A strawberry dahlia

Has everyone seen the new pattern release by Colette Patterns yet? I admit, when I got the “sneak peek” yesterday, I thought about it for all of 30 seconds before I bought the PDF. Using the thin excuse of “I need to buy buttons for this other dress”, I drove to work to print out the pattern, then promptly cut, taped and traced off the pattern.

I was initially tossing up which version to make, when I spotted these two fabrics lying together in my stash, and inspiration struck: I present, my Strawberry Dahlia.

Ohhh yus, that is bright pink polka dot linen, which I nabbed along with its blue counterpart as soon as I saw it at The Fabric Store. The green linen on the bodice is leftover from another dress I am yet to blog about (I have quite a few things waiting to be photographed and blogged!) The gold bias binding was a gift from Katy&Laney to say thank you for testing their shorts pattern – I actually had to bow out of testing because I was in the middle of moving, but they kindly sent me this lovely bias binding and some fancy teas to say thanks (which my tea-loving husband nabbed).

Anyway, back to the pattern. The Dahlia dress is described as being “designed to flatter curves and make you feel good about what you’ve got” and is a “return to [Colette's] roots”. It’s main features are the waist yoke, bust and neckline gathers, and raglan sleeves – the sleeveless version is finished with bias binding, which become the straps.

I traced off a size 12, and graded out to a size 18 at the hips. Apparently I did not need to do this, as the hips have ended up way too big. I had the same problem with the Rooibos dress – I graded out according the measurements, and they ended up much bigger. I looked at the finished measurements and apparently this gives me 5″ of ease… maybe I need to remeasure my hips!

To be honest, I’m not 100% sure where the gathering is supposed to hit. I assume it’s supposed to be right under the bust but it’s much lower than that on me and I have a very low set bust. If I pull up the whole bodice then the bottom waist yoke seam hits above my true waist (and I have quite a high waist, although I admit I am taller than average), and the neckline becomes very high.

On the model in the photos, it looks like it’s hitting about 1-2″ below her bust. So who knows! I do know that the fit in these photos is not ideal – after taking the photos I took in a couple of tucks (I’m guessing it was a “narrow shoulder” adjustment of sorts) and it looked a lot better, in particular getting rid of some of the “baggy boob” thing that’s going on. Small busted ladies, be aware! You may need to adjust.

I think when I make it again I’m going to shorten the bodice significantly in the front and the back – to me the back looks oddly high, which is accentuated by the two separate fabrics and the raglan sleeved shape. I probably want it to finish about 2″ above where the darts end, if you can see that (so about 6″ below where it finishes now!).

Speaking of different fabrics, did anyone get that this is a STRAWBERRY DRESS?

In terms of construction, it’s all machine sewn with overlocked skirt seams and the waistband facing stitched in the ditch (with a bit of handsewing thrown in – one day I’ll get a clean finish!). The bias binding was largely sewn on using my bias binding foot.Despite stay-stitching all the upper edges, I think I accidentally stretched everything while sewing D:

The hem is blindstitched (yay) and because I was lacking a matching invisible zip, I used a lapped zipper – which means I had to switch out threads halfway so they matched!


So, so, so. What do I think? I love the design, but the fitting will take a bit of time. I’ve already gone back and changed my skirt pieces back to the size 12/14, so that should look better next time – although I’m also thinking this will look great with a pleated skirt. Next “version 2″ I make I will shorten both bodices so they sit a bit lower – they’re currently too high for a summer dress, I think. And I’m considering lowering the necklines on this dress, as the bias binding is a bit scratchy on my underarms. We shall see – you all know how much I dislike fixing finished garments, but this dress is SO CUTE I will have to if I find myself not wearing it.

What do YOU think? Do you like Colette’s new pattern. Did you know this was supposed to be a strawberry?? Any other constructive criticism over the fit would be nice, as usual, though please be nice!

Oh, and HELLO to the two people I saw at Fabric-A-Brac who recognised me from my blog. I didn’t catch your names but gosh did you make my week!

Apologies that my poses are all same-same, Mr. Guy had just told me that my dress had baggy boobs.


Copy Kat: Gillian wrap dress by Muse Patterns

When does inspiration go too far? When you 100% copy someone else’s dress. May I present, my Copy Kat dress:

The lighting may be different, and my wrap goes the wrong way, but yep – that’s the exact same fabric!

The pattern is the Gillian wrap dress, the second pattern by Wellington company Muse Patterns. It features gathered yokes at the shoulders (front and back) and a separate waist band, seen here in contrasting fabric. The pattern includes three different sleeve lengths (long, 3/4, and short) and 3 different skirt lengths (long, above-knee, and top/peplum).

I made mine with the 3/4 sleeve, and the long skirt, although I lengthened mine by 6cm. I’m rather tall (178cm) and have to add length to almost every pattern I’ve used – and I’ve worked out over the years that 70cm is the ideal length for skirts – so all I do is measure from the waist and add as much as I need, without having to hold the pattern up to myself.

I also did contrasting fabric for the yokes and bands – partly for the sake of it, partly because the pattern is so busy already and I wanted to highlight them, and partly because if I’m copying something I should copy it properly, right?

I made the pattern in a size 38 (my high bust measurement), grading out to a size 44 at the hips, and it seems to fit really well. I could probably do with the neckband being a touch shorter so that the wrap sits under my bust rather than over it.

Mainly this photo is about me lamenting my lack of cleavage

It all went together pretty well – it took a few minutes to work out how the waistband worked (it’s done in such a way that the hole through which the tie passes is nicely enclosed, rather than having a raw edge turned and stitched) but it was worth it – I love that it’s all nicely finished without facings, which I dislike on knit garments.

The neckband is drafted shorter than the bodice neckline, which helps reduce gaping. Mine could do with tightening up a bit, but still doesn’t gape, see:

The fabric is a polyester and something blend – I didn’t write it down because, given that I almost never buy synthetics, fabric content is usually easy to remember (either wool/merino, cotton, silk or viscose). It has a spongy texture, kind of like a soft towelling? Which really just means that it feels like a big towel robe like the ones you get at fancy hotels. The contrasting black fabric is a plain cotton/lycra knit.

I’m pretty darn happy with this dress! You know it’s good when the first thing Mr. Guy says when he sees it is, “that’s a nice dress, do you like it?”. And there seems to be some sort of wizardry going on, either with the pattern or Mr Guy’s photography, because I look SLIM in these photos – especially when you compare with how I looked in the last post. WIZARDRY: also known as, well fitting clothes.

I will mention that the yardage suggestions on the pattern are very generous – you’ll notice that, because of all the different variations, Kat has only listen the amount needed for the largest size sewing the longest sleeves and skirt. That places the dress at needing 3.1m – I bought 3m, I think, and I have 1m leftover (keeping in mine I used contrasting fabric for the ties, and that I had to recut one bodice front because of a mistake).

This dress also fits in really well with both the Wrap Dress Sewalong going on at the Curvy Sewing Collective, and Frocktober which is happening at The Monthly Stitch. Are you taking part in either?


Pattern: Gillian dress by Muse Patterns

Fabric: Polyester blend from The Fabric Warehouse, $28

Notions: Thread, from stash.

Total: $28


Chambray, you stay. Sashay, away.

My second Hawthorn dress is something I’m surprisingly UN-excited to blog about. Usually I make something and get photos the next day, blog within the week. In fact, this got finished… two months ago? Before I dyed my hair: I have photos in it with my brown hair as proof. On two separate occasions. But, I’m just not that thrilled with it, and so I may end up asking it to…

I thought I had the fit down pretty well with my first version, and used the exact same pieces, but something just doesn’t quite look right. In the bewbs.

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BurdaStyle Plus Sized Cape: An Honest Review

So, if you follow the Curvy Sewing Collective, you may have seen that we were approached by BurdaStyle, to see if we wanted to try out a pattern each from their new Plus Sized Kits – a collection of patterns and a couple of tutorials bundled together for $25 USD. We got sent links to all the patterns in the collections and were able to choose one to make: brilliant as I am, I thought “Oh, I’ll step out of my comfort zone and choose the cape

At the start of spring. Right before we move to one of the sunniest places in the country for summer (good news – we’re moving to Golden Bay!!! Anyone want to come visit, let me know!). Like I said, brilliant.


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Muse patterns: Jenna Cardi. I am in love!

Disclaimer: I was a tester for this pattern. The final pattern was provided to me free of charge and I also know the designer in real life. All opinions expressed are my own.

So, I’ve been wanting to learn how to knit for a while. I tried doing it last winter, kind of enjoyed it, then got side tracked. To be honest, I’m a really impatient person – I constantly have to remember to slow down, be patient etc. So with knitting, I wanted all these cute cropped cardigans sooo badly, but the thought of it taking 50 hours to make one, or even longer because I’m a beginner, was just really off-putting. I couldn’t find any good sewing patterns for what I wanted – I tried making my own but it didn’t work. So I resigned myself to actually learning to knit, or paying someone to knit for me.

And then… Kat from Modern Vintage Cupcakes designed this pattern. Probably because she was sick of all my whining on the WSBN facebook group, she asked me to test it out for her.

And this is it, guys: true love.

Oh, and I dyed my hair pink.

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Rimutaka Spots

So I’ve managed to successfully finish another set of night shifts, and was able to catch a short glimpse of sunshine to take photos of my new dress. If you haven’t done them before, night shifts are…. crappy. Luckily this set wasn’t too busy (the previous set involved air lifting 4-5 people to a bigger hospital) but 7 nights of 10 hour shifts still take it out of you and you need a few days to recover!

And even though I surely know better than to sew while I’m tired, I decided to make a dress. Surprisingly, it actually turned out pretty well.

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Sewaholic Rae skirt

Disclaimer: this pattern was given to me to review. All opinions expressed are my own and I aim to be be unbiased. For a full review see my post up on the Curvy Sewing Collective in a few days.

Hot on the heels of the Yaletown dress (my version here), Sewaholic released the Rae skirt. The pattern was designed together with a beginners sewing teacher, to be “a skirt for true beginners, designed to meet the needs of a brand-new sewer making their first garment project”. I’m going to keep my thoughts on the pattern brief here, as I’ll be doing a full review over on the Curvy Sewing Collective this coming week. I’d also like to apologise for my photos: sunny day + occasional heavy cloud cover + 10 second delay on photos…. well, these is all I got before my camera ran out of battery.

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Linen Laurel

I’ve always been torn with the Colette Laurel dress. It’s a very plain shift dress, with bust darts in the front and fish-eye darts in the back. On the one hand, it apparently uses very little fabric and is easy to embellish, on the other hand it’s a loose fit and there seems to be very few curvier versions out there for me to base an educated opinion on, and shift dresses have the potential to look terrible when you’ve got lots of curves to go around – without seams to help in fitting, they can look very sack-like.

I do know, however, that Mary of Idle Fancy’s versions look lovely on her hourglass figure (see here and here), and this one is gorgeous. So, I’ve been torn. Then, two weeks ago I suddenly got the random urge to make a shift dress (does anyone else get these?) and so I grabbed the pattern. Here is the result:

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