Sew Gorgeous; good old fashioned fun - sewing workshops and parties

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Colette Laurel aka the only shift dress pattern you'll ever need

Pattern Deets:

Colette Laurel


Who doesn’t love a shift dress? They are the perfect project – super easy to whip up, flattering in that they hide what needs to be hidden but dressy enough for you to put on quickly and feel a million bucks!
This pattern is really easy and right on trend and it’s a no brainer why its so popular right now!

I wanted to use this gorgeous cotton lace over a colour for a bit of interest (pink of course!) so I used an underlay technique rather than finishing the armholes and neckline with binding. Due to the overlay it was important to keep my seam allowances short so they aren't something that is seen through the cotton lace.
I removed the zip at the back for this particular dress as I didn’t want to try and line up the patterns on the cotton lace overlay, and to ensure I could still get the dress over my head I lowered the back neckline slightly.
Due to the cotton lace I also removed the back darts which made it so easy to sew up! It was probably only 20 minutes on the machine! 

Back view - no zip

Wrap it up!
Everyone should have this pattern in their stash – I’ve made it so many times and each time its so easy to make it look a bit different – length of sleeves, type of fabric, pockets and length of dress all contribute to making this a super versatile pattern. Every time I wear one of my Laurel’s I get so many complimentary comments!

Here is the gorgeous Pam in one of her Laurel creations - just to show you how different this pattern can look!

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Burda 7252 aka this skirt Rock's….

Pattern Deets:

Burda 7252 pencil skirt


This is THE most amazing skirt I’ve ever made.. hands down! I don’t wear high waisted garments very often as for me it enhances areas I don’t want enhanced, but this skirts shape skims and flatters. The pleat, shaped waistband and double darts at the back gives this piece something really different.
Also, the welt pockets at the front are real – who doesn’t love a pocket?
I don't know if its because I didn't have the instructions but I do think there could be a better way for the zip insertion…. It seems very complex and a little messy….

I don’t have the instructions for this skirt as I traced it from a friend who is lucky enough to be living in New York now so I followed the directions from this amazing blog:
I used a contrasting fabric for the welt pockets as well as the back pleat which for me, really makes it.

Wrap it up!
I would definitely tell others to sew this at least once! It’s a sexy skirt that has potential to be worn on various occasions. I don’t personally have many opportunities to wear this one but I do love it and think its totally verstatile – dressed for the day with a stretch top and dressed up with a pussy bow blouse… oh! I’d better rush off and find myself a pussy blouse pattern!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Vintage Vogue 2787

My finished Garment
The pattern envelope

Pattern Deets:

Vintage Vogue 2787


Where to start? This dress is just so super vintage gorgeousness from top to bottom! The curved bodice/skirt seam is really flattering and gathering at the shoulders and waist give it a unique look.  
I made this dress for a Mother of the Groom client who fell in love with the pattern and an amazing colourful chiffon but was a little nervous about sewing it herself (with good reason!).

Curved bodice seam

The neckline is REALLY high, for this dress I lowered it by two inches at the front and an inch at the back. The pattern calls for a  back zip as well as a side zip, but I omitted the side zip and added a longer invisible zip.

I also underlined the whole dress with a pink silk  as the chiffon was too sheer to work on its own.

Would you sew it again? And tell others to?
Sewing this dress in chiffon is definitely not for the faint hearted that’s for sure! While sewing it I did often wonder how it would look in a thicker fabric or even a cotton and I think it would work well. I love the different drafting techniques and even the curved bodice seam (which is topstitched!) wasn’t too hard to get finished to a standard I was happy with.

Wrap it up!
I really love this pattern – it is a really different style that has a true vintage class to it.
Made in different fabrics it could have totally different feels/looks to it and I think it’s a great pattern that you could potentially make again and again!

The happy client wearing it 

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Simplicity 2444 aka the Lady Dress

Pattern Deets:

Simplicity 2444


I love the cape collar– it gives it a genuine vintage feel to the dress and for some reasons makes me feel like a lady!
I personally prefer a more fitted bodice than this one, I do like the point of difference of diagonal darts and they do give a cute line to the dress.
The skirt has way too much fabric for me and without a petticoat the pleats hang very limply.

There seems to be a drafting issue with the diagonal darts. I had to do a lot of messing around to get them to line up correctly with the skirt pleats.
I found the skirt very bulky and I ended up taking the skirt in quite a lot and removed the pockets while I was there. The pockets were hidden in the side seam but they gaped on my skirt.

Would you sew it again? And tell others to?

Even though this is a really pretty dress I won’t be sewing it again. I don’t have the need for two vintage party dresses like this and have other patterns that I prefer more. I would tell others to give it a go if they had the need for it (and the skills to work out what’s happening with the darts)

Wrap it up!
Pattern drafting issues aside, this is a cute style dress. I think it would suit being made in a stiffer fabric than cotton to ensure the skirt holds it shape, but as the dress uses almost 3 metres of fabric, its probably unlikely you’ll be making it in an expensive fabric which really limits its usability.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Free apron pattern!

I was more than happy to help my dear friend Ingrid from Finesse Cakes with a couple of aprons for her to wear at her market stall recently.
They turned out so super cute that I thought I would post the pattern here so everyone else can look just as stylish when they're baking!

Please note; This pattern is not to be used for resale purposes and if you do make one, I'd LOVE you to post a pic on my Facebook page! (Only one of those statements is legally binding!)

For the main part of the apron:
Cut one piece of fabric on the fold of fabric
42 cms along folded edge
25 cms along the top edge
29 cms along bottom edge
I then cut a curved edge along the bottom of the fabric as I thought it looked cuter

For ruffles/waistband/ties:
Ruffles: Cut three strips of fabric 16cm wide the width of your fabric (115 or 150)
Waistband: Cut one strip of fabric 15cm wide by 49cm long
Ties: Cut two strips 15cm wide by 63cm long

Stitch your three ruffle pieces together at the short edges so you have a really long piece of fabric, fold this in half lengthways and gather the long raw edge (this hides your seam allowances).
I used a rolled hem foot for my aprons, if you have one or have the dedication to do a rolled hem by hand, just half the width of the ruffle.

With right sides facing, adjust the gathers of your ruffle along the sides and bottom of your apron (raw edges matching) and stitch. Edge finish this seam with an overlocker/zig zag stitch or your pinking shears.
Top stitch the seam allowance to the main apron part - this keeps your ruffles turned out as they do have a tendency to fold in.

Gather the top of the apron to fit the waistband - make sure the seams of the waistband and ties are aligned right to the edge of the ruffle edges.
Stitch the waistband to the apron.

This is WITHOUT the ties to show you where to align the edges

Fold your ties in half lengthways and stitch the short edge and the long raw edge until you reach the waistband/ruffle. Be sure to clip the corner of the short edge.

Turn your ties inside out and press. This will have left you with a loose raw edge on the bottom of the waistband - turn this under so it is even with both ties and press. 
Top stitch from the front of the apron to catch the seam allowance and enclose the raw edge.

Voila!! you can now go off and look super adorbs while you bake something delicious.. or you can purchase it elsewhere and pretend to everyone you are superwoman who's hair remains perfect after baking all day.

Sunday, 7 July 2013


While I was in London I took the opportunity to visit the Liberty of London store. I was so excited about this place that I had written it on our 'itinerary' and hubby thought it was some sort of tourist attraction (which it probably is). 
From the moment you turn the corner into the street, this place blows you away. It is the most amazing looking store I've ever seen. 
This beauty is nestled between large boring corporate style buildings so it really stands out.

We all know the fabric is amazing but what surprised me was how amazing the actual store is. There are five levels to the store, all with different themes, around a central mezzanine. The streets around it are so crazy busy and the store itself was pretty busy too but its so full of beautiful things in such a beautiful setting that it's hard to remember you are in modern day London. 
It's also hard to remember that 22 pounds per metre is NOT the same as 22 australian dollars and that you don't need to buy everything in the store.

They had some pretty good specials on precut lengths of fabrics and it was super hard to decide what to buy.  Apart from fabric they have ready to wear clothes made out of their beautiful fabrics as well as ready to wear brands. 
In their bathroom/homewares section you could buy slippers, shower caps and curtains in their prints. My husband had to literally drag me from the store, as it was impossible to walk through it without finding something I NEEDED to buy. 

pre-made bias binding

So what did I buy? keep an eye out on the blog for outfit updates!!!

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

The sewing disaster.....

Have you ever made a mistake when sewing? Have you ever made two? What about when every thing you touch goes wrong? That’s the story of this dress.

It started out like most relationships, we were so in tune, I was blinded by love - Thick pink stripes! A square neckline! Oh be still my beating heart. But somewhere along the line it went so terribly, terribly bad. 

Separately the bodice and skirt were perfect if a little on the big side. I fitted and refitted and pinned and measured and confidently took in my seams and without a refit and I overlocked the seam allowances… mistake number one. Well, actually mistake number two as while I was fitting the pins holding the bodice together at the back had made a secretive and hasty escape, so my ‘needs to come in 2 INCHES’ (how was that not my first warning flag?) was actually ‘needs to come in 1 inch as the back’s not pinned together!’
So, uh huh, the bodice is now too tight… well that’s not the end of the world, I can always make a super small seam for the zip – crisis averted, now let me line up my darts on the skirt to the bodice and stitch that sucker closed. Oh wait, I lined up the centre dart with a side dart…

wonky skirt

After all of this I STILL had high hopes for me in this dress, I could just see myself in it already, dancing, romancing, taking Brisbane by storm! I won’t lie, I was feeling rather frustrated but thought I could still salvage that skirt with a bit of unpicking and repositioning. But you know there’s more coming right? As I was using the super quick (or is that super lazy?) way of unpicking – running the unpicker down the seam between the two pieces of fabric instead of upicking from the wrong side of the fabric – and yip, you guessed it, I cut a hole in the fabric.
The only thing that DID go right...a gorgeous ungathered cap sleeve
And so finally it became clear to me, we were over, before we had really even begun. I don’t like to quit, and I always tell my students not to give up as sometimes a project that’s annoying or looking ugly really comes together in the last couple of seams and can become a favourite item of clothing but its just not going to happen for me and this dress….

The moral of the story? No matter how great at sewing you (think you) are, don’t forget to take your time and  treat every project (no matter how easy you might think it will be) with the attention they all need to become great pieces – a lovely item of clothing isn’t whipped up in an hour.

I loved this fabric – does anyone have any suggestions on what I could do with the pieces of this dress?