Dartmouth for Wonder Woman…

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Sparkle in the garden…as you do

Its been a tricky sewing week, after a  couple of misses earlier on I finally listened to those much smarter than I and made a muslin! Impatience, combined with a certain amount of “she’ll be right” have previously ensured I throw caution (and in some cases rather lovely fabric) to the wind. Then I brought some delicious Liberty jersey from my favorite fabric store and realized if I mucked this up I would actually cry . Or swear. Or both.

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How cute??!!

When I saw Cashmerette’s latest pattern Dartmouth, a stylish crossover knit top with three sleeve options, I knew I needed to get back on the knit wagon. I’ve had two previous attempts and made a complete mess of both, mainly due to bad fabric choices. Confident the Liberty would be gorgeous, but less confident in my ability not to make a complete Horlicks of the whole sew I turned to some cheap but cute Spotlight knit. Not quite the same stretch as the jersey, but at least I would have an idea of the fit.

And most importantly? GOLD STARS! Who doesn’t want a gold star? Or a whole heap in my case.

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I’m wearing gold stars,  from now on I shall be known as Wonder Woman  x

I recently went on a weekend Overlocking (Serging) workshop at my local sewing store, it was brilliant, and gave me the confidence to actually know what adjusting the tension, stitch length etc will do…….rather than fiddling around with various knobs and hoping for the best. That said, its still very much a learning curve…

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Pick a width, any width…

It certainly isn’t perfect, but I’m pretty happy with the size and  shape. The neckline certainly isn’t as snug as it should be, and I possibly need to adjust the bust size .

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Neck not quite right

I love a three quarter sleeve, although my twin needle stitching needs (much) work. But its a lovely comfy style, great with jeans or dressed up for work. Ok maybe not the gold stars for work…

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Just a hint of an Elvis style cape, circa 1976!

Cant wait to get cracking with my Liberty! How about you, can you see Dartmouth’s in your wardrobe?

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Kristina xxx

Sailor top for a landlubber…


I’ve been accused of looking a bit miserable in my pics (thank you darling…), so this is me in my lovely new top looking happeeeee! I can truly say this was not always the case DURING the sew…but we got there . I think it was worth the effort.


I love this style of top , a simple shape with a flattering neckline and huzzah SLEEVES. So wearable , yet so pretty. This is my first make from Fancy Tiger Crafts, I saw it made up by a clever lady on this rather magnificent Facebook group and thought it would be perfect for work with nice pants (in my neck of the universe that’s trousers, I dont work in my knickers:)

I made up a size XXL, the top size in the range , which was plenty big enough, but I think this would be an easy pattern to grade up, with so few pattern pieces & the gathering.

Now the fabric. I adore this print, its a delicious woven viscose by Atelier Brunette from my fav fabric store Miss Maude. It is slightly heavier than a cotton, drapes like a dream and those colours! I really wanted to do it justice…so did I?


Giving sleeves a bad name since 2003…

Its some kind of inverse universal sewing law that say’s if you do something complicated well, you will almost surely cock up that super simple thing you do next. Shirt WITH cuffs, plackets & 400 button holes? No sweat baby. Simple gathered top with nary a zip or button to be seen…..grab the popcorn and watch this train crash in slow motion kids…

I struggled mostly I think because of my cavalier attitude to fabric marking. I have yet to find a really reliable method of transferring pattern marks to fabric, chalk that crumbles, pens that mark then disappear, tacking threads that get pulled out four seconds after I put them in???

Consequently when it came to gathering, I was basically doing it blind (but not silently, the swearing that accompanied this particular sew was both rich & varied, ably assisted by a mean humidity of about 97% the entire time)

“Stitch in the Ditch” meets “Wander along the stream and dip a toe in now & again…”

My beautiful fabric , while draping magnificently, is a pain to turn & hem, it has a wee bit of stretch , just enough to make my sleeve facing  a bit wobbly…indeed

Sleeve facing….second attempt


So despite the wobbly gathering, drunken stitching and bitty sleeve hems, do I like this top?  Actually yes, I like it a lot.  If feels wonderful, the neckline is flattering for me, the sleeves fit straight from the pattern (no adjustment needed, yeah!), it has enough length….the issues are operator error, I dont tend to make toiles (muslins), so it not unexpected there will be some areas where the sewing could be “neater” , as my mother would say. The pattern instructions are clear , with line drawings and concise written instructions

Still smilin’

Would I recommend this pattern, yes I would.  I know now the areas I need to concentrate on , the next version will be so much “neater”… 🙂

Kristina xxx

Normal transmission is resumed…

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…..no, 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….