Chloe Top and Dress by Lily Sage & Co for Me and My Mini-Me

Where have I been?????? Busy with life. I am now expecting munchkin number 3 and have so much more going on that it is hard to focus on blogging, not to mention that sewing has been slow going anyway. So before I get into my new makes I’m going to try and catch up on my draft blog posts waiting patiently to be published.

I have yet another edition of my testing* journey. I have tested both kids and women’s patterns for Debbie from Lily Sage & Co, before and was eager to test this one too as this style has been on my radar for some time and it’s currently on trend, it’s the Chloe dress. Mind you, testing for this was way back in May 2016, so a long time ago…

The Chloe dress comes with a short or long dress options and a top. I chose the top version during my test hoping to make a dress after, but that hasn’t eventuated.

It’s a simple dress in that there are only three pattern pieces, but not simple in that the edges are finished with bias binding. Keep that in mind if you are using a delicate, lightweight fabric and making your own bias.

There is a lot of ease in this pattern and I went down a size. My fabric is some poly chiffon 4587 in blue (100% polyester) and I used store bought electric blue bias binding. The good thing with this top is that you can wear all your usual under garments or tank tops for modesty.

Conveniently, Debbie also drafted a kids version, ages 5 – 10. Who doesn’t love mummy and me outfits? I agreed to test* this one too using some #1 zig zag rayon in black and pink (100% rayon) . Of course coming off the adult version, this one actually took no time to sew really.

We love, love, love these additions to our wardrobes. I must admit my daughter has really made the most of wearing hers to the point that summer is over and she still asks to wear it although it is a bit shorter on her now.

I’m hoping post baby I can get back into sewing some dress versions for myself.

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

Georgia Tops by DesignerStitch Patterns

Amongst unselfish sewing for my girls I have been doing some sewing of my own, namely pattern testing* for DesignerStitch Patterns, again.

The Georgia top/dress is a comfy yet classy wardrobe staple. It has a boxy look, no darts so is easy to fit, with wide sleeves and optional back pleat. It gives you a good opportunity to mix fabrics and of course has the option of making a top or dress. There is also the layer feature so you only need to print the size(s) you need in addition to a copy shop printable version.

DSC_0086                            DSC_0085 DSC_0080

For both of my versions I opted for the pleat-free back.

My first version was made during testing, using some not very friendly fabrics, navy premium faille (100% polyester) for the body, and navy 100% dance poly chiffon (100% polyester) for the yoke. I may have slightly used too much heat when pressing because I’m not sure if this sits quite right and there may have been some shrinkage of the fabrics. Pattern pieces are provided to make the neck binding.

It is a really quick sew, and like always, everything lines up perfectly and instructions are easy to understand.

My second version was planned as a dressier summer top, using would you believe, a bed sheet from IKEA (52% poly/ 48% cotton). I liked the stiffness of the fabric and the lightness, almost like a linen, not to mention for $6 I have heaps of fabric left for other projects. For the yoke I used some white rayon remnants (100% rayon) from a yet to finish top from 6 months ago and still counting, and the sleeve bands are faux ivory leatherette (50% PU/ 40% poly) from my Salamanca jacket.

Georgia topo front Georgia top side               Georgia top back

It’s a great top, and the dress is too, but it’s just not my particular style. Not sure if it would flatter me or make me look frumpy. Perhaps when summer rolls around I may try it more as a beach cover up dress or add a belt or tie.

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

Two Vienna Tanks by Itch to Stitch Patterns

So my pattern testing journey continues with Itch to Stitch Patterns. This time I tested the Vienna tank* (**), a summer essential. I’m all for versatile patterns and this is another one.

The Vienna tank combines both woven fabric for the yoke, ties and optional ruffles, and knit for the main body. A great opportunity to mix and match fabrics that might otherwise be orphans in the stash. Mind you, the bodice can also be made with woven fabric but throw caution to the wind and perhaps make a muslin first. This PDF pattern comes with the layers option.

I made my crimson version 1 during the pattern testing period. I upcycled an unworn dress (100% viscose) for the main bodice and the remainder made from zig zag printer rayon #1 (100% rayon). The armholes are stabilised with fusible stay tape and helps them to keep their shape.


I went with view B, no ruffles. I used the existing hem of the dress for the hem of the top so just removed the hem allowance when cutting it out. Overall the fit was good, I just think my knit fabric was a bit thin and very drapey.

Vienna tank front 2 Vienna tank back                     Vienna tank side 3

Version 2 was made using the final released pattern. For the knit bodice I used some green viscose/spandex (unknown exact composition) and emerald premium faille (100% polyester) for the remainder. I made view A this time. My ruffles didn’t turn out as neat and even as I would have liked, I probably should have taken more care with basting, but sometimes I get a bit eager to finish. The fit feels good on this one. This version is slightly longer and I believe from memory the final pattern was lengthened.

Vienna back                                Vienna side back Vienna side

More summer sewing complete, pity it’s still in the throws of winter!!

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing, all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

**Affiliate link: I get a small bonus if you purchase through here.

A Bird Meets a Foxglove Tank

Depending on how you look at it, this top was made in 2016 using the Foxglove Tank by Baste + Gather, but technically I started in March of 2015.

You see, I started off with the free sorbetto tank by Colette Patterns and foolishly finished the entire top, bias binding, hem, you name it. Low and behold when I put it on it, was a tight fit everywhere and too short. I must have chosen the wrong size to start with, although that really didn’t affect the length. I hung it in a cupboard for months deciding what to do with it and finally unpicked everything except the side seams. Now the fit was off and adding gathers or pleats at the neckline weren’t solving any issues. Back in the cupboard it went.

Foxglove tank frontFoxglove tank side 4      Foxglove tank side 3

Well this year I finally decided it couldn’t be salvaged to make something for myself so I cut another tank using the left over printed poly CDC# 2 birdcage multi (100% polyester) fabric I had, and lucky I had enough. The foxglove has a loose fit, can be in knit or woven and you can add centre seams or cut on the fold like I did, because I didn’t want to break up the pattern. From start to finish it was a really quick sew and I salvaged the cream 12mm single fold bias binding from the first version to use for the neckline and armholes here. The instructions are really thorough and provide lots of information in regards to finishes and decorative features. I think I need to lower the armhole next time and possibly go the next size up at the bust, or do and FBA, as it is a tad tight, but still wearable.

Foxglove tank back 2

The foxglove has an obvious hi-lo hem which makes it great for wearing over leggings and slim capris but also it’s long enough at the front to wear as a blouse tucked in. I also love the racer back style. There really are lots of possibilities to alter this pattern. I think adding a peter pan collar and leveling off the hem would make it a gorgeous blouse.

Kwik Sew 3848 Triangular Top


I have chosen not to do a best/worse round-up because some of my best have only been worn once and some of my worse have become house clothes and worn heaps so it depends on what I use to measure which category items belong to. I am going to say that I have enjoyed sewing this past year more than ever, probably because my techniques were better and more than anything it was a stress reliever, a really helpful outlet to help me deal with lifes’ challenges, of which there have been many.

So with that I’m ready to tackle 2016!

This is not my first make for 2016, in fact I started it way back in July of 2015 but wanted to get it finished in 2015, before the years end.

It’s never surprises me how different people have different visions for the same fabric, Clever Tinker used it to make a kimono jacket however I initially bought this fabric with making the Datura top in keeping with the triangle theme but then decided to go with a pattern I already had as I only had 1m of this multi printed rayon prism (100% rayon). The fabric has a repeat but not a symmetrical one so I tried to centre it best I could. Below are photos after the alteration which I mention further into the post.

 Kwik sew 3848 sideKwik sew 3848 back kwik sew 3848 front

I used Kwik Sew 3848, which apparently runs big so cut a size smaller than normal. It also has really small seam allowances (6mm), which can get a bit fiddly. I mashed the views which may explain why I had to tinker with the end product. I didn’t have enough to make a complete top (front and back) so used some stash navy premium faille (100% polyester) for the back. Essentially I cut View A on the fold (removing the extra seam allowance and placket) and used the back pieces of view A with the length of the top from view B but with the hem curves from view A and chose not to add a pocket.

For the armholes I used self-made bias but using the width of the bands provided for view B. The hem was serged and turned up twice for a narrow hem. During construction I tried on the top and everything seemed okay but it wasn’t until I was finished and noticed the armholes were really loose and indecently low. I didn’t want to take anything apart so I did a quick and dirty and just took in the side seams by a couple of centimetres each side and tapered to nothing just under the bust. Below is before the alteration.

                           gaping front Gaping back (2)

I like the versatility of this top as it goes equally well with jeans but I ended up wearing it out to dinner with my New Look 6107 white skirt.

Kwik sew 3848 front tucked                             Kwik sew 3848 side tucked Kwik sew 3848 back tucked

This pattern will require more work in the future to fit right and I like the back design feature and that the seams for the back yoke are enclosed however I don’t think I will tackle it just yet as I want to sew other things instead which I view as higher priority.

Back to Basics with the Irena Knit Top from Itch to Stitch

I’m so desperately requiring basic wardrobe pieces at the moment. The Irena Knit Top by Itch to Stitch however is a bit more than basic due to a nice V-neck, sleeve and hem bands.

It is another installment of pattern testing* for Itch to Stitch, the first was the Mila Tunic Shirt.  As seems to be the case with Kennis’ designs, the process is flawless from start to finish, from printing the pattern, to ironing the last seam. The neckband is cleverly designed to lay nice and flat around the neckline.

I used black performance cotton lycra (96% cotton/ 10% elastane) for my first version. It’s pretty basic colour for the first go and I have to say I really like the fit. The sleeve and top length are perfect for me. I used a straight stitch for most of the construction except for when attaching the sleeve cuffs and hem band, where I used a narrow zig zag to allow for stretch. All internal seams were serged for a nice clean finish.

irena black front 2

                         irena black front  irena black back

I included a lightened hanger photo so you can see the neckline detail as black is so hard to photograph.

Irena top hanger

My second iteration was made after the following pattern alterations were made such that the v-neck is lower, shoulders slightly narrowed and bust, waist and hip are 1 inch wider in the circumference. So it’s the final look as it will be when purchasing the pattern from her store. Dependent on fabric type it can either be more fitted, or loser, as with my stripe version to be more a sweater type top.

irena stripe front

                            irena stripe side  irena stripe back

This version is made from deluxe black/white ponte stripe (65% rayon/32%nylon/3% elastane) with no alterations. And cut such that the sleeve and hem band stripes are in the opposite direction to the body of the top. I made sure my fabric stretched in both directions when purchasing so I could accomplish this look.

The top has quite a low V and may need a modesty top worn underneath, that’s how I roll anyway. They are great transition pieces and can be worn with a shirt underneath for layering.

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

Scrapbusting… Self-drafted Skirts, a Molly top and some Gathered Pocket Shorts

This post is a quick summary of what has been made using some of my scraps in keeping with my self-imposed “use up scraps” rule. I found out recently my daughters kindergarten will accept fabric for their crafts, so small, unusable pieces for me, are now re-directed to them, away from landfill. Anyway, that’s besides the point.

Today miss 2 is benefiting from the scrapbusting exercise.

First up is this ruffled skirt using DS picadilly medallion and ditsy in pink (100% cotton) fabric left over from miss 4’s circle skirt. Cutting the ruffle layers was okay but I had to piece together a few pieces to make the waistband due to my fabric shortage. As I didn’t have enough fabric, the connectors between the ruffles were made from white top pop poplin (80%polyester/ 20% cotton), as was the middle ruffle. For documentation purposes, the 2 connector pieces were 10cm W x 42cm L and the 3 ruffles were each 10cm W x 52cm L and gathered. I would have liked more gathered ruffles but when you have minimal fabric to work with it’s a “make it work” moment. The ruffles were finished with a narrow machine rolled hem. I cut 2 waistband pieces (outside and inside) with a final measurement of 5cm W x 42cm L. I top stitched the seam allowance at each connector and at the waistband and stitched in the ditch at the waistband side seams to keep the elastic from twisting.

Triple tier picadilly skirt

Second is a two tier simple skirt using this tutorial from The Stitching Scientist. The modern tribe poplin 9312 in ink (100% cotton) and white top pop poplin (80%polyester/20% cotton) fabric is what is left from this dress for miss 4 and one of my pre-blog dresses. I followed her tutorial but made my skirt 34 inch wide as that is all the fabric I had. Sensing a trend here!!!!! Not much else to say.

tribal 2 layer

Third is a chevron top using the Molly Top Pattern from Made For Mermaids. I followed all the measurements and directions provided as there aren’t printable pattern pieces, and it went together really quickly. The fabric, spots and stripes chevron #1 in orange (100% cotton), was left over from a dress I made miss 4 last year, obviously pre-blog, but that has since also had a refashion and I cut it down to a more practical skirt for her too. This pattern is so cute and I love the ruffles on the straps and the tie back that goes through a loop. It’s not obvious but I had to cut the back in two sections because I was short on fabric, turned out pretty well though!

                                             orange molly M4M frontorange molly M4M back

Fourth are these delightful pair of shorts using the free toddler gathered pocket shorts pattern from Little Quail. The fabric is cotton sateen left over from my cape project (stay tuned for that awesome pattern, next post on Monday). The black is premium cotton sateen (96% cotton/ 4% spandex) and the check is black printed sateen pluses (97% cotton/ 3% spandex). I followed the tutorial exactly and didn’t use the optional waist tie. Great wardrobe basic for her.

Black gathered pocket shorts