• Dresses

    McCall’s 8090 Marina dress

    It’s finally the #sewrecreatethelook challenge reveal day! The goal is to recreate a look that you admire from RTW, the catwalk, Pinterest, a magazine, etc and share your progress. I’ve technically had my dress finished a couple of weeks but managed to hold off on revealing it. I’ve just been enjoying wearing it in the hot hot heat! Let’s start with a reminder of my inspiration…

     

    gal meets glam chassity dress

    This is the Gal Meets Glam Chassity dress. An American influencer I follow started her own line of clothing and ultimately it got too big for her to sustain, had some production issues and she closed the brand. There were some stunning dresses in her line so planning other recreations in the future.

    gal meets glam chassity dress

    I decided not to use shirting and find a viscose that was similar. This ebay find was close enough. It could have been more blue but the weight and drape were gorgeous. And I quickly settled on adapting McCall’s 8090 Marina as my dress base which came with Love Sewing 95.

    McCall's 8090 Marina dress pattern Love Sewing 95

    First up was adjusting 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.

    McCall's M8090 Marina dress pattern hack Love Sewing 95 #sewrecreatethelook

    Switching to raglan sleeves was one thing but these were gathered ruffled raglan sleeves. First I experimented with a sleeveless bodice with a rectangular ruffle sewn on top to give the illusion of a sleeve. I also tried shirring the gathered rows. Ultimately it wasn’t right. The rectangle created a stiff ruffle and the shirring was too unforgiving on top. But I was getting excited…

    McCall's M8090 Marina dress pattern hack Love Sewing 95 #sewrecreatethelook toile

    Second attempt I did things properly. I drafted a proper raglan sleeve for the bodice that would be sewn into the neckband, and then slashed and spread that piece to create excess for gathering. I pinned it into place again on top of my existing toile to save cutting it up / sewing a new one. It was much better but now not long enough for my liking. See below.

    McCall's M8090 Marina dress pattern hack Love Sewing 95 #sewrecreatethelook toile

    Third time was the charm. I added length to my slashed and spread tissue piece then traced onto fresh paper. Then I decided I wanted more gathering so slashed and spread again. Here’s the sleeve before I finally cut it out sat alongside the version 2 tissue.

    McCall's M8090 Marina dress pattern hack Love Sewing 95 #sewrecreatethelook toile

    Then I could commit to the new bodice armholes. You can see below how I marked the seamline and the cutting line on the bodice and then traced a fresh version. I’m also showing you the back for reference. Raglan sleeves are super fun to sew, if you’ve never made them before. FYI I also added notches for the raglan seam points on my neckband so I knew how much to gather the sleeve in to fit!

    McCall's M8090 Marina dress pattern hack Love Sewing 95 #sewrecreatethelook pattern hack

    Construction went pretty fast once I’d assembled the band and collar. All the side seams were French seamed but the gathered skirt band seams were just overlocked to avoid bulk. I did a baby hem on my sleeve pieces before attaching them.

    McCall's M8090 Marina dress pattern hack Love Sewing 95 #sewrecreatethelook pattern hack

    I’m super pleased with the dress. The finished neckline is lovely and feels really polished. For that all important sleeve finish, I kept my gathering stitches in place and stitched on top of them for the appearance of thicker topstitching thread. And I love the varying directions of stripes at play!

    McCall's M8090 Marina dress pattern hack Love Sewing 95 #sewrecreatethelook pattern hack

    Inside I used self fabric bias to finish the armholes, like a facing and a binding at the same time and topstitched it in place from the right side. I slipstitched the bands in place for a clean look. I do like the topstitched neckline of my toile version so might do that on a future version.

    McCall's M8090 Marina dress pattern hack Love Sewing 95 #sewrecreatethelook pattern hack

    The finished dress is breezy and stylish. I have to wear a slip underneath but I’m definitely pro-slips and already had the perfect white one. I love that you can’t tell the lower band is cut in three pieces. The seams are hidden in the stripes and this let’s you get a great gather with the extra width.

    McCall's M8090 Marina dress pattern hack Love Sewing 95 #sewrecreatethelook pattern hack

    Improvements for my next version will be curving the cropped waist seam up as it goes towards the hips as the straight line causes the seam to droop a touch at the sides. And to raise the underarm point as its a touch low, revealing my bra on occasion. But I already have fabric for a new version!! Thanks for reading this long if you stayed to the end.

    McCall's M8090 Marina dress pattern hack Love Sewing 95 #sewrecreatethelook pattern hack

  • Dresses

    Sewgirl Betty dress

    Hi everyone! I wanted to share my latest make, the Sewgirl Betty dress in Kokka linen cotton mix. I was gifted the fabric as part of the Minerva Brand Ambassadors programme in exchange for a review. With pretty birds and plants this fabric is so bold and beautiful. Plus the block handprinted effect makes the fabric feel so unique.

    I decided to make a transitional spring dress, breezy but with good coverage. The Betty dress features grown on sleeves with turn up cuffs, loose gathered waist and curved hem. It works great in stiffer fabrics so this linen cotton mix is the perfect match. There are black accents in the fabric so I chose to use black buttons and wear a black belt.

    The dress comes together so quickly because it’s unlined and not too many pieces. I’m wearing a size 12 but removed 1″ of bodice length and added 2″ to the hem. Yes there’s a lot of buttons but if you have a 1 step machine it speeds things up! It’s boxy enough to feel comfortable but with a belt it defines the waist a little tighter

    Did you also see my belt sewn from the selvedge? It’s pretty fun but I actually think I prefer my black patent belt because it goes with the shiny buttons I chose. The dress is still nice unbelted but I like how the belt picks up the black in the print.

    My plan is to wear it to lunch with my brother next weekend. It’s going to be so fun to hang out in the sunshine and eat pizza together. Let’s just hope I don’t spill any on my new dress!

  • Tops, blouses and shirts

    Sew Over It Libby

    Sewing enthusiasm has finally returned to my sewing room. I’m bursting with ideas again! Today I’m sharing a quick make that is really a wearable toile, the Libby shirt from Sew Over It.

    Almond rock coral peachskin Sew Over It Libby shirt blouse

    I had been admiring many people’s versions of this cute cropped blouse before buying the pattern. I love notch collars and grown on sleeves so a combination of the two is glorious.

    Almond rock coral peachskin Sew Over It Libby shirt blouse

    I bought the pdf pattern and sent the copyshop file to get printed at Fabulosew as I like that they print on tissue rather than paper. I made a straight size 10 and the only alteration was to move the bust darts down a bit.

    Almond rock coral peachskin Sew Over It Libby shirt blouse

    This fabric is a thick opaque polyester peachskin I got as lining for my coral eyelet Anna dress. There was lots leftover so I’d been waiting for something to use it for. It’s probably a bit thick for the pattern but such a good colour!

    The Libby shirt gets a lot of bad press online because of the back facing/collar construction which can be considered unnecessarily complicated, when you know there are other methods that would be quicker and simpler.

    You attach the back facing to each inner curve of the collar before stitching the collar pieces RST. I’ve constructed this way before on tailored coats and jackets so I didn’t have any bother with it but can see how it would stress many sewists out. There’s a sewalong with nice clear pictures if this is your first time using this method.

    Almond rock coral peachskin Sew Over It Libby shirt blouse

    I used a set of mixed print Tilda fabric covered buttons from my stash as some had a hint of coral in them. And I chose pink, coral and orange overlocker threads to keep it pretty inside. The turned up cuffs on the sleeves are quite easy to do and only take a couple of hand stitches to hold in place.

    Almond rock coral peachskin Sew Over It Libby shirt blouse

    I don’t think the back is flattering but I like the front and will still get plenty of wear out of it. For my next version I’ll use viscose or crepe de chine for a less thick version. As you can see my love of notched collars continues.

  • Dresses

    Polka dot Nina Lee Spring Dress

    Hello Spring! And hello you lovely lot. I’m full of the joys of Spring. And I love that saying. Spring and Summer is my sewing magic timezone where I can make dresses and floaty clothes and don’t have to worry about tights anymore. With that in mind I picked up the Nina Lee Patterns Spring Dress which came with Simply Sewing mag.

    Almond rock dressmaking Nina Lee Patterns Spring Dress polka dot viscose

    Okay let’s get the elephant out of the room, yep this is the first time I’ve bought Simply Sewing as a regular consumer. I had to buy every single issue while I worked at Love Sewing to add to our library of sewing magazines. This helped us try to avoid accidentally copying each other like interviewing the same people, featuring the same fabrics and so on. Since it launched after I started at Love Sewing I never bought it just for me until now. The magazine isn’t really for me as it’s only 20% about dressmaking but I had a quick flick through out of post-professional curiosity. I miss magazine design because let’s face it, banking websites aren’t designed to be colourful or fun. The patterns were the draw. Now back to the dress…

    Almond rock dressmaking Nina Lee Patterns Spring Dress polka dot viscose

    I made two toiles of the dress because I wasn’t quite sure how much ease I’d like. The first toile made me realise the sleeves and shoulders were not going to work for my body type. I am extremely narrow shouldered with small arms so often have to do a narrow shoulder adjustment. I adjusted the paper pattern to adjust the shoulder by 1″ for the first toile but it was clear the sleeve head as drafted was very flat and I need a much higher head and the shoulder was still very wide. I use a cut and move method for narrow shoulders (tutorial) but there’s also a slash and overlap method (tutorial).

    Almond rock dressmaking Nina Lee Patterns Spring Dress polka dot viscose

    On my second toile I redrafted the armhole to use the Tilly and The Buttons Indigo dress bodice and sleeve pieces. You lay the two patterns on top of each other, matching shoulder height and copy round the Indigo armhole curve onto the Spring Dress: First for the bodice front and then for the back. Then I could use the Indigo sleeve piece when I cut out and put the Spring Dress sleeve to one side.

    Almond rock dressmaking Nina Lee Patterns Spring Dress polka dot viscose

    This polka dot viscose challis from my stash was picked up at Birmingham rag market. It’s the perfect weight for this dress as it gathers easily and is a nice breezy fabric for this style (see a video of it in motion). I think you could use a stiffer fabric for a bolder boxier effect. When I discovered a number of small holes in my fabric (not moths thank god) this moved into the wearable toile category so I stopped worrying over the print matching down the centre front. Made you look!! It’s good enough to me for a dress I’ll wear until the fabric frays further so don’t bother messaging me about it. I added some fusible interfacing behind each of the holes I saw but I bet it will keep making more when I next wash it, it just seems that delicate.

    Almond rock dressmaking Nina Lee Patterns Spring Dress polka dot viscose

    I made a size 10 in the upper bodice and 12 at the waist down to the hip. The bodice ever so slightly rides to the back now which is what happens on my Indigo where I never fixed the bodice. Again I don’t mind on this dress but really should fix it before I make any more versions. And as you can see the neckline is finished with tiny little bias binding that extends into ties but wearing it tied feels a little too twee so I leave them undone. As a last tweak, I added elastic cuffs to the sleeves but they aren’t very billowing so it’s a subtle effect. Importantly I added 3″ to the length of the skirt. Remember I’m 5ft4 so this is a short dress without that length! Chewie approves of my floaty new dress.

    Almond rock dressmaking Nina Lee Patterns Spring Dress polka dot viscose

  • Dresses

    Watercolour Papercut Patterns Adrift

    Hello everyone. This pretty spring dress is crying out to be worn! I can’t wait to take it for a stroll through Ilkley. It’s colourful and floaty and just perfect for the start of fresher weather.

    almond rock watercolour  Papercut Patterns Adrift dress with Abakhan viscoseI partnered with Abakhan for this make. They let me choose something from their new Spring/Summer collection of fabrics and I chose this stunner which has now sold out but there’s plenty more in the collection to enjoy. It was sent out the fabric for free to see what I’d make with it. 

    almond rock watercolour  Papercut Patterns Adrift dress with Abakhan viscose
    I chose the Adrift pattern which has a lovely frilled skirt. There’s a draw string waist dress or darted skirt option. You can also add frilly sleeves to the bodice but they were a bit too frilly for my liking so I adjusted to use cap sleeves. The bust darts are mostly for show. I made a size S dress bodice by laying my Mayberry dress size 12 pattern pieces on top to get a similar fit since that is also a cinched pattern with waist ties. I also used the Mayberry dress sleeves since it’s such a similar bodice and adjusted the armholes to match. Then I graded out to an XXL at the hip.

    almond rock watercolour  Papercut Patterns Adrift dress with Abakhan viscoseThe fabric has so many lovely colours in it. The reason I love viscose is that lovely drape and cool smooth feel to the fabric. It’s important to pre-wash viscose as it does shrink and use a nice sharp needle to avoid pulls. I overlocked all the edges as viscose frays a lot too. almond rock watercolour  Papercut Patterns Adrift dress with Abakhan viscoseLengthening the skirt was a real challenge. There were no clues on the pattern or the Papercut website for how to approach this. I ended adding about 3″ to the upper area of the skirt where the ruffle is relatively straight on the front, so I could then extend the frill pieces at the top rather than the middle. It was successful in the end but it may not be the right want to do it. I’m 5ft4 ish and if I had to add 3″ I wonder how indecent the length is on a taller woman!

    almond rock watercolour  Papercut Patterns Adrift dress with Abakhan viscose
    The finished dress is pretty cute and I’m sure will get lots of wear this year when life starts to return to normal. One of my friends already commented that she wants to see the fabric in real life which is lovely. And I could imagine wearing it around the Mediterranean one day too. If you pick up anything from the collection, let me know! I’d love to see what you make. You should definitely check out Rosey Sews’ gorgeous skirt in the same fabric.