Mermaid Dress: Simplicity 2692

30 Jun

Don’t be fooled by the pictures…… or the line drawings.

This dress nearly drove me up the wall!

Reason number one was the fabric – my first time sewing with sheer fabric that frays if you even glance at it.

Reason number two was the fit.

I was looking for a simple one-shouldered dress for a black tie event I was attending for work. Simplicity 2692 looked like it would fit the bill and be pretty easy to alter for my full bust. I mean gathers – they’re designed to adjust right?

Wrong. I’m not even going to go into how many tries I made with this one. A lot of it was my own doing as I haven’t done a lot of FBAs but there were also funny things going on with the midrif panel and the back.

I ended up extending the bodice front by 3 inches, raising the arm holes by an inch so that my strapless bra wouldn’t show. I narrowed the back piece as it was gaping and changed the angle of the midriff pieces.

Pattern pieces before.

Pattern pieces after.

On the positive side – I didn’t change anything on the skirt.

The whole thing was lined with navy acetate and I used a scrap of poly satin for the midriff. In the end it came together okay – except for one little thing. I forgot to add the ease back in when I adjusted the midriff so I couldn’t exactly breath in this one. Believe me when I tell you it took three people to get that damn zip up!

If I decide to make any of the other views on this pattern, I may just take The Mahogany Stylist’s lead and make it from a knit.


Pattern: $7.5

Fabric: $38.85 (3m @ $12.95/m)

Lining: $12.0 (3m @ $4/m

Zip: $8.95

Thread: $4.5

TOTAL: NZ$71.80 /US$49.40

I want a white lace dress…

28 Jun

You know when you get a vision of something in your head, then you start seeing it everywhere…

Alexa Chung; The Telegraph; Linda Brownlee

Trelise Cooper; Summer 2010; Marzipan 'Pearls of Wisdom' Dress

Josephine over at The Silk Futures made a truly gorgeous version she called the ‘Doily’ dress.

View B of New Look 6949 could work, and I already have it in my stash…

Rust Skirt

28 Jun

So I rightly figured that if I wore this skirt all day it would be pretty wrinkled from sitting at my desk. Happily, I snapped these before I left this morning.

This is halfway between Views E  & F of Simplicity 2605 and looking at it now I think next time I’ll just go with the shorter version which would fall just above my knees.

I’m really happy with how it worked out. I’ve already used this pattern to make view A and I think it’ll be another “go-to” pattern in my stash.

P.S. Not quite the Karen Walker in the previous post – but maybe some day.


Pattern: $7.5

Fabric: $7.7 (1.1m @ $7/m – Centrepoint Fabrics)

Zip: $5.0

Thread: $4.5

TOTAL: NZ$24.70 / US$17.0

Weekend Work

27 Jun

Well, it’s half past 11 on Sunday night and the only reason I’m still awake is that my neighbour (I live in a villa that has been divided into 3 flats) is talking loudly and giggling with his girlfriend. The noise through the thin walls is the only drawback to what is otherwise a lovely place to live.

Anyway, maybe it’s payback for the sound of my sewing machine going all day. I decided to make a start on the rust coloured skirt and jacket and made pretty good progress. The skirt came together super-quick and I’m going to wear it tomorrow with a simple long sleeved tank, taking Karen Walker’s outfit as inspiration.

Of course, due to not being so unusually long and lean as the model above, I have my Weight Watchers meeting tomorrow night so won’t be able to get a snap of it till Tuesday.

Hopefully by that time the jacket will be done. This one took a little longer as I’ve had to improvise lining for it, rather than just facings. I’m also a little concerned about how it’s going to look as it’s seeming a little matronly right now.

Also I caught the photos of the twilight premiere over on and it’s possible that, combined with the skirt, the outfit might just be the girls version of this:

Fingers crossed that it is not.


25 Jun

Thank god it’s friday! I’m feeling out of sorts this week and quite anxious about work so I’m looking forward to a quiet weekend and a little sewing – especially as it’s likely to rain. I’ve got a few projects in waiting but I’m not sure where to start.

Simplicity 2605, faux wrap skirt and the jacket from 2372 in this simple rust poly-cotton.

Simplicity 2648, which is an Amazing Fit pattern with several cup size options.

A version of Gertie’s Christina Hendricks dress using New Look 2648 in a deep purple double knit.

A pair of the khakis in black, which doesn’t make them khakis any more I guess… just pants.

Quick Change Chairs

24 Jun

I have a confession. I’ve been in my flat for 6 months and I haven’t finished unpacking. I’m a hoarder – there is no escaping it but I’m also a perfectionist in my own way. I can’t just shove things out of the way or into a cupboard. Just knowing that things would be sitting in the cupboard un-organised is almost worse than not having them put away in the first place. Call it a quirk.

So the good news is that the living/kitchen space is now tidier than when these photos were taken, but still not quite there as it’s been over taken by sewing apparatus. Step one however was to get a table, which I did via TradeMe for a nice small $40. Let me say that it isn’t flash, just 1950s wood-grain formica. But it did come with four chairs covered in shredded leather.

At the time I was travelling a lot for work so I just wanted a quick fix to put my chairs at ease, so the night before an early flight I was surrounded by boxes on the living room floor stapling batting and fabric to the chair seats.

I chose a pretty little twee floral to match the formica and voila… before and after:

I will eventually get round to changing the fabric… and painting the wood… and even unpacking the boxes but for now this is a nice compromise.


Table & 4 chairs: $40

Polyester batting: $10

Fabric: $35 (1.75m@$19.95/m – Spotlight)

TOTAL: $85


23 Jun

So back in high school the first and only trousers I made were a pair of purple satin pajama pants. 12 years later here is attempt number two.

I’m pretty happy with the results. I used New Look 6190 and they ended up not too far off what’s on the pattern envelope. I bought this one about 4 years ago when I wasn’t quite so voluptuous so it was already cut out in a size 18. I adjusted this by adding 4″ to the hips (1/2″ to each seam allowance) which I carried down the whole length as it handily also equaled the 2 inches I needed to add to the thigh. The other adjustment was to add an inch to the crotch depth as I’m paranoid about showing butt crack (can you blame me, really?). Once sewed up, I had to take 3 inches off the hem. I may be 5′ 9″ but that height is not in my legs!

I used a cheap polyester drill as I just wanted to give these a go before making some black pants for work. They were super easy to construct and I got to put the green machine to work on the overlocked seams. Originally I purchased the fabric intending to make New Look 6949 but found I already had this pattern and it had a nice waistband which 6949 didn’t. Unfortunately this one uses just a smidge more fabric so I had to make the facing from left over fabric but I quite like the contrast.


Pattern $- (From Stash)

Fabric $16.80 (2.4m@$7/m – Spotlight)

Thread $ 4.50

TOTAL: NZ$21.30 / US$14.7

PS. Found my package I left at the supermarket  so more sewing to come.


22 Jun

For as long as I’ve been sewing I only ever seemed to make dresses and the occasional skirt, the reason behind this escapes me as I swear, 80% of the time, I’m to be found in comfy tops and trousers. As part of committing to sewing more and also wearing more of what I sew I decided to start with Simplicity 2594 (View A).

It’s also the first time I’ve sewn anything with a yoke, so I wasn’t sure how it would go but it turns out it was all good. View A has a bias cut front and back with the yoke cut on the grain. After checking out, it seemed that this one has a lot of ease built in so cut it in a size 20, and went without a full bust adjustment. Does it look like the pattern envelope?

Pretty close. I chose a very light weight cotton I picked up cheaply as I wanted to try this more as a wearable muslin but it’s thin enough that it drapes ok, even with my ample bosom. The instructions were pretty straight forward, but with a heads up that step 17 is incorrect I just went with my gut and it came together quick and easy – even the yoke and back gathers.

This is definitely going to be one of my staples, I even picked up some lovely dotted cotton in both white and turquoise this afternoon but I was having a daft moment and left it at the supermarket checkout on the way back to the car. Fingers crossed I can collect it tomorrow!

Total Costs:

Pattern $7.50 (On sale)

Fabric $9.20 (2.3m @ $4/m – Centrepoint Fabrics)

Thread $4.50

TOTAL: NZ$21.50 / US$14.80

Green Machine

21 Jun

Sweet Peas

Look what I bought this weekend! Oh how I’ve longed for an overlocker/serger of my own. Granted I haven’t used one since high-school sewing class but fond memories and a nightmare making the mermaid dress (post to come) forced my instant online auction purchase of this little beauty.

Already, I’ve put her through her paces on a pair of khaki’s and she worked a treat. Not bad for a measly $150.