Alice in Wonderland Clemence pinafore dress

I bought a couple of metres of Kokka midweight cotton on a whim at the BrisStyle DeStash Market earlier this year, with a gorgeous Alice in Wonderland-themed print. I originally had plans of making it into a Cleo pinafore dress… but inspired by this video by Annika Victoria, I decided to hack my own pinafore dress based on the Clemence gathered skirt from Love at First Stitch!

all the little happy things - Clemence pinafore dress

To make this pinafore dress, I first made the Clemence gathered skirt, including inserting the zip and finishing the waistband, but I left hemming until the very end. To make the pinafore bodice and straps, I generally followed the Annika Victoria tutorial, though I made my bodice a trapezoid shape rather than an even rectangle. I didn’t have overall/dungaree buckles or adjustable sliders, so I just put in a couple of buttonholes in the bodice before attaching it to the skirt waistband. To work out where to sew the buttons onto the straps and where to sew the straps to the skirt, I pinned the straps to the skirt waistband and the bodice, checking in the mirror and readjusting until I was happy with it. I sewed the straps to the skirt waistband first, then double-checked the button placement using chalk through the buttonholes before sewing the buttons onto the straps. The whole thing took one day from start to finish, so a pretty quick make overall!

all the little happy things - Clemence pinafore dress

The best part about this pinafore dress is that is has pockets!! I love adding pockets into all my handmade clothes – makes them so much more practical!

all the little happy things - Clemence pinafore dress

The midweight fabric is perfect for the mild Australian winter with a pair of opaque tights and a long sleeved tee or jumper, and will be just as comfortable with a short-sleeved tee in the spring.

all the little happy things - Clemence pinafore dress

Here’s a closer look at the print – isn’t it cute? I love the Alice in Wonderland theme, with all the rabbits, playing cards, chess pieces and tea sets!

all the little happy things - Clemence pinafore dress

This is the first time I’ve ever tried ‘hacking’ a pattern, and I am really pleased with how it turned out! it’s definitely helped me gain a bit more confidence with going ‘off-book’ with my sewing – hopefully all my future experiments turn out this well!

all the little happy things - Clemence pinafore dress

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Red floral Bettine dress

When I bought this fabric in Japan, I originally had plans of making a 1950s style fit-and-flare dress with it… but I ended up making another Bettine dress because I just love this pattern so, so much!

all the little happy things - red floral Bettine dress

all the little happy things - red floral Bettine dress

I made the pocket skirt version again, and used a couple of Japanese floral buttons on the cuff sleeve tabs.

all the little happy things - red floral Bettine dress

The fabric is a lovely textured cotton with a bit of drape but also a bit of structure, which I think is particularly nice for the tulip shape of the skirt. I also just love the colours in the print – so autumnal!

all the little happy things - red floral Bettine dress

all the little happy things - red floral Bettine dress

I’m super happy to add another Bettine to my handmade wardrobe – thank you Tilly for producing such a gorgeous and flattering pattern!!

Enamel pin fabric bunting display

Do you collect enamel pins? I started my collection a year or two ago, and until recently had them all pinned to a tote bag. I started getting worried about scratching up my pins when using the bag, which I carry with me every day, so I started to brainstorm other ways to store and display my pin collection.

I saw this beautiful pin pennant project idea on the Frankie blog, and then had a brainwave – why not display my pins on fabric bunting?!

all the little happy things - enamel pin fabric bunting display

To make sure the bunting was sturdy enough for my pins, I opted to quilt each individual flag. This was a great way to use up some of the scraps of fabric and batting from my past quilt projects!

all the little happy things - enamel pin fabric bunting display

These are the steps I followed to make my bunting:

  1. I first drew and cut out a paper template for my flags, then cut my fabric and batting – one piece of batting and two pieces of fabric for each flag.
  2. For each flag, I places the fabric pieces right sides together with the batting on top, then sewed around the sides, leaving the top edge unstitched.
  3. I then flipped each flag inside out so the batting was sandwiched between the fabric, pushing out the corners with the end of a chopstick.
  4. I pressed each flag flat, then quilted around all of the edges, about 1cm in from the edge.
  5. I cut out a long length of gold ready-made bias binding, then enclosed the top of each flag with the binding.
  6. The last step was to fold and sew down the rest of the bias binding to enclose the raw edges, and then my bunting was ready to hang!

all the little happy things - enamel pin fabric bunting display

The picture ledge in our lounge room was the perfect place to hang the bunting, and I had a lot of fun arranging my little pin collection on the flags! And when I want to wear one or two of my pins, it’s super easy to remove the pin I want from the display.

all the little happy things - enamel pin fabric bunting display

I’ve listed out each of my pins below, in case you’re interested in any specific ones!

all the little happy things - enamel pin fabric bunting display

  • Charlie Brown and Snoopy pins purchased from Snoopy Town in Kiddy Land, Harajuku
  • Toy Story alien pins purchased at Tokyo DisneySea
  • Mini Genie pin purchased at the Disney Store in Japan

all the little happy things - enamel pin fabric bunting display

  • Cactus pin came free with a purchase from the old A Beautiful Mess shop
  • Bob’s Burgers Louise Belcher and Erotic Friend Fiction pins from Newbury Comics
  • All My Friends Are Dead pin from Newbury Comics

all the little happy things - enamel pin fabric bunting display

all the little happy things - enamel pin fabric bunting display

all the little happy things - enamel pin fabric bunting display

I’m so happy to have a proper home for my little pin collection, and I love that this project is both functional and beautiful!

Geo print Ultimate Shift Dress

After the success of my dinosaur print Ultimate Shift Dress, I felt confident enough to cut into the textured geo-print cotton I bought in Japan. And the result was a lovely comfortable shift dress with a delightful 1960s feel!

all the little happy things - Geo print Ultimate Shift Dress

all the little happy things - Geo print Ultimate Shift Dress

I again opted for the sleeveless version and omitted the sleeve frills. The drape of this fabric suited the pattern much better than my dinosaur print fabric, so it looks much better without a belt!

all the little happy things - Geo print Ultimate Shift Dress

all the little happy things - Geo print Ultimate Shift Dress

The fabric is nice and lightweight, which suits the intense Australian summer, and I love the texture and the colour palette of the print!

all the little happy things - Geo print Ultimate Shift Dress

all the little happy things - Geo print Ultimate Shift Dress

I am so, so pleased with how this turned out – it’s exactly what I imagined when I spotted this fabric in Nomura Tailor! I’m looking forward to wearing this dress on many date nights and casual Fridays to come!

Dino-print Ultimate Shift Dress

I bought a gorgeous textured geo-print cotton in Japan that has ‘1960s shift dress’ written all over it, so I’ve been on the lookout for a good, basic shift dress pattern. I stumbled across the Sew Over It Ultimate Shift Dress Pattern and immediately fell in love. My in-laws were nice enough to buy me the physical pattern for Christmas, so during my holiday break, I decided to make a wearable toile in fun dinosaur-print cotton!

all the little happy things - dino-print Ultimate Shift Dress

all the little happy things - dino-print Ultimate Shift Dress

I opted for the sleeveless version and omitted the sleeve frills. The size 8 pattern fit very well, though the fabric doesn’t hang super nicely due to the shape of the dress and the lack of drape in the fabric itself (I used a quilting-weight cotton). My geo-print fabric has a lot more drape to it, so I think it’ll look much better. I do, however, really like the way the dino-print dress looks belted!

all the little happy things - dino-print Ultimate Shift Dress

all the little happy things - dino-print Ultimate Shift Dress

all the little happy things - dino-print Ultimate Shift Dress

all the little happy things - dino-print Ultimate Shift Dress

This was a very quick make – only 4 pattern pieces, no zippers or fasteners to worry about, and it only took up about 1.5m of fabric. The pattern instructions were clear and easy to follow – I think I’m a Sew Over It convert now! I’m happy with the fit and look of this dress, and can’t wait to make it in my geo print cotton!

Double-gauze Bettine dress

My first sewing project of 2018 was also my first project with the fabric I bought from Japan – a lovely Bettine dress in snuggly blue double-gauze!

all the little happy things - double-gauze Bettine dress

The fabric was from Nomura Tailor in Kyoto, and it is just perfect for a Brisbane summer dress – so soft and light and comfortable! I’m definitely a double-gauze convert – I just wish I’d bought more while I was in Japan! I love the woodland/forest print of this fabric, with all the little houses, foxes and rabbits scattered among the trees.

all the little happy things - double-gauze Bettine dress

all the little happy things - double-gauze Bettine dress

I made the pocket skirt version, because I just can’t resist a skirt with pockets!

all the little happy things - double-gauze Bettine dress

all the little happy things - double-gauze Bettine dress

I also opted for the tab on the sleeve, finished with a couple of fabric buttons I found in my stash.

all the little happy things - double-gauze Bettine dress

The whole dress came together in about half a day, and I am super pleased with it! I really love the Bettine pattern – it’s both flattering and incredibly comfortable. I’m looking forward to wearing this dress on casual Fridays to the office!

Snow White Disneybound – yellow Clemence skirt and apple bow headband

This September, Dannii and I are heading off on holiday to Japan, and towards the end of the trip we’re spending a couple of days at Tokyo DisneySea! I discovered that we’ll be there for the Halloween special event – and this year, guests are allowed to wear Disney costumes every day of the Halloween season!

Rather than try to run around DisneySea in my full Jasmine costume and very heavy wig, I’ve decided to try Disneybounding, i.e. putting together a Disney character-inspired outfit from my normal clothes. Naturally, being me, I ended up making a couple of pieces instead of just working within my existing wardrobe… but hey, now I’ve got a sweet yellow skirt (my favourite colour!), a cute headband, and a Snow White-inspired outfit!

Snow White Disneybound

To me, Snow White’s outfit has three main elements – a blue top, a yellow skirt, and a red bow headband. I already have a navy blue t-shirt that I love, so I just needed to make the yellow skirt and red bow headband. I decided to add a little apple motif to the headband as well, as an extra nod to Snow White’s story.

Snow White Disneybound

I made the skirt out of a self drafted pattern, following the directions for the Clemence skirt in Love at First Stitch. Since the shell fabric (cotton poplin) was a bit sheer, I opted to line the skirt with cotton lawn as well. It’s lovely, bright and lightweight, and I also added pockets for some extra practicality!

Snow White Disneybound

To make the headband, I measured out a length of red glitter fold-over elastic, and sewed the ends together (overlapping a little) with the zig-zag stitch on my machine. For the apple bow, I made a big bow out of scrap satin and grosgrain ribbons – I made a loop with the wide satin ribbon, pinched the centre of the loop and wrapped it with the skinnier grosgrain ribbon to make the bow shape, and then glued the ends of the grosgrain ribbon in place with regular craft glue. I drew an apple shape and cut it out of red glitter foam, then cut leaf shapes out of green felt and glued them in place. I glued the foam apple to the centre of my ribbon bow, then added a brooch back to the back of the bow so that I have the option of removing it from the headband in future. All in all, it was a pretty quick make – I think it took me about half an hour from start to finish.

Snow White Disneybound

Snow White Disneybound

I’m really pleased with how the skirt and headband turned out, and I can’t wait to wear this outfit at Tokyo DisneySea!

Snow White Disneybound