IMG_1657If you happen to follow my Instagram feed, then you’ll probably have noticed it’s all about the planning over here! The sewing planning that is. For me, the planning is almost as much fun as the actual making. I relish the whole process and it is indeed, turning into a process. Not to say I don’t enjoy adding to the hand-made closet piece by piece, but I love love LOVE the idea of churning out a little mini collection each season, just for fun! It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for so long, after the original inspiration of seeing Jen’s seasonal wardrobes start out in illustration form and come to life over a few months. I attempted a seasonal wardrobe this winter. I made plans, I had sketches, I had swatches. And by the time my winter wardrobe was finalised…it was Spring! Ahem, so, this seasonal sewing thing is rather tricky I’ve decided. Seasonal Sewing Confusion Disorder (SSCD) is what’s it is. Being out of sync with the Northern Hemisphere, I feel like it’s this battle between sewing for the season I’m in or sewing along with the opposite seasons. Where I live, in sunny Queensland, Australia, the seasons looks like this: 9 months of warm weather, three months of “”winter””, I use the term loosely. Right now it’s Spring, so I figure I’ll just sew for Spring / Summer up until late Jan / Feb and then start the cool weather sewing after that in Autumn. For this Spring, I’ve come up with 6 outfits: 12 pieces in total. Which sounds like a lot but it will be spread over a few months, so I’m aiming to sew and blog two outfits or 2-4 pieces a month. Allowing some lee-way here in case of dem curved balls.

The idea of actually sticking to sewing plans and following them through is a new thing; there’s nothing so fun as spiting your own queue to sew something not in the queue! I thought maybe I’d feel restricted, or ‘locked in’ by these plans but quite the opposite. I’m very very excited to be approaching this bunch of hand-mades with a whole new way of thinking (who knew sewing could be so deep). As a statement piece kind of sewer at heart, I live for the thrill of sewing something unique and spectacular. But I also not so secretly admire and covet the hand-made closets of fellow sewing bloggers with their more sensible, thought out and very wearable items! So, for my DIY Spring Closet, instead of going on autopilot, I’ve been thinking about what I could sew that would build on what is already in the closet. Who are you and what have you done with Sophie?! What it looks like is reigning in the statement pieces and boosting up the solids (solids being as close to staple pieces as we’re ever going to get here). Out of 12 pieces, 6 are prints and 6 are solids which feels as unnatural as a machine needle through the fingernail, but we’re going with it. Without further ado…


First up, two soliddddds! So, this stretch cotton twill was always going to be a bottom half piece. I was thinking shorts initially, but then it got fashioned it into a pencil skirt in front of the mirror and…phwoar! For a pattern, I’ll probably return to the Burdastyle Jenny skirt but add a good 3 inches so it hits below the knee. I especially love the silhouette of a fitted skirt with a billowy tee or tank and so I’ve been longing to make a simple singlet out of this beautiful cobalt sand-wash silk. As for a pattern, still undecided. I love the dartless-ness of the Wiksten tank but I’m imagining narrower straps and less flare at the hem, so it can be tucked into said skirt. Possibly the Eucalypt tank? Taking suggestions…

This fuschia Silk CDC was always going to be top half! This is my color. MINE, I tell you! It makes me look alive. Plus it goes with many other bottoms in my closet. So I’m feeling the pressure here to pick the perfect pattern. And I think I’d like to make a top similar to this one. As for the pattern, a dartless version of view B could be close but the collar needs to be shorter and higher and I’m not entirely sure about importing a collar from elsewhere. Maybe there is another pattern out there that would be closer straight from the pattern? Eeeeee, the skirt! So excited for this one. I used some of my Project Sewn winnings to purchase a couple of hides of this olive green, super svelte lamb leather. It smells funny, but it’s lover-ly. And because I love this skirt, Vogue 9031, so much, I’m making a leather version! Again, going for the fitted skirt + billowy top half…

Untitled-4CULOTTES! CULOTTES! CULOTTES! Okay, it’s on. The Culotta-thon. I had a great pair of Culottes once, when I was 18. They were bright aqua, stretch denim and they fitted perfectly through the butt and hips before flaring out below. Where are they now? I do not know. But what I firmly believe is if you’re going to embrace this Culotte trend and you don’t want to join the ranks of the poofy puffy pants brigade, then they need to be fitted through the hips and waist. You’ve already got all this extra volume in the lower leg, do you really want to be adding extra volume through the tummy / hips with pleats and other festivities? I don’t! You saw how these pants turned out. Now imagine them with even more volume down below. So no, the style of culotte I am going for is this, this and this. Made up in this crazy grid print linen! As for a pattern, I’ve got about 5 or 6 vintage culotte patterns from the 70’s sitting in my Etsy cart and they all kind of nail that fitted-through-the-hips, flare-out-below thing. Okay, I’m not going to lie…my entire inspiration for this outfit is this silhouette here. It’s so fun and so fresh and I wants it. So, for the top we’re going sheer!  I’m thinking the Kanerva button back shirt. Yes, it’s entirely a novelty outfit but I have a vision and I’m a slave to it!
Untitled-5Now I think about it, it was pretty cute to assume I’d be done with matching sets just because Two-Piece Set month had finished, wasn’t it?! But how could I stop? Not after I happened upon possibly my favourite fabric find ever…the exact eye fabric from this Moschino dress. It was totally random, of course, on Etsy. I was looking for printed denim. And even more random because I’ve pinned this dress and this skirt so many times, each occasion thinking how amazing the fabric was, wonder if there was any left in the world, anywhere? Mwahahaa! So, I have 5 yards and my inspiration is THIS amazing two-piece. I’ve been giving a lot of thought to which patterns to use here, since I want to be able to wear them as separates, or possibly together, thought not sure where. School drop-off? For the top, I’m knocking off a RTW top, with spaghetti straps, a slightly flared hem and no darts. I’ve copied it once before and it’s a super flattering shape that I wear all the time.  Although I have my heart set on culottes for the bottoms, I wonder if the closet will reach culotte-saturation and I’m also not sure how they would look in something flimsy and silky. Maybe like pyjamas? Other ideas were some kind of crazy pleated skirt like the Anne-Marie pattern or even a draped pencil skirt. Would love to hear your thoughts, speak now…the top half is done!

Untitled-3This boxy crop + full midi skirt silhouette is a new one for me. I keep seeing it everywhere and there’s just something about it! It’s so feminine without being toit and looks killer with some statement heels, see here! So, for the top, I’m cutting into this heavily woven cotton and either going to make another modified version of Simplicity 1366 or try something new. For the skirt, I’m thinking the Lumme by Named patterns. The sateen is quite thin, so I’ll probably back it in something to enhance the color and avoid flashing.

MORE Culottes! And yes, the color in the sketch is a very inaccurate representation of the actual fabric. So, this khaki stretch cotton, was the very last addition to this little collection. I actually bought it several years ago, originally to make a Minoro Jacket. But when I held it up to the mirror one fateful evening, wrapped it around like a giant 90’s maxi skirt and pulled it through the middle to look like pants, it actually turned into the most awesome pair of structured culottes ever! And so it was decided. I’m actually thinking for this pair, I may start with the Katy and Laney Tap Shorts as a base and make use of those ever-so subtle diagonal lines. This little cropped jacket I am royally excited about. I’ve got a few inspiration picks collated here on my Spring /Summer Sew board, but in particular this pretty one! I’ve been wanting to make up the Bernadette cropped jacket for so long, just waiting for the right fabric. And then I found this amazing embroidered FLEURO (my camera does not do fleuro), TRIBAL cotton at Spotlight, of all places! Now I’m trying to source some fleuro piping or fabric to make into piping. Either that or metallic silver. Gah! So many decisions.


What are you sewing this Spring / Autumn?


Sewtionary Give-away Winner


Thanks for entering! And sharing your sewing fears. It seems our common sewing nemisis’s are button holes, zippers and welt pockets! My least favourite is button holes I have to say, because even though my machine should handle them just fine, sometimes it chooses not to. So yes, destroying something in pretty much the final step before you finish is why I don’t love them so much. Okay! So the winner of The Sewtionary Giveaway, by random number generator was no.1. Congratulations Nicole from coledabbles.blogspot.com.au!


Sewtionary Tour + Giveaway – closed

U7397_500px_72dpiThe second last stop on the Sewtionary tour is here today! Which means another chance to win your very own hardcopy of this beautiful new sewing book on the block. For nearly the whole month, Tasia from Sewaholic, has been celebrating the release of the Sewtionary. The name of the book gives it all away really: inside you will find an A-Z  ‘from “Applique” to “Zippers” and everything in between!’.

1I have a very modest collection, more a huddle, of sewing books that I refer to from time to time to refresh on basic techniques. But in between, I’m still always ‘google-ing’ for things like ‘welt pockets’, ‘zipper fly tutorials’ ‘how to sew spaghetti straps’ etc. So I’m a little bit excited that the Sewtionary includes all of these plus many more skills I’ve been wanting to try or at least know the proper way to do something. This book has all the answers to basic sewing questions like ‘how to make your own piping’ to the more obscure like ‘what is horse hair, and why the heeeeeel would I be sewing it into a garment?!’.

2So yes, I am super impressed with the Sewtionary and a little jealous that this copy is leaving my hands but happy it’s going to one of you lucky ladies! If you’d like a chance to win the Sewtionary, leave a comment, maybe sharing your most feared sewing technique (you’ve been avoiding button holes for years, right?!) and the winner will be drawn on Sunday. You can find the rest of the tour details here.


DIY Leggings + Wrap-front Blouse

ADA SPRAGG // Not Your Nanna's Sewing // Style Arc Dotty Blouse + DIY Leggings There’s nothing, I’ve decided, quite so annoying as being restricted in some way by the clothes you are wearing. Whether they be too tight, too short, too good or too silky, it’s all bad. Now, if you’ve been here for the ride thus far you may have noticed I have a small penchant for silky things, specifically, silks. But here’s the thing…many of my most favourite silk items hang, rarely worn, in near-mint condition in my closet. Which is a bit sad considering how much time and love got poured into them. I would like to wear them on a daily basis if it weren’t for fear of small people grime and the fact that I could still probably do with a bib when eating sometimes. When I petitioned (mostly against myself) to sew more ‘fiercely attractive mum-friendly clothes‘ this year, I didn’t know what that would look like. But I knew what was needed were things I could throw on, go about the day’s mostly un-glamorous activities, all the while looking put together, or at least like I’d changed out of pyjamas. Finally, with this legging and blouse combo, I feel I have arrived! At a craggy isthmus somewhere between BabeTown and MumTown.

ADA SPRAGG // Not Your Nanna's Sewing // Style Arc Dotty Blouse + DIY LeggingsIn hopes of reigning in the silk-monger within, I’ve been looking out for some happy replacement for silk; something drapey and nice against the skin, without the omg-dishwater-on-my (insert most-beloved item) factor. Step in Viscose, Rayon and whatever else is in this glorious man made fibre! I saw it, petted it, decided it was the softest, most buttery SOLID I ever laid eyes on and stowed it away for a worthy project…something like the wrap-style Dotty Blouse by Style Arc. You may have seen this deep cross-over silhouette doing the rounds, see here and here. I saw it, loved it and before I knew what was happening, the pattern was making it’s way to my house. McCalls have put out a similar blouse and Burdastyle released this cute variation but it was the line drawing of the Dotty that sold me.
ADA SPRAGG // Not Your Nanna's Sewing // Style Arc Dotty Blouse + DIY LeggingsSo much to love here! A double yoke, gathered back, good butt coverage and a cleverly designed front with the wrap section cut as one whole piece. The instructions imply you can sew a double yoke in your sleep and with my experience of double yokes being mostly of the breakfast variety, I decided to seek help. I followed this tutorial on the Style Arc site, up to the point where it became obvious that attaching a double yoke in a normal scenario, where the shirt front has two pieces (like a normal button up) is one thing. Attaching a yoke for a shirt where the front is made of one long joined piece of fabric, is something else all together. Also, the tutorial makes sense for a shirt that would eventually have a collar attached, in which case it is no problema to leave the neckline raw. But for the collar-less Dotty blouse, I realised that the neckline would have to be sewn shut at some stage in the yoke attaching otherwise it be left raw foreverrrr! To be honest I don’t really remember how it did it and wish I took better notes on the process but just know, it’s possible. Your double yoke will be okay. It will, however, take some manoeuvering that I cannot explain without wild hand gestures.

ADA SPRAGG // Not Your Nanna's Sewing // Style Arc Dotty Blouse + DIY LeggingsThis is actually my second version of the Dotty Blouse. I thought I should probably muslin it (see! I can be a responsible) before cutting into this fabric. The pattern recommends silk, crepe or a jersey knit. After muslin-ing it in a feather-weight cotton voile, I learned that lightweight and good drape are not one and the same. The recommendation for jersey knit should have been the give away that whatever fabric you choose, it has to hang-well (not the same as well-hung). In fact I don’t think it mentions light-weight anywhere. No it does not. I made that up. But having now sewn the Dotty up in something lightweight with no drape and something with lots of drape, the drapier fabric produced a front section that cascades instead of puffs out and an all round nicer looking top.

ADA SPRAGG // Not Your Nanna's Sewing // Style Arc Dotty Blouse + DIY LeggingsThe sleeves are my favourite! The instructions are to gather them into narrow bands and left long. But I liked rolled up sleeves. I like their utilitarianism. Especially on a top with so much party in the front. Plus I thought that the addition of sleeve tabs could take this top some place special. So, after asking the deep questions about sleeves, I omitted the sleeve band, sewed a straight hem and ‘borrowed’ the sleeve tabs from another pattern. For the buttons, I covered some regular flat shirt buttons using a great little technique I learned here. I much prefer their compactness over the clunky store bought self cover buttons.
ADA SPRAGG // Not Your Nanna's Sewing // Style Arc Dotty Blouse + DIY LeggingsNow seems a good time to address the pink elephant in the room: how is that front section staying shut?! Well, it’s not really and even standing relatively still on a not windy day, my photographer copped a few eyefulls. So, short of wearing a velcro bra, I’ll have to go back at attach a press stud, which I was trying to avoid but is what the pattern suggests anyway.  I should also point out that even with the double yoke fussing, it was possible to French seam the whole thing, which makes this one of my most meticulous and most un-hand-made looking pieces yet. Save for a few dodgy bits sewing the curved hem…
ADA SPRAGG // Not Your Nanna's Sewing // Style Arc Dotty Blouse + DIY LeggingsShort and sweet for all involved, DIY leggings are the ultimate quickie project! These here were my demo pair for the Leggings Workshop I taught at the recent The Craft Sessions weekend. I chose leggings because they’re beginner friendly when you’re starting out with knit sewing and instantly satisfying. At the start of the workshop, I told the ladies they’d laugh once they realised how straightforward leggings are: one pattern piece + 4-way stretch fabric + a ball point needle + stretch stitch = DIY legging fabulousness. Anyway, they all produced beautiful leggings (some I wanted to snatch for myself) and left with new sewing confidence!

ADA SPRAGG // Not Your Nanna's Sewing // Style Arc Dotty Blouse + DIY LeggingsNow that leggings season is coming to an end here, these are finally making it to the blog. The fabric is swimwear lycra from here, which I really don’t mind against my skin. My favourite sources for leggings fabric are Tessuti Fabrics, Wanderlust Fabrics, Girl Charlee and random Etsy shop, Fabulace. I used the same Burdastyle pattern as this pair (now retired to pjs), which I love for the extra length in the legs and torso.

ADA SPRAGG // Not Your Nanna's Sewing // Style Arc Dotty Blouse + DIY Leggings(good butt coverage)


Makers In The Wild // Your Two-Piece Sets

INTRO-picTo think I fretted over it being a Two-Piece Set party for one….turns out I was in the most set-acular company ever! I have been dying to share your two-piece creations and what I love most is that for all the sets below, no two are alike. And each is an extension of the sewer / blogger’s personal style. Which does totally back up the case (the one laid on heavy, when trying to sell two-pieces to you) that you can make this matchy-matchy trend your own. You made it your own, added two cups of magic and took the two-piece places no set has gone before. The results are jaw-droppingly good…

set6Crab & Bee // Sew DIY // The Creative Counselor // Lily Sage & Co.

set1Ute // The Telltale Tasha // Lily Sage & Co // Funkbunny

set5Holly Dolly // Made In My Living Room // Kohlrabi Bohemia // Stitch and Cappuccino

set4Gray All Day // That Black Chic // Cat Does It // Sewionista  

set2This Is Moonlight // Emily Kropp // Design By Lindsay // Lily Sage & Co

set7What Katie Sews // Scruffy Badger Time // Vivat Veritas // Snit & Naad

set10 Susie McDougs // Lady Sewalot // Muhahalicia // Mrs Kristler

set8Oh She Dabbles // Southland Curve // Bon Courage // Stitch & Cappuccino

set11CJ Made // Crafty Albumine // Lady Sewalot // Kyra Clarke


Sewaholic // Plok.Plokta // Carly in Stitches //Katy & Laney 

Amazing huh?! And because I’m allowed at least one proud mother hen moment: thank YOU so much for taking part! I think I’ve covered my bases: Instagram, google search… but in case I missed anyone’s set, or if you’re still working on your two-piece, let me know and I’ll add it to the round-up.

© Ada Spragg. Design by The Darling Tree. Developed by Brandi Bernoskie.

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