Ladybird Ensemble


Yesterday I did some sewing that was not Boomerang Bags. I had made a start on a black linen shirt a few weeks ago and finally found some time to get back to it.

This is not just any black shirt as I specifically wanted it to wear with these trousers that I had made almost exactly a year ago. You can read all about them in this post.

I half-jokingly refer to them as my ladybird pants.

Back to the shirt. When I started making it I was on a mission to find some suitable black buttons, however, my mother sourced these ladybird ones from a large stash of pre-loved, but possibly unused buttons. I could not help but use them.

The finished shirt with ladybird buttons.

Today I wore the outfit which was cool, comfortable and above all, unique.

Not Busy


As I mentioned in a post last year, I have tried to remove ‘busy’ from both my vocabulary and mindset as much as possible.

I have spent the last 3 days occupied in one of my favourite activities – sewing. It has not been just any sewing but specifically dressmaking clothes for myself.

The first project was a dress which was modelled on an oft-used shirt pattern.

I bought the fabric which is a cotton drill from a local thrift shop for $5. I have yet to source suitable buttons and finish the hem.

Another dress. A simple, lightweight shift which will be perfect for hot summer days at home or the beach. The fabric for this one was leftover from a previous project. Of course, both of the dresses have pockets.

A navy linen shirt made using the same pattern as the first dress. This is an extremely versatile pattern which I have used numerous times. The contrasting binding on the neckline and armholes is not visible when the garment is being worn but I think it adds a somewhat whimsical touch. Making my own bias binding allows me to indulge ideas like this. Once again, buttons and hemming are required to complete the shirt.

I have another linen shirt cut out which is black.

This has barely put a dent in my stash of fabric and I am looking forward to making more items to add to my wardrobe.

It is almost 2 years since I last bought any brand-new clothes apart from underwear. In that time I have bought less than 10 pieces from thrift shops and recycle boutiques and made a few items. Some of the clothes that I wore to work are still suitable for some occasions, however, I find that I am gradually changing the mix of clothes in my wardrobe to reflect my retirement lifestyle.

Patterns and Pants


Dressmaking can be a challenge when trying to get a perfect fit.  One of the best methods I know is to disassemble a garment which you love and fits well and then use the pieces to make a customised pattern.  I did this several years ago with a sleeveless, collared shirt and have made numerous shirts from the pattern.  Here are a couple of examples.

This time it was the turn of my white cropped pants which I have had for about 9 years.  They are starting to get a bit thin in places.


I generally use non iron-on interfacing for tracing the pattern. It is reasonably sturdy and stands up to repeated uses. However, on Sunday I discovered that I did not have any left so I had to think laterally.  I had a scramble through my stash and found several large pieces which had been part of a donation to Boomerang Bags but were not suitable.  The fabric is medium-weight, cream synthetic with no stretch so I decided to use it for the pattern pieces which worked perfectly.  It was easy to add markings and instructions, too.

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This is the fabric that I had earmarked for my first attempt with the pattern.  About 3 metres of a medium-weight cotton drill that I had bought last year for $4 at the local Salvos thrift shop.

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I am very pleased with the result.

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The only variation I made from the original was not to add belt loops.  I never wear a belt with these pants and the absence of the loops makes for a smoother silhouette.

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I call them my ladybird pants and you certainly won’t lose me in a crowd when wearing these.

I have a black, fitted t-shirt which I will be able to wear with them and I plan to make a black linen shirt using the pattern I mentioned at the beginning of this post.

Now that I am happy with the construction and fit of these pants, I am working on a pair of lightweight dark navy linen ones.  They will be full-length rather than cropped.

I have several sewing projects underway or planned and I will show you more in future blog posts.

Sew My Stash Sunday – 15

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Today I made a start on sewing a shirt I cut out a few weeks ago.  It is a piece of material that was given to me some time ago and I am making a shirt for my daughter.  This is an illustration of the pattern I am using.

003I am using flat fell seams wherever possible on the shirt.  This is the type of seam that is generally used in purchased business shirts, boxer shorts and jeans.  This article explains the method very clearly.  I like to use them as they provide extra strength and there are no raw edges inside the garment.

Here is a close-up of a section of the finished side seam.  The triangular section on the right-hand side is the side dart on the front.

006I have sewn the side darts in the fronts as well as long darts in the back which will create a nice fit.  The shoulder seams and side seams are done.

004The shirt has a two-piece collar – collar and band, but I think I overlooked drafting the piece for the band.  I got side-tracked while I looked for the other piece and the sewing ground to a halt.  Hopefully, I will get some more done this week.  In the meantime I will need to buy some buttons as I do not have anything suitable in my collection

Sew My Stash Sunday – 14

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I have a completed garment to share with you this week.

2015-04-26 01This is the top I have made to take to Singapore later in the year.  I bought the fabric a couple of months ago at Sckafs Fabrics at Indooroopilly Shopping Centre.  The prices are not cheap but they have a range of top-quality fabrics that you won’t find in Spotlight or Lincraft.  This is a lightweight 100% cotton fabric but it looks luxurious and would be suitable for wearing in the evening.

I made a prototype here and the only adjustment I have made is to make the sleeves a bit longer so that they are elbow-length.

Remember this skirt?

2015-04-26 02Weeks ago I said that it was finished apart from the handsewing – yoke facing and hem.  It has remained in that state for several weeks but today I did the hem and hopefully the facing will be done by next week.  It was this skirt that I had in mind when I chose the fabric for the top.  There are many colours in the floral pattern, including mint green.  I think the top will look equally good with black or white trousers.

2015-04-26 03This skirt was even less advanced so today I attached the yoke and facing, inserted the zip and hemmed it.  There is now only the handstitching on the facing to do.

The reason I did not finish the skirts completely was that I ran out of daylight.  I find handsewing in artificial light quite difficult so prefer to do it during the day.  Even though the skirts are not quite finished, I am pleased with my progress this week.

Sew My Stash Sunday – 12


I am pleased to report that I have actually finished something.  Remember this trial from a couple of weeks ago?

2015-03-22 02Well, I went and bought the silver/grey lawn to line the front yoke.  It cost me the princely sum of $1.80.  I then made the top with one slight alteration from the original pattern.  I made the front 8cm narrower as I felt there was too much fullness in it for my liking.

2015-04-05 02It was simple and easy to make and has no fastenings of any kind.  I am really pleased with the look of the finished garment and am looking forward to wearing it.  It is easy to forget that this was only ever a prototype so it is an added bonus that I get a pretty top to wear as well.

Buoyed by the success of my trial I was ready to cut out the next top.  Here are the pieces cut out and ready to sew.

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As with the first top, I need to buy some lawn for the lining of the yoke and the back neck facing so that is on my ‘to do’ list for this week.  I would normally use the same fabric for the lining and facing, however, in both of these instances the fabric is so fine that the pattern from the lining pieces could show through and disrupt the look of the finished garment.

Sew My Stash Sunday – 4


Just a short post tonight but I can show you the completed skirt.  This afternoon I inserted the zip, finished the hem and facing on the yoke.  It is now ready to wear.

060aThe fit is absolutely perfect so I am very pleased with the pattern making which is based entirely on the hip measurement for this skirt.  I will definitely be making other patterns from the system.  I will share more of the details with you next week.

The yoke on the skirt sits nicely and means that it can be worn with a fitted top like the one in the photo.  The skirt is lightweight and will be perfect for our Singapore trip but in the meantime I will probably wear it to work as our weather is hot and humid at the moment.  I will probably team it with this blouse.

2015-01-03 01I am pleased to have been able to create an entire summer outfit using fabric from my stash.  The total cost was $2.70 for the buttons and $1.15 for the zip.