Swish swish

And hello there. Long time no see. I missed you guys.

Four months? How did that happen? You can pack a lot into four months: holidays and funerals. Kondo-ing my house (almost there). Taking stock. Reading real books again. Losing the entire contents of your blog reader to some weird glitch. Life things.

There has been sewing as well. Slower sewing, but sewing nonetheless. A backlog of things to photograph as long as your arm. But you gotta start somewhere right?

Sewaholic Gabriola

So lets start somewhere swishy. Gabriola swishy. Like the rest of the sewing blogosphere, I absolutely fell in love with Ada Spragg’s fabulous version of this pattern. If that fabric had still been available I would have out-and-out copied (it’s not – waaaaah). So I put it to the back of my mind just waiting for the right sort of crazy geometric colour explosion fabric to appear. And appear it did… eventually. A couple of weeks back I dragged my long-suffering husband along to the opening day of a new little fabric shop in Brisbane called Needlefruit, where I snagged this awesome crazy floral but not too floral rayon. Obviously it had to become a Gabriola. Swish swish.

Sewaholic Gabriola

So, the deets…

What’s to love?

Well, I think the hip-hugging pieced section looks really nice. It is precision sewing but not anywhere near as complicated as it seems (as long as you mark your pieces very well because they all look the same). The shaping of the skirt means the volume is at the hem and in a flowy, drapey fabric it all feels very summery and well, swishy. It’s a fun skirt to wear.

Sewaholic Gabriola


Now, I am not quite the shape Sewaholic designs for, so I had to make a few mods to get this skirt to fit the way I wanted (apparently some people on the internet get very grumpy about people doing this but I don’t care). I could have just gone on waist measurement alone and kept the extra volume around the hips, but I wanted things to be a little less floofy so I graded from 6 at the waist through to 0 at the hips (keeping the length at size 6). There are good instructions on the Sewaholic blog on how to do this. (A further note here: I tend to only pay attention to finished garment measurements to pick sizes because I like my clothes to fit closer than Sewaholic designs for.)

Sewaholic Gabriola


  • A lot of reviews of this skirt mentioned that the straight-cut waistband didn’t really sit on the body well so I decided to sub in the waistband from the Grainline Moss Mini instead. This was a bit of a dodge-fest – basically I folded that waistband piece in half, and flipped it over when I cut so that the curvier bit was on the fold and the straight bit was the cut end. This was because I figured it was my belly that needed the curvature and my back would be fairly straight. There was excess (as the Moss is designed to sit on the hips not the waist) but I just cut it off once I had sewn the waistband on. This method is a bit more work as you have to cut 2 instead of folding the waistband over, but it does sit a lot nicer on the body.
  • Another thing mentioned a lot in reviews of this pattern was the tendency of the pieced section to stretch out if you just so much as looked at the pieces sideways. To prevent this in my slippery, slidey rayon I block fused that section before I cut the pieces out so they held their shape.
  • I did a invisible zipper and skipped the hook and bar malarky – I think it gives a much cleaner finish. I added fusible stay tape down the seams where the zipper was going to go to keep everything stable.
  • I used much less fabric than the pattern says you need – I got this out of 2.5m. As long as your fabric is wide enough (and non directional enough) to put your pieces side by side you shouldn’t need as much.
  • I’d advise hanging this skirt for a long time before you cut and hem it. There’s a lot of bias to fall and it just kept on falling. I left it a week before I hemmed and I still think it has become uneven. I did a rolled hem because I’m lazy and it was the easiest option. Likewise I stitched-in-the-ditch for the waistband because I didn’t want to hand-sew anything. Lazy.

Sewaholic Gabriola

So, that’s my Gabriola. I don’t know if I would necessarily make another, just because it is such a departure from my normal style. But it is a beautiful skirt, and a lot of fun to wear. I’m jealous of all the Northern Hemisphere folks about to go into summer who can make and wear stuff like this. Though winter has its advantages (say, Cascade Coats…).

What seasonal sewing is next in your sewing queue?

Swish swish

I’m blue

… do ba dee, do ba doo (I can’t be the only child of the late nineties who has that annoying song lingering in the memory)…

You know when you’ve got the lighting just so, done your makeup properly for once, even blow dried your hair… and then your camera battery is dead? Yeah, that. So apologies for the epic blurghface of these photos because I was pretty damn grumpy. But enough of that: what have we here? Apart from excessive amounts of blue? 

Blue Ikat Jenny Skirt and Vogue 1389

So. Much. Blue. I made this skirt late last year after falling in love with the fabric (a linen blend by Dear Stella). Being such a large print, it really needed something simple or it was going to be a disaster, so I went with an old favourite: the Burdastyle Jenny pencil skirt. This is a great pattern, especially for the price: comes together really quickly and is nice and easy. The waistband as drafted is pretty huge, so I usually make it half the height so it doesn’t end up somewhere around my chin 🙂 (I kid, mostly).

Blue Ikat Jenny Skirt

The only problem with this skirt really is the sticky question of pattern placement. Katy of Katy and Laney has covered this issue (hilariously) in her post here. Get it wrong, and you can have some rather unfortunate results: once seen, these things cannot be unseen.

However, there is only so much you can do with this fabric. Inevitably there is going to be something pointing or spotlighting exactly where you don’t want it to. I’m okay with the front (though again, refer to Katy’s post for what I can no longer unsee), but in my careful attempt to avoid a (how to put this delicately?) a circle in the wrong place on the behind I’ve managed to give myself butt-nostrils instead. Thank goodness I mostly wear shirts untucked!

Actually, the more I look at this fabric, the more I see creepy faces with snakey eyes and sharp teeth. Eeek!

Vogue 1389

(Yes, I am one of those people who can’t be bothered matching their overlocking thread.)

The blue top is one of the newer Vogue patterns – 1389, that I haven’t seen anywhere on the interwebs yet. It’s a Donna Karan design so none of the seams go quite where you expect, which is a nice touch (damn hard to photograph though). I would normally go with a size 8 in Vogue for anything stretch, but I was using a double-knit and I wasn’t sure how it would go so I used a 10 instead, and it works fine. The pattern comes together really easily – it took me no more than 2 hours to cut and sew, even though I top-stitched all the seams to highlight them more. The only problem with it that I see, and I’m kicking myself about it now, is that I didn’t trust my instincts and shorten the neckband piece. In a neckband this wide, unless you stretch it significantly, you will get wobbliness because the ‘inner circle’ needs to be so much shorter than the outside. I steam-shrank as much of it out as I could but it is still annoying. Hopefully it will shrink out in the wash (without me minaturising the rest of it). Time will tell…

I apologise in advance for the excess of pencil skirt posts you are going to get over the next little while – I made a whole bunch for work and just photographed them all.I promise I’ll make something different next.

Outfit details:

  • Top: Vogue 1389 in size 10, no alterations
  • Fabric: A cobalt merino double knit from A Fashionable Stitch (she doesn’t seem to have it anymore, sorry)
  • Skirt: Burdastyle Jenny in size 36, waistband shortened
  • Fabric: Linen blend ikat by Dear Stella, from Hawthorne Threads (again, sold out I think, though I’ve seen it on Etsy)
  • Shoes by Siren
I’m blue

What? More hot pink?

Hot Pink Chardon – Jan 2014

Told you I was addicted!

I’m going to blame Pinterest for this (I blame Pinterest for everything really) – I had visions of this wintery all-black except for a hot pink skirt outfit and of course it had to happen NOW. Never mind that it wouldn’t be winter for months and months and months. I had spotted the perfect hot pink fabric a few days earlier and let it go (such a doofus)… well lets just say another trip out to The Fabric Store was in order (sorry not sorry husband).

The skirt is a Deer and Doe Chardon, size 38 (honestly, I really should be doing a size 40 but I am in denial) in a hot pink linen that looks like a hot pink crumpled mess if you just look at it sideways. Put it this way, I won’t be sewing with linen for a long, long time this drove me so nuts. As I intended it to be a winter skirt, I decided to line it and instead of being sensible and just making a simple A line lining I just did a mirror of the skirt pattern, treating them as one at the waistband and around the zip. It turned out pretty ugly indeed (hence, no pics) because this linen likes to grow while the lining liked to shrink, but it will do the job. Who looks at the insides anyway?

Hot Pink Chardon – Jan 2014

As I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, I love anything done by Deer and Doe patterns and this skirt is no exception. This is the fourth one I’ve made and it comes together beautifully (when you don’t try and muck about with stupid linen) and is flattering and cute. Also: pockets. I love pocketses (just imagine I am saying this like Gollum, because I totally am).

So: bring on winter!

Outfit details:

And, as this is my blog and I’ll post pics of my dogs if I want to…

Hot Pink Chardon – Jan 2014

At least it isn’t dog butt. I’ve just deleted 500 photos with intruding dog butt.

What? More hot pink?