I am going on a flying visit to the States at the end of September for my cousin’s wedding and I made this dress thinking I would wear this to the daytime/ church ceremony. Now I am having second thoughts as to whether it will be too warm (New Jersey at the end of September – Carolyn or anyone else, any thoughts?). Anyway, the pattern is Simplicity 8292. The main thing to note about my version is that I have moved the under bust/ empire line seam down to create a waist seam, which I personally find more comfortable and flattering. More details on that in the review below.
The fabric is this triple crepe in fuschia pink, purchased from Minerva crafts. I have worked with this triple crepe before and it is quite weighty. I was worried it might fray like mad, but it wasn’t too bad. I put it through a hot 60 degree prewash and it cut and sewed very well. I did use a medium heat for pressing with steam and my clapper to get a crisper finish on my pressing.
Can I just say I am thrilled with the fit through the back of the skirt? I would never be able to get a sheath dress like this to fit me RTW and I love the princess seams on this pattern for the fit opportunities. I did do a full bum adjustment and it worked very well.
The main attraction of this pattern of course is the statement flutter sleeves. They do make this dress very of the moment, but other sleeve options are included in the pattern (including a cold sleeve option as well as a plain short sleeve option), so I would consider making this dress again for work in a neutral colour with the short sleeve option – now I have got the dress to fit me so well. One thing to watch out for: I wish I had chosen another seam finishing technique to finish the sleeve seam instead of overlocking. I mean, you can’t see it in these pictures when I have the dress on, but personally I think it looks a little ugly, and if I was making this dress again with the flutter sleeves I would reconsider this aspect.
I chose to fully line my dress. I used this tutorial to fully machine the lining around the armholes which I think worked well. Inside shots:
This Misses’/Miss Petite dress features three different sleeve options, princess seams, invisible back zipper, lined bodice and your choice of either long flare or pencil cut each in two lengths.
I made view C with some alterations.
6 – 22
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes, although the most noticeable difference between the pattern and my version is that I moved the under bust/ empire line seam down to hit at my waist.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes. I kind of did my own thing when it came to the lining.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I love the finished dress: the fit and the statement flutter sleeves. Love the princess seams which give lots of fitting opportunities. I wish I had chosen another seam finishing technique to finish the sleeve seam instead of overlocking. I mean, you can’t see it in these pictures when I have the dress on, but personally I think it looks a little ugly, and if I was making this dress again with the flutter sleeves I would reconsider this aspect.
Triple crepe outer and polyester lining.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
- I cut my usual size 18 through the shoulders and bust and graded out over the waist and hips.
- I cut the skirt pattern off at the marked waistline and taped the pieces I cut off onto the bottom of the corresponding bodice pieces, overlapping the seam allowances, and re-adding new seam allowances at the bottom edges and at the new top edges of the skirt pattern pieces. I did this in order to move the under bust/ empire line down to waist level, which I personally find more comfortable and flattering.
- 1 inch FBA
- Added about an inch to the side seams but probably removed most of that when fitting the dress. Used a slightly larger seam allowance than suggested to insert the zipper in the centre back seam
- 1 inch sway back adjustment on bodice
- Added a full lining
- Used the princess seams to fit: let them out approx. 0.25 inch in the tummy and bottom area
- Did 1 inch full bum adjustment largely to add length to the back of the skirt to account for my full bottom
- After making the FBA etc some of the seams didn’t match so had to make some adjustments to make the bodice and skirt seams match
- Interfaced the skirt hems, vent area and zipper opening
- Hand stitched hems
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Initially I thought my answer to this would be no. But the fact that a plain short sleeve is included means I could see me making this dress again in a neutral colour for work. Yes, I recommend.
I love the fit, the colour and the statement sleeves. Remains to be seen whether I actually wear this to the wedding at the end of September in New Jersey or if it will be too hot.
Enjoy the long weekend if you have one, otherwise enjoy your week.
Pauline Alice Eliana Top and Butterick 6331: DIY Gauze Peasant Style Top and White Denim Boyfriend Style Jeans: Stylish Fabric
Today I am so excited to share a perfect summer outfit made using fabrics from L.A based Stylish Fabric. They got in touch with me recently and asked if I wanted to try out some of their fabrics. The fabrics in this post were provided at no cost to me, but as ever, my opinions are my own.
The blouse was made using this gorgeous cotton and rayon gauze in blush colour. This fabric is delicious to wear and was easy to sew. I was expecting it to fray like mad, but it didn’t. I overlocked all my seam allowances. One thing I would say to watch out for is that I think this fabric shrunk quite a bit in the wash (unless I wasn’t sent as much as I initally thought?) I asked for 3 yards but I think I had about 2 yards (?) to play with. So, yep, not sure why that was. But, no matter, I ended up with a beautiful blouse that I will be happy to wear in hot weather.
The jeans are made using this white denim (currently 60% off). This non-stretch denim is the perfect weight for denim jeans, and is, I would say, ever so slightly off white. It washed, pressed and sewed beautifully. I used a Schmetz jeans needle and Gutterman top stitching thread, even though you can’t of course see the details. Full details on patterns below.
- Made using Pauline Alice Eliana Dress pattern modified to top length. You can see my first version of the top hack here.
- Moved the bust dart up by 1 inch.
- Added 3/8ths inch to side seams at hip.
- Made narrower self bias tape to bind the neckline and sleeve openings.
- Made using Butterick 6331. See first version of these pants here and my floral version here.
- These white denim jeans were actually version number 2, so see my first version for details of pattern amendments. Even though I didn’t make any alterations to the pattern from version number 1, these feel very different. Amazing what changing the fabric can do. These are boyfriend style, so fairly loose fitting, but still quite slim I think.
- I essentially followed the Closet Case Ginger Jeans instructions to make these.
- Interfaced the fly.
- Omitted interfacing in the waistband.
- Used lining fabric for the pocket bags to cut down on bulk.
- Added back pockets, fly shield and topstitching.
- Extended length of waistband by about 5 inches (much better to have too much length IMO that can be shortened as required).
Thanks to Stylish Fabric for the opportunity to add some really versatile pieces to my wardrobe. Sometimes plain basics can be the most valuable thing you can make!
No, I am not entering a Chris Evans look-alike contest (British reference there). Today’s post features fabric kindly sent to me by Spoonflower. I am sure many of you have already heard of the eco-friendly custom printing firm. About 1.5 years ago they opened a second factory in Berlin, and to celebrate they asked a few British bloggers to be part of a Blog Tour, and make items using Spoonflower fabric. You can see the list of bloggers here on the Spoonflower Blog. The fabric I have used in this post was sent to me for no charge by Spoonflower, but all opinions are my own.
I have never ordered fabric from Spoonflower before. The choice of already uploaded designs on the Spoonflower website is vast (of course the option is also there to upload your own design), and somewhat overwhelming. I searched using key words of prints I have a passion for (like dark florals), and elected to go for Jungle Passion Floral Navy by Joan McLemore, printed on to the lightweight cotton twill (58″ width).
Because of my own indecision, Spoonflower ended up sending me this fabric in two separate lengths but I was not able to detect any differences in the colours between the two lengths. I think the colours are a pretty good match to what was shown on screen when I was making my selection. I also liked the fact that, at least for the design I selected, previews were provided of the fabric made up into a cushion and a dress, so I could guage the scale of the print.
I did run the fabrics through a hot (60 degree) pre-wash before cutting out and did not notice any running, bleeding or fading. This particular fabric was easy to cut, sew and press. It’s a good weight without being too heavy and bulky. Full disclosure: will I ever wear these two pieces together? Probably not, but as separates in my wardrobe I love them and how individual and quirky they are. I already have lots of things which these items will go with.
The trousers were made using Butterick 6331. This is actually my third iteration of these pants (I haven’t shown you version two yet), but you can see my first version here. For this version I took on board what some of you said in the comments and scooped out the back crotch by 0.25 inches and added 0.5 inches to the upper back thigh. I know it’s hard to see in this busy print but overall I think it’s better. Other changes for this version:
- I fully interfaced the waistband.
- I had to let the side seams out a touch from the waist down to the bottom of the pockets.
- I hemmed the bottoms by hand.
- These are trousers but with some jeans details like additional topstitching, jeans button and bar tacks.
The blazer was made using Simplicity 2446, which I first made in wool ponte. I do love my first version, and since going back to work, have worn it a few times. But the shoulders are too big (although I did go back and alter them to be smaller). So for this version I made sure to do a small shoulder adjustment.
- I did a 5/8ths inch small shoulder adjustment.
- I shaved 0.25 inches off all the shoulder princess seams above the bust.
- I added a centre back seam for shaping.
- I shortened the pocket bag length by 1.5 inches.
- I added small ready made shoulder pads but omitted sleeve heads and chest reinforcement.
- You can see a picture of the internal interfacing here on Instagram if you want.
My previous two blazers have taken me approx. 3 weeks each to make: I slaved over this blazer to get it done in a week! Gosh it was tough but overall I am pretty happy with the finished result.
Like I say, being honest, I don’t think I would be brave enough to go full on head to toe pattern, but as individual pieces I think these are going to get worn lots. I am also very proud of how far I have come on with my sewing techniques tackling things like the welt pockets and sleeve vents and even the trouser fitting and sewing.
Happy sewing everyone!
Hello There Friends,
This is the last of my unblogged projects from last year, and, I think, my first ever project sewn using a vintage pattern. The pattern used was Style 3247; you can see the (obviously aged!) pattern envelope below. (I wonder who Mrs. Clark was and which part of the world she lived in?)
The pattern actually has rather cleverly designed facings which mean the front buttons are fully functioning, and how the pattern intends you to get in and out of the dress. I decided that a double breasted look was not going to be the most flattering for me, and so I decided to omit the front opening and instead install an invisible zip in the centre back seam. I also ended up adding some fish eye darts in the back to provide more shaping.
Here are some inside shots. The pattern included facing pieces but as the outer fashion fabric is a wool/ cashmere blend that I purchased locally to me and is dry clean only, I opted to also add a full lining. The pattern made no mention of interfacing but I did add interfacing to all the facing pieces, as well as to the centre back seam where the zipper was being inserted. I also chose to draft hem facing pieces to finish the hems.
Pattern Alteration/ Sewing Notes:
- Omitted front opening and inserted centre back invisible zip
- Removed 2.25 inches from length and ended up taking 1 inch seam allowance when attaching hem facings
- Drafted hem facings
- Added full lining in addition to facings
- 1 inch sway back adjustment with removed length being added back to lower back hem
- Added interfacing to all facing pieces and to centre back seam
- Added fish eye darts to back
- Narrowed shoulder straps (removing approx. 5/8ths inch from outer edge of each strap)
- If making again consider narrowing width at front neckline
So, anyway, after I saw the pictures….I don’t know…I just wasn’t sold on this whole look for me. I can’t put my finger on exactly why. I feel like it makes me look broader somehow through the front? Is it the square neckline? Is it the lack of waist seaming? Maybe it’s one of those garments I just need time to play around with and style a few different ways? It is lovely and warm and I like the colour. But hmmm….at present it’s not a wadder, but just a bit meh.
That’s the last of my 2016 makes! Already sewn up a tunic style top and most of an Archer shirt in 2017…but this week I am doing a spot of pattern testing.
Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to the New Year.
I actually still have 2 unblogged items that I completed this year but I am not going to rush into blogging those before the year end. Instead, I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on the items I have made this year and also share some items that those of you who are not on Instagram might have missed (because I felt they were not worthy of a blog post of their own).
It’s been another great year of sewing for me. I feel like my skills are improving and I am getting more practised at refining the fit of garments – that’s not to say I always get it right – because I don’t! I think I am also more confident in my own sense of style and picking patterns that I think might work on my body shape etc. So all in all, 2016 was a successful year for me.
Here is the complete breakdown (not including the two unblogged items) with some pictures of things that have appeared on the blog before, as well as some pictures of items I shared on my Instagram account.
- 4 coats – including one for Kezia. These are probably my most favourite items of all the things I have sewn. I have to wear a coat of some kind most days for at least 9 – 10 months of the year and reaching for these items makes me happy. I really enjoy coat making.
- 2 blazers – both huge learning curves for me. One was a hand tailored wool blazer and one was a wool ponte blazer constructed using fusible interfacings.
- 2 jackets – one made from Linton tweed and fully lined (that was worn lots when travelling on planes in America) and one unlined kimono style.
- 3 pairs of pull on jeans made using the Jalie Elenore pattern (my red pair got worn loads – see below for picture. My black pair are in the donate pile – fabric didn’t have enough stretch to make them comfortable).
- 3 pairs of pants made using Simplicity 1167 – this pattern has become my go to pants pattern – for now. So proud of myself for making pants that fit ME!
- 2 pairs of culotte style trousers.
- 2 skirts, both made using Simplicity 8019. I made a version in suede leather and then this (unblogged) denim version, which has gotten a fair amount of wear.
- 1 pair of workout leggings
- 5 shirts – including one made for Philip’s big birthday and a floral Grainline Archer made for myself from some soft cotton voile type fabric I purchased a few years ago in Paris that I LOVE wearing.
- 11 further tops/ blouses/ workout top, including this modified McCalls 6886 breton style top. Sadly this has also just gone into the donate pile on account of the fabric not washing very well. It’s a shame as I LOVE the first breton top I made using this pattern and it still gets regularly worn (in a black and white stripe). Need to find the perfect fabric to make more!
- 2 cardigans
- 4 shirt dresses
- 6 further dresses – one of which was a wadder. The wadder was my attempt at turning the True Bias Sutton blouse into a dress with an elasticated waist. I made the top part way too blousey and I ended up chopping the dress apart before giving up on it completely.
- A gymnastics outfit for Kezia
- 2 pairs of cotton pyjamas – made using Simplicity 2317. These have been washed and worn and washed and worn. I hope to make more (and more luxurious) versions next year.
- 2 refashions: a blouse of mine which I no longer wanted refashioned into a top for Kezia and a denim peplum jacket made from 2 pairs of old jeans.
- 1 baby dress and pantaloons
Phew! Quite the list. I am proud and happy of all I have achieved this year 🙂
What does 2017 hold? I am not one to tie myself down with challenges/ resolutions or even firm plans. I like to run wild and free, haha. But….
- More coats: a waterproof Kelly anorak, a trench coat of some kind and another blazer (still need to find my perfect one in terms of fit and style!)
- Workout tops in the supplex I purchased in America this year
- More pants! Maybe another pattern?
- Feel like I need some new tops to freshen my wardrobe up.
Not going to think beyond that. I like to draw up a more specific list up about 3 or 4 times a year and edit as I go along.
So all that remains is for me to say a huge THANK YOU to all of my followers and to all of you who read my blog and comment. It’s great to be part of this community and also it was great to meet some of you in real life and make new friends. Actually, that’s something I hope I get more chance to do next year. I wish all of you health, happiness, peace and prosperity for the new year. Happy and fruitful sewing!
Hi There Friends!
One year ago Julie Starr and Sarah Gunn asked me if I would be interested in sewing up a tunic to be featured in The Tunic Bible, which has now been published. To say I was flattered to have been asked was an understatement. I have long admired both Julie and Sarah’s work and the book seemed like a great concept. There are SO many options for collars, neck plackets and sleeves as well as lengths, styles, fabrics (including knits) and trims….this is not just a one trick pony. If you don’t believe me, head over to The Tunic Bible website to check out the gallery (you might see some familiar faces). A group of bloggers were asked to sew samples up to be featured in the book and every single one of us made something completely different and varied.
Anyway, I chose to make an autumnal version from a soft, fine printed babycord with an outside-facing wide split placket, an angled collar and sleeve cuffs sewn in a contrasting corduroy. All the details for all the options are given in the book. I barely made any changes whatsoever to the pattern: not even my usual FBA or sway back adjustment. Aside from fiddling with the length and dropping the bust darts 0.5 inches and including back darts, that was it. I was very impressed with the fit. Note that the size range goes from XS to XXL.
I am still waiting to receive my hard copy of The Tunic Bible (on its way), but have seen the full final version electronically and it is beautifully photographed, presented and written. Incidentally, anyone interested in sewing Indian style Kurta tops; this book is perfect for you and before I go to India next time I would love to sew a couple up.
If you would like to be in with a chance to win a copy of the book and check it out for yourself then there is a giveaway. Winners in the USA will receive a hard copy of the book; outside of the USA winners will receive an electronic copy, so this is open to all. All you have to do is leave a comment below before midnight GMT on 12th October 2016. If you want to be in with more chances to win then here’s the list of other participants of this book tour; you can enter on every single site if you wish 🙂
Good Luck and well done Sarah and Julie for making this idea a hugely inspirational success.
*THIS GIVEAWAY HAS NOW ENDED*
PR.com are currently running a Wardrobe Contest until the end of March, by which time entrants have to have sewn 5 compulsory garments (2 bottoms, 2 tops and 1 topper), and 5 free choice garments. The tops have to go with all the bottoms and vice versa, and the topper must go with all the outfits. If sewing a dress it must go with the topper and coordinate with the wardrobe.
I am going to try and meet the deadline (?!) because what I have realised is that I have all the fabrics I need to make this wardrobe in my stash (bar one), and all the patterns. So, if nothing else, I will have succeeded in sewing some classic, wearable garments from my stash, which will hopefully coordinate with each other, and in essence, give me a capsule wardrobe of sorts.
Above is an inspiration collage I uploaded to Instagram which captures the kind of look I am after. I am thinking that kind of very wearable, effortless chic that French women seem to pull off so easily, ha! (The collage is missing the tenth item: a white silk blouse).
So today I thought I would share my fabric/ pattern choices. These may change as I progress. Some are patterns I have sewn before; others are new patterns. Already, by sorting through my fabrics/ patterns and writing this post I can see a clear plan and it looks promising.
Item 1: Striped Breton Tunic Top
Pattern: McCalls 6886 (modified to tunic length).
Item 2: Denim Dress
Pattern: Vogue 9077, View A, possibly with sleeves from View C.
Item 3: Black Wool Crepe Blazer
Item 4: White/ Black Heart Print Blouse
Pattern: Vogue 1387, View B
Item 5: Black Triple Crepe Culottes
Pattern: Butterick 6179.
Previously made here.
Item 6: Red/ Black Animal Print Blouse
Pattern: McCalls 7248, View B.
Item 7: Off white Silk Crepe de Chine Collarless Shirt
Pattern: Simplicity 1279, View C.
Item 8: White Cotton Shirt
Pattern: Grainline Archer.
Made 3 times to date and last made here.
Items 9 and 10: Black and Red Pull on Jeggings
Pattern: Jalie 3461 Eleonore Pull on Jeans.
Previously made here.
So that’s the plan: it remains to be seen whether or not I make the deadline!
I had a great weekend meeting up with The Yorkshire Spoolettes. Read about it over on Ali’s blog. It was wonderful to meet other friendly, down to earth sewists and the fabric shopping was good too 🙂
How about you? Any sewing plans? Anyone else entering the contest?
Have a great week ahead.
Hello There Friends,
Happy new year!
I wanted to take a quick look back over this past sewing year, as well as look forward to 2015.
2014 has been a (even if I do say so myself), phenomenal year for me in terms of sewing. Not only in terms of output, but also in terms of variety of garments and fabric types sewn, as well as the increase in my technical abilities. Here are some brief stats:
I think these are correct….
- 45 items sewn in total (that have been blogged about; I have also sewn one pair of curtains so far for the new house, and am carrying one UFO forward into the new year – my birthday dress. I don’t do UFOs, so this will have to be finished….but now I don’t have a big occasion coming up that I need the dress for, I am dragging my heels slightly).
- 17 dresses (including one not mentioned above that has not yet been blogged).
- 9 tops
- 8 jackets/ coats/ cardigans/ sweatshirts
- 4 items for Kezia
- 1 shirt for Philip
- 3 bottoms
- 1 knitted item
- 1 underwired bra
- 1 swimsuit
- 1 patchwork teddy!
These items are definitely the ones that got worn the most:
So suffice to say, I realise that I need to make more tops in the new year!
I also wanted to give a “special mention” to these garments, which I genuinely love each and every time I put them on:
Now on to the garments which I didn’t love:
The bodice length was too short on this peplum top and I really didn’t know what to wear it with. It has been donated to charity.
The puckered seams on this dress made it a fail for me. I wore it once and then realised how embarrassed I was of it…it went to the charity shop.
Ah yes, the beautiful silk crossover top. Don’t worry, this is still in my wardrobe…but it has only been worn once. I am thinking what to do with it.
This last one may (or may not!) surprise you. I love wearing this sweatshirt, and I would like to make another (maybe sized down slightly). The issue is with the fabric. It is extremely delicate and snags (and tears) very easily. I have actually acquired more quilted fabric from another source which seems more durable…so expect to see some quilted dresses appearing.
Plans for 2015? I don’t like to restrain myself with resolutions or plans. I like to go with the flow 🙂 But I would like to make more tops, more every day wearable pieces, still try and do the tailoring thing, and sew some classic tailored pieces like a beautiful blazer and a tailored coat.
All that remains is for me to say thank YOU, readers, sincerely, for following along this year. For leaving comments, answering my questions, offering opinions and entering my giveaways. Peoples, it’s been emotional….until soon and happy new year.