Lemon Sherbet dress for Felicity: BurdaStyle 07/2021 #119

The other wedding guest dress.

This one was sewn in a delightful rayon nylon blend from The Fabric Store. This is what The Fabric Store say about it (and it still seems to be available – this is not a sponsored post – I just love the fabric!)

A deadstock rayon blend in a lemon yellow horizontal stripe. This lightweight fabric has been woven with a clear nylon warp and a striped weft in varying stripes made up of lemon yellow, candy pink, fine black and white. This unique structure creates a subtly textured fabric with great bounce. A semi-sheer fabric with a subtle sheen and no stretch.

The pattern is BurdaStyle 07/2021 #119

I cut out a straight size 40 but with the main skirt piece (its a rectangle) cut the full width of the fabric (150 cm) rather than as drafted (126 cm). I lined the dress with cotton batiste. I didn’t line the sleeves.

I cut the rectangle bit of the skirt lining the width of the batiste (about 130 cm) and then had the annoying task of having to gather the outer fabric onto the lining and then gather both of them to fit onto the bodice. Oh well, the bit of extra fullness in the skirt was probably worth it!

I lined to the edge of the neckline and slit and then treated the lining as an underlining for the rest of the seams – I sewed the front and back bodices together at the shoulders for each of the lining and the outer fabrics and then, with right sides facing, stitched the lining and outer fabric bodices together at the neck and slit before clipping, turning and under stitching. No interfacing – the other fabric is light but tightly woven and hasn’t stretched out or distorted. Yet!

The neck is a bit tight and high. I’m glad I left the slit open rather than adding a button – that button would never have been used! The bust darts are a bit too high too.

Melissa for Fehr Trade posted about this dress recently and also found the bust darts and the neck too high. So I’m calling out the drafting as being a bit off.

The fit is loose, as you’d expect from the line drawing. So I added thin ties, attached where the side seams of the bodice meet the skirt, to create a little more shaping at the waist

The sleeve ‘cuffs’ are cute

I’m very happy with my unintended but quite excellent strip matching across the bodice to the sleeves!

And its a thumbs up from Felicity!

And this is the dress that was worn on the day!

Here she is on her way to the ceremony. With bare legs and the most delightful pale pink shoes that coordinated so well with the dress… and if you are a shoe lover – you’ll want to take a closer look at these. Fortunately they’re featured in another wedding post

I’m so pleased the weather cooperated and she wore this dress to the wedding. It was my favourite out of the two.

Eucalypt Merino wool knit dress for Felicity: BurdaStyle 11/2021 #115

In March, Felicity and I started planning what she was going to wear to a wedding at the end of April.

We ended up with a shortlist of these three Burda dress patterns:

BurdaStyle 07/2021 #119, BurdaStyle 12/2020 #103 and BurdaStyle 11/2021 #115

After shopping the stash, no appropriate fabrics were found. I know. Amazing…

Off we went to The Fabric Store, and found many lovely fabrics. And came home with one that would work with 07/2021 #119, the white dress on the left, and another that would be fine for 11/2021 #116, the mint knit dress on the right. And some other fabrics for other projects which I might get to in the next ten years. Fabric shopping is dangerous!

The plan was to make both dresses and then pick which to wear on the day depending on the weather…

The end of April is usually cool and can be rainy in Adelaide. So I hedged my bets and made the long-sleeved knit one first.

This is Burda Style 11/2021 #116 in one of The Fabric Store’s many lovely 100% merino knits.

It’s a size 40 with a 1 cm dartless FBA – made using the pivot and slide method. Lots of great resources online on how to do this- I used this one on oliver+s’ blog. I also made the sleeves full length.

I like the simple neckline on this style

I used a light weight fusible knit interfacing to give a touch more stability to the collar. First time I’ve interfaced a knit. Always something new to learn!

I also added strips of interfacing to the shoulder seams and to the insert square bit that you can’t see where the collar joins the bodice.

I’m pleased with how it turned out. Let me show you a closer view. Two reasons – the awesome label from Kylie and the Machine and my lining.

Yes I lined this dress with power mesh! I only had this off white colour – a darker colour would’ve been better because there is some shadowing of the knit facing and seam allowances. But this is much less obvious IRL, and in the photo taken below on a different day

Using power mesh was another first. I immediately purchased more (from emmaonesock – 80% nylon and 20% spandex- much superior quality to what I can purchase locally, and less expensive, even with exchange rates and shipping to Australia). Fabulous stuff! Gonna line all my knit dresses with it now!

Here’s a back view. This also shows that the skirt lining is shorter by 6 cm and all the hems are done with a double needle

Felicity says the knit lining feels gorgeous – secret pajamas if she ditches the belt..

And the other dress? Yep, made that too. And another blog post is coming soon about its story

Red and olive colour blocked dress: Style Arc Mila

Another experimental dress!

How did this happen?

Well, I had intended to add olive cuffs to my last red Bella dress but the fit issues dampened my enthusiasm.

But you know how it is – I still had the olive fabric out and there was a sizeable remnant of the red fabric left. Plus a new to me pattern to try: Style Arc’s Mila dress, which seemed perfectly suited to colour blocking.

Why not give it a try?

This is a size 16 and I like the way it fits

That V shaped bit in the centre was less tricky to do than it looks

My two fabrics were both from the stash. I’ve told you about the red before – it is a woven rayon from a local designer roll end sale in 2014. Almost vintage! It has more structure than a rayon normally has, a dry hand, and no stretch.

The olive is a polyester hi-tech microfibre from emmaonesock with great texture, drape and mechanical stretch. It was bought with a garment for Felicity in mind back in 2019 but she was less than happy with its colour so it’s languished in the stash. Despite it’s loveliness.

The Mila dress is an interesting design. The skirt has no side seams and curves from that V just under the bust to well below the waist at the back

I really like it. What I now need to do is work out how to add long sleeves to it so I can make a winter version.

Any tips?

Sizing up Bella

Tessuti’s Bella dress pattern is an old favourite. Search through my blog – you’ll see I’ve made several Bella’s for myself and Felicity.

But I am no longer the same size thanks to having so many birthdays that I’ve hit menopause. So it was time to test another size.

Version one was in a red rayon fabric from my stash but originally from a designer fabric sale. It’s an odd fabric. Gorgeous colour but has a very dry hand and is prone to creasing.

I traced off and made a size 16 with shortened sleeves.

It was too big through the shoulders – the only bit that really needs to fit.

So I added a 1.5 cm tuck to the centre front,going down 15 cm, to remove 3 cm of the excess fabric through neck through the bust.

This sort off worked.

Although the armscyes are too low – I really should not be able to lift up the hem this much when I raise my arm! Another pointer to the size being wrong

Whatever. I have a dress I can wear. And the colour is still gorgeous despite the fit!

So for my next version I went down a size to size 14.

This one is made in an embroidered wool blend purchased on holiday in Leicester.

Souvenir fabric!

I didn’t have a lot of fabric but was pleased that I had enough to be able to line up the embroidered motifs reasonably well.

It’s lined with a polyester galaxy print which I bought as a roll end several years ago for a fabulous price because it was so last years.

Now so dated after sitting in my stash that’s it’s best used as a lining.

The facing is a grey linen. Because I thought the wool might be itchy. But it was a bit of an afterthought once I realised that lining right to the edge with the galaxy print might not be such a great idea. So I overlocked and stitched it on a top of the lining rather then doing things properly with a seam.

I used a wool 4 cm strip for the pocket openings for the same reason. And also just stitch an overlocked strip on top of the lining. What can I say? Consistently slapdash!

I used a wide stain bias from the stash for the hems -and the stitching just disappeared into the wool.

Love it when that happens

So. What do I think about the sizing? This is probably the right size. But the fit is not great. The shoulders are good but it’s a bit tight through the bust whilst being looser through the back.

And of course everywhere else is fine because the style is loose everywhere else

Bottom line -I like the dress. I’m not convinced Tessuti’s block works for me. It did work when I was a smaller size. Now, perhaps not so much.

So what other trapeze style dress pattern are out there that I should try? All suggestions most welcome 🙂

Should’ve made a shirt

I’ve had this small floral woven cotton in my stash for a while. It’s always been earmarked for a shirt. Shirting weight, small floral. Makes sense doesn’t it? Light grey and white. Perfect as corporate wear.

But I had an idea in my head that I wanted to use the Closet Core Cielo dress pattern for. And I needed a wearable toile because the hips are a bit tight on the last Cielo dress I made.

Yes I used the shirt fabric. And played around with a coordinating fabric on the back yokes and as a sort of flat piping on the sleeve cuffs.

I have successfully tested the sizing (too big – took in the side seams).

But I haven’t made the best use of this fabric – too light both in weight and in colour.

It’s a fail.

So some further experimentation couldn’t really make it much worse (spoiler alert – it did).

I asked myself: Could Cielo be used as a very casual interpretation of a Chanel jacket inspired dress? Likes these from the Chanel Spring 2022 RTW collection?

Chanel Spring 2022 RTW image source: Vogue.com

The answer is maybe but probably not. The loose fit makes it a very loose interpretation of Chanel gloriousness. It might be more successful in a more appropriative fabric.

What did I do? I added a strip of contrast fabric at centre front-the length was determined by the amount of remnant I had . I topstitched it in place. I then added two bands to the top of the pockets. The topstitching of these was tricky to do with machine sewing but looks ok if you’re not close. I didn’t have enough for a neck band.

I wore this dress on very hot days only. When I’m not likely to be seen in public….

I should’ve made a shirt. But it was fun whilst it lasted.

Patrones: one out of three ain’t bad

Why Patrones? Good question. The answer is a lot to do with feeling dissatisfied with Burda itself and how I could subscribe in Australia. And liking the idea of an online magazine. And liking the concept of a smallish pdf that you then trace off your pattern from. Sounds odd?

This is what Doctor T said recently about Patrones : The downloadable PDFs are an interesting compromise; you have to both print and tile the PDF pages and trace them; but because each Patrones pattern only prints onto 9 pages it isn’t too bad to attach the PDF print-outs, and because each print-out only has 1 design, it isn’t that bad to trace either.

Seems like Patrones has it all. And you can subscribe issue by issue. So I did. For three issues.

Why have I stopped? Well you will need to read this post!

The first thing I made was this skirt. Which I totally adore.

Patrones 429 modelo 29 – Falda con pliegues (pleated skirt)

It has pockets. It has interesting drapes and folds. It has a shaped hem. It is inspired by a catwalk outfit. Of course this pattern spoke to me!

Worn here with a much loved Kalle shirt made in Liberty lawn

Wisely, I made a toile first. New pattern company and sizing, instructions in Spanish, no pictures of the pattern made up and worn by an actual person – too many unknowns!

Just as well I did because the pockets are a very different sort of construction and the goggle translation of the Spanish instructions were of very little help. It took a few adventures and quite a lot of unpicking before I worked it out.

The actual pocket is that little piece at the bottom. And no it is not attached to the facing of the drape. Ask my quick-unpick how I know. The larger piece is the yoke/side skirt
The drape is then attached to the yoke with a few stitches to hold the folds in place
Final step is to baste to the side seams
And here’s the flat lay. You can see some of my changes compared to the original draft. I curved the side seams back in by 4 cm to narrow the hem and create a balloon shape skirt and the back hem curves down rather than mirroring the front and curving up

How would have expected that the pockets and the turnback of the drape are not even connected?? Not me! I haven’t yet put something in the pockets and have it drop all the way through, but it will happen at some point!

The toile confirmed that size 48 worked for me but that I didn’t like the hem as drafted (shorter at CB and CF, longer at both sides and not pegged). So I changed that too and then made it up in a delightful midweight linen from Spotlight.

And have worn it at least once a week since.

My second attempt was not successful at all

Patrones 430 modelo 9 – Camisa Hawaiana Lloyds (Lloyds style Hawaiian shirt)

I drafted out from a size 46 (the largest size offered) to a 48 (which might be my size based on my success above). No toile this time – flat pattern measures through the bust suggested it would be fine.

Not making a toile was not a good idea – the sleeves bands on the extended shoulders were too tight, and the ease through the top was fine in terms of the fit, but not for style – this really needs to be looser to look good.

So Felicity has a new top! For the record – the sleeve bands are not loose enough on her either – pattern drafting fault I say!

I used a remnant of a lovely drapey viscose crepe – last used for a Tide dress.

But I didn’t have quite enough fabric so it got a contrast collar band in linen

Optimistic label use.

The third attempt was almost successful

Patrones 429 modelo 25 – Top cruzado (cross top)

The asymmetry drew me in.

No toile on this one (yes, I had learnt nothing..) but I did use fabric which had been languishing in my stash for a long time..

I love this cotton, polyester and metal blend fabric and I originally bought this ten years ago (yes! ten years!) in two colours – cream (this one) and light brown – like milky coffee. The coffee one got made into a skirt. But it always looks crinkled despite rigorous ironing because of the metallic content and yet its sort of fancy because of that metallic content so the creasing and the shimmer is a bit odd. I also remember that it was a bit itchy against my skin. So… almost toile fabric…

But, because it wasn’t really a toile, I used a soft linen cotton blend for the neck facing, so that the itch factor was dialed back. The linen cotton blend was harvested from a ripped pillow case – there’s a lot of back story to the fabrics in this blog post!

I traced off and made a size 48, and although it fitted okay, I thought it would be better with a bit more width through the body of the top to make it a bit boxier. So I added another strip of fabric to the side seams.

The insert is a strip the length of the top and 4 cm wide. I added 6 cm extra length at the top of the strip and tapered it to a point. This was inserted into the sleeve seam like a gusset. With all seams at 6 mm, this meant I added about 5 cm of extra width to the top below the armscyes.

And now I think its wearable.

I couldn’t work out from the line drawing or pattern or sewing instructions if the buttoned front was functional. It didn’t seem to be. The neck is crew neck style so no chance of putting this on without some sort of opening. So I added a slit and a button with a loop to the back.

The second label is “slow fashion” because this fabric spent a long time in my stash. I’m amusing myself with my labels.

Now I’ve gone back and paid more attention to the flat lay photo in the magazine it looks like there is an invisible zip at centre back. That would work too.

I could “french tuck” half of the front and make it even more asymmetric. But not the best look!

I love these buttons. They’ve been the stash a while too.

So back to the question of why I stopped my subscription

I don’t yet have the sizing sorted, but that’s not a major issue. I don’t mind the printing and tracing – 9 pages is easy. Some of the designs are delightful so its not because I don’t like enough of the styles.

I think its two things: the language barrier – I must enjoy reading about sewing more than I realised – and it being online – despite the convenience of being online, I’d much rather read from an actual magazine.

Any one else tried this new format of Patrones recently? What did you think?

Sequins

You know those conversations when people find out you sew? Those conversations almost always include the question – where do you get your fabrics from? My answer has been “all sorts of places – local shops, online (at this point their eyes glaze over), gifted from other sewists, a tiny bit from secondhand shops (they are now looking around for excuses to escape), and mostly from my large stash which has accumulated due to all of the above plus collected during travel overseas or from designer destash events”.

Now I can add “from online auction”.

Because that how I ended up with two rolls of sequined fabric. Yes. Two rolls. 13.5m in total. Beautiful champagne reversible sequins. I know some of you are thinking “and what is the problem with that?” You are my sort of people!

But, really, how did this happen and what was I thinking?!

Mmm. Perhaps not thinking enough about how I set up my automated bids…. and it is possible there may have been a glass of wine involved.

The silver lining is that having an excess of lovely and special fabric certainly takes the edge off deciding what to use it for. My first and even second attempts can be unsuccessful – I’ve got more than enough to go back and try again! Or I can use it for a garment that’s only going to be worn once or for costumes or… so many options and so little pressure!

The reality is that I have already used up close to three quarters of it. My dear friend M took some of it of my hands and made a glorious long evening jacket and I’ve made two dresses. One for me and one for Felicity.

And the questions about which needle to use to sew sequins? I can very definitely report that, again, I’ve proved that a denim or leather needle is the only way to go.

And should you remove sequins from the seams? Yes, absolutely, and especially for darts. But if you’d rather poke your eye with a fork and the sequins are small you can ignore that advice for the seams. More on this below.

So, what have I made?

Felicity made the mistake of getting in first. I did all the practicing on her dress, and worked out what not to do. This includes working out that sewing with sequins and making something fast should not be in the same thought.

Her brief was a vintage themed dress to wear to SciBall 2021 – a gala dinner celebrating 130 years of the University of Adelaide Science Students Association. In sequins, because, well, see above. And by the end of next week, thank you and please. So it had to be simple.

How it turned out on the night before the sun went down-Rockstar glam. Photo credit: Andrew Jennsen

I was looking for a pattern with as few seams as possible and no zip or fastenings. Because sequins. The sequins are sewn onto a stretchy mesh so it seemed like I could treat the fabric like a knit. 13.5 m meant I could experiment.

None of my simple knit dress patterns got the nod, but this one designed for wovens, Burda 05/2019 #108, did.

image credit: German Burda website

I thought it would be fine with the zip removed. I could extend it to floor length, and with those almost thigh high slits, it turned into evening. The shoulder coverage meant that normal undergarments could be worn – a definite advantage for my comfort loving daughter!

No time for lining – Felicity said that would be fine – she’d wear a slip. Ask her now after having worn it if she would say that again! I faced the neck and sleeves with a cotton woven and covered the shoulder seams with grosgrain ribbon but it was still a bit scratchy.

It looked pretty good at the first try-on stage apart from being loose through the waist. This could be fixed by either wearing a wide patent leather black belt, or a black grosgrain riboon that happened to be in my haberdashery stash. I loved the wide belt look but the ribbon was deemed more vintage.

And she looked great on the night!

The President of the Science Students Association, and one of Felicity’s dear friends, Megan, with Felicity. Photo credit: Andrew Jennsen
All the gals. Photo credit: Andrew Jennsen
Photo credit: Andrew Jennsen

Sadly it seems that I have no photos of the back – and there is a very nice V shape to the back neckline.

Now let’s talk about my dress

I went super simple and used the Lodo dress pattern… side seams and shoulder seams only…

I lined it with a thin black ITY polyester nylon knit that’s in my stash purchased from Gorgeous Fabrics back in 2013. I’ve used it previously for knit dresses and I knew it would be light, soft and perfect as a lining.

I stabilised the shoulders, neck and sleeve edges by ironing on interfacing to the lining pieces. I used the facing pieces to cut the shapes for the neck and armscyes, ironed them on and then secured with stitching just inside the seam allowances.

The lining pieces were then sewn to the sequin pieces, right sides together around the neck and armscyes, but not the shoulder seams. Clipped and trimmed the seams and then turned right side out.

Then I machine sewed the front and back lining right sides together at the shoulders, and hand stitched the sequined back and front together at the shoulder on the outside. The reverse of what Burda and others sometimes tell you to do and shows a very unhelpful picture of the shoulder seam with a wooden spoon handle. What is that about??

So now I’ve got a dress lined to the edge of the front and back neck and the armscyes. The interfaced lining really helped keep everything in the right shape.

Yes there was a center back seam on the lining – it simplified cutting out

The last step was the side seams – right sides together for the sequined front and back from bottom to armsyce and then continuing on with the lining.

And as an aside, sewing any sort of seam with sequins is tricky, but its extra tricky with reversible sequins. These sequins are small, so they don’t need to be removed from the seams, but because they are reversible and the reverse side is a different colour, like black, once they’re caught in the seams they show up as that colour forever. Not a problem with standard sequins which are the same colour on both side.

If you are still with me, you deserve a medal!

Here’s some more images to go with all that text

I still haven’t hemmed this dress.

I was on the fence about the length and then I had to wear it to an event, so I left it unhemmed. I might have said it was to trial it at below knee length but it was possibly also laziness..

It was an unexpectedly cold night, so I wore opaque tights. Because, keep warm, but make it fashion.

Will I go back and actually hem it shorter? Probably, but it hasn’t happened yet.

There is only so much sequin massacre a sewing room can take!

Retro Hope dress

Piping and a large print on a donkey grey background seems to have taken my third Hope dress into retro style.

And I like it!

This is Style Arc’s Hope woven dress at knee length. With a thin waist tie attached to the side seams.

The pattern description says the dress is in two lengths and the illustration shows a knee length version. But my PDF pattern does not have a seperate skirt pattern piece or a ‘cut off here’ line on the skirt piece or any information about length in the instructions about how much length to remove.

A totally easy hack – I removed 22 cm from the length – but odd that the pattern is silent about it.

This lovely large print is a viscose woven purchased from TMOS 5 years ago on holidays in the UK.

TMOS, unfortunately not facing the camera (unfortunate because he has a lovely smile, not just because he is handsome..)

It’s extra special because my dear friend Melissa and I literally bumped into Karen of Did You Make That? and Ella at the stall. What are the chances of that!!? The famous sewing blogger from London, from whom you heard about TMOS and the reason you went there, turning up at TMOS at the same time you went there all the way from Australia!

Yes Karen is wearing a CCP Charlie caftan in Liberty. Obsessed with sewing details? Who? Me??

I added piping because I had some in my stash and I wanted to highlight the raglan sleeve seam lines.

I had just enough for the front and the neck but not enough to pipe the back. Coffin back. Guilty as charged. But also in line with the retro vibe of this dress.

Also guilty of sloppy sewing, as my photographer (He who Cooks) pointed out to me – “there’s a pucker or something you’ve sewn badly at the waistline on the back”.

What sort of monster have I turned him into? I know I talk about sewing. All. The. Time. But surely that’s not to blame?!

I’ve got to assume I was distracted by that unintentional not-pattern matching through the centre back seam. Whatever. It didn’t distract him!

I added thin ties to the side seams to reduce some of the gathering at the waist. What it actually does, of course, is bring the side seams forward and put more of the fullness at the front. Another reason to be accused of coffin back.

The forward side seams are quite obvious in the photo above, but so are the pockets. Like all great dresses, it has pockets!

It could well be time I moved on from this pattern. But it is such a delight for make and wear.

Is three Hope Dresses too many? Is three Hope Dresses enough to qualify me for the #HopeDressSpringsEternal club?

So many questions…

Liz Haywood’s zero/low waste scrubs

In a surprise to everyone but mostly myself I’ve done some self-less sewing for strangers and I liked it!

Belinda of @pinpoint_textiles called out for Adelaide sewists to make scrubs for the staff at the coronary care unit at one of our excellent hospitals, Flinders Medical Centre, for Fun Scrubs Friday. What a great way to thank our wonderful hospital staff. And make patients smile. And use some of the cottons in my stash!

Liz Haywood’s free zero/low waste scrubs pattern was suggested and I volunteered to make size 16. Even with narrow 112 cm wide fabric you can get a scrub top at this size out of 1.6 metres. Great stash buster!

My first trial version was in a very bright orange with a small vintage-y print. It turned out pretty cute. Glad I’ve still got plenty more of this fabric. I like it a lot more than I expected.

Encouraged, I made another one in a Jocelyn Proust Waratah print. Love this fabric!

The third was in a novelty citrus poplin, being modelled here by Beth the sewing room dummy.

And the final version was in another Jocelyn Proust cotton

The flat lay really shows the simple shape of this pattern

There are side slits.

Patch pockets.

A very simple extended sleeve. This is the one place where the instructions were less than perfect. This square corner needs to be clipped on the inside. That step was missing. Or there is some other very clever way to get this to sit right that I misunderstood

The neckline is great. And so easy to do. Brilliant drafting by Liz. Excellent pattern. And it’s free. Thank you Liz

I really hope the fabulous health care professionals enjoy wearing these as much as I enjoyed making them!

Style Arc Hope Woven Dresses: the midi versions

Style Arc’s Hope Woven Dress pattern is hugely popular. Several Instagram sewists (I’m looking at you @rou2an1_made and @johassler) have made more than 10 versions. Yes. More than 10! There’s even a hashtag for multiple sewing of this pattern: #hopedressspringseternal.

And it is deservedly popular. This style seems to look great on everyone, every body shape and every age. Why has it taken me so long?

My first version was in a chambray with an embroidered border. So I cut the skirt and all the other pieces out with the grainline running selvedge to selvedge rather than parallel to the selvedges. Seemed to work just fine.

It has pockets!

My fabric is soft and I only have fairly robust interfacing in my stash so rather than interface the neck facing pieces, I used vilene bias tape on the neck edge instead.

I cut the tape using the pattern pieces as my guide, pinned the tape at the centre front and seams, eased the neck edge to the tape with more pins and then pressed The neck edge has slightly stretched out but this process brought it back in. Luckily! I followed up the ironed on securing with machine basting. And then faced as per normal.

I love vilene bias tape.

The sleeves are described as 7/8th length, but either I have the sizing wrong (this is a size 16) or longer than normal arms – they are more 3/4 length on me. I like them pushed up a bit closer to my elbow joint to give a bit of puffiness

Waist? What waist? Why are you looking for one? Don’t think I can find mine.

This is a really comfortable dress to wear, but if you’re looking for a waist enhancing dress this is not the style for you. But oh so comfortable to wear! Did I say that already?

Version 2

Of course there is a version 2. This is also midi length.

I can’t get my hands out of the excellent pockets in this design

Style Arc says there is a knee length version too, and shows one in the line drawing but doesn’t include a pattern piece or cutting line on the skirt pieces for it. So I just cut out another midi length.

I thought a lot about how to fit this all on my not quite long enough piece of fabric and still place the ‘stripes’ were i wanted them. This meant the skirt was 4 cm shorter than drafted, but not the 20 cm or so it would have been if I was actually thinking about it being knee length. And a shorter skirt would hve made the pattern tetris a lot simpler!

So, just a little bit more thinking before cutting would have been good! Then I could also have lined up the sleeves better too- it’s almost but not quite pattern matched. how does this even happen?!

I didn’t even think there was any chance of pattern matching. My focus was on getting a bit more length onto the sleeves (I managed to get 5 cm more). Not that you can see the extra length in any of the photos- in all of them the sleeves are pushed up and sitting in my elbow joint – because I love the puffiness!

This fabric is a gem from my stash. It’s a rayon viscose blend double weave. A bit like double gauze and with lovely body and a slight shimmer.

I used a gathering tip from @kaleidoscopekatie_ : overlap the gathering stitching. This stops the gap that’s not gathered where you start and stop your gathering stitching in the same line and close to each other.

safety pin at centre front and bright red and pink thread for gathering
Look! no gap!

Thanks for the tip Katie!

Do you think I stopped at two Hope dresses? Well… I couldn’t… I had to make a knee length version. I might also be trying to join the #hopedressspringseternal club.

So, another Hope blog post is coming soon … just as soon as I can get photos!

Have you made a Hope dress? Could you stop at two?

Pink Tais turns into a Closet Core Sienna Jacket

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ll know I love to buy fabrics whilst travelling. You’ve been warned! This is another one of those posts where I talk about what I sewed from fabric I bought a long way from home.

A brief but wonderful trip to East Timor in 2019 resulted in two fabulous pieces of tais cloth.

Have you come across tais before? I hadn’t.

It’s woven by the women of East Timor and is an important part of their heritage. The designs vary regionally. I purchased mine from the Tais market in the capital, Dili, where  “bright colors and solid panels reflect the focus on tais commerce” according to Wikipedia.

The cloth is traditionally used for clothing and is also ideal for cushions, tablecloths and other soft furnishing uses – our hotel included tais in its décor as you can see below in my photo displaying my souvenirs on the lounge by the pool.

But you already know from my blog title that I don’t use my pink tais in soft furnishing!

I made a jacket

I was very limited by meterage. My pieces are 1.6 m long by 120 cm wide. And that 120 cm width was achieved by hand stitching two 60 cm wide pieces together after they were woven – the looms are narrow.

It was tricky to find a jacket pattern that would work.

My solution was to use Closet Core’s Sienna jacket view B but 9 cm shorter, with the lapels and collar in hot pink cotton twill, no belt, no outside breast pocket and the lower pockets both shorter and squared off. And no stress about stripe matching or the placement of that one brown/cream marled wide stripe on each piece!

I intended to add buttons to make up for the lack of belt and fastenings but I’m a bit on the fence about it.

Not sure I really need them, and buttonholes could be tricky in this loosely woven fabric. Perhaps large snaps? What do you think?

All the cut edges of the tais love to fray. I was not intending to line the jacket so it need to look good on the inside.

A Hong Kong finish seemed like the perfect solution.

Since I have a stash of vintage bias tape, already folded in various shades of orange, red and yellow, there was no stopping this idea. Not even the fact that I didn’t have enough of any one colour to use for all the seams, because… have you seen this fabric?

I had a lot of fun.

And I’ve used up a lot of my vintage bias tape stash. Which revealed that the tape had been stored on cards for recording your measurements for foundation garments…

Figure problem??? Glad I live in this century!

The pink twill lapels didn’t escape the contrast Hong Kong finish either.

I refrained from decorating the inside breast pocket – one tiny (and insignificant in the scheme of things) bit of restraint! If you can call choosing to add a hot pink secret pocket a sign of restraint….

Pretty on the inside

Those lapels are not only pink on the revere, they are also perfectly straight from top to bottom – which is not how Closet Core patterns drafted them.

Yes I did draw the new cutting line onto the fabric with a ball point pen. I like a bit of danger in my sewing room

Why did I straighten the lapels? Because the selvedge of the tais was beautiful – a bit like a grosgrain ribbon – and I wanted to preserve that on the edge of the jacket. I used the selvedge on the centre back seam too.

I don’t think my label looks that wonky in real life…

How did I manage an uncut selvedge and a cut facing? I’ll try and explain (and you’ll understand why no-one should hire me to write sewing instructions..)

I pressed the seam allowance to the wrong side of the long edge of the facing and then sewed the top edge of the facing to the collar and top of the lapel in the normal fashion.

After turning and pressing, I topstitched the collar and top of the facing of the lapel.

Then continued to ‘topstitch’ the long edge very close to edge of the outer fabric and the facing with its edge turned under.

The other edge of the facing was then stitched to the coat, as per normal.

The inside makes we just as happy as the outside – here’s the back.

The fridge at the ends of the tais is attractive, but I didn’t work out a way to incorporate it into the design. Perhaps that was a wise move – it was quite tangled after a gentle prewash.

I’m very happy with this jacket. Its wonderfully bright and deliciously soft and slouchy.

Now, what will I do with the blue tais??

Fabric really is the best souvenir!

Is a kaftan a cocktail dress?

I think the photo answers that question!

I used Cris Wood Sews Envelope Dress zero waste pattern and a floral rayon I purchased on holiday in Glasgow in 2014 to make this ‘cocktail kaftan’.

Why was fabric purchased as a souvenir? Is that really a question for a sewist? I’ll answer it anyway. It wasn’t because it was Scottish in style, fabrication or colours – the only thing Scottish about it was that it availabe in a fabric store in Scotland. It was for the normal reasons I buy fabric – I liked it.

And then it sat in my stash for a long time – because I had to find the right pattern for this lovely fabric…

..and that turned out to be Cris Wood Sews Envelope Dress.

I didn’t intend to make a kaftan. I was planning more of a knee length Envelope dress.

The way the Envelope Dress is cut out means that the length of the dress is the width of the fabric. My fabric was 140 cm wide. I know that a knee-length dress is not 140 cm from shoulder to hem but I still wanted to cut it out this way, even with the likely need to trim it to knee length. Why? Because putting the ‘stripes’/’panels’ running vertically could be more interesting that having them horizontal.

Well, that was right – I like how they look in the vertical orientation.

It was also very clear as soon as I tried it on that it needed to stay this length and be a kaftan, not a knee length dress. So I added side slits rather than hemming it shorter.

Occupational hazard of posing with a fancy drink for blog photos

The Envelope Dress is a very easy ‘pattern’ to construct and the instructions are great.

If you haven’t made one yet, I highly recommend it – it’s a unique and fun way of constructing a garment.

Cheers!

Christmas dresses

Using Jocelyn Proust Christmas themed Australian animal prints to make Christmas dresses has become a tradition.

This year, wombats and waratahs became a Sew Different Tulip dress for me.

The whole menagerie of Australian animals was made into another version of B6677 for Felicity.

Yes of course there was a matching mask!

If you follow me on Insta you know my dress was not as successful as Felicity’s

It seems perfectly drafted to emphasise full tummies

Sewing details

Felicity’s dress was made the same as previously except only the bodice was lined and this is style A of B6677 without the flouces. I followed The Insouciant Stitcher’s tip and used an IKEA Nattjasmin cotton/lyocell bed sheet for garment construction. Excellent lining material for quilting weight cottons!

Three dresses in and I’ve only just worked out that Felicity can pull this on without unbuttoning. Next time I’ll omit the back neck slit and button! The shiny red button above the smiley wombat does makes me smile though.

I like the smiley wombats on my dress too. Even though they are more hairy.

This is the Sew Different Tulip dress

https://sewdifferent.co.uk/tulip-dress-multisize-sewing-pattern-available-paper-download/

Mine was a size 18 which I then added a bit of extra width to after construction by taking the side seams out about 5 mm above and below the pockets (because the pockets were already sewn in). I probably could have just expanded through the waist above the pockets.

I used an olive suiting weight linen from Spotlight for the bottom band of my dress because it was in my stash, the colours worked and I didn’t have enough of my wombat fabric.

And the bias for the hem – same reasons

The ‘you can’t buy this’ tag turned out funnier than I expected – you can’t buy this and you probably don’t want to!

If there is a next time I will sew a larger size from the bust down, petite the bodice by removing 2 cm above the bust and round out the shoulder to sleeve transition.

Despite my lack of love for this dress I did end up wearing it for Christmas – for the meal prep part of the day. Then changed into the other “unsuccessful” dress for Christmas dinner. No longer unsuccessful because I saved that one from refashioning or donation with a tablecloth weight!

Style Arc Adeline dress #2 and #3

I’m on a red dress roll. Must be Christmas!

This fabric was a souvenir from Barcelona. I fell in love with the colours and I love border prints. As a bonus it’s an overprinted jacquard. Almost certainly made from synthetic fibres but interesting and unusual.

Hand sewing on the front verandah

The base is white (as you can see above) and the looseness of the jacquard means that there are a few spots where this shows. Like below. The jacquard weave also made it very prone to fray. The overlocker was essential!

Separating red threads in the middle of the leaf showing the white base layer

Style Arc’s Adeline was just the simple dress pattern I needed to showcase the fabric. I made a size 16 (printed at 98% by mistake).

Adeline Dress Sewing Pattern – Dress Sewing Patterns – Style Arc

My souvenir fabric was a precut of 1.5 m. At least it was 150 cm wide and with a border printed on both selvedges! But there was no way I was going to be able to cut out this pattern as drafted with the longer turned up sleeves.

No centre back seam either

After some pattern and fabric Tetris and accepting that cuffed sleeves and pockets were not part of my vision for this fabric, I successfully placed the pattern pieces on with the border at the hems and just a teensy bit on the shoulder.

There were enough scraps left for the hem and neck facings, and some self drafted sleeve hem facings.

I placed the border so that the maximum width of the border was on the front. This meant that the last few cms of plain red under the border shows on the lower back hem. Perhaps I could have placed it differently? Or straightened out the hem? Would that have been better? I’ll never know!

Such a comfortable dress to wear.

On it’s first “outing” I wore it to a day event with bare legs and blue sandals and then changed to black tights and heels for an evening event.

He who Cooks thought the opaque tights were a bit heavy and needed balancing out with a chunky black necklace. He was right!

I love this pattern so much that I immediately made another one. This time with the cuffs and pockets in a turquoise silk nylon blend that’s been a long time stash dweller. The last time I sewed with this fabric was March 2011!!

It looks much less like scrubs in real life…. although these photos are starting to make me doubt…

I don’t think I’ve finished with this pattern yet.

Red Papercut Tide dress

I’ve admired the Papercut patterns Tide dress ever since it was released (as the Kobe dress). Such a clever but simple design with the pleating and cut out at the back.

Tide Dress and Top - The Foldline
https://papercutpatterns.com/products/tide-dress-top

In a recent sale I succumbed and purchased it. And then spent several happy hours looking though my fabric stash for suitable fabrics. Of course I found several.

And that lead me down the rabbit hole of what else could I make to go with that fabric if I made it up as the dress or the top version of the pattern. Some of you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. Virtual wardrobe sewing. Hours of Fun.

Then I did some serious reading of reviews. Several sewists commented on the pleating at the back creating a weight imbalance that tended to pull the dress to the back. Perhaps I shouldn’t proceed? But I was already invested in this project because of the Hours of Fun noted above.

To reduce potential disappointment I used a fabric I’d acquired from the recent @adeladiesewists fabric swap. Don’t get me wrong. I really like this fabric. But it hasn’t been in my stash for long, so I’m not strongly attached to it, and it was free. It is still lovely, though. Nice drape, great colours and an interesting print. I’m guessing it’s a viscose crepe. Thanks Georgie Barker!

And then the question. What size am I in this pattern line? I’ve only ever made the Rise and Fall Turtlenecks from Papercut and they are knit patterns. This one apparently runs big, according to reviews.

I went for size 6 based on finished garment measurements. This was a mistake. I could have easily sized down.

The shoulders were too wide and the armscyes are very generous.

I have somewhat compensated by overlapping the back neck more than the designer intended and adding a tuck to the front neck.

And all those reviews were right – it does pull to the back. Quite annoying to wear. But also lovely and cool for the work Christmas party – which was outside on a 35oC day. The joys of Christmas in Australia!

Refashion or donation is its most likely fate. Or perhaps a weight at the base of the neck at the front under the tuck? Or a stay attached to my bra? I’ll report back!

If nothing else, I’ve once again proved that sewing with lovely fabric is always a pleasure even if the final result is not quite right.

EDITED to add my pulling-to-the-back solution – a tablecloth weight attached to the tuck on the inside at the base of the front neckline. Works perfectly!