Sewing Plans for AW2023

I always find myself scrambling when the weather cools down, looking for cosy outfits to fight the chill at sunset. The items in the wardrobe that I’ve packed away in the hotter months now need to be retrieved, aired, and prepared for wear. 

Last winter, I was happy to tackle a few projects like the Nova Coat, Marlo Sweater and Cozi Jacket. 

My “Make Nine List” this year includes the Niya Dress, Mave Skirt, Dani Pants, Courtney Dress, Dawn Jeans, Ashling Dress, Tide Dress, Bleuet Dress and tackling my ever-growing scraps collection.

Make Nine 2023

I’ve managed to sew the Niya Dress and Mave skirts which have been such great additions to my wardrobe. I’d like to concentrate on the Dani Pants (from True Bias Patterns) and the Dawn Jeans (from Megan Nielsen Patterns) for the cooler months. Making jeans have been on my wish list for a couple of years so it would be great to try the pattern this year, but I am still looking for the right fabric.

The Me Made May Challenge is also coming up. I’ve used this sewing challenge in the past to assess my makes. I’ve been doing my own Me Made Everyday Challenge. In summer, the Pietra Pants have been the hero item from my wardrobe especially the neutral-coloured wide leg pair. The Me Made May Challenge is a personal challenge where you can set your own goals. I’ve used it in the past to assess the quality of my makes and made repairs if needed. Last year, I made a look book and recorded the first week or two. This year, I’m hoping to record my daily outfits and I’m including ready to wear items that I have. I’m including ready to wear because I already had great quality items before I started sewing and I want to incorporate my sewn items into my existing wardrobe. Along the way, I’ll be taking note of any items that need replacing or maintenance.

Of course, the plans are flexible, and I might find myself sewing a dress or two for relaxation purposes! Generally, every item I’ve sewn is treasured and has been used well.

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

X Em

Brattle Top

A beginner’s guide to sewing with knit fabric (from a beginner).

Sewing knit fabric has been something I’ve avoided in the past but since joining Cashmerette Club* and having access to their wonderful resources, I’ve gained a lot of confidence in this area. In fact, I’ve been looking for more to sew! The Brattle Top is the April pattern of the month for Cashmerette Club. It’s a tee with a twist front. It’s such a comfortable top to wear and the twist just gives it a little bit of interest. 

For those that are just venturing into sewing knit fabrics, here are a few tips that I wish I had known before starting out.


You’ll need a ballpoint sewing machine needle. The ballpoint needle will slip between the fibres of the fabric and will not snag the fabric. In my first attempt, I had tried sewing with a universal needle and it was snagging that fabric so badly that I just could not continue until a lovely person on Instagram informed me about ballpoint needles. 


Another problem I had encountered with my first attempt at knit fabric sewing was that my stitches kept breaking off. This is because there’s elasticity in the fabric and a straight stitch just doesn’t accommodate for this stretch. I use a lightning stitch or a zig-zag stitch. I tend to use the lightning stitch for seams because it has a narrow width with longer stitch length, but the zig-zag stitch looks better for top stitching. For hemming, I use the twin needle. 

Don’t pull on the fabric

Another challenge with the elasticity of the fabric is the temptation to pull the fabric as you sew which warps the fabric. I’m just very mindful not to put tension on the fabric unless I’m attaching something like a neckband which is often a requirement of the pattern. Otherwise, I try to keep the fabric flat.

Get yourself an overlocker

Ok, this is technically not a tip! It’s not a requirement at all for sewing with knit fabric but it does make it easy if you have one. In fact, some people sew almost the entire project on their overlockers. I bought mine second hand off Facebook marketplace. It’s a very old and heavy Bernina which has not missed a beat. 

Brattle Top

The Brattle top is a great beginner’s pattern. Luckily, I had no problems sewing it. The construction is easy to follow, and it comes together quickly. I’ve made the short sleeve version, but the sleeves are also interchangeable with the Carlyle Tee. I might try a three-quarter sleeve version for the cooler months. I’ve sewn the size 10 for my measurements of 35-inch high bust, 37-inch full bust and 33-inch waist. I find this to be a great fit and did not make any adjustments.

I’m glad that I’ve been challenged to sew with knit fabric. It’s such a comfortable and versatile fabric to wear and style. I’ll be trying a few more patterns for knit fabric in the future. 

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

X Em

*Cashmerette Club membership has been kindly gifted to me as part of a collaboration with Cashmerette.

Normalising remakes

Recently, I did a bit of a review of my makes. I was partially prompted by the urge to spring clean and then I saw the “REFEBULOUS” prompt and took it as a sign! The #refebulous sewing challenge is hosted by @madebyliesl which encourages everyone to review anything that hasn’t worked in the past and to repurpose the fabric or see if the make can be improved so it could be worn.

I chose to remake a slip dress that I had sewn in 2020. The lovely rayon fabric was from my local Spotlight Store, and I haven’t seen it restocked since. It’s a beautiful soft fabric which is a favourite to wear in summer. I love the beautiful print of tropical palm leaves set on a white background. 

The slip dress was a bonus inclusion with the Leila Dress from Marsha Style. It can be worn under the Leila Dress, and it could also be sewn as a stand-alone dress. I hadn’t been sewing for very long when I made this, and I don’t remember making a toile for the dress. I think even with a toile, I wouldn’t have known how to alter the dress to my fit. 

Initially, I thought I would still sew a slip dress, but I don’t think the style really suits me anyway. The Hana Tank Dress from Patternscout Studios is something I have worn on repeat, and I was thrilled when there was enough fabric for it. I managed to use 90 percent of the fabric in my remake, and I’ve saved the muslin lining for future use.

It’s great to normalise repurposing or remaking garments that don’t fit or no longer serve a purpose. It’s been a great prompt to keep us mindful with our makes. I’ve also just finished with the “Threads” podcast by Veronica Milsom and was appalled by the statistics of fast fashion. Sewing has been an eye opener in many ways! I’ll be doing regular reassessments of my makes from now on.

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

X Em

Orchidee Blouse

Making a toile

This is my first attempt at a Deer and Doe Pattern. The Orchidee pattern can be sewn as a dress or a blouse. I’ve chosen to start with the blouse. It has beautiful puffy sleeves with a short peplum cinched in at the waist and the most intriguing component for me, the button loops or sometimes referred to as bridal loops as they are commonly seen on bridal gowns. It’s also fully lined which adds to the quality of the make.

When I started sewing, I would often read the warning in a pattern to toile, or I’ve also heard it being referred to as a muslin. Basically, it’s always a good idea to sew the pattern or part of it with cheaper, or in my case, remnant fabric. It was a struggle at first to understand how to make an effective toile, so I thought I’d document my process in this blog post. There are some good articles of how to fit things properly, but this is my personal process. When I was learning, I found it hard to follow more professional tutorials so I hope this more basic process will be helpful to someone just starting out.

Talking about fit, that’s where I started. Looking at the sizing chart, I sat between size 42 with a 37-inch bust and size 46 with a 33-inch waist. It was also important to check the finished garment measurements as this informed me that there isn’t much ease in the fit meaning that it should sit quite snug or fitted to the body. From here, I printed the size 42, 44 and 46 so that I could grade between the sizes. I would start with the size 42 bust and grade to the size 46 waist.

Now, I know that some people like to print every size out and then trace but I really love the option of just printing my sizes and then modifying the pattern and cutting into the paper. I usually buy my patterns as a PDF version for this very reason because even if I cut into the pattern and my size changes next time, I can still print and repeat the process. 

So, before cutting into the fabric, I usually try to figure out what I’m most unsure about with the fit of the garment I’m making. In the case of the Orchidee blouse, I needed to know from my toile, whether the waist would fit, where the neckline ended and where the under bust seam sat. This then really clarified the process for me as I don’t tend to follow the instructions in order. I used to just use cheaper fabric and sew up exactly as instructed by the pattern but in my opinion, that wastes time, effort, and material as even cheap fabric costs (if not monetarily, then environmentally).

The first part I tested was the waistband as this must cinch the waist in. I cut the size 46 and sewed up and found that it fit well. Having confirmed that the waist is a good fit, I now went back to the pattern pieces and graded from the size 42 to the 46 at the side seams of the bodice. 

The next part was to test the length of the bodice. I had measured from my shoulder to waist but unfortunately, most patterns do not include this measurement. Instead, I cut at the lengthen/shorten line on the bodice pattern piece to add some paper measuring about two inches extra. I then measured the paper with the original length and the added length and found that the original length was fine. The idea of adding the length to the pattern piece is that you can play around with where your bodice piece is with some real measurements. In the Orchidee blouse, it’s imperative that the bodice piece ends just under the bust. 

The neckline was another question mark for me. I’m more comfortable with a modest neckline. I could see with the toile, that it sat an inch too low for me, so it was simple to trace the original neckline onto a blank piece of paper then keeping the top of the neckline in position, I just brought it out by and inch and joined the lines. I then made sure I added the same length to the button loops.

In the end, my toile consisted of the two front bodice pieces, the waistband pieces, and the back bodice piece. From there I sewed the lining which allowed me to check the fit again. It was then an easy process to sew the outer shell of the blouse. 

The button loop did terrify me at first, but the instructions were great, and the tutorial included photographs, so it was easy to follow. I always like to research the many different methodologies. What worked best for me was to hand tack the cord first then sew with the machine which gave me more accuracy. I found that the double-sided tape suggested was okay, but the cord would bump and that movement lead to unevenness in the loops. 

The final dilemma was the peplum length. I initially thought the peplum looked too small, so I decided to double the length of the peplum however, once I finished and wore it, I knew I had made a mistake. It just sat very awkwardly, and I humbly admit that the designers are right and there’s a good reason to trust the original design elements! Out came the seam ripper and it was fixed easily.

All in all, I really enjoyed this sew. It had so many puzzles for my brain, and I enjoyed all the new elements that were tackled in the sew.

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

x Em

Aura Dress

Frocktails 2022

October zoomed by in a blur. There’s been a lot of making but very little time for documenting. So, it’s nice to be sitting with my cup of tea to write about the Aura Dress which I made for Perth Frocktails! What is Frocktails? In very simplistic terms, it’s a social gathering of people that love to sew and is hosted by the Australian Sewing Guild. Everyone dresses in their beautiful handmade frocks or outfits. I was awed by the creativity and talent around me. Some people were dressed in completely bespoke items down to self-made shoes and bags. 

Initially stepping into a big crowd without knowing anyone else apart from my daughter was a bit daunting and put me out of my comfort zone but as quick as the thought passed through my mind, I found myself chatting to so many others that I was soon at ease and having so much fun! I was curious about where everyone’s beautiful fabrics came from and how they started their sewing journey. It was also fun to have my daughter along as everyone was so lovely to her. We had a great night and hopefully this will mean a few more sewing meet ups in the future!

Now onto my Aura Dress which was a lucky win from Papercut Pattern’s monthly sewing challenge. I had entered my Nova Coat for the challenge and was so happy to learn that I had won a free pattern. I knew I wanted to sew the Aura Dress which is a wrap dress with beautiful puffy sleeves and the skirt has the silhouette of a pencil skirt. 

I had three meters of turmeric coloured linen in my stash which was perfect for the dress. I sewed the size 4 and because I had started the sew so late, I did not have a chance to toile the dress. Luckily it fitted but I had to wear a slip on the night as the temperature is still dropping at night (remember, I grew up in the tropics). If I were to make this dress again, I would adjust the skirt size to a 5 to fit my 33-inch waist size better. It was very funny and slightly distressing when I sat down in my dress and realised the split in the front rose very high which was also another reason for the slip and the strategically place handbag whenever I sat down on the night!

Perth Frocktails was a blast, and it was good to be part of a real world event in a time where online life has proliferated. I still enjoy and appreciate my online sewing community but now I’m hoping to be able to show someone in the same room what I’m making and say, “Is it supposed to be like that?”.

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

X Em

My Sewing Space

As I clean my sewing space, I realised that I’ve never documented this hard working space. This space is a space of productivity, creativity and so much joy. I used to sew in the spare room but felt isolated from the family. During the midst of the pandemic, the children needed a study space so we moved a big table into the sunroom where the piano is also located. Well, once the space was no longer needed for the children, I realised what a lovely light -filled and airy space this was so I moved my sewing machine and claimed it for my sewing space. Now I feel part of family life again and enjoy the hustle and bustle around me as it adjoins the dining room, kitchen and living area. Oh! And there are times when the piano and sewing machine have to compete.

My sewing machine sits on a table from Ikea. It has extendable legs so I’ve hitched up the height which has made a significant improvement to my sewing posture. It’s so important to consider the ergonomics of the space if hours are going to be spent at the sewing machine. I used to have my machine on a normal study desk which made me achy in my neck and between my shoulder blades. Comfort and safety levels have improved so much with this new table. I’ve also placed some essential sewing tools in a bamboo caddy from K-Mart. It’s really handy for grab and go items like scissors, different sewing feet, the seam-ripper (hardest working tool), needles and pins. There’s also a trolley on the left hand side which houses haberdashery items such as zips, thread, elastics, and all such goodies. They sit in repurposed containers which helps to organise each item and keeps them dust free. Underneath my sewing table, I keep a handy basket to contain all my fabric scraps including thread offcuts. I will then sort through this when it’s full to either use for toiling, making smaller items, making bias binding or used as stuffing.

The second-hand overlocker sits on a beautiful wooden table that I managed to find on Facebook Marketplace. It was also used for crafting by its previous owner so I was happy to give it a sand, coat of danish oil and a second life. I usually cut my fabric on the dining table but it’s great to have a big space to lay out the pieces for marking and organising. I’ve also organised all my patterns into white labelled envelopes which sit in a storage cube. It allows easy access and often I’ll cut the paper pattern pieces and store them with their instructions.

For patterns that need to be traced, I store the printed sheets in rolls but this feels a bit untidy and I’m hoping for a better solution than this repurposed laundry basket. I have a few more patterns stored in magazine holders in a bookcase. My dress dummy was a bargain buy at $20 from Spotlight Stores. It must’ve been a sales blitz and it’s a great help when constructing garments. It also helps with photographing the garments as I often set the camera on a timer. I use the dummy to set the focus the camera before I get into position. It would be great to have a custom fitted dress form in the future but I am so grateful to have one at all.

Finally, my fabric stash! I bought these rattan cabinets from K-Mart to store my fabric. It’s great that the rattan front allows for ventilation. I used to store them in a spare closet but it was very disorganised and I kept forgetting what fabric I had. Now that they sit in the same space, I am reminded to look through them before heading out to the shops for more! I also have baskets to store ribbing, interfacing and off cuts for smaller makes and toiling. As I’m still learning about fabric, I try to keep a small amount to record composition and details about it.

I’m always captivated by other people’s sewing spaces and curious how someone else organises their space. I feel very lucky to have this bright airy space. It’s helpful to have a space that is comfortable which is easy to spend time in.

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

x Em

Make Nine Challenge 2021

Unbelievably, it’s December which makes it time to review my sewing year. Even though I haven’t completed all my Make Nine Projects, I’m very happy with how much I’ve progressed and learnt this year. I find that challenges like the Make Nine are a really useful tool for my learning. I’m not sure who to attribute the creation of the Make Nine Challenge to but a lot of the making and sewing community use it. I love to plan and document with everything that I do so this challenge really appealed to me. The idea of the challenge is to list nine patterns you’ll sew in the year. Last year, I didn’t list exact patterns, but I listed the set of skills or types of patterns I wanted to sew.

Make Nine 2021

Let’s walk through the planned projects. The Amy Jumpsuit was the first project that I completed. I love the idea of a jumpsuit, but I find the closer fitting jumpsuits or boiler suits very uncomfortable to wear. The Amy Jumpsuit is by Closet Core Patterns, and I just love the roomy fit around the legs. I found this jumpsuit to be the perfect summer smart casual outfit.

Next, I made the Kalle Shirtdress, which is also by Closet Core Patterns. I chose this because of the collar and placket instalment. Prior to this, I had never sewn anything with a collar, and I found the instructions were great for a beginner like me. Also, I made it using this wonderful “faces” linen fabric. I’ll be revisiting this lovely pattern to sew the other versions of it.

The Closet Core Pouf is a free pattern! It’s a great piece of furniture and it’s made and filled with all my sewing scraps. The pouf was photographed with some pillows for stuffing, but my pouf is still not one hundred percent full yet. It’s still being filled with all the little scraps that can’t be used for other projects. You can tell by now that I was having a bit of a Closet Core crush!

The Nellie joggers was the next project that I tackled. I love the beautiful designs by Pattern Scout. I find all her pieces so easy to wear. I chose the joggers for the zip fly installation. Trousers require a lot more skill to fit so I try to find trousers that have elements like partially elasticised waists to make fitting a bit easier while I build up my confidence.

I didn’t manage to sew the Nova Coat by Papercut Patterns, but I have the pattern in my stash. I often find myself ruminating over projects before sewing. I bought the pattern, then I found some beautiful fabric from Potter and Co, and I think that was the downfall of the project. The wool was dry-clean only and I found that researching about how to prepare the fabric was a bit overwhelming, so I put it aside. I really want my sewing to be enjoyable so I’m not afraid to step back. I’m finding that sewing helps me in the most surprising way, I’m better at forgiving and being more patient with myself. This will definitely be revisited soon!

It was close to winter when I moved on to sewing the Meridan Knit Dress. I didn’t have a set pattern initially when I put this on my Make Nine. I just wanted to branch out into sewing with knit fabric. I’m glad I came across this dress by Sew To Grow. It’s very beginner friendly but a bit different from the usual T-Shirt dress.

One of my favourite discoveries was the Meridian Dress by Papercut Patterns. The design is just beautiful with the wrap front bodice. It allows the wearer to adjust the bodice piece which is so handy for dinner parties and events where you need to look elegant but want to be comfortable as well.

The Persephone Pants by Anna Allen Clothing was a pattern I bought in my previous Make Nine and I still haven’t made it. I toiled the pattern and I just kept finding reasons not to sew it. I think I wasn’t keen on the grey cotton drill that I bought for it, so I just kept putting other projects in front of it. I’ve now discovered cotton lyocell drill in the Maai Design collection, so my plan is to revisit this project with better fabric. It will get made!

Finally, the Dawn Jeans. I’ve only recently purchased this as I kept vacillating between the Dawn Jeans by Megan Nielsen Patterns and the Ginger Jeans by Closet Core Patterns. Then I started thinking that I don’t like wearing jeans anyway, so I put it off until finally deciding that I love the classic look of the Dawn. So, this will definitely be on my next Make Nine list.

I’m so grateful for a productive year of making and learning with these beautiful patterns. Most of all, I’m grateful for all the connections made with the sewing community. Hoping everyone is a blessed.

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

x Em

Spring Holiday Capsule Wardrobe

The capsule wardrobe is synonymous with a collection of garments, a selection of wardrobe pieces that match well to create multiple outfits to suit multiple occasions. I’ve been curious for a while now about this concept. Sewing allows so much choice in style, colour, fabric selection but what makes a workable closet? This is not an original question as evidenced by the numerous books, blogs and YouTube videos on the topic. 

My personal challenge in my short spring getaway, was to be thoughtful in the process of making outfits that fit the criteria of a Capsule Wardrobe. I then wanted to test this out on the upcoming trip. Historically, I am not a minimalist when it comes to packing, in fact, my husband would argue that I pack everything but the kitchen sink.

First step in the planning was to consider the weather. We were heading to the Margaret River region which sits in the south western corner of Western Australia. It’s has tall timber forests, gorgeous countryside and hugs a pristine coastline. It has maritime climate which is cooler than Perth so I had to consider some layering options.

So considering all this, the second step was to determine how many items to make and pack. I decided to limit myself to 5 items plus 1 outerwear. The items I took were:

  1. Grace Dress from Abby Sews and Marsha Style
  2. Pietra Wide Leg Linen Trousers from Closet Core Patterns
  3. Ogden Cami from True Bias
  4. Grace Dress hacked into a pinafore (see previous Blog post)
  5. Comfi Tee in white bamboo jersey by Pattern Scout Studio
  6. Wooster Jacket from Sewing and The City*

On the trip down to Margaret River, I wore the long version of the Grace Dress. The 100% cotton gingham shielded me from the hot sun streaming in from the car windshield which made it so comfortable to travel in. When we reached our destination, we ambled down one of the walking trails on the property. This was a beautiful eco-retreat where the owners went to great lengths to help guests reconnect with nature. It was forest bathing at it’s best. The quiet still air was only broken by the sound of bird calls and the whisper of the eucalypt leaves rustling in the wind. 

The next day was overcast but fine. Heading into Margaret River town centre, we settled for an unhurried brunch. This set us up for a day of exploring starting with Voyager Estate. Margaret River is a world-famous wine region, a funny destination for two teetotallers, but the region is packed full of things to see and do regardless. Most of the wineries have beautiful gardens and magnificent restaurants. Voyager Estate has also been a favourite for us because they make the most delicious non-alcoholic grape juice. In fact, we’ve often ordered a delivery of it when the craving gets too great!

Back into the car, we took a scenic drive to Boranup Karri Forest. These beautiful ancient trees tower like skyscrapers with an understory of ferns and wildflowers. Layering is always good for changeable weather. I was glad that I had my Grace Pinafore worn with my Comfi Tee. The Wooster Jacket was thrown on when the sun disappeared behind clouds. I was glad for some cloud cover because I spent most of the walk looking up at these towering trees, some are up to 60 metres tall! My only regret was not bringing the right camera lens to capture the beautiful birdlife.

The final destination for the day was Mammoth Cave. My husband initially convinced me that the name was derived from fossilised Mammoths, but he was telling porky pies. There have been fossils of Australian megafauna, which have been extinct for tens of thousands of years, found in the cave. It was very cool in the cave as you use the walkway that guides you through the cave. Special features of the cave light up as you walk through which is accompanied by an interesting self-guided audio tour. 

I was so impressed with this combination of Comfi Tee, Grace Pinafore and the Wooster Jacket. It was dressy enough for a morning out and about in town and a visit to a winery, comfortable enough to be traipsing around a forest, everything was made with natural fibre fabrics so it never got hot during the bush walk and it was warm enough in the coolness of the cave.

The final day had an early start. We decided to head to Prevelly Beach. There are two parts to the beach, one leads to surfer’s point and the other part sees the Margaret River meeting the beach. If there had been more time, and with warmer weather, there is a canoe tour which I would love to keep in mind for future visits. However, this day was overcast again so it was great for an early morning walk. I wore my Pietra Pants and Ogden Cami with my Wooster Jacket. I’m so glad I made a light denim version of the Wooster Jacket. The cropped length of the jacket makes it so versatile. It matched equally well with the high waisted Pietra Pants and the Grace Dress and Pinafore.

Dipping my toes into organising a Spring Holiday Capsule Wardrobe will shape the way I organise and consider my sewing projects in the future. It’s so good to know that everything I’m making has a purpose and is used fully. Also, a bonus of planning a capsule is that I only had to pack one pair of shoes. Everything mixed and matched so well!

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

X Em

*Full Disclosure – pattern was gifted in exchange for instagram post. Now a treasured item in my wardrobe and there was no obligation to blog about it.

** I’d like to acknowledge my husband for his beautiful and skilled photography.

Hana Dress in Ankara Fabric

Last year, I had been keenly following Ankara Appreciation Week on Instagram which was hosted by Lena King @thatlenaking and Juliet Uzor @julietuzor_  so, when it came around again I was keen to sew something in this beautiful fabric.

Close up of my Ankara Fabric

Briefly, Ankara Fabric is a wax print cotton fabric which is deeply cultural to Africa. It is called by different names depending on where it comes from so Ankara mainly refers to the wax fabric from West Africa. The prints and the patterns themselves can have symbolic meanings. I bought my fabric from Mapalo Store and when I asked to buy some Ankara fabric I discovered a fellow sewing enthusiast! Her family owns the store and she was so kind in telling me about the fabric. We eventually ended up on her Pinterest looking at some ideas on what I could do with the fabric I had chosen. The main point that stuck in my mind was that with Ankara Fabric, it’s the pattern which determines what you sew up. Pattern matching is crucial to making the most of the fabric. Sewing is such a universal language! I was so touched that she took the time to give me some tips on how to sew up the fabric and now that I have a little experience, I’ll definitely be going back for more fabric to sew up.

Keeping those handy tips in mind, I ended up choosing the Hana Tank Dress by Pattern Scout. The Hana Dress has simple lines so I felt it would let the fabric “shine”. It’s also a dress that I loved wearing in summer and was one that I wanted to sew a few more of for the coming summer. I sewed the size 12 and the only modification I made was to lengthen the dress.

The Ankara Fabric I chose had these cascading repeating blue eyelet pattern on a red background. The blue eyelets actually remind me of peacock feathers. Cutting the fabric was a challenge as I initially thought the pattern was mirrored exactly symmetrically but it wasn’t. Once I realised this, I found a central point of the fabric to coincide with the waist and centre front of the dress. I also made sure the length accommodated to the cascading “feathers” to end with a band of red background around the base of the dress.

Choosing the centre point

The Ankara cloth is such a great fabric to sew. It behaves very well so it’s an easy fabric to sew. It is light but still has structure to it. It’s a very bright fabric so it surprised me when I found it hard to tell the right side from wrong side! Have a look at all the great makes on Instagram under the hashtag #sewankarafabric21

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

X Em

Reflecting on the Me Made May 2021 Sewing Challenge

So, whether you’re new to the sewing scene or someone who has been part of the sewing community for a while, you’ve probably come across a sewing challenge at some stage. I think “Me Made May”, which was the brainchild of Zoe Edwards, must be one of the longest running as it’s been going for about eight years. It was so interesting to read her blog on how and why she started Me Made May. 

So, the challenge runs for the month of May. To participate, you can make a pledge or statement as to what you are getting out of the challenge. Usually, there is a pledge to wear something you made for each day of May, which was part of my pledge. I also included that I wanted to repair and maintain items as I went along. Part of the beauty of this challenge and what makes it so useful is that you can set your challenge the way it works for you. 

The second part is documenting the challenge. Initially, I was a bit hesitant to get in front of the camera daily. There is no rule saying you have to do this as it’s left up to each individual what they want to do. After getting over the initial camera shyness, I did find myself wanting to document my outfits as I wore them as it was motivating and a useful reference.

I wasn’t sure if I would have enough to wear as the weather starts to fluctuate at this time of year. Well, this is where the surprise came as I discovered that I could comfortably wear, with a few repeats, items that I’ve made. Usually when I sew something, I wear it on repeat until my next project. Documenting it daily really motivated me to reach back for items that I hadn’t worn in a while. It also motivated me to correct a few mistakes that I had put off to “one day” fix but never did which inadvertently prevented me from wearing the item more often. This process has also made me realise what lovely investments these patterns are and made me want to go back and resew patterns and experiment with different fabrics. 

I have also realised where the gaps in my closet are. This mainly came about when we had the sudden cold snap at the last week of May which often happens here in Perth, Australia. Even when the rains kick in here, we often have quite tolerably warm temperatures until BANG! It’s freezing and down to single digits (Celsius). Due to this cold snap, my Me Made May journey was a bit patchy towards the final week but I was quite happy with what what I had gained from participating in the challenge. Looking back at my Instagram Highlights, I count about 20 days where I’ve managed to wear something “me made”.

Another bonus of the challenge was realising that all my sewn clothing has been standing up well to the rigours of daily wear and washing! I was kindly guided by a sewing friend to invest in an overlocker. I was lucky enough to find an old sturdy (and very heavy) four thread Bernina Overlocker second hand. It’s a beautiful machine and I’m so grateful that I’ve had such good advice on my sewing journey. Once you invest time and effort in a garment it’s very hard to part with it and it’s so important to be able to maintain it.

You can tell that Me Made May is a really cherished sewing challenge in the community. Participation is high even though there is no “prize” to win. There was some cheerful grumbling about getting front of the camera daily but all followed with lovely smiles and fun poses! It’s lovely to connect with new sewing friends and to see how everyone was meeting their pledges. Here are some sample “Me Made May” outfits of mine that received a lot of love! Thank you so much if you’ve been following along.