The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea in a beautiful pea-green boat…

This is my Le Wise La Sylphide, because owls! 😉

I own my fair share of Papercut patterns but, despite showing you my Bellatrix recently, this dress was actually about 90% complete at the time so it is technically my first ever Papercut make.

It is made from a 100% polyester owl print I bought from Arthur Toye especially with this dress in mind.

Yes I said POLYESTER but could you have left these tiny owls behind in the shop?

No, no you could not have.

The fabric is slightly sheer so I French seamed the entire thing which was actually quite painless, especially since the sleeves are sewn in on the flat, w00t. Also 1cm seam allowances make French seaming a dream, sew right side out at 5mm, little trim trimmy, turn and sew inside out at 5mm: DONE!

Dreamy seams

I did add 20cms to the skirt length, (WARNING: She is short!) but I probably only really needed 16cm since I chopped about 4cm off while hemming.

Lengthening the skirt meant that my back skirt pattern piece (cut on the fold) stuck out over the edge of my fabric. I considered piecing the corner but in the end just folded a bit of fullness out of the skirt at the side seam, marked by the placement of my ruler. If you need to do this then don’t forget to repeat the same alteration on the front skirt piece. You won’t miss the tiny bit of fullness you lose, trust me.

I changed Katie’s construction order a little, sewing the side seams last so I could check the fit and take it in if needed. I cut a size small but it fitted perfectly with no adjustments, yay!


It took me aaages to hem this dress because I procrastinated over the length and fretted over getting it level – in the end I just went for it and it all turned out ok 🙂

I’ve always been a bit nervous about how full skirts look on me, I’ve never felt entirely comfortable in my Hollyburn. However I had seen a few versions of this dress on other blogs and loved the cute look. It was Kat’s “Purple Rain” version that finally sold me and I am so glad I took the risk because I LOVE this dress so much and, bonus, so does Nerdy Husband!

I can tell because he told me so, but also because I’ve just had to trawl through over 200 photos for this post!

I know owls don’t really belong at the beach but while trying  to come up with a witty name for my new dress all I could think of was the Edward Lear poem 🙂

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea in a beautiful pea-green boat…

We just had the most beautifully sunny weekend, it was amazing! I really wanted to take my photos around Wellington harbour but I knew it would be crazy busy in town and I would get embarrassed. Nerdy husband suggested Makara beach, we used to walk (more like hike!) the coast there when we first started going out and haven’t been back for about 8 years.


The “beach” really is actually lots of round stones, hence the lack of shoes, and it was a bit windy but I decided that I quite liked the effect.

I would also like you to know that I suffered for my art since I am slightly prone to car sickness and the car journey was much longer and more winding than I remembered, so I hope you enjoyed my photos! 🙂


I am already working on a second version for the sew along, it should look quite different and includes a few simple pattern mods that I will share with you after it’s complete.

Here is a little sneak peek:

Is anyone else planning a La Sylphide or sewing along with Lauren on the Papercut blog?


Pattern – Papercut Patterns La Sylphide (Covent Garden Collection), dress, straight size S, skirt lengthened approx 16cms

Fabric – 100% printed polyester from Arthur Toye, Wellington

Other notions – 12 re-purposed wooden buttons purchased at Fabric-a-brac in 2011

*The Owl and the Pussy-Cat by Edward Lear

In case you are interested, NZ does indeed have birds other than the Kiwi 😉 and we also have a few owls. My favourite is our native Morepork (or Ruru). They are very common all over NZ and we hear them all the time around our house at night. They call their own name and I think that is so cool. Click the Morepork link and listen to the “evening calls” and see if you can hear “More-pork… More-pork” 😉