Thursday, 5 May 2016

Dauntless jacket

Burda 7140 was my choice to make this jacket like those worn in 'Divergent'. 
This grey wool fabric and paisley lining are from Minerva Crafts UK and they're great to sew and feel lovely.
With the prospect of Winter this jacket style is still dark and has a hint of red. Why be grey just because it's Winter.

Vicki was generous with these fabrics so there's a skirt underway.

The pattern

It took a test jacket to reveal a challenge sewing the front lining pieces.
The lining instructions were a bit odd. I couldn't follow the order of construction because the instructions kept flipping between views.
So I went with simply prepping the bodice and peplum together for the main construction.

Burda does a great job with their pattern drafts and the test jacket was easy enough to conquer. I really didn't want to waste this fabric supplied by Minerva Crafts so a test jacket took the pressure off this project.
Jackets with zippers are my fav too and I sew on the zipper before sewing the side seams so the fabric pieces were still flat.

I love the 'sharp'
 style options in this pattern. 
Paisley lining
The paisley lining is lovely to work with and such a classic. They've only just brought these lining in so I made sure I could use this lining for this jacket. 
I'll be using this paisley lining again for next month's project. In the lining weave the threads are two colours used in the weave so these linings are versatile for lots of fabrics.

Pattern alterations 
I made the 12 at the bust to 14 size at the waist and hips with no alterations for the test version.

The test jacket fit well enough but I added 2cm on the peplum hems and removed 4 cm from the sleeve lengths. I also extended the raglan shoulder seam by 2cm so it matched my shoulders. 
The pockets were a must, so I grabbed the side front peplum piece to figure out how much room I had. Then I used my Clover curve template to develop this pocket pattern.

The raglan shoulder seam was a bit slim so I took out more seam allowance.
The sleeve width from the elbow to the wrist is size 10.

The jeans and top are also Minerva Craft projects.
My original reason for using this pattern took a bit of thought to develop. Sewing the test jacket was worth doing so don't rush this pattern if you want to make up. This style has quite a few style possibilities and can be made more 'girlie' if you want it to be.

Thank you Minerva Crafts UK.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016


Stormtrooper print really should be worn by kids but I've used this print for a dress for moi and a shirt for Mr V.

The dress is a New Look 6808 top that I've extended it to a maxi length and changed the neckline to a sharp V. 
The shirt is a vintage mens pattern. It fitted Mr V without too much fuss. He can be high maintenance but this pattern wasn't so this shirt was easy to sew. I still need to strong arm Mr V into taking a photo of him wearing his stormtrooper shirt. 
The fabric is a Spotlight purchase.

Dress detail:
I've made New Look 6808 a few times now.

Mum always used to say, "why don't you extend the top to make a dress". She's a no-nonsense person, so I got a lot of practice extending top patterns to make dresses.

The main thing I do is make sure I extend the top to be as wide as my hips are on the day I cut out the pattern. 
Then I make sure I have a centre back split or side splits so I can walk in it. Just being practical. There have been times when I forgot to do this.

As for the neckline, I did a reality check on the v-neckline by 
- measuring from the back of my neck to the point where I was happy for the neckline to end
- then measuring how far my collar points are
- on a post-it note, I drew these measures and checked the angles - too close/too far apart.
- I interfaced the dress neckline and drew an all-in-one facing and interfaced this.
- with a bit of drawing and lots of pinning, the neckline worked out.

The base of the V, is 5 stitches wide so I could turn the facing through and get a sharp 'V'.

That's it really. 
The key way to line up this print at the seams is to pin the line under the Stormtroopers. 

Future dress:
There's a dress style that Kate Winslet wears in the Divergent movies that I've decided to use this top pattern for. 
I have the fabric from Pitt Trading in the sewing queue now so I'm ready to tackle it later this month.
This project has been a fun ride.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Remnant fun

Sometimes fabric remnants work together it becomes an easy project. That's what I found with some of my Minerva Crafts fabrics.
See what I mean?
Last year I used the red knit for this Hunger Games influenced project.
I only used a smidge of this red jersey fabric from Minerva Crafts.
Recently I used the print for this Summer maxi dress.
I've used two favourite patterns for this new set - New Look 6160 View A top and Butterick 5044.
Both pieces give me lots of ease and I've love wearing this to Summer bbqs.
The shine on the knit makes this top great for wearing at night functions too.

So that's a win with my Minerva Craft UK remnants.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Seeing clearly

Dixie, Piper, Ellen and Jade have won a pair of free specs from

Jade's won the free glasses and free shipping prize.
Dixie, Ellen and Piper have won the free glasses prize.
In case you're still interested in trying for a free pair of glasses I still have two prizes to giveaway (free glasses prizes).

Feel free to leave your glasses order on the original blog post.

Thanks again for offering this giveaway!

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Brisbane Spoolette high tea combo

Earlier this month the Brisbane Spoolettes held their annual high tea and I loved joining them again this year.
It just so happened I was testing Simplicity 2154 retro 1960s jacket and I used this stretch woven fabric for it.
The jacket pattern isn't designed to be closed so while I added a snap closure to the front of the jacket, it did affect the look of the back of the jacket.
On the Wednesday night I decided to grab my block patterns and come up with a dress to go with it. 
So really this is my test dress and I do need to make some adjustments to the bust under the arms.
If I had the chance to wear this outfit again I would. The fabric is super comfortable and unlined so it's prefect to wear in humid weather.

Thanks Brisbane Spoolettes for putting on another high tea event. You all looked fabulous.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

What if

After jackets and jeans, I back off for a while and play with design ideas I've seen but can't find the right commercial pattern. That takes a bit more thinking space but once the plan is ready and tested, it's usually a quick make.

The idea
Four years ago I carved up a basic tee pattern to make this dress from an Anthropology RTW idea that was popular at the time. Now you can now buy this pattern but it wasn’t available at the time.
With the possibility of colder weather approaching (it's still Summer here) I went back and rechecked the fit of KwikSew 2683 on me.

I still don’t like the neckline binding finish provided by Kwik Sew pattern. I've resorted to simply folding the fabric under once and then coverstitch it or use twin needle on my basic sewing machine.
The fabrics I used
I bought this floral/stripe knit from My Hung Parramatta and underlined the bodice with a really thin factory off-cut. A friend gave me a stack of factory fabric off cuts that are what I use to test ideas. You'll see these off-cuts used from time to time.

This test top has worked. I wore it to the office where it can get cold throughout the day and I felt fine all day. The trousers are RTW and a go-to for work.
The trousers are RTW and a go-to for work.
When I originally made this pattern, I got the back bodice hem wrong so these two new tops, the hems now work well.
Why go to all that trouble?
I'm still considering a top/blouse to bundle with my 1960s style Elliott Berman suit using Simplicity 1543 and the fabric I bought with Kyle in November last year. 

More soon...

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

What a free pair of specs? emailed me to try their glasses. So I chose to give you the opportunity to try their glasses as my prescription is complex. is an online eyeglasses store that I've never heard of because I don't shop for glasses online. I've only bought contact lenses online. to offer varieties of prescription eyewear in high quality yet at affordable prices.

You can read more about from their website. gives you a virtual 'try on' option.
What do I get from this giveaway? Nothing. It's for you, if you're interested.
There are two offers
One complete pair of prescription eyeglasses with free shipping to the US and Australia. The free pair covers one frame, 1.50 index single vision lens and free shipping fee. 
(All frames here are available to choose from)
What else is on offer?
Five pairs of glasses without free shipping (first time customer only). 
This offer covers the frame with 1.50 index single vision lenses. 
The winner need to pay the shipping depending on the country and handling fee. 
You'll need to supply your PD measurement with your script. PD stands for Pupillary Distance, which is the distance between your pupils in millimeters
a. This giveaway is only open to US and Australia peeps. 
b. You need to comment on this giveaway post with the link to the glasses you like. 
And that's it.
Have a look at their range if you're interested in this giveaway. You have until Saturday 30 April to enter. I'll announce the winners on Sunday 1 May. 
What my real order would cost
I did a dummy order on for Australia and express shipping was $US12.95 within 5 to 7 days. The full cost for my order came to $US92. 
Locally my glasses easily costs 3 times this amount.
Have a look for yourself on Google for previous reviews.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Bootstrap Fashion jeans #1

Pants, especially jeans, can 'do your head in' when you first start trying to make them. After sewing pants/jeans, the adjustments I make are always the same. Grab a cuppa and continue reading.
I've been watching Bootstrap Fashion very closely. When they first launched I wasn't sure what they were about. Now I've seen how they've developed. Right now there're looking for both ideas and funds to continue to grow.
The pocket design is very unique.
Yuliya is very active on social media and she'll answer anyone's issues and questions. After a few online conversations, Yuliya asked if I was interested in making her Vado jeans. I was curious to see how a custom pattern could work for me with all my 'lumps and bumps'.

While planning which Bootstrap jeans to make, I kept jumping back to Lara's great post about Bootstrap Fashion and her first Vado jeans.

I chose the flare leg jeans and chose a slight flare so I didn't look clownish. The finished jeans below look straight legged but that's all the flare I wanted. 

Finished and ready to wear.
Lekala patterns and Bootstrap Fashion both use the same Leko software for their patterns, which allows you to order patterns customised to your measurements.  They both re-sell Russian Leko patterns, which is why you will find some of the same patterns on both websites. The kicker for Bootstrap Fashion is they also sell patterns from other designers, and have a design centre feature where you can design your own dress pattern.  
Yuliya, who you may have already liaised with, has developed Bootstrap Fashion to 'first base' stage. Bootstrap Fashion will eventually be extended to all sorts of garment styles, which I'm keen to see.

Bootstrap Fashion are currently crowdfunding through Indigogo to continue to improve their website and software offerings to act as a central source of customised fashion designs. They've already raised enough funds to add two more libraries -  tops and pants.

I've bought Lekala patterns before so it was easy to agree to try out Yuliya's vado jeans. 

This time I chose A0 version patterns because I really, really wanted to try this jeans pattern and avoid piecing A4 pieces of paper together. Cutting out this pattern once saved time #happy.

My jeans fabric has minimal stretch and was purchased in Melbourne last year.

The pocket bag is the same as my RTW jeans which impressed me.

My first few attempts at entering my measurements were odd. By the time I was ready to enter my real measurements (I'm 4kg over my normal weight) I could see there was a calculation bug on the system.

The topstitching was worth doing.
Let me tell you, Yuliya was onto it super fast. Yuliya receives hundreds of emails daily but she's got her eye on every order and acts real quick to rectify it. She contacts you directly. There was no special flag on my jeans order and I've seen how responsive she it to others.
They look perfectly fine worn the way I usually wear jeans.
Yuliya is on every online sewing discussion thread I follow and she lets people know a) when there's an error, b) how long it'll take to fix, c) that the system is now fixed. She thanks people for their ideas and questions. 

Yuliya takes all issues and criticism about Bootstrap fashion into account and fixes things. She doesn't vet anyone out.

I'm resizing back the jeans body including the pockets. My top is tucked in so you can see how the back looks.

So what was I saying?
I read Lara's review and Beth's review about their Bootstrap Fashions jeans experience.
By the time I printed out my pattern, a very comprehensive set of jeans constructions were emailed to me.
There aren't heaps of notches on the patterns but they're in the right place to guide your sewing.
Here's how the front looks.
Long story short, my husband doesn't like high-waist jeans on me. I don't consult with him on fashion but I also felt these are very high-rise for a short person like me. I was kidding myself about this style.

Pattern adjustments:

You guessed it. I've since taken 6cm out of the body of the jeans so the pattern matches my RTW mid-waist jeans. I still like this pattern because it's the most RTW jeans pattern I've seen.

I'll be making another pair soon and I have a few more Bootstrap patterns to try so it's onwards and upwards for me;)

Post script: 
If you want to check out the jeans I've made so far, in 2011 I made my first low rise Jalie jeans 2908. That was after making my first woven jeans using Vogue 1204. Both patterns have been reused a few times now. Last year I made super comfy Sew Liberated skinny jeans. Once I get a pattern to fit, they definitely get reused.


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