Maritime Duck


The summer of shorts continue with the Maritime Shorts from Grainline Studio.  I am definitely enjoying the increased presence of shorts in my wardrobe and we are only two shorts in which I am honestly a little surprised by.


PatternMaritime Shorts by Grainline
Size: 12
Alterations: Nothing
Fabric: Duck cloth from Spotlight


I cut out a size 12 with no alterations.  Generally Grainline patterns fit so well I dont need adjustments but I discovering that shorts/pants are a whole different ball game.  Overall I am pretty happy with the fit though I can definitely notice some issues.  I think I need to investigate the crotch length.  As the shorts ‘wear in’ I definitely felt that there is excess fabric – but maybe I am wearing the shorts too low? (as the length in these pics look fine).


The fabric is a duck cloth from Spotlight – but for all accounts it is basically a med weight printed calico/muslim.  Pocket lining was a light cotton batiste for the fabric stash, but potentially a little too light weight.  This me-made was the first completed project on Singer 99K31 I got myself for Christmas and it handled the fabric like butter once I got the tension behaving.  The topstitching went really well – though I am still not used to the speed machine goes at! yikes, no precision projects for this machine yet.


Some mean pattern matching was involved.  Both back pockets perfectly match and are really only noticeable due to the topstitching.  Side seams, pocket facings and back seams are a good match – the waistband was no chance.


The shorts have the usual front fly opening, while I have only previously completed two front fly opening before quite successfully. I somehow ended up with one side of the zipper tape exposed.  I just couldn’t work out the turning under one side bit in the instruction.  But surprisingly the exposed zipper works.  The zipper is a good colour match for the fabric and when the fly is done up – the exposed zipper tape is not showing.

Excluding my fly front confusion – everything else went together like a breeze.  Jen’s instructions are detailed and clear with just enough illustrations to clear up any confusion.


Some things to note for next time –  the duck cloth may not the best choice for shorts.  As again, a couple of wears in and the fabric around the inner leg is starting to pill but I am beginning to think that this is the nature of shorts .  I think I would prefer a bigger hem next time – a more substantial hem I think would suit the heavy weight fabric better.  And well obviously as endearing the ‘exposed’ zip may be to some, I really do quite dislike it so next time I need to remedy this front fly insertion method. Oh well, until next time.

Next up for the Summer of Shorts – Pattern Runway Scalloped Hem Shorts

Trellis Raven


It may be the unusual heat that we are currently experiencing in eastern Australia at the moment but this Summer is definitely providing some short wearing whether.  My wardrobe is certainly lacking shorts – I only have gym wear ones or pajamas or skirts.  So here is the first Summer of Shorts make!


Pattern: Raven Shorts by Sinbad & Sailor
Size: 12
Alterations: Nothing
Fabric: Home decor fabric from the stash


The pattern I purchased a pdf download but thankfully putting the pattern didn’t take too long – a great benefit of a short patterns is for sure the smaller pattern pieces.  This was the same for the fabric, I scavenged through the ‘alteration/mending’ pile to find a dress I had previously made using a Anna Maria Horner home decor fabric and along with scraps of other Anna Maria Horner quilting cotton scraps I was able to gather sufficient yardage to cut the shorts out.


I cut out a size 12 with no alterations.  Size 12 matched my hip measurement perfectly and I was hoping that the press fasteners style waistband meant I had ‘wiggle’ room to fit across the waist.  And it worked – overall I am pretty happy with the fit (especially for my first short experiment – excluding the various knit and pajama shorts of course)


These shorts were such as a quick made that I added a few fun inside bits.  Around the hem I applied binding and delicately hand stitch the hem up. For the first  time ever the stitches were completely invisible on the face side – not sure how I managed it.  I also made the bias binding for the pockets from leftover dotty voile scraps (moreAnna Maria Horner).  And hand stitched the waistband down.



Pockets are a little limited in their usability as only bottom half of the pocket bag is enclosed – the top of the pocket bag is open to allow you to actually get into the shorts!  The little peak of pocket facing from the side is very cute.


I did have fun bringing out the hardware to attach the press fasteners.  I did not use the placings suggested on the pattern but tried the shorts to find the right placement.  The pattern also uses two fasteners on each – I did three each side.  Using three helps the studs stand out a little bit, and it is a very loud fabric to stand out from.  And to be honest, six fasteners come in the packet.  What do I do with two sets of loose press fasteners! A word of warning – attaching the back fasteners is a little tedious as the ‘applicator’ does not nicely fit around the stud.  I did smash one a little too much and it has since fallen out 😦

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Some things to note for next time – I would not suggest Home decor fabric for shorts.  Only a couple of wears in and the fabric around the inner leg is starting to pill (curiously this fabric was functioning as a dress for years earlier with no signs of wear).  And to not skip interfacing the waistband.  I thought that two layers of the home decor fabric would provide enough strength to waistband – I was wrong it doesn’t.

Making the Raven shorts was great fun and all the contrasting fabric makes me smile but I think the shorts will be for lounging at home only.  With the bright colours I struggle to find a t shirt to match them.  Though once the Summer of Shorts is complete, I would like to revisit the pattern with a more subtle fabric – those press studs are just too cute.

Next up for the Summer of Shorts – Grainline Maritime shorts

Top 5 of 2013 Hits – or the ones that received the most compliments!

Now the good stuff, my hits of 2013.  These are the fun ones – a surprising mix of the simple makes and challenging makes.



I heart this pattern of Steph’s – its just wonderful.  It fitted well straight out of envelope.  Made from a digital print jersey from Tessuti (a successful extension of my fabric repertoire) and has practically been worn at least once a fortnight since I made it in January.  A very welcomed make that pushed my ‘sewing with knits’ skills forward. The dress is just starting to show some wear with the fabric starting to pile and lose some recovery.  A STAR of 2013

Coppelia wrap top

Made from a navy merino jersey from the Fabric Store and another successful extension of the fabric repertoire.  Merino jersey is wonderful to work with.  The top was a breeze to get together and I was thinking of make a zillion more of the them but the Brisbane summer clicked in a little too this year to warrant it.

Grainline Moss skirt

While the Grainline tiny pocket tee had mention in my misses, the Moss skirt is the redeemer of all.  I made this make challenging – my first attempt with denim and top stitching thread along with my second attempt of a fly front.  I added the hem band for some extra length.  I bound the pocket lining seams with bias binding and ‘fake felled’ seams with topstitching thread.  So very proud of my work on this one.  And to make matters better I have lived in this skirt – every weekend since I completed it in April.  Worn with tights and my Coppelia top in winter and with my Scout tees in summer.

Grainline Scout tees

Yes, another Grainline pattern.  They really are that awesome.  I have made two versions so far of the Scout tees both with silk fabric from the Fabric Store.  With each make I mixed up the construction a little – one used my narrow hem foot attachment for the sewing machine to finish the sleeves and hem line, while the other I changed construction of the neck bindings; all with mixed results.  These two shirts are seen lots of wear.  I see them as the underachievers of 2013 – no strangers gushing over them just quiet admiration.

Tessuti Gridlock skirt

This skirt I made for the Tessuti Gridlock challenge.  Tessuti earmarked a jacquard for people to work with and the ability to play with the fabric reverse side is just too tempting to resist.  I took the opportunity to use one of Sandra Betzina’s Today Fit patterns – V1333.  As the pattern is designed for knits some adjustments were needed.  I scaled down the waist, included a side zipper and new waistband using Susan Khajle’s instructions from a timely Threads article.  This skirt is FUN to wear – F.U.N.  I have received complements from numerous strangers asking where I bought it from “oh this, I actually make it myself”.  And if said stranger also sews, I had explain the construction.  The skirt makes frequent appearance in my work wardrobe and will continue to do so.


Well, that’s it.  The hits of 2013 – it does seem strange that the hits are the ones that receive the most compliments from other people.  Do I need other people to mention that me-make is good before I think it is good?  Or is other people’s comments an affirmation of what I already know.  One thing I notice is the hits are frequently worn.  Here’s to many more “hits” for 2014.



Top 5 of 2013 misses – or how I learn to grow from the missteps taken?


Now that 2013 has concluded it is time to join the bandwagon lead by Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow – it has been great to read the hits and misses that appear on my feed each day.  It is pleasing reminder that we are not all perfect and the sewing gods do not smile on every me-make project.  When the occurrence of the sewing hit occurs – we need to savor it!

As these makes are all pre-blog existence I will not bore you will lots of the text and no photos – so I’ll try and keep it brief.

The top 5 misses (umm, not quite five but I choose to not dwell on the negatives) that I select to learn from:

Some fabrics are evil

Yes, evil.  I have been trying to extend my fabric repertoire away from cotton / cotton blend which lead me to try polyester.  POLYESTER, oh you horrible horrible thing.  During construction there are pucked seams and inability to press.  To wear its just gross – in polyester’s defence I do live in Brisbane its hot and humid for the most of the year.  But wearing a polyester maxi dress really does feel like I am walking around in cling wrap all day – a hot and sweaty mess.

Choice a fabric that matches the wear of the item

So, silk is pretty awesome (as I will discuss late) but not as pants.  I thought I being clever making up a light red silk twill as Sandra Betzina’s V1307 to wear for long haul flights.  But during the first leg of a 20 hour flight I noticed the fabric had worn through one side seam.  The deteroiation of the pants continued until the final flight home where I was now wearing loose tshirts down to my mid thigh to hide all the worn through areas of the pants.  The pants were comfort to wear but I didn’t consider whether the silk fabric would strong enough to stand up to what I intended for the make.

Always check measurements for ‘new to me’ patterns.

Some patterns just don’t suit me and when they are questionable I really should do a test first or at least check the flat measurements on the pattern.  I love using Grainline patterns (again I will discuss further) but the Tiny Pocket Tank just didn’t work.  I was pushed for time so I went head first in and cut out my shell fabric without checking beforehand.  I noticed that the fabric was a little sheer so being the good little sewist I underlined and well since it was underlined I may as well go the whole hog and hand stitch the bindings to underline and hand roll the hem.  WRONG.  I went to all this effort to then try the top and err WAIT, WHAT, oh REALLY?!? Never worn again! URGH what was I thinking, why didn’t I check the fit beforehand.  Its just two pattern pieces for crying aloud.  Why didn’t I check during construction!

The concept of ‘wearing ease”

I have a horrible habit of overestimating my own wearing ease.  For example, my attempt of Cake’s Hummingbird skirt.  The instructions even have a mid construction fit check as a prompt.  Well, I failed – despite taking in the skirt during the mid construction check step the finished skirt was swimming on me.  With certain, I remember at the time thinking “sure that fits but I still need some room to walk in”. The waistband sits on my hips and I have constant feeling that one strong downward tug and whole ship blows over. The finished skirt probably got two wears before it was relegated to the back of the drawers. SIGH

So here’s to 2014 – Let’s hope I have the good sense to learn from my misses!

Dottie Gertie Rooibos


As I finally take the courage to step out from lurking as avid reader and jump forward to start my own contribution towards this wonderful blogosphere it feels only right that my first post involves two strong influences that I discovered within the sewing blog universe.

We have the Rooibos dress from Colette Patterns with a dottie navy blue cotton from Gertie with Roses (the etsy store of Gertie’s Blog for Better Sewing).

I started with a size 10 and after a quick muslin of the bodice I lengthen the back darts by 1 inch and a small bust adjustment of sorts by pinching out a half inch of length from the centre front tapering to nil by the side seam.


The construction was wonderfully easy.  Instead of the suggested invisible zipper I inserted a lapped zipper by machine which add a touch of retro.  But its the piping that steals the show! Oh my, its worth the extra work.  I hand basted each piped seam before using a zipper foot to stitch as close as possible to the seam line.  Those cute little pockets are delightful.  Standard store brought piping was used – nothing to fancy.

For the neckline contrast I was determined to source from my fabric stash.  While not ideal as its a tad too light for the contrast, the white satin works with the white satin piping.

As I usually do, the under stitching of the facings was done by hand as pick stitches.  I enjoy the hand sewing – it’s a break in the construction to admire the work so far and gush over how awesome the piping turned out!.


More adjustments to the bodice were made during mid construction.  After completing the zip, I checked the fit again and took in the side seams a half inch each to clinched in the waist further tapering to nil at the underarm.

To the inside details – often the inside of a me-make is my favourite bit but for this one the insides are dull; neat but dull.  Just overlocked this time around.  I did consider binding the edge of the facing but that would add too much bulk.

This pattern was been in my ‘patterns to be started’ pile for so long, that I wonder why I have waited so long.

The completed dress is wonderful to wear.  The raised waistline is flattering and the pockets perfectly placed. So comfortable but still feeling dressy at the same time.  I definitely see more Rooibos in my future.