K3881 Undies – First Attempt

I don’t know why but I seem to have an obsession with collecting patterns for undies. I use the term undies as I can’t stand the word panties it just makes me cringe. I have patterns I’ve purchased, some I have downloaded for free, I have read how to make them using a pair of your own to make a pattern but until this pair I hadn’t actually dived into the world of making some even though they seem to be popular to make.

I am very particular about they style of undies I like. I have been wearing the same style but not the same brand for like the last 20 something years. It is like a bikini style with a high cut leg opening. I can still buy the style I like and that is why I haven’t ventured into making some but I am getting to the point where soon I need to replace some pairs so I thought maybe it is time to try making some as everyone who makes their own loves them. Even though as mentioned I already had heaps of patterns in my stash I went and purchased the Kwik Sew K3881 pattern. The reason I purchased this pattern was I found a youtube clip showing how to make them using this exact same pattern. I have watched other youtube clips but they were all using other patterns.

I measured my waist 44″ and my hips 46″ so according to the pattern I should be a L or XL as I was tracing out the pattern pieces I though the XL looks massive. I held placed a pair of RTW wear and I knew they would be too big. In the end I traced out every size.

Strangely the XS seemed to be the best match to my RTW pair and that is the size I went with.

I was very excited to learn how to the gusset. All your gusset seams are enclosed as you do the burrito method to make them. I found Melly Sew’s youtube clip showing the burrito method very clear to understand. She also has a free pattern which I might try sometime.

These were made on the sewing machine. I set my machine to a stretch stitch of a length of 2.5. This was the first time I have played around with the length of this stitch.

I used some knit fabric from my stash. I made what the pattern calls the bikini version but to me are not what I know as bikini. The sides are wider than what I am used to therefore the leg openings aren’t as high. I have scars on my hips and avoid anything with a narrower leg opening. I have worn these to sleep in and they are comfortable but I would prefer the higher leg opening.

I like the back of these, there was no creeping of fabric into areas you didn’t want. They are a little bit snug so maybe I need to grade between the XS and the S but they may stretch after a few washes. They aren’t uncomfortable snug.

For the elastic on the legs and top I used fold over elastic. I have played around with FOE before but I can’t remember on what. Anne has a great clip showing how to sew with it. I need to work on my finishing technique with it as it just looks messy on these. I also has sections when I fold the elastic over and stitched down I missed so had to go back and redo these.

My overall first attempt wasn’t a complete disaster. It hasn’t given me the undie making bug but at the same time it hasn’t put me off making them again. This is a good basic pattern and the instructions were good but the sizing was off. I know different fabrics can make a difference but surely not by that much. As for the style even though it wasn’t what I would call my normal style they were comfortable. I don’t know if I would use FOE again, I think it will irritate my scars particular in hotter times. I may make this pattern again but using regular elastic, I might even try the size S to see if there is much difference in the finished size.

Even if I never make another pair I can tick undie making off my virtual to sew list.








Feather Skirt

I have a confession I have never worn a waistband that had elastic in only a portion of it. I don’t know why but in my mind it felt like cheating. I have no problem wearing a waistband that is fully elastic or one that is just a woven with a zipper closure but never the combination of just elastic in the back section and a woven band at the front. It is one of those silly little things that your mind makes up.

On the Cashmerette Facebook group someone posted a photo of the Elastic Back skirt. It is a free pattern that you can get if you sign up to receive the Cashmerette newsletter.  I had some fabric in my stash that I purchased last year just waiting to be made into something so I thought why not step outside my comfort zone and give it a try.

The pattern is tutorial to make the skirt to fit your body so it based on your measurements. I discovered at the Cashmerette retreats that Jenny are almost the same size when you do our measurements. To make this skirt you do need to do a few basic calculations but it fully explained how to work it out and Jenny does give you the example on how she calculated hers. For the hip measurements I was able to use that on the printed tutorial, for my waist front my piece was 23″x3″ and the elastic I cut was 15.25″

For the front you gather the fabric in slightly. I did my gather stitches by hand instead of machine. Hand stitching is something I enjoy so I just did 2 rows then pulled in it to fit. I tried to keep my gathers even and I pretty happy with how it ended up. It isn’t one of those skirts that has a lot of gathers at the front I think the pattern is written so it has a nice amount.

The back waistband I didn’t finish the neatest as my stitching is a little off track but I am not worried. If you haven’t realised by now I am not a sewing perfectionist. If it is in an area that no one is really going to see then I don’t bother fixing drunken sailor stitching unless it impacts the fit or construction of the piece. My waistbands are always covered so no one will see them and frankly who cares if they do.

This skirt is actually very comfortable. It didn’t feel weird having only the elastic in the back. It felt secure and didn’t feel like it was falling down. I wore it the day that I made it and then also to work that same week.

  • Comfort
  • Classic
  • Creative / Quirky
  • Natural Fibres

This ticks everything off my list when it comes to choosing a pattern to make. It is fitted to my size and is comfortable and I don’t feel like I am cheating! It is a very simple and classic style skirt that won’t go out of style. As for quirky I have another crazy bird lady skirt! The fabric is a cotton I think a poplin, it isn’t a quilting fabric. This is a longer length than what I normally wear as it falls past my knees, the tutorial explains how to make it any length you want. If I make it again I might make it above knee length but I had no issues wearing this length.

It was fun to step outside my comfort zone. I think it is about time I start doing more of it.


Peak T-Shirt

Last summer I made a heap of t-shirts to use as pj tops to sleep in and I discovered they are really easy to make. I have lived out of them. As much as I love them I can’t wear them out as they are just a fraction too big even for me who loves baggy clothing. Yes I could just trace out a smaller size but I refer to that pattern now as my PJ top and it is actually a men’s pj pattern (K4088) I wanted to make a new t-shirt to wear as my gym top as the top I was using as my gym shirt was an old charity volunteer top and I no longer volunteer for that charity so I thought it was maybe wrong to keep wearing the top in public. It was fairly old and the fabric was one those cottons that go crusty with age and not soft and squishy. I thought this is the perfect opportunity to make my second pattern from A Beginner’s Guide To Sewing With Knitted Fabrics the Peak T-Shirt.


I had 2 pieces of blue fabric in my stash that kind of looked the same each about 1m. I remember buying one them and know it was cotton lycra, I can’t remember where or when I purchased the second one. As the 2 felt and stretched the same I assumed the 2nd was another lycra knit. At one stage I was wanting to make bike pants so I think that is why I brought them, I still want to make bike pants but never in blue.

I traced out the largest size of the pattern. The book mentions a few knits to use for this top but not cotton lycra, my thinking was it is a t-shirt and you do find them made out of cotton lycra so it should work and it did. The 2 pieces of fabric are very similar in colour but not 100% the same. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough fabric out of either piece to make the entire top from one fabric so I had to do a mash it up.

The front, back and neckband are made from the one of fabric. I went with the fabric which was slightly darker and the one I am more certain is the actual cotton lycra piece. It was little I guess firmer so I thought would retain the shape better over the body of the top. The sleeves are made from the other piece. Unless you get up really close and know to be looking for it you don’t see the colour difference between the fabrics.

I assembled this on the overlocker and used the sewing machine to join the neckband into a ring and do the hems. My hems I just folded over and did a zig zag stitch. I’m not sure why they became wavy. I’m just calling it a design feature particularly when it is on both the sleeves and bottom hem.

Despite my expression I do like this top!

I am surprised by the fit of this. I have road tested this as the gym and it was really comfortable. I can move all my shoulders easily. The sleeves didn’t get in my way like some tops I have worn have. I personally don’t care what I look like when I work out but I feel comfortable in this. It isn’t baggy but it isn’t super snug that I can’t move about in it. I can say I have made active wear now!

My aim is to sew my way through this book and I have made 2 patterns so far with 3 garments in total. At this point from fabrics in my stash I should be able to make at least 1 if not 2 or more items. I’m not rushing myself to make things when I feel inspired to try a pattern I will.




Kinder Cardigan – Blue

This is my second Kinder Cardigan from A Beginner’s Guide To Sewing With Knitted With Knitted Fabrics but was actually the only Kinder I planned on making. I knew I had a little less fabric than what the pattern called for but I thought maybe I could just wiggle the pattern pieces around. When I laid out my pattern pieces I discovered that my issue wasn’t how much length the fabric was but more how wide it was. I couldn’t place all my pattern pieces across it no matter how much wiggling I did so that is why I went with plan B and made it in the teal fabric as that is the colour I was able to order more in.

The blue is a navy colour but when you place it against other navy fabric like my work jumper you will see it is more denim navy not dark navy, this made it hard to match it up with other navy fabric in my stash. I placed the fabric back in my stash and thought maybe I would do some sort of skirt or something with it in the future.

I was walking to work in my teal Kinder thinking I need to make another one as this is great. It seemed a shame that this navy fabric was sitting in my stash. I started thinking of other fabrics in my stash that I could team it with and then I remembered a remnant piece of sewing themed fabric that I brought last year. At the time I think the bower bird in me came out and I brought this fabric as it was blue and sewing related. To be honest I didn’t 100% love the fabric, it ended up being hard piece to match colour wise with other fabrics and was too small of a remnant to do anything with on its own so it just sat in my stash. Also it has a vintage theme to it and I’m not into vintage sewing. When I got home I pulled both fabrics from my stash and side by side they looked good together. There was enough contrast between the colours and also the texture and print was different on each one.

The problem I originally had was I couldn’t cut my neckband piece out for the cardigan, it is a long wide pattern piece and you need to cut 2 of them. Even though the sewing fabric was a lighter weight knit I thought it would still work for the neckband. I didn’t want my cardigan to look like I had run out fabric and just threw on the sewing fabric for the neck even though that is the truth so I decided to make the pockets from it as well.

As mentioned above the sewing fabric was a lighter weight stretcher knit. I needed to stabilize the pockets or they would’ve looked misshapen. I thought about placing interfacing in them and then I though hang on I have scraps of the navy left I’ll use that. I cut out the pocket pattern pieces from both fabrics, I didn’t add any additional seam allowance as you fold back a large seam allowance in the original instructions.  I stitched the 2 fabrics right sides together, flipped them over, top stitched across creating lined pockets which I just attached as per instructions placing them a little higher up than my teal kinder.

When I taking photos of this when it was finished it immediately made me think of a “smoking jacket” and I started smiling and thinking it was a “sewing jacket” I placed a photo on Instagram and a dear friend who doesn’t sew wrote that exact comment about it which put me in fits of laughter. This really is my “sewing jacket” I am a bit of a sewing and craft nerd and for a number of years I have actually wanted to make a sewing themed item of clothing to wear to craft shows and events like that. I now have the perfect piece… and it has pockets!

  • Comfort
  • Classic
  • Creative / Quirky √√
  • Natural Fibres

My teal kinder ticked all my things on my list to consider when making clothing but I think this gets a double tick on the creative side. The knit fabric I don’t look at as a vintage themed fabric now it is just a sewing fabric related to dressmaking which I like now. I am really proud of the cardigan, it got me thinking outside the box to make it. I loved that I was able to use the sewing knit that had been sitting around unused. I have worn this to work, worn it on a fabric shopping trip if I go to the craft show next month it will get worn to that too.


LOL Surprise Zipper Pouches

In previous years for my gifts I have made a lot of individual items which were often very detailed a little on the complicated side to make. Unfortunately this year I don’t have as much time and energy to spend on my gifts (even though I enjoy making them) I have decided this year I am keeping my gift making simple and letting the fabrics be the star so the kids are still getting gifts they are going to love.

At Christmas one niece was particularly obsessed with LOL Surprise dolls so when I saw that Self Confessed Fabrics Addicts had some fabric available with the dolls printed on it I ordered 1m. I had no idea what I would make but I knew 1m of cotton fabric would be enough.  I started seeing that the other girls I am make gifts for also like the dolls so I thought ok what is the maximum way I can stretch out my fabric to use in all the gifts.

The obvious choice was my tried and test zipper pouch pattern. I use the Boxed Corner version of the Essential Wristlet by Dog Under My Desk which I have enlarged to 150%. Kids love little bags they can put their treasures in, I use my zipper pouches all the time and I know they can hold a lot of things in them. This pattern is very easy to do (I still follow the instructions even though I have lost count of how many I have made) and it is a pattern you can sew in bulk which is perfect for gift making.

In total I have made 7 with the LOL fabric. 2 pouches have the fabric on both sides on the outside, the other 5 only have it on the front of the pouch. By doing it this way I could get the maximum pouches out of my fabric. The backing fabric I used on the 5 were a combination of some striped fabric I picked up at a recent fabric swap which matched in with the colours on the front and some purple fabric which I had already cut out for a zipper pouch but hadn’t made as I changed my mind. By having a combination it meant that if one family had 2 girls in it each one could have a different bag they knew was theirs which hopefully means no fighting.

Again on the inside of each one I used a combination of lining fabrics. Half the lining fabrics I had in my stash already the other half I picked up at the fabric swap. When I was at the swap I was “shopping” for fabrics I thought would go with the pouches and I think these do. All the zippers used came from my stash but I did stock up for zips at a recent sale with these pouches in mind. I need to restock my zipper pile now as I am running low on purple and pink zips.

I used sure sew medium weight sew in interfacing in the pouches. I brought a roll of it from McCalls last year. I placed a layer behind every piece so that is 4 pieces per bag. It give it some nice structure. In total I had to cut 56 pieces between the lining, outer and interfacing pieces. In the past I would’ve doubled over the fabric, pinned my pattern piece and then cut it out. This method is great if you are only doing one or two items but it does lead to waste and is time consuming. After watching others at the Cashmerette retreats trace out their pattern directly on to the fabric I decided to give it ago. The pattern piece is just a series of straight lines so I easily traced around it with my quilting ruler. For the LOL fabric it really meant I could squish my pieces together and get the maximum out of my fabric. On the interfacing I cut sections from the roll and doubled over the large piece so I could trace 2 pattern pieces at once. On straight lines this method was much quicker than my regular pinning method.

I am really pleased with these zipper pouches. I can remember being obsessed with different toys as a kid (and teenager) I think if I had gotten a gift like this I would be really happy. I now only have 4 more birthday gifts to make this year. I am hoping to get those done soon.


TMNT Tote Bag

I mentioned in my previous post that I was inspired to make the masks after picking up some fabric that had the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on it.

The fabric was about 1m in length. I wanted a quick and easy project that would also be practical. I decided on a simple tote bag that could be used as a library bag or a toy storage bag or toss things in it and carry around the house bag. Boy or girl little kids like bags that they can put stuff in, parents love storage too!

Construction wise this bag is your basic run of the mill lined tote bag. The outer, lining and handles are all with same fabric. To put it in a nutshell make the 3 sections (outer, lining and handles) and assemble them all together. You can make these any size you like but this one is probably about 12″ x 15″, the finished handles are 1″ wide. The fabric is the star in this bag so I kept it simple.

A bag like this is quick to make. This is one project I can actually make it one hit (cut it, sew it, photograph it) With the eye masks inside this is now wrapped up ready to go to its new home.


Cashmerette Sydney Sewing Retreat – Feb 18

Cashmerette is an indi sewing pattern company which designs patterns for the more fuller figure. The big 4 pattern companies design their patterns to fit a B cup but Cashmerette patterns are designed to fit cups C – H. Last year the owner Jenny Rushmore announced she was doing a tour of Australia and would be holding a 2 day sewing retreat in Sydney on a weekend at Bobbin & Ink, I decided I needed to be at it. I purchased my ticket than danced around the room singing “I have big boobs I can not lie” I can do skirt making no problem but when it comes to tops I get scared, I don’t know how to deal with a large bust so for all the tops I have ever made I have just added extra to the centre front seam and hoped that would work.

The retreat was very laid back and relaxed. Each person brought along a Cashmerette pattern they were already working on or wanted to try. You didn’t have homework that you needed to complete beforehand. The only thing I did before the class was tape together the PDF pattern I was going to make and prep my fabric (washed and ironed it) The hardest thing about packing for the retreat was remembering what sewing notions would I need to take. I felt like a bag lady with a bag of fabric, plus all my sewing notions in a bag (my denim hearts pouch was perfect for this) plus just a bag with all things I use such as rulers and my glasses. We were able to borrow sewing machines so at least I didn’t have to cart that around too.

I decided I would work on the Washington dress. It was the first Cashmerette pattern that I came across and a pattern that I discussed with Anne Whalley about making at the Know Your Style Workshop I did many moons ago. The pattern combines knits and wovens so it was a chance also to work with a new fabric combination too. One of the first things Jenny did was discuss how to measure yourself and then grade your pattern pieces to fit. I am a complete novice I didn’t know you could make your pattern pieces from different sizes and morph them all together by grading to get them to fit. I never did sewing at school or any form of pattern making so I just didn’t know this. I always thought you just select a size from the pattern which covers all your measurements. It was a lightbulb moment for me to find out you could select one size for your waist, another for you bust and a different size for you hip.

Throughout the weekend Jenny would do demonstrations some were pattern related some were sewing related. She taught us how to do full bust adjustments, sleeve adjustments, how to make collars. Jenny and her assistant Carrie sat with each person and worked with them to help with fitting issues and techniques. There was 9 of us in the group and it was interesting to see the different patterns people were working on. We had jean makers, dress makers, shirt makers. Seeing the garments transform really made you want to make that particular item and moved it from your “maybe I will make that one day ” thoughts to “I am going to make that pattern”

As with all retreats you need to eat. On the Saturday night some of us went out to dinner at a restaurant near the venue. It was nice to sit and relax after a day of learning new things (I didn’t actually do any sewing that day) Jenny showed us some teaser photos of up coming patterns, we all chatted, ate good food. We were teaching Jenny and Carrie some Australian lingo (slang terms) On the Sunday one lady who lived locally decided we need to have “Cake with Cashemerette” so she brought in a delicious cheesecake to share. A couple of years ago someone tried to body shame Jenny after she posted a photo of herself in a swimming costume telling her she would look better if she stopped eating cake, in support of Jenny people started using the hashtag  #CakewithCashmerette showing themselves eating cake as you can eat cake and still be healthy and feel good about your body.

I may have acquired some fabric over the weekend. I was admiring the fabric that one lady had used to make her dress, a dark brown cotton with tiny flowers. Unexpectedly she gave me the leftovers she had! It was at least 2m of fabric. I’m going to make a top out of it I think.

Just down the road from the venue everyone was talking about a fabric shop which had a sale on. I have looked in the shop window before but it has never been opened on a Sunday when I was there so I popped into it on the Saturday. I brought some dusty pink silk. This is officially the most expensive fabric I have ever purchased at $49/m. I am going totally outside my comfort zone with this fabric and colour. I have never sewn with silk or worn it but I hear that it is breathable. The colour isn’t blue. I’m going to make a top and thought it might be different for a change.

On the Saturday I did all my prepping of my pattern pieces and on the Sunday I got sewing. I had my sewjo and even came back early from lunch so I could continue working on my garment. By the end of the day I had my dress up to the hemming stage. I got more accomplished on the retreat than I expected I would.

I have mentioned here a few times that I have lost my sewjo. It came back in December and I got my Frocktails outfit done but then it disappeared again. I never touched a sewing machine in January. I found doing this retreat very beneficial. Jenny taught us a lot on how to accommodate clothing to fit whatever size body you had. My mind is ticking with how to try things now. I’m now not scared to try patterns or styles which I once thought it looks good on size tiny but can it work for me. I have never really got the “buzz” of making your own clothing before but now I have. I enjoyed it before but I now I have a new full respect and admiration of clothing. Since the retreat I have found myself looking at other peoples clothing and deconstructing it in my head thinking of how it was made and how I could do that myself.

Photo courtesy of Cashmerette

I think one of the big things that made the retreat was the other participants. Everyone was so generous with their time and skills. You had people who were just beginners and people who had been sewing for years. One lady was scared to use an overlocker (serger) she has had for years, another lady took her over to one that was set up and demonstrated to her how easy it was to use and then encouraged her to have a go on it. That lady went home excited that she was going to try her overlocker now. Sewing people are wonderful.

Thank you Jenny and Carrie and all the participants for a fantastic weekend.