Nailed it.

Well, I didn’t nail it exactly, but I did make a wee visit to the tool shed for this outfit.


First, the blouse. I bought this so-called cotton poplin at Spotlight a while back, it is quite light and not my idea of a poplin, but Spotlight is not famous for being pedantic about these things.

I had got it into my head that I wanted a button-back blouse. After lurking on Trademe for months waiting for an appropriate pattern, I realised that I could just add a back placket to any old blouse. (Literally, this thought took months… lateral thinking is not my strong point). The blouse itself took only a couple of hours. It is LOOSELY based on Simplicity 7223.


It’s kind of boxy but I will wear it tucked in. The buttons are some lovely old Woolworths ones that I had in the stash, still on their card. The buttonholes were made with my machine’s buttonhole function. It is embarrassing to admit, but it’s actually the first time I’ve used it – previously I’ve just zig-zagged buttonholes manually. Who knew that knob was there for a reason??


And – the tool shed reference – I used a tiny 12mm chisel to cut the buttonhole openings. One of those clever WSBN ladies mentioned doing this, and it is ever so fun. It also has the added bonus of making a super neat buttonhole opening, with no stretching or ragged threads. My tip, though: don’t do it directly on your cutting mat. Next time I’ll put some newspaper in between. I just Googled it and guess what? You can actually buy buttonhole chisels! Mine was just from Bunnings. Good enough.

The skirt meant another trip to the tool shed for cable ties. It has a high waist and I used a piece of cable-tie in each waistband seam, to stop the waistband rolling down. I used two at the front, and two at the back. I didn’t put them in the side seams as I thought that might be uncomfortable. It worked beautifully and I adore the high waistline.

Image(Scuse the wrinkles, this is after sitting at work all day.)

The pattern is a free download, the Favourite Frills skirt from Your Style Rocks. Friends, you must try this pattern, and I say that as someone who would generally rather go to the dentist than sticky-tape patterns together. It has some lovely details like the paired darts at the back, and is just the right width to be able to walk in without having to add a vent.


Obviously, I didn’t use the outer ‘frills’ layer. I thought about lining it, but didn’t in the end as I wanted to be able to wear it year-round. I initially put in a centred back zip, but undid it and changed to a lapped one instead when this happened:


Gaping can be a problem with a centred zip, but I think it’s a particular hazard when there is a seam midway down the zip. The lapped zip was much better.

The fabric is some kind of very soft synthetic, from a one-euro bargain bin in Madeira, where I had a holiday in 2012. Isn’t it nice to buy fabric on holidays? It’s such a good reminder of the trip. I bought a big piece of fabric, intending to make a skirt and jacket, but I was so frivolous cutting out the skirt (*one euro!* *snip snip!*) that there isn’t quite enough left. Isn’t it awful to buy fabric on holidays? You can’t go and get more.


Anyway I can tell that both of these items are going to get a lot of wear, and that’s a good feeling.


15 thoughts on “Nailed it.

  1. These look great . I love both fabrics, the blouse is very unusual but very fashionable at the moment. I went to Madeira and did not get a bargain like that! Ha! I am thinking a buttonhole chisel could be my next sewing purchase!

    • Thanks Amanda. I have just looked online at the price of buttonhole chisels, and holy moly go to your local hardware shop instead! (Also, isn’t Madeira great? I loved it.)

      • Oh! Thanks! I will do! Just a very small chisel then , Did you use a hammer to hit it ? I loved Madeira so much, I would love to go back and have tea at Reid’s. We stayed in Funchal, but went on a trip on a coach up in to the mountains did you? A journey I will NEVER forget! Hahaha and the flowers……….. I love Birds of paradise after seeing them growing wild. Just a beautiful place. Thanks for the research!

      • Yes, it was so easy to do.
        Where is Reid’s?! Maybe I will have to go back too. I chickened out of going up to (I think…) the Valley of the nuns, because of reports the road was a bit scary! But I did go on a big walk along the levadas. And it was so green, with plants growing in every possible spot. Kind of like NZ! (but a lot warmer)

  2. Oh, fabric buying on holiday. Wonderful. This is why I travel with a half empty suitcase! Love this outfit on you, that fabric for your blouse is so cute!

    • Thanks! You’ll see it again at the zoo I’m afraid, despite all those amazing leopard prints at the Fabric Store. I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone else has made.

  3. I really like the skirt and have been toying with the idea of a high-waisted skirt lately. Do you work in an office? How was it sitting in it? Did the waist hold its shape and stay comfortable?

    • I was sitting down all day that day and it was totally comfortable. You can see the horizontal crease at the bottom of the waistband, but it stayed up perfectly. I actually liked the feeling of a bit more support around the waist (after years of everything sitting on the hips).

  4. Ooooh, I love this! I love Bunnings too, all those exciting power tools. I totally had never thought of going there for sewing stuff.

  5. Yeah tool shed sewing, my favourite. I also like to use hammers 🙂 I love that fabric, it’s gorgeous. As much as I love to hate Spotlight, they do have turn up some pretties sometimes.

    • Thanks Mel – yes, I think I’m going to save buttonholes for moments of stress relief from now on… Sewed the seam inside out? Buttonhole! Stuffed up a zipper? Buttonhole! etc.

  6. I love that last photo, it’s super cute! The skirt and blouse are both lovely, they look great on you.

    Maybe there’s enough fabric left for a jacket if you get creative? Cap sleeves? Cropped? Colour blocked with something else?

    • Thanks Joy. Good idea, and I was really inspired by Alida’s Bellatrix on Project Sewn, with the bits of leather at the elbows and waist. I think if I do contrast lapels I will eke it out.

  7. Pingback: Top of the morning | sixty six stitches

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