Hello everyone! Here’s a cheer to the weekend!! I actually had a nice short week as I took Monday and Tuesday off work to have a super long weekend. With my in laws staying Saturday and Sunday, it was nice to have the extra two days so myself. On Monday I pottered around sewing and doing jobs at home. Then Tuesday I went to Parcevall Hall Gardens for a walk and a photoshoot. It’s about half an hour drive away, down the end of a winding country road. It’s a private house and stunning garden featuring woodland with special hybrid rhododendrons and a waterfall plus formal gardens at the peak of the hill.
If you didn’t realise I LOVE FLOWERS. The rhododendrons were beautiful colours and there were peonies, roses, poppies, alliums and much more in bloom. Plus plenty of shoots waiting to pop later in summer. The climbing roses in the garden seemed like the perfect backdrop for photographing my new rose print shirtdress.
The print on my fabric reminds me of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and Sleeping Beauty, because of the hand drawn quality and colours that are similar to the roses that feature in both films. It’s an Art Gallery Fabrics poplin print called Pruning Roses from the Woodland collection – sku FUS-W-605. You can’t go wrong with AGF cottons. They consistently display a quality of fabric and print.
I used McCall’s 6891 to make a cool crisp summer shirtdress. This pattern goes up to a 50.5″ bust. I used the view A sleeveless bodice and view D length. I’ve made this pattern once before but had to size up this time. I made a size 10 in the upper body, 12 at the bust and a 16 at the waist/hip. It’s intentionally a little looser but still looks fitted which is just what I wanted. This is the DREAM SKIRT but it is fabric hungry, the dress took 3m.
I know the collar construction has confused a few people in the past. There are lots of different ways to make a notch collar, but the most common is making a collar then using a back and front facing on top. This adds extra bulk to the back collar you don’t need. Instead the facing and upper collar are attached and then sewn in place so the upper collar acts like the back neck facing.
To make this make feel a little more special I created my own bias binding to finish the hem and armholes, and also used it to find the raw edge of the facing and collar. This is such a fancy touch, especially in matching fabric as it’s such a small detail that shows the effort I put into the dress. My buttons are vintage and although there isn’t an exact matching shade of red in the fabric, they do suit the print. I like to finish button front dresses with either a press stud or reverse button at the waist point to stop any gaping when you sit down.
It was kind of empowering to go out to the gardens on my own, set up the photoshoot and take these pictures. It was quiet enough that I could take the photos without disturbing anyone’s visit and I met some other amateur photographers capturing the beauty of the gardens. After a tough work week being around the flowers and blue skies my spirits were soaring, and then just as I was leaving the most beautiful eagle flew overhead. I really want to go back soon.
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Today I’m sharing my solid coloured Ponte Roma dress using the Zadie pattern from Tilly and The Buttons. This is my second version of the dress, my first was colourblocked but I knew a solid version would looks fab.
Look at the lovely diamond seaming and deep pockets!! The longer sleeve option was my immediate preference to make a cosy version. I love the way the seam lines flow across the bodice into the pockets. A stable thick Ponte Roma is perfect for this pattern as it is warm but not too thick at the various seam junctions.
There isn’t waist seam the full way around so you don’t get a really snug fit at the waist but I tapered the side seams a little to help create an hourglass shape. Other than that I made no adjustments to the size 4. A 2 x 2.5 zigzag makes a secure seam on Ponte and I used thin ribbon to stabilise my shoulder and waist seams too. The ribbon helps take the weight of the fabric and avoids it stretching out over time.
I bought the wine coloured ponte a while ago but it’s still in stock. It washes perfectly and the colour is rich and attractive. I get a great amount of compliments when I wear the dress. And it’s perfect for autumn, winter and spring!
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 grown on 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?