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!
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
I love Joy the Baker’s blog. She suggested a recipe that couples could cook together on Valentine’s Day. I thought yes, brilliant idea! Who wouldn’t want to prepare shrimp etouffee risotto (spicy Cajun stew with prawns and risotto) together and then eat it?
He who Cooks was much less enthusiastic. He was right that the recipe was more winter than summer. He was right that we’d need to go shopping for ingredients – and how romantic is grocery shopping?! He was right that it was Friday night and this didn’t sound relaxing.
What he didn’t say was how annoying it was going to be for him to have me, the unskilled amateur, in his kitchen. Much better when I’m perched on a stool with a drink and out of the way.
I pushed on and made the risotto part of the recipe whilst telling him what to do with the prawns. Who even am I?
Here’s the risotto part way through, after he had interfered and taken the thyme leaves off the stalks. What are you doing I said? Joy doesn’t tell me to do that! At this point I’m sure he wanted me well out of the kitchen.
But he’s such a darling that he just smiled sweetly at me.
It was delicious. The risotto was gloriously creamy and the etouffee had fabulous depth of flavour. Perfect winter food. Yes he was right about that too. At least we were having a slightly cooler spell from the very hot summer weather that’s normal in February in Adelaide.
Eventually we got to relax on the front verandah. A squeeze of lime and we’re back to summer food I said. He was unconvinced.
The day after Valentine’s Day I got it right.
I sewed. I kept out of the kitchen. We went out for dinner.
This is what I sewed – a glorious digital viscose print from Emmaonesock made up as view B, Vogue 8921. This pattern seems to be OOP now – I’ve purchased it a few years ago after seeing excellent versions on other people’s sewing blogs.
I cut out a size 16 and almost entirely ignored the instructions. Have the instruction writers at Vogue patterns not heard of overlockers and stretch stitches? And why would you ever think a zip was a good idea in a light weight stretch fabric? And what about stabilising shoulders? Seriously. Someone needs to rewrite the instructions!
I used a straight stitch for the pleats and most of the rest of the construction, followed up with overlocking the seams. I stabilised the shoulder seams and side seams with a ribbon. If you buy fabric online from Tessuti Fabrics, you’ll recognise this.
I know. Not all the threads from basted the pleats have been snipped off. And probably never will now I’ve worn this!
For the neck edge I overlocked the edges and folded in the seam allowance to the inside, sandwiching a light weight iron-in strip of interfacing between the outside and inside. I fused it with the iron and then stitched it with a straight stitch. This gave a very secure and non stretchy neck line. It is drafted ‘date night low’ so I hate to think how much it might gape without this stabilisation.
I can’t believe I am posting an image of my cleavage on the web! It does show the neckline stitching as well though, especially through the lavender flower and white leaves.
the dress was a bit loose through the waist and perhaps a bit long through the back bodice. I stitched elastic the length of my waist measurement (80 cm) into the waist seam stretching as I went. Slightly wonky stitching as a result. You can also see the ribbon stabilising the side seam below.
The elastic has made the dress a bit blousy. I might take it back out.
See what I mean?
You can also see the side seam (through the large lavender flower) isn’t hanging true but is pulling towards the front. I don’t know if it’s a fitting issue or a design fault . The front drapes are stitched into the side seam and might be pulling the seam? Perhaps I should go back and stabilise this seam with ribbon too.
So the morale of the story? I need to remember that he cooks and she sews.
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.
What do you do when you receive a wedding invitation with a dress code like this?
You buy new fabric and make two new dresses. Of course! What other option was there?
I had ‘nothing’ already suitable in my wardrobe or fabric stash. And it was a spring wedding in Queensland so I couldn’t be sure of the weather on the day. I needed at least two options….
This is the one I wore. Aren’t the textiles in the hotel lobby excellent?
This dress is a repeat of what seems to be becoming my TNT sheath dress, based on BurdaStyle 02/2014#141. Made up in scuba. Previous versions blogged already and I’m sure I’ll be making more. There are some further fit adjustments needed.
With this one, the bust apex was too low so I did a lazy short bodice adjustment: I took 2 cm out of the shoulder seam and then adjusted the sleeve by taking the same 2 cm out of the sleeve seam. I know. Not the right way to do it. But. Scuba. #forgiving
If you look hard you can see that the bust dart is still a bit low. You can also see the awesome sleeve head dart that this design has.
I really like this print.
I even like the chopped up pattern through the back!
I added a zip, but it is not needed because my scuba has enough stretch.
And this is the dress I didn’t wear.
This is Burdastyle 05/2010 #139 in a border print viscose. The border print is subtle – a great big white triangle with climbing flowers reaching more than halfway through the width.
I’ve loved this pattern for a long time.
Gotta love Burda’s photo shoots.
Who wouldn’t want to be wearing a dress like this while hanging out your washing, in heels, in a gorgeous light filled historic Rome apartment with your hot Italian man lying on the bed with his shirt off? Presumably because he only has one set of clothes and they are in the wash? Come to think of it, even better would be to be the one on the bed doing nothing while your hot Italian man hangs out the washing in his underclothes. Sigh. One can dream. About living in Italy.
Back to the sewing.
The design is supposed to be lined but my viscose didn’t need it.
This meant I finished the neck differently.
First I stabilised the neck edge with cotton tape on the right side to try to keep the bias under control (and woven viscose has got to be the worst fabric to try and sew on the bias!)
Then I sewed on bias tape right side to wrong side, trimmed and flipped to the front and then topstitched it down. Viola. Facing and trim all done.
This is what it looked like on the wrong side before I trimmed off the extra and sewed the bodice edge to the skirt. No lining, but a clean finish and the bias edge supported.
Everything else was standard, apart from length – my dress is 10 cm longer than drafted. I wanted to get all of that border printed triangle of white on the skirt!
I like this design, but I’m not convinced the pink bias trim and ribbon is the best addition.
Black or another darker colour would have been better. But, refer to wedding invitation instructions above. Spring hues it was.
Spring. Such a lovely time of the year. This is the view looking up through the blossoming Manchurian pear tree in my front garden last weekend. #nofilter. The sky really was that blue. Of course two days later it was cold again…