Hello everyone. I’m currently sat intermittently knitting in front of the telly and thinking about sewing plans.
I’ve been playing around with some beautiful pleated fabric and dabbling with ladder trim insertion. Two projects with no deadline and a real desire to make considered choices before getting started. This means pinterest boards, testing machine settings and doodling designs.
In other news I shared a new video for my Sew North Soiree gown plans. I’m making a minty organza dress using a gorgeous sketchy floral with mint satin underneath. Check out the video here for more.
This leads me nicely onto today’s topic! Often a fabric would be amazing as a fancy party frock and sometimes it’s fun to make a great everyday dress instead. I picked up this cupid/cherub print twill fabric from Ditto fabrics after squealing at the sight of it. I was very torn between this and the mustard colourway and while I think made the wrong decision, it is still a stunning fabric.
Its a medium weight cotton twill which means it has that visible weave pattern and a lovely floaty drape. It shoots a touch redder than it is in real life. Twill is very prone to fraying and snagging plus standard slippery fabric rules apply. I used fine sharp pins and a size 70 needle.
I decided to choose a pattern I’d get a lot of wear from… enter the Jennifer Lauren Handmade Mayberry dress with my previous hacks to remove the buttons. See that version here. It’s the perfect dress if your weight fluctuates as the drawstring means you can cinch the perfect amount. I love that feature!!
At the minute my measurements are 36A:32:45 but know my first version still fits so I cut the straight size 12 and lengthened the skirt by 2″. It shrunk a tiny bit in the wash which makes it fit even better actually. My first version was polyester but the twill is slightly stretchy so a tiny bit of shrinkage counteracted this perfectly.
The drawstring is made in self fabric with the seam allowance rolled inside to make it very round almost like roulueau but not cut on the bias. If I’d had any I would have added cord inside. And instead of using eyelets like last time, I sewed buttonholes for the openings.
Proving it can still be dressed up I’ve worn the dress to a) my work leaving do, b) my dad’s 65th birthday dinner and c) the New Craft House Galentines party. The latter was extra special as my #sewingwife Marie of A Stitching Odyssey and I had a lovely weekend in London together seeing the Mary Quant exhibition, having dinner with our friend Allie and then winning the #sewingwife bingo at the party!
Dressing in the same fabric pushed us over the edge into winning I think. Marie’s dress is the Solina by Named with extra long waist ties. She hasn’t blogged it yet but watch this space. The prize was fabric vouchers for the NCH shop and we both ended up buying the same fabric!
I don’t think I’m done with this pattern yet as it’s a great showcase for prints as well as being endlessly comfy to wear. I have some solid chartreuse/mustard twill that could be good and a couple of viscose florals that would work well. Maybe just one or two more versions then…
Hello happy people! I’m in a great mood because this post is going out on my birthday!! I never work on my birthday and always try to do something fun. As it’s a Thursday this year I also took the Friday off so it’s double the fun! Today I had a trip to the spa with a back and head massage and a foot massage. Then I ate my favourite skillet pancakes for lunch in the sun of Mill Kitchen’s outdoor seating. I’ve come back super chilled! And there’s time for a bit of sewing before we head out to dinner!
In other news I finished my dress for the New Craft House Riviera party and had a wonderful time on the night. There were so many familiar faces to catch up with plus some ladies I follow on Instagram but had never spoken to. There was Aperol spritzes and the biscuit fairy Claire was making sure we had regular snacks. I managed to get in a couple of photos with my darling Marie but in my usual style failed at getting a proper outfit shot. I AM THE WORST when I get chatting and forget all about photos.
So this week I managed to get a few photos at the studio with the lovely Renata this week so I’m not leaving it for ages to share my finished dress. I love the overall look and paired my lemon earrings and blue belt with the dress to pick up the colours in the fabric.
This embroidered mesh was pretty damn difficult to work with. The ‘squares’ are actually slight rectangles and they’re a huge 6″ tall which I didn’t think was actually that flattering when cut on the grain as it chops your body up in weird directions. It has no stretch and of course needed lining. Here’s the fabric if you’re tempted.
With all this in mind I decided to cut everything out on the bias! This left me with much less fabric to work with. I used Vogue 9000‘s hacked skirt from this dress and shortened it another 2″. I then cut both the front and back on the fold.
For the bodice I could only manage to cut the front on the fold and used my old Vogue 1102 (made so many times with too many tweaks to count) as I could hide the waist darts inside a tile without it looking too obvious. The back bodice had to be cut with a centre back seam but think it looks okay.
This all meant I needed a side zipper and to figure out the opacity. The bodice is underlined and then the two layers treated as one for construction and the raw edges finished with nude bias tape. The skirts were assembled separately and joined along the waist seam and zipper position. Below the zipper the skirts hang free and both layers were finished with an overlocked rolled hem. To finish I hand picked a side lapped zipper to make sure nothing would catch in the teeth and the stitching would be as invisible as possible.
If you didnt know this fabric was used in Dolce and Gabbana’s Majolica collection. This dress above sold for £4,800…. yep that’s insane. Anywhoo my dress is surprisingly swishy and I feel great in it. It took a lot of brainstorming to figure out the perfect silhouette, pattern placement and order of construction. It was quite nice having a meaty project to work on as I’ve been sewing a lot of quicker things lately but on the flip side there was also a lot on my plate so life suddenly felt very busy. It’s such a happy dress so I’m really pleased I powered through and think it will be nice for future events and holidays.
I know I’m a little bit of a diva when it comes to birthdays but I really just take the chance to see as many people as possible, eat and drink well, find joy in everything and feel grateful for another year! My husband and his family know me so well, I got flowers, gin, my favourite most relaxing White Company candle and a voucher for fabric! And on Saturday my family are taking me for fizz and afternoon tea! Life is grand!!
Oh and surprisingly I won one of the party raffle prizes for a Selkie Patterns pdf of my choice. I’m going to wait to see their exciting new launch and then decide which to get as an extra birthday present!! Thanks for reading. Maybe I’m writing to myself but I still love blogging, sharing my makes and documenting the process.