Happy Weekend everyone! It’s sunny here in Yorkshire and my mood is instantly boosted like a terrible British cliche. BUT I DON’T CARE… I’ve missed sunshine too much. Now onto sewing. I finally photographed three makes this week now my awful ear issues are finally gone.
This is Butterick 6676 which has three styles of dress, but the envelope only shows two. There are two styles of skirt plus different waist finishes to choose from. I went rogue and made view B without any side tabs. So a clean simple dress to really let the fabric shine. See all the line art at sewdirect.com.
My copy of the pattern is from Love Sewing 104 which has all sizes in one envelope (6-22) plus it has a second pattern for £9.99. And you can get 20% off your first order through craftstash – BARGAIN. Plus you’ll get to read my monthly column if you pick up the issue which I hope you like!
My fabric is the absolute star of the show. It’s a Lady McElroy called Wild Goose Chase and is a beautiful cotton lawn. I received this as payment for a previous collaboration with Lady McElroy. I LOVED the name as much as the colour and print of the fabric by the way. God I love puns and witty names and this tickled me. There are other colourways available too by the way. I decided a simple silhouette would be best and wanted to make sure the insides of the dress were lovely too.
I made a petite bodice adjustment using the lengthen shorten line. Then cut a 6 in the upper bodice grading out to a 14 in the waist and a 16 in the hips. I have extremely narrow shoulders FYI. Because I bought the Love Sewing magazine that had this pattern with all sizes in one envelope I could get up to a size 16. The standard pattern lower size pack stops at 14.
I started by deciding to omit the centre back zipper and seam on B6676. I cut the pieces on the fold and moved the zipper to the side seam. This meant I needed to create some method of getting the dress over my head. I loved the centre front keyhole/slit of view B but decided to add it as a keyhole to the back neckline and add a button loop so redrafted the back facing pattern piece to have the keyhole extension.
The pattern isn’t lined but as cotton lawn is prone to wrinkling I wanted to add a lining to minimise this. I realised I’d have to create a underlining/lining hybrid. The skirt was easy. Then I created a lining version of the bodice and placed it WST with the bodice and basted around the neckline and armholes. Then I installed the neckline facing and armhole binding on top. But at the waist and zipper opening I then treated this as a true lining, enclosing the zipper tape and waist seam, then slip-stitching in place.
Because I had some fabric left over I made the belt. I’ve made belts before and it’s quite a fun process. My favourites are when I’ve found vintage belt kits which have the proper belting material and the special glue to cover the buckle in coordinating fabric. This time I had to make do with a buckle from my stash but it’s pretty cute. It ended up a little longer than I planned so I need to make a belt loop for the belt (as opposed to ones sewn on the dress).
I use the stiffest interfacing I can find and make a four fold strip – meaning the seam allowances are as wide as the belt for the thickest most stable finish. I have a big tin of eyelets in lots of colours and different metals, and chose silver to match the buckle. You make a small cut and then use pliers to install an eyelet in under 5 seconds. For the other end you create a buttonhole around 3-3″ from the end and feed the buckle prong into it, then fold back the fabric on itself and sew together to secure.
It’s a really sweet dress and I enjoy a bit of hand sewing every now and then. Think this one was finished while watching Cheer season 2 on Netflix. I’m going to wear it out soon as I feel great in it. It’s got that lovely, floaty style of A-line skirt that skims over your stomach area and a busy fabric that stops you noticing a full tummy. The bust fits great and I’m going to wear it with cardigans with it until summer comes around!
Happy bank holiday weekend everyone! I’ve just finished photographing a new dress and I’m really hoping the weather stays nice enough for me to wear it out and about this weekend. This is Butterick 6758 from the latest summer collection. It’s a really nice day dress pattern with drawstring waist and grown-on sleeves (aka drafted to be attached to the bodice), plus the option for a hem ruffle! I chose to make view A but without the sleeve bands. And I changed the drawstring to a waist belt.
The dress turned out so great. Easy to wear and fit, plus it will transition from summer to winter easily! I sewed it over the course of a few evenings, taking my time with it so I could slow down and enjoy the process.
My fabric is from Rainbow Fabrics, an online seller of deadstock fabric. This means the fabric is limited quantities, ie left over from ready to wear lines or excess stock from fabric wholesalers and once it’s gone it’s gone… which is the case for this print I’m afraid. It was labelled Ecovera viscose and they do have this same fabric base in other prints so maybe take a look. It’s unusual as a viscose as it has a crepe like texture with that familiar bubbled pebbly surface. I think it works perfectly for this dress as it has enough drape to gather nicely but still feels substantial to wear.
I love grown-on sleeves on me. Not because I don’t enjoy sewing sleeves, that’s not it. I just have very narrow shoulders and I love how grown-on sleeves broaden my top and balance everything out. Plus, when slightly oversized like this they look and feel super breezy! The trick with grown-on sleeves though is to recognise how the seam will fall down your arm, you’re asking a straight line to curve over your shoulder and down the arm so you will naturally get a small curve at the very end if using a soft fabric as it bounces up at the hem. A slightly stiffer fabric will hold itself away from your arm but you might not like that look. One trick that helps is to snip into the seam allowance from the shoulder point downwards every 2cm or so this helps the seam allowance lie flatter along the arm. But this shouldn’t be tried on a fabric that frays very easily.
I use a similar technique on the underarm of a grown-on sleeve, I snip into the seam allowance of the curve in a couple of places and then overlock the side seam allowances together letting the snips stay slightly open as I go over the fabric. Alternatively you can trim quite close so there is minimal seam allowance pulling on the curve.
I’m wearing my dress with red converse right now but I can easily see it with tights and a cardigan in colder weather. I made a size 14 and graded out the hips to add another 1″ at the side seams. To share this evenly I divided by 2 so I knew how much to add to the front and the back. Then divided by 2 again to work out how much needed adding to each side seam. So by adding a 1/4″ to the front and back side seam on my tissue pieces this added up to 1″ in total. Have you made this dress? Or are tempted to make it now? Please let me know in the comments!
I must confess I did a double take when I saw this fabric go on sale in Hobbycraft. Not because it’s from Joules. I mean it’s definitely exciting that they have released a sample fabric collection of cotton prints. But because I own a handbag in this exact fabric design! I loved that bag, it came with me on many adventures and I always loved the hot pink colours. And given the bag has seen better days, it felt right to pick up some of the fabric for a dress.
This is the Bircham bloom print, and the collection is exclusively available at Hobbycraft. You’ll see they’ve just listed the second collection of Christmas/festive themed fabric called “Sew Ho Ho”! I’m very tempted to make myself a Christmas dress or pjs out of the 12 days of Christmas print, or the foraged floral. But for now, back to this dress… one of my coping mechanisms for the pandemic was comfort eating, which was great except it meant many of my me-made clothes don’t fit any longer, and all my patterns are traced/cut in the wrong sizes.
So I pulled out a favourite silhouette and got to work. Butterick 5748 is an early 60s vintage reissue pattern which perfectly spans that late 50s into early 60s aesthetic of close fitting bodice and big skirt. There are neckline cutouts to practice, charming bows to attach and a lined bodice to boost your skills. For me, I love the clean silhouette without any of the cutouts or details for a timeless work dress. I ended up going up one size at the bust and two sizes at the waist.
You’ll see I switched out the side zip for a centre back lapped zipper. And the circle skirt for a gathered rectangle. What you can’t see is I actually lined the whole dress with pink habotai lining so I can wear it in winter with tights. I’m pretty pleased with my print placement as I didn’t have a lot of fabric to work with. It’s on sale in a 2m cut piece so I had to cut out the front bodice on the single layer to get the best placement and then place the other pattern pieces around that, without cutting the print too badly around the zipper area.
So there you have it! This was a quick fix to my wardrobe issues and a way to use a beautiful print at the same time. I still have quite a few gaps in my wardrobe to fill and am determined to fit back into some of my absolute favourite makes, but one step at a time!
Sometimes an idea for a dress sticks with you.
I have a wonderful and annoying job where I constantly search for fabric for the magazine. Mostly the thrill of featuring the prettiest fabric in the magazine is enough but a lot of the time I become obsessed with getting some for myself. Like the cover garment for issue 43…
This Art Gallery Fabric rayon is absolute gorgeous and was designed by Maureen Cracknell. I’ve bought a couple of her other prints and I’m a big fan in general. The design is called Floral Universe in turquoise from the collection Soulful. You can still buy it here.
While I loved the wrap ties with the gathered skirt of B6318 I had a feeling the grown on sleeves and high neckline on the bodice would drown me. Then I remembered this dress I’d saved on Instagram! The perfect compromise. So in steps B6453!
There’s not much to say about the B6453 dress as I’ve made it before. I added the wraps into the side seams during construction like the B6318 instructions direct. The fabric is pretty opaque but I underlined the bodice for stability and lined the bodice for a clean finish. The skirt is unlined and I overlocked the insides. I use a metal loop turn to turn through straps which I know some people hate but it always works for me.
So in hindsight the waist ties could have been a smidge longer as this back shot below shows. Meh, you live and learn I say. It’s hard to see but there’s a lapped zipper as it’s my favourite and it is what the pattern recommends. Plus I used rings and sliders on my straps, again following the pattern which let’s you get a custom length. The sew-along and Facebook support group for this pattern is wonderful if you are nervous.
The colours of my fabric are heavenly and the scale of the print is so fun and the feel of that rayon… oh hubba hubba, it’s so dreamy!! AGF rayons are amazing quality. I wote this dress on honeymoon and felt amazing. I wanted to dance around like a vintage movie star to make the skirt swish as often as possible. It was hard staying still for these photos.
Now I’m excited to take it on more sunny adventures and swish around new countries!
*Just to let you know this post contains affiliate links but products I link are from trusted sellers like The McCall Pattern Co selling through Amazon or Minerva Crafts. There’s no obligation to buy through the link of course. I don’t advertise on my blog so this is a little way to fund the running of the site!