This year's Me Made May (once again) highlighted my startling lack of tops to pair with my many culottes, growing trouser collection and the odd skirt. I struggle with finding appropriate summer tops as I'm fairly self-concious when it comes to strappy things, so when I saw the new Sakura collection from Papercut Patterns, the not-too-revealing Kyoto, with it's quirky ruffles, really excited me! It's also aptly named, as we're jetting off to Japan next month and plan to visit Kyoto while we're there! Here are the two versions I've made so far:

2 Papercut Patterns Kyoto tops
The PDF pattern was reasonably priced, and there really aren't too many pages to print. If you're savvy and only want to make the t-shirt version, you could save a few more pages by skipping the sweater sleeve (I'm saving that version for the winter). One of my only criticisms of the... [read more]

Hi Readers!

I am undoubtedly a dresses girl, but sometimes I want to throw on some slim-fitting jeans.  The thing is, when I wear skinny jeans, I don’t want to pair them with a curve-hugging top, and instead want to opt for a longer looser fitting blouse that covers up my mid-section.  Yep, I don’t want to show off my full tummy.

The problem is, I don’t have many tops that fit that description.  So I figured it was time to sew one up.  I looked through patterns and came across the Scroop Henrietta Maria Dress and Top.  I noticed this pattern a few months before, but I waffled on it for a while.  The thing is that I have a lot of vintage peasant blouse patterns and I wasn’t sure that I needed this one.  However, all of those blouses are at least 10″ smaller in the bust than I am and I’d have to grade them up.  And…. sometimes I am laaaaazy.  Also,... [read more]

Kyoto Sweater | Handmade by Lara Liz

Happy Monday from Disney World! I am down here for a work training, but Nathan and I were able to sneak in a day in Disney beforehand. I’ve been sharing parts on the weekend on my Instagram stories if you want to follow along! Warning: thKyoto Sweater | Handmade by Lara Lizere Kyoto Sweater | Handmade by Lara Lizare a lot of Pony Tanks that will be worn this week 🙂

Anyways, what you really came here for is #MeMadeMonday, so here we go! People have been going crazy over the new Papercut Patterns collection, Sakura, so I had to join in on the fun! While at first I wasn’t totally in love with the patterns, I decided there were a few I wanted to give a go! As a huge ruffles fan, I just couldn’t pass up the Kyoto Sweater! Despite it being so warm here in the Washington, D.C. area, who doesn’t love a cute sweatshirt to throw on at night or in the morning?

I’ve made a few other Papercut Patterns and had a pretty good idea about their... [read more]

Earlier this month, I mentioned that I’m looking for a TNT summer tank pattern. Itch To Stitch Lago wasn’t right for me, so I thought I’d mention a few patterns I already love!

Summer Tanks - Jalie and Santa Fe

First up, the Hey June Santa Fe! This was my favourite pattern last summer, and I love all those versions still. It’s a swingy, loose style – although after wearing voluminous Ebony dresses all winter, the Santa Fe seems quite tame in comparison!

Summer Tanks - Jalie and Santa Fe

Anyone recognise this ITY from I also bought it in the red, blue and yellow colourway (instead of this pink), and I know I’ve seen a few other bloggers sew with it! 

Thoughts on this pattern:

  • It also has a t-shirt and colour-blocked versions – I’ve made them all!
  • I like the high neckline and cut-away shoulders.
  • I love the curved hem, but I’ve also made it with a straight hem, and... [read more]
Happy SewSew everyone,
Today is a quick review on a new commercial pattern that fits my way of dressing perfectly for summer heat.  It is a  new favorite for now.  How many times have we said this about a new pattern?  At the time of this posting, this is actually a favorite.  Later post will prove something new, so don't hold my feet to the fire please.
Read more »

Two months later......we have a dress!
Yep, this took me forever but it's finished and I'm wearing it so still winning :)

I got started on this back in May, cut out all of the pattern pieces, well those for the bodice and lining and then realised the fabric was no where near wide enough to fit a Flora skirt onto so left that for a few weeks. Over those weeks I slowly pieced the bodice together.

I had no intention of fitting this along the way, I cut out the pattern to my measurements and just hoped it would fit at the end. 
During that time I also decided to add a simple gathered skirt, I actually used the skirt from the Bonnell dress as it is slightly more shaped than a gathered rectangle of fabric.

Finished fits! Well it does but weirdly it came out quite big in the waist. This fabric does have a bit of stretch, it could do with a couple of inches taken out but not... [read more]

I’m always admiring the beautifully organised sewing spaces people share online and get major envy at the idea of a sewing room of my own. But for most of us–especially those on lower incomes or who share a house with young children–having a dedicated sewing room is a dream for the far off future (or possibly September, in my case, but who knows how long it will take Andy to convert the garage into another habitable room…)

But that shouldn’t stop anyone creating, and in the hopes it might give someone else inspiration on how you can sew a lot in a small space and on a budget, I thought I’d share my little sewing corner. It’s not the most photogenic space, but I’m giving you the unvarnished, no-filters, look at what it’s really like in my sewing nook!

So, here’s a relatively tidy pic:

Sewing space 2017 5

My sewing corner is a table and a tall cupboard at... [read more]

Sometimes whatever I do just turns into a fail. They tend to run in packs, these failures, and it gets pretty demoralizing. "Who the hell am I, what do I think I'm doing writing about sewing when I can't even: blah blah blah.

And then there's the actual item itself. Do I consider making it into something else, and consign it to the UFO tub or do I just recycle it? And is this a scrap pile recycle, or a hard 'send it in the bag to the thrift' expulsion?

No, I didn't forget the seam allowances. I graded up 7 friggin inches for my spacious behind. And no, just no.

Or could I burn it in some ritual sacrifice? Sigh. No. I'd have to pull the nylon zipper out so I wouldn't be making some toxic stuff to accidentally breathe in; because when you burn a failure, you are always downwind. Always.

This is when I turn to mending. Generally, if it's in the mending... [read more]
The twin needle threaded up and ready to go.

I don’t have a coverstitch machine (yet…), so my favourite way to hem knitted garments is with a twin needle on my regular sewing machine. I’ve been sewing lots of knits over the last year (children’s clothes 1, 2 and 3 as well as things for me 1, 2 and 3). And I’m not very happy with my twin needle hems so I thought I’d scout around the blogosphere for some tips, test them, and share the results with you all.

So here’s my control example: some sweatshirting fabric scraps sewn with a twin needle, using Gutermann sew-all thread on top and bottom, medium presser foot pressure and the ordinary tension settings.

As you can see, the two lines of stitching on the top are fine, but there’s not much zig and zag in the black bobbin thread meaning them hem won’t stretch much. Fine in a loose fitting sweatshirt, maybe,... [read more]

The new Sakura collection from Papercut Patterns had me weak at the knees when it was released earlier this month. I was seriously resenting the fact that a very busy month at work was going to give me limited to no sewing time! Knowing that I wasn't going to be getting around to making much any time soon I restrained myself to just the one purchase, the Aomori Twist Top. The concept of this design is similar to their Bowline Sweater which I made in a linen knit last year and absolutely adore. It's a relaxed fitting top/sweater that thanks to some interesting construction has a unique detail in the twist at the centre front. These kind of simple designs, with clean lines but a striking and unusual feature somewhere in them really appeal to me. They fit my wardrobe needs being infinitely wearable dressed up or down and suit a wide range of fabric... [read more]

After finishing two time consuming projects in a row, a winter coat and a French jacket, I felt the need to change my sewing pace. I wanted to make something quick and easy. Around this time of year the garden is seriously eating up my spare time so it was not just a matter of looking for instant gratification. When there is little time even simple projects can take ages so I steered away from my usual habit of overthinking and overcomplicating things and went straight into the sewing room to look for inspiration.

I found a piece of jersey in my stash that was just waiting to become a Cashmerette Concord tee. Number six, or seven, I lost count.

As you can see the Concord Tee is an essential part of my gardener's uniform. I've already made all views: high neck, scoop neck, v-neck, short, medium and long sleeves, cropped length, mid length and long curved... [read more]

Hello there!

Since last I wrote, life has sure changed dramatically. The rest of my pregnancy went by fairly smoothly, though it was certainly challenging. Our sweet little guy arrived in early February, and we can’t imagine life without him. Shortly after his arrival, I became ill with preeclampsia (expectant mamas, be sure you know the warning signs, as it’s a dangerous condition that can occur even several weeks postpartum). Since then, we’ve been finding our new normal as a family of three (really five–can’t forget our kitties!) and love watching our son grow and learn.

I’m still knitting and sewing, though of course not nearly so much as a year ago. I’ve felt a pull to return to this space because I love chatting about making things and having a reason to take nice photos of my work. However, time with my hands free to type is limited, and right now that time... [read more]


Hi All

My latest post is up over at Minerva Crafts* – read all about it here.

This month I have made a light and breezy summer skirt – a Sewaholic Hollyburn (I miss Sewaholic!) skirt in a lovely red wine coloured viscose challis fabric. I haven’t used this type of fabric before – it was really lightweight so lots of interfacing was required and quite a lot of trimming the hem after leaving it to drop for a day or so!

I’m wearing the Hollyburn with the Ogden cami that I posted about last week.

Here is a final picture with bonus cat bombing!hollyburnback3

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer sewing – I am about to cut out a few new projects!


*I received the fabric and other supplies free of charge from Minerva Crafts in return for providing a blog post. All opinions are my own.







Well, it has been rather a long time since I last wrote a post here. I must stop leaving such gaps!  

Janome TXL607

So what have I been up to since I last posted? Lots of things! Although I haven't done as much sewing as I would have liked I have battled some sewing demons (mostly fit issues and procrastination!) and have managed to sew up a couple of successes. I am aiming to write a separate post with regards to those pesky demons so more to come on that one. 

A sneaky peek at my bodice block progress!

A sneaky peek at my bodice block progress!

In other news I have recently finished reading "the life changing magic of tidying up" which has been an absolute revelation to me! I really do highly recommend everyone get this book.... [read more]

A niece was getting married and as soon as the invitation arrived I knew exactly what fabric I wanted to use!
Her theme colours were navy blue and hot pink.
I had purchased this floaty, diaphanous fabric from a small shop on Sydney Road in Melbourne for under AU$5 a metre.
I was planning to combine two different patterns, one for the bodice and one for the skirt until I saw this pattern on McCall's instagram account: M7537.  Of course the model photo is very difficult to make out the pattern lines but at least the illustrated dresses explain what the final dress will look like.

I was going to lengthen the skirt but instead ended up using a different skirt pattern: the maxi skirt from B5987.

A few other reviews of this McCall's pattern have commented that the bodice is very low.  IT IS. I really wasn't comfortable exposing cleavage at a wedding so I attempted to cut the... [read more]
Handmade baby bloomers by

Life last weekend moved a little bit slower. My husband and I headed up to his family's cottage for a long weekend to spend fishing, boating, and enjoying the sunshine. The weather was a balance of rain and shine each day. We were able to spend the days on a little bit a slower pace, sans the early mornings, traffic, and busy schedules that come with our typical workdays. Since I knew that we were headed up north Michigan and that the activities that I can participate in at this point in my pregnancy are becoming limited, I opted to bring my sewing machine and some supplies along with a goal to sew at least one baby item.

Using free patterns found through blogs, I spent a few hours sewing up two new diaper covers, one with a floral print on a gray background and one with a fun pink and blue rocketship print. The rocketship printed fabric was... [read more]
I feel like to be a proper British person I need to start this post off by mentioning the weather.... I mean haven't we just had it all?! The blazing sun followed by pouring rain! High humidity and then this morning it was actually chilly! Anyways I made this skirt a lil while ago but I've gotten out of the habit of posting regularly, what can I say after a day of trying not to melt I'm
Well-I am a little flustered with my progress!  The fabric I am using is very similar to the inspirational top, the fabric content is probably not the same at all.

 I am using a semi sheer rayon that was a pain to cut out as it was a little slippery.  Not difficult to sew, just more fiddly than I prefer to sew.

I was going to use the sleeves with elastic at the hem but that was frustrating for me and after two attempts to get the elastic just right using a casing, I gave up.😒  I had enough fabric to cut out the sleeves with the ties and there is where I stopped for now.  It should not be that difficult to insert elastic into a casing but trying to then stitch down the remaining edge was frustrating and turned out to be unkind to the fabric.

Back to the sewing room after a short break.😏

Hi All, 

I thought I’d share a quick refashion I did this week. I bought an XL t shirt from H&M and decided to hack at it.

I did like wearing this baggy but I wanted to attempt a t shirt refashion as I haven’t done one for years now.

Here it is paired with matching khaki coloured block heels (picked out by a friend, from New Look). The lace was picked up quickly to use as a belt, it was left over after attaching some to the hem.

This is how it looks without a belt in case you were wondering.

This can be worn different ways, with leggings, over the knee socks or jeans

I’ll throw in some random pics from the “photo shoot”

Happy Saturday y’all!


Tagged: diy, handmade, lace, refashion, sewing, t shirt refashion, upcycle
Well happy Saturday SewDay!!!
Is it time to say, you know all you need to know about fitting and designing your skirts.  Or, is this where you tell me, you haven't been paying attention?  I have just two questions for you.
  1. Did you know every possible skirt can be made from a basic straight skirt?
  2. Did you also know a circle skirt will have an automatic Full Butt adjustment and needs no MATH and does not hike up in the back!!??
    Circle skirts that DONOT hike up in the back.
    Google Image
Read more »

I think it’s important to talk about things that are hard. By sharing struggles we gain strength from knowing we’re not alone, that others have the same struggles and that we can make it through them. When I was struggling in graduate school, I gathered the stories of other sewists who had made it through and found strength in sharing their struggles and successes. Now I’m at the start of a new challenge/adventure – motherhood – and I’ve joined with some sewist friends to talk about our experiences. We’ll be sharing our stories throughout the month of July and we’d love to have you join us.

Ease In to Motherhood is a sewists’ celebration of motherhood and the changes it brings to our lives. During the month of July, we invite you to share your experiences of the physical and mental changes of pregnancy, childbirth and/or any other way a child comes to your life. We invite you... [read more]

The number one thing people ask me about for furniture make-overs is how to paint furniture. Over the years, I have fine-tuned how I approach painting furniture. Just about every big piece of furniture in my house has met my paint brush, and for good reason: it's the cheapest/easiest way to achieve my makeshift modern farmhouse-esque stucco'd home in good ol' El Paso, TX.

My techniques have changed over the years, slightly. I have painted everything from decrepit and water damaged barnwood to laminate furniture. Now that I've worked out the kinks, the technique remains the same, and I'm amazed at how well it has worn over the years.

If there is one thing I hope to accomplish with this blog (that I pay the domain for annually with great intentions but little follow through...) it is: I hope to inspire everyone to just paint "that old whatever" that is on the... [read more]

Vogue V1428 for The Cocktail Hour

Today it’s my turn to share the outfit I’ve made for the Vogue Patterns Cocktail Hour Sew-along, complete with cocktail! As with last year’s Big Vintage Sew-along, McCalls have selected a range of patterns for the event, with proceeds from the sale of those patterns (between March until November) being donated to The Eve Appeal gynecological cancer charity.

Vogue V1428 for The Cocktail Hour

Vogue V1428 for The Cocktail Hour

The twenty patterns included in the sew-along are evening-wear themed, with lots of dresses, but also separates, outerwear, and accessories. After liberal umming and ahhing, I decided to sew Vogue 1428.

Vogue 1428 is designed as a dress in three parts – a skirt, vest under-bodice, and lace bodice – which are joined together at the waist. I decided that they would get more wear as separates, so constructed the skirt and bodice in that way, skipping the vest altogether in favour of a RTW one.

Vogue V1428 for The Cocktail Hour

Vogue V1428 for The Cocktail Hour[read more]


A golden prom dress — made from plastic garbage bags!

A tie-dyed denim pantsuit worthy of Prince himself!

A bomber jacket covered in multicoloured Andy Warhol-style portraits!

If you know Michelle Morris of That Black Chic, you’ll know that I could only be talking about her amazing makes. On the latest episode of the Clothes Making Mavens Podcast, I chat with Michelle about her creative sense of style, how she sews on a budget, and her plans to launch a new, more inclusive sewing magazine. This is the most fun you’ll have all weekend! Check it out.


Michelle Morris of That Black Chic

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