Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My December Garment of the Month - Butterick 5917

Here is my version of the Very Popular Butterick 5917 which I made up as my December Garment of the Month.  I'm sure a lot of you are already know this dress pattern, but if not, here is the pattern envelope:

I decided to make the dress out of midnight navy seersucker cotton, which I purchased at Spotlight for $8.99 a metre.  The bodice is lined and I used a scrap of black voile that was in my leftovers stash.  I did apply interfacing along the neck edges of the self lining, although the pattern did not stipulate this- I thought it would help to stabilize the bias edge of the front neck especially.

I did make a muslin of this dress - if you are interested in fitting, please read these two posts which you will find  here .

This is the front of my finished dress:

The side view (and for once I am using the trick used by actresses - that sort of half way sideways frontways pose  - it always looks good, so it you are a bit photo shy - try it :).  It's a pose that makes everyone look good.

The back - it is years since I have inserted an invisible zip - I had forgotten how easy they were to do.  I often do lap zips, which take a little more effort:

And that is it. The dress is a great success.  I made it in seersucker because that way I can wear it as a day dress or as an evening sort of dress.  I don't really have much occasion for cocktail type dresses, and I also have a personality that is a little more seersucker than satin.

I will wish you all a happy new year now, and thank you all for having the patience to read my blog this year.  It's been lovely to get to know you all:

And thank you to DH who was around to help with the taking of these photos.

Happy New Sewing Year everyone, and I look forward to enjoying your company during 2014.

Sarah Liz :)

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Make a Garment a Month ...December 2013

Hello everyone,

December has flown by and some of you have actually managed to make a garment this month - and some of you haven't - but that's okay, December is one of those sorts of months where sewing sometimes doesn't happen.  Sadly. I'm sure we all miss sewing when we can't do it.  I find it very grounding and relaxing.

As you all know, the Make a Garment a Month Challenge now has it's own blog.  So, from January 2014 please post your plans and the completed garment directly to this blog, as well as your own blog of course.  The rules of the challenge are posted in the top bar of the blog.  So do check them again.  You can find the blog here.

And for those of you currently completing your garments, why not post them directly on the new blog?  Some of you have already done that. 

The 2013 gallery has also been posted on the new blog.

I have an embarrassing confession to make - I forgot to post Marianne's plans for December.  Luckily with the new blog this will not happen:).


 Marianne is making a By Hand London dress - I don't know how I could have missed this post with the lovely vibrant red :).

We have a few more intrepid completers for December:


Judith has made a gorgeous dress for Christmas:


Leonie has also been busy making a top which was worn on Christmas day:


Monica has also been busy making a special Christmas garment:

Well, that's the garments so far - and do post on the new blog when you have finished yours.  The link is here.

See you soon...

Sarah Liz

Friday, December 27, 2013

A New Shift Dress

I was busy on Boxing Day and for part of today - I decided I needed another shift dress to wear on very hot days, and decided to make one.  New Look 6095 fits the bill.  I've made it recently, so the current traced and altered pattern still fits.

 it is quite a loose dress with lots of design ease, so air can easily circulate around the body.  I had a cheerful cotton poplin (from Spotlight) in this bright pattern - as the dominant colours are blue and aqua, I thought it was just right for hot days.  If you want a fitted dress, this pattern is not right - it has no front darts so is loose over the tummy.  Just what I want in the heat...

Now the pictures:

And lastly:

Well, that's it for today - a very quick and simple post to match the quick and simple dress :)

Sarah Liz

Thursday, December 26, 2013

My Christmas present...

What a lovely gift from DH - two gift vouchers from Tessuti.  DH said that he thought that one gift voucher wouldn't be enough as Tessuti is quite expensive.

DH thought of this gift all by himself with no prompting from me.  Isn't that clever of him?

My DH is very shy and very camera shy so I can't introduce you to him personally - but he joked today that he was important enough to have a statue made of him.  Then he said, or is it so you remember who I am (he usually works long hours!).

I don't think this is a very good likeness at all - one of his patients made it, and gave it to him - we don't know what to do with it, so it just sits in a corner.  He doesn't look nearly as serious as that - he usually has a very cheery countenance :).  I think he needs a good dusting...(as does the skirting board behind him - on tomorrow's list...).

I do hope you all had a lovely Christmas :)

Sarah Liz

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

It's Christmas Eve in Australia and so it is time for me to wish you all, wherever you are, a Merry Christmas.

Sarah Liz :)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday Hello, a Re-Fashion, and Even Better News...

Hello Everyone,

I should think many of us are busy at the moment with preparations for Christmas and Holidays.  Certainly it has  been harder to sew recently, but I did manage to make something to do - or rather, quickly refashion something.  I'll show you later in the post.

I'd like to thank you all for your lovely comments this week about my new summer pants:

As some of you said, these are practical sorts of pants - the sort of everyday garment we all need.  I do tend to make a lot of basic garments - I'm afraid my blog is not full of highly inspirational and creative garments, because I tend to lead a very ordinary life doing ordinary every day things.  And so it seems do so many of you - not for most of us the glamorous, airbrushed celebrity sort of life!  It's my goal to create a wardrobe of everyday wearable basics with some smart garments to work back with them, so that I always look neat and well dressed, but in a way that is entirely appropriate for my way of life.  I hope to share this journey with you all next year - or in a few days time :)

I also completed the Rachel Comey outfit that  so many other bloggers have also sewn - so I am sort of initiated now :)

For those of you that do plan to make this outfit - the skirt is straightforward, although there is a lot of binding that could be eliminated and a serge finish used instead.  I would tension the top layer of the pockets quite firmly, as there is a slight tendency to pouch.

And for those of you who want to make the top - it is huge - I cut the smallest size, and it is still big.  I advised using a cheap fabric as a wearable muslin.  And if you are pear shaped, it probably won;t suit you.  I have an angular frame for the top to hang off, so it sort of works on me.  Do look at the reviews on PR, so that you get more of a feel for the top.  And for Patricia - I added 5/8 inch to the neckline, front and back, because it was very wide and very low - too low for me, and too wide - it would have shown my bra straps.  As you can see, it is still quite wide and low.

And now for today's refashion.  I have had a RTW dress hanging in my wardrobe for two years now.  Unfortunately, I don't like wearing it, so it just hangs there. The bodice is just too bare, and I don't like showing my bony chest.  So I had moved it to my sewing nook, where it has been hanging around for ages, looking at me, while I don't remake it into a skirt.   So today I decided that I would spend an hour or so refashioning this:

Into this:

Now this little skirt I will wear.  It was a simple refashion - just cut the bodice off, turn over the fabric to make a waistband, and I also turned under the raw edges - this is a lightweight crinkle cotton voile and I thought this was the best finish - and insert elastic.

Done.  Wearable skirt - and it will go with a two knit tops that I don't wear - because I had nothing to wear them with.

So I also have managed to tick off my New Year Principle - each garment to go with at least two others.


Now for my good news - I told you a couple of weeks ago that I had been accepted into a fourth year program in Psychology.  Now, there are two programs - the Postgraduate Diploma in Psychology, or the Honours program.  Both lead to provisional registration, but in order to do Masters, you really need an Honours degree.  Now, I could probably work around that, but it is much easier if you have the straightforward way.  And this week, I received another offer from another University - I have an offer of an Honours place.  So I will accept of course.  Groan, so now I really will have to do Data Analysis, which my DH  tells me is really quite interesting.  But then he likes that sort of thing!

Well, it is time now to quickly look at your blogs, and then go and get dinner, hang out the washing, all those little jobs of everyday life that need practical clothes :)

Do have a great week everyone - I'll send out my official Christmas Well Wishes on Christmas Eve, but if you are busy or miss that post, I'll also send them now...

Sarah Liz

Saturday, December 21, 2013

MAGAM Plans and Completed Garments.

Hi Everyone,

As you all probably know, the Make a Garment a Month Challenge is moving to a new dedicated blog in January and participants will post their own plans and garments.  Most of you have sent me an email so that you can join the blog. And some of you are posting there already - which is great.  If you haven't and want to be included, please email me,

This has been quite a month - some of you are only just starting your garments, and some of you have finished.  I guess that's December though - everyone is busy with Holidays and Christmas.

Plans for December  that have come in this week:


 Hana is making a tunic dress from BurdaStyle 11/2013.  She plans to sew pearl beads around the neck opening.  This should look stunning.

Candyce is planning to make a red dress - at this time of year, what could be better ?
I'm still amazed at how some of you have finished your garments before Christmas - although I have to admit mine is finished as well, just waiting to have the photo taken. 

Okay, so far we have:


Karen has made an adorable Peter Pan collar blouse:

Karen self drafts her patterns - go and see what she does here.
Do go over and see why Mrs Smith doesn't like this skirt !!  She can be found here.
Dorothy has surpassed herself with this stunning animal print dress - do go and say hi and give her a great comment :) - click here.

Lyric has just joined us and has made a stunning long skirt - the Brussels skirt.  Do go and say hi to Lyric - it's always fantastic meeting a new sewing blogger :).  Go and meet Lyric here.


And the indefatigable Chris has just made herself three Maxi dresses in a row.  This is the dress she chose for the Make a Garment a Month Challenge. Go and visit Chris's blog to find out more...

And that is this week's round up. We've got another full week to go, and then it's January, and we all move to our new home here...

Have a great weekend everyone, wherever you are,
Sarah Liz :)

Friday, December 20, 2013

New Summer Pants

This week I am finally posting garments I have been making slowly - and I mean, slowly, following my principle of doing a little sewing every day.  It's really a good approach to making those simple basics that everyone needs in their wardrobe. Today I will be showing you my version of New Look 6216, the trousers.

I made them in cotton broadcloth, as I like natural fibres - they are much cooler in the  heat.

The trousers are designed to sit just below the natural waistline and have an elastic waist with drawstrings.

I used size 8 and just added a tiny bit at the front side waist. I didn't alter the pattern much at all except for raising the waistline an inch/2 cms.  I also made the back rise half an inch higher, as I have a long back rise.  I decided not to worry too much about fit as these are just knock around, casual trousers.  I did my standard baggy under seat alteration, and shortened the pants by 1 inch/2 cms.  The trousers have front pockets which were quite fun to make - the pocket bags folded back on themselves. I omitted the drawstring and just used elastic around the waist.

The hips are quite roomy, but I like a lot of ease in casual pants - the ease allows for ease of movement as well, especially important when using a non  stretch fabric.  Also, I like to create the illusion that I have hips!

The pictures can tell the story.  Just in case it is not obvious, these pants are not black but a nice navy.  I am wearing the pants with a camisole - I wouldn't dress like this in real life, I would wear the pants with a top - but the camisole allows you to see the garment as it really is:

 As you can see, the pants are very roomy around the mid section - I find that really comfortable for movement while doing chores, sitting reading, sewing, all those everyday things.  There is also plenty of room for bending over and walking up stairs.

The bottom fits nicely, not too much sag under the tail, and although there is a little bit of leg wrinkling, that is always going to happen with someone who has long thin legs.  And for cheap casual pants made out of cotton broadcloth that will crease, does it really matter?  They are still better in fit than RTW pants on me. 

And here is the side view - again, the pants look quite good for basic elastic waist pants. Again, you can see the leg wrinkling at the back, but if you look at my slight back and the angles I have to use to maintain a centre of gravity while standing ( my little toy soldier stance) you can see why this will always be a bit of a problem. What a lot you can learn about body shape from sewing and blogging!

And now for the view of the pockets:

I like these pants, and they will be a great staple in my wardrobe for many years to come.  I aim to get at least 5 years from them, so these are a real investment workhorse garment.  They may not be high fashion, but they work.  Ahh, the benefits of getting older and wearing just what you like without worrying about whether it is "on trend"or not.  Just so long as it looks good for the activity, I am happy.

I hope you are enjoying some sewing success amidst Christmas activities.

Sarah Liz :)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Finally - Rachel Comey Vogue 1247 is finished....

Finally I have made up this pattern - I was a little half hearted about it, and I'm sure I only bought the pattern out of curiosity, and because every other sewer in the blogosphere seems to have made it !  So I have now made mine :)

I didn't use a good fabric for the skirt.  I had a piece of black calico and thought I would use that up - and really, what is the difference between calico and a lightweight linen in hang?  Especially when it is black - no-one will really know what it is.

I cut extra length - I am not sure how much because I just cut to the amount of fabric available.  If I make it again, I will measure the skirt I have made to see what to add :)

I decided to insert an ordinary lapped zipper instead of an invisible zipper - the fabric is not good enough to warrant an expensive invisible zipper, and I have a stash of ordinary zippers to use up. 

I found that the pockets gaped on me a bit - I think because my hips don't fill out the skirt at all well.  I remedied this by making them half an inch smaller - as the garment was already sewn, I just stitched a little rectangle  at the corner of each pocket.  As I had already decided to topstitch the skirt and use flat fell seams at the side, this solution worked well.

So, here is the skirt:

Skirt, front view
Skirt, back view

Skirt, side view

And of course, the picture everyone does - the hands in the pocket picture:

Well, that shows that the pockets are still quite large enough, even with an inch effectively stitched down on each pocket, making them much smaller.

Now, for the top.   It is huge.  I cut a size 6 and added an extra 5/8 of an inch to the neck, front and back.  I could have added more, but I thought the style lines would get distorted.

I used a cheap cotton lawn from Spotlight.  That way I will get a casual top, and if I don't like it, I haven't lost a nice piece of fabric.  

It is a fun top to make - the french seams make a nice change from serging, and it does look nice inside.

Okay, the outside story:

Top and Skirt- Front

Top and Skirt - Side

Top and Skirt - Back - the wind was blowing!
And the final pose, following the picture on the pattern envelope - slightly to the side, hands in pockets:

That is my Rachel Comey Vogue 1247 skirt and top.   And do I like it now?  Strangely, yes.  I think this will make a great little casual skirt and I would happily make it now in a better fabric - and I will enjoy wearing this one around the house.  I can see lots of possibilities to vary the skirt - play with texture in block for instance.  I think I will probably like the top, especially on those days when I don't know what else to wear. I do think I would like to make this top one day in a very nice silk with a drape - a lightweight silk satin would look stunning for a special top.

Sarah Liz :)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday Hello, this weeks plans and next years goals...

Hello everyone,

It was only yesterday December started, and now Christmas is only ten days away.  Which means 2014 is around the corner.  Which means new sewing goals will be needed.

Before I start listing them, I would like to welcome four new followers to this blog - and they are
Geannenek, Kate, Diane, and Anne who are following  via bloglovin and Fran, who is following via this blog. 


Have you noticed how many sewing bloggers are talking about their sewing goals for 2014?  I guess the New Year is a time of re-assessment and resolution.  I have certainly been thinking about what I want to make in 2014.  

 I hadn't been sewing much for the decade or so prior to 2013 so I was a bit rusty.  So this year I got back into practice by making a lot of very basic garments that are boring to make, but certainly got me back into the sewing mode.  And, having got the boring basics out of the way (you know the sort of thing - the trousers for casual around the house, basic cotton shirts).  I also  learnt how to fit trousers reasonably well (yes, there is lots of room for improvement, but that will take the rest of my life...) and what my fit issues are with dresses.  So really, 2013 was a year for learning.  I learnt how to blog too.

Next year I plan to Make a Garment a Month for the Make a Garment a Month Challenge.  I also plan to join Sarah Beth's RTW fast (Goodbye Valentino). Sarah Beth does allow the purchase of underwear   Luckily I have a cupboard full of my basics and old RTW garments, so I just plan to make to replace or fill gaps in my wardrobe.  I do need to tackle making a pair of pants for work.  I just can't find the pattern I like.  The fabric is sitting there, all pre-washed, ready and waiting to go.

 Further goals for 2014 are to whittle down my stash - so I better stash up before I start stashbusting again :).   I think I will have to actually use some of the fabrics that do not suit me or that I do not like anymore as fabric for muslins.  And it is time to start only buying fabrics in colours that suit me. 

 I also plan to actually use the patterns I have and not to keep buying them.  I may even part with some of them that will never ever be made up.  Yes, there are a few patterns in that category...  But note, I said MAY, not WILL.

Okay, so the 2014 goal list is:

*   Do not buy any ready to wear clothes except shoes, socks and  undergarments.
*   Make a garment a month for the Make a Garment a Month Challenge
*   Each garment made to go with garments already owned.
*   If the garment does not go with anything, make garments to match.
*   Use up stash for making garments if I like it, muslins if I don't or it is the wrong colour.
*   Only  buy more  stash if it is for an immediate garment
*   Assess pattern collection and start actually using it.

Of course, I have lots of other goals too - like take better photographs for my blog - but I do know my limitations and I am starting  back with study next year, so I think Better Blog Photography is a goal further down the list.  Along with many others, such as learn to draft every garment and lots of other totally unrealistic ideas :). 

What are your plans for 2014?

This week I plan to also post a backlog of garments that I have made but not photographed or blogged about.  

That's it from me, so I will wish you all a happy and healthy upcoming week, wherever you are...

Sarah Liz

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Make a Garment a Month - More December Plans...

Hi Everyone,

The news this week is that the Make a Garment a Month Challenge has a new home.  The challenge has been so successful that a separate blog is needed.   The rules for participation are simple - basically, make a garment for yourself, post your plans on your blog and the Make a Garment a Month blog at the beginning of the month (which may be half way through the month for some of you !!) and then make the garment.  When you have finished at the end of the month, write your post and post your garment to the  Make a Garment a Month Challenge blog.

Lots of you have already emailed me - if you haven't, please do so, and I will send you an invitation to join the Make a Garment a Month Challenge blog.  It is easier if you email me, because I need your email address to send the invite to.  My email is

Before I start the rest of the December plans (and some went up last week )  another completed November garment has been posted from



Accordion 3:

December plans are for a pretty little top that no-one else will be wearing :)

Chris: :  it's summer down under and Chris plans to make a maxi dress for going on holidays...


Winter is coming and JBB plans to make a lovely warm dressing gown:

What a pretty dressing gown this will be.  Just right for Christmas by the fire.


That beautiful fabric can only mean one thing...

Sharon's planning to finish her Little French Jacket and matching skirt.  This will be a stunning outfit.


A vibrant rayon print - Meigan is using Simplicity 1810, but I have no idea whether she is making a dress, top or pants with this.  We will all have to wait and see :)

Tisha: http:/

Tisha is going to make a lovely little New Look dress (6145):

In a beautiful red Ponte - just the right colour for Winter.


Farhana wants to practice drafting patterns:

And is planning to make this little jacket.  More details on her blog...

I think that is all for the December plans.

Next week I will post the first finished garments ...and yes, one person has finished her garment for the month.

I better go now and do some work on my garment of the month.

Sarah Liz :)

And finished :  Karen - sew well maide - get picture.