Monochromatic Clover

Papercut Patterns Clover Blouse

Papercut Patterns Clover Blouse


Today I’m sharing my version of the Papercut Patterns Clover Blouse, the second most recent thing I’ve sewn. I just finished it two days ago, although I’ve actually been doing quite a lot of sewing lately, and there are some other projects I’ve yet to blog (or put finishing touches on).

I really didn’t think I would love this blouse as much as I do, but it turned out a lot better than expected. I was actually resenting it a little before the fabric was even cut, because I’d made a few weak fitting attempts a few months ago before chucking it aside. I’m so glad I decided to give it another go.

The main fabric is a viscose rayon from Dongdaemun Market in Seoul. I say that as if I know what I’m talking about, but I don’t really, I’m just guessing that’s what it is because it feels a lot like a viscose in my stash. Dongdaemun market is absolutely amazing for this type of fabric, the top floor of one of the buildings has a couple stalls with a lot of different prints, all for about US $3 a yard. I’m leaving Korea for good in a week, but I’m seriously considering heading to Dongdaemun to stock up some more– cheaper to buy it here and ship it home than to buy it on Australia!

The fabric behaved pretty well, I had heard that sewing with rayon is difficult but it seems that the things I fear most in sewing always turn out to be not that difficult after all (ahem, buttonholes.) I had to slow down, be a bit more careful, use some extra pins, but it really wasn’t that bad. It left me feeling confident about sewing with rayon (…and then my next project with rayon challis totally dashed that confidence. Rayon challis is officially on my bitch list. But that is a story for another day). The bust inset is made with aforementioned rayon challis, but those pieces are small so didn’t cause excessive grief.

In terms of construction, things didn’t go completely smoothly. Because I just can’t resist making things harder for myself (and really, because boobs), I did a full bust adjustment. This is what was behind those two unsuccessful muslins a few months ago.

Random slightly related note: why does my smartphone still correct muslins to Muslims? I feel like if it’s so smart it should have picked up that I don’t spend all my time making Muslims… Wouldn’t even know where to start.

I originally made a size XL muslin but I didn’t like the fit around the shoulders, so I used a size L with a 2″ fba (for a total of 4″ added). According to the chart, size L is for a 41 1/2″ chest and 34″ waist. I’m currently more like 47″ and 35″, but there’s a lot of ease so with the FBA there was plenty of chest room. It was the right amount to add but I had to guess at where the apex would be. I guessed wrong, and my darts ended up pointing down to imaginary tits which are far saggier than mine. At least the shoulder fit was really improved so I knew I was on the right track.

This time, I redid the FBA with a different bust point, and then split the rather chunky dart that resulted into two smaller darts. Remember what I said about making things difficult for myself? Yeah. Took a no-dart bodice and turned it into a 4-dart bodice. Typical.

When I made it up, I realized the dart tips were far too close together, causing some puffiness at the points. I extended the darts longer, and that helped. They’re still a bit long, and not as smooth as I’d like, but thanks to the print it’s not very noticeable. Next version, the dart points will be further apart! They should also probably be a bit lower, went a bit too far in moving them up.


Detail of bust inset, before neck binding

There WAS one major drama involved in constructing this top– that infamous bust inset. I’d read online everywhere, and experienced with my muslin, that it’s too long. I thought I would just line it up from the outside in, and trim it off at the centre front– this did not work out at all. After a very frustrating hour of trying to pick tiny and nearly invisible stitches out of the rayon, and stretching it out of place, I admitted defeat and ended up re-cutting the entire front.

My advice to anyone making this top is to very carefully pin the bust inset to the other front pieces outwards starting from the centre front. Also, be careful to align along the stitch line, not the cut edges. Mark the stitch line in with a pen or chalk, or do lines of stitching as a guide if your fabric is robust enough, to help you line them up. It bugs me to no end that the inset point wasn’t trimmed off on the pattern pieces so you could simply line it up with the cut edge. (Does anyone know why some designers don’t do this– is there any advantage to it?) After your pieces are stitched together, if the inset is too long, you can simply trim it off along the shoulder edge.


The bust inset came up longer on one side than the other, because I used a line of stitching on one of the black pieces as a guide, and it gathered the fabric up slightly. Once everything was sewed together, I trimmed off the excess at the outer edges.

Tl;dr: pin from the centre front outwards, NOT from the shoulder edge inwards, then trim the excess.

Anyways, once I’d moved past the trauma with the bust-insets, things went pretty smoothly. I didn’t follow the hemming instructions, but instead zigzagged the raw edges, ran a long of stitching 1cm from the edges as a guide, and folded it along that line and then again to totally enclose the raw edges. I think it’s neater than just turning it up once, as the instructions would have you do.

I mostly made this top as a trial to see whether the bust inset would sit too low on me to do it in lace (it doesn’t!). In the end, I  love this top– I love the curved side seams, and how the rayon drapes perfectly. The top may be loose around the waist, but it’s not a tent. Rayon is really the perfect fabric for this pattern. I

‘m so happy with this top that I’ve already gone ahead and made myself another, which I finished this morning– will blog it as soon as I can get some good pics!

Mountain Views Southport Crop Top


Hiking in the Royal National Park

New year, same old apologies for negligent blogging…let’s just skip over those, shall we? With 73 days since the last post (and a year and a day since my first!) it’s a good thing I have no ill-conceived ambitions to achieve sewing blogger stardom.

Speaking of the new year, this not particularly recent make ties in with my New Year’s Resolution. I know, I know– as soon as you call something a New Year’s Resolution, you’re basically instantly condemning it to failure. My own track record for resolutions is abysmal. But I’ve been thinking– maybe my resolutions always fail, because they’re always exactly the same. Doesn’t the old saying go that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results?

Every year, for as long as I can remember, my resolution is some variation of that same tired old cliche– lose weight. Lose weight, because then everything will be better. It’s pretty clear that this hasn’t been effective.

So this year, inspired by this wonderful article from Cashmerette, I’m trying a different tack. Clearly, my vain attempts to hate myself thinner haven’t been effective– and anyways, since I’ve started sewing, I’ve found the fervour of my self loathing gradually diminishing. For 2016, my New Year’s Resolution is to (at least try to) stop letting insecurity hold me back.

I’m starting to think that my body isn’t as problematic as how I feel about my body. Social anxiety. Avoiding yoga classes for fear of judgement, and reluctance to run because of all the public jiggling that it entails (I know feeling like I’m too fat for exercise is ridiculously counterproductive, but there it is). Worrying that I’ll be mocked for flirting, and hesitating to wear what I really want to wear. Those are products of my mentality more than of my weight, and they’re not helping me lose weight but they ARE getting in the way of feeling happy. I don’t judge other larger women harshly, so why do I do it to myself?  Enough!

I’ll be honest, I’d still like to lose weight. I can’t pretend that society’s general disapprobation of my body doesn’t bother me at all. More importantly,  I don’t feel as healthy or strong as I have in the past, when I was a bit slimmer. However, I’m thinking that I don’t need to hate myself in the meantime, and that weight loss isn’t the only or even most important goal to fixate on.

Sewing has been such an important part of my improving relationship with my body. Being able to make and wear nice clothes which express who I am, which make me feel good, has been huge for me. I’m no longer  forced to subject myself to the shame-filled search for decent clothes, or the humiliation of sometimes not fitting the largest size in the store. I’m also able to experiment with new looks, and wear things that “girls like me aren’t supposed to wear”. One of those things is the crop top.


By Karloo Pools

I’ve been thinking for a while now that the high waisted skirt and crop top look can be really cute on chubby girls. This post by Cashmerette (yes, total blog crush) further sold me on it. So, I decided to give it a go for myself.

I made this top out of the True Bias Southport Dress pattern, with the same adjustments (including fba and added darts) as my two  Southport dresses. All I did was leave off the skirt and drawstring casing, and narrow hem the raw edge. A super simple make, barely squeezed out of some precious fabric leftover from my Staple Dress. The fabric is Mountain Views double gauze by Nani Iro, quite possibly my favourite fabric ever.

So far, I’ve been wearing this top with my denim Megan Nielsen Brumby Skirt— on its own here in Sydney where I’m visiting for Christmas, or with a navy cardigan, tights and boots back in Korea. I’ll admit, I don’t feel entirely comfortable in it. Although you can’t see any midriff in these pictures, it does flash skin as I move. However, at the same time, it feels cool and breezy and strangely liberating. I plan to keep wearing it, regardless of my fears of what strangers (or even some of my judgier friends) are thinking. It fits in well with my resolution, and each time I wear it, it gets easier.

To anyone reading– are there any styles which “people like you” aren’t “supposed” to wear, but you’re secretly wishing to try? It’s a new year– maybe it’s time to be bold and try them out!


On the boat, my last day in Sydney before heading back to Korea!


Mojave Scout

Mojave Voile Grainline Scout TeeI’m terrible at this blogging thing… I actually finished this top nearly a month ago. It took me this long to get around to bugging a friend into taking pictures for me!

Actually, I’ve worn it around friends a bunch of times– but every time I somehow manage to forget. Anyways, here it is. As you may have guessed, it’s a Scout Tee. Please excuse the wrinkles– I actually DID iron it right before leaving the house, but the photos weren’t taken until an hour or two later. And the fabric, for all its virtues, wrinkles like crazy.

I’m not going to say too much about the construction of this top, because it’s exactly the same as my last scout tee. Like the last one, I finished the neckline with store bought bias tape– still no luck in getting it to lay flat! Anyone have any tips? I even under-stitched this time! Oh well, it doesn’t bother me too much.

I really love this fabric, and have had it set aside for a while. It’s cotton voile by Art Gallery Fabrics, the print is called Mojave in Illuminated. I bought mine from Bobbie Lou’s Fabric Factory, it seems there’s still some available. It’s silky-smooth and slightly sheer but not so much that I feel a need to wear something underneath. It’s also lovely and light, perfect for summer. Although, it was a bit of a pain to sew with– The seams kept wrinkling, I fiddled around with stitch length and tension but couldn’t find a great solution. I probably needed a finer needle/thread, but I didn’t have those on hand, and wasn’t willing to wait until I could get them online/go mime at the grumpy old dude at the tiny local sewing shop until he guessed what I was after (I really need to learn some Korean sewing vocabulary!). I ended up following a tip I read online and gently pulling it taught as it went through the machine, that helped a lot– although, I totally forgot to do that when I was zig-zagging the side seams. They ended up super wrinkly, so I had to go back and unpick them… ever tried unpicking  a tight zig-zag stitch? Not fun. Here’s a before and after for that… hard to tell in the pictures, but it was a definite improvement.IMG_2168IMG_2169

Reviewing the me-made clothes hanging in my closet, it seems that blue with a splash of yellow is definitely my thing. I’ve decided to just go with it…. the dress I’ve got in the works right now fits that theme too.

I still don’t like the loose-top-and-pants (or in this case, shorts) look on me. Reviewing these pictures, and those from my last scout, confirms my fear: they make my boobs look huge (and not in the right way), and totally hide the fact that I DO have a somewhat defined waist. So this will probably be my last top for a while– at least until I find the perfect pattern. I’m on the hunt for a fitted top pattern– perhaps something with princess seams– with a high neck and short sleeves, which I can wear tucked into a high waisted skirt for work. But it’s not urgent– I much, much prefer wearing dresses. Now that I have two me-made top options (in fabrics that I LOVE), I am totally satisfied that that box has been ticked.

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Curious about the writing behind me? I believe it says something along the lines of “car garage”. Haha exciting, I know.

La Venta Scout

So! My very first woven top! Grainline Studio’s Scout Tee.

I’m not a fan of the loose-top-and-pants anything-and-pants look on me. I definitely feel my most confident in fit-and-flare silhouettes. However, I’ll admit that it’s nice to have a few tops to throw on over pants on those days where I can’t be bothered with wrestling on tights (or shaving my legs… ahem.)

Kind of like the April Rhodes Staple dress, I fell for this pattern after seeing so many wonderful versions around the interwebs, didn’t expect it to look great on me, but bought it anyways and reasoned with myself that even if it isn’t my favourite look on MY body, it WOULD be comfortable and practical. Also like my two staple dresses (most recent + favourite one here), this top has been in constant rotation in my wardrobe ever since I finished it about two weeks ago.

I made quite a lot of alterations, in an attempt to enlarge the bust and reduce how far it stuck out at the hem. My first muslin was definitely a tent situation. Not cute.  In fact, it was such a discouraging tent of fugliness that I cast the project aside for almost two months. But I recently decided to take another crack at it– the experience I’ve gained in the last two months put me in a better position to tackle it again. I think it worked out okay in the end, although I probably should have done a slightly bigger full bust enlargement– it’s always feeling like it wants to creep up over my bust.

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So, here are some details:

Pattern: Scout Tee by Grainline Studio. I’ve had it for a while, but was… disinclined… to assemble the pdf. I hate pdfs. Would                    rather pay extra for a printed copy, any day!

Fabric: La Venta  organic voile from the Cloud9 Palos Verdes collection. I bought mine here. I really love this fabric– it’s so                    light and breezy, perfect for a summery top! It was nice and easy to work with, too. The only downside is that it                            wrinkles  really easily, but I suppose that’s typical of voile– I’m resigning myself to the wrinkles under my belly from                    sitting down.

Size: 16


Alterations:  — Full Bust Adjustment, adding a side bust dart. I foolishly threw out the pattern piece I did this on…. er. I think it                             was 1″ (for a total of 2″ added). I didn’t want to add width to the waist/bottom hem, so I drew a straight line                                 from under the newly added bust dart down to the original hem. I made all the rest of the changes on a traced                             copy of  this altered pattern piece.

–Neckline raised 1″

–center front lengthened 2″, curved to nothing at the sides. The front was too belly-flashy on the original pattern!

— 5/8″ wedge taken out from the flat pattern center front, starting at the bottom hem and tapered to nothing at the                          neckline

— 1″ wedge taken out of the flat pattern from the front side seam, tapered to nothing at the bottom of the bust dart

— Center back lengthened 2″ at the hem, curved to nothing at the side seams.

–Side slits

What’s with the side slits? Well, all these alterations, and I got a bit over-zealous in removing width at the bottom hem. My first muslin just tented out so much, I got carried away trying to remove that! When I finally made it up in this nice fabric, I found that I’d taken too much width out at the bottom, and it was feeling tight on my hips (despite a previous wearable muslin somehow being completely fine?! What is that about!). So, how to deal? Side slits! I’m calling it a design feature… I kind of like the look of them. And I’m happy enough with this version of scout that I really can’t be bothered to make more alterations… so future versions will likely all include these side slits too.

Wear again? Already have. Many times.

Make again? Already did. One and half times. What is that half? You’ll see…

Eh. Enough. Here’s some awkwardness.