More pattern making and my 30 seconds of (almost) fame

Yesterday I had the privilege of joining two other budding pattern makers at Studio Faro for the filming of a video clip soon to be released about the wonders of pattern making with Anita. (I’ll be sure to let you know when it’s up). It wasn’t hard to talk about what drew us to pattern making and afterwards we got stuck into some pattern demonstrations and some of Studio Faro’s pattern puzzles  – hardly even noticing when the filming stopped and our film crew left the studio.  One of my fellow students was the lovely Gail from My Fabrication – it was great to meet her and put a real face to another blogger out there.


So a brief summary of some of my answers:

Why pattern making? : With a background in engineering and a brain that likes to deconstruct and reconstruct things, I was always fascinated with the process of taking 2-D cloth and turning it into a 3-D garment.  I have dabbled in sewing and crafts since I was a child but in 2010 when my sewing took off I soon became frustrated with off-the-shelf patterns but when I tried to make patterns myself they had limited success.  I wanted to know the science and maths behind it all.

What brought you to Studio Faro? : I was new to Sydney and trawling through the internet to find what pattern making classes were on offer.  Most of the full time courses were incompatible with full time work and Studio Faro offered a flexible schedule, a class tailored to the students’ abilities and a wealth of knowledge from industry and teaching.

What do you want to do with your pattern making? : Good question! For now I’m happy to be able to make clothes for myself that fit and flatter my body. I also like the challenge posed by seeing a design and trying to figure out the pattern that it came from.  Maybe in the future it will turn into more but I still have a lot to learn.

For the demonstration, Anita stepped through the pattern manipulation for the Drape Skirt with the lovely Mortitia Adams fish tail at the back.  I definitely have to try that one at home. I think it would look great in Shwe Shwe…


Then we tried our hands at a twisted skirt which took quite a bit of brain power to get our heads around that one.  It really helped with work alongside anita with mini blocks so that we could watch and do at the same time.  Although when it came to cutting up all the pieces and laying them out again, we had to take a break and just watch.  I get the idea of it, but I think I’ll have to try it in fabric before it’s completely clear.


Many of these pattern puzzles are available Studio Faro’s Facebook page so I definitely suggest going to check them out.

It was a fun, full afternoon and now my head is filled with too many projects!  So many ideas…so little time. Don’t you find that?





La Robe de Plage – The Beach Dress


This flirty little number is a fun, super easy wrap dress for those last gorgeous beach days of summer.  I managed to whip it up in time for our trip back to South Africa for family weddings (yes plural) and to take advantage of the bit of summer we still have left before I get stuck into thinking about an Autumn and Winter wardrobe. I’m normally about a season behind in my sewing projects so the fact that I’m even thinking about what to sew for the cold is progress.  Any way…back to the beach.

I think the French name on the pattern sounds way more sophisticated than ‘Beach Dress’.  So to me, it is ‘La Robe de Plage’.

The pattern (one hardly needs a pattern but I used one) is Burda Young 7207 that my husband picked out for me while on our San Francisco adventure.  It is designed for teenagers and is very easy so I wasn’t sure whether to be flattered that my husband thinks I can still get away with teen wear or insulted that he thinks I need a ‘very easy’ pattern. But I accepted the gesture and agreed that ‘very easy’ is some times quite a nice change to challenging my brain – stretchy fabric is challenge enough!

The pattern is basically a long rectangle that you wrap behind you and cross over at the front with little elasticised loops for your arms.  I chose the shorter version that has a rounded end on the front piece and a ruffle that follows the hemline. The ruffle is cut from a spiral.  My ruffle ended up being a bit too long but instead of cutting it off, I sewed it onto the arm loop to make a fluttery little sleeve.


The fabric I used is a printed cotton knit that definitely has some elastic in it.  The colours and bright floral design are perfect for summer and the beach and makes the whole thing look a little more special than if I’d used a solid colour or geometric print.  I found the fabric at a little store in Marrickville, Sydney tucked behind piles of other bits and covered in dust.  But it was by far my best find in that shop!

It is very easy to construct with the only challenge being finishing the top end with a twin needle stitch – I still have not perfected this.  I was thinking that maybe including some of that clear stabilising elastic would’ve been good to keep the top from stretching too much.  Ideally I would’ve liked to finish off the seam (singular) with an overlocker but I’m yet to add one to my arsenal.  The bottom of the ruffle is left unfinished and has a fun swish to it.

Et voila!  We have La Robe de Plage!  And what a beautiful ‘plage’ we got to play on too. (Aahh…I miss Clifton…although must admit that Balmoral water is MUCH more pleasant to swim in).


This was a fun quick project ideal to whip up before a summer holiday.  I hope I get a few more beach days in so I can wear it!


Pattern: Burda Young 7207 Beach Dress (or Robe de Plage)

Fabric: Stretch cotton with colourful floral print

Alterations: My ruffle ended up longer than my hem line so instead of cutting it off, I took it over the shoulder to create a little fluttery sleeve

Do it again?: My friends have already started placing orders! Although I think I’d want to wait until I got an overlocker because I still don’t think the sewing machine finish on stretch fabric looks professional enough. And next time I’d try stabilising the top with clear elastic.

Butterfly Wedding Present Throw Cushions


Last year a friend and colleague got married and as a fellow seamstress, I had to make her something hand made.  I found this fun butterfly cotton from Spotlight and made the piping out of a solid red slightly heavy weight fabric with my new found piping skills that I learnt during the Ms C Chair Project.


The tricky part (but also the magic) is inserting a zip on an edge that has piping.  If you get it wrong, your zip doesn’t work or looks hideous and embarrassingly amateur. BUT, if you get it right, your zip is neatly hidden behind the piping and you hardly know it’s there.  The other benefit is that your cushion is dual sided so it doesn’t matter which way it is ‘thrown’.

I found Deborah’s tutorial very helpful for this project as she has great photos and good descriptions of each of the steps.


The best part about this project is that my gift is well loved and the cushions are sitting happily on Nat’s bright RED sofa to bring happy butterflies into their lounge 🙂