the mirror and by pure stroke of genius found that it had the perfect length to go in the front side seam. I hadn’t seen that before, so why not be different?

The zip was a perfect fit and even though I didn’t put in a hook and eye or button in at the top, it stays in place very well without opening.

To finish off the top on the inside, I didn’t line it but used bias binding to finish off the edges neatly. I thought there were enough layers of fabric in it already with the underlining and it didn’t need any more thickness to it.

After having a look at these photos, I realised that I would need to put some boning in the back of the top to keep any folds from forming. Sometimes you see things in your finished product that need improving after you think the job has been done! Not my favourite thing to do…

 

I think my new matchy matchy set has worked out well. It really was a very rushed job, but the fit is perfect and also very comfortable to wear.

I don’t know about you, but I really like matching tops and bottoms. They are a bit like twin sets of a different kind. I definitely have plans to make some more matching sets of tops and pants and also tops and shorts.

Now that the evenings are very long here in Melbourne after our winter time change, I plan to do lots of sewing. Reality is  that after work and my regular running during the week, I am so tired that don’t get much done at all!

Keep smiling and sewing until next time (hopefully very soon)!

STYLING: hat – Borsalino, Rome, shoes – Windsor Smith, sunglasses – Carlina Square by Chloe, ring – Apart Fashion

LOCATION: Elmore, Victoria

Chloe Collection

When the Chloe spring/summer 2016 collection came out, I flicked through the pictures of each garment on the runway and fell in love with the dresses, top and skirt in the pictures below. They all have a girly retro look about them. I really like the bows and the top stitching. So of course I decided to copy one (for now) and decided it would be the first dress with the two bows on the shoulders – also in navy but without the extreme low cut front.

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By doing some research on the internet, I found out that the Chloe dress was made in crepe. I didn’t have navy crepe in my stash, so I thought a navy ponte knit would do the job. I find ponte knit very easy to sew and work with and also nice to wear. Unfortunately I didn’t think about how thick the ponte would be when it came to top stitching. There was a reason for the crepe and not ponte knit in the Chloe collection. But if you don’t look too close…

My ponte knit was from a remnant fabric/clothing store that sells remnants from Australian fashion labels, which I have mentioned a few times on my blog. I stop by every now and then to see what they have in stock when I am in the area, as they are only a few doors down from one of my favourites – The Fabric Store.

I am quite sure it’s a rayon ponte knit because of the beautiful drape of the fabric. And it doesn’t have a synthetic feel to it.

In the photos the ponte comes across as a deep blue but that is just the lighting in the pictures. It is in fact a medium navy blue.

I had to make up the pattern for this dress myself, as I didn’t really have anything similar in my pattern stash. So trial and error it was again until I thought it looked ok! The dress is a slight A line, so it wasn’t rocket science.

I guessed the length of the ties by studying photos of the original on the internet and in magazines and made them a bit longer just in case. Cutting off is easier than regretting and redoing…

The original Chloe dress has a plunging V in the front and back, which was not for me and my bra shapes! So I cut it to a more modest and wearable depth.

The only real issue I had with this dress was the top stitching, which I did with white top stitching thread. The ponte knit was just too thick to top stitch through well and tidily in the shoulder area. Double layers of fabric were fine, but four layers were just too much. The tension was constantly wrong and I had to undo lots of it and start again and again until it was satisfactory at least. Such a pain!

I am not super proud of the result, but I think I can get away with it.

We took the photos of my Chloe dress at Mt Buffalo, while holidaying in beautiful Bright, Victoria. It’s autumn in the Southern Hemisphere and the temperature at Mt Buffalo’s Torpedo Rock (almost at the peak) was a cool 9 degrees Celsius, while down below in town it was 22 degrees! Straight back into the jeans and warm gear after the photos!

Keep sewing and until next time!

STYLING: sunglasses – Carlina Square by Chloe, shoes – Zara, ring – Apart Fashion

LOCATION: Torpedo Rock, Mt Buffalo, Victoria

Monstera Print Playsuit

Hello fellow sewcialists! It’s been a too long break from my dear sewing blog once again. I was hoping that this year would start off in a more relaxed way and I would have things planned out perfectly to execute all my sewing dreams and fantasies in a most organised fashion… But I couldn’t be more busy than I am now with work, kids, household… So my therapeutic hobby and passion has to take a back seat a lot of the time. There are no big new year’s resolutions for sewing this year, as last year’s went out the window almost a month or two after I had written them down. The most impossible one being not to buy any new fabrics and sew from my stash….ahem… A bit like a child going into a lolly shop and being told they can only look and not have anything. Not going to happen. Ever.

Despite being busier as time goes by, I am constantly making or fixing something. I just don’t always have the time to get everything photographed and blogged. Still, I managed to squeeze in this little monstera print playsuit before autumn turns into a real autumn with it’s underlying chill.

I found this very trendy fabric while cruising past the furnishing fabric section of Spotlight on my way to get some notions and couldn’t resist the beautiful green of the monstera leaf print. Even though it’s not categorised as a dress fabric, it is quite soft and looks just like a linen. But I am guessing it has some polyester in it or is completely polyester. It’s hard to tell these days with some of the high tech fabrics. Whatever! It has a good feel to it and is very easy to sew. I was naughty and didn’t wash the fabric before sewing, so time will tell if I am going to pay the price for it…

I think Tommy Bahama started this whole leaf craze with upholstery and furnishing fabric in banana leaf prints. It took some time, but eventually all kinds of leaf prints filtered down to the fashion industry and now they are everywhere!

When I bought the fabric, I wasn’t sure if I should make a high waisted, strapless maxi dress with a pleated skirt or something different altogether. Being a definite dress person, I decided I should dare to try something different. Somewhere in my wardrobe, I have this cute Zara playsuit that is white cotton jacquard in a slight A-line form. I love the shape of it and pondered making a similar one in this leaf print.

  

The jacquard of the Zara playsuit is quite a lot thicker than my leafy fabric and is also lined, giving it a good A-line shape when worn. So I was sure that I would definitely line my playsuit to give it a good shape. Making the pattern wasn’t very easy because the Zara playsuit has lining that is attached to the top and bottom. So lying it flat was a bit difficult to make a pattern, but as always, with a bit of fiddling around, it worked out ok in the end. To be on the safe side, I cut it out a little wider than the Zara playsuit. I wasn’t sure if I wanted the hassle of matching the pattern of the leaf or not. I decided to match it in the front as best I could and not on the rest of the playsuit because it was eating up all the fabric I still had. And in the most unpractical parts of the fabric too! Plus, I still wanted to make something else out of the remnants.

Then I had to decide whether to put two pleats in the front or take in the sides a bit to take out some of the fullness.  I ended up putting in a pleat on either side to keep the leg wide enough to move in comfortably. For now I am happy with it as it is. But I may play around with it somewhere down the track and see what it looks like if I take the sides in a bit instead.

The top inside of the bodice has a strip of clear elastic sewn onto the edge so that it has contact with the skin and doesn’t stick out due to the roundish shape of it.

I lined it in an off white crepe that I had lying around in my stash and covered the seams in a bright green bias binding to add a bit of a punch to the inside. The back has an invisible zip.

I think it has turned out well. At at least better than I was expecting for something without a real pattern and lots of trial and error involved. I have enjoyed wearing it a few times already.

A playsuit can be a casual or more going-out thing, as always, depending on how you style it with accessories. Wear flats and a cross body bag for a more casual look and heels and a clutch for a bit of class.

I wore my playsuit with my shoes of the moment: perspex heels. Not being the tallest person, I like to wear nude or perspex heels to elongate my stature. Due to the large print on the fabric, I felt that too many accessories would be an overkill and take away from the garment. So I left off anything more than a chunky silver ring, my watch and sunglasses.

Happy sewing until next time!

      

 

LOCATION: Portsea Village Resort, Victoria

STYLING: sunglasses – Carlina Square by Chloe, heels – Windsor Smith from Hello Molly, watch – Gucci, ring – Apart Fashion.

#2017makenine

So, I know I’m mega late with this one – life has gotten out of control once again! But I just wanted to share my #2017makenine with you before the year gets any older!

Of course I am aiming waaaay too high (again) this year when I think of the list of makes I have planned for 2017. But here are nine that I would really like to complete before the year is out.

Number 1 – Ralph Lauren stripy summer dress as seen on the runway. Not sure which collection it’s from (I found it on Pinterest). Also not sure I will be able to get the gorgeous blue/lilac stripy fabric for it…

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Number 2 – Alex Perry dress that I need to hack. I got the original fabric for the skirt part from Tessuti fabrics and had a look at the original dress at Myer. Hope I can do it justice!

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Number 3 – Simplicity Cynthia Rowley 1104.

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Number 4 – Simplicity Cynthia Rowley 8124. One down, two to go (playsuit is done – see my previous post).

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Number 5 – Simplicity Cynthia Rowley 1105.

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Number 6 – Retro Butterick B6318 in stripes.

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Number 7 – Vintage Simplicity 7000 short sleeveless playsuit.

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Number 8 – Vintage Simplicity 7431 short version dress. I made the long version, which you can see here.

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Number 9 – Vintage Vogue 2414 strapless dress without jacket.

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Sew many things to make, yet sew little time in between life’s duties…sigh…

Happy sewing in 2017 everyone!

 

Australia Day Outfit 2017 – Simplicity 8124

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Happy belated new year everyone! I hope you have all had a great start to the year. I have had a much too long break from sewing and blogging over the last two months (at least). So it was high time to get the ball rolling again. I realised that I had missed sewing so much when I started to sew this Cynthia Rowley jumpsuit, playsuit or romper – whatever you want to call it! Sewing is always so therapeutic for me, except for when I have to unpick bits and redo them. That ends up having the opposite effect! But yes, I really missed my sewing and blogging.

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I bought this pattern late last year at a Spotlight pattern sale and want to make all the garments that the pattern contains this summer. Soon after, I bought this beautiful 100% cotton also from Spotlight with a wattle print on it and immediately thought I would make a dress out of it.

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So I started to make a maxi dress and it was almost finished. I tried it on and suddenly decided it was too boring and that I probably wouldn’t wear it much or at all. Since my wardrobe space is extremely limited, I had to make a wise decision. The decision was to deviate to the playsuit by Cynthia Rowley. Luckily, the maxi dress had a straight cut and gathered skirt which was big enough for me to be able to cut out the whole playsuit pattern from. I just wasn’t sure whether I should use the XS or the S size after reading numerous reviews on this pattern. Most of them said that the sizing was very generous and voluminous. So I cut out size S, also leaving the XS markings as an option if I needed them.

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Because the wattle print cotton is white and could be see-through in light, I used an eggshell coloured silk/cotton to underline it with. The only adjustment I made to the cut, was to lengthen the hem of the shorts by about 4cm.

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The playsuit was very easy to make. It would have been a lot quicker if I had had the correct width of elastic in my stash. I didn’t, and had to cut some down to the right width and couldn’t get it into the tunnel even then! So frustrating trying to pull it through with a safety pin multiple times and it not fitting through. In the end, the pin broke in the tunnel and I had to pull it out and cut it down by another 1mm to make it fit! But that was the biggest drama of the pattern! The rest was a piece of cake.

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I like the end product but do find that when the top is worn off the shoulder it causes a not too nice looking bulge around the waistline. I don’t know what the solution to this is, because if you only wear it off the shoulder, that’s fine, but if you also want to wear it on the shoulder, there would not be enough length in the bodice…sometimes you can’t win. Still, I do like the pattern and if I do make it again, I will shorten the bodice just a little to allow for a nicer looking waistline if worn off the shoulder, which I prefer.dsc_1724aAustralia Day has come and gone and I was too busy on the day to blog this little playsuit, but here it is – my 2017 Australia Day outfit. This can easily be casual or dressed up depending on your fabric and accessory choice.dsc_1293a

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STYLING: sunglasses – Chloe, flat sandals – bought in Amalfi, Italy, heels – Steve Madden, belt – Witchery, wreath – synthetic wattle from Spotlight

LOCATION: Bayside walking trail, Mentone