Kicking up my heels


This time Saturday night I was kicking my heals up at the Dressmaker’s Do hosted by Leisl and Nichola.  It was a fun evening of chatting, patting, admiring, laughing, catching up with old friends and making new ones.  Oh yes, there was a little bit of eating and drinking thrown in too!


A sewing event often means a new dress, but this time I stretched myself and made three new items… a silk tunic, leggings and a winter wrap.



The tunic is my favourite Aeolian with hacked sleeves.  Nita-Jane from from Pattern Fantastique posted on Instagram about a pattern cutting class she was teaching (based on the Aeolian) at The Handmaker’s Factory.  It’s fair to say, I fell hard for those sleeves!


With some coaching from Nita-Jane, I made the following changes to the sleeve pattern:

  • Slashed and spread the pattern near each side seam and added a little width
  • Extended the side seams
  • Added a curved hem to create a high/low finish on the sleeve after it’s been gathering and bound


I might have not noted that exact measurements of all those changes, but I did remember to take a photo of the existing pattern piece with it’s newly hacked friend.


The verdict… this pattern just keeps on giving!  I adore the sleeves and the tunic length is really nice for a change.  I’m planning a linen version for Spring.  Yes, I’m already thinking about Spring sewing.  Winter just makes me want to hibernate!


Pattern:  Pattern Fantastique’s Aeolian Tee Shirt Dress (tunic length) with hacked sleeves
Size:  Small
Fabric:  Silk Crepe De Chine from The House of Franke, Stuart
Alterations:  The sleeves were slashed & spread, lengthened and the curved hemline was gathered and bound with bias binding.  The tunic shorten by 2″ (5cm) but then I needed to halve the hem allowance for my preferred length… let’s just agree it’s slightly shorter than drafted!




These leggings were Plan B, I’ll tell you about my wrinkly Elle Pants another time, but they are winners in my book.  They are warm, super comfy and so quick to sew.  Did I mention how comfy they are?  I’m wearing them as I type… but with ugg boots rather than heels!


Megan Nielsen’s Virginia Leggings include two different rises (natural waist and low rise/maternity) and two leg lengths (petite and long).  I sewed the version one, which sits at the natural waist, and as I like a little bunching at the ankles, I added 2 inches (5cm) to the petite cutting line.


The Virginia Leggings pattern has two pattern pieces – a leg piece and a waistband.  I’ve never sewn leggings with a separate waistband before, but I’m a convert.  After the waistband is mostly attached, I like being able to thread the elastic through the opening, pin it in a loop, try the leggings on and adjust the elastic for comfort.


These leggings were sewn with the lightning bolt stretch stitch on my sewing machine.  The hems have been secured with a twin needle.  I’m still love using woolly nylon in my bobbin when I’m hemming knits.  It’s life changing people…. get on board!


Pattern:  Megan Nielsen’s Virginia Leggings
Size:  Extra Small
Fabric:  Cotton/Lycra from Joys Fabric Warehouse
Alterations:  I added 2″ (5cm) to the petite cutting line to ensure there was bunching at my ankles.




Last year I made a winter wrap using a free in-store pattern from The Cloth Shop.  The wrap got a little bit of wear, but not a lot.  Last month I sewed my fabulous friend Sharon her very own winter wrap using the same pattern, but in a lighter weight wool.  Sharon’s wrap made me realise why my original version wasn’t been worn… the wool I used was just too bulky.


After the above realisation, I set about finding myself the right wool to make a winter wrap that I loved (the old one has gone to the op shop).  My search started and concluded at The Cloth Shop when I came across a double sided wool in blue and grey tones.  Six and a half metres of hand stitched navy wool binding later (I know, I know, I’m crazy, but I do find that I have much more control if I hand stitch the binding in place) and I have myself a wrap that can be worn two ways.


If you’re looking to add a winter wrap to your wardrobe, for this version I used a piece of wool that was approximately 51″ x 51″ (130cm x 130cm) with a u-shaped cut out that was 6.5″ wide and 27″ long (16.5cm wide and 69cm).  I traced part of a plate for the ‘u’ section that nestles into the back of your neck.


Pattern:  The Cloth Shop’s Winter Wrap (free pattern available in-store).
Size:  NA
Fabric:  Double sided wool from The Cloth Shop and wool binding from Tessuti
Alterations:  NA
Accessories:  Antique beads, heavily discounted designer bag from Yoox and shoes from Florsheim
Location:  Melbourne CBD

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  • Love love the sleeve hack on the Aeolian!! and I’m with you, the virginia leggings are great. What a super pretty outfit.

    • Thanks Coco. There will be more hacked Aeolian sleeves in my future. I think tunics and leggings will feature frequently in my Spring wardrobe.

  • You look/looked fantastic Anna! I could never have walked away from a blue/grey double sided wool in a fabric shop either. The wrap is fabulous. Does it not have any seams? It drapes so well it looks like it has sleeves in these pictures.
    And yes, you rock the loose top skinny pants perfectly! If you made those leggings In merino fleece they’d be perfect for this cold snap.

    • Thanks Shelley. The wrap is a square of wool with a u shaped cut-out… not a seam in sight. It’s super simple, but delightfully deceiving when being worn. I hand stitched wool binding around all the raw egdes, but I’m sure there are simpler ways to finish them! Merino leggings… now you are talking!

  • You looked fabulous, such a great evening!! Love all of the details in this post, and that you got a 2nd outfit wear so soon, I love separates that work as hard as these three, gorgeous 😍

    • It was such a great evening. We are heading over to Perth next Wed and I think all of these items will be packed (they will fold down to nothing) and I’ll wear them out to dinner when I meet the Perth sewing ladies.

  • What a beautiful outfit. You make pattern hacking and improvisation look so easy. Well done

  • Thanks for fixing the feedly thing!! I was able to read the whole post in feedly without having to open directly in an internet browser 🙂

  • Your whole outfit looks great, love the shoes and how the sleeves echo the hem of the tunic, very cool, or warm actually. As for wooly nylon I keep hearing about it, must be time to give it a try.

    • Thanks Barbara. I’m really pleased with how everything came together. Those shoes are old ones, but they just seem to go with everything. And yes, give woolly nylon a try… it’s gold.

  • Lovely outfit Anna! … the aeolian looks so pretty in silk cdc with those sleeves ❤️

  • Amazing handmade outfit!! I love adjusting patterns I already own, it feel great to make something new by making changes but I usually wing it and hope, the shape of the sleeves are great and changes the whole look of the top. I’ve not attempted leggings yet but yours look super comfy and fitted, your wrap finishes the whole outfit off. I must buy some woolly nylon thread!

  • Terrific outfit! So behind on my blog reading…. How come you used lightening stitch rather than your over locker for your leggings?

  • Hi Anna,
    I’ve just discovered your blog (via Karen at “Did you Make That”). Love your blog name! Super outfit! Your tunic is just what I want/need, and the leggings are fantastic too! You make it all look so easy. Nice to meet you, I will definitely be back to read more.
    Barbara xx

    • Nice to meet you too Barbara. It’s always interesting to hear how people ‘find’ me. I look forward to chatting online more in the future.

  • Oh I am behind on reading this. The sleeve hack with the curved hem is… cleverness! I enjoyed looking at your pattern overlays. Such neat binding work too. Lovely work.

  • Oh, that is one gorgeous outfit; all three pieces look fab separately, and together you’ve got some alchemy going on! Those colours! DIVINE. And I love love love that winter wrap, looks perfectly toasty and warm.

    • Thanks Carolyn. I’m off to see a show in Sydney this weekend and I think the outfit is going to get it’s 3rd wear!