Axis Dress

Hi, hello! It’s been a while, things were looking very different around here last time I blogged about anything. In fact, it’s been nearly six months, the longest break I’ve had from blogging since I started six years ago. My hiatus started towards in December, when everything got busy for Christmas, and then continued as the beginning of my year was consumed by constant bouts of (all day) morning sickness, where I could barely be bothered to drag my sorry self off the couch, let alone into my sewing room. And then, just as I’m starting to feel like a human again, we’ve all been tipped into this bizarre, scary, unnatural new world of self-isolation and social distancing, which hasn’t helped with my motivation to sew at all! Even though I’m an essential worker, and would ordinarily be at work in the operating department with all of my colleagues, I’ve been told I can stay home for the 4 week long national lock-down period that New Zealand has been observing for most of April. There’s not a lot of information or evidence around Covid-19 and pregnancy yet, and I appreciate how lucky I am that I’ve been given the chance to stay safe at home. I’ve been working on a few new sewing projects, partly out of necessity- things are starting to get pretty snug over my 22 week bump, and partly just to do something that feels like a part of my old, normal life.

This dress is one which I made to wear to a wedding last November, which I had intended to re-photograph before posting, but I’ve missed my chance and it doesn’t go around me anymore! It’s a Papercut Patterns Axis dress, my favourite from their most recent Geo collection.


The fabric is one of my favourite pieces I’ve ever bought, it’s a Japanese rayon crepe from The Fabric Store. Because I love it so much, and because I know that Papercut bodices aren’t usually a great fit for my body straight out of the packet, I took the time to do a muslin to check the fit of this pattern. And I’m really glad that I did! It took me three bodice muslins before I was happy with the fit. With the help of my friend Lauren, we draped two new darts, one at the bust and one at the armhole, and then rotated the armhole dart out. We also shortened the waist on the bodice, and lowered the neckline, and shifted the waist darts in  towards the centre front. I thankfully remembered to carry the length adjustments over to the beautiful wrap-around back!


Look at that lovely back detail!

I sewed the version with the A-line skirt without the centre front split, as I thought this swishy rayon deserved a little bit of volume in the skirt. I had intended to shorten it a few inches, but when I tried it on I decided I really liked the midi length it was drafted at. I struggled to get the hem level, as there isn’t anything holding the back half of the skirt up except for the waistband it dips a bit, and looks longer even though it’s actually the same length. I couldn’t decide if I should trim it shorter so that it matched when I was wearing it, but I think it’s fine. I’d rather it was a bit longer than ended up a bit shorter, which was my worry!


I’m really pleased with how the fit turned out, I felt really secure in the bodice even though I only knotted the ties together once. I think if I make it again I might decrease the width of the ties a bit and lengthen them, so that I have enough for a bow without it being too bulky, especially if I choose a linen or slightly crisper fabric than this fluid crepe. Because of the general wriggliness of rayon crepe, and it’s propensity to grow unexpectedly,  I decided to line my bodice in some lightweight rayon challis that I had in my stash. This meant that I had to cut a self fabric facing for the ties, so that you wouldn’t see my non-matching lining on their wrong sides, but that was simple enough to do.


I finished the dress off with a “Hello, Gorgeous!” label from Kylie and the Machine, it’s so cute. It was a lovely dress to wear on a hot day for our friend’s wedding down in Blenheim, in what feels like much more frivolous times! I hope that you’re all coping okay with whatever your current situation is, and that you’re finding some escape in crafting (or being a crafting voyeur, as I have been!).


(I was so excited to realise that I had these matching earrings!)

The pushing-my-boundaries Bomber


This weeks sewing project has seriously pushed me out of my comfort zone! Bomber jackets have never really been something I’ve wanted to wear, I tend to go for more fitted, tailored things. But then I kept seeing all these awesome, comfortable looking bombers made with Papercut Patterns Rigel pattern, and I thought I’d have a crack at it! I got this fantastic navy and pale blue wool tweed, with a metallic thread through it from The Fabric Shop (I wish I could just open an account there, or move in, or something…), and the navy satin I used for lining and the navy ribbing came from the Fabric Warehouse (also amazing). On the advice of the helpful lady at the Fabric Warehouse, i bought some really flexible wool interfacing, as used in RTW coats. Thank god I listened, because it would have been a total bloody nightmare to sew otherwise! Its a really loose weave (duh, tweed. Pick a more difficult fabric Kirsten), and it started pretty much falling apart as soon as I cut into it! The interfacing just made it so much easier to work with, and added hardly any bulk. Even so, I had to overlock the edges of all the pieces before I started sewing to stop it fraying.


I cut a size XS, because i wanted it to be a bit fitted, and I think that was a pretty good choice. There were lots of firsts in this project, single welt pockets, using ribbing, sewing open ended zips, and sewing a lined jacket! The welt pockets were much easier than I anticipated, I just went slowly and carefully! I basted the pocket lines on first, rather than chalking them on, which was helpful. Theres a reel of bright pink cotton in the thread caddy of my machine that must have belonged to my Nana, its on a wooden spool and is marked ‘made in Great Britain’. Not the sort of thing that comes from Spotlight! I’d love to know what she was making in ‘Frivolous Pink’…


The ribbing and the open ended zipper went in equally easily, it was the lining that had me nearly tossing the whole lot out the window! I decided that I wanted the facing as well, as it looks nice and clean, so I cut out the front, back and sleeve pieces again in lining, and cut the width of the facing away from the front opening and neckline. Then I sewed the lining to the facing, and then sewed the facing to the jacket as per the instructions. That all went fine, it was when I went to attach the cuffs to the sleeves that it all went to hell. I sandwiched the ribbing between the wool and the lining and sewed them together, but when I went to turn it out the right way I ended up with this…

…what the hell?? Its a möbius sleeve! No way in, no way out…I have no idea what happened, I couldn’t have done that if I tried. Even trying to put it inside out again so that I could unpick it was a mission. I’d like to say that I won’t do that again, but given that I don’t know how I did it I can’t promise that! Eventually i got it unpicked and sewed together the right way…


I’m glad I put the lining in, even though it was a bit of a struggle, because the insides of this jacket are not that clean! Between the mess that welt pockets leave, and the interfacing, I would never have been able to take it off or wear it open without the lining.


Now for the bad…I think that the fabric must have shifted just a tiny bit when i was cutting out, as the right front panel just doesn’t seem to sit as well as the left. It looks like it pulls a little on the diagonal, or like its a little bit bigger than it should be between the raglan sleeve seam and the top of the zip. Should have cut it in a single layer! I’ve definitely learned my lesson there. I don’t think its a major, if I was buying this bomber in a shop I probably wouldn’t notice it! Its definitely not bad enough for me to unpick the lining and go in and fix it.


So there we go! The Rigel Bomber, pushing both my fashion and sewing boundaries…now I have to go and vaccuum up all the sparkly little bits of thread that have infiltrated my sewing space, before they get all overthe boyfriend. He just doesn’t appreciate glitter!

Coppelia Cardigan


This week, I continued my love affair with the overlocker and beautiful soft, warm merino wool. I love making things that I know I’ll wear all the time, rather than just special occasion items. This is the Coppelia Cardigan, by Papercut Patterns (yay New Zealand indie patterns!), the first of their patterns that I’ve made up. It won’t be the last though! The packaging is beautiful, the pattern is printed on nice paper (I’m too clumsy to really enjoy dealing with patterning tissue), the instructions are good…and the pattern itself is awesome! Its really simple and fast to make (it only took a few hours from cutting out to wearing), and it all goes together really well.


The only changes I made to the pattern were to slim down the sleeves a little bit, and shorten them quite a lot. I have gibbon arms, so I was surprised how much i chopped off the sleeves! I had a bit of trouble with the band around the front edge, the first time I attached it I didn’t stretch it nearly enough around the back of the neck and over the shoulders, and it sat all wavy and weird. This was the point when my relationship with the overlocker soured briefly, unpicking that long stretch of overlocking was a right pain in the arse! The second time I sewed it on, I probably stretched it too much, the front of the cardigan looks gathered when I’m not wearing it. But it looks fine on, and the idea of unpicking the seam again was just a bit soul destroying, so I can live with it!


I really like this top! It looks good with jeans and a long sleeved tee, but it’ll also look good over dresses, or with my navy pencil skirt. I quite liked it before I sewed the wrap around ties on it too, it sat open like a waterfall cardigan. If I make it again, I might have a play with missing the ties off and putting a little button on either side to secure the cross over if I want to close it. I’ve had some good sewing experiences lately, its awesome! I’m sure there must be some catastrophic failure looming, but I’ll enjoy success while it lasts…

(Sorry about the rubbish photo quality, I’m working 10 hour shifts this week so the only time I’m home is in the dark! I really need to get a better camera…)