Squiggles on my gaucho pants

This is the BEST fabric ever! It’s a stretch cotton in a nice medium weight, which makes it perfect for shorts, pants (and playsuits of course). Quite simply, those squiggles make me smile. I wish I had enough left for a long A-line skirt now.

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This time, I made some cropped pants of the wide leg variety. They hit high on the waist so I think I can safely call them gaucho pants.

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The white top is an oldie but a goodie. I wore it A LOT last Summer and I predict it will be getting more of the same love this year.

Little gathered top: Part 1

I’ve been playing around with a little top design for my girls. I wanted something that would look cute with shorts and skirts, but wasn’t your typical cotton t-shirt. I also had some lovely little scraps of linen and cotton that I wanted to make use of.

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My first version of this top was for Miss Seven. I used some lovely soft linen. I forgot to include an allowance at the CB for a button placket in my original plans, so I had to make do with a hand-worked loop and button. It works, and I really love the look of the little loops and buttons, but they aren’t quite as sturdy as a placket. This top has to hold up to some serious physical activity.

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I’m very pleased with the fit and I love the shape of the little ruffle sleeves. I also like the high jewel neck. I wasn’t completely sure that Miss Seven would like the neckline but she seems very comfortable in this top and I know it’s getting a lot of wear because I find myself ironing it every other day. I HATE ironing (except when in the process of sewing!), but I make the odd exception with certain items of clothes that really need it. This is unfortunately one of them.

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Long sleeves in linen

I started sewing clothes for myself in 2012. Before that, my sewing was all about kiddie stuff and quilting cotton. It was also the year I discovered that I could sew with ponte knits and linen. I quite simply overdosed that year. Lucky for you guys, this was also before I started blogging.

I’ve always loved linen, but it’s one of those fabrics that I rarely, if ever, saw in the RTW shops I frequented back then. So it was mindblowing to me that I could suddenly make everything in linen. So did I? Yes. I. Did.

I’ve since had a few years without a lot of linen in my wardrobe. There’s been the odd thing, but nothing like it was in 2012. However, I feel the season changing. I am so in love with it right now. It’s like my long lost friend has returned.

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The thing about linen though, is that it is one of the fabrics I am most pickiest about in terms of quality. I loath buying it online. I’ve been disappointed a few times when I’ve opted for the cheaper option. I recently purchased a length of European white linen from Fabric dot com. In the description it was recommended for making dresses, pants, anything. Let’s just say, I’m ditching the idea of using it for a Summer top and might simply hem it for use as a pretty table cloth instead. I think I’m a linen snob.

The linen I used for this top came all the way from Tessuti Fabrics in Sydney, one of the few places I trust implicitly in buying linen from without ordering a swatch first (online shopping is sadly my only way to purchase quality fabric in the Midwest). This linen is truly delicious. I could iron it better, but I really, really love linen crinkles.

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This top is the long sleeve variation of a pattern I’m working on right now. I paired it with my long leather shorts.

If everything goes to plan, I might be ready for testers in a few weeks. It takes time because I want to make sure that even my testers get a good experience.  If you are interested in testing this or anything else in the future, please head over to my Facebook page, Lily Sage & Co. To avoid driving non-tester inclined blog readers batty,  I will only be putting the tester call out there from now on.

Miss Seven’s birthday dress and her all time favourite makes

With the exception of the odd t-shirt, and winter coat, I sew pretty much everything else my daughters wear these days. Thankfully, they are all still at the point where they are delighted with anything and everything that Mummy makes, but there are always clear favourites that get worn day after day, literally until they are fraying at the seams. I always find it interesting to see what emerges as the winner, and why.

The big winners over the past six months (based on frequency of wear) are (working clockwise from the top left): her Twirl to Me dress (I can’t help but feel a little chuffed with this choice),  her recent yellow cartwheel shorts (these surprised me!), the Oliver + S Hide and Seek dress (that retained it’s winning status even when I had to convert it into a skirt), a simple self-drafted cotton maxi skirt, an Oliver + S Ice Cream dress, her Rosie Assoulin knock off, a Go To mini Jaywalker maxi, and finally, that Oliver + S Hide and Seek dress as a skirt and Daddy’s old Ralph Lauren sweater refashioned. My personal favourite is the Rosie Assoulin bow dress. I can’t help but watch her all day when she wears that.

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So what got me thinking about her favourite makes? This Ice Cream dress by Oliver + S. I made Miss Seven a new version for her recent birthday. Her earlier version really needs to be retired, and that’s saying something, because quilting cotton is hard-wearing. The dress is such a practical and comfortable design for kids. It covers the shoulders and yet doesn’t restrict play. It’s also a super easy sew and has become her go-to school uniform.

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I used some beautiful charcoal linen and a little remnant of a floral linen/silk blend that I was lucky enough to find on the remnant table at Tessuti Fabrics many, many moons ago. I miss my weekly remnant shopping excursions. I had quite the stash of Tessuti remnants when I arrived in Kansas a year ago, but they are starting to dwindle now.

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NEW PATTERN ALERT: The Sea Change top + discount code

I’m so excited to announce a that a new pattern is available in my shop today. It’s the Sea Change top, an easy fitting, kimono style top that is just perfect for high waist jeans and skirts. And in honour of this exciting day, I’m also discounting the pattern (and everything else in my shop, including the Twirl to Me dress pattern) for the next seven days. Use code: SEACHANGE15

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I’ve already been getting a lot of wear out of my versions, and I have a few more planned for Summer.  It’s such an easy and versatile top. Check out the pattern yourself here.

FBA test top

It’s quite obvious that my bust is not so full that it requires any pattern adjustments, but in the interest of testing for the wider population, I thought I’d see what this top could do. It was a very easy adjustment to create more room in the front of this top. Because I don’t *fill* that space, I’m left with bigger gathers. I think I prefer my earlier version better in terms of fit (for me).

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This version was made very simply in a medium weight, quilting cotton. The fabric is pretty, but not really my style. To toughen it up a little, I paired it with my very versatile neoprene and faux leather mini.

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The Sea Change top is tester ready!

This is the kind of easy fitting top that works well in both a knit or a woven. My striped version was made up in a knit, so I thought I’d trial this one in a woven. My fabric of choice is a special length of silk CDC from Tessuti Fabrics. I don’t buy much fabric on whim anymore, but this one just jumped in my shopping cart without any project in mind. I’m glad it did.

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I’m very pleased with the way this top turned out. I love the contrast panels and I especially love the opportunity they provide for mixing fabrics and prints for different looks on the same simple top.

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My blog has been a bit unpredictable over the past week while I’ve been getting it set up properly, so I started my call out for testers on Instagram for this pattern. I’ve had an overwhelming response for some sizes, but I’m still looking for testers in the following sizes: L (14-16) and XXL (20). If you think this might be you and you have the time and energy to trial this very simple top, please let me know. Once again, I have no interest if you blog or shout out to the masses through social media (although if you do, that’s fine by me too). I’m simply interested in your honest feedback.

Sign up form.

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Culottes in a playsuit anyone?

This little jumpsuit was refashioned from this dress. As pretty as the dress was, I found I wasn’t wearing it enough. I hate to see such stunning fabric locked away behind closet doors.

 

The pattern is my own design and the jumpsuit very closely follows the drafted pattern. The main difference is my slightly angled bottom panels. In trying to preserve as much of the dress as possible, I didn’t manage to align the hem very well. I also didn’t have much of a choice on pattern placement. It appears that I may have inadvertently positioned a solar system directly over my reproductive organs. Why is it that Bruno Mars and the case of the uterine foliage pops into my brain right now?!  

 

The main fabric is a gloriously drapey, woven viscose. It is a very special fabric. The bottom panels were made using silk jersey scraps I was lucky enough to have lying around. Navy CDC or silk organza were other options I toyed with for the panels.

This playsuit is designed to be unfitted through the waist, with a slightly flared, cropped leg. There is also the option of ditching the bottom panel for a shorter version and using a self-fabric waist tie to cinch in the waist for a more fitted look. I’d really love to see how this pattern plays out in linen, or especially, a heavier weight and more structured cotton sateen.

 

This playsuit ticks a lot of boxes for me in terms of real life wearability. It’s cool for Summer, unrestrictive, and practical for chasing kids around in. So what do you think of playsuits right now? Could you see yourself in something like this?

Fabric shopping

Oscar de la Renta

On the odd occasion, my husband has been known to surprise me with a piece of clothing. Now I must stress the word ‘odd’ here because it really doesn’t happen very often. I can count the items on one hand over the ten plus years we have been together. My husband has impeccable, if not more conservative taste than me. He is a stickler for quality. He chooses classic styles that I wouldn’t necessarily choose for myself, but that nevertheless fill a gap in my wardrobe and always look great. So I actually have a great deal of confidence in his ability to not only buy clothes for me unseen, but fabric as well.

Now hubby was in New York recently for a very important business event. I couldn’t make it with him so he was out looking for a birthday gift for me in his time off. I was fending off texts querying my size and colour preferences. He was clearly in dress shops. Now I didn’t doubt for a second that he wouldn’t bring home something nice. But the last thing I wanted was a new RTW dress, no matter how special it was going to be. I didn’t want to have to wear it. I want to wear the clothes that I make myself!

How do you send the message to others that you really don’t want them to buy you new clothes (if that’s the thing they’re used to doing), but could they buy you fabric instead? Well, after a few mentions of the fabric district (and perhaps some specific directions to MOOD) hubby got the idea. It’s not the first time I’ve hinted at fabric for a gift, but this is the first time he’s actually taken it on board. I see it as a turning point in the way he sees my commitment to sewing, and possibly also my improving skills.

Based on text evidence, he must have spent a couple of hours choosing fabric. He said later that everyone was very nice to him at MOOD, so I have to send out a big thank-you for making hubby’s fabric shopping experience a good one.

I tried to give him as limited information as possible as I wanted his choice to be a surprise and to be his own. I did give him a few keywords, basically the first designer names that came to my mind. I may have also mentioned the word ‘silk’. I also told him to choose himself some silk for a tie, and Italian shirting for a business shirt.

I’ve already made up one of his business shirts. That should be on the blog soon. But of most importance, do you want to see what he bought home for yours truly?

A beautiful embroidered and printed silk organza. I’ve got 3.5 yards to do something amazing with this. I’m thinking a fitted (lined of course!) dress. What would you do with this one?

 

And this red one fascinates me the most. It is a pure silk by Oscar de la Renta. But it has such a stiff hand, nearly as stiff as a light canvas (but obviously a very different texture to canvas!). Any idea what it would be? Taffeta? I’ve got three panels of it, which amounts to about 4 yards. I think it would look great as a floor length, slightly A-line skirt with a strapless bodice (if I have enough…). What would you do with this one?

I’d love to hear your ideas! The reality is that these beauties are going to be hitting my stash for the foreseable future, or until somebody I know decides to get married or invites me to the Oscars!


Fabric deliciousness

So I know that I am really, REALLY not supposed to be buying any more fabric right now. I know I have a problem when all I am worried about getting to the US is my fabric and pattern stash?! I just weighed my ‘fabric’ suitcase and it was 30kg! I’m not sure how I am going to sneak that one past hubby. Obviously I snaffled the biggest suitcase(s) for myself.

But these little bits, I just couldn’t resist. I will call them my going away treats and aren’t they just the most delicious morsels you have ever seen! Unfortunately, I was only able to purchase a single metre of these delicious silks, but I have visions of how I can do justice with them (as soon as I am happy to finish admiring them of course).

Both are from Tessuti Fabrics. The first is a silk satin and the second is silk organza.

 
I’m pretty much all packed now. But I’m left a little air pocket for one last visit to my favourite fabric haunts ;-). Next stop is a farewell scrappy skirt for Miss Four. And then we hit the runway on March 2nd! Eeeek!