Pattern Drafting – Peasant Blouse

As much as I love living Australia, being so far from some of the largest viable sources of secondhand fabric and patterns does mean learning to sew can get very expensive. For a lot of people I often hear that it’s prohibitively expensive, especially as very few stores allow payment plans for purchasing machines and tools. So it seemed natural to me that at some point I would need to learn how to do some pattern drafting in order to make the things that I couldn’t find a pattern for. And what better place to start than with my Holy Grail vintage item, the classic peasant blouse.

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Simple Sew Lottie Blouse

Hold onto your hats Theydies and Gentlethem, because I am about to tell you something shocking. What I want to tell you is that it’s normal to fail. As scandalous as that might sound, I believe that it doesn’t matter how old we get or how experienced we are, we will always make mistakes. And I don’t say that in a completely negative way either. Certainly failure is disappointing, mistakes are frustrating, and wouldn’t it be great if things worked perfectly all the time? Well, sure. But how good does it feel to come out the other side of a series of failures with one precious success? How much do we learn from when things go wrong, versus when there’s not a single bump in the road? How connected do we feel to others when they share their mistakes? Personally, I love those stories. So let me share the story of the many failures that led to the amazing success of the Lottie Blouse.

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McCall’s 2560

It’s no secret that I love button-down shirts, the kind where the collar fastens with a button to get that close-to-the-neck fit. This is because I also love adding little things to an outfit, like a necktie, bow-tie or ribbon in order to create a bit of interest, and these require button-down shirts. However, it hadn’t occurred to me to extend this interest to sleepwear. I was in the habit of getting PJs secondhand, in particular getting full sets where I could. I love a matching set! However, the trend for modern PJs in terms of bottoms seemed to be either 3/4 length, or the shortest of shorts. Neither of which are great for me in the middle of summer.

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The Ogden Cami

I think it’s safe to say that at some point in many sewer’s journeys, we can become addicted to Indie Patterns. For those who haven’t yet taken the plunge, these are patterns made by independent designers, separate to the big name sewing companies like McCall’s, Vogue, etc. Indie Patterns also tend to be the most common things I see people making on social media, which I now realise helps to drive up the desire to own and make them yourself.

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McCall’s 7233

I honestly think this pattern was the start of my fascination with vintage sewing patterns. I managed to snag it at an op-shop near where I work, for $2 – an absolute steal, and the fabric was a lovely thick fabric I found at a different op-shop again. The buttons were also a set I had picked up for 20c at the same op-shop where I found the fabric. So it seemed to me that the stars had simply aligned, determined to make this pattern a success.

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Simplicity 8457

Continuing the trend of sewing bottoms from my last post, I thought it would be good to share my thoughts about Simplicity 8457. This pattern was quite a step up for me, involving an all new technique in terms of inserting an invisible zipper. And it was also my first time dealing with trousers with a pleated front. My love of wide-leg, high-waisted trousers had well and truly set in by this stage, as had my desire to find pairs that fit. Naturally I turned to another one of my Spotlight Specials patterns to make this happen and stumbled over a series of patterns called Amazing Fit. I was intrigued by the notion that it had “curvy” pattern options, which seemed specifically designed for people with larger hips and thighs than waists.

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Butterick B6178

Pants, culottes and shorts! I feel that bottoms are – for many people, the biggest challenge when it comes to sewing. This is because there are a lot of factors that go into the fit of bottoms, and or those who don’t have a one size figure or who have yet to find a pattern company with a block that matches their measurements – or who don’t have a block of their own (like me), it means making adjustments. Perhaps that’s grading out or in at the hips, lengthening the crotch or shortening the crotch, adding in a sway back adjustment, a full stomach adjustment, lengthening the legs, shortening the legs, adding a longer zip, adding a second zip – the list goes on. I am still not at all confident when it comes to sewing pants, and I had some disastrous experiences. Not at all realising the various fit issues my figure presented, or even what style of bottoms best suited me. But among the various attempts I made, Butterick B6178 stands out as a great success for the time.

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About Me

Hello friends and visitors!

Before we get started, I would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which I live, and pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging. I extend this respect to any Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people who might be visiting this little blog of mine.

Hello, and welcome to Stitch Sessions!

I started this blog after deciding to close down – of all things, a food blog in which I had been testing and creating Gluten Free recipes for well over five or six years. I found that I still had the itch to write, to take photos, and share some kind of creative pursuit with others. I loved being able to write down titbits of information which might benefit others in their own creative adventures. But as I didn’t have a new special interest at the time I was scratching my head over what to do, and that was when I began to get interested in sewing. Little did I know how passionate I would become about it.

It was a shocking shift in hobbies to be sure. Most of all for me. I tend to be impatient with tasks that take a long time to do, I dislike redoing things, and I can get bored of doing the same task multiple times in a row. All of which are phrases I would use to describe sewing. However, it was the other aspects of sewing that hooked me. It was the chance to learn something new at a pace that suited me, it was the fact that there were a lot of Video tutorials which overcame my difficulties with understanding verbal instructions, and it was the chance to make something that I was imagining become a real, tangible thing I could touch and hold and use.

Over time, I also gained a strong interest in vintage fashion which had only grown with time. I made the discovery that the fit of certain patterns from the 40’s and 50’s was well-made for my figure, and I sought them out. However, I now also have a focus on vintage-inspired patterns, which tend to be more on the affordable side. I also source my fabric and notions secondhand where I can, or on clearance where I can’t. I love hunting for secondhand patterns, and I love learning more and more with each garment I make!

For reference:

My base measurements: Bust 36”, Waist 30-31”, Hips 49”.

The most common changes I make to garments: Full Bicep Adjustment, lengthening the crotch curve, scooping out the back crotch curve, shortening the waist by 1-2”.