Tag Archive | dresses

Winter Shannons for OWOP

Wow, that’s quite a long blogging break… I did do some sewing in the second half of 2019, I promise! To be honest, it was mostly some more Simple Sew Shannon Collection dresses. It was partly to do with the Simple Sew blogging, and partly to do with OWOP.

One Week One Pattern (OWOP) seems to have been a little later than usual in 2019. In the past, I’ve been able to use a transitional style of wardrobe to get through it, but when Sheona announced it was going to be 23-29 November, I realised it would be well chilly, and I would need a full-on Winter-wearable pattern. The things I had the most of (that I haven’t used before for OWOP) were the Simple Sew Shannon Collection dresses & tops. But it’s a sleeveless/cap-sleeved dress/top pattern, so they were all quite summery. The tops I had could be layered, so that was a start. But I decided that if I was going to use this pattern, then I would need to work out how to add a sleeve, so as to use it for the cooler weather.

I was scheduled to do a “#SewthisisChristmas” make for the Simple Sew Blog for mid-November, so I decided that I would test out my sleeve hack idea with that. If it worked, then I could make myself a couple of tops and maybe even another dress, and I’d be able to get through the week, with only one or two repeats.

As it turned out, the pattern lent itself very well to an extension to the short/cap sleeve, and I was thrilled with my (Not Just For) Christmas Shannon. I got this fabulous rose print ponte at a fabric swap last year, and couldn’t believe my luck – it was just so me! I’m really happy that I’ve been able to get this lovely dress made with it.

This meant I started OWOP week with two short-sleeved tops that would work as layers, plus this one new dress (which wasn’t going to be an easy one to repeat-wear, as it’s quite “noticeable”!) plus plans to make more using my newly hacked sleeve pattern. I was very late to the game, but I did manage to make those two tops and one dress, which meant I only had one repeat wear during the week. For the full line-up of my OWOP outfits, go to my Simple Sew Blog Post on my Week of Winter Shannons.

The first top I made was made from a cute cactus print jersey I got in France a year and a half ago. It’s got some kind of elastane/lycra content, because it’s got good stretch and recovery. I’m not sure why I went for the cactus print, because I’m not normally a novelty prints kind of a gal, but it works well for this top, and I’m happy with how it came out.

The second top was from a plain white cotton jersey, which has no elastane at all, and doesn’t really have a lot of stretch. I decided that it was just TOO plain, and it needed something extra to make it more me. So I cannibalised an old lilac t-shirt that I haven’t worn in years, that had the same sort of weight and drape as my white jersey, and I used that for the neckband and sleeve bands. I was pushed for time (I was sewing it on the morning of day 7, before going to work wearing it!), so I didn’t do anything more than necessary to it. But I had a fair bit of the lilac left over, so I’ve decided it can be used for some appliqué embellishment, once I’ve decided what I think I can do with it.

The dress was my favourite of the OWOP makes. I didn’t have particular expectations but it came out just perfect. I’d kept the structure simple, and it was straighter than my previous Shannon dresses, because my fabric was narrower. I just love it!

I even got another dress cut out and started, though I didn’t finish it in time for OWOP. It’s still waiting to be finished off (really need to buckle down to that, it’s just hemming, for heaven’s sake!).

I’m still not finished with my Winter Shannons. Now that I’ve got my sleeve hack sorted out, I can see another couple of dresses happening in the near future!

Flamingos

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Flamingos!

I’m delighted that I can post about this dress, now that it has gone live on the Simple Sew Blog. You can read there about how I hacked the Stylish Shell Top pattern into the perfect summer dress – cool and pretty.

I’m particularly pleased that this fabric didn’t drop into Stash, and I was able to use its flamingo fabulousness within a few weeks of purchase. I’m not really one for novelty prints, but this one called out to me from the moment I saw it. Maybe it’s because, even with the flamingos, there’s a lot of floral in there too.

Summer pretties!

I’m currently in full holiday sewing flow. I’ve finished another dress, and need to get it photographed. I’ve got no iron here, though. Of course – who needs to be ironing on their hols? So it may be a bit wrinkly when you get to see it…

And I’m in the process finishing off a couple of Project Pants knickers that didn’t quite make it into Me-Made May. They got sewn together, but lacked elastic.

As for the maroon poppies dress from my previous post, I’m still thinking about it.

Summer Teasers

I finally got around to making something that wasn’t knickers! Unfortunately I can’t really show much of any of these makes, the first one, because it was a skirt for my sister and I totally forgot to take in progress photos, the second one because I’m really not sure about whether I like it or not, and finally because the third one is a Simple Sew Blog make, and I’m waiting for it to get posted. But I can tease both of my own garments!

Firstly, the skirt for my sister. She basically gave me a sarong thing that she liked, and asked me to make a wrap skirt out of it. With the elephants at the front.

Loved those elephants

It was a challenging project, partly because I was totally self-drafting, based on measurements only, partly because she lives 50 miles away from me, and we didn’t have many opportunities for fitting, partly because the elephants were in the middle of the fabric, whereas they needed to be at the outer sides of the skirt, partly because the edges with the square motifs were just too small to get a skirt back out of in one go, so I had to piece two half-backs together. I foolishly failed to take In Progress photos, otherwise you could see what a stunning job I did of pattern matching that back. It truly is a thing of beauty! Anyway, she was very happy with the finished skirt, and all was well, but I think that’s the last bit of selfless sewing I’m going to do, because it’s all too stressful!

Anyway, onto my own makes… I’m still all about the dresses, and I need a few more that are comfortable for the summer, but still office-friendly – no spaghetti straps, hemline approximately in the knee area, that sort of thing.

For my first one, I was inspired by this gloriously garish Flamingo fabric, that I bought at the London Stitchers Meetup, when they did a Walthamstow Shopping trip last month. I was all set to stick to my fabric diet, but these birds were impossible to resist. I surprised myself, because I’m not normally a novelty print kind of a gal, but I think it found its way into my heart more because it’s basically a floral.

It’s so much brighter in real life!

I didn’t want this resting in my stash for long, so it came out when I was contemplating my Simple Sew Blog make. Here’s the neckline of it…

Hands up, I could have placed those flamingos better.

I totally love this dress. It’s very me!

Having got started on the Simple Sew Flamingo dress, I decided it was time to finish a nearly two year old Work In Progress.


I bought this fabric on holiday and immediately cut it into a ThriftyStitcher Shell Top Lengthened Into A Dress. I sewed the facings together, and then lost all impetus to do any more. It was sat in my pile of things I should be getting on with, making me feel guilty every time I glanced in that direction. When I pulled the bag out, the fabric was all scrunched up, and looked like rags. So I had to iron it, just to see what the pieces even looked like (Can I just mention, the *only* ironing I do is when I’m sewing!). It didn’t take long to sew together, I really don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner.

Not quite right

But when I tried it on, I just didn’t like it. So for now it’s sitting on the Naughty Step, while I contemplate what to do about it. It might be that simply lengthening it without putting in any shaping wasn’t the right treatment, and I need to add darts or a waist tie, to make it work. Or if that doesn’t work, then I may cut it short to make back into a top. Or maybe I need to tweak the neckline somehow. I just don’t know. I’m going to be taking it on holiday to see if I can work something out with it, because I hate to waste a project.

So there we go. It’s a case of Watch This Space…

A roundup of unblogged things

I’ve been such a bad blogger! Sometimes it’s been the case that I wrote about a Simple Sew make, and never got around to adding more details here, but mostly it’s been just not getting around to it…

So here’s a quick round up of all the things I made this year that didn’t get a full airing here.

It all started quite early on with a test-run Moneta dress. Everyone’s always raved about this pattern, and I’d had it for a couple of years, without getting around to making it. So when I signed myself up for a “Dress In a Day” workshop with Sheona of Sewisfaction, as a way of firing up my sewjo, this is what I plumped for. I used a ponte that I got from the Textile Centre in Walthamstow. I’d bought it because I could not resist the magnificently massive red floral pattern.

Look upon the massiveness of this floral – isn’t it brilliant?!

As it was my first Moneta, it’s basically my wearable toile. I do love this dress – it always gets compliments. However, on future makes, I think I’m going to be raising the back neckline, because it’s a bit draughty, and I’ll take the bodice & sleeves in a centimetre or so on each side, as I think it could use being a tad more fitted. And I’ll lengthen the sleeves to be more sure of elbow coverage if I’m going with the longer sleeves.

The Black & White Floral Trapeze dress:

This was a hack of the Simple Sew Stylish Shell Top, where I took the side line out on a tangent,  from under the armscye. Full details and photos are available on the Simple Sew Blog, where I showed all the hacking details. It was such a lovely cool, unclingy, airy dress to wear in the heat of the Summer of 2018!

It was so cool for the hot summer we had last year!

The OWOP Batwings:

I took part in One Week, One Pattern last year. I committed to wear the Simple Sew Batwing dress for the week, which was a bit brave, given I only had two of them at the time of pledging! I was seeing it as a way of galvanising me into making a couple more. Again the full details, including the hacks I used, are all on the Simple Sew Blog. I ended up making three new Batwings, a top and two dresses.

The Aqua Floral top

The Pink Poinsettia Dress

The Black & White Floral Batwing dress

I particularly liked the neckline treatment for the Pink Poinsettia dress, and I am still totally in love with the cowl of the b/w dress.

I’m not quite finished with this pattern, as I think I could possibly manage another couple of tops. Or more dresses. It’s a lovely quick make, in a flattering style, so what’s not to like?

 

Still here!

I admit it, there’s been precious little making going on around here for the last four months. But I got a burst of inspiration last night, as a result of having signed up for One Week One Pattern 2018, which starts today. Big thanks to Sheona of Sewisfaction for hosting this again.

I’m saying “inspiration”. What I mean is, I’ve only got two of the pattern I’ve picked, so I need to get something sorted out for the other five days left of the week – it’s more desperation than inspiration!

My pattern of choice was the Simple Sew Batwing Dress, of which I have two versions, both of them dotty, but which I always knew would be good for another couple of dresses and possibly two or three tops. This is my opportunity to get around to some of these. Last night I dug out two bits of jersey, and cut out a dress and a top. I can sew them up tonight, which should take me through to Thursday, and I’m pretty sure I can get another couple done by then. The dress is an easy make. I just want to get a bit creative on some of the necklines, so it doesn’t look quite so blatantly obvious that I’m basically wearing the same thing all week. So, one’s a roll neck, one’s a plain round neckline, and I’m going to try a slash neckline for later in the week. I’ll see how the fancy takes me…

Thankfully, I’ve acquired plenty of ponte/jersey in the last few months, so I’ve got an excellent range of fabrics to play with.

I’ll be posting the daily selfies on instagram, so you can see the results first there.

 

Summer Sew-jo

It’s taken a while, but the sew-jo seems to be back in force. This summer I’m really feeling the love for dresses, rather than separates.

It started with the Heliotrope Silk Instagram Takeover Dress, that I made for the Simple Sew Blog. Well, I made it because I wanted to make it, for me, but I was blogging it there. It has been an utter delight to wear, because it’s such a gorgeous fabric. It’s a silk jersey (from the world famous Man Outside Sainsburys, Walthamstow) and it’s almost like wearing nothing at all! It feels so light on. Which is perfect for hot weather.

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I finished this on holiday in France

It was another Shannon Collection dress. They sew up in a jiffy and if I hadn’t decided to pretty it up with a sort of couched embroidery/appliqué edging, it would have been done in a day.

I should have learned that lesson with my next Shannon dress.

I’d just splurged on fabric, twice over – a couple of weeks ago with the FC Fabric Studio sale and again last weekend, at the Sewisfaction Big Summer Stitch Up. So I decided I had to get on with some actual sewing in order to justify having bought so much (total 9 new pieces added to the stash!). There was a smallish piece of chartreuse jersey from FC that whispered “I’d make a lovely Shannon dress” at me. “That’ll be quick and easy!” I thought. I got the dress cut out and stitched together on the Sunday morning after the Stitch Up.

Pattern alterations – I made it quite a bit longer than usual, 7½” longer, as I had enough fabric to do so, and you don’t want to be seeing my knees all the time. I also ditched the neck and sleeve bands because I didn’t want this dress to look too t-shirty.

I was meeting a friend to see the Frida Kahlo exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, that afternoon, so I took the dress with me to hem on the train, and because my friend’s journey was rather more fraught than mine, I got quite a lot done, while I was waiting for her. I wholeheartedly recommend the exhibition, by the way. It personalises Kahlo in such an immediate way. And it’s a delight for sewists, to see her outfits. And there are instructions on the V&A website on making your own Huipil (Mexican sleeveless tunic), should you be inspired to do so.

So I had that dress made up and ready to wear in just one day – Boom! But I am such an idiot, I couldn’t just let it be. Part of the massive FC Fabric haul had been a deep violet jersey that was just begging to be put with the chartreuse. I knew I had to bring some of that violet into the dress, somehow. I didn’t know how, exactly, and it took the Monday to think about it and work out what I was going to do. My friend and I had been discussing the forthcoming Mary Quant exhibition at the V&A and I’m fairly sure that’s how I ended up opting for gigantic MQ style flowers.

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They’re about 8 inches across

On further reflection, this design idea goes back to 2013 in my consciousness. Fortunately, there were only six of them, and they didn’t take too long to sew on by hand.

And here’s the finished dress…

This one is going to be a bit eye-catching, I suspect

I’ve got two more Simple Sew makes in the offing, and I’ve got some more plans that I feel excited about making, so hopefully, there I won’t need to feel so guilty about boosting the stash, and there will be a few more posts coming up this summer.

 

 

The Jardin Fleuri dress

If you’ve been keeping track, you’ll remember that I returned from my holiday with three new pieces of fabric, and I was determined to get them sewn up as soon as possible, as they are too pretty to not be wearing. This lovely jersey was top of the list.

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Ain’t she purty?

It was a panel, 1m long, and 150cm wide, and in my head it was always going to be a sleeveless sundress. It’s therefore a bit unfortunate that we’ve scarcely seen any sun since I got back from France!

I had had plenty of time to mull over my design ideas, and I’d decided to try a Shannon dress/shell top mash-up. I like the simplicity of the Shannon shape, and it fits well into a short length of jersey like this one. But my attempt to make it sleeveless, with the Hillbilly dress, was not a complete success. I thought the Shell top pattern could sort out the armhole/shoulder shaping more effectively.

I could have done it all by tracing the patterns together, but I was impatient and lazy, and marked the shell pattern straight onto the fabric. In fact I made the neckline a little lower, because this is supposed to be a sundress, right? I needed to blend the underarm a bit, but overall I think it’s turned out ok.

I used a Frixion iron-off pen

I knew I would need to have some binding for the neckline and armholes, but I wanted it to be hidden binding, rather than the on-view binding of a t-shirt, like the Shannons I’ve done so far. I carefully cut the selvedges of the jersey, where there was no printing, to create 2 metres of cream binding. It was about 1½cm wide, which was pretty much what I needed.

It was enough, but only just!

Because I wasn’t using a t-shirt band finish for the neck and armholes, I didn’t need to use the altered construction sequence, the way I had done with my other Shannons, so from here it was a simple case of sewing the shoulder and side seams, then attaching the bindings. I hand stitched them down.

Adding the binding

I did the tiniest hem I possibly could, and then waited for some sunshine for photography purposes.

Which came along this weekend – hooray! I went for a picnic with the ex gentleman friend, and got a bit of crocheting done (I’m up to 28 squares now). And I made him take some photos for me.

Picnic at Thundry Meadows

We also met these lovely creatures.

They were very friendly and gentle and quite fluffy

Getting up close & personal

What do I love about this dress? It’s so pretty!!!! And it’s making my tan look even stronger. Also, it’s been really low waste. I’ve got one long scrap that’s about 15cm wide, and I’m keeping this to use as a t-shirt neck band for a future refashioning project.

Would I do anything differently next time? Get a time machine, make this dress before my holidays and seriously mess with the space-time continuum.

A very long-standing toile sees the light of day

As I have previously mentioned, my ongoing attempts to declutter my flat have resulted in things reappearing that I’d totally forgotten about, or thought I had thrown away.

This toile was made back in 2013 for the Jif Lemon Dress. It’s a Simplicity Retro Jiffy Dress pattern, 1609.

It was always intended to be a wearable toile because I loved the teal sateen I was using. But I was in a rush to get started on the lemon dress and I put it to one side and got on with the “real” make, and then lost track of the toile.

Having re-discovered it and tried it on, I realised there was very little work required to finish it off. I’d already pinned the alterations that were needed, so all I had to do was sew them up and I would have a nice summer dress ready for my holiday.

So that’s what I did. I completed the seams that I’d marked up, and overlocked everything for neatness. I hadn’t done any facings, so I sewed on some contrast bias binding around the neckline and armholes, also at the hem, but I left the hand stitching of these as another holiday project. I knew it wouldn’t take me long.

Sewing in the sunshine!

And Bob was very much my uncle!

Selfie!

It’s always fun to recreate pattern envelope poses

Back when I first started this dress, I’d had ideas about embellishing it with appliqué flowers, and having now finished it, I debated with myself as to whether to titivate it in some way, maybe with some embroidery. But actually I like it how it is, and I don’t think it needs anything more right now.  It’s got secret purple inside, and that’s enough. Maybe one day I’ll revisit this decision, but I’m calling this UFO officially finished.

My Holiday Shannon Collection

I went a bit bonkers on the Simple Sew Shannon collection for my summer holiday wardrobe. It was just perfect for what I wanted, namely some quick and easy lightweight throw-on tops and dresses. It really was a no-brainer.

I was shopping my stash and since I seem to have developed a craving for more blue in my wardrobe this year, I wanted to use the remainder of the royal blue jersey I’d got from FC Fabric Studio (and used for this skirt). However before proceeding with the dress, I wanted to try it out with the t-shirt version first and hopefully have a wearable toile for the hols. The blue grey jersey I had bought at the same time as the royal blue had the same amount of stretch and it tied in perfectly with my holiday wardrobe plans so I went ahead with the that first.

I made the t-shirt using the largest size and trusted that the elastane in the Jersey would be sufficiently forgiving. And yippee – it was! I also lengthened it by about 5 inches or so.

I did change the order of construction so that I could insert the bands at the neckline and sleeves in the flat. My post on the Simple Sew Blog sets this out more fully. I really wanted to make sure the bands were sufficiently stretched so that they wouldn’t gape, and I feel I have more control over this when I’m inserting them flat. I left the hemming to be done on holiday and moved swiftly on to the dress.

Here’s the t-shirt in its holiday environment, once I’d herringboned the hem to keep it good and stretchy.

shannon tee 1

Goes brilliantly with the Paisley Leftovers skirt

And also the Grey Birds skirt

Having worked on the T-shirt as a toile, I knew exactly what I was doing and I was able to make the dress up quickly. I lowered the front neckline so that it would be more sun-dress-y, and used the same construction as I’d done for the top.

The main feature was the Lace border at the bottom. I’d had this lace in my stash for a while, having bought it at Tiger (because it was so cheap it was rude not to). I hadn’t had any ideas about how to use it until now. Once I put these two stash items together it really was a match made in Heaven. The colours popped like popcorn! I really love it! I’ll be wearing this dress for the rest of the summer (whether or not there’s any more actual summer in England!).

Here’s the dress, though you’ve seen it before…

This is my sister’s house

shannon lace 1

Whoops! This is the messy view!

 

I’m a firm believer in making the patterns that work for you, *really* work for you, so I made one more Shannon dress using this denim/lace patchwork print jersey from my costume-making stash. I originally bought this at Fabricland, a few years ago and I wasn’t sure about the elastane content but it seemed close enough to what I’d been working with, though its a bit thinner.

I altered the armscye to make it sleeveless and the neckline to be slightly more boaty, sewed it up and again left the hemming as a holiday sewing project.

Here’s the denim and lace Shannon dress, or as I’m now thinking of it, the Hillbilly Dress in its first incarnation.

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Not quite right

 

 

However, I wasn’t 100% happy with how I’d shaped the shoulder and the armscye, there was too much fabric in front of my armpit. I thought it needed re-cutting and re-banding, to bring the curve in more. I figured I’d do something about it when I got back home. But I wanted to be able to wear it in France – after all that was the whole point of this dress, its raison d’etre, if you will. So I needed a quick hand-sewable fix. I gathered the shoulder seams to narrow them, making sure I didn’t catch the neck or sleeve bands, and hey presto! Fixed!

hb2

 

I’ll be honest, I should perhaps have considered pattern placement more thoroughly. While it was laid out flat it seemed OK, but this jersey is very stretchy, so this dress is not quite as flattering as I could wish for, but I’m happy enough to to wear it for holidays. I won’t be wearing this one to work like the lace dress, though. 

I’ve got one more Shannon dress planned for when I get home*. Although technically not a holiday dress, it will be from fabric bought on holiday so it will still be part of the collection!

* Because I’m posting this on rather dodgy data roaming direct from my holidays. The time it’s taken to upload these photos, you wouldn’t believe!