Sew DIY Lou Box Top

I’d like to introduce you to my brand new, hot of the press, Lou Box tunic by Sew DIY. I was a pattern tester for this top which meant I was lucky enough to be one of the first to make it. Now, I know very well what I am like when it comes to patterns and sewing. I very rarely stick to patterns and I’m quite useless at following directions, which is why I don’t often put my hand up to test patterns. I think it would be unfair of me to sabotage a new pattern without being able to give proper feedback.

When I saw my first sneeky peek of the Lou Box top I knew I could commit to testing the pattern properly because it looked perfectly perfect exactly as it was. It is such a simple design, chic and elegant, and very easy to sew. Beth has also included a few different hemline and neckline options in the pattern, without you having to go all maverick and invent them yourself.

 

The pattern includes instructions for sewing it with a woven or a knit fabric. I chose to use a beautiful Italian cotton jersey for my tunic. I made the scoop neck version and I’m very happy with the degree of scoop. I used the curved hem pieces and the dip hem as a guide for the back length, and then I simply lengthened my pieces each by 10cm to create a tunic instead of a top. I wanted the longer length to wear with my leather blocked leggings.

 


I stitched up a size XS/X according to my measurements on the packet. This threw me, because I am a 34.5″ bust with broad shoulders which would usually place me as a size 12 or M in most patterns. I needn’t have worried though. The pattern measurements correlate beautifully and I am really happy with the fit.

I will definitely use this pattern again. It makes a fabulous summer top or tunic. I can see myself sewing up a silk version in a few months time now.

Refashioned leather pants

The change I made to these pants is so simple and straight forward that it hardly deserves it’s own post. However, it is interesting to see how such a small change can be so effective in updating a style. 


I made this pair of leather jogging pants almost a year ago now. My original post about them is here. They were my first leather project and I was out pretty happy with how they turned out. In fact, they’ve come in handy a lot. I find that leather items fill that blind spot in the wardrobe, somewhere between dressy and casual. Cropped, elastic cuff pants have also been quite fashionable over the past year, but I’m pretty tired of that particular look right now. I’ve also secretly always yearned for these pants to be a little longer. It didn’t take much to fix.


All I did was to carefully cut off the cuffs and add hem panels of about 10″ on both legs. Because there are so many other panels stitched throughout the pants, it doesn’t look out of place. Now they are long enough to wear with high heel booties, or with flat sneakers if I fold the hem up as I’ve done in these photos.

Transeasonal Simplicity 1435 and a Swoon cardi

For the past few months (apart from multiple, transient costume changes each day) Miss Two has really only been wearing two dresses (here and here). Apparently they are both suitable for nightwear as well as daywear. Who am I to argue with a two year old? Day in, day out, night in, night out, we see her in the same clothes. I think it has a lot to do with comfort and a little to do with the fact that they are dresses she can slip on herself (and therefore slip off for her costume changes).
 
Hubby and I held a meeting. I was going to make those dresses disappear. Miss Two and I went shopping at Jo-Ann. She found some very pretty (polyester, ugh!) jersey and I found Simplicity 1435. I feel like I don’t sew Simplicity patterns very often so I was going to treat this as a wearable muslin. I’ve rarely been super impressed with the fit of kid’s clothes from the big pattern companies. But this could be because my older two girls are a lot longer and narrower than average.
 
Gnome killer

Miss Two (AKA Midget) is completely average in size (not temperament!). She is smack bang on the 50th centile for everything, despite being dwarfed by her giant sisters. Not surprisingly, this little dress pattern fits her perfectly. The only change I made was to lengthen the sleeves for Autumn and shave a bit of the sleeve cap. I also left the hem unfinished. I love the unfitted, drop waist look and it is clearly very comfortable. The dress has thankfully become her new favourite and the other pilled and shredded dresses have disappeared unnoticed.
 
Yes, she just murdered the gnome

I also made her a Swoon cardi to go with her new dress. A little while back, Lara from Thornberry blogged about a very pretty matchy make for her daughter. I loved the look of her Swoon cardi so I made sure I had enough fabric to make Miss Two one too.
 
I had my doubts when I was putting this pattern together. I was so tempted to redraw a few pieces to somehow turn the shawl collar into a self-facing edge but it all started to hurt my brain too much. I was having trouble seeing how it would come together in the end. But I ploughed on and did a quick hash job of serging the edges in non-matching thread because I truly didn’t think this cardi would turn out as well as it did.
 
Gnome found his way upright again, but not for long.

Got him

So now I’m going to step on his head, because that’s what you do to gnomes.
Miss Two put the cardi on straight away and has barely taken it off since. I even caught her wearing it scrunched up underneath a long sleeved top this morning. The fit is beautiful. The shape is pretty and the lightweight fabric worked very well for it. I will definitely give this pattern another go but with better fabric next time, and nicely hemmed edges too.
 
Sorry gnome. Let’s be friends again?
 


Refashioned Ikat dress

A very short while back, I turned some Ikat jersey into a Chanel-inspired dress. It worked out okay, but I didn’t love it, and pretty much knew from the outset that I would be changing it into something different. I already had my idea. 

This refashioning was very simple. I simply cut the original skirt portion off. It currently hangs intact, complete with the elastic waistband, on a hook in my sewing room. I’m constantly tempted to put it on and twirl around the house but I have better plans for that piece as well.

The top portion of the dress was reattached to my last little bit of Ikat jersey. I had just enough fabric left for a fitted skirt. To lengthen the skirt a smidgen and to finish the edges, I added a band of white, silk/modal jersey. I also straightened up the ends of the sleeves little and attached a similar band to them.

I much prefer my refashioned dress. I think it’s going to get loads of wear now.


Ikat vs Chanel

The pants in this ensemble are yet another crack at my TNT pants pattern, Vogue 8909. You’ve seen other versions before (here, here, and here). This time, I made them using silk jersey. They are so comfortable it’s criminal and I suspect they will be getting a lot more wear than simply with this dress.
 

 

 

The rest of the dress was inspired by my current Chanel infatuation. You’ve seen the Ikat jersey print before and I’m quite sure that you will be seeing it again. I still have a few kid size remnants left in my stash. The silk chiffon from Tessuti is gathered into a skirt that overlaps at the side to flare and swish as I walk.

 
 

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this outfit. It was actually my first attempt at a Chanel-inspired ensemble (my second attempt in Cracked Glass silk CDC was a winner!). The pants are definitely here to stay. But it’s quite possible that you will be seeing the dress come back as something entirely different down the track.

Tormented by jersey

So, this dress actually worked out pretty well in the end, but those who follow me on Instagram will understand the torment that I’m talking about. Let’s start with the fabric. It is the most beautiful, vibrant printed jersey from Mood. But it is also very heavy, something I really should have taken into account when planning this make. I’m still very much in love with the fabric, but I just think I chose the wrong style of dress for it’s weight.

 

I started out with intentions of making a near identical replica of my tie dye dress, but with long sleeves for the Fall. Those who see me everyday are probably sick of the sight of my tie dye dress, but it is seriously so comfortable and swishy that I am helpless to resist it’s sherbetty goodness each time I open my wardrobe. It’s made from a similar feeling jersey, but much lighter in weight.

So I began making my new dress by cutting the sleeves, but straight ones suddenly felt too boring. I decided to play around with a flared, graduated elbow length shape instead. But when I attached them, they looked a bit hippy for me. So I cut those ones off and shortened them to what you see now, but not before experimenting with a bit of silk chiffon blocking. This actually looked great, but my silk scraps were too small and my arms would have needed amputation if I wore them for more than an hour. Truth be told, I think I was just having a finicky, impossible-to-please-me kind of day.

 

So, in the end, I settled on the short sleeves and finally decided to attach the floor length gathered skirt. It was pretty, but it was boring…to me anyway…why am I so fickle! I was looking at a very lovely bowl of creamy ice cream, but I was craving some kind of Heston Blumenthal frozen foam, which seriously wasn’t going to happen with a piece of jersey. In any case, I didn’t have to struggle too hard on my decision to unpick the skirt, because the  fabric was too heavy for the bodice anyway. 

So off came the gathered skirt and out came Alice (my dressmakers dummy). I draped that skirt within an inch of it’s life, until I had the assymetrical look you see now. I still think that there’s a bit too much weight on one side of the skirt so I may shorten it a little more, and hack at the innards a bit. But it is wearable, and I really love the asymmetrical drape that I ended up with. I’d also really love to know how I did it in the end…

Tie dye jersey maxi dress: AKA the pyjama dress

Okay, so this isn’t strictly sleepwear, and I’d be lying if I said it was the most comfortable dress I owned. But it is seriously the second most comfortable dress I own. This is my most comfortable dress. But this tie dye maxi, I could actually sleep in it if I wanted to. It is made from the softest rayon jersey from MOOD. It is lightweight and beautifully drapey, but not at all see-through. It cost under $4 per yard, so I purchased several!

The design is a hack of my self-drafted Jaywalk dress. I just cropped the bodice to waist level and added a gathered skirt. I used clear elastic as a stay for the waist. This is a great trick for pulling the waist in on a fitted knit dress.


I’ve been getting A LOT of wear out of this dress. To be perfectly honest, I expected to get sick of tripping up stairs and end up chopping off the length with five wears. But it is such a light and comfortable dress to wear that I am even enjoying the length. And the colour is just delicious. It’s called sherbert. I want to eat it!

So this time round, it was Miss Two who scored on the scraps front. She was pretty excited about this dress because it is nearly identical to mine. We inevitably end up leaving the house in matching clothes now, because whenever I wear mine, she changes into hers. She is super cute though. Believe it or not, that happy smile hides a hideous gastro-bug that hit her like a truck only a few hours later. The smiles before the storm…





Jaywalk version 1

I’ve said it before, this fabric is gorgeous! Of course I was going to jump at the chance of entering Tessuti’s Jaywalk competition when this little beauty was put before me. The thing I love about this comp is that the rules are few and far between. You can basically make whatever you like, in whatever size, style or shape that suits you!

Stripes are so much fun and these were no exception. I loved playing around with the way they hung and swirled as I twirled. I actually made this skirt first, before my Jaywalk dress.  

 


I’m pretty happy with this make. It was my own design, but an oh so very simple one. The skirt consists of a pencil shaped portion with a generous graduated flounce at the bottom. I am most excited with the way that I managed to perfectly line up the stripes in the side seams, although this is hardly the work of a genius. Those stripes are perfectly on grain and I basted them in place to line them up first.

I stitched the elastic waistband directly to the reverse side of the top edge of the skirt in a zig-zag stitch and then folded it under twice (you can also do this on the right side of the fabric and fold it under once so the elastic sits against your skin). I copied the method from a FCUK skirt a few years ago and have been doing it this way ever since! You might remember the top as a Kanerva hack I made a little while ago.

 

And because this skirt is just so darn HOT, here a few more action shots. I kinda feel like a celebrity in these ones, but I like the way they show the skirt in motion! Now where did I put down my glass of Moet?

Sigh…paparazzo chasing me again. 

Obviously they want another shot of this booty-enhancing skirt… 

 But look, it also twirls!

Jaywalk version 2

So this is actually my second entry in the Jaywalk series. My skirt is yet to come. But like the skirt, this dress is my own design. I used my knit, skirt block for the bottom part and sketched a bodice to match my measurements before joining them up. I then used some scrap jersey to whip up a quick muslin to check and finesse the fit.


The end product is a fitted, dare I say it…..drop waist dress. I’m pretty happy with it. The fit is spot on, the fabric is divinely comfortable, and that flared skirt just makes me smile. It isn’t quite as smokin’ hot as the skirt (yet to come), but Miss Six and I still manage to attract a little attention when we head out in our matching Jaywalkers.

 
 
 

When making the dress, I was at crossroads with regards to finishing the neck and armscye. I was very nearly going to bind those edges with a black stripe, in the same manner that I finished Miss Six’s mini Jaywalker, but then I felt that it gave the dress a ‘too sporty’ feel for the glamorous flare of the skirt. In the end, I bound them with self fabric, before flipping it under, to cover the 1cm seam allowance (which I left in place to give a bit of shape and stability), and then I trimmed very closely to the seam.

 
 
 
 
 







A mini Jaywalker

After making my own Jaywalk pieces (more on that to come), I had enough of these lovely stripes left to make a little dress for Miss Six. I used the Go To Signature dress pattern for a second time, with the same neckline adjustment as before. I also shaped the hem on this one to be higher at the front and lower at the back. I’d intended on adding an elastic waist to this version, but after the first fitting, Miss Six was quite certain that she loved it exactly as it was with absolutely NO further changes. Let it not be said that I would argue with the Queen.


This fabric makes for a beautiful kiddie dress. It is soft and comfortable and holds it’s shape beautifully. It’s going to be a great addition to her daily wardrobe. Unlike in Australia, public school kids don’t wear uniforms in America, so Coco is enjoying the fact that she is now in line to receive equal clothing makes as her sisters.

 
 
 
  
Just look at that lovely side seam, all lined up for me. I’ve discovered that if I take the extra time to baste seams with stripes together first, I get a better result in matching those lines.