The Sewing Revival’s Fernbird Dress might be my favourite pattern this summer.
My first version had all the fun of mixing two patterned fabrics.
These two viscoses just wanted to be together. They are both from my local bricks and mortar fabric store, Spotlight.
I bought three metres of each fabric. Because I wasn’t sure what they’d end up as. Eye-roll required. As it turns out, most of the red and almost all of the other fabric have now been sewn into three garments.
Back to Fernbird
This is a super easy pattern.
Totally love how this turned out. Get so many compliments every time I wear it. And I feel great in it every time I wear it.
So of course I made another Fernbird. Also using Spotlight viscose.
The back story to this one is that I specifically had this pattern in mind when I bought two fabrics to make it up in (not like my last post!) Two fabrics.. Because. Worked so well last time.
Yep. Totally good idea. But, see the dress?
The second fabric never made it.
And I’m not mad about it.
This is a fabulous dress pattern. 10 out of 10 would recommend!
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.
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!
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?
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.
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.
It was impossible to resist Liz Haywood’s zero waste Ursa dress pattern when it was released – zero waste and a cowl neck? In a sack dress style perfect for a hot summer day? Exactly what I love!
The hard part was working out which of the several drapey fabrics in my stash I should use for my first version.
I settled on a rayon from Spotlight in my favourite colours of turquoise and blue in a smallish Moroccan tile pattern.
The fabric was 130 cm wide so I cut off 20 cm to make it 110 cm before drawing up the pattern directly on the fabric as per Liz’s excellent instructions. It seems a bit like magic doing this.
After construction, the dress seemed a bit long so I cut off another 7.5 cm before turning up 2.5 cm into the hem. It could probably go even shorter.
I cut out a size 16 even though my measurements suggested a size 18. It was very loose. I removed 1 cm in width by running in the front dart from hem to waist dart a bit. It is still looser than it needs to be.
I’ll size down to a 14 for the next version.
Liz’s written instructions for the underarm gusset are brilliant as is the video clip
It is a very clever pattern.
Don’t be put off by my comments about its looseness. Its an absolute delight to wear on a hot day.
This dress was made in those magical days between Christmas and New Year. I am a bit early for the Sewcialists theme for February of zero waste sewing.
If you’re wondering if you should try zero waste sewing I say go for it. I’ve been very happy with both this and the other zero waste project I’ve made. I also have Liz’s zero waste sewing book* so I have plans for more..
* I am not affiliated with Liz Haywood in any way and I purchased my patterns and the book. I’m just a happy customer.
One minute I’m “why is it so popular? It looks like a nightie. Or little house on the prairie style. So not for me.”
The next, I’m totally smitten by the gorgeousness of the Wilder made by M of Nonsuch Sewing and so many other beautiful Wilders appearing in my feed.
Pattern duly purchased and plans made to make my own.
Yes it does look like a nightgown. But (I tell myself) a cool, swishy, loose and just gorgeous to wear nightgown.
The technical details
What size to make? My measurements put me into XL so that’s what I went with. Or so I thought. I hadn’t paid attention to the test square. I’d printed the pattern out at about 90%. My “XL” was closer to an M.
To attempt to compensate for this error I reduced the seam allowances through the bodice and sleeves from 5/8 to 3/8 inch (apart from the centre front which I took down to 1/2 inch).
The ‘fit’ seems to be fine. Although I’m not sure my shoulders would be okay if I gathered the neckline up to my neck. Lucky I prefer it looser and lower.
I made the gathered skirt layers wider and longer by about 10 cm in length and width to account for the pattern repeat of my fabric. This made the dress length floor grazing. I took off the extra 20 cm of length from the bottom layer.
I used a charming floral woven viscose from Spotlight for this first version.
I suspect I’m going to be seeing more of my garment labels on this pattern.
It’s sewn in rayon from Spotlight. Unfortunately I didn’t buy a generous amount: I had 2.9 metres and the pattern called for 3.6 metres. This meant the bodice wasn’t lined and there was no belt, no button loops down the front and no gathered trim around the neck and armscyes.
It’s cut out as a size 42 with a 2cm FBA and the front neckline raised by 2 cm. I didn’t add in the vertical dart from the FBA. Instead I angled the side seams in a bit to compensate.
I stabilised the neck with cotton tape.
Then I finished the neckline and armscyes with bias binding from deep stash. The bias binding is stiff and I think it is cotton. It’s also not prewashed. Could be a recipe for disaster…
Both the front and the back bodice have a central seam so getting a nice neat V in the middle is easy: you just sew it in after you’ve finished and faced everything.
The shirring was done with what I think is hat elastic (also deep stash), or could just be elastic thread, in the bobbin. This is a trick my mum taught me. I thought it broke all sorts of sewing rules until I googled and found several tutorials describing the exact same thing. So its a totally legit method.Much more fun when I thought mum had shown me something clever but a bit dodgy!
It’s a bit weird to have elastic in your bobbin. But it really works!
The front and back bodices were shirred individually after the centre back and centre front seams were sewn. This meant the shirring went across the centre back and centre front seams
I tied off the ends and then sewed over them before joining the side seams together. Hope it all holds together.
The skirt is gathered and then sewn into the shirred bodice. You have to stretch the shirring out. If I make this again I’ll do the shirring after attaching the skirt.
I know the pattern placement is not ideal or evenly spaced through the shirring. But not having enough fabric will do that to you.
Pockets were added because pockets are always a good idea. Even when you have no fabric for them. I always seem to find something suitable in my remnants stash for pockets! This time it seems to be a very thin black silk. I can’t even remember what I made from it. Clearly this is also deep stash.
Back view without hair so we can see the V back.
After these photos were taken the hem went up by 5 cm to make it less like a gown.
I’ve had a full year subscription and let it lapse. Why?
Garments often come in only one size. That limits how many potential patterns I could use from each issue. Lots of styles I like aren’t in my size. I know I could draft up or down, but its nicer not to have to.
There is less seasonality in the styles than I expected. I had hoped that a pattern magazine from the Southern hemisphere might be more seasonally aligned. You know, winter coat patterns when it is winter in Australia, sundresses in summer, that sort of thing. There are a lot of warm weather styles, all year round. I forgot that much of Brazil is closer to the equator than where I live.
I don’t quite trust the patterns, despite the lovely garments Melissa and others have made and blogged about. Making one up would have helped with this!- doing it now, once the subscription has lapsed, is spectacularly poor timing. I wonder if the photographs are of designer garments that Manequim are providing patterns for, rather than the actual patterns made up. I don’t read Portuguese, so I can’t confirm this, but the same model is shown wearing garments across a range of sizes in the fashion shoots and the designer/company name is given in the caption, as is a price.
Pattern: Manequim 12-2012-536
Size: The pattern comes in Brazilian sizes 38, 42 and 46. I made a 42 (roughly equivalent to a Burda 40) with a 3 cm FBA for my daughter. You can see the new side dart in the photo above.
Fabric: Fujiette (rayon) with fabulous colour and drape. Bought from my local bricks and mortar fabric store in Adelaide, Ferrier Fabrics
Changes I made:
The bodice lining got a 3cm FBA. This added a side dart and enlarged the existing waist dart. The dress front doesn’t have any darts, just a deep box pleat centre front and a second sewn tuck on each side close to the centre. I really had no idea what to do about an FBA to this! So this is what I tried:
I made the pleats in the paper pattern and overlaid my adjusted facing pattern piece. There seemed to be enough fullness and the second tuck opened out just over the bust point. So I redraw the side seam to accommodate the new dart (this added to the width) and smoothed the side seam back down through the bodice to the waist.
I added a channel to the waist with Kelly green bias and a brown cord to draw the waist in. The channel stops about one third of the way in. Copied from a RTW dress Felicity loves. This makes the style more flattering on her figure.
The back has an elasticized band at the top, making fitting easy.
The shoulder straps in the fashion picture appear to be leather with a D ring and studs. The instructions talk about a metal D ring too, but the cutting layout shows the straps acut out of the same fabric as the dress. I ditched the D ring idea and sewed the straps directly to the bodice.