Sew Sarah

adventures in dress-making

Looking beyond the cover, New Look 6776

I bought New Look 6776 at a sale for 5 bucks. I think. Looking at the front cover art, I couldn’t imagine that I would have paid anymore. From memory, I think it reminded me of a Lazy Bones dress I bought over a decade ago and is still a well worn and firm favourite. The fabric was from a fabric swap at the first Brisbane Spoolettes meet-up back in March. The fabric, while never would have been a first choice, has become a favourite. Thank-you to the kind person who donated it. I know I spoke to the original owner but just can’t place who it was amongst the other gems I took home and the other kind owners who let go a little bit of their precious stash.

The dress, made in in view D, went together easily enough. However, it was initially fiddly and took a little time to wrap my head around the lining instructions.

On second inspection, the instructions were actually well written and it was the neatest lining I have ever completed. The inside is a perfect match to the front.

In ended up using a self drafted dirndl skirt. Unlike the last time, I made sure I didn’t use too many gathers near the zip. This reduced the bulk significantly.

Because of the gathers on the bust I didn’t do an FBA. I think I got away with it, within a millimetre at least. Next time, I think I would add maybe a cm or two to the bust depth. Need to wrap my head around how to do that.

I think New Look 6776 is a hidden gem and translates well for a vintage-style look. Just squint and look behind the crappy photos on the pattern cover!!!!!


Embracing my new dress with vintage fabric, I went and checked out Paddington antique centre to find some matching accessories. Didn’t find what I wanted but did discover this gorgeous opera coat for $70 bucks!


New additions to stash, Saturday planning

As usual, I have decided my stash is looking a little thin and have made some new additions.

Saturday afternoon planning with a glass of vino is on the cards!




The patterns were a buck each. Score!

Elisalex, I can’t help myself


My mother tells this story of my banjo playing grandfather (Pa Pa). During the war, while in Borneo, he was a radio signaller by day and entertainer by night. I have some hand drawn posters of him during this time and he is called Banjo Parton (a play on his name and the Australian bush poet). Anyway, he was pretty straight laced and whenever he tried to write a tune, no matter how he tried, it always came out like God Save the Queen!!!

Why am I telling to this story?

Well, I am experiencing something not dissimilar. Everytime I make something, despite my intentions, it turns into an Elisalex!

This dress is no exception. It was supposed to be a version of this vintage pattern and one by one, things went wrong. The sleeves were way too tight (thanks to the quilting cotton), the
angled bust darts sat way too low. Just for starters.

Do you have those sewing days when you truly believe the dress is cursed?!

Anyway, despite much unpicking and restyling, I have a finished product. The waist seam at the back is about three quarters of a cm out after inserting a dress zip but I will be damned if I am going to unpick it! I will wear a belt (or just kick anyone in the shins who notices and mentions it).

Saying all this, I am pretty sure I will get a lot of wear out of it. The wide dirndl skirt is a little longer than I would normally have but felt like a little swooshing!

I wore it to Westfield Chermside yesterday and got a few nice comments!




Colette Laurel

I have just finished my third Laurel in a red polkadot Tilda fabric and really not sold. I have been tinkering with the fit, particularly around the bust and arms and it is now a little too baggy. Saying that, it is pretty comfortable and works well for a weekend slouch dress. I finished the neckline and hem with exposed self-made bias binding. I ended up hacking a little too much off the length and needed to scrounge a few precious millimetres! I also hemmed the sleeves flat before I stitched them up and attached them. Made life a little easier. Will do that again in future.

I should really take a photo of it on but not feeling so crash-hot so have decided to stay behind the camera today!


Suggestions for a special piece of Alannah Hill fabric

I am a very lucky girl as a very special friend posted this up from Melbourne and I found it waiting for me in my letterbox one day. Thinking of making a three quarter coat. Any suggestions? #allannahhill #brunswickstreet #handmadewardrobe #brisbanesewing


First attempt at cushions

In fairness, this is actually my second attempt at cushions. The first were pretty terrible. For some reason, I was scared at putting a zip in and did a button closure instead. But the insert was too big for the cover and it was just lumpy and bumpy.

This time I popped in a dress zip and inserted it as lapped, just as I would on a dress. I did this before I stitched up the rest of the cushion. I have no idea if this is the right way or not as I did them really early one morning on the weekend, in a mad rush to have the house prepared for overseas visitors. I have to say, I am pretty happy with them. I must warn anyone attempting this at home- if you insert the zip first, make sure you undo it before stitching up the sides!!!! Duh.

All in all, from cutting to stuffing it took me about an hour.

I have no idea why I was scared of making a cushion. Maybe because I didn’t want the house to look like a home-ec experiment!! Hopefully I have succeeded and have the approval of my ‘no frills, flounces or florals in the house’ husband! With a small success under my belt, I might try the lounge room cushions next.




DIY Papasan Cushion

Finally made my damned papasan cushion. It was pretty simple but a little more time consuming than anticipated due to all the seams, not having enough fabric and the overlocker playing-up. Because of the directional print (and my fabric was about an inch too narrow), I segmented the round cushion into six wedges with each of the little arrows on the print pointing inwards. The radius on a standard papasan cushion is about 27 inches plus seam allowance (if
anyone is interested in making their own).

I centred the cushion with two large self covered buttons each side. I may still stitch dimples into the cushion to stop the filling moving about but may wait to see if I need to put another bag of poly-fill.

1. About 4.5 metres of fabric
2. 1 kg of poly fill
3. 2 very large self covered buttons

It is super comfy and can’t wait to spend a lazy Sunday morning reading the paper and drinking coffee in it. May even get up early tomorrow morning before work and give it a road test!



Crochet progress?

For those that have asked recently, I have made ‘some’ progress on my granny square rug but unfortunately, my self-set deadline of having it complete before we have family arrive from Ireland in weeks wasn’t really realistic. Neither was the decision to make it a queen sized throw for our bed. But saying that, I haven’t given up. I am going camping for four days over Easter and aim to get twenty squares done at least! I am pretty sure my siblings may tease me but hey-ho. 38 down, 61 to go. And counting.

I have a few finished projects which I need to post today but have a incredibly busy day ahead including making a a giant cushion for my papasan, two cushions for a wicker occasional chair and planting my new lettuce seedlings.

A I type this, I am contemplating about how much fuss and (and tears) I want to put into my papasan cushion as the fabric is about an inch or so too narrow. Do I care??? Will anyone notice??? Need to make a call my the time I finish my coffee.


Kielo by Named

It has been a little while since my last post and can provide a litany of various excuses including travel, work and the bloody Queensland humidity! In fairness, I have actually finished my stretch grey marl Laurel dress but it has been too hot and humid to even think about trying on. Once it cools down a little, I will make sure I post it.

However, in the meantime I wanted to share a new boutique pattern company find that Sophie at Circ du Bebe told me about over the weekend at a Brisbane Sewing High Tea at The Marriott organised by Busy Lizzie in Brizzy. Then Donna at Sew Independent wore a wonderful navy version which everyone cooed over. Hopefully people find this useful and I am not telling you all something you all already know!

Introducing (for those who aren’t familiar)….Named. The Finnish based company is run by two sisters and their creations embrace the simplicity and beauty Scandinavian design is so greatly known for.

My favourite is definitely the Kielo wrap dress which I bought last night and arrived instantly via PDF. I have no fabric so it definitely means a trip to East Coast Fabrics on the weekend (as I know they have plenty of stretch fabrics). I am thinking a very light weight jersey with a suitable drape, maybe in black or navy. Or red. Or even a grey marl……..Maybe all. It looks pretty easy to construct with one front bodice on the fold, two back pieces and then the two ties. At first glance, the instructions aren’t that great. For example, the suggestion on how to finish the neckline and armholes is ‘finish all edges’. But look, who am I to complain. I am terrible at following instructions. It does get me into trouble regularly but in this instance, puts me ahead!

I better cutting and pasting to get the pattern assembled in time for the weekend.

Has anybody else heard or tried Named patterns and want to share some sage advice with me?

Kuvassa: Heini Salonen

15 ways to change your favourite pattern

Sometimes a simple change such as adding a different neckline or skirt can revamp a TNT pattern. Sometimes I also find the fabric dictates what tweaks I make. I ran across this diagram on Pinterest over the weekend and think it is a really useful tool to have when planning the next project. I might try and find another one for different skirt options.

Please note that I have scoured the Internet and can’t find the original source but do know it has been reposted by many bloggers over the last few years.