Pietra’s (part one)

Wow, its been a few weeks! I’ve been sewing a whole bunch, but finding the motivation (and the time) to take photos has been a bit tough. But this weekend was sunny, and I managed to get photos of a few things that have been waiting for a while, as well as a few queue jumpers!


First up is a pair of Closet Case Patterns Pietra Pants, fresh off the sewing machine! This is view B, the pegged version, made up in a striped cotton twill from my stash. First things first: they haven’t photographed very well! I couldn’t get the narrow stripes on this fabric to come up in a way that wasn’t hypnotic, so I’m sorry if you can’t see them very clearly…


Bamboozling as the fabric looks on screen, I think they look pretty great in real life! I’ve got metres of this fabric, it was from one of The Fabric Warehouse’s Pop Up sales a few years ago and I’m glad I’ve started making a dent in it. I considered playing with the direction of the stripes on the pockets and waistband, but decided to keep it simple and have all of the stripes horizontal. This twill is a lovely weight for this pattern, its not too crisp or bulky with the elastic in the back, but still feels heavy enough for Spring trousers.


Now, to the pattern! I sewed this version as a toile, before I cut into the lush viscose/linen blend I have from Blackbird Fabrics, and the fit is so great. I took 1/4” off the rise at the CF, and that is all. Everything else is as drafted! I’ve got a couple of wrinkles under the bum, and I could take a little bit more length off the centre front seam, but other than that I think they’re pretty perfect. Even the length is as drafted, surprisingly! I may actually add an inch or so to my next pair, just so that I can cuff them if I want to.



The waist is super high, and I love it! The lack of waistband paired with the interfaced facing at the front make them really comfortable, and the pockets aren’t too bulky and are nice and deep. They’re just a really comfy, easy to wear pair of trousers, exactly what I’ve been looking for! I was a bit worried that the 2 inch elastic in the back waist would be too wide, but it feels fine and I actually like the way it looks when it’s all topstitched. I did have to steam it pretty heavily once I had finished sewing over it to get it to spring back to its original length, but that seems to have been successful!



I’ve also got a new tee shirt! This is a knit Scout Tee, made up in a linen knit from The Fabric Store. I’ve never sewn linen knit before, and once I managed to figure out how to straighten the grain on my piece of fabric (it came out of the wash like a parallelogram)  it was pretty easy going. I definitely made sure to stabilised the shoulder seams, and used wash away stabiliser to ensure the hems didn’t get stretched or tunneled as I ran it through the cover-stitch, but other than that… For the pattern I did the same thing I did for my first knit Scout, and sized right down to the smallest size in the pattern. I really like the length and shape of the sleeves on the Scout pattern, they’re a super cute length!


I’m really happy with both of these garments, and I’m even happier that its getting warm enough to wear them! You’ll definitely be seeing more of both patterns around here this summer…

Day and Night Scouts

I don’t have many gaps in my wardrobe, but one I really noticed during MMM15 was my lack of ‘nice’ tops. Tops that I can fling on with my skinny jeans and some lipstick and look presentable enough for after work drinks or last minute dinner plans. This week I made myself two more Grainline Scout tee shirts (numbers 6 and 7, oh my!) which pretty neatly fill my brief! I’m popping them both in the same post, as I really don’t have much more to say about the construction of the Scout. Both are a straight size 6, with only cosmetic changes.

The first version is made up in the best striped cotton I’ve found so far. I love a good breton stripe! I bought 3m of this stuff, so expect to see a dress made out of it sometime soon. It was actually a bit if a pain to sew, much more than I expected. The navy stripes are embroidered onto the cotton in nylon thread, which made ironing tricky. If I had the iron hot enough to get creases out, the nylon stripes would shrink up, making it look like large scale seersucker. As it cooled down it relaxed a bit, but it still looks a bit rumpled. I’ve decided I can live with it!

I added a faux button placket up the back (faux in that it has no buttonholes, I just extended the back CB edge, cut it off the fold, turned the edges under an inch and sewed the buttons through both pieces). I love a back button detail! The buttons are gorgeous green vintage ones from the Fabric Warehouse, I really like how they look with the stripes.

I’m including this photo so that you can see how cute the buttons are, and to show the rope-like texture of the stripes. Its pretty cool fabric! The seams on this shirt were all finished with my overlocker, and the neck and hem are finished with bias tape. Neat, but too dull for pictures!

My second Scout is much more dressy, and really quite blingy for me!

I’ve had these two fabrics in my stash for ages, so I’m glad I’ve finally used them! The body is cream silk crepe, and the sleeves and neck binding are cream and gold silk. I really need a better camisole to wear under this one, the crepe is so light and clingy.

Can you tell I love back details? I really do. I’ve had this idea for a triangular yoke (if thats the right word for it) floating around in my head for a while, and I’m glad it tuned out ok. To get the shape of the yoke, I started at the sleeve notches, and drew a line to the CB at an angle which I found pleasing. There wasn’t any maths or anything fancier than that! 


I used french seams for all of the construction of this one, as the gold fabric frayed like a beast. Also because french seams are pretty. I wanted the neckline to be bound rather than faced with the bias tape, so I machine sewed it onto the right side and then slipstitched it to the inside. 


 I used the less gold side of the fabric as the right side (above), just to make it a bit more subtle (haha). Even so, monsieur described it as “a bit Ziggy Stardust”. As far as I’m concerned, that can only be a good thing! I love the texture of the gold and cream, even though it was impossible to photograph…  

So there we go! A wardrobe hole plugged. I hope you aren’t bored of Scout tee shirts, because I’ve been collecting silk prints for more all winter…

Summer basics: Linden and Scout(s)

Wellington is absolutely scorching hot at the moment, and I am feeling very grateful for the summer sewing I did over the Christmas break! I’ve stuck with the Grainline theme and whipped myself up another couple of Scout tees to go with my Maritime shorts, and also made up a Linden sweatshirt. I’m chucking them all in one post, because I really don’t have much more to say about the Scout, aside from how much I adore it!


I’ll start with the Linden Sweatshirt, since its one I haven’t made before. Its a really nice raglan sleeved sweatshirt, it was really quick and easy to sew up. I did have a couple of hurdles with making it though! I found this white cotton sweatshirting (is sweatshirting the same as french terry? This is smooth on one side, and loopy on the other) from the Fabric Store, but I had trouble finding ribbing to match. In the end I got some cream/off white ribbing from The Fabric Warehouse, and was quite pleased with the colour combination. Unfortunately, I chucked the ribbing in the wash with some pink silk satin I have for lining my upcoming Victoria Blazer, and dyed it a delicate pink!


Of course, when I went to buy more cream ribbing, they’d sold out, so I decided I could just deal with the pink. I do quite like the colour combo, its just a bit girlier than I would usually go for! The construction was very straightforward, until I went to attach the neckband. The double layer of ribbing plus the sweatshirting gave the overlocker some serious issues, resulting in repeatedly broken threads and eventually a broken needle. I think maybe the needles were too blunt to deal with three thick layers of fabric, but it managed to sew the neckband and cuffs on the next day, once I had installed some new needles. It was a frustrating half hour before the needle broke though! I’ve never come across issues like that with the overlocker before…


There aren’t many photos of me wearing it, because its just too hot!

I decided against adding the bottom hem band, I just folded the hem up by an inch and sewed it with my twin needle. I have some lovely black merino in my stash, just waiting for winter to arrive before it gets made into another Linden!


The first of my latest two Scout tees (I’m on a bit of a Scout bender) is the same as the previous one I made. The fabric is an embroidered cotton from The Fabric Store, of course. Its really nice and light, a loose weave almost like muslin. I’m a sucker for gingham, and I really liked the embroidered border, but I didn’t want to make it into a dress or anything which could end up looking a bit Wizard of Oz or rodeo-ish. So a nice simple Scout it became!


Its a straight size 6, with the seams overlocked rather than french seamed because I was feeling lazy. It was a lazy project really, the embroidery meant there was no hemming required! Not much else to say about this one, so straight onto the next one…


A knit Scout! I am totally in love with this one, its the tee shirt of my dreams! The fabric is a luscious bamboo cotton knit from Blackbird Fabrics, and it is just the softest, drapiest, most delicious stuff to wear! I bought it as soon as Blackbird Fabrics opened their online store, as I haven’t been able to find a good breton striped knit anywhere. In fact, I was so eager to buy it that I followed the link out of the Sewaholic blog post talking about it to the shop and bought it before I finished reading the post, only to see that there was a discount code at the end! I felt like such an idiot, but when I left a comment exclaiming about my stupidity, Caroline kindly took the discount off anyway. Blackbird fabrics were great to deal with all round, actually. Caroline emailed me regarding a change in shipping procedures to NZ and offered to refund me if I wasn’t happy with the new arrangements, and was just generally lovely and helpful!


I cut this version out in the smallest size, and then sewed it up with a standard overlocker 3/8″ seam allowance, and it fits just how I wanted it to. Isn’t it nice when things turn out just right? I cut the neckband quite narrow, as I wanted it to be plain navy, so I topstitched it down with my twin needle to stop it flipping over. This is a step I never usually bother with, I just steam the crap out of it and hope it stays in place!


Have I mentioned that I love it? I really really do!

Anyway, this has been quite a long, picture heavy post, so good job if you’ve made it this far! Tomorrow morning I’m heading up to Auckland to go to the Laneway Festival, where I get to see my favourite ever band, Belle and Sebastian! I’m beside myself with excitement about getting to see them play, I never in a million years thought they’d come down to NZ! I’ll leave you with my favourite song off their latest album…

Summer uniform (for a Grainline fangirl)

So far I have spent 2015 eating, watching the cricket (come on Black Caps!) and sewing up a storm. It’s been very pleasant! Wellington has been hot and humid for the past week, so I decided it was definitely time to make myself some shorts. During the post-thanksgiving sale period I bought myself a copy of The Maritime Shorts pattern from Grainline Studio (along with the Linden Sweatshirt pattern, expect to see that sometime soon!). I’m still a bit scared of making trousers, as I don’t know where to start with fitting issues, but I’ve always had such good results with Grainline patterns, and the Moss skirt fits me really well, so I thought I’d give them a crack.


I’m definitely glad I did! The fit is spot on, and they came together beautifully. All the fabric came from my stash (thank god, its overwhelming my sewing corner a bit at the moment!), I originally bought this khaki cotton drill to make a bag out of. Its nice to wear, but it creases like nothing on earth! I ironed them, sat down for about 10 minutes and then took these pictures, and look at the state of them!


20150107-112344-41024185.jpgObligatory bottom pictures, sorry about the blinding glare from my pale self…

Looking at that last picture, it does look like theres a bit of pulling towards the inseam. I wonder if thats always there, or if its just the way I’m standing?

I made these exactly as instructed, except for adding 2″ of length to the hem. I originally planned for them to be cuffed, but I actually really like the length with them uncuffed. If (when) I make them again, I might add another 2″ so that I can cuff them! I used some floral cotton from my stash for the pockets, they make me smile when I put them on. I bound the outer leg seams in the same fabric because I thought it would be cute to have that little glimpse of the binding at the cuffs, but now it’ll probably never be seen! It was still good practice though, I’ve never done bound seams before. I have discovered how much I hate making bias tape…so tedious!


I also whipped myself up another Scout tee, just after the epic frustration of my silk velvet adventures. I really do love this pattern, can it be counted as a tried and true pattern after three iterations? I was stoked to find this DKNY lace in the remnant bin at The Fabric Store, after waffling about how expensive it was to buy off the bolt. I had just enough for the tee, though sadly I was about 3″ short of being able to cut the sleeve hems along the scalloped selvage and escape hemming altogether!



Its all french seamed, as I was a bit worried about sewing over the ‘holes’ in the lace, and the sleeve hems are just turned up 1/4″ and stitched. For the neckline, I didn’t want anything harsh like a strip of white bias tape, so instead I put a line of stitching at 1/4″, which eased it in slightly, and then ironed it over and stitched it down. Its really nice and close fitting, no gaping at all, which I’m sure is down to the initial line of stitching. I’m counting on the lace not fraying, or I’ll be in trouble! If I had some sheer mesh or something similar I would have used that to cleanly bind the neckline, but oh well! I love the scalloped hem, its so pretty.


I’ve been wearing these two items so much! The shorts have been worn every day since I finished them (except for today, since its a bit cooler), and I’ve worn the tee several times (again, not today because its in the wash). They’re both such simple, basic pieces, but they suit my lazy holiday lifestyle perfectly.


Hope you’re all enjoying your holiday, if you’re still off work, or that your first week back hasn’t been too much of a shock to the system if you’re already back!

November Roundup

Holy crap, I can’t believe I only have one month left of my ‘make a thing a week for a year’ challenge! I also can’t believe its Summer tomorrow, and the start of the Christmas season. I’m looking forward to digging out my Christmas decorations and doing some Christmas baking (I love gingerbread and fruit mince pies, even though neither is particularly seasonally appropriate for the southern hemisphere…), but I’m really looking forward to more sunshine, warmer weather and summer fruit arriving in the shops and in my garden!


This month has been a successful one, sewing-wise. My Grainline Scout and Alder are two of my favourite me-made items so far, and my Moneta has already had a fair bit of wear. I’m really glad I finished my Malu coat, even though it isn’t quite what I envisaged when I started it, so many months ago! I think that the projects this month have taught me a bit about compromise, and making the best of a situation. Sometimes that works out awesomely, like with the triangle cutout on my Scout tee, and sometimes its just the reality of the situation, as it was with my Malu. You can’t win them all, and at least I managed to get wearable garments out of each situation!

I haven’t got a huge amount to add this month, all of my projects used techniques I’ve used before, so there was nothing new to learn. I was much more confident putting the collar on my Alder shirtdress this time than when I made my Archer shirt all those months ago, and I’m really happy with how neat it looks. I’ve also learned a valuable lesson about picking knit fabrics. When I compare my first Moneta with my second, the recovery of the striped rayon knit is so much better than the merino I first picked, and has resulted in a much more wearable dress! The first one is so cozy and warm, but I think I might end up repurposing the fabric and making another one in a merino blend for next winter.

I did have some excitement this week, when I realised that my Sewaholic Belcarra blouse was featured on the Sewaholic blog! I couldn’t figure out what had happened overnight, my views were through the roof when I checked it on Thursday morning! I feel very flattered to be included amongst such interesting and talented seamstress/bloggers 🙂

Scrap-busting Scout

I know I seem to say this a lot, but I genuinely think this may be one of my favourite makes so far. Unsurprisingly, its a Grainline pattern, the Scout Tee. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to get this pattern, because I love the RTW woven tee shirts I have in my wardrobe!


I just managed to squeeze the pattern pieces onto the left over scraps from my Grainline Archer shirt, but only by cutting the back pieces off the fold. Even then, I didn’t have quite enough fabric if I wanted to march the pattern down the centre back seam, which I really wanted to do! In the end, after a lot of shuffling of pattern pieces and some considerable swearing, I found a way to fit everything on and get the pattern matched at the CB seam, but…I had to add in a cut out to the back neckline. There just wasn’t enough fabric to fit that last little corner on!


I actually really like how it looks! I like interesting details on the back of my tops, especially if the rest of the top is quite plain (if you can call black and white gingham plain!) I elongated the triangle a bit, just to make it look more planned. Because of the cut out, I ironed the neck binding into double fold bias tape (which was such a pain in the arse, it was too small to fit in my bias tape folder so I had to do it all by hand. So many scorched fingertips!), and bound the neckline the same way the Datura blouse uses. I made a narrow facing for the cutout itself, which was under-stitched to the seam allowance (is that the right term? I’m having a mental block).


I think it looks pretty spiffy! Isn’t it nice when accidents turn out well! I’ll be wearing this top a whole lot this summer, I’ve already worn it three times since i finished it on Friday night! Clearly I’ll need to make some more to keep me going. It was so nice to make something straightforward that just came together perfectly, I’m still wrestling with my Malu coat, and I’ve had a few disappointing fitting dilemmas recently too. Fitting is something I need to get better at, I think I should invest in some sewing books to help me with this (Monsieur, if by some chance you’re reading this, the Sewaholic Sewtionary would be an awesome Christmas present. Just saying.)


Hilariously, one of the search terms used to direct someone to my blog last week was ‘blogger with pale white legs’. I don’t know if it was me they were looking for, but if the description fits…

(This is my ‘yay sun!!!’ face, by the way)