A bias trim with a navy white diagonal stripe sewn just under yoke and skirt bottom. ...

Simplicity 9825 View C - Pencil Skirt

1:14:00 p.m. Sew Hopeful 2 Comments

A bias trim with a navy white diagonal stripe
sewn just under yoke and skirt bottom.

Back view.  Invisible zipper
I rushed into this project without much thought, using the leftover fabric from this skirt.  When I had it mostly finished I was a bit underwhelmed.  The fit was good but it was a bland navy skirt AKA the world's most boring skirt.  Excuse me while I yawn.  I also rushed the lining and it is not sitting 100% straight.  No one knows it or can see it but I know its there and it taunts me from its hanger in the wardrobe.  I know one day soon I will cave in and fix it.

No, this is not my bank uniform skirt.

One of the "mistakes" - a really bodgy job when I did a
"stitch in the ditch" from the front to attach to front and back
yoke.  It helped the skirt sit better but I got it a bit warped
in the lining. 

I lined it in silk (from my massive stash of old curtains). 

Once I added the bias trim (with a really cool diagonal navy and white stripe) the skirt all of a sudden went from blah to hurrah.  It really works with my new Lydia T-shirt, and the (slightly skewed) silk lining makes it rather luxurious to wear.

Pattern Notes

I cut the size 14 yoke but the size 12 skirt as last time I made this I noticed that the yoke seemed too small for the skirt when I cut it all a size 14.  Not sure if this is a pattern issue or just because I changed the method of construction.

It is a very easy pattern but as the pattern is not lined, adding lining added alot to the time.

Like last time, I made up the front and back separately (yoke to skirt) first and added an invisible zipper, then sewed up the side seams last rather than follow the patterns instructions of sewing the yoke together, sewing the skirt bottom together, attaching the skirt to the yoke and adding the zipper last.  This enabled me to adjust the fit and take in the sides as I needed.


Ruffle Skirt Version 2 I made the first version of this skirt last year.  It was my first thing I had made after a 20 or more year hiatu...

The Ruffle Pencil Skirt (aka Why a skirt needs darts)

2:40:00 p.m. Sew Hopeful 0 Comments

Self Drafted Ruffle Skirt
Ruffle Skirt Version 2
I made the first version of this skirt last year.  It was my first thing I had made after a 20 or more year hiatus on sewing for me.  And then I lost 10 or 12 kgs or so.  So its been sitting in the wardrobe waiting to be seriously taken in.  I finally got around to doing it this week and what I learning curve it was.

I decided in my wisdom (ie: I don't have a clue) that the darts were not really needed, after all, why couldn't I just take it in extra at the sides.  This was brought about by sheer laziness on my part as the revamp meant I needed to take in the sides, re-install the invisible side zipper, take up the hem by a good couple of inches and also move the darts.  So I thought, lets just skip a step, take out the darts and then I just need to take in the sides.

Things were going swimmingly until I installed the zipper.  I tried the skirt on and WOW, that zipper bubbled and bumped its way up my hip.  It looked pretty awful.  Unwearable.  So I ripped it out and tried again.  Nope, still awful.  Then I stumbled across this fantastic tutorial and realised WHY WE NEED DARTS.

When I had taken in the side seams and essentially moved the darts into the side seam, I was left with a pretty dramatic curve on the side seams from hip to waist.  The grain of the fabric went from being cut on the straight to cut on the bias just across that section of the skirt.  So when the zip went in it bubbled.  Badly.  Lightbulb moment: darts maintain the grain of the fabric and help it to curve around our body evenly and without distorting the fabric.

It was pretty tricky to fix as I had already serged/overlocked the seams.  I ended up unpicking the side seams from hip to waist, and resewing so they taper right up to the serged edge.  Then I had to take almost 2 inches off the top of the waist to widen the waist, if that makes sense.

I put in tiny darts front and back (this video was very helpful to get the placement and length right). And installed the zipper again (I think in total I put the zipper in a total of 5 times.  Thats a record for me).

The lining also had to be totally remade, but worth every effort.  The silk feels great to wear.  This time I machine sewed the lining to the invisible zipper, which gives a really professional finish.

I think its fixed.  I actually made a mistake in the waist curve but to quote my mother, "A blind man would be glad to see it".

Self Drafted Ruffle Skirt
Love the girly girl-ness of this skirt
Self Drafted Ruffle Skirt
The inside of the skirt, showing the silk lining and seams


Dove Sorbetto Nana used to have a grey "house dress", she wore it all the time.  In...

The Dove Sorbetto #4

3:46:00 p.m. Sew Hopeful 7 Comments

Dove Sorbetto

Nana used to have a grey "house dress", she wore it all the time.  In my mind, when I think of her, I always picture her wearing that dress.  When I saw this fabric at Spotlight, I had to buy it, because it is so much like the fabric of that dress.  It is a light cotton voile, dove grey, with a cream very vintage-y print.

It was perfect for a little Sorbetto variation.  I drafted a peter pan collar using Gertie's tutorial and Casey's tutorial (Casey's was useful because her picture show very clearly how to overlap the shoulder seams to ensure your collar sits round the curve of the neck properly and doesn't flip up) and added sleeves (pattern for free here), with inspiration from the Colette Violet Blouse.

The rest were my usual sorbetto changes: size 16 armholes, grading from a size 2 in the bust out to a 6 in the hips, cut the size 18 length.  Made it a blouse by not cutting the front piece on the fold and then folding back the front pleat section, interfacing it and turning it into the facings.   I also did a sloping shoulder adjustment and probably should have done a sway back adjustment but decided not to (I was thinking, enough of the fiddling with this pattern, just make it already!!).

I added little mother of pearl buttons.

I didn't have enough fabric for both sides of the collar as I squeezed this top out of 1 metre of fabric, so the underside of the collar is a ivory dupion silk that has been in my stash for a decade (old curtain) and I use it regularly as skirt linings and such.

I made this up in a heavier cotton (Sorbetto 3, really need some decent pics of that one) and it really needed darts front and back to bring it in, but this blouse didn't need the darts at all, I think because the lighter fabric drapes much better.


I, Janelle of sewhopefull.blogspot.com.au, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '12. I will ...

My MMMay'12 Pledge

2:31:00 p.m. Sew Hopeful 0 Comments

I, Janelle of sewhopefull.blogspot.com.au, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '12. I will endeavour to wear a garment made or refashioned by me each day for the duration of May 2012.

I am looking forward to lots of sewing, wearing and sharing with the fab online sewing community in May.  Being fairly new to sewing, this will be a challenge, but I am rather excited about it.  I am still in shock that I am actually sewing stuff that is turning out wearable to be honest. 

Lets hope the warmer weather continues so I can wear all the sorbetto tops I've been making!


This is what happens when you let an exuberant 5 year old choose the fabric for a dress: I made up McCall's 5966 for Olivia as she ...

McCall's 5966 Technicolor Dream Dress

9:36:00 p.m. Sew Hopeful 0 Comments

This is what happens when you let an exuberant 5 year old choose the fabric for a dress:

McCalls 5966

I made up McCall's 5966 for Olivia as she really needs an Autumn dress and I couldn't find anything I liked in the shop.  She chose this technicolor rainbow fabric that I am not that keen on but she was insistent and loved its rainbow look.  OK, so technicolor it it.

 At this point I should have changed the pattern I had in mind to make to something more suitable, like a plain classic tunic or something.  But I didn't and ploughed ahead.  Aaahhhh, the benefit of hindsight.  I'll just have to chalk it up to a lesson in how fabric choice is everything.


What I like about the dress and pattern:

  • The inside is perfectly finished, I bound the armhole seams and the seams where the cuff joins the sleeve in hot pink bias binding.
  • The cross-over front is nice and Olivia likes it as she hates anything too close to her neck.
What I didn't like about this dress:

  • Not the best match of fabric to pattern.
  • The sizing is MASSIVE.   You can see this in the final photo: it looks very wide compared to the finished length.  I made a size 5 but if I make this again I will cut the size 3 and just lengthen the bodice and skirt.  Yes, its THAT big.
  • The sleeve looks a bit too much like a period costume for my liking.

What I learned about sewing for a 5 year old:

Check measurements before you cut! I tried to get Olivia to try it on a couple of times while I was making it but she wriggled and squirmed so much I couldn't get a proper look at it.  But I didn't check her measurements against the pattern before I cut a size 5, and I realise there is alot I can do to make sure the fit is right that doesn't rely on constant fittings (which don't work too well when they moan and complain and even worse if they actually get stuck with a pin).

McCalls 5966


Sorbetto #3 and Simplicity 9825 I have a great cotton poplin black A-line skirt on a yoke that looks and fits great and I was going to u...

Simplicity 9825 Hot Pink A-line Skirt

8:17:00 p.m. Sew Hopeful 0 Comments

Sorbetto #3
Sorbetto #3 and Simplicity 9825
I have a great cotton poplin black A-line skirt on a yoke that looks and fits great and I was going to use it to make myself a couple of skirts like it.  I was really chuffed to stumble across Simplicity 9825, you can read some reviews here.

In a really cheap cotton broadcloth from Spotlight, I decided to make up the A line view as a wearable muslin.  The fabric is in a hot pink, not my normal skirt colour, but I have been sorely in need of some emotional lift of late and hot pink is such a happy and energetic colour, plus it goes perfectly with one of my Sorbetto blouse variations.

I purchased the size 14 - 20 and made the size 14 but ended up taking it in so much I should have got the next size down.  Its all good because I know how to grade patterns enough to just make that change to the paper pattern (phew).  If I was happy with a looser fit and it sitting about 2 inches below my waistline the 14 would have been ok, but I was looking for a higher more fitted look, sitting just below my natural waistline, so I could wear a shirt either loose or tucked in.


  • I changed the order of construction by attaching the yoke bands first before I sewed up the side seams so I could adjust the fit easiliy (good thing two as the side seams ended up being over an inch each side to get the right fit.
  • I used an invisible zipper, so the back seam was the first one I sewed after the yokes were attached.
  • I lined the skirt in a lovely light cotton voile in white, so the inside as a lovely as the outside.  The lining I finished in a lace trim (a detail for me to make the skirt pretty on the inside). Hopefully the lining will also stop the skirt from creasing so badly as well.

Next time I will:

  • Cut the size 12
  • Use a better quality fabric

 What I love about this version of Simplicity 9825

  • It's an incredibly flattering skirt. It eases my longing for a Colette Ginger somewhat.
  • Very easy to make: only 4 pattern pieces (yoke front and back, skirt front and back).
  • It is easy to change if you wanted to eliminate the centre front seam
  • It goes perfectly with my latest sorbetto blouse, with fabric covered buttons.  Its my favourite version so far. 
Simplicity 9825
Inside lining, attached to invisible zipper.
Simplicity 9825
Something pretty just for me on the inside, hem finish on lining.


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