Hello everyone! I was unbelievably excited to see the Dior exhibition at The V&A museum this weekend. I took my Aunt and cousin and just knew I’d tear up when I saw everything… I’m oddly emotional about the idea of all that design and talent gathered together. See a few personal highlights on my Instagram account.
Tea dresses are the ultimate wardrobe staple for me so it’s no surprise I reach for the same few patterns when I want to show off a great fabric. Feminine, timeless and modest they suit my workwear wardrobe as much as my out of office outfits. I love going out for lunch and on day trips in vintage style clothes as much as I like vintage glam evening wear! During the work day I don’t get to pile on the vintage make up or hair but I like to wear retro inspired clothes to the office as they make me feel turned out and confident. There’s no actual dress code in my office so sometimes wearing a shirtwaist dress or a circle skirt while everyone is wearing jeans makes me a point of difference but it doesn’t put me off. I honestly enjoy getting dressed every morning… I hope you do too?
So as you will have guessed, I’ve made this pattern before (three times now but only twice blogged). This is the Simple Sew Annabelle dress which I’ve always made in drapey crepe fabric. This time I thought I’d try something a little more structured! I treated myself to this “cotton spandex mix” from Lindy Bop who have just started selling fabric. They have a small collection of prints on two bases; scuba and “crepe de chine”. The latter arrived and was stretchy and relatively well structured so I think it’s a creative interpretation of what crepe de chine fabric is. It still gathers like a dream and has a lovely shine to it so please don’t think it’s not a quality fabric. I chose the magpie print and the bookcase print (as an editor I had to).
The blue is so vibrant and each of the magpies are depicted chasing different jewels and treats like rings, charm bracelets and gems. I live in a new build house from the early 2000s which was a long empty plot of land originally. When the builders turned over all the soil ready to build on, magpies came in the droves to find shiny bits that were unearthed and even now the houses are built they can’t help return to the spot. On a daily basis I see between 5-10 magpies around my street so I am constantly singing THIS nursery rhyme. And I ALWAYS say hello to a lonely magpie to make sure he’s not on his own.
You buy the material in either 1m or 3m lengths so have a think what you’d prefer and maybe partner up with someone to share if you The fabric is printed on a white base so when you stretch it you can slightly see white beneath. It’s also surprisingly closely woven so I recommend a very sharp fine needle to avoid snagging. You may want to line the fabric in case it sticks to tights but it’s totally opaque so makes a really lovely garment. I’m really pleased with the dress and the fabric and I’m looking forward to making my bookcase print dress! I think it would look fun as a Simplicity 1419 or a Selkie Patterns London dress don’t you?
Time for something unusual today… a “pretty fail”. I don’t tend to share garments I’m not happy with on the blog as I probably won’t wear them and the problems aren’t something that others can usually learn from (like bad colour choice or low quality fabric, etc). This time I love the fabric used for this dress so much I’m going to fix it at the weekend to make it more wearable!
This is the Eve dress by Sew Over It. I bought this pattern from Village Haberdashery something like a year and a bit ago as I loved the elegant versions popping up on the internet. I then paused as wrap styles never really suit me due to my extreme difference in proportions. I’m still currently a 36A cup size and 31″ waist with a 44″ hip. I need a really flared wrap skirt to flatter my lower half and need to ensure a close fit at the bust given I don’t have much to fill the top. I made view A which features fluted sleeves and a longer hem length. My fabric is suitable drapey and opaque (always a winning combination in my book) and I love the bold teal colour.
This is a twill fabric from Mandors of Glasgow priced £5.99 and comes in a couple of colours but I couldn’t resist the teal. They sent me the fabric for free in exchange for a review of their service and I was pleased to see my parcel nicely wrapped in tissue paper and sparkly ribbon, and washing/care instructions were included for the fabric. The range and prices on offer were surprising when I started browsing as I’d always assumed Mandors were a small business but with plenty of lovely dressmaking fabric and unique patterns on offer I’d be tempted back again for sure. And as I look at fabric shops for a living I have high standards.
While I adore how swishy the sleeves are I think the combination of longer length and big sleeves are drowning my 5ft4 frame. I have very narrow shoulders and feel like they’re getting lost. The print on the fabric being ditsy does suit me I think as it’s not too overpowering and the bold block of colour makes it an eye-catching dress.
I made a size 8 around the upper bodice, grading to a size 10 waist and then a size 14 hip. Given the wrap style there is a lot of room for adjustment here but I think the bodice is quite loose and prone to moving so I either safety pin it shut or wear a pretty slip underneath. It billows a little at the back too so is quite airy to wear on a hot day (not that they seem to be coming back soon!) The length feels very romantic and looks nice with heels or flat shoes. It just comes back to those darn sleeves.
I tried tucking the sleeves in for a photo (don’t laugh please) and instantly felt unburdened so I’m going to unpick the sleeves and bias face the armholes. I just don’t think I’ll wear it again if I don’t do this, even though I love how vintage 40s the silhouette is.
Isn’t it funny how your brain can picture some garments so clearly in the planning stages to help you match the right fabric to the right pattern and sometimes it can lead you down an odd path…
Time to look at some gorgeous versions of the dress like this “nightie” version by Emilie with some clever observations, Cheryl’s stunning rose print and not forgetting this “too big and too small” dress by Daphne inspired by Boden.
Hello everyone! Hope you’re enjoying this amazing weather!! I’ve been sewing up a storm for my honeymoon and finalising wedding details. It’s all pretty manic at work because I’m trying to do two issues at once so then my team only have to cover the third issue on their own. Oh what fun! But when I’m laid out in the sunshine with a tropical cocktail in my hand, the publishing panic will be far far far out of my mind. In other exciting news I finished my macrame plant hanger from November! I dyed white rope with tumeric, used wooden beads as accents and bought a pretty fern to go in the base. This is a result of our Wednesday craft clubs at work but I had to pause because it turns out you can’t buy little ferns during winter… who’d have thought!
I made myself another version of the utterly fab Lisette Simplicity 1419 dress that I made once before here. I really need to make a few more before the year is out! The sweet keyhole detail and perfectly fitting sleeve make this the dream bodice for me and you can add any style of skirt you like on the bottom for an all round winning dress.
This time I used a beautiful teal crepe from Fabworks that has a slight texture to it but not too pronounced. The print is oriental in feel with pretty birds and peonies (MY FAVE FLOWERS EVER so I’m calling them peonies even if they’re not for definite) but I can’t seem to find it on the website so it may have sold out, or be an in-store special. A reader already emailed me after seeing a little pic of this dress on my welcome page. So sorry I couldn’t help further Tara! I love working with crepes like this as they don’t really need ironing, plus the amount of drape is great and garments from it hang perfectly. Fabrics like this fit into my lifestyle so well as I never have time for ironing and even when I do, two hours in a car and the seatbelt crumples everything I’ve smoothed out!
Unlike my last version I didn’t alter the neckline at all; Being a touch higher works when you’re adding a button loop but I’d lower it again if sewing a plain front. The loop somehow makes it feel even more traditional like a cheongsam dress or something. I wasn’t really going for that but I think it makes the dress look a touch more formal. This is of course the Emery dress skirt added onto the bodice.
I made this dress on a whim to wear to the lovely Ruth’s hen do in York. It was a bit of a rush so I sewed the most awful zip I’ve done in a long long time. Partly this was because I just added a centre installed zipper where you use a close ended zipper and sew down either side. I’ve always hated this finish as they never sit neatly flat and open up, exposing the teeth in an unsightly way. BUT, now it’s done will I really be bothered to unpick and resew? Other than the shame of other sewists seeing it, I don’t care what non-sewing folk think as their clothes usually pale in comparison with off grain jeans, misaligned plaids and careless stitching.
I’m not sure I’ll ever made a version with the peter pan collar as they may be look extremely childlike on me but I won’t say never… that’s not the way to live. I should really try the included skirt pieces as the pleats would be quite flattering now. My changing waistline has led to me rediscovering some patterns and styles I previously ruled out.
If you find this fabric please do send me the link or tag me on social media so I can spread the word! It’s sooooo gorgeous, you’re definitely going to want some. For more dress loveliness, check out the fabulous Roisin of Dolly Clacket in red, and an amazing pattern hack from the darling Rachel also in red and last but not least the jacket that’s included in the pattern whipped up by Kerry in an awesome bird print!
Happy New Year gorgeous people!!
Hope you’re all surviving the first week of the year if you’re working and soaking up the extra drops of relaxation if you’re not.
I wanted to quickly share my festive dress. This is Butterick 5748 which I made earlier this year with the included circle skirt. This time I wanted to try adding a gathered skirt to make it a little less fabric hungry. So I of course the gathered Emery dress skirt – I’m addicted to it. Now I have two versions I love!
The fabric is a gorgeous red sateen partially from Remnant Kings and partially from B&M fabrics in Leeds market. I LOVE the colour. Red makes me so happy and confident. When I was a little girl I wore red shoes almost every day. And now I’m an adult they’re still in high rotation. I just bought these red satin converse hahah! Plus I have a LOT of red handmade dresses.
This was a great chance to perfect my lapped zipper technique. I follow the approach in the Reader’s Digest Sewing Book which is pure gold. Here are my top tips.
- Use a slightly larger seam allowance on the zip opening say by 3-5mm.
- Follow the woven guide lines on your zipper tape or mark a clear guide to follow.
- Clip away the bulk from the seam allowance at the waist, on either side of the zipper tape to have the zip sit as flat as possible.
- If using thicker fabric, I recommend leaving the lining hanging down before securing with a stitch in the ditch like I have here. It again reduces bulk at the waist.
- Fold back the lining seam allowance before finishing the neckline seam to get a neat finish on the inside at top of the zipper.
Hopefully this wasn’t too long for a quick post! Back soon with a blouse I managed to take pics of this weekend.