Tag Archives: Dress

Purple Paisley Southport Dress

I purchased this purple paisley lawn with the intention to use it to line the sleeves of view 1 vintage Simplicity 7045. I quickly talked myself out of such a dress. While view 1 has the most sensible sleeves they are still not practical for real life (a sleeve dunked in gravy)!

Having sat in my stash for over a year, and surviving the stash diet not because it was particularly precious or special to me, I decided to use it to make a toile/muslin for the True Bias Southport Dress.

True Bias Southport Dress Front

I’d read a fair number of blog posts about this pattern and took the recommendation of others to make an SBA. This SBA eradicated the front dart completely but I figured that the gathers created by the draw string waist would provide some shaping.

True Bias Southport Dress Side Clutch

I shortened the back bodice to match the new front bodice length, which, measuring from the shoulder would meet my natural waistline perfectly. The skirt pattern pieces were cut to match the bodice at the waist then graded out towards the hips. All this and I hadn’t even cut into any fabric!

True Bias Southport Dress Bodice

The purple paisley measured 1m 10cm – all the main pattern pieces just about fitted but I couldn’t do any pattern matching (consequently the front bodice is a little disappointing) and I had to exclude the pockets.

True Bias Southport Dress Skirt

I sewed it up pretty slowly, testing out 15 minutes sewing most evenings instead of my usual block of hours of weekend sewing. I followed the Southport sew-along on True Bias to break the stages down and used instagram to track my progress. The pattern lends itself to bite-size sewing and it was good to try something different.

True Bias Southport Dress Side

I hoped that this would fit well enough to wear it and it did. The only changes I’ll make to the pattern pieces for the future are to raise the front neckline slightly and take out some fullness from the back bodice. Otherwise, it was a successful toile and I wore it today, not just for blog photos, but for all sorts of Saturday admin.

True Bias Southport Dress Back

While I’m dreaming up a maxi-dress version and potential pattern hacks, tell me what’s on your sewing table? And how do you prefer to sew – little and often or long binges?

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Ticking all the boxes

Occasionally everything aligns to fulfill all sewing and blogging commitments in one fell swoop. Ticking boxes for The Monthly Stitch’s Indie Pattern Month ‘New-to-me’ competition, my findings for Me Made May and Stash Diet… not to mention a winning fabric and pattern match, I present to you my Sewaholic Lonsdale Dress.

Sewaholic Lonsdale Front 4

I used stashed Fabric Freedom lawn which I purchased from Dalston Mill last summer. I have to give a special thank you to the lady who, when asked “Red or purple?” Very decisively answered “Red”.  Better to ask a stranger their opinion than blow my cash on both or walk away with neither, right?

IMG_0610 (640x480)

I want mention to Purple Stitches too. I purchased the pattern from this store (it is available as a PDF but I don’t have a working printer at the moment). I was impressed with Purple Stitches’ good value delivery price and excellent customer service. I’m not being compensated for this comment, I just like to give praise where it’s due!

Sewaholic Lonsdale Back 2

The fit of the toile wasn’t too bad but I wanted to absolutely nail the fit of the bodice so I made a number of tweaks. Taking wedges from the side seams and the centre back (zip) seam, I tapered from the bust to the original size 6 waist. I shaved off some of the curve of the centre front seam too – a cheat small bust adjustment I think but it worked for me.

Wedges to fit bust with very little ease.

Wedges to fit bust with very little ease.

Shallowed off curve at centre front seam

Shallowed off curve at centre front seam

The largest alteration I made was a sway back adjustment which for my shape landed right on the waist seam.

Sway back adjustment centered on the waist seam

Sway back adjustment centered on the waist seam

As for the skirt length, I removed 3 inches from View A (shorter) skirt so that, once hemmed, it just touched my knee. Although after a sway back adjustment to the bodice, I was forced to load up my hemline marker with chalk to make sure it was level.

Sewaholic Lonsdale Chalk hem line

On the inside I lined the skirt, pinked seams that were enclosed in the self-lined bodice and overlocked all other seams.

Sewaholic Lonsdale Inside 1 Sewaholic Lonsdale Inside 2

The pattern is beautifully drafted (I swooned over how easily the pockets came together with a professional finish) and deceptively easy to sew.

Sewaholic Lonsdale Pocket

I followed both the online sewalong and the printed pattern instructions which made for a really easy construction process with lots of extra guidance, tips, photographs and options. I like that the sewalong comes in bite-size posts… just perfect for evening sewing. In fact I was inserting the zip with a fantastic hail, rain, thunder and lightening display going on outside… also questioning why I was sewing a summer dress at all!

Sewaholic Lonsdale Back

As I mentioned, I’ve entered this dress into The Monthly Stitch ‘New-to-Me’ competition for Indie Pattern Month… so of course once the voting opens on Sunday I’d be grateful for your support!

Sewaholic Lonsdale Front 3

“There’s more to sex appeal than just measurements.”

A famous quote from Audrey Hepburn and totally appropriate for my first make of the Audrey Dress. Maria Denmark’s B cup or C cup sized pattern.

Maria Denmark Audrey Dress1

This is my ‘wearable toile’. That phrase makes me cringe so lets just call it “a practice make using fabric I wouldn’t cry over that turned out perfectly acceptable to wear in public”. It was the teal that attracted me (you know by now that I’m not a flowery girl) but I have to say florals are growing on me… *get it? see what I did there?*

Maria Denmark Audrey Dress2

I have a confession. I’m a naughty home sewer. I didn’t add a seam allowance. Oh go on, snitch on me to the head (seam)mistress – I can take detention as a consequence of my actions, or maybe a punishment befitting of my unacceptable behavior.

Staple Dress for Autumn

staple dress e

During August we took a camping/walking trip in Cornwall… not too far from Truro. ‘Hmmm…. Truro’ I thought, I’ve heard of that before with the word ‘Fabrics’ afterwards. And so a fabric shopping expedition to Truro Fabrics was scheduled into our journey home (despite it not being exactly on the way home… the complete opposite direction in fact!).

staple dress c

Fabric: This lovely drapey viscose caught my attention because it is matt, no sheen or shine at all. The colours were ideal for beginning autumn/winter sewing. I immediately paired this fabric with the April Rhodes Staple Dress in my mind.

staple dress fabric

The dipped-hem version requires fabric with plenty of flow and movement while the style could be just as good with bare legs and flat shoes as with tights, boots and a chunky cardigan. Also it’s difficult to tell the right side of the fabric even close up – a good thing for dipped hems where some of the wrong side will be on show.

staple dress b

Pattern: The Staple Dress pattern is great for beginners and April really holds your hand through the pattern instructions if you need it. Personally I read them through once before beginning then only consulted the instructions again when I needed to add shirring to the waistline – this was a new technique for me.

staple dress a

Alterations: A very quick toile helped me to confidently remove an inch at each side seam and an inch from the hem of the pattern pieces before cutting into my fashion fabric. I made a fabric belt (above photo) but I prefer my tan leather belt (all other photos)

And I’ll leave you with this photograph of me finding it hilarious that it was such a bright day I couldn’t keep my eyes open!

staple dress hilarious

McCalls 2401 – Round Two to Clipped Curves

In round one I was defeated by McCalls 2401… but I wasn’t going to let the pattern go. I was ready for round two in the sewing ring with this featherweight of a basic shift dress. Yeah that’s fighting talk!

M2401 b

I weaved and blocked a whole new set of punches this time in the ring: A near-fatal cut to the neckline while attaching Vilene edge tape, two cones of run-out overlocker thread (first time re-threading my overlocker!), a broken overlocker needle (a re-threading error I think) and being sold a 22″ zip that only measured 16″.

Ok, enough of the boxing ring metaphors….

M2401 a

I lowered the neckline to erase my cutting blunder and retraced the new line onto my facing. The facing was now a little narrow so I stitched in the ditch at the shoulder seams to stop it flipping out. When I casually mentioned stitching in the ditch in an earlier post, Caroline requested a close up photograph of my skills. So here, just for Caroline, is an in-progress close up. The left side of this shoulder strap is attached to the facing and the right side raw edge will be attached to a sleeve.

Facing attached to shoulder seam by stitching in the ditch - left side is attached to facing, right side raw edge will be attached to sleeve.

Stitching in the ditch… nothing to see here.

I used my first traced pattern piece – size 6 at the bust and graded to a size 8 at the waist and hips. I basted first to fit on the fly. This allowed me to remove 2 inches either side at the waist and an inch either side over the hips and I could still breathe deeply and sit down! But I am wary of transferring these alterations to my pattern pieces or just using size 6 all-over because I’m still smarting from the first make this fabric has some horizontal stretch. A non-stretch woven may not be so forgiving.

M2401 d

Since making this dress, I have seen a lady in a jacket of the same fabric which left me wondering; is the fabric a bolt end from a ready to wear clothing line or was this another home-sewer I passed in the street?

M2401 c

Although the flowers are abstract… this floral number is really pushing the boundaries of what I’d normally wear. I changed out of the dress after the photographs were taken and haven’t worn it since. I love the fit but I don’t know if I can bring myself to wear floral!

Global Sureau

I went through a serious learning process to make this dress – pattern adjustments, new to me techniques such as gathers (handily covered during the Mathilde workshop too!), zip insertion (ok I’ve done that once before), sleeve insertion and skirt underlining plus the pressure of fabric purchased abroad. As a result, I was elated when I realised I’d completed it without disaster. I’m calling it my Global Sureau because the pattern is a Deer and Doe design based in Paris, France and the fabric I bought at Tessuti in Melbourne, Australia.

Global Sureau 1

The zip seems to be in without puckers or wobbles but I did fret excessively about it. I’m booked onto a zips course in July so I can build my confidence and learn different zip insertion techniques then.

Global Sureau 2

I tried my best to make it pretty on the inside too but I think it’s looking overly fussy. The underlined skirt and contrast binding just isn’t visually pleasing but it was a compromise between the pressure of zip/sleeves with full lining and having the skirt ride up my tights. Something to consider more carefully when I’m planning future makes.

Global Sureau 3There was a moment before I hemmed it or sewed the buttons on when I thought it might make me look like a character from Little House on the Prairie. I’ll report back after wearing it to work to let you know if I get any Little House on the Prairie comments!

I’d like to make a sleeveless version for the summer (fully lined of-course)… maybe I’ll be able to relax and enjoy the sewing process the second time around!

Sewing Global: From the sofa

I’d been reading a lot about Deer and Doe patterns and decided to take a look for myself. The website is beautiful in it’s simplistic design and very easy to navigate. To find out more about indie pattern designer Elenore check out her About and Blog pages of the website. I was pleased to learn that the patterns come with both French and English instructions and my inner-Green can be reassured that the patterns and booklets are printed on recycled paper too. Deer and Doe has a fantastic collection of styles that aren’t overly fussy but don’t lack detail either.

Deer and Doe

In the online shop, I plumbed for Sureau and Belladone dresses and a few days later my purchases were delivered. I was lusting after the Datura top too but it is for Advanced level sewers… maybe next time I make a Deer and Doe purchase it’ll be in my shopping basket.

Sureau Belladone Patterns

I’m going to start with the Sureau Dress, a Spring or Autumn type of dress with a Beginner Level rating. Following Paunnet’s Sureau Sewalong, I’ll be  taking it slow and steady… leaving me plenty of time to find a suitable fashion fabric.

Sureau Sew-along

Since Belladone is an Intermediate Level pattern, I’ll hold onto this one for a little while. I envisage a plain one, a summery one and an evening version for this pattern so it has plenty of mileage!