My first wrap dress

I’d heard people raving about wrap dresses and had a go with Butterick 5030. It was terrible! I made a test of the bodice and it just did not work. The pattern and remainder fabric went to a friend who kindly took it before I burnt it. That was 2014.

2017 comes around and I look up from my books and laptop. Enter the Appleton dress from Cashmerette.  I’d purchased the pattern while finishing that thesis in 2016. As I dislike the printing/taping dance, I had it printed at the copy shop in 2017.

It took a little while to find just the right fabric for the test garment – one that I would actually wear and not so expensive that I would be distressed if it didn’t work. This fabric has a small geometric print that swirls, no pattern matching concerns and interesting enough to mask any mistakes.

This came from super cheap fabrics. It was about $5.00 a metre and I got enough to make mistakes and a top from the leftovers.

I picked the size 16 E/F cup and decided to just wing it with the straight sizing. That lasted about three minutes! I added some width to the hips and hem by blending out to size 18 then 20. I measured the pattern and increased the bicep width by 1 cm, then cut the elbow length. Finally, knee length hems don’t work on me, so I added 12cm to the length.


The neck band should lie flat across the back and the bodice band is stretched onto the bodice. This ensures it stays closed.

This certainly was the case for me, but the crossover was rather low for me. In this photo the ties are rather loose.




The design places the ties under the breasts, on the ribcage. I am short-waisted, but not that short! I pushed the ties down so that they sit on my waist and it looks good.

Costs & details:

Pattern – $15.00 for the PDF

Printing – $8.00 – two AO sheets

Dress fabric – $20.oo – Four metres of 100% poly with spandex, I used 2.4m.

Total = $35.00

Thoughts: I wore it all day to a family lunch at a lovely restaurant. The bodice stayed closed, but the crossover point was a bit low for me. The skirt has enough ease for walking. Wearing a dress is something I rarely do, so sitting was interesting. The skirt stayed closed, mostly! I had to remember scoop the skirt and hold the flap, as I sat down. I fidgeted all day with the ties and adjusting where they sat. Eventually I got it right.

Make it again? Very likely, but I will make some more adjustments. Adding the waistband tie to the skirt front rather than the bodice bands will lower the ties enough for them to sit on my waist.  I also need to go up a cup size for a bit of extra coverage. The sleeves were close fitting even after adding extra width. I will add yet more width as I like my sleeves loose.

I am slightly staggered that I spent $15.00 on a single garment pattern, from a company I’ve never tried before. It was a big leap of faith for me. It worked out well this time, I will probably buy more Cashmerette patterns in the future. I’ll also use the AO printing wherever possible.

The family liked me in the new look, I had comments like “that’s really pretty!” from them. The dog was unmoved.

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Sunday Sevens – on Monday!

A busy week this week. Lots of “in and out”, but overall good busyness.



Monday – Our cat seems to approve of the speaker.




Tuesday – Roses in the church garden next to one of my work sites.




Wednesday – I started to cut into the pattern for my new dress.




Thursday – found an apple that the birds missed!

Friday – nothing to talk about!

Saturday – We got several boxes of sauce tomatoes for the making of dried tomatoes and passata.









Sunday saw me sewing, making more passata and hanging with the family.




The Sunday Sevens thing was started by Natalie who blogs at “Threads and Bobbins”. The idea is to take photos of your week and share them.

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Singapore 2016

July 2016 – The lover had to go to Singapore for a week. It’s an eight to nine hour flight from Melbourne. Practically next door from an Australian perspective. My father-in-law agreed to look after the kids for the week, and there was just enough time for me to get a passport.


View of the park near our hotel.







Statue in the foreground of an apartment building.


Series of street art on Haji and Bali lanes.

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In a later post I’ll talk about the fabric shops.


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Sunday Sevens – March 1



Sunday – I started the week in Bunnings, looking at pots. Didn’t buy any.





Monday – I walked through the Royal Arcade in Melbourne. This is Gog and Madog.






Tuesday – a work mate gave me this lei, for my daughter.

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday – wasn’t feeling the best. Did not take any photos.




Saturday – The kids’ brass band was marching at a local festival. Here they are getting ready to march off.



Sunday – back to Bunnings and more band stuff. We were running a sausage sizzle to raise money for new instruments. This rather beautiful dog was there too.










The Sunday Sevens thing was started by Natalie who blogs at “Threads and Bobbins”. The idea is to take photos of your week and share them.

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Vogue 1446 – finished!

img_1146I finished the pleating and side seams. Time for a quick fit session. Umm – still too long in the body. Another 5cm came out, lifting the hem to just above her knee. I added the lining and another try on happened.

The lining pieces were too narrow in the skirt for the elder to stumble, let alone walk or sit. I added godets into the side seams and that was OK.

The elder had another try on. The length was good, the back straps needed the zip inserted, before I could properly finish the fitting. I inserted my first ever invisible zipper. With a normal zipper foot, on a machine I don’t know. I used THIS YouTube video to help.  A few more tucks and tweaks and the dress was finished !!




A quick press and she was off to the pre-party. With ten minutes to spare!





Final verdict

The elder will always need to buy small sizes and possibly make further alterations.

The lining pattern pieces were terrible!  They were the main pieces but without the walking ease given by all the pleats. The pattern needs separate lining pieces, with an a-line skirt shape to them.

The pleating took a long time and required precision measuring, pressing and stitching. This dress took longer than anything I’ve made for quite some time. I’ve made lined jackets in less time. Can’t remember if I’ve said it in previous posts, there were 80 pleats in total. Each took between five and ten minutes to create, a little over 10 hours in total!

The embroidery on the hem meant that I had to be very careful about the end-point placement of the pleats. I made the mistake of making them too long, as the elder has a short torso (like me). I had to take five centimetres off, from the top of the dress. Luckily it worked and the hem length was OK.

Costs & details:

Pattern – $US5.00+international postage to Australia (along with some other patterns)

Dress fabric – $SGD60.oo – Embroidered cotton and cotton lawn for the lining, bought in Singapore. Five metres of each.

Bag fabric – $AUD7.00 – Black velvet, half a metre.

Notions – $AUD10.00 – Zip, interfacing, thread.

We bought dressy sandals here in Melbourne ($60.00) and a pashmina in Singapore ($SGD10.00). At the time the AUD and SGD were effectively equal. Total cost for the whole outfit was $AUD155.oo. Happy with that!

I haven’t included the cost of the tea, headache pain relief, gin, wine, and machine repairs.

The elder lass loves the dress, and she had a terrific evening with her friends. She has promised to choose an easier pattern for her Year 12 dress.

These are the first and second posts about the dress.

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Sunday sevens 5 – February 2017



Saturday – we bought the younger lass a trumpet. She’s been playing a borrowed instrument for almost 2 year.





Sunday – I started making a bra, then stopped! I hope to finish it this weekend.






Monday – I saw this amazing leather. Sadly green is really NOT my colour.





Wednesday – NEW TIMPANI!!!!! For the brass band my children play with. Several years of fundraising here.





Thursday – I’ve never had steamed corn on a stick before. Very yummy and well worth repeating.






Friday – Our tree has produced masses of cumquats. They are incredibly sour.






Saturday – looking up into the foliage at the dog park.




The Sunday Sevens thing was started by Natalie who blogs at “Threads and Bobbins”. The idea is to take photos of your week and share them.




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The bag

img_1166The dress had been planned, and started. We’d found the perfect shoes. A small evening bag was needed, but we didn’t see anything that was quite right. I thought a drawstring bag would suit, then remembered the knot bag. Much more elegant and the elder approved.


I found one online and decided to have a go. I had metallic dark grey fabric in stash and bought the black velvet.

The pattern was not well drafted, the circle base is missing the seam allowance. I altered the pattern and added several layers of heavy interfacing to the base.



I didn’t help matters by using a knit fabric with a stable woven…





The finished size is just big enough for the elder’s mobile, purse, lippy and tissues.

Another success!





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Sunday Sevens 4 – February 2017

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Sunday – Went to the Yarraville Festival where the kids were performing.





Monday – I stopped at the traffic lights and was entertained by a juggler!







Tuesday – Saw this beautiful flower at work.






Wednesday – I went to a writing group at the University of Melbourne, my old stomping ground. This building and landscaping was looking particularly pretty today.





Thursday – I saw this crane in the street – so big!






Friday – Penny has learnt to drink from the water fountains.



The Sunday Sevens thing was started by Natalie who blogs at “Threads and Bobbins”. The idea is to take photos of your week and share them.

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The mini blender

I have a permanently red nose and chin, combined with super-sensitive skin. Rosacea is not a big deal, it just means I look sunburnt all the time. I’ve tried many forms of treatment and come to the conclusion that covering up with make-up is the best solution for me. Mineral powder foundation is a terrific thing, but pricey.


I discovered that you can create your own. I decided to give it a go. This was another of the many “post submission” jobs. I researched a bit (all online) and found an Australian retailer of the ingredients. I bought a mini blender, the base powder and some coloured oxides.





The white is the base powder. You start with three teaspoons and gradually add 1/8th teaspoon of each of the oxides until you have the right blended colour for you. The blender ensures the oxides mix evenly. My personalised blend is at the bottom right of the photo. I also bought a sifter jar, for my finished powder.


Unfortunately I got a sifter jar that was rather small. I need to get a larger one. And yes, the colour is on the yellow side, I find it cancels out the redness better than anything else. It makes me look normal not red.


Grinder & oxides & postage were $55.50 – from this I have enough for 5 pots of makeup. Which is about the same as one pot of the commercial stuff I used.

I’ll be doing more of this!

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Sunday Sevens 3 – February 2017


Sunday – the elder lass had spent several hours over several days using these ingredients to create this vanilla/chocolate  layered ice-cream cake. It took all week to finish and was very yummy.











Tuesday – I got a mini-blender. Any ideas why?




Wednesday – I finally got back on my bike and commuted to work. It was a rather hot day (36C) so perhaps not wise.





Thursday – an even hotter day (38C), I took the lad to look at fabrics for a hoodie. We didn’t find the black fabric he wanted. Unsurprisingly, he didn’t like these.




Saturday – more Lunar New Year festivities at the markets. These drummers were pretty good.




The Sunday Sevens thing was started by Natalie who blogs at “Threads and Bobbins”. The idea is to take photos of your week and share them.

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