I’ve been chained to my sewing room table for days but instead of sewing for myself I’m still chugging away on my best friend’s wedding dress. It’s nearly ready but the hours of hand sewing are still etched in my memory. Only a few weeks to go!
In the mean time I’m happy to share this cheeky dress. Originally sewn in 2016 I made this dress rather big so during last year’s Sewing Weekender I took it in all over. It’s taken me a year to blog it but it’s so much fun to wear.
The dress is a Threadcount pattern that appeared on Sewing Made Simple magazine a couple of year’s back with sweetheart neckline, gathered skirt and optional cap sleeves. The dress comes together a little oddly with grown on facings at the sides of the neckline and a facing piece attached to the centre neckline. It looks neat inside but was a funny way to put things together. It was a head scratcher for how to overlock neatly so I just finish each edge individually.
I made the XS but there is a lot of ease so I had to grade down by guess work to fit a 36A” bust. I took in a bit at the sides, a lot at the princess seams and some at the centre back. Remember I’m a 32″ waist so for me to be reducing an XS it’s definitely got some ease involved. The pattern has gathering only at the centre front of the skirt but I think that would make the wearer look portly adding bulk at a commonly rounded area on most ladies! As you can see I spread the gathers evenly.
My fabric is the real star of the piece. At first glance this pretty blue stretch denim looks like a simple abstract floral print but as you look closer you see charming cat faces!! Secret cats hiding amongst the flowers!! It’s the perfect mix of shades of blue too. Eeek.
This medium-weight denim was nestled in a bargain bin at Abakhan and there was a large piece I split with my boss who is a fellow cat lady. This meant it was priced by it’s weight and a total bargain. For an unlined dress is just passable but I had to reduce a lot of bulk from the waist seam to help ease the zipper area.
When it’s feeling especially chilly I like to think of Dubai. This was the last step of our honeymoon as Dubai is a great transfer point for the Seychelles. While we were there it was a staggering 41°. Almost too hot to breathe. We were there for two nights and on the second night went out for an amazing birthday meal in Nobu at the Palm hotel where we were staying.
We literally waited until 6pm for it to cool down (it didn’t) then dashed outside to take a couple of pics in the gorgeous courtyard (aka sweaty photos) then ran back inside. It had to be done because the colours and shapes of the building exterior are stunning. I wore my plum skirt with a black vest and cardigan to keep things modest but whipped the cardi off for my photo so not to pass out!
This is another way I wear the skirt, with a polka dot jersey top I made using M6886. More on that another day. The skirt is made of purple Rio crepe from Sew Over It. Its a really vivid shade that always gets noticed. The weight and handle are perfect for a skirt like this. It does wrinkle a little but steams easily.
The skirt is the Simple Sew Sophia skirt made during my first week at Love Sewing to test the pattern. I’ve made the Sophia top from the pattern previously too here. The skirt comes together really quickly, works well in a lot of fabric and the length is easy to adjust.
Now you might wonder why it’s never made an appearance before now… well I only started wearing it this May as part of my challenge to wear unloved clothes during Me Made May! I never thought I was a midi or maxi skirt person. I’m still not sure but I’m warming up to it.
I think it looks better with the vest personally. Though it may be happy honeymoon memories influencing my perspective. Here we are taking a terrible selfie hahah.
Winter… my nemesis! It really feels like we’re galloping through Autumn and Winter is here. To prepare I’ve made a few snuggly clothes to help keep the chill off. I am unbelievably cold all the time and often have my little desk heater on at work. I’m pretty wimpy I know.
Today I’m sharing the Lena wrap dress by Simple Sew patterns. It came free with Love Sewing 35 but is also available here. The surplice bodice is lined and fits into a waistband, then there’s a flared skirt with hem band. These are the 3/4 sleeves from the pack but the wrist length would maybe have been better for me.
The fabric I used for this dress is a lovely double knit of mysterious mix that I got from Charlotte, and that she got from Barry’s of Birmingham. She made a Coco dress by Tilly and The Buttons which is linked here. She donated it to a sewing swap table and I happily took it home! It was a pretty big piece so thank you Charlotte!!
This dress is extra cosy because I lined the bodice in self fabric which is a little bulky but warmth wins over bulk. And I made the hem band in self fabric and I don’t mind the seam at all even though it would be more effective in a contrast colour or print.
I made the size 10 but should have sized down. Not long before I started the dress I’d been burned by trying to make a size 8 version in low stretch fabric and then over-compensated here. You know how things grow with wear and shrink after a good hot wash in a never-ending circle. On the second wear, the sleeves end up pretty big and I sometimes wear a cami top in case the bodice falls open. Oh well.
I used a zigzag stitch and my overlocker for construction and I’m super pleased how it’s holding up inside. The skirt is fabulously twirly for a jersey dress and i feel very smart when I wear it. All in all, a big thumbs up. I should really make another! This one has wonderful memories of this girl band inspired photo shoot we tried at the studio last year. So moody I love it.
Here are three lovely versions to check out next: this floral beauty from Giorgia, Harriet looking pretty in pink and Gabby looking lush in velvet!
Okay so I know I’m the queen of delayed blogging with a whopping 50+ unblogged makes but I realised I never blogged this heart embroidery and it turned out so sweet that I wanted to share it. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll have seen my embroidery posts and I have a story highlight so you can see my most recent pieces but this was one of the my VERY EARLY attempts at embroidery and helped me perfect some of the basic stitches.
It’s a pattern download from Oh Sew Bootiful which you can get here. After trying two of their kits where pre-printed fabric, a crazy amount of thread and very clear instructions are all packaged up for you, I wanted to see if I could work out good colour combinations on my own and practice transferring the design onto the fabric myself.
The benefit of a PDF pattern is that you can resize it to fit your ideal hoop or if you’re short on hoops, make it work for whatever you have to hand. I like to use a frixion pen and a window as a light source when tracing. A couple of pins hold the paper and fabric layers together and any mistakes can be rubbed away with the rubber on the end of the frixion pen. I got mine as a Christmas present but have seen them in lots of stationary sections of shops.
This design really makes you practice French knots (I like to do a double curl around the needle), lazy daisy (worked best when I remember to rotate my hoop as I go) and pinwheel roses (magic stuff).
A fresh faced sewing enthusiast called Amy made her first version of Vogue 8469 back in 2013 and said, “oh yes this is lovely I better make it again”. She used £1 a metre polyester she found in Leeds Market and wore it to one of her first sewing meet-ups in London – the epic V&A event.
Flash forward to 2016! The new version is again made out of £1 a metre polyester, but this time from Birmingham Rag market. This amazingly versatile dress has lived in the back of my wardrobe only occaisonally getting worn because I slightly messed up the gathers on one side of the bust, and my zipper installation wasn’t very neat. What I discovered during Me Made May this year, is that it really doesn’t matter! You can’t see either of those things when I wear the dress so I should blumming well get it out the cupboard more often.
This dress is great if you’re a large or small busted lady in comparison to your waist and hip size as you can adjust for your bust easily; simply slash and then add or subtract the space you need and then draw the fabric under the bust neatly.
The skirt is more tulip shaped than you might think, a change from my super flared skirts. It’s still gathered making it easy to fit through the hip. The bodice, waistband and sleeves are lined and I used my trusty tutorial for clean finishing the sleeves into the lining. I skipped the sleeve elastic again as you can see.
The centre sewn zip is what we all learn early on, stitched down each side to secure the zip and create a little flap to cover each side… but this is the hardest zip to achieve a neat finish for me. The zipper always peeps through and the sides aren’t even! The supposedly harder invisible and lapped zippers are much nicer in my book. Am I wrong?
I wear this dress with the bow tied at the front most days but occasionally swing it to the back. It’s a great number to wear with red lipstick and dangly earrings for dinner out, or ballet flats and curly hair for a vintage day look.
It was great to teach myself, just because you messed something up doesn’t mean you can’t still love it. The annoying perfectionist in me shuts up while I wear this so that’s a win right?!