Category Archives: V8840

Leather trimmed tunic

I have this idea that I need to practice fashion illustration. I have a fabulous set of Fashionary sketch books that have been sitting untouched for at least a month. I see beautiful fabric and I simply can’t control myself. A vivid picture forms in my head and I pounce on that fabric, much like what happens when a vampire sees blood. Now who’s been busy watching too many episodes of True Blood back to back…

So once again, my plans to sketch this dress fell through. However, I did manage to use up the rest of my little bitty leather scraps (from here) and my black ponte (from here), so I’m going to give myself a high five for scrap busting anyway.

The dress is basically a modified version of Vogue 8840 (seen before herehere, and here) with a bit of leather embellishment. I used a metal ruler and a sharp rotary cutter to cut dozens of 6mm strips of leather. I lined up a few strips side by side and basted them on the interfaced ponte with fabric glue, before stitching them down with a single centre seam. I then just kept lining up those strips until I liked the look of the pattern. 

I added leather strips to the front of the dress and to a panel at the bottom of the back of the dress. I only added the back panel because I was short of ponte. Yay for that though, because I think that back panel finishes the look!

V8840 is a pattern designed for a top. What I wanted was a slightly unfitted tunic that I could layer with layers upon layers of wool for a Midwestern winter. I’m pretty happy with what I ended up with.

Here are the modifications I made: 

  • lengthened both pattern pieces to turn the top into a tunic
  • fused interfacing on the inside of the entire front dress pieces and to the back panel. This was needed to stabilise the ponte for stitching on all those leather strips.
  • shortened the (short) sleeves by a few inches
  • brought the side seams in by about 2.5″ and adjusted the bust dart to deal with this
  • ditched the back seam and kept the back piece the same but cut on the fold (cheater broad back adjustment)
  • widened and lowered the neckline a smidgen
  • added a front zipper





Sunflowers for Oonapalooza

At first I wasn’t quite sure what made me think of using this Tessuti remnant for another pair of Esthers. But I realise now that I was catching Palooza vibes, shot at me from afar by the great Oona of Kalkatroona. And I’m very glad I had my radar out, because just look at those shiny, polyester sunflowers. They might not make the coolest shorts for summer, but they most certainly make me smile!


I’m not going to say much about these shorts, because let’s face it, you’ve already heard enough. This is my fourth pair of Esthers. I’m smitten with the fit. I’ve worn my first pair to an early grave and the other two are alternated daily. I’m positioning this new pair for winter, most likely paired with a pair of black tights and a neoprene top, and I’m dreaming of making a leather pair next. I would have loved to match those flowers better, but with the small length of fabric I had, pattern matching was simply not an option.


So let’s talk about the neoprene top then. It’s simply a rehash of V8840. You’ve seen it before here and here. I did make a few changes to the pattern:

  • skimmed a few inches off the neckline and introduced a deep front V
  • ditched the back closure and the back seam
  • added a few parallel stitching lines along the CF as a design feature
  • cropped the length to my natural waist
  • drafted a graduated pleated peplum

Now some might say this outfit should have stopped with the shorts, and normally, it most likely would have. The shorts are fabulous on their own. I could have paired them with a simple black top. Leather would have been nice. But no, I just couldn’t stop. I had to fish out my sunburst neoprene, add faux leather sleeves, and big dramatic ruffles. Yes, this top is a little over the top, especially paired with shiny sunflowers. I blame Oona.


I will say though, that I think it perfectly matches my shorts. It will also be a great layer in dressing for my first Kansas winter, particularly when paired with some more sedate looking jeans. And you know what, if I get lost in the snow, I will always be found. So perhaps I’ve gotten the voices confused. I’ve been confusing the wicked Oona with a most safety-conscious version of herself. For the sake of Oonapalooza, I amped up the camp in this photo shoot. Miss Six was most amused!

V8840 in cropped linen and a repurposed skirt

Let’s start with the skirt. You might remember my white linen dress from earlier this summer. I literally wore this dress to death. In the end, due to several small tears at strain points in the bodice (and coupled with my collar mishap), I decided it was time to revive this dress as a maxi-midi skirt. All I did was unpick the bodice slice along the seam line with my rotary cutter, add a back seam for the invisible zip and construct a WIDE waistband (I still need to sew another hook and bar to the back of it).

The top is a simple return of Vogue 8840. I used some amazing linen from Tessuti Fabrics. I actually feel a little guilty about this top. I envisioned those gorgeous stripes in a cute little pair of shorts for my littlest girl (the one who is happy to NOT wear pink). But I think I can get over the guilt. I LOVE this top. It is light and cool and in one of my favourite summer fabrics. I think it looks pretty neat with the skirt too.

The modifications I made to V8840 in the long version (size 12) were:

  • cropping the length by 29cm
  • took 2cm off the neckline, front and back
  • stitched the back seam all the way
  • adding facing instead of binding, and an invisible zip centre front

Salme flared mini skirt, V8840, and some fabulous leather arm warmers

There isn’t much to say about my Salme flared mini skirt. It is such a simple pattern that I actually feel a little silly about purchasing it. But you know how you feel when you’ve just finished completing a big project, and all you want is a little mindless escapism sewing that will lead to a foolproof outcome.

This skirt is the rom com of the sewing world. It is literally two pattern pieces plus a waistband. I made mine in some lovely wool twill I picked up as a remnant from Tessuti Fabrics. I toyed with the idea of lining it, but as I didn’t have any suitable lining on hand, the decision was made for me. As I write this, I can’t quite remember which size I chose, but it ended up being a fraction too big. Had I not already serged the side seams, I would have taken it in. So instead, I decided to ease the skirt into the waistband somewhat. This worked well enough but I know the skirt will look a little less ‘full’ next time when I fit the size better. I’m still pretty happy with it though as I don’t mind the idea of a little extra wool around my hips when I’m headed for a ‘POLAR VORTEX’!

Now this fabulous top is an entirely different story. I purchased some lovely firm black ponte from Tessuti fabrics specifically for this top. This ponte actually reminds me a little of neoprene, although I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe it has a bit of that synthetic look and structure, but obviously it’s thinner with more drape.

The top was made using Vogue 8840. I have Nikki to thank from Beaute Jádore for pointing me in the direction of this pattern. She’s made several versions of this pattern herself with her own creative modifications.

I didn’t veer too far from the original pattern. 

  • I made the longer version but shortened it by about 2cm. I wanted it to hang longer over my flared skirt for a drop-waist sort of silhouette (yes, I am a little obsessed!)
  • I topstitched all bar the front and side seams
  • I added an invisible zip centre front instead of the back opening (purely to accommodate the apparently never-ending breastfeeding in my world)

I used scraps (literally!) of leather for the arm panels. They were the leftover pieces from my leather pants. You can see from the photos that I had to piece several small bits of leather together for the arm warmers and even then, I had to use a piece with an imperfection. But that’s nothing compared to the scorch mark from my iron on the back neckline…arghhhh, what was I thinking! Anyway, I am choosing to ignore these issues, and maybe leave my hair out when I wear it!

Now as I was salvaging all my leather scraps and joining them together, I realised that I might just have enough (with a little creative engineering) to make some of Nikki’s leather arm warmers too. She has some instructions on how to do so here, but she also sells them on Etsy.

Mine aren’t made exactly to Nikki’s specifications because I was extreeeeemely short of materials and I was going for a slightly tighter fit on the upper arm.

  • I shortened the leather panels quite a bit (you can see I had to stitch odd strips of leather together just to come close to having a reasonable amount)
  • I would probably widen the leather panels a bit in the upper section next time. My arm warmers are snug, particularly around the elbows (I’m not entirely sure I got the measurements right…it was late at night!).
  • I added cotton ribbing as cuffs. Now I would have preferred my ribbed cuffs to be a little tighter (poor measurement on my behalf) and twice the length (lack of fabric).
  • Instead of wool for the upper arm, I used a ponte knit because that was what I had in my stash. I took about 2″ off the width so it fitted close to my skin.


I love the idea of these arm warmers. I don’t think they show up as well with a top already trimmed with leather, but I can see them turning up the heat in an ordinary cropped sleeve jacket or top. And if you are wondering why all these photos are cropped so you can’t see my feet, this is why (all my shoes are en route to Kansas!).