I’m writing this late at night as storm Ciara batters my house. The streetlamps are noisily rattling and the rain is pelting against the roof. It’s February everybody!January was pretty quiet on the sewing front as I dealt with training my replacement at work, saying goodbye to everyone and joining a totally different company. And though I found time to make a new Jennifer Lauren Handmade Mayberry dress for my leaving do, I lost my sew-jo a little by the end of the month.
Thankfully it’s just starting to come back and I’ve cut out a pair of Juno pyjamas, found supplies for my eyelet trim dress and started a new embroidery project. I even managed to slap on some make-up and take blog photos! This is my second Indigo dress by Tilly and The Buttons. I made the same view again as you can see but learning from my last version I made a couple of changes. I added back in 1cm to the centre back bodice and 0.5cm to the front.Though this fixed any tightness in my range of arm movement, the dress still has this nasty habit of riding backwards slightly, as if the shoulder and sleeve head isn’t in the right position. Something to tinker with if I make another.This stunning golden yellow fabric features blue outlined white flowers. It’s a viscose cady from Selvedge and Bolts, run by the gorgeous Dibs who I haven’t had chance to meet up with in like 7 or 8 years, crazy! But her online shop is beautifully curated with designer prints and high quality fabrics. This print is sold out but the ochre tencel twill is also a gorgeous gold colour.With fine draping fabric like viscose I appreciate having my cutting table as I can really ensure the grain is straight and the fabric doesn’t shift as I cut. The top of my table is covered in a jigsaw of cutting mats so I can use my rotary blade to work speedily.A sharp new needle was required for snag free sewing and I even managed to find four yellow spools for my overlocker to make the insides pretty! I’ve worn this dress to work a few times and I’m super excited to have a shade of yellow that suits me. I think it suits me better when my hair is out of the way as it gets stuck in the neckline sometimes heheh.Time to get back to the sewing room! But here are three more Indigo versions I love. Tiers and pretty colours from Purple Sewing Cloud, classic chambray from Patsypoo Makes, and last but not least a golden make from What Bec Sews.
Another week flies by and the clocks are about to go back!! I’m trying my best to get ready for winter but feeling rather unprepared. I need more jumpers, thicker tights, snow proof shoes. But first lets tackle Autumn…
I made this Tilly and The Buttons Indigo dress as the perfect thing to wear with tights and oxford shoes. It’s a gorgeously simple pattern with modern seam lines and just the right amount of ease to be boxy but not overwhelming. I chose to omit the sleeve and waist ruffles and added 5cm to the length. I’m 5ft5 and modest so wanted good coverage.
A reminder, I’m 36A bust and 31″ waist at the minute. I made a size 4 but had to move the bust dart up by 3cm and adjust for my narrow shoulders. I shortened the shoulder seam on the front and back, moving the neckline position and extending it to meet at the fold lines.
The last thing I did was actually a small mistake. I removed some width by cutting off 1 cm from the centre front and back fold lines in the final minutes as I was worried the dress would hang off my shoulders. This made it a smidge tight in the end, but not unwearable thankfully. Something to remember for next time!
I’m utterly in love with this fabric. It’s from my recent Paris trip and was a cheeky bargain for Sacres Coupons in Monmarte. It was a cut piece measuring 1.8m and features pretty paisley shapes in pink, orange and purple. Almost like hearts!
I was so happy when I found it. My trusty fabric assistant (husband) kept hold of it for me until I was done rummaging. It’s a washed silk type polyester. As thin as crepe de chine but opaque, soft and silky, perfect for this pattern.
The dress slips on over your head, is roomy enough for a decent dinner (aka bring on the buffet) and sews up super quick. I overlocked everything with orange thread and added one of my last few labels. Little touches to make a simple make extra special.
Here’s a back view so you get to see it all around. Not much to report about the back I must confess! But I know you like looking at my butt.
Happily I’ve had quite a few compliments on how on trend I am with this silhouette and no one thinks it looks like a psychedelic ’70s sack on me so perhaps it’s a winner! Definitely making another one of these, almost exactly the same but with that extra width. And maybe a hem ruffle just like Kathy! Maybe in another of my Dashwood rayons??
Ho Ho Ho, a festive treat today. Remember the last dress I shared? Well I hacked it to make my perfect dress. It’s great for eating and drinking in, dancing in, and attending zoom meetings! Let’s take a look shall we? It’s M7948 view C with sleeves from view D with no frill on them.
As I said in my last post, I loved the Indigo from Tilly and The Buttons but the armholes never fit quite right, even after a lot of tweaking so M7948 is the perfect replacement dress. I just wanted a different neckline. So I traced my bodice pattern pieces then trimmed off the neckline into a boat neck. Changed the back bodice to be cut on the fold. Next I added a very thin U shaped keyhole to the front bodice. I could have gone a smidge higher in hindsight but oh well. Then I drafted a facing for the keyhole on extra tracing paper.
The keyhole facing and front keyhole are sewn RST, clipped and turned through. Plus I topped stitched to keep everything flat. Then I made coordinating bias binding to finish the neckline and extend into long neck ties. The finished front can be worn open or tied in a bow.
My fabric is absolutely perfect. I ordered it not entire sure what the composition would be. Turns out I should have just trusted the description… It’s a lovely Raspberry linen-look viscose/polyester mix fabric. It’s totally opaque but light and floaty which is my dream combo. The linen texture is a little rougher than real linen but actually make the black and white print pop. The polyester mix makes the handle a little springy but it still presses well. I knew it would look great for the tiered version of the skirt.
I ended up cutting the size 12 for the bodice as before, but cut a size 8 skirt so it’s a little less full. On the last version I talked about slimming the sleeves a little. I just took 1cm out of them and then added an elastic cuff hem by creating a thin channel and using 10mm elastic. The sleeves are now perfect to wear under cardigans!
Final thoughts are this is a great choice for Christmas day which at my house involves lots of food and drink, lounging around playing games and curling up on the sofa at the end of the day. And I like this last photo for showing off my grey hair as it generally still photographs quite brown a lot of the time. My marvellous hair bow is from Beaded by Laura.
A winter’s sewing storytale of sorts…
I needed more dresses like the Tilly Buttons Indigo for winter but wasn’t enjoying the sleeve and armhole issues which I tried resolving on multiple versions. I liked the loose fit, great canvas for prints, breezy style so I switched to try McCall’s 7948.
This lovely floaty style is very similar to the Indigo but has a more rounded neckline. It has different skirt options. Plus there are different sleeve lengths and cute sleeve cuff ruffles!
I actually used the pdf version of the pattern to make the dress as I was testing something out for work send needed to print one of our patterns. I thought why not make it one I want to sew!
I sewed a straight size 12 with a narrow shoulder adjustment. I chose the tiered skirt which is made from gathered rectangles. It’s marvellously swishy as you can see from my attempts to twirl on camera! It’s a great length and pleasingly roomy but I need to fix two elements.
The neckline is too high for me. I never wear round styles like this, always preferring boat neck. A new row of stitching on the front neckline, probably a further 1cm or 1.5cm in from the current seam will suffice. And I’ll ease off to meet the existing seam line at the back. That should also help me get it on without using the button loop.
I’m also going to slim the sleeves a little as they’re a touch boxy. But these are two teeny little things right!? I’ve already made another version with a front keyhole, neck ties and elasticated sleeve hems! It’s in a beautiful raspberry linen look fabric and I’ve worn it several times already. I can’t wait to show you. I see lots more m7948s in my future!!
A quick note to add I cannot for the life of me remember where I bought this polyester fabric! I feel like it was either Rainbow Fabrics or Simply Fabrics Brixton. But I’ve been hanging onto it for aaaaages. It’s good to sew older things from your stash. Justifies them being in there so long!!
Hello Spring! And hello you lovely lot. I’m full of the joys of Spring. And I love that saying. Spring and Summer is my sewing magic timezone where I can make dresses and floaty clothes and don’t have to worry about tights anymore. With that in mind I picked up the Nina Lee Patterns Spring Dress which came with Simply Sewing mag.
Okay let’s get the elephant out of the room, yep this is the first time I’ve bought Simply Sewing as a regular consumer. I had to buy every single issue while I worked at Love Sewing to add to our library of sewing magazines. This helped us try to avoid accidentally copying each other like interviewing the same people, featuring the same fabrics and so on. Since it launched after I started at Love Sewing I never bought it just for me until now. The magazine isn’t really for me as it’s only 20% about dressmaking but I had a quick flick through out of post-professional curiosity. I miss magazine design because let’s face it, banking websites aren’t designed to be colourful or fun. The patterns were the draw. Now back to the dress…
I made two toiles of the dress because I wasn’t quite sure how much ease I’d like. The first toile made me realise the sleeves and shoulders were not going to work for my body type. I am extremely narrow shouldered with small arms so often have to do a narrow shoulder adjustment. I adjusted the paper pattern to adjust the shoulder by 1″ for the first toile but it was clear the sleeve head as drafted was very flat and I need a much higher head and the shoulder was still very wide. I use a cut and move method for narrow shoulders (tutorial) but there’s also a slash and overlap method (tutorial).
On my second toile I redrafted the armhole to use the Tilly and The Buttons Indigo dress bodice and sleeve pieces. You lay the two patterns on top of each other, matching shoulder height and copy round the Indigo armhole curve onto the Spring Dress: First for the bodice front and then for the back. Then I could use the Indigo sleeve piece when I cut out and put the Spring Dress sleeve to one side.
This polka dot viscose challis from my stash was picked up at Birmingham rag market. It’s the perfect weight for this dress as it gathers easily and is a nice breezy fabric for this style (see a video of it in motion). I think you could use a stiffer fabric for a bolder boxier effect. When I discovered a number of small holes in my fabric (not moths thank god) this moved into the wearable toile category so I stopped worrying over the print matching down the centre front. Made you look!! It’s good enough to me for a dress I’ll wear until the fabric frays further so don’t bother messaging me about it. I added some fusible interfacing behind each of the holes I saw but I bet it will keep making more when I next wash it, it just seems that delicate.
I made a size 10 in the upper bodice and 12 at the waist down to the hip. The bodice ever so slightly rides to the back now which is what happens on my Indigo where I never fixed the bodice. Again I don’t mind on this dress but really should fix it before I make any more versions. And as you can see the neckline is finished with tiny little bias binding that extends into ties but wearing it tied feels a little too twee so I leave them undone. As a last tweak, I added elastic cuffs to the sleeves but they aren’t very billowing so it’s a subtle effect. Importantly I added 3″ to the length of the skirt. Remember I’m 5ft4 so this is a short dress without that length! Chewie approves of my floaty new dress.