So, my third/fourth dress for Frocktober. Fourth because I have the Butterick 4757 almost finished, third because this one is actually done. Yes, I cheated on the butterick. I got extremely stuck with one part of the instructions and the pattern pieces not matching the pictures or the words, so it got put aside. Then, once I sorted that out, I got annoyed by the bound buttonholes I decided to do but left until the last minute.

So, with a day off from work (I worked labour day so decided to immediately use my day in lieu), I’ve hung up the butterick and have made this little lady.

ImageThis fabric I bought a month or two ago from The Fabric Store – no real idea of what it would become, but me being a sucker for sateen I bought it without really thinking about it. Pre-washed, it sat in my stash waiting for inspiration, until today when I just wanted a quick fix. It’s a very lightweight sateen (I think it’s 100% cotton) that will be lovely to wear in the summer.

ImageI may have some kind of inability to wear a dress without a belt. If that’s the case, I should get more than two belts.

The whole thing is basically New Look 6723 – the bodice is my sloper which is actually drafted using this pattern, and I used the skirt pieces.

ImageI made tulip sleeves using this tutorial (thanks Mel for the suggestion!) I really like tulip sleeves and don’t often see them on RTW garments. The tutorial was really easy to follow and do up. I did end up having to unpick the sleeves at one stage because I forgot to make sure they were overlapping the same way on both sides (IE the front overlapping the back piece)

ImageLeft sleeve

ImageRight sleeve

The sleeves and skirt is hemmed with my narrow hem foot, almost perfectly. I really was close – I’m getting better with this foot – but there’s still a few squiffy bits. You have to concerntrate hard with these feet!

ImageThe zipper has puckered a bit which is annoying – this is the first time I’ve had this since I’ve started interfacing my zip openings, it may be because I used a woven interfacing instead of knit? Maybe it just needs a darn good pressing.

ImageThe neckline is finished with bias binding. It probably deserved a full bodice lining or facings, but hey whatevs.

TBH this isn’t the best made dress (the top of the zip is a bit squiffy, and the tension on my machines seem to be a bit off for this light fabric and has lead to puckering), but pretty darn good for an afternoon’s work! It’s very wearable and will be work appropriate. Plus, I do love the tulip sleeves – I’ll be making more of them.


Pattern: New Look 6723, stash

Fabric: lightweight sateen from The Fabric Store, $36

Notions: invisible zip, $4. Thread, interfacing and bias binding from stash

Total: $40


I’m getting ahead of myself.


So, Arthur Toye’s, a fabric shop in Wellington (and Palmerston North) is shutting down, and selling EVERYTHING in store at 50%. While the other girls of the WSBG are mourning, I’m merely happy that I got to pick up a “bargain”. IE the fabrics there are so over priced compared to other shops in Wellington, that their sale merely brings the price to “relatively affordable”. $39.95/m for a stiff cotton sateen when I can get a silky one for $18/m at The Fabric Warehouse? $30-40/m for linens when I can get them for ~$18/m at Global-That-Was (The Fabric Store)? Add to that an extremely rude serving lady, and I’ve only been into AT once in the year I’ve lived in Wellington.

In saying that, I’m always up for a sale, and did end up getting some nice fabric for a good price; and I actually have plans for all this fabric although it will take me a while to sew it all (and my stash is growing at an alarming rate).

Clockwise from top:

  • Leopard print stretch denim, originally $39.95/m (!), got 1.5m for $30 -> will be a pencil skirt
  • “Nectarine” viscose polyester blend – looks like linen but doesn’t crease – 2m for $15
  • Floral rayon, 3m for $30 (this one was apparently priced wrong and she was adament that it was originally $25/m despite the ticket saying $20. The man gave it to me for the cheaper price). Am thinking this will be a maxi Anna? Not sure how I feel about maxi’s but I figure I’ll try it out.
  • Swallow viscose 2m for $25. Lovely drapey feel, this will be a summer dress.
  • Plain cotton (?voile) for lining, 2m for $15
  • 8x cottons, $2 each!
  • A few invisible zips for my large zip stash, $4 each
  • 1m of woven interfacing. Boring, but half price = $7

I know this is another post that’s not related to a finished garment; I’m trying to finish off my Butterick 5747 and it’s dragging on a bit. Almost there but I might cheat on it today and make something simpler to get me going again.

At this stage there’s no way I’m going to meet my initial goal of 4 dresses for Frocktober (working 60-70 hour weeks kind of tuckered me out) but 2.5 is still pretty good, right?? And I have already made my November item for The Monthly Stitch which puts me ahead.


“Are you taking a photo of your ham?”

Really, I’m rather impressed that Mr. Guy knows the name of my newest sewing tool.


I started writing a new post about how I realised that sewing was starting to take over my life, but realised that probably noone was interested and would rather see actual sewing makes. Summary of the issue: stopped socialising so I could sew. This is a problem, particularly during summer. Also working looong hours (I have worked 130 hours in the last fortnight. That is >150% what most people work. That is stupid).

This weekend I even had my first sewing-free weekend in a while! Mr. Guy and I borrowed a friends convertable and had Ekim Burger at Lyall Bay; and drove to Porirua/Titahi Bay (the T-Bay bakery does NOT have cream donuts, be warned). Yesterday… work. Workworkwork.

But, back to the ham. I was trying to press the darts of a skirt I’ve made (but can’t post until November) and got frustrated enough that I decided “Fine! I’ll just make a tailors ham!”

ImageI used Victory Pattern’s pattern (found here on Tilly and the Button’s blog), but instead of using sawdust I just used scraps of wool and knit fabrics. The resultant ham is a bit lumpy, but awesome – I’m happy to say that the skirt in question has perfectly pressed seams 🙂

ImageSrsly all photos of the thing will look pretty much the same

That’s pretty much ’nuff said. It’s a bit of a chunky thing to have around, and I’m thinking of getting a shelf of some kind to put above my ironing board to keep it tidier. My goodness my sewing space is messy enough, I need all the help I can get.

ImageYikes. I’m sure my mother would love to tell you all about how my bedroom once featured on a TV show because of how messy it was.




Since I created this blog to keep myself accountable to my plans and learning, I thought I should make a list of projects I plan; partly to make sure I follow through with at least most of them, but also so I don’t forget. Included in this will be a list of techniques I want to accomplish, as this will help me see how much I have learned. This page will (obviously) be edited often.


  • lapped zipper
  • bound buttonholes
  • making my own bias tape (Teal Rooibos – bias tape into piping!)
  • regular buttonholes
  • full lining (Fruity Cambie)
  • underlining
  • boning – done, not blogged as I gave the skirt away.
  • sewing with knits (Merino Renfrew, 2x Cake Tiramisu, several pairs of underpants)
  • matching stripes/plaids
  • waist stays
  • working with sheer fabrics
  • sewing with silk (Silk twill – Hollyburn)
  • flat-felled seams
  • set-in sleeves – blogged here
  • making a fabric-covered belt
  • pattern drafting
  • pockets (Heaps! Hollyburn, Tiramisu – future versions to NOT have pockets), Rooibos, Cambie)
  • covered buttons – done for my watson jacket
  • making a garment with fabric cut on the bias (2x Tiramisu, Sewaholic Hollyburn)
  • sewing with wool – blogged here and here


  • Jeans (for me)
  • Jeans (for Mr Guy)
  • Shirt (for Mr Guy)
  • Lined coat/jacket – blogged here
  • Pencil skirt – one black/plain one bright coloured
  • Blouse with buttons
  • Full sleeves
  • Tulip sleeves
  • Underpants
  • Bras

Patterns I have plans of sewing.


Thrifted: the most amazing dress ever

I’m not sure if this is cheating on my RTW fast; but I couldn’t pass up this amazing dress.

Basically, $8 from St Vincent de Paul’s in Newtown, Wellington. It’s a drapey sheer polyester in BRIGHT coloured leopard print.

It has some significant shoulder pads. At first I had planned to take them out, but my brother convinced my otherwise, and I’m quite enjoying them!

The sleeves are rather long, which is a bit OTT; they’re more comfortable rolled up.

Sooo comfortable, the waist seam is just elastic. I would never had thought to do this; I wonder if I’ll ever make a similar thing. Hopefully!

And in case anyone was wondering…. I got a perm! Ha. Everyone I mentioned it to looked horrified, as if I was going to look like this:

But noooo just a gentle wave. The Powder Room is bringing perm’s back, baby!

In other news, hooray for summer coming to Wellington! After getting my hair did (and missing a sewing date with Mrs C and a friend of hers) my sister-in-law, husband and I went to the Rogue and Vagabond for a drink and latelatelate lunch. That place is going to be SO BUSY in summer, as they have a lovely grassy patch right out front and have bean bags and rugs. Also, they’re right beside The Fabric Store.

“The Tough Chick”


Frocktober week 2: By Hand London’s Anna with a collar

This dress combines three of my favourite things in sewing: polka dots, sateen, and collars.

As soon as I saw The Fabric Warehouse’s post about their new sateens in stock, I was scheming. The next day I took my scooter (a piece of crap that Mr. Guy did up for my birthday; it now works most of the time) across town, trying not to get swept into parked cars in the strong Wellington wind. I narrowly avoided buying other fabrics (like a black sateen with cherries on it – that can wait until next time), hopped back on my bike and did the same windy trip back home – pulling out on a lady right at the end of a trip and giving her a nasty shock. I’M SO SORRY LADY!

It went straight in the washing machine (as with most fabrics I buy these days) – then, not having the courage to put it in the dryer, had to wait until the next day.

Once I got going, the dress got made… remarkably fast. In fact, from starting cutting at 6pm, it was completely finished (except for the actual hem) by 10.30.

Obviously, it went together very smoothly. I added a collar (why WOULDN’T YOU) which I have had cut out for yonks, for some reason. I just raised the neckline of the bodice to match the collar I already had. This, unfortunately, made the neckline CRAZY high, coming half-way up my neck when I’m sitting, haha. In the future I will change the neckline of the dress as I don’t really feel that comfortable with high-cut boat necks, especially as the front is the same, if not a bit higher, than the back neckline.

I haven’t included information about adding a collar, as there are already dozens of tutorials for drafting a peter-pan collar out there. Mine actually gets sewn in to the shoulder seams so it doesn’t extend all the way around – this is because it was originally cut out for a different pattern (Burda 7494) which I made once, but the skirt was cr-AAAAZY on ones bottom. Like Julia Bobbin, I found the skirt to sit like a tent. Like her, I also planned to just extend the box pleats down to princess seams but.. erm… never got around to doing it. And speaking of the cats mother*, I must admit that I am in total awe of Julia Bobbin. Not only gorgeous, and a very talented seamstress, she just seems like the kind of person I’d be trying to be friends with. But probably failing because she’s so cool.

* My mother-in-law uses the phrase “she is the cats mother”, which is in response to people using pronouns instead of people’s names. It is very school-teachery and I LOVE IT.

I also lengthened the skirt (from the original version 3 cutline) by 3″, and I much prefer this length. It hits juuust below the knee which is much more work appropriate.

Speaking of work appropriate – does anyone else wear crazy stuff to work? I was walking into the hospital on Thursday in this dress and my red Watson jacket, noticing that everyone else was only wearing brown and grey – I stuck out. Most of the time I love this, but sometimes feel like it’s a bad thing and I should just… blend in. Sometimes I love wearing scrubs and a scrub hat for just that reason (although I do have my own, personal scrub hat with pansy’s on it rather than using disposables).



The seams are finished with my overlocker; the whole thing has a rather professional finish, in my opinion. Like my last three versions, I did the facing last to tidy up the top of the zip. Using my pinking shears to trim the neckline seam right back means the neckline sits properly, unlike my last ones where the facing tends to roll out – why have I forgotten all these tips I had previously learned??

Because of the sateen having some stretch, it has a fair amount of ease, which I am enjoying.  So far I’ve worn it with a belt, as usual! I never got around to removing some of the width from the skirt pieces, or moving the darts on the pattern so they line up. Should do that now but… well, I’ve put the pattern away and moved on to something else.


Pattern: By Hand London’s Anna dress, stash.

Fabric: Polka dot sateen from The Fabric Warehouse, 2.5m at $18/m = $45. I only used about 1.7m so will be able to make a skirt too, woot.

Notions: white invisible zip, black thread, from my stash

Total: $45 if you count all the fabric, ~$30 for the fabric I used.


My second Anna, in sea cotton


This is, obviously, the second dress I have made from By Hand London’s Anna pattern.

To be honest, I’m not a big fan of this dress on me. It’s the same size as my previous one (I think I used a 2cm seam allowance because the last one was too big) but this cotton has zero stretch so it is toooo small. You can see it pulling around my ribcage. I’m also not sold on the colour on me – I looove the fabric, a light teal with seagulls over it, but a whole dress of it on me is pretty bleh.

In fact, I didn’t get a single good photo in this dress – which may be because I dragged Mr. Guy out for another set of photos after doing the Cambie; or because I chose to wear these shoes which I don’t like – too high and don’t fit right, and make me fel like a giant.

The lace at the bottom was just going to be a hem facing, but I decided I liked it and let it hang. Still not sure though.

This is the first item in a wee while (that I can remember) that I don’t really like. It is well made (except I forgot to clip the facing seam, whoops) but, after making it ~1 month ago, I haven’t worn it once – and that’s not just because spring hasn’t quite hit Wellington yet.



Fabric: Teal 100% cotton with white seagulls, from trademe. Cannot find the price, let’s say $20

Pattern: By Hand London’s Anna dress

Notions: cream invisible zipper, $4.50. Fabric and lace, stash

Total: $24.50