1949 Singer Sewing advice

I saw this on Facebook this morning and just had to share it with you all. Apparently it comes from a Singer Sewing Manual from 1949 – isn’t it just gorgeous?

Singer Sewing Manual

Drape Drape 2 (Pattern No. 4)

One-piece Scoop Neck Asymmetrical Top

“Drape Drape” is the name of the Japanese pattern design company and you actually buy the entire pattern book (in this case Drape Drape 2) and it contains 14 different draping patterns, some lovely and others slightly weird.

If you read my previous post you’ll remember that my first attempt at making this was fine (although fiddly) up until the final pressing when I accidentally melted a huge hold into the front of the t-shirt! Oops! So after destroying the first top, I dived straight in and cut out another 2 tops (at the same time), different fabrics, and sewed away. Both were successful and I love them both so much.

The replacement to my melted top!

The replacement to my melted top!

The orange version

The orange version

You can really see the asymmetrical design of it with the 2 sleeves being completely different and not even the same length! The orange coloured top was much easier to sew and didn’t need any toilet paper backing (see my previous post about a trick I learnt to stop the wavy seams that sometimes happen with lightweight stretch fabrics). It worked so well under the overlocker and therefore took next to no time (not surprising really when you consider this was my third version in as many days!) to whip up!  The fabric I used for the black top is unknown but semi sheer and very stretchy… The orange top was made of this:

I love how the fabric colour is called PAPRIKA - makes it look much nicer than orange!

I love how the fabric colour is called PAPRIKA – makes it look much nicer than orange!

I’ve gotta be honest and say that if it wasn’t for Sew Busy Lizzy’s version of this same top, I wouldn’t have even dreamt of buying the pattern. I mean, look at the photo in the pattern book:

To me this just looks like a boring, baggy t-shirt.

To me this just looks like a boring, baggy t-shirt.

I know these days they don’t get models to smile because it’s all about the clothing (and not the model) but am I the only person who likes to see that the model is actually enjoying wearing the clothing she has on? Seriously, her body language just screams BORING and FRUMPY! grrrrrrr!!

The pattern is extremely unusual and it’s made up of just ONE pattern piece (oh, and the neck binding). Look at it here:

Unusual pattern, eh?

Unusual pattern, eh?

And then all you do is fold it down the middle like the next photo and follow the instructions in the booklet to sew it all up!

Very unusual shape once assembled...

Very unusual shape once assembled…

I used the overlocker for the side seams and the shoulder seams and did the neck band differently to the instructions. Instead of cutting an 85cm length for the neck band, I cut it at about 65cm and made it into a loop, folded it in half and then stretched it to fit around the outside of the neck using my sewing machine’s overlocking stitch (you know, the “straight, straight, zig-zag” stitch). Folded the seam back into the shirt, ironed it (using a Rajah cloth) and then top stitched it to hold it into place. I made my first top according to the instructions and it was a lot more fiddly and I actually ended up hand stitching it which took a lot longer and still didn’t look nice and flat. I’m really happy with the way I did the other 2 tops. All other hems were sewn using twin needles.

Using a matching coloured thread I attached the neckband using the sewing machine.

Using a matching coloured thread I attached the neckband using the sewing machine.

To finish up, I’ll add a few different angles of the shirt for you to see…

IMG_9275 (2)

This is where the fold is... (so no side seam on this side!)

This is where the fold is… (so no side seam on this side!)

Rear view

Rear view

IMG_9257 (2)I really love the neckline and the way the fabric drapes – so flattering and comfortable to wear. I think I might even alter current “normal” t-shirt pattern to have the same neckline as this. It sure feels nice to be wearing something new and unique again and while I’m on a roll, I will try to finish a dress that has been cut out for a couple of months already!!!

Oh, and the last 2 pics are so I can introduce you to my new pup named Zasha. The name is Russian and means “defender of people” and it suits her down to a tee! She’s the love of my life and there’s never a dull moment any more!

Meet Zasha... she's now 14 weeks old

Meet Zasha… she’s now 14 weeks old

I think I just copped a kiss in this shot! xx

I think I just copped a kiss in this shot! xx

Happy sewing everyone!

Carola x

Devastated! (And it’s all my own fault!)

Oh, it’s been such an exciting week with my Drape Drape 2 pattern book arriving and I carefully sat down and transferred all the required pattern pieces onto my butcher paper to create the perfect pattern for me!  Did I tell you which pattern inspired me to buy the pattern?  It was Sew Busy Lizzy’s version of pattern number 4 in the book (if you’re not following her, then you’re missing out coz she’s a fellow Aussie and her photography is just beautiful. She lives near the ocean (but about 4,000km from me on the east coast of Australia!) and all her photos have such a beautiful background… go check her out and tell her I sent you! :)

Anyway, did you look at Lizzy’s version of pattern number 4? Seriously the most stunning t-shirt I have ever seen and so I went out searching for fabric that would work. Found a cheap fabric at $10/m that I thought would work for the first version so I could check fit, and drape before spending more money on an expensive fabric. It wasn’t a difficult pattern although it’s a bit of a task transferring the relevant pattern pieces onto my plain paper and then joining them together to make one pattern piece – yes, that’s right: ONE PATTERN PIECE (plus neck binding)!

20140215_141903In the above photo you can see how I’ve highlighted the various pattern pieces that make up the ONE garment i’m wanting to make… actually had to draw all three up and join them! Not too hard but I found it easier to trace the correct size with a highlighter first.

a one-piece pattern for a stunning T-shirt

a one-piece pattern for a stunning T-shirt

I cut out the fabric which was slightly sheer and stretchy and practiced my stitching only to find i couldn’t get the overlocker’s tension right and no matter what i changed, i ended up with very wavy seams so went to the sewing machine instead.

Using toilet paper, i managed to get flat seams… it’s amazing what a difference toilet paper makes (clean, of course!) but by using it as a backing, your fabric has more stability and it sews a lot easier.

See the toilet paper behind the dress fabric? It helps to make the seams flat!

See the toilet paper behind the dress fabric? It helps to make the seams flat!

Here’s what it looks like when I flip the fabric over… and all i need to do is tear the toilet paper away (and any that is left will dissolve in the first wash)!

the back of the toilet paper... and what it looks like once torn away.

the back of the toilet paper… and what it looks like once torn away.

Anyway, I finished the garment but had to iron the neck seams flat and used a Raja Cloth to protect the fabric… and, oops! I moved the iron off the Raja Cloth ever so slightly (by accident!!) and now I have a hole melted into the fabric and I’m so, so sad! Shit, shit, shit, shit!!!!! Such devastation! (I actually cried!)

Oops! It's irrepairable! :(

Oops! It’s irrepairable! :(

And here’s what it looks like on! :(

20140216_174321Isn’t the draping just stunning? I absolutely love it!

Anyway, after the “incident” I went out to buy more fabric and I was pleasantly surprised that the fabric had been since placed on the “reduced” table and was now only $4/m and would therefore only cost $5 to redo (from scratch!). Oh well! Lesson learnt and hopefully the second version (same fabric) will come out a lot quicker than the first one seeing as now i’ve figured out the easiest way to get flat seams, etc.  Stay tuned coz the next copy won’t be far away! :)

I’m glad I’m not one to give up! (That personality trait does annoy the heck out of me!) So if you also end up making a huge mistake like I did please don’t give up. Just start again and you’ll feel so good in the end!

Have a nice night!

Carola x


I haven’t had time to sit down and sew for the last 2 months or so and haven’t even had time to sit down and read the blogs I follow but this morning I brought my laptop into bed with me and caught up with many inspirational reads and am now chomping at the bit to make something new again! I’ve just bought the Drape Drape 2 book online and CAN’T WAIT for it to arrive on my doorstep! Oh, please hurry Mr Postman!!

Formal wear McCall’s 3436

The wedding we attended last week was lovely and the bride (my friend’s daughter) was just gorgeous and even though I don’t have any photos of her at this stage, I do have photos of what I wore to the wedding… my first formal outfit and it really was such an easy garment to put together.  The pattern is McCall’s 3436 and I specifically chose this one as I needed something full length to hide my ugly black moon boot and I thought a two piece garment would be easier to fit (I think I was right with that!).

IMG_9163The fabric is what got me… I saw the olive green fabric with a roll of lace next to it and I was sold because the tones of gold, bronze and copper complemented the olive green so beautifully and I just HAD to make something up in this fabric, regardless of price (well, actually, I originally was shown another piece of lace that was priced at about $180/m… ummm, no… I don’t think so!  I didn’t even spend that much on my OWN wedding outfit!).

IMG_9166Look at those colours!  The cost of the olive green crepe was $42/m and the lace was $65/m. Add on a reel of thread, a zipper and some buttons and the dress ended up costing me $250 which at the end of the day is a lot of money but ended up costing the same as what it cost my husband to HIRE a suit for the day (and he doesn’t even get to keep his!!)

IMG_9175Doing the “Couture Dress course” with Susan Khalje taught me an easy way to pattern match and even though it was a bit fiddly doing this with lace, I’m glad i did it.  Once I had the 7 pieces of lace cut out AND the 7 matching pieces of crepe, I hand basted the lace to each respective crepe piece, making them act as one piece and then assembled the panels as normal. I actually made myself 3 muslins before I was happy with the fit of the top but somehow it ended up not quite as fitted at the hips… oh, well.  It was still doable. Where the buttons close, the patterns match perfectly and it’s those little bits of detail that make me smile from ear to ear!

IMG_9168Here you can see the lovely sandal that I wore on my good foot and yes, the skirt was extremely long, but it served the purpose of letting me feel “normal” for a day! :)


And there is the ugly moon boot that I was trying to hide!

IMG_9199In total I bought 4m of the olive crepe which was 150cm (60″) wide so by being careful how I cut out my pattern, I made sure I had a strip wide enough to make up a matching stole in case it got chilly in the evening (and yes, it did!) In this photo you can even see the matching clutch that made as well!

IMG_9174I didn’t line the skirt because I was concerned that it would all get a bit hot (it’s almost summer here) and the weight of the fabric allowed it to fall beautifully but the only photo i had of the perfect fall it had ended up blurry and I really wasn’t sure it would look ok here on my blog.  The inside of the skirt fabric was shiny and it just slid over my body but I did line the top because of the lace, which would have been scratchy against my skin otherwise.

20131124_160602And here you can see a photo of the actual day with my gorgeous husband who certainly scrubs up OK in a suit and tie (note the tie is gold, to complement my dress!)  We had a wonderful afternoon/evening and I even got up on the dance floor with Rick and slow danced to a couple of songs… yep, moon boot and all!

Since the wedding, I’ve had 2 cortisone (steroid) injections in my left foot and the pain seems to be easing… eventually I’ll be able to wean myself off the boot and get back into normal footwear again.  Looking forward to this very, very soon! :)

Hope you have a wonderful week!

Carola x

Just a quickie!

I know I haven’t shared much stuff with you lately and right now I want to share but I don’t have time so instead I’ll show you ONE of the things that I made as part of my formal outfit to wear to a wedding that is this afternoon!!

I made a bow clutch purse to match my skirt and top (click the link to see the tutorial).  So easy to whip up using left over fabrics and I think it’s completed my outfit perfectly! Unfortunately the colour hasn’t come out looking as good as it does in real life but it’s an olive green colour and a colour that always looks good on me…

Bow Clutch Purse to match my formal outfit

Bow Clutch Purse to match my formal outfit

I wonder if you can imagine how the rest of my outfit looks…  

You’ll need to wait a couple of days for those photos!  I’m off to a wedding now! :)