Monthly Archives: May 2014

Elisalex – No Such Thing as “Overdressed”


When we were shooting this dress in front of the apartment building, one of our neighbours came out and asked what we were all dressed up for, and we answered “Just cause we feel like it!”. He either thought we were cool or very very weird – either way, I thought it was appropriate – after all, Elisalex doesn’t believe in the concept of being overdressed, right? 🙂 We followed by having dinner together in a local (fairly divey) Chinese restaurant, whereby everyone there in their jeans and ratty clothes stared at us while their dinner got cold and we discussed finances and video games LOL.

This was my first time sewing a princess seamed bodice – weird right? What took me so long? I initially did an FBA following the standard method for just extending the princess seam at the bust point, but I had made the muslin from a fabric with a slight stretch because my initial fabric was going to be a stretch sateen. When I decided to use this fantastic Radiance silk cotton from Hart’s Fabric, I knew I needed to revisit my FBA and ensure it was going to fit perfectly. I wasn’t sure how to do a fairly big FBA (4″!!!) but found this great tutorial by Mary from Idle Stitch & it worked like a charm! 🙂


I’m really proud of the fit on this one – I worked really hard to get it just right; even Maz commented how well it fit! 🙂 Of course I did another muslin after the second FBA (as always) which confirmed the bust was a great fit, but I then had some pretty major back gaping so I took out a 1″ wedge from back bodice to correct this. Three bodice muslins in all. Then I made a muslin of the top part of the skirt, and forged ahead!


I only had 2yds (preshrunk) of the fabric to work with so I took 9″ off the hem, which actually worked out perfectly because I prefer my dresses either above-knee or maxi length, so this was ideal. The fabric was a bit lighter weight than called for, and if it was 100% silk, it probably wouldn’t have worked because it would be too soft and drapey, but the silk cotton was PERFECT as it added just enough crispness to hold those box pleats and the unique tulip shape of the skirt 🙂

As for the pattern; it is drafted really well, and the instructions are very clear. I thought the method for lining bodice was explained particularly well; I like the easy finish on the side seams – clever! I did need to look up the BHL sewalong to see how to finish the lining, as there were no instructions for v1 in the pattern instructions.

I’m particularly proud of the zipper installation – I’ve had some major issues with invisible zips lately, and it looks like we might be able to be friends again. I got a perfect seam matching at waist, and painted the zipper pull to match the dress fabric, as I had to use a light grey zipper.

I also spent a fair bit of time and care adjusting the pleat placement to match the princess seams in front and back, and I’m happy with how it turned out.

And here’s my brave and wonderful photographer, also looking very sharp!


Maria Denmark – Pernille dress


So I’ve never made a Maria Denmark pattern before but as soon as I saw this one, I knew I HAD TO have it; it’s knit (so it’s comfortable), plus it’s my preferred kind of silhouette – a nice slim pencil skirt with a semi-fitted shape. No gathered or full skirt here! Not that I mind one occasionally but they seem to be rampant lately, and honestly, they’re not the most flattering on me, so if I use a pattern that has one, it requires me to re-draft the skirt bit to make them work 🙂 Not so here – it was a nice easy make!! 🙂

Conveniently the dress comes in two different versions, one with regular sizing and one drafted for a C cup. I started with the latter, so I wouldn’t have to do as big an FBA. I did do a traditional FBA, for this, as per usual – sometimes I can get away with just grading sizes if I’m using jersey, but I was using ponte & it’s not as stretchy as jersey. I debated whether to keep the dart in, and I could have in this fabric (the back has darts to give it shape) but I decided to just try easing the extra length of the front into the back piece. No problem – easy peasy!! 🙂 The only other alteration I made was to make the sleeves longer (again with the monkey arms LOL)

The pattern was well drafted, instructions clear, and even being a dress, the pdf pattern didn’t take much paper to put together, so I felt it was very well designed. It’s a great basic I’d love to make again.

If we’re honest here, I should be calling this the Dress that Almost Didn’t Get Blogged, because I only wore it once before the weather got too warm to wear it. So I finally decided to wear it just for photos the other day, but it was super hard to photograph; it almost caused a small war in our household but got it done in the end LOL – only one photo was decent, but one is enough (even if one has to screen out the very attractive apartment in the background LOL).

It’s definitely a great work basic & is warm & comfortable for rainy days; of course, as I mentioned, just as I finished it our weather fined up & I haven’t been able to wear it; now I need summer dresses! lol But the next time it rains, you better believe Pernille is gonna be my first go-to 🙂

Colette Mabel: Pencil Skirt

Oh knit pencil skirt, where have you been all my life? You are classy yet comfortable, both before lunch and after – you make me feel good AND look good when it’s raining.. or I’m tired… or it’s that time of the month – anytime, and I’m POSITIVE every girl needs you in their life! 

Colette Mabel skirt

I LOVE this pattern, folks!

To be  honest, I wasn’t immediately blown away by the innovative-ness of the designs of Colette’s 2 new patterns – after all, I have a LOT of patterns at this point and if I’m going to buy another, it needs to be different enough from what I already have to make me open my (admittedly quite loose LOL) wallet. But upon further consideration, there were 2 things that struck me on each that tipped the scales: V3 of the Mabel skirt has panels and a back vent – nice details that make it a little more office-friendly.

Colette Mabel - front and back vent

And after checking out all the initial versions of Moneta, the one common theme I noticed is that the bodice looks to have an immaculate fit (plus it can be made as a top) and the sleeveless version of the bodice is lined – something I’ve never tried before with knits.

As my time is very VERY short these days, knits are my new best friend – both sewing and wearing – so basics in knit fabric are EXACTLY what I need. Bonus: no finicky fitting & no closures – fast & painless! So even though I’m really trying not to buy new patterns, Colette’s 2 new patterns got ordered pretty quick.

Some construction notes (although it’s quite a simple make so not much to say): I graded between M at the waist and S at the hip (didn’t bother with a muslin – yay stretch!! :D). My fabric is a stable ponte, I think a rayon/poly/spandex blend – a remnant from a soon-to-be blogged project. Yes, it was a very little fabric – less than a metre I believe! I attached all my seams using my serger, and then used a twin needle for the hem. 

Mabel is a quick make – I was done in 2 evenings – including tracing (which translates to less than 2 hours in Amanda-land) I will definitely be making more of these, and a Moneta too, very soon! I only wish I could source more good quality knits locally – they are not easy to come by here, so my knit stash is sparse, otherwise I’d be making an army of these skirts, pronto!! 😀

Next up on the blog – another quick knit wardrobe staple I’m in love with! (hint: the project from whose remnants my Mabel was born!) Stay tuned!