Tag Archive | dresses

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.

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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.