Hello everyone. It’s Sunday and I’m finally sitting down after a week at Centre Parcs where 4 our of 6 family members had stomach bugs and after a busy but brilliant trip to the Dressmaker’s Ball in Leicester. I thought writing a blog post might be nice and soothing!
You’ve seen a version of this dress before in very unlike me colours… I made a gorgeous purple and orange shell print version shown below. I don’t wear it as often as I should because I can never find my nude underwear… wow life is tough right?
A quick reminder it’s an old New Look pattern I got from sewingpatterns.com to print at home. It’s an absolute pain in the butt to sort as you need special software and a licence code and there’s a limit on the number of prints allowed.
There’s a slight problem with these photos in that I’ve put on a bit of weight since I made the dress. So its tighter than it should be. I made a size 8 around the upper body and a 12 at the waist like last time. But I should have gone up to a 14 I think as it cuts in a little tighter than I hoped. A reminder for you, my measurements are currently 36A, 31, 42. I think I was a 30″ waist when I made the first dress.
The dress is so lovely to construct. I of course ditched the pencil skirt for a gathered style and this time added pockets. The only tricky part is clipping and notching the scallops properly so they turn through neatly. You need to be super accurate at getting close to but not clipping through the stitching line.
This soft and rich coloured blue chambray has tiny bicycles in it! It’s from Empress Mills currently priced £8.55. They have a few different chambray prints plus I’m in love with the jerseys they have. The bicycles are nice to wear given I’m married to a cycling fanatic who smiles when I wear it and the warm blue colour pairs perfectly with winter tights and cardigans or sandals and sunglasses!
The zipper that I installed perfectly, and matches across both waistband seams is mocking me here by stretching under my weight gain. Super annoying when I worked so hard to install it. I mean I’m still wearing it don’t get me wrong, I just hate how its pulling at the moment.
But hello, its mega cute and I’m sure I can lose an inch on my waist. If not I’ll unpick and let out the side seams. I’m not letting this pretty dress sit in my closet unworn. Maybe it’s also time for me to try another view of the pattern? It couldn’t hurt right?
Trying to write a post before the lovely weather goes away has proven a little tricky so I’m currently typing in my car before work starts! Every day I have to leave 2 hours to get to Stockport and find a parking spot but when I catch some good luck it takes an exceptional 1.5hrs and I get the sweet delight of bonus podcast listening, a breakfast snack window or typing time.
Today I’m sharing my version of Simplicity 8342. You’ve probably seen this top crop up on my social media a few times. I made it for my birthday last year and it’s a great summer item. It’s sold out on the Simplicity site but I bet you’ll find it elsewhere online. I’m wearing it here with my turquoise denim A-line skirt, made from a pattern we gave away on issue 44 of Love Sewing (also sold out, sorry!).
Simplicity kindly sent me a copy of this pattern for free when I made major googly eyes at it. It was part of the Summer Sewing Challenge where everyone could claim a free copy but as I couldn’t enter (work conflict) I was super pleased to still be allowed a copy. The top features an empire line bodice with keyhole and front ties, elastic back channel and different sleeve options. There’s a great pair of high waisted capris included for stretch fabrics and a wiggle skirt with sewn on buttons and frill hem details.
The top is super quick to put together and is a major stash buster! I used some breton striped jersey from Empress Mills that was left over from a t-shirt I made for work. It’s a rather thin viscose jersey that isn’t very stable but the stripes are great for a fun vintage pinup nautical feel.
The bow is constructed by self lining the upper bodice and then the wrong side can show as you tie the bow. The bow isn’t so narrow that it creates any bother turning things out, you just need to trim your seam allowance nicely. Don’t expect a super crisp point on your ties.
The fit for a small bust like mine is a touch roomy. Everything is secure but there’s probably more space than you actually need for an A cup. Empire lines where the seam line ends in a point can be a little tricky for some sewists I know, but this project is super simple as the keyhole means you don’t have to pivot around a point!
I’m pleased I matched the stripes down the side seams but the area I fell down on is the centre back seam… though I should have gotten rid of it really if I’d had my wits about me. My elastic channel in the upper back edge could be tighter too. Oh the failure! Don’t look at that white zipper head either please (lazy seamstresses don’t always wait for the right colour zipper to arrive).
Next time I’ll make the classic straps rather than the halter. And I’ve got a lot of jersey scraps that should be large enough! I also made a toile of the trousers but never stitched them up so need to rectify that right??