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!
I know it’s very very rainy in England right now but cast your mind back… This dress, Simplicity 9327 caught my eye from the new collection on a very hot day. And it instantly made me think of cool breezy nights on a Mediterranean holiday break. Small problem for me, the UK release was slightly delayed by Covid… Good news for you it’s available to buy now!
So I set about making my own interpretation. I chose a beautiful coral and white striped seersucker from SewSewSew. One of my favourite dresses came from their fabric and Katie gets unique beautiful fabrics that you don’t see elsewhere.
I started with New Look 6587, one of my all time favourites that is now out of print. BUT the near identical Butterick 6674 dress has been released!!
I cut rectangles for the skirt front and back on the fold and gathered them up. But I kept the button placket on the bodice. It’s a loose fit design already but I let out the seams a little so the dress would definitely fit over my head unbuttoned.
Then I cut out my frills and managed to snip into one. That would have been fine if I had more fabric to play with but I ended up having to use the fabric saved for my skirt hem ruffle to cut 2 new frills on the crossgrain. The frill was taken from the Cocowawa Raspberry jumpsuit. It’s gathered to match the armhole and secured with a bias binding tape facing.
I normally avoid tiny stripes as they cause moiré when photographed at a distance. This is a visual effect where the pattern is so fine it becomes distorted to the eye in the final image, almost like its hazy or swirling. I managed to get some shots that weren’t too bad thank goodness.
The dress is unlined and overlocked at the seams. The neckline and armholes are finished with bias binding and the sweet pearlised buttons are from my stash.
Seersucker is great for summer. I think of it as linens superior sister because it’s just as cool in hot weather, it also has an interesting texture AND better than linen you don’t look like a wrinkled mess after wearing it all day.
I took these photos up near Cow and Calf in Ilkley, famous for a rock formation of a big rock (the cow) with a smaller rock nearby (her calf) but also famous for the Tour de Yorkshire race that tackled this steep and winding road. FYI this is a trip advisor photo. My photography skills aren’t this good.
It’s finally the #sewrecreatethelook challenge reveal day! The goal is to recreate a look that you admire from RTW, the catwalk, Pinterest, a magazine, etc and share your progress. I’ve technically had my dress finished a couple of weeks but managed to hold off on revealing it. I’ve just been enjoying wearing it in the hot hot heat! Let’s start with a reminder of my inspiration…
This is the Gal Meets Glam Chassity dress. An American influencer I follow started her own line of clothing and ultimately it got too big for her to sustain, had some production issues and she closed the brand. There were some stunning dresses in her line so planning other recreations in the future.
I decided not to use shirting and find a viscose that was similar. This ebay find was close enough. It could have been more blue but the weight and drape were gorgeous. And I quickly settled on adapting McCall’s 8090 Marina as my dress base which came with Love Sewing 95.
First up was adjusting the bodice and skirt panel lengths. Marina is drop waist so I took 9cm off the bodice and added it to the top skirt panels. Next I removed the square yoke by folding out the gathering at the centre front and taping the yoke piece directly on top of the bodice piece. Here’s what that looked like.
Switching to raglan sleeves was one thing but these were gathered ruffled raglan sleeves. First I experimented with a sleeveless bodice with a rectangular ruffle sewn on top to give the illusion of a sleeve. I also tried shirring the gathered rows. Ultimately it wasn’t right. The rectangle created a stiff ruffle and the shirring was too unforgiving on top. But I was getting excited…
Second attempt I did things properly. I drafted a proper raglan sleeve for the bodice that would be sewn into the neckband, and then slashed and spread that piece to create excess for gathering. I pinned it into place again on top of my existing toile to save cutting it up / sewing a new one. It was much better but now not long enough for my liking. See below.
Third time was the charm. I added length to my slashed and spread tissue piece then traced onto fresh paper. Then I decided I wanted more gathering so slashed and spread again. Here’s the sleeve before I finally cut it out sat alongside the version 2 tissue.
Then I could commit to the new bodice armholes. You can see below how I marked the seamline and the cutting line on the bodice and then traced a fresh version. I’m also showing you the back for reference. Raglan sleeves are super fun to sew, if you’ve never made them before. FYI I also added notches for the raglan seam points on my neckband so I knew how much to gather the sleeve in to fit!
Construction went pretty fast once I’d assembled the band and collar. All the side seams were French seamed but the gathered skirt band seams were just overlocked to avoid bulk. I did a baby hem on my sleeve pieces before attaching them.
I’m super pleased with the dress. The finished neckline is lovely and feels really polished. For that all important sleeve finish, I kept my gathering stitches in place and stitched on top of them for the appearance of thicker topstitching thread. And I love the varying directions of stripes at play!
Inside I used self fabric bias to finish the armholes, like a facing and a binding at the same time and topstitched it in place from the right side. I slipstitched the bands in place for a clean look. I do like the topstitched neckline of my toile version so might do that on a future version.
The finished dress is breezy and stylish. I have to wear a slip underneath but I’m definitely pro-slips and already had the perfect white one. I love that you can’t tell the lower band is cut in three pieces. The seams are hidden in the stripes and this let’s you get a great gather with the extra width.
Improvements for my next version will be curving the cropped waist seam up as it goes towards the hips as the straight line causes the seam to droop a touch at the sides. And to raise the underarm point as its a touch low, revealing my bra on occasion. But I already have fabric for a new version!! Thanks for reading this long if you stayed to the end.
Do you hoard fabric for years because you get scared to cut it? Or talk yourself out of using it because your idea won’t do it justice? Well then, how about impulsively cutting it after years because you’re mad how long it’s been in your stash and mad at yourself for past indecision?
This brings me to today’s dress. In hot weather I want to waft around in viscose dresses. Preferably loose fit with wide armholes. After finishing a version of McCall’s 8090 (to be shared very soon) I decided the skirt was perfection. And I could add a different bodice to create an equally lovely dress.
I rooted about my stash and found Kwik Sew 4111. I liked that it was a blousey bodice that they had gathered in to the waist. I decided to use it without the gathers.
I also shortened the bodice by 7cm, drew a v neckline and swapped the zip for a keyhole back. I’m sharing my altered pattern pieces for reference. The tie belt is a simple pair of long rectangles sewn all around with a turning gap. I added belt loops at the side seams to stop it wiggling around!
The keyhole is mostly for show because I can get the dress on over my head in one swift motion. Let’s dive onto the construction so you can make your own keyhole back dress.
Sew the shoulder seams of your bodice, then the shoulder seams of your all in one facings. Place everything right sides together and sew around the necklines and armholes. Clip, notch and trim the seam allowance.
Turn everything out to the rs through the shoulders. That’s the fun bit right?
NB: Start here if you only have a neckline facing! Fold over the centre back facing over again so it’s RST with your fabric. A thin piece of binding acts as a rouleau loop and is sandwiched between the layers facing inwards. Sew the seam down the centre back stopping at the end of the facing.
Clip the corners to reduce bulk. You then finish by making the centre back seam and stop sewing about 20cm from the top. Then continue as normal with your pattern instructions.