27

Curvy Colette #2: Show Me the Moneta’s!

This is my second post for the Curvy Colette Blog Tour. When you’ve finished reading, why not check out the rest of the posts:

Wednesday, April 16th: Jenny at Cashmerette
Thursday, April 17th: Mary at Idle Fancy
Saturday, April 19th & Sunday April 20th: Laurence at QuirkyPrettyCute
Monday, April 21st:  Tanya at Mrs Hughes
Tuesday, April 22nd and Wednesday, April 23rd: T at UandMii
Thursday, April 24th: Jenny at Cashmerette
Friday, April 25th: Mary and Idle Fancy
Saturday, April 26th and Sunday, April 27th: Sophie-Lee at Two Random Words (me!)
Monday, April 28th: Mary at Young, Broke and Fabulous 

Welcome to my second post for the Curvy Colette blog tour. This time, I’m here with their new dress pattern, the Moneta. This is a simple, but cleverly designed knit dress but 5 extra collar options. Readers, this dress is rad.

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When I got the Tiramisu dress by Cake Patterns, I thought “this is it! Comfortable dress that looks good” and planned to make a heap. After making it twice (the first had poor fabric choice, the second got stained somehow on the first day I wore it) I realised that the shape/design didn’t really suit me – the bias skirt made my hips cu-razy (especially with the pockets) and for the seams to sit in the right place the mid panel would have to be 15cm long, which looks odd. So without a pattern, I’ve been sewing purely woven dresses. Until the Moneta.
The pattern has a fitted bodice, shaped quite differently from other knit bodices I’ve seen, short- or long- sleeves, and a gathered skirt with in-seam pockets, which because of the fuller skirt are hidden well.
 https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/p1070694.jpg
This version is made from a knit I bought at last years Fabric-a-Brac, I’m not sure of the content but it feels like a viscose, heavy but quite thin. I had just enough of the fabric and couldn’t fit on sleeves, and thought a collar would be too busy so I went with the plain sleeveless version. It’s lined with leftover “ponti” from my Mabel skirt (which is, in fact, the perfect weight for a bodice lining, go figure).
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Size cut: I cut the size L in the bust and waist and an XL in the hips.
Changes made: Thinking this might be a bit short on me, I added 10cm to the length. This was TOO much length to add, when I tried it on before hemming it looked… weird. I did a 3cm hem (just zig-a-zag ahh’d) but it could be a couple of cm shorter.
Things to change next time: Because the bodice is drafted for sleeves, when I made it sleeveless the shoulder seams are a bit too far over – which I think is the reason why I have some gape at the front. Next time I make it sleeveless I’ll narrow the shoulder a bit and see if that helps. I also felt that the waist seam was a touch too high so I lengthened the bodice 1.5cm.
https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/p10706881.jpg
Now because I had so much success with this first one, and only kind of because The Monthly Stitch’s April challenge is “Sew Double”, I quickly made up another version, this time with my favourite collar:
https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/p1070640.jpg
This version is made from a merino-viscose blend from The Fabric Store. I had initially bought it to make another Sew Over It Wrap Dress, but I hadn’t got around to it yet, and my stash knows that my plans are only solid until another plan comes to mind. Annoyingly, the stripes are completely off-grain (by about 20-30 degrees) – when cutting the skirts I had thought I made them straight, but they shifted (silly for cutting on the fold). Luckily it’s not very obvious (small stripes and gathered skirt) but I had to be a lot more careful when cutting the bodice/sleeves/collar.
https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/p1070664.jpg
This version has the added 1.5cm length to the bodice, so I don’t know if that was too much fabric (amazing how 8mm will make such a difference with comfort) or if it’s because the fabric seems to have stretched vertically a bit – the hem feels a bit longer than it did when I first made it.
https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/p1070669.jpg
Other than that, this dress is so good. The collar is cute as, even if Jessie-Dog got excited when we were playing and somehow bit a hole in it, meaning I have to tie it weirdly. It’s a thin merino wool which means it’s appropriate for all seasons. Because it’s thin and extra stretchy it does show bra straps etc which is annoying but I can live with that.
https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/p1070648.jpg
What else to say? These photos were taken on our anniversary weekend again (this time with crappy weather) – the first is in the harbour of Okiato, a tiny town that was New Zealand’s first ever capital before it was shifted to Auckland in 1841 (later moved to our current capital, Wellington, for political reasons). There was also some FLASH houses there. The second dress was photographed at Flagstaff, where the British flag was cut down 4 times in protest against colonisation. We also got to see where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed, which was cool.
https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/p1070679.jpg
Details
Fabric: Houndstooth knit from Fabric-a-brac, $5, leftover knit for lining. Merino-viscose knit from The Fabric Store, $45
Notions: Thread, interfacing and elastic from stash (I used picot elastic because it’s all I had but I don’t think it’s quite strong enough)
Total: $5 and $45
23

Self-drafted Shirtwaist dress, and a sneak preview of the new Thread Theory pattern, the Thetis Undershirt!

I’ve always liked shirtwaist dresses. I don’t even know what is about them; perhaps it’s that they’re an easily wearable “vintage” look, along with the fit-and-flare silhouette that suits me so well. Regardless of the reasons I’ve always wanted a wardrobe full of them. Before I started sewing, they just weren’t available to me – the only ones I ever saw ran at about $200+ which was well out of my student clothing budget.

ImageI have tried sewing them twice before. The first, my Gertie’s Palomino Dress, was one of my favourite items for a while, but it has some serious fit issues; I successfully tackled the broad shoulder issue, but the bust darts are crazy. And I have several issues with the back – there is way too much fabric gathered into the yolk, and the shirred lower back results in some extremely unflattering gathers. I do still love this dress and get plenty of comments (including one elderly patient telling me that it took him back to the 60’s), but I don’t want to make the base pattern again.

ImageI then tried to use my princess seam bodice sloper and the Gertie’s pattern to draft a better-fitting version, seen here. The bodice of this one fit well, but for some reason the collar (which was borrowed from the Gertie pattern) is way too short; I dislike the buttons that I chose; and it ended up with an a-line skirt because I didn’t buy enough fabric. Looking at the photos, it isn’t as bad as I remember, but I think I gave this dress away.

It’s taken me a while to get the courage to try again… and I think I’ve almost cracked it

ImageI would go so far as to say I drafted this myself; although it’s based off several different patterns, I had to alter them significantly and have ended up with “my own” pattern. The bodice front used a combination of the Gertie Shirtwaist, La Sylphide, and my princess seam sloper. It started off with just one (vertical) dart and I ended up adding in a bust dart, by figuring out how much needed to come out of the side, marking my bust point on the muslin, and aiming the dart there (finishing 1″ before).

I then rearranged both darts to make the center of the dart parallel and perpendicular to the grainline (does it annoy you when the dart pulls funny when you’re forming it? I’d never thought about it before but figure the reason is that they’re off grain). The bodice back is the La Sylphide/my bodice sloper back piece, cut on the fold. Sleeves are from my sloper.

ImageThe collar is my only issue with the dress (GUYS THERE’S ONLY ONE THING I DON’T LIKE). I used the pattern piece from the Negroni shirt, as I think the Gertie dress uses a one-piece collar. It hasn’t worked and makes the back neckline gape weirdly. Although it’s not ideal, though, I’m perfectly happy with the whole thing because it still looks awesome and now I know. Next time I’ll draft or find a collar stand and collar.

ImageOnce I had the pattern sussed, I pulled out the only fabric in my stash that I thought would work… and realised that it’s a large scale pattern. I should pattern match. Crap.

I’ve never really done much pattern matching before – I used to not even be aware of it, and I often just bypass it on smaller print stuff. After my accidental-matching on my lobster dress, I realised how gutted I would have been if it was way off. So I decided to bite the bullet and do it.

ImageI did it! Because it’s buttoned up and not just a regular seam, I had to work out where the two patterns would actually meet. I marked the center front on the pattern piece, then cut out one piece (on the flat). I then folded the fabric under at the center front and laid it on top of the fabric, lining up the pattern – then lair the pattern piece down (in a mirror image), removed the first bit of fabric, and unfolded the center front. If you like pictures, Sewaholic and Bind The Seams both have pictorials. I’ve just clicked that “pictorial” probably means picture tutorial.

ImageBecause the dress is only buttoned to the waist, I added a lapped zipper to the side seam. This also meant that the buttons would be non-functional, so I decided to sew most of the front shut and sew the buttons straight onto it. The top button is still functional and I had a hell of a time with my automatic buttonholer, as it wanted to make a buttonhole 3x shorter than I needed (it’s funny how a malfunctioning convenience tool makes you so much madder than if you didn’t have it at all).

ImageI have so many zips, but they’re not very often the colour that I need.

ImageLike my last few dresses (and another one almost finished), the skirt is an a-line gathered skirt, and for this version, both the front and back skirt were cut on the fold. And the hem is my first actual ever blind hem. Oh my glob guys, it is amazing – why have I never done one before? It only took a little bit more fussing with the iron and pins, and it’s such a nice finish. I’m going to be doing them a lot more.

ImageWowow I like this dress a lot, and apart from the collar it’s really comfortable (I keep finding myself tugging it forward a bit). It doesn’t even use up much more fabric than any other dress, so I’m hopefully going have my dream of a wardrobe half filled with shirtwaist dresses!! Just need to find the fabric for them first…

ImageI run out of poses, okay?

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I’m also going to count this as a Sew Dolly Clackett entry. She has made a few similar shirtwaist dresses, and although it’s not her classic style I did buy the fabric because of her inspiration.

Details

Pattern: Self-made, details in post

Fabric: Quilting cotton from fabric.com, about $30 after shipping

Notions: Buttons, 50c each. Thread, interfacing and zip from stash

Total: $31.50


 

I’d also like to show off another make: the Thetis Undershirt by Thread Theory.

ImageAfter some cheeky pointed emails to Morgan from Thread Theory, I was lucky enough to be able to test a soon-to-be-released pattern, the Thetis Undershirt. It’s designed to be a loose, v-neck for wearing as is, or under other clothes (such as a dress shirt – so many of those need a singlet to maintain modesty), and it will be released as a FREE pattern.

ImageIt’s a straight-forward top that uses very little fabric (I used an 80cm scrap piece of cotton-spandex). It is meant to be a loose style and I prefer Mr. Guy’s tops to be a bit more fitting so I did take it in at the sides a bit – Morgan recommends going down a size from your measurements if you prefer it fitted.

ImageI can see myself making a few of these; even though Mr. Guy said “I don’t need another singlet, I already have a black and a white one” he’s worn this one several times.

ImageI’m not 100% sure when the pattern will be released (it’ll be availble after Morgan and Matt get back from their USA roadtrip, I believe) but be sure to keep an eye out!

20

Don’t look now Jessie, she’s gone full lobster!

Ah ah ah this dress!

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This, my lovely readers, is the Sewaholic Cambie in full on LOBSTER PRINT. I’ve been wanting this fabric ever since I saw the lady who owns Swonderful Boutique (highly recommended for Wellingtonians – excellent quality and made in store) wearing it in the white colourway, and she told me about Michael Miller fabrics.

I’ve actually had the fabric in my etsy card several times only to see it sell out again when I dithered. When I decided to try buying from fabric.com*, I snapped it up instantly. And I was not disappointed – the colours look even better in real life than in the shops photos.

https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/p10702031.jpg

Even though this is my fourth version of the Cambie bodice, I actually made a muslin! My last version I found to fit a bit oddly, and the bust darts were too high on previous versions (here and here), so I thought I’d make one so I never have to worry again. Which I think I have now – it’s a bit loose (because of the give in the cotton vs muslin) but the darts are in the right place and I now have the sleeves at the right length.

But I’ve got no idea how I made the sleeves two difference widths:

https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/how-the-hang.jpg

You’ll notice that I didn’t do the gathers on the sleees which… wasn’t totally on purpose, but I’m glad because it would potentially make this a bit too squee. Like my ships dress, the skirt is just a gathered a-line skirt. For construction the bodice seams are just pinked, the skirt seams are overlocked, and the waistband is (dodgily) stitched down using my stitch-in-the-ditch foot. Hem is turned and sewn so the overlocked edge is hidden. The lining is, of course, totally different to the shell:

https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/p1070227.jpg

I did a lapped zip (again, using scruffy badgers technique. I think I’m just going to print these pictures out and stick them on my wall!), which I put in then had to pull out completely because the waistband didn’t match up. I actually considered leaving it, but it was pretty obvious, so I sucked it up and did it again (this time using the same technique that I use when doing invisible zippers – start sewing from the waistband down, turn around and sew from the waistband up – you just need to make sure the tops line up when you sew down the lining/facing).

I didn’t really make any effore to pattern match which was supid, but I accidentally got this:

https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/p1070215.jpg

They’re only off by 1-2cm! So from far away it’s not that noticible at all, woot. I did have a heck of a time getting the lapped part to sit nicely at the neckline after I sewed the lining down. Looks kiind of okay, but really I need to remember it’s not a good idea in a lined dress – unless anyone has any tips??).

And, of course, it has pockets

https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/pockets.jpg

I love love love this dress, and I already got two compliments when I wore it to Whangarei – and some very odd looks.

This, you might have guessed, is also my third entry for the Sew Dolly Clackett sewalong. I might squeeze one or two more into the competition, we’ll see how we go – I still have The Monthly Stitch’s challenge for the month, and I was hoping to take part in Sew For Victory 2.0, but my pattern hasn’t arrived yet and it will need muslining and things. There’s some long weekends coming up though so I should have time!

https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/p1070193.jpg

I’m also on the look out for a red belt… you may have noticed that I always wear this scummy brown one that I think I bought from the $2 op-shop in Christchurch. I don’t like shopping though, okay?

https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/p1070226.jpg

Details

Pattern: Sewaholic Cambie

Fabric: Lobster quilting cotton by Michael Miller, about $35 after shipping

Notions: zip and interfacing, stash. Thread $3

Total: $38

https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/p10702141.jpg

 

 

27

Ships ahoy! Sew Dolly Clackett #2

Y’all are wonderful, truly. Every comment on my last post gave me warm fuzzies. The shorts got a good workout today, too, when we went out on a boat ride. I got to drive a boat! And previously I would have had to wear a dress (not exactly appropriate for a speedboat) or running leggings.

And, speaking of boats…Ta da!

ImageA dress with ships on it, of course.

This is my second entry in the Dolly Clackett Sewalong. I’m sure I’ve said before that I draw inspiration from Dolly Clackett – she knows what suits her, and uses TNT patterns to let the fabric take the center stage. I decided that the sewalong was the perfect time to crank out some similar dresses myself, as I’m generally lacking in this kind of casual dress.

The dress is made from a Michael Miller quilting cotton (see Dolly Clackett’s own version here). I’m not sure why so many sewers/bloggers are against quilting cotton – sure, I had some disasters when sewing with poor quality stuff when I was younger, but I would have had MORE disasters had I tried using anything less stable than a sturdy quilting cotton. ImageI’ve now learned how to sew with a heap of different fabrics, but it’s nice to come back to a fabric that you know will treat you well.

The pattern from this dress is my bodice sloper, and an a-line gathered skirt: basically, I put down my cambie skirt pattern with about 15cm extra width, so it would still be shaped but I had room to gather it.

ImageIt’s best worn with a belt because a gathered skirt isn’t the most flattering shape on me, and because there’s something squiffy going on at the front – I think the lining is sewn in a bit shorter than the shell, so it pulls up at the waist seam. It’s also a bit loose on me but I’m liking the amount of ease.

Image*Sigh* still having some fitting issues with this sloper. The shoulders are pulling a bit which I know is because the slop is drafted to have sleeves, and sleeveless dresses should finish higher on the shoulder. There’s also that combination of gaping and pulling at the bust/underarm, which I think means the bust of the dress is a bit too high. If I tighten my bra straps a bit it goes away. One day I’ll get rid of all gaping, or I’ll just get over it. Do other people not have gape, or am I just blinded and much more critical of my own sewing?

ImageI’m also happy to say the dress has pockets! Only semi-matching polka dot pockets, because why not?

ImageI made sure to hold the skirt up to me to make sure the pockets are the perfect height, as I’ve found a few patterns put them too low for me. The skirt itself is a bit too short – I initially cut it quite long then had to hack it off. And, well, I hacked off too much! It’s not like this dress would have been work appropriate anyway, but I would prefer it 1-2″ longer.

ImageConstruction wise, it’s all pretty standard for me. I lined the bodice with cream cotton (it’s all I have, okay). Bodice seams were just trimmed, and the skirt seams were overlocked. Hem is just turned over twice – should have kept the length and done a blind hem. I used an invisible zipper.

If anyone cares, my trick is to interface both sides where the zip will go, then sew the first side. Mark on the zip tape where you want the second seam to be, then pin and sew up from just below the seam. After making sure the seams line up, you can go back and finish below the seam. You do have to make sure the TOP of the dress will line up when it does up but that’s way easier than trying to get the seams lined up when sewing top-down.

ImageI’m way angrier than this when the seams don’t match

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Details

Pattern: My own sloper + gathered skirt

Fabric: 3 yards of “My Favourite Ship by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller” from fabric.com, approx. $30 after shipping, and lining from my stash

Notions: Thread and zip from my stash

Total: ~$30

What are your thoughts on quilting cotton, and how much do you think your opinion has been swayed by popular bloggers either way?

ImageLook how BIG she is now! She’s going to be huge.

17

On a roll: my third Sewaholic Cambie


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This is my third version of Sewaholic’s Cambie pattern – a dress that suits my body and style SO WELL that I should have made a twenty versions by now. There was a large gap between my first two versions (here and here, sewn about 9 months apart) and another gap before this one – but you can expect to see a few more versions cropping up in the near future.

This is partly because I do just love this pattern, but it also coincides with the Sew Dolly Clacket competition, which is running to celebrate Dolly Clackett herself (real name Roison, although I always feel somewhat odd calling bloggers by their first names when I don’t know them) contribution to the sewing community, and her upcoming wedding. I’ve been inspired by her blog for a while, by how she churns out so many wearable, gorgeous dresses from fun fabrics – she knows what she likes, and runs with it!

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I promised myself recently that I would sew more with tried-and-true (TNT) patterns, which allows me to play around with more expensive fabric (taking inspiration from both Dolly Clackett and Mary from Idle Fancy), and I think this dress is a good start.

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Like my other two copies of this dress, this is Version A with the a-line skirt and slash pockets. I do want to try the gathered version but I tried pulling out the pieces once and it used a HUGE amount of fabric, which was super unflattering. I might try one more time and see how they go; otherwise I’ll try a pleated or circle-style to skirt to mix it up, so I don’t end up with 10 versions of the EXACT same dress!

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Although I could easily be happy with 10 versions of this, lines up side by side in my wardrobe. truly, I love this pattern.

All versions so far have been made with no alterations to the original pattern (not even grading out at the hips!). For this version I made a couple of changes FOR NEXT TIME – namely, lowering the dart point and moving it to the center; letting the waist and hips out a touch; move the sleeves in towards the middle a bit; and removing 1cm from the back shoulder seam.

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I don’t have a photo of my waist side on, but trust me when I say this is flattering on my waist; unfortunately the bust darts are too high, I think that’s why it squishes my bust so much.

I think I made the sleeves a bit too tight on this version, because the neckline is a touch higher than would be idea. I also stupidly didn’t use any twill tape on the neckline (damnit, Sophie) so it does gape a bit at the front if I don’t have my shoulders back properly (good posture, Sophie!).

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The fabric is a quilting cotton from fabric.com (sorry local shops – but I’m soo faaaar from you right now). I used a red invisible zipper partly because I thought it would look cool, and partly because I didn’t have one that matched.

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Unfortunately it pulls a bit at the waist (needs a touch more room in there) but I’m okay with it.

https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/p10605991.jpg

I think you can see that, after my gloominess of last Month, I’ve really started sewing stuff that makes me happy. It’s only March 14 and I’ve made SIX DRESSES! And, more or less, I love them all. At the very least, they’re very wearable and not crap.

https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/p1060605.jpg

Funnily enough, I don’t even have this pattern up here with me – I leant it to a friend who gave it to another friend to return. Which meant that I couldn’t ask her to post up when I realised that I made misplaced the skirt back piece (and the back lining piece!) – I had to draft a piece off one of my existing versions, which worked alright.

Also, halfway through sewing it I realised that I had lost the sleeve lining piece, so again had to draft it off an existing version. Idiot! Again, worked alright. I need to get more organised.

https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/p1060588.jpg

The Deets

Pattern: Sewaholic Cambie dress

Fabric: Polka dot cotton from http://www.fabric.com, about $30 after shipping

Notions: Thread and invisible zip, stash

Total: $30

https://tworandomwords.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/p1060610.jpg

So stylish.

24

Sew, miss bossy: my finished Crepe dress

Thanks to this months The Monthly Stitch challenge, I have finally used a pattern I’ve had in my stash for over a year.

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I’ve just noticed that the waist tie is uneven in all the photos, soz.

Right throughout the voting, the Colette Crepe was out in front (followed equally by the 1940s tea dress and the Ultimate wrap dress, both of which I’ve already made). I’m not very good at being told what to do, so I’m quite pleased with myself for getting this done so quickly.

ImageAs I’ve mentioned before, I think the main thing holding me back from making this was the amount of fabric needed: I’m quite a fabric stinge so 4m of fabric for one dress wasn’t going to happen easily; but with this being the challenge winner, I just had to suck it up (and even then I only bought 3.5m).

ImageIt turns out that I did actually need 4m of the fabric, so I had to compromise and used the last scraps of the blue rayon for the ties, and I lined the bodice with my muslin fabric (a thin purple gingham – purple! I know) instead of a facing.

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As you may have guessed, this is the same fabric as I used in my 1940’s tea dress, but in the red; a drapey rayon from The Sewing Shop (Kerikeri). I actually had to get Mr. Guy to pick this up when he dropped me off at the airport last Thursday – I rang up and asked for what I wanted, so there would be no mistakes!

ImageThis picture shows how I wore it for the morning – I was devastated that it fit so poorly, especially as I didn’t really have to make any changes to the muslin other than lowering the bust dart. I did still get several compliments at work, but at lunch time I realised that I had just done the ties up too loosely! The pictures from this afternoon (no fog!) have this fixed and it looks a lot better in the bodice.ImageI still do have some issues with the fit, namely:

  • Some sagging of the sleeves that I think would be fixed by taking in the shoulder seam by 1cm; I have altered the pattern for this in case I forget.
  • The pockets are too low, by 1-2″. I can still put my hands in them but they’re not the right height for comfortable slouching
  • Both where the ties start on the bodice piece, and the hole in the side that one tie goes through, are too high. This would be fine if the ties matched the bodice, but the blue ties makes it really obvious – you can see this in the photos of me side on.

ImageAlthough I quite like this dress (once I sorted out the tying-it-too-loose thing), I’m not sure I’d make it again (although I’d still love one like this – I need to get some blousing action going on!). Firstly, it uses a HEAP of fabric and I am still a stinge. And I don’t feel that it adds anything to my “dress repertoire” – the cap sleeves are cute but I prefer regular set-in sleeves or even kimono sleeves; the tie is nice but makes it hard to wear cardigans, and is fiddly (I’d rather just wear a belt). It is comfortable but I’ve had to adjust it constantly throughout the day.

ImageI also rather like the low-cut v-neck back neckline, but I’ll just try this with my regular bodice patterns (perhaps using this technique).

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So there you have it: the results of my TMS challenge. I’m very pleased I finally made it (it probably would have taken me aaages otherwise).

Details

Pattern: Crepe by Colette Patterns

Fabric: Spotted rayon, 3.5m at $18.5/m = $64.75

Notions: Thread, $4

Total: $68.75

 

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25

Birds of a feather: the Ultimate Wrap Dress by Sew Over It

This is me, SO not over the ‘Sew Over It’ patterns.

ImageDuring an unprecedentedly spectacular week of sewing (not sure if that is a word, but I finished four dresses!), I made the “Ultimate Wrap Dress” from the UK company, in a cotton-viscose knit from Girl Charlee, a really lovely feeling fabric.

To be honest this is a rather “rough” version and a bit unfinished – I squeezed the whole thing out of 2 yards of fabric (not even metres) and had to choose between the sleeves and the neck facing; I chose sleeves.

ImageYou can see I JUST fit it on after shortening the sleeves (the last bit at the end is for the second tie), and you can see the facing piece on there competing with the sleeve piece. I’d also like to point out that my fabric almost completely matches the fabric drawn in the instructions! Woot.

I did have just enough fabric to make some binding for the neckline, which saved my bacon. Because the pattern was designed for a facing, the ties aren’t all neatly tucked away and are just sewn on. This is partly the reason why the whole thing has been left unhemmed – as well as laziness, and because I was nervous to try a knit hem on the curved hemline. Because it’s a knit I can get away with not hemming it, and I may just be trying to convince myself here but I think I like it better without the bulk of a hem.

Also, because when I tried the dress on for fit, I didn’t want to take it off again! Srsly, for four nights last week as soon as I got home I took off my work clothes to put this on. I know a lot of people say this, but knit dresses really are like wearing pyjamas, that you can wear outside.

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This was an extremely quick make – it took me about 2.5 hours all up from laying out the fabric (and, obviously, excluding hemming), and next time I imagine it’ll be even quicker It fits remarkably well – I merely did my usual trick of grading out at the hips, and the only changes I’ll make next time is to take a tuck out of the front neckline, shortening the wrap bit as it’s a touch gapey, and I’ll  try to adjust the lower back a bit for my “sway-back” (I do have a true sway back but it’s accentuated on my clothing by my large bottom) using this excellent tutorial.

ImageThe lower back pooling isn’t too obvious, particularly with the tie wrapping around the waist.

Speaking of the tie – be warned that there is a mistake in the pattern: the grainline on the waist-tie piece (which runs along its length) is perpendicular to what’s shown on the cutting layout (across the grain). I cut it out across the grain (as in the photo above) so that it would have the stretch but THIS WAS WRONG – the waist ties have now stretched out so they can lay on the ground if I undo them!! It also means I occasionally need to tighten them during the day – I think this would be avoided if the tie was turned the other way (grainline running the length of it), although this may use more fabric. I’ve emailed Kate about this and she was very gracious.ImageIn terms of a review:

  • Design: like the 1940s Tea Dress, the packaging is cute. The tissue paper is the thin stuff that the Big 4 companies use. The instructions are clear and nicely illustrated.
  • Sizing: good for me. I found it a bit odd that there was a few inches of positive ease in the waist and negative ease in the hips (based on the finish garment measurements) but decided to go with it (after giving myself more room in the hips, something I do every time) and it worked well.
  • Instructions: clean and good for beginners. They are written for use with a regular sewing machine so those without an overlocker don’t have to worry – however they don’t include instructions for sewing it with an overlocker – on one side of the dress, you leave a hole for the tie to pass through, and I had to fudge that a bit as I used my overlocker to do the whole thing. I’m somewhat nervous to do a facing on a knit garment but next time I’ll try it out, as it’ll at least give me a clean finish at the waist.
  • She suggests gathering the sleeve heads in order to ease them into the armholes, but when using knits I just stretch the armhole to fit. There is also no mention of stabilising the shoulder seams which is a good idea in knit garments: I used a piece of leftover gingham fabric, sewn into the seam.
  • I also lengthened the skirt by 10cm (again, I lengthen every new pattern I use as I’m tall (178cm) and like at- or below-the-knee)

Overall, I highly recommend this pattern, including for beginners. It was quick, it’s comfortable and it looks great (I think, anyway).

ImageDetails

Pattern: Ultimate Wrap Dress by Sew Over It (sizes 8-20)

Fabric: 2 yards of cotton-rayon, about $30 after all shipping costs

Notions: Thread, stash

Total: $30 as is, $55 with pattern.

ImageThis is me, showing off my unhemmed skirt. And is also just after I realised I haven’t hemmed the sleeves, either.

So, have any of you sewn with these patterns, or are you tempted to? I’m still trying to decide about the shift dress – after using these two patterns I’m tempted to try it, but just don’t think the shape would work very easily on me.

ImageBonus puppy photo, because Mr. Guy took way more photos of her than of my dress.