Indie round up: Hello Lizzie from Busy Lizzie!

How much fun was Indie pattern month?! It’s all over now and I can’t believe how fast June zoomed by but Kat and I really enjoyed hosting this month and it was so exciting to see amazing independent pattern makes popping up all over the blog-o-sphere.

Even if you didn’t take part I am sure you got some great inspiration and found some new pattens to add to your list, I know I did!

We got to “meet” a few of these fabulous designers, so if you missed their interviews click through to find out more about Hannah from Sinbad & Sailor, Amity and Nhi from Lolita Patterns and Katie from Papercut Patterns.

Over the next few days Kat and I will be winding up Indie Pattern Month with something a bit different, we’re going to be hearing from some of the fabulous bloggers who sewed along with us! Yay!

Yesterday Kat caught up with the fabulous Penny of Dresses and Me so why don’t you pop on over and see what her favourite independent patterns are?

First up for me is the super talented Lizzie of Busy Lizzie.

Hi Lizzie!

What do you like the most about sewing with indie patterns?

The patterns tend to lean more towards my general aesthetic and it is nice to be supporting small businesses instead of the big corporations. I like that I am supporting a designer directly, I often feel like I kind of know them from following their blog and it is nice to feel part of that community

What’s your favourite Indie pattern, and why?

Hmmm…there are so many I like! Currently my favourites are the Coppelia by Papercut and the Hollyburn by Sewaholic and they make a perfect pairing!

(Click on any image to learn more)

What’s your favourite thing you’ve made from an indie pattern?

I make the Banksia top from Megan Nielsen a lot, this pattern is super versatile, with or without sleeves, with or without collar, and with or without placket and any combination of these!!

Which is your favourite indie pattern company, and why?

I have three favourites – Sewaholic, Papercut and Megan Nielsen

Which indie pattern are you planning on making next?

It’s jacket season for me so I have the Robson by Sewaholic and the Anise by Colette on my cutting table

What indie patterns are on your wish list?

Deer & Doe Patterns – I love the Belledone and Bluet the best!

Thanks for having me along!!

You’re welcome Lizzie, it’s great to see so many amazing projects from you, I love your clever combinations of fabric and colour and your Hole-y Moly Banksia top is my favourite version I’ve seen of that pattern, I think I just added another one to my list! xx

Stay tuned for more blogger interviews over the next few days!


It’s black and fuzzy and being dragged away by a black fuzzy thing

Wow so June is done and dusted and July is speeding by, I’ve seriously struggled to find sewing time this month. I did complete my top-secret project that I’ll post as soon as I am allowed to but for now, here is some Lady Grey progress.

Spoiler alert: It’s not finished…yet.

These photos are from Monday night, Harri and I had the house to ourselves and I seriously thought I might get to at least 95% done. I dreamt about my rainbow swallows dress on Sunday night but I HAVE to finish Lady Grey first and when I am done my machines are going to need one heck of a vacuum out. This wool makes its own fuzz babies everywhere!

Normally when I have a day of sewing I can convince Harri to take a nap in her bed, which I move into my sewing room. Her bed has had an extra incentive added recently, a hot water bottle.

Yes I spoil her, I’m allowed 😉

This is an example of situation normal, taken a week or so ago:

But on Monday night it just wasn’t happening. Instead we had this:

And then this:

And this:

There was not going to be any situation normal this night. Harri LOVES this wool. At one point I turned around from stitching a sleeve seam and she was on the cutting table dragging the WHOLE coat shell towards the edge. I have no idea where she was planning to go with it but she was giving it her best shot.

So she’s not the best helper but I guess when only one of your humans is home you have to apply all your love to that human even if they really just wish you’d curl up in their lap.

I did achieve quite a lot, in-between plonking Harri back on the ground every 10 minutes but when she decided she liked the look of the iron (which was HOT), I called it a night.

Sorry in advance for these absolutely terrible night time photos but we’ve been over this: It’s WINTER!

The shell front and back, is all assembled and top stitched, just the collar left to go on:

The lining is 80% there, I have to pre-hem the bottom then facings are next followed by the sleeves and then I can attach it to the shell.

I am debating if I want to try my hand at a pair of bound button holes (and that reminds me that I don’t even have any buttons picked out yet!). I think a bound button hole would look better than a machine stitched one with this fabric and look infinitely more professional and “RTW”.

Colette has a beautifully photographed tutorial and they look like miniature welt pockets to me, which I have made successfully before. I think I just convinced myself…

So yes, that’s as far as I have gotten. Indie month is officially over and I am dragging my heels on my second item but I’ll get there this week and I am really excited to finish this coat.

Over the next few days Kat and I will be winding up the month with some posts featuring a few of our participants.

Did you enjoy Indie pattern month? I hope so. I found it motivational and a great way to show our love for the independent pattern designers. I definitely spotted a few new patterns I hadn’t considered before! I also enjoyed Burda month because both themes left the sewing open to suit everyone’s individual skill level and it also meant I could pick a project that suited my sewing mood the current season. How about you?


Meet Amity and Nhi from Lolita Patterns

As part of our Indie Pattern Month, Kat and I have sat a few Indie Pattern Designers down in the interview chair.

Hannah from Sinbad and Sailor was first, you can read her interview here.

Now it’s my turn! Allow me to introduce Amity and Nhi, the super talented ladies behind Lolita Patterns.

Welcome Amity and Nhi! I have only recently discovered your label myself so I am really excited to hear more about your personal design thoughts, let’s begin.

What inspired you to get into pattern designing?

We are both serial sewists. We’ve sewn everything from clothes to quilts, from home décor to car upholstery, from purses to bras. If it can be sewn, we’ll sew it!

Over the years, we wanted more of a challenge AND we wanted patterns for garments we could wear in our professional careers. From that came the seedling of an idea that bloomed to be Lolita Patterns.

Amity (right) & Nhi (left) hard at work on an initial sample of their newest pattern, Sugar Plum

How would you describe your aesthetic?

Our designs starts with professional wear in which we add a Japanese Lolita twist; hence, Lolita Patterns.

This is not to be confused with the American interpretation of Lolita or cosplay! Japanese Lolita is about femininity, modesty and elegance. We think that adding the Japanese Lolita street fashion to professional wear gives a fresh take to a wardrobe that can turn boring quickly.

What do you consider your point of difference?

One of the first things we did when we started talking about starting a pattern company was to do a thorough analysis of the current pattern and relevant RTW companies. We wanted to take every aspect of what we loved from each and came up with some nice features ourselves.

Besides our unique styles, one of our points of difference is our large range of sizes (2-24). We wrote a detailed post about our sizing, as a part of our on-going behind the scenes series called “sew that’s why”.

Lolita’s Size Chart

Our patterns also stretch sewers into intermediate and advance territories. Sewers should not fear because we’ve included some very helpful features like heavily illustrated instructions, lettered notches for easy matching and cutting labels to keep track of pattern pieces.

How similar are your designs and your own day-to-day wardrobe?

Our designs are ripped from the pages our day-to-day wardrobes. Interestingly enough, we are on two different spectrum of styles yet we had some pieces in our wardrobe that were fairly similar. We had different interpretations in fabric and styling but the garment or pattern was the same. Once we both can agree on a pattern, we know that it will appeal to a wide range of consumer and can be reinterpreted in many different ways.

Nhi’s three versions of Fuchsia

Which is your favourite of the patterns you’ve designed?

No fair! This question is like asking someone which piece of fabric is their favorite from their stash. Who can decide? We love them all. If we didn’t love them, we don’t even waste our time and money making them into a pattern. However, we have to admit, that our favorite pattern at the time seems to be the one we are working on and getting to sew up in many different variations. It is always fun when your inspiration finally comes to life and you get to wear it!

If you could make that one for anyone at all, who would it be for, why, and what fabric would you make it in?

Sugar Plum would look incredible on Kate Beckinsale. She’s gorgeous and has incredible style. We could see her in a Sugar Plum made with double silk georgette for the top and double-knit for the contrast.

Amity in the new Sugar Plum dress which is currently out for testing

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt since you started your pattern label?

There is sooo much to learn and do! We are lucky that there are two of us and we have complementary skills. One of us works on the pattern making, fitting and technical illustrations, the other works with the website, customers, and designing. There are times when one of us gets busy or sick and it is great to have someone to share the load during those times. And of course we have a large network of sewing volunteers that have helped us all the way along.

Why did you choose that name for your label?

As mentioned previously, our style is influenced by Japanese Lolita street fashion. It was somewhat controversial at first because of in the US, Americans think of Stanley Kubrick movie, Lolita. We were originally concerned that if some web searched “Lolita Patterns”, it might show ::ahem:: inappropriate results. Luckily that is not the case as Japanese Lolita style fashion is far more prevalent and popular. Plus now when you search “Lolita Patterns”, you get us!

Gratuitous puppy shot, awww! Hello Waffle!

How do you decide what to call your patterns?

Our pattern names are named after colors because we love color. There are a million color names to choose from so we were confident that we could find one that was the perfect fit a particular pattern.

Our first pattern was Fuchsia. It’s fun and happy while being sophisticated.The Fuchsia is still free to download here.

Our second pattern is Sugar Plum. Sugar Plum is feminine and refined and comfortable for a long day at work.

Sugar Plum

Thank you ladies, it was great to learn more about your emerging brand. Best of luck for your next pattern launch and we all look forward to seeing more amazing designs from you with your special Lolita twist!

If you are interested in the Fuchsia skirt, that magic word was FREE and you still have plenty of time to whip one up before the end of Indie Pattern Month. You can find their super helpful Fuchsia Sew-Along here!


Past Indie Pattern Love

Indie Pattern MonthOk, so I just found this post in my drafts folder and I swear I published it a while ago but it’s not there…so…I am hitting publish now and wondering, is this déjà vu?


I’m going to kick off Indie Pattern Month the same way I started with Burda by first reviewing my past Indie makes.

There are only three of them because I’ve only recently discovered the joy of a prettily packaged and well drafted independent designed sewing pattern.

I will readily admit that these pattern can be quite expensive, especially when converted to NZD$ and then you add on international postage. Sheesh, how can something so small and light cos so much to send?! However, I have a strategy, and it goes like this: if you are patient and join enough mailing lists eventually one of the pattern companies you covet will do some sort of discount or free postage offer and then you can pounce, wish-list in hand, on the pretties.

Another option is to find some other local sewists and share on postage.

Loudly announcing which patterns you desire out aloud to anyone and everyone several times before your birthday and Christmas has also been known to work 😉

(EDIT 19/06/2013: And for the Kiwi’s there is this option now too!)

I’ve built up my Indie stash slowly. The Colette patterns are the oldest, Sewaholic came next, the Hollyburn and Robson coat were thank you gifts for participating in pattern testing and then I bought the other three myself.

The Papercut patterns joined my stash last Christmas and the Deer & Doe patterns are my latest additions. There are others on my wishlist but I need to sew a few of these up to justify any additions.

I love all of them, I’m not one to let the red mist descend during a sale. I am picky with my fabric and I am picky with my pattern purchases, I like to think of my entire stash (fabric, notions & patterns) as carefully curated, inspiring and there as a enabler for me to indulge my creative passion 🙂

So, my first indie make was a Colette Rooibos:

I made this dress for my 30th birthday and it was supposed to be the inaugural birthday dress but the next few birthday dresses have not gone so smoothly and now I just think I’ll make pretty dresses, who needs an excuse to make a pretty dress?!

Despite being totally in love with the finished dress I didn’t wear it very often after making it and at first I couldn’t work out why. I think the fabric has a winter look about it but then the lack of sleeves and shorter hem makes me think of summer…so a few months ago I dug it out and had a think of how I can wear it more often. A cute black shrug helps, as well as tights and some vintage-look boots. It takes me a while to get things mentally into my wardrobe rotation but I think this dress deserves to get out more often!

Writing this post makes me want to make another version now, this patten is really versatile. Patterned fabric and plain piping, plain fabric and patterned piping, to pipe or not to pipe or where to pipe is all up to you.

I used Photoshop to help me decide on my piping colour and location:

This is a really fun way to visualise the finished garment and get you really excited to sew. I have written two tutorials to show you how it’s done, one for Photoshop and one for Gimp (a free alternative). Click on the thumbnails below to go to each tutorial.

My Rooibos stitched up like a dream, the instructions were fabulously illustrated and clear and I even learnt a new clean look bodice lining technique. I took it in a little bit at the waist and nothing else, so easy, so gratifying.

Sewaholic Hollyburn was next and showed me that a style of skirt I had previously discounted didn’t look so bad on me at all!

This also stitched up super easy and I think if you were looking to add a few skirts quickly to your wardrobe you could probably whip up one of these up in a couple of hours and have two more complete before dinner. And it’s another really versatile pattern, add some piping at the waist, contrast pockets, different lengths, you could even add a lining too.

I was hooked and added 3 more Sewaholics to my stash and now we come to my most recent 100% complete project, a Sewaholic Robson Coat. I really enjoyed making this coat and I am super happy with the final result.

I’ve wore it to work earlier in the month during a bitterly cold winter-is-here-week, it kept me very warm and every time I took it off the lining made me smile.

And now I am back at the Colette Lady Grey. I think the black wool will make this coat really versatile and easy to wear and I love the slightly vintage look and big collar.

I’m excited to finally get back to it but it was a hard decision. I was so tempted to leave it a little bit longer and jump onto Papercut’s Watson or Deer & Doe’s Belladone, I even have fabric in my stash especially picked out…but it’s OK, they’ll happen eventually and until then I’ll have another super warm coat to keep me warm this winter.

Which indie patterns have you previously sewn up and what are you planning to sew this month?

footer_machine zigzag love