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


Simplicity 1716


This dress was very spur of the moment as I had a girl’s night out to attend on Friday night and wasn’t really sure what I wanted to wear… I don’t go out much but felt that I’d really like to go out and enjoy a few drinks and listen to loud music.  What was I thinking?  Oh, but the making of the dress was so much fun and putting more effort into my appearance also made me feel good.  It’s the fabric that made this dress so wonderful and being in between seasons at the moment you can never tell if it’s going to be warm and dry or wet and cold. It turned out to be cold and wet and so the 3/4 sleeve was perfect. The fabric was a thin stretch velvet with an awesome print and the stripes are sheer fabric so the dress had to be lined, which I didn’t have time to do, and I bought a slip to go underneath it instead.

Many of you will remember that I had to wear a moon-boot (due to a torn ligament in my toe) for about 3.5 months and even though I’m out of the moon-boot now, I still can’t wear normal shoes so if I was to go out I had to wear my black flat boots – there was no other option!  With this in mind, i found a pattern at Spotlight that made me think of 60s mini dresses and when I think of those, I also imagine boots underneath.  Teamed with my fabric choice, I absolutely loved the overall effect and it was probably one of the most comfortable and practical dresses I’ve made.  I still felt feminine and appropriately dressed and in my mind I looked unique but very me!

The Simplicity 1716 pattern certainly wasn’t difficult but I chose my size according to the chart and found the chart to be incorrect by about one size… I ended up having to take everything in by about 1.3cm (1/2″) and I find this to be annoying.  It’s the first time I’ve ever made a Simplicity pattern so I don’t know if this is normal or not.

It has the two standard pleats on the shoulders that give the rouched finish across the bust but it also has an extra pleat towards the bottom of the arm hole creating more rouching underneath the bust and I’m not really sure that I like that effect.  Either way it was too late to do anything about it by the time I realised that it was there and the fabric was too expensive to just throw out and start again ($30/metre)

Here are the rest of the photos:



IMG_9148I had a fun evening and even got home before midnight and I can’t wait for my next night out!!  Oh, and did any of you notice that I didn’t hem the bottom of the skirt?  No, I didn’t think so!  I ummmmed and aaaahed over it for a while before deciding that the fabric wasn’t fraying and by hemming it, I would more than likely create a horrible wavy hemline.  I thought it all looked fine and went with it.  Pretty neat, eh?  An extremely easy and satisfying dress to sew up.  So what will I sew up next…. I’m certainly on a roll at the moment, aren’t i?

Have a fantastic weekend!

Carola x

Got my sewing mojo back!

It’s been a very busy few weeks and I can’t believe that it’s been so long since I posted something last.  Part of me felt disheartened by my sewing “failures” (I shouldn’t call them failures coz realistically they were sewing lessons learned) and my sewing machine and overlocker were tucked away for almost 2 weeks before I dared to take them out of solitary confinement.

Yesterday I decided to sew a knit dress.  Something I have never ever done before but reading sewing blogs has inspired me enough to give it a go myself and WOW!!  Why did it take so long to give this a go?  Stretch knit is actually so easy and forgiving to work with and even though I had a few hiccups I feel that they were ironed out quite easily and I even wore my new dress out to my last lunch (it is supposedly going to be the end of the world today, afterall!) and I feel I’m dressed suitably for the occasion!

When I first put the dress on this morning to show my darling husband, I said “tadaaaa…. do you like my dress?”  And his comment was slow and simple: he said “Ummm, I like how you made it…”   Huh??  OMG, what the hell is wrong with this dress?  He said “ummmm, I think it looks old fashioned… ?”  (I hate how he raised the tone of the last syllable turning it into a question!!)  OLD FASHIONED??  omg, really?  What’s old fashioned about it? Please be honest coz there’s no way I can post photos of an old fashioned “new” dress that I’ve made with my bare hands. He thinks it’s the fabric.  Oh dear!  I LOVE the fabric.  I love the colours and the snakeskin look and the BLUE (did I ever tell you that that was one of my favourite colours?). I don’t see what you see, dear!  But gee, maybe I am deluded… I don’t know.

Well, I had a Christmas lunch to attend and I was going to wear this dress and the reactions there would determine the fate of this dress.  The lunch came and went and I got very positive comments from the staff I had worked with who all thought my dress was lovely and one of the girls even asked me to make one for her!  OK, that feels more like it!  I was now smiling but no, I really don’t want to sew for other people.  This year is all about me and I’m really not interested in sewing for other people (sorry!!).  So would you like to see it?  Here ’tis:

M6163 028 M6163 030 M6163 036 M6163 017The pattern is McCall’s M6163 and I decided against adding the collar, probably more due to laziness but also because I felt that it would only make this polyester fabric dress even warmer and realistically, here in Perth, summer is rolling in and Christmas day (when I plan to wear this dress next) is set to be a mere 40°C (104°F)!!  I love this dress and I think I will make many, many more like it. Some with 3/4 length sleeves and some with plain fabric.  I think the busy print does tend to lose the rouching effect of the gathered waistline and it’s hard to see that I actually also have a matching sash around my waist.  A plain fabric will probably make this a bit more obvious but all up I’m over the moon and looking forward to wearing more dresses.  I will make my next dress in a more natural and breathable fabric to cater for our hot summers but I know that I will get a lot of wear out of this dress.  I hope my husband can bear to walk to next to me tonight as we head into the city for our weekly Indian dinner on the river.  We go to this vegan Indian restaurant that is very simple and has limited self-serve food to choose from but the tastes are out of this world and it’s lovely to sit outdoors overlooking the Swan River and enjoying a meal without our children (who are now old enough to leave at home).  Bliss.  The beauty of this restaurant is that you pay whatever you think it’s worth.  Honest!  Uni students may only pay $3 or $4 for their huge plate of food and others will pay more like $20.  We go somewhere in the middle and pay about $10-15 depending on how we feel on the day.  Honestly a great meal even though the decor leaves a lot to be desired but the location is spectacular and I always look forward to our weekly visit there.  If you enjoy Indian food and are vegetarian (or even vegan) you really should check this restaurant out if you’re ever in Perth… Annalakshmi on the Swan Hey, even if you’re a carnivore, I reckon you’d love it here.

The perfect last supper before the end of the world…. I actually thought that last night’s meal was our last but so far we’re still around so let’s hope that we’re all here to stay for a bit longer and we can continue blogging and sewing for a while to come!

Carola :-)