Sew Over It Penny dress

sew over it penny dress

It was love at first sight when I first glimpsed the Sew Over It Penny dress in my inbox. She was the PDF club pattern in June and I snapped her up straight away. I even printed and assembled the pattern the very same day, which is not like me at all. Progress stalled while I waited for fabric to arrive and then I decided to use completely different fabric anyway. This fabric is quite different to what I normally go for but I really like it.

I got the manfriend to take these photos for me in the park behind the Town Hall 5 minutes from our house and I’m really pleased with them. I also tried to get some little videos to use on my YouTube channel and then some people walked past with their dog and I felt like a right dick. How fashion bloggers and YouTubers do it I don’t know.

Anyway, the dress! I’m a bit in love with it. As I’ve mentioned a couple of times I’m on a zip embargo so I’ve been trying to hunt down pretty and comfy zipless dresses, the Penny dress definitely sits nicely in that gap. I got lots of compliments when I wore it to work and I got to, “thanks, I made it!” to someone who didn’t know I sew, which is always fun.

penny dress

My version is accidentally a bit skimpy so don’t rush in and add length. It’s a midi skirt as drafted, which I don’t like on me. I just feel a bit swamped in fabric as I’m only 5’2″ so I shortened it before cutting it out. I was originally going to cut the length of the size 8 but then I measured it and thought that would still be a bit long so I took 2″ off. Then I tried it on once I’d made it and thought it was still slightly too long so I took about 2-3″ off when I levelled the hem and then regretted it. It’s hardly indecent but I think I’d like an extra inch or so.

I managed to get it out of much less fabric than the fabric requirements say (3.2m for my size) by ignoring the layplan and putting the pattern pieces around the skirt and cutting some pieces on a single layer. I got everything except the back bodice out of the same section of fabric as the skirt.

sew over it penny dress

The details

Pattern: Sew Over It Penny dress

PDF or Printed: PDF

How many pages: 40

A0 file included? Yes, 2 pages

Measurements: Bust: 39″ – Waist: 32″ – Hips: 41.5″

Size made: I chose to make a 12 – even though my measurements put me as a 14 – based on the finished measurements. The bust is the only important one in this dress and the 12 has the finished measurement of 41.5″ giving me 2.5″ of ease, which is plenty for my preferred fit.

Alterations: 

I shortened the skirt a lot, probably about 6″ in the end, which was a bit too much.

Fabric used: About 2.25m of 140cm wide viscose from Oh Sew Crafty

soi penny dress

Another version?

Yes definitely, I’ve already cut it out and started sewing it.

Any changes next time?

I’ve cut it the same length but I won’t shorten it as much, if at all, when I level the hem. I lengthened the centre front a little bit (3/4″), tapering to nothing at the side seams. The bodice waist seam is completely straight and I find that shaped ones work better on me.

Any tips or advice

Whenever I sew a collar I always trim the undercollar down a smidge (1/8″ at most) as it helps the seam roll to the underside of the collar.

There is an error on the skirt pattern piece, it tells you to cut out two on the fold, when you on only need to cut out one. This has been corrected.

There was a notch missing when I sewed Penny so I found point 12 in the instructions a tad confusing but the notch has been added now. To be honest though, I think the instructions could be a bit confusing even with the notch because they don’t make it that clear that the facing is also the button placket. You’re told to “Very neatly, understitch the facing to the seam allowance, 2-3mm away from the seam. Then, to create the button placket, fold the facing to the inside of the bodice at the centre front notch. Press in place.”  I wouldn’t call it understitching when it is going to show on the outside and I think a fold line on the pattern piece would be really helpful. I haven’t re-downloaded the pattern yet though so I don’t know if they’ve added a line or just a notch.

I also found it helpful to change the order of the steps. The instructions have you sew the bodice side seams quite early on and you stitch the back facing down as one of the last steps. I did all of the collar steps, then stitched the back facing down, then sewed the side seams last before moving onto the skirt. I have seen someone on Instagram suggest doing the buttonholes before putting the skirt on too. But I didn’t bother with buttonholes and just sewed the placket shut.

sew over it london penny dress

Non-clueless versions:

I haven’t seen a version I don’t like though, check out the Instagram hashtag #soipennydress for loads more beauties.

Final Thoughts

I’m really pleased with my Penny dress and I think it’s a lovely pattern but I think you’d want to have a couple of projects under your belt before tackling it.

True Bias Southport(ish) Dress and Seamwork Wembley Cardigan

Morning lovelies, hope you all had a great weekend. Mine was nice and relaxed. Just pootling around the house, getting some laundry done and a bit of reading. We also watched series 8 of Archer, which was fantastic but too short. Anyone else an Archer fan? I really enjoyed the Dreamland thing and would quite like them to do the same for the next season but in a 70s or 80s style. Anyway, you’re here for the sewing, not for my views on a cartoon. I’ve got a two for the price of one post for you today with a dress and cardigan combo.

Southport dress

This is the first of two new Southport dresses I made for my holiday. I say Southport dresses but I took all of the interesting Southport bits off them. I cut the bodice on the fold to omit the button placket, swapped the drawstring for an elasticated waist and the skirt is slashed, spread and cut on the fold.

True Bias Southport dress

These photos were taken on the morning of our last day before we got turfed out of the villa. I wore it to travel home in because it was great for the warm, Cyprus leg but just needed a pair of leggings and a cardigan for the chilly plane part. I wore it again when we had our five day summer last week and it was perfect, it’s so cool and floaty.

The fabric is a lightweight viscose from Adam Ross Fabrics but I bought it on eBay, not directly. They marked it as B grade and I’d say that’s fair. It’s perfectly usable but a bit lightweight and easily pulled off grain. I would still buy it again.

Southport dress

It was a nice quick and simple sew, though I used French seams, which does make it a bit slower. I also ended up having to level the hem twice as my dressform – who I had been calling Doris but I feel like I may have stolen that name from someone so I’m going to rename her Susan – had gone a bit wonky and I didn’t notice. So it’s perhaps a smidge shorter than intended. I finally got round to padding out Susan’s bum so my hems are much more level on me now, which is nice.

The neckline is a wee bit gapey but I tweaked my next version and I think I’ve solved that now. It was already cut out so I just cut a bit off the front shoulder on the neckline side, tapering to nothing on the shoulder side and it seemed to work well so I’ll update my pattern piece to match.

True Bias Southport dress

The details

Pattern: True Bias Southport dress

PDF or Printed: PDF

How many pages: 51

A0 file included? No, only US copyshop

Measurements: Bust 39″ – Waist 32″ – Hips 41.5″ – Height 5’2″

Size made: 6

Alterations:

The same fit alterations I made to the bodice for my first version.

In terms of style alterations:

  • I cut the bodice on the fold to omit the button band,
  • Made an elastic channel out of the waist seam instead of the drawstring channel, and
  • used a slit-less slashed and spread version of the skirt.

Fabric used: 2m of viscose from Adam Ross Fabrics

Another version? Yep – I made another maxi version straight after this one.

Any changes next time?

After cutting this one out I remembered I wanted to do a swayback adjustment so I did a makeshift one of those by wiggling my pattern piece when I was cutting out my next version. I tweaked the front shoulder seam to fix some neckline weirdness.

Final Thoughts

I’m really happy with this dress. It’s a perfect, floaty and cool dress for warmer weather.


And on to the cardigan.

Seamwork Wembley cardigan

I bought this jersey a really long time ago with a view to making a t’shirt, thinking the burnout pattern would make it a bit more interesting than a plain white tee. But as you can see it’s rather sheer and there’s no way I could have made a t’shirt out of it without showing the world everything I’ve got. So it sat in my stash for ages until I thought of turning it into a little cardigan for chucking over dresses in the summer.

Wembley cardigan
Terrible photo but it was the only vaguely decent one of the cardigan open

I’m really not sure if I like it but I can’t put my finger on what it is that I don’t like. I have been wearing it and it was good for those really hot days we had as it’s so thin. My issue might be that it’s cut sort of like a waterfall style cardigan but having the bands on to finish the raw edges means that it doesn’t really drape like a waterfall cardigan. I prefer it tied at the front to just hanging loose.

Seamwork magazine wembley cardigan

The details

Pattern: Seamwork Wembley cardigan

PDF or Printed: PDF

How many pages: 25

A0 file included? Possibly. It wasn’t when I downloaded it but they do offer them now so they might have gone back and added A0 versions to the older patterns too. I just made my own A0 version by printing the US copyshop version to a PDF and selecting A0 as the paper size under page setup.

Measurements: Bust 39″ – Waist 32″ – Hips 41.5″ – Height 5’2″

Size made: M but I tapered the sleeves to a S

Alterations: Nothing but the sleeve grading

Fabric used: Just over a metre of burnout jersey from Minerva Crafts

Another version?

Really not sure, maybe I should make one in a different sort of fabric to see if that’s the problem. Or not waste my time and just work on a cropped Helen’s Closet Blackwood as I know I definitely like that.

Any changes next time? 

In terms of fit it seems fine. I do constantly push the sleeves up to 3/4 though so I probably might as well make a 3/4 length sleeve version instead.

Final Thoughts

I feel a bit meh about this one. It’ll probably make a useful addition to my summer wardrobe but I’m not going to rush to make more.

Sew Over It Doris Dress

Ooh, what could this be? A finished garment post? Stay very still or we’ll scare it away. This is probably going to be quite a vague and photo heavy post as I made this Sew Over It Doris dress in August last year so some of the details are a little hazy. It’s actually the project that I took to the Sewing Weekender and I wore the finished dress out for dinner on my friend’s 30th birthday so it has lots of nice memories attached to it.

Sew over it doris dress
And holiday ones

I made Version 1, the longer version with the tie back, but I shortened the skirt pieces by 2″ – at the hem when I was tracing the pattern, not at the lengthen/shorten line. It hits just above/on my knee and that’s spot on for the length I wanted. I made a toile of the bodice and it had fit fairly well but I made a small forward shoulder/head adjustment* and took a wedge out of the neckline.

*I don’t know what the adjustment’s actually called but I remove some length from the front shoulder and add it onto the back. In a proper forward shoulder adjustment I think you pivot the shoulder side of the seam and leave the neck bit where it is but because my head sits forward, I move the whole seam. I hope that makes sense.

The length of the bodice was fine on my toile but is a little too short on my finished dress and I think it may be because I lined the bodice with cotton voile instead of using the facings – not a fan of facings. Cotton is so much more stable than viscose I think that the toile had probably stretched out but the lining stops the final dress doing the same. The lining didn’t really work anyway so next time I’ll just use the facings. Or maybe try a half lining/all in one facing kinda thing.

I’ve only actually worn the dress twice because I saw it as a dressy dress so had only worn it on my friend’s birthday night out and out to dinner on holiday – when I took these photos. Because I wore it with flat shoes on holiday and it didn’t look stupid (don’t tell me if you think it does look stupid) I’ve now decided that I can wear it to work. I may even lift my zip embargo and make more for wearing to work as well. Maybe a black and white polka dot one with red buttons.

I made a bit of a boo-boo by not leaving the dress to hang and levelling the hem. As you can probably see in these photos, it’s a little wonky as the panels have dropped a little bit at the edges. As is my usual way I’d left it until the last minute and was still finishing off the dress the day we were going out (handsewing the hem on the train and at my desk in my lunch break).

Check that flare

I love all the colours in this fabric (and it’s still available on Minerva Crafts if you do too) though I probably should have paid a little more attention to print placement as I’ve got a few clusters of mainly pink flowers and I was disappointed with the two blue flowers at the neckline. I thought it looked like I had tried and failed to pattern match but when I said that in the YouTube video where I showed the dress people commented that it looked like a deliberate little posy so I’m happy with that.

Mushy photo klaxon

The details

Pattern: Sew Over It Doris dress

PDF or Printed: I used the printed version but it does come in PDF too.

Measurements: They were quite a bit smaller when I made the dress but at the time of the photos they are: Bust 38.5″ – Waist 31.5″ – High hip 40″ / Low hip 41″ (*whisper* maybe even bigger, it’s been a while since I checked them…)

Size made: 12, though my current measurements are much closer to the 14 and it still just about fits.

Alterations: Forward head/shoulder adjustment and took a smidge out of the front neckline. Shortened the longer length by 2″ at the hem not the lengthen/shorten line.

Fabric used: 3m of 140cm wide floral viscose from Minerva Crafts

Another version? Yes

Any changes next time?

I think I need to make a hollow chest adjustment as there’s a little bit of gape between the dress and my chest. I’ll lengthen the front a bit too I think.

Non-clueless versions:

Final Thoughts

I love this dress. I’m a big fan of a kimono sleeve and I adore the shape of the skirt. I’m becoming more of a Sew Over It fangirl with every one of their patterns I sew to be honest. Anyone else a fangirl for certain pattern companies? It’s Sew Over It and Helen’s Closet for me and sort of Deer and Doe, though I haven’t sewn all of their patterns I’ve been compelled to buy.

Lace Yoke Coco Dress

I think “take photos of blue coco” has been on my to do list every weekend since November and I finally got round to it. Ta dah!

Also, new hair!

I cut this out so long ago I can barely remember anything about it so this probably won’t be a very useful blog post I’m sorry. I fiddled with the pattern straight after making my first Coco dress. Eventually cut out the fabric in May and then didn’t get round to sewing it up until October. Nearly a year after the first one. So blinkin’ slow!

But it’s done now and it has been in heavy rotation ever since. I’ve gained quite a bit of weight recently so it’s a bit too snug now. But I’ve started eating mainly sadness foods and not stuffing my face with office treats so hopefully it’ll fit better again soon.

I shamelessly copied the lace yoke idea from Katie of What Katie Sews but I can’t find her blog post with her lace yoke Cocos anymore to link to. I’m really pleased with how it worked out. I just traced off the yoke part of the pattern, cut it out in lace and sewed it to the front piece around all the edges using a zigzag stitch. Actually I used the three step zigzag stitch because if fancied trying it.

Tilly pose

I made a swayback adjustment but I’ve got hell of a lot of bunching in the lower back area that I don’t think was as bad when I first made it so I think it’s the extra hip girth causing most of it. I’m not sure I can be bothered to make a bigger swayback adjustment anyway. I can’t see my back and I just don’t think I care. As long as I don’t look at these photos ever again and forget how bad the back looks.

I’ve started giving some quite serious thought to having a go at bra making as I have quite a fat back/large band size in bras but small boobs so I really struggle to find bras to fit. In this photo I’m wearing a 36AA and my fat is bulging over the band so I think I need a 38AAA, which doesn’t exist. Anyway, that’s not really relevant to this dress but these back and side view photos make me keener on the idea so I thought I’d share.

I bought a couple of knicker sewing patterns and a beautiful kit from Evie la luve so I’m going to have a go at making knickers to practice the whole elastic thang as I haven’t even really done much sewing directly onto elastic.

The lace overlay worked really well to elevate what could have been quite a boring dress and I’m really happy with it. I love the colour of the dress with my new hair colour too. I’ve got loads of this lace left if you have any suggestions of what to do with it. Lace yokes on everything!

Trying to be bloggery – looking more like I’d seen some dirt on the floor

The details

Pattern: Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress

Measurements: At the time of making they were Bust: 37″ – Waist: 30.5″ – Hips: 39″ but now they’re Bust: 38.5 – Waist: 31.5 – Hips 41″

Size made: Size 4

Alterations: 

  • Took 1/2″ out of neckline
  • 1/2″ swayback adjustment
  • Narrowed the sleeve
  • Forward shoulder adjustment

Fabric used: Blue ponte roma from Plush Addict. I can’t remember exactly how much sorry, more than a metre but less than 2. I cut out on a single layer.

Another version?

Probably.

Any changes next time?

I think I need a little more length above the armpit. That seam digs in a tiny bit and I don’t think that’s just because of the enplumpening.

Unrelated to Coco but have you been taking part in #MIYMarch17 on Instagram? I’ve actually managed to keep up with it for the first time and I’m going to miss the prompts so if you know of any daily photo challenges for April I could get involved with I’d love to hear them.

Have a lovely day everyone.

New Look 6096 and Seamwork Oslo Cardigan

It’s another bumper two for the price of one post today after another longish gap. Sorry, I’m rubbish. Life and work are really hectic at the moment so I haven’t been finding the time and energy to blog or even sew much to be honest. I’m having a bit of a knitting phase at the moment instead. I’m about half way through the body of this jumper but without stripes.

Today’s post is about sewing though. I took these photos over a month ago now, I went for a dog walk with my mum and we stopped for photos whenever we thought the backdrop looked autumnal and pretty.

New Look 6096

First we have New Look 6096. I’ve made this as a maxi dress before for myself and as a short version for my Nan. My maxi dress gets worn a lot in the spring and summer so I’ve wanted a shorter version for a while but I finally got round to it (umm, in August).

nl6096 dress

I didn’t really change anything from the first time I made it for myself and it’s a straight size 10 but shortened slightly (perhaps a little too much). I mostly used French seams except for a couple that I overlocked.

new look 6096 collage

There’s not a lot to say about the dress as it’s pretty simple so this is probably going to be a more photos than text kinda post. Especially as I’m full of cold so my brain is a bit fuzzy and I’m not so hot with the words.

new look 6096 dress

new look 6096

The details

Pattern: New Look 6096 View A

Measurements: I haven’t checked these in a while so they may not be entirely accurate as I’ve been digging into the office treats with abandon but last time I checked they were: Bust – 38″ Waist 30.5″ Hips 39″

Size made: 10

Alterations: I took quite a bit off the length but I couldn’t tell you how much sorry, probably at least 4″ though.

Fabric used: 2m of 150cm wide viscose (but only just, there’s a bit of selvedge in the skirt seam)

Another version?

Probably yep, unless I’m forever distracted by the new and the shiny.

Any changes next time?

I might try to narrow the neckline and bring the shoulders in a bit, they sit quite wide at the moment.

Final Thoughts

It’s a comfy dress and I like it even though it makes me look a little bit pregnant.

Seamwork Oslo Cardigan

I’ve had a Seamwork subscription for aaages and I made the Manfriend a Paxson sweater last Christmas but this is the first of their patterns I’ve got round to making for myself. It’s a bit of a funny one because I’ve worn it loads since I made it but I’m still not sure how much I actually like it.

olso cardigan

seamwork-cardigan

oslo cardigan closed

I love the colour of the fabric I used. It’s a polyester sweater knit kinda thing and it’s soft and lovely. It dries really quickly too which is good during winter when it’s difficult to get washing dry.

Being a Seamwork pattern, it was a nice speedy sew, almost entirely sewn on the overlocker. I did have to go over a couple of bits again though where I’d cut my notches a bit too big so I had teeny holes – I need to be more careful with notches.

seamwork oslo cardigan

seamwork oslo

olso cardigan back

The details

Pattern: Seamwork magazine Oslo cardigan

Measurements: Bust – 38″ Waist 30.5″ Hips 39″

Size made: Small for shoulders, armhole, sleeves, and collar grading out to a Medium from the bust down.

Alterations: I shortened the cuffs by about 3″

Fabric used: Just shy of 2 metres of 150cm wide “wool type knit” from the Textile Centre.

Another version?

Yes I think so, unless I find a different cardigan I like more.

Any changes next time? 

Yes, I’m going to size down I think.

Any tips or advice

There is an error in the instructions for the cuffs (at least there is in my version, I don’t know if it’s since been corrected). It says to match the short edges of the cuffs and stitch but it is the long edge you need to stitch. That one had me second guessing myself for a while. Especially as I had shortened the cuffs so the long and short sides weren’t that different.

They say to go for the size up if you’re in between sizes but I think I’d probably say the opposite. My measurements put me at the upper end of the medium and I could quite happily wear the small. But then I suppose that depends on the look you’re after, I like big and cosy but don’t want to feel swamped in fabric.

Non-clueless versions:

Final Thoughts

I reach for my Oslo all the time so I must like it, I think it’s just slightly baggier than all the cardigans I’ve ever bought myself so it feels not quite right. Looking at the RTW cardi I have on right now I think it might be the fit of the sleeves that bother me as most of my shop bought cardigans are definitely slimmer fitting on the arms.

Have you ever finished something and not been sure if you actually like it or am I being a weirdo?

Sewaholic Cambie Dress

I’ve got a bumper two in one post for you today so apologies if it gets a bit long. The manfriend’s brother got married last month so I wanted a pretty dress to wear to the wedding. It was a gay wedding so I hoped to be able to make a dress made out of this incredible rainbow and unicorn fabric:

rainbow and unicorn fabric

But unfortunately it was a classy and respectable wedding so it was vetoed and I went for some less extravagant floral stretch cotton sateen instead. I still really need to own a dress made out of that unicorn fabric though.

I used the Sewaholic Cambie dress pattern but with a circle skirt and here is the dress in action in the stunning gardens of their wedding venue. (Sidenote: if you’re looking for somewhere to get married in Shropshire, The Hundred House Hotel is beautiful.)

sewaholic-cambie-dress-at-wedding

But before I tell you about the dress I have a top version to share. I worked hard on the fit of this dress. First making a rough toile and then a wearable toile peplum top.

cambie peplum top

My first toile had fit fairly well except for a lot of extra length in the front strap/sleeve bit and a gapey neckline, front and back. So I shortened the strap by 1″ and set to work on my pattern for the gape. The back was easy enough – I just cut a line front where it gaped to the back armhole and overlapped to get rid of the gape. But the front was a bit of a headscratcher and I ended up butchering my front bodice pattern piece so much that I had to retrace it. It was then that I noticed that my toile seemed to have stretched out of shape quite badly, with the sides being much longer than they should have been. The darts were also slightly too wide for me.

That gave me the idea of cutting 3/8″ off the centre front and adding it onto the side seam instead. So I gave that a go and I also stabilised the front neckline with twill tape to prevent it stretching out again. I used this tutorial from Gertie’s Blog for Better Sewing.

cambie-top-back-and-side

My adjustments worked pretty well but the back neckline was still a bit gapey and there was a little bit of fabric pooling at my lower back. So I increased the neckline overlap and did a slightly overzealous swayback adjustment. Then cracked on with my dress.

sewaholic-cambie-dress-with-circle-skirt

Which I am super super happy with. I used the free Veronika skirt pattern from Megan Nielsen for the skirt part because the last time I tried to draft a circle skirt it went horribly wrong so I didn’t want to risk it. And fortunately the size 8 of the Cambie dress and the size M of the Veronika skirt had the same finished measurement of 30¼”. Of course that wasn’t leaving me with any ease whatsoever but I figured that the stretch in the fabric would cover that or I could use smaller seam allowances if I needed to. Luckily I was right and it fit great, without even needing to fiddle with the seam allowances. Hurrah for stretch cotton! It even coped with the amount of food and booze I threw at it.

sewaholic-cambie-dress

In terms of construction the dress is the same as the top. I again moved the zip to the side and stabilised the neckline with twill tape. I also did a horsehair braid hem to give the skirt a bit of weight and floof without having to wear a petticoat. It was not fun to handstitch.

cambie-dress-back-and-side

There’s not a lot else to say about it really so I’ll just bombard you with a few more photos and then leave you with the details.

cambie-dress

sewaholic-cambie

cambie-at-wedding

The details

Pattern: Sewaholic Cambie dress with a Megan Nielsen Veronika skirt

Measurements: Bust 37.5″ – Waist 30.5″ – Hips 40″ — Height 5’2″

Size made: 8 (dress) and M (skirt)

Alterations:

  • Moved the zip to the side
  • I shortened the sleeve pieces by 1″
  • Took 3/8″ off the centre front and added it onto the side
  • Overlapped the back neckline by about 3/4″ to remove some gape
  • A swayback adjustment (not sure by how much as I think I eyeballed it)

Fabric used: Just over 2m of 150cm wide stretch cotton sateen.

Another version?

Yes, I’m a little obsessed with this pattern now.

Any changes next time?

I want to use a non stretch cotton next time so I’ll probably have to use teeny tiny seam allowances or add a bit of extra room when I cut out. The darts possibly need shortening a smidge too. And I think I may also bring the centre of the sweetheart neckline down slightly as I lost some of the shape by cutting a bit off the centre. I’ll probably put a pleated skirt on it next time too. So just a few changes…

Non-clueless versions:

Final Thoughts

I love this dress. The fabric is gorgeous, it fits well and is perfect for twirling in.

spinning-cambie

New Look 6217 / Southport Dress Lovechild

Well that little blogging roll ground to a screeching halt didn’t it?

Sorry about that. I have actually got five finished garments to show you, I’ve just been really rubbish at photographing them. I went to my mum’s for a bumper photography session last sunday but completely forgot three things. Perhaps I should get one of the pop up tents they used on the Sew Over It City Break photo shoot and do a location shoot somewhere prettier for the rest of them!

new-look-6217-dress-hack

Anyway, today I’ve got a pattern hack to show you. Back in the middle of September it suddenly got really warm again for a couple of days so I frantically sewed a last minute maxi dress. It’s the lovechild of a New Look 6217 tee and a True Bias Southport dress, which I have been calling a Newport dress because it amuses me.

newport-dress-collage

To make it I put the Southport dress bodice under some tracing paper and traced off the centre front line (but extended up), waist seam and a smidge of the side seam and I marked where the shoulder was. Then I put the New Look 6217 under and lined up the shoulder and sort of the side seam (I overlapped the centre front a bit to make the neckline opening smaller and the top a slightly slimmer fit than a 6217), then traced off the neckline, sleeve bits and side seam blending into the traced Southport side seam. Hopefully that makes sense.

southport dress new look 6217 hack

Oh and I also added a bit more flare to the skirt. I was going to do it properly slash and spread the skirt in a few places but as I was trying to get the dress finished quickly I just pivoted the skirt pieces out when I was cutting out. I cut the front on the fold to omit the slit. I totally forgot that I still need to shorten the skirt and ended up taking an inch off the hem. It’s still a bit long but it’ll do.

true-bias-southport-hack-collage
I know I look derpy but I liked the photo anyway

I also didn’t do a drawstring like on the Southport dress and made an elastic channel out of the waist seam instead. The seams are overlocked instead of French seamed this time to save time.

The fabric is some viscose that I bought from Regency Rags on eBay about a year ago after seeing Marie from A Stitching Odyssey post a picture of it. I think I’ve got just shy of a metre left and some big scraps so I expect I might make a top out of what’s left.

true-bias-southport-hack-max
Best Max cameo I could get

The details

Pattern: True Bias Southport dress and New Look 6217

Measurements: Bust 37″ – Waist 30.5″ – Hips 40″ — Height 5’2″

Size made: Size 6 Southport skirt with the New Look 6217 hacked to fit

Alterations: I’ve tweaked the fit of New Look 6217 a little bit every time I’ve made it so it’s hard to remember where I’m at with changes. I’ve done all sorts of shoulder shenanigans basically. You can see the details in previous posts about the top plus a small swayback adjustment. For the Southport skirt part it’s just been shortened a lot – about 4″ – and pivoted to add some more fullness to the hem.

Fabric used: Around 2.25m of 150cm wide though there was probably a more economical way from cutting as I ended up with some big scraps.

Another version? 

Yes. I want to make a shorter version.

Any changes next time?

The shoulders slip back a lot so I need to do something but I don’t know what. I’ve been looking into it and things I’ve read say that the back armhole needs more room. Does that seem right?

Non-clueless versions

Kerry from Kestrel Makes used the same fabric to make a very similar dress with a vintage pattern. She has also made two New Look 6217 dresses.

Final Thoughts

I’m really happy with this dress. It’s really comfy and floaty, perfect for that sort of inbetween weather in spring or late summer (and apparently early autumn too these days). It’d be a nice one for holiday evening outfits too. I’m definitely going to make a shorter one to team with tights and a cardi now or bare legs in warmer weather.

Anyway, that’s it from me. Hope you’re all having a lovely weekend and I’ll try not to leave it another 8 weeks before blogging again.

Monochrome Dixie DIY ballet dress

I’ve got another Dixie DIY Ballet dress to show you today. I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last either so I’m sorry if you’re bored of them. I’ve mixed it up slightly and put a gathered skirt on it so it’s at least a tiny bit different to my last two.

ballet-dress

If you follow me on Instagram you might have already seen a sneak peak of this as I finished it way back at the beginning of March but hadn’t got round to taking photos yet. I have three makes built up that needed photographs so on Sunday I bundled them all up, took my camera and tripod to my mum’s house to take advantage of the better light in her garden. I was hoping for a Max cameo but he showed no interest whatsoever. He seems to only care about photobombing when another human is taking the photos. Attention seeking little bugger.

Anyway, back to the dress. The making of this dress was a bit of a catalogue of errors, so I wasn’t that keen on it when I finished it but after looking at these photos I like it a lot more now. Has that ever happened to you? One of the benefits of blogging I suppose.

Dixie DIY Ballet dress with belt

One of the reasons I was on the fence about it is that I had hoped to do a better job of pattern placement when I was cutting it out. I should have cut it out on a single layer because the fabric shifted slightly and my stripes went a bit skew-whiff at the waist seam. Hence the belt.

Dixie DIY ballet dress seam

I’d thought it was really glaringly obvious but it’s not too bad. Still a bit disappointing but not the end of the world. The other thing that bugged me is the big chevron on the bodice not being centred. I just don’t think I was thinking properly when I was cutting out. The large scale of the print made pattern matching with the small amount of fabric I had a challenge so the skirt isn’t matched at all. I’m quite pleased with my sleeves though. I had planned to do long sleeves but I didn’t have enough fabric.

Dixie DIY ballet dress back
No idea what I’m doing with my body here

The skirt is just a gathered rectangle because I thought that seemed the best option with stripy fabric. And I wanted to have a go at gathering with elastic. I used the Colette Moneta dress sewalong to know how. That went a bit iffy too, I think I had the tension wrong. Any tips on gathering with elastic for my next go?

I’m really pleased with my neckband, I thought carefully about what bit of the pattern I wanted on it and I think I chose well. I like the way the little triangles look.

Dixie DIY ballet dress close up of neckline

There’s not a lot more to say, apart from the details. The Dixie DIY Ballet dress is one of my very favourite patterns. It’s my most made and my closest to a TNT (Tried and True, or Tried and Tested) pattern.

The details

Pattern: Dixie DIY Ballet dress

Measurements: Bust: 37″ – Waist: 30.5″ – Hips: 39″

Size made: I started with a small for the shoulder and graded out to a medium but then when I sewed it the waist was too loose so I took it in a bit so it’s probably a small all over now.

Alterations: Nothing but the grading

Fabric used: 2m of 60″ wide viscose jersey. It came from eBay but on checking the old listing to check it was viscose I noticed that the print on it is different to the one in the photo so I won’t link to the seller because that’s not good. I still like it and I didn’t even notice so I can hardly get uppity about it but still.

This is the fabric in the photo:

print

Another version? Undoubtedly.

Any changes next time? I will go with a small all over and maybe shorten the bodice a touch but I think I am nearly spot on with the fit of this now.

Dixie DIY Ballet dress is geometric viscose jersey

And that’s it. I will be back soon with my Me Made May round up post. I haven’t bothered with weekly posts as I’ve only been wearing 3 Me Mades a week so it didn’t seem worth it.

Oh I have another new video up on my YouTube channel where I talk about my Summer sewing plans if you fancy a look. There’s a lot of lovely floral and geometric viscose and cotton.

I will leave you with a photo of Max waiting for bubbles to eat. Hope you’re all having a great day. I’m off work and it’s sunny so I’m about to go lounge in the garden with Pratchett.

Bubble eating dog

True Bias Southport Dress

It feels more than a little bit wrong to be posting about a summer dress in the middle of winter but if I don’t show you the True Bias Southport dress I made for my holiday now then I will forget everything about it. So here I am in Fuertaventura last month, not being rained on… *wistful sigh*

True Bias Southport dress

I originally bought this fabric (javanaise viscose from Abakhan) with the plan to make a By Hand London Anna dress with a gathered skirt. Then the Southport dress was released and this fabric seemed perfect for it. I only had two metres of the fabric so I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get the dress out of it but I managed fairly well. I just had to forgo any sort of thoughtful pattern placement and the drawstring is slightly shorter than its supposed to be for my size but it’s still plenty long enough. And I only ended up with one boob flower.

southport-dress-dancing
Dance party para uno

This ended up being a bit more of a last minute make than I had intended thanks to a rather stonking hangover on the Sunday I’d earmarked for sewing. So it was sewn in evening snippets throughout the week before I went away.

I was good girl and made a bodice toile and as I result I moved the shoulder seam forward by 2cm (chopped 2cm off the front shoulder and added 2cm onto the back) and raised the neckline by about 1.5cm. I possibly didn’t need to raise the neckline but I’m funny about low necklines. I think I need to do a swayback adjustment as there’s lots of fabric pooling above the waistline at the back.

true-bias-southport-dress-side-view

It would probably benefit from taking some length out of the bodice all round to be honest. It seems to be hitting below my natural waist in these photos and making me look a bit rectangular. I was also expecting the skirt to be floofier than it is. And yep, floofier is totally a word. I certainly can’t think of a better one anyway. Ooh ooh, got one, more voluminous.

southport-dress-floaty

I shortened the skirt by about 3 inches at the lengthen/shorten line but it’s still a smidge long for flats. I also left off the pockets because I seem to be a bit of a rarity in that I don’t particularly like pockets on dresses. I never use them and I think they often make things sit funny so I’ve left them off every pattern I’ve made that includes them. I wimped out a bit with the slit and didn’t sew it as big as it’s supposed to be, which I regret now. Though if I make another I’ll probably leave the slit off entirely so that I don’t have to shave my legs to wear it, which as we all know, is the beauty of a maxi dress.

southport-dress-back-view

I used French seams on all seams except the slit, which I folded under and edge stitched all the way up, so I have stitching either side of the centre seam. I did make my own bias tape and then realised that I’d accidentally used the wrong fabric and the one I’d used was the one that leaked blue dye all over my Megan dress so I didn’t want to risk it and used some pre-made stuff I had. I messed up stitching that down loads of times and kept having to unpick and redo so there are some slightly shoddy looking bits.

true-bias-southport-dress-walking

The details

Pattern: True Bias Southport dress view B

Measurements: Bust 36″-37″ ish – Waist 29″ – Hips/butt – 39″ Height 5’2″

Size made: US 6

Alterations: I moved the shoulder seam forward by 2cm and raised the front neckline by about 1.5cm. I shortened the skirt by 3 inches.

Fabric used: 2m of 148cm wide javanaise viscose from Abakhan

Another version? I’m really not sure. I don’t know how much I like it. I think I’ll need to wear it properly when it gets warmer before I decide.

Any changes next time? Fit wise, I’d make a swayback adjustment and shorten the bodice a smidge. Style wise, I might slash and spread the skirt to get more swoosh and I’ll probably cut both the bodice and skirt on the fold. I might replace the drawstring with elastic too.

Non-clueless versions

So that’s my first make of 2016, that I won’t be able to wear for another 4-6 months… It has put me in the mindset for planning and sewing spring/summer clothes though. How early is too early?

I should Coco

I first mentioned that I was planning to make a Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress waaaay back in August last year but have only just got round to it for some reason.

Coco dress
It goes beautifully with my cow print wellies, as you can see.

I say only just but I finished it at the end of October and took these photos at the beginning of November but haven’t got round to blogging. I just don’t seem to have had the oomph, I filmed an October favourites video that I haven’t finished editing yet either. And I have 326 unread blog posts waiting for me in Feedly. It’s my busiest period at work at the moment so I’m a bit drained by the time I get home.

But anyway, I went for a walk in the local Country Park with my mum and Max at the beginning of November and made a point of wearing the dress to get some photos but it’d been raining a lot so wellies were the only appropriate footwear, leading to the super stylish look I’ve got going on here. (I actually quite like it)

This version is a wearable toile/muslin really because I’m not too keen on the fabric – which you can see a bit closer in this video. It’s okay from a distance but when you get close you can see bits of white through it and it looks terrible stretched. Luckily the dress turned out quite loose fit so that’s not a problem. I was expecting the dress to be a bit tighter – I sewed a size 4 despite being closer to a 5 on the size chart because that’s what I’d traced months ago when I was a bit thinner. Because I’m lazy I decided and didn’t want to trace the 5 I just went with it and used a lightly smaller seam allowance (10mm / 3/8″) on the side seams.

tilly-coco-dress
Leaning on an invisible bar

I measured the sleeves before cutting and I thought they were a bit long for where I like 3/4 length sleeves to sit so I took about 3.5″ off the length but I think they’re a tad too short now so I’ll add an inch or 2 back on for my next version. I also ended up sewing a bigger seam allowance (2 cm) on the sleeves because I like a tighter fit. It’s still not quite right for me so I’ll have to fiddle a bit with my next version.

coco-dress-side
I tried to get Max to stare off into the distance too but he was having none of it.

There are quite a few alterations I want to make to the pattern before my next version, as you can probably tell from the photo above I need to do a swayback adjustment as there’s a big ol’ pool of fabric at my lower back. The neckline is too wide too, if I pinch about an inch out of the front it feels much better. Looking at these photos the shoulders sit off my shoulders a bit but fixing the neckline should solve that. I am going to see what a forward shoulder adjustment does though as I think need to start making them on everything.

dancing-in-coco
He’s unimpressed with my dance moves

Overall I’m really happy with my Coco, even though I need to make a fair few fitting adjustments. It hasn’t stopped me wearing it at all. Ooh, I was really pleased with my stripe matching too. Excuse the terrible quality photo I just rushed to take a photo and it’s too dark for decent photos.

20151129_195305
You can see the white bits I was talking about in this one

In terms of construction, I sewed it all on my sewing machine rather than my overlocker as I knew I wanted to experiment with seam allowances. My machine handled it wonderfully, I really do love my walking foot!

Non-Clueless Versions

There are so many lovely versions of the Coco dress all over the internet but I particularly like:

The details

Pattern: Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress

Measurements: 38.5″ (high bust 36″) – 31″ – 41.5″ (Height 5’2″)

Size made: 4

Alterations: Sewed the side seams with a 10mm seam allowance instead of 15mm and a 20mm seam allowance on the sleeves tapering in at the armpit

Fabric used: Around a meter of a thick not very stretchy jersey I got from Minerva crafts over a year ago. (I cut it out all on one layer, which helps use less fabric)

Another version? Definitely. I have the fabric for at least two more.

Any changes next time? Yes. I’m going to narrow the neckline, fiddle with the shoulders, sew the proper seam allowance on the side seams, lengthen the sleeves slightly and take them in a bit more and do a stonking big swayback adjustment.

coco-dress-back

Lots of the Coco dresses I like seem to have contrast panels so I’m toying with trying something like that with one of my next versions. I have some royal blue ponte that I think would look great with a lace yoke like Katie’s but lace terrifies me a bit.

Sewing for myself is very much on the backburner at the moment anyway though what with my Christmas sewing list, last minute house decorating (spare room underway, kitchen hopeful but doubtful) and general lack of oomph. I’ve finished one item from my Christmas sewing plans but have added two more. Not sure that’s how you’re supposed to do it…