Sewing update

I have to admit I love well made clothing but sadly, anything well made also comes with a hefty price tag and I don't have the budget for that sort of thing. Cheaper clothing in Australia is no longer cheap any more - an average winter weight lined business skirt (made in China) can cost anything from $60 upwards and that won't buy you anything well made or nicely fitted. So this winter I have decided to make my own. I can save money and get what I want. And thanks to Spotlight and their 40% discount on fabric, I can easily make a lined business skirt for around $20 that fits!! 

So far I have made 3 skirts with another one cut out. I have also made one pinafore (jumper) and have plans (and the fabric) to make two more winter dresses. I am finding myself looking at "expensive outfits" and searching for patterns similar so I can make my own. 

I have also discovered the importances of looking at sewing blogs and reading the reviews of patterns I am interested in making.  This really helps to overcome any problems and gives me ideas of finishes.  It is also a really good way of learning new sewing techniques. 

What is your favourite pattern?



1950's inspired red straight skirt to calf, fully lined with red satin.  

Pattern: Burda 7248simple to make, easy to follow pattern, made it many times in various lenghts.

This will be great for any season.


Long black straight skirt, fully lined with black satin. 

Pattern: McCalls 3830: its called a "quick and easy" pattern and it lives up to this description.

Comes in five lengths, this is the longest.  Looks very smart and elegant.  Have another one already cut out ready to make in black wool (mid length).  I made a second one of these in a wool fabric which will be great for cold winters days.


Pinafore dress (jumper) - in black with purple lining

Pattern: Simplicity 3673 (1950's retro): I found this one more difficult to make and at times the pattern wasn't as clear as it could have been adding to my frustrations. I found it useful to google reviews and see how other sewers managed some of the steps. This is my hardest outfit so far but felt by the end, the result weren't too bad (of course I know where the errors are but I am not sharing!). Even though the pattern only lined the bodice, I decided to fully line the skirt as well, not too bad but could be better!. The sizing is a bit off (as other reviews have said - too big) and I had fiddled quite lot to get it to fit around the hips and waist nicely. Better next time round. I wore it to work yesterday and know one guessed it was homemade, in fact I even got compliments.

I used a new method (to me) on this dress - I hand sewed the zip to guarantee that it would sit perfectly at the back as it is long and easy to see (and I tend to mess up zips). The method is called "hand-pick" and really did produce a great result. I will use this method many times I think, even if it is far more time consuming.  On the black fabric it is almost impossible to see my stitches which is another positive.

I used very cheap fabric for this pinafore and now that I know I can make it, I plan to use more expensive fabric the next time round. However I will use a small size.


Patterns in the pipeline: both these patterns are semi-fitted dresses, a design I prefer as the are both elegant and feminine. Waiting for patterns to arrive from eBay in the UK.

McCalls 2401

I was inspired by the Duchess of Cambridge on her recent visit to Australia - doesn't she look beautiful in this dress - very similar to pattern above.

 Simplicity 1568

Another fitted dress that will be fun to make. (with sleeves)



  1. Hi Jo,'
    How are you doing? I love the skirts and the dress that you made. The outfits looks great. I haven't bought much in the way of clothing lately either because of my budget. I am a bargain shopper and would never pay 60.00 for a skirt. Perhaps I need to take to sewing my clothing...Right now I don't have a working sewing machine...but my cousin is suppose to give me one when I go visit her. Thanks for sharing this.

    1. I invested in a new mating at Christmas and managed to get one on sale which saved me a little. Whilst it was expensive it has made all the differences to my sewing. I also buy my fabric on sale which really does reduce the cost of the items I make. :)

  2. So glad you shared pics of your latest sewing projects! They look great!! You do way more sewing than I do lately - although that will have to change soon as I have 4 people in this household who all need some new clothes for THIS winter, so I need to get really busy!
    Those patterns really do look like Kate's dress - they will make beautiful dresses! :)
    It's been at least a couple of years since I last bought clothes - the prices on clothing just makes me cringe! But I do have lots of fabric and lots of patterns, so we'll still be able to have new clothes as soon as I can get busy at my machine! :)

    1. I will be slowing down now that I am back at work but that is ok as I don't really need anymore skirts but I am looking forward to making the dress. I have also bought a pattern for a jacket to see if i can make one of those!! I am sure it will push my skills even more.

  3. Well I have the lace for my dress, maybe today I can pop it on and then send you a photo, won't be as glamourous as yours, but my best =) Then again, the children are whingy today, need some wet weather excitement, and I don't mean going off the property - I wanna stay home!!!!! =)
    P.S. You are SOOOOOOOO clever! =)

    1. I would love to see the lace on the dress, I am sure it will look lovely :)

      You need to come up with a list of rainy day activities :))

      Thankyou - I think my sewing is improving with each outfit. I am learning not to rush and take my time (and check the instructions before diving in to something!!).

  4. I learned to sew with Knitwit many years ago, so when I do sew these days it's with stretch fabrics - SO much easier to work with. I just made myself a fake leather skirt (yes, fabric was on special at Spotlight last Winter!) - you've just reminded me I need to show it off on the blog! No pattern - just copied another skirt I really like the fit of :-)

    1. I can remember when my mum went to Knitwit classes and made all sorts of things out of stretch. I am a bit nervous about using knit fabric as I am unfamiliar with what I can and cannot do. Youtube is very handy though with tutorials.

  5. Your sewing is lovely and your taste in patterns/clothing is so classy and timeless. I love the pattern in outfit #1, as it seems so versatile, but my personal favorite is the pinafore in #3. No, wait! The dress pattern you plan to make that looks like Kate's is my MOST favorite. It is beautiful. I love wearing dresses. Just put one item on and you're done. I think dresses are the easiest piece of clothing to wear. Please show your dresses when you are finished. I would love to see them.

    1. Thankyou so much for dropping by. Glad you like the dress like Kate's - I am just about to cut out the pattern and make it. I can't wait to see how it turns out. I will certainly share the finished dress with you:)))

  6. It was interesting looking at your sewing projects. Good for you for saving so much on clothing and ending up with high quality things! The jumper/pinafore dress is an interesting style. It is frustrating when a pattern doesn't have good directions, isn't it?


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