Saltspring + Sigma = SpringMa

The second dress made for my sister is a combination of my two current favourite patterns. It also came together just in time for FrankenIndie with The Monthly Stitch, so a big hello to any Monthly Stitch visitors! To recap, my sister Kelly is off overseas and needs modest dresses for some conservative destinations. I wanted to help boost her wardrobe for the adventures ahead and offered to make a couple of dresses for her to wear.

Saltspring Dress by Sewaholic& Sigma Dress by Papercut Patterns

Continue reading

Sewing for Travel

My sister, Kelly, is about to embark on some overseas travel and isn’t one for sticking to the usual tourist traps. She wants to eat with locals, wrangle language barriers and thoroughly explore a rich new culture. Such fun!

Kelly will be in places that dress modestly, which she will need to respect if she doesn’t want to draw gasps of horror everywhere she goes. The dress code essentially boils down to “no shoulders, no knees, and no skin in between”, which sounds simple enough but was proving a challenge for this intrepid explorer.

So Rosie Miller (another sister) and I collaborated to make Kelly a couple of dresses that would keep her feeling fab and cool in the heat. Rosie generously provided some gorgeous cotton fabrics from her stash, while I got sewing.

First up was a Sigma Dress by Papercut Patterns, but altered to a mid-calf length.

Mid calf Sigma dress by Papercut Patterns |

Continue reading

Refashion: Leather Belt

You know those purchases that you get home but never wear? This belt was one of those. I bought it about a decade ago on a whim, but the leather is just too thick. I tried it on with dozens of outfits but it just never ever looked right.

One wide leather belt cut into three. Who would've thought?!So I got ruthless. The design means it was perfect to chop into three strips, although if that failed I was game to unravel the leather and try plaiting it.

One wide leather belt cut into three. Who would've thought?!

Fortunately, just chopping down the length worked! But if you have a belt that doesn’t allow this, perhaps you could try to salvage long lengths of leather and just plait them into strips?

I mitered off the end when I got there too.

One wide leather belt cut into three. Who would've thought?!

Next I found some worn old belts at the recycling centre that had good buckles in the size I wanted and cut those off.One wide leather belt cut into three. Who would've thought?!

When I put the buckle on, I pushed the long bit (what is that thing called, anyway? The bar?) through a gap in the leather weave.

One wide leather belt cut into three. Who would've thought?!

Then I looped the end over and hand stitched it down. You could do it by machine using a leather needle, but I opted for a standard hand sewing needle, normal cotton thread and a thimble to help push it through without injuring my finger (while watching an episode of Revenge. I’m hooked!).One wide leather belt cut into three. Who would've thought?!

One wide leather belt cut into three. Who would've thought?!

So quick, simple and much more to my liking.

One wide leather belt cut into three. Who would've thought?!

Of course, no girl needs three identical belts so I also get to share the love. Fun! One is already going to my sister and the other will make a great birthday gift or random act of kindness for a friend.

Refashion: Pleated Dress to Skirt

Refashion a pleated dress into a skirt |

For months I’ve been hunting for a pleated dress or skirt, so I was really excited to stumble upon this gem! This is a stunning kelly green and I love me some colour.

Refashion a pleated dress into a skirt |

Obviously it’s a few sizes too big, but that’s not all. Check out the back:

Refashion a pleated dress into a skirt |

It reminds me a dog collar and leash! It’s also nigh on impossible to conceal a bra under this and having fed two babies, going bra-less is no longer an option for this gal.

I toyed with the idea of filling in the back with contrasting chiffon (and removing those odd straps), joining it to the front for a cute shirt dress. But I couldn’t decide on fabric colour. So many fabrics look good with green! So I opted instead to make a skirt for extra versatility.

First I removed the top portion,

Refashion a pleated dress into a skirt | Offsquare.comthen ummed and ahhed for a few days about whether to keep the length or not. Again, in the name of versatility, I opted to go short. It would’ve made a cute maxi if it wasn’t for the hi-low hem though.

I formed a waist band from the bodice fabric, making two strips of fabric and folded them over, but putting elastic in the back portion so I can slip the skirt on and off. This was then attached to the top of the skirt.Refashion a pleated dress into a skirt |

I chopped the length and then did a tight zig-zag around the hem to stop it fraying. The hem was then carefully pressed with the pleats folded down so they sat flat.

Refashion a pleated dress into a skirt |

Just so you know, not all refashions are a success on the first try. This one was “finished” and nearly blog worthy when I tried to style it and found I still wasn’t happy. After getting over my initial despondency, I tried it on again and gave it my refashioning eye. There was too much fabric in the skirt making it bulky on the waist and the length was still a smidge too long. So I unpicked the waistband, removed some width from the fabric by chopping out the buttons (and hiding the new seam under a pleat) and trimmed the length a little more before stitching it all back together.

Done! Now it’s a cute and versatile new skirt.

Refashion a pleated dress into a skirt |

Refashion a pleated dress into a skirt |

Refashion a pleated dress into a skirt |

I see Beth from The Renegade Seamstress has refashioned a pleated skirt today too. Snap! What can I say … she’s got great taste ;)

A Liebster Award

I realise that I’m totally biased here, but I think my readers rock. You guys are seriously awesome! You are always so encouraging and let’s be honest … we do have a whole lotta fun around here.

One of these sweet readers, Kat from SeeKatSew, has nominated me for a Liebster Award. Before you get excited and start planning your red carpet outfit for escorting me to the LA awards ceremony … it’s not that kinda award. This is a fun award that people offer to their favourite bloggers as a way of saying “your blog is awesome and keep it up”. So it’s real sweet right? Thanks Kat!


While I’m not usually one to take part in these awards (they often feel like chain letters), I did enjoy reading more about Kat with her award. It’s like a little peek into someone’s world. So I thought I’d share the fun and answer the questions she gave me. Continue reading

Saltspring Dress + a Treat!

Oh my. I should’ve made this dress at the start of summer! It’s only been a week or so since I made this Saltspring Dress from Sewaholic Patterns and I’m already wearing it as much as possible.

Saltspring Dress |

This is a maxi dress with an elastic waist, zip back, inseam pockets and tie straps. There’s also a little secret with this dress. The lined bodice is shorter than the outer layer and it’s genius, I tell ya! This means that the top blouses at the waist by itself without needing a belt or being dragged down by the weight of the skirt. Now that’s clever design.

Saltspring Dress |

I opted to make mine from a silk/cotton blend fabric and it feels gorgeous on. Unfortunately, I didn’t buy enough fabric, so compromises had to be made. I opted to line the dress with another fabric (which I think is a rayon blend) and it feels nothing short of divine on the skin. Like butterfly kisses, or the breath of angels, or … I think you get the idea.

Anyway, this different lining also meant I had to sew the back seam closed and skip the zip (because the top layer is designed to drape open and it would have exposed my lining. It’s a cool design though so I’ll definitely be buying plenty of fabric next time). It fits over my head fine, so it’s not a problem fit-wise. Like I say, compromises. I’ll do the zip next time I make this.

Saltspring Dress |

I also altered the straps so they don’t tie up but are instead a fixed length. I don’t know about you, but ties dangling on my arms drive me crazy. I keep thinking there are flies landing on me and I just know the kids would pull on them too.

Lastly, I made a sway back adjustment for a good fit and will definitely do this on all my future garments. It’s just what my shape needs.

Saltspring Dress |

I initially hesitated buying this due to the price. By the time you add on shipping to NZ and the exchange rate, it was pricey. Until I discovered Dresses and Me! This online NZ based store sell Sewaholic, Cake, By Hand London, Simple Sews and Victory patterns at a good price and all with free shipping in NZ when you spend $40 or more. Yippee! With my order they also sent a couple of clothing labels to sew into my finished garment and a discount coupon to spend on my next purchase with them. I love these little touches!

Now for the best part. Penny and Alice, the lovely ladies at Dresses and Me, are sweetening the deal even more and offering you all 10% off your purchases until the end of February! I mean, seriously, a good deal has just got even gooder. That’s right, I just used bad grammar.

Just enter the code dresses2014 at the checkout. Simple as that.

They’ve just upgraded their website and boy is it looking swish. You’ll also find free patterns there (perfect for my fellow thrifters out there. Woop woop!) so pop over and have a look see.

This post isn’t sponsored at all and ravings are all my own ;)