Category Archives: My Handmade Wardrobe

when things don’t work out – frankenshirt

Not all of my sewing plans turn out how I’d imagined. It doesn’t seem to happen as much as when I first started sewing, but I still manage to have a #FAIL every now and then. This is how I tried to turn a fail, into a win!

Quite a while ago, I purchased a remnant of 100% cotton chambray from The Remnant Warehouse. It was beautiful and soft, very light weight, and well priced. I noticed a few areas that had faded light damage, but I wasn’t overly concerned about it.

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My first thoughts for this chambray were to turn it into a casual, spring-time dress, with a gathered skirt, semi-fitted bodice, and little sleeves. In my head, it was a thing of beauty. In reality, it was a disaster. I’d put little to no effort into drafting a proper pattern, the neckline stretched out horribly, and the whole thing had a rather unflattering silhouette. Needless to say, I didn’t take any pictures of it.

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This is all that remains of fail #1

After FAIL #1, my next idea was to turn the chambray into a pair of shorts. Light, breezy, spring/summer time shorts. I used a pattern I’d used before, and sewed them up! I was about 80% done, and decided to try them on. Well, I tried to try them on.. they were too small! I couldn’t get them up over my thighs.

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And fail #2

Totally dismayed, FAIL #2 and the scraps sat in my sewing room for weeks. I’d see it every now and then, and felt a stab of disappointment for wasting perfectly good fabric. One day, it got too much, and I decided to fix my fails.

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I seam ripped all the bits apart, ironed them all, and spread them out on my table to see what I had to work with. Not much, is what I was looking at. I decided to sew all the bits together, in a patchwork kind of way, so I once again had enough fabric to make a simple shell top.

Keeping the grain as straight as possible, I started sewing all the bits together, overlocking the seams, and pressing. Sew, overlock, press. Repeat. After a few hours, this is what I had.

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I drafted a simple shell top from my bodice block, made a toile so I didn’t screw up this fabric again, made alterations to the pattern, then cut out from the chambray. The only thing I had to keep an eye on, was the placement of the front, which has bust darts. I managed to avoid having any extra seams going into the darts.

Sewing it together was very easy. I made sure to overlock all my seams to keep everything from fraying. I finished the neck and arm holes with the same chambray bias-binding I used on this stripy top.

After a final press, it was ready to wear!

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As you can see, I added a button closer to the back. I think it works really well, I don’t have to undo it to get it on, however, my binding finish on the split isn’t my best work. Something to practice!

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I just love all the different shades in this top, and the angels of the patchwork seams. All the little bits patched together really reminded me of Frankenstein’s monster, so this project has fondly been named, the Frankenshirt.

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So, what do you think? Did I turn my fail into a #WIN? I think I did, I see the Frankentop becoming a real staple in my summer wardrobe!

Mitty x

sewing basics – wiggle skirt

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Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a 100% handmade wardrobe? Or as close to 100% as you can get! I am a long way away from this dream, and while we all need exciting things to wear (and sew), like party dresses, loud shirts, and coats, we also need basics. I decided to start building my “basics” collection with a plain, unoffensive, goes-with-everything skirt.

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There was a decent amount of Ponti left over from my sleeveless jacket, so I decided to make a wiggle skirt from it. I drafted a pattern from my skirt block, keeping the single darts in the front, and the four in the back. I’ve used a straight waistband that sits on my natural waistline. I find this type of waistband really comfortable, and it nips me in nicely.

Even though this fabric has a decent amount of give, I added a vent in the back, just to make walking a little easier.

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For a really clean hemline, I whipped out a hand needle and thread. This is a great technique to use on Ponti, as you don’t have to finish the raw edged first, there is no way it will fray!

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The skirt is great, it’s very comfortable, and the Ponti is so soft and smooth. However, it is a little boring on it’s own, so we found this amazing rainbow-painted monster roller door backdrop for our photoshoot. Isn’t it great?!

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There are many more basics that I need to sew, but I need to quench my thirst for something fun and patterned first!

Until next time,

Mitty x

A big thanks to hubby, for the impromptu video!

box pleat skirt with netting

Here’s a project that was finished months ago, has been worn several times, but hasn’t made it onto the blog. I have no idea why it’s taken me so long, but here it is!

This skirt started, as many do, while browsing Pinterest. I love a high waisted silhouette, and my “SKIRT” board can vouch for me when I said I’d pinned several versions. I’d noticed that I’d actually pinned a few that had sheer or lacy panels, and so this skirt went from being a vague idea, to “This needs to be in my wardrobe NOW”.

I wanted my skirt to have a lot of volume without the need of a tulle layer or padding underneath. I decided to make a box pleat skirt from a thick Ponti di Roma, which would hold its shape well, and be strong enough to support the sheer panel.

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I bought a swatch of a Ponti that I thought would do the job from Knitwit. I must say, I was super impressed with what turned up. It had a decent amount of body, it was really smooth, and I could just feel that it was a high quality fabric. I bought a meter of it as soon as I could.

Then the hunt began for something sheer to use, and honestly it wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. I found this beautiful netting fabric with ribbon detail at The Remnant Warehouse. They must be sold out of it now because I can’t find it on the website, but I remember the tag saying that it was a Nicola Finetti remnant.

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 I drafted a quick box pleat pattern that would sit right on my natural waist. The top portion using the Ponti ends just above my knee, with the netting flowing down to a “midi” length. I think this is a really versatile length, as it looks great with flats, or really classy with heels.

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I used a 20cm invisible zipper down one side seam, so the box pleat pattern wasn’t interrupted.

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The only part of this skirt that was a bit of a struggle, was hemming the netting. I had to hand sew it,  the ribbon sections were too thick for my sewing machine, so pushing a needle through it for 2 hours was a little painful in the end, but well worth it.

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I absolutely love it! It looks great with a casual tee for a dressed-down look, I’ve worn it with a close fitting jumper and tights when the weather was cooler, and I can dress it up with a silk cami and heels. It’s become a real workhorse in my wardrobe!

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 I think I got pretty close to my “pin-spiration”, don’t you?

Mitty x

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striped boxy tee

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As much as I love taking my time with an intricate pattern, I also love the instant satisfaction I get from a really quick sew. This boxy tee happens to be the latter.

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You may remember this striped fabric from my haul last week, and how I said I was going to make a “Molly Top” from Sew Over It. I’m still going to do that, but I was able to squeeze another top out of the fabric with only a few compromises.

This is a self drafted pattern, normally used with woven fabrics, but I thought it would work just as well in a knit. First off, matching these stripes was a real pain! I washed the fabric first, and it must have warped when I hung it out to dry.

Can you add “modifications” to your own pattern..? I turned the straight hem into a curved hem, with the back dipping down a little further than the front. I also added little sleeve cuffs (cut off grain), instead of using a binding.

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As this neckline leans toward a boat neckline, I wanted it to be as stable as possible, and not stretch out over time. I used tear-a-way to secure the neckline, then used a chambray binding that I cut from some scraps. I really wanted to use a patterned cotton for the binding, but the jersey wasn’t opaque enough and it showed through. I do like the chambray though!

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I have only just bought myself a twin needle (can you believe it?), and it’s my favourite thing at the moment! I used it to give the hemline a really professional finish.

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From cutting to wearing, this boxy tee only took me a few hours. I’m really happy with how it turned out, it’s comfy and easy to throw on, but I think the stripes make it look a little more fancy than it probably is.

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Until next time,

Mitty x

sleeveless jacket

What are your thoughts on the sleeveless jacket trend? Sure it looks stylish, but if it’s freezing outside, wouldn’t your arms get cold? I’m not convinced that it’s a sensible option for the middle of winter, but I’m all for the sleeveless jacket in-between seasons!

My friend Nicole came over for dinner a few months ago, wearing her new sleeveless jacket. I (rather unceremoniously) stripped it off her, and got to copying the pattern. The original was made from 100% wool, but I wanted to try it out on something a little lighter.

I bought some really beautiful Ponti from Knitwit Australia and got to making. This Ponti is an absolute dream to work with! Cuts beautifully and sews up really well. I used a stretch needle and didn’t get any of those annoying skipped stitches.

I made my jacket using 2 colours, light grey on the front (which is no longer being stocked), and charcoal for the back.

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This was actually in my line up of items to make during MMMay2016, but I’m pretty sure I finished it in June.

I really love my new sleeveless jacket! It’s perfect to throw on if it’s a little chilly outside. I also love the fact that I didn’t have to do any hemming, as the cut edge won’t fray!

And.. is it a jacket, or a vest? My husband calls it a Mu-Mu, which it 100% is not!

Mitty x

cult hit: white russian

Whoa. Where did the time go? Is it really June already? It’s safe to say that I failed MeMadeMay2016 in regards to blogging about it, and sewing a new item each week (what was I thinking?!), however, I did manage to wear 2 me-made items for the weeks of May. Let’s chalk MMMay2016 up as 45/100, so much room for improvement!

I did actually get one “make” finished during May, and have finally taken a few photos of it. I made the Capital Chic White Russian! The weather in May was actually too warm to wear it (Global warming, I’m telling you!), but now that it’s finally started to cool down, I’ve been able to throw it on a few times.

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First, the fabric. I went to The Remnant Warehouse in Alexandria searching for a lovely fleece-backed fabric. They have a few styles of fleece, but I was really drawn to this beautiful navy. Another plus, is that it is 100% organic cotton! YES! I love fabric that can breath during the winter, but also keep you toasty warm! Be on notice, however, like all other fleece fabrics, navy blue fuzz was everywhere after cutting. I used a sticky roller to pick most of it up, but I’m still finding small pockets of fuzz in my sewing room…

The pattern is simple and easy to follow, however I did grade the seam allowances from 1.5cm down to 1cm. Everything else was put together as instructed. I spent a few hours sewing a subtle diamond pattern onto the front and back pieces. It doesn’t stand out as much as I thought it would, but I like the slight change in texture.

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I’m very happy with my new jumper, it will certainly get a lot of wear over winter. The fabric washes really well (no extra shedding after it’s initial wash), but it does need a quick press with a warm iron before wearing.

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Have you made the White Russian, or any other Capital Chic patterns? I’d love to hear your success stories!

Mitty x

white & gold bra

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I’ve been bra sewing again! I have a few other sewing projects that I really need to dedicate my time to, but I just couldn’t help myself!

I wanted to play around with the cup style, so I’ve added in a power-band, and I moved the cross seam up a little bit.

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I cut the majority of the cup from a beautiful white and gold lace from Boobytraps. The power band is a medium weigh, white lycra.

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I wanted a much lower cut style than my previous bra, so I took about 4cm out of the cups and bridge. Only after I did this, I realized that I didn’t have any under-wires to fit the lower style. I could have waited, and bought some, but I was being rather impatient, so I harvested a pair of wires from an old bra. I checked to make sure they weren’t bent out of shape, then I drew around them onto a piece of paper for future wire-buying.

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To show how much I lowered the bridge, I put the white bra on top of the pink bra. It’s quite a dramatic difference!

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The back is exactly the same design as my pink bra, and cut from the white lycra.

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I lined the entire bra (except the back wing) with bra tule. I love how it encases all of the seams, it gives a very neat finish.

I wore this bra yesterday, so I could report on the comfort level. OMG it was SO ITCHY! How is that possible? It’s fully lines with the softest tule and it doesn’t have any raw seams!? The only thing I can think of, is that I’m rather sensitive, having worn padded bras every day for the last 15 years. Has this been a problem for anyone else? I hope to get used to it over time, because I’d hate to never wear this bra again, it’s so beautiful!

Let me know if you’ve experienced anything like this, and if you have any recommendation to increase the comfort.

Mitty x