Swaying Palms Market Tote

Tommy Bahama swaying palms market tote
I never thought I’d get excited about a tote bag, but this project has turned out to be one of my most satisfying makes so far.

Near our family holiday house in Cazadero, California

I had a great time in California at the end of July/early August, when I visited my parents at our holiday house in the Sonoma County Redwood forest. I spent two weeks picking wild blackberries, lazing by the creek, sightseeing with my parents, and drinking (guzzling?) local Russian River Valley wines. All of the wining and dining was generously sponsored by my parents, so I wanted to make them something to say thanks.

I’ve seen the main fabric around the internet a couple times, and from the first time  I saw it I immediately thought of them. I was so happy to hunt it down, because I think they’ll love it. I knew I wanted to make them a bag with it, but it took me a long time to settle on a pattern. I wanted something useful and fairly gender neutral (my mother isn’t very feminine, and my father definitely isn’t a macho type either). I wanted to make a bag that they could pack a picnic in, or take to the hotel pool when they’re travelling. My first preference was to buy a pattern (save me having to measure stuff out myself) but ultimately I couldn’t find anything that seemed right.

Eventually, I stumbled upon this tutorial. It wasn’t everything I was looking for, but it was pretty close, and the instructions were really good. I used this as a jumping off point, and modified it to get what I wanted.

Construction in progress.

The base and main body dimensions are the same as the tutorial. The most obvious deviation from the original is that I cut the straps 12 inches longer (but 11 might have been better) and sandwiched them between the base and the main body, rather than the main body and the lining. I stitched along the straps up the body to secure them, stopping 1 1/2 inches from the top. 

Then, once the lining was attached and the whole thing was turned out the right way, I stitched a 1″ box with an X through each strap to secure it. In both this stitching, and the top stitching along the edge of the bag, I used white thread in the bobbin to match the lining and make the stitching less obvious on the inside.

Inside of the bag, with the pocket and label sewn into the lining.

Another change I made was to add an interior zipped pocket, according to this tutorial, on one of the lining pieces (before assembling the lining). I stitched the pocket to the lining for extra strength, using matching thread.

I also added one of my new custom labels. I ordered them from Nominette after reading a review on a sewing blog. I don’t remember which blog it was now, although I’ve since seen them reviewed on another blog or two. Good marketing. For what it’s worth, I’m very happy with them– although they’re a little more plasticky-feeling than I’d hoped, I still think they’d be comfortable in garments (hopefully I’ll test this out soon!). I paid €44.50 for 100 woven labels (this is the minimum order), including shipping to Korea, and they were mailed out really quickly. There’s a pricier custom logo option, but these are just the basic ones.


Nothing I make can go in the dryer. I don’t own one, so nothing has been pre-shrunk. It’s for the best anyways– kinder to the clothes, and the environment!

Once I’d drawn up all the pattern pieces, and figured out what I was doing, the construction of this bag went very smoothly. I zigzagged all the raw edges, and skipped the interfacing, because the tutorial was made for quilting cottons. With the fabrics I used, extra strength wasn’t necessary. Interfacing would have given the bag more structure, but I like the soft-and-floppiness of this bag. Makes it easier to shove it into other bags when travelling. I tried adding a line of stitching on the inside to give the base sharper edges– you can see this on the picture below– but with the floppiness, it didn’t really have much effect, and I’ll skip it next time. 

Here you can faintly see the chalk from when I marked the stitch lines on the straps– it’s been rubbed off now and isn’t visible.

I deliberated over whether I wanted to use green or brown for the base, and ordered both out of indecision. The helpful advice I got on Instagram and from friends was to use the green. I eventually decided to cut the straps out of the brown fabric– I’m extremely pleased with how this worked out.

Here are the fabrics I used:

Base: 7 oz. cotton duck, hunter green. From fabric.com, available here.

Main: Tommy Bahama Swaying Palms Aloe polyester home dec fabric, from fabric.com, available here.

Straps: Pre-shrunk 9 oz. cotton duck, potting soil brown. From fabric.com, available here.

Lining and pocket: Unbleached cotton from Dongdaemun market in Seoul. It’s thicker and tougher than a quilting cotton, I think it might be a lightweight canvas?

The main, base and strap fabrics all advised against washing in the care instructions, so I didn’t pre-wash them. However, when I went to iron the green base fabric, it yellowed where I sprayed it with water, and seemed to smoke under the iron. This worried me, because a tote bag which can’t get wet would be a silly thing indeed, and it needed to be ironed before cutting. So, I soaked the fabric in some water, and hung it up to dry. This left it rather wrinkled, but also made it feel a lot more cotton-y. Prior to this, it had actually felt rather synthetic. I prefer the less smooth, more natural look it has now. It also no longer smoked under the iron after this soaking– wonder if it had been treated with something? Either way, although the instructions said dry clean only, soaking it changed it but didn’t ruin it.


The bag on an outing, with my most recent Southport dress.

I will finish up here with a confession: I love this bag so much, that after taking it for a test drive, I claimed it for myself. I’d originally thought I wouldn’t want it, because the fabric isn’t typically my style, but it’s really grown on me. However, lest I seem excessively selfish, I do have some excuses for taking this one as mine. There was enough fabric left over for an identical bag, and that bag is now almost done. I’d hoped that the second go round there would be fewer flaws, and so far it does seem better. Hopefully my parents’ bag will be on its way to them soon– in the meantime, I am thoroughly enjoying mine. I’ve used it almost every day since it was made!

The bag in action. Child for scale.

Volcanism Southport

True Bias Southport dresses in Liberty Tana Lawn

My first and second Southport dresses

I made this True Bias Southport dress immediately after I made the last one. All the  (intentional) modifications are the same, except that I created a narrower hem to add more length (I had shortened the pattern 1″). This time, I turned it up 1/4″ and then 1/4″ again. This makes it just 1/4″ shorter than the pattern as drafted. Honestly, I shouldn’t have shortened the pattern…If you’re tall, you may even want to consider adding length! This time, I managed to french seam the bodice correctly without messing it up.
Like my last Southport, the fabric is Liberty Tana Lawn. It’s such a great fabric for this pattern. The print is called Volcanism, and I ordered it from Shaukat at the same time as the Matt Madison print from that last one. I ordered 3 meters of Matt Madison, and 2 meters of Volcanism, because I thought I would like the former better. Wrong. I do like the Matt Maddison, but I absolutely LOVE the Volcanism print. Purples and blues with a gentle splash of yellow– it’s perfect for me and completely my style. Fortunately, because of the wide width I managed to squeeze this dress out of less than 120 cm of fabric, so I have enough fabric left over for a top of some sort. Shaukat is sold out of this fabric, but it has the same print in a different colorway, if you’re interested.

LIberty Tana Lawn Volcanism

A closeup on the Volcanism Liberty print

Speaking of fabric usage, I had a bit of a head scratching moment when cutting this out. By tracing off the bodice pieces so that they are full sized (rather half-sized pieces cut on the fold), I managed to squeeze them in side-by-side on the past Southport. Only barely, but still. Then, when I laid out the pattern pieces on this one, I was pretty perplexed to find that they didn’t fit. How could this be?
Well, I hadn’t ironed the fabric yet. The fabric didn’t look very wrinkled at all, so I was going to be naughty and skip that step. However, it turned out that ironing was key– once that was done, the pieces fit.  That was a relief, because I really wanted to save as much fabric as possible. I’ve learned my lesson– always iron the fabric before cutting, even if it doesn’t seem like it will make much difference.

Before and after ironing. In the bottom picture, you can see that the two bodice pieces fit alongside each other after ironing, but with no room to spare!

I also managed to squeeze in the skirt pieces alongside each other, like last time, by folding the selvedges in towards the center to create two folds.

The pockets are cut from a light navy blue cotton, and the armholes, neckline, and drawstring are done with navy blue bias tape. I really need to just suck it up and make my own bias tape, because this store bought stuff is a bit too stiff for the lawn.

Excuse the wrinkles, I’d been wearing it all day. This is its natural, unpressed state!

After wearing this and my previous Southport a lot, there are just two little fitting issues I’ve noticed– the bust darts are a little high, and the bodice is a bit too short at the front. These are minor problems. My Volcanism Southport has  become the most worn item in my closet– at least of the clothes which aren’t work appropriate. It’s the perfect casual warm-weather dress.

Blue Hazel Kim 

By Hand London Kim Dress bodice with a Colette Patterns Hazel Dress skirt
Usually, I title my projects with the fabric name and pattern name. However, this most recent dress was made from an anonymous quilting cotton. I picked it up months ago at a huge warehouse-like quilting fabric store called “Happy Quilts”, in Pyeongtaek, a city nearby. It cost me just $4 a meter, so it was perfect to use in this dress, which is sort of a wearable muslin (after multiple unwearable muslins in plain white cotton). I don’t have a name for the fabric, so I’ll just go with “Blue”. So descriptive. I think the picture below of the bodice in progress most accurately shows the color/print. It seems to be Australian Aboriginal inspired.

For the pattern, I used the sweetheart variation of the bodice of By Hand London’s Kim dress, and the skirt from Colette Patterns’ Hazel dress. I used the Hazel skirt simply because I’d run out of tracing material, so I couldn’t trace off my size in the BHL Kim skirt. I wasn’t patient enough to wait for my tracing material in the mail (I have to order it from America, because I haven’t figured out how to get it in Korea… Ugh.). I’ve made four Hazel dresses before, so I know the skirt works for me, and since it’s just a simple gathered skirt, I knew it would work here.

By Hand London Kim Dress bodice with a Colette Patterns Hazel Dress skirt

Oops, wish someone had told me my zipper was a little undone… I should start doing the hook-and-eye thing, but they seem like such an effort to do up on my own!

I started the Kim dress months ago, but due to fitting problems, I put it aside for a while. I’m so glad I decided to re-tackle it– there are a few small problems still, but most shouldn’t be too hard to fix. I’m overall VERY happy with my finished result! With the close bodice fit and full bodice lining, this is the most technically advanced thing I’ve ever made. Plus, I’m totally obsessed with sweetheart necklines… I’ve definitely got more Kim dresses on my horizon.

As per the pattern instructions, I chose my base size according to my waist measurement (35″). This put me in a U.S. size 14. I then gathered my courage and tackled my first ever princess seam FBA. The bust measurement for my size is 42″, but my bust is 46″ so I needed to add 4″ total with a 2″ FBA.

However, when I slashed and spread by 2″ the pattern pieces looked super bizarre… So I convinced myself that a less dramatic 1″ fba would magically be fine. To my delight, in the single-layered rough muslin I made, it seemed ok! I then forged ahead and cut out a bodice in this blue fabric, and made it up, fully lined. Unsurprisingly, it was a total disaster… Puffy nips sitting high above my actual bust point, lower half of my boobs totally compressed. Not a great look. I had ignored the fact that a single layer of cotton is going to stretch more than the final lined bodice… Rookie mistake.

About two months later I gave it another go with a bigger fba. Here’s how I came to the result you see here:

  • I womanned up and did a 2″ FBA (total of 4″ added to bodice)
  • I sewed the neckline seam with a narrower seam allowance, 3/8 I think, because I’d read about other people finding the neckline rather low and doing this to compensate. Good call. Anyone who knows me can tell you I’m not one to lock up my bust in the cage of a modestly high neckline when I can avoid it… However, even for me, the neckline is a bit low! I’ll probably do a 1/4″ seam allowance next time.
  • I lengthened the side and center back pieces by 8 mm, because in my muslin they were coming up shorter than the side front. This was probably FBA-related.

As for the skirt, it’s just the size 16 from the Hazel pattern. Because I’m only 5’2.5 It’s been shortened– by 2″ maybe? I don’t remember.

In addition to sewing the neckline with a smaller seam allowance, there are a few things to fix for a better fit next time:

  • The bodice is definitely a touch too long at the front (which explains those creases you can maybe see on my belly), so I’ll shorten it a bit there.
  • The straps are possibly a touch too long/not angled correctly, because they were slipping off my shoulders a lot. I’ll probably trim the top of the back strap.
  • There is some puckering along the princess seam. I think the 5/8″ seam allowance is just too wide to smoothly ease the dramatic curve in the bodice side front caused by my FBA to the less curved center front. I’m going to trim off 3/8″ of the seam allowance on the princess seam line of both pattern pieces, measure to check it’ll still line up, and sew it with a 1/4″ seam allowance instead. I’ll see how that goes, but theoretically it should help.
  • Finally, while the dress fits perfectly at my waist and bust, there is some excess fabric in between. This is the most difficult problem to solve, and I’m debating whether it’s worth trying. Basically, the princess seam doesn’t seem to curve in enough under the bust– it’s too smooth a line from apex to waist. Maybe you can see what I mean in this picture of my pattern piece:

To get a closer fit I think I’d have to redraw it, and I’m worried how well I would do… I think I’d just as likely make it worse! So I’d have to try it out with another muslin. I’m not sure if that’s too much hassle for a rather minor issue.

 By Hand London Kim Dress bodice with a Colette Patterns Hazel Dress skirt

Anyways, all in all, I am totally enamored of my new Hazel/Kim lovechild, and the BHL Kim pattern in general. I've been really wanting something a bit ... sexier? ... than the dresses I've made so far, and the princess seams and sweetheart neckline have really given me the look I was going for. I now want to make everything with princess seams!  The out-and-about pictures I've posted here are from a recent day out in the city of Jeonju, South Korea, with a group of friends. The city has a lovely historic district, it made for a nice day!Anyways, I am totally enamored of my new Hazel/Kim lovechild, and the BHL Kim pattern in general. I wanted something a bit… sexier?… than the dresses I’ve made so far, and the princess seams and sweetheart neckline  give me the look I was going for. I now want to make everything with princess seams!

The pictures I’ve posted here are from a recent day out in the city of Jeonju, South Korea, with some friends. The city has a lovely historic district, it made for a nice day!

Jeonju, South Korea

Shweshwe Coachella

Coachella shorts by striped swallow design, south african shweshwe cotton
Here’s a simple, satisfying project: a couple weeks ago, before the Southport dress I recently posted about, I made myself a pair of Coachella Shorts. The pattern is by Striped Swallow Designs, and I purchased my PDF copy from indiesew.com, here.

I used some shweshwe  fabric that my friend brought back from South Africa for me. It’s a bit heavier than a quilting cotton, and was super stiff before I washed it, but softened up quite a bit in the wash, and seems to be getting softer with wear. I really like it, and wouldn’t have cut into it for casual shorts like this, except that I’m sure I still have enough left over for a dress.

I really like the pattern, it makes great comfy shorts which you could just as easily wear out or to bed. I went camping soon after I made them, and spent most of the weekend in them (yes, sleep tested!). I’m certainly not going to be running off to the bar in them, but they feel perfect at the beach, in my apartment (when I choose to wear pants…), and running out to the store. I’ve mostly worn them with an untucked tank top or a loose woven top, but I wore them tucked in here so that you can see them properly.

Coachella Shorts by Striped Swallow Designs in South African Shweshwe cotton
The pattern comes with a lot of variations. I cut the slim fit, which comes as separate pattern pieces to the relaxed fit variation. I haven’t made the relaxed fit, so I can’t compare. I will say that the measurements for each size are given as a range, and if you’re at the upper end of it and making the slim fit, size up. My hips are 44 inches, but the muslin I made in size XL (43-44″ hips) was unwearably tight. For the real thing I made a size XXL and the fit is okay.

The pattern also comes with low, mid and high rise options. High rise is supposed to hit right at your belly button. The instructions advise using the height two sizes down if you’re under 5’3. I’m 5’2.5 (clinging to that extra half inch!), but I wanted them a bit higher, so I only went down one and used the size XL high rise height. They actually ended up well over my belly button, and sit at my natural waist, but feel like they want to go higher and are only chilling there because it’s the narrowest part of my torso. Next time, I think I’ll use the size L high rise height, so they’ll sit more nicely at my natural waist.

Another note on pattern options– I used the 4″ inseam length. There’s also a 2″ inseam length– but I certainly don’t want these any shorter than they are now!

Finally, I left off the trim because I didn’t have anything appropriate, and I just wanted something basic and versatile. I know, the fabric isn’t exactly “basic”, but it’s the closest I’ve come to sewing something plain since last year!

Coachella Shorts by Striped Swallow Designs in South African Shweshwe cotton
Speaking of fabric choices, does anyone else feel like sewing has really helped to solidify their personal style? I used to wear more diverse clothes (and far more solid colors) because, being bigger, I’d settle for anything that looked reasonably good. I couldn’t be too fussy. But now, since I’m the one choosing the fabric, I don’t have to accept what I’m offered by the shops. There are so many beautiful fabrics out there, and the only limitation to getting them on my body is money, time, and my own skill. And so, over the past year, my wardrobe has been slowly but surely filling up with fabrics I specifically chose myself, and a trend is making itself apparent. The colors are almost entirely purples and blues, often with splashes of yellow, and a couple of greens. Almost everything has a print. It’s funny but I now look at my wardrobe, and really see a reflection of my self (whatever that means). I love it so much that my store-bought clothes have been relegated to the closet, while the me-mades are hanging in full view on an open rack.

I’ve decided to embrace my love affair with prints. I used have very low self esteem and wanted to avoid any “out there” clothes which might call more attention to me, but here in Korea, everywhere I go, people stare. As a chubby blonde in a rather un-multicultural society, I have zero hope of ever blending in here, regardless of what I wear.  So I may as well wear what I really want to wear. In this way, the impossibility of conformity is actually really liberating. These days, more than ever before, I’m dressing for me! However, I still do need and want a few more plain basics… so I guess these shorts are a jaunty step in that direction.
Coachella Shorts by Striped Swallow Designs in South African Shweshwe cotton

Matt Maddison Southport Dress

True Bias Southport dress in Matt Maddison Liberty Tana Lawn

Busting out of my sewing slump! This here is the Southport Dress by True Bias. I originally picked up this pattern after a fitting fail with the By Hand London Kim dress– I had a trip to California rapidly approaching, and I really needed a win. This casual, summery, and loosely fitted dress seemed perfect.

So I taped together a copy of the pdf and cut it out in the size 18. That’s a 44.5″ bust, on the size chart, but there’s plenty of ease included so I was pretty confident it would fit around my 46″ chest. And it did. That wasn’t the problem…. those armholes! Gap city. There was some serious gaping going on…. to my dismay, and despite the gazillion people on the internet who’ve whipped this up without problems, it was quickly apparent that this would not be the easy success I’d been hoping for. After a few attempts to bring this unruly project to order, I ended up chucking it aside in a huff and abandoning it until after my vacation.

Fortunately, once I got back, I was able to get it sorted, with some advice from some helpful sewists on the Curvy Sewing Collective forum. Someone pointed out that the issue could be related to my height– I’m a bit under 5’3– and perhaps I need a petite adjustment. That gave me the idea to cut a smaller size at the shoulders, which seemed to be the key. I won’t bore you with the gazillion specific steps between disaster and success, and just tell you how I got this pattern to work for me in the end. Here are my fitting alterations:

–Cut a size 14 shoulders/neckline, and a size 16 everywhere else. The 14 meets the 16 at the side of the armholes.

–Did a 1.5″ full bust adjustment (fba) for a total of 3″ added to the bust

–Split the now-too-large-and-pointy bust dart into two smaller darts, according to this handy tutorial. It’s for a waist dart, but the principle is the same.

–Added a waist dart to remove the width added by the fba to the waistline


Straightened out the bottom of the back bodice

-Trimmed the back bodice piece so that the waistline is a straight right angle to the center back, to remove some excess length that was causing a bit off puffiness on the back. In the picture below, I cut along the yellow highlighted line.

— Removed the button band, because I don’t know how to do buttonholes nobody got time for that.

–Shortened the skirt by 1″ along the lengthen/shorten line, because I’m short and was trying to skimp on fabric.

Here’s what this little pattern monster looked like when I was through with it:


The altered pattern pieces

After all that, I decided to make a wearable muslin, but the seersucker fabric I was using turned out not to be entirely cotton when my iron melted a hole in the bodice as I tried to iron down the darts. Gah. Oh well, I didn’t like the fabric much anyways– it looked disturbingly like my high school uniform. I never would have actually worn it, so making it up properly would have been a waste of time– and at least it showed me that I finally had a decent fit!

Next time round, I dived in to making up a proper dress in Liberty Tana Lawn. Most expensive fabric I’ve ever sewn with, although the price definitely could have been worse– I bought mine online from an amazing British store called Shaukat. That store is amazing, so many Liberty prints at seriously discounted prices. Mine was only 14.25 pounds (Err…. how do I do a pounds symbol??) per meter!!! Here’s a link to the fabric, it’s still available. Given the prices that Liberty lawn usually sells for, I will definitely be going back to buy more from this store. Don’t let the dodgy, faded pics fool you– the colors are vibrant, this fabric is the real deal. I won’t rant on about how much I love Liberty lawn, because that topic has been well covered by other sewing enthusiasts. But know that it is PERFECT for the Southport Dress, and I’ve already started cutting out another Liberty Southport.Matt Maddison Liberty Lawn True Bias Southport Dress

Construction was going very smoothly, until I totally screwed up my attempt at french seams. The shoulders were fine, but when I got to the bodice side seams, it all went wrong– First, on one side I trimmed off the part I was supposed to topstitch down. Then on the other side, when trimming the part that was actually supposed to be trimmed, I accidentally snipped into the bodice itself…. witness the horrors:


So, I took some deep breaths, went to find a drink (But just one! Alcohol and sewing don’t go particularly well together), came back and unpicked everything then took it in to cover my mistakes. Fortunately, the damage was done close to the seams. I trimmed the sides, then sewed them back up with a mere 1/8″ seam allowance (and abandoned any attempts at french seaming). This little detour shrunk the bodice by 1/8″ on each front side, and 3/8″ on each back side. The end result is a bit snugger than I’d like, but luckily still looks fine! I’m interested to see how sewing it up correctly on the next one will affect the fit.

After that little sewing horror story, everything else was fine. I used store bought black bias tape for the drawstring, neckline and armscyes (and discovered that I’ve been using bias tape wrong…) and black cotton lining for the pockets.

I used a different fabric on the pockets to save fabric. Actually, when I cut the pattern out, I used full-sized traced copies of the bodice pattern, so that I wouldn’t have to cut it on the fold– in this way, I was just able to squeeze the front and back bodice alongside each other. And I seriously mean JUST. One size bigger, and they wouldn’t have fit. And likewise with the skirt pieces– I squished them in alongside each other, but one size bigger and it wouldn’t have worked. This made a HUGE difference in how much fabric I used– in the end, I only used 110 cm of this 135 cm wide fabric. Take a look at this seriously strategic pattern placement:


I think that’s what I’m most proud of for this dress.

I wore this dress all day today– it was really comfortable, perfect or the summer heat. The only problems are that it pulls a bit across my chest when I move (obviously my unintentional alteration is to blame there), and is a bit too short (also my fault, because I did shorten the skirt by 1″). I think next time, rather than lengthening the skirt back down to the original length, I’ll just use a narrower hem. I’m debating whether to re-do the hem on this one but…. eh. I’ll probably leave it. Overall, I love my new dress!

IMG_1831 IMG_1830 IMG_1834

Moon Bunnies Hazel


At the stream in Seoul

Another long overdue post! I’ve had so many visitors in the last few months (five since March), that my sewing time has taken a serious hit– since I finished this dress in early May, all I’ve made is one pair of pajama shorts. Hopefully after my visit to California at the end of this month, I’ll be able to get myself back into it– I still think about sewing (and stalk sewing blogs) as much as ever, so I should work harder to turn thought into action.

Yes, it’s another Colette Patterns Hazel. When I made this dress, I wanted something that wouldn’t give me headaches trying to figure out pattern adjustments, something that I could dive right into for a quick and satisfying result. So of course, Hazel. This is my fourth one! It really is such a perfect summer dress for me, with its comfortable and flattering fit-and-flare shape, pockets, and bare shoulders. Because I’ve made it before so many times, I’ll just refer you to my Manhattan Hazel, if you want more information on fitting (and you can see my third Hazel here).

To keep it brief, this dress was made up in size 16 (bodice and skirt– two of my versions used the size 18 skirt, but I’ve decided I like the less gathered, slimmer size 16 better), hemmed a bit shorter, and with 3 cm or so added on top to raise the neckline and cover my bra.

moon bunnies hazel

As for the fabric, the main one is Cotton & Steel Mochi Moon Bunnies in Navy, from fabric.com. There’s still more available here .I fell for this print as soon as I saw it, and just knew I had to get it on my body ASAP.  There’s still some in stock, if you’re interested. It’s a quilting cotton, which really is perfect for this dress!  Yet another reason I love the Hazel dress– it makes a great canvas for quilting cotton prints.

For the contrast panels and pockets, I used plain black quilting cotton. I didn’t consider doing contrast panels until I was actually cutting out the main fabric, when I suddenly realised that I’d have to think about print placement. I was worried that it might look a bit weird if I didn’t match the print, and was in no way inclined to make the effort of figuring out how to make that work with the triangular bodice panels. So I opted for black contrast panels, and then just matched the print along the back seam (and tried but made a silly mistake and failed to match it along the side seams). In the end, I think I prefer it with the black anyways, and I’m very happy with this product of laziness design feature.

The photos were taken during a day out in Seoul with a friend. The ones above are along Cheonggyecheon stream. Below are some action shots– a cheeky afternoon mojito cocktail bag in the Daehangno neighbourhood, and cycling around Yeouido on a different day.

moonbunnies dressmoonbunniescycling

Mochi Staple Scout

April Rhodes Staple Dress + Grainline Studios Scout Tee mash-up, in Cotton and Steel Mochi Lawn

I’m not pregnant… the dress just tends to puff out at the belly a little. The effect isn’t so bad in real life!

Confession: I finished this dress about two months ago. I took the photos about a month ago. Oops.

I’m wearing it today, and that’s what reminded me to finally put this up.

The dress is another “Staple Scout”– a mashup of the April Rhodes Staple Dress and the Grainline Studio Scout Tee. I won’t say too much about it, because construction-wise it’s exactly the same as my first Staple Scout, so you can read up about it here if you’d like more information. I love my two Staple Scouts– they make a perfect go-to summer work dress. Super comfortable with their shirred waistlines, and made of cool, comfortable cotton lawn, pull one on and I’m ready to go. I really should make more, because I have to keep reminding myself not to wear them TOO often! On my own time, I definitely prefer dresses which let me feel the sun on my shoulders and upper chest. However, my job as an elementary school English teacher in Korea requires me to cover all that up– and these dresses are a good way to do it.


The only difference between this and the last one is the fabric. It’s called Mochi Floral Lawn in teal, by Cotton and Steel. I bought mine from fabric.com, it’s temporarily out of stock but they’re due to get more in. I definitely recommend it. Compared to the Kaufman lawn I used for the last dress, it’s not quite as soft, and it’s smoother. It seems to wrinkle a bit more.  But these differences are very slight, the fabric really does seem to wash and wear well. If this is the standard quality for Cotton and Steel lawn, I’m definitely going to be keeping an eye out for more in a different print!

I’m cheap with my fabric, and always want to use as little as possible of it so that I might be able to squeeze another project out of the leftovers. I recently made pj shorts from the leftovers of my other Staple Scout, so I’m expecting to do the same with the leftovers from this one, as both were 3 yard cuts. For that reason, I used a fat quarter of quilting cotton for the pockets– a kind of pale sea green (the colors are a bit off in the pic below, and I’m terrible with color names anyways, maybe that’s not the right thing to call it) which I had lying around. I think it goes really well with the colors in the dress.

The pictures were taken by my friend Anna, who was visiting me from Canada, as we walked around the Naksan Art Village in Seoul. I had another friend come visit me literally two days after she left, so all up I had visitors staying with me for about a month– had a really great time, but didn’t leave any time for sewing!  Now I’m visitor-less for the next three weeks or so and trying to get myself in gear to get some sewing done in this window of opportunity, because after that I’ll be busy for a month with two visitors and a trip to California!