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!
Ho Ho Ho, a festive treat today. Remember the last dress I shared? Well I hacked it to make my perfect dress. It’s great for eating and drinking in, dancing in, and attending zoom meetings! Let’s take a look shall we? It’s M7948 view C with sleeves from view D with no frill on them.
As I said in my last post, I loved the Indigo from Tilly and The Buttons but the armholes never fit quite right, even after a lot of tweaking so M7948 is the perfect replacement dress. I just wanted a different neckline. So I traced my bodice pattern pieces then trimmed off the neckline into a boat neck. Changed the back bodice to be cut on the fold. Next I added a very thin U shaped keyhole to the front bodice. I could have gone a smidge higher in hindsight but oh well. Then I drafted a facing for the keyhole on extra tracing paper.
The keyhole facing and front keyhole are sewn RST, clipped and turned through. Plus I topped stitched to keep everything flat. Then I made coordinating bias binding to finish the neckline and extend into long neck ties. The finished front can be worn open or tied in a bow.
My fabric is absolutely perfect. I ordered it not entire sure what the composition would be. Turns out I should have just trusted the description… It’s a lovely Raspberry linen-look viscose/polyester mix fabric. It’s totally opaque but light and floaty which is my dream combo. The linen texture is a little rougher than real linen but actually make the black and white print pop. The polyester mix makes the handle a little springy but it still presses well. I knew it would look great for the tiered version of the skirt.
I ended up cutting the size 12 for the bodice as before, but cut a size 8 skirt so it’s a little less full. On the last version I talked about slimming the sleeves a little. I just took 1cm out of them and then added an elastic cuff hem by creating a thin channel and using 10mm elastic. The sleeves are now perfect to wear under cardigans!
Final thoughts are this is a great choice for Christmas day which at my house involves lots of food and drink, lounging around playing games and curling up on the sofa at the end of the day. And I like this last photo for showing off my grey hair as it generally still photographs quite brown a lot of the time. My marvellous hair bow is from Beaded by Laura.
A winter’s sewing storytale of sorts…
I needed more dresses like the Tilly Buttons Indigo for winter but wasn’t enjoying the sleeve and armhole issues which I tried resolving on multiple versions. I liked the loose fit, great canvas for prints, breezy style so I switched to try McCall’s 7948.
This lovely floaty style is very similar to the Indigo but has a more rounded neckline. It has different skirt options. Plus there are different sleeve lengths and cute sleeve cuff ruffles!
I actually used the pdf version of the pattern to make the dress as I was testing something out for work send needed to print one of our patterns. I thought why not make it one I want to sew!
I sewed a straight size 12 with a narrow shoulder adjustment. I chose the tiered skirt which is made from gathered rectangles. It’s marvellously swishy as you can see from my attempts to twirl on camera! It’s a great length and pleasingly roomy but I need to fix two elements.
The neckline is too high for me. I never wear round styles like this, always preferring boat neck. A new row of stitching on the front neckline, probably a further 1cm or 1.5cm in from the current seam will suffice. And I’ll ease off to meet the existing seam line at the back. That should also help me get it on without using the button loop.
I’m also going to slim the sleeves a little as they’re a touch boxy. But these are two teeny little things right!? I’ve already made another version with a front keyhole, neck ties and elasticated sleeve hems! It’s in a beautiful raspberry linen look fabric and I’ve worn it several times already. I can’t wait to show you. I see lots more m7948s in my future!!
A quick note to add I cannot for the life of me remember where I bought this polyester fabric! I feel like it was either Rainbow Fabrics or Simply Fabrics Brixton. But I’ve been hanging onto it for aaaaages. It’s good to sew older things from your stash. Justifies them being in there so long!!
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’sfantastic 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.
Hello hello! I’m in a very good mood today as Issue 101 of Love Sewing is on sale, and I’m in it! As former Love Sewing Editor it’s was so nice to be back in the pages of the magazine, to share a review for this lovely dress. My new column as Simplicity Brand Ambassador also begins in issue 101 so it’s two lots of Amy for the price of one this month! Butterick 6705 is one of the pattern gifts for the issue, provided in the full range of sizes. You can pick up a copy of the magazine at all good supermarkets or online at craftstash.co.uk
For my version of B6705 – this is view A but with a couple of small changes. I used the sleeve construction from view B but cut to mid-arm. And I used the skirt length of view C. Mixing and matching pattern elements is such a satisfying way to get the exact dress you like. Like many of us, I overindulged during lockdown and had the fear that an empire line dress might highlight my midriff weight gain but to my delight, this beautiful skirt skims over my lower half and flares out. It somehow also makes me feel much taller than I am. I was also inspired by the version by Dei in animal print who makes such elegant clothes.
Fitting wise my Bust Waist and Hip measurements are 36A : 33 : 45 so I made a size 12 in the upper body and graded from a 12 at the waist to 14 at the hip. I’m quite petite in my upper body with very narrow shoulders so I lowered the neckline by 2cm so it sat in the right place, and as I found the two-piece sleeves slightly too large, I removed 2cm along the overarm seam.
The under bust construction forms a beautiful v shaped seam. My top tip is to pin each side individually and start sewing from the centre point out to the sides on each part of the seam. I’m also pleased to report you can customise the length of your keyhole so if you don’t want to reveal too much you can sew it a little further than the pattern notch. The front neckline is wrapped in visible binding and closes with a hook and eye fastener but you could choose to sew it closed with a continuous piece of binding or add a button loop.
This beautiful green and black floral is a deadstock viscose challis from rainbowfabrics.co.uk, who specialise in excess stock from fashion houses. But with great prices and limited quantities you have to act quick when shopping the website! With viscose challis being prone to stretching, it’s important to let your curved hem hang for 24 hours to allow for any drop in the fabric and then recut so it is level. Plus to aid my invisible zipper, I added a thin strip of interfacing to support the centre back seam during construction and wear to avoid the fabric stretching out in this important area. I’m making a video about getting a perfect match across a waist seam when using an invisible zipper that will go live soon.
My dress makes me feel like a James Bond femme fatale (who watched the latest movie?? MY GOSH). And at the same time, a model from fashion line Vampire’s Wife (whose dresses suit the name entirely). And though I can’t pull off a dreamy faraway stare, I feel very elegant in it.