Lora Dress

Even though we are approaching cold weather here in the Southern Hemisphere, I really appreciate this new dress pattern from True Bias because we are planning a tropical getaway at the end of winter. The Lora Dress from True Bias is a really flattering empire waist dress and can be sewn in two lengths. I’ve chosen the longer length here but I’m also keen to sew the knee length version. The dress has buttons all the way down the centre front which stops just above the knees. My version of the dress has the spaghetti straps but there is also a full sleeved version. All views are lined at the bodice which have underbust gathers.

Before cutting into my fabric, I toiled the bodice up to the hips because this dress is fitted through the waist and hip area and the bodice should finish snugly under the bust area. My measurements of 35-inch high bust, 37-inch full bust, 33-inch waist and 40-inch hips sat between the size 10 and size 12 on the Size Chart. I was also considering if I needed a small bust adjustment (SBA) as the cup size for the dress is a C-Cup which is a three-inch difference between the high bust and full bust. I ended up adjusting the bodice from a size 10 to a size 12 waist/skirt and shortened the spaghetti straps by 1 inch. I didn’t end up with an SBA as I felt the cups sat comfortably.

The pattern recommends light to medium woven fabric. I was grateful to be able to have a good chat to Kelli who is the lovely Director of True Bias. We discussed how the gathers of the underbust meant that the fabric would need to be lightweight like under 5oz, but it was also good to choose a fabric that had some structure like a linen or cotton. If choosing a rayon, then the dress lining would need to have some stabilising qualities like a cotton lawn as rayon can “grow” and stretch out. I had wondered about Tencel twill as well especially for the sleeved version but thought that Tencel can be quite thick and heavy which might affect the gathers. In the end, I found the perfect Hand-block/Batik Fabric which is lightweight. It’s 100 percent cotton which will be so breathable and easy to wear in hot weather. I’ve chosen to line the bodice with white muslin fabric which will not interrupt any of the gathers under the bust.

This pattern also calls for 12 shank buttons as there are twelve loop buttons along the centre front. I had made buttons before in a previous project, so I was keen to try again. In my previous attempt, I had a very easy “press-in” technique version, but I was disappointed that the cap kept falling off whenever I used the buttons so this time, I searched for a better kit to use. I found a “sewn-in” kit which I would highly recommend because the caps stay firmly in place once made. Of course, there are shank buttons that have been listed on the True Bias website or you can also use normal buttons which have been covered in a tutorial by True Bias.

I have sewn quite a few patterns from True Bias and the instructions are always logical and easy to follow. I also find that the techniques are educational, and I often refer back to True Bias patterns. Sewing and construction went very smoothly. I especially loved sewing the button loops and I also loved constructing the bodice and found it very satisfying to hand sew the bodice lining. It’s all the details that really make the pattern so unique.

Counting down now to enjoying this dress in the tropics! 

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

X Em

*Paid Collaboration with True Bias Patterns

Hampden Dress

This was a jam-packed sewing experience! The Hampden dress is the newly released monthly pattern from Cashmerette Club*. I was so excited by the design because it would be my first princess-seam dress. It’s a lovely style of dress with the button placket which I soon found out was a faux placket so no gaping to worry about. It also has an elasticised back waistband which makes for the most comfortable sundress. 

Using the Cashmerette sizing calculator, I needed to sew and grade from a size 10 bodice to size 14 waist to size 12 hips. This is for my measurements of 35-inch high bust, 37-inch full bust, 33-inch waist and 40-inch hips. I would also need to make a 1-inch small bust adjustment because the pattern is made for c-cup upwards which usually accommodates a 3-inch difference between high bust and full bust. 

To begin with, I made a toile of the bodice but only adjusted the grading (size 10 bust to size 14 waist). I sewed this up and it did confirm that I needed to make a small bust adjustment (SBA) because there was excess fabric over the anterior portion of the bodice. This was where the fun began. I’ve never attempted an SBA before, so I looked at several tutorials. I found one that suited an adjustment for a princess seam which I will put in a different blog as it would take too long to describe here. I’ll be truthful and say that it did take me an afternoon to figure this part out, but it has been very rewarding to get the adjustment to the fit of the dress and now I’m able to transfer the knowledge to other patterns!

The pattern is for woven fabrics. I ended up making two dresses. I firstly made the straight out of the box version and then for a second version, I combined the Hampden Dress and the Holyoke Dress. For the first version, I used a coral pink lightweight linen fabric and for the second, a soft rayon fabric with a macrofloral pattern.

The pattern came together very fast once I had sorted out the fitting. It was a pleasure to sew which is another reason why I had decided to sew two versions. They are both beautiful dresses to wear and I feel so lucky that I was included in this collaboration and could sew this dress before anyone.

Upon reflection, there is one detail of the pattern that I could improve. If I were to make this dress again, I would lengthen the bodice by an inch. I had to take out that length when I made the SBA, and it didn’t occur to me to check the bodice length because everything matched up once I had done the SBA. This is an area that I could learn more in and hopefully with more experience, will be able to judge this better.

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

X Em

*Cashmerette Club membership was gifted as part of the collaboration.

Helmi Blouse

When Forget Me Not patterns released the Helmi Blouse, I didn’t hesitate in getting the pattern. I’ve loved the return of the peter-pan collar. The blouse is slightly fitted and ends at the top of the hips. It’s easy to pull on over the head with the slit opening at the neckline. I’ve chosen to sew the three-quarter sleeve option.

Also, I’ve made this blouse in time for the sewing challenge #SewAprilBlouse23 which is hosted by Gabrielle @Cloth_Edit and Ruan @TheYorkshireSewGirl. This is a fun sewing challenge with lots of great prizes but the reason I love this challenge is I love seeing the beautiful blouses that everyone is sewing up and I find it good inspiration for my sewing.

The fabric I’ve used is a soft light brown muslin. I had thought to use it for lining when I bought it a while ago, but I love wearing the lightweight fabric so decided to use it for this blouse. This pattern is made for lightweight woven fabrics such as my muslin, but it can be sewn with sheerer fabrics. There are great instructions included in the pattern for this.

Currently, my sizing falls between the size 36 and size 38 with my measurements of 37-inch full bust, 33-inch waist and 38-inch hips. The pattern comes in three bust sizes and my measurements fell into the medium bust size. I decided to sew the size 36 without grading and the fit feels perfect.

I’ve never sewn a peter-pan collar before. I like the flat collar with its rounded corners. The collar is a golden classic and reminiscent of sweet and simple times. This version was an easy construction and is attached straight onto the bodice. The pattern has another option of collar with ruffles and a collar stand which I’d love to sew up in the future.

I made a slight mistake with the slit opening at the neckline. I wanted to sew the slit with a button closure at the collar, but I misunderstood the instructions and cut the opening too wide. If sewing this again, I would mark the opening but attach the facing before cutting the slit. As a result, I have a slightly odd-looking keyhole opening rather than the slit I was aiming for. Oh well! A good excuse to sew another one.

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

X Em

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.

Mave Skirt

Sewing the Mave Skirt from True Bias is on my 2023 Make Nine Plans. I’ve never been able to sew everything on my Make Nine list but I’m quite hopeful on achieving it this year as I check another make off my list! The Mave Skirt is an elastic waist skirt with lots of options. I’ve sewn the maxi, three-tiered ruffle version. 

With the seasons changing, the maxi skirt is such an easy item to wear when the weather is still so unpredictably hot or cool. I find it to be a good piece in the wardrobe for the autumn or spring months. I used to avoid maxi skirts because I felt it made me look too frumpy, but I think there is a general rule for avoiding that and that is the rule of thirds. Because the skirt is so long, it’s a good idea to wear it with a top that is shorter like a crop top or something that can be tucked in. I feel that this has made it work for my proportions.

The Mave Skirt Pattern is made for woven fabrics. I’ve made a fuller version using broderie anglaise fabric which I fully lined. The instructions for adding the lining are also included in the pattern. This pattern can be sewn in no less that eight versions! Basically, once you have this pattern, there is no need to buy any other elastic skirt pattern. 

I made the size 12 for my measurements of 33-inch waist and 41-inch hips (seated). There is obviously a lot of ease in the fit of the hips, so I mainly used my waist measurements to pick the right size. The construction was easy and very beginner friendly. Sometimes sewing something simple is exactly what you need for a relaxing sew. True Bias patterns always come with comprehensive instruction and illustrations. You never have to puzzle over the instructions.

I should mention that the elasticised waistband was a bit challenging for me. Not the fault of the pattern but my own skill levels. The waistband had to be stitched at regular intervals in four lines to even out the gathers and flatten the waistband. I had traced the lines for these elongated stitches, but I wish I had just used my machines seam guides. I think I would have achieved much straighter lines. It’s probably not anything anyone would notice unless I bother to tell them and it’s a detail I’ll soon forget as I enjoy wearing my lovely maxi skirt.

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

X Em

Marselis Top

The Marselis Top and Dress is a new pattern from The Uncut Project.  I was lucky enough to be selected to test this beautiful pattern. The Marselis can be sewn as a top or a dress. The designers, Anna and Isabel, are from Copenhagen and their design reflects the Scandinavian aesthetic of simple lines with a modern twist. This pattern has a lot of inclusions. The flowy top or dress can be sewn sleeveless, short sleeved or long sleeved. I chose to make the sleeveless top version and I had in mind something that was appropriate for a summer night out.

Sizing ranges from 32 to 74 (European), I was between the 40 and 42 with my bust size of 37 inches so I went with the 40 as the pattern includes a lot of ease in the waist and hips. The top ended at about hip level for me. I thought the sizing was spot on! 

This pattern is made for lightweight to medium woven fabrics. At the beginning of my sewing journey, I madly bought fabric that I thought were pretty but had no idea how or what to sew with. Every time I passed the fabric store, I would go rifling through the bargain bin. It was a thrill at first until I realised, I was guiltily amassing a rather large stack of fabric that I was now responsible for. Time to put a stop to it. I now check my stash before heading to the fabric store. This chiffon felt like the perfect match for the Marselis Top because it’s soft and sheer which would show off the gathers in the pattern.

At this point, I should confess that I have never sewn with Chiffon fabric before. I’ll just share some of what I’ve learnt about Chiffon here in case anyone is wanting to recreate this. Chiffon frays like crazy. When I tried to overlocker it, there was a moment of panic as it started to disintegrate. Luckily, I was testing this on a piece of scrap. So, French seams were the best option for finishing my seams. Another thing I noted about Chiffon is that it gets easily caught in the teeth of the machine. I had to make sure I was leaving a bit of gap at the start of the sew. I could still backstitch but I have read some advice that it’s better to tie off the ends of your stitching by hand.

Putting together the pattern pieces was easy and the instructions were great. It was a bit tricky with my bias binding because I had bought the slightly smaller one inch rather than the one and a half inch that was recommended. It still worked well, and I loved how the ties were formed so neatly out of the bias binding that finished the top of the blouse. I especially love the back of the top where the ties pass through a loop and ties together. 

I remember finishing the pattern test in the same afternoon. It was one of those patterns that are so interesting, you can’t put it down. I really wanted to get to the end to see what it would look like. Needless to say, I’m in love with my new blouse and I ended up wearing it out that night for our Chinese New Year dinner and to see the lion dancers! 

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

X Em

Elmwood Skirt

The Elmwood is the Pattern of the Month for Cashmerette Club*. I’ve always loved the classic look of the 1950s. The pencil skirt was such a staple in that era with the narrow, hip hugging silhouette with the hem just skimming the bottom of the knees. This version also has chic pockets which stay flat when sitting. 

I was lucky enough to receive a preview of this pattern as part of a collaboration with Cashmerette Patterns. I always start by making a toile of the pattern. This skirt is fully lined so it was easy to make a toile with lining fabric. Looking at the fitting chart, my waist measurement of 33 inches sits between the size 12 and size 14. My hip measurement of 38 inches sits more towards the size 10. So, I put my measurements into the Cashmerette size calculator which advised me that I could sew a size 12 waist and grade to a size 10 hip. My first toile with the graded hip felt too snug for me which I soon resolved when I re-read the instructions.

When I re-read the instructions, it tells you to measure your hip and waist in sitting. I’ve never considered this before, but I have been using some of the wonderful resources available to Cashmerette Club members regarding fitting. It seemed like a good idea as the skirt is so fitted and there isn’t much ease. I’m glad I remade these measurements in sitting because my hips were now at 40 inches. I found that sewing the straight size 12 was the best fit. So, in the future where there is only a small amount of ease in the fabric, I will continue to use this tip of measuring when sitting as well as the usual standing measurements.

The Elmwood skirt is for woven fabrics. I’ve used a wool/linen blend from Potter and Co. It’s beautifully soft in a grey/brown tone. It feels quite luxurious to wear as it’s fully lined. There’s the usual split in the back of the pencil skirt which makes it easy to move in. I’ve needed something a bit dressier for meetings and this skirt really fills a gap. I’m thinking of making a denim version for casual wear.

The instructions and illustrations are very comprehensive in Cashmerette Patterns. I found it easy to follow. One of the skills I’ve gained in sewing this pattern is learning how to do blind hems on my machine. I have hand sewn blind hems before especially with my kids’ school uniforms. Sewing the blind hem by machine works out easier and is a lot more even than my hand sewing!

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

X Em

*Full Disclaimer: This pattern was sent to me for collaboration with Cashmerette. All opinions expressed are my own.

Carlyle T Shirt

Lately, I’ve been looking to sew more basic core items. I stopped shopping ready-to-wear when I took up sewing. It wasn’t a sudden stop but a natural progression as my sewing skills expanded. This year, part of my sewing plan has been to record my daily outfits in #memadeeveryday. I’m trying to account for what I sew and correlate it with what I wear. I’ve found that I have sewn more items for going out in but not many daily wear items.

The Carlyle T-Shirt from Cashmerette really caught my eye because tees are an essential core item, but the Carlyle tee is an “elevated” basic. It has the square neckline which I like and puffy sleeves. The pattern can also be sewn with straight sleeves, but I really love the puffy sleeved look which is such a trend at the moment. I’ve made the classic body length but there is also a cropped version. This pattern is from the Cashmerette Club* catalogue which is a subscription-based service. 

Cashmerette has very detailed information for sizing which is great as sizing can vary so much with pattern companies. I’m always cautious when I first make an item with a new pattern company. I find that Cashmerette sizing is quite equivalent to my ready-to-wear items. I’ve sewn the Size 10 with Cup C/D without alterations. Knitted fabric does have more flexibility with sizing because of the stretch in the fabric so I will still make a toile if I sew a woven item from them. For this shirt, I haven’t toiled which is a bit risky, but it did save me time and fabric!

I’m a really big fan of a square neckline. This one is finished with a neck band which is so neat, but I had to sew very carefully to match the mitred seams to the corners of the neckline. Luckily, I managed it on the first attempt otherwise the seam ripper would have made a dreaded appearance.

Puffy sleeves were never a feature in my wardrobe before but since taking up sewing they have a definite presence in my closet now. It puts a bit of a feminine twist to the basic tee. It was an option to sew this with long sleeves but it’s quite warm where I live so I prefer three quarter sleeves. I do love the look of the straight sleeves as well so perhaps that will be a future option. 

Knit fabrics have been something I’ve avoided sewing with. I’m not sure what the barrier has been. It might have been the multiple needles that I’ve broken whenever I’ve sewn knit fabrics. Happily, I didn’t break any needles sewing this tee. The pattern has very clear and specific instructions which made the construction go very smoothly. I’m finally over my fear of knit fabrics.

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

X Em

*Full Disclosure: Cashmerette Club Subscription has been gifted to me as part of an upcoming collaboration with Cahmerette however, I have no obligation to post or blog what I make. All opinions are my own.

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