Blue Brumby – Papercut’s La Sylphide

Today was the annual Rawene Brumby Races. Apparently a brumby is a “free-running feral horse of Australia”, but up here is the horse equivalent of a mongrel. No thoroughbreds were allowed. The “jockeys” were mainly teenagers from the area, riding bareback with no helmets – according to Mr. Guy’s auntie, the crime rate in Rawene dropped significantly when a chap up here first introduced the horses to the area and started training the young people to ride, giving them something to do.

ImageThis was the betting tent – if you bet $20 you got a t-shirt. And if you won a race, your name got put in a hat for the winnings – I believe the rest was all fundraising for the horse club. There was also a beer tent advertised but nowhere to be seen – according to some guys with a 24 pack, it was actually BYO this year.

The rest of the field was filled with small food stalls including a hangi. Stupid us bought pies from the local organics shop (some of the best pies in the country) so missed out on some really good looking food.

ImageThis was the Stockman’s Team Race – a relay where each member raced 100m, got off their horse to drink skull a beer, then raced back to their team mate who did the same then had to drag their horse over the finish line.

ImageJessie-Dog was very popular (although this dog may have wanted to eat her face off, not that she realised that).

And I got to wear my just-finished dress: La Sylphide by Papercut Patterns, which shall be called Blue Brumby. From here on all my photos from the day are super grainy, for some reason. I’m pretending it’s just artistic/instragram-chic, but it’s not really. Hopefully it doesn’t hurt your eyes.


I didn’t even know that I wanted this dress before I saw Kat and Mel’s versions, then I realised it was a perfect dress for me – I really think the styles pictures on Papercut’s website don’t do it justice as a wearable and classy dress.

ImageI initially bought some grey and blue silk for this dress, but wanted to make a cheaper version first so I didn’t ruin it. I actually did make a muslin of the bodice (yay) and I only had to make minor changes

  • I had initially traced off a size small in the shoulders/underarms and took it to a medium at the waist, but ended up letting it out to a medium at the underarms too.
  • Shortened the back shoulder piece by 1.5cm and added that to the front as the shoulder sat too far forward. I think I’ll actually take about 0.5-1cm off both sides next time as the front bit is a touch saggy (and I don’t want the shoulder seam to sit any more forward, which I figure will happen if I only take the amount off the front shoulder seam)

I do think I need to shorten the front bust dart – currently it’s actually above my bust point – I thought the skirt would pull it down to the right place but it hasn’t. I used my own sleeve pattern rather than having to adjust this which worked well (except, like Kat’s second version, meant I had to do some serious easing in when I hand stitched the sleeve hem down). And although I used the sleeve, I forgot to change the sleeve seams on the front and back bodice pieces – so I’ll do that for next time too.

The fabric is both drapey and heavy, so I added some elastic to the waist seam to help keep everything up, making sure I kept it away from the placket – it does still pull a bit so I’ll probably add a hook and eye there (like Lauren does on the sewalong). I also did a narrow hem using my machines special foot and…. well, one day I’ll get it right. When it works, it works so nicely – but so often I find the foot just doesn’t fold it properly. Half of my skirt is just folded once with the raw edge showing, and I haveΒ no idea why. I must be doing something wrong but at one point it just suddenly worked without me doing anything differently; then again it just stopped working. I need a lot more practice because, as I said, when it works it’s so easy and a nice finish.

ImageOne of the biggest things I changed, though, was the length of the skirt! The original pattern piece didn’t even cover my bottom, so this was lengthened by 29cm from memory – and it could almost be a bit longer. Because I lengthened it at the bottom seam, it ended up being a lot fuller and not actually fitting on the fabric, so it got slimmed down too. I also drew the hem line on pretty poorly so after being hung for a couple of days, the hem way WAY wonky.

I didn’t bring my hem marker up (obviously, I didn’t even bring up any threads other than black, though that was by accident), so Mr. Guy improvised by stretching a piece of electrical tape across a door frame and using that to mark it with pins.

ImageOch but I love this dress. I did have a couple of technical issues which were all my fault – the pattern and instructions are excellent. And in fact, some of my mistakes were a result of forging on ahead without reading the instructions, like finishing the upper and lower edges of the button placket before sewing the length of it down.

ImageI also had huge issues with my machines automatic buttonhole maker – it just would not make a proper buttonhole like it usually does and as a consequence they are pretty ugly. I sewed on the buttons with my machine – did you know you could could this? Crazy easily, even with a normal foot (though there is a special button foot which has a wide mouth and grippy things) .

Start by either setting your stitch length to zero or putting your feed dogs down. Then put the button under the foot and, trying to keep it in the right place (tweezers can be handy here), lower the foot. Then you just need to put your stitch to zigzag, using your hand-wheel to determine how wide the zigs should be. Once you have the right width – SEW AWAY. If you want some pictures or a description that makes more sense, see tutorials here and here.


The fabric is a viscose/lycra from The Fabric Store, in a twill weave. It was remarkably difficult to work with because it was so fluid it wanted to shift around all the time (on the carpet, or my ironing board or my sewing desk) but I knew it would feel really good to wear – and I was right. It almost acts like a fliud silk and twirls beautifully.


Pattern: La Sylphide by Papercut Patterns, $30

Fabric: Viscose + lycra, 2.5m $10.33/m (was $15/m, on special) = $25.80

Notions: Buttons $8.40, interfacing, thread and elastic from stash

Total: $64.20 incl. pattern, $34.20 alone

I’m not sure why sometimes I include the pattern and sometimes I don’t – perhaps I should include it the first time I made a pattern but not the subsequent times. I already have ideas for several more of these dresses πŸ™‚

ImageIn other news – I am so loving the far North. I feel like I’ve been on holiday this past week, despite working “full-time” (which involves finishing at 1pm on a Friday). The land is beautiful and I love the community, and I’m really enjoying the work. Two days a week I travel to satellite clinics and the patients groups are so varied.

Also, things happen like; you find a boat on your lawn when you get home. With a letter on the doorstep saying “hope you don’t mind me leaving my boat here, if there’s any problems let me know. Probably see you at work on Monday” – from someone I don’t know but I’m sure I’ll find out! I think it’s going to be very hard to leave, particularly as Mr. Guy and I are both country-by-heart and we’ll be going back to the city (and me back to the busy hospitals).



13 thoughts on “Blue Brumby – Papercut’s La Sylphide

  1. Loving that dress on you. I have to agree, the example on the Papercut Patterns website doesn’t to it justice, but seeing your’s makes me want to make myself one. I’ll have to add it to the list of things I want to make.

  2. I love your dress, your doggie looks super cute and those horse races sound awesome! And if I am not mistaken, the hair is already looking better. Enjoy your time up in the country and take that boat for a ride!

  3. Love this pattern! I desperately need one of my own πŸ™‚ yours looks great, it is the kind of dress that seems like it could be really versatile. Agghh so need one! Amazing job as usual πŸ˜‰

  4. Oh, very cute! πŸ™‚ Also, I am super jealous of you getting to be in the far North!!!

    (And also, I think the shoulder seams are meant to sit to the front a bit – Mel and I have discussed this and compared with ours, and they’re consistently at the same point on both of our dresses, so we’ve concluded it’s intentional and kinda the same as a lot of men’s shirt patterns. πŸ™‚ )

  5. It looks really lovely! The fabric sounds divine, if I ever see any I’ll have to try it out. I’m glad you’re enjoying the North too! Good luck with the cyclone this weekend.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s