finished project

Finished project : Winslow Culottes


A month or so ago, Helen from Helen's Closet put out a call for pattern testers for her upcoming pattern. I jumped at the chance as she had recently pattern tested for me and I wanted to return the favour, and (more selfishly) I wanted to force myself to sew something new for myself. These days I get very little free time to sew, as most of my sewing time is consumed by pattern development and sampling for upcoming releases. I do know though that I work very well under pressure, and a deadline is a great way for me to make time to do some (semi)selfish sewing.

We were given two weeks to test the pattern, and of course about three days before the deadline, I decided to start sewing my Winslows. Thankfully the pattern isn't made up of too many pages (and does include a copy shop version), so doesn't take to long to assemble, and it's a quick and straightforward sew. 

The details

'The Winslow Culottes are wide-legged pants designed for ultimate comfort and style.  This pattern is intended to be made at any length, from shorts to full length palazzo pants. The design features inseam pockets, an invisible zipper, a waistband, and inverted box pleats.  Make above-the-knee or midi-length culottes in tencel for a chic, professional look, shorts in cotton lawn for active adventures, or full pants in viscose poplin for comfortable weekend wear.' (Helen's Closet)

I decided to make view B (the knee-length version) as I wasn't too sure about the whole culottes thing and I thought this style was the least drastic, and therefore probably the most wearable for me and my lifestyle. Since it started getting cold in Sydney, I have been living in jeans, so I had been on the hunt for some different bottoms I could make, for days when I need something a little more formal (but still comfortable).

The Fabric

I used a mysterious fabric that I bought second hand form The Fabric Cave. It has lovely loose weave that gives it a beautiful texture, although I am not at all sure what the fibre content is. It definitely has a polyester component as it didn't want to press well (but is also good because it doesn't hold creases, which is a real plus when we're talking culottes). 

Techniques used

I used a couple of different techniques in my Winslows to make them more winter appropriate (the pattern is designed for lighter fabrics) finish. I added 5cm to the length and turned this up for the hem - this extra weight in the hem helps them sit nicely and also makes them less likely to blow around too much in the wind. 

I also bound the inside edge of the waistband and sewed it flat (rather than tucking it under) to minimise on bulk in the waist area. (Sorry about the shoddy photos. It is really hard to photograph black garments!)

The verdict

When I finished my culottes, I wasn't totally convinced that I'd wear them much, as they're quite different to my usual style. But I must say I've worn them five or six times since I made them! 

If I made them again I would think about changing the straight waistband to a shaped one (using this tutorial), but apart from that the fit is great. I know this is totally a matter of preference, but straight waistbands just never sit very well on my curves.  

This is a really straightforward sew, with fantastic instructions that guide you through the process. I really enjoyed testing for Helen, she was so supportive and positive throughout the whole process and was very open to feedback, which I thought was fantastic. She somehow managed to coordinate testing with over 40 testers, and then released the pattern in no time (I wish I could take a leaf out of her book!)

All in all, a great pattern. Head over to Helen's blog for more details and inspiration (she has made so many pairs!)

What are your thoughts on culottes? Are you still sitting on the fence, or have you been converted like me?

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Finished project : The Lou Box top by Sew Diy


Late last year, Beth from Sew DIY and I had the great idea of doing a little pattern swap. We had been swooning over each others patterns on Instagram, so thought it was about time we did something about it. 

Beth has a couple of patterns to choose from in her shop, but after a little deliberation, I decided to go with the Lou Box Top as I noticed there was a bit of a gap in my wardrobe for nice easy basics that I can wear to work, and thought that I could use the Lou Box to fill the gap. 

I love to use stash fabric, whenever possible, so decided to use some left over cotton linen that I had bought from The Fabric Store for a dress I had made for a friend at the beginning of the summer. 

What I liked straight away about the Lou Box, when I opened the pattern file, was all the options. There are two neckline options (a crew neck and a scoop neck) and three hem options (straight, dip or curved) and can be made in woven or knit (or a combination of the two).

I couldn't make up my mind between the straight hem and the dipped hem, but thought I could go ahead and make the dipped hem, and if I didn't like it, I could just cut the hem straight once the top was assembled. I ended up printing and cutting all the options available in the pattern, so that I have them ready to go  for next time (and there will definitely be a next time).


When I got to laying the pattern on the fabric, ready for cutting, I realised there wasn't going to be enough meterage. I already had my heart set on the fabric, so decided to add a horizontal panel line on both the front and back.

This was a super easy alteration to make as the pattern is actually made up of seperate panels, for each hemline option (the pattern pieces are just stuck together before the fabric is cut). So I just added seam allowance to the bottom of the body of the top and then seam allowance on the top of the hem panel.


I actually really like this detail, and am considering doing the same thing next time, but using contrasting fabrics. 


I also detoured from the instructions a little by turning the sleeve up to create a small cuff (rather than turning under, as the instructions suggested), to add another little detail. 


In terms of fabric, Beth suggests using 'Light-weight knit or woven fabric with lots of drape, such as crepe de chine, chiffon, georgette and jersey,' and I know my cotton linen choice is a little more on the structured side that these suggestions, so it's definitely a little boxier than some of the other versions I've seen. I was a little worried about my decision just to go with it, but now that its' finished, it's one of the things I like most about this top!


I feel really comfortable in it, and cannot believe how many times I've reached for it since I made it. It really has filled a gap in my wardrobe!


It was a super speedy make, which was a really nice change for me, because I have been working on samples for my next pattern, which generally take a while as I am really pedantic when I am sampling, so that nothing gets past without being resolved. Sewing someone else's pattern, gave me a chance to disconnect from work, and gave me a chance to really enjoy the process, without the stress that sits alongside working on one of my own patterns before it's released. It's also a good opportunity to see how other designers do things!

Well that's about all I can say about the Lou Box Top from Sew DIY. It's a perfect beginner pattern, but also a lovely speedy sew for the more experienced - providing lots of opportunity for variation. Thank you so much Beth for offering to trade patterns with me. I had a lot of fun!

Beth made a really beautiful Ruschutter, so you should definitely go check out her post.

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Finished project : The Rushcutter


At last, after about four weeks of blog posts, I have completed the sew-along for The Rushcutter (view A)! Before getting on with view B, I thought I'd finally show you some pics of my finished Rushcutter.


I have made so many versions of this dress, throughout the design process, but this one is my absolute favourite. It is an easy one to just throw on and look put together, and I can easily dress it up or down. It has already become an absolute wardrobe staple!

It's made from a lovely mid-weight denim which I bought second hand (so unfortunately don't have any more details about it). I was a little worried it might be a little too heavy for a Rushcutter, but decided to go with it anyway as it has a clear right and wrong side, which is really great when photographing sewing tutorials. 


I got a lovely surprise when I finished making it, as I absolutely love the silhouette the denim creates. It's lovely and boxy and really shows off the details in the pattern.


I have worn it a lot this spring with a pair of sandals, but also got a lot of wear out of it at the end of winter with tights and brogues. The weather has been awful here in Sydney, so I think I will still get a few more wears out of it before the year is out.


I couldn't resist finishing up with this funny photo. This is my suspicious glance to see who was about to come and ruin my photo shoot!

Stay tuned, as next week I will be starting on the tutorial for view B of the Rushcutter (the sleeveless version).