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June 30, 2015 / Blogless Anna

Simplicity 1366 : A letter & photographic study


Dear Readers

I just have to tell you that Simplicity 1366 (the top) is a gem of a pattern.

It’s quick to sew, easy to wear and can be sewn in a variety of fabrics.

My latest version (first version here) was made from ponti, I didn’t finish my seams (rebel), the neckline is folded over and top stitched in place and I extended the sleeves to three quarter length.

A gem of a pattern I say… a gem.

Love Blogless Anna







Pattern:  Simplicity 1366 (top)
Size:  10
Ponti from Tessuti (sold out)
Lengthen the body by 1 inch (2.5 cm) and the sleeves by 4 inches (10 cm).
Accessories:   My scarf was a gift & boots are from Scarlet Jones.


June 26, 2015 / Blogless Anna

An outfit : the jacket


In my last post I introduced you to my new outfit.  That post focused on the dress and today it’s time to put the spotlight on the jacket.  Welcome to my wardrobe orange jacket.  I can already see you’re a versatile… wear it with a dress or jeans… kind of garment.  A perfect layering piece.


Simple Modern Sewing by Shufu To Seikatsu Sha was one of the first Japanese books that I brought, and yet this is the first time I’ve sewn a garment from it.  Don’t fear, between the purchase of the book and the making of this jacket there has been lots of very enjoyable browsing.


The pattern in this book that always caught my eye was the Ruffle-Front Jacket.  Perhaps my interest in the pattern comes from the fact that I just love the photo of these ladies wearing their jackets and sharing a laugh (even if the lady on the right appears to have lost her hands!).


I selected my size by the finish garment measurements and I must admit they tripped me up a bit.  I didn’t factor enough ease around my bust and as a result this jacket is a little ‘grabby’ under the arms.  It’s still wearable, but for me next version (I’m thinking linen) I will go up a size or maybe even two.


When tracing the pattern I realised that it was rather cropped so after checking the finished garment measurements and measuring a few items in my wardrobe, I added three inches to the length.  Good decision Anna.


I’m sure you’re not surprised to hear that I was attracted to the colour of this fabric, and let’s be honest here, it’s price.  Not surprisingly (you often get what you pay for) a burn test revealed that it’s a wool blend, which means I will continue to wash it in the machine on a gentle cycle.  I’m usually a natural fibre kind of girl, but I acknowledge that blends definitely have their place.

As with most Japanese patterns, this jacket is unlined, but it includes facings which are stitched down to create a tunnel that a long tie (or twill tape in this instance) threads through to create the ruffles.


Did you spot the contrasting Nani Iro brushed cotton?  I love adding little details like this to my makes.


Pattern:  Ruffle-Front Jacket from Simple Modern Sewing by Shufu To Seikatsu Sha
Size:  Small
Fabric:  Wool blend from Clear It (Alanah Hill Outlet) & Nani Iro brushed cotton from Kelani Fabric (purchased 3+ years ago)
Alterations:  I added two inches to the length
Accessories:  Scarf from Scarlet Jones & boots from Florsheim


June 25, 2015 / Blogless Anna

An outfit : the dress


For the second time in my sewing history (for the first time see here) I planned and executed an outfit. The execution is the key here as I plan lots of things that never come to fruition!  Please tell me I’m not the only one?


For this post I’m focusing on the dress.  A post about the jacket follows.


The fabric, a twill-like cotton, has been a long time stash resident.  The colours are probably a little muted for my current personal taste and style, but this is one of these pieces of fabric that I just couldn’t part with.  It wasn’t expensive… I purchased it from the remnant basket at Clear It… but there was just something about it.  I find that it sometimes it takes a while for pattern and fabric combinations to reveal themselves.  I’m glad I didn’t give up on this fabric as it is perfect for a 3/4 sleeved smock-style dress that can be layered in the cooler months.


My Japanese pattern of choice for this dress is Pattern E ‘Blue Embroidery’ from Simple Style Dress by Machiko Kayaki.


The pattern is designed for border prints (it’s the dress on the right side of the back cover), but I think that it works equally as well without.


This book includes three sizes… size 9, 11 and 13.  I sewed the middle size and it fits well.  I did add two inches to the neck binding pattern piece as I was worried it wouldn’t go over my head.  The truth of the matter is that I should have left it as is, as the neckline is roomer than it needs to be.  You win some, you loose some!


My one complaint with this book is that the finished garments are photographed on coat hangers and/or dress forms.  With this sort of ‘modelling’ I find it hard to gauge sleeve and hem lengths.  The sleeve length on this dress was just what I was hoping for, but I must admit I got a bit of a fright when trying on the unhemmed dress.  It was much shorter that I expected.  I therefore overlocked the bottom edge and then turned up the hem just enough to hide the overlocking and machine stitched it in place.


Pattern:  Pattern E ‘Blue Embroidery’ from Simple Style Dress by Machiko Kayakih (Japanese language only)
Cotton from Clear It (Alanah Hill Outlet)
Alterations:  I unnecessarily added two inches to the neck binding
Accessories:  Sophie Digard scarf from Scarlet Jones & boots from Florsheim


June 8, 2015 / Blogless Anna

Just walking the dog…


It’s a long time since I laughed so hard as I did yesterday when these photos were taken.


This is my dog niece… Maggie, who’s a corgi, and she was such a good sport.


More dog photos soon… but meanwhile since this is a sewing blog, it seems fitting to tell you about my new denim dress.  It’s the Midi-Length Jumper Dress (Pattern G) from Stylish Dress Book : Simple Smocks, Dresses & Tops (often referred to as Stylish Dress Book 2) by Yoshiko Tsukiori.

Midi isn’t my thing, so I ignored the ‘lengthen by 5 1/8″ (13cm)’ instructions at the bottom of the front and back pattern pieces and didn’t add a hem allowance.  The result is a little longer than I would wear in the summer-time, but it’s perfect for winter.  Note to self… please buy or make a half slip to avoid the tights clinging to dress scenario.


This was my first top stitching experience and I’m happy with the results.  For this project, and with quite a few test samples, I used most of a 30m spool of top stitching thread.  As the name suggests, I used top stitching thread on the top spool and normal 100% polyester thread in a similar colour in the bobbin.  I slightly increased my stitch length and backed off on the speed.  I found that the top stitching was much neater on areas that had been interfaced.



One of my favourite things about this dress is the little pocket.  It’s perfectly sized and placed.




To my surprise, I loved all the top stitching and I look forward to making another jumper dress soon.  The photos don’t really show that the dress is actually a little big for me, particularly under the arms, so I’ll size down next time and see how it goes.


Before I sign off, I have to rave about this denim from M Recht.  It’s a medium weight, with a touch of stretch and in a great indigo blue colour with a brown base.  Going on Jane’s recommendations, I brought 1.5m of fabric, cut out my back and then… shock horror… I realised I didnt’ have enough fabric for the front.  A silly assumption that my denim was 60″ (150cm) wide was where I’d come unstuck.  For future reference, it was 52″ (130cm) after a trip through my washing machine and a spin in my dyer.

Not to be beaten, I got creative and my denim jumper dress ended up with a seam down the middle.  No big deal.


Pattern:  Midi-Length Jumper Dress (Pattern G) from Stylish Dress Book : Simple Smocks, Dresses & Tops by Yoshiko Tsukiori
Comfort Stretch Denim (98% Cotton/2% Elastane) from M Recht
Ignored the ‘lengthen by 5 1/8″ (13cm)’ instructions at the bottom of the front and back pattern pieces and didn’t add a hem allowance
Accessories:  Uimi Indiana Scarf & boots purchased from Florsheim


June 7, 2015 / Blogless Anna

Name that cardigan


Can you name my cardigan?


It’s the Saunio Cardigan by Named, and even though in my eyes it’s more jacket than cardigan, it’s all that I dreamed it would be and more.


Now here’s a funny story…  I purchased the hardcopy of this pattern 12+ months ago at a Stitch 56 sale and I’ve been waiting to find the perfect thick knit for it.  Two months ago, I spied this navy and cream spongy knit at The Cloth Shop and I knew it would be a perfect match for this pattern.  After the fabric was purchased, washed and dried I added it to the ‘cut out and take to Sewjourn’ pile with the Saunio pattern placed on top.  At times I can be a planned and well organised sewer/sewist!


Okay, so the story hasn’t been full of humour to date, but you can imagine my surprise when Kirsty made a Saunio Cardigan in the EXACT same fabric and blogged it last month.

Now, part of the appeal of making your own clothes is to create ‘one off’ items… but Kirsty is a VERY stylish woman and the cardigan/jacket looked just as I imagined… so I decided to follow through.  I’m so glad I did because I LOVE this oversized relaxed cardigan/jacket, with overlapping front edges, drop shoulders and 3/4 sleeves (which are a little 7/8s on me!).  Easy to sew, easy to wear is always a winner in my books!


The cardigan/jacket is unlined and the facings are topsitched down, which is hard to see in this spongy knit.  On Kirsty’s recommendation I also top stitched the sleeve seam allowances to the sleeve head (the pattern suggests just to press them).



I’ve already purchased some fabric for my next Saunio… surely by now you all know how much I love a pattern repeat.


Pattern:  Saunio Cardigan by Named
38-42 (the sizes are grouped… this is the middle of three sizes)
Polyester/lycra knit from The Cloth Shop
Accessories:  Silk scarf was a gift & boots purchased from Florsheim


June 5, 2015 / Blogless Anna

All the colours!


I love, love, love this silk that I snapped up at Tessuti around Christmas time last year.  How can you go wrong with ‘all the colours’ in a botanical themed print?


A nearly finished photo on Instagram (reproduced below as it showcases the gorgeous print) tells me that I finished this top six weeks ago.


It was one of those straight off the machine and straight on my back items.  I wore the top out to dinner two nights in a row and felt a million dollars in it.  Blog photos were taken and then I’ve stalled sharing it.  After looking at the photos I’m just not sure anymore.  Does this happen to you?


The pattern in question is the Peplum Pullover from Clean and Natural by Tomomi Okawa.  A spot of navel gazing has made me realise that the gathered waist (hello elastic!) is just a little too high.  This means at some angles the fabric billows in a less than flattering way (see below).


I didn’t have this problem with my first version of this pattern, but using a different fabric does often mean different results.  Next time, and yes I’ll be making this again, I’m going to slightly lower the waist point.  And don’t worry… the fabric in this top is far too good, and my complaints are very minor, for it not to be worn!


Pattern:  Peplum Pullover from Clean and Natural by Tomomi Okawa
Silk CDC from Tessuti (sold out)
Scooped out the front and back necklines using my TNT woven tee pattern and eliminated centre back seam and closure.
Accessories:  Designer green clutch purchased second hand, new-to-me antique necklace and shoes purchased at Florsheim.


May 28, 2015 / Blogless Anna

Linden meets Liberty fleece


After eight months of maturing in the stash, I’m so pleased that this gorgeous Liberty fleece is now in a wearable format.


I’m sure my chosen pattern, Grainline Studio’s Linden Sweatshirt, needs little introduction.


I know, I know, you want to find out more about the fleece.  I think ‘heavenly’ is the best description! The quality is amazing, but you’d expect that from Liberty, and it’s so cosy and warm.  I purchased the fabric last September from Tessuti who amazingly got their hands on a few ex-designers rolls which sold out in a blink of an eye.

How awesome is the floral print?  I’m enjoying wearing this spring-time print while others around me are dressed black or other dark colours.  Melbourians are known for their love of black, whereas I like to do my own thing!


Liberty fleece is 100% cotton and has minimal stretch.  The Linden Sweatshirt is drafted for fabric with a minimum of 20% stretch.  Living on the edge people!  With this in mind, and knowing that I was going to use the fleece for the neckband, cuffs and hem band, I knew I’d need to lengthen those pattern pieces.

These days I trace and cut my patterns on the flat… see you can teach an old dog new tricks!  For the size 8, I added 4cm to the neckband, 3cm to the cuffs and 2cm to the hem band pattern pieces.  If you cut any pieces on the fold you’ll need to halve those amounts.  Please note, there was no science to my lengthening… it was just a gut feel kind of a thing… but it worked for me and I am very relieved!


To ensure that the neckline sat flat, the neckband was stretched to within an inch of it’s life.  To avoid the whole neckline stretching out during this process I applied fusible stay tape to the neckline section of the front, back and sleeve pieces.  To tell you the truth, I’m a little addicted to fusible stay tape.  Do you share my addiction?


My biggest challenge with this sew was the ensure that I didn’t attached the neckline, cuffs and hem band upside down.  Success!


My last Linden was in a drapey medium weight knit which gave it a lovely slouchy feel.  The Liberty fleece is definitely more structured but it still moulds to your body.  Here is the compare-off between two size 8s.  What other things do you notice… apart from my differing facial expressions?

DSC_0123Grainline Studio's Linden Sweatshirt

Pattern:  Grainline’s Linden Sweatshirt (pdf & paper)
Liberty fleece from Tessuti (long sold out!)
Shortened the sleeves by a total of 2″ (5cm).  Added length to the neckband, cuffs and bottom band to account for the lack of stretch in my the fleece.
Accessories:   Gifted flowers… thank-you Sharon!



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