Tuesday, 23 December 2014

The winner is..

A very Merry Christmas to ElleC. You have just won my Issey Miyake Vogue 1328 pattern give away. I put it through Random.Org and your number came up four times out of seven so you are really meant to have the pattern! I hope you enjoy it.

I too this shot of a christmassy frangipani while on my morning cycle ride. I am trying to burn calories in advance. I am going to three different family & friend's Christmas celebrations over three days.
Am I a lucky girl or what?

Anyway ElleC email me on valerie.lebedev@hotmail.com and I'll send you the pattern next week after all the public holidays.


Saturday, 20 December 2014

NL 6558 & V1349

This post is brought to you by DD and New Look 6558 and DKNY Vogue 1349 (again!)
A couple of months ago we went fabric buying together. DD bought several lovely pieces of silk from The Fabric Store and I bought some lovely fabrics from Tessuti, which I'll make up soon. Anyway,
I made her this little top from New Look 6558. She wanted a sleeveless v neck top and this was in my pattern stash. I enjoy it when things turn out this well. I mean look at that face!

NL 6558

New Look 6558  has been around for a long time and is still available. It includes a top, a jacket, a little camisole, long skirt and wide flowing pants. The sleeveless top is supposed to be lined but DD did not want lining so I bound the edges with self bias tape. I put in a side zip as instructed and added the little bow.  The neckline is just right for a deep v that does not show too much but if I had not bound it and used the full seam allowances it would have been too deep and the straps quite a bit narrower. The under bust seam sits a bit high, I used some of the seam allowance to make the centre of the bust curves sit a bit lower. The top is also very short. I had already added 3cm to the pieces but ended up using a doubled over bias strip to add a touch of length.

I did a sway back adjustment but because DD needed all the ease I could give her at the hips it rides up a tiny bit - in spite of all my pre-measuring of the flat pattern and of DD who said 'It's good for a wearable muslin Mum!' The cheek...

Her next piece of material was a nice beefy digital printed silk crepe and the pattern she requested was - you guessed it - V1349. That pattern keeps returning like a rash :) She wanted it short and 60's retro but in modern fabric. She got it!

Ready to party


I've done lots of things with this pattern but I have a feeling this is what it is supposed to look like. To quote DD "What makes the dress work is showing some leg Mum'. She may be right. Edited to add that on a figure that more or less follows the patterns dimensions the dress does hang loose and was taken in 1cm at the waist of the back princess seams.

Four sleeps till Christmas!
Happy sewing,


Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Merry Christmas

Dear Bloggers,

As the year draws to a close I want to thank everyone who has dropped by, read posts, sent emails, visited, turned into friends!

It has been an eventful year for me, for the world and for my city, Sydney.

I hope the rest of the year unfolds peacefully no matter where you are with good times and celebrations with those you love... I am looking forward to 2015. I have some exciting things planned.

Earlier in the year I was giving away a pattern or book a month from my stash. That fell into hiatus in August but I want to give away a December gift from the stash as a Christmas thank you.

It's a Issey Miyake pattern give away. I know there are die-hard fans of any Issey Miyake patterns out there! This is unused, uncut. Size Medium but very roomy.

If you want to be in the draw let me know in the comments. Entry will be finalized and drawn on the morning of Dec 24, local time.

Thanks for reading,


Monday, 1 December 2014

Burda style 7062 slim pants

Readers, my daughter wanted slim tapered almost 50's style pants in a woven. She'd bought some bamboo linen - gorgeous, breathable - and asked me to make her some summer work pants.

Edit/correction:  I found out it is actually hemp/linen. The e-tailer my daughter found is http://www.bamboofabricstore.com.au/ No affiliation but hey they should sponsor me as I have also purchased from them three times and found good service, excellent product and extremely good shipping rates (within Australia).

I trawled my pattern stash and pulled out Burda 7062, did a quick wearable muslin from some Spotlight heavy rayon. They were good , in fact she wore them the next day, but needed a bit of tweaking. The centre front seam dipped and pulled ever so slightly so I added 5'8" tapering to nothing at the sides. I also scooped out the bottom of the crotch curve by 1/2". She did not need the front darts, effectively widening the front waist a little. I redid the facings to match. I did a back zip instead of a side zip and added a fly guard like when making jeans.

At the moment we are both busy with pre Christmas things, so when I finished the two bamboo pairs I asked if I could model them for this blog and she was Ok with that so here they are on my much shorter body that is not as hour-glass as hers, but they fit well enough to give you a better idea than photographing them on a hanger would.

They would hang better if they were not pooling around my ankles :)

One gripe - The legs of this pattern do not taper as much as the pattern photos suggest. I know the models are probably wearing a 10 and this is a 12 but I still had to narrow the legs pretty much from the hips to smaller than the smallest size at the ankle so I don't know whats going on. They wouldn't use pins and grips in photos would they? I hope not..for accuracy. 

The pants are also lengthened a bit to be shoe skimming on DD.

All in all this is a good pattern for a slim fit pant for  'Linen blends, gabardine, cotton fabrics and also fabrics with stretch' as the pattern says. There are no pockets and the instructions are straightforward.

I hope she likes them as much as I hope she will!

Have a good week, 


Friday, 28 November 2014

V1247 Top

Hi all,

On December 1st it is officially the start of summer here in the land down under. We've already had a taste of real heat and on a day of extreme heat last weekend I got to thinking about a top I made last summer which I had rolled in a ball and put in the back of the wardrobe. Not because I didn't like it, not because it didn't suit me or didn't fit but because the fine white cotton that I had made up so carefully was just a bit too sheer.

Or is it? Am I being too - I can't find a word - bashful -  here? In any case it seems a shame not to use it or possibly salvage it in some way.

The skirt is also from V1247 and has become my go-to pattern for a subtle A line. I reviewed it here

But the top..thoughts? Dye? Crop top bra? My aim is to wear it on hot days so I don't want to layer it with a camisole.

Have a good day,


Sunday, 23 November 2014

V9050 Dress

There's been constant sewing going on here but not much blogging. I like doing blog posts but life  dramas and pre-christmas work kept getting in the way.

But today I am finally able to get some photos and do a catch up post.

V9050 is one of a clutch of recently released Vogue patterns and was hidden in amongst much more flamboyant dresses but it caught my eye immediately. I had some fire engine red pure linen in the stash. I decided to try to fade the colour into something more subtle so I soaked the material, which had been re washed for shrinkage, in a tub of hot water with a cup of White King bleach. The result was the orange/brick colour I wanted with some interesting marbling. Success!

Then I measured and adjusted the pattern, made it up with basting stitch and adjusted some more. Going by measurements and guesswork I thought I did not need to do a sway back adjustment as I had plenty of seams to take in and the back seam was already curved.

Well - I Should Know Better but all was not lost. I took the back piece up at the shoulders and cut down the shoulders and back neck by 5'8" to hike up the upper back.

There were other issues at work here, the back neck to waist length was too long and I have a slightly rounded back neck. I had enough ease at the armholes as I had added a bit of width at the sides. It worked but my armholes now are a bit too wide at the back at the top of the arms. I am going to go back and fix this. Ah the joys of turning two dimension into something that fits a three dimensional body..

Also, due to my fitness & careful eating regime I keep slowly shrinking. I'm not complaining but it makes fitting a continuing process. Just before the photos were taken this morning I took the upper back princess seams in and the side seams in. Maybe I should have cut a smaller size at the start but taking from is easier than adding to! The aim is to get a fitted look while skimming over the remaining bulgy bits. Challenging but six months ago this dress would not have been flattering on me at all.

I did not line the dress. It has to stay breathable through the Sydney summer and even though it creases as soon as I sit down, it is very comfortable to wear.

Would I make it again, yes, but not right now. There are too many things in the pipe line.

The pattern is ready though, with these modifications:
Altered back neck/shoulders.
Sway back adjustment.
Knee skimming length.
Slanted side seams brought up by 2"

There it is. Regarding the weight loss, I have 2kg left to go, more for medical reasons than vanity although my vanity is coping quite well :))

Weight loss is such a individual thing and there are many factors involved in making it stick but if anyone is interested I'll do a post on how I did it.

Have a good week,


Sunday, 9 November 2014

Jalie 3024 top

Readers I have frankenpatterned myself a sleeveless summer top using Jalie 3024.

I am starting to become a real fan of this Canadian pattern company because of their excellent drafting and their multi sizing and the fact that their pattern pieces remind me of building blocks and I like nothing better than interchangeable bits so I can run with my own ideas.

The top I made uses the bodice of View C for the back (the back and front the same on that dress) and  the bodice of View B without the crossover. I traced these then added enough of the skirt to make a top.

I added a CB seam so I could do all in one facings that end under the bust.

Bring on summer...

The order of construction and method for the facings is:

Join the fronts to backs at the shoulders on the bodice and also on the facings.
Lay the facing piece on the bodice piece, right sides together.
Serge the neck edge 
Serge the armhole edges.
Turn the whole thing right side out pulling the backs through the fronts.
Sew the side seams.
Sew the back seam.
Top stitch the neck edge. Top stitch the armhole edges.
Cover stitch the hem.

An almost instant top.

My alterations to the pattern were:  Take 1cm off the back at the shoulders and 2cm off the front at the shoulders and to raise the front armhole a little, also widen the armhole curve 1cm at bust level.

My straps ended up a bit wider because of all this but that is my preference.

I bought the pattern for the dress but I am very pleased with this basic tank top. It's going to be a TNT.

By the way, my first version was supposed to be a yellow top to go with my V9007 skirt (see previous post) but it turned out too awful due to the cheap & nasty material used. Lets just call it a non-wearable muslin shall we?

In case anyone is wondering I did not make the pants, they are Target skinny jeans with 6" cut off to make them into capris.

I have a pile of sewing that I am going to do for DD from a recent material buying spree.. Off to clear the cutting table.

Happy sewing,


Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Vogue 9007 Skirt

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As spring teeters on the edge of summer here in the southern hemisphere, Spotlight sent out a 40% off coupon and my eye was distracted form all the other things I want to sew by a set of circle skirts, Vogue 9007 and some green paisley cotton.

I am a sewing floozy, I go where the whim takes me..

V9007 View B

The skirt is a six gore circle with squared off points and hangs from a snug curved yoke. There are pockets in the skirt side seams and a zip at the back.

A skirt this voluminous needs a fitted top, so I am making a pale yellow v-neck tank top from a newly arrived Jalie pattern to go with it.
The skirt feels nicely swishy to wear and just floats around the legs as you move.

This pattern is a real fabric hog but I lengthened it 2cm because on the line drawing the short part is hovering above the model's knees. In the vogue link on a real model it is not quite that short. 

No matter I like skirts like this longer rather than shorter and am thinking of making it from a knit and lengthening the four curves into points. We shall see.

n.b.  The skirt pieces are all cut on the true bias and do drop a little. The beauty of the uneven hem is that the drop doesn't matter!

The pattern recommends broadcloth, linen blends, lightweight denim. Denim? Maybe they mean chambray... it needs fabric that is lightweight but firmly woven and with a nice drape.  

The envelope also says 'not suitable for obvious diagonals'. One day I am going to make this out of diagonal stripe and see if anything awful happens. Will the bogey man jump out of the closet? My own fabric rebellion..

Happy sewing,


Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Little hot weather dress

Dear Reader,

I said I would not write about V1349 again but I was interested enough in this pattern to make it up in a woven, as recommended. I used some nice Japanese cottons and cotton muslin lining. I did a little bit of colour blocking and made up the outer shell and put the zip in so I could tweak the fit and think about the possibility of pockets (nope) and my material was too thin for the dress to be worn without a lining.

I ended up with a sack dress with nice seam lines, but still a sack. However it is good for hot weather!

Please pardon the after work pictures. I need to find time to do some posing in daylight!

During construction I did try out making it more fitted but that didn't work. It's designed to be a sack and it wanted to be a sack so it went back to  being a sack. Tired of fiddling about, I did not want to take out the zipper to construct it as recommended so I finished off the neck and armhole edges with self bias binding, going slightly wider than the original seam lines. I don't know if it would look better along the original lines and above knee length but I am not likely to find out.

BTW Anyone tall would have to add length so as not to end up with a mini...

I like this dress enough to wear it but for the fitted dress I had in mind I've ordered the newly released V9050. I've got some linen that was bright red that I have bleached to a marbled orange colour. I can see it.

I got lost in a work vortex the last few weeks and did too much of everything at once and got over wrought, so I am scaling back a bit. I am lucky to be in a position to be able to do so. (I work as an agency fill in).

In fact tomorrow I am going fabric shopping and doing lunch with one of my favourite people. We will both take time to get off the treadmill, walk in the sunshine.. The agenda as far as buying fabric goes, is to buy quality over quantity.

Right now I am going to get an early night...

Happy sewing
Or not sewing as the case may be


Monday, 6 October 2014

V1349 as a cycling outfit

Ok, this is the last time that I'll blog about V1349 for a while but definitely not the last time I'll make it.

For those of you that haven't read my blog, I have made V1349 up in a stable knit for my daughter (see previous post) but I wanted to show you the result of my original vision.

I will eventually sew the little sack dress of DKNY's vision but I had to use that fabulous seaming for my vision...

Here I am in my outfit about to go cycling.

The glow in the dark green snakeskin print is for visibility and because I loved it.

The shorts are a modified version of Burdastyle 126/3/2012 three part pants blogged here.

The top is long enough and just loose enough, the pants go high at the back waist and it's comfortable. The armholes are modest and just the right size.

That's what I looked for and did not find in RTW exercise gear which when it fits through the shoulder and chest tends to be too tight through the waist and hips. The stuff that fits at the waist is baggy through the armholes. I got sick of that so the result of RTW frustration is this! And it worked!

I'm on a mission to get my fitness and my waist back and just to feel better generally. I even feel like socializing again.


Saturday, 4 October 2014

DD models V1349

Hello everyone,

Today I managed to get some photos of my daughter wearing V1349 that I made up into a snakeskin print top and self drafted skirt, blogged about here

She was happy with the fit and likes the pieces as separates even more than as an outfit.

Ta Da!

Ok, serious poses

Top V1349 and Style Arc Elle Pants 

That's the end folks.

I've started something. Number two top for DD is already in the pipeline, after a top for me.

Happy Sewday,


Tuesday, 30 September 2014

V1349 made into a top

Ah! There's nothing like a quick serger project.

I have just made up  V1349 on Pattern Review (reviewed by two others) up as a top for my daughter. The material is a fabulous spongy viscose python print knit that is almost like the neoprene that's so trendy now. I bought it at the Fabric Store a couple of months ago. It didn't shrink when washed and it dries in next to no time. It was a big hit with my daughter who said "Make me a skirt please!"
It's at the end of the post.

There was also just enough for a top with self bindings and it became this:

V1349 Front

V1349 Back

Regarding the pattern I was attracted to the line drawings rather than the pattern cover and although I have seen some great woven versions of this dress I love the style of it for a knit top and bought it in order to make some colour blocked exercise gear. 

Both reviewers on Pattern Review said that the pattern ran loose when made up in wovens so I knew I would have to scale down the fit.

I'd compared my daughter's measurements to the finished measurements on the pattern then gone down a size as suggested but still ended up taking it in 1cm along the sides to give it the fit that it needs. I've left on that 1cm in the seam allowance rather than serging it off as insurance.

For the skirt - my daughter's original request - I used a pattern that I'd made previously from one of her RTW skirts, blogged about here 

As with the top I also kept the side seam allowances on the skirt. At the moment the whole outfit should just skim but not cling. How do I know? If it is just that bit too tight on me it ends up perfect on her but I can't wait to see her in it. I am going to try to get photos soon.

Self drafted A-line skirt with yoke

Keep on sewing,


Sunday, 28 September 2014

More pants - Burda 7863

Dear Bloggers,

In my previous post I had used an old OOP burda jeans pattern for wovens in a stretch fabric and had both crotch and back thigh issues. I did a quick fix by putting a elongated diamond patch at the crotch junction and they sit better now. Then I thought, hey the Burda crotch curve fits me, I should buy a updated Burda jeans pattern for stretch fabrics. I'd made a self drafted pants pattern last year for wovens but stretch is a different animal.

So I bought Burda 7863 at a spotlight sale, along with some stretch sateen in a summery print and went for it.

The front is good and the legs fall well. The pattern has the classic jean pockets and fly facing details, not that I wear anything tucked in to show them off!

Front details

The instructions are good too. I made sense of the fly construction and I like the facings that go all the way to the centre front. I had to tweak the legs though. They had to be cut slimmer than the pattern to get slimline capri proportions. The back leg then had to be trimmed further from knee to ankle at the inner leg because it swung around and was visible from the front. However, I still got back thigh to knee concertina folds at the back.

Now, I have to tell you I tried pinning along various creases on the diagonal from knee to hip  or crotch to knee and it all affected to way the leg hangs. I considered whether or not to shift just the lower leg out or in. 

That was not the answer. Then I compared the back piece to the burda leggings  post I make and wear every winter and have come to the conclusion that I need a sliver more off the inside of the back inner leg but tapering to just below the crotch. 

So, that's what I will try next, for me that is. Right now I will leave the pants headache alone and make an outfit for DD.

Thanks for reading,


Thursday, 18 September 2014

Burda Jeans 8408

Hello Bloggers,

As the northern hemisphere rolls into autumn, here the days are suddenly longer and the sun stronger and warmth is in the air. Time to start thinking about summer sewing. I have so many plans and my sewing mojo has returned.

I finished the short version of Jalie 3132 from black bamboo spandex and I like it very mush. My daughter discovered a Australian website store that sells bamboo and hemp fabrics that are just wonderful! She ordered a scrap bag and this top is from one of the 'scraps'. This is my first time sewing with bamboo. I had heard that it stretches and loses it's shape but this bamboo spandex knit has been worn and washed several times and is just fine. It is also amazingly soft and comfortable. The website The Bamboo Fabric Store  has a fixed postal fee within Australia of $9.90 and quick delivery. No association and all that.. but I am a fan! Their hemp linen is yummy as well. (Watch this space).

Onto the floral jeans. I resisted the red jean trend of a few years ago because it's not a look that works on me and I've resisted patterned jeans as well but when I saw this beefy stretch cotton sateen in Lincraft I fell in love with it. I dug out an old Burda jean pattern that I have had for about a decade and made a quick muslin then tapered the legs and raised the waist by 1.5cm. I like the jean details of the pattern and the way it fits my torso. The pattern, for straight legged hipster jeans, is OOP


The front is fine but the back pulls. I had thought that I'd taken a bit too much from the inner thigh and back crotch point but on more comparisons and measuring I realized that the crotch point is not what I got wrong but the length of the back rise.  The muslin I made was looser so this was not so apparent.

Also, on some figures and extra 2 cm of back rise at the centre back would not matter but on mine it does. Lesson learnt. 

There are white tops in my mental sewing queue for summer and white will go well with these pants.

I took the photos in the Plough and Harrow regional park. Looks like I'm out in the bush doesn't it?

For Paola:    The Western Sydney Regional Parklands link is a system of parklands and reserves that surround the Prospect Dam and extend through western Sydney. Two of the main ones, Plough and Harrow and Lizard log are 10 and 15 minutes drive from where I live.

Keep on sewing,


Wednesday, 3 September 2014

What's Next

Dear sewing friends,

Firstly thank you for the lovely comments in the previous post regarding my mother's passing. We got through the funeral and it made me really value family and friends and the kindness of people in general. It was a surreal week.

I plan to be sewing again soon and the next thing I will sew will be a quick black hoodie T Shirt from Jalie 3132, which I have sewn before.

It is spring here and even though that means very changeable weather a blast of heat could arrive soon  and the short sleeved version looks so cute that I am looking forward to trying it.


My orchids flowered in abundance this year. I am glad I had plenty to share.

Thanks again,

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Goodbye Mum

Dear sewing bloggers,

When we blog we end up sharing layers of our lives, bit by bit, even if that is not our intention to start with. We get to know each other and get a sense of who we all are, through our shared interest - the creation of garments.

I was lucky enough to grow up in a sewing household. I heard the sewing machine in utero, was taught to hand sew doll clothes by my grandmother, then allowed free reign on the sewing machine by my mother. It was all fluid and easy, like breathing. My grandmother was a professional seamstress. She had a no nonsense mix of practicality and talent. Her clients would come to our house with material and describe what style they wanted. Grandmother would take measurements and sketch the pattern straight onto the material in chalk. Everything worked and everything fitted. I never saw her use a paper pattern in my life.

My mother, who did not consider herself talented because she did use paper patterns, would also whip up amazing things with a minimum of fuss.

I was the best dressed little girl on the block, but not in a showy way. I and my brothers miraculously had whatever we needed on a very modest budget and needless to say my mother was always stylishly dressed. It was a simpler time. We never did without but nothing was wasted. We valued what we had.

My mother passed away last night. She had been increasingly frail and ill for a long time and sixteen difficult days after surgery for a broken hip, her heart failed and and she passed away, like a wisp of smoke from a candle.

It was hard to believe that someone with such life force was really gone, but she is.

Goodbye Mum.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Butterick 5958 Jacket

Hi Everyone,

I finally got around to making B5958 

I liked the look of this pattern ever since it came out and have always liked this style. The pattern is for a overlapped and lined jacket with either a zip or button closure, collarless or with a straight collar.

I went for View C with collar and cuffs and a zipper. I had some dark brown corduroy in the stash but it wasn't enough to try the jacket out so I cut the fronts and collar out of some tie dyed velvet that I bought from the bargain table at Spotlight earlier in the season on impulse. I had the zip. I had the lining and interfacing. All I ended up buying was dark brown topstitching thread. Sewing velvet on velvet or velvet against corduroy was a slow business even with a walking foot and what with all the hand stitching I did along the edges of the garment, the jacket took a fair bit of time.

The pattern has no pockets. They were my addition.

I like the collar, done or undone.

The back works too. I had cuffs cut out from the tie died velvet but liked the sleeves better without them.

My almost headless and footless shots are because I forgot the tripod plate wasn't on my camera so the camera was precariously rested on the tripod with the strap wound around it. Also I took these between rain showers so they'll have to do!

I like the pattern and used it with minimal tweaking so I am off to write a Pattern Review.

Happy Sewing,


Friday, 15 August 2014

Winner August give Away

Beat the drums and shake the maracas. Get out the silk shirt with the biggest sleeves ever!

Thornberry, You have won the August give away. Email me!