Honeycomb Dress - Pattern Review

I made a thing!  More shockingly, I blogged a thing!  I have been meaning to make this beautiful Cocowawa Crafts Honeycomb dress for months now so having it finally finished is a wonderful feeling.  

Cocowawacrafts Honeycomb Dress Pattern Review by Willow and Stitch

There are so many things to love about this pattern, though the waist ties are particularly special.  I decided to make a sleeveless version for summer, although I know it’s going to work really well layered over long sleeve tees on cooler days.

Cocowawacrafts Honeycomb Dress Pattern Review by Willow and Stitch

Making it sleeveless also gave me an opportunity to use some gorgeous Japanese cotton bias binding which gives such a lovely finish. I’m a big fan of using ready made bias binding for projects, rather than the main fabric, just because it saves so much on the fabric requirements and means that I usually have enough left over for a skirt or top for my little one too!  Better still is using other small, irregular pieces of leftover fabric to make your own bias binding, although I was too lazy in this instance. Or rather, more accurately, I saw these pretty bias bindings at Fibresmith (my favourite Melbourne fabric and supplies store!) and couldn’t resist buying them!

Honeycomb6.jpgCocowawacrafts Honeycomb Dress Pattern Review by Willow and Stitch
Cocowawacrafts Honeycomb Dress Pattern Review by Willow and Stitch

I sewed a size 3 and the fit was pretty good for me, although I did reduce the size of the armholes after making a muslin.  The main thing that I changed was to swap the collar for an open style. I’m weirdly unable to stand it when my clothes touch my neck so even though I love the look of the honeycomb collar I knew it wasn’t going to work for me and I didn’t want my dress to end up unworn.  So, I took inspiration from Sew Liberated’s Matcha Top and shortened the collar piece, gathering the front bodice to meet it at each side. This adjustment meant that I only needed 3 buttons on my front placket and I also found that I needed to shift the position of the top button (and consequently the others) down a little to give the neckline the open look that I was after.

Cocowawacrafts Honeycomb Dress Pattern Review by Willow and Stitch

I feel like this dress is yet another reminder of how your favourite fabric is SO much nicer when you’re wearing it than when it’s just sitting on your shelf, looking pretty and receiving the occasional pat!

I am utterly obsessed with this Atellier Brunette Stardust Double Gauze.  I’m sure I’ve raved about double gauze before but to my mind it really is the perfect fabric.  Natural fibres, so soft against the skin, drapes beautifully and is a dream to sew with. What more is there?

Cocowawacrafts Honeycomb Dress - Pattern Review by Willow and Stitch

P.s. don’t you just love those ‘me made’ labels? They’re by Kylie and the Machine and she has so many amazing label designs it’s almost impossible to choose!  I bought these on my latest visit to Fibresmith too but they are now happily stocked in lots of stores and also online! yay!

Millie Dress International Blog Tour

Millie Dress in See You at Six French Terry

I've had my eyes on this beautiful Millie Dress pattern for a while now. I even went and downloaded the original version but my little beanpole of a girl outgrew the size range before I had a chance to make it.  Happily for me the lovely designer, Nicky of Mix it Make it, has updated the pattern and it now comes in sizes 2-12 - Hurrah!  When she asked whether I would like to be part of the international blog tour to celebrate the release of the English version of the pattern I quite naturally jumped at the chance! 

Millie Dress International Blog Tour

Summer is in full swing down under so I decided to hack my Millie Dress a little to make a sleeveless version.  It was a really simple alteration - I just turned the seam allowance to the wrong side and stitched it down, exactly the same as the neckline.  Super easy.

Millie Dress in See You at Six French Terry

I used a beautiful soft See You at Six French terry which I have recently become completely obsessed with.  I blame MaaiDesign for introducing me to it and enabling my addiction!  It's just so lovely to work with and so heavenly to wear.  Each time I make something from it my kids put the clothes on and say 'Oooooh, yes! I love this one!'  I can't get enough of this beautiful pink with gold paint strokes on it.

Sleeveless Millie Dress in See You at Six French Terry

I think this may well be one of Ella's favourite things that I have ever made for her.  Pretty, Twirly, Comfy. What more could a girl want?  

The pattern is beautifully drafted and the instructions are clear and simple.  I made the mistake of getting a little over excited and accidentally cut the front and back bodice along the ruffle insertion lines before joining them at the shoulders.  I spent about 2 minutes kicking myself and then decided to just try sticking them back together with washi tape before sewing and what do you know - it worked a treat!  Washi tape for the win every time!

There will certainly be more Millie Dresses in our future.   I've already got a long sleeved version planned for autumn in this lovely April Rhodes fabric.  Any dress that makes you want to dance and twirl is a winner in my opinion! (Click through the images above to see more dancing and twirling!)

If you'd like to see more Millie Dresses go and take a look at the beautiful creations by the other lovelies on the Millie Dress Blog Tour:

Kneesocks and Goldilocks | Just Add Fabric | Van Jansen

Groovy Baby and Mama | La Folie Sewing Booth | My Petite Sophie

Vogue Deep V Kimono Dress - V9253

V9253 Vogue Deep V Kimono Dress in Teal Milled Linen

It has taken me so long to get around to photographing and blogging this dress that I can hardly remember any of the making details by now.  So, consider this fair warning if you’re hoping to be informed; this blog post is most likely going to be a combination of pretty pictures and pointless ramblings!

V9253 Vogue Deep V Kimono Sleeve

I made this dress for Melbourne Frocktails after seeing lots of gorgeous versions of it crop up in my instagram feed and becoming completely obsessed with it!

V9253 Vogue Deep V Kimono Dress

I wasn’t brave enough to go for the full deep V, so I just sewed it up to a point where I felt comfortable. I probably should have sewn an extra centimetre or so to stop that pesky bra peeping out, or perhaps I’ll just take it as a sign that I need to spend some time this year learning how to make pretty bras that are worthy of peeping at!

V9253 Vogue Deep V Kimono Dress front pleats

The fabric is a beautiful teal milled linen from The Fabric Store (this shade is called Blue Lagoon), I've already used this fabric for several other projects, and I love the look and feel of it and how easy it is to work with (I’m soon going to have a wardrobe full of this linen in every shade!)

I had a major freak out halfway through making where I became convinced that I didn’t actually like it at all. Fortunately all those fears disappeared when I put it on - I LOVE this dress. It’s so simple yet elegant and I’ve worn it a handful of times already.   

V9253 Vogue Deep V Kimono Dress back zipper

It was actually my first time sewing a vogue pattern - I mostly use indie designer patterns and it really highlighted for me the differences between them and ‘Big 4’ patterns. Firstly it was really expensive ($25!) and also quite hard to find - I had to DRIVE around to SHOPS (say what?!) - no simple internet download for this one.  

I also found the instructions very different, much less detailed and there were no helpful video tutorials or explanations of techniques.  While it wasn't hard to work out what to do, I did spend a lot of time hoping that I was doing it correctly, and not feeling very confident.  It’s made me realise just what a wonderful thing indie designers have done for sewing. I am essentially self taught in my sewing and all of it has come from buying sewing patterns which teach me new techniques, they don’t require you to know those techniques, they teach them! How great is that?! Thank you to all you wonderful designers out there, without you I probably would have given up on sewing before I’d ever even really started to learn!

V9253 Vogue Deep V Kimono Dress front pleats side view

One of the reasons that it's taken me so long to get around to blogging this dress is that I find taking photos really difficult.  I just feel so self-conscious and awkward in front of the camera and it shows in the photos which look awful and that in turn feeds back into a terrible loop of looking and feeling bad about myself! 

One of my resolutions for this year is to learn to feel more comfortable in front of the camera.  One of best ways seems to be to just have a little fun with it and get a bit silly.  I'm going to leave you with this gem because it just cracks me up so bad! Enjoy!

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See You at Six French Terry Groove Dress

I thought all of my dreams had come true when Maaike from MaaiDesign contacted me and asked if I'd like to play with some of her beautiful, beautiful fabrics!  I was completely spoiled for choice but eventually chose to make this amazingly soft, completely adorable, beach / swim cover up from the fish print of this See You at Six french terry

I'm sharing lots more photos and a few more ramblings over at MaaiDesign today. Go and take a look and say 'hello'!

Groove Dress See You at Six French Terry Fish 1.JPG

Metamorphic Dress

Metamorphic Dress by Willow and Stitch.JPG

I’ve been raving about Sew Liberated’s Metamorphic Dress over on instagram for a little while now but I love it so much that I thought it deserved a few words and pictures over here too!

I’ve been reading, and loving, Meg’s insights on parenthood and living a creative life since my daughter was a tiny baby, 7 years ago. Her blog remains my favourite place to find inspiration, ideas and reassurance.  It was, in fact, blogs like Sew Liberated and Made by Rae that first nudged me down the path towards re-discovering a joy of sewing, first for my kids and then for myself. This seemingly small act of stumbling across these blogs so many years ago has caused such a massive shift in my focus and my passion that it is actually impossible to imagine where life would have taken me if hadn’t clicked on the link that first took me there. If I had stayed my finger, where would I be right now? I have no idea, but I’m fairly certain that life would be less joyful and less fulfilling. I feel like I owe so much to Meg, I love her philosophy of sewing, and of course, her designs, so when I got a chance to pattern test the Metamorphic dress I was thrilled.  

Sew liberated metamorphic dress 1.JPG

This dress ticks so many boxes. The most amazing thing about it is that it’s reversible - it’s two dresses in one. I packed mine for a weekend away and it was almost the only thing I had to pack. My husband’s head nearly exploded the first time I turned it inside out and put it back on - hilarious!  You don’t fully appreciate the genius of the reversibility though until your kids smear something grotty over you and you can just whip it off, turn it around and put it back on (although unless you’re layering it, I’d recommend finding a private spot before you do this - I almost got caught out here, I was so excited when I realised that I could switch it around that I nearly stripped off there and then…oops!)

Striped Metamorphic Dress by Willow and Stitch.JPG

I made this version in a blue and white stripe cotton / linen blend for the outer layer and a lightweight linen from The Fabric Store for the inner layer.  The linen is 'Duck Egg' and it’s the most gorgeous colour. Next to grey it looks blue and next to blue it looks grey and it will go with pretty much everything in my wardrobe!

The dress is super comfortable, although I would expect nothing less from one of Meg’s designs. Clothes are no good at all to me if I can’t move in them, I need to be able to be spontaneous with my kids, be able to roll down a hill, to rescue them from unexpectedly big waves, to jump and run with them or to help them down from a tree. I can do all of this in my Metamorphic dress and I feel great doing it.  The relaxed fit means that it's cool on the hottest summer days and also layers up beautifully for winter.

Metamorphic Dress.JPG

And… I’ve saved the best for last... Pockets! It has 4! Topstitched pockets for the outer layer and inseam pockets for the inner layer. I basically refuse to wear anything without pockets these days because where am I going to put the random bits and pieces that get handed to me on an hourly basis otherwise? Pockets also add an element of fun to laundry day - one garment might have hair ties, lego pieces and marbles in the pockets. In another I'll find wilted flowers, twigs and rocks, or else googly eyes, glitter and tiny paper airplanes - it's like discovering miniature time capsules of our days.

Linen Metamorphic dress by willow and stitch.JPG

The pattern releases on Wednesday 1st November so make sure you’re subscribed to the Sew Liberated newsletter for 30% off!  

Arizona After Blog Tour

Arizona After Blog Tour Hoppe Jumpsuit in Ojos Smoke knit

Last year I decided to treat myself to a weekend away in Sydney to attend some workshops that April Rhodes was teaching.  It was a wonderful weekend, so fun and inspiring. I have always loved April’s fabric (something about the colours and the designs just speaks to me and makes me want to, well… MAKE!)  but since meeting her I couldn’t help but also love April herself -  this lady has such a huge heart that it is practically impossible not to. 

April has just released TWO (!) new fabric collections; Arizona After, (a beautiful extension of her first fabric line - Arizona), and Heritage - a collection of knits and rayons inspired by her family’s history and roots.  You don’t need to hear her talk about the meaning behind these fabrics (although you should - there are some wonderful stories behind them) to see that she has poured her heart and soul into these designs.

I have to admit that for me one of the most exciting thing about these new collections is the number of garment fabrics.  I also love how well the prints work for both adults and children's clothing.  I’m going to be begging for more of her designs in rayons and knits in future!

Arizona After Blog Tour Hoppe Jumpsuit in Ojos Smoke knit

For today though, I sewed up a Hoppe Jumpsuit by Straightgrain in the Ojos Smoke knit for Ella and it was a massive hit, both with the girl and with me.  The fabric is lovely to work with and is so soft to wear.  The Hoppe Jumpsuit is also a really satisfying pattern to sew.  It comes together so quickly.  I actually can’t stop making them (I’ve made 3 already and have more on the cards.)

I made a toile of View B (no pleat) to test the fit (a size 8 skinny for my rather-tall-just-turned-7 year old) and while the toile fits well I think that View A (with the diagonal front pleat) makes it seem just a little too long in the body.  If I were to sew another for her I might go down a size and lengthen the legs for her instead.

Arizona After Blog Tour Hoppe Jumpsuit in Ojos Smoke knit

The Hoppe Jumpsuit is just so easy to move in, and perfect for active little people.  It seemed only right to thoroughly put it through its paces while taking photographs so we headed to our new favourite place to play – a treehouse that someone has built by the creek near our house. It can be a besieged fort or a pirate ship, a secret hideout or a nest, a palace or a treehouse - and is such a great place to let little bodies and imaginations run wild.  

Arizona After Blog Tour Hoppe Jumpsuit in Ojos Smoke knit

Make sure to check back on April’s blog and Instagram all throughout July for the up-to-date info on the Blog Tour.

Next up will be the ever wonderful Mr Domestic, followed by a final Instagram loop with more amazing prizes to be won!

P.S. Don’t forget to tag all of your makes with #heritagefabrics and #arizonaafterfabrics. Happy Sewing!

Fabric was provided to me by April Rhodes but all opinions are my own.

Acton Dress

Wow, I haven’t been here for such a long time - things keep getting in the way - ordinary, everyday things:  cooking dinner, trying to stay on top of the mountains of laundry, house guests, and head colds.   

I’m making excuses of course, the truth is that I simply haven’t really felt like sewing or blogging or designing or posting on Instagram so much recently.  I’ve been focused on different things (cooking, baking, gardening, decluttering, reading, watching all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls…)  So, instead of trying to force it I decided to give myself permission to take a break for as long as I needed.

It worked - sort of.  It was good to accept that this just wasn’t where my interest was for the time being, good to take a step back and not to give myself a hard time about it.  I don’t want sewing or writing to become a chore.  I want to do it because I want to do it - otherwise what’s the point?

There’s a catch though (there’s always a catch!) - now that I finally feel inspired to make and write again, I’m freaking out, because breaking a silence is scary.  I mean, surely after taking such a long break I’d better have a good reason to come back to it, I ought to have something exceptional to say, right? Something profound. Or interesting at the very least.  I don’t though. I’m sorry.  Nothing remarkable here, just my ramblings and a realisation that I am happier when I am writing and making and designing.  So without any particular agenda I’m going to try to get back to that.  Here’s a pretty new dress that I made:

Acton Dress

I sewed myself an Acton dress by In The Folds for my lovely husband’s 40th Birthday party the other weekend. I wanted to make it in a soft black linen, with the hope that it wouldn’t look too formal and I would therefore be able to wear it fairly often.  I couldn’t find any nice linen though so I settled on this cotton silk blend instead.  It’s actually really lovely, very floaty and drapey and soft.

Acton Dress

Black fabric is so hard to photograph - sorry for the not very detailed pictures!  Although you can't see it, the dress is beautifully finished inside - lined bodice, french seams etc.  I can certainly see more Acton Dresses in my future, although I have might wait until summer now (it seems a shame to hide that beautiful bodice under layers of winter woolies!)

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New Year, New Beginning

If you saw this previous blog post you’ll know that I recently undertook my first venture into wholesale.  There were a lot of things I learned during the processes and a few surprises too.  The most significant of which was the realisation that I have effectively been selling masks in my Etsy store at wholesale prices for the last year.

I was surprised to find that Seed were going to sell my masks for $29.95 each. While I don’t think it’s unreasonable for them to do this, it was a bit of a wake up call for me.  I couldn’t help wondering why they were happy to charge that much when I felt like I couldn’t.  If customers were happy to pay this price in Seed, surely they would be just as happy to pay the same amount, knowing that they were supporting a small handmade business rather than a large corporation?

Raising prices is actually something I have been considering for a while now, mainly because I would love to take the next step and begin to approach local toy shops to see whether they would like to stock my masks.  I haven't done this yet because I can’t afford to lower my wholesale price, and I can’t ask retailers to sell my masks at a higher price while undercutting them in my own Etsy store.


All of this has left me feeling very conflicted.  I need to raise my prices but I feel really bad about it, I feel like I’m cheating people by doing so.  I’m worried that I’ll be out-priced by cheap versions of the same thing on Etsy, I’m wondering how I convince people that what I’m making is of better quality and that it’s worth what I’m asking for it.  I feel rather like I’m saying that my time is worth more - that I’m worth more - than what I’m currently asking - and for me that’s an uncomfortable place to be.  But at the same time I also want to make a success of my business and I can’t do that if I’m cheating myself.

While all of this has been difficult to work through, I am glad in a way to have had my hand forced.  I am happy to have finally made a decision that I have been putting off for months and months.  It feels like a gamble, and I’m afraid that it won’t work, I’m afraid that customers will say ‘No, I’m not paying that - it’s not worth that much’, not only because I don’t want to fail, but because it would leave me feeling foolish for having had the audacity to believe that I - and my products - were worth more.  

So having babbled on and on for quite long enough now, here’s what I’ve decided to do:


I am going to review the prices of all of my felt dress up masks.  They will be priced between AUD$19 and $24 depending on how detailed they are and how much work goes into them.  The new prices will come into effect as of January 2nd. So, consider this fair warning - if you were thinking of buying, get in quick before the price rise!

As an added bonus, I will be running a sale between Boxing day and New Year where you can get an extra 20% off with the code SWEET - this discount code will work for patterns too!  Please note that all orders placed during the sale will ship on January 2nd as we're going to spend New Year canoeing down a river, camping, reconnecting with nature and generally getting very grubby!

Finally I’d like to thank each and every one of you for all your support this year - whether it’s as a customer, a reader or a friend.  I couldn’t do it without you and want to wish you a very happy, healthy and joyful New Year.