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.

#TwentySevenJean Begins

A couple of weekends ago I finally strapped on my big girl pants and waded back into jeans fitting. This time armed with my big ass book on fitting and a more easy going attitude to what’s good enough I was confident that I will actually get a wearable pair of jeans at the end.

I spent pretty much the whole weekend doing flat pattern alterations and then sewing up a rough toile, making tweaks and then altering my flat pattern again. In the end I reached what I tend to call the Eff It Point (though obviously I say the real word), most often seen with DIY but it does occur in other areas too. Where I’ve just had enough and decide that perfectionism can do one. I pranced around in my toile in front of the manfriend asking, “this is good enough, right?”

I cut out my jeans last weekend and finally got round to starting sewing them this weekend. After sewing the pockets, I basted them together and then tried them on. To be met with… WEIRD CROTCH WRINKLES OF DOOM

I have no clue how to fix this. Most things I’ve read say that frown lines from the crotch may mean that your crotch is too long but trying to pinch out the excess didn’t seem to do anything so I’m not sure that’s the problem. I wondered if I maybe needed to let the side seams out in that general area in case it’s just stress wrinkles but the jeans don’t feel too tight at all.

I had a sort of bubble crotch thing going on in my toile, which was helped by straightening out the front curve – the flat pubis adjustment in this post. But now I’m second guessing whether that was the right thing to do.

I bought a Craftsy class on fitting jeans called The Perfect Jeans: Fitting Techniques for Every Body by Jennifer Stern-Hasemann and Jennifer is really, really helpful if you ask questions. If you upload a photo of your problem and your pattern she will draw on the pattern suggestions of how to fix your problem. So I’ve just uploaded my photos and asked for help. Because I’m lost on my own.

I thought I’d share my progress here because I always find people’s posts about fitting really interesting. And if I eventually fix the problem it might be useful if you get the same problem. Plus, you might be able to give me some advice. 

Here’s the back view too:

This is view B of the Closet Case Ginger jeans shortened to a more mid rise jean by the way – using this tutorial. I shortened them by 3cm. Though looking at this photo I think I possibly shouldn’t have shortened them quite so much. And while I like a snug fit on the bum maybe a little bit more room wouldn’t go amiss.

Hopefully I’ll be able to improve the fit of this pair. But even if I can’t I’m still going to finish them and wear them. I’ll report back if they get any better.

Hope you’ve all had a great weekend with less frowning at yourself in the mirror than me.

Me Making March: The finish line

memakingmarchI feel like a bit of a fraud even bothering to post about the second half of Me Making March as I was dismal at it but I thought I best had so here goes. I won’t bother listing the days I didn’t do anything because it’s most of them and that’d get really dull for you. I am rubbish.

Day 19

I started sewing my Mesa toile and then couldn’t find the neckband or second sleeve so spent at least nearly an hour hunting in the sewing room for where they’ve gone. I still haven’t found either bit so goodness knows what’s happened to them. I suspect there’s some sort of wormhole or portal beside my cutting table for them to have fallen into. (Edit: Found them! They had got folded up in some of the fabric I’d taken photos of for the prints day of #MIYMarch on Instagram)

I had hoped for a wearable toile but I don’t think I have enough fabric to cut out a second sleeve so I’m probably just going to finish sewing it with only one sleeve to roughly check the fit and then crack on with my proper version.

I’d been watching Parks and Rec while sewing and then while hunting but got fed up with my fruitless hunt and had ended up just sitting on the floor watching it so gave up sewing then and went downstairs to watch it on the telly.

My life is a constant disappointment that I'm not Ron Swanson
My life is now a constant disappointment that I’m not Ron Swanson

Day 20

I wasn’t particularly productive today either but I did get a teeny bit of sewing done on my Gingers. I cut out and applied the interfacing, prepped the back pockets and was going to start on the front ones but my overlocker had a bit of a strop and wouldn’t stitch right. So after rethreading it twice I had a strop right back at it and went downstairs to cook dinner and binge watch more Parks and Rec instead. I am more than a bit addicted. When the Manfriend went to bed he called it my crack. Totally is.

Or Lesley Knope
Or Lesley Knope

Day 21

I was tired after work so told myself that all I had to do was rethread the overlocker, which I did but it was still being really difficult about it and I have since resigned myself that I think it needs to go for a check-up.

Day 26

Today I jeaned. I sewed the entire front including my very first fly and pockets. *Mega proud face*

tom proud

Day 28

I basted the jeans together to check the fit and then stared at my crotch for ages trying to figure out what I needed to do to it. And I’ve pretty much ignored them since then. I have fiddled slightly with the crotch but I don’t know if I’ve made things better at all. I think it’s less bubbly than in this photo but I think I possibly need to change the shape of the front crotch, which I can’t do on this pair as I steamed on in and overlocked and topstitched it before I basted everything together. Jeans sewing expert Heather from The Pug and Needle was really helpful on Instagram and I think I know what I need to do. Or at least what to try first. I really enjoyed sewing these though and when I get the fit right I can see myself wanting to make a trillion pairs.

crotch

And then it was April. So I’ve been a bit rubbish at Me Making March and only got one thing actually finished (I will get photos soon) but I’m sort of hoping that all the Parks and Rec gifs will distract you from that. Has it worked?

april smart

Me Making March: The half way point

memakingmarchWe’re just over halfway through March so I thought I should probably report back on how my Me Making March is going. I had planned to post more frequently but I haven’t really had enough to say so just the two round-ups should be plenty.

Day 1

I hadn’t seen Meris’ post yet so I hadn’t started Me Making March and didn’t do anything.

Day 2

I didn’t do much but I did manage to hem the sleeves of my in progress ballet dress.

hemming sleeves

Day 3

I was tired and lazy.

Day 4

And again, oops.

Day 5

I didn’t do any sewing but I finally picked up the Andi Satterlund Miette cardigan that I’ve been knitting since March last year instead and knitted some of the first sleeve.

Day 6

No sewing today either but I did some more knitting and nearly finished the first sleeve.

Day 7

A more productive day today. I cut out the fabric for the toile of my Mesa dress hack, got the manfriend to measure my inside leg for me so I could shorten the leg pattern pieces for my Closet Case Files Gingers and cut out the traced pattern pieces. I also took in the waist of the ballet dress I’d sewn most of and straightened the skirt side seams because I’d been a bit of a dunderhead and used a sort of trapezoid shade for the skirt but with no curve to the waist or hem because my fabric had stripes but of course that meant the sides dipped down and looked silly.

sleeve

Day 8

I only got round to shortening the back leg piece yesterday so I altered the other one tonight. Then cut out my pocket lining pieces and one leg bit. Then I went to bed and cast off the first sleeve of my Miette cardi, once I figured out what stretchy bind off I should use.

Day 9

I cut out the rest of the leg pieces, the yoke, one pocket facing and one back pocket.

ginger front leg

Day 10

More cutting out today but not as much. I cut out the other pocket facing, the other back pocket and a waistband.

Day 11

Nothing today.

Day 12

I hemmed my ballet dress so I could wear it for a day trip to Cardiff with the Manfriend to bimble about and then go watch Mark Watson do stand up in the evening, which was very nice apart from the train home being full of awful drunk people and stopping in every tiny station on the way. I had an awful woman fall into my lap and have a mega domestic with her partner right next to me.

Day 13

I wasn’t feeling well all of Sunday and ended up sleeping for a lot of the day so no sewing was done.

Day 14

Nothing again.

Day 15

I wasn’t feeling well again and had to come home from work ill so there was no crafting done.

Day 16

Still not feeling right so nothing again.

So I’ve done something on about half of the days so far, which isn’t great but isn’t too bad either. I seem to have been full of bugs of late, since coming back from holiday really, which has let the Manfriend to blame the chipmunks we met on holiday. Their cute faces, hiding a fluffy menace.