Alright, I’m on Instagram and follow the @prettygirlssew, who have monthly sewing challenges – they choose a pattern and everyone sews along.  This was the January-February challenge, that I thought I’d have plenty of time to complete.. but I only just finished :(

Anyway, it is done now, and I’m very pleased with the result.  The pattern chosen for the month was Vogue 8866, which included a short trench coat with a very flouncy peplum.   As I cut the pattern, I decided there was a bit too much flounce for me, so I edited that component of the jacket to a more conventional peplum cut.

I chose a navy outer, and a green, white and navy geometric print to line the jacket and to accent it – buttons, belt pockets, collar (if you haven’t guessed, I’m choosing navy and green as two of my stable colours for the upcoming autumn/winter season).

Vogue_TrenchI had the buttons and belt made by the lovely Kate at Buttonmania, here in Melbourne.  The Vogue pattern is great – good fit, and probably the only thing I’d change is the pockets (make them actual pockets) and add little tabs to hold the belt in.   The pattern also comes with a great top/dress, which I’m presently busy making outing a ponte fabric, for the autumn.


Simplicity 1777 – So, I saw this pattern in the catalog, and because it was Vintage/Retro I had to buy it!  For a long time I didn’t have any fabric that was appropriate, and then I received a gift voucher for Tessuti for my birthday… and I found the “Noon Yesterday Ponti – Digital Print” fabric – it was perfect!!

I set to work laying the pattern out carefully to fit the repeats evenly into the pattern pieces.

Simplicity40s_1 As usual I had some assistance from my fluffy friends..  The pattern was really good – it was a little bit fiddly around the pleated detail at the waist and hips, but the end effect was well worth the effort.

The fit was amazing – perfectly contoured to fit the body.   I went for the 3/4 sleeves in the end, and the dress is a lovely ‘important work meeting’ day dress.  So all in all, I was very stoked with the end result.


Last year, or perhaps the year before.. my friend and I went to the Alannah Hill Outlet, where the lovely people of Alannah Hill sell off rolls fabric that they are no longer using, and remants (I really should go back there again!).  I picked up this remnant gorgeous creamy, slightly stretchy, floral print – thinking that it would make a really nice blouse.

Much time passed before I was finally both inspired and confident to cut the fabric into a blouse.  I really wanted to make a long sleeved blouse – and there was not quite enough fabric.. so I cut out the main pieces, and had to cobble together the back yoke by sewing the offcuts back into a useable piece of fabric!



I also didn’t have enough fabric for collar or cuffs… I really wanted contrasting details – and was hoping to be able to get fabric that was the dark green-teal colour that some of the floral pattern had.  Unfortunately, no fabric store had that colour.  I also wanted to have silk satin cuffs, and matching silk organza collar tie.  I tried a an orange.. didn’t work, and I didn’t want pink.. so I ended up settling for the dark blue you see here.  I was really please with the end result, it picked out a nice highlight in the blouse colours.

The cuffs I spent a bit of time on – I’m really starting to dislike regular button holes.. so for the cuffs I used bound buttonholes instead, which produced a much lovelier outcome.  The blouse has an invisble zip up the centre.

Okay! So, when my husband’s expensive, fine wool suit work pants wore away to a form a massive hole in areas where there should not be holes.. I thought ‘90% of this fabric is in perfect condition, what a waste it would be throw the pants out’.

So I got thinking about what could be done with the suit pants material.  I unstitched both legs so I ended up with two sizeable pieces of fabric.  I salvaged the silk, paisley waistband lining, all the buttons.  Placing the two legs upside down on my dressmakers form, I realised that if cut the legs cleverly I would have enough fabric to make a pinafore.

Using a rough pattern of another dress, I cut two upper bodice yokes – front and back to get the neckline.  This was taken from the hip area of the pants where the fabric was broad enough to fit a pattern piece, and added details of pockets that give an indication of what the fabric used to be.


Looking at the photos, I can see I really need to iron the dress – so apologies!  However, once I had laid out the pants as the dress form, I added diagonal darts (took that idea from the 1960s vintage pattern).   I cut the dress reasonably short, given that the fabric is quite conservative.  Sewed it all up, lined the yoke.. and then put together a little belt from the salvaged waistline fabric.   Voila! A pinafore from hubby’s old pants.   (There is another pair of pants waiting in my sewing room to be converted into something… maybe a bodice..)

PS.  The dress is super easy to wear, and breathable – they do make these suits out of lovely fabric!

So, among my Vintage pattern scoop, I also got hold of this 1974 “Style 4409″ pattern.  Perfect for knit fabrics, I found some discount knit fabric at Spotlight (I think it was reduced to $2/m or something equally ridiculous!) – and decided to give it a go.

The sizings are always a little bit pot-luck with the old patterns – so i had to trim it down quite a lot by the end, and as a result the neck was a little cosy.  But, again, this dress is super comfortable – the stretch fabric fits really well, and I will be making another dress with this pattern, in other fabrics for the summer – possibly a dress without the sleeves; and I might just need to make a winter version with long sleeves too!

Style pattern 1974I cut two pieces for the centre front on this pattern, so I could have fabric pattern on the diagonal in the upper bodice.

I love a good vintage pattern, and have started a collection via ebay purchases of 1950s, 1960s and 1970s sewing patterns.  I find it very amusing that some of them were only 60c back then!

This pattern is Simplicity 5953 – dated 1965.  It is a lovely shift style dress, with diagonal darts from the bust down beyond the waistline.  I found some 60s looking fabric in Spotlight, and put the two together.

Simplicity 1965

The dress is really comfortable for summer, and nicely appropriate for work, with higher neckline.  I wear the dress with a slim belt, to draw it in further at the waist.

It is now May 2013, and a good six months since I have blogged my sewings… and there have been a lot of sewings!  I’ll endeavour to get back up to speed over the next few weeks.

I’ve been collecting Vintage patterns, remnant fabrics, and trying to reinvent my professional image.  So, I’ll post my items, with a view to catching up on the last few months of notable projects, and then culminate in the much anticipated (by me) – 2013 LdJ Design Autumn/WInter Collection!!

But first things first.  As for the previous few years, I did in fact enter the 2012 Tessuti Awards.  This time I thought I had it all figured out.. I thought I’d finally worked out what the judges might have been after.  Turned out I was wrong.  Not shortlisted, again, and reviewing the designs that were shortlisted, was puzzled by what the judging criteria was.   Anyhoo… I was really pleased within the result – so here it is!

Tessuti 2012

The theme for 2012 was Spots and Stripes.  Whilst researching the idea, I was very into vintage patterns and looks (and still am!) – and I came across this gorgeous image from the 1950s.

louise_dahl_wolfe It is the image by Louise Dahl-Wolfe, of Mary Jane Russell in Dior Dress, Paris, 1950.  When I saw the image, I fell in love with it.  The way the skirt elegantly billowed out at the back, contrasted with the beautifully fitting bodice at the top.

The image itself is just stunning as well, so possibly no wonder I like it so much.  I set about my designs with this in mind as inspiration.

The second thing that I strangely used as inspiration was the idea of a garlic bulb.  I think that certainly came across in my initial sketches.

I originally wanted to create the dress in Green and White fabric, but the patterns below were only available in black, red and blue.  So, I chose blue spots and red candy stripes.

0501_TessutiThe dress is comprised of a fitted boned, bodice – each boning line is contained within a French seam.  The bodice points down into the skirt of the dress accentuating the boning component. The lower part of the dress has a gathered waistline (around 5m of fabric was used create the skirt), which tuck under into a more conservative skirt lining.  This allows a double gathering at the bottom of the skirt and the top, hence creating a small billow effect.   I did consider putting layers of tulle beneath the skirt to give it more puff, but decided against it…


I was very pleased with the fit in the end – the bodice fabric had a slight stretch to it, so it fitted extremely well.  I was also pleased with the volume of the skirt.

Of course, now I can think of no occasion to wear it for.. so if you’d like to purchase the dress, please make an offer. :-)


PS. I’m on Instagram now too.. so if you’d like to keep up to date with my sewing happy snaps, you’ll see it first, and in progress there!


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