Brisbane sewing meet up

ImageOn Sunday a few sewing ladies met up for the first time at the Brisbane Marriott and very much enjoyed chatting, nibbling daintily on high tea, and swapping sewing goodies.

It was great to put IRL faces to blogs and to now have the links to many other blogs :)

Everyone looked fabulous of course! So many gorgeous dresses.


ImageHere are the patterns and fabric I brought home. I’m thinking I will try and squeeze a dress out of the white and multi-colour fabric and some tops out of the black and white knit.

ImageThanks to Lizzie and Marjorie for organising! And thanks to everyone for making it such a great day.


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Make-up bag


How is it that I don’t own a make-up bag already? 

With impending travel it was time to get sewing. I found this fabric at Spotlight ages ago and always intended it to be a make-up bag. It is a printed, woven cotton that has been covered in some sort of clear, waterproof stuff. Pink is not normally my thing but there was a limited selection of prints/colours. And anyway, I like to venture outside my usual colour favourites when I’m not going to actually wear the thing.

I decided to include a front pocket so as to have a separate section to put brushes. The main part is lined with the same fabric. I also decided to make it flat so that it will only take up as much space as what is inside it, rather than having body itself.

Don’t you just love the zipper pulls? They are my favourite thing for bags at the moment. To attach them you have to cut off the zipper pull already on the zip with some side cutters and then just clip in the new ones. 

Err… not much else to say about this. It was just a simple, quick make to serve a purpose. It just happens to be very cute while it serves its purpose. 


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Daytime ensemble for travel



A couple of years ago there was a Valentino exhibition in Brisbane. All the information sheets for the outfits said either “daytime ensemble” or “evening ensemble”. The phrase stuck, I love it, it sounds so grand, and now here is my modest ensemble. Two separates designed to wear together and to work with my shoes. 

We are going travelling soon and the first thing I thought of was my wardrobe and how most of my clothes need ironing which would annoy me if I took them travelling. So to the sewing machine. 




The top is actually just a purchased singlet that I added the ruffle thingy to. A quick way to make a top more interesting. The skirt is a wrap skirt and my very first vintage make. My guess from looking at the illustration is 70s. I found it in an op-shop ages ago and bought it for the novelty factor not thinking I would actually make it. 

I’m so converted to wrap skirts now. No fitting! After just holding the paper pattern pieces up to my body I decided it didn’t need any alterations for fit. The only thing I changed was the length and the way the waistband secured. The pattern is for a D ring but I decided to make the waistband much longer and put in a buttonhole to put the tie through and a couple of belt loops to keep it all neat. Normally I wouldn’t go for the pocket but decided that actually it is pretty cool and handy.

It was so simple to sew up. Though the pattern instructions included unpicking! Since when is that a plan? Anyways, I know how to do it differently for next time now. And there is definately going to be a next time. For some reason I had no idea that a skirt sitting at my natural waist would suit me so well. Encouraged by this skirt I’ve already bought the most gorgeous, good quality, textured cotton in navy with large white dots.

This fabric is a polyester and viscose gabardine. Yes, I know that I’ve previously bagged this same gabardine but I realised that the problem is me, not the fabric. I was treating it like cotton and getting cranky that it didn’t behave. But after turning the heat down on the iron and not pressing like a fiend I’ve made friends with this fabric. Which is handy as my local fabric store always has heaps in stock in a huge range of colours. It is great for skirts/bottoms that hardly crease, dry quickly, and still manage to feel comfy like a cotton. 

I bumped my husband’s shirt to make these outfits before we travel, but now that they’re finished I have no excuses but to go back to finishing his shirt. Sigh – I just want to make more things for me ;)

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Slouchy shirt



And a close up:






New favourite shirt. I hardly have any button ups (just one other) but have decided they are great. I was going to make an Archer for the first time but then decided that I could make a pattern myself by copying my other button up shirt. It had a collar, collar stand and cuffs but I decided to leave those out as I wanted this to be an easy make. Trying to copy collars and collar stands from an existing shirt is a recipe for frustration (how do I know that?). It was really easy to copy the front and back bodice. I didn’t even attempt to copy the sleeve but just adjusted one I already have so that it fitted the arm-scythe. The placket is actually just done as a facing turned to the right side – so easy to make the pattern and so easy to sew.

The fabric is a foil printed cotton on sale from The Fabric Store for about $9 p/m so this cost about $14.  It feels like a normal soft cotton on the inside and weird crunchy feel on the outside. Of course being cotton it creases heaps and the shine makes that show (as the photos attest too). But for some reason I think a few creases suits this top. I’m loving it lots and have ideas for making more. Though next time I will either make the V neck much lower or much higher. Despite making a muslin somehow I ended up getting the point of the V at a really weird place. Oh well. Also I think I made the sleeve tabs too long. All things I could alter if I want but I’m just not in the mood for that at the moment. Maybe later. 


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1927 sewing patterns


Check out this magazine I found at Paddington Antique Centre!

IMGP2677IMGP2671IMGP2672IMGP2673IMGP2676IMGP2675IMGP2680This advertisement has what I think is the funkiest outfit that would be very wearable today.



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A dress for going to the ballet

green silk dress - resizeWe were lucky enough to see the Australian ballet perform Manon at Queensland Performing Arts Centre last night (spectacular!). So this dress was dragged out. I made it about 8 years ago to wear to a church wedding – see original below. Because I just can’t leave alone I decided it needed altering. I made the skirt more straight line and more fitted around the hips which was easy with all those seams being a Princess line. Then I hand stitched the sequin band to the hem and made a sequin belt. The sequins came as a stretchy band so the belt is really comfortable :)

I wish I had taken my camera to the ballet rather than relying on a phone so that the photo was a decent size so you could see it a bit better. I tried resizing it up but lost too much clarity :(


The fabric is a dark green silk duponi. When I was altering it I was able to see evidence of how far my dressmaking skills have come in the last 8 years. The biggest thing I noticed is that I didn’t cut it exactly on the straight grain as at that time I hadn’t worked out how vitally important it is. These days I’m there with a tape measure getting all the pattern pieces exactly on the straight grain and it totally pays dividends. Also when it came back from the dry cleaners years ago they had pressed all the seams of course and they were visible as lumpy ridges as I had overlocked them. Ugg. I thought it was ruined and didn’t wear it for ages. But my recent purchase and discovery of the wonders of pinking shears gave me the idea of trimming back all the seams. And all the lumps pressed out. Phew!


The pattern is one of my essential basics that I use over and over for an excellent fitting shift dress. Being Princess seams it is easy to get a perfect fit. In this version I omitted the pockets and made the pleats at the neckline which were in fashion at the time, but not so much now.

This version is fully lined with a really light weight cotton as I don’t like slippery lining on fitted clothes. It feels so comfy to wear. The wedding I went to in the above picture was during the hottest time of the year and we were all sweltering. I was thankful for cotton lining rather than synthetic to help me feel and look fresh.

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Two tone fit and flare dress



The second ‘Avignon Dress’.

This shape has been an experiment for me as I haven’t worn anything similar before. And I’m still not sure about it. The original ‘Avignon Dress’ seems to suit me more as the fabric of the skirt has more drape so it isn’t as boofy around my bottom as this one.

It does get me thinking about the ‘perfect’ dress for my shape. After I finish the next project I’ve already started on I might just work on that more.



The top part is a cotton that I bought intending to make a sleeveless top. But I didn’t pay much attention and didn’t buy enough as it was only 100cm wide. Hence why I went with the different fabric for the back and made a yoke to visually link it with the front… and use up as much of the fabric as I could.

The skirt fabric is from about 3m of new fabric I found in an op-shop. I behaves like a polyester but has the feel of a stiff, woven cotton.

I really struggled with some parts of the construction in this one (read: lots of unpicking). Although I spent ages lining up the pattern for the centre front it didn’t work. After unpicking and trying again several times I gave up and put in the placket instead so that it didn’t have to line up as much. Even then I managed to stuff that up the first time and had to redo it. Luckily it still turned out ok.

Err… not much else to say about this dress really that I haven’t already said when I made the first version of this dress. I’m not in love with it like I am the first one, but that’s ok I’m already onto my next project which I’m excited about…

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