Sewn in 2011

It’s taken me so long to organise photos. Here are some snapshots of my finished wearable projects from 2011. These are just the ones that were easy to photograph and are certainly not necessarily my favourites.

Last year was a steep learning curve, in terms of sewing skills but also in terms of style and fabric choice. I went crazy with eBay to try an learn as much as I could about fabric, texture and feel. I think that was an excellent place to start and I felt comfortable cutting into anything and everything but its a bit unpredictable. I just ditched a whole stack of plastic-fantastic fabric that felt more like plastic bags than fabric. I started this year purchasing some really nice expensive (compared to ebay) and coordinated fabrics and patterns to start making a more thoughtful wardrobe.

But here is the wrap up from 2011.


6 boxer shorts (these were the christmas presents, so I only managed to get one photo for you all to see. Boxers are so easy to make and they are great for practicing different seam finishes. They are also really fun and easy to personalise because you can choose outrageous or comic fabric, knowing that not many people other than the owner will see them, plus you can find quilting fabric with everything on it, perfect for personal jokes.

2 Laptop sleeves using the Keyka Lou 13″ laptop sleeve pattern.


Colette Macaron – I had to have this pattern once I saw it. I was really upset when I made a muslin and subsequently put the pattern aside for a few months. I finally found a good fabric combo, retraced a smaller size and made up this version. It had sleeves but I must have snipped through the stitching when I was trimming the seam allowance because they completely unraveled the first time the dress went in the washing machine. I took the sleeves off and used white bias binding to finish the sleeves.

Simplicity 2250 Cynthia Rowley – This dress will make your eyes hurt. I completely knocked off the pattern cover version for this one. I omitted the ties on the back because I like sitting down without things digging into me. I also found a place just above the seam allowance on the bodice where I could add extra lenght. From memory I added 1 inch and redrew the darts I interfered with. I didnt include the underlining, just the lining. When I got to try on the bodice I discovered it was way to big so I added a couple more improvised darts in the same manner as the actual pattern (Easy recovery). I get a lot of compliments for this one. I just wish I had added pockets and paid more attention when I was sewing in the back ruffles.

Butterick 5317 – I love this style, but I think it’s the fabric that does it for this particular version. Sadly I havent worn this dress yet.

Colette Peony – This is the Peony bodice. I had to change the skirt to accommodate the fabric border. I had the common problem of needing to redraft the front bodice darts, but that was simple. I was really impressed with the potential of this pattern, I think its a great wardrobe staple. The first time I wore this my hand sewn zipper ripped away from the dress, luckly I was wearing a jacket. It did a bit of damage to the fabric, but I managed to save it and I quicly resewed the zipper using my machine. And thats my wardrobe malfunction for 2011 – I dont think the people I was with even noticed.

Vogue 1161 – I love this dress – and I get heaps of complements wearing it. If you like this pattern don’t let the skirt pieces of keyhole deter you – it’s not difficult, it just looks impressive. For the record this dress has a hand sewn zipper that works and looks beautiful.

Vogue 8685 – I made this one from a silk jersey I purchased from eBay. The dress came together nicely and the top stitching adds a really nice detail. I didn’t add a zipper to this one as I found I could get in and out of it without one. It looks a bit lumpy on my model but in real life its the perfect fit, not too clingy or hugging. I really wish I had gone down a bust size and will remember to do that if I ever make this one again.

McCall 6069 – This pattern was really easy to construct. I used a vintage knit from eBay and had a go at matching the stripes down the side. This dress had a lot of wear during winter, its perfect with a cardigan and leggings. The construction was really easy and there were no sizing surprises.

And the rest …

  • 1 Bolero,
  • 1 Salme cropped blazer,
  • 6 skirts including two Sewaholic Crescent’s,
  • 4 more dresses,
  • 1 Wine tote,
  • 2 Pyjama Pants,
  • 2 Pyjama Shorts,
  • Pattern Runway Scalloped hem shorts,
  • Sewaholic Pendrall top,
  • 1 quilted bedside table mat/cover (own design)
  • a self drafted tote bag and
  • a Keyka Lou curved clutch.

That’s close to 40 items … no wonder I feel like I’ve improved. Im sure at least some of these will be shown off during me-made May.

I’m sure that there are more, that I don’t like, don’t wear or have forgotten. There were also a few fails and dresses that didn’t survive the wash very well.

It seems reasonable to me to put in the time and effort to make something because I’ve been really impressed with the way that sewing allows you to fit, alter and tailor in a way which you can’t do with ready to wear. Even the simple process for adding length to the bodice of a dress and grading between sizes according to my curves has changed how comfortable I am in the clothes I wear. The satisfaction that you get from wearing something you made and the assurance of quality (most of the time) are worth continuing to pursue sewing.

So that’s where 2011 went…

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Filed under Dress, Finished Object, New Skills, Sewing for Others, Skirt, Top

Finished Project – The Knitting Project Bag

I recently finished a bag for my mum’s birthday. I though she needed something nice to keep her projects in.

I used the Keyka Lou Belted tote bag pattern, some japanese cotton for the shell and a black drill for the belt, straps and interior. The button was from my stash. I’m the biggest fan of Keyka Lou patterns and this one is no exception.

Instead of using a strip of fabric for the belt I used a wide bias binding because I thought the bag would look better if I could ensure that the belt was even and I can’t be relied on to cut straight.

I would definitely recommend Keyka Lou patterns to anyone interested in an easy but well finished bag, clutch, purse or wallet.

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Finished Project – Men’s Shorts

This pattern was made by sacrificing a pair of RTW shorts.

Most of the problems that I encountered with these shorts came from the length of time I took between cutting and sewing them up, during which I forgot how wide I had cut the seam allowance.

The leg lengths are even I promise, it’s just the way they are positioned.

These guys include:

  • My first attempt at a fly front zipper.
  • A single welt back pocket and two side pockets.
  • Flat felled and bias bound seams as well as some I just hit with the zig zag stitch.

I’m particularly pleased with the way I managed to neatly join the waist band to the shorts at the centre front. I’ve never tried a zipper that ends in a button but it went together really easily, especially compared to the amount of times I redid the fly front.

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Finished Project – Macaron

I made this sleeveless Colette Macaron with some navy twill and some lace I saved off a sad-looking dress I purchased a few years ago. I made my own bias strips for the arm and neck holes and cut a half circle skirt to fit the bodice.

To make the skirt I folded my fabric in half, I measured from the corner down to where I though the width of the fabric would be approximately half the width of the bodice (remember its folded). With a little trial and error I found the right spot. I  marked the top curve out the from there I added the lenght that I wanted the skirt.

I’m really pleased with how this one turned out and I love the shape of it. The only thing im disappointed about is the stretch that the lace gets in it after time – this means the back of the bodice is a little bit too big for my liking. A clever person would have factored this into the pattern. But it is definitely still wearable.

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2012 Sewing goals

I’m well aware of the date – but better late than never – I have a number of sewing goals for 2012.

Me-Made-May brought to you by So Zoe – I see this as a chance to document my clothing and to see how my style is developing as a build more of a hand-made wardrobe. The idea seems to be to wear at least one hand-made item of clothing a day and then photograph yourself in it.

Sew weekly participation – I’m planning on keeping the challenge themes in mind when selecting my next projects. I think the idea of sewing weekly is something that most sewists aspire to/dream of. I’m aiming to match one project a month with the sew weekly theme – Starting with the ‘down under’ theme this week.

Tessuti Dress Making Competition – I think the theme is released around April – So I will have to wait until then to see what the organisers choose for the theme.

Sewing by the Book. I have Twinkle Sew, the Colette Book and the Burda Style book that are easy to overlook because they don’t sit with my paper patterns. In an effort to use these resources I’m going to work through one project a month.

  1. Next Big Thing dress – Twinkle Sew
  2. Meringue Skirt – Colette
  3. Pastille – Colette
  4. White Magic Tunic – Twinkle Sew
  5. A plus A line – Twinkle Sew
  6. Take Manhattan Tunic – Twinke Sew
  7. Coat – Burda
  8. Licorice Dress – Colette
  9. Bag – Burda
  10. Blouse – Burda
  11. Dress – Burda
  12. Carnival Dress – Twinkle Sew

The Couture Dress Craftsy Course – Susan Khalje has just released a Craftsy Course which looks like a lot of fun.

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Filed under Me-Made-May, Sew Weekly, Sewing by the Book, Sewing Goals


Hello World.

I have finally decided to document my sewing adventures in a blog, this blog to be specific.

I made a number of presents for family members this Christmas and I didn’t take any photos!!! So I’ve decided I need a permanent place to record my sewing projects. Trying to make a list of things I’ve made in 2011 without them in front of me has confirmed that it might be a good idea to keep a reminder for myself.

I hope this blog becomes a place where I can track progress and plan projects, and maybe help someone else out along the way. I think the online sewing community is a really valuable tool for beginners and experienced sewers alike.

I hope you enjoy seeing my creations as much as I enjoy making and wearing them.

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