Black Gold (or, the perfect shirt dress part deux)

Knipmode04-2011_15 Pullover shirtdress

I’ve been searching high and low (read, through all the pattern mags I already own) for the perfect shirt dress pattern. Comfortable, classy, formal enough to wear to work, casual enough for a night out.

Right now, this one’s ticking all the boxes (except the buttons that put the ‘shirt’ in shirt dress. That is a plus in my book though) and the stand-collar makes it ‘shirt’ enough to look dressy so.. onwards and upwards. (• ◡•)

Knipmode04-2011_15 Pullover shirtdress

The embroidery around the neckline and down the ends of the self-tie belt is one of the in-built stitch options on my brother ns20. I filled in the little leaves by hand sewing filler stitches with the same gold thread but that isn’t obvious here (I need a camera with a better sensor (ಥ﹏ಥ).

Knipmode04-2011_15 Pullover shirtdress

The nice new photo area is courtesy of the fine Victorian gentleman I’m seeing. This is the back porch of his family home. Great for barbecues and blog photos. I sewed an adjustable linen apron for him and I’m planning on making him a Liberty shirt for his birthday so you’ll probably see him here soon.  (ᵔᴥᵔ)

Knipmode04-2011_15 Pullover shirtdress

Here’s the overall silhouette without the belt, great for camouflaging lunch babies and the like. BTW if you’re wondering about the perfect shirt dress part un, here it is. This one trumps that one in its buttonless-ness though. Please post links to any cool shirtdress patterns you’d like to recommend in the comments!

On a completely different note, I’m going through one of my cyclic periods of poverty and have put up a whole bunch of sewing stuff on ebay. More listings over the weekend-think of it as a donation ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. On another completely different note, here’s a nice tribute to Leonard Nimoy on FashionItSo (a very cool tumblr that focuses on the clothing in the Star Trek the Next Generation series) and another on NPR. 

Knipmode04-2011_15 Pullover shirtdress

Check out this awesome chica. Lounging on the 15,000 dollar real Italian leather couch in her sea-side bungalow (say it like you mean it) waiting for her shirtless 25 year old boy toy to bring her some ice tea 17 year old single malt Japanese scotch. I didn’t even have to look at the line diagram to post-it this one as the ‘next make’ (then I put the mag away, forgot all about it and rediscovered the line diagram while searching through my pattern summary pdfs for a shirtdress ;)

Pattern: Knipmode, April 2011, Pullover dress 15 (with self fabric tie belt).

Fabric: Super light, black viscose rayon with accents in gold raw silk and gold silk embroidery.


  • shortened 2 cm at the waistline, 4 cm at the hem and pinched out 0.5 cm vertically (from the shoulder down; I should have reduced 1-1.5 cm vertically.) 
  • omitted interfacing the collar and collar stand
  • omitted the cuff tabs and the curved hem facing
  • shortened the sleeves due to fabric length limitations
  • finished the curved hem with a narrow hem using a rolled hem foot

Disclaimer: All non-self-generated images remain copyright of their original owners and are used here for purposes of illustration, discussion and review.


back is back in lace and crepe by theperfectnose

New house, new photo space. This is the last time I’ll be using the balcony-the light is awful (that top is way darker) and I don’t need the extra level of grunge courtesy the rainwater harvest system. 

back is back in lace and crepe by theperfectnose

This is a pretty cool pattern for using tiny little scraps of fabric. Great for remnants and even better for using small (read, affordable) amounts of very expensive fabric for that totally luxe feeling.

I want to make another but probably won’t due to the blinding rage of having to piece it together from shitty little A4s* because the seller ‘lacks the time to recreate the pattern in a larger format’ (the file the A4s version was tiled from would have been more than sufficient). I’m all for supporting entrepreneurship but I’m not putting money down for something that turns my hobby into a chore.

back is back in lace and crepe by theperfectnose

It’s probably long enough to cover ‘coin slottage’ issues with low waist jeans (if made it up in an opaque fabric ;).

I bought this (and two other patterns) before I knew providing untiled pdfs was some sort of epic quest that required special effort and a twelve-sided dice (NB:I’ve sewn pdf patterns from Pattern Runway, Victory Patterns and Salme Patterns which were provided, on request, in untiled large/A0 format. Big ups to Lisa of Paprika patterns for including untiled, large format pdfs with every pattern right off the bat [on an unrelated note,  big ups to Barbara for that lovely supportive email checking in on me. Lady, you’re a frickin’ legend and I appreciate your kind words more than I can express here. Many thanks].

Another issue with the back is back pattern, is the sizing. Using the correct size for my dimensions (34) results in a too-tight fit and sizing up (to 36) causes gaping everywhere. I compromised by using the smaller size for the back piece, the larger one for the front and grading the join at the shoulders with bias tape (and it shows. Ha!).

*Tiled pdfs are an unnecessary contrivance I f*cking detest because I want to spend my sewing time sewing, not cutting and pasting shitty little A4s together (and there’s a very affordable large format print shop near me which saves me from the said ignoble fate). This is also why I avoid patterns from burdastyle online. It’s not worth the hassle and there’s so much out there to sew that doesn’t require moving furniture and juggling glue/scotchtape.

pattern review: back is back by vanessa pouzet

Pattern: Vanessa Pouzet’s back is back (has bust darts and a yoke in the front). Jeans-Guess, Shoes-John Fluevog.

Fabric: The front is a light silk crepe, the back is two panels of fairly expensive lace that I pieced together (shittily, ha!) by hand.


  • Back pattern pieces are of the recommended size, front pieces are one size up
  • I pieced the back together from scalloped lace instead of using the straight centre back seam used in the pattern
  • The back neckline for the lace portion was finished using a narrow hem foot before being sewn to the yoke pieces

Comments: Check the size chart carefully before buying. I went a size up on the do brasil dress based on my experience with this pattern and bad things happened (gaping neckline, shoulder straps sliding off, general irritation and the binning of  a pretty block print voile from mum X(). I binned that pattern with the fury of Thor (in so much as a rolled up paper pattern can be slammed into a recycling bin ‘like a magical flying hammer’. 

Disclaimer: All non-self-generated images remain copyright of their original owners and are used here for purposes of illustration, discussion and review.

All opinions expressed in this post are based on my experience with the pattern used. Drama in the comments (why don’t you like her/why can’t you be nice/ waahwaah/boohoo) will be published and thoroughly mocked/ derided (not necessarily by me).

Welcome to the internet, even terrorists get mocked here (the last two vids on that page are pure gold).


Day 1 of Jenny’s weekend sleepover.

Kurai_Muki_knit 2

It started out all professional-like.

Kurai Muki Lalala Lockstitch 2 Pullover A4 sewing pattern

Then devolved into a gummi bear* fuelled giggle-fest.

Kurai Muki Lalala Lockstitch 2 Pullover A4 sewing pattern

Numerous bears tragically deliciously lost their heads (and other body parts).

Kurai_Muki_knit 1 (1)

Much hilarity ensued.

Kurai_Muki_knit 10

Then I scraped the duck poop off my shoes and we went home.


The day ended with wine (this one and this one-yes it’s a very pretty label and very sewing-relevant), Indian takeaway and the Thomas Crowne Affair (enjoyable in a predictable way) followed by House of Cards Season 1.

Oh yea. 

Kurai Muki Lalala Lockstitch2 A4 pullover

Pattern: Kurai Muki’s Lalala Lockstitch 2-Pullover A4

Fabric: Soft wool knit in a very strange weave.

Modifications: None. And it fits fine. Which means it’s sized for midgets. Normals beware.

The sleeve cuffs are very long on me. Great for keeping my paws warm, but definitely not the length shown in the pattern image above.

Red Jacket here.

Thanks Jen, for the photos, the gummis, and the awesome company.

*Haribo for life.



Burda102009_116_3I love this dress.

It oozes a tonne of va va voom for what is, essentially, a basic sheath with front and back waist darts. The Oomph is in the silhouette-it looks like you’re in the middle of undressing. All of the time. 


Details: Two toned raw silk (Indian dupion) fully lined in black Japanese rayon and faced at the neckline and arm holes in self fabric. Invisible zipper up the back.

Burda102009_116_13Just want to say thank you to everyone that wrote to check up on me or just to say hello. I’ve been through a lot of changes since I last posted.

Thanks, also, to Jenny for taking these awesome photos (at the Bundoora Homestead) and sharing a weekend of hanging out and chillaxing.

Yes Jenny is actually a Hayao Miyazaki Character.

Keep it real ladies.

Burda World of Fashion 10/2009 Dress 116

Pattern: Burda 10/2009, Dress 116

Fabric: Red two toned raw silk

Modifications: Omitted the bow at the back, shortened at the hem by 5 cm.

Tights by Fiore, shoes Ristretto by John Fluevog.

Burda World of Fashion 10/2009 Dress 116

PSA::@CreativeLive Photography courses

Creativelive sale and rebroadcast

If you’re interested in learning professional Photography and image processing techniques and workflows (among other things) creativeLIVE have some really awesome stuff online. I’ve only viewed their Photography and image processing related courses so I can’t vouch for anything else but they offer the live broadcast of every course free to everyone that’s enrolled (you need to sign up and create a login, also free) as well as the subsequent re-broadcast.

They’re currently offering a pretty significant discount/sale on all their courses and continuous free re-broadcasts of some of their most popular courses (wedding photography, portraiture, outdoor shooting, image comp and processing, photography business etc).

So now might be a good time to try them out.

Disclaimer: All images (2 screenshots from the Creative Composition course at creativeLIVE), remain copyright of their original owners and are used here for purposes of illustration and review.

All opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not sponsored or funded in any way. My recommendations are based purely on the courses I’ve viewed, which I felt were great value.

Gratitude: A Photo Essay

Meetup at the NGV International Front foyerGratitude for the internet, and extraordinary adventures with people who share my interests.

With friendsGratitude, for friends who accept me as I am,

Bendigo Art Gallery Cafe Garden-and aren’t afraid to show it on camera.

Melbourne Exhibition CentreGratitude for being here, the most beautiful city in the world

The Fabric Store Brunswick Street-and all of the resources that gives me access to.

Patrones 273 Dress 23 HossGratitude for the wherewithal to turn my dreams into reality.

Dessert Tasting platter at Mason's of BendigoGratitude for great food

Modern Love Bendigo Meetupand great times

Lunch at Gekazan at the Melbourne GPOand most of all, for all of the incredible people I have been lucky enough to share these experiences with.

Thank you Yoshimi, Maria and Kristiann (and Simon) for flying out to Melbourne and spending the weekend with me. Thanks also to Yoshimi for the high-res photos, enlightening conversation and the big city sleepover, and Simon and Hui Nie for taking photos at various locations/events. Big ups to everyone that made it to the meetups: Claire, Hui Nie, Jenny, Kate, Nicole, and Raquel I really enjoyed hanging out with you all.

Melbourne MuseumThanks for all the memories.

Thanks to the staff at Masons of Bendigo for accommodating a big group with gracious service and delicious food. And finally, massive thanks to Leanne, the curator at the Bendigo Art Gallery for stopping by (on her day off) to welcome us to the Modern Love exhibit and spend some time with us. A good time was had by all.

Happy Thanksgiving to all those that celebrate it. And those that don’t.


Image 1: Me (burdastyle 04/2013, dress 108), Jenny (vintage), Kate, Kristiann (self-drafted), Yoshimi and Maria (in Victory patterns Nicola and Chloe which they changed into at the NGV), Raquel (RTW rub off top, Simplicity 1940s pants) and Claire (Collette) at the NGV International front foyer for the Edward Steichen and Art Deco Fashion exhibit. We then went to All that Glitters exhibit at the Arts Centre next door and the Textiles of Michael O’Connell Exhibit at the Ian Potter Centre up the street.
Image 2: Maria, Jenny, Raquel (check out the fit on those pants) and me (Bendigo Art Gallery gardens)
Image 3: Jenny (best expression ever), Raquel and I (Bendigo Art Gallery gardens)
Image 4: Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton, Melbourne.
Image 5: The Fabric Store Brunswick Street, Melbourne.
Image 6: In front of the competition wall at the Bendigo Art Gallery’s entrance to the Modern Love Exhibit (reviewed here, here and here) in Patrones 273, Dress 23 by Hoss I might even review it at some point (big thumbs up, excellent pattern for upcycling saris, oh yea).
Image 7: The dessert tasting platter at Masons of Bendigo (the flowers are edible)
Image 8: Hui Nie, Jenny, Me, Maria, Nicole, Leanne and Raquel at the Bendigo Art Gallery
Image 9: Kristiann, Maria, Hui Nie, Yoshimi, me, Raquel, Claire and Kate at Gekkazan in Melbourne’s GPO
Image 10: The Melbourne Museum (we spent two hours in the Designing 007, 50 years of Bond style exhibit. Yes they have the Grace Jones dress).

Disclaimer: All images remain copyright of their original owners and are used here for illustration and review.

Modern Love: A Preview. Haute Couture. Thanks @BgoArtGallery and @FIDMMuseum

Modern Love opens this weekend at the Bendigo Art Gallery, Victoria. To set the stage, here’s FIDM Museum curator Kevin Jones’ favourite piece from the exhibit: A Christian Lacroix evening gown from the F/W ’91 collection.

Christian Lacroix Chiffon, Velvet and Leather dressMais naturellement, it is haute couture

The dress was draped straight onto the mannequin in separate parts: each skirt layer was cut out of silk chiffon, individually hemmed and pleated, then draped in place and sewn on by hand.

Christian Lacroix Chiffon, Velvet and Leather dress
The bodice was draped in silk velvet and attached to the skirt waist with leather and rhinestone trim. The neckline was then interfaced to hold its shape and finished with leather and rhinestones.

Christian Lacroix Chiffon, Velvet and Leather dressThe pleats on the skirt consist of narrower sets at irregular intervals rather than being continuously spaced all around. I wondered if that’s what kept the hem even in those areas. It certainly makes for a more natural drape overall.

The bodice and skirt portions have separate closures: a concealed zipper (hand-picked) for the bodice and concealed snaps for the skirt portion.

Christian Lacroix Chiffon, Velvet and Leather dressIt’s all good. We’re professionals, we know what we’re doing. Well, the one on the right does.

No shots of the closures-there was no way to get a camera back there to frame the shot. You should totally go see it for yourself though (and while you’re there, take a selfie and submit it to the competition)-everything’s set up for maximal viewing pleasure i.e. the mannequins are displayed so both the fronts and backs of the garments are clearly visible, closures and all.

My absolute favourite detail about this dress? It’s invisible. Unless you go looking for it. Like so.

Christian Lacroix Chiffon, Velvet and Leather dressIt has an integrated body suit to thwart potential wardrobe malfunctions!*

They certainly don’t make ‘em like they used to. Tickets here, related programs and events here and if you want to make a weekend of it, travel/accommodation tie-ins here.

I’d like to give a massive shout out to the Bendigo Art Gallery and the FIDM Museum for allowing me to preview the exhibit and to Kevin, Leanne, Dani and Christine for walking me through the exhibit while they were setting it up. I was happier that day than I was on the day I got my PhD (the latter was an anti-climax. The scroll was not made of Platinum. Or vellum. Or even faux vellum paper. Goshdurnit).

Thanks also to Carl for all the awesome photos.

*Yes. The bodysuit has poppers snaps.

Christian Lacroix (1951-) Paris
Evening gown fall/winter 1990-91
Silk velvet, silk chiffon, leather, beads,sequins & rhinestones
Anonymous gift

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