All Tied Up in the Neck Tie Top

I love the poet sleeves

Winter Wear Designs has some great patterns. Most are for woven fabric, but more are now designed for knit fabric. The Neck Tie Top is a simple knit blouse with an offset tie neck. This basic top has extended sizing from US sizes 00-30, and some awesome sleeves, and that is what attracted me. There are three, yes THREE! sleeve types. A stovepipe sleeve, a poet sleeve and a bishop sleeve. Honestly, I like them all but the poet sleeve is my favourite. It has that flowy, romantic feel that I love.

Previously the sleeves and the top were released separately as part of the 12 Days of Christmas (freebie) patterns. This happens every Christmas, so if you’re interested in picking up some free patterns join the WWD FaceBook Group. The individual patterns have been retired but released as one new pattern and part of the Winter Wear Designs Wardrobe Builders pattern group; they retail at US $5. As a new release it is on sale here October 7 -13 for US $3.

Bishop Sleeves are lovely and snug for winter, and they don’t drape into your food!

I am not a fan of high necks; it’s just personal preference. That said, I was up for a challenge to see if I’d like a tie neck any more than I did in the 1980’s. I didn’t; not on me, anyway. But, this being a blog tour we can be creative with the pattern. I decided to have a play and here’s what evolved.

I have a large bust, so I followed the pattern link and inserted a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) for a knitted top. It worked really well. The pattern fits better in the bodice and doesn’t drag into the armsyce. Note – I always add length to my WWD patterns to account for my height.

Left is with FBA: Right is the original pattern piece

The sand coloured top was my muslin. The original tie was too heavy and pulled the fabric. I replaced it with white lace, which is more flattering and lighter weight. It fit so well I kept it, and if I am honest I love the poet sleeves! With all the trying on and off my front neck line had ‘grown’ by 1.5″, so I stay stitched the necklines on my final pieces for stability.

When it all goes to pot at least my dress is fabulous!

Onwards and upwards … For my final I pulled some lush double brushed polyester (DBP) from my stash. It is so soft and lovely I smiled the whole time I was sewing. For this item I made some changes … I dropped the neckline 6″ down from the centre front to make a V neck dress. I moved the bow to the apex of the V. As this is a winter outfit I like how there is a definite V, but it’s higher. This ended up with a neckline of 30″, not 20″. That is significant because my maths messed up first time and my tie could be 10″ longer. Even with 55″ wide fabric I’d have been better cutting 2 pieces and joining them at the centre back neck.

I love the high V neck with the bow at the apex

I also decided to go all out and make this a dress, and because I could, I made a matching mask. It’s fantastic working with Suzanne Winter, the designer, as she encourages me to hack patterns to create my own look. I measured down to my knee length, then graded the pattern out to create an A line skirt. The bottom hem circumference ended up at about 55″, basically the width of the fabric. I finished the hem with my serger, then sewed a narrow double folded hem. I feel that a knee length dress is more likely to show the inside of the hem when sitting, and as my mother would say “if it’s worth sewing, it’s worth finishing well”. It is very pretty. My husband’s eyes lit up when he saw it – SCORE!

Ready to cook, dressed in comfort

My friend, Ann Marie, from AMA Images took the lovely mad, COVID apocalypse photos. We went from demure pre-dinner prep with a martini, to madness in my kitchen. I hope you enjoy the outcome!

Don’t miss any of our bloggers deeper looks into the Neck Tie Top!
Thursday 10/8
Friday 10/9
Monday 10/12
Aurelie of Maglice&So (found on the WWDF FB page
Tuesday 10/13
Donnisha guest posting at Winter Wear Designs

Layering Up for Fall

74423642_10221296265736100_1660767405577601024_oI love my Trendy Tanks. They can be made casual, smart, or sewn as swim tops. As long as the fabric has some stretch I have made them work for me. In winter I want tops that cover my shoulders, so when Winter Wear Designs (WWD) released the ‘sleeves pack’ I was pretty excited. Except I didn’t want a long or flowy sleeve, just something to keep my shoulders warm and stop the upper arms from glaring white everywhere. The sleeves pack did give me inspiration though. Maybe my Trendy Tank could be a Trendy Tee? IMG_5164.jpeg

As the Trendy Tank isn’t one of the recommended patterns to add the sleeves too, I looked at my other WWD tops to see if any had a similar armsyce; in both shape and size. Fortunately the Omega was on the top of my sewing patterns, and  I thought I could make it work. I knew I wanted the sleeve to be tee-shirt sleeve length. I compared the armsyce to the Omega and it needed a few alterations to make it fit.  All I had to do was fold over the ‘flutter’ ends. I  invariably stabilize my shoulder seams with clear elastic or ribbon and used ribbon as my cotton lycra would need ironing; plastic on an iron isn’t a good look! I also added chest darts because I have a DD bust. For extra contrast I cut the back in two pieces. It isn’t anything remarkable, just a centre back seam for visual interest.

I added a 2” inside sleeve and straightened the fluttery bottom hem. Then, feeling brave, I cut 2 out and sewed them in place. I must admit I was pretty pleased with the result! It fits well and I now feel confident at making the sleeves longer to above elbow length. I find this length is perfect because they stay out of the way when I sew, and hold their place without riding up my arms when I put a sweater on.


Feeling quite accomplished I moved on to the Twin Peaks Cardigan. My goal was for a modern twist on a traditional twin set. Despite the photos being of me in leggings (and pearls), the goal for this set is to wear it with a skirt. I didn’t have any cotton lycra left so sewed the cardigan in a lovely French Terry that has been around for a while and the colours almost matched. This pattern comes together quickly and easily and the instructions are easy to follow.

I added a lace overlay to the back yoke and made the sleeves from the same lace. The collar is slightly too big and I debated on adding buttons, but Himself said he liked it without and I was saved sewing 6 button holes. Phew! To give it more of a traditional twinset cardigan feel I added 1” to each centre front, and straightened the neck curve to a straight line. Sadly I forgot to baste the neck edge to stop it stretching and ended up putting some little pin pleats in the front. I like the added interest. The bottom hem has lace, again for visual interest and to lift a subtle red fabric into something a bit more fun. 

All in all I’m pleased with the results and can wear the items together or separately until Spring. I’m looking forward to replacing some of my longer cardigans with some Twin Peaks cardigans. While I made the straight back yoke the pattern also has a diamond shaped one. 

I hope you enjoyed reading about the good and amusing parts of my sewing. 

Do check out what others have created this week and remember that all jackets and sweaters have 20% off until November 3, 2019 on the Winter Wear Designs website.


Don’t miss any of the stops along the tour:
Laura Hinze of Custom Made By Laura
Patricia of Sew Far North
Livia of Liviality
Laurie Roberts of The Bear and the Pea Atelier


Summer Time Tee-se!

It’s summertime at long last, or so I am being told. I’m writing this in the middle of nowhere in the BC Interior (Canada). Mother Nature seems to still be playing around with us as the temperature has sunk from 29c to 24c to 15c today. Not the direction I wanted at all! Especially as I have been playing around with some Easy Breezy Summertime Trendy TeeDresses.

It started with my girlfriend, Lil Miss Rosie Bubbles, asking if I’d help her make a swinging triangle dress for an upcoming Gogo performance. “Of course”, I said, then put on my thinking cap … After a day or two pulling patterns I was told in no uncertain terms to, ‘STOP FAFFING!” and “why not use that nice tee-shirt as a base”. That nice tee-shirt is the Trendy Tee by Winter Wear Designs. I’ve made it several times before, with sleeves and without, and with a wider neckline. I live in the three of them currently!

Rosie Bubbles wanted a multi-purpose triangle dress that she could wear both on stage and off. She’d bought some lovely royal blue stretch velvet, and was performing a cheeky Gogo routine with some other dancers. Her dress needed to be big enough to have swing, AND a hula hoop installed in the hem – yes, you read that correctly.

Well, it seemed like easy enough maths. Just make the bodice fit, curve out the fabric to ‘swing’ flatteringly over her widest parts, and ensure it is big enough to (temporarily) install a hula hoop for the Gogo routine.

I pulled my Trendy Tee pattern out and redrew it onto tracing paper. I decided to make a muslin, because, even though its a simple pattern, I’m a totally different shape (and height), and velvet isn’t cheap. The resulting grey stripy muslin was pretty enough for me to finish, and I think it will look good with boots and a cardigan or jacket in fall.

I love V necklines. I think they flatter a busty woman better than a round or scoop neck. I also find using Best Press, or a spray starch invaluable when cutting and pressing a V neckline in place. It helps the narrow piece of fabric lay flat. Of course, putting my long sewing ruler over it until it has ‘set’ also helps. There is nothing nicer than a well shaped V neckline – and we all can sew one, if we know how. I also like to pin my neckline in place and topstitch it to prevent any of the seams rolling. I learned that one the hard way.

Onwards and upwards for Rosie’s blue dress. I decided I’d sew it for her because velvet sheds like teddybears in a barbershop, and I have a serger. Rosie took it away with her to sew in the hula hoop and the resulting dance routine is hilarious! Fortunately she owns some sparkly hot pants to maintain her modesty!

Rosie’s sewing has been coming along in leaps and bounds this past year or so. So much so, that she took the challenge to make herself a Canada Day Dress using the same pattern. The challenge here was that she bought a pretty red and white fabric – without stretch. The Trendy Tee is made for a stretch fabric. “No worries” she said, “we will manage”. Such faith …

As such, we chose to put the pattern on the grain of the fabric, but placed it 1.5″ away from the fold. This resulted in enough room for the dress to pop over her head and sit comfortably. I have it on good authority she will be wearing it to work on Canada Day.

Back to me … I decided that after making the muslin and being teased for faffing over its completion I’d make some more. Yes, I do think its worth finishing seams well, and being aware of my clothes construction. Enough said! If you take care in the making, the wearing will be easier.

When I met Himself (was it really almost 20 years ago, Laura?), I used to have three little summer dresses. They had shoestring straps and were fit and flare to mid/lower thigh. I lived in those dresses summer after summer. Then I hit my mid 40’s then 50’s and my shape changed. Making this Trendy Triangle Dress is a step into recreating that easy breezy ‘I’m going away for a few days, sunny weather guaranteed, and I just need a few little dresses’ feeling.

I have some lovely tee shirt fabric. It doesn’t stretch much and has candy and cakes all over it. I was concerned it would look like a nightie, but convinced myself that with a pair of Fluevogs, a sun hat and shawl I could carry it off as a summer dress. It looks and feels lovely to wear ands been through the wash twice in the last week. It also irons easily – a bonus!

My last fabric is a cotton lycra jersey fabric. It has about 20% stretch, and while I used to shy away from horizontal stripes, now I am in my 50’s my attitude is much more ‘If I like it, I will wear it’. I didn’t have quite enough of this fabric though, so decided to add a rear yoke in lace (as seen above). I didn’t want my bra straps to show, so decided I’d put in a netting underlay. That idea morphed into ‘but why wear a bra?’, and I drafted a built in bralet. It’s not perfect, but it holds the girls in place. One thing this Covid era has taught me is try to sweat less small stuff … and wearing a built in bra means less sweat! The saving I made on the fabric allowed me to (almost) pattern match the stripes while not wasting any fabric. Again, I paired it with a hat, heels, a wrap and a cute bag (I made that too). I feel I could go off to a summer garden party or informal wedding in this. Heck, in rural BC this would be for a smart wedding!

The good photos of me in my dresses are taken by my good friend AnnMarie. She is an amazing fashion photographer; as can be seen as she has brought out the good side of me! Her website is

Note – I haven’t received any compensation for this blog. It’s my work (and yes, I did have Lil Miss Rosie Bubbles as my right hand woman). Rosie can be found on FaceBook if you want to see what she is up to.

Almost lastly, my Boyz, Mr Moose and EeyOre wanted to be in on the Canada Day action as well. As such, I made Moose some new shorts and EyeOre wanted his biker side brought out with a Canada Day waistcoat. His clothes were made using Himself’s old jeans and a duvet cover as lining. They both adore Miss Rosie, and EeyOre’s flag and Moose’s bandana are made from the leftovers of her dress fabric.


Lastly, do join along and read some of the other creations this week. Suzanne, the wonderful owner and designer of Winter Wear Designs has created a selection of patterns for $4 this week, through to July 5th. They can be found at The Summer Collection

Don’t miss out on any of these stops on our Summertime Blog Tour:
Patricia of Sew Far North
Lim of KekeSews
Debbie Groves Guest Posting at WWD
Diane of Sewing With D
Livia of Liviality
Aurelie of Maglice&So
Donnisha Jones Guest Posting at WWD
Ilse of Sew Sew Ilse

Sew Myself Some Love …

A few years ago I hosted a Sew A Long for the Provence Pea Coat. We lived on a ski hill and I had this idea for a warm snuggly coat to counter the elements. I was gifted some lovely fabric by Simply by Ti, but decided to use my stash for the lining. Most of the coat went together well, but like a twit I realized too late that the combination of three different fabric weights and stretches was disastrous! Ooh! and I’d interfaced the coat fronts as well, meaning the stretch was different even in the same fabric. 

84674269_10222363753062616_4905472312733597696_o.jpgIn a nutshell I’d used a stretch blue twill from Simply by Ti for the outer fabric, a chocolate brown less stretchy teddy bear fleece for the bulk of the lining, and turquoise stable fleece for the centre back and sleeve linings. You can see where this is going … 

Putting the lining and Main (outer) together is where it all went wrong … After I had sewn the coat lining and outer together it didn’t sit properly and gradually it stretched and stretched until it ended up like this …

At that point I put it on a shelf and walked away. I was gutted. I’d been gifted the fabric, but Canadian customs being what they are, I was charged the purchase price as import duty – so much for NAFTA (Free trade between USA and Canada). It made for some pretty expensive fabric! Then we moved … it went from shelf to box to bag and finally, when Himself hung me a hanging rail it was hung up … to stare at me balefully. Fast forward at least 3 years … my sewing skills and confidence have increased, and I have a new sewing machine. So here is what I did … 

I love some good top stitching!

I’d made an integral hood. This was to be a winter jacket and my neck gets cold. What I hadn’t done initially was sew a couple of rows of stitches where the collar would be. This stopped the weight of the coat pulling the lining down. Already the coat hung better. 

I realized that there was no way I could unstretch the main fabric. It is what it is, and while I knew I’d messed up I really want this to work. I took a big breath, focused, then cut the bottom off. I hung it on Mimi (my mannequin) and walked away for the night. 

The next step was lining up the layers, keeping the main fabric longer than the lining. Rather than ‘paper bag’ the layers together I hemmed them individually. It’s not pretty but if the outer decides to stretch again it will be a much easier fix! 

All the pretty colours and stretches! 

I chose huge 2” buttons but my button hole function only goes to 1 3/8”. Here we go again… Despite having interfaced the front panels I decided to add some heat and bond between the front and lining, holding the layers together while I made the button holes. Being a bit quirky I bought a packet of Steampunk buttons with the intention of sewing them all over the jacket. I haven’t actually managed that yet (and I sewed the display buttons in the wrong place). Ah well, life’s been rough recently. 

Finally though, what I can say is that I have a lovely warm jacket (now that it’s the end of February), and holding onto that loving feeling is what kept me going … over 3 or more years. I apologize for the lack of a pressed coat, but it is so much fun to wear! 


Note – No teddy bears were cut up for the lining, and EyeOre thinks it is just his colour! 

Here’s a list of the other contributors to encourage you to Sew Yourself Some Love

Sew Yourself Some Love Blog Tour
Suzanne  – Winter Wear Designs Fun
Round Up –  Winter Wear Designs Fun
Patricia of Sew Far North


It’s the Holidays!! Let’s Celebrate!


I love celebrating and Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year. That all being said there are many other festivals celebrated around December, both religious or otherwise. The scope for this blog tour is anything holiday related, holiday styled … basically I want you to go away with a feel good factor of any kind, then hold on to that for the holiday season.

This kind of says it all. Canadians are very welcoming

This is an early Holiday Blog Tour and I’m writing this exactly one month before Christmas Eve. I’d like to thank Suzanne Winter from Winter Wear Designs for getting my rear end into gear and having at least one Christmassy item in my closet! For once my garment is finished. My darling husband took photos at The Grand Hotel, Sun Peaks, BC. We lived in Sun Peaks for many years and it now has its own place on the world stage as the second largest ski resort in Canada. Its an amazing place … but I digress.

Sun Peaks Resort in winter, one of my favourite places ever!

Having adapted the Twin Peaks Cardigan last blog I decided to make a proper one –  as in, don’t play around with the pattern Patricia!. That’s a bit of a challenge as I do like to put my own stamp on my clothes. Arghhhhh …. I did promise though, so here goes.

I’m just holding the ornament … honest!

The Twin Peaks Cardi is an easily made project, even for those of us who sew slowly and tire easily. I chose not to use my Serger as he was loaded with white thread and this joyful winter fleecy fabric is black. So I loaded up my everyday workhorse Bernina with black thread and a ballpoint needle, and we were off. The pattern calls for fabric with 20% stretch and I loved the fabric so much I kind of forgot to test the stretch. As such my cardigan is a tad snug. If I knew someone just a touch smaller than me it’d be given away but currently I might be living in it. In fact a friend offered to take it off my hands if I made some booty shorts to go with it …. Hmmmmm …. I kind of like it now.

With the spooky Carol Singing Family!

Every obstacle has a silver lining though as I think I could make this in a woven fabric by sizing up one size. I love how it skims my bust line and falls gently down to my upper hip. I cut the longest tunic length and didn’t add pockets – they always seem to get a bit static-y with fleece.  As for the not altering the pattern … I failed as I narrowed the hips and added a little vent at the bottom of each side seam. It just happened without any real thought … ho hum …

Rear view with shirt tail hem

My intention had been to make this as a snuggly PJ over-top come (almost) dressing gown. I like little sleep shirts and last month Livia of Liviality showcased the Double Take Tank as a dress. I think I can make it into a mid-thigh sleep shirt. I would say watch this space, but I am sure you will find out about it if it happens. In the meantime I am wearing my little cardigan for all its worth. It’s lightweight but snug and cozy. All I need is a tee shirt or tank underneath. For the photos I wore my new cardigan with my adapted Trendy Tank that I made last month. That tee is one of my favourite items and I need more (and the energy to make them!).

Yes, that is my halo

Bloopers along the way … When I was sewing my neck band pieces together I managed to sew a ring with one piece of fabric. Fortunately I had enough to just cut it off. Unpicking stitches from fleece is no mean trick!

A cute, if wrong neck band!


Do read the other blogs and I hope you find some inspiration for your holiday sewing!

Don’t miss out on any stops along the tour:
November 25
Suzanne of Winter Wear Designs
November 26
November 27
Alyssa of the Sewing Goat Herd
November 28
Patricia of Sew Far North
November 29
Livia of Liviality


Summertime …

Sing with me people …

“Summer time, and the living is easy,

Summer time, and the cotton is high …”


For me, summer is all about cool, comfortable, (often cotton) clothes. Summer is hot, and I want loose clothes, but not look like I am wearing a paper bag; I guess I want my summer clothes to skim and flatter my body. 

I made this Refined Raglan from quilting cotton, though it feels (and creases) as though it has bamboo in it. I’d used most of the fabric on the back of a friend’s quilt and knew it was a rotter to work with as I had to cut it widthways and sew the 2 widths together to stop it warping. Even so, it is lovely and soft to the touch and I knew I wanted to make a little ‘something’ with it, even if it doesn’t drape well. 

Initially I planned the raglan sleeves from lace, but didn’t have anything the right colour. Somewhat magically though, I managed to cut this pattern out from very little fabric. I would let you know what alterations I made to the pattern, but all I wrote on it was ‘altered here and there to fit me’. Yep, that’s a bit ambiguous if somewhat correct. 

I last made the refined raglan in 2018 as a mid-thigh tunic after Suzanne Winter, the Winter Wear Designs designer, challenged us to knock off a current fashion piece.  I like my tunics and tops that go over leggings or skinny jeans to be thigh length, but if worn with skirts or shorts I prefer a shorter hip length top. I think it gives a better silhouette. This time I cut the fabric to the longest pattern size length, and feel its prefect for me. 

IMG_3723.jpegIt is loose and comfortable and I probably could have sized down a bit, except across the bust (as usual!). Summer has a habit of making me swell, though that could be the wine and food, so I decided to keep with the loose feel. It still flows nicely over a long skirt or shorts. There are no shorts photos as it has been pouring rain here. You just get frizzy hair instead!  IMG_3729.jpeg

The instructions are easy to follow, and I added the notched neckline as I don’t feel round necks flatter large busts. Instead of making some single fold bias tape I used a gold grosgrain ribbon. It’s a nice, if somewhat loud feature. I feel the ‘less than perfect’ finishing is glaringly obvious, but Himself said it looks ok, so I shall have to trust him on this one. I did make the double fold bias neck ties from the same fabric and they look fab. I should have made more really … Bias really isn’t hard to make, just time consuming. IMG_3726.jpeg

I do need more lightweight tops and this is an easy pattern to sew. I will not make it from quilting cotton next time, as that’s more of a spring and fall fabric here, and a pig to sew!

Do read along and see what everyone else has been up to, and check the Winter Wear Designs website for sale items.  

Don’t miss any of the inspiration in our summer tour:
Livia of Liviality
Patricia of Sew Far North


Diane of Sewing With D

Suzanne of Winter Wear Designs
Suzanne of Winter Wear Designs
Josianne of Sewista Fashion
Florence guest posting at Winter Wear Designs
Kristen guest posting at Winter Wear Designs


Dress It Up & Strut My Stuff!

58373893_10219638257206923_8132208841954689024_oDressing up isn’t just for children, and shouldn’t be kept for going on a special date! 15 months ago I decided to learn to dance. No mean feat for an inactive, chronically unwell 55 year old. With very little knowledge (apart from watching the movie) I decided to join the local Burlesque troupe and signed up for Burlesque lessons. Fun times began as I learned to dance, made new friends and started sewing costumes for performances.

The Toon Town Boyz; Fred, Pepe, Milhouse, Mickey and Prince Arthur

Our latest show’s theme was Toon Town, and I was part of a Boy Band, ‘The Toon Town Boyz’. I chose to be the ‘old guy’ in the band and my alter ego as Fred Flintstone was born. Our act had two parts, a farewell tour and a comeback tour. Due to my health I was given the opportunity to be in a seated walker for the second part.

Act 2: With our MC, The Queen of Tarts

Burlesque is the art of the tease; it’s about suggestion rather than getting your kit off quickly. No public photos are allowed during performances, and as such I don’t have many of me in costume. Dance is hard work and a lot of practice with a few or so mistakes along the way! Removing clothes is part of the routine, and as such I needed to make some dress-up (or is that dress down) clothes that are easily removable. I had 4 reveals (items you remove) – a personal item (my club), a small item (my tie), a top (my dress) and shorts. I like to maintain a tad of modesty, so keep a bra and underwear on – in this case a smaller pair of shorts.Screen Shot 2019-04-23 at 20.14.06

My All Dressed Up wardrobe was to comprise of a modified Magnolia as my dress – I promise this will be the last time I make one for a blog tour! My over-shorts and undershorts are both variations of the Endless Summer Shorts. I free hand drew my tie, and the club came from the dollar (pound) store! 

Getting old sucks!

I bought some (almost) cave man fabric; it is stretchy and has sparkly sequins on it. My dress needed to be big enough to have the other layers underneath it, plus a diaper for the second act – did I say we had to have a revival tour because I couldn’t pay my nursing home fees? As such, I made the Magnolia in my usual size but narrowed the skirt to make it more A-Line. I scooped out the neck, made it sleeveless, and finally cut a large zigzag across the bottom to just below knee length. All show dresses must come off though, so I added some snap tape at the shoulders to allow for a quick pull and shimmy!

Snap tape is my friend

My shorts are both based on the Endless Summer Shorts. My over-shorts needed to be removable, and the undershorts had to be snug enough to stay on when I ripped the other ones off! Snap tape is now one of my best friends; it’s much easier to sew on than individual snaps and one good pull and they’re off! I had to practice a lot – if you’ve ever seen The Full Monty you’ll know what the trouser removal scene looks like. Apparently our version was hilarious! To create the over-shorts I chose a lovely cotton dinosaur fabric that I’d been hoarding. I lengthened the shorts to knee length, though if I make them this length again I’ll narrow the leg. I sewed snap tape down each side and secured the waistband with aptly named “stripper clips”. With a little practice I managed to undo the clips without looking; then one good pull and off they came! Phew!

Underneath I wore my Wookiee shorts – after all I was a Cave Man! I made my usual size in a furry fabric that shedded everywhere. I added a knitted waistband in the dress fabric for cuteness. They were a quick sew and while a bit itchy to wear, looked fab.

This hasn’t been much a ‘how to sew this’ blog post so much as a little peek into my world of dance. I hope it hasn’t shocked you too much and if it has, well …  don’t give up on me! 

Do follow the rest of the tour. You  might find something you like and the creations are fantastic.  

Don’t miss out on any of the stops on the All Dressed Up Blog Tour:
Monday 4/22
Tuesday 4/23
Wednesday 4/24
Patricia of Sew Far North
Thursday 4/25
Rachel of  Violets and Jewels
Friday 4/26
Aurelie of Maglice and So

Layers … It’s that time of year!

Screen Shot 2019-03-24 at 19.00.05.png

Once again I am back with some Winter Wear Designs (WWD) creativity. Last month I made the Magnolia Fit and Flare Top & Dress. It was cold here and I made 2; a long sleeve tunic and a full length (keep the body warm) dress. This month I am using the same pattern to create a semi-swing cardigan. The weather has warmed up and we are suddenly in spring (or summer if you are used to cooler climates). Currently, I can wear the tunic until about 11am then change into shorts. Roll on summer! 

Magnolia – How do I hack thee? Let me count the ways … I can see why the pattern has so many followers; it is easy to play with and adapt to create several different looks. So much so, I now have quite a lot of pattern pieces cut from my tracing paper!! For those not aware Magnolia has a gazillion options (most of them documented on the WWD FaceBook group, or in the pattern itself. If you can sew with a knit fabric then it’s a great place to start sewing.

I didn’t want to recreate the Twin Peaks Cardigan, as it has it’s own attractions. I also didn’t want to print off another pattern – yes, my laziness kicked in. Hence, I made a swing cardigan. I cut the pattern to slightly below my hips, and the sleeves to 3″ below the elbow. I graded the side seams to have less of a curve between the waist and hip. After all, I wanted it loose enough to swing and not pull across my back. I added 1″ extra to the centre front then graded the V neck to meet the new edge. I sewed a little button as a closure; I have a larger bust didn’t want it to fall open all the time. I reinforced with  fusible interfacing behind my buttonhole – which still looks wonky, and across the shoulder seams to stop stretching. I serged all the fabric edges to stabilize it as much as anything, then attached a 1″ width of stretch knit as a narrow border. By the time I’d folded it to the inside it was the perfect width. My happiness factor was complete when I compared it to the Twin Peaks Cardigan and it is TOTALLY different! SCORE!!

I recently bought some lovely lightweight bamboo lycra fabric from a Canadian company, Water Tower Textiles. It is super soft, drapy, and wonderfully light. The perfect transition fabric – even if it was a real pain to sew. It is, however, wonderful to cut out with my trusty rotary cutter (and new blade!). The fabric is quite sheer and I can’t see me wearing it as a top without an under layer. I like paler fabrics for summer, but when I paired it with my WWD Omega top and an (old and) trusty skirt I felt the pale combination didn’t show off the cardigan. A quick change into a darker tank made all the difference.

Bloopers? Well, my twin needle sewing still isn’t very straight; I actually get a better result when sewing two single lines of stitching.  I ran out of my main fabric and used a very stretchy fabric for the border. I must have pulled this a bit as my seams are a tad wonky. A couple of pressings and they look heaps better but they aren’t what I’d like them to be. Why am I confessing to the oopsies? Well, recently someone commented that it’s good to read that we all make mistakes – and how we fix them. So expect to see this confessional section in the future.

Do check out the other stops on the tour and remember that all layering patterns will be on sale for 20% off all week (jackets/sweaters/vest)

Don’t miss out on any of the stops on the tour!
Patricia of Sew Far North
Kristen Guest Posting at Winter Wear Designs
Florence Guest Posting at Winter Wear Designs
Livia of Liviality
Aurelie of Maglice and So


Sewing Myself Some Love …

This month being February the challenge was to sew ourselves some LOVE! I chose to make a Winter Wear Design Magnolia Fit & Flare Dress and Top (now referred to as the dress). I need some feel good dresses to lighten my load and brighten my smile. I think that fits the challenge? I wanted some swingy dresses that flattered without hugging the wrong bits, so made 2; one is a long tunic / mini and the other a maxi dress. The dress is fitted to the waist then flares out, there are 2 neck lines, different sleeve lengths, plus a myriad of other options, my favourite being the back insert. Added to which, there are now several add-ons including a cowl neck, cold shoulder, bell sleeve and lace hem. Honestly, stop making these all inclusive patterns! They offer way too much choice.

It was a time of firsts for me, as I haven’t done a full bust adjustment (FBA) in years. Frankly, it was long overdue (sigh); the FBA was recommended if you were over a B/C cup, and I’m a handful more than that – no choking on your coffee Marsha! I like Professor Pincushion’s You Tube Channel and so followed her FBA tutorial, utilizing the pivot method. It was surprisingly easy to do, and I thank my roll of tracing paper for making it easier. Adding it to the myriad of other alterations I make to any new pattern meant a few hours at the design table. I’d made so many adjustments I hadn’t enough confidence at that stage to go to final fabric immediately, so made a muslin, which turned out so well it became the mini.

Lots of notes on my pattern piece make for easy memories

Stretch factor – you’d think with knit patterns that are loose and flows it wouldn’t really matter. Well, you’re wrong! It does, especially if you have a large bust! That’s why the FBA was all important. This pattern calls for fabric with 30% stretch. My mini fabric has 30%, but the maxi’s insert has 25% – Ho Hum, not as bad as it might be.

I made the the mini in a lovely soft brown knit, which sewed as well as it felt – Yee Hah! I cut the back on the fold (accidentally), but it didn’t end up roomy. I’m 5’9’/174cm tall and overall, I added 3″ from shoulder to bust, an extra 1.5″ bust to waist and then just lengthened the bottom to the longest shirt tail (I’m a WWD pattern size 12, I cut to a 22 length). It all worked out, which goes to show that trusting the pattern pieces and your math can pay off on occasion.

For the maxi I decided to go all out and make a glamorous just above ankle high low navy ponte dress with a turquoise ponte blocked insert overlaid with navy lace. Oh, and long bishop sleeves from a free pattern (if you join the Winter Wear Designs FaceBook group). I cut the size 14 insert to allow for the 25% stretch and a size 12 dress. The size 14 insert didn’t fit in the size 12 dress; there is a 1″ difference. I did some nifty grading, which went well after cocking it up once or twice. Thank heavens for oodles of tracing paper and a designer who doesn’t mind helping on those blonde (or senior) moments.

Some canny grading ensues

Eventually I had all the pieces cut out and the sewing was a breeze. At least it was until I attempted to attach my neckband. I think the imps were messing with me as it took three attempts to sew the neckband on successfully. now it is sewn in place it is NOT going anywhere – ever! I decided to not hem the bottom. Call it laziness or the worry that the lace would spring up a little – which it did. In the final photos I saw I will need to trim the ponte just 1/4″ to have it sit above the lace again. I also found out the hard way that ponte likes either a damp cloth to press it or a silk heat. Parts of the sewing look like my brothers’ school trousers – somewhat pressed too much! I hope they’ll wash out.

All in all it is a lovely pattern and has a lot of options to allow my imagination to run riot. I think I will make the colour block option next for a 70’s feel … and some high low tunics. I’m actually so enamoured with this pattern if I get 20 comments on my blog by March 2nd 2019, I will personally buy a lucky winner the pattern. If you already own the Magnolia it can be exchanged for a different WWD pattern of equal or lesser value.


This week all the WWD patterns are 20% off (February 25 – March 2nd), so grab a bargain!

Don’t miss any of the inspiring stops along the tour:
Patricia of Sew Far North
Meriel of  Ellie and Nels
Aurelie of Maglice and So (guest posting at WWD)
Livia of Liviality
Diane of Sewing with D


Changing up the Pattern to Follow the Fashion …

Hackedy, Hack, Hack, Hack! It could be a song but its a sewing saying. By using parts of different patterns, I can recreate a look that I like without spending a lot of money on a new item of clothing. It also means I get the perfect fit!

WWD HackaThon

I’ve seen some lovely tunics coming out for fall. Papillon, a clothing company has several for sale locally. Being slightly not ‘normal’ shape or height they never fit me well, plus I gasp at the prices. Onwards and upwards. Winter Wear Designs has me rushing to make my version of this! I particularly love the pocket detail. Please excuse the partial (secret) photos. Most stores don’t really like people taking photos to hack patterns. Thought I am so pleased with my results I might just wear it in and show them!

Nice cowl feature


It’s a plain boxy tunic, but the cowl neck, accent buttons and funky pockets make it a bit special. I like short sleeves: I can add a thermal layer underneath as the weather cools off, or a 3/4 length for more coverage. I’ve been hoarding this purple plaid fabric. It is super soft and sumptuous and I was reluctant to cut straight into it. Then I remembered I’d bought it in a thrift store. All 3m for Can$8!! Yes, time to use this bulk of fabric up so I can unpack some more!

55 year old eyes and black thread on dark fabric make finding all the loose threads really hard. So if you see any, just let it ride! I also found matching the plaid quite difficult. Like the Little Engine That Could I tried and tried – well, I like it, so it will have to do!

The Refined Raglan is a pattern I was never sure about; I own one raglan tee – from a Metallica Concert. I don’t like round necks because I feel they accentuate my bust. This pattern is made for woven fabrics and I was sure it wouldn’t work for me. So why make it, eh? … That answer being you make it because the designer made it work with woven fabrics and it is a pretty versatile top. The raglan also gives a little extra space for the burgeoning bust! My pattern ‘hacks’ or alterations included:

Straightening off the bottom curve, then adding about 5-6″ to the length. I want to wear this baby with tights if I can, yet be modest enough for my age – getting older sucks!

Attaching an asymmetrical cowl with a feature button. I really like how this hangs and the fabric weight is brilliant for it.

Adding pockets with those feature buttons. It took a while to work out how to make the pin tucks so they fitted. I failed dismally in plaid matching, but then if they were perfect you wouldn’t see them, would you?

I made a template from paper and then kept adding pleats until it made sense (and looked ok). They’re just big enough for an inhaler or tissue.

Its currently 20c here (at 5pm) but the time will come for me to live in this tunic and be super comfortable.

If you are in doubt when wanting to change up a pattern just experiment. It might turn out brilliantly. If it doesn’t then you have learned a lesson. Ask questions and learn from those with more experience. Most of all have fun and keep sewing (or have someone else sew for you!).

This is the last day but check out what others have sewn up this week.

Jess of Jot Designs
Livia of Liviality
Patricia of Sew Far North