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-the home of Simple, Speedy Sewing.

Daisy Dress Variegation

The Daisy Dress pattern is quite loose fitting around the waist and hips to allow it to slip on, as it has no zips, buttons or closures. This pink Daisy variation in a crisp cotton has sewn in ties and is custom fitted at the back.

 Ties inserted in side seam

Ties inserted in side seam

TO SEW TIES

Cut 2 straight strips  each measuring 75 x 8cm (30 x3"), fold  in quarters ( so you won't have to turn them inside out!) and topstitch all around, tucking in short ends.  Mark your waist level (make sure it's the same on both sides by measuring distance from bottom of  armhole). Insert tie into side seam, sandwiching between front and back.  (Unpick a small section if you've already stitched the sides.)

 

 Back view before altering back

Back view before altering back

 
 Back view after adding a seam down the centre back.

Back view after adding a seam down the centre back.

TO ALTER BACK

 Make back of dress narrower by sewing in a new seam in the middle of the back.

Make back of dress narrower by sewing in a new seam in the middle of the back.

Crisp fabrics that don't drape well can make your Daisy dress look a little voluminous, particularly at the back.  A quick alteration to reduce the back by 5cm (2") in width is to create a centre back seam.  Fold dress  carefully along centre back and stitch a 2.5 cm (1") seam in.  (Check to see you can still get in and out of your dress first!)  Trim seam back to 1 cm (3/8") seam allowance and zigzag/overlock to finish.  

NB:If you'd like to reduce the back width but don't want a seam here (maybe your flowers look disjointed!) adjust the pattern piece before you cut out the back.  Simply fold under 2.5cm (1") at centre back (long straight edge of the pattern piece) before you cut it out.

If you'd like to try these variations but are a bit confused, just let me know.  I'll explain more fully and draw some diagrams for you!

 

New Daisy Dress Pattern!

Inspired by  Erin McKean's The Hundred Dresses, a lexicon of 100 iconic dresses, Clothesline presents... the Daisy Dress Pattern!

 This field guide to frocks written by blogger Erin McKean from A Dress a Day  (dressaday.com ) identifies every iconic dress from The Austen to The Xena!

This field guide to frocks written by blogger Erin McKean from A Dress a Day (dressaday.com) identifies every iconic dress from The Austen to The Xena!

We thought it would be great to sew our own version of some of these frocks. Possibly not The J-Lo or The Cupcake Bride but we're tackling The Bouquet  - a dress that "is meant to call to mind the traditional association of women with flowers: whether you are a shrinking violet, an exotic orchid, a full-blown rose, or as fresh as a daisy." 

"It's the expanse of surface area given over to flowers that defines a Bouquet dress - one or two blossoms do not a Bouquet dress make."  The Hundred Dresses

Pick up your Daisy Dress pattern at our Etsy store, find some flower festooned fabric and stitch your own icon!

 This style - The Bouquet - inspired our own Daisy Dress pattern.

This style - The Bouquet - inspired our own Daisy Dress pattern.

 Simple to sew, the Daisy Dress is a blank canvas to bedeck with your favourite flowers.  This version is sewn from a vintage sheet.

Simple to sew, the Daisy Dress is a blank canvas to bedeck with your favourite flowers.  This version is sewn from a vintage sheet.

Recycled Dress

 
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Last Christmas, I found a fun 70's print sheet at the second hand shop that I thought would make a good tablecloth.  But last week I was too lazy to hit the shops so it was pressed into service to try out a pattern I'd redrafted.  It's a variation of the purple cowl dress I made a couple of weeks ago, but I added ties in back to give it some shape, instead of wearing a belt.

Ah, the joys of recycling!

Pants on Sunday

"They look just like pants you'd buy at the shops" says my husband.  This is a compliment from him, meaning they don't have any obvious flaws!  But it does raise the question of why do I bother making clothes when so many are readily available for sale.  And the answer is ... because I can.

It amuses me that when I told a ten-year-old friend that I made my last pair of Alice & Olivia jeans, she thought I was joking.  I had to show her the pattern packet and scraps of fabric before she'd believe that it was humanly possible to make them at home. Yes it can be done!  Clothes don't all come from factories in China. 

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These pants were a bit fiddly, with welt pockets, buttons, loops, fly front zip, but satisfying at the same time, just to see if you can do it.  

Channelling my inner grandma...

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Over the holidays, spent some time with my mother-in-law Amy, a professional grandma who taught me how to make green mango chutney (yum!).  This weeks dress looks like something she'd have worn in younger days! 

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This Vogue/Calvin Klein sewing pattern is nearly 20 years old and cost a mere 20 cents from a thrift shop at the Sunshine Coast. 

Can never be sure what you'll find at chain stores like Spotlight, but was pleased to find this cotton/linen granny print fabric was even made in Japan.

This dress is cut on the bias - pattern pieces are laid out diagonally onto the fabric to give the fabric a bit of stretch. Extra stretch means it has no buttons, zips or fastenings making it super quick and easy to whip up. I started at 3pm and was done before dinner!

Sew your own gift wrap...

Books are a great present for kids - make them extra special with their own gift bag.   Eternally useful, book bags can do double duty as toy bags, or when you're travelling, somewhere to store kids' shoes or undies.  I sewed these with fabric from Lincraft - they take about a fat quarter each plus 1 metre of twill tape.

 I love the way books double as cards. When you write a message inside the front cover don't forget to add the year and occasion!

I love the way books double as cards. When you write a message inside the front cover don't forget to add the year and occasion!

Blue Stripe Sunday Dress

 Just sew a closed tube for a belt

Just sew a closed tube for a belt

In Brisbane for a wedding, where I found this nice stripe jersey.  Just had enough time to make up a previous pattern by Sunday.  Look familiar?  This time I recorded all the steps to show how simple it is to make.  How to's coming soon...

 This extra appendage of fabric ( I call it a waterfall) is deliciously simple to add to a dress.

This extra appendage of fabric ( I call it a waterfall) is deliciously simple to add to a dress.

 Trickiest part is probably sewing on this neck and armhole binding.  But I'm too lazy to cut out and add a facing.

Trickiest part is probably sewing on this neck and armhole binding.  But I'm too lazy to cut out and add a facing.

 The Fabric Store in Brisbane/Sydney/Melbourne buys up great fabrics from designers like Anna & Boy.

The Fabric Store in Brisbane/Sydney/Melbourne buys up great fabrics from designers like Anna & Boy.

We're going to the Prom...

My husband got this invite from the school he teaches at:

 Chanelling the Fifties at the Year 12 Formal

Chanelling the Fifties at the Year 12 Formal

Mirani State High School would like to formally invite you and your parents to the Graduating Class of 2013's Year 12 Formal. 

Hmmm... while I would be required to pose as his 80-something year old Mum, thought I'd go anyway.

 A 20 cent belt kit from the thrift shop gives a nice retro touch.  And literally had 10 minutes to buy some costume jewellery.

A 20 cent belt kit from the thrift shop gives a nice retro touch.  And literally had 10 minutes to buy some costume jewellery.

Luckily Lincraft had a sale on silk dupioni ($20 per metre instead of 40!) so made up this dress. I started out with a New Look pattern that had a big gathered skirt.  Well, in that coral pink, I looked like a fat fairy so I unpicked the skirt and put in big boxy pleats instead.  Accidentally assymetrically on the back as you can see.  But had no time to change that -  I just kept my back to the wall most of the night!

 All good Persian carpets have one deliberate flaw woven into them, because only God is perfect. Spot the "deliberate" mistake here. Unpicking silk dupioni makes it fray so much, I may just have to live with assymetrical pleating on the back of this dress.

All good Persian carpets have one deliberate flaw woven into them, because only God is perfect. Spot the "deliberate" mistake here. Unpicking silk dupioni makes it fray so much, I may just have to live with assymetrical pleating on the back of this dress.

Sewing up a hem, running out the door...

 R.I.P. Style Patterns - once one of the big top four pattern companies.  Luckily their patterns can still be found in second hand shops...

R.I.P. Style Patterns - once one of the big top four pattern companies.  Luckily their patterns can still be found in second hand shops...

Cutting it fine - finished this dress ten minutes before we left for church! 

 

Found the comfy cotton fabric at a charity shop, already pre-washed and ready to sew. 

 

Style patterns are now defunct, but this classic sheath dress from 1991 hasn't aged too badly.

 

Had better start cutting out next week's dress now! 

 Fabric cost $3 I think, so the most expensive part of this dress is probably the zipper! 

Fabric cost $3 I think, so the most expensive part of this dress is probably the zipper! 

The best things in life are free...

 A beautiful print jersey makes this simple dress work...

A beautiful print jersey makes this simple dress work...

This Sunday dress cost me nothing.  I found the fabric in a cupboard - it belonged to my husband's wife Sheryl who sadly passed away a few years ago. 

 

As for the pattern, I traced the bodice shape from a book and added a square of fabric to the bottom.  The skirt had a fair chunk of excess fabric which forms a waterfall extension thing. 

 

And the belt is another rectangle sewn into a tube.  Easy as! 

 The skirt used the full width of fabric, sewn into a tube.  Rather than gathering the skirt to fit the bodice, I just left a chunk that falls to the front of the dress. 

The skirt used the full width of fabric, sewn into a tube.  Rather than gathering the skirt to fit the bodice, I just left a chunk that falls to the front of the dress. 

 Used every skerrick of fabric for this dress!  Just had enough to make a belt, but can't eat too much when wearing it! 

Used every skerrick of fabric for this dress!  Just had enough to make a belt, but can't eat too much when wearing it! 

Another Sunday, another Sunday dress...

 This dress gets it's shape from darts sewn on the outside of the dress.

This dress gets it's shape from darts sewn on the outside of the dress.

This Sunday dress I sewed a while ago from a 1998 Vogue pattern from the op-shop. It hasn't dated too badly!  It was a bit of fiddly as  it's completely lined with a side zip.  But still completed in a day (my whole philosophy in sewing!) and terribly comfy to wear.

 I have such fond memories of favourite dresses I made as a teenager, but they're like old friends who are long gone without a trace! Very self-indulgent, I know, .posting what I wear to church on Sunday, but it's just a nice way to document what I've sewn.

 Instead of paying $25 for a Vogue pattern, thrift shops have them for 20 cents to $2. 

Instead of paying $25 for a Vogue pattern, thrift shops have them for 20 cents to $2. 

 Left thread ends hanging on the dress just for fun...and to annoy my husband...

Left thread ends hanging on the dress just for fun...and to annoy my husband...

 Wait, there's more darts on the back too.  Sewn in 100% linen this dress is long wearing...they'll be unearthing it intact in archeological digs...

Wait, there's more darts on the back too.  Sewn in 100% linen this dress is long wearing...they'll be unearthing it intact in archeological digs...

Sunday Best

 The beautiful fabric is a textured silk (texture of Chux, according to my husband!) that I bought from a little old lady at her garage sale.

The beautiful fabric is a textured silk (texture of Chux, according to my husband!) that I bought from a little old lady at her garage sale.

When I was younger, everyone dressed to the hilt to attend church.  It really was your Sunday Best - high heels,  meticulous make-up, even fresh flowers in your hair! 

Everyone dresses very casually now, but to recreate the past, I've decided to put in a bit more effort.   Each Sunday, I'll try to wear something I've handmade myself.

 After lowering the neckline on my pattern draft, it gaped a little, so I added tucks to rein it back in.

After lowering the neckline on my pattern draft, it gaped a little, so I added tucks to rein it back in.

 Picked up a self-cover belt kit from an op-shop for twenty cents.  They add a lovely retro finish to a dress!

Picked up a self-cover belt kit from an op-shop for twenty cents.  They add a lovely retro finish to a dress!

 

Here's yesterday's effort - a little dress I based on a Sixties shift pattern.  I did make a toile in calico, before I cut into the silk and added a series of tucks to make the neckline fit better.  I always pick up self-cover belt kits from op shops as I've never seen them for sale anywhere else. You sew a bias strip into a tube to cover the buckle and iron on your fabric to the belt for a great retro accessory.  

Hmmm, must start thinking about next Sunday... 

Unaccustomed as I am...

 Loved these retro undies found on Etsy.

Loved these retro undies found on Etsy.

Four year old Hazel speaks the truth.  While helping hang out the washing, she asks -  "Are these your undies?  They're so big!!!"  Afraid it's true,  I like big knickers, I cannot lie.  Inspired by these retro swimmers on Etsy, I set out to make my own version. 

 

 Ancient patterns, (this one circa 1990) ...the source of great sewing wisdom...

Ancient patterns, (this one circa 1990) ...the source of great sewing wisdom...

Surely a vintage pattern will be a good start.  They ended up a little toooo big. Having them stretch up to my armpits wasn't a great look, so I scaled them back. 

 

 

 DIY Retro undies!

DIY Retro undies!

Making knickers is pretty easy (compared with, say, making a bra) and requires little fabric. Unaccustomed as I am to displaying my knickers on the internet, here is what I ended up sewing... and photographing in a bunched up way, to make them appear slightly smaller...