Perfect Points

This one is for Sharon who wanted to know how I achieved the perfect points on the sleeve plackets of the ‘Vanishing Lapels‘ jacket.  First, I will say that the placket is decorative only, not functional as in a shirt sleeve.  The trick to achieving perfect points is described in this post.

Placket 1Step 1:  Decide how wide to make the placket – 1 .25 inches is a good choice and what I have used in this example.  I cut a strip of fabric 1.75 inches wide and pressed under 0.25 inches on each side.



Placket 2

Step 2:  Fold one edge over diagonally as illustrated and press





Step 3:  Fold Corner A to meet Corner B and press




Placket 3Placket 4

And Voila – the perfect point!  If your fabric is heavy, you may wish to trim away some of the excess under the fold.





The Vanishing Lapel


The Vanishing Lapel

Another project ticked of my list.  In a recent edition of Threads Magazine (April/May 2014) I saw a picture of a jacket that had me very intrigued.  The article accompanying the picture was titled ‘The Lapel Vanishes’ and gave quite detailed instructions for creating the pattern.  I pored over the instructions and diagrams for a long time and still couldn’t work out how the garment was constructed.  CHALLENGE!!!

The only way to work this out was to draft the pattern, as per instructions and make a calico toile.  My first attempt, using a basic jacket pattern, was not so good.  The neckline was too low, the angle of the lapel wrong and the vertical front seam was in the wrong spot.

Attempt No. 2 used a basic shirt pattern with a bust dart – much happier this time.  Although the bust dart added an extra ‘line’ at the front, the fit was much better and it was far more comfortable to wear.

Ready for the real thing! My fabric was purchased online from Tessuti’s – a gorgeous Italian 100% wool faille.  The colour was called Wasabi and, although it is quite different from what I saw on screen, I’m still very pleased (after all, it’s green!).

My jacket differs to the Threads version in that I choose to make it single-breasted and added set in pockets with welts.  The sleeves are one piece and 3/4 length.  It’s a boxy style jacket rather than fitted, and very comfortable.  Check out the gorgeous buttons purchased from Designer Fabrics on the Gold Coast AND the bound buttonholes!



Shirt Collars Made Easy

Amongst my clients I have a number of women who are Anglican priests. They find it very difficult to purchase nice clergy shirts that still look feminine so yours truly has become an expert (clergy) shirt maker. Whilst the collar on these shirts is slightly different (a bigger gap at the front to allow for the white insert), the technique for constructing is exactly the same as any other shirt collar. I would like to share the method I now use which eliminates some of the seams to create less bulk.

Collars Made EasyClick the link to open an illustrated set of instructions.

Happy sewing and do let me know if you have any questions.

Collars Made Easy

Dressed in Denim

Loving this dress, just completed last weekend. The fabric was another purchase on my trip to Sydney in March, this time from Remnant Warehouse.  I have yet to visit this shop without coming away with at least one piece of fabric.  This time it was 3 metres of stretch denim in muted shades of navy and brown floral with a striped background.  When I took it to the counter for cutting I got a nice surprise when I saw the other side of the fabric which was striped without the floral print.  Hmmm, she says, this means I have to use both sides.


The pattern is Burda 8864 which I’m pretty sure is no longer in print.  It’s a pattern I have used and modified several times, always with good results as the basic design is very flattering.  The side front panels were cut on the bias to make best use of the plain stripe.  I used the pattern version with the dropped waist seam so I could add a degree of difficulty – matching the diagonal stripes!  This became a bit more of a challenge than anticipated because the stripes were directional and I was working with a limited amount of fabric, having first made a pair of jeans.  After much fiddling and jiggling (the pattern, not me) I got the perfect match.  Check out the side view of the dress in the photos.  The sleeves were my own creation – a cap sleeve with a pleat at the shoulder.

I finished the dress, tried it on for the last time and something seemed to be missing.  The centre front panel was one expanse that was BORING.  To break it up, I added the shaped belt attached with 2 buttons.  Amazing what a difference this made; suddenly the dress looked very interesting.  Oh yes, forgot to mention that I also added a shaped stand-up collar around the back and just past the shoulder seam in the front.  For a bit of variation I dug out a gorgeous detachable collar with lots of blingy hardware.  I can wear the dress with or without, depending on my mood.

Chanel Cardigan

This was my Easter weekend project. The challenge was to make something without having to go to the shops to buy supplies – i.e. USE THE STASH! The fabric is not that old, only purchased a few months ago at Pitt Trading in Sydney. At a quick glance it looks like the classic Chanel jacket. On closer inspection it is a simplified version – the Chanel cardigan.

I used KwikSew pattern 2759 (for I’m sure the 100th time). No variations this time other than to add the pockets. The garment is super easy to make with just 5 pieces in total – 1 x back, 2 x fronts, 2 x sleeves. The front and neck edges were stabilised with fusible edge tape which is one of my favourite products for stabilising all manner of things.  I buy it in 100 metre rolls from Hawes and Freer Ltd. (NZ) who have a wonderful range of tailoring products as well as beautiful fabrics.  Digging through my stash for a suitable facing, I decided on good old cotton bias binding (2.5cm wide).  Pockets are lined with cotton voile and stitched on by hand.  The beauty of working with this fabric is that you don’t have to take great care with your stitching as nothing shows.  All stitching disappears into the highly textured fabric.  To finish it off , black braid trim (also attached by hand) which makes it a ‘Chanel’ cardigan. No buttons, no fastenings – just a simple style made special by the fabric and trim.

It’s a cold night on the Gold Coast today (yes, we do get ‘cold’ weather) and I am off to the ballet in Brisbane.  I had a strappy little number all picked out which has now gone back into the closet.  Out comes the basic black knit dress, topped with this super cardigan!


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