100% Japanese Baby Doll Dress

I am so in love with this gorgeous dress I can’t even stand it! I have so many projects to shoot and post but this one jumped to the top of the queue as soon I finished it last week. There have been a heap of babydoll dresses popping up on pinterest lately that have inspired this make.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen Miss Matatabi announced this past June Nani Iro month I took it as a sign that I should purchase some of the latest collection. I really wanted to make this yellow polka dot Pierre Pocho double gauze into a Japanese pattern, so as soon as I saw this cowl neck drop waist dress from Stylish Dress Book -Clothing for Everyday Wear I knew it was a match.pattern imagesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe pattern recommends using a cotton voile so the cowl neck sits heavy and drapes but I just love the structure the double gauze gives it, it sits up so beautifully.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANo visible stitches! I hand sewed all the hems while sitting in the winter sun on my day off, so lovely. The double gauze is perfect because you can catch the stitches to the under layer so they aren’t visible from the outside. I really should hand sew more, it’s really worth the extra effort.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI only used the top section of the pattern and just cut 2 rectangles for the gathered skirt. I had planned for the waist to sit a bit higher (more at my true waist) but I don’t mind how it turned out.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was reading this Sallieoh post where she writes about moving more toward fitted silhouettes since embracing her curves. I feel like I’m moving in the other direction, I always thought loose fitting shapes were not for me and my curves but now I’m into them. I think the trick is that you have to keep the skirt length short, you can’t lose the waist AND the legs, it’s one or the other I reckon. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnybody else loving the new Nani Iro collection?

New Pattern Company- Capital Chic’s Manhattan and White Russian

Introducing the new pattern company Capital Chic from the self taught and talented sewist and refashion blogger Charity Shop Chic. Marketed as day to night corporate/cocktail wear designed for the intermediate to advanced sewist. I’ve been a great admirer of Sally’s blog for ages and I was lucky enough to meet her and all The Spoolettes on my trip to London last year. Best. Trip. Ever!!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAManhattan- This is such an interesting pattern, I made the asymmetrical front, high low hemline and exposed zip with grosgrain trim option of this panelled, lined, dart-less skirt.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI love the gentle curve of the hemline, it’s a little “nice girl in the front, party gal in the back” I’m kind of leaning more toward shorter skirt lengths these days.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’d never bordered an exposed zip with grosgrain trim before and I’m in love with it, it looks so slick even if mine turned out a little off centre at the base.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAfabric- I got this fabulous gold and black Lisa Ho lame from the remnant bin at The Fabric Store on a shopping trip meet up with the lovely Top Notch and Ernest Flagg a while back. I totally thought of the ever stylish Nicole Needles when I picked it up, oh and Joan Collins. I lined it with a black acetate lining (can you believe this is my first fully lined skirt ?). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhite Russian- Yum! (with soy milk of course). As soon as I saw this pattern I fell in love with it. I’ve been searching for a classic raglan sleeve sweatshirt pattern for ages but just haven’t found what I was after, this is it folks. The pattern is finished with bands at the neckline, hem and cuffs, and has the option for short sleeves with turned up cuffs, and comes with two stencils and instructions for quilting/applique options- Fun!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAfabric- I bought a ton of this grey towelling knit on the same shopping trip. It’s perfect and I was really glad of the opportunity to use it. I lined the quilting with a cream brushed cotton because I couldn’t find a grey jersey (damn you Spotlight!).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis was my first time quilting and I really had no idea what I was doing, I just made it up as I went along really. Subsequently the wadding I used was a little too thick which means that it has a bit of a boxy look but I totally love it!! Basically I cut a front pattern piece out of vilene and drew the quilting grid (1 square inch boxes with the help of my cutting mat) in tailor’s chalk. Then layered the towelling, wadding, brushed cotton then vilene and sewed sewed sewed. Then I just removed the vilene when I was done. I have a feeling there is a much better way to do this and the quilters among you may be cringing a little but hey, it worked.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are four other great patterns to check out, I’ve already got plans for making the Martini two piece. We are so lucky there is another modern fashion forward independent pattern company out there now. Stay tuned for an exciting project inspired by Sally and her refashioning genius in August, very exciting.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADisclosure- I was asked to pattern test for Capital Chic’s new pattern release and in exchange I received a free beta copy of these two patterns. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

April Rhodes Staple Dress for Perfect Pattern Parcel #3

It’s that time again, the third instalment of the fabulous Perfect Pattern Parcel has been released! This parcel includes;

And don’t forget the bonus brand new pattern Prefontaine Shorts by Made by Moxie that you receive if you nominate a price of $28 or more.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Pattern- I chose April Rhodes Staple Dress for my make. I’ve seen so many of these made up and it looks really good in a gorgeous print. But for me, I knew I definitely wanted to do it in a knit and, in the spirit of using what’s already in my stash I shopped at home. So yes, it’s another black dress I’m afraid (the last post being my black Coco dress) by hey, one can never have too many black dresses.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is such a simple but clever design; scoop neck, shirred waist, pockets and dolman sleeve dress with the option of high-low or straight hem . When I first tried it on I thought the neckline was a little wide but now I totally love it. Another thing I love about this pattern is the pdf doc has a overview of the print-out so if you want to omit something like the pockets and bias binding in my case you don’t have to print the whole thing out and waste paper and ink, love it.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAConstruction- I’ve been working more on tweaking existing patterns lately, it builds my skills and also my courage working towards drafting something myself. I so admire sewists like Charity Shop Chic who are really creative with their pattern skills.

  • I lengthened the sleeves to about 3/4 length. Using my french curve I just followed the lines of the pattern (see image below).
  • I also lengthened it 5″ from the straight hemline marking to make it into a midi length which I just love love love.
  • I omitted the shirring at the waistline and instead drafted an internal casing and fed through a thin strip of elastic. I was so proud of this because I totally improvised and so was really worried it wouldn’t work. Yay me!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Fabric- I can’t even describe how beautiful this knit is. I picked it up from Textile Traders (buy 2 metres get one free- yes please) on a recent trip to Perth with my man. It’s a poly rayon jersey, the back is nice and fleecey against my skin and makes it feel very fancy for a knit dress.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI know it doesn’t look like your usual Staple Dress but I’m glad I personalised it by gambling on these adjustments. I’m so very happy with this make.CcvTtFVPerfect Pattern Parcel is such a great initiative that benefits indie pattern designers, us as sewists and Donorschoose.org, pretty good don’t cha think?  So get in quick to snag these fabulous patterns and donate to a great cause in one fell swoop because this parcel is only available until 13th June.

 

Tilly’s Coco Dress in Ponte di Roma

Once I saw this beautiful version by Top Notch I just had to have this pattern. I looooove the funnel neck, vintage inspired but really modern.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI made the dress version with the 3/4 sleeves and funnel neck options. I modified the shape a little, once it was sewn up: I tapered the sleeve hems in a little so they sit closer to my arms and I did the same tapering from the waist to the hem taking out 7.5cm at the bottom on each side so it’s a bit more of a shift dress than an A-line. I made size 5 but I could’ve gone down a size and I will for next time.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI wanted to use ponte di roma for this, it’s got great body and I knew it would make the funnel neck stand up and not collapse. It’s lovely to handle and sew, durable and oh so comfortable. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to come in many inspiring colours that I’ve seen (if anyone knows who has good varieties online let me know). I’m thinking I need one in a Breton stripe now.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne thing on the construction, I thought I’d be sneaky and cut corners by sewing the sleeve hems flat before sewing the underarm seam. Bad idea:

1. you risk the hem seams not matching up, double that if you’re using a twin needle.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA2. the overlocked seam pokes out the from the hem and starts to unravel.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo don’t be lazy like me and do it right, it makes all the difference to the finish of the garment. Whenever I see it now on anything RTW I think how lazy and sloppy the manufacturing was, needless to say I will not being doing this again.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m starting to love sewing and wearing knits (can’t wait to get Colette’s new book).

Everyone needs a little black winter dress. Amiright?

 

 

McCall’s 6044 in Cotton Gingham

After seeing another of Crab and Bee‘s beautiful makes for her man enough was enough. I just couldn’t take the guilt anymore more and had to create something for my lovely man who has been hinting politely that he’d love it if I did for ages. I’m so excited to share his handsome face with you all, we’ve been together for 11 years now and I just love him to bits.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe pattern- I picked up McCall’s 6044 without knowing anything about it. I was relieved after True Bias (see her version here) recommended it from my instagram shot at the fabric store. It has options for two breast pockets with flaps and western style back and front yokes. It has quite long cuffs too just FYI.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe construction- I made it up in size small using one of his RTW shirts as a guide. I shortened the arms a little but that was about it for modifications. It fits really well in the body but the arms are a problem, they’re too long, the armscye is too big and they’re really baggy, there’s just way too much body in them. Not sure how to go about modifying this as they’re a two piece sleeve, if anyone has any suggestions your comments are very welcome.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI also cut the front plackets and cuffs on the bias for a little interest, I think it looks so good with this size gingham check.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe pattern has no sleeve placket the seam allowance is just folded under and top stitched, super easy. You can see in the photo below that the arms are a bit baggy.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis fabric- is a loose weave 100% cotton, definitely not a shirting fabric.  The loose weave made it a nightmare to flat fell the seams, I wouldn’t really recommend it for a men’s shirt.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASee how long the sleeves are? Annoying. He usually wears them rolled up so he’ll still get some wear out it. Even though the fit isn’t quite right I still think I’m getting really good at collared shirts now which I am oh so pleased about.

In other news, I can’t believe Cotton and Curls has been eliminated in week two of Project Sewn. Scandalous!!

 

Papercut Patterns Meissa in Liberty Lawn

I won this gorgeous fabric in a giveaway from the lovely new Mum Kathryn’s Busytown I reckon about a year ago now (shame on me for taking this long to make something from it). I’d never had the pleasure of working with Liberty before this and, truth be told I was totally intimidated by it. I really didn’t want to mess it up, in fact I wanted it to be the finest work I’d ever done! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI certainly started out right by picking a pattern I’d made before the Meissa Blouse by Papercut Patterns, see my first version here. The details of the shirt get a bit lost in the print but it’s a great fit and therefore perfect for Liberty I think. I’ve been contemplating a Liberty button up for some time, especially after seeing these beauties: Top Notch‘s Archer, Boo Dogg and Me’s Archer and Little Betty Sews‘ Vogue 1387.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAModifications I chose a size down from my first Meissa and shortened the sleeves a little more, now they’re perfect. I also put in  sleeve plackets, I copied the pattern and instructions from Grainline’s Archer. I also changed the button placement on the centre front to single spaced because the print is definitely the hero of this make. I went with a clear button for the same reason.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI could have used a stiffer interfacing because I had to unpick a few button holes (the worst) because my machine kept sucking the shirt down into the feed dogs. I ended up pinning some vilene to the underside of the buttonholes on the rest of them for stability and problem solved. Don’t you love it when you fix something with your own common sense?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s the placket I drafted stole, you really get a good look at all the gorgeous colours in this print, I just loves it.

Overall I didn’t do a bad job, not the finest sewing I’ve ever done as I’d hoped but I think I did Liberty proud. I must say I’ve always looked at Liberty fabrics and thought how beautiful they are but I could never quite see myself wearing them, too girly or something. But after wearing this little lady about town a bit I can see how wrong I was, it’s my favourite thing at the moment. It’s funny how fabrics transform depending on what you sew them into don’t you reckon?

I now own a Liberty shirt. Yay!

Cali Faye Collection’s Perri Pullover for Self Sewing Week

It’s Selfish Sewing Week again over at Imagine Gnats and this time they’ve teamed up with Kollabora!!  I was lucky enough to be asked to participate by making one of the patterns from the impressive list of indie giveaways on offer (be sure to enter here).

Let’s face it, I don’t really need any encouragement to sew for myself, I maaaaay be the most selfish sewer ever. Having said that I actually have been sewing something for my man this week (… for the first time) so leave me alone! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe pattern – I’d never even heard of Cali Faye until now, she mostly designs lovely patterns for little ones but this one is drafted for both ladies and bubs. Basically the Perri Pullover is an oversized knit jumper with side seam pockets, a high-low hem line and finished with collar, sleeve and hem bands.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe fabric – I’ve been lusting after this for ages, ever since I first saw it in Tessuti about a month ago. I was so so so lucky to have got the last two meters! This was a good lesson for me to make sure I buy the fabric I like when I see it, the thought of this loveliness slipping through my fingers makes me feel a bit sick in the tum. When fabric shopping I usually window shop to see what I like then go away and think about it and only come back to buy it when I just can’t get it out of my head, but no more after this little episode!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAModifications

  • I extended the sleeves by about 5cm so they would sit more 3/4 than right at the elbow. Not sure this was the best idea though, I think I should have kept going all the way to the wrist or left them as is.
  • I omitted the pockets to reduce bulk around the sides and most of my pants and skirts have pockets anyway.
  • My measurements are for the medium but I decided to make it up in the small so it wasn’t too slouchy. I’m happy with how that decision turned out.
  • I was all set to top stitch around the bands as instructed but Mum stopped me just in time (thank goodness I was on a long weekend sew-fest at her place). Apparently top stitching on fabrics with nap is a bit of a no no. Phew.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve been so into this colour lately, I even started a rust pinterest page in honour of it. It keeps popping up everywhere for me, I just saw North by Northwest and Eva Marie Saint’s beautiful dress is so gorgeous I had to include an image. She also wears a jacket in the same fabric with it.Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 4.56.13 pmBe sure to treat yourself and join in with Selfish Sewing Week by posting your makes on Kollabora and going into the draw to win some sweet sewing booty.logo with sponsor linksWhat’s on your sewing table? I hope it’s something just for you this week.

 

Burda 8201 Floral Cotton Blazer

Mum saw this gorgeous blazer made up at a sewing fair on her UK trip last year and thought I’d really like it. She was right! I was really excited to make this up but was totally intimidated by the pattern matching nightmare I knew it would be.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFloral blazers seem to be everywhere at the moment, these Pinterest beauties were just some of my inspirations for this make.

sources starting from top left 1, 2, 3, 4.

sources clockwise from top left 1, 2, 3, 4.

Burda 8201 is such a great pattern, a classic one piece facing and lapel, choice of three or four button closure, unlined woven blazer (I omitted the patch pockets). I know I will be making this up many times, linen, seersucker, corduroy, it might just be my new favourite pattern. If you’ve never made a blazer before I would definitely recommend this or By Hand London’s Victoria as a good starting point. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt took me ages just to cut this bloody thing out! And I still messed up the sleeves!! You can see here the right one is the odd one out but because I usually scrunch them up (Miami Vice style) I’m letting it go.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnother reason I avoided this make was because my first blazer was the hardest thing I’ve ever made and it didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to at all. But this one is perfect, the fit is amazing. I made the straight 10 and just shortened the sleeves a little. The only thing I would change for next time would be to grade out a tiny bit at the hips to reduce pulling across the bottom button when it’s done up.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACheck out this back centre seam pattern matching, just ignore the odd sleeves though of course.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAChoosing the buttons was tricky because this is such a busy print but with help from the lovely ladies at Tessuti I think I got it right. I really feel like I’m getting better at matching buttons to fabric.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnybody else out there bitten by the floral blazer bug??

Tessuti Suzy Pants in Viscose Rayon Blend

I picked up this rayon/viscose blend at the Spotlight 40% off post Christmas sale and I totally fell in love with  it. It’s slippery and shiny just like silk plus you can just chuck it in the wash, no worries.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is my second time making up the Suzy Pants from Tessuti. I made a few silly mistakes on my first pair (unpicking both pocket bags because I thought I’d made a mistake but I actually hadn’t!!) so I wanted to get it right because they really are quick and easy to make up and they look effortlessly stylish. For more proof check out Fabric Tragic’s recent guilded linen version.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI can’t tell you how in love with this fabric I am. Sometimes you get a fabric home and just have to make it up straight away. This was one of those times. As soon as it made it through the door it was slashed and stitched.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI didn’t do anything different to my first pair I just had to share them with you. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI still have a little fabric left tell me what you would do with it, I can’t decide. Although, after seeing Sewaholic’s new Belcarra blouse maybe I do.

Swiss Dot McCall’s 6696

This is my second version of M6696 (first version here) and I have to say the jury’s out on this one. Not the pattern, it’s great – the shape, the fit, all great. It’s definitely the pattern to fabric combo (A Fashionable Stitch discusses this very tricky issue which I struggle with constantly in this post).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI got the fabric at Spotlight, it’s 100% cotton swiss dot and super soft, almost like an old bed sheet. When I saw the colour on the bolt I thought “Ooooo, lavender with lemon swiss dot, so pretty!” But now that it’s made up it looks like a dirty baby blue with muddy yellow dots, so disappointing.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe other thing about this make is that I feel like it looks a bit like a flight attendant’s uniform, and not in a good way like Zosews’ wiggle dress. Are you getting that too? It doesn’t help that once I found these super cool matchy buttons I was so excited about making it up. Not to mention there was so much work in it: hand stitched facing at the waist and centre front plackets and 12 buttons and buttonholes, oh, and the bloody collar. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI took some length and width out of the back bodice piece because last time it felt a little ‘poofy” for my liking. But I think I could have taken even more out.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt looks nice when I iron it and first put it on but as soon as I sit down the fabric loses its shape and it looks a little, dare I say…. frumpy.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat do you think? Is it working or not? I fear it’s destined to gather dust at the back of my wardrobe until I face facts and get rid of it.

PS I just loved reading all the comments on the evolution of our personal style and sewing from my last post, so fascinating. Our taste buds change every seven years and certainly our body shapes along with them, so why not our personal style? Thanks everyone xx