Tie-strap Silk Cami

I’ve had this amazing ivory linen from Guthrie & Ghani in my stash for some time now, so when I realised I have a party coming up with a “white and denim” dress code and couldn’t find anything I wanted to wear to it, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

It’s a barbecue/garden party so I wanted something casual, with room for my food baby (that post -dinner bulge around my belly!), but not too basic. I also couldn’t be bothered to print and assemble a new PDF, so wanted to work with a pattern I had already used and fitted.
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Crepe Colette Aster

#memademay2016 made me remember that I had an almost-finished, unblogged, Aster blouse sitting in my sewing pile. So I dragged it out this morning, gave it a press, tidied up the sleeve head seams and sewed on the last few buttons. 

The main reason it was on the pile was that I had stitched a wrinkle in while setting one of sleeves and intended to redo that and the cuffs on both of them, which I didn’t sew neatly enough for my liking. I also, for the life of me, couldn’t seem to get my machine to sew the top buttonhole which was reaaaally annoying since it’s the most visible.

So in order to wear it today, I sewed the top button onto the buttonhole side of the placket, and made a little thread loop on the other side, which is roughly holding it in place. At some point I’ll give the machine buttonhole another go or worst case learn to do a hand bound buttonhole!

But, on to the review..

Pattern: Aster blouse/shirt by Colette Patterns

Fabric: Ivory polyester crepe. It was a bit tough to sew but looks nice so I guess it was worth it! Buttons from my local fabric shop.

Style: a nice collarless blouse with a unique neckline shape and short sleeves. There are other views with short fluted sleeves or long sleeves with a cuff and placket.

Sizing: I think I cut a size down on this one because I wanted less ease.

Alterations: None

Difficulty: not too difficult, at the time this was the first time I’d done a placket, buttonholes, back yoke with pleat, and I remember being pleased with how they turned out first time. 

Instructions: mostly very clear, I got confused with finishing the neckline at the placket but had a look at a sewalong tutorial and got the hang of it.

Would I recommend it?: yep! I have seen lots of nice chambray versions, think I want to try one, and I’m sure it will work well with other fabrics. I’ll try a long sleeved one at some point too.


Hollyburn skirt

I think I’m really starting to see the benefits of trying to stick to patterns and fabrics which are relevant to my lifestyle and represent the way I’d like to dress, if RTW tended to fit me better!

I’ve seen lots of lovely versions of the Hollyburn skirt on the blogosphere, and none that made me wrinkle up my nose the way I do sometimes when I think I like a pattern and then see something about it that puts me off! In fact, every version I saw seemed to be really flattering. I was sold!

Here’s my version:

It has pockets (my first of this type of side slant one), a hand picked zip (my first) and lining: 
Pattern review

Pattern: Sewaholic Patterns – Hollyburn skirt.

Fabric: A medium weight wool crepe which turned out to have a really nice amount of body for this project. 

Sizing: I cut a size 6.


I ended up taking about half an inch off the center front seam and a bit more off the back, because the fabric has so much give/stretch in it that it came out feeling that little bit loose at first. 

I also decided to line it, and only realised that the looseness was specific to the main fabric when I cut the same amount off the lining and found it was too small! Remedied by stitching a bit of lining back on, eek!

I also followed Sewaholic’s tutorial on how to do a hand picked zipper:

It turned out well but next time I’ll try and get the fabric to fully cover the teeth. Still preferable to using the machine and zipper feet, I think.

I couldn’t decide whether to add the belt loops from view A, or the tabs from view B. So for now, it’s got neither! I’ll wear it a few times and see what I think goes best with the tops I wear it most with.

Instructions: nice and clear, good pictures, no issues!

Difficulty: easy peasy!

Time taken: I think I did it in a day, with mummy duties, and extra time for the lining. It should be a pretty quick sew.

Would I recommend it?: Absolutely. I say that a lot, but like I said, I’m trying to stick to patterns that are really “me”, so it’s a given that I’d like them as long as I don’t run into difficulties with them!



Wax print cami

I have this bright floral cami/tank top (is there officially a difference here? I tend to use them interchangeably) that I bought on a whim when I was heavily pregnant and too big to fit into it, just because I liked the colours. Months later when I was able to try it on, I realised I really liked the relaxed, slightly boxy fit of it, and I’ve worn it loads since.

So when my mum gave me the remnants of a lovely bright wax print cotton and I knew I wanted to make a summer top from the pieces that were left, I figured I’d try to clone that RTW cami. And guess what, it turned out pretty well! I knew the cotton would look more stiff than the drapey original but figured it would still have a nice shape with lots of room for the “food baby” situation I can get after a big meal. Two kids = no abdominal muscle strength. I’ve come to accept it.

I started by making bias tape for the neckline and straps. I’d read about two ways of doing this, over the last few months, but never actually bothered to try either. So, in the spirit of #memademay2016 I decided to take the plunge and start with what looks like the more fiddly method. I cut 1″strips on the bias..


.. Squared off the edges, joined them up with a diagonal seam, ironed the resulting long strip (with starch spray!) fed them into a bias tape gadget thingy and pressed. And hey “press-to”(presto! … I apologise.) 1/4” bias tape!



diy bias binding tape
I think I got just over 3m from three randomly sized scraps of fabric. I worked out that I’d need about 1.2m so I’ll have some left over to beautify another project. And I still have more scraps of this fabric so no doubt I’ll turn those into bias tape too.

(Aside: and now I know what to do with the scraps I’ve collected from projects so far that looked too big to throw away. You know, like when you buy fabric online and you have to buy 2m even though you only need 1.7? Grr! Bias tape and pocket linings, methinks..)

Back to the construction of the top.. I traced out a pattern for the front and back pieces, directly from the RTW top. Because of the fabric pieces I was working with, I had to introduce seams at the center front and back rather than cutting on the fold. I also couldn’t do any pattern matching, which is a shame, but the print is so busy that I don’t think that matters *too* much.

The pattern pieces looked like this, without the straps and before the side seams were sewn:

And then I did a bias binding on front and back neckline curves, leaving a little bias tape out beyond the neckline at each end:

Before finally going round each semi-armscye curve and then forming a big loop, with the bias tape, to form the straps:

The insides are pretty neat, with French seams, a care label and my memade label.

I made this in about three hours between 2am and 5am this morning,  while everyone else was asleep. So you’ll have to excuse the quality of the pics below and the fact that I’m not showing my bleary-eyed face, since I took them when Baby Boy woke up fully rested at 6am an hour after I’d gone back to bed.

Hopefully the sun will come out today so I can update this post with nicer pics. I might have promised my nearly-three year old yesterday that we would go to the park today and I have a feeling he’s going to hold me to it, so please, London – give us some sunshine!
– Michelle –