Continuing my challenge to expand my wardrobe stylistically, I can now tick “maxi dress” off my list. Yes that’s right in a decade of sewing I have never made a maxi dress for myself. I don’t think I’ve ever owned a shop bought one either!!
Meet New Look 6692; a dress from last summer that I finally got round to. It’s a stunner of a square neckline dress pattern with midi length finish, and optional puff sleeves and skirt ruffle length variations. There are POCKETS and a simple tie at the upper back to stop the shoulders falling off.
The centre back bodice is supposed to be sewn with channels that you feed flat elastic through. But given the panel wasn’t too big I decided to sew rows of shirring elastic to cinch the back. I folded the back panel WST and sewed my rows. Then I encased the panel between the outer and lining side back pieces for a neat finish on the inside.
I skipped the side seam zipper as the shirring made it easy to get on over my head. And as you can see it’s maxi length BUT I didn’t need to alter anything for that… as I’m a diddly 5ft4 the length hits me at the ankle rather than a midi.
This luscious lemon fabric is from Abakhan Mostyn. I’ve written many times about how I love finding treasure in the Abakhan remnant baskets. The baskets make up a good 50% of the dressmaking section in Mostyn and I found this lemon cotton sateen quite quickly. There was 3m and it’s quite lightweight, so it was perfect for this dress!
If I make this pattern again (highly likely) I will tinker with the bust fit a bit more. Its completely wearable but a little looser than I’d like on reflection. I might also shorten it to midi length as I’m still not convinced about maxi dresses! They just swamp me even though I think this looks cute.
Straight princess seams like this generally suit my figure and I like how you don’t see all the seam lines in this print. It’s pretty easy to fit, I’d just lose another half a cm for comfort. The skirt is a perfect fit though! I made the size 12 bodice with a size 18 skirt gathered into the waist. Next time I’d go down to a size 10 in the upper chest and bust for a lovely close fit.
It’s quite thrilling to be one of the first people to review a pattern. When you search for hashtag inspiration and get photos of planes instead of patterns, you know you’re going to be one of the first haha.
New Look 6707 is a sweet v-neck blouse that has an optional oversized ruffle collar and puff sleeves finished with a hem band. It was only recently released and taps into that trend of statement collars we can’t seem to escape right now.
I really liked the pattern but was scared whether the collar would be too big for my narrow shoulders. I thought the only way to know for sure would be to sew up a wearable toile. I chose a polycotton gingham that I had in my stash from Minerva. It was originally for a sweet 50s dress but I decided I wanted a smaller print for that project.
The collar involves a fair bit of gathering to make that ruffle but it’s so sweet when finished. I cut my collar as the pattern recommended with a straight grain line arrow position. This means the front ends up on the bias of the gingham creating an eye-catching effect.
For the sleeves I already knew I couldn’t pull off the pleated sleeve caps. I tried that with my unfinished Sasha McCall’s dress which, yep you’ve guessed it, I didn’t finish for that reason. So on the tissue I folded out the pleats for a smooth sleeve cap while keeping the volume in the lower part of the sleeve. These sleeves remind me of the 70s McCall’s blouse I made recently.
Even with a wearable toile I couldn’t resist ensuring a good pattern match. But I think the fabric isn’t right for this design on me. It’s too sugary sweet for my liking and again, the print is too big. I’m going to make it again with a little more length in the body and a plain fabric or less oversized print.
I’ll probably still wear this during summer don’t get me wrong! Have you been tempted by this pattern?
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 2022 everyone! I’m kicking off the year by sharing a dress I actually finished last August. It’s a little ridiculous how long things wait before I photograph them properly. When I shared a sneak peek on Instagram it was very popular so hopefully you still like it now it’s finished. I’m pretty taken with it, except for one thing which I’ll cover in a moment.
I used the Marina Dress from McCall’s aka M8090 which is available in sizes 4-22 (46″ hip). This dress came with Love Sewing 95 where is how I recommend you buying it as it’s £9.99 for three sewing patterns. As per my previous version I adapted 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.
On my previous version I also adapted the sleeve into a raglan but I decided to keep the standard rounded sleeve for this dress. As I made the dress in August, I went for a sleeveless finish but honestly regretted it. That’s the major thing I referred to at the start of this post. And there is a sleeveless view for the pattern but I think a smaller armhole would be more flattering on me if going sleeveless. I have enough fabric left over to cut some sleeves so will add a 3/4 sleeve with an elastic cuff.
Another thing that didn’t go quite to plan is the neckline where I decided to omit the collar stand. I wanted a nice flat open neckline which I got by drafting a neckline facing on the inside, instead. It’s not enough to support the placket opening even with an interfaced placket, so the fabric sags. Not unwearable but not as smart and neat as the original pattern. While I’m going to add sleeves, I’m not going to add a collar retrospectively.
Fit wise I didn’t change anything from my first version which was size S (8-10). The waistline droop I mentioned in my previous post turned out to be caused by my raglan sleeve alterations so I still need to curve the waist cutting line on those pattern pieces but not the regular sleeve version.
Let’s talk about this stunning fabric! It’s an ecovera viscose crepe from Rainbow Fabrics. It’s definitely a bubbly crepe weave but has the shine of a crepe de chine. It’s gorgeous with the perfect drape and opacity! It’s a deadstock fabric from the brand Nobody’s Child and they seem to get fabric from them quite regularly so I always keep my eyes peeled for more of this type.
For instance McCall’s 7974 would be perfect for this dress if I can get the Nobody’s Child lemon fabric!
OK! If you saw that blog post title and are getting worried just keep reading! When we were planning our new ensuite I fell in love with some floral hexie tiles I’d seen on a few home accounts including the mid-century modern kitchen of Amanda aka Modern June Cleaver.
Long story short, I got the floor I wanted but had to create the tile sheets myself. Hours of finger numbing work. It was all worth it though!
Flash forward and I’m happily shopping at Rainbow Fabrics when I spot this gorgeous floral print. It reminds me of the Marc Jacobs daisy and Kate Spade prints. And most importantly it reminded me of my lovely tiled floor!! The flowers are a soft beige and the fabric base is a poly challis.
As you can see I also cut the front bodice on the fold and rounded the neckline. I still finished the neckline with bias binding but skipped the interfacing since that is included to stop the neckline stretching out on the v neck.
This is size M again but with 1cm taken out of each side seam. Given the slightly stiff fabric I thought it looked better slightly slimmed at the sides.
It’s fantastic how quickly this dress comes together. Especially when you round off the front! I made it in a few hours while at a sewing retreat with friends.
It’s a cute, eas- to-wear dress though the puff sleeves make it difficult to wear a cardigan on top. I still love it though! I’ll probably put this pattern to one side for now but sure I’ll return to it next year.