Simplicity 1425 Peplum Top… Cop Out or Copy Cat?

In my quest to finish off 2015 without any UFO’s I tried really hard to get them done. Such as this top which was actually started in December of 2014, it definitely had a lot of time to marinate. Anyway, I finished it on the 23rd of December 2015. I think I ended up with 2 UFO’s in the end for 2015 which is a vast improvement from previous years.

I remember way back I had decided to make a peplum top after purchasing a few that I found really versatile and flattering for my body type and so feminine. I was initially drawn to this Simplicity 1425 pattern (I think has now become OOP) from the model photo and really liked the combination of fabrics so ………….. I bought myself some eyelet and chiffon but in navy as to not be a complete copy cat. It really made fabric shopping quite simple really and it was one of the few instances I walked into the fabric shop with a plan, bought what I needed, and walked out again.

Simplicity 1425 frontSimplicity 1425 side back                          Simplicity 1425 side (2)

I also liked this pattern because of the neckline variations and endless possibilities in a pattern is money well spent in my opinion as they cost so much here in Australia. I also liked the princess seams as it allows for a more fitted bodice with easier adjustments. My fabric is navy aruna eyelet (composition unknown) and navy 100% dance poly chiffon (100% polyester) and I chose not to underline my top as I will wear a singlet underneath anyway. I made version B but omitted the collar. For the neckline and armholes I serged the raw edges and turned up the seam allowance twice as for a narron hem and stitched to finish.

I changed the back closure as I felt the 3 required buttons would have made me self conscious and feeling too exposed and lets face the logistics of trying to button this top up on your own. I don’t think I’m just that flexible anymore. I inserted a matching navy 12 inch (30cm) invisible zipper to almost the full length of the top to make it easier to wear. Due to the eyelet fabric, I used some 25mm navy bias tape at the zip area for strength and stability, interfacing would have not looked nice and been too visible.

Simplcity 1425 back

Everything went pretty smoothly and I am finding with the Big 4 patterns I am often having to alter the upper back and take in 1-2 inches and taper to a normal seam allowance at the waist, which works okay if there is a centre back seam but run into trouble otherwise. I also shortened the bodice by 1 inch but left the length of the peplum portion the same.

I think the pleats on the peplum give it some body and shape and is a nice change to the circle/flounce versions. I like the look of this top best with a slim skirt on me however it would probably go well with a pair of slim (cigarette) pants or jeans. Overall I’m pleased this top was a quick, stress free sew with a good outcome.

Simplicity 1354 Dress in Navy Broadcloth

Another item finished in 2015 but just getting blogged. Last time I made this Simplicity 1354 dress it was in a fancy fabric for my friends wedding, kind of a test run for my version for the SWAP 2015, although probably makes more sense to do it the other way around next time. I really like the fit of the dress and it’s kind of boring from the front, party at the back.

I made view A again and don’t have much else to say this time around except I went down a size as I had to take in the first version quite a bit and didn’t line this version. This pattern comes with the various cup sizes and I kept the cup size the same as last time. I used some navy broadcloth (100% cotton) instead of black as originally planned, as I wanted to change it up a bit although looking at my back log of recent sewing projects I have enough blue items to last me a lifetime. I also wanted a light and cool summery dress which this fabric definitely is. I constructed everything as specified, leaving the side seams until last to refine the fit, as per the amazing fit “motto”.

Simplicity 1354 side                       Simplicity 1354 front 2 Simplicity 1354 front

I didn’t have enough fabric to make the armhole facings so used 12 mm single fold navy bias binding to finish off the armholes. The dress fit well after construction but after wearing it a few times I felt it had stretched out, probably due to the loose weave of the broadcloth. Anyway, I had to take in the bodice by 2 cm on each side so it was more fitted, and that is what you see in these photos, the “after” alterations.

I didn’t have enough fabric to make the skirt as gathered as I would have liked, nor make big pleats as my original version so I just made two small pleats at the front and back to minimise bulk. I also lengthened the skirt by 15 cm. The pockets were made using some navy nautical voile #2 (100% cotton) scraps left over from my Sewaholic Lonsdale dress. Have I mentioned how much I love pockets? Well I really do!!! I serged the hem and turned it up 6mm and then by 1 inch and stitched.

The back has button closures at the neck but I found I could get the dress on and off without having to undo them so I sewed the neckline closed and sewed on three 1 cm white pearl buttons. There is a 12 inch (30cm) navy invisible zip and I have stitched on a hook and eye at the top of the zip although I couldn’t do enough gymnastics to do it up myself for the photos, thus the little gap. Keep that in mind when making this, ensure the zip does in fact go to the top and doesn’t have a gap like mine did. The pulling visible in the photos isn’t there in real life, I think it’s the way I’m standing.

Simplicity 1354 back

This dress has had a lot of wear already. I have worn it “dressy” as per the photos but mostly with sandals as day wear.

I’m really happy in that my SWAP 2015 was mostly complete, especially as I often sew what I feel like and didn’t think that I would complete the majority of what I planned.

Simplicity 1415 Coral Lace Dress

I have sewn so many “dressy” clothes lately that I have noticed major gaps in my wardrobe, and this is no exception. I used Simplicity 1415, a Project Runway pattern. I took inspiration from the cover photo and chose to do a lace overlay.

I made view A,C (on back of envelope) and for fabric I used coral premium cotton sateen (96% cotton/4% spandex) for the main body of the dress and coral paisley lace (100% polyester) for the top layer. I followed the instructions as specified for construction but chose to make a few changes to the look of the dress.

Simplicity 1415 front 4                       Simplicity 1415 side Simplicity 1415 back 2

For the zipper opening I chose to have the 14″ coral invisible zip start from the sateen bodice and go down to the skirt rather than start up at the neckline, if that makes sense. I then put a hook and eye at the neckline. This way it allows for the back to open a bit while wearing and also meant I could eliminate putting a zip through the lace and possibly causing strain and subsequently holes!!

Simplicity 1415 back

I made my own 1″ wide bias tape from the coral sateen as I couldn’t find a good colour match in anything else, and while it is a tad thick, it makes the armhole, neckline and back opening quite sturdy.

Simplicity 1415 front

The only fitting alteration was to remove 1.5 inch from each side of the centre back bodice, a common alteration for me. I really like the length of this dress, possibly a tad shorter next time but the neckline is quite nice and flattering I think.


Simplicity 2594 Watercolour Top

This pattern, Simplicity 2594, has been sitting in the drawer for a long time so I thought I’d give it a go using some stash chiffon (100% polyester) bought years ago, to make a wearable muslin if you will. I made view B without any alterations and find the fit pretty good although there is a fair amount of ease so you may consider going down a size. It does require fabric with some drape for the cowl-neck versions which are cut on the bias.

Simplicity 2594 front

                    Simplicity 2594 front 2 Simplicity 2594 back

I followed the instructions in the pattern but because I was using a lightweight fabric I sewed french side seams. Just a word of caution in regards to attaching the yoke. The instructions aren’t all that clear and it appears others found this an issue too, not helped by the fact I had fabric that looked similar on the right and wrong sides, but taking it step wise should get you through. The instructions recommend top stitching around the yoke and I think this gives a nice finish.

There are 3 pleats at the shoulder seams which are a bit hard to see in this fabric but are a nice design element along with some gathers at the back yoke. The front drape isn’t too low and is finished with a narrow hem rather than a facing but does tend to favour one side and needs to be adjusted probably because how it is cut on the bias. I found the armhole was slightly lower than usual which doesn’t worry me as I will always wear a singlet under this, but may be something to check if using a non-sheer fabric and don’t want to feel exposed. Not much else to add, it is a great basic wardrobe builder and I will definitely make it again.

Simplicity 2594 side

Coincidently it co-ordinates well with my newly made maxi skirt and will also be a good pairing with a few other items in my sewing list.

Simplicity 6746 Feather Maxi Skirt

Continuing on with my maxi endeavours I pulled out this pattern from my stash, it’s from the 70’s. I can’t remember where it came from and is only in single size, mind you a lot smaller than what I wear. I had to enlarge the pattern amongst other alterations but I think, actually I know, I like the style of this skirt better than my self drafted one and will probably become my go to from now on, with a few touch ups of course.

simplicity 6746

The fabric is a boutique poly print (100% polyester), a bargain buy at $3/m and judging at the fabric it may be due to the fault on the border which didn’t affect my cutting layout whatsoever. It is quite sheer and of course being a light colour it required some lining. I use white pongee lining (100% polyester) from my stash but unfortunately in the sunlight is still sheer and requires a slip underneath for modesty. This is a four gored skirt pattern, a real fabric hog actually. I didn’t want to break up the feather repeats with a seam so cut my front piece on the fold and following the straight grain.


My measurements were about 20cm larger than the pattern so had to enlarge both front and back by 10cm (5cm at each side at the waist and hip) and then straightened out with a curved ruler. In the end my pattern pieces didn’t fit the width of the fabric so I slimmed the skirt by about 17cm in total at the hem but as you can see it still has lots of movement and is quite flowy.

simplicity 6746 front 2

           simplicity 6746 frontsimplicity 6746 front 3

I constructed the skirt using french seams because of the sheerness of the fabric and eliminated pockets for this reason too but next time will definitely add them in. I also used a french seam at the centre back using this tutorial from Handmade by Carolyn when putting in my 7 inch white invisible zipper. The lining was cut narrower than the fashion fabric and finished off with a straight stitch and neatened with the serger. The lining is slightly too narrow however to take large strides when walking so I will probably need to go back and open up the side seams to create some splits.

I attached the waistband last and used the width of the pattern piece provided and extended the length to my measurements and to create a fairly big overlapping waistband at the back to include a trouser hook and eye. I hand stitch the waistband from the inside. The fashion fabric was too big when putting the skirt together so I added in two back darts to compensate and they aren’t very visible anyway. One would think perhaps they were part of the plan if they didn’t know any different.

simplicity 6746 zip and darts

 simplicity 6746 lining

The lining was attached by machine at the zip for a neat finish and I added some small pleats at both the front and back to allow for ease. The skirt was hemmed using a narrow rolled hem. I’m happy with how this has turned out and worn it twice already but as I mentioned I would love to add pockets and perhaps take out some width at the hips next time.

simplicity 6746 side

             simplicity 6746 skirt width simplicity 6746 back 2

Cynthia Rowley’s Simplicity 1366 Tops- Boring Basics

I really must be one of the last people on earth to sew up this boxy top from the Cynthia Rowley Simplicity collection, pattern 1366. I have been Googling instructions, patterns and images to draft my own for sometime but that’s just not my thing. I can’t believe I actually paid full price for this pattern, which is a ridiculous amount here in Australia, but I needed, I mean wanted, to sew up some missing wardrobe pieces.

There isn’t much for me to say about this top that hasn’t already been mentioned. Construction-wise it’s very straight forward and fitting is easy. There is a lot of ease, so I sized down than my normal Simplicity size because of this and was happy with the fit.

Simplicity 1366 top hanger front

 Simplicity 1366 top hanger back

I used black premium cotton sateen (96% cotton/4% spandex) for version one and white premium cotton sateen (96% cotton/4% spandex) for version two. Have you noticed I really enjoy working with this fabric yet? I serged all sides of each piece apart from the neckline prior to construction. I followed the order as was specified in the instructions with my only change being not understitching the neckline prior to topstitching because I trimmed the seam allowance back too much.

white top front hanger

                                                 white top back hanger

I hemmed the sleeves the recommended 1 1/4 inch but the hem ended up being 2 inches as I wanted a more crop style top. As I only hand sewed my hem it allows me to lengthen the tops in future if I get over this phase.

black top front 2

                          black top front black top back

(FYI the above skirt was made pre plog from some cotton sateen :). It was self drafted from my first ever block and has darts both at the front and back, a back vent and no waistband. I did line this skirt so it doesn’t stretch as the fabric is meant to but also means it retains it’s shape. I really must revisit this actually because I like the fit.)

I tend to cut up a lot of garments at once as I do it on the floor which isn’t too good for the back and this way it lets my back recover before the next lot, and in the meantime I have lots of things to work on. Which brings me to the point about taking notes during sewing. For my black version I was using remnants of this fabric and cut the back 2cm narrower than the pattern because I was slightly short on fabric, but of course completely forgot about this change whilst sewing this top up a few weeks later. During construction I found my neck facing about 2cm too long and couldn’t work out why because I had stay stitched the neckline and was certain it hadn’t stretched out. It wasn’t until I was writing up this post and reading my notes that I realised it was because I had taken out that 2cm from the back but this also made the neckline not as wide as the pattern envelope, an alteration I was planning on making for any subsequent versions. Thank goodness the white one was cut out first during this session because my neckline may have ended up off the shoulders!

                          white top side 2  white top back.white top side

I’m happy with these tops, not much to say except they will get a lot of wear. They also conveniently fit in with other pieces from my SWAP 2015.

I made these tops in succession which meant I had to change serger thread from black to white which now means I have had to change my plan of attack for my next batch of projects. So there’s now a pile of UFO’s, but I promise they won’t be there for too long and I have convinced myself they aren’t really UFO’s as they are only pattern pieces cut out and not really “objects” yet.

Girls Layered Skirt from Made

I admit I am a selfish sewer but the guilt sometimes creeps in especially when it comes to kids clothing. They require smaller pieces of fabric and less time so why I put it off I’m not sure. And to be honest, I have been purchasing more fabric lately with kids clothing in mind so I thought I would bite the bullet.

I used the tutorial for “The Layered Skirt” from Made. I have used this tutorial once before and it worked flawlessly previously so I went right ahead. I had bought some fat quarters with a kids project in mind as I like the way the fabric matching has already been done for you, just grab a bundle and run. Naturally the size of each piece was 50cm x 52cm (100% cotton) and the fabrics were posy retro bloom in red, posy hibiscus in blue and some plain indigo. The hardest part was deciding the order of fabric for the skirt. I was able to get a completed skirt with hardly any scraps for my eldest.


The pieces of fabric I cut were 42cm by 4 inch wide for the connectors (sorry about the mish mash of units of measure) and 52cm by 4 inch for the ruffle pieces. So I cut 6 of each and joined 2 together to make a complete circle only because I was restricted due to fabric size otherwise they would have been 84cm and 112cm respectively. I used the corresponding colour for the connector to the ruffle below. I followed the instructions as written. For the ruffles I roll hemmed prior to gathering and sewing on to the connector pieces.

layers                                                                              hems

For the elastic I used 3cm wide elastic and cut a 50cm length, allowing for about 1 inch overlap. All my seams were neatened with the overlocker.


All in all a very satisfying project that took 1 night to complete and we got the thumbs up due to twirl factor with a request for more pink next time.