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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Last Post of 2016 - Voile skirt, Burda 6937.


  1. I've promised to show you this skirt for weeks now, and I thought I better get on and do so before 2016 comes to a close.  It's a short and simple post, which sort of suits the slightly holiday state some of us are in.
  2. This is a simple elastic waist skirt - so easy to sew, but it looks very effective, not too bulky around the middle and comfortable to wear.
  3. I used Burda  6937 and made version C:

  4. I cut size 10-12, and as you can imagine, it was a simple sew - a separate waistband, side and back seams, and a turn over twice hem (5/8 inch, 1.5 cm allowed). I used a cotton voile, purchased online from The Remnant Warehouse.  I lined it with off white muslin, which has been in my stash for maybe 20 years, so it was about time some of it got used!  The waistband was made from poly cotton, just a bit stronger than voile. Elastic threaded though - the method I always use in preference to sewing it in, because you can undo it and adjust it if need be, or even put in a longer length if need be. Oh, and I used French Seams on both skirt and lining - a nice finish, and quicker than rethreading the overlocker!
Quick front, side and back views:



  1. Very simple and very effective I think.  I can wear it with a woven top :

  2. or a simple T-shirt around the house:

  3. Well, that's it for 2016.   I do have two more garments to show you, but they can wait until next year - I'm far too lazy at the moment to even think about photos!  
  4. So, I'll take this opportunity to wish you all the best for the New Year, and I'll see you again early in 2017.
  5. Sarah Liz
REPLIES TO YOUR COMMENTS ON THE LOTTIE BLOUSE AND SKIRT (CLICK HERE)

Louise, Mandy, Irene, Judy and Patricia, Diane (Remembering Oz) , Dawn, Keisha -thank you - and yes, Irene, I will probably make another version with set in sleeves - or a very similar style. And tour agreement that the square look would suit a different figure type - but I'm with you all that it is perfectly wearable and it will be worn lots, especially in our upcoming hot weather.  

Keisha, Anne, Judy, Patricia, and Lisa - I'm glad you  have had similar thoughts on the comment function of Blogger.  I don't know if my solution will work, but I'm hoping in time something will evolve that is workable.  I don't mind playing around to find out what might work.  Keisha, I have the same thoughts about Disquis. 

Short and simple replies this week, seeing I am really in holiday mode and haven't much energy - plus I have to quickly make up a shirt muslin for something I promised my husband - his Xmas gift.  It's the second muslin, so you can imagine how unenthused about that I am! 

Bye for now, Sarah Liz

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas


It's Christmas Eve in Australia and not long now until Christmas day. As I will be busy tomorrow, I would like to take this opportunity to say....


Merry Christmas to all my lovely blog friends, followers and readers.  I hope you have a Blessed, Happy and Healthy Christmas. And maybe some time to sew in the days that follow...


Friday, December 16, 2016

My First Simple Sew pattern - The Lottie Blouse and Skirt.

  1. This week I am going to tell you about my experience with using my first Simple Sew pattern. Before I do, though, I just want to recap on last weeks housekeeping matter about replying to comments. .  As Lisa commented last week, most of us love comments,but those who leave comments do not always return to see that we have replied to them. That as far as I am concerned is one of the main drawbacks of Blogger.  There are programs that can be installed to enable a two way chat, but not everyone likes using these. Wordpress does have a two way capability, but I am not sure that I want to move to Wordpress just for that!  And I do like you to know that I am replying because I consider most of you that regularly comment as my blog friends, and friends do reply to each other. And some of you I have been lucky enough to meet in real life. 
In order not to bore everyone that just wants to read the current   post - and I know there are lots of you that like to do that as well -  I will be putting my replies to blog comments at the end of each week's post.  After my sign off - so you can skip this section  if  you are not interested.  I'll see how this system goes over the next few weeks, because no doubt it will need some sort of modification, a bit like sewing sometimes does.

  1. Back to this weeks post and the Simple Sew Lottie Blouse and Skirt:


This pattern was included with a sewing magazine that I found in my newsagent - Love Sewing or Simple Sew, I can't remember which, and the magazine is gone as I only wanted the pattern.  The magazine cost $13.95 and if I purchased it from Simple Sew in the U.K. I would have had to pay quite a lot more, plus postage, so it made sense to do it this way.

The fabric for the blouse came from an Op Shop - a piece of poly cotton seersucker, 1.5 metres /115 wide, about $1-50.  The pattern recommended 1.6 metres of 150 wide.  I did have to put a seam into the collar at the back, but 1.6 of 150 does seem a bit generous.

And the skirt is made from cotton drill - a remnant 1 metre piece which I was lucky enough to find at Spotlight for $2.00.  I love cheap fabrics for pattern try outs, especially if I don't do a muslin, which was the case with this pattern.  If you are lucky you will get something you like at the end! 

With the blouse, I cut size 12 because this gave me the ease I like in summer tops.  I used a 1 cm seam.  I altered the dart by adding an inch to take it closer to the bust apex.  I though the sleeves were a bit strange - long, wide and shapeless, so I shortened then and tapered the sides by half an inch both sides.  As for the skirt, I could see from the measurements that this pattern was designed for a pear shape figure, and size 8 had a hip measurement of 36 inches.  I thought that the ease in this pattern would be less than the Big 4 (just a hunch).  The waist was far too small, but I added to the side seams and took a bit out of the darts.  As I only had a small piece of fabric I had to use a walking split instead of the kick pleat at the back.  

Simple Sew Patterns are designed for beginners. I found them simple enough to sew, because I do have sewing experience, but I think that the instructions were not as detailed as some of the Big $ simple patterns. And I really did not like the neckband finish - the instructions suggested folding the two edges of the collar/band together, then attach to neckline and stitch, then finish. That would leave an unsightly zig zag stitch or overlocked edge. So  I applied it  as I normally attach a  collar: attach the outer collar to neckline, and then turn under seam allowance inside, pin and stitch - which gives a much more finished look. Unfortunately I can't show you with a photo as the flash washes out all detail in a white garment.  The sleeves were set in, with two pleats at the top.  I don't think this really looks wonderful on me, but probably looks nice on a pear shaped figure as it would add width at the shoulders.  I also think it looks  a little "beginner" but then, this is a pattern for beginners!  Strangely, the pattern did not show a hem allowance for the blouse. So I just hemmed to the length I liked.

The skirt - I usually do not have much luck with skirts as they have been designed for figures that are ideal and have more curves.  But after I altered this pattern, I was pleasantly surprised when I made it up to find it works better on me than most skirts.  Not perfect, but I think really that straight skirts do not really work that well for me.  But I want some anyway!  So I am happy to accept less than perfect because I am less than perfect too, but perfect for me, if that makes sense! And this skirt hangs better on me than straight skirts from the Big 4.  So I was quite pleased, and this is just a fine addition to the casual wardrobe.




I used a lapped zip instead of the pattern's suggestion of an invisible zip, and a skirt hook and press stud inside to finish:


  1. And as usual, I finished my walking split with a button to stop the seam from splitting:

  1. Some quick look sees:




Well, I like this little outfit, although I think I would prefer a set in sleeve instead of the square pleat at the top of the sleeve - this makes my look too square, although I think it would be flattering on a pear shape figure, adding width and squareness to smaller shoulders - that would balance the wider hips.

Next week I will show you the last of my current back log of garments :


All the details then, so for now, I'll wish you a happy weekend, probably very busy with Christmas looming.

Sarah Liz
  1. REPLIES TO  YOUR COMMENTS ON LAST WEEKS POST (Saggy Baggy Pants,Vogue 8836)
  2. Thank you all for your comments on last weeks blog post ....(link). And for your well wishes about my feeling a little brighter after a tedious year of issues to deal with.  Of course, we always have those, but some years there are more than others, as I am sure you all find as well.
  3. Anne, yes, it can be awkward dressing for both indoors and out.  And I will try and post a little more about trousers during 2017 when I make a pair of more structured pants. Good luck with your plans.
  4. Lisa, ditto - next year I will try and show more detail. And elastic in the back or the sides works wonders.  There are patterns around that have semi elasticated waistbands.
  5. Louise - securing a button with a button underneath is a good technique.  It's used in all sorts of garments to stop the button pulling through.  My husband's RTW good winter coat uses this technique.  But it is not suitable in all situations - again, pick the technique to suit the problem!
  6. Janine - op Shops, are great for experimenting - and I dare say a few of us do this.  It seems to me most sewers really enjoying hunting for bargains in op shops! 
  7. Accordion 3 commented on my productivity - I have to tell you all that I do not watch any television at all, preferring to prepare sewing in the evening, or do some marking or whatever.  And I am an early waker, so I often get sewing done early.  I also fit in a little after I finish work, or whenever I get a spare moment.  And I have been making simple garments.
  8. And Summer Flies, Sharon, Sew, Jean Margaret,  Sew Blessed Maw (Judy),Mary, The Sewing CPA and  Star: thank you for your comments - and Star, I had been wondering what had happened to you - look forward to your return to action.
Sarah Liz





Sunday, December 11, 2016

Summertime Cool in Saggy Baggy Pants (Vogue 8836).



 Hello everyone - and Good News!  I am starting to feel a little more energetic - I certainly hit a low slump this year, but I guess in hindsight problems had to be tackled, and that is always draining.  So I am looking forward soon to a brand new sewing year - and that thought lifts my spirits straight away :).  I'd like to thank you all for your kind support over the last few weeks because I have not been able to always respond to your comments.  What I have made sure off, though, is that I visit my regular blogs and comment on yours.  But I am going to start changing how I respond to your comments - I am going to answer on the following blog post, starting with comments that you make on this post.  That way, comments become part of an ongoing sewing discussion where we all learn and share.

In this weeks post, I am going to show you a pair of pants I made some weeks ago.  The pants in which when tackling the buttonhole, my big machine totally jammed and I could not use it at all. Very frustrating, but the domestic machines saved the day and a buttonhole was made. And as you all know, my big machine is now back in working order and I have also become better acquainted with my small domestic machines.  Now that was a digression, so I better get on with the post.

The pattern I used was Vogue 8836:


I have had this pattern for a while, and really liked it, but thought the wide leg trend may not be here for ever, so I had better get on with making this pattern up.  I also had some fabric in my stash that had been there for years.  I originally found it in an Op Shop, so it had probably been in someone else's stash for years as well.  The princely sum of $1.00 was paid.  I have never quite known what to do with it and actually rather disliked it. Then, when I was rummaging for something suitable for these trousers, I found this and thought it would be perfect.  It's a lightweight fabric, probably a poly/linen blend, a fabric very popular way back when (1980 odd).  Ideal, I thought, for making a pair of wash and wear pants for wearing to work in the height of the heat and humidity.  I like pants, because then I have something on my legs to break up the icy breeze of the air conditioner.  But pants are usually too hot in the middle of summer when you go outside.  This fabric was the ideal weight, cool and light, and in a baggy cut, will allow air to circulate.

These pants are cut to the waist, and I found the front rise perfect.  I added 3/8 inch to the back rise, but that was probably not needed.  I did not make a muslin, because the fabric was so cheap and I still did not really like it.  I cut size 10 crotch line, size 8 from the lower hip down, and graded to a 14 at the waist.  I took out some length at the L/s lines in the legs, and also from the hem. My seam allowances were seamed a little less than 5/8 inch because I was worried that the pants would be too tight - sometimes a 14 is tight, sometimes loose.  As it so happened, the pattern must have been a little more generous in the waist than some patterns,  and the waist turned out a little larger than I expected.  This did not bother me unduly, because I always put elastic in the back of trousers so they stay up and to accommodate my elastic waistline as well. Still, I would have preferred a little less - but that is the price you pay when you don't make a muslin.  As for length, it is often recommended that you wear high heels with wide leg pants, but I don't wear high heels, especially in summer.  I wear sandals, and I don't like wide leg trouser hems gettting dirty,  and also with our thunder storms, wet and bedraggled.  So I hem them a length that works for me.  And with this lightweight fabric, I think the shorter length really works nicely.




The pleats were fun to make:



And, I used a bit of gingham poly cotton for the pocket lining - almost adventurous for me, because I tend to like my linings in a similar colour to the garment.


And the button was braced at the back by a small button - the fabric was just not going to hold a button well:



My shots are less than stellar:




As you can see, lightweight fabrics are not the best for back shots - I need more body in a fabric to hide my thin physique.  But, these are summer pants, to be worn to keep cool, and as I sit on my bottom, I don't think anyone will notice!  We sewing bloggers are the only people that focus on what our backsides look like - everyone else looks at faces!!

And do the trousers look like the pattern:








I think so!  Will I make them again?  I'm not sure, but I do know I am going to enjoy wearing these when the mercury soars and the humidity saps.

The blouse is also me made and will be the subject of next weeks blog - it's a Simple Sew pattern, the Lottie Blouse and Skirt.



Until then, wishing you all the best for the upcoming week,

Sarah Liz

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Little Leftover Skirt - Burda 7490.



I'm still working on my back log of blog posts - I think this will take me until Christmas. So this week I am posting a skirt I made some weeks ago.

Sometimes you just happen upon a perfect sort of pattern that just works for you - easy to fit, easy to wear and looks good too.

So it was with Burda 7490 ,  an ancient O.O.P. pattern that I picked up years ago at Spotlight for the princely sum of  0.50 cents.  I like all the garments in it, so one day will get around to making them all.  Just waiting for one day.



The skirt is designed to have elastic through a waistband, and also has a zip at the back.  It has two pleats at the front, and angled pockets.  It is designed for a wove, but I wanted to use the leftover piece of knit from my Cynthia Rowley dress (Simplicity 1314, blogged here). So I decided to eliminate the zipper and just use elastic in the waistband.  Of course, I made sure that the skirt would fit over my hips with this alteration.   Size 38 worked for this.  I wanted loose, wearable and comfortable. And I was in no mood for fiddling and fitting when I made this.  I just wanted to get on with it, with no muslin.  I knew 38 would probably work.

As it so happens, this was absolutely the right decision, with a skirt that is just right for casual comfort.

The fabric, as I mentioned last week, was just horrible to work with.  The overlocker hated it and my old machine had to do most of the work.  This is my pocket - I had to revert to zig-zagging the pocket edges when the overlocker absolutely refused to co-operate at all:


Thank goodness for alternative methods - otherwise it would have to be bound, and I was after a quick and simple sew. But from the outside, all looks good:




And the back was finished with a split instead of a kick pleat. Much easier, and also I had very little fabric so didn't have enough to cut a kick pleat.  Plus I find knits are not co-operative with kick pleats and you don't get that nice, tailored look that make for a smart kick pleat.  I add a button at the top to stop me splitting the split!



So, now some quick pictures - and if I look tired in these, it is because I am tired!!  The year has well and truly caught up with me! And if the t-shirt looks as though it is swinging off grain, it is because it is - it's a cheap RTW one.  I'll have to make a little black and white t -shirt one day.







And look how flattering it is around the tummy:


I have a little tummy and thin legs, but the cut of this skirt is very flattering for me.  I see a few more of these in my future.  And looking at the bottom, the size is just right.  I don't like tight things, so
I think this will be the right size in the future:


That is quite tight enough for me!  And with looseness at the front, this skirt is a winner.

Oh, and just look at the wonderful pockets:



I can see myself making quite a few more versions of this skirt in the future, with and without the zip.

I'll be back next week with another Back Blog.  I hope to have caught up with all my back posts by the end of the year.

Take care everyone,

Sarah Liz


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Finally - Cynthia Rowley Dress (a.k.a. Simplicity 1314).



I finally found some time to tackle the backlog of blog pictures. A mammoth session with six garments finally photographed.  I can't say they are great photos (they never are with me, and I keep telling myself I must do something about this, but then, I remind myself that really, I am not interested in this aspect of sewing at all, because it is not sewing, if that makes sense.  But I like to show you what I have made, and I know lots of you like to see a pattern made up, especially if you are considering making it), especially as I took lots at once, which was just so boring!

I know you have been waiting for this dress to appear on my blog.  Cynthia Rowley, Simplicity 1314:


This dress is designed for stretch knits only, and has about a one third stretch, if you get my meaning.  My knit was a lot firmer than this, and I don't think a stretch knit would do me much justice, as it would just cling to the wrong places with me.  I'm small, but I do have a tummy, so a firmer knit is better for my tummy area.  It's a princess seamed garment, with an invisible zip at the back  and a seam at the waist area in the front and back panel.  And the seams are curved in quite a flattering shape, as I later found out.

As for size, I chose size 12, with size 10 shoulders.  I made a quick muslin of the dress out of old t-shirts - I keep them for this purpose.  Although the waist should be higher, according to the sketch and the pattern marking, I decided to go with where it was as it was and see what happened. Not that I was lazy, of course.   And this strategy worked well as the dress looks okay and the waist seam looks fine.  I lengthened the dress by 2.75 inches and added a split at the back.  I raised the neckline at the front and back - more at the front, less at the back.  When I was sewing the garment, I eased the back neckline into the facing to help it sit nicely.  I seamed the armhole/sleeve with a 3/8 inch seam, as it looked as though the 5/8 was going to be too high on my shoulder.

The fabric was a polyester/cotton knit, with a Lacoste look.  I had been wondering what to make with it, and this  sporty but still classic dress was the perfect choice.  I thought the fabric would be easy to work with, but it was a pain to sew.  Not any of my machines or needles liked it, but I ploughed on regardless. I chose to sew the seams first, which was just as well, because  the overlocker hated the fabric, and skipped stitches, but that doesn't matter.  You have to really go searching for the imperfections inside, and really, I don't think I encourage people to look inside my clothes.  What's in there is my business!  But I don't mind showing you some features.

The zip - I don't have a special foot, but you can get by with the ordinary zipper foot on an industrial machine - you have to really work at unfolding the zip a bit, but it is doable:



You can also see the waistline seam in the back, and the curved seams of the panels.  I actually matched the waist seams well when I inserted the zip - not easy on a knit.  I also had to use a black zip, so it was quite important that it went in well.  I thought black toned better with the very saturated blue I was using. The blue invisible zips at Spotlight are a strange colour and just looked wrong with this fabric.



And the back, inside, I managed to get those facings exactly even and everything looking neat. The instructions were good:


Beat in mind I was working with quite a thick knit, so I was pleased with the zipper insertion.

And the front seam curve, also shows the waistline seam across the front panel:


I made the dress as per the instructions and it went together simply and easily - excepting my battles with the fabric which really was a tough sort of knit to deal with.  Strangely, it feels okay on.

I took heaps of pictures of this dress, but only a handful turned out.  Self timed photos are just so awkward as you never know quite what you have until you load them into the computer. So, I have found the best - so you can only guess how bad the others where!  Eyes shut, scowling, out of focus, too dark, etc etc.


Well, that is hardly my best photo - no smile, poor posture and sticking my tummy out!

The back and side views are better:




Well, I do like this dress, and although some aspects could be tweaked, this is a very wearable new addition to my wardrobe.  Smart, able to be worn as a transitional garment as well as on cooler summer day,s and best of all, wash and wear.

I think this dress would look stunning in a stretch cotton sateen.  Maybe one day. And I certainly would not want to make it in anything stretchier or clingier (is that a word?)  as that just would not suit me.

Well, I will finish with my opening photo, because my posture is so much better and shows the dress to be much more flattering. And I am smiling.


I had some fabric left over, enough to make a skirt:


But that will be the subject of next weeks blog post.  Which means I am back to regular blogging and commenting from this week.  Things are settling down a bit.  Hooray :)

That's it for now, take care everyone, and see you all next week,

Sarah Liz