Thursday 3 October 2013

I've moved!

Just a quick note that I now have a Domain and have moved to WordPress so that I can be much more interactive. This way you can follow my responses to your comments, plus no Discus or Captcha!
My new address is 
I believe Bloglovin is pointing at the new address but I am not sure how the other readers work, sorry :(  If you are using Feedly or some other kind of reader, please keep following me and point it at the new address.
Thanks for following!

Sunday 29 September 2013

Fall for Cotton: Vintage Shirt-Dress

I have a reasonable size collection of vintage patterns that I seem to admire more than I sew. When I saw that Rochelle and Tasha were holding a Fall for Cotton sewalong and the Monthly Stitch challenge was vintage, well I took the not so subtle hint to make up another of my patterns.

Fall For Cotton

It was definitely difficult to narrow it down but I finally decided on Mail Order Pattern-o-rama 8299, date unknown but has to be 40s I think.  I love me a shirt-dress and really like the button detailing on this one. Plus I already had the fabric and just the right amount of matching buttons in my stash! It was meant to be!

Patt-o-Rama 8299
The sweetheart neckline is cute too

The construction of this was fairly straight forward, although a little unusual by modern standards. The front bodice is sewn together, then the back pieces are sewn together and they are joined at the shoulders. As the back does not have a waist seam, but the front does, it is a little weird to try on at this point at you end up with a back skirt and no front skirt!  I was wanting to check for fit as I had only tissue fitted, I didn't make a muslin. My cotton fabric was cheap at $2/m so I was treating this as a wearable muslin with my effort towards quality of finish varying depending on the fit! (spoiler alert - I was happy with the fit so it has been finished properly)

Fall For Cotton Fall For Cotton

The collar was then attached, followed by the front skirt, side seams and then the sleeves. No zip, the button front is functional unlike my previous vintage shirt-dress.

Most times when you read about vintage patterns people say there is no ease so buy your measurements. However, this pattern is a size 35" pattern and my bust measurement is 37" and it fitted perfectly with no alterations required.  I only shortened the bodice by about one inch and narrowed the shoulders by about an inch as they were pretty wide and likely designed for shoulder pads.


I felt a little bit "Call the Midwife" looking as I made this but made a few changes to try to stop it looking too nurse-uniform like.  The buttons help a lot I think, they are vintage, embroidered and picked up on a trip to Cairns last year for 10 cents each! If only buttons were this reasonably priced!!


I also played with my machine's fancy stitching on the hems of the sleeve and skirt.  I knew I didn't want to hand stitch and I figured if you were going to see the stitching I might as well make it pretty. I know it's not traditionally vintage, but I don't mind, I wasn't going for a completely authentic finish (although I did pink all my seams, mostly because I didn't have matching thread!).

Fall For Cotton

Sorry, I did the buttonholes on my machine :) I know I could have done them by hand, but to be honest, I didn't want to! I really don't like hand-sewing, yep lazy I know, but if my machine does it then why not, and I'm all for efficiency.

I did shorten the skirt by about 5" to a more wearable modern day length.  I think even "back in the day" I would have had to shorten it too, I am only 5'2" after all and besides wouldn't I have had to ration fabric?

BTW - the "pockets" are completely decorative, just flaps!

Fall For Cotton

Pattern - Pattern-o-rama 8299
Fabric - 2.4m of cotton poplin from my stash
Notions -  11 buttons also from my stash (I have one spare in case I lose one!), thread

So that's my Fall for Cotton/Monthly Stitch dress - what about you?  Did you make something for either of these challenges?  If so, share in the comments below, I would love to see!

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Fanbloomintastic Dress

Do you ever go a store and just fall in love with a fabric and just have to have it?  Of course you do, all us sewers do, amirite?  It's part of the process, seeing a fabric, loving it and making the garment of our imaginations.


I came across this fabric in my local Spotlight recently and just had to have it.  I loved the faded red colour, the floral print and the pattern placement. It is a light polished cotton and feels divine to wear.  I know the patter looks a little curtain like, but I don't care!

Again I used good old Simplicity 2444 for the bodice, now that I have the fit perfected for me, this is a nice quick make for me now. I lowered the neckline as I feel this is more flattering for my lady lumps :)


I never seem to bother with the skirt from the pattern so instead this is just a dirndl (gathered rectangle) using twice the full width of the fabric (once for the front, once for the back), gathered and of course with pockets!


One of my favourite things about this pattern is that it doesn't have lots of fancy detailing so the fabric can take be the focus.

This is closer to the real colour

Again, I left off the neck and armhole facings, I really don't like facings, and a bias finish is so much easier if you don't mind seeing a stitching line. This time I used a self-made bias, attaching it so it is visible, basically enclosing the raw edges. I first sewed his to the right side, and then stitched in the ditch to catch in the back.

It's a great dress for meetups too!  I wore it for a recent afternoon tea with fellow bloggers, Steph (also of Cake Patterns), Rachel and Reana.

Picture courtesy of

So now, I am off to play with my new toy!

New Toy!

Yep, I bought a cover stitch machine!!  I have coveted one of these for ages and now I finally have one, oh the fun things I can make now.  I sense a new obsession with stretch fabric in my near future!!

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Floaty Flower Power Banksia

I think this is my fifth Banksia top!!  Previous versions here, herehere and here. So sorry for another of the same pattern, but on the plus side you all get to see how easy it is to change this pattern up for different looks!

Floral Floaty Banksia

Can you just tell I love this pattern?  It is such a great basic for making those wardrobe staples that we all need.  Just to let you in on a bit of a secret, I have about three more currently planned so look out for those in the coming weeks.

This time I had an inspiration to draw from, this lovely top from Ruche. If you haven't seen their site, go check it out, they have some gorgeous stuff, but I think the postage to Australia would be a killer, besides I can copy/mimic right??


So as I said, I used the Megan Nielsen Banksia pattern as my base and made the following alterations:
- placed five pintucks around the neckline.  I didn't compensate by adding any extra width to the neckline as I find the top to be roomy in that area on me anyway and I normally pinch some of this out of the pattern
- sewed mini ric rack over the pintucks and around the collar
- omitted the placket (obviously)
- raised the shoulders by ½"
- reduced width of collar (I have always found this collar to be too large and flappy)
- I didn't need to alter the collar length to make it meet in the middle as the pintucks already took out enough fabric out of the neck opening

Floral Floaty Banksia

The fabric is a viscose from my favourite clothing store, Alannah Hill who make fabulous (but expensive) pretty, girly clothes, but also have a clearance store in Melbourne that sell the fabrics.  Whenever I am in Melbourne I make sure I go there.  This fabric is from last year's haul purchases.

Floral Floaty Banksia

I love getting good value out of a pattern - sort of makes up for the duds doesn't it?

PS - the offer is still there if anyone wants V1247 - free going to a good home?? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday 15 September 2013

Very Vexing Vogue 1247

Things are not always rosy in BusyLizzie-land. Do you ever have an idea in your head and it looks really good, but in reality it is just rubbish. This make is a big, big FAIL!!

Vogue 1247

I have always admired the lovely pattern detail on the top of Vogue 1247, I love the seam detailing on the front and thought it would be an interesting make as well as I thought it would be a nice comfy weekend top with jeans. Well, I was right on one count, it was interesting to make but I think it is the most unflattering thing I have made in ages!! The top is all constructed with french seams and it has a six pattern pieces to the front with diagonal seaming detail as well as shoulder pleating.

Vogue 1247

I think my biggest problem with it is how boxy it is. It is supposed to fall from my shoulders, but I think because my shoulders are narrower than the rest of my body, the concept of the design really didn't work. It just kinda looks blergh :( 
Vogue 1247

No, I am not fishing for compliments and comments of how it looks fine - I know it looks bad, but thought it was important to share with you the fails as well as the good.

Vogue 1247

I think it looks ok from the back, but really can't walk everywhere backwards to avoid a front view.

Oh well, live and learn. Onto the next project. Anyone want a copy of Vogue 1247 cut out to a size 14? Seriously, never going to make this again, NEVER.