The Dawn Jean – My First Attempt

The Dawn Jean
Styled with my button front cami

I’m starting this out by saying I was completely under prepared about how much top stitching thread is required to sew a pair of jeans. I naively purchased 1 x 30m real of top stitching thread and ultimately needed two and a bit. The Dawn Jeans by Megan Nielson were my first attempt of sewing jeans and it was a very rewarding process.

The Dawn Jean

I have always avoided sewing jeans as I love jeans with distressing and interesting washes. This is virtually impossible to achieve with home made jeans. Denim by the meter tends to be unwashed and a bit flat. In saying that, I am warming to this type of denim look with less distressing. I also like the idea of working on a denim fit that is perfect for my body. It is getting increasingly more difficult to find a good fitting pair of jeans in a clothing market that is saturated with denim. The irony of it……

The Dawn Jean

Megan Nielsen does a fantastic job of providing patterns that are well notched and detailed instructions on how to sew your jeans. There are also many detailed sew alongs to accompany The Dawn Jeans on her website. The Dawn Jeans come with 4 options and the first fit I’m going to conquer is the cropped flair. I have a beautiful rust colour stretch cord waiting patiently in my stash to be sewn in this style once I perfect the fit.

The Dawn Jean

For my first attempt I used an 8oz stretch denim in the colour Fawn. I purchased 3mts which is enough to make 2 pairs of these jeans in size 8. I found the top stitching process very therapeutic. My only wish was to have two sewing machines set up to save time switching out threads and stitch length. You can be as creative as you like with your top stitching. I personally prefer a simplistic approach to top stitching.

The Dawn Jean
Front topstitching
The Dawn Jean
Back top stitching

Taking the lead from many other makers on Instagram I also added contrast fabric pocket lining for an extra special finishing touch.

The Dawn Jean
Contrast pocket lining

Overall the fit was pretty good. I have a flat tush and found the pant a little saggy in the seat. And from a side view the pant collapsed in under my butt instead of hanging straight from the butt.

The Dawn Jean
Back view – needs some work

The back leg is hanging down making the back hem not level. The back leg needs to be lifted up. I’m not 100% sure how I am going to correct this but I will share with you on my next blog post of this make. I have found a handy pant fit correction guide on Closest Case Pattern website.

The Dawn Jean
The adjustment required. Now I just need to figure out how to do it!

I am also going to slim the leg line down ever so slightly on my remake. I have purchased some hardware to give that store brought look to my next pair of jeans. Another great shop for jeans hardware is Citron Jeans. More updates to come once I nail the fit of this jean!

The Dawn Jean
So versatile in their styling!

The Adelia Dress As A Top

The Adelia Dress Top Hack

The first thing that popped into my mind when I saw this top on Instagram was versatile, easy to wear and I must have one, or two, or three or four in my wardrobe. I also love the aesthetics of it’s creator The Hemming who is a fellow Gold Coast maker. Wear it with jeans or linen pants, a high waisted skirt or a pair of shorts. The options are limitless.

The pattern is sold as the Adelia Dress with a little tutorial on how to shorten it into the Adelia Top on The Hemming’s website. Many of the versions I have seen of this top have been made from linen or linen blend fabrications. I decided to give it a go in a polyester crepe from The Fabric Store.

To work out the length that will best suit you and your current wardrobe, I recommend putting on the bottoms that you would like to pair with your top once it has been made. Then measure from you High Point Shoulder (top of your shoulder close to the neck) to the length you would like your top to sit on your chosen bottoms. Next add seam allowance. I made an error in judgement here and didn’t add enough seam allowance at the hem to match the sleeve hem and my hem ended up smaller than I would have liked.

It was a quick and easy make that I was able cut and sew within a couple of hours on a Saturday morning. My other error of judgement with this piece was my choice of top stitching thread. I was not able to find the perfect colour and opted for a darker thread instead of a lighter colour thread. This left a really obvious stitch line at the centre front placket. I opted to up pick and left the front with a clean finish only being held down with the buttons and button holes.

As always, I finished my garment with the one of a kind woven label from Kylie And The Machine. I love her labels and the finishing touch they bring to my home made garments.

How to make a clashing print 1/4 circle swing skirt….

There’s nothing like a bit of print clashing to add a hint of interest to your wardrobe. A few weeks ago I stumbled across a beautiful skirt on the Free People website and decided to try and make a version for myself. The next problem was to source 3 or 4 prints that were different but also worked together.

Print clashing skirt

Print clashing can but slightly daunting, so with a picture of my inspiration skirt in hand on my phone I hit my local Spotlight Store in hope of finding 3 prints that worked together. After a little procrastination and putting together a couple of different combos I decide on 3 prints that where tied together through colour. I selected a black floral paisley print, red monotone printed floral and a printed mustard small spot. All prints are 100% Rayon which give the skirt a beautiful drape. The black floral paisley was the linking print with its mustard and red tying all three prints together.

My inspiration
My inspiration

Now to share with you how to make this skirt from scratch. That’s right you don’t need a pattern. You can do this all by yourself with some paper, a tape measure, a pencil, a rubber and ruler.

You will need a piece of paper that is at least 45″ to 55″ square. If you don’t have pattern paper you could glue newspaper pages together to create a sheet big enough. To begin you need to work out what the radius will be for your 1/4 circle skirt based on your waist measurement. Follow the below steps to get your number. Be sure to work it out in inches which is slightly odd for an Aussie but the radius table is in inches.

  1. Measure your waist where you want the skirt to sit – mine is 28″.
  2. Add 1/2″ seam allowance – 28″ + 1/2″ = 28 1/2″.
  3. Subtract 1″ for stretch – 28 1/2″ – 1″ = 27 1/2″.

Find this measurement in the first column of the table below and find the radius measurement in the second column. If you are in between measurements in column 1 like I am, find the mid point between the numbers in column 2.

1/4 circle radius table

Next write down this measurement (mine is 17 3/8″) and the length that you would like your skirt. My skirt is 30″ long. Use these figures to mark out your pattern as below.

Base skirt guide

Base pattern piece
Your pattern will look something like this

Mark you pattern pieces 22cm down from the waist seam and measure this to check your hip measurement. Extend the side seams out further if you need to make more room for your hips.

The next step is to make a little road map on how you would like to break up your pattern. This can be anything you want but make sure you think about how the panels will join up at the side seam. Take a look at little road map below.

My road map
My road map

Now it’s time to transfer your little road map onto your pattern piece. I started by marking down each side seam how I would like the pieces to join up. Then you just have to go for it and draw all your curved lines. You can go back over and improve your curves if they don’t look right once you have them all marked out.

The marked out pattern piece
The marked out pattern piece

Clearly number all your pieces before cutting them up to add seam allowance. I added 1cm seam allowance to the waist seam and panel / hem seams. I also added another 6mm to the side seams to accomodate the invisible zipper. You also need to check the flow through of the pieces that join at the side seam. I did have to make a few alterations here so that there where no pointy bits at the side seam. It involved skimming a little off the top and adding a little to the bottom of each join.  I forgot to take an image of this so hopefully this step makes sense. However, I have just added a little video tutorial to my stories highlights on Instagram if you want to check that out.

Print blocking midi skirt
Side view

Clearly mark all you pattern pieces with the name of each print you will be using and also make sure you cut all of your pattern pieces the right side up.  Don’t be tempted the cut some pieces out wrong side out to save fabric as your pieces will not sew back together properly.

Finally create your waistband pattern piece. My waistband was 8cm wide and 73cm long to create a waistband that is 3cm wide finished. I also fused my waistband.

Follow the below steps to sew your skirt.

  1. Sew all panel pieces together. Stop a little before where the hem starts.
  2. Roll hem all hems. Stop a little before the side seam hem.
  3. Overlock all panel pieces.
  4. Finish stitching panel pieces together where you stopped just before the hems.
  5. Overlock side seams.
  6. Join 1 side of the waistband to the waist seam. Notch at the fold line of the waistband.
  7. Sew invisible zipper starting from notch at fold line of the waistband.
  8. Finish sewing the side seam.
  9. Finish the roll hem at the side seam.
  10. Bag out top of the zipper with the waistband.
  11. Iron 1cm seam allowance of waistband under and stitch down waistband.
The roll hem foot
My life saver. The roll hem foot.

And now you have an amazing print blocking skirt. Good Luck! Feel free to ask questions if you embark on this skirt making journey. I’ll be happy to help….  My dream is that everyone who wants to sew and make their own clothes gets the support and mentorship to make their me made dreams a reality.

Print blocking skirt

Lander Shorts by True Bias

Finding the perfect shorts can be like finding a needle in the hay stack. They are either too short or too long, too tight or too loose, the back waistband gaps or the rise is too short or too long. The list of possible flaws is endless when it comes to shorts.

Lander Shorts
Lander Shorts by True Bias

What better way to solve your endless list of requirements than to embark on the journey of #memade shorts. For this project I wanted a pair of shorts that was loose fitting with a turned cuff, waistband and belt loops so that I could pull the waistline in with a belt to create a cinched in waist look with an oversized short. After countless hours of looking at home made shorts on line I decided to use the Lander Shorts pattern by True Bias as my base.

Typically the Lander Short is a snug fitting short with a reasonable leg length. Normally I would cut a size 6 in this pattern, but instead I cut a size 10 or 2 sizes bigger than my true fitting size. I also changed the back pocket shape from rectangle to a triangular bottom as I find this more flattering on my tush.

Pattern Adjustments
Increase front & back rise by 1.5cm. Updated back pocket shape.

To ensure I had my proportions as planned I did make a calico toile before cutting my final fabric. This gave me the opportunity to practice sewing a fly front as I have not sewn one of these in about four years. Thankfully sewing is like riding a bike. My skills are a little rusty but I definitely remember the process. I added 1.5cm to the front and back rise so I could wear them high waisted when belted.

My fabric was from The Fabric Store . I did purchase it from the Brisbane Store so I’m not sure if it is available on line. It is a mid weight fabric that was perfect for this short. It was also a stable fabric and relatively easy to sew.

This interpretation of the Lander Short was perfect for me. These shorts are a valuable addition to my wardrobe and will get plenty of wear over the coming months while the weather here remains hot and humid.

The perfect short for me!
The perfect short for me!

How to create a button through cami from any cami pattern in your stash….

I am finally getting into my pattern making groove. Over the past few months I’ve been enjoying bring other peoples patterns to life in my own way, however, this week I decided to create my own pattern.

Basic Blocks
You can create anything from pattern blocks.

I love to pattern make from blocks and this top was no exception. I adapted the cami block that I created in my first blog post to create this new shape. You could create this same shape from any cami pattern that you have in your stash that has a similar neckline shape without to much trouble.

The original cami
I used the pattern I drafted from this top to create my new top.

My fabric choice for this make was a romantic light weight 100% Viscose from The Fabric Store. With my next few makes I am looking at a bigger wardrobe picture. My aim is to form a little mini collection of piece that can be mixed and matched with each other.

My beautiful fabric from The Fabric Store.

The neckline shape was adjusted from the original block to be a V neck and I added a button facing down centre front. My facing was 2cm wide which was 0.5cm wider than my button.

To create the feature panel around the top of the bodice, I traced off the top of the front and back bodice pieces and drew a facing that was 5cm wide adding a little shaping for the apex. I slashed and added in 3mm at 2 points along the front and back to allow the panel to sit away from the main body of the top slightly.

The finished product
The final garment 💗

The top panel was bagged out in self fabric and sewn onto the top edge of the cami. Shoulder straps where then added and the top edge of the cami was finished off with a self fabric internal bind. Button holes where sewn and as always I used my machine to sew on the buttons. If your not currently doing this with your buttons I strongly ergo you to give it a go. You save so much time!

I have also recently purchased a roll hem foot for my Bernina and it has been a game changer. I am able to achieve a beautifully finished narrow roll hem that is impossible to do with your fingers. I highly recommend this foot if roll hems are part of your sewing.

Roll hem foot
The roll hem foot is a game changer!

Whenever sewing a garment from your own pattern it’s important to make a toile in similar cheap fabric just to ensure the fit is correct before cutting your real fabric. This step takes a little extra time but is very necessary. If you get your pattern right you will have a good foundation for another garment. I’m thinking of turning this top into a dress a some point.

My toile
My toile to check fit before making in the final fabric.

I’m wanting to dabble my toes in the PDF pattern world and may release this pattern as a free PDF pattern to test the waters.

Button through top
The perfect top for Summer.

My Little Red Carlisle Cardigan

Carlisle Cardigan
❤️ my poppy red cardi

My latest project was so far out of my comfort zone that I needed the help of my Mum. I have never tried to knit or had any interest in knitting until I stumbled across a knitted crew neck sweater by Abolajiooo on Instagram. If you are not following this talented and creative lady yet I strongly suggest taking a look at her feed. She is probably my favourite maker to follow on Instagram at the moment.

I was so blown away by her knit that I wanted to give this knitting gig a go. My Mum, who can knit, was coming to visit and I decided to take full advantage of her skills to get me started and on the right track. One thing I have always had in common with my Mum is our desire to create garments. I absolutely love that she is still passing maker skills down to me as we both grow older.

Following on Abolajiooo’s lead I purchased a e-pattern book by Good Night, Day from Ravelry with the intention to make the Strathcona Sweater but feel in love with the Carlisle Cardigan. I have used a 100% Acylic Moda Vera Monkey yarn in the colour Red. This was purchased from my local Spotlight Store.

Good Night, Day
e-books rule!

I can multi task while sewing but I certainly can’t multi task while knitting. It requires my full attention. If my mind wanders for just one second, I’m wrapping yarn around the needles the wrong way and knitting when I should be purling. Luckily I had the watchful eye of my Mum to find the mistakes and fix them before it was too late.

Carlisle Cardigan
What mistakes 🙈

Then she had to go home and hence the big mistake down CF on one side where I somehow acquired additional stitches. By the time I got to constructing the sleeves I was able to identify a knit stitch and purl stitch and pick up mistakes before I got too far along to correct them. There are definitely tension issues in my cardi but overall I’m pretty stocked with the finished product.

Carlisle Cardigan
Oh so comfy!

We are still in the middle of winter here in Australia so my new cardi won’t be getting any wear time soon. On the upside it is ready to go as soon as the weather does get cooler. I love the way this cardi can be styled with anything from jeans to dresses. It is truely a versatile wardrobe piece.


Next on my knitting pile will be the Kingstone Sweater…….

Lavender I love you 💜

I am a massive lover of fashion. Fashion is my passion, career and hobby. One thought that lingers in the back of my fashion choices these days is; is the garment age appropriate. As I move into my mid forties I wonder how my style will evolve as I move into my fifties. I can’t quite comprehend yet that my next mile stone birthday will be my fiftieth. In the meantime I’m going to embrace what is left of my forties and wear what makes me feel good and what is a reflection of my own personal style regardless of age.

Montavilla Muumuu
Styling for the cooler weather

Over the past few months lavender has been showing up a lot in my fashion related research. I was beyond excited when I found this beautiful lavender print at The Fabric Store Brisbane. I’m not sure if this fabric is available through their main online store but the Brisbane Store do have a mail order service if you contact them directly.

I was searching for a print to make the Montavilla Muumuu by Sew House Seven when I stumbled across this polyester crepe and new it was a match made in heaven. I adore the drape a hand feel of a crepe and it is a relatively stable fabric to sew.

Montavilla Muumuu

Given the loose fit of this pattern I decided not to make a toile. I have also previously made the Burnside Bibs by Sew House Seven and know their patterns are a good fit to my body. I made the size 6 and could not be happier with the fit.

Montavilla Muumuu
Summer styling

I sewed the hem on the sleeves as instructed earlier on in the making process in preference to the end. I am slightly obsessed with pockets at the moment and love the oversized pocket detail on this dress. The pattern was notched well and the instructions very clear to follow. I would consider this make a relatively easy make when made in a stable fabric. The degree of difficulty does rise slightly when made in a more fluid fabric like my choice.

Montavilla Muumuu
Great oversized pocket detail.

I love that you can style this dress with a leather belt, ankle boots and a cardigan in the cooler months. It looks equally as nice in the warmer months with slides and the self fabric belt. This dress is going to be super versatile and is a great trans seasonal piece to add to my wardrobe.

Montavilla Muumuu

My garment would not be complete without the “one of a kind” woven label by Kylie And The Machine. I absolutely love this dress and too be honest don’t think these images do this dress justice. I am looking forward to re shooting it somewhere in the great outdoors in the near future.

Montavilla Muumuu
One Of A Kind woven label.
Montavilla Muumuu
Basking in the sun 🌞

Mimi G’s Jessica Dress.

I have always found english, grammar, writing and spelling quite difficult.  So writing a blog is a completely daunting task for me.  However, I also recognize that the only way to get better at something is to practice.  So here I am facing my fear of writing.

Jessica Dress

My latest make is the Jessica Dress by the inspirational Mimi G.  I stumbled across her story in Gary Vee’s Crushing It.  From reading this book and exploring Mimi G’s story further, I discovered a whole community of home sewers and pattern makers that I didn’t even realise existed.

My Mumma taught me sew when I was 12 years old.  She is an amazing sewer and spent many hours honing my sewing skills.  Sewing and pattern making became my career but I gave it up over 3 years ago to work full time with a fashion brand that manufactures off shore.  I still work with garments daily but no longer physically pattern make or sew garments.

Jessica Dress

Stumbling across the online sewing community re ignited my want to get hands on again with pattern making and sewing.  The only difference these days is I sew only for myself and not for money.  I pattern make and sew because I want to and not because I have to.

Over the last 2 months I have been sewing various Indie Patterns and this week I wanted to sew a pattern created by the lady who got me back on this creating train.  The Jessica Dress is a button through dress with a fitted bodice and gathered skirt.  The button through trend is so strong right now and there is room in my wardrobe for a dress that speaks to this trend.

Jessica Dress
Style with a denim jacket

I did make a calico toile of this design given it was a fitted bodice.  The size S dress was almost the perfect fit for me.  I did a small adjustment to the top edge of the side bodice so it would hug nice and close to my body.  I prefer to make an adjustment through the side bodice than taking the bodice in at the side seam.  I find you get a better fit over the bust instead of pulling into the side seam.  I added more shaping to the sweetheart neckline to open it up slightly, shortened the shoulder straps and added pockets into the side seams instead of the patch pockets.  I also took the button placket through the skirt and bodice and fully lined the bodice given the light weight nature of my fabric choice.  I still fused the top edges of the lining for stability.  If I make this dress again I would make the straps adjustable.

Jessica Dress

My Jessica dress was made from a 100% Rayon printed stripe from Spotlight Stores.  I was lucky enough to purchase it at 40% off so this dress has been a great value make.  Especially because the pattern was also only US$5. The stripes did make cutting and sewing a little tricky and I did replace a few of the bodice panels to ensure the stripe worked well on the bodice.

Jessica Dress
Style with sandals

Overall the Jessica dress is a great pattern to sew.  The instructions are easily understood and the pattern itself is not a complex sew.  My tip again would be to use your machine to sew on all those buttons.  Pair the Jessica dress with a denim jacket in the cooler weather.  You could even layer over a white Tee.  Style with some sneakers or sandals.  As always I have finished my dress off with a woven label by Kylie And The Machine.  I can’t wait to wear my Jessica dress to work tomorrow.

Jessica Dress
“One Of A Kind” woven label

Twirling my way into a new work week…

I love making clothes that instantly lift my mood when I wear them. The Wattle Skirt by Megan Nielsen is one of those pieces. As soon as I put in on all I wanted to do was dance, spin and twirl.

Wattle Skirt

This was my first time sewing a Megan Nielsen pattern and I was not disappointed. The pattern was well notched and the instructions clear to understand and follow.

This skirt is another one of those great mid week makes. The total cut and sew time for me was about 2 hours.

For this skirt I chose a yarn dye linen / cotton check from The Fabric Store. I am slightly obsessed with checks at the moment so it seemed like the perfect choice. However, it did take a little work lining up the checks at center front and back. I was worried about the finished look of how the checks crossed over but I think there is enough fullness in the skirt for it not to be offensive.

After reviewing the fit measurements on the pattern I decided not to make a toile as I was a perfect size 8 in relation to the measurements provided. Also given the shape of the skirt I knew I could easily take it in if it happened to be a little big.

This pattern is a great option for the beginner sewer. It is simple to make but has visual impact when worn. Entry into the skirt is via the button tab at the waist into the pocket. I chose metal buttons so they became a feature of the skirt. Side slant pockets also give the skirt an effortlessly cool finishing touch.

I felt extremely feminine wearing this skirt and it can be worn back with multiple tops in my wardrobe. On this occasion I have styled with a recent purchase from Zara TRF collection. My sneakers where kicked to the curb for this make to make way for a slightly more girly shoe.

I will definitely re make this skirt at some point in a soft and floaty ditsy print.

My love affair with the Jumpsuit 💙

When I reflect on the trends that have caught my eye in 2018 a few things come to mind. These include the following:

  1. Linen
  2. Button through
  3. Jumpsuits
  4. Bias cut skirts
  5. Silks & satins

The above trends have influenced my return to sewing in November this year with Linen being my textile of choice. In particular the mid weight linens available through The Fabric Store. Their colour choices are outstanding and their customer service is second to none.

For my final make of 2018 I decided to do a hack of the Yari Jumpsuit by True Bias. I wanted to give the jumpsuit a slight utilitarian look that is so on trend at the moment. I started with the sleeveless version of the pattern and added 4cm through the waist, a 3cm wide belt channel and 2cm self fabric waist tie. I widened the leg slightly and added a 15cm side split at the hem.

Yari Jumpsuit
Side seam split

The front and back panel lines, neck and front placket have been finished with twin needle top stitching for added detail. To give the garment it’s final finished look I have used the “one of a kind” woven label by Kylie And The Machine.

Chambray Jumpsuit
Top stitching detail

I managed to squeeze in a trip to The Fabric Store in Brisbane a week ago and for this make selected the 100% cotton chambray fabrication. It is a light to mid weight chambray that drapes well on the body. After a few more softening washes in the machine it will be the perfect jumpsuit.

Yari Jumpsuit
Style with your favourite tee

The number of jumpsuits in my wardrobe has significantly increased this year. They are such a wardrobe warrior and can be worn in every season in my home city, Gold Coast, Australia. Add a T shirt to change up the look for spring or wear with an oversized jacket in the cooler months. As always style with your favourite kicks for that cool and casual look.

Winter look
Style with an oversized jacket in the cooler months

That’s a wrap for 2018. I absolutely can not wait to share more makes with this fabulous maker community in 2019. It brings so much joy to my heart that patterning, sewing and making is alive and vibrant at this time.