Tag Archives: Simplicity

Simplicity 9816

1 Jun

So she’s still around eh?

Yeah that thing called irl aka Real Life took over more than I think it ought to have. There needs to be a law against that sort of thing happening, in my opinion ūüėõ

Catching up with some old stuff here:

More coraly-oranges Mmmm!


  • Fabric/trims/notions used
Coral stripe cotton seersucker and some pretty matching coral buttons.
  • Inspiration

Actually, this is a muslin that turned out to be wearable. I just want a nice TNT blouse pattern! I tried this pattern out, and yes I did like it but for a TNT pattern I think I can do better.

The tie-neckline was inspired by all the tie-necklines around the place these days. I ‚̧ tie necklines!

  • Useful info

This is one of those patterns with different cup-sizes. I couldn’t work out from the instructions if it was like a bra, where you choose your ribcage size (eg size 14) then go with whatever cup size fits your breasts properly, and cup and rib-cage size combined dictates the overall bust circumference. Or if you went with the overall bust circumference, and used the cup size within that overall circumference. Kinda the opposite of a bra. ¬†It seemed to be the opposite but I wasn’t sure, so I just went with that, and it worked out ok.

I’ve recently acquired another one of these cup-size fitting patterns now (op shop find!). It’s newer than the Simplicity 9816 and in its instructions it’s very clear you choose your size based on the overall circumference, and then whichever cup size in that size that suits you. Which is good, because after making this blouse I’d been avoiding those cup-size fitting patterns because of that ambiguity. Now it’s been cleared up I’m happy to try more. I’m not convinced the different cup sizes makes the fitting easier particularly. You still have to, well, fit the blouse anyway. And when you’re short and have to take out a good 5cm/2″ out of the length, adjust the shoulder slope for your coat-hanger shoulders, and and and… well, how much fitting are you saving?

The answer, I feel, requires more research with these cup-size patterns. With the one I got from the op-shop. Nothing to do with it being a gorgeous pattern, hell no! It’s all in the name of research!

Simplicity 2996


  • Construction notes

I left the vertical darts unsewn, thinking it would give a better fit if I pinned them on me directly. After MUCH fiddling round and a few four-letter words, I ended up with the darts being sewn pretty much as they were on the pattern. *sigh* Oh well.

I replaced the collar with a tie just for the fun of it. I like the tie. It wasn’t that hard to do either. The only slightly difficult bit was where the tie detaches from the neck. I looked on a different pattern that had the tie as part of the pattern, to work out how to do it. The tie is formed by folding the fabric right sides together and sewing the edge up to the point where it is joined to the neck. Then turn inside out and press. At the point where it joins the neck you need to get the seam allowance to then be outside the tie so it can be stitched to the neck and covered by the facing. The instructions said to clip the seam allowance right at that point and fold it so it’s sticking out, able to be sewed down.

But it seemed to me the stress-point (physical! though possible difficulty-wise too…) of the whole tie affair was right at that point and I didn’t think clipping it so close would be good. I got around this by sewing that bit of the seam on the tie off at a 45 degree angle, which meant I just needed to clip a tiny bit to help the fabric sit neatly round that angle-point, and the rest of the seam allowance folded out neatly ready to be sewn to the neck, the fabric still nice and strong at that point. Worked brilliantly! It also made matching up the point where the tie seam allowance meets up with the neckline seam allowance a bit easier. More room for error. Always a good thing!

I tried drawing this on Microsoft Paint to make it clearer, but I gave up. I’m spoilt. I’m used to a nice vector-based drawing program *cough* Illustrator *cough*, and a tablet and pen setup. Using an ordinary mouse on Paint drove me nuts and didn’t even look any good anyway. Sorry …

The hem and sleeve hem were edged in a bias ruffle. Fun!

  • Cost
Mum had the fabric sitting round for about a decade, and happily handed it over for me to play with. Perhaps $10
Pattern: $10
Buttons $5
Total: $25
  • Last word

Well… I think I can do better for a TNT blouse pattern. I don’t think the overall shape is very flattering. It looks a bit short and squat on me, in my opinion and making it a bit longer might help but probably not much. ¬†And if a top gets too long it can end up visually cutting my already ¬†short person in half and making me look like (or feel?) a weird squat robot. (No, I’m serious! :-P) I’ve got another blouse pattern that has princess seams rather than darts, and I think it might look better on my figure.

I do like the bias ruffles on the sleeve and hem though! If you’ve got pretty, stripey fabric, may as well play with it eh?

Simplicity 3673: It’s red, what more can I say?

17 Mar

It’s stunning. And apparently, so I have been told repeatedly whenever I wear this, red looks fantastic on me.

Hmmm. Looking at these photos, it looks a bit loose. I might check that out next time I wear it. It wouldn’t be much to take in the side seams a bit. And oh look! My new shoes. Naots, baby! My feet absolutely love them, even if my social conscience isn’t so sure about them (It’s an Isreali company with a factory in the settlers area of Palestine).

  • Pattern:¬†

  • Inspiration:

I’ve been having the time of my life on Pinterest. I don’t know about other people but I tend to have a few different distinct styles of clothing I really like, and Pinterest has been a great way of exploring this. One such style I called “Leafy Green” ended up with a whole lot more red than green, with pin after pin of plain red dresses in a variety of vintage styles.

But wait, I had 3m of red cotten/lycra satteen in my stash. And the above retro-repro pattern!

So I just put them together and love the outcome!

  • Fabric/notions/trim used:

Cotton/lycra satteen which because of the stretchy nature of it, needed no zip.


  • Construction notes:

I hadn’t used this red satteen before because I bought it to make a proper dress version of the Sense and Sensibility1940’s swing era dress pattern¬†I muslined in a very wearable way. (oh LOL!!! I just realised the title for that post is the 1490’s swing era dress. I’m dyslexic. Honest! And it is worst with numbers. Honest! I think I’d better go change it … :-D) uh, were was I? Ok the swing era dress in red satteen never happened coz the fabric is fairly heavy compared to the usual stuff I wear, and I was worried it might be just too hot. But I made another dress out of some gorgeous soft sagey green satteen (not blogged yet) thinking “If it’s too bad it can be a dry-season-only dress (the dry season is what masquerades as a Winter in Darwin). It turned out to be fine, not too hot at all! So I was confident about using the red satteen for this dress.

As noted, no zip needed. I did the tie-thingy on the neckline because I like tie-thingies on necklines. I did my usual FBA combined with taking miles out between bust and waist because I’m not miles tall. Other people who’ve blogged about this pattern mentioned it ran big, so I measured carefully, but I think it might need to be taken in a bit more, based on those piccies above. Stretch-wovens can be quite hard to get a satisfactory fit due to the stretch, I’ve found.

I did a machine-blind hem on this and I feel very fancy for it. Usually I just sew the hem with straight stitch.¬†Sacrilegious¬†I know, but look how many RTW clothes have a straight stitched hem. And besides, it’s a strong finish and clothes get washed to hell and back here (tropical climates *sigh*). However I figured if the blind hem stitch came apart from washing, I could just redo it. And it does look very nice…

  • Cost

Hey, I bought the red satteen so long ago I can’t remember what it cost. Does that mean it’s free???

Oh ok, the satteen available in Spotlight at the moment is around $10 on special (They always have specials at Spotlight. NEVER buy anything full-price there, that’s my shopping advice.) So 3m @ $10 – $30

A reel of thread @ $3

Pattern: that must be free too, coz I can’t remember what I spent on it. Maybe $10? I do know I got it from Spotlight on sale…

Total $43-ish

  • Final word:

Eeeeek! Such a great dress and soooo easy to fit to my hourglass figure. (I totally LOVE vintagey patterns for that reason.) I have some lovely lovely blue roses satteen fabric I’m seriously considering doing in the straight style -or do I want to use the skirt part of the straight dress and turn it into a high-waisted blue rose dress? Decisions,¬†decisions…

Oh, and apparently, red really suits me ūüėÄ

Simplicity 8473 or: Schoolhouse tunic-inspired dresses

11 Jun
Heh, you can see the butterfly and flower decals on my mirror quite clearly. Oh wait, the picture is supposed to be of the dress/tunic, though!
Sadly I don’t seem to have a decent photo of the back view. Oh well.
  • Simplicity 8473
  • Fabric/trims/notions used
A zip on the beige/white dress, at the front bodice.
Polyester cotton.
  • Inspiration for the garment
I’ve long liked the look of Sew Liberated’s Schoolhouse Tunic (click on the picture to take you to Sew Liberated’s website) However I never got round to buying it. Then one day it occurred to me I had a fairly similar pattern. Since I am very good at buying lots of patterns that are all similar, I thought I’d go out on a limb and stick with the one I had, and tweak it.
I think I did pretty well with my shorter version of the Simplicity pattern. Mine is more inny and outy, but since a common comment I read in reviews of the schoolhouse tunic was that it was rather shapeless, I think it is probably an improvement. The shaping in my version comes from a back tie, so if I’m feeling more shapeless I can tie it looser!
I added in a zip for the front bodice so I had the choice of wearing it open over something (which would make two layers of clothing so ain’t gonna happen very often, believe me! Too too hot.) or closed if that is the only layer.
The red dress ended up a lot longer, and was so beautiful that way I left it – the picture here doesn’t capture the elegance of the dress too well. But then later decided I was bored to tears with that length so shortened it to just above the knee. I’ve got so many dresses with that longer line, probably because they suit me. I just wanted a change. Still looks fine!
I used the cap sleeve from New Look 6824 again. I’ve only used that sleeve piece from that pattern, haven’t touched the rest, but it has well and truly paid for itself already!
  • Useful info
 Only that Simplicity 8473 is a lovely lovely pattern.
  • Cost
¬†Uh, I honestly can’t remember! I know it is craft cotton from Spotlight in one of their many many sales. I was pretty happy to get the fabric for the price I did.
Ok so that isn’t too helpful, but the best I can do!
  • Last word

This is the second and third times I’ve made this pattern. The first was years and years ago, and the pattern lived up to the fond memories I have from that first dress. It is very simple to make, and easy to tweak, but has “good bones”. The neckline is just lovely too.
I’ve surprised myself how much I wear the tunic-length dress, with 3/4 leggings. Very comfortable and cool, and it looks nice. I also wear it without the leggings too quite a lot when I want even cooler clothes.
The red dress is much more in my usual line of dress. Nice, looks good, colour suits me perfectly, comfortable, easy to wear, works with all my accessories. Can’t ask for much more than that!

Simplicity 3559 – what it’s like to sew it…

5 Feb
  • Pattern/company
  • pattern picture

  • Fabric/trims/notions used
Craft cottons, with plain homespun trims. Matching buttons for the sleeves. No zip (was easy for me to get on without one).
  • Piccie of finished garment (Taken at the ¬†July 2011¬†Happy Yess Markets)

  • Inspiration (for the garment)
I’ve always loved mod style. My mother bought the green fabric – in the store she got to it just before me. When she hadn’t sewn anything out of it after 3 yrs I tentatively asked her if I could have it. She agreed! YAY!!!
The purple paisley I’d had for ages, bought for a different pattern I’d never sewn up. When the green worked out so well I realised it would work beautifully in the purple. It does!
The really funny thing is the same green worked for trim on both dresses. Sister dresses!
  • Useful info
I found the neckline quite difficult. The green dress is made following the original pattern. At the bottom of the collar/placket bit, there are two square seams. I’m not afraid of square seams! However, it proved almost impossible to get the right amount of trim width to make two square seams so close to each other. I’m not that messy a sewer. It was just … unrealistically hard.
So I sewed down the sides to the base of the placket section, then pressed and pinned the two sides of trim in place and simply top-stitched it all into place. SOOO much easier technically and temperamentally!
For some reason on the purple I just got it wrong, unpicked it, redid it – again wrong, unpicked it, repeat ad nauseum. In the end I totally redid it as a collar/tie affair. The front cut-away for the placket bit was so low that when I changed to the collar/tie, to make the front stop revealing my bra¬†reasonably modest, I set in a square of fashion fabric into the lower bit of it. The fabric is such that it really doesn’t show much, and the attention is drawn to the tie. ¬†The only problem is the collar section folds over scruffily. I suppose ironing it before wearing would fix it, but I¬† HATE ironing am severely allergic to ironing and come out in all-over hives.
  • Cost
Green fabric – gift from my awesome mum!
Trim – 50cm @ $7 = $3.50
Pattern – totally forgotten, how about $10?
Buttons – $3.50
Purple fabric – 2.2m @ $15pm = $31.50
Trim – stash (well ok, it had been in the stash 3 days after finishing the green dress trim :-P)
Pattern – second time used
Buttons – stash
  • Last word
These dresses are so comfortable, flattering, a great weight to wear in this climate. I grab one out of the wardrobe, put it on and am instantly well-dressed. Doesn’t get much better than that.
Other posts on this pattern
A dress for Happy Yess (Green paisley version)

Simplicity 3559: A dress for Happy Yess

2 Feb

I’m famous! Walking down the street to the July Happy Yess markets, someone stopped me and said “Are you Tropical Threads? You write the blog “Tropical Threads” don’t you?”

I burbled and babbled and gave a good impression of not being able to speak English. Of course, being famous I am used to people recognising me in the street,  I just nodded nonchalantly in my dreams.

Turns out I created a pingback when I linked to the Happy Yess blog from my own, and she had taken a look. Guess what? I totally didn’t even ask her name. How rude of me. Anyone would think I wasn’t at all used to being famous and being recognised just walking down the street! *waves to the lovely woman who said hello, whoever you are*

The day was a two-red-letter day, because not only did I discover I am famous, but I had just finished (an hour earlier!) the green paisley mod dress, and was of course wearing to the perfect dress-debut venue, the Happy Yess market.

Here is the Famous Dress. (I finally got the photos for it organised!) (Isn’t that fabric to die for gorgeous?! Mmmmm I love wearing it.)

A picture showing the full length

And here are a few random piccies from the Happy Yess market that day, just to show off how awesome my city is ūüôā

Meet Zoe, the Cute Factor Doggie

My friend's stall (seed jewellery and chain maille)

HALP!!! Which bracelet from my friend's stall goes best with my new dress?

My friend being bashful at having her photo taken

There were baby rabbits!

Gratuitous Happy Yess market shot




“Pussy bow” insanity

15 Aug

So, I fell in love with this pattern from Style Arc:

I fell in love with most of the patterns there.

I specifically fell in love with that bow-collar, apparently called a “pussy bow”. ¬†After my frustrating session(s) with the collar of my purple paisley mod dress, I totally gave up on the original collar and trimmed the neckline into a sort of v-neck. But sadly the bottom is square, as per the original pattern, and too low for modesty.

I confess I cut that neckline in a V to leave NO possibility of me ever trying to set that collar in ever again on that dress. I put it aside, and took what I learnt from it and managed to apply the collar to the green paisley mod dress with reasonable success. (I also finished said dress and promptly wore it to the Happy Yess Markets, where I had lots of fun in it. I will post about it the moment I get the photos off my friend’s camera. My friend is in Census-collecting-land at the moment, so it could be another week or so.)

But, I angsted, what to do with very weird purple paisley dress neckline? ARGH!!!

And then, of course, I found Style Arc. No idea which of the blogs I read linked to them but whoever you are, thankyou thankyou thankyou.

Er, not that I bought the above pattern. Or indeed any – yet! Spotlight was having a pattern sale… Yes, I know I know. Another Spotlight sale. What else was I to do but purchase this Simplicity pattern? Note view A?

In my defence for financially supporting Simplicity, over a small home-grown Aussie company like Style Arc, I look better in more fitted styles. Simplicity looks like a more fitted shirt. I also love view C. A simple but elegant collar. Mmmmm. I also know from past experience that kind of collar looks lovely on me.

Don’t worry, though, I will be shopping at Style Arc for other stuff very soon.

Ok back to pussy bows. “Hey! Why don’t I put a pussy bow on my purple paisley dress? And that will also camouflage the fill-in bit I will have to do to the too-low neckline?” I thought to myself.

“My goodness me! That is a BRILLIANT idea!” I thought back.

The instructions for view A’s collary-bow-thingy made perfect sense. When I was looking at it.

But I just spent all day in the back of my mind trying to actually make it work in my head. It isn’t working. It really isn’t. Darn darn darn.

Btw, this is where the insanity is coming in. I feel insane from trying!

I really WANT it to work. The dress with said pussy bow looks fantastic in my imagination. But I can’t picture in my mind the actual technical how-to of putting the collar-bow on for the original shirt pattern, let alone for the dress. Frustrating! I don’t want to get it wrong and spoiling my gorgeous paisley dress!

Do others do that? Make something up or execute a difficult technique in their head, working out how to do it before doing it in reality? What do you do if you can’t quite get¬†it to work in your head?

Fitting armscyes

13 Jul

Last night I couldn’t sleep. I found this article in threads on fitting the armscye (and the rest of the top part of the bodice) properly, and read that instead of staring at the ceiling. I thought “Aha! so maybe that is where I didn’t quite get the fit of the sleeves right on Weaver’s dress. What it says makes sense to me as the bestest fit of a very fitted sleeve I’ve ever made, was in this dress¬†Simplicity 9891.¬†I basically redid the armscye along the lines explained here – I just didn’t know what I was doing back then, so it was a fluke and I was never sure why it worked. (Haha I look so young in that photo. It was taken only 5 yrs ago though! Maybe it is the haircut, or my cheeks have thinned since then?)

In my current dress project (simplicity 3559), it just so happens that I’m¬†up to fitting the bodice and armscye, so I am using the info in the article to fit them. I have my fingers crossed for the outcome.

I’m making the middle view (though with short sleeves), made from these two fabrics. So far it is looking really good!

2 week creative challenge – Simplicity 9687

29 Jun

My friends over at  Studio Pyraxis issued a challenge to those who are interested Рevery day for 2 weeks to post something creative, be it a picture, a piece of creative writing etc.

Sounds like fun! Since most of my creativity at the moment is wrapped up in sewing or craft, I figure here is a good place to do said posts.

So… today I made the raglan-sleeved version top (green one) of this pattern.

It is the eighth (or ninth?) time I have made this pattern up. Approximately half of the tops have been made for myself, and half for my mum. The beauty of this pattern is I am petite and hourglass, mum is plus-sized with a 4-children-bearing tummy, yet the top suits us both so well. Good pattern huh?


I made one yesterday too. Two of these tops sewn up for my mum in two days to round off her travelling wardrobe. *polishes nails in satisfaction*.¬†Here is mum wearing yesterday’s one, about to head off overseas for 2 months (new grandson in Italy who was supposed to have arrived 5 days ago but still isn’t here yet!) Please excuse the odd light-and-shade effect in the photo. All I could get was a few quick snaps of her on her way out the door.


Behold, what a naughty daughter I was, to be taking photos of mum packing her bags into the car instead of helping her. My excuse reason was it was better for her to find out if it was too hard for her to cart them around while she was still here in Darwin rather than in ooh say Singapore.


Oh ok it is really just because getting my mother to stay still for any photo is almost impossible, and I wanted a photo less about interesting effects of palm-tree shadows and more about the top itself.

The fabric it is made from is a light cotton from a Spotlight range inspired by ¬†feedsack prints. This particular one has a combination of delicious colours all suiting mum perfectly. She bought enough for a dress, then decided she wanted the top instead. , She gave the rest to of the fabric to me.¬†This top takes such a small amount of fabric to make up¬†there is plenty left for me to play around with. And by happy coincidence my colouring is so similar to my mother’s, the fabric suits me beautifully too. Yay!

Mum and my sister who lives in London are heading to Italy via rail, through the Channel tunnel and everything! They have 4 days in Paris. I have put in a request for a photo of mum wearing one of the tops I made her, in front of the Eiffel Tower. I suspect the likelihood of getting a photo depends more on the weather being warm enough for my Territorian mum to be wearing only a cotton top, than anything else!

Fingers crossed…

Simplicity 8872 – call me a twit if you like …

26 Jun

It’s ok, I can handle it. I mean hey, I feel like a twit! I spent a lot of time earlier this year tracing off and trying to fit a new work-shirt style top but never really got it worked out and finished.

There I was this afternoon sorting out my patterns and found a work shirt pattern already traced off and fitted years ago (like about 8 yrs ago, back before I got ill, and resultant weight changes. I am finally healthily back to a similar size to then so the pattern should be about right). I had even added in a bust dart to improve the fit in that area. Wow, how organised of my former self.

I remember this pattern. It is a really good one!  Simple, clean lines, nicely fitting, flattering in a suitably no-nonsense worky kinda way. Wow, a TNT work shirt pattern already traced off and ready to go? yippeee !!!


And just for the fun of it, here are the other versions of this pattern I found available on the interwebs (click on the images to go to websites):





Darwin’s turn for a cyclone

16 Feb

And how is this related to sewing, you ask?

Well…. Everything has closed up shop. The power supply is dodgy, going off, coming back on. Everything is battened down as it should be. Everyone is advised to stay at home unless it is essential.

How do you define essential?

The other day I took my baby, uh I mean my sewing machine in to see the sewing machine dr. Just a service, nothing scary or drastic. And it is still there. Probably finished by now, but even if the store was open (which I doubt) sadly, I don’t think I can really justify getting my sewing machine as “essential”.

Ok, I could justify it but I don’t think many other people would believe me.

So what to do?

Luckily for me I went to Spotlight the other day and¬† bought supplies to make some decoupaged storage boxes for my sewing paraphernalia. The base paint is taking forever to dry in the humidity, and I couldn’t seal them till they are dried out properly (Air-con is my friend!) but they are filling a gap.

I also have some silk to make a hair scarf for a good friend of mine. I am going to attempt a rolled hem for the first time in my life. Wish me luck!

And in the meantime I found a few goodies online. This pattern from patternwiki one reminded me startlingly of the Swing era dress in this picture. (I just love the combination of plain bright red and those flowers)

The pattern picture revealed a few differences, but not many. Still the same feel.

This one has style lines I have been thinking about for a long time – the princess-seams going from centre waist to the outer shoulder. I keep thinking “I could draft that myself, though.” But do I? er, no.

So here is a pattern with that very line.

On a totally different note this is rather sweet, from the Victoria Jones Collection

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