Sew Sarah

adventures in dress-making

Month: February, 2014

Sewing legacy

During the week my mother presented me with a thimble and tracing wheel which belonged to my grandmother who tragically passed away in her early forties in the 1950s.

I have many of her household items such as crockery, tea sets, handmade table clothes as well as her button collection but these two items are things that she would have used every day.

It is really nice to know that over sixty years later, they are now useful. This is one of the things in life you can’t buy or put a value on. This is completely precious and priceless!

What sewing legacies have you been given??


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Some crochet progress and unravelling (in the two senses)

Well. I have been quiet on the crochet front but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy crocheting (and unravelling).

My-oh-my there has been some unravelling. But I need to make some progress or else I will never get anywhere.

It was a sticking hot weekend in Brisbane so spent a lot of time sitting in front of the fan, drinking G&Ts, catching up with Sons of Anarchy and getting some of my granny squares done.

Now important lesson here. Crocheting while having consumed one or two generous G&Ts is okay. Once I started getting to the bottom of my third free pour ….. well you can just imagine. Look, it was doable, it just got very clumsy by drink four.

Over the weekend I got eight granny squares done. Just 64 to go.



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Inspiration and motivation

For the first time in two years I don’t have a project ready to go.

I have Laurel three quarters finished (and has been since before Christmas).

January and February in Queensland can be pretty hot and humid, not the most comfortable sewing weather. This doesn’t help my loss of sewing mojo.

I just need that new challenge. That pattern or fabric I can’t do without!!!

Any suggestions please!!


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Colette Laurel Pattern Review

Now I am not a shift dress person. I am short and anything that isn’t nipped at the waist makes me look like a sack of spuds.

So when Colette Patterns launched the Laurel last year, I wasn’t really sold. But as I saw more and more people, with an assortment of body types, make the dress, I started to reconsider.

So, not wanting to be the one who misses out, I jumped on the bandwagon as well.

I found some lovely spotted cotton (with a tiny bit of stretch) at Spotlight. I think it might be a cotton chintz. It has the look of sateen but not as thick or as stretchy.

The construction was super simple and knocked it up in a few hours including matching bias binding.

The diamond darts at the back give it that needed shape.

I didn’t even bother with the instructions, it was sooo simple.

However, next time I make it I will add a little more length. Also, the sleeves were a little tight but actually think that I will need an fba. I think that is what is constricting the sleeves.


I have already started another version but went up two sizes as I was too lazy to do a fba, I wanted something loose fitting and the fabric was some sort of shiny chambray and had no stretch…..cutting corners does mean an unsatisfactory result. It was way too big. I also added some length and it comes half way down my calf!

Doh. But actually, I think I can fix this pretty easily. I also want it to be a comfortable shift to hang around the house in the evenings and weekends.

I want the finished product to look a little like this dress I saw in David Jones a few months ago (I think it may be French Connection).


A project for a rainy day I think!



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Elisalex – a love affair

A few versions of Elisalex from the archives.








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Elisalex viii Pattern Review

By Hand London’s Elisalex, hands down, is my favourite pattern. Why?

It is versatile – I have made a version for a wedding, several for work, a few for a night out on the tiles and a few for knocking around on the weekend.

It can be scaled up or down – I have made a few versions which I have knocked up in a couple of hours and three which are delux (fully lined, french seamed, bias binding hems, hand picked zips etc).

It is flattering – surprisingly, I find the tulip skirt slimming.

Mix it up- I have invested the time to do a full bust adjustment and the bodice fits perfectly. I have teamed it with all sorts of skirts including gathered, dirndl, circle, pencil and gathered tulip so on and so on.

I could go on but you get the picture. I have just finished my eighth version (but used the bodice on another half a dozen versions).

I used a sateen from East Coast Fabrics. I got it for $5 a metre along with a few other gems.


I used every single scrap of fabric as I also was able to squeeze a Charlotte skirt. This meant I had nothing left for facing or binding. I used a plain stretch cotton from The Fabric Store instead for lining. I normally prefer facing or binding the neck and armhole but didn’t have enough matching fabric.

The only problem is that the sateen was really stretchy, more than I would have thought for a sateen, and while I got one side of the lapped dress zip in perfectly, no matter how taut I pulled and pinned the other side, it just wouldn’t match. I ended up hand picking the outside lapped bit. However, after a day of wearing, it has given a little at the waist (see picture). I think this can be easily fixed by making tighter and smaller stitches.




The side seams and box pleats match perfectly with the bodice. I was really pleased with that as the fabric was stretchier than I would have liked.



I normally would post a photo with me in the dress but I couldn’t unglue my other half from watching Wales v Ireland rugby highlights!

So, the BHL Elisalex love affair continues. I think I would like a plain black shiny sateen version for those days where I need a work/ cocktail dress. Better get on then!!