Monday, 30 November 2015


To start with: I need to admit that this shirt came about through the purchase of a fast-fashion, RTW shirt from Topshop.

A few months ago I found myself in desperate need of a white shirt at short notice. After coming to the conclusion that it wouldn’t be possible to whip one up myself in the timeframe I had, I relented and purchased one from said chain store. While feeling slightly let down with myself (what happened to my no fast fashion goal?) it did set me on a journey of many shirts.

I kind of fell in love with my Topshop shirt. It filled a white-shirt-sized gap I didn’t realise I had in my wardrobe and I wore it frequently. At least until the fabric started pilling six weeks in and it started to look a little sad.

To cut a long story short, I didn’t realise the extent that white shirts (or rather tailored, collared shirts in general) fitted with my style and this has set me on course to creating my own pattern that I can use as a base for a variety of different shirts.

This particular shirt was made straight from the shirt pattern in Winifred Aldrich’s Metric Pattern Cutting. I intended to make up a wearable muslin simply because there’s a fair amount of work involved in sewing a shirt (collar, stand, placket anyone?) and it seemed silly to spend that time on a garment that has no wearability at all. Instead, I thought I’d take my chances and use a proper shirting fabric and hope it turned out wearable in some sense.

And it actually turned out pretty well.

The fabric is a cotton from the Fabric Store, and it’s the perfect weight for what I was wanting. It’s not super thin or flimsy and it crisps up well after a good pressing. It’s also got enough body to hang away from my body and not drape too much.


I pretty well followed the pattern instructions in the book, and only made a few adjustments. 

I omitted the yoke as I couldn’t be bothered with one for a muslin and I didn’t think it was all that necessary. There is a little bit of bagging around the shoulders/ back of the neck, but I can’t tell if that’s related to the lack of yoke or a problem with the neckline depth.

I drew my own collar shape, which is slightly pointier than I was intending but I’m still happy with it.

I directly copied the breast pockets from the Topshop garment. I think that most shirts need detail on the front somewhere to add interest and compliment the collar and it looked strange without pockets. This is also helpful in averting any problems with see-through fabric!

I made a pattern for the cuffs, but didn’t end up using it. During the trying-on stage, I decided that the sleeves were too full to be pleated into a cuff without looking puffy and unflattering , and to be happy with them I would have to draft a slimmer sleeve. However, I really liked the look of them uncuffed and at the length that they were, so I set about doing a super narrow hem to keep them this way. I think this adds a real point of difference to most of the RTW shirts I’ve seen and the sleeves are one of my favourite parts of the shirt.


This shirt is one of my first attempts at a decent collar and some tailoring; besides my Alder shirtdress I’ve never really delved much into that side of sewing. I was kind of gung ho when I started this, but it turned out pretty well. I’m not sure I’m doing this tailoring business right, I’m kind of winging it, but I think these skills will improve as I make more shirts.

I decided early on that if I wanted this to pass as a proper garment then French seams were important. I’ve sewn them on a few garments in the past so they were no real issue. While I did have a minor freak out when I thought the sleeves wouldn’t fit into the armscye, a lot of pins helped me realise that they actually would!

Next time

The collar on this shirt is not perfect. I’m happy with the general size of it, but I think I’ll make it with a slightly shallower point next time. It also overlaps by a few millimetres  at the centre front. I think this is down to a double up of seam allowances or something similar when I was tracing the pattern, but it’s easily remedied next time.


I wear this shirt All. The. Time. It fits in really well into my wardrobe; I usually pair it with culottes or the black skirt pictured above, but it also works well under a corduroy Sway dress I’ve made. It works in that it’s boxy but not so boxy that it bunches up under other layers or jackets. It’s a winner in my books!

A Journey of Many Shirts

As a wearable muslin, I’m pretty happy with this shirt. I’ve since made up a shirt as part of my Spring Summer ’15 plans (here and here) based on this pattern with a few alterations and it’s turned out well. I have a few more shirts planned for my summer sewing and they’ll all have this pattern as a base. I’ve christened this the Journey of Many Shirts.

Until next time!

Monday, 9 November 2015



1. 2. 3.
Twenty-Seven Names is probably my favourite New Zealand label. I really enjoyed the pictures from their recent fashion week show, especially the heavy use of linen and the neutral colour palette. So here’s my take on it; a simple, linen shirt.

I want a collared shirt with full length cuffed sleeves, a sharp collar, and built from a beige/fawn/grey linen or cotton. I haven’t got a lot of linen in my wardrobe but I really enjoy wearing it. It’ll be good for summer and a less formal shirt option.


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Following on from the proclamation of love in Part 1 for twin-sets, here’s the second one I’ve planned for summer. This one’s going to be a little more ‘going out’ than the first – it’s going to be made from a beautiful black duchess silk satin with a contrast trim. The trim is a tencel from memory – it’s almost a faux reptile/scale look fabric. I want the silk to be the star of the show but feel it might need some accenting.

Pattern-wise, I’m planning on a raglan tee pattern (I have one that I drafted a few months back) and my usual culottes pattern.


This idea is one that’s been knocking around my head for a couple of years. It’s inspired by a Cheap Monday jumper I saw in a Melbourne boutique early last year. In a nutshell: a jumper with organza inserts in the sleeves and waist with ribbed cuffs and neckline. I have all the fabric I need for this but it’s been in planning for so long that it’s hardly top of the to-sew list. It’s one of those really drawn out projects that’ll come into fruition eventually.


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This is again a case of snapping up amazing fabric and matching it to a good pattern. I picked up some great textured wool/metallic fabric (here’s a pic) from the Fabric Store in one of their big sales and pretty quickly earmarked it as a bomber jacket. Of course a Rigel bomber jacket. To me the fabric was destined to be a jacket because of its weight and thickness, but it can look a little dull from a distance, so I’ve gone with a modern shape to counter this.


1. 2. 3.

Aside from shirts, shorts, and dresses, I think every summer wardrobe needs some decent sleepwear! I was completely ecstatic with my first pair of Carolyn Pajamas so I’ve planned a summer set. I picked up some Liberty lawn (this design) when I was in London and it’s intended for a lightweight piped pair. Still tossing up between white or navy piping.


While these ideas aren’t all that likely to be realised given my sewing schedule, I’d also like to work a bit more with the knot dress pattern I made last year, and make it up in another fabric (denim? Sateen? Chambray?) or turn it into a jumpsuit. I’ve pretended the dress is a jumpsuit in the mirror more than once (who else does this with their dresses??) and it looks really cool, so if I have any spare sewing time this is an option.


I haven’t made any solid plans for it, but I suspect at some stage I’ll whizz up a sway dress or two in a chambray or denim. I’ve made this pattern up a few times in corduroy and it’s great (and perfect for summer).

Also, while I’ve been pretty successful at ignoring them, there is a small pile of ufos that needs some attention. Ahem.


So there you have it. My sewing plans for the hot seasons. I can't promise these will all get completed as I change my sewing list priorities often but they're currently front and centre of my sewing thoughts. I have completed one of the shirts from the Part 1 post and am currently working on the bomber jacket in this post so I am making progress!

Until next time...

Friday, 30 October 2015


Better late than never right?! Yes, spring is two-thirds gone and yes, there’s only four more months until Autumn (a bleak thought), but here’s part one of my inspiration and sewing plans for the hot seasons. I’ve been loving the seasonal sewing plans popping up and thought I’d get involved, starting with my Pinterest. I’m also hoping that by putting my ideas and plans on here I’ll be more compelled to try and get them finished and cross them off the list. I’m somewhat doubtful that I’ll sew all of these garments, as I’m terrible (or good?) at bumping new ideas and patterns up the to-sew list, but they’re certainly a good starting point and give me something to aim for.

Without further ado  . . .


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I’ve recently re-discovered collared shirts and I’m loving them. I instantly feel ten times more put together once I put one on so I’m planning on making a few for the spring/summer. I made up a white cotton shirt using Winifred Aldrich’s Metric Pattern Cutting book a couple of weeks ago and it turned out really well. It was a bit more full in the sleeves than I liked so I omitted the cuffs to save it from being too puffy (I’ll deal with mastering cuffs later in the season).

I’m planning to use this pattern to make a cropped cotton shirt but with contrasting pockets so it’s a little different. I have a small amount of this purple leather stashed away which is a contender for the pockets but I could also just use a patterned fabric depending on the weight of the cotton I end up using. I’m planning a crisp collar and a boxy shape.


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Do I even need to explain the inspiration behind this? Ever since Alexa Chung released that collection of denim minis and A-lines, button-up skirts seem to be in the window of every high street shop I walk past, so I guess I’m just jumping on the bandwagon. In truth, I brought this mustard corduroy at the start of the year and earmarked it for something 70s-ish. (Obviously. What else does one use mustard corduroy for?? ). I had in mind a plain A-line with an exposed metal zip, but I like the look of buttons/domes so I’ll go with that.

To ensure it’s not too run-of-the-mill I might jazz it up a bit by putting the buttons off centre or adding contrast panels to the sides (I have some matching aubergine corduroy in my stash).

I have a self-made pattern that I could easily alter to use for this but the release of Pauline Alice’s Rosari skirt pattern recently seemed like a sign, and it’ll save time fiddling around trying to perfect my one.


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Twin-sets. Matching separates. Co-ords. Whatever you want to call them, you have to agree they are pretty good. I made my first set around a year ago and I’ve made two or three since then. This one is probably my favourite. The idea behind this outfit is more about showcasing the fabric than using the fabric as a means to realise the design’s shape and form.

When I saw this fabric at the Fabric Store I immediately fell in love with it and snapped up the last 1.3 metres. It’s lovely and textured and I decided almost as soon as I brought it to make it into a twin set because there’s not enough fabric to do too much with it. I also considered a Rigel bomber but wanted to do something a bit different. I’m intending to do the bottoms up as a skort. I often make culottes as I’m pleased with the pattern I have, but want to mix it up a bit, so I’m going to use this pattern and put a faux wrap layer on top.


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This next idea was also primarily inspired by the fabric. I saw this dotty linen/cotton at the Fabric Store and couldn’t picture it as anything besides a collared shirt. I’m not certain how I want the hemline to be yet, I’ll make it up and then decide, but I’m going for a boxy shape with loose sleeves for those hot summer days!


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Every summer wardrobe needs a decent pair of shorts and here’s my intended pair. I’m into high-waisted things (as they suit my body shape best) but nothing too tight-fitting so I figured that the pleated, safari short is my best bet. I’m initially after a black pair as they’ll fit best into my wardrobe, and depending on how those turn out I will probably end up with a denim pair too. Fabric-wise, I’m tossing up between a soft black denim or a thick-ish sateen. Either way I’m thinking cotton with a bit of body.

Monday, 5 October 2015


Hello again! I'm back after a decent hiatus and getting ready to start blogging again.

I started off with a bang at the start of the year, but here we are in October and it's been seven months since I lasted posted. In that time both Autumn and Winter have been and gone as has a trip to Europe. 

And the blog got neglected.

In march I got bogged down in a couple of complicated projects and when I resurfaced it was cold and miserable and not the type of climate suited to photographing anything but 
warm winter coats. By this stage my focus shifted to planning and organising a trip to Europe and cranking out as many summery items as possible (i.e. a lot of Scout tees), also not suited to being photographed on cold winter days. 

Long story short, the 'Law of Diminishing Intent' has been proven and here we are.

I have heaps of makes to share and am looking to put together a post on Spring wardrobe ideas and goals soon.

In the meantime, here's a sneak peak of some things I'm currently working on!

Thursday, 26 February 2015


Firstly, can I just say I never imagined photographing myself in my pajamas and then posting said photos to the internet. But, then again, I’ve never had pajamas as snazzy as this. My prior sleeping attire consisted almost entirely of band tee shirts. So it was very exciting when Heather released her Carolyn Pajama pattern, and excellent timing as I’d just moved to Wellington, which has a decidedly colder climate than I’m used to, and requires warmer sleepwear.


I love this pattern. I like the different options it gives, and it’s classic with a really nice shape to it. 
And then there’s the piping! Phwoar!

I chose to make the long sleeved top with shorts and I’m tempted to also make a matching pair of pants for when it gets colder.

I found the pattern to run a little on the small side, but to be fair I do have a peculiar pear-shaped body. I used the measurement chart and cut the top in a size 6 and initially cut out the shorts pattern in a size 8. I made the top up first and it fitted nicely across the shoulder but was a little tight across the hips so I narrowed the seam to 5mm from the waist to hem on the side seams. I then got a little nervous about using an 8 for the shorts so recut the pattern as a size 12. When I made these up they were a bit tight so I narrowed the seams as much as possible at the side, centre back, and crotch seams. They’re still a little more snug than I’d like but I’m pretty happy with the fit.

Other alterations I made were to lengthen the shorts by 1cm and I added piping to the pocket edge. I’m still tossing up about whether or not to add three buttons to the faux fly (read: I will when I can be bothered).

I toyed with shortening the cuffs as they cover most of my hands, but I’m glad I didn’t. They’ve got a cosy pajama vibe. However, if I was to make an outside-wear version I think I would shorten them.


This was my first time working with piping and I’m really pleased with the results. I ended up making around six metres of piping, which involved a few fabric strips cut on the bias (not fun) and initially my stitching line was miles from the piping cord. Once I stitched it to the fabric however, it came out ok. There are a couple of places where it’s not totally pucker-free but it’s not really noticeable.

The topstitching around the piping looks pretty puckered and a bit shonky in these photos but I’m attributing that to that fact they’d just come out of the dryer when I took these photos and they may have shrunk slightly. I’ve since worn them and they’ve gone back to normal!


The fabric is an almost-brushed cotton from the Fabric Store. I snapped it up when they had 50% off so I think it was down to $10 a metre. It’s lovely and warm and I love navy so it was ideal for my needs. I looked at white piping but in the end decided on pink. I got the piping fabric and cord from Spotlight. The fabric is a cheap poly satin but it keeps snagging on everything so next time I might go with a cotton for the piping.

Next time:

-          I will go up a size for the shorts and add 1cm onto the side seam of the top so the fit is spot on
-          Lengthen the shorts by a centimetre or two
-          Maybe raise the top buttonhole by an inch. I have no bust to speak of so the neckline's a little low for me (and yes, I should have checked this before sewing my buttonholes)
-          I considered monogramming my initials onto the pockets in pink after I made the top up. I decided against it though, because I thought it may look a bit cramped with the pocket being split into two parts. Next time I’ll omit the piping and maybe have it along the outside of the pocket instead to frame the monogramming.
-          When summer next rolls around - in approximately nine whole months - I’m definitely making a silk pair. Pale pink with navy piping? Printed crepe de chine? I’m getting excited already...


I desperately need another pair already so I can stop wearing these so often! They’re lovely and warm and look too nice to just be wearing to bed. I’m certainly tempted by Heather’s suggestion to make a silk set for outside wear. Or I was thinking of making the collar point a bit more square to lessen to pajama connotations and making the top into a blouse. Either way, this project has made me realise I need more piping in my life! I am a little worried I’ll end up looking like an extra in a cowboy movie. I guess white with black piping is a good start? And omitting any fringing and yoke will certainly help! 

As a coincidence, a few days after I finished my pair, I stumbled across this set from NZ label Lonely Hearts. They are amazing but cost a small fortune ($415). Admittedly, I felt rather smug when I totalled mine at a mere $35 (yay for handmade stuff and the $$ saved). I may just keep a sneaky eye out for a similar floral print for the future though, it makes for quite a different look.

UPDATE: Lonely have done a navy set very similar to mine, they used cream piping though. In my opinion, their neckline looks a little too high.  (or am I secretly just envious)

Anyway, I guess this means that for once in my life I’m bang on trend?!

Wednesday, 11 February 2015


Hi everyone!

May I present to you my VISUALLY LOUD TWO-PIECE.

I was totally enamoured with Sophie’s two piece outfits last year as well as all the fab ones she inspired. So here’s my addition to the Two-Piece Set-Acular club! Better late than never, right?!


This fabric is amazing. It’s a thick-ish textured linen-cotton mix from the Fabric Store.  It’s incredibly comfortable to wear and just the right combination of soft and thick. The cotton content has more or less eliminated crinkles.

Then there’s the fabric’s  pattern - which can speak for itself (and in quite a loud voice!). My favourite twin-sets to come out of Sophie’s campaign were the patterned, bright ones. (I made another twin-set a few weeks ago from a plain navy linen but it’s just not as effective - it’s missing some ‘oomph’.) 

I got this particular linen about a month ago in some mail samples for another project, but it wasn’t right for that project. The idea of a twin set recently re-entered my consciousness and, hey presto, it was perfect.

In hindsight  - perfect twin-set fabric . Now all I want is this weight and texture in solid colours .

Pattern matching

I was wary of being swamped by the busy pattern, so from the outset decided to position my pattern symmetrically to add a focal point to the garments . I ensured that I cut each piece of the front and back of the shorts as a mirror image of the other front or back piece – that way when I sewed the pleat in the middle of the culottes it would match! However, had I been concentrating a bit more carefully I would have matched the side seams. I got distracted by the whole mirror image thing and didn’t realise that I could easily have cut the front and back identically so it matched at the sides as well! 

Ahh well, I guess pattern matching does that to you.


The top pattern is Grainline Studio’s scout tee. I’ve made heaps of these and haven’t made any major adjustments to the pattern. For this I just cropped it and raised the neckline by 1cm.
The bottoms are a pair of culottes of my own pattern. It’s based on a culottes pattern in Winifred Aldrich’s book Metric Pattern Cutting which turns the skirt block into shorts and adds fullness to the front of the pattern - which is pleated to hide the short legs and make it look like a skirt. I’ve made this pattern a few times over summer and I’m quite fond of it. I’m not much of a shorts girl and culottes are a good compromise for me. I’m still quite unsure whether or not it’s a flattering shape for me but I’ve entered a culottes phase and there’s no turning back!


This was lovely fabric to work with. I’ve made both the top and culottes before so whizzed through the sewing of them. I think all up it took me around a day of sewing to put together.

Yay vs nay


  • The fabric! Say no more
  • I think my pattern matching/making it symmetric worked well and draws the eye
  • I can wear both pieces with other (plain) garments without it looking strange – I can either go full pattern or wear it by halves.


  • There's been no real negatives in my wearing so far!


This is a fun outfit to wear!

I lived in it for the first week after I made it, until I realised that the loud nature of the fabric made it pretty obvious to people the frequency I was wearing it! It’s super comfortable, and the fabric holds its shape nicely without being stiff. It is relatively warm given its thickness but it’s a nice fabric to have against the skin - yay for natural fibres!

It is a bit of a change for me to wear such a bold pattern, particularly a whole outfit of it, but I’m finding black and white a good place to start. I’ve just finished another twin-set - a pastel floral number - and I keep visualising what else I can turn into a twin-set from my stash.

Twin-set ideas

I delved deep into the world of twin-sets (and by that I mean Pintrest) when I was looking for ideas re pattern and shape, and here's some of my favourites:

How good is that Kirsten Dunst one?!?
Source: all from Pintrest

So many great ideas!
Source: all from 
More over on my Pintrest

I'm now scheming about all the different variations I could do - winter, summer, pastel, trimmed, tailored, a blazer - so I guess have the twin-set bug!