Well hello sunshine. It’s a bright and happy week outside and the sky is clear and calm. Which makes me feel a bit calmer too. I’ve been keeping busy doing quizzes with family and friends, experimenting with air dry clay and of course sewing. It is still rather difficult to know what to make but I’m managing to keep going. My Plum dress is a good example of that!
Sometimes you gave to be bold and challenge yourself to try a shape you wouldn’t normally wear/make. When Ana’s call went out for testers, my hand shot up. I like checking pattern instructions and testing construction so I miss that part of my old job. That’s why I also checked some patterns for the recent Sewing Bee book.
Plum is extremely loose and floaty babydoll but features fun frill sleeves with an interesting construction and a charming buttoned back bodice. I’d had success with the similarly roomy Indigo dress so was intrigued by the drop shoulder detail on Plum.
The dress us unlined so very quick to put together (perfect for beginners) but I was slowed down trying to figure out the fit. I ended up with a size 2 in the upper body, size 1 in the lower body. It’s a smidge tight in the biceps… I use that term loosely as I don’t have any! So perhaps a 3 in that area would have been best. The size 1 has oodles of space for my 45″ hips so it’s nice and breezy.
This polka dot visvose challis fabric was a present from Marie from Birmingham rag market. We both bought it in 2014 (I think) but I managed to rip mine. So sweet Marie sent me hers as a bonus treat when I recently shopped her stash. I found some adorable flower buttons to finish the placket and used blue bias tape around the neckline.
I made my version before the neckline was altered on the final pattern but knew it was being lowered so trimmed it down to be a close match. I hemmed to just above the knee so I didn’t feel swamped.
The husband approves of how floaty it is but I’m hyper aware of the frills when I wear it. My fear of ruffles continues!! It’s a great working from home dress for definite.
See the other tester versions and buy the pattern here to make your own version!
Hello my loveliest ones!! I am hating humanity after a hellish time on public transport and the motorway but you’re all exempt. You wouldn’t leave giant cases in the aisles and blare music without speakers would you?? I hope not. And you wouldn’t try and drive me off the road in your a supermarket delivery van right???
I’ve been doing a little less sewing than normal lately but wanted to experiment with the latest pattern from Love Sewing magazine. This pattern is included with issue 73 on sale October 3rd. That’s tomorrow! As you know I don’t often have time to make the magazine patterns but I just loved this neckline!
Isn’t Lis’s version below so gorgeous? I knew I couldnt pull off the shift style so I wanted to see if I could hack the dress to a more retro silhouette. To do this I used the waistline mark on the front and back bodice pieces. I marked lines across the pattern pieces 1.5cm below the waistline point. This was the cutting line.
I then worked out the finished waist measurement and measurements for the front and back and adjusted slightly so my skirt pattern would match at the side seams. The skirt here is actually my wedding dress skirt pattern! It makes it very swishy.
I made view D of the pattern with its lovely sweetheart neckline and no sleeves. This stretch spot cotton sateen is amazing quality and gives the dress a lot of structure. It took 3m to get all the pieces of this dress on the fabric even at 60″ wide. It’s a pretty huge skirt!!
I finished the hem with red bias tape; my preferred method for a circle skirt. There’s an invisible zipper in the back. And of course I added pockets. SO MUCH FUN!!
I love a good musical, especially a Gene Kelly musical. An American In Paris is completely fabulous.
When I saw Burda’s Viva La Diva spread in issue 11/2014 I fell hard for the AIP inspired dress. This collection featured iconic gowns from favourite films. The Eva Green Casino Royale gown and Marilyn Monroe Gentlemen Prefer Blondes halter dress are also gorgeous but the Leslie Caron dress had me hooked. Deliciously vintage looking and the perfect next #vintagepledge dress.
I haven’t bought Burda since a terrible incident with a dress in 2012. Those pattern sheets are HORRIBLE. But I’m a different sewist now… and apparently I can handle Burda magazines again! As luck would have it, this back issue was in the office so I borrowed it to get started on this dress.
I wanted to use this polka dot satin from B&M Fabrics in Leeds with its scattered spots that dissolve into almost solid red. The border actually runs across both selvedges but I bought 3m to account for that. I knew I’d use the border print along the skirt hem.
The bodice has an outer layer, an interlining which I interfaced and a lining. The drape is made by gathering three edges. The drapes look terrible when the dress is hung up but then when worn they sit really well on the body. The rouleaux straps and side zipper are the only support so I decided to add boding to the back bodice seams.
I didn’t use the skirt frills as I though that would be overkill and just used the gathered skirt underneath. I finished the hem with an overlocked rolled hem.
There’s actually a really nice version of the dress with a full back bodice that extends into sleeves. I might make this too at some point.
Overall I’m really happy with the dress. I wore it to a longtime friend’s wedding where I gave a reading about the cosmos (“we are all made of star stuff”) while I stood under a huge oak tree. It was a lovely day and the dress is now a lasting reminder of that. Maybe I’ll wear it to a showing of the live stage version of American In Paris one day! Or just out for dinner in Paris?! A girl can dream.
Here’s a little bonus cat pic since it went down quite well last time heeehee.
Now I wouldn’t say I live particularly close to Birmingham. The first time I ever went was for Marie and Kat‘s wonderful blogger meet up at the end of last year. Another meet up is organised for June 15th!
Last time I caught the megabus and arrived in three hours. This time I had the pleasure of being chauffeur driven by Mr AR and it took half the time!
The bull ring lured me into buying new shoes, make up and jewelry. I’m not doing the seamless pledge officially but it makes me happy to only buy things I cannot make myself.
I then tottered over the road to the outdoor market. The outdoor fabric stalls weren’t as good as I remembered but I think I was rushing. The sun was out and markets were extremely busy so I decided to pop inside and return later.
My favourite stall inside is the one run by two women; one is older the other a lot younger. They’re in roughly the centre of the indoor market and their stand is a treasure trove. One downside is everything is stacked on top of each other and I always fall in love with the bottom rolls. (That is an amazing way to finish a sentence I have to say!)
Then to top it off when I ventured back outside I found some lovely multicoloured spot “German viscose” (not sure what difference German manufacturing makes) plus some black corduroy and navy crepe (not pictured).
I definitely recommend the rag market for sewists on the hunt for a bargain. And if you’d like some company exploring get yourself along to the June 15th Rag Market meet up mentioned above!
I’ll be there for sure. Just don’t let me buy anything!
PS. Check out the Rag Market’s awesome new website! It’s still in development but much more friendly than the previous version.
After the death of my plaid top I wanted to bounce back into action and work on my Colette Truffle dress.
Super exciting as it’ll be my Xmas party dress yaaay!!
I’m using a gorgeous black and white polka dot satin I got at the Birmingham meet up.
The dots are so cute and large and the satin feels great.
After 3 muslins I got the darts in the right place and think the sizing is “spot on” for the bodice.
So I’ve cut it out:
And with some kick ass purple lining:
But all my skirt muslins were atrocious. I can’t make the hip curve fit, or the darts work or match up with the bodice darts!!!
(*hey we’re almost at Christmas).
So I’ve been debating leaving the Truffle unconquered for now. Well at least the bottom half.
If I add another style of skirt on the bottom I don’t think I can call it a Truffle can I?
I’m thinking possibly a TNT gathered skirt as I have them on most my dresses. Probably from my V8723 as it’s a good length.
Or something new and exciting like a half circle skirt. Though my maths skills are a little rusty.
Hmmm if I’m going to change the skirt up and lose that wonderful talking-point flounce, maybe I should add some other feature?
Though I’d have to re-cut the back bodice and move the zip to the size. Oh my gosh this is getting complicated.
Any other suggestions to jazz up the dress without crazily redesigning everything?
Maybe just lowering the back into a nice v would be enough excitement.
Eeeeep!! I’m so excited to get this dress together but know I need to make some decisions.
I’ve got until Dec 7th to sew it up but not a lot of free time before then.
Best do some long hard thinking about this!!