Merino jersey Peppermint slouchy cardigan

My birthday make for this year was a garment designed with warmth and comfort in mind: a Peppermint slouchy cardigan, made up with The Fabric Store’s signature premium merino jersey in ‘mushroom’!

all the little happy things - merino jersey Peppermint slouchy cardigan

I made this cardigan back in May over a couple of days, finishing it off on my actual 30th birthday – just in time for the end of autumn and the beginning of winter. I feel like I’ve planned my sewing projects a lot better this year to match with the seasons – no more sewing up summer dresses in the middle of winter!

all the little happy things - merino jersey Peppermint slouchy cardigan

all the little happy things - merino jersey Peppermint slouchy cardigan

You might remember from my post about my French terry cardigan that I made a lot of modifications to the pattern after finishing the toile, and it’s resulted in a much better length and fit. I shortened the cardigan by 4 inches, shortened the sleeves by 2 inches, and raised the pocket placement by 2 inches as well. My merino jersey version is the perfect length to wear over my knee-length dresses, and it’s overall much better proportioned for my petite frame.

all the little happy things - merino jersey Peppermint slouchy cardigan

The merino jersey is so soft, warm and cosy to wear! I was a bit nervous about cutting into and sewing it up, but it was surprisingly easy to handle and work with, especially with my walking foot. I love the warm greige colour, too – it’s the perfect neutral to liven up my mostly-black autumn/winter wardrobe, and it matches really nicely with my warmer-toned spring/summer dresses.

all the little happy things - merino jersey Peppermint slouchy cardigan

I really love the slouchy, casual vibe of this cardigan, and it’s definitely been serving me well over the last few months here in chilly Brisbane!

all the little happy things - merino jersey Peppermint slouchy cardigan

Floral Ogden cami and Flint pants

I love wearing pants, but for a long time I didn’t have a lot in my wardrobe. It’s always been hard for me to buy ready-to-wear pants that are the right length, and I’ve also been a little scared of sewing pants for myself because of the potential fitting problems. When I started working from home in April and the weather began cooling down, I realised I needed more comfortable pairs of pants in my wardrobe. With all the shops shut due to the pandemic, I decided to finally conquer my fear of sewing pants, starting with the Flint pants pattern from Megan Nielsen!

all the little happy things - floral Ogden cami and Flint pants

I made this pair of Flint pants back in early May as a wearable toile out of a lovely floral-print rayon that I picked up on sale from Spotlight. I didn’t want to waste any fabric, so I managed to cut out a True Bias Ogden camisole as well. I love that wearing them together gives me the look of a fun wide-legged jumpsuit, but with all the convenience of separates!

all the little happy things - floral Ogden cami and Flint pants

For the pants, I made view A with the button closure in a straight size 4 based on my waist and hip measurements, and I was really surprised to find that I didn’t have to make any adjustments at all. The pants are designed to be a cropped above-ankle length, but I wanted mine to be full-length. Since I’m a very short 5’1″, I ended up hemming the pants exactly as the instructions directed, and they turned out to be the perfect length!

all the little happy things - floral Ogden cami and Flint pants

I’d never owned a pair of wide-legged pants before as I always figured the silhouette wasn’t really for me, but I’m definitely a convert now, and I especially love the Flint pattern. I love the nice high waist, the clever side closure and the deep pockets, and I love the way the pants look in this nice drapey rayon. The pattern instructions were very clear and easy to follow, and the only slight deviation I made was to use French seams on the side seams instead of finishing with zig-zag as I did for the rest of the seam allowances.

all the little happy things - floral Ogden cami and Flint pants

I’ve made the Ogden cami a few times before, so I made this version according to the same adjustments as my silk version. I mistakenly cut two back facing pieces from my fabric instead of one back piece and one front piece, and didn’t have enough fabric to cut the front facing on the fold… but I managed to piece it together out of the scraps!

all the little happy things - floral Ogden cami and Flint pants

I’m really glad I was able to squeeze both the pants and the camisole out of my fabric – it felt good to have so few scraps left over after cutting, and I got to add an entire outfit to my wardrobe instead of just a pair of pants! The pants and cami as a whole outfit and as separates have been great for lounging at home, but are still stylish enough for a socially-distanced catch-up with a friend, and will be nice enough for work with a cardigan once the office opens up again. Versatile separates are my favourite garments to make these days!

all the little happy things - floral Ogden cami and Flint pants

I wore these pants a lot through the end of autumn and the beginning of winter, until it finally got too cold in Queensland for lightweight rayon, and I’m looking forward to wearing both the pants and the cami again when the weather warms back up!

all the little happy things - floral Ogden cami and Flint pants

Black French terry Peppermint slouchy cardigan

Back in April, I started working on some sewing projects for the winter months, and the first thing I made was a wearable toile of the Peppermint slouchy cardigan, using a comfy French terry that I bought on sale from Spotlight!

all the little happy things - black French terry Peppermint slouchy cardigan

This is yet another lovely free pattern designed by Emily from In the Folds. As with all of Emily’s patterns, I found the instructions very clear and easy to follow. I don’t have an overlocker, so I sewed the seams with the stretch stitch on my normal sewing machine and finished the seam allowances with zig-zag stitch, using my walking foot to make sure the fabric fed through evenly. It all came together very quickly and easily, and I didn’t have any problems with rippled seams or my fabric stretching out.

all the little happy things - black French terry Peppermint slouchy cardigan

all the little happy things - black French terry Peppermint slouchy cardigan

On the size chart, my measurements fell within size B, but due to the amount of ease in the pattern, I decided to cut and sew a straight size A. It fit the way I wanted it to across the shoulders and the body, but as you can see, it’s very long on my 5’1″ frame! The pattern is drafted for someone with a height of 5’7″, but I didn’t shorten any of the pattern pieces because I wanted to see exactly how long it was actually going to be and how it would look on my body. I’ve since shortened my pattern pieces by 4 inches to get the length I want.

all the little happy things - black French terry Peppermint slouchy cardigan

I love that the sleeves are relaxed and slouchy, as they fit over my short-sleeved shirts and dresses without looking too bulky, but they are a little too long. This photo shows what it looks like when the whole sleeve is extended – it goes right past the ends of my fingers! I don’t mind too much, as I always have cold hands anyway, and too-long sleeves are easy to push up. Plus, the extra-long cuff can be folded over – this next photo shows how long the sleeve hits with the cuff folded.

all the little happy things - black French terry Peppermint slouchy cardigan

The folded-over cuff has the sleeve hitting pretty much exactly the length that I wanted for this cardigan. I’ve now adjusted my pattern to shorten the sleeve by 2 inches, so that the sleeve will hit this length with the cuff unfolded.

all the little happy things - black French terry Peppermint slouchy cardigan

The cardigan also features handy side-seam pockets, which I love, but the pattern has them inserted a little too low for me (short girl problems!). It’s not a big deal since this version was a toile anyway, but I’ve raised the notches for the pocket placement on the pattern by 2 inches for next time.

all the little happy things - black French terry Peppermint slouchy cardigan

Overall, while there are a few issues with the length and fit, this was a pretty successful and very wearable toile! It’s super cosy, warm and comfortable, and I love the cocoon shape and slouchy fit. I’ve really loved throwing this on as the weather’s gotten colder – it’s the perfect outer layer for working and lounging at home!

all the little happy things - black French terry Peppermint slouchy cardigan

I’ve already made another version of this cardigan in a delicious merino jersey with all my pattern adjustments, so stay tuned for a post about that soon!

Classic indigo denim Cleo dungaree dress

My black denim Cleo dungaree dress is one of my most-worn garments throughout autumn, and this April I decided it was time to add another one to my wardrobe!

all the little happy things - indigo denim Cleo dungaree dress

I made this version out of a lovely indigo stretch denim that I picked up on sale from The Fabric Store back in January, and decided to take the time to add the topstitching details in a pretty golden colour. I love the classic look that this combination gives!

all the little happy things - indigo denim Cleo dungaree dress

I had a bit of a hard time finding dungaree buckles that I liked, and I ultimately went with these sweet bronze ones that I purchased from JM Embroideries & Collectibles. They’re a little wider than the straps, but I don’t think it’s much of a problem.

all the little happy things - indigo denim Cleo dungaree dress

I took my time with pinning and sewing this one, and I’m glad I did – I managed to finally sew the straps down at the exact perfect angle to the back dress this time, without the issues I’ve experienced with previous versions!

all the little happy things - indigo denim Cleo dungaree dress

My previous versions were a size 4 but I’ve lost some weight since then, so I took the time to make up a quick toile of the dress pieces in size 2 to check that the fit would work before cutting into my denim. I didn’t end up needing to make any alterations to the pattern at all this time, which was nice! The size 2 fit very nicely, with enough room to move around and to fit a thicker jumper underneath once winter really hits.

all the little happy things - indigo denim Cleo dungaree dress

As with all of my projects this year, I took the time to add special little details and enjoy the process of putting the dress together, following my ‘quality over quantity’ mantra for my sewing this year. This time, I turned scraps leftover from my Rosery Apparel dress into bias binding and bound all of my raw edges (except the hem) for an extra neat finish and a pretty detail for the insides. I made sure to take my time and go slowly for the top-stitching so my lines were as neat and straight as possible (I used my edge-stitch foot for the first time ever!). And, of course, I added a Kylie and the Machine label as a finishing touch!

all the little happy things - indigo denim Cleo dungaree dress

As always, my favourite thing about the top pocket of the Cleo is that it’s the perfect place to show off enamel pins from my collection! In these photos, I’m wearing a The Good Place pin from Fogagarty, and an ‘Everything is fine’ pin by KC Green. Definitely reflective of the way I was feeling in April!

all the little happy things - indigo denim Cleo dungaree dress

Even with taking the time to make my bias binding strips, binding up all those seam allowances, and going very slowly with my top-stitching, I was still able to finish my Cleo dungaree dress over a couple of days in the Easter long weekend. It was so satisfying to make, and I have loved wearing it – definitely an instant wardrobe classic!

Protea blush Bellbird blouse

After the success of my plain burgundy Bellbird blouse, it was time to make another one in a pretty print!

all the little happy things - protea blush Bellbird blouse

I made this back in February, right after my burgundy version. I had never been a statement sleeves kind of girl before, but this lovely Common Stitch pattern has definitely made me a convert!

all the little happy things - protea blush Bellbird blouse

As with the last version, I cut a straight size 6 and took my time to finish everything neatly – French seams, a clean finish on the centre back seam allowances, and a turned-under hem for the facing.

all the little happy things - protea blush Bellbird blouse

My fabric was a cotton sateen from Nerida Hansen in the beautiful ‘Protea Blush’ print by Brook Gossen. It sewed up like a dream, and the drape and soft hand of the fabric suited the silhouette of the blouse perfectly.

all the little happy things - protea blush Bellbird blouse

all the little happy things - protea blush Bellbird blouse

The design of this blouse lends itself really well to all kinds of different outfits – untucked over skinny jeans or pants, tucked into a high-waisted skirt, or layered under a dungaree or pinafore dress. Love that versatility!

all the little happy things - protea blush Bellbird blouse

As with all my makes this year, I made sure to add a Kylie and the Machine label – this a metallic side seam label inserted at the edge of the facing. I love how that lilac metallic thread looks against the soft pink fabric of the facing!

all the little happy things - protea blush Bellbird blouse

I really enjoyed the process of making this Bellbird blouse, and have loved wearing it all autumn long. Here’s to finally adding some cold-weather makes to my me-made wardrobe!

Burgundy Bellbird blouse

It’s nearing the end of autumn here in the southern hemisphere, so it’s about time I shared a cool-weather make! My sewing to date has trended towards spring and summer garments, so I decided early in the year that I needed to fill the gaps in my autumn/winter me-made wardrobe with some long-sleeved garments. I made this ruffle-sleeved blouse way back in February, and have worn it at least once a week since the temperatures eased off a couple of months ago!

all the little happy things - burgundy Bellbird blouse

I’m not usually one for statement sleeves or lots of ruffles, but I got the idea of making a ruffle-sleeved top in my head and couldn’t get it out! I tossed up for a while between the Common Stitch Bellbird blouse pattern and Peppermint’s free ruffle sleeve top pattern by In the Folds, but ended up going with the Bellbird blouse. I was able to grab the paper pattern with the Bellbird wrap dress pattern for a bit of a discount at last year’s Finders Keepers market, so that was a bit of good fortune!

all the little happy things - burgundy Bellbird blouse

The blouse features a boat neckline, long sleeves (the ruffle ends right at the wrist) and a comfortable boxy cut with no darts. It also has some lovely little top-stitched details around the neckline and down the centre back seam.

all the little happy things - burgundy Bellbird blouse

I made a toile out of cotton broadcloth first to check the fit, as I wasn’t totally sure what size to cut. According to my measurements and the size chart on the pattern, I was between the size 6 and 8, but the pattern doesn’t have completed garment measurements and there weren’t a lot of posts on social media or the blogosphere to give me any guidance about which size to cut! I figured that the cut of the bodice incorporated a lot of ease, so I tried a size 6 for the toile and found it fit just the way I wanted it to, no alterations needed! The pattern instructions were easy to follow, and it was a pretty simple make overall – the hardest part was inserting the sleeves, but even that was easier than I’m used to since they’re inserted flat instead of in the round.

all the little happy things - burgundy Bellbird blouse

After finishing the toile, I cut into my fashion fabric – a lovely burgundy cotton shirting that I bought on sale from The Fabric Store’s online shop. I absolutely love this deep wine colour, and the fabric had enough structure to give shape to the top and the sleeve ruffle, but also enough drape so that it wasn’t too stiff and boxy. Just perfect!

all the little happy things - burgundy Bellbird blouse

I was a bit worried that the relaxed, blousey fit and the ruffled sleeves would be too overwhelming on my petite frame, but it turned out to be pretty nicely balanced, and I really like the way it looks! I don’t usually go for a lot of drama in my silhouettes, but I have definitely fallen in love with these ruffled sleeves.

all the little happy things - burgundy Bellbird blouse

all the little happy things - burgundy Bellbird blouse

I’ve found this blouse to be a super versatile addition to my wardrobe – I can wear it untucked over skinny jeans, under a classic pinafore/dungaree dress, or even tucked into a high-waisted skirt. The solid colour and higher neckline also create the perfect background for a statement necklace! It’s nice to have made a garment that I can dress up or down.

all the little happy things - burgundy Bellbird blouse

all the little happy things - burgundy Bellbird blouse

It took me about a week of sewing in short little blocks to finish making this blouse – I’d work on it while waiting for dinner to cook, or when I had a bit of time in the morning before I had to leave for work. In keeping with my 2020 sewing goal of focusing on quality over quantity, I took my time while sewing the blouse to make sure I finished all the seams as neatly and beautifully as I could! I did a clean finish on the centre back seam, following the instructions on this tutorial, and French seams for all the rest. Rather than just finishing the facing with a zig-zag stitch, I turned it under and top-stitched around for extra neatness. And of course I topped it all off with a lovely end-folded Kylie and the Machine label!

all the little happy things - burgundy Bellbird blouse

I’m really pleased with my Bellbird blouse, and glad that I branched out of my style comfort zone to try out these fun ruffled sleeves! I’ve already made another version in a fun print, so stay tuned for that in a couple of weeks’ time!

Rosery Apparel ‘Perfect Dress’

There are few things I love more than a good free sewing pattern that works out just the way you want it to! Today I’m sharing this beautiful dress I made using Rosery Apparel’s free ‘Perfect Dress’ pattern and a lovely cotton sateen from Nerida Hansen!

all the little happy things - Rosery Apparel Perfect Dress

I picked up this beautiful cotton sateen in a sale last year, and managed to cut this dress out of the 1.5m I had, with just a 20cm length left over. I just love large-scale botanical prints in fun colours like this! The dress features a classic crew neck, short sleeves, a simple gathered skirt and side-seam pockets, and the simple shape and modest neckline make it the perfect dress pattern to show off the gorgeous print of my fabric. It’s such a simple and lovely pattern, and I imagine it would be pretty easy to change up as well, e.g. by altering the shape of the neckline and the length of the sleeves.

all the little happy things - Rosery Apparel Perfect Dress

I ran into a little bit of trouble trying to print the pattern. I always print my digital sewing patterns at Officeworks on the large-format printer, but for some reason this PDF file wasn’t quite behaving! My husband had to do some tech wizardry to get it sorted out, and in the end we weren’t 100% sure that the pattern printed at exactly the right scale. I made a toile of the bodice in size S (which is meant to fit Australian sizes 6-8) to double-check that everything was ok, and thankfully it seemed like the scale was correct. Janelle from Rosery Apparel has updated the pattern file since I downloaded it, and I believe that the new version includes a test square for checking the scale, so if you download the pattern now you might not have as many difficulties! You can also now buy Janelle’s pattern from her shop in sizes 4-24, rather than the S/M/L sizing of the free pattern.

all the little happy things - Rosery Apparel Perfect Dress

The pattern is fairly minimalistic – only a handful of pattern pieces, and you calculate and draft the rectangles for the skirt yourself. I didn’t bother actually making any calculations based on my measurements, though – I just cut my skirt out using the full width of my fabric, halving it to get the front skirt piece and halving the remainder to get the two back skirt pieces. The sleeve pattern pieces didn’t have any notches to indicate which part of the sleeve connected to the back bodice and which part connected to the front, so I had to pull out my Tilly and the Buttons Mimi blouse pattern to compare the sleeve shapes and work that out. Other than that, I found the pattern easy to work with and the size S fit me perfectly.

all the little happy things - Rosery Apparel Perfect Dress

Janelle has a video tutorial on how to construct the dress which is quite easy to follow. However, I ended up making a few changes to the instructions to suit the way I like to make my garments and to ensure a super neat finish, such as stay-stitching the neckline and sleeve edges of the front and back bodice pieces before starting, and using French seams on the side seams of the sleeves, the seams attaching the sleeves to the bodice, and the side seams and pockets of the skirt. I also added a hook and eye closure at the top of the zip. I used a 45cm invisible zip as recommended by Janelle, but next time I think I’ll use a 55-60cm zip, as I found the 45cm one was not quite long enough for me to be able step into the dress and comfortably pull it up over my hips unzipped – I have to pull it on over my head instead.

all the little happy things - Rosery Apparel Perfect Dress

The main change I made was to eliminate the facing, as I don’t like facings flapping around on the inside of garments, but I also didn’t want any top-stitching around the neckline. Instead, I lined the bodice with lightweight cotton lawn, inspired by this blog post. I cut the front and back bodice pieces out of the cotton lawn, sewed the shoulder seams, then attached the lining to the dress at the neckline. I pulled the lining up and out of the way while attaching the skirt to the bodice and inserting the invisible zipper. Then I attached the lining to the centre back to hide the zip tapes (I followed the instructions for the Lilou dress in Tilly’s Love at First Stitch), and slip-stitched the lining by hand to the armholes and waistline of the dress, hiding all the seam allowances. All of that work resulted in a beautifully finished dress – just look at how neat and tidy the inside of the dress is!

all the little happy things - Rosery Apparel Perfect Dress

I’m so pleased with my Rosery Apparel dress – it’s a wonderful, versatile addition to my wardrobe. Thank you to Janelle for offering up such a lovely free pattern!

Silk Ogden cami

Today, I’m sharing what is probably my favourite project to date – my silk Ogden cami! Made of this beautiful printed silk crepe de chine and fully lined in white silk satin georgette, both from The Fabric Store, it feels so luxurious and I’m incredibly proud of it!

all the little happy things - silk Ogden cami

Let’s take a moment to appreciate the fabric! The crepe de chine has been on my wishlist for months, ever since I first saw it on The Fabric Store’s website – the colour palette is right up my alley, and abstract floral prints are my favourite kind of prints! I had figured the crepe would be a little sheer so I originally planned to do the full lining in the same fabric, but my husband suggested using a white lining so that the print wouldn’t show through. It was definitely the right choice to line with the white georgette – the colours in the print really stand out beautifully against the white lining! Before starting the project, I handwashed both fabrics using a very mild delicates detergent, and laid them flat on a white towel to dry. I handwash all my ready-to-wear silk garments and have never had an issue, and I encountered no problems with washing my crepe and georgette.

all the little happy things - silk Ogden cami

If you read my recent post about making the Ogden cami, you’ll know that I spent a lot of time making toiles from fabric in my stash in order to ensure that I got the fit just right before cutting into my silks. For my silk cami, I cut out between sizes 0 and 2 at the bust, grading to size 0 at the waist, widened the straps by 1/4″, and made a full lining by using the bodice pattern pieces shortened at the hem by 1/2″. The best part was that I bought a metre of each fabric and was able to squeeze my cami out of less than half of that. I still have enough left over of both silks for another project – perhaps a fully-lined tank top!

all the little happy things - silk Ogden cami

I was pretty nervous about cutting and sewing my fabric, as I’ve never worked with 100% silk before and haven’t had a lot of experience with such lightweight, potentially slippery fabrics. It was actually ok, though! I was very careful when cutting out my pattern pieces to use a lot of weights and a few pins to ensure the fabric didn’t shift around, and both the crepe and the georgette sewed up very nicely on my machine. I didn’t have any problems with the fabric sliding around or being eaten up by my machine, which was a huge relief!

all the little happy things - silk Ogden cami

I used French seams on the side seams of both the shell and the lining, and zig-zagged the raw edges of the neckline seam for extra security against fraying. I did the normal double-folded hem for the lining, but for the shell I decided to have a go at hand-sewing my first ever rolled hem, following this tutorial on the Megan Nielsen blog. It was pretty relaxing to sit down for a couple of hours and listen to podcasts while I stitched away. I’m so glad I took the time to do the rolled hem by hand – not only did I learn a new skill, but the tiny width of the hem means that I can showcase as much of this beautiful print as possible!

all the little happy things - silk Ogden cami

The final product fits wonderfully, and I just love it! The wider straps mean that the top is pretty bra-friendly, and I adore the soft hand and gentle drape of the fabric. The loose fit and length of the cami mean that it looks great over a pair of skinny jeans, but looks equally good tucked into a high-waisted skirt – I love versatile garments!

all the little happy things - silk Ogden cami

This photo gives a better look at the difference in length between the shell and the lining – long enough to be a full lining, but just short enough so that the lining won’t show. I also added a last finishing touch with one of my favourite Kylie and the Machine labels – which has the added benefit of making it very easy to tell which side of the cami is the back!

all the little happy things - silk Ogden cami

This was one of those times where what I had imagined and planned actually worked out in reality, and I am so thrilled about it! This cami is everything I dreamed it to be – comfortable yet classy with a lovely soft drape, and made of the most luscious fabric in my favourite print and colour palette. Welcome to the wardrobe, silk Ogden cami – I couldn’t be happier about you!

Three Ogden camisoles

I’m happy to say that I have now finally joined the ranks of the many, many members of the sewing community who have made and loved the True Bias Ogden camisole pattern! In fact, I made 3 different ‘practice’ versions over the course of 3 days, all of which turned out nicely enough to be added to my wardrobe!

all the little happy things - three Ogden camisoles

If you follow me on Instagram, you might remember seeing my New Year’s Day post that included a picture of a couple of beautiful silks that I bought from The Fabric Store. My plan for those silks was to make a fully-lined Ogden cami, but since I’ve never made an Ogden before, I decided to make a few toiles with remnants from my stash to make sure I really got the fit and the techniques down before I cut into all that lovely silk. Each of my three camisoles are a little bit different, and I’ve set out each variation below!

all the little happy things - three Ogden camisoles

Version 1 was made with some lightweight organic cotton lawn from Spotlight, which I’d had sitting in my stash since I made my Mimi blouse. Since the fabric was a little sheer, I decided to do a full lining in some plain white cotton lawn. I ended up shortening the lining pieces from the bottom by about 2 inches, as that was all that I could squeeze out of my fabric! I cut a size 0 with no alterations for fit, and used French seams throughout – even for the neckline. I got a bit lazy at the end so I skipped understitching the lining to the cami, and ended up stitching in the ditch for a couple of inches at the side seams to tack the lining to the main cami. It works, but definitely isn’t as neat a finish as doing all the understitching and tacking properly! Overall, this version fit pretty well, but I found the straps were a bit too skinny for my liking, and the cami was maybe just a tiny bit tighter across my bust than I wanted. Overall, though, it’s a nice casual top!

all the little happy things - three Ogden camisoles

Version 2 was made with floral cotton/linen from Spotlight, leftover from making my first Peppermint everyday dress. This time, given that the pattern is drafted for a person who is 5’5″ tall and I am only 5’1″, I removed 2 inches at the lengthen/shorten line to see how I’d like a shortened cami. I cut a size 0 again, but widened the straps by 1/4″ (and made corresponding adjustments to the shoulders of the bodice pieces), and again did French seams throughout. This time, I made the partial lining as per the pattern, and took the time to do all the understitching and tacking properly. While the cropped length of the cami is nice with skinny pants, I decided I preferred the original length of the pattern as that way I could tuck the cami into my high-waisted skirts. I also found that the partial lining was just a touch too short. I do like the wider straps though – better at disguising bra straps (though they can’t seem to be completely hidden). As with the first version, I found that this linen version was a touch tighter across my bust than I wanted… so it was time to make some adjustments for my final toile!

all the little happy things - three Ogden camisoles

For my last toile, I used some beautiful silk/cotton jacquard purchased from The Fabric Store in Auckland, which you might recognise from my little black Bettine dress! I did the partial lining again, though this time I lengthened the lining pieces by 1 inch, and made the wider straps again. To fix the fit at the bust, I adjusted the pattern by drawing in a new line between sizes 0 and 2 at the top of the camisole, grading down to size 0 at the waist. I French seamed the side seams, but constructed the neckline and attached the lining mostly per the pattern instructions, taking the time to do a zigzag finish on the seam allowances to make sure the fabric won’t fray. This version fit much better across the bust, and was pretty much perfect in terms of fit, so I’m glad I took the time to make all those adjustments. I love that the Ogden can look and feel totally different depending on what fabric you use. The cotton and linen versions are pretty casual, but this silk/cotton version is definitely more formal – perfect for work or a date night!

all the little happy things - three Ogden camisoles

all the little happy things - three Ogden camisoles

all the little happy things - three Ogden camisoles

The instructions say to add a label or ribbon to the back lining piece so it’s easy to tell which side is the back and which is the front – something that’s hard to work out when the cami is just hanging up in the closet! I ended up hand-embroidering my initials onto the back lining pieces for the cotton and linen versions, and stitched in a cute Kylie and the Machine label for the more fancy silk/cotton version!

all the little happy things - three Ogden camisoles

I really enjoyed the process of making all of these camisoles! Even with all the adjustments and French seams, each make was fairly quick to put together, and I definitely got better at the construction process each time. I love that I was able to make each version a little different to the last one, and the process of making all these variations helped me figure out what could be improved and what worked. Making these three very wearable toiles definitely gave me the confidence I needed to make my 100% silk version – stay tuned for a blog post all about that one!

Linen Bellbird wrap dress

This year I’m focusing on ‘quality over quantity’ for my sewing, meaning that I am trying to be more mindful about what garments I decide to make (to ensure they work with the rest of my wardrobe), save up to buy the best quality fabrics I can afford for each one, and take my time to enjoy the process of sewing as well as add in the little details that make a garment special. The first project I made with all of this in mind was a Bellbird wrap dress in a gorgeous ruby red linen from The Fabric Store!

all the little happy things - linen Bellbird wrap dress

Isn’t the colour of this fabric just beautiful? I’ve never made anything in 100% linen before – this definitely won’t be the last time! The fabric has got such a lovely weight and drape, and I expect it will continue to soften with wear and washing.

all the little happy things - linen Bellbird wrap dress

I had a feeling the pattern as-is would have too much fabric in the front wrap and would gape a lot on me, so I cut the top version in a size 6 out of some cheaper fabric to check the fit. I’m glad I did, because it did gape a lot! I wasn’t too sure how to fix it, but after a fair bit of searching, I found this incredibly useful blog post on different types of small bust adjustments.

Ultimately, I took a wedge out of the shoulder seam on the front pattern piece (tapering to nothing at the sleeve opening), and two wedges out of the front wrap as well. You can see the adjustments I made to the pattern in the photo below. I tested the adjusted pattern by making another toile with cheaper fabric before finally cutting into my lovely linen!

all the little happy things - linen Bellbird wrap dress

I’m so glad I took the time to make the toile, because the fit is perfect now – no gaping problems at all! There’s also a good amount of overlap on the wrap at the skirt. I love the shape of this dress – the big kimono sleeves, the A-line shape and curved hem of the skirt, and the extra-long ties for the wrap.

all the little happy things - linen Bellbird wrap dress

all the little happy things - linen Bellbird wrap dress

I decided to finish the dress quite differently to the directions in the pattern instructions. I did all French seams for a cleaner finish, and instead of binding the neckline so that the binding is visible, I used the binding pieces as facings and top-stitched them in place. I also topstitched down all sides of the tie-straps, to keep everything neat and flat. The pattern instructions only say to add one pocket, but I decided to add a pocket to each side seam. I took my time to baste the dress together and try it on before settling on the placement for the pockets, tie straps and slit for the ties – I still managed to stitch the pockets in about a centimetre lower than I would have liked, but it’s not too bad and overall I think I got everything pretty much right!

all the little happy things - linen Bellbird wrap dress

As an extra special detail, I inserted a fun Kylie and the Machine label into the facing at the centre back neckline – how cute is it?! I bought a few different packs of KATM labels from Sewing Gem along with a few other bits and pieces of haberdashery, and have been systematically adding labels to nearly all of the me-made clothes in my wardrobe. I love that everything I used to make this particular dress was purchased from smaller businesses right here in Brisbane!

all the little happy things - linen Bellbird wrap dress

I couldn’t be happier with this dress, and I’m glad I took my time with it – from fitting and adjusting the pattern, to slowing down to make sure all my topstitching was even and straight. I really enjoyed the process of making my Bellbird wrap dress, and I will definitely enjoy wearing it in the weeks and months to come!