Palette Challenge: Saffron Vogue 1250 + FBA

Continuing on my quest for work-wear that feels like PJs, I finally jumped on the Vogue 1250 bandwagon and like a broken record I can add my cry to the masses – “what took me so long?!”.

Made from a soft golden light-weight double-knit found on Goldhawk Road, I started cutting the pattern at 6:30pm last night and was done by 10:00pm. It’s such a dream to go together.

The only tricky bit was figuring out the full bust adjustment, as there is really only 2 pieces to this pattern – the upper back, and the rest. I took flat measurements and added a couple of inches to the skirt at the centre back. I knew I’d need more room at the bust but I didn’t want to add any at the waist so rather than a normal FBA, I winged it. (Sorry if it doesn’t make sense – the pictures didn’t come out as clear as I’d hoped.)

The net result is a much deeper tuck at the shoulder giving more room at the bust. I had my fingers crossed the whole way but I like how it turned out.

Madeleine Bloomers Variation: The Tap-Pants

Thanks for all the lovely comments on the pjs – it feels good to actually finish something after such a long sewer’s block!

This is actually the second time I’ve made this combo – the first was for little sis’s christmas present. She was heading off to backpack through India and Bali for a couple of months so I didn’t want to get her anything too bulky and this ticked the box and a couple more:

  • Natural fibres – to keep cool in the drive-me-nuts-heat
  • Super light weight – it’s like wearing a feather (good for tight baggage allowance too)
  • Adaptable – the top made from Colette’s Sorbetto pattern can double as a blouse during the day

Meanwhile the pants were an easy variation too. I’ve had my eye on the cute (and free!) Madeleine Bloomers pattern for a while (check out these gorgeous versions) but I wasn’t sure it would work so well on my snow-woman shape being low-waisted and gathered at the thigh.

I wanted something looser but that still kept the quirky-flirty character of the original and here’s what I came up with – the Madeleine Tap-pants variation.

{click to enlarge}

  1. Download the pattern, tape together and cut out the two pieces.
  2. On the back piece, draw a line 4 inches below the waist edge.
  3. Cut along the line and spread by 3 inches. Fill gap with paper and tape in place.
  4. We want the tap-pants cut on the bias so they drape nicely, so re-draw the grainline at a 45° angle.
  5. Repeat on the front piece.
  6. Sew as per instructions using french seams. Finish legs with narrow hem.

Enjoy your new pjs!

Sewaholic Minoru Muslin/Sweater-dress + FBA

I find myself with a bit of a problem. Whilst my brain knows that making a muslin is not a waste of fabric I seem to be physically incapable of disposing of one once it’s made.

Which goes a little way to explaining this odd sweater/dress hybrid.

I want to make an all-weather version of Sewaholic’s latest pretty and practical pattern – the Minoru Jacket. Tasia’s sew-a-long begins in earnest in January but I thought I’d get a head start on the muslin being that it usually causes much feet dragging. I had some double-knit which would work and really I just wanted to check that the full-bust adjustment would work okay on the dartless bodice.

Here’s how it went:

(click to enlarge)

ETA: On regular version add the length created at Line 3 to the front placket and zip, too.

 It worked just fine and I now know when it comes to making the real version I’ll need a 34in separating zipper not a 32in due to the additional length from the FBA.

Still I didn’t want to waste a zipper I can’t really afford on a muslin so I thought to myself… what would happen if I cut the front on a fold (adding in the width of the button placket)? Answer is… a Sweater-Dress. It’s very comfortable despite being unlined and the fact I messed the collar up royally. I didn’t notice the front placket went up to the top of the collar so I forgot to add the additional length and then I went and sewed it on backwards. Oh well, good thing it’s just a knock-around for home.

 The pattern itself is so lovely to sew, and now I have my alterations all done I can’t wait for January.

Computer Croquis + Pattern Illustration Tutorial

Boy, that’s a mouthful but I really wasn’t sure what to call it!

This is a demonstration of how I made the illustrations for the Fall Palette Challenge wardrobe below.

(I just wish to apologise in advance if anyone who actually knows what they’re doing with this stuff is reading. It was developed through true trial and error style so there will quite probably be better ways of doing it)

For the demo I’ve chosen this dress from the July Burda magazine because it has some interesting details to show.

As for the software, I use a free program called that works for most of the things I want to do. I am sure if you have photoshop that will work a lot better, though. Whichever program you choose just make sure you can do layers with it.

Click to enlarge.

The first thing you want to do is open an image of your croquis. This fabulously curvy one came from Amarina at Ursa Major.

I wanted to have the pattern beside it for reference so I increased the canvas  size {Click Image Menu – Canvas Size – then double the width} and pasted it beside.

Create a new layer above the back ground image {Layers box – bottom left icon with the green plus sign}

Choose the main colour you want the garment to be from the colour box then select the line/curve tool {Tools Box – Third from bottom on right}.

Use this tool to draw the first style line of your garment. For this dress I’m starting at the neckline.

The line is straight to begin with so don’t worry about the shape, just make sure it starts and ends where you want it to.

When you’ve drawn the line, you’ll see four dots appear on it. These can be dragged around in any direction to create the curve.

Continue with this tool until all your outline is marked.

Hint: Make sure all the corners connect up otherwise the next step won’t work.

Now select the paint bucket from your Tools Box and fill in the garment.

In the Colors Box click on “More” then make your shade a smidge darker using the slider marked “V”.

We will use this shade to mark the style lines of the item. To do this you could use the paint brush but I like the irregular effect of the Free-form Shape tool {Tools Box – Bottom Right}.

Now you can use a darker shade to create the shadows mostly on one side of the garment using the Free-form Shape Tool.

Add highlights to the opposite side with a lighter shade.

That’s the dress done but I want to give her some hair. To do that I follow the same process with shadows and highlights.

The finishing touch is to hide the remaining visible croquis lines at the neckline. At this point you can make small adjustments too.

I used the paintbrush tool with white to cover the lines and then used the line/curve tool to lower the neckline a little.

That’s it you’re done.

You can either save the image as a .jpg or .png file which will flatten it to one layer, or you can save it as a .pdn file which retains the layers. I have both and in the next post I’ll show you why (hint: I have way too much time on my hands).

So I hope that explains it, but feel free to ask any questions or suggest ways to do it better :)

xo Alana





Vlog: Sewaholic Pendrell FBA (part two)

… and here’s part two. Warning, my editing software putted out on me so this one is pretty wordy!


In case it’s needed here’s the picture of the adjustments to the front piece:

The first adjustment should match the gap filled at Line 3 on the side piece. The next is to add the amount added at the full bust point. Finally I added an inch to the centre front to make sure the princess line falls in the right place.

From the front
The Back

(you can see part one here)

Vlog: Sewaholic Pendrell FBA (part one)

Procrastination leads me to many crazy pursuits. In my desire to put off packing, I’ve been doing a fair bit of sewing and decided to try making a video of the full bust adjustment on Sewaholic’s Pendrell Blouse.

The result is somewhat awkward (god it’s awful watching yourself on film)  and involves a fair bit of fast motion to make it fit, but you get the idea. (Part two to follow).

Just in case, here’s the pictorial breakdown of choosing your size based on your high bust measurement:

Bastille Blouse: Simplicity 2372

Bastille Day was a few days ago but I still thought it was a fitting name for this pretty little red-and-blue print blouse. This was a last chance go at Simplicity 2372. I made the jacket a couple of weeks back and was a bit disappointed with the finished product. I was all set to throw the pattern away if this blouse didn’t suit but, consider it and it’s pretty pleats, redeemed.

I began cutting it out after a long day facilitating an 8 hour group session at work, which in hindsight was not such good thinking on my part. It takes quite a long time as you need to mark all the pleats on the sleeves and neckline and the pattern matching but I got through it, took it over to the machine to begin sewing when insanity struck. I’d lost my right back piece.

I thought I was going nuts – I sew in my lounge/kitchen area that is not that big and I’m the only one here but I couldn’t find it any where. I knew I had definitely I cut it as I had matched the left back to it using the fabulous instructions that Tasia, of sewaholic, had posted a couple of days ago. I went through all my scraps, I went through my drawers. I am not kidding – I actually looked in the fridge thinking maybe in my over-tired brain might have absent-mindedly put it in there. No such luck. All I can think of is that maybe I mindlessly cut the facings out of it. The thing was, this fabric had been in my stash since last year, so no chance of getting more. I went to bed demoralised.

In the morning I had a brainwave – a sacrifice could be made for this blouse. From deep in a box I pulled out the New Look 6180 dress from the last post. I hadn’t worn it more than once in the time since I’d made it so I removed the zip from the center back, ripped the seam open, took a deep breath and crossed my fingers that enough fabric remained to cut the missing piece.

Yes, thanks to those unflattering insubstantial bust darts, the project was back on.

The top has a centre front and centre back seam so I matched the front pieces but added 2 inches to each back piece so I could turn it into a back fastened blouse. I found some navy snaps which looked interesting and I’d never used them before. It was a bit of an experiment but I’m happy with how it came out.

For each snap there are four parts: a backing piece with sharp prongs, a stud, a socket, and a right-side piece with more sharp prongs. The set came with a double ended tool for application.

First I measured out the placement. I had 8 snaps and I marked each one with a pin.

Then I placed the backing piece under the fabric, allowing the prongs to poke through. I found it helps to spread the fabric taut with one hand.

You use the slim end of the tool to force the fabric onto the prongs.

The stud is placed on top.

With the big end of the tool stabilising the stud you whack the end a good 5 or so times with a hammer.

Ta-da! Repeat on the other edge with facing and socket.

I love this fabric and I’m so glad the pattern wasn’t a waste of time.


Fabric: $0 (from stash – originally from Spotlight)

Pattern: $0 (from stash – previous outing here)

Snaps: $4.99

Total Cost: NZ$4.99 / US$3.60