Chalk and Notch Fringe Dress – Have you tried hacking yours yet?

Sew My Style is a year long sewing challenge which gets you to try a new pattern each month. It is hosted by Jessica Lorraine and you can find the information here. It’s up to you whether you complete the monthly project and I’ve made more projects than I have skipped. On the whole the projects will work with a variety of body shapes. The September project is the Chalk and Notch Fringe Dress.

Pattern Description:

The Fringe Dress is pull on dress or top with grown on sleeves with a gathered skirt. There are two options for necklines, a button placket or a sculpted neckline.

I’ve made the dress before and I haven’t work it much (mostly because I need to take it up a little). I thought I’d make a top version and knew I wanted to make one with a big waist tie and a few ruffles.

It was a really easy hack to achieve.

Pattern Sizing:

The pattern comes in Sizes 0 – 18

Fabric Used:

I’ve previously made it the Rifle Paper Co Cotton & Steel Fabric nearly everyone has used. This time I shopped my stash and came up with a red floral poplin I got from a destash group on Facebook.

I still have a decent size piece left over.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Well once I finished hacking it there was still some semblance to the original pattern. If you stick to the original pattern pieces it is true to description.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

The instructions were clearly written and the drawings help make things even clearer. I followed the instructions and it came together pretty quickly – I had it sewn up in an afternoon.

I would suggest taking your time when putting the neck facing on.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

For the sleeves I cut out the normal sleeve piece and the cuff. I extended the cuff piece by 2 inches. I inserted the sleeve piece without folding it in accordance with the instructions which meant the sleeve was twice as long and then gathered the cuff piece and attached it to the sleeve hem.

For the waist ties I cut 6 of the large tie piece. I joined two pieces together to form the two ties and the finished them in accordance with the instructions. Instead of inserting them into the back dart I added them to the waist seams to sit where my natural waist is.

The remaining two pieces were used to form the ruffle on the bottom of the skirt piece. Instead of cutting it with a curved hem I levelled it off.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

To make the pattern fit I had to grade up a size which was pretty easy to do. This was mostly to accommodate my bust. I didn’t worry too much about the skirt piece as it was a top and the gathering gives plenty of room to move. I also didn’t need to add any extra room to the sleeve and I like how loose they sit.

I”m really happy with the fit and how comfortable it is to wear. The only thing I am not sure about is the ruffle on the bottom. I just can’t be bothered to change so it will stay for now.

It is designed as quite lose fitting by adding the ties it helped cinch it in a bit.

Other great versions can be found at?

Bettina reviewed the pattern for the Curvy Sewing Collective

Meg at Cookin and Craftin

Chalk and Notch have just done a series on hacking the Fringe Dress


I’m hoping to get a bit of wear out of it with the upcoming summer party season with jeans and a nice sandal or heel.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin




What do you do with your scraps???

My collection of bias binding.

The thing about dressmaking is you end up with scraps, lots of them.

For me I think of anything around 50 cm a scrap. I, as a general rule, only sew for myself and there are only a couple of patterns in my arsenal that takes a metre or less.

Contrasting bias binding on the hem

The thought of throwing the scraps out seems like such a waste. We don’t have a textile recycling drop off point anywhere near my hometown so I have started to get creative to use them up.

Contrasting bias binding on my Cashmerette Springfield

The most common thing I do with larger pieces is turning it into bias binding. I prefer to use a contrasting or coordinating bias to finish my garments and it has slowly become my go to finish with hems and necklines. I also found it great to finish the neckline on my Tilly and the Buttons Coco Dress which I made in a ponte.

Contrasting bias binding on my Grainline Farrow Dress

I haven’t taught myself the seamless bias technique and I usually have lots of odd shaped pieces so I join my pieces all together. This works really well with thinner fabrics like lawn or a poplin. I’ve also tried with a drill and cotton sateen and they are best with a wider binding. It gives a quirky touch to your garments which I love.

The best tips I have is to use a bias binding tool (I got mine off ebay) and iron it with the fold side facing the ironing board.  I roll mine up as I iron which helps keep it neat and tidy.

Contrasting Bias hem on a dress

There are several great tutorials around but a couple can be found here:

Like a lot of people I have a pocket obsession I put them in all my dresses and I prefer to use a contrasting fabric for pockets and facings. I have recently used scrap fabric to line the bibs of my Pippi Pinafore and my Jenny Overalls.

Coordinated contrasting lining on my Closet Case Jenny Overalls


Scrap lining on my Pippi Pinafore

I have been meaning to cut a whole heap of pockets out to have a pocket stash. Then I can have very different pockets in my dresses.

I have also used scraps to make some clothes for nephew. Tiny human clothes take a lot less and it makes for a nice gift.

My nephews Christmas present 2017

But the biggest use of my scrap fabric has been my quilt project. I started it in October 2017 and do a bit each Tuesday at a Quilting class. Every now and then I do a bit at home.

It will be double sided and the back is being pieced using the jelly roll race technique.

A jelly roll race quilt I made for a colleague

Putting it all together is like having a momento of all the different projects I’ve worked on. It will probably take me another year to quilt it.

Its king size and perfect to prevent the great evening blanket war that occurs when you have two side sleepers.

Anyway these are some of the things I do to use my scraps. Sadly it hasn’t really made a great dent but it does make me feel like I am getting the best out of my fabric.

The Love to Sew Podcast have mentioned what to do with scraps on a few episodes so thats a great resource.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

What do you put in the pockets of your Arenite Pants?


Pattern Description:

The Arenite Pants are from the talented Meg from Sew Liberated.  I’ve made a few of her patterns and I’ve loved the results each time.

The Arenite Pants are ‘deep-pocketed, slouchy pants of your dreams. Incredibly versatile and amazingly cozy, you can wear these high-waisted pants for date night, in the office, or as pajamas‘”.

Pattern Sizing:

Meg’s patterns have a very inclusive size range from 0 – 24.  I made the size 24 and added a little extra for the hips.  I cut the elastic the length of size 22 to account for the difference between my hips and waist.

Fabric Used:

I made these up in a silky feeling viscose twill from The Remnant Warehouse.  It’s still in stock and you can check it out here.

Soft Viscose Twill- Dazzling Blue

The fabric is absolutely gorgeous, drapes beautifully, extremely soft feel. With a slight sheen to it.  I bought 4 metres originally but I only used a little over 2 metres.  The rest I am saving for an ogden cami and hopefully a gypsum skirt so that I can mix and match outfits.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Yes.  I made them soon after the pattern was released and I wasn’t sure if they would really suit me but I was determined to make them.  Luckily that fear was a moot point.


Were the instructions easy to follow?

The instructions are really clear.  The pants are predominately sewed with flat felled seams which was a new technique for me.  The instructions held my hands throughout the whole process.

I love the drawings which help you through the process. Sometimes photos can confuse the process but these just guide you through.  It is a good idea to slow down and take your time when assembling the pockets.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

POCKETS!!! They have amazing pockets.  Like the majority of people I love pockets.  These pockets exceed expectations.  I was worried that they may make my hips seem larger than they appear but to me it feels like the complete opposite.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

Due to the freying of my fabric I ended up switching techniques to overlock then stitch it down.  Next time I plan on following the pattern.

I may give myself a little room in the crotch next time.


Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

I have a floral rayon version in my head.  Which remind me of a pair Penny wore in the early seasons of the Big Bang Theory – back when they were all single.

Other great versions can be found at?

Meg from Cookin and Craftin

Beth from Sew DIY

Megan from The Green Violet


Dressy Secret pj’s with pockets of dreams.


<a href=””>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

A Kielo Wrap dress is it for work or play?


Pattern Description:

The Kielo Wrap Dress by Named Clothing is a wrap dress designed for either knits or wovens.  There is also a free expansion pack to add sleeves.  Its a popular pattern which has been reviewed a lot.  It wasn’t until I saw a midi version with sleeves that I knew I had to make it.

Pattern Sizing:

The pattern comes in sizes UK 4 – 18.  I’ve inserted the sizing chart to explain why I choose the size I did.

My measurements are 115 cm bust, 104 cm waist, 134 cm high waist and 143 cm low waist.  These put me well out of the range included in this pattern.

I read a lot of reviews, but the most help was Manju which is found here.  We had similar body types and I just cut out the largest size with the sleeve add ons.

Fabric Used:

I picked up a grey marle jersey and a geometric print knit from the Pitt Trading winter sale.  The fabric was dispatched super quickly and was beautiful to work with.


Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Yes – It meet with my expectations.  It’s well photographed and published online so I had seen quite a few versions.


Were the instructions easy to follow?

I didn’t really follow the instructions.  I read them initially then did my own thing.  The construction process is pretty straightforward and there wasn’t anything out of the ordinary to the process.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I really wished that there was bigger size range but I love how my dress turned out.  I’m certainly not confident to try it in a woven.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

I added a neckband.  I hate a turned knit neckline.  I used a method I picked up which is to cut the neckband at 75% of your measured neckline.

I also shortened the pattern by 30 cm to make the dress more versatile.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

I’ve made two versions and I would love to make a bright and funky sleeveless version for summer.

Other great versions can be found at?

Manju at Sew Manju

Rumana at The Little Pomegranate 

Jenny at Byrdie Couture

A dress to take from work to play or even a big lunch.


By George! I’ve found the perfect office cami – A review of The Wearable Studio’s Canary Cami


I did receive a copy of this pattern for free in exchange for me testing it and providing feedback. All opinions are my own.

I really enjoy pattern testing and when Mel from The Wearable Studio was looking for pattern testers I thought ‘I can do that’. I like giving back by pattern testing when I can and particularly love that Mel is a fellow Australian.

Pattern Description:

The Canary Cami is a twist on the traditional cami.

When I first saw the line drawings I wasn’t sure it was going to suit me but any doubts were gone when I put it on.

It has a centre front and a centre back piece and two side pieces to form shaping around the bust and the sleeve.

It is a pdf download and there aren’t a lot of pattern pieces so it is pretty quick to put together.

Pattern Sizing:

The pattern comes in sizes 6 – 18. I made the 18 but added a few centimetres to the hips to accommodate my pear shape. The pattern is drafted for a C cup and whilst I am a D cup I took a gamble and didn’t add any to the bust. This turned out to be a good call.


Fabric Used:

I used about 80 cm of 150 cm of Barbie Pink Crepe from The Remnant Warehouse. I bought 2 metres a few years ago and made a top for work and had heaps left over. I loved that I can wash and hang it so I don’t have to iron it.

Whilst the pattern asks for self made bias binding for the finishing at the neck and sleeve I love a contrast binding and raided my stash for some I had made earlier.

I tend to make bias binding en mass when I get a few leftovers pieces that will work. I hate wasting fabric and this is the best way to use it and I love a contrast detail.


Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

I really loved the finish garment. It looked like the line drawing.


Were the instructions easy to follow?

The instructions were super easy to follow – there aren’t a lot of steps.

But they are clearly written and beginner friendly.

I found that I preferred to finish the sleeve by inserting the bias binding in the round. I also notched the centre front and back seams then overlocked them.


What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I really like the shape and the amount of fabric you can get this out of. Great for using those left over pieces.

I did wish that the seam allowance was a little bigger so that I could have french seamed it but that’s an alteration I can make next time.


Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

Other than grading out at the hip I made it straight from the packet.


Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Yes – I already have. In some more crepe from The Remnant Warehouse which is also no longer available.

I work in a semi conservative office. Bare shoulders aren’t super appropriate apart from during summer.

This cami is a perfect addition to my work wardrobe and fits comfortably under my suit jacket.


Would it be wrong to make more than 10?

Is there such a thing as too many overalls?

Is there such a thing as too many overalls?


In the last year I’ve made two Tilly & The Button’s Cleo dresses, a pair of Sew House Seven Burnside Bibs, a self drafted pinafore dress using the Sewaholic Hollyburn Skirt.  When I saw the Pippi Pinafore by the wonderful Jennifer Lauren Handmade I knew I had to have it.   I really loved the shaping of the skirt and the fact there were options for cup sizes.  I’ve pattern tested for Jennifer before and I know she makes amazing patterns.

Pattern Description:

The Pippi Pinafore is a overall dress with an A-line skirt and fitted bib.  It is available as a pdf with the option to print at home or on A0 size sheets.  There are two big lined pockets and the bib is lined.  The best bit about most of Jennifer’s patterns are that she offers different cup sizes and you can choose either an A, B,C or D.

I bought the pattern on release day and had it printed using Officeworks online printing service.   I live in a regional area in Australia and I’m not that patient to wait for a pattern to arrive in the post so I buy my indie patterns as pdf.  To save time in taping patterns together I use my local Officeworks to print patterns on AO.  Despite having the pattern it took me a while to work out what fabric I wanted to make it out of.

Fabric Used:

Light Blue Linen Blend Stretch Denim

I found a beautiful light blue denim/linen blend from The Remnant Warehouse.  This fabric is leftover stock from Australian designers Bec + Bridge.  I like that I can do my bit for the environment but using leftover stock (the amazing girls at the Love to Sew Podcast have a few episodes about sustainable sewing check them out here).

In real life the fabric has a beautiful colour and the linen makes it quite soft and easy to work with.

I lined the inside of bib with Art Gallery Voile leftover from a previous project.  I had enough leftover to line the bib and pockets and make some bias binding for the hem.


Pattern Sizing:

The pattern is available in size 6 – 24 with A, B, C, D cup sizes.  I did a size 22 D for the bib and a 22 waistband and graded out to a size 24 with an extra inch for the skirt.

I ran the gauntlet and made it up without making a muslin.


Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

It was pretty spot on.  I have a different body type to Jennifer and the drawings so I wasn’t expecting to be exact.  The final version exceeded my expectations.


Were the instructions easy to follow?

The instructions were really clear to follow.  I had never done a button closure but I had it inserted without any issues.

I made a user error and put the straps on the back to front so I had to unpick the waistband and reattach them so that the angle was facing the right way.

Excuse the wrinkles it is a linen blend afterall

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I really love the shape of the design, it feels a lot more grown up than other overall dresses around.  I like that you could dress it up or down depending on what you pair with it.

The darts and pleats make the skirt really flattering on a curvy figure.

What made this even easier was that I didn’t have to grade or tweak the pattern too much to be able to sew it – gotta love those wide size ranges.


Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

To fit the back properly I added two small darts at the back to take into account my sway back. I also added a little the length and used a bias binding to hem it so I could extend the length.

Next time round I may consider taking some length out of the bib to accommodate my short waist.


Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Absolutely I may have even found this cute embroidered cord from Spotlight to make a second one.



A grown up overall dress perfect for my inner 90’s child.


Easter Sewing Plans

One of the best things about Easter is that there is a four day weekend.  My partner is working this weekend so I will be free to spend my time sewing up a storm.

I recently went a little overboard in Spotlight (the only apparel fabric store in town) buying fabric for my winter wardrobe.  This weekend is the perfect time to get started.

So whats on the cutting table:

Easter “Spring” Dress for #EasterSpringDress2017

Whilst it most certainly isn’t spring in Australia I am fortunately to live on the Northern end of the East Coast.  There is a little chill in the air of an evening but, if the rain stays away long enough, the days are lovely and sunny.

I happened upon some lovely Robert Kaufman ‘Under the Australian Sun’ Quilting Cotton.  I had every intention of making it up in time for Australia Day but just didn’t have the time.  I think it will make a perfect Easter Dress.


The Fabric has a navy background with Australian Native Flowers all outlined in gold.  I was lucky enough to get 2.5 metres for $22.50.  A definite bargin.

This is destined to become Simplicity 1419:


I am planning on making this in the sleeveless version with no collar but want to add a tie belt.

The pattern comes with a facing but I am no fan of the facing and have cut out a lining for the bodice in a nice cotton.

Having made this dress several times before i know that I don’t need to make any adjustments and it should be a quick and easy sew.

Orageuse – Berlin Skirt

When I first saw this pattern on The Fold Line’s Pattern Round Up I knew I had to have it.


I recently bought some of Spotlight’s Dark Navy Drill and it should look very much like the picture.

I do need to make some adjustments to the pattern to fit my hips but it will be nice to try something new.

I’ve not seen many reviews of the skirt and would love to hear from you if you have made it.

Whilst I do try and plan my makes I am very much a sewer who sews on a whim.  If I get in the rhythm hopefully I can get them made up and if I am really lucky something else.

Have a safe and happy Easter.

Sam x

2017 make 9 – first up By Hand London – Anna Dress

I’ll admit it’s been a while since I posted anything.  Blink and life takes over and you don’t realise.  In this case my day job has controlled my available time and other days after work I just don’t have the brain capacity.

This however, doesn’t mean I haven’t been sewing.  Mostly I just haven’t got round to doing photos.

The first of my completed make nine for this year was the By Hand London Anna Dress.  Whilst when I first saw the pattern I wasn’t sure it was for me.  But it grew on me and after seeing a few different people’s version I was swayed.  I think what tipped me over the iceberg was Sian from Kittenish Behaviour’s Video of her Anna Dress Collection which can be found here.

I bought the pdf pattern and had it printed at the copy shop across the road from work for about $10 (mostly as the skirt pieces are maxi length and you pay by the length).  I found it was so much easier than cutting and sticking.  Living in a regional area of Australia pdf patterns are a godsend.  My practice is to trace each piece onto baking paper which i easily locate and buy.

The fabric was from the sale rack of Spotlight.  In the quilting section I think I paid $4 a metre and bought what was left.  It is a pink chambray with a purple fleck.

I am trying to focus on keeping to a jewel tone palate with my sewing.  That way I can mix and match, especially for work.

I made the midi version but added 3 inches to the length.  Other than that I didn’t make any other alterations.  After wearing it a few times I think next time I might do a sway back adjustment and a slight full bust adjustment.

So here is my finished garment (My other half needs training as a photographer), the dress is a little crinkled after being worn all day at work but I love it:

I have already completed a second version in navy floral poplin with a pleated skirt.  Photos will be on instagram (eventually).

Have you made an Anna?

The “It Took Forever” Shirtdress

I must admit that I am a complete pattern hoarder.

In Australia, where I live, patterns from the Big 4 tend to retail starting around $10 and go up to around $35 for Vogue.  Every now and then Spotlight (which is the only place in the town I live in that sells patterns) has a sale when they are marked down considerably.  On those occasions I take my list of patterns I want and buy what I can.

I’ve had V9000 in my stash for a while.  Several of the girls in the Facebook group “Those Darn Sew and Sews” have made it up.


I bought some light blue gingham to sew it up in after seeing a shirtdress made by Draper James which is Reece Witherspoon’s label.

Southern belle: Reese Witherspoon wore a dress from her Draper James collection while posing with son Tennessee in an Instagram post on Monday

Photo credit: Reese Witherspoon Instagram

Whilst there are other patterns which are a closer match V9000 was a better style for my body.

I cut out my size and followed the instruction and it sewed up rather quickly and easily.


Once I put it on the dressmakers dummy I didn’t like it.

I let it sit on the dummy for a while and tried all sorts of buttons white, pearl, shell and once I found some big navy buttons I started to like it.

I was looking at it one day when I had a light bulb moment and decided to add some colorful embroidery to it.

It took me a while to find a pattern that I liked but I stumbled on the pattern linked here.


After talking to my mum and having a quick lesson whilst visiting her on holidays I bought some thread, washaway and a frame and had a go.

I traced the design onto the washaway and pinned it in to place.


I wanted the colour to stand out and outlined the design in a darker colour and then filled it in.

I wanted to use brighter contrasting colours to create more interest.


I originally only planned on doing a back center piece and was then planning on putting a panel down the centre of each side of the bodice.  After I finished the back piece I decided I just wanted to put it on the shoulders rather than the centre.  It took about three months to do the embroidery and I am really pleased with it.


All it needs now is a wash to get rid of the plastic washaway and whip up a belt.


When you need a frock to take in a musical

My partner’s mother had a spare ticket to see our local production of Anything Goes, my partner’s Father isn’t a musical fan and was eternally grateful I let him off the hook.  However, a trip to the theatre needs a new dress.

A rummage through my filing cabinet and I came up with Simplicity 1354BB.  It’s part of their ‘Amazing Fit’ range.  I picked it up during one of Spotlight’s pattern specials.

Simplicity 1354BB

They have some great options for those with a bigger bust.  I however, fit comfortably in a C cup.  As someone shortwaisted I should have taken the option to shorten the waistline, however didn’t (something I regretted later).

I picked up the fabric during a Spotlight shopping trip with my mum (she is a worst fabric horder than I am). I saw a gentleman shopping with his wife and they picked up this fabric and it was only then that I noticed it.  Whilst at the counter with my other selections they asked if there was 15 metres left on the roll, there wasn’t so they decided against it.  Their loss however was my gain and I walked away with 4 metres which was more than enough for this piece.

I went with View C as I thought it would be more versatile.

It took me a while to work out how the neckline pieces went together but I got there in the end.

I had to make a few alterations in the end as the size I decided on was too big for me in the bust, shoulders and waist length. The dress isn’t lined and has a facing.  Something I will rectify should when I make this again.

Simplicity 1354BB finished

I’m really happy with how it turned out and I think it goes really well with this red cardigan my Mum knitted for me.