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Grey Bronte Days...

Friday, March 25, 2016

Brrrrr, it's cold you guys!

I finished this grey merino Bronte top a few weeks ago - I've been stitching up my winter wardrobe for a little while now, because, did I mention it was cold?  Winter isn't just coming, it's most definitely here... 

I loved the silver colour of this grey merino as soon as I saw it, but I didn't realise how thin it was at the time. It wasn't until I put it on and you could see every detail of my bra straight through the fabric, that I realised this was a top I'd have to wear with a singlet underneath. A wee bit disappointing, but I can't complain since it was a major and unexpected score at Spotlight (NZ's version of Joanne's I do believe). They never stock merino and it was 40% off. Plus, I don't actually mind that I'll have to wear a singlet with it, because, did I mention it was cold here? And you know, layers.

I've made a second long-sleeved blue Bronte already that is just awaiting some buttons. Me Made May is coming and I'm so excited to participate (after my break last year) as well as help Zoe out with it again this year. Me Made May has definitely been giving my sewing mojo a boost lately, sign up details will be here at the beginning of April.

I'm wearing my Bronte with a Felicity Dress skirt. I've been wearing mine non-stop, and can't quite seem to stop making them. I guess when something works, why stop right?

Oh yeah, and I got a hair cut - it was time. I hadn't had one since before Oscar was born.

I hope you all have a lovely Easter holiday, we are stocked up with chocolate eggs, hot cross buns, toasty roaring fires and a 10month old who's favourite thing to do is climb on us.  So cute, so happy.

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An Afternoon Tutorial - Inserting Back Gathers

Friday, March 18, 2016

Hey, hey!

Thank you all for your thoughtful comments and emails on my last post! I've not managed to reply (or approve) all of them yet, but I'm getting there. I didn't realise it would hit such a note with all of you! 

Today I'm sharing the second Afternoon Tutorial - inserting the back gathering for View 4 of the Afternoon Shift dress

You'll need - 

1. To cut the correct length of bias binding, use your back paper pattern piece and measure the waistline all the way across using the waistline notch and the tailor's tack marks on the pattern to get a straight line. Double this measurement then cut that length in bias tape.

2. To cut the correct length of elastic, use your back paper pattern piece and measure the waistline from the waistline notch to the tailor's tack marking to get an accurate measurement. Double this measurement then cut that length in elastic.

3. Take your cut out back pattern piece with the pattern still attached and using your needle and contrasting thread, place a small tailors tack into your pattern. 

4. Open out your back piece, snip your tack in half and wrong side facing down, place your bias binding on top. Line up the ends of the binding with the waist line notches on either side and the centre with the tailor's tack notches to ensure a straight line.

5. Stitch the top and bottom of the bias binding down, as close to the edge as possible, leaving the ends on each side open. Back tack at each end and remove your tailor's tack.

6. Place a small safety pin at one end of your elastic and pull it carefully through the bias casing, lining up each end of elastic exactly to the side of your shift dress.

I've also pinned the end of my elastic to the side in the photos below so it doesn't pull all the way through.

7. Place a few small stitches, within the seam allowance, at each end of the elastic to secure it until the side seams are stitched up. These can be hand stitches or machine stitches.

And that's how you insert the back gathering! It's pretty easy and leaves you with a really nice finish on the outside of the dress.

Have you made an Afternoon Shift or Blouse? Leave me a link in the comments, I'd love to see them :)

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Feeling Chatty...

Friday, March 11, 2016

I was going to post the second of my Afternoon Tutorials, but today, I just felt like writing to you all instead and saying hello.


Autumn is apparently officially here in my neck o' the woods. We've literally just had the power turned back on. It's been down since yesterday evening - we've had gale force winds here which have knocked down powerlines, um, hello autumn or winter!? Thank goodness for our little wood burner and stove top kettle, oh how we take power for granted...

Autumn is technically my favourite season, but, I just want a bit more summer warmth. We've not had a great summer this year, so I'm feeling a little cheated and not quite ready to give up my long light days in exchange for dark mornings and cold nights.

No, not yet. I think we can wring a few more warm, flowery days out before the cold settles in and the garden goes to sleep though... I live in hope.

Anyway, what I actually wanted to talk about today... you know how sometimes you're in the mood to share, and other times you'd rather use that sharing time to just get more sewing done? Yeah, I've definitely been in that mood lately. I'd rather make stuff than share it at the moment, so, that back log of stuff-to-share most certainly isn't getting smaller. BUT we did take some time on Wednesday to take photos of a few of the things I've been making.

Photo sessions have to happen quickly and in bulk these days, between naps and on a sunny day, in the afternoon when the sun is streaming into my sewing room, when David is home. It definitely needs planning...

Which brings me to the topic of blogging regularly as a seamstress. It quite rightly pops up fairly often, because the reality is that if we want to blog our makes regularly, we have to actually make regularly. But most of the time, that need-to-make leads to less-than-wearable/usable makes, wasted time and an aversion to actually getting any sewing done, doesn't it?

I know that when I feel like I should be blogging but have nothing to share, I end up not doing any sewing because I start to feel resentful at the need to sew just because I feel like I should be blogging, and not sewing because I actually want to. It's a cycle. And not a terribly productive one at that.

So my advice? Ignore all those helpful 'blog 10 times a week for a super dazzlingly successful blog'. They might be trying to be helpful, but they really aren't actually all that helpful for your productivity. Blog when you have something you're really excited to share, I'm sure your readers won't mind. I doubt they realise that you've made a rule to post every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 10am exactly.

Do you sew to blog? Or do you blog when you've got some sewing to share?


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An Afternoon Tutorial - Inserting a Back Box Pleat

Friday, March 4, 2016

Hello Everyone!

Lots of you have already purchased or upgraded to the new Afternoon Blouse & Shift Dress pattern, thank you so much! I can't wait to start seeing your lovely creations popping up soon.

Today I thought I'd share a quick tutorial on how to insert the back inverted box pleat for View 3. The pleat is a lovely little addition to the shift dress, giving you some added shape while also providing an unusual wee detail - right up my alley.

You'll need -

  • Your Afternoon Shift back pattern piece 
  • a needle with contrasting thread 
  • your sewing machine

Oh, and this tutorial has been photographed using a mini version of the shift pattern - so much easier to photograph and so cute!!


1. Take your cut out back pattern piece with the pattern still attached and using your needle and contrast thread, place a small but sturdy temporary tack into the notch markings in the centre back of your shift dress, securing them together.

Don't be afraid to stitch this tack in several times, because the last thing you want is for it to move before you've stitched in your final pleat.

2. Using a low heat on your iron, press the centre fold line down gently next to your tack. This will provide a temporary guide, allowing you to line up your box pleat more accurately for the next step.

3. With the wrong side facing you, open out the pleat and press it flat down, lining up your centre 'line' with your temporary tack. This will ensure you have an even amount of 'pleat' on either side of your imaginary centre back line. Pin in place.

4. Stitch your box pleat down with one row of stitching (you may choose to do two for extra security if you like). Don't back tack at either end, instead, leave long tails and pull these through to the underside once you have finished securing your pleat. Knot securely and clip threads short. Remove your temporary tailor's tack.

This is what your pleat should look like from the right side!

And that's it! Easier than baking a cookie*

Next week I'll be showing you how to put the gathering into the back for Version 4 of the Afternoon Shift Dress.

Talk soon,


* Possibly not as easy as eating the cookie though - but you'll be mighty comfortable doing that in your sparkly new Afternoon Shift :)

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