Mandy, you’re a fine girl

19 Apr

Many months ago, it was a toss up between Tessuti’s Mandy and Grainline’s Hemlock. I can’t remember why now, but for some (maybe rational) reason I went with Mandy. However, I think my fabric selection was a subliminal ode to Hemlock now I look at it!

ZoSews Mandy Tee

I LOVE this top, and I want to wear it ALL THE TIME!! I have to remember to circulate it 🙂

ZoSews Mandy Tee

As much as I LOVE THIS TOP, my sewing machine HATES KNIT FABRIC. Hence the ugly neck stitching.

ZoSews Mandy Tee

I constructed Mandy with my overlocker, but had to turn and stitch the neck. It’s icky. I’ve tried everything, wooly nylon, tension changes etc etc etc, my machine hates all the knits. 😦 In fact, it hates the knits so much that a pair of Anita pants I was working on yesterday are puckered all the way down the side seams and the machine struggled to sew five stitches without cracking the sh*ts. Put a woven in though, and the biatch was perfect – groan. I may blog these pants, but for now they’re pretty much relegated to wearing on long haul flights lol.

Because my machine hates all the knits so much I didn’t finish Mandy’s hem or sleeves, I reckon she looks fine though.

ZoSews Mandy Tee

The fabric is a cheap as chips poly blend (?) from Rathdowne Fabrics.

Those of you who are super smarty pants’ will notice that my hair is long in these pics, yep, they’re some months old Sherlock 🙂

ZoSews Mandy Tee

Conclusion: If you want a comfortable, easy to wear, easy to sew top – getchoself a Mandy. She’s a free pattern – how could one refuse?

Z xo

PS: Happy Easter to those who celebrate. We’re enjoying a four day weekend here in Aus. Yee hah.


Flora, Flora, Flora

9 Mar

Hola sewing folkaroos! It’s been a while. Life’s been crazy. Bought house, moved house, got dog, mini-breaks, christmas, new year, work blah blah I won’t bore you with my day to day life!

However, in amongst the mayhem I found some sneaky time to pattern test By Hand London‘s newest pattern, Flora! Have you seen her yet? I was delighted with the invite to test the pattern, and found the deadline very motivating to actually complete a garment in amongst everything else.

I went with Variation 1 – faux wrap bodice with pleated dipped hem circle skirt (otherwise known as a mullet skirt). I had next-door-to-zilch time to create this baby, so I lived live on the edge and proceeded without a muslin. The lovely Colette from Tessuti kindly donated the lovely floral viscose linen blend that I made Flora up in too.

ZoSews - Flora dress

I chose my skirt size based on waist measurements because hip didn’t really matter so much due to the voluminous nature of the beast, and bodice on bust size. I made size 10/14. I should have gone down at least a size because I would have preferred a tighter fit – she’s a bit loose. However because I was in such a mad rush and also decided to give you guys the best idea of the pattern fit out of the box by not making any changes, it is what it is. And I still loves ‘er.

ZoSews - Flora dress

The pattern says you need 160cm wide fabric. It’s not a lie let me tell you! I was working with 135cm and had to pinch out a whole lot of volume from the both front and back of the skirt – shown in photo below.

Cutting Flora Dress Skirt

See the sections pinched out?

I also tried to make her up with the longest size hem – I don’t like short thingys 🙂 – but it didn’t work for some reason, so I chopped all the excess back off and went back ‘on pattern’. Which means she’ll probably be more of a winter rather than summer number for me – teamed with tights and boots of course.

ZoSews - Flora dress

So what else can I tells ya?

  • Hemmed by hand – still can’t handle machine hemming – and it’s quite cathartic in front of the TV anyway.
  • Bodice is lined with a white cotton batiste.
  • I love invisible zips.
  • Next time I’ll go down a size and lengthen the waist.
  • I’d like to try the non-mullet version, and I’d also like to frankenpattern the bodice with a pencil skirt
  • From what I’ve been reading, many other testers were smarter than me and thought to french seam the skirt because you can see the inside of the mullet from the front – I wasn’t that tricksy and have simply overlocked to finish. I don’t think it looks terrible though.

ZoSews - Flora dress

Oh man I need a haircut… that fringe, gah…

ZoSews - Flora dress

So that’s Flora, give her a go!

And what’s a post mentioning a new fur-baby without a pic ‘ey? Meet George, my newest obsession 🙂 Don’t let those eyes fool you, he’s a savage monster ;p


Z xx

Anna goes tropical

17 Nov

By now, pretty much the whole entire blogosphere has made the By Hand London Anna Dress. So yes, I am late to the party (or with this fabric should I be saying I’m late to the luau?), but I am still at the party! Woot!

By Hand London Anna Dress

I sewed along with the sewalong, but faltered at the last curve being late, late, late with photos.

Now she’s not a hard make, but if you’re not feeling confident, the sewalong had great tips and pics, making her even easier to sew up.

By Hand London Anna Dress

I made the maxi dress version with the boat neck, but got a little crazy and added a second split to the skirt. However craziness was dialled down when I reduced the height of the split – no-one needs to see that shiz.

By Hand London Anna Dress

I traced the pattern onto Swedish tracing paper in a 14 – it was way too big and I ended taking off about 6-7 cms off the side seams at the end. Make a toile people – it will save the unpicking!! And while I’m handing out hot tips – if you’re a tracer, GET AMONGST the Swedish tracing paper, it’s so much easier to work with than any other kind of paper.

By Hand London Anna Dress

I cut about 5cm off the hem, and my current hems are still huge! 8-10cms I reckon. I love that these BHL ladies design for us taller style people, this is the only pattern brand where I’ve ever had to shorten!

By Hand London Anna Dress

I overlocked most seams to finish them off, and hand blind stitched the splits and the skirt hem.

This lovely lady is made a tropical rayon from Spotlight that I nearly wet myself when I found amongst the fabric rolls because it was exactly what I was looking for for Anna – and I got the last 5 metres of it – HAH!

By Hand London Anna Dress

If you’re gonna get all technical like, the fit is probably not perfecto. For example, the waist seam is hitting me too high, but c’est la vie, I’ll fix it next time. On the other hand, my invisible zip insertion is divine – even if I do so say myself. What’s even more interesting is that I can’t remember the last time I actually hung out with an invisible zip. Needless to say, I was happy.

I can’t wait for some more Anna appropriate weather. However, I did wear her last week with boots and jacket, and I think she worked those boots 😉

Come at me – what are you working on right now?

Z xx

Wiggling in wool

20 Oct

A long, long time ago I finished a satin polyester muslin of Gertie’s Wiggle Dress. It fit – huzzah! I cracked straight into a wool crepe version and powered on through. Until it came to the hand sewing of the hem, zipper and sleeves. That all sat to the side for a good couple of months.

Anyhoo, it’s finished now, so I thought I’d share some pics with y’all.

Now I got a little editing happy with the photos, please excuse the frivolity! The man in my life told me I looked like an air hostess from the 50s, so I thought I’d run with it hahaha.

Gertie's wiggle dress by ZoSews

Please locate your nearest exit.

I find that taking pictures for the blog give a 30 year old lady an excuse to play dress ups – and what’s wrong with that ey?!

Gertie's wiggle dress by ZoSews

The lovely brooch I won in a giveaway from the delightful JuliaBobbin, shoes are from Wittner and pilfered from a friend just for these photos and I used the satin bias binding kindly sent to me from Alacraft to bind all the hems (skirt and sleeves). The binding was easy to sew and added a nice finishing touch compared to overlocking I think.

You can see most detail about the make in the previous version for this dress. Those darstedly gussets were just as tricky too!

Now I gotta run so I can insert my zip into Anna and finish up the Sewalong!

Z xx

PS – Anyone else doing the Anna sewalong? I’ve been trying to comment on the blog posts but no joy…

Massive shout-out to…

20 Sep

Katy, from Katy and Laney!

After seeing a gorgeous set of playsuits on BurdaStyle, I could not resist reading more and then sharing how much I was pining after the beautiful tropical leaf fabric on the blog post. Come on, you know you are too, it’s tropically terrific and we’re heading in to summer here = restraint impossible.

What happens next you ask? Well, let’s just say it was a very pleasant surprise when Katy got in touch and offered to help me re-home her magical tropical leaf fabric!!

And it arrived all the way from the USA today! With extra surprises! AND WITH A TROPICAL THEME!! That’s right!! Can life get any sweeter?! Or fruitier?


Now if you haven’t seen what these lovely ladies are making, (not sure how you could have missed them recently, interviews on kollabora & grainline studio in addition to burdastyle) I urge you to go and check them out now

And on a different note, I promise I haven’t retired from sewing. I have that dastardly wiggle dress II to hem (what? it’s only been 8 weeks or something right? lol), and if you’ve seen moi on Instagram or Facey lately you will have seen some more tropical themed fabric that is metamorphosing into an Anna dress

Katy, if you’re reading this, thank you, merci, arigato, and when you least expect it a fabric surprise may fall in to your lap!

Everyone else, happy sewing to you! Now I have to go and plan my tropical leaf dress… 🙂

Z xx

I am in Victoria. The blazer and the state*.

4 Aug

Every sewer and their dog seems to be talking about the rad By Hand London patterns and ladies. Sorry, I’m about to do it again too!

ZoSews - Victoria Blazer

Some hideously long time ago I was asked if I would like a copy of the Victoria blazer. You can imagine my response went something like, “yes, yes, love one, please, send immediately, now”. Sorry ladies, it did take me a while to bring her to life, but I am there now and that’s what matters, right? Right. The recent sewalong was a good way to keep motivated 🙂

ZoSews - Victoria Blazer

I made variation 1 out of a green linen and a watermelon coloured silk cotton blend, both from Clegs.  I LOVE this watermelon colour. I would wear it 24/7 if I could.

ZoSews - Victoria Blazer

The pattern doesn’t ask for the sleeves to be lined. I planned on doing it anyway, until I realised I didn’t have enough delicious silk cotton. Which meant that for once, I pretty much did what I was told and stuck to the instructions as written. (Edit: I lie. I didn’t want thus didn’t include the pockets. Oh yep, I changed the cuffs as well, applying the silk then folding back.) I did finish the sleeve seams hong kong style, which is ‘off-pattern’ but a nice touch I think. Here’s a bad indoor pick of the finish…

ZoSews - Victoria Blazer

The cuffs don’t have the opening/join on the outer side of the sleeve, I didn’t read the instructions there (naughty) and just threw (sewed) them on. I don’t mind, I finished them off with a cute little button each that the lovely Hannah from Sinbad & Sailor sent me too.

ZoSews - Victoria Blazer

I think I went awry in cutting her out somewhere, because the front pieces were about 5cms longer than the back pieces. Obvs the back pieces had to be cut to fit with the front, but I think I would have preferred the longer length.  You live and learn 🙂

ZoSews - Victoria Blazer

The front pieces and their funky darts look quite odd, and l thought they were going to throw me, but by actually reading the instructions and sticking to them, there was no throwing at all – in fact those weird looking front pieces were a piece of cake!

ZoSews - Victoria Blazer

One other little note, I made tiny hand tacks at the top and bottom of the each lapel to make them stay back. I also ran a line of stitching around the underside of the lapels and collar (green on top, watermelon bobbin) to help it sit back properly.

ZoSews - Victoria Blazer
So there you go. Meet my dear Victoria, she may not come out to play properly until we get some sun. It’s flippin’ cold here at the moment.

Z xx

ZoSews - Victoria Blazer

*I live in Melbourne, which is in the state of Victoria, in the country of Australia. FYUI.

Crikey! I’ve lost my sewjo!

6 Jul

I’ve found recently, that apart from my weekly sewing class, I’m not sewing! Now I don’t mean to whinge, but by the time I get home from work, cook dinner, clean up dinner, deal with emails, blog reading, phone calls, life etc – I’m wrecked and it’s close to midnight! And that’s on the nights I don’t have something else on… ballet, french etc. (#firstworldproblems I know)

I mean, even this post is lacking energy!

There was a little chat about this topic on Facebook recently, and we discovered that Red Point Tailor tries to sew 2 hours a night! Two hours a night!! Maybe if I was one of those lucky people who don’t need sleep I could do that. 

I think I’ve become more sew-luggish since winter set in… maybe my vitamin D deficiency has a role to play lol? And I must note that I’ve never been quick at the best of times, tending to fall into the ‘slow sewing’ camp. I do however fall into the fast fabric and pattern buying lot 😉

So, I want your tips for sewjo finding! Deadlines tend to push me, but if they’re self imposed…well, lets just say those ones can be moved *wink*. 


Stay with me!

30 Jun

No newsflash here, we all know that Google Reader will be kaput as of 1 July, i.e., tomorrow!! For all you Google Reader readers out there, I’d love you to stay with me.

I’d recommend following along on Bloglovin, it’s my personal weapon of choice.

Stay with me

Talk soon!

Z xx

Interested in …isms?

24 Jun

Picture this mes amis. Me, at the Arts Centre, with about 45 minutes to burn before meeting up with my Grandmother to go and see Swan Lake. With not enough time to walk up to Clegs or Tessuti (dammit!), what else was there to do but to head over to the NGV shop and check out their wares.

And check out their wares I did. In fact, I walked out with a new little book, Isms: Understanding Fashion


It the publisher’s own words, Isms is, “… a highly illustrated guide to the movements or ‘isms’ that have shaped the history of Western fashion from the 17th century…”

I like it as a nice, light introduction to the various trends, or rather ‘isms’ of Western fashion.

I must admit, I have barely started reading this, but already, me likey! The first isms are Restorationism, Baroque and Rococo.

I’m wondering, are y’all interested in me featuring some isms here on zee blog? Yay? Nay? Let me know!

Z xx

Join me in haby heaven

11 Jun

Howdy, a quick little post for y’all because I just couldn’t hold this back any longer.

I have a discount code for you my dear readers.

But before that, I’ll tell you a little story… You gotta work (suffer) for your code ;p

Once upon a time, a little sewer from Melbourne was checking her emails. One grabbed her attention. What was this attention grabbing email? Alacraft, an online haberdashery store was offering to send this little sewing lady some haby treats. Of course the little sewing lady said, yes yes pleaassse! 

A few days later the little sewing lady had a  package turn up, it was beautifully packed, exactly as ordered with even a few extras thrown in. As you’d expect, the little sewing lady was in haby heaven!

So, the little sewing lady now wants you all to experience haby heaven too.”

That’s where the discount comes in (audience breathes sigh of relief “finally, we get to the good bit”).

My haby haul

Heavenly haby

Alacraft has very kindly offered a 20% off discount code for all my tortured readers. So, here she is: ZOEG20

And what’s even more exciting, is that this discount is just like a packet of Tim Tams that never runs out, because there’s no expiry date! So go get shopping folks.

And since Alacraft was new to me, I made the assumption (you know what they say about making assumptions…) that they may be new to you too, here’s some info on who they are:

  • Family owned business in Perth, Australia
  • Stocks a large range of craft supplies including lace, ribbon, yarn, etc

Their haberdashery isn’t fancy-pants stuff that’s been imported from Italy, worn by angels and blessed by Tibetan monks, however it is all your everyday stuff like bias binding, cotton tape, and trim that you’d find at your local Spotty (but with 20% off for you!).

See that pretty blue satin bias binding in the top right of my package? Yes. Well it’s going to be hooking up with my blue, wool wiggle dress. Yay!


Z xx

PS. If you’d like to see everything that came in the package, I’ve made a little Vine (@ZoSews) with the intention of sharing it in this post. Turns out WordPress won’t let me. Boo. 😦 But you can still see it on Vine.