Sewing Instructions

It was over ten years ago that I designed and made this shirt for sale and I've had so many different versions of it in my wardrobe since.  The fit of this shirt is tailored and body conscious with a back yoke, panel seams front and back, a two-piece collar and tab, and a dinner shirt style bib in the front.  There is a short and long sleeve version with the option of cutting the sleeves on either the straight or bias grain.  The Dinner Shirt Sewing Pattern is so versatile in design as to be both a conservative work shirt and fun party shirt in the one pattern.

The Japan Skirt has it's origin in Japanese folk costume.  It's based on a simple rectangle of fabric, wrapped around the waist.  In this case I've finessed the fit on the waist by including a dart shape in the zip/drape seam.  Even with the dart you'll find the waist of the skirt is positioned more in the low waist area, and is not a tight fit.  If you would like to create a closer fit on the waist you'll find all the details at the end of this post.

The Hip Twist Sewing Pattern has been a long time in coming, and I thank all of you for your patience.  The past few months have been less than usual and I've had my focus diverted on other projects closer to home.  Now it is such a pleasure to get back to business and deal with all my wonderful patterns.  In this blog post I'll be taking you step-by-step through the sewing process for this twist tee.  And a timely reminder that you'll get the best results with this pattern by using two-way stretch knit (four-way stretch in the US) that has elastane content (Lycra, Spandex).  I have achieved the best results with rayon, polyester and wool knits with elastane.  Some cotton knits may work if they are not too stiff.
Hip Twist Top Sewing Pattern (PDF download)

The Pencil Skirt sewing Pattern is an absolute classic for your wardrobe.  The complete sewing pattern has a full lining pattern included in the download.  However when you first receive the pattern it is my recommendation that your first make is an unlined version so you have an opportunity to test the fit and make of this new pattern.  For an unlined skirt, I would recommend a medium weight woven fabric and have made myself several version using both quality cotton prints from heirloom cotton patchwork fabrics and stunning African print cotton.  These skirts make the most ideal summer skirts.

The beauty of this stretch, ponti skirt is the simplicity of it's make.  The Drape Tube Skirt pattern has only two pieces: one main pattern piece for the front and back skirt, and one for the narrow waistband.  And for the sewing, there are the drape tucks, two seams, a waistband and a hem to worry about.  Be sure to clearly mark the width of the drape tucks and be aware they need to be sewn about 2.5cm (1") into the skirt to make sure they behave well when you wear your skirt.

Now that this pattern has been released on the website, it's time to put up some sewing instructions.  At first the pattern shape appears weird and unusual, as it did for me when I first found this little beauty at the US patent office.  When cutting your own Patent Blouse, please make sure you use two-way stretch knit for the best results (four-way stretch knit in the US).

I simply can't believe that I've never shared my sample makes for this amazing top. I suppose I was so busy turning it into a workshop that missed the obvious.  So you may remember the original post from January 2015 - Pattern Insights - Jersey Twist Patterns.  I used my Women's Knit Block to demonstrate the simplest way to achieve jersey twist patterns.  The same method makes both single and double twist patterns.  This is not the only method for making jersey twist patterns and you'll find other examples on my 'well-suited' blog.

I recently had to come up with a crafty Christmas idea that I could demonstrate at the Wagga Wagga Spotlight store.  Once a year they have local makers demonstrate in the fabric department, and this year it was my chance.  So in a moment of inspiration, I came up with the Christmas Bow Tie as an alternative to the usual party hats.  I had the choice of all their Christmas prints and I selected four different prints in a red and white theme.

At last some sewing patterns are making it onto the website!  The first in the 'Off-The-Rails' series is the Drape Gather Skirt.  This is a design from many years ago that has been a favourite in my wardrobe ever since.  It's also the first skirt my students cut in my Drape Skirt Patterns workshop.  It has a straight grain centre front panel with a joined side front and back skirt panel that's cut on the bias.  Included in the back seam is a fishtail flare and an invisible zip.  The wait finish is a strap waistband and included in the zip opening is a zip guard for a quality skirt.

I've put together some diagrams for cutting out the Drape Gather Skirt sewing pattern.  I've considered fabric widths of 110cm, 130cm and 150cm for the shell of the skirt, across all the sizes 6-22.  I'll deal with the cutting of the lining for this skirt in a separate post.  I suggest that your first sample is an unlined skirt so you have the opportunity of finessing the fit before making a fully lined version.  One constant feature of cutting these drape patterns is there is always what I would consider a lot of waste fabric.  I tend to keep the larger pieces and use them in future projects.  I've found that a pattern with a number of smaller pieces works really well.  I use a paneled waistcoat design that has 5-6 pattern pieces that use the waste from the skirt design very well.
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