The cat that got the Fantail…


So, what’s occurring? Me? Oh I’m great, I’ve discovered a fab chicken recipe, seen a great movie, and gone full crazy cat lady. In just a couple of weeks!

Gardening, my style…

I came across this beauty at Drapers Fabrics . Look closely at the pattern. To be honest I didn’t click at first, I just liked the feel of the viscose, a bit more weighty than usual, plus the colours & pattern felt quite 30’s in style. Naturally once I realized, I HAD to buy it!

So what to make? I thought a top of some sort maybe…( yes my name is Kristina & I do buy fabric without the first clue what I’m going to us it for)  I wish I were more focused. I also wish I talked a bit less & had bigger lips. Sometimes we just need to live with our flaws yes?


The pattern I eventually settled on was the Fantail Shirt by NZ company The Sewing Revival. I really liked the simple lines, with the cute gathered detail at the front. I also liked the low gathered back hem, right up until I actually tried it on. I had exactly the same issue with this make, I’m super conscious of fabric clinging to my butt , while the poplin had a bit of heft, the viscose REALLY clung, hmmmm.

Perfect length for me

In the end I trimmed off the scooped hem & leveled it up, for me this just felt like something I’d be much more inclined to wear.

I made the 2XL of this pattern, some of the other patterns in the range go up to 4XL, but this one doesn’t, which is a shame as it’s a great shape & so easy to sew and wear. I have contacted the designer to see if the size range will be expanded but haven’t heard back yet.


I found the instructions and photo really easy to follow. In fact I would definitely recommend this pattern for beginners, there is a lot of instruction, (for me  possibly overkill,)  but for a less experienced sewer it would be really helpful. The cuffed sleeve & front gather detail make this appear a more complicated sew than it actually is, for a beginner with great instructions that can’t be a bad thing.


It’s hard to see the front gather in photos on such a busy fabric, but it is really effective. Stopping the top from becoming really large & loose around the hem, while still keeping it relaxed and comfortable.

So comfortable in fact, that when your husband suggests you pose like the front of a 70’s knitting pattern, you agree! What was it with the crotch shots?

why do I listen to him….?

You might notice a few of these pics in front of a garden that looks like it been taken over with bamboo?

I cant see us at Chelsea to be honest…

Tuppence has made it her mission in life to dig up all the soil in this new planter bed, will she be dissuaded by a bit of bamboo? Hmmm….at least in the meantime we have some herbs & salad hey?

Next project? I’m using this rib, cut off the great Bomber Jacket Disaster of 2018.

Waste not, just waste not…

Another Fielder top,  in rayon, I couldn’t resist this combo. Despite my BFF telling me “I don’t really love that”. I’m all over anything that says animal print, how could I resist?


So the movie? I saw Little Woods with my pal Vanessa (yes, she of the critical fabric review). It’s a modern Western Crime film, typically miserable (we have extremely divergent taste in films & books), but I actually enjoyed this one. If there is anything to remind you how lucky we have it in NZ with nationalized health care, it’s seeing the consequences for those that don’t. Sobering, if entertaining viewing.

I’ll leave you with Tommy living his best life, precariously balanced on a chair, under the heat pump, looking out the window. Cats are clearly not crazy, never mind their owners (or staff, as it were )


Have a great week!

UPDATED TO INCLUDE CHICKEN RECIPE! ( which I forgot but is most delicious!)

Chop 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs into bite sized chunks, and marinate in ¼ cup of soya sauce, a ¼ tsp of sesame oil, a glove or two of garlic , grated & a thumb sized piece of ginger peeled & grated.  After approx. 30 mins (or as long as you like) stir in a couple of tbsp of cornflour & a good grind of black pepper. Fry over medium heat in canola or sunflower oil until crispy, golden & cooked through

While chicken is cooking, steam some rice & broccoli (or any other green you like). Serve cooked chicken over the rice with the broccoli, some finely sliced cabbage, & a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds. Top with a drizzle of Kwepie mayonnaise & a drizzle of sesame dressing (or hoisin or teriyaki sauce would also work). Some Japanese pickled ginger would be nice to.

Last time I made this I marinated twice as much chicken & cooked double the rice, then frozen half in the marinade & half the rice in a freezer bag, so its ready to defrost & cook for a quick dinner

Kristina x


Meet my new man Auden…


I do love a good cardie. More comfortable than a jacket, loads of colours to choose from, and best of all, no potential for me to be cold. I hate being cold. While several members of my family were definitely born in tents (or yurts, for the hipper among us?), I’m the one shutting doors & cranking up the heat pump , like the Nana I essentially am…


So when Jen at Jennifer Lauren Handmade put out a call for reviews of her Auden men’s cardigan I was intrigued. Could I drag Mr D away from his beloved sweaters & hoodies, and convert him to the joys of a nice cardie?

Just hangin’ in the garden…as you do

The Auden is designed to be made with a low stretch sweatshirt knit ( as opposed to wool, in which case you’d need to wait about five years for this post …..slowwww knitter!). That, and the retro style, was what caught my eye. Like his wonderful (?) wife, Mr D is wedded to weekend comfort. Suited and booted daily (with a magnificent cuff link collection I must remember to share actually), he loves to relax on downtime in comfort, while not “looking like an old fart”.

Flatulence aside, the relaxed, yet still slim line shape was really appealing. Also the contrast band & elbow patches. In fact when I showed him the pics & said “would you wear this”, his first response? “Yep, I really like the tartan detail at the front”. Ok then Douglas.

Apparently this is a Western , he’s ready to draw…!

The pattern sizing covers S-XXL, I made M , which is a 39 1/4 chest, and a 36 waist. Mr D is 6 ft 3″ so I added 1 ” to the sleeve. Next time I would also add about 2 ” to the torso, as he like his tops a bit longer. For his reason, I did a very short hem on this version, which doesn’t look great!

The pattern came as a PDF, I know a lot of people loath PDFs, but I actually find the cutting & taping quite relaxing. I do it with a glass of wine & something good on the TV. The PDF came together easily, and both views , with and without contrast bands , came as separate pieces, so you only had to cut & tape what is required. After 70 years of sewing , my 82 year old Mum has recently discovered PDF patterns, seriously anyone can do it!

The main fabric is a sweatshirt knit from Centrepoint Fabrics, with a lovely trim of the most delicious Irish Linen from Miss Maude. Who wouldn’t want to wear Dandy linen, seriously?

The raglan sleeves attach to the body of the cardie with a cool curved seam . I used plenty of pins and took my time, it was actually quite simple to do, and I love the retro effect the give.

Tommy posing on the pizza oven…

As you can see the front neckline is gaping slightly, I managed to stretch it out and only realized when I had already done my buttonholes & attached my buttons I was a wee bit off…bit late then!


This is a relatively easy sew. I say that because I didn’t find anything particularly challenging….but I did make a few mistakes. So basically, at a first run, you will still end up with something entirely wearable, and depending on the shape of your model, and your own skill level, possibly pretty darn fabulous. I should have factored in Glenn’s long torso (doh!), and not managed to put my twin needle in a very safe place (i.e lost), so I had to stitch the (too skinny) hem twice .

Next time I would also do the Narrow Arm Adjustment  Jen details on her blog ,the arms just feel a wee bit wide around the cuff area.


Will I be making more cardies for Mr D? Yep, I’ve already cut out a purple version , not my colour choice, but with black denim elbow patches, and a band going around the hem, as per my models request. It’s a lot of fun to make clothing for others, and I enjoy Glenn being involved in the process. If you were thinking about some sewing for a bloke in your life, this would be an excellent place to start!

Open Kimono. Jennifer put a call out for reviews & Mr D really liked the pattern. I received it in exchange for an honest review. Believe me, if the man of the house had complaints you’d be hearing them. Whether you wanted to or not…

Hope you’ve had a lovely weekend!

Kristina xxx




Away with the birds, Lenox…

Pockets of fun!

I know, I’m back on the birds. Its been a topsy turvy few weeks here at Plum Towers, and I’ve had several projects on the go (including a rather fabulous cardi for Mr PK!). He was away at his parents so I had a whole weekend to actually get things finished. Like this beauty for instance.


This isn’t my first shirtdress, but its the first one I’m excited to wear. The Lenox Shirtdress from Cashmerette is a princess seamed beauty, with pockets, and several collar & skirt options that, in my not so humble opinion at least, looks pretty darn fab!

My usual approach to pattern placement…

Now first up let me be clear. This started life as my second muslin (or toile, or “be sensible for once in your life & do a practice run”) The fabric is from Spotlight, found at the bottom of a pile of rayon looking rather worse for wear. It was super cheap on sale plus I had a voucher to use. Its a nice dark navy, which I’ve noticed when it comes to cheaper fabrics, is so much nicer than black, which can look a bit faded.

Why a muslin? Because with princess seams, skirt gathering, my chunky arms and actually getting a tad sensible in my dotage, it seemed like a good idea. There was a lot that could go wrong., hoping for the best probably wasn’t going to cut it…

Feeling pretty good, wont lie….

I initially cut up a stained linen table cloth and mocked up just the bodice & one sleeve. There is plenty of ease through the hips of this pattern, so I knew the skirt would be fine. In the bust I cut a size 16 , I’ve learnt through experience using other Cashmerette pattern to go with a 16 for my 44′ bust. I’m quite narrow through the shoulders & don’t have a big difference between my high & full bust, so an 18 is just to generous. Oh the beauty of knowing a particular pattern company!

I added approx 1.5 cm to the sleeve using the cut & spread method from the Curvy Sewing Collective tutorial , I’m extremely conscious of a tight sleeve (overstuffed sausage casing always springs to mind…??) and have 16 ” biceps, if your arms are less generous I wouldn’t bother. Also note I didn’t change the size of the sleeve cuff pieces, and they were fine.

I graded from a 16 bust through to a 20 waist & hips. It wasn’t complicated, and I’m so glad I did, the waist feels comfortable without lots of baggy fabric around my bust. Even on my best body positive day baggy & bust are two words I never want to hear in the same sentence hey…

How??? Why???

I’ve no idea what I did cutting out the waistband, but one ended up about 3 cm shorter than the other, which wasn’t ideal. I ended up making the seam allowance on the button band wider to hide it….which in hindsight (oh you clever minx hindsight!) wasn’t that clever, I should have just not been a lazy cow & cut a new waistband.


What did I learn? When using rayon pins, pins , pins & then maybe just a few more pins for good luck. It really did make life easier. Gosh I’m sounding so grown up, two muslin’s, extra pins…?!

Ok, this puppy isn’t perfect. The waistband issue aside, I also seem to be showing way more cleavage than the pattern pics . I’m ok with the girls on show, but I still don’t know what I did to make my neckline so much lower? Also the collar band is a bit floppy, but I suspect that’s my choice of interfacing…I’ve only just learned there is more than one kind.

But , my Mother non-withstanding, who will pick it in a heartbeat, (she has form, she picked sleevegate straight away), can you see the big difference? My shirtdress buttons on the opposite side. I don’t know why men & woman are supposed to button their shirts differently, but after my waistband snafu my button band was a bit narrow, so I thought I’d put the most attractive one in front. Naturally Sod’s Law indicated this would be the incorrect one. I’m a rebel & I’ll possibly never be any good (although Im trying…)

Photobomb! Love that skirt swish…

It’s a bit chilly still in Auckland, despite being nearly summer, so tights were welcome, along with my fav pink suede shoes (Jigsaw, from about 15 years ago…) I love opaque tights & coloured shoes, despite not being at my most elegant walking in heels. Who didn’t watch Sarah Jessica Parker in SATC walking (running??!)  New York City’s uneven pavements & think WTF?  I’d have spent the entire series at physio wearing trainers…


The final accessory? An Erstwilder brooch from my sister, what could be more perfect than a cat with attitude on a sea of birds…???

Will I being making more Lenox dresses? Oh yes, so comfortable to wear, I love the look & now I’ve made one I know what tweaks I need to make going forward. Nice.


Hope you have had a lovely weekend, did you manage to get any sewing done?









Afternoon tea with Mrs D

Howdy neighbor!

In our house Mr Douglas is the one with the sweet tooth, and I mean sweet. If it has sugar, he likes it. If it has more sugar, perhaps with a side of carbs and possibly a fried involvement, he REALLY likes it. As you can imagine , Afternoon Tea is pretty much his favorite meal (after dessert of course).

I’m much more of a savory girl. Afternoon tea generally leaves me wanting. The texture of sandwich bread has always grossed me out, so dinky club sarnies don’t get me excited. I’ve been accused of jumping on the gluten free bandwagon, but given I embrace pastry in all its forms, and ate my last plastic sandwich in Room 7 at primary school (it was corned beef on white, ewwww!) , I think that’s rather unfair. Or was I the only hipster in Manurewa in 1980 and just didn’t realize it?

So when Jennifer Lauren put out a call for reviewers for her Afternoon Tea blouse & shift dress pattern I was intrigued. Not only did the simple, vintage style appeal, maybe here was my chance to actually embrace afternoon tea?

Yep, cool enough for a cat button, that’s me….

The pattern is a cute blouse/dress with a kimono sleeve, elegant neckline, and two versions of an interesting cross over facing giving, best of all, the potential for awesome button placement. I love buttons! My sister Dette, a crafty minx if ever there was one, sent me a lovely stash of buttons for my birthday, one of which was a cute cat. As a fully certified crazy cat lady I knew this needed to be front & center.

Purrfect! (sorry, couldn’t help myself…)

The pattern is in a PDF version, I found it very easy to put together, particularly as you are told which pages are required depending on which view you are making, so I didn’t need to tape everything together at once.


First up I made View 2, a blouse in a pretty floral cotton poplin. I wasn’t sure if the fabric would have enough drape, but to be honest I don’t tend to wear my blouse tops tucked in, so figured the crispness wouldn’t be an issue. I actually quite like the structure, its simple but has a nice shape which works well given the bold print.

Watching my idiot cat teetering along the fence….

My sewing isn’t perfect, the bulk of the cotton meant it was a little tricky to get the facing sitting perfectly around the shoulder and neckline, (yes, I should have followed the instructions and trimmed the seams a little more carefully!)

But I’m actually really happy with the garment, I made no alterations to the pattern, cutting a straight size 20. It was super quick to put together, the only fiddly bits being sewing on the facing, and button placement. The button is fixed, so no faffing with button holes yay.I was apprehensive the sleeves wouldn’t be long enough & I’d veer into cap sleeve territory. If you can explain to me the appeal of cap sleeves on anything but a twiglet there’s possibly a Nobel prize with your name on it…or at least a glass of Chardonnay. But happily they are not only an acceptable length, they require NO BICEP ADJUSTMENT. Yes, you heard me right kids!

Naturally I couldn’t resist making the dress version. and a visit to Drapers Fabrics sealed the deal. Of course I had company.

Me: I thought I’d check out the new Drapers Fabrics on Khyber Pass on Saturday.

Mr D: Are you seriously buying more fabric??

Me: Of course not, I’m browsing…

Mr D: “side eye”

Me: Ok, yes I might be, I think they have a sale…

Mr D: I’m coming with you , you’re not safe alone in a fabric shop…

Me: Ok…we can go to Little & Friday for doughnuts after.

Mr D: Do you think a doughnut will make me forget how much fabric you are buying?

Me: Yes.

Mr D: I can’t be brought with doughnuts.

Yes dear reader, he can. In fact this is exactly how Saturday transpired. Such is a happy marriage.

So into my lap fell a gorgeous silk linen mix, in my most favorite colours , orange, brown and green. Lovely drape, but the linen gave enough structure to ensure it didn’t feel “nightwearish”.

Once again, a cavalier approach to pattern placement…and lawn care apparently?

For the dress, concerned about tightness around my waist & hips, I graded between sizes from 20 to 22. The size range is 6-24 which equates to 31/24/35 to 49/42/53

I made View 3, which has a box pleat at the back for some shape. There is a sensible amount of ease, I was bang on the measurements for the waist & hips of the 22 and the sizing is spot one, nice & comfortable but not crazy big.

One thing I would note is the cup size. While I’m a 44 bust I don’t have a big difference between my full & high bust, so generally don’t have to do FBA’s. While the sizing was fine for me, I wouldn’t have wanted the bust to be much smaller. For later patterns Jennifer has introduced multiple cup sizes.

Breezy in the garden!

I love this dress, so easy to wear, so easy to put together. The instructions are clear, with good line drawings. The fabric was quite different to sew than the cotton, definitely more slippery , with a bit of bounce from the linen. I found the facing wanted to flip out more than the cotton, and I was a bit nervous with my iron (I learnt the hard way maxi linen temperature doesn’t work for every fabric, despite all that satisfying steam..), so a few extra hand stitches were necessary, but worth the effort for something comfortable to wear, with swish (and pockets!), that isn’t a sack and can be whipped up in an afternoon. Indeed the Afternoon Tea frock!

Open Kimono. Jennifer put a call out for reviews & I liked the pattern. I received it in exchange for an honest review. The only kind I do actually 🙂

Now, whose for tea? And cake. Or cheese?

Kristina xxx


Crushing on Helena…

Hangin’ in the garden with my new pal Helena…

As soon as I saw her I knew it was meant to be. You know when you see a pattern and just KNOW you are going to love it. Everything about it says yes , that is my style. Not just linen, but a gorgeous rust colored linen. Cute little pin tucks, tick. Excellent sleeve coverage with button action, tick tick. Stylish, but not really trying too hard,  BOOM tick!

Just like the one on the packet!

This is the Helena dress, from UK based Sew Me Something. The pattern comes as a paper & PDF pattern, in sizes UK 8-22. For reference I made a 20, the fit is definitely relaxed, even the sleeves, which as you darlings know, is my nemesis!

Relaxed pose for a relaxed frock (yep I used the F word, love it)

I brought this gorgeous Merchant & Mills linen a wee while ago, intending to make a pair of pants to go with this top. The pants pattern I ordered took an AGE to arrive, and in the meantime that minx Helena caught my eye!

I have a long standing love affair with linen, particularly in “autumnal” hues. When I met my now husband, my absolute fav item of clothing was a forest green linen shirt, which I liked to wear with dark brown cords. It was the mid 90’s and I was channeling a slightly grunge (only very slightly mind, ’cause otherwise ewww?!) Seattle look…. (never having actually been outside New Zealand )  My intended described it as “your dressing like a tree phase”. Yes dear reader, astonishingly I did still marry him.

Brown Steel!

This is a pretty easy sew, I cut out and made up in a weekend (with all the usual mundane weekend “stuff” fitted in comfortably) There is short & long sleeve options, I think the placket and button is really cute and makes the dress slightly different. The instructions are excellent, Jules  who designs these patterns also runs sewing workshops, I think her teaching experience shows.

While the fit is relaxed, the darts and gathers mean this doesn’t feel “sack” like, I want to be comfortable, without appearing to drown in fabric. I wont bother with the pockets next time, I never actually put anything (besides hands) in them anyway. I like this with leggings & sandals, in winter jeans and boots will step up. Jules has great personal style, she wears this dress a lot, check out her Instagram feed here


So is this a lasting relationship? Will I make more Helena’s? Absolutely! Next up is a tunic version with shorter sleeves and some pretty stitching around the neckline.

So, are you tempted??

Kristina xxx

Ok, give me that!

Birthday lovely…


Now you’re probably wondering, does this woman make anything but shirts & shirt dresses? I do! But this particular make was for my sisters birthday (in December, so I’m only two months late…). It was originally going to be this pattern, but when Cashmerette  released an extension to their popular Harrison shirt (see my version here), I decided to give that a crack instead. I think it turned out pretty well!

The pattern was released as a sleeveless dress, but the birthday girl definitely wanted sleeves. A sleeve guide to insert the original long sleeve was later released , but as its the middle of summer here in New Zealand, we decided to do short sleeves instead.


Oh sleeves. I do sound like a woman obsessed , but upper arm coverage is a serious business people! I’m still learning the ins and outs of arm syncs & such things, so I decided to use the Harrison shirt sleeve but make my own hack from this pattern , cutting it at elbow length and adding the faux cuff. Wrinkly elbow optional obviously.


Now buttons. Buttons , buttons and more buttons. While I dont mind doing 16 buttons holes, I do appreciate doing it with my lovely wizz bang Janome, the old Toyota might have sent me over the edge….! The cute wooden buttons are from Spotlight, at first I balked at so many small buttons, but actually the quantity meant no annoying gaping.

The princess seams give a nice fit over the bust, although I did trim some excess fabric off the hips , I think over all the sizing is true to the pattern measurements.


So, the curvy:

Harrison shirt dress by Cashmerette

Size: 20- true to size

Fabric: Chambray from Miss Maude

Difficulty: Just be careful tracing off the arm sync, all the matchy matchy stuff matters when it comes to arm holes/sleeves

Next time: I would again trim the hip seams, as they were a touch wide across, and make the collar a little smaller

Fuel: This make was fueled by Chardonnay & sister hustle!.

Will there be a sequel? I’m already planning one for myself…

So, shirt dress yes? Have I convinced you??

Kristina xxx

Lets streamline this shall we…?


There is a lot I like about this top. It has drape, interest around the neckline and cuffs, is comfortable…but we are not there yet!

I first came across the dress version of Scroop patterns Henrietta Maria on Pinterest, and was immediately intrigued . Those lovely tucks, generous raglan sleeves, this could be a summer go to. It still could to be fair, but a few adjustments are required.

The sleeves, oh dear reader those sleeves. Now I have spent a great deal of my adult life having sleeve “issues”. Even back in my racing snake days, my upper arms,like those of the woman in my family going back to my grandmother at least (Mum’s blaming her anyway) are substantial. Which is most handy for bread making (and I make fabulous bread!) but a bit of a drag for finding comfortable RTW tops . It’s become my mission in sewing to make great comfortable well fitting sleeves .

Well the Henrietta Maria has taken us from the sublime to the ridiculous. Those sleeves are HUGE. Its blowing a gale in Auckland at the moment, I’d be in danger of rouge gust catching my voluminous arms & parachuting me into a tree! *

In fact the picture above is after I have chopped about four cm (approx 2 inches) off the inside sleeve seam and sewn up, as you can see below, there was a lot of fabric involved.

Is it a bird, is it a parachute…, it’s a sleeve (or somewhere to put my lunchbox?)

I used a beautiful soft Cotton Batiste from Atelier Brunette (I know, I should make a muslin, dont practice with expensive fabric etc etc…….I’m just too impatient !), which is quite delicious to wear. Taking some excess fabric from the sleeve has helped, but as I also have quite narrow shoulders, and this pattern sits quite wide I need to do a bit of adjusting in that area also.

Zen and the art of tuck pleating…..

I do love the tucks. They are a little time consuming, but not nearly as much as they look, once you get into the rhythm you’re away. The essential tool is your trusty sewing gauge, which makes me feel terribly serious and professional, like draping my tape measure around my neck (at least until the cats attack it…)



The pattern comes in a size range 30-50, the largest being 127-112-137.5 (50-44-54), but please do bear in mind there is a lot of ease in this pattern! I shall be going down at least one size for my next attempt, possibly two (I made up a 44).

The pattern is PDF only, but their are only four pieces, and the instructions are clear, especially regarding the tucks, I had no issues.

I do think with some adjustments for size, sewn up as a dress in a light/medium weight linen this would be really great for both weekends and the working week.

This is a perfect style for a holiday, so I shall leave you with a gratuitous shot of the lovely Mr PK and myself sinking into the sand on a beach in Fiji, bula!

Excellent loose top for eating a delicious meal…..!

Kristina xxx

* It’s a real danger on a slow news day in Auckland I could end up in the paper….

It’s a top, no it’s a dress…..


I actually love this dress. A Fielder pattern from UK firm Merchant & Mills, its super comfy , quick to sew, I think looks fab and the pattern also contains a sweat-shirt style sweater version, nice! So why do I look so miserable?

Yes, that face. In a moment of inspiration I thought I’d recreate the pose of the girl on the Fielder pattern envelope*. I feel like a bit of a plonker standing in my front garden while my husband takes 400 photos of his wife as quickly as possible (including on this occasion a selection with a branch in front of her face…?) complaining the whole time… I figure as I’m using exactly the same fabric as the version on the website I’d go full model. No, I hadn’t been drinking…

Yes, what was I thinking??

Anyway, about the pattern. I had the grade it up, but as the fit is pretty easy I figured it only really mattered for the sleeves. Now I wont pretend I have much experience grading patterns. Actually I have none, so it was a You Tube/Bodge it special, which turned out pretty well I think?


I have previously made a Merchant & Mills Trapeze dress, which has a good amount of ease, so I calculated my size as best I could, and hoped for the best. If you’re a sewing professional please look away now. I literally traced the largest size pattern pieces onto tracing paper, then added the additional cm’s required (divided by two) , grading as I went, and cut out.  I told you it wasn’t scientific.

For the sleeves, always my Waterloo, I turned to the Curvy Sewing Collective, and their excellent sleeve fitting tutorial. I added the extra width nessesary to my traced off sleeve piece , then actually sewed my sleeve seam together, to make sure it fitted. This is the beauty of Swedish tracing paper !

Hack that sleeve. Literally.

There are many far more correct ways to do this, but until I learn them, I  figure I will do what seems most logical (I’m an Accountant remember) and see if it works. The sleeves on the top version of the pattern, which I made first, are to long, and the ribbing too loose. Ditto both versions around the neckline. I have not used ribbing before, and I cut it far to long. Naturally I only realized this when I had sewed it in….and serged. Sigh…

Longer & looser sleeves than I wanted

Its still perfectly wearable, and so comfortable, made from a delicious soft double cotton, from my most favorite sewing store here in New Zealand Miss Maude There is a nifty little dart in the shoulder, which works well for rather sloping shoulders like mine, and the ribbing gives shape. I have visions of the pink Hard Rock Cafe sweatshirt I had in the 80’s….ok, maybe not.

The dress version is made using a delicious Merchant & Mills laundered linen. I love linen, yes it creases, but I think  that just adds to the appeal, especially in a casual dress like this.I love the swish & feel , and the fact it just gets better with age. I hanker after gorgeous linen sheets.One day Grasshopper, one day……..

Much better…

The instructions are simple, and clearly written. To be honest , while I love the  industrial, utilitarian style of this brand so much, as a beginner I do prefer clearer , less “hand drawn” illustrations, but they were actually ok for a simple garment like this.


So, while the size range isn’t as big as it could be, this is a relatively easy dress to grade , and the results, a cool casual top/dress that works for so many situations,  is worth the effort.

What do you think? What’s your go to dress?

Kristina x