Gosh, that takes me back… or forward. That’s the trouble with time travel, you can never remember*

It’s time to get back into the Elna TARDIS and come back in time with me, not too far, not as far as the last time I showed you my Oldest Un-photographed Finished Object!

Hold on tight, we’ve got two quick stops to make, November 2011 and February 2012, the last two times these items made an appearance on this blog.

Woah, look what we’ve found! It’s my Simplicity 2556 Vest and a 3rd BurdaStyle JJ blouse!

They’ve been finished for quite a while, worn A LOT, but never photographed, oops! 😉

The vest is an amazing OOP pattern from the Simplicity Project Runway range – I am really confused as to why it’s OOP so soon, it feels like I bought it so recently.

Well anyway, I own about 4 Simplicity PR patterns, this being the only one I’ve actually made up, but I love the concept of them.

Basically the options are broken down into individual elements that you can mix and match to create a more unique item, it feels much more value-for-money, plus you can make it over and over again with different results each time.

They also include a (ridiculously leggy) croquis and each element for you to trace so you can draw up the entire outfit before you start, sort of like making your own paper doll, super fun!

Click through for a video tutorial on how to use the croquis kit

With this vest I went with view C and chose not to add the collar or (I think they are fake) pockets. I also love view B, with the bow, cute!

The vest isn’t the best example since there are only 2 or so options for each view, a better example is this dress (which is apparently also OOP – what the?) It has 2 bodice options, 2 skirt options, 2 collar options, 3 sleeve options plus a sash and Simplicity show you only 8 or the many variations you can create!

The other great thing is that each bodice comes in A through D cup sizes.

So I made a bit of a boo boo when I bought my vest pattern, I bought the size bracket that only went up to a 12 but according to Simplicity (and the finished measurements) I am a 16 so I resized my pattern using this method from an old Burda magazine. The notes says that you should not alter the pattern by more that 2 sizes otherwise the fit will be compromised. I wasn’t sure if they meant 2 sizes as in 1 up/1 down, or 2 sizes in each direction but I just went ahead and graded my 12C bodice up to a 16 anyway 😉

Pfftt! Size 16, whateves Simplicity!

It worked, that’s all that matters! 😀

I can’t even remember where I got this fabric from, probably Fabulous Fabrics in Balcatta (Perth) – I think I may have bought it originally for pants. The lining is left overs from my Hikaru coat  – which I have lost somewhere, how sad is that?! I am devastated, lucky I have my new Lady Grey to keep me warm next winter!

Wait, who am I kidding?! I have 5 more coats planned in my head, you can never have enough coats if you live in Wellington!

Anyway, this is one of those items that I made not being sure if I would like it or not, I often choose to sew new-to-me-style as an experiment. Yeah, that’s me, can’t even be bothered to go into a shop and try one on first (that’s how much I hate rtw clothes shopping) but sewing makes me more brave with fashion. Luckily I LOVE it, I wore it a lot during winter, vests are cool!

The JJ is my tried and true blouse pattern that I always turn too when I need a new blouse – this is my third version (check out versions one and two) – I went through a phase where every time I went fabric shopping all I could see was JJ fabric.

Also I LOVE RUFFLES! Who doesn’t?!

Seriously though, this princess seamed blouse pattern is amazing for fit and adjustability. You don’t have to put on the ruffles and I like the stand up collar, it’s a bit more modern but you could totally change that out, and the sleeves. Did I mention it’s a FREE PATTERN?

Do it!

More recently I’ve put myself on a bit of a blouse ban and am currently obsessed with dresses.

Because: grown up, want pretty dresses!

But I still love this JJ, fabric from Spotlight I think, or maybe somewhere else. It’s just a simple cotton, a tad on the thin side but pretty colours, nice to wear and perfect for under the vest, over jeans or tucked into a high-waisted pencil skirt.

Right, that’s all, I’ll drop you back in 2013 shortly, but first we’ll just pop back to 2010 for that fabric sale I missed…

If only! 😉

*The Fourth Doctor, Doctor Who, “The Androids of Tara”

WIP: Simplicity 2556 Vest

I hardly ever post WIP images.

I have this thing about jinxing myself which I know is silly. But since I was a bit camera-shy this weekend and therefore have no finished item images to share here is the progress I’ve made on my vest.

I’m really excited about it!

You might remember that I bought the pattern in a size bracket which was too small for me. I had pulled it out of my filing cabinet and paired it with some fabric a few weeks ago and it wasn’t until I unfolded the tissue to trace it up that I realised the problem.


I was determined to make the vest anyway. I’ve seen some amazing versions of it online, Tasia’s version was the clincher. So I decided to have a go at drafting it up a size (or two) using the instructions I had in a Burda magazine. I scanned them in here if you’re interested.

It suggests changing the pattern by no more that 2 sizes in order to maintain the good fit of the original draft. I’m not sure if that means one size each way (one up and one down) or what but I needed to go from a 12 to a 16 so I just did it anyway 🙂 I had no intention of fitting a muslin first, I don’t have the patience, so I did a quick tissue fit check on Scarlett. It looked good so I crossed my fingers and cut into my fabric.

Here is the outer (inside out), I basted the shoulders and side seams for a test fit:

It was good! All I did was take in the top of each princess seam (front and back) near the arm hole to correct a tiny bit of gaping, I will do the same at the side seam when they get stitched properly. The centre back seam is straight and I was going to trim off the seam allowance and cut it on the fold to eliminate the seam but in the end I went with the original pattern just in case I needed some extra shaping. I did in fact have some gapeage at the back of the neck so was able to correct that as well.

I doubt these required tweaks are a result of my enlarging the pattern, they are typical of the little OCD corrections I perform on most patterns.

My fabric is a wool blend in dark grey (almost black but not quite) with a white pin stripe. I was going to buy a black pinstripe but I’m glad I’ve gone for the softer tone, I’ll be able to wear it with more items and it makes it a bit less formal feeling.

The front pieces are interfaced with the last of the most amazing interfacing I bought at an Empire Rose sale aaaages ago in Western Australia. It was only about $5/m and it is so good I wish I’d just bought the entire bolt! Ah well, nothing lasts forever, right?

For lining I decided to “keep it in the stash” and used up some of my leftover satin from my Hikaru jacket. I kind of wanted something with a bit more punch (like hot pink or lime green) but sanity (and the long stretch until pay-day) prevailed.

 You can see below the front lining pieces are faced with interfaced self fabric and the rest of the pieces are cut in lining.

It took forever to pin the lining and outer together. I spent a ridiculous amount of time crawling about on the floor (oh for a bigger room!) carefully lining up each seam but it was worth it. The construction order is to stitch all the way around (excluding the side seams) joining the lining and outer together.

Like so:

 Next you turn the whole thing right side out through the side seams. I’ve done that but I don’t have a picture. You really don’t need to see it in it’s just turned state, all puffy and round and floppy and needing a really good press.

So that is next and then after stitching up the side seams and I just need to find the perfect buttons and it’s all done.

I like seeing WIP images on other blogs I read, do you? Or do you prefer to see the finished item instead of the long journey? Are WIP posts inspirational? Helpful? Boring?

100, 000

I like stats and I often have a cruise through my blog stats to see where I’m picking up new readers from and which posts are the most popular. As much as any blogger claims they blog for themselves it’s still pretty cool to have others along for the ride.

On January 31st I was checking out WordPress’ new dedicated stats page and glanced down at my overall hits total, seriously, it was on 99, 999. I thought that was pretty cool so I waited for it to tick over to get the print screen of the special occasion.

Have you never taken a photo of your cars speedometer when its clocked over to a “special” number? No? It’s just Nerdy Husband and I then?

Lots of bloggers I follow like to have giveaways to celebrate reader milestones. I have thought to doing that too but to be honest I don’t really know my exact reader count since I don’t think you can get accurate stats on subscribers who use the RSS feed. I do know I recently cracked 60 email subscribers.

Well, 100, 000 hits is surely something to celebrate so let’s do it shall we?! I just happen to have this fabulous Suzi Chin for Maggy Boutique pattern in my stash that’s looking for a new home:

It is Butterick 5490 in the size bracket BB (8-10-12-14), it has a cute lined and fitted bodice with beautiful dart detailing at centre front and a pleated skirt in two lengths. Purchased during one of my out of control online pattern purchase sprees it is uncut and still factory folded.

Just in case you are suspicious I’m giving it away because I have since learn’t that this style of dress doesn’t really suit me – pleated fronts (especially with a raised waist) and I simply don’t get along,  as evidenced when I tried to make BurdaStyle’s Danielle dress (which got ufo’d and then saved and turned into a Jenny skirt instead) and of course the NSFW Dress.  So, in keeping with my New Years Resolution it is being evicted from the filing cabinet.

I bet it will suit one of my beautiful readers perfectly though! Check out Butterick’s size chart here and even if it suggests you are a size 16 then you’ll probably still be able to fit this dress since we know the “big four” tend to run large.

So, you want?

Here’s how you can get your hands on it: Leave me a comment on this post telling me about the sewing project you are working on right now, or the one you are about to start (feel free to leave me a link to a photo if you want too).

If you are a first time commenter or possibly because you leave me a link to a photo in your message may go to moderation (because that’s how I roll, and to protect myself from the evil spammers) but don’t worry, I get an immediate email notification and I’ll approve you almost straight away so you won’t miss out – unless I am asleep in bed, in that case you’ll have to wait until tomorrow but I promise to release all comments before selecting my winner. About this time tomorrow I will randomly select that winner and contact them for postage details and if that’s you then it’s all yours.


So, since we are talking about current projects I’ll go first: I have just cut out Simplicity’s Misses Vest 2556 (view C, sans pockets and collar).

It’s a Project Runway pattern which means you get all these pattern parts that you can mix and match on the supplied croquis, kind of like playing paper dress-up doll. They also supply you with separate pattern pieces for different cup sizes (A – D) so no need to do an SBA or FBA. I’m really interested to see how it fits since it’s the first time I’ve tried any bust adjustment at all.

Just before I started tracing I realised I made a bit of a boo boo when buying this pattern, it only goes up to a size 12. I must have misread the size chart or just clicked the wrong size when I was purchasing it online because Simplicity seem to think I should be cutting out a size 16…so I graded it up using this method. Now I know, two sizes up is a bit of a risk but I think it’ll be OK. In fact, with the bust adjustment, this might even be a tad too big but there are lots of seams where I can pinch out the extra ease when the time comes…I hope I haven’t just jinxed myself…

I was going to buy fabric for this vest but after tidying up my fabric stash the other day I found the perfect pin striped suiting. I had 1.6m x 148cm but managed to get the vest cut out in just 0.65m so I still have some left over for another small project. I’m planning to find some wicked buttons and lining this weekend but I also have enough left over lining from my Hikaru jacket if I can’t find anything.

Now the only thing left to decide is which image is cooler? The one above of 100, 000 hits, or the one I snapped before it of 99, 999?!

Good luck! 🙂