Thursday, August 9, 2018

More mileage: Bondi Dress Pattern as a top in silk crepe

One of my favorite things in sewing is to find ways to get more mileage out of one pattern. Once I made the Bondi dress from Tessuti patterns I knew it would make a great top. It's ideal for any silk or a floaty rayon. Really for any lightweight fabric, and I predict a color block version in my future (as half the work is done already due to the back design).

Second only to getting more mileage out of a pattern has to be using fabric remnants to make another item. I just don't mean using the scraps for pocket lining, or testing, but sewing another garment in the same fabric from the remainder of the first project. Of course it helps if you bought a great big piece of fabric and in this case I had about 5/8 of a yard plus another sizable bit to work with. So now I have two tops out of this fabric that I absolutely love. And I was able to use the border print, so that was another level of sewing happiness...

If you want a Bondi dress or top of your own - our last Bondi Dress class of the summer is this upcoming Sunday 8/12, at Hello Stitch Studio in Berkeley. Here's the link. Note that the pattern comes with the class plus we have all the sizes sewn up in the studio so you can try on the samples and determine just which size to make. Then you trace off your pattern size (with everything you need supplied) and it's on to sewing!  If you do plan to take the class sign up asap as sometimes we have more people that want to take a class but on a different day so we reschedule if that day turns out to work for more people. If that makes sense. Anyway if you want to do this Sunday class please register by Friday.

Bondi silk top on form

and here I am near the end of my class last weekend, which was our Wrap Dress class. Everyone made super cute dresses including a couple of versions of the Eve dress from Sew Over It (my version shown here).

Bondi top 2

Sewing details: I played around with the length on this top, I think it needs to be long enough to keep the flowy shape and I'm not a fan of a crop top on me, although they look cute on some people. But too long and it looks like a dress that shrank, right?  So I held up the paper pattern piece and took a gamble. Because I wanted to use the border edge, which is printed along the selvedges of this fabric. I figured if it was a bit too long I could do a narrow hem and still keep a bit of the border.

There's the Tessuti Bondi dress instructions on my iPad. They show a lot of versions in linen but I actually like it best in silk or rayon (perhaps because I'm just not a fan of linen). However with linen you can do the cool frayed edge hem treatment, so there is that.


How about some macro lens type sewing detail? Truth be told I'm a straight stitch kind of sewer. I almost never change the stitch type, although I do change the length all the time. But one feature I do like is the capacity to move the needle to one side or the other.


Using the edge of the foot is the best way I've found to get a super even seam allowance stitched around bias binding. I'm sure everyone has their own method but this works for me. So the needle is moved to exactly 1/4 inch away from the edge of the foot (which might not be as shown in the above photo).


Then I pin on the bias binding which is cut about 1 1/8 wide and folded in half. I add that extra 1/8" due to the folding and when manipulated into place around the circle the binding is a fairly accurate 1/2" wide.


Not an ad but just a mention, I really like these pins for almost all sewing, but especially for silks they work so well. Also my treasured magnetic pin holder. Which I'm calling a pin holder so as to distinguish between that and a pin cushion. Whew I despise pincushions!!! I just cannot deal. All that poking pins in and out, it takes forever. I run around my sewing classes giving people little dishes or boxes to put their pins in and try to say "learn to wrangle your pins a different way if you want to sew a bit faster" But mostly people have their own way so I should let it go :)  Breathe in, breathe out, let it go!

Back to stitching.


Changing the presser foot - another feature that I rarely use. But this tiny binding seemed to call for whatever this foot is. My machine manual says it is the blind hem foot, but I think that it works really well for keeping something aligned along the edge as shown. And then I use a wooden skewer to push the binding flat and in place, no pins needed as it is pressed in place and silk presses so well.

bondi silk top side and back

I ended up liking the length just fine so I was glad I could cut it out to use the border.

bondi silk top back closure

When I did the dress version I knew that my X -back bra straps peeked out a the middle so for this slightly more elegant version I put a small extra piece on one side so they back could overlap that. And then for a closure I used a snap.

Here's the dress version of this pattern:

Bondi dress 1

And the tunic top version of this fabric:

silk tunic autumn leaves

So now I really have only small scraps left, just enough for pocket linings.

Bondi top on me at studio

One more look at this top, and my purple jeans. Which I made using a pattern I made by copying a pair of jeans. It's now my go-to pattern for pants and needs to be a blog post, one of these days.

Other classes coming up for fall are:

Sewing Pattern Alteration: Tissue Fitting and Fit Lab on Sun. Aug. 26
Make the Lander Pants on Sat. Sept 8
Copy for favorite Garment on Sun. Sept 30

and then we are into Autumn sewing with
Cape Tailoring Weekend Workshop  Oct 13-14  this is a great option if you want to make a fun outerwear piece, avoid some fitting headaches, but still learn how to work with heavier fabrics, interfacing, lining, buttonholes etc.   On that registration page there is a link to a Pinterest board of all kinds of great cape patterns.

Jacket and Coat Tailoring Weekend Workshop Nov. 3-4  You can make a jacket! I plan to do lots of demos on techniques, explain interfacing, linings, sewing perfect sleeves, how to do bound buttonholes and welt pockets. Even if your pattern doesn't have each one of these details you will have a change to see and practice these techniques.

So what's up next in my sewing list? I gave a sneak peek on Instagram of my latest project and the fabric got a few raves so I am anxious to finish that one and wear it - because our weather is scorching and a summer shift dress will be just right.

And then I had better make some Lander pants to learn all about that pattern. And my Burda magazines are calling me. But today it's 100℉ so I think it's time for a swim.

Happy sewing, 

today's garden photo, a yellow dahlia that I've been waiting for all summer. Did not disappoint! So pretty in the evening light.

yellow dahlia 2018


  1. That silk is divine ;o) I am also a huge fan of magnetic pin holders (I have one that holds pins and two others that hold all sorts of bits and pieces like needles, machine needles, the key to change my sewing machine needles and feet). Somebody recently gave me a packet of the clover flat head fine pins and I wondered why I'd never tried some before - but gee they sting if you prick yourself!!

  2. Sure wish I could take one of your classes! They look so fun :) The top looks so comfy and cute.

  3. Sleeveless top and the tunic are my favorites--love the fabric. Your work is impeccable. Thank you for ALL your commentary--so helpful.

  4. That silk is stunning! I love this pattern on you and the jewel tones are so flattering.

  5. That silk is gorgeous. Glad you can wear it in all seasons now! The border print and shoulder shape work so well together in the Bondi top.

  6. Oh my goodness! Very beautiful. Your fabric choice is always perfect.

  7. I love this top! Gorgeous fabric. Fit looks perfect.

  8. Love the shape of the pattern, and it looks great in a top!