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February 28, 2015 / Blogless Anna

The new star of the wardrobe


Pattern Fantastique’s Celestial Dress comes in three dress lengths and a top.  I’ve started with the top, but never fear, I have plans for dresses too.  Did you notice that was plural… not dress, but dresses?


If you are interested in the dress lengths, there are already some lovely version around…

  • Sew Urbane made the mini dress length in a stunning African wax print
  • Casa Crafty stepped out of her comfort zone and made a floral midi dress
  • Thornberry has made not one, but two Celestial maxi dresses

The design of this pattern is very unique and super clever.  For me it was a minimal effort sew for a big impact garment.  How about those sleeves?  They can be worn folded back, but I like them in their full sticky-outy glory!



My original plan wasn’t to make acolour blocked top, but I’m really pleased with the end result.  Sometimes, restrictions really do make you more creative!

My first version of this top was a straight size 10 in some stunning textured Lithuanian linen from The Drapery. This unhemmed version is looking for a new home (any takers?) as it was just a little snug on ‘the ladies’ and the back neckline gaped a little, which is not unusual for me.


With some help from an expert, I’ve kept the 10 in the shoulders, graded to a 12 in the bust, and then back into a 10 at the hips.  A little ‘wedge’ has also been taken out of the back neckline (bodice piece and back facing) to deal with my high rounded shoulders.

For this version I raided my scraps tub for some linen.  I found some plain orange (front bodice, back bodice & back) that matched the Lithuanian orange from version 1 (front) and then I settled on some statement sleeves.  From here on in, the blue stripey linen will be known as ‘sleeve fabric’ as that’s all I’ve ever used it for (see it’s first outing here).


The sleeves are probably my favourite part of this top, but if you thinking about a sleeveless version, Pattern Fantastique has you covered.  They have just released a free sleevelss pattern hack with new pattern piece and step-by-step instructions.  Rosie from Artworker Projects has a fabulous sleeveless Celestial Dress in her wardrobe; it’s bold, beautiful and very inspiring.

For a total change of topic… it’s very hard taking photos on a windy day!



Pattern:  Pattern Fantastique’s Celestial Dress (top length)
10 through the shoulders graded to a 12 in the bust and back to a 10 at the hips
Linen from Tessuti (stripes and plain orange) and The Drapery (textured orange)
Sizing (as explained above) and a wedge was removed from the back neckline to eliminate gape.
Accessories:  Necklace and bangle by Sonia Rykel (both purchased here) & shoes from Zomp.


February 24, 2015 / Blogless Anna

A story about a kimono jacket


This story starts with a fabric shopping date with Lara near the end of last month.  At a stretch you could say that Darn Cheap Fabrics in Heidelberg is halfway between our houses.  Any excuse right?  After lots of chatting and fabric patting I came across this awesome leafy jungle print on twill-like fabric with amazing drape.  A look at the tag confirmed my suspicions… 100% polyester.

Now, you have probably noticed that I’m more of a natural fibres kind of girl.  I’m happy with a touch of lycra in my knits, I’m totally fine with viscose and rayon, but until now I’ve had a serious case of poly prejudice.  Maybe it was being in the midst of Jungle January, or perhaps some encouraging words from Lara helped, but what ever happened I grabbed that roll and proceeded to take some home with me.  My plans were vague… something drapey and trans-seasonal.


It only took a couple of weeks for the creativity lightening bolt to strike… a kimono jacket.  It would be a perfect layering piece, the swishiness factor would be high and I could throw it in a bag without a crease worry in the world.  But which pattern?  The free online tutorials looked good, but I longed for a band to finish the back neckline and front edges.  A 3 for $10 pattern sale at Spotlight sealed the deal and I purchased Simplicity 1318 with either view A or B in mind.  Then I began to waiver… could I pull this look off?


My research then turned to Gorman’s Autumn 2015 collection, and in particular their Greenhouse Kimono.  From trying on this garment I learned:

  • It was made of cotton voile and it still draped nicely (I’m filing this information away for a later date)
  • The kimono was far too long for me
  • The design looked good when crossed over, it was actually quite dress-like, but I didn’t like how the fabric fell went left open as you saw a lot of the inside of the garment.  Also, in the ‘open position’ the ties were awkward no matter how you tied them.

Armed with this information, I bravely traced View B of Simplicity 1318 which is the same as the photographed kimono jacket on the pattern envelope sans the boarder print.  I don’t sew Simplicty, New Look, Vogue, Butterick, McCalls, Kwik Sew or Burda Style patterns very often.  In fact, this is only the second non-vintage pattern from the previously mentioned brands that I’ve successfully sewn before.  My style is obviously more aligned with independant, European (Ottobre) and Japanese patterns!


I sewed up a quick toile of the pattern in some nasty synthetic fabric.  I’m justified in using the term ‘nasty’ as during the burn test to check fibre content the fabric melted to my finger.  Ouch!  I’m still nursing the wound.  The toile wasn’t to check the fit, which is my usual reason for toiling, it was in fact to try the instructed construction method and work our my preferred seam finishes.  My toile gave me the confidence to make the following changes:

  • I eliminated the centre back seam


  • I joined the sleeves in the round.  I’m not sure if that is ‘proper’ sewing terminology, but it’s my way of saying… as opposed to when everything is flat!
    • I sewed the side seams of the jacket to the underarm marker
    • I sewed the underarm seam of the sleeves
    • With right sides facing, I inserted the sleeves into the body of the jacket stitched them in place
  • To minimise hand stitching on this garment, I joined the short ends of the sleeve bands, folded them in half long-ways (wrong sides facing), stitched them to the sleeve (right sides facing), pressed the seam allowances away from the armholes and top-stitched them in place.  Clear as mud?


The front bands/facings (you cut four of the same pattern piece… two are the interfaced and become the front bands, the other two are the facings) and the back band are the trickiest part of the supposedly ‘easy-to-sew’ Simplicity pattern.  Speaking from experience, you must pay attention to the notches on the front band/facings because even though they look wrong, they are in fact correctly placed on the outer edge… the edge to be joined to the front pieces.  Be warned, the facings are hand-stitched in place.  I’m usually not a big hand-stitcher, but after this project I can definitely see the appeal.


The back band is a right royal pain in the neck to attach to the back neckline.  If you want to have any hope of joining these two pieces you will need to follow the instructions and clip the back neckline to the stay-stitching.  It’s worth persevering as the resulting neckline sits perfectly!


If you are interested in some other versions of this pattern..  Erica B has made a lovely fringed silk chiffon version and Trine from Groovy Baby & Mama is rocking her black view B Simplicity 1318 kimono with a stripey dress.

I personally think this garment comes into it’s own when you are moving… swishing…





So I’ve missed Jungle January for 2015… but I’m wondering Anne if you are accepting early entries for Jungle January 2016?

Pattern:  Simplicity 1318 (View B)
Twill-like polyester from Darn Cheap Fabrics
Removed centre back seam.  Change construction method for the sleeves and sleeve bands.
Accessories:  Necklace by Sonia Rykel (brought here) & shoes purchased at Siricco.

February 15, 2015 / Blogless Anna

Peanut butter and honey


Peanut butter and honey…  I just love the name given to this fabric.  It’s a sheer cotton voile from Tessuti (now sold out) which has been in the stash for several years.  I still love this fabric as much as the day when I purchased it… I wish that was the case for all the fabric I buy!


This is another Aeolian and it’s actually one of my favourites.  Am I allowed to have favourites?  When it’s light and cool to wear without being see through and the fabric makes me smile, then I think it’s earnt it’s favourite status.  In fact, I like this woven boxy tee so much I’ve sewn another cotton voile version in a totally different print and colourway.  I’m happily addicted to the Aeolian pattern and very pleased to be sewing up my stash!


The Aeolian pattern is designed for knits, but it’s not a great leap to make it out of a woven.  The changes I made to accommodate the change in fabric type:

  • I bound the neckline so the binding was a facing
  • I eliminated the back facing
  • I included a double fold hem


Interested in some more peanut butter and honey action?  Amy from sew Amy sew made a Mathilde Blouse and Tessuti featured a peanut butter and honey dress (Vogue 1152) on their blog in October 2010.  Did I mention that this fabric has been in the stash for a while?


Pattern:  Pattern Fantastique’s Aeolian T-shirt/Dress (boxy tee length)
Peanut butter & honey cotton voile from Tessuti (sold out)
Sewn in cotton voile rather than a knit.
Accessories:  Necklace by Sonia Rykel (brought here) & shoes recently purchased online from Yoox.


February 11, 2015 / Blogless Anna

Painting a picture


As soon as I finished sewing my first Painted Rose Top, I cut out and sewed up another one.  That’s always a good sign isn’t it?


This liberty print is from a few seasons ago and I purchased it from Tessuti soon after it was released.  I love both the coulourway and the print… it reminds me of lots and lots and lots of tiny little brush strokes.  Very Monet don’t you think?


This top is pattern number 5 from Ottobre Design magazine Spring/Summer 2/2014.  The English version of the magazine (it’s a Finnish publication) says “The design is straight-cut and the …neckline is wide enough for the top to be slipped on even though there is no zipper.” In other words, it’s an easy to sew, easy to wear, woven tee.  As you’d expect, the bust darts do give this top a little more shape than others like it.


This pattern has quickly become a favourite and the lack of fitting issues, as mentioned in my previous post, gives me a lot more confidence to sew from my growing collection of Ottobre Design magazines.  Sometimes this sewing game is all about confidence isn’t it?


Pattern:  Painted Rose Top (pattern number 5) from Ottobre Design magazine Spring/Summer 2/2014
Liberty from Tessuti
Alterations:  The top was shortened by 3 inches near the hem.
Accessories:   Necklaces purchased from Christine’s & shoes from Siricco.


February 7, 2015 / Blogless Anna

Ottobre for the win


My love of the Scout Woven Tee has been well documented, but readers I’ve moved on…  I’ve discovered the benefits of a woven tee with bust darts!


The Painted Rose Top (pictured on right) from Ottobre Design magazine Spring/Summer 2/2014 is my new go to woven tee.

Apart from a little shortening, this top is without adjustments.  I’m talking no full bust adjustment, no fiddling with the position and/or length of the bust darts, no grading between sizes and no high rounded shoulder adjustment.  It feels like I’ve hit the pattern jackpot and it makes me oh so happy!


Telling tales on myself….  After the first wear I decided I would shave a little off the front neckline before sewing up this pattern again.  I returned to my pattern pieces to discover than I had accidentally added seam allowances to the front and back neckline.  Oppphhhs!  With Ottobre Design patterns hem and neckline seam allowances are included so you only need to add them to the other outer edges.  I can safely say that tracing late at night when you are tired can be just as disastrous as sewing when you are fatigued!


I’ve raved about this fabric in the orange colourway before, and I’ll rave again.  It’s a lovely buttery soft cotton from The Cloth Shop that has excellent drape and isn’t transparent.  After sewing this top, I returned to see if I could purchase anymore of either colourway.  Yes, it was a serious fabric crush!  The orange was all gone, but I’ve stashed some more green and envisage making a long sleeve top with it one day.  No point making firm pattern plans or dictating time-frames that I have little chance of sticking too!


Pattern:  Painted Rose Top from Ottobre Design magazine Spring/Summer 2/2014
Cotton from The Cloth Shop
The top was shortened by 3 inches near the hem.
Accessories:   Necklaces from Elk (red) & Scarlet Jones (green).  Shoes recently purchased at Gorman.

And before I go, I feel the need to give my new shoes a little of the lime-light.



February 4, 2015 / Blogless Anna

Repeat offender


One Ruby Dress in my wardrobe this summer just wasn’t enough.  I do like to re-use my patterns.  Does that make me a pattern repeat offender?

Even though this dress looking very ‘grassy’ in full sunshine photo above, I’m fondly calling it my high viz version…


Ruby Dress number two has been sewn up in a rather bright linen/viscose blend that I brought at Tessuti during their summer sale.  My thoughts went something like this… 30% off $15 a metre…. that’s $10.50 a metre… nice weight and drape… not sheer… oh yes, I’ll have some of that!


To break up the high viz fabric, I bound the neckline with a lovely printed cotton from The Cloth Shop.  It was one of those happy accidents when the fabrics were placed near each other and my creative juices took over.

Do you recognise the binding fabric?  The orange colourway can be seen here.  The remainder of the green poppies fabric has been made into a top.  Here’s a sneak peek…  I’ll share more soon.  I promise.


Like my previous Ruby’s, I top-stitched the opening at the back.  The binding was added to the wrong side of the garment, I turned to it to the right side and then top-stitched it down.


I’m very pleased with my bright, happy, and easy to wear summer frock.  I’ll definitely be standing out in a crowd in this one!


Pattern:  Tessuti’s Ruby Top/Dress
Size: 10
Fabric:  Linen/viscose blend from Tessuti & printed cotton from The Cloth Shop
Alterations:  None
Accessories:   Bangle by Sonia Rykel (brought here) & shoes from Zomp.


January 30, 2015 / Blogless Anna

An urban jungle


This family of giraffes have found their way into an urban jungle.  Me too…



My second Jungle January make for 2015 is another woven Aeolian Dress.  Yes, my obsession with this pattern continues and isn’t over yet.  I think this will be a lasting love affair!

Let’s talk fabric.


This awesome fabric came from Sew Busy Lizzy’s stash to mine stash a while ago.  From memory, Lizzy brought it from Spotlight with a skirt for herself in mind, but she later realised it was more me than her… lucky lucky me!  Thanks Lizzy.  I love this fabric and our wonderful online sewing community.



The cotton voile was sheer so I decided to line the body of the dress.  I’m a novice liner.  In fact, I’ve never successfully lined or underlined a garment in my life.  Let’s not talk about the failed liberty Laurel Dress or I might cry.

To line the dress I made some changes to the order of construction.  The process went something like this:

  • Cut the front, back, sleeves and binding from the main fabric, ignoring the back facing
  • Apply fusible stay tape to the wrong side of all the neck edges of the main fabric
  • Cut the front and back from the lining fabric (I cut mine a little shorter than the main fabric)
  • Sew the side seams of the main fabric and finish the raw edges
  • Sew the side seams of the lining and finish the raw edges
  • Place the main dress inside the lining with wrong sides together.
  • Pin at armholes and neckline to hold in place


  • Sew the underarm seams of both sleeves and finish the raw edges
  • Attach the sleeves to the body of the dress and finish the raw edges
  • Bind the neckline as a facing


  • Double fold the hem on the main dress… remember it has a lovely deep hem!
  • Hem the lining so it’s approximately 1/2″ shorter than the main dress


Pattern:  Pattern Fantastique’s Aeolian T-shirt/Dress (knee length)
Main fabric:  cotton voile from Spotlight.  Lining:  cotton voile from GJs Discount Fabric
Sewn in woven fabric rather than a knit.  The body of the dress was lined (see details above).  I removed 2″ from the hem for an above the knee hemline
Accessories:   Necklaces from Elk & shoes recently purchased online from Yoox.



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