A piece of cake it was not!

Well this piece of cake took forever to make, it was supposed to be my Christmas dress, but never made it to the day.

This is the Piece of Cake frock by Jody Pearl. It is called the Piece of Cake because it is supposed to be a very straightforward make and to be fair to Jody, the troubles I had making this dress were because the bodice is not suited to my body shape, but I was impressed with the photo img_2742 and went ahead without thinking. You can find out more about Jody here.

I am drawn to an empire waistline, I don’t like the feeling of constraint around my body, which is why an empire waistline is one I really like wearing. Unfortunately, this bodice has no provision for anyone with more than a B cup bust, nary a dart or shape is to be found and the length of the shoulder “strap” was just too long for this shorty 😦

I did do some fitting through the making of the first version, but thought I could deal with the bodice length problem afterward.


When I shortened the bodice, it brought the waist up too high and squashed my breasts to billyoh- I could hardly breathe! I became quite despondent and disgustedly put the dress into the too-hard basket.  There was another problem with it and that was the colour of the bodice. There are no pictures (they were quickly erased), but the bodice was a very pretty solid blue poplin, unfortunately it was just too much blue and I hated it.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, Christmas is over and I have 3 more weeks off work to fill, out comes the Piece of Cake. I started unpicking the bodice, but gave up and cut it off the skirt, I thought I might salvage it, but I think it is destined for the bin.

I thought I would try making a new bodice pattern, customised to me. I did a Connie Crawford workshop years ago on making a bodice “sloper”, but tbh it was a bit beyond me at the time. This time, I pulled out my trusty Threads fitting guide and attempted a full bust adjustment. I know many seamstresses do this as a matter of course, but it is a first for me (and it does stick in my craw because I had a breast reduction years ago!).


So I took the dartless bodice and added side darts and waist pleats and it turned out pretty well, it also gave me a new bodice pattern to use for remaking this dress.

I had to shorten the bodice again, but without worrying about the end result as this white poplin was never going to be the final version. It did however give me a new colour for the bodice and I ended up making the final version in some white bengaline left over from my sage pants (bought from Spotlight last year), the skirt is made from a really nice stretch woven cotton from Knitwit in Nedlands. I did a sway back adjustment, added a waistband to compensate for the shorter length at the shoulder/neckline and raised the back to accommodate a bra band.

It is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it is okay and I will wear it. The inside is a mess which needs tidying up and there is a bit of topstitching to finish (not compulsory, but I do like a bit of topstitching!). Unfortunately, being sleeveless, it does accentuate my tuckshop-lady-arms (yet another point I failed to take into consideration when buying the pattern), but I am working on those and will probably end up looking like a weightlifter instead of someone with two huge, flaccid bags swinging from my shoulders. The waist darts look a little odd, but I can live with them, I stitched down the skirt pleats (you may have problems seeing them as the skirt fabric hides them), so as to not accentuate my tummy, but it is not the most flattering garment I have ever made.


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Forgive the unironed appearance, that will be remedied before it is worn outside the house!

Will I make it again? The jury is out, I may, but probably just the tunic version and in a lighter-weight fabric. I have learned a lot making this little dress and will not shy away from altering patterns to make them fit better in future although I do prefer clothing that is looser to wear.

The mojo is back…

I have been in a fug lately. Negative thoughts and emotions have played havoc with my personal, professional and emotional life. Thankgoodness I have good friends and a love who is supportive.

I tried posting on my smartphone and it didn’t work, which just confirmed my negativity about the world.

But… I am emerging (somewhat slowly) and this weekend actually found a bit of my old mojo had returned 🙂

I decided to start small, I had a few pieces of jewellery which needed mending, earrings, a ring and a necklace, all of which had been shoved aside in multiple pieces. I don’t have a pic of the ring, but it is a lovely piece of paua shell stuck onto a ring base, well the two things had been detached from each other, so it was a simple case of “Supa glue where are you?”- easily fixed.

The earrings too, were a simple fix, just a pair of jewller’s pliers put everything back where they should be. I then got a bit motivated and made myself a pair of silver and freshwater pearl drops, I felt a bit pleased with them

P1030705 P1030704 The next job was to restring a set of malachite beads I had bought in Florence in 1986. I love these and I have missed wearing them for over a year. Anyway, the holes in the malachite are very small and restringing them was proving to be a headache, so I reverted to beading wire and am pretty happy with the end result, lots of lovely green for me!

Well, once I got going you couldn’t stop me.

A couple of weeks ago, I fulfilled one of my daughter’s dreams, by buying her favourite top from her favourite shop. It was half price at $60, more than enough in my mind. It is a one-shoulder knot top in thick blue linen (no pic sorry) and I liked it so much I thought I would make one for myself. I made a toile to start with, as the knot is just tied in one piece of material and guesstimating the length was a bit problematic. The toile ended up being a bit tight, so I added 2cm to the long straight seam and voila- perfect!

P1030709  I made it in a beautiful linen bought as a remnant piece from Potters for $17, the fabric behaved very well and sewed-up without difficulty.

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I will be wearing it my brother’s graduation from Police Training Academy. At the ripe, old age of 43, he has had a career change (from environmental scientist and teacher) and will become a brand-new father in June; it is a very exciting year for him 🙂

It is finally starting to feel like Christmas (in my head)

It has been a ridiculously busy year and trying to find time for thoughts other than busyness stuff has been difficult. However, the weather is finally becoming warmer, I have been to a couple of present-themed markets and it is starting to feel like Christmas in my mind. To this end, I have finally made a list of things to get and to do and have actually done a bit of sewing 🙂

I made this pair of trousers two years ago, specifically for Christmas Day, they are a silk/linen mix and beautifully drapey and cool, however the top I made to complete the outfit always felt a little too like surgical scrubs. I have now updated things and intend this to be my Christmas Day ensemble, same pants, different top.

fbjLZMt714dAZhaNlrluen2axx_mjKA4Bax9iZd6jFs=w603-h1072-no If the shape of the top looks familiar to some of you, it is because it is a Sorbetto to which I’ve done a bit of embellishment. The fabric was always a fave from Ikea, but I never bought it as it seemed a bit pricey, however at half price how could I walk away empty-handed? The neckline is pleated and the top itself feels pretty special, quite dressy in fact… I like it!  DSC_0978

The next project has been somewhat bigger in it’s production. My lovely Mum has finally rediscovered her inner artist after an hiatus of probably 60 years. She works in acrylics, oils and pastels and is really enjoying herself. When she saw my daughters art bag she took a shine to it and asked if I would get her one next time I was in the art supplies shop? Of course I said, but then I got thinking…

I asked my daughter if her bag could be better and she thought of some modifications that would improve the design, basically, all the fundamentals were good, but the whole thing needed to be BIGGER, so I went to work.

P1030622 P1030623 P1030624 P1030625 P1030626 The fabrics are an assortment of pieces I have bought at different times, that have come together nicely for this project. The front has pockets for brushes and paint tubes, the sides are pockets for rulers and whatever else, the back has a large pocket secured with velcro and the inside has another separate pocket. The inside base is removable stiff cardboard inserted into a sleeve of thick denim. I have just two things left to do, the outside bottom which will also be in denim because it will need to be hard wearing and I am waiting for my labels to arrive, so I can proudly sew it on the inside. Knowing my Mum, she will love it (fingers crossed!!!).

If life couldn’t be any busier, I have ventured into the land of Etsy. At the moment the store is not open, I am just listing stuff from my extensive wardrobe of designer 1980’s stuff (that I just couldn’t part with before). When I was single and the only person I needed to indulge was me, I spent a lot of money on some gorgeous clothes, but frankly, I am tired of a whole wardrobe being full of beautiful clothes that will never fit me again, the funny thing is that Etsy classes the 1980’s as Vintage!

Ha ha! If anything is going to help me feel as if I am on the way to decrepitude it is being classed as Vintage, I feel “Classic” might be a word I would respond to better!!!