My First Simple Sew pattern - The Lottie Blouse and Skirt.

  1. This week I am going to tell you about my experience with using my first Simple Sew pattern. Before I do, though, I just want to recap on last weeks housekeeping matter about replying to comments. .  As Lisa commented last week, most of us love comments,but those who leave comments do not always return to see that we have replied to them. That as far as I am concerned is one of the main drawbacks of Blogger.  There are programs that can be installed to enable a two way chat, but not everyone likes using these. Wordpress does have a two way capability, but I am not sure that I want to move to Wordpress just for that!  And I do like you to know that I am replying because I consider most of you that regularly comment as my blog friends, and friends do reply to each other. And some of you I have been lucky enough to meet in real life. 
In order not to bore everyone that just wants to read the current   post - and I know there are lots of you that like to do that as well -  I will be putting my replies to blog comments at the end of each week's post.  After my sign off - so you can skip this section  if  you are not interested.  I'll see how this system goes over the next few weeks, because no doubt it will need some sort of modification, a bit like sewing sometimes does.

  1. Back to this weeks post and the Simple Sew Lottie Blouse and Skirt:

This pattern was included with a sewing magazine that I found in my newsagent - Love Sewing or Simple Sew, I can't remember which, and the magazine is gone as I only wanted the pattern.  The magazine cost $13.95 and if I purchased it from Simple Sew in the U.K. I would have had to pay quite a lot more, plus postage, so it made sense to do it this way.

The fabric for the blouse came from an Op Shop - a piece of poly cotton seersucker, 1.5 metres /115 wide, about $1-50.  The pattern recommended 1.6 metres of 150 wide.  I did have to put a seam into the collar at the back, but 1.6 of 150 does seem a bit generous.

And the skirt is made from cotton drill - a remnant 1 metre piece which I was lucky enough to find at Spotlight for $2.00.  I love cheap fabrics for pattern try outs, especially if I don't do a muslin, which was the case with this pattern.  If you are lucky you will get something you like at the end! 

With the blouse, I cut size 12 because this gave me the ease I like in summer tops.  I used a 1 cm seam.  I altered the dart by adding an inch to take it closer to the bust apex.  I though the sleeves were a bit strange - long, wide and shapeless, so I shortened then and tapered the sides by half an inch both sides.  As for the skirt, I could see from the measurements that this pattern was designed for a pear shape figure, and size 8 had a hip measurement of 36 inches.  I thought that the ease in this pattern would be less than the Big 4 (just a hunch).  The waist was far too small, but I added to the side seams and took a bit out of the darts.  As I only had a small piece of fabric I had to use a walking split instead of the kick pleat at the back.  

Simple Sew Patterns are designed for beginners. I found them simple enough to sew, because I do have sewing experience, but I think that the instructions were not as detailed as some of the Big $ simple patterns. And I really did not like the neckband finish - the instructions suggested folding the two edges of the collar/band together, then attach to neckline and stitch, then finish. That would leave an unsightly zig zag stitch or overlocked edge. So  I applied it  as I normally attach a  collar: attach the outer collar to neckline, and then turn under seam allowance inside, pin and stitch - which gives a much more finished look. Unfortunately I can't show you with a photo as the flash washes out all detail in a white garment.  The sleeves were set in, with two pleats at the top.  I don't think this really looks wonderful on me, but probably looks nice on a pear shaped figure as it would add width at the shoulders.  I also think it looks  a little "beginner" but then, this is a pattern for beginners!  Strangely, the pattern did not show a hem allowance for the blouse. So I just hemmed to the length I liked.

The skirt - I usually do not have much luck with skirts as they have been designed for figures that are ideal and have more curves.  But after I altered this pattern, I was pleasantly surprised when I made it up to find it works better on me than most skirts.  Not perfect, but I think really that straight skirts do not really work that well for me.  But I want some anyway!  So I am happy to accept less than perfect because I am less than perfect too, but perfect for me, if that makes sense! And this skirt hangs better on me than straight skirts from the Big 4.  So I was quite pleased, and this is just a fine addition to the casual wardrobe.

I used a lapped zip instead of the pattern's suggestion of an invisible zip, and a skirt hook and press stud inside to finish:

  1. And as usual, I finished my walking split with a button to stop the seam from splitting:

  1. Some quick look sees:

Well, I like this little outfit, although I think I would prefer a set in sleeve instead of the square pleat at the top of the sleeve - this makes my look too square, although I think it would be flattering on a pear shape figure, adding width and squareness to smaller shoulders - that would balance the wider hips.

Next week I will show you the last of my current back log of garments :

All the details then, so for now, I'll wish you a happy weekend, probably very busy with Christmas looming.

Sarah Liz
  1. REPLIES TO  YOUR COMMENTS ON LAST WEEKS POST (Saggy Baggy Pants,Vogue 8836)
  2. Thank you all for your comments on last weeks blog post ....(link). And for your well wishes about my feeling a little brighter after a tedious year of issues to deal with.  Of course, we always have those, but some years there are more than others, as I am sure you all find as well.
  3. Anne, yes, it can be awkward dressing for both indoors and out.  And I will try and post a little more about trousers during 2017 when I make a pair of more structured pants. Good luck with your plans.
  4. Lisa, ditto - next year I will try and show more detail. And elastic in the back or the sides works wonders.  There are patterns around that have semi elasticated waistbands.
  5. Louise - securing a button with a button underneath is a good technique.  It's used in all sorts of garments to stop the button pulling through.  My husband's RTW good winter coat uses this technique.  But it is not suitable in all situations - again, pick the technique to suit the problem!
  6. Janine - op Shops, are great for experimenting - and I dare say a few of us do this.  It seems to me most sewers really enjoying hunting for bargains in op shops! 
  7. Accordion 3 commented on my productivity - I have to tell you all that I do not watch any television at all, preferring to prepare sewing in the evening, or do some marking or whatever.  And I am an early waker, so I often get sewing done early.  I also fit in a little after I finish work, or whenever I get a spare moment.  And I have been making simple garments.
  8. And Summer Flies, Sharon, Sew, Jean Margaret,  Sew Blessed Maw (Judy),Mary, The Sewing CPA and  Star: thank you for your comments - and Star, I had been wondering what had happened to you - look forward to your return to action.
Sarah Liz


  1. I like the skirt, but agree that the boxiness of the shirt at the shoulders doesn't flatter. Still a perfectly nice shirt though.

  2. Smart on the commenting mechanism!! I do try to get to any questions immediately, assuming the commenter will return to check for an answer. I never enabled Disqus because I didn't want people to HAVE TO register with another site, but I do like that you see replies to you.

    Anyway, I really love the skirt and top. I agree that the square shoulders would work better for someone who is larger on bottom, but it is still a cute summer top. Can't wait to hear about that swingy skirt in the other photo!!!

  3. I hadn't fully understood what you meant by your new method of replying to comments. Mmm. Not sure about this, still, worth seeing if it improves things for you. I just don't get many comments on my blog.
    I get the magazine you bought and have a few of this range of patterns, but haven't as yet made any. I was really put off by the magazine cover for a skirt, which was a dreadful fit on the model. Still, they have a lot of nice designs and 2017 might be the year to try one!
    I do watch some TV - and I'm afraid tomorrow's final of Strictly Come Dancing is compulsory viewing for me!

  4. Lovely skirt and blouse! If you're happy with the fit of the blouse body, but not the sleeves, have you considered swapping out the sleeves from another pattern?

  5. I love this outfit.. I just really want that pattern.ha
    I agree with the blogging comments.. Some people dont go back to read the replies.. I do go back and read the replies [to my blogging friends that I read all the time]. Hope this works out for you.. Sounds like a great idea.

  6. Glad to read this, I have been looking at the Simple Sew, but on the fence. I do like your outfit, but understand what you mean about the square pleat on the blouse sleeve.

  7. What a cute and cool outfit for the Summer, Sarah Liz. I see what you mean about the sleeves, although it is not unattractive. Perhaps a smoother shoulder line would 'feel' better on you. As always I like your addition of a button to the skirt split, a brilliant technique. I always go back to read replies, but this is a good way to do it - readers can keep scrolling and find 'their' comment. Happy sewing!

  8. Looks a very comfortable outfit for summer. I like the top and the sleeves look good. I like a pleat on the shoulder. What a bargain!

  9. You've come up with a creative solution to the comment dilemma and am interested to see how that works out. About your cute outfit.... I like the top.... especially the neckline tie. It will go with so much in your wardrobe. And the skirt looks great! Look forward to reading about the upcoming swishy skirt too. P.S. I don't watch television either.

  10. Very interesting to hear your points on these free patterns. We get them a lot here in UK with magazines but I have never made any. As you say, they are beginner level. Yours have turned out so well though, and I love your usual touch of the button above the split. Lovely fresh outfit for summer!
    PS Ive been away for 2 weeks so apologies for lack of blogger communication of late. Merry Christmas Sarah Liz


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