Wrap skirt muslin musings

I love wrap skirts and this looks like a good basic from which I can make a variety of weights and styles for summer/winter or in between.  Perfeck.


I’ve muslin’d it up in calico and am now mulling about the tie closure because the pattern ain’t doing it at all well.  Unless I’m being dense.

It looks fine in the next picture which shows the front of the muslin (please ignore the ‘lazy me’ pattern paper ties) ….

The long band wraps from the right hip around the back to join the shorter tie attached at the left hip, and it’s a fairly wide tie band.  So you have the bulk of the band across your back whether it’s on the outside or the inside of the skirt.

Odd and definitely unflattering.

Now I’m starting to wonder if the tie is a little fussy and with a winter weight fabric it may be better to have no tie at all, even if I thinned the bands or used ribbon of some sort.  I don’t really fancy the two symmetrically placed buttons option either.

Granted this isn’t a complicated sewing conundrum but rather a disagreement about closure style and placement.  I’ll probably do a hidden inside button instead of the long tie and close the outside front panel with an external button.

What worked best for your wrap skirts?


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Cover Stitch Happiness Continues

I’ve been playing with my new cover stitch machine doing decorative top stitching, something that was impossible with the old machine.

This was my first try and yes the tension is too loose but every line of stitching was fault free.  The fabric is a soft cotton sweat shirting with a dense cotton/lycra knit for the cuffs, neckline and waistband.

Test number two in a merino sweatshirting with the same black cotton/lycra for the cuffs, neckline and waistband.  This time I wanted to try the needle stitching on the outside and again the whole thing took minutes to finish with no skipped stitches, bunching or tangling.

Happy sighs all around.

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A Waterfall for Mermaids

BB performed in her drama club’s Peter Pan play a couple of weeks ago (a wonderfully fun and exhausting experience as always) and rather than working back stage, I offered sewing services instead.

Peter Pan’s mermaids needed more splash and sparkle in their pool so eight metres and three layers of fabric were in order.  Easy peasy.

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A Wonderful New Tool

New baby lock BLCS-2

I have a new cover stitch machine and am very very happy with it.

My old cover stitch machine (a Bernette 009DCC) has been difficult more often than not, at times leading me to believe I had figured out how to operate around it’s quirks.  Evidently I was wrong and those quirks returned no matter what I did.

Over the years I have tried different needles, different thread of various quality, spool nets, spool disks, seam jumpers, multiple tension and presser foot pressure combinations (whilst swapping needles and thread in and out), hand cranking and holding my breath.  And combinations of the above.

I have kept lists of setting combinations, notions + setting combinations, fabric + setting + notions combinations and more.  I have read and re-read every tip and trick and review that I could find and all this did very little to help.  The lack of consistency of results and performance has been and still is utterly frustrating and I remain unable to sew a line of stitching on that damned machine without skipped stitches, most of the time.

I even had it looked at by the shop but they said everything was as it should be.

Frankly, the Bernette 009DCC is an expensive lemon.

So a few weeks ago I made my way to the very helpful Wellington Sewing Centre, road tested the babylock and bought it.  Done.

Oops didn’t remember to match the stripes!

Now, if you are in the market for a stand alone cover stitch machine, the baby lock is a pricey individual but if you can afford it, I highly highly recommend it.  Out of the box, I ran up three cotton lycra and three merino long sleeve Ts without a hitch and in no time at all.  I only modified thread and looper tensions once or twice.

Then and since, I have sewn over seam intersections without a seam jumper or any other tools and have had no skipped stitches.  Not one.

I have used up to three different quality and types of serger thread (sometimes at the same time) while top stitching necklines, and have had no skipped stitches.  Not one.

I have stopped and started mid-way through stitching and sewn around fiddly small circumference sleeve hems on the round.  Again no skipped stitches.  Not one.

Oh the joy of a machine that does it’s job without a hitch.  Happy days indeed.

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Winter layers for the kids

BB’s best friend Miss I is a pearl, one of three in a lovely family.  Her mum chose merino colours for all three – Miss I has the blue and teal on the right, pink and pink for Miss A and blue and pea green for wee Mr J.

There’s a black and white cotton lycra long sleeve raglan for my girls too but it’s in the wash already.

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Flowers for the Young Ladies


I wanted to make the girls some summery trousers to take on holiday, for when it isn’t quite warm enough for shorts, or for when bitey bugs are on the prowl.  These were the result.


The fabric is a soft cotton viscose mum gave me ages ago.  It feels lovely against the skin but the print is so busy I hadn’t found a use for it, until now.

Perhaps I’ll add pockets to the next pair?  Dunno.  Will ask kid A or kid B what they’d like.

Perhaps I’ll sew something a little more complicated next time?  Dunno – I need some summer pants too and the ones I have in mind are definitely not complicated.

Perhaps ’tis the season for simplicity then.  Ahem.

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Summer holiday


We’ve been away.

The kids and JJ swam every day, even when it rained.  I swam too but mostly sat and watched them splash and paddle or joined in the search for beach treasures, walking up and down in the tide line, skipping the waves.

Dreadful, no?  Gloriously so.


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Something for the girls

My girls were in need of T-shirts so I made a few.  Here are two – the rest are in the wash somewhere.  I managed to use fabric from my existing collection, successfully resisting the allure of a newly opened local Spotlight store.

Complicated they most certainly are not but it was a gentle sewing job to get more firmly back into the stitchery saddle.

I couldn’t be bothered doing a separate sleeve and wanted a breezy style so took out one a T shirt pattern drew around it, added a sleeve and widened the whole thing.  The front and back are the same and the neckline is nicely slouchy so t’is good.

Can you see that the stripes are a little off grain?  I had forgotten until I laid out the fabric and was pleased I didn’t have to do any stripe matching…… How lazy.  Hah!  AB loves stripes and the gentle crookedness of this so she and her sister have worn and worn the shirt since it arrived.

I had brain fade doing the neckband so it doesn’t lie flat, but that’s OK.  I might fix it, or I might not as  we go away next week.  Besides I wanna sew some more pants ….

And before I go.  Happy New Year and Merry Festive Season to everyone.  May you’re 2018 be interesting and challenging (in the best possible way) with stitchery galore x.


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Ugh! How could I not notice?

knit tops Feb2016I usually don’t blog pictures of fails mostly because they don’t get to a wearable stage.  And if they do I’m too annoyed or lazy to go through the process of getting ready for a photo shoot for something I’ll never wear, can’t wear or am embarrassed about.

The worst part is that I wore these oblivious to how badly they fit.  It wasn’t until I decided I should blog them and needed some photos that I noticed all the drag lines and tightness and and.  Urgh.

I mean I like a snug fit but not like this.

I shall drag out the patterns, trace them up a size and get my scissors and tape out.

I guess I am somewhat comforted that both patterns have the same main problems – BurdaStyle 10/2014/105 on the left and Kwik Sew 3338 on the right.  Of course there are probably more issues lurking but we’ve already established my observation skills are lacking.

Mutter mutter mutter.


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Black and white

BurdaStyle 4/2011/123

I do so love my new skirt.  Swirly, swishy, floral delighfulness that took me ages to finish for all sorts of reasons.  Never mind, it is done now and it makes me happy.

Perhaps next time I will make a longer version, though this is so much more versatile.  Hems swirling around ankles feels so fabulous, don’t you think?


I used BurdaStyle 04/2011 #123 but made it a little shorter, without pockets and replaced the waistband with a waist facing.  Fantastically I am a tall size 76 so no width alterations were needed though I’m not tall enough for BurdasStyle so lopped off a good 3″ or so at the hem.  This skirt is supposed to be looong.

One of my lovely books walked me through constructing the waist facing and lining and while tidy, mostly, I got my panels and ‘which-way-rounds’ utterly confused so the vertical seams don’t match at all.  See.


Oh well, who’ll know but you and me, and I don’t really care too much.

The fabric is white mesh’ish cotton gorgeousness with white embroidered appliqued flowers as well as the printed black floral design.  It really is fairly transparent in places …


The lining I chose is a slightly heavier drapier cotton – a happy choice because there is no chance of the lining pulling to the outside at the waistline, and it lends a little more resistance to wind, sparing my dignity and enabling swirling when required.  Happy days.


The top I made a while back and blogged about here … I wear it a lot and it is still going strong.  Wonderful New Zealand merino/nylon mix.

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