Don’t look now Jessie, she’s gone full lobster!

Ah ah ah this dress!


This, my lovely readers, is the Sewaholic Cambie in full on LOBSTER PRINT. I’ve been wanting this fabric ever since I saw the lady who owns Swonderful Boutique (highly recommended for Wellingtonians – excellent quality and made in store) wearing it in the white colourway, and she told me about Michael Miller fabrics.

I’ve actually had the fabric in my etsy card several times only to see it sell out again when I dithered. When I decided to try buying from fabric.com*, I snapped it up instantly. And I was not disappointed – the colours look even better in real life than in the shops photos.


Even though this is my fourth version of the Cambie bodice, I actually made a muslin! My last version I found to fit a bit oddly, and the bust darts were too high on previous versions (here and here), so I thought I’d make one so I never have to worry again. Which I think I have now – it’s a bit loose (because of the give in the cotton vs muslin) but the darts are in the right place and I now have the sleeves at the right length.

But I’ve got no idea how I made the sleeves two difference widths:


You’ll notice that I didn’t do the gathers on the sleees which… wasn’t totally on purpose, but I’m glad because it would potentially make this a bit too squee. Like my ships dress, the skirt is just a gathered a-line skirt. For construction the bodice seams are just pinked, the skirt seams are overlocked, and the waistband is (dodgily) stitched down using my stitch-in-the-ditch foot. Hem is turned and sewn so the overlocked edge is hidden. The lining is, of course, totally different to the shell:


I did a lapped zip (again, using scruffy badgers technique. I think I’m just going to print these pictures out and stick them on my wall!), which I put in then had to pull out completely because the waistband didn’t match up. I actually considered leaving it, but it was pretty obvious, so I sucked it up and did it again (this time using the same technique that I use when doing invisible zippers – start sewing from the waistband down, turn around and sew from the waistband up – you just need to make sure the tops line up when you sew down the lining/facing).

I didn’t really make any effore to pattern match which was supid, but I accidentally got this:


They’re only off by 1-2cm! So from far away it’s not that noticible at all, woot. I did have a heck of a time getting the lapped part to sit nicely at the neckline after I sewed the lining down. Looks kiind of okay, but really I need to remember it’s not a good idea in a lined dress – unless anyone has any tips??).

And, of course, it has pockets


I love love love this dress, and I already got two compliments when I wore it to Whangarei – and some very odd looks.

This, you might have guessed, is also my third entry for the Sew Dolly Clackett sewalong. I might squeeze one or two more into the competition, we’ll see how we go – I still have The Monthly Stitch’s challenge for the month, and I was hoping to take part in Sew For Victory 2.0, but my pattern hasn’t arrived yet and it will need muslining and things. There’s some long weekends coming up though so I should have time!


I’m also on the look out for a red belt… you may have noticed that I always wear this scummy brown one that I think I bought from the $2 op-shop in Christchurch. I don’t like shopping though, okay?



Pattern: Sewaholic Cambie

Fabric: Lobster quilting cotton by Michael Miller, about $35 after shipping

Notions: zip and interfacing, stash. Thread $3

Total: $38





On a roll: my third Sewaholic Cambie


This is my third version of Sewaholic’s Cambie pattern – a dress that suits my body and style SO WELL that I should have made a twenty versions by now. There was a large gap between my first two versions (here and here, sewn about 9 months apart) and another gap before this one – but you can expect to see a few more versions cropping up in the near future.

This is partly because I do just love this pattern, but it also coincides with the Sew Dolly Clacket competition, which is running to celebrate Dolly Clackett herself (real name Roison, although I always feel somewhat odd calling bloggers by their first names when I don’t know them) contribution to the sewing community, and her upcoming wedding. I’ve been inspired by her blog for a while, by how she churns out so many wearable, gorgeous dresses from fun fabrics – she knows what she likes, and runs with it!


I promised myself recently that I would sew more with tried-and-true (TNT) patterns, which allows me to play around with more expensive fabric (taking inspiration from both Dolly Clackett and Mary from Idle Fancy), and I think this dress is a good start.


Like my other two copies of this dress, this is Version A with the a-line skirt and slash pockets. I do want to try the gathered version but I tried pulling out the pieces once and it used a HUGE amount of fabric, which was super unflattering. I might try one more time and see how they go; otherwise I’ll try a pleated or circle-style to skirt to mix it up, so I don’t end up with 10 versions of the EXACT same dress!


Although I could easily be happy with 10 versions of this, lines up side by side in my wardrobe. truly, I love this pattern.

All versions so far have been made with no alterations to the original pattern (not even grading out at the hips!). For this version I made a couple of changes FOR NEXT TIME – namely, lowering the dart point and moving it to the center; letting the waist and hips out a touch; move the sleeves in towards the middle a bit; and removing 1cm from the back shoulder seam.


I don’t have a photo of my waist side on, but trust me when I say this is flattering on my waist; unfortunately the bust darts are too high, I think that’s why it squishes my bust so much.

I think I made the sleeves a bit too tight on this version, because the neckline is a touch higher than would be idea. I also stupidly didn’t use any twill tape on the neckline (damnit, Sophie) so it does gape a bit at the front if I don’t have my shoulders back properly (good posture, Sophie!).


The fabric is a quilting cotton from fabric.com (sorry local shops – but I’m soo faaaar from you right now). I used a red invisible zipper partly because I thought it would look cool, and partly because I didn’t have one that matched.


Unfortunately it pulls a bit at the waist (needs a touch more room in there) but I’m okay with it.


I think you can see that, after my gloominess of last Month, I’ve really started sewing stuff that makes me happy. It’s only March 14 and I’ve made SIX DRESSES! And, more or less, I love them all. At the very least, they’re very wearable and not crap.


Funnily enough, I don’t even have this pattern up here with me – I leant it to a friend who gave it to another friend to return. Which meant that I couldn’t ask her to post up when I realised that I made misplaced the skirt back piece (and the back lining piece!) – I had to draft a piece off one of my existing versions, which worked alright.

Also, halfway through sewing it I realised that I had lost the sleeve lining piece, so again had to draft it off an existing version. Idiot! Again, worked alright. I need to get more organised.


The Deets

Pattern: Sewaholic Cambie dress

Fabric: Polka dot cotton from http://www.fabric.com, about $30 after shipping

Notions: Thread and invisible zip, stash

Total: $30


So stylish.


Reaffirming my love for Sewaholic Hollyburn

You will have to excuse the wrinkles – I wore this skirt two days in a row (!) before taking these photos, and forgot to iron it first.


This pattern…. well. It is, in my opinion, expertly drafted, especially for me. It’s quick to cut and to sew – I cut it out during some down time at work, and it probably took 2.5 hours TOPS to make. The pockets are the perfect size and sit nice and flat. Both this and the other version I still wear (in silk, see here) are cut on the bias so the fullness of is spread evenly around. I’ve also made this a few others times – one was version C and too short for me (so got given to Tough Chick – photos to come), another I made in the wrong fabric and gave it away.


It’s also comfortable and easy to wear – it fits snugly around the waist (good) and flares out over the hips (good). This is version A and is my favourite length for a skirt, just under the knees (good). It’s a perfect work skirt as it’s modest, cute and, well, I could run to an emergency while keeping my dignity if I really needed to.

I made this version out of a sturdy cotton twill from The Fabric Store. After making this up so quick I very, very much wanted to run off and get more but I’m trying desperately to restrain myself – I’m going AWAY damnit, and don’t need more fabric.

Mr. Guy and I went for a drive and took these photos at Island Bay, Wellington. I’m surprised none of the photos show the crazy wind and waves.


Although it took me so little time to sew, I did do it over a few days because I forgot to buy a matching zip at the store. I’m lucky enough to have an excellent friend that owns a craft shop, who will create a parcel of things I need, and leave the door unlocked 15 minutes past closing time so I can run and get it when Mr. Guy forgets to.


I did a lapped zipper and this time could actually get my head around doing one when the zip hits the top of the waistband (you just… fold it). I loved lapped zips, I never really did a nice centered zip that didn’t gape, so I’m glad I found this technique (as mentioned before, I use Scruffy Badger’s mothers technique).

My favourite bit is the hemline – I decided to use bias binding as a hem tape, because the skirt is quite full. Mrs C chose the bias binding based on my description of the colour as “grey-navy” and it is perfect. I just wish I could show it off to strangers more.


Even now my folding and stitching isn’t, erm, the straightest. If you’re looking at the binding side is looks a bit wonky, but I sewed it with right-side-up keeping an even distance from the edge, so it’s straight where it counts.



Pattern: Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt

Fabric: Cotton twill from The Fabric Store, $18/m with 40% off VIP sale, $21.60

Notions: Zip ~$4 and bias binding $7

Total: $32.60

https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/p10506891.jpgI would also like to mention how amazing it is that someone found my blog yesterday by googling “erotica better than my husband”. It obviously directed them to this post but what were they really looking for?


UFO sighting: a floral Cambie

I’m not sure how I feel about the sewing term “UFO”, or “unfinished object”. I do prefer WIP (“work-in-progress”) – not really because of the implications, but because it sounds like a whip, making you keep working. However, regardless of what I call it, I can happily say that I’ve finally finished a dress I started right at the start of the year.

ImageI have been told by my most amazing enablers (the Wellington Sewing Bloggers Group, whom I have recently joined) that this is not that long a time to have an unfinished item, in the scheme of things – in fact, I have some trousers (Burdastyle 7447) cut out for probably 1.5 years that I haven’t touched – but I am trying to get rid of them. If anyone wants pattern + fabric pre-cut in size 18, please take it!!. Otherwise, I feel I should probably keep the guilt of not finishing going so it doesn’t become a habit.

ImageThe dress is (another) Sewaholic Cambie. As mentioned in my post about my first version, I had this bad boy cut out soon after finishing the first. But my lack of suitable lining fabric, and then a lack of motivation about sewing a full lining, meant I continued to put it off and, to be honest, I completely forgot about the dress until a few weeks ago.

ImageThe pockets are the perfect height and depth for comfortable standing.

This version is made in a cotton (ooh I think it’s 100% cotton so it counts for Fall/Spring for Cotton!! A few days late, and not a vintage pattern) sateen that I eyed up several times at Spotlight before purchasing. I think it might have actually been Spotlight in Christchurch, which means the fabric is >1 year old.


Not sure why the waistband is so squiffy in this photo; I’m almost certain it’s not IRL.

ImageThe lining is, again, from Spotlight – a yellow pongee lining that I got on special two weeks ago. Cut out at Social Sewing last weekend and finally sewn together yesterday, whilst watching Star Trek TNG. Invisible zipper and lining as per Sunni’s free Craftsy video

ImageBlurry shot but shows how flattering the dress is on my waist.

Not much else to say about the dress. I love the pattern – it’s straightforward to cut and sew, beautiful shape and flattering on my uber-pear shape. This version is a touch more gapey than the last.

ImageRather than stitching-in-the-ditch or what not ( I am terrible at that), I top-stitched/edge-stitched the neck- and arm-holes.

ImageI realised after taking most of the photos that the top of my dress was unzipped, whoops! And EEP! Stray threads! I made Guy go out and take out a few more.

ImageSince a few of you were interested in my chickens, meet Grunhilda. Pearl and Faucet are still mucking around in the garden.

ImageShe was not impressed.

In other news, today I got my 10th blog follower! Woohoo!!


Houndstooth Hollyburn

This skirt has been in the making for a while. I bought the horsehair braid months ago (the first time I ever met Mrs. C, hooray!); the fabric 3 months ago; and made the bulk of the skirt probably 2 months ago. Then it has hung in my “WIP wardrobe” for a month.


The pattern is Sewaholic’s Hollyburn, with the front piece cut on the fold rather than with a seam. I initially made the Hollyburn straight waist band and interfaced with horsehair canvas. Did not sit right at all. So I unpicked that and made a curved waistband (the one I’ve made from my Ginger skirts). Again, did not sit properly – and the side seams didn’t match up at all, which I couldn’t really let slide.


So again, I unpicked all of that, and decided to just go for an elastic waistband. One month later (a week ago) I finally bought the elastic, and only this evening finished the whole thing.


As you can probably see from my face, I’m not totally sold. The elastic is crazy comfortable, and it fits well – a touch tight perhaps, but I’ll never need to actually use the invisible zip I put in. The pockets are comfortable. But I think I’m going to have to take out the horsehair – you can see from the photos that it ripples, meaning I pulled it slighly when sewing the hem down. I also don’t think it quite works with the fabric – I think it needs to be a bit stiffer to look right, or I need to hand-sew it rather than topstitching.



Otherwise I do really like the skirt, and have had a compliment already about the shape and hem, so there. We’ll see if I get around to ripping the hem out and stitching it down like normal.


This picture makes me want to make a million leotards so I don’t get those stupid lines on my bum from my tshirt/singlet showing through. Leotards with crotch snaps like when we did ballet as kids.


Renfrew tie-neck top

ImageOur cat, Travis. Chickens in the background.

ImageHe’s a dumb little man who over grooms himself, resulting in hair loss and scabs. But he’s still pretty cute and knows a couple of tricks.

I’d had my eye on the Jalie Scarf Collar Top for a while (I’m a fan of collars of almost any kind), but held off spending $20 on what seemed like a rather simple pattern. One day I decided to just use my Renfrew pattern and make up the scarf tie.


I was originally just going to overlock the tie directly to the top, but worried about the overlocked edge rolling out and showing itself. Plus, Lladybird’s review on the top suggested that the seam was enclosed inside the scarf. I found this post by Sharon Sews that gave me the secret – you sew the shoulder seams (I reinforced with elastic), attach one edge of the “scarf” to the entire neckline, with the overhang  at the front. You roll the whole top up and wrap the scarf around it, so you end up with a long sausage. You sew from one end of the tie right to the end, making sure you don’t catch any top in the machine; then pull out the top through one end and wa-la! I didn’t take photos during construction, but her blog has great pictures if you’re confused.

After all that and feeling so clever about (sort-of) figuring it out, turns out you can just download the instructions from the Jalie website.

To make it work from my Renfrew pattern (or any t-shirt pattern you have), I cut the back piece on the fold, cut the front with a v-neck and put a seam in the center front (adding a seam allowance) and leaving 2 inches at the top edge unsewn, so that you can actually tie the bow at the end. I then turned the edges under and top stitched – not very prettily but noone can see it.


The whole thing is sewn with my overlocker, then the sleeves and hem is turned and stitched with a double needle. All in all I think it took maybe 2 hours, including cutting.


Unfortunately I didn’t think lining up the polka-dots would be important because they’re so small – but they’re mismatched horizontally by about 2mm, which is surprisingly obvious.

https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/p1040583.jpgThis fabric is really clingy, without the top being clingy. I’m conscious all day that it shows my belly rolls even standing up; and I didn’t think they were that prominent. It also sticks to my bra in an odd way. So I’m not sure how much I like this top – I do like it, I do wear it, but I don’t feel the absolute greatest in it.



Pattern: Renfrew + ?self-drafted tie – $0

Fabric – 1m polkadot fabric from The Fabric Warehouse, $16

Notions – thread and double needle, stash

Total – $16


Old projects of 2012: Sewaholic Cambie in summer fruit

https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/dscn5431.jpgI made this beauty soon after moving to Wellington from Christchurch. Now that I think about it I have no idea where the fabric is from – probably Spotlight as I hadn’t discovered Global Fabrics or The Fabric Warehouse yet.


This was my first Sewaholic pattern; I think I had only recently started getting in to sewing blogs so I think this was my first ever indie pattern. I made it in a straight size 12 which was amazing for me – not to have to grade two sizes for my hips.https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/dscn5430.jpg

Close ups :

               IMG_1664    IMG_1665https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/img_1666.jpg

Not much else to say – I wore this dress a LOT last summer. I’m not usually a white clothes kind of person (too dirty) but this colour actually really suits me and is really nice in full sun. It’s lined with a very thing cotton – batiste? I’m not good with recognising fabric types – that was a nightmare to work with, but is really nice to wear! El cheapo from spotlight.

It has a hand stitched zipper – my first time.


You can see how thin this is, just a light gauze really. It ate the thread right in to the thread dogs mouth.


Straight after making this I actually cut out some stashed sateen to make another – and it’s still sitting in my draw, half made. I got to the “oops I need to cut out lining now” stage and stopped, not having any lining. I also bought some linen with a fine houndstooth pattern to make another (copying Kitty’s houndstooth cambie) and again, it’s still nicely folded in my stash.

I’m not sure why I haven’t gotten on to making them – how strange that I LOVE this dress, the style suits me so well, it’s not difficult to make – yet I have stalled making another one. Perhaps I could blame it being cold but that hasn’t stopped me from making other summer dreses and just wearing them with cardigans.

I actually *ahem* have another half-made cambie to match this one – my sister-in-law wanted to learn how to sew and she didn’t want to try one of my skirt patterns, so we went here. I wasn’t aware that she had never even touched a machine in her life, let alone sewn darts; so again, it’s folded up waiting for my attentions.https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/dscn5433.jpg

Maybe this should be the kick in my behind, to get my half-made cambie finished and to start the linen one. White is not good for work (work can can be…. messy. I have to put a pair of shoes in the washing machine today) but the navy houndstooth would be amazing.