I have a special little number to share with you today for my June Minerva Blogger Network post.
The wonderful thing about the Network is that I get to push myself and try a little harder. The temptation to play things safe can be strong and it’s quite nice to challenge your fears.
First up, let’s look at this pretty pattern. Butterick 5209 is a vintage reproduction pattern from 1947. I chose this pattern after seeing Laura Mae’s version. It has several intersecting lines to get right, a gathered bust and raglan sleeves: All making fitting that little bit harder. I’m not sure why this pattern is called Easy when there’s so many pieces and design lines to stay on top of.
I made two toiles. The first in a straight size 12 – Let’s just say it wasn’t great. I then graded everything in the upper torso down to a 6 and blended out to around a 14 in the ribs and waist (because I used the pattern in the lower size range it stopped at 12). I also reduced the gathering on the bust by about 4cm by using the markings for size 6. Finally I lowered the bodice 1cm.
Phew! All easy from here on? Not completely. First up I needed a nice sharp needle so not to snag this lovely Liberty lawn. This dress needs you to pay attention if you want you lines to match up. I marked all my seam allowances and pivot points clearly. I also unpicked if things weren’t quite aligned or weren’t sitting right. Here’s a close up of the centre front intersecting seams.
Tana Lawn fabric is great to work with because it’s stable enough to manipulate and won’t shift as you’re cutting out but has flattering drape in the finished garment. Plus it feels amazing to wear due to the high thread count.
If you’re scared of using Liberty because of the cost, treat yourself to some past season prints which are generally reduced to more agreeable prices for nervous dispositions. This print comes in several colourways and at £12.99 is a definite bargain in my eyes. My decision to use this print was heavily influenced by spying Little Tailoress’ version of this dress using the navy and raspberry colourway. Or how about some of Minerva’s other lawns, like this pretty print which I saw made up as a Sew Over It Vintage Shirtdress recently.
So there we go! I have a lovely new vintage dress in a beautiful fabric. Now I just need an afternoon tea…
Colour blocking doesn’t seem to be fading in popularity. It definitely isn’t in my house.
I’ve been waiting to sew this cute little vintage pattern since I gleefully picked it up at a sewing meet-up/ swap. A May Minerva Blogger make seemed like a good opportunity!
There are three really good variations in this pattern but I was smitten with the inset variation seen in yellow.
This was a pretty simple make but I think it looks really effective. I used two colours of 56 inch wide plain viscose.
The back and outer front bodice are made from the navy blue and the inset from the purple, which is actually a really pretty violet colour.
I have to say the navy feels wonderful. I know they should be exactly the same handle in slightly different colours but the navy has a slightly softer hand. It’s also lovely and cool the way viscose should be.
As you can see these sleeves look different to the pattern. Because it’s quite loose fit in the bodice I felt a bit boxy in the kimono sleeves as well, so I removed them and added a fluttery cap sleeve. I even lined the sleeves in purple so every now and then they show a peek of colour.
And because the team at Minerva are so good they included the perfect colour match in gütermann thread for me to use – colour 718 matches the violet and colour 387 matches the navy. Perfect!
The Lonsdale dress and I have a shaky past. I originally encountered this pattern two years ago when I attempted to make a polka dot satin ball gown version. It was a disaster… too much drape and not enough fabric!
Roisin had kindly sent me the pattern to trace and I felt like such a failure when I sent it back.
I thought it was long overdue a revisit so I chose one of Minerva’s lovely stretch cottons and set to work. I picked this gorgeous vintage dark floral. This fabric works really nicely with this pattern in my opinion; just the right amount of body and there’s a great range of prints.
I made the midi length skirt variation with no pockets.
Sewaholic patterns are designed for pear shaped figures but I’m really not sure this skirt is the most flattering design on me. I feel like it emphasises the difference in size between my shoulders and hips, when I hoped I might appear more balanced out. It also uses a centre front seam which I absolutely detest. I think they interrupt the eye and distract you.
I tried other skirts options like a circle and a gathered skirt but they just looked wrong!
The main feature of this dress however is the halter ties. I think this is where my main issue lies. The ties look so pretty on others but they just seem to overwhelm my neckline – I really wish I’d thinned them out significantly. It’s most noticeable how wide they are when viewing the back. If I’d chosen the tie back option this might not be so obvious because they’d naturally get a little bunched up and thinned out.
I do feel like it’s a bit of a failure. And that’s fine, it happens to us all. You honestly can’t suit everything. And I don’t assume that because some patterns of a designer look nice on you they all will. Plus there’s nothing really wrong with the finished dress so I might see if I can give it away!
Mr AR says it looks nice on me though which is always good to hear. And the midi length is modest but sweet and I’m pleased with how neat my knot looks at the front. Plus the print is just what I wanted: Sweet but still serious.
Overall I’m glad I tried this pattern again. But I doubt I’ll make another.
When was the last time you didn’t like a finished garment? Did you keep it or give it away?
Winter is coming!!
And I’m not happy about it. But at least I’ve got a snuggly sweatshirt to keep warm with.
This is the White Russian by Capital Chic Patterns. As soon as I saw this pattern my eyes popped out. I knew I’d be making it when the weather turned.
Buying ribbed fabric by the length is so much easier; it’s not as thick as packaged ribbing but I like it that way.
You’ll notice I shortened the height of the cuffs, neckband and hems. I prefer them being thinner and less obvious. I did this by eyeballing what looked better to me.
I used half a metre of the ribbing and it was just enough to cut the bands to the size 12 pattern pieces. If you wanted to cut a bigger pattern size you’ll need more of this but it’s pretty bargainous.
I sewed this up using the overlock stitch on my sewing machine as my overlocker is poorly. It uses one needle and stitches a clever little seam about 5mm wide made up of two stitch types on top of each other. It’s quite a slow stitch basically. But even with that, this took only three hours to make!
So there you have it. Snuggly and quick to sew, what more could you ask for!?
Phew, what a project. This is Vintage Vogue 1044, an original 1956–1957 pattern.
I started off thinking of this as a shirtdress, but that seems flippant.
It’s a mid-length dress with a pleated button-front bodice, and has a front and back yoke that extends into kimono sleeves. The skirt is gathered, but also designed with a snap closing in front and inverted pleats.
Everything came together when Kath shared a photo of this pattern on her instagram account. You could have bowled me over when she offered to send me her copy. I had been searching for a very long time for a copy in my size and it was like a dream come true when the post turned up from Australia.
I chose this dress for my Vintage Pattern Pledge as a challenge to myself, to prove I could handle a complex pattern that used vintage techniques. And I think I’ve been pretty successful with it!
The pattern suggests Crepe, Shantung, Batiste or Taffeta but I picked this wine coloured Linen as I knew it would be well suited for the pleated bodice while still having enough drape for the skirt. Plus the colour is lush! Covering buttons for the bodice just seemed like the right choice too. Plus there was Gutermann thread in a perfect colour match.
Taking time and effort with this pattern was very important to me. I made three muslins of the bodice to correct fit and practice the complicated placket instructions.
During a bout of internet research I found some brilliant tips for this dress: I changed the order of some of the steps (e.g. sewing my darts after my pleats and stay stitching my corners before assembling the yoke). I also reinforced the sharp corners where the yoke joined the bodice with squares of silk instead of the suggested seam binding.
The yoke facing is entirely hand-stitched and so was the epic hem (I added some lace trim to the hem for a sweet touch). The visible seams are pinked which gave me the chance to use my Grandma’s pinking shears she used when we sewed as a younger woman.
I was very respectful of the pattern up to a certain point but I just couldn’t get along with the snap front skirt. It gaped and didn’t hang right, and to be honest seemed rather unnecessary. I instead recut a standard skirt and unpicked the right side-seam to hand-sew an invisible zipper.
It’s a shame, but I had to up the exposure on the camera to show the details, the colour is a beautiful rich red. I feel so elegant in this dress. And I’m even happier that the dress matches a pair of shoes I already own, yippee!
I think the only thing I wish I’d done was add pockets. Maybe next time?