pattern review · sewing

{ VOGUE 1247 } Rachel Comey top…

Friends, Ive been scarce around the blog due to a combination of things really. Work, stress. Then I got sick. Its just made me really tired and in the meantime I lost my sewjo so bad I started wondering if it would ever return. Luckily, Im getting back into it but the break has been good.  Trust you all had a good Christmas (if you celebrate) and I’ll wish you all a good New Year now.

This V1247 pattern had been on my wishlist for forever but it was only once I saw “Seeker of Sewing Highs” Sophie’s insanely gorgeous version, did I gasp & decide I had to have the pattern.  Don’t get me wrong folks. There were some stunners out there already, Sophie’s just spoke my kinda language. Luckily for me, Vogue were having a sale at the time. { WHEW }.

I knew just what I was looking for in fabric too – something soft & patterned without a pattern if you knowwhatimean. I wanted the panels to mismatch but be matched at the same time to show off the front panels. Anyway, once I stumbled upon this cotton/silk (70%/30%) blend, I knew immediately it would be the one & due to all the lovely reviewers who agreed the pattern runs rather large & one can easily go down a size or two, I ordered the minimum of fabric & used every last scrap. V1247_front V1247_back

She sewed up without fuss. I took great care in matching up my shoulder pleats and did my best to align the front panels. As 2 separate pieces (top and bottom), the seams aligned perfectly but once I sewed together the top portion to the bottom, my lines were off slightly so I didnt get the perfect point but hey-ho I swoon at all the other bits of perfection.V1247_alignmentV1247_pleats

With french seams throughout and a lovely bias neck facing, she’s casual but with some awesome finishes. I didnt fold my sleeves over as instructed because my fabric, while beautiful, is not that slouchy slouch so when folded they just stuck out too much overall & decided therefore to leave it sheer.

My fabric is sheer but perfect for summer & you may be wondering why Ive been sewing summer instead of winter… Simple really. Im headed home on holiday for 3 weeks soon. Home means hot, summer, friends & family – a decent vacation. Its been 3 ½ years since Ive been home.

I cannot wait!

A xx

pattern review · sewing

{ McCALLS 6751 } Stripes ahead…


I realise this pattern has a big { EASY } button smacked on the front of the envelope & believe me, not only is it easy, but its super { FAST } to sew up too. From cutting to final press, this took exactly 1 hour….& that includes having to take a little break to rest my eyes after the first round of hemming because the stripes were screwing with my eyes. I used the break to fill my tummy with some chilled After Eights but Im sure you didnt come here to read about my chocolate addiction!

This McCalls 6751 pattern shows 4 variations which are all super cute. I chose View A & sewed it straight from the envelope, zero alterations. I omitted the pocket because I find it kinda stupid thats why. The length was fine for me, but for those with long torsos, you will need to make the adjustments.mccalls_6751_back

I used a slight stretch cotton that I cant tell if its navy & white or black & white! When I stare at the stripes too close or too long, my eyes give up. Whatevs, I dig it….& I love how the stripes change direction on the back…OH & the criss-cross back!!!. Instead of using the bias hemming method, I simply hemmed with a small hem using a contrast lime green thread for a little detail of colour which came out looking really cool – I think.mccalls_6751_contrast_stitching

This is super beginner, super easy, super fast which kinda equals { INSTANT GRATIFICATION } sewing. There are endless possibilities with the use of colour, edgings & fabric choices. You could even substitute lace for the back pieces which would look amazing, providing you use the right lace of course.

If you dont already have this pattern in your collection, I highly recommend it. If you already have this pattern, go & make it….you need but 1 hour!

pattern review · sewing

{ BURDASTYLE } The Jenny…

BS_JennyContinuing with the catch-up of old PR reviews today while I have some time….

This Jenny skirt was made some time ago however it is one of my favourite skirts { EVER }.  I love to pair it with my V8032 black & white polka blouse & Zara peep-toes.

The deets :

{ DESCRIPTION } The Jenny skirt 6058 which is a BurdaStyle downloadable. Pencil skirt with plenty oomph.

{ FABRIC USED } A home decor fabric which was left-over after making a ginormous bed throw. The tomato red spoke volumes…

{ SIZING } Pretty accurate, as BurdaStyle sizing goes. I allowed a wee bit extra on the hips for comfort though.

{ INSTRUCTIONS } Good, but not necessary since this is a straight forward pattern.

{ ALTERATIONS } After fitting the muslin, like others, I preferred the fit of the waist band on the straight rather than the bias. I also preferred this skirt with a back vent rather than the slit which I went ahead & added without much hassle.

{ LEVER OF DIFFICULTY } * easy & highly recommended

{ SUM IT UP } A great versatile little pencil with loads of oomph. I love wearing this in fall & winter for a pop of bright colour but still stay warm & fairly well dressed. An excellent pattern for any sewist.BS_Jenny1

Original PR review here if you interested.

Thanks for stopping by x

pattern review · sewing

{ NEW LOOK 6148 } Version E

Hi again –NewLook_6148

Last week I told you about a new project I had cut out in Somethings Brewing. Do you remember ?

Well I finished that project, New Look 6148…and my something new totally worked! { YAY }. I made version E without the sleeves and instead of using a contrast fabric as such, I used a fine stretch tulle instead. I had never used stretch tulle before so this was completely new for me & Im so excited it worked. I had prepared myself for torture with this tulle in the form of puckering, pulling & whatever other nasty things one expects when trying something new but it behaved itself so well, I almost feel like it could become a friend. I made sure to always stitch with the tulle on the top so it was not able to snag on the feed dogs, & maybe this was my saving grace.tulle_on_top

The fushia pink is sari fabric { AGAIN } that I purchased in South Africa many years ago. The die-cut end with the crimped pattern was cut from the end of the sari & I was initially going to use this die cut panel for the entire front but then my inner voice pointed out it might be too much so I shifted it off to my left & Im pleased I listened to that inner voice. The back is plain, only following the gold border to tie it together.

I had planned to bias bind the tulle edges at the neck & arms with the fushia pink. I completed one arm & it looked dreadful so I pulled it out & left the tulle raw & simply folded over & stitched the fushia under. Since this made the tulle bigger at the arms, I worked two pleats into the tulle at the shoulders & neatened the raw edges.NL6148_tulle_edge

This top is by no means perfect.  I had already taken in the sides considerably when I fitted it the first time but it would seem I could have taken it in more. I also would have preferred if this sari was pure silk & not art silk but alas, the colour makes up for that! I also realised now that I could have tea-dyed the tulle slightly to make it match my skin colour more, something which Im sure I could still do now with care of course.NL6148_sari_pattern

Its a great pattern and really easy to construct. Had I had a full day to sew this, it would have been done in a few hours however I stole moments here & there { PLUS } the fiddling with bias tape & tulle resulted in it taking much longer than it should normally if stitched as is. Highly recommended with some adaptations. Im thinking a lovely lace contrast on the top or a bright colour block contrast may be on the cards for the next time I sew this.

Difficulty Rating *

Thanks all for stopping by x

{ Related Posts }

review · sewing

{DVD review – Basics with Claire Shaeffer}

Claire_Schaeffer-f ran a Christmas competition back in 2010 & I was the {oh so lucky} winner of their first day prize which was this double DVD called Basics with Claire Shaeffer. Claire’s best-selling book, Couture Sewing Techniques has sold 75,000+ copies and this DVD Im sure will grow to sell just as many, if not more.

At first I was a little intimidated by the DVD because Claire Schaeffer really is a Couture Sewing expert & since at the time I had little to no experience with couture sewing techniques, I wondered if this DVD would just be way ahead of my skill level.

I did not watch this immediately – in fact, it took me some months before I finally watched Disc 1 but I was quickly irritated at myself for waiting so long because throughout the whole DVD are these  fantastic techniques that are the basics of all sewing – not just couture. Since I have no formal sewing training, a lot of what Claire discusses in the DVD, is important to know/learn/remember irrelevant of your skill level.

{Disc1} starts with the basics  – an introduction and essential tools, followed by some basic hand sewing techniques ie. beginnings & endings, basting stitches, permanent stitches, slipstitches, hemming stitches and machine stitches as well as focusing on darts {balancing darts to be specific} which i found terribly useful especially when sewing with wools & wool based fabrics.

{Disc2} goes into slightly more detail on how to make those bars & chains, marking techniques, shrinking and stretching techniques and pressing techniques (which I thought should have been on Disc1 but I understand why it is on Disc2 instead). Also covered on Disc2 is a section focussing on {BIAS}, how to & whys and then also a small discussion on {STAYS} for stabalising zipper areas, elastic casings etc. Terribly handy to know all round.


Overall, I found this DVD extremely useful and informative not just by listening but also by watching how Claire not only makes some of these hand stitiches but more so by the things she does so instinctively ie. how she handles fabrics, how she sits, how she works off the table & not on her lap or in her other hand – all adding to the overall learning experience.

A few pennies dropped with regards to why couture is so expensive – the amount of hand sewing and hours that go into some of these exquisite gowns and garments is {MIND BLOWING} but so necessary. I love my Sapphy and I would run into a burning house to retrieve my sewing machine {REALLY, I WOULD}, but after watching this DVD I appreciate more the skill that goes into a couture garment, rather than just judging it by its price tag.

Ok, so things I didnt like about this DVD :

It is not MAC friendly {SNIFF SNIFF} and I therefore had to watch this on my smaller laptop as opposed to the vivid colour display of my MAC. Not a huge problem, just something I thought I would point out especially if there are folk out there wanting to purchase this & dont own a windows based PC. I would not like you to be disappointed on receiving this & it doesnt work.

So, would I recommend this – yes, I would absolutely recommend this DVD to any sewer, irrelevant of whether you are a beginner or not. If you are a beginner, I think you could benefit from learning skills the correct way from scratch and if you already sew, I think you could learn some more advanced techniques too.  The DVD runs for 180minutes in english & currently retails on AmazonUK for GBP30,22 and on AmazonUS for USD40,93. You may also purchase her Vogue Custom Couture Collection V8333 here or V8621 here {& both on sale} to put all your skills into practice 🙂

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me through the comments section. Thank you for stopping by x

pattern review · sewing

{Vintage Butterick 503}

Butterick 503-f

I made this lingerie slip some time ago – Ive just been a little behind on my new reviews.

A pattern given to me by my mother, handed down from my grandmother – this Butterick 503 Lingerie is perhaps the oldest pattern I own. The envelope was deteriorating badly when my mother owned it so she saved what she could & stuck the back & front to a regular A5 envelope. But the pattern pieces & instructions are original & better preserved in the new envelope.


I used a soft wine red crushed taffeta for the body & trimmed with black lace that I had in my stash for years. I realise a soft satin would be more in keeping with lingerie but I wanted to use the taffeta mostly because of the {VA VA VOOM} colour but also because its so different. If you wondering how I sleep in taffeta – I dont, I use this getup just to manipulate & control the hubsters…err…nevermind!! 🙂

I was not expecting to get such a great finished garment out of this so I was quite surprised at how well it really worked. Because the taffeta has no stretch, I needed to use a zip on the side, but it feels more fitted this way & support the boobies better thereby allowing me to put my best “foot” forward.

I cut mine on the straight but the instructions give a bias option as well if you feeling a little more adventurous and if using satin, probably a skimpier, clingier fit.

butterick 503-b

The pattern was easy to follow, really easy to construct & the fit is incredible.  The next one I make I think I might play around with the skirt making it a little less flared, with a side slit trimmed with lace….perhaps not as wide a lace as this one but I think it might look quite cute.

Have you sewed lingerie? Do you recommend any particular patterns, vintage or newer?

PS – Apologies for the mediocre pics of this project. Poppy {the dress form} is currently hosting the red V8550 project i blogged about before & I didnt want to disturb her. Since Ive never formally introduced Poppy, I will introduce  her real soon 😉

{UPDATE} : I meant to mention earlier on this post that there is no date on this pattern whatsoever. A date may have been printed on the envelope however its old & the edges are quite tatty and worn from use. My mother cut the envelope back & front apart to stick to a new envelope & cut through where its written something “Patented…” is all I can see. The bottom of the envelope reads “The Butterick Publishing Company Limited, London”. The instruction sheet on the inside (of which is 1 page printed both sides in square format) reveals no date either. The words “Printed in England” is printed at the bottom right corner. I might get in touch with Butterick for more info on this pattern & report back its age. Trust this helps for those that have asked.