Victory Patterns: Hannah

Rarely does a pattern appear that stylistically sums me up and rarer still does a pattern appear that I can sew without grading between sizes. A massive thank you to Kristiann for drafting a spectacular garment that apparently makes me “look ten years younger,” according to my dear friend Naomi who just happened to have stuck her head out the door in the shot below.


I would love to offer glamour shots but the truth is, I can’t. This is me in real life. The Middle East is gritty, in all senses of the word, and that is part of its charm. Things get dusty about three seconds after cleaning and the shamal at this time of year can be relentless. You wouldn’t think there was much to blow around in the desert but I can vouch that there are tonnes of sand not anchored down by anything bar the odd camel.

On top of the gritty factor, I myself am not that refined. I don’t have a hair or makeup stylist, I don’t have straight teeth, I wear glasses, I’m not all toned and tanned, and I apparently have a big nose (according to a Lebanese hairdresser I went to for the first time shortly after moving here). And because I know you are wanting to ask, no, I didn’t ask her whether she had looked in the mirror lately nor did I come out with a pithy saying such as it takes one to know one. I am, in fact, a working mum to two teenagers who gets up at 5am every day in order to be teaching other teenagers at 7am. I drag myself home at 4pm and try to muster up the strength to prepare a half decent meal but usually end up serving cereal. Actually, I lie; I make them serve themselves 🙂

This, my friends, is me. Nose and all. In my new dress.

Made from a thick, shockingly hot pink linen from The Fabric Store in Melbourne, this fabric was destined to be a Vogue pattern Ivona, my sewing bestie, selected for our Rome meet up this July. As this is not a colour I usually subscribe to, it was put to the side as I concentrated on other things. I even forewarned Ivona that I probably wouldn’t get time to sew it up before the trip. But next thing I knew, there was Hannah and there she was in my inbox. Just like that.


In review: the instructions are impeccable and result in a well constructed garment. The only thing I did differently was that I hand stitched down the bindings and the hem facing as I don’t like these things showing. And, I’m yet to add buttons as I can’t find any here.

Next time? Yes, the fabric is ready to be cut out but first of all I must lengthen the dress a smidge as I like a bit more coverage for times when bending is required. I also like to consider the needs to the viewing public as I came close to scarring my son for life with images of his mum’s home made knickers starring at him from across the room as I bent to tie up my shoes. Oh, the shame of it all 🙂


So, highly recommended for the pear shaped beauties out there, plus anyone else that likes structural design in clothing. I can’t wait to see what comes from the stables of Victory Patterns next.

Until next time, chat quietly about anything but the nose. Not the nose!


Oliver + S Lullaby Layette

A Sweet Pea is on the way so that means small sewing. Delish! No issues with fit means high satisfaction in my book. First up is this wee piece of gorgeousness.

Made from a cotton so light one suspects it was intended for someone delicate in frame and nature, it should be perfect for keeping baby skin protected from the harsh sun. It is still to have fastenings on the front placket but I am searching for just the thing. As no one is sure whether Sweet Pea will be a he or a she, I will be making up a second version from an equally gauzy, yet slightly more masculine, fabric.

In reflection, as I suspect that this post is suggestive of Sweet Pea joining our family, please be assured that is simply and thankfully not the case. Sweet Pea belongs to a new but very dear friend 🙂

Until next time, chat quietly amongst yourselves. Or with me if the desire so strikes.


Deer & Doe Plantain

Due to an impending international move, all has been quiet on the sewing front. However, it is time to start sewing up some fabric as a way of minimising what is to be packed! Yesterday, I downloaded, wielded some BluStick, cut out, and stitched up a Plantain for MissE from 100% merino that she selected at The Fabric Store last year. This morning, I added some trim to make it a little less bland (the button is from here, my favourite shop in Paris!).  MissE loved it, particularly the little ‘E’, and wore it all day.

In reflection, a larger size is needed to accommodate her shoulders and she has asked that the neckline be raised. We looked for more fabric today but did not find anything interesting. I am heading online in search of knits so if you have any great suggestions for something a little funky that may appeal to a teen, please do comment!

Until next time, chat quietly amongst yourselves.

ChaCha signature 2

Merchant and Mills Camber V2

Given my love of the 1960’s fashion aesthetic and my dissatisfaction with some aspects of my first Camber, I decided to sew up V2. Using an embroidered cotton and underlined with a blue cotton (both originally from The Fabric Store and more recently from my stash), here it is.

After wearing V1 a number of times, I found the following issues:

Issue 1 – the neckline felt as if it were constantly dragging backwards and choking me. The Big Red Book suggested that this may be caused by a forward should joint so I experimented by adding ⅝” to the back shoulder seam while simultaneously removing ⅝” from the front shoulder seam. This appears to have reduced the dragging backwards feeling considerably.

Issue 2 – excess fabric in the back which does little to flatter my figure. So, I removed ⅝” from the front and back centre seams. This has made a difference in the front but the back is still in need of some tweaking in my opinion (I’m thinking of adding darts on V3).

Issue 3 – removing ⅝” from the front and back reduced my ability to throw it on with ease. To combat this, I inserted an invisible zip into the side seam. Much better!

Upon its first public outing, I received a number of compliments; however, this particular comment from a brand new colleague took the cake…”ChaCha, I love the way you dress. You look like a librarian to the movie stars!” I’ll take that!

Fellow sewists, what is your opinion of this version (particularly the view from the back)?

Until next time, chat quietly amongst yourselves.

ChaCha signature 2