Spotty start to the year

It was flipping hot here on New Year’s Eve. Nowt for it but to batten the hatches, shut up the house, switch on the fan and sew.

I took the bodice of the 117B dress from Burda magazine 5/2009 (thank you, Yarra Library), cut down the back neckline, and frankensteined a pencil skirt from elsewhere, but stole the darts from the Burda pattern so they’d match the bodice. Cunning. Cunninger still, perhaps the cunningest thing I’ve ever done, I hacked off the back of the skirt and drafted a fishtail. I’ve always, always wanted a fishtail dress. Always. Probably came out of the womb demanding one. But the perfect pattern evaded me and I thought it would be tricksy to do. It certainly isn’t.

I may now fishtail every dress I make.

The fabric here is part of the Nina Wish collection – a huge haul of fabric I bought when Nina Wish moved out of Melbourne and sold everything she didn’t want to move. Giant yellow dots! Huzzah!

The construction was a bit trial and error with lots of basting, trimming, basting, trimming, until it was right.

I wore it out dancing for New Years Eve and it was ace. Happy new year, folks!

Hit the ground running

I did nick off to warmer climes, as mentioned in last past. For which I whipped up a sleeveless Vogue 8280 – which had a ridiculous amount of fussy convolutions to make those shoulder straps. Bored already. Moving on!

Came home to the tail end of Spotlight’s 40% off sale. Felt obliged to stop by. Glad I did.

A while ago Moggy lent me a few patterns because I wanted something with drapey details for some silk I’d picked up. Nothing came of that idea, but the combo of just-purchased cheap cotton stretch sateen and post-holiday chutzpah, I launched with gusto into Butterick 8116.

Sateen’s in the background. Have you sewn with this stuff yet? I love it. It’s thick with a lovely matte sheen, the stretch makes it super easy to sew and wear, plus Spotty’s doing quite well with the retro prints. Some examples of other frox made with it are Kristy’s KILLER New Look 6968 (confession: I bought some of this print in the sale too, despite not generally liking pink or digital splotchiness, but Kristy inspired me) and Adey’s cheongsam of delightfulness. The moral of the story is Get Thee Some Stretch Cotton Sateen.

Anyway. Enough rambling and pontificating. Here’s the frock.

I frankensteined the balloony skirt mentioned here after initially considering drafting up a straight skirt with fishtail at back. The change of mind occurred when I saw I could use up every last piece of the fabric with a full skirt – nose to tail eating is very satisfying. I also took a little more time with the details, and I’m glad I did – my hand-picked zipper is just lovely. Virtually invisible.

I know lots of folks are hiding zippers in side seams these days, but I’ve learned the hard way that it doesn’t work for me. Due to my spinal curve, I’m a bit asymmetrical and I can never get side zips to sit right – all they do is emphasise my twistiness. Great to know that I can put in an old-skool metal centred zip so subtly. And it really didn’t take that much longer.

Another shot in better light to show those spiffy bodice folds, and better shows the deflated balloon skirt… I’m calling this frock Florigenius after the company who tried for years and years to make a blue rose, and a purple cabbage-lookin’ thing is the best they could do…


The little blue and red number turned out so well that I did it all over again:

Sadly when I cut down the neckline a bit, my feeble narrow shoulders let me down and it’s too big around the shoulders. So I have to rip out the zipper and take a bit out of the back centre seam. Booooooooring. So, she stalls.

Fabric is linen or linen/cotton blend I got for $2/m years and years ago. I haven’t used it because I thought it might be a bit flowery and girly. It kinda is. But with a rainy weekend forecast, I’ll see if I can finish it up in the next couple of days.

New year, new frock

This is an uberfrankenfrock. Using – wait for it – not one, not two, but THREE separate patterns, PLUS some shameless pinching of a spiffy detail. Headless Esme’s doing the modelling today….

From the top, we have: sleeves from New Look 6728, bodice from New Look 6968 and skirt is the tried and true, best ever not-too-heavy, not-too-light skirt from New Look 6557. Made up in a 1970s blue seersucker with cutesy flowers that I bought from a junk market last week. Plain jane, right?


First, I lined the wee sleeves in red…

and then I shamelessly pinched a back detail I’d seen elsewhere

…which I think makes this a mullet dress. You know, business at the front, party in the back. Something that would make it even more so (and it’s something I’m considering for a second iteration of this New Look chimera) is a straight skirt at front with a bit of flouncey flarey nonsense at back. Hmmm…

Oh. And my palm sustained two stab wounds in the manufacture of this dress. One from a pin, one from my unpicker. I strongly urge to you resist trying the second instrument if you’re considering a sewing mishap.. that bloody hurt.