February 19, 2013 § 1 Comment

Only one row of hand stitching until I am done with the houndstooth skirt, but in the meantime, here is something for your perusal


It is a muslin of Colette patterns Sorbetto top. I had just enough fabric left over from this maxi skirt, to make a wearable muslin to try out the fit. To be honest, I was slightly dubious about how this was going to turn out. All my measurements, including the bust, fit in to one size nicely. Immediately I began to think I had done something wrong. Bust measurements were off, I had read the pattern wrong. Something must have made this happen, because I am NEVER one size when it comes to tops. I remeasured and double checked everything, but nothing seemed to be at fault. I began to hesitantly cut it out thinking “it’s only a muslin”.

And I was pleasantly surprised! No major problems except for a small gape in the armhole, front and back. This was nothing I wasn’t expecting, though. Colette patterns are made for a C bust and I haven’t been that for aeons, so of course a bit more shaping was going to be necessary. For the “real” versions, I’ll either leave the dart where it is or move it to add to the bust dart.


The back armhole gape, which is bigger than it seems in the pictures, is just a case of the round shoulders. Nothing that a bit of adjusting can’t fix.


I also think that I will shape the sides down to my waist a bit more. I know it’s supposed to be loose from the bust down but I cant help but want a little more shape.


Other than in the armhole, the back looks pretty good. It’s a tad roomier than I would have liked but I think that will change when I shape the sides a bit.

I didn’t add any photos of the waist and hip area because I plan on chopping it to waist level anyway. I think some crop tops to wear with high-waisted shorts and skirts will be just the ticket in a hot Italian climate later this year!

But that’s it! Surprisingly simple. If all goes well from here, I’ll hopefully have two Sorbetto tops to show you by the middle of next week, as well as the skirt. Less than two weeks of sewing to go!

Til next time!



February 12, 2013 § 1 Comment

Sewing goals for 2013:

Black, kimono sleeve dress – Check!

Blue wool crepe skirt – Check!

So it turns out, having a solid plan does help with problematic procrastination! I finished the blue wool crepe skirt on Sunday and managed to convince Bif to come out in to the freezing cold to take pictures with me today. Promises of hot coffee while we were outside seemed to help.





The skirt is a basic straight high waist skirt with a back zip and a lapped waist band closure. The pattern is Butterick 5015, view G. I shortened the length and graded from a size 16 waist to a size 14 at the hips. The pattern is an old one from my mother. I had wanted to make the one with the draped front (view A) but there was no where near enough fabric after I had prewashed it. The skirt was really easy to sew up and it fits really well. After having a very big brunch this morning, it has held up well and there is more than enough ease on the hips to sit comfortably and not have to pull the skirt down all the time for coverage.


I lined the skirt with light pink polyester lining fabric and finished off the seams with bias binding. I love the effect of binding the seams. Makes them looks so tidy! I also used the bias binding to finish the hem and hand stitched the waistband and the lining to the zip. I usually sew the lining to the zip when I am doing the outer fabric, but this worked so much better, and actually took less time because it was easier to be accurate. No unpicking! The waistband is closed with a simple hook and eye. Please excuse the wrinkles. I had been wearing it and lining is pretty unforgiving.





I am quite proud of how the zip looks on the outside. I did it a bit differently to what I normally do, so that you can see the stitching on the right side and tried to take my time and it looks very neat as a result. I found a book preview on Google Books, of Marcy Tiltons “Easy Guide to Sewing Tops and Tshirts, Skirts and Pants”, where there was a bit on sewing linings and zips in the preview. I am seriously considering getting this book now because it is very clear and has some pretty useful information. She says that instead of sewing darts in a lining, you just sew tucks/pleats. I have always sewn the inside the same as the outside, so I will have a go with this on my Houndstooth skirt. It also has a glossary of fashion fabrics, which when you are useless at naming fabrics and knowing their qualities like I am, could be really useful.

Two seconds while I mentally prepare for the cold a bit more.

Two seconds while I mentally prepare for the cold.

Alright, I'm ready.

Alright, I’m ready.

Maybe just one more sip of tea!

Maybe just one more sip of tea!

It’s OK if you didn’t notice, my roommate didn’t, but I have had my hair chopped off! After years of trying to grow it out, the ends had become to ratty to live with and I told the hair dresser that they all needed to come off. I felt like yelling “Off with their heads!” but I feared I may scare the poor Danish lady who didn’t really speak English. It’s so light! I just need to get used to actually having to style it a bit more now. With long hair, you can get away with not brushing it in the morning, especially if after 3 hours under hats and scarves, it looks like you just got out of bed anyway. Let’s see how long it takes me to crave my long hair back. Short hair and I are still on our honeymoon.

Hounds tooth skirt is on it’s way!

Til next time.

Let me introduce you to…

February 5, 2013 § Leave a comment



I know it sounds like I have been watching a bit too much “Pulp Fiction”, as in “Yolanda, I thought you said you were gonna be cool”, but there actually is a completely unrelated reason for calling my new dress form, Yolanda. When I was born, there were two names that my parents wanted to choose between, Amelia and Yolanda. Yolanda is apparently a Dutch name that is in my mum’s family and Amelia was just a nice name that they both liked. I must say, that I am rather glad they picked Amelia. No one has ever been able to find anything bad that rhymes with Amelia, though my brothers did try very hard. I thought it was only fitting that my “other half” should be called Yolanda.

But on to more sewing related things. My sewing goals for 2013 are well under way and I finished all the mending/finishing that I had to do before the end of the week before last and managed to get not one, but two, patterns cut out to start sewing. Well on course! One of the garments was a copy of a double-knit, kimono sleeve dress that Bif’s mother had worn to death and wanted a new one of. So off I went, bought some double-knit and thought it would be easy. Or not.

Turns out, the double-knit was quite stretchy in both lengthwise and crosswise directions, which doesn’t make for easy sewing. Luckily, I had tried out the fabric on some scraps and found that the seam stretched as I sewed it, even with a zig zag. On to the Inter-webs I went. Lladybird has done a fantastic post on sewing with knits, which you can read here, that got me started. I had also read a comment somewhere, that you don’t need a walking foot or anything special (though a stretch/jersey needle is recommended), as long as you use a mass of pins and that is exactly what I decided to do.


And it worked! No stretched seams!

Here are the deets.




The dress is just a basic kimono sleeve double-knit dress with shaping through the waist and hips and a boat neck. The fabric has a 2 way stretch and is quite heavy. The “pattern” is the same front and back and the neckline and hem both have facings and the arms have a cuff around the edge. The facing for the neckline was on the original dress and I added the facing to the hem and cuffs to avoid having to turn them up and stitch them. I actually really love hem facings now. They look so tidy and are so easy! Since it’s a knit, I didn’t worry about finishing the inside seams, just trimmed them down nicely. I used a zig zag stitch through out and a jersey needle to sew with. If it weren’t for all the pins, this dress would have been an easy make, but since it wasn’t for me, I really didn’t want to risk the seams stretching, so I pinned. As you can see above, I put the pins in perpendicular to the seams and I just sewed right over them to save a little bit of time. Nice and simple, really.



Sleeve cuff

Sleeve cuff


I also cut out the blue wool crepe for a skirt and I am just over half way done with sewing that one. By the end of this week, I want to have that skirt done and the houndstooth wool cut out and ready to go, if not already half sewn.

Til next time!

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