Canary Yellow Playsuit

DSC_0599 - Copy (3) - Copy

I used to really dislike yellow when I was growing up, but somehow it grew on me over the last few decades and now it is one of my favourite colours! This post is not on a garment I have recently made, but one from last year sometime when I discovered Collette Dinnigan’s resort collection, in which she had a gorgeous yellow playsuit. It was so beautiful that it inspired me to make my own version. Playsuits are still very much in this season and so I thought it was worth a blog post this spring.

Coincidently my stash of fabrics was hiding a gorgeous yellow sateen cotton that was perfect for this playsuit. So I fished it out, found exactly the right colour organza in my stash to match it and also had some yellow lining in there somewhere too – which tells you a lot about the size of my fabric collection!

The playsuit needed underlining and lining, as the yellow cotton was too thin to hold its shape otherwise. For the underlining, I used a matching yellow organza and for the lining, a yellow polyester. I would have preferred to use a nice yellow silk for the lining, but I thought it would be wise to use what I already have instead of buying more…



I didn’t have a playsuit pattern for this style, so I used two patterns to make it up. One was a dress pattern, that had the sleeves I was after, and the other was a playsuit pattern for the lower half. I was not sure how to go about connecting them both without wasting the fabric and ruining the whole thing, but thought it would join best at the place marked ‘waist’ on both patterns and so that is what I did.  Luckily both patterns had a front seam in the middle of the garment, which made it easier to combine the two. I am usually too lazy to make a muslin, as I just want to get on with what I am doing and not have to sew it twice. By that time, I am starting to get bored and my thoughts are already on the next project…


The construction took some time, as the playsuit has three layers of fabric and playing around with the two patterns cost some time too. I also had to adjust the bell shaped sleeves to the width I wanted and the length and width of the bottom half, as the pattern I was using was a size too big for me. As always, it was a lot of trying on and fixing up.


I didn’t really know how to make the belt look interesting and then I remembered that I had a metal “buckle” (I guess you could call it that) from a shoulder bag I once had. The bag was all tattered after many years of use and I ended up disposing of it but cut off the metal piece that was sewn to the handle and knew I would use it for something. So this was just the right “something”! I think it looks very individual and I was happy to be able to recycle something and make good use of it. It closes with a hook and eye on the inside of the belt so that it is not visible on the outside.

The back has the longest invisible zip I could find to make stepping in and out of the playsuit easy.

I have worn this playsuit on a number of occasions and due to the soft feel of the fabric, it is very comfortable to wear and I love the canary yellow colour. It’s perfect for spring/summer.  I am planning on making another one soon with a long pant leg in – you guessed it – navy blue! I just can’t help myself when it comes to navy at the moment!


I didn’t think that the outfit needed more jewellery than the chunky silver ring due to the buckle being a statement in itself. So in this case I think less is more. If a garment has any embellishment on it, I think it looks better without or minimal accessories, otherwise it can look overloaded. The playsuit can be dressed down with flat sandals and a straw hat or a head scarf to give it a vintage look, as the original playsuit patterns came from the sixties to my knowledge.

Styling:  Shoes: Steve Madden ‘Stecy’ in blush, Ring: Apart Fashion (German label), Watch: Gucci, Sunglasses: Tom Ford ‘Margot’

White Linen Kaftan – Vintage Vogue 8734

Ivona 13

Being a child of the seventies, I do love a kaftan of almost any style. This tunic-style one caught my attention while checking out Etsy patterns and I had a beautiful white linen in my huge stash that I though would go perfectly with version C of the pattern, with the addition of the split from version D. So that was my sewing intention. I really like the raglan sleeve cut and the way the sleeve is folded over just above the elbow.

1Vogue 87342Vogue 8734

Ivona 9

As with most of my sewing projects these days, I have underlined this dress too. I used a white cotton voile, to just give it a little more body and also to stop it from being see through. I have also overlocked the edges to stop them from fraying. There is no zip in the pattern and no buttons, so it was supposed to be very straight forward (my kind of dress – or so I thought!).


I got a little too excited too soon about this dress not having a zip, because when I had sewn it up and put it on, despite having cut a vintage size 10, as usual, the dress and the sleeves were both too wide and baggy for my taste. So after taking in the sleeves and shortening them somewhat to just above the elbow (a lot of shortening until I got the right length), it was time to take it in the waist. After taking it in and trying it on again and again, I decided to put a long invisible zip in the back, as I was not able to put it on over my head anymore after all! So that was that with the zipless dress!

Ivona 14

Overall, I am very happy with the outcome. Even though linen creases quite easily, the kaftan really is beautiful to wear and can be dressed up or down with accessories. I could also imagine it being made in a beautifully printed silk and wearing it to an evening do.


I have styled it with the same accessories in various ways. It’s amazing how much you can do by changing the accessory use around or even changing the type and/or colour of accessories for an item of clothing to completely vary its appearance. The 70s head scarf is probably my favourite, worn with big sunglasses. But a big, floppy hat or the scarf worn as a bandana or around the waist also look great. Even wearing the hat over the scarf looks quite good. The possibilities are endless!



Ivona 11



DSC_0821 DSC_0765

Thank you to Meg for being my photographer again! She was amazing despite the millions of mozzies around us during the photo shoot!


Photography: meggi-design

Styling: Hat: Myer (no name brand), Sunglasses: Margot by Tom Ford, Scarf: H&M, Necklace, Silver Ring and Shoes: Apart (German Fashion label), Bracelet: Mother’s Day gift from my boys, Silver Ring With Teal Stone: Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne.

The Positano Dress – Retro Butterick B4919

Positano2 Dress

Hi everyone! I have just finished off another retro pattern project. This time it’s one from the 50’s, which is not my usual retro sew. I am a 60’s and 70’s girl, but couldn’t go past this pattern when I saw it on Ebay or Etsy. I can’t remember…., I have soooo many patterns and they all come from either Ebay or Etsy…..

DSC_0200 DSC_0201










I had been wanting to make a full circle skirt dress for a while now and for some reason it had to be in a navy and white spotted fabric. I only realised that all my blogged posts were either navy or blue dresses (hard to hide my current navy phase…) when a friend mentioned it, so I promise to do something different soon, but this one just HAD to be in navy and white spots. I actually already had the perfect navy and white spotted fabric in my stash, but I want to keep it for a maxi skirt that I am still planning on making soon.


So, while having a look at the newest fabrics at Tessuti online recently, I couldn’t believe it when I came across exactly what I was looking for – Marina Spot – Italian navy stretch woven cotton (97% cotton, 3% elastane) with white dots on it! I immediately called Tessuti to find out if they still had any in the Melbourne store and I was in luck! I went over and got it the same day at $27/m. The pattern said I would need 3.80m for the shorter version of the dress, but I risked it and bought 3.5m and still have some left over for a top.

ivona 7

DSC_0604  DSC_0587 DSC_0576

Sometimes, by playing around with the layout of the pattern pieces I find that I can save a lot of fabric and make another garment out of the leftovers. If not, they go into my bag of remnants that are too nice to get rid of and I make a dress or top out of the remnants, which I will blog about soon.

I was going to underline the whole dress, but after seeing that the bodice had facing, I decided to only underline the skirt to give it more body and shape. I used a basic white cotton voile and now that it is finished, I can say it was the right choice, as the skirt really does hang nicely. I think it would have been too shapeless without any underlining at all.

Ivona 1



ivona 2

Sewing the dress was quite simple. The only thing that bothered me was that where the bodice crosses over on the sides, there are two flaps that you first have to close with hooks and eyes at the back of the bodice, then close the zip and THEN tie the two ties across the front and the back. In my opinion, these two “flaps” are unnecessary and it would make attaching the bodice to the skirt much easier if the bodice was sewn together at the sides with the ties in the seams and the “flaps” completely omitted. There is one other thing that I probably would change if I made the dress again. I would make the ties like a belt – with fabric on both sides, so that the wrong side of the fabric is not showing if they are tied and the ends left hanging in the back. I have decided to tie them at the front for my dress, as they are just long enough for that.

ivona 4


After some tweaks, (such as hand sewing the sides down under the armpits to prevent them from sticking out) the dress fits like a glove with quite a snug bodice, which is how I like it and a perfect custom fit for me.


I would consider making this dress again with the improvements I mentioned but in the long, evening version in a beautiful red fabric, as pictured on the front of the pattern. The only thing is, I first need to have an event to go to in such a gown!

ivona 5    DSC_0616

To style the dress, I think high heels or flats work well to dress it up or down. I have used whimsical flats for my photos, as I didn’t think any of my heels would have looked good with this type of dress and I’ve added the hat with the bow to match the playful shoes. I think adding any jewellery would have been too much, due to the dress print.


Why did I call this the Positano dress? Because I can imagine being in Positano, Italy, strolling through the little town, having a coffee in a quaint café and watching the world go by, wearing this vintage style dress.


Thank you to my dear friend Meg, who took the beautiful photos for this blog.

Photography: meggi-design

Styling: Shoes: Zara, Sunglasses: Zara, Hat: Midas