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.

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?

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

Colette Seamwork Paxson Sweater and Superhero PJs

Happy Sunday, peeps. I’ve got the promised Christmas dude sewing photos for you today and a bit more of a write up of the Paxson sweater and Marvel PJ bottoms I made for the manfriend.

Paxson Sweater

The Paxson sweater is actually the pattern that made me subscribe to Seamwork. If you haven’t already heard of it, Seamwork is an online pattern magazine. It’s chock full of interesting articles and it’s basically what I wish print sewing magazines were. I particularly like the Block, Paper, Scissors series that teaches you how to alter a basic block or one of the patterns that comes with the magazine to get something different. I haven’t actually used any of them but I still like it as a concept.

Colette Paxson sweater
Beard: Model’s own

But anyway, this isn’t about me, this is about the Manfriend and his Paxson sweater. The Manfriend seems to go through phases with his wardrobe (thankfully, the floral shirt phase had passed by the time we got together) and at the moment it is comprised mainly of raglan sleeved tops and marl. So when I saw the Paxson sweater I instantly decided to make him one.

Paxson sweater back view
Back view

It took me ages to find the fabric I wanted. I wanted a grey marl for the body (obviously) and I was leaning towards a burgundy or maroon for the sleeves. I say or as if I can differentiate between burgundy and maroon, they’re basically the same colour in my mind. Fabric godmother had a quilted maroon coloured ponte that I was planning to use but I was waiting until payday to buy some and it sold out before I got paid.

So in the end I went with teal. I actually bought teal and purple and enough grey to make two just in case the first one fit him so badly I had to make a second. I’d love to say I’m still going to make him a second but it’s far more likely that I’ll use the fabric for myself. Not even ashamed *terrible ladyfriend face*

Seamwork magazine paxson sweater

Paxson is great as the waistband and cuffs mean that you can sew it entirely on an overlocker (apart from topstitching the neckline, which I don’t tend to bother with) so it’s a really quick sew. Colette say it should take an hour but I am a slow sewer so it took me 2.5 hours, with just cutting out taking half an hour. I still think that’s a nice, quick sew though and I’m sure if I made more I’d get quicker.

I made him a size Large and it fits him quite well I think. He is a gympanzee and most of his tops tend to fit snuggly on the chest, shoulders and arms with a looser fit on the body so this is actually looser than most things he wears. There are a lot of wrinkles on the arms but I am not a wrinkle whisper and have no idea what adjustments they’re trying to tell me that I need to make.

Paxson sweater

The details

Pattern: Paxson Sweater from Colette Patterns Seamwork magazine

Measurements: Chest 42″ – Waist 34″ – Hips/Butt 39.5″ – Height 5’10” ish

Size made: L

Alterations: None

Fabric used: 90cm grey and 75cm teal 148cm wide ponte de roma from Oh Sew Crafty on eBay

Another version? If I feel kind

Any changes next time? I will quiz him on what changes he wants made before making another one. The body might want to come in a bit and I wonder if taking a bit of length and/or width out of the sleeves would help get rid of some of those wrinkles.

Manfriend says: If I could improve on it it would have dragons and skulls and a beard. It’s totally in my wheelhouse.

Superhero PJs

And for the PJs I used a free Simplicity pattern that I can’t find on their website since they changed it. It was in the learning to sew section but I would definitely not recommend it as a first project. Mainly because the PDF was such a nightmare to put together. The worst one I’ve ever done.

It was a simple sew in the end though. There are only two pattern pieces, each leg is just one (huge) pattern piece and then there’s one for the drawstring and you cut out two of each piece.

manfriend-pjs
Superhero pose

I sewed a size Medium and took about 3 inches out of the length at the lengthen/shorten line using a pair of his RTW PJs as a guide. He is quite long in the body and shorter in the leg. If I was to make a second pair I think I’d try taking some length out above the crotch because the PJs sit low on his hips and mean that the crotch hangs a bit low.

The fabric came from Etsy and actually says on the selvedge that it’s not suitable for children’s sleepwear, which I found a bit odd (flammable?). But he’s not a children and they’re loungewear for him rather than sleepwear anyway so I don’t think it matters.

superhero-pjs
Double superhero pose

The details

Pattern: A free Simplicity one that may have vanished

Measurements: Chest 42″ – Waist 34″ – Hips/Butt 39.5″ – Height 5’10” ish

Size made: Medium

Alterations: Shortened by 3″

Fabric used: 3 yards of Marvel superhero flannel

Another version? Maybe

Any changes next time? Experiment with shortening the crotch

Manfriend says: I don’t know, I just like them, stop asking me for quotes.

So that’s my quota of unselfish sewing fulfilled until next Christmas. I should make more of an effort and make Manfriend nice things throughout the year. Does anyone have any recommendations for nice manchap sewing patterns? Or should I just forget about it and concentrate on pretty dresses?

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…

Best dress ever?

Let’s examine the evidence, shall we?

Is wearing it like wearing pyjamas?

Yes, it is stretchy and squishy and lovely.

Does it have dinosaurs on?

YES!

dinosaur-dixie-diy-ballet-dress
Such a happy face

So clearly, yes, it is the best dress ever. I could have led with “does it have dinosaurs on?” really because any dress with dinosaurs on kicks the butt of a dress without dinosaurs on. Though, this dress with hunky elves on was pretty awesome and did previously hold the title. It’s just not as comfy though and I can’t wear it all year round. Though I am excitedly looking forward to being able to wear it again soon (ish).

dinosaur print cotton jersey
A close up of the dinosaurs

I was about to say that there’s not a lot to say about the construction of this dress and then I remembered that that would be a giant LIE. My brain trying to block out the trauma perhaps? I massively messed up when I was cutting out (tired) and thought I’d already folded the fabric along the grainline but it was just still folded crosswise from how I’d taken it off the line. So I cut the first skirt piece out that way and then realised what I’d done and had a meltdown.

ballet-dress-dinosaurs

I was really worried I wasn’t going to be able to fit the rest of the pattern pieces on the fabric that I had left but with some creativity I managed it but one of my skirt pieces isn’t as flared as the other, I was using my slashed and spread skirt piece from my balletmono so I had to remove some of the spread bits to get it to fit. Oh gosh, I just realised I haven’t even told you what pattern it is! *facepalm* It is another Dixie DIY Ballet dress.

dinosaur-ballet-dress-catch
My dismal attempt at a leaf throwing photo

I was really worried about the skirt bit that I’d cut wrong making the dress a disaster because I love love love this fabric (you can see me wiggling it about in my video here) and it’s sold out so if this try didn’t work I would never have a dinosaur dress of awesomeness (or ROARsomeness if you will, hahaha – so proud of myself right now). But it seems to be fine, I used it for the back of the skirt because I am quite juicy of booty so it just made sense to me.

I shortened the bodice slightly (just over a cm) because I thought the weight of the skirt might stretch it a bit like with my balletmono. I also did a small swayback adjustment, which I think worked out quite well. The back looks like a better fit than my last ballet dress.

dinosaur-ballet-dress-back

I constructed it all on my overlocker and hemmed it using a twin needle on my sewing machine. I tried out stabilising the hems with wundaweb / hemming tape and that worked really well so I’ll carry on doing that for future knit hems. I messed up a bit when I was sewing the neckband (had a hole and had to redo a bit) and you might be able to spot a bit of iffiness in some of the photos but that doesn’t override the fact that it’s a dress with dinosaurs on.

Dixie DIY Ballet Dress and raptor hands
I couldn’t make a dress with dinosaurs on and not do Bimble and Pimble’s Amanda style raptor claws. I don’t know what’s happening with my face.

Speaking of the photos, I was trying to do my Better Pictures Project homework of capturing movement. Which is why they’re all out of focus…. Yeah I didn’t do so well. My skin is also glowing white, I didn’t realise I was that pale! I have sort of decided that I’m going to buy myself a DSLR with any money I get for Christmas and my stash of £2 coins that I’ve been collected for the last few years but I’m worried it won’t help that much. If you’re not very good at taking pictures how much will a fancy camera actually help?

Non-clueless versions

There are a bajillion Dixie DIY ballet dresses out there but I particularly like Amy’s horse and geometric versions.

Zoe has made lots of lovely versions but I really like this polka dot version.

But to be perfectly honest, I haven’t seen a version I don’t like!

The details

I want to try to be more helpful and put more practical information in my posts, rather than just waffle that you’d have to wade through to find out things you might actually want to know.

Pattern: Dixie DIY Ballet dress

My current measurements (they fluctuate A LOT): 38.5″ (high bust 36″) – 31″ – 39″ at hip bones, 41.5″ around butt (Height 5’2″)

Size cut: M

Adjustments made: Took about 12mm out of the bodice length and a small swayback adjustment – I eyeballed it but it was probably about 1cm.

Fabric used: 2m of 150cm wide DINOSAUR PRINT cotton jersey (97% cotton, 3% spandex) from myfabrics.

In conclusion, I love this dress and am probably going to make eleventy three Ballet Dresses before I get bored. I might try a gathered skirt variation next.

I’ve got a few scraps of dinosaur fabric leftover that I was hoping to get a t’shirt out of for my pseudo nephew (my favourite cousin’s son) because he loves dinosaurs too but I have no idea where to even start looking for a good pattern. Any suggestions?

Kirsten Kimono Dress Hack aka Balletmono

In the spirit of Gillian’s Better Pictures Project the Manfriend and I took advantage of the nice evening on Saturday and went for a walk to try to get some more interesting photos of my latest dress. The result was a bunch of over and under exposed photos – sometimes in the same photo. So that needs some work…

I took a few in the garden once we got home, which typically came out the best of the lot so I can still share my dress. After my successful kirsten kimono tee and floral ballet dress I decided to mash the two patterns together and see what happened. I’m calling the resulting kirsten kimono dress a balletmono.

kirsten-kimono-dress-sosban
This one isn’t in my garden, obviously. This is a fancy restaurant in an old pump house. Absolutely beautiful building.

I wanted to keep the fitted waist and flared skirt look so I traced around the bodice pieces for the kirsten kimono and then overlaid the ballet dress bodice pieces lining up the top of the shoulders and the centre line then traced around that and blended the lines where they met. I also slashed and spread the skirt piece in three places to make it fuller, which I love.

Swooosh
Swooosh

The fabric I used is a cotton jersey from Calico Laine (that might not be the same one, I bought mine towards the end of last year) and I’m not really a fan. It was mega curly at the edges and it seems to crease easily and iron badly – a winning combination.

balletmono-green
Windy

I accidentally cut out a neckband with the ballet dress pattern piece before I remembered that I was meant to draft one and I don’t know if that’s to blame but the neckline is a bit rubbish. It’s not puckered as such but there are loads of little pulls from it, which you can sort of see in the photo above. So I don’t know what’s to blame there as I thought I’d sewn it quite well. Could it be too short or too long?

kirsten-kimono-dress-garden

I was thinking about leaving the hems raw as I quite like that but looking at these photos I think I will hem them. I think I need to fiddle with the fit again before making another kirsten kimono dress there seems to be a bit too much fabric above my bust, especially there at the armpit. The bodice itself is a tiny bit too long too, not sure if that’s due to the weight of the fuller skirt pulling it down or something that happened during my shoddy hack.

kirsten-kimono-dress-sulking
Sulk

You can’t really see the detail of my face in this one but I am pulling a full on bottom lip out sulky face in it because none of the photos were going right. It tickled me when I saw it so I had to include it. I don’t really have much more to say about the dress really. It’s alright. I’m not in love with it but I’ll probably try again with different fabric, a new neckband and a few tweaks to the pattern.

I’m on my way to London for a course at the moment and I’m hoping to get a chance to pay the fabric shops of Goldhawk Road a visit while I’m there. It will be a flying one if I do but fingers crossed. I have a list of things I want (knits, interesting neutral wovens and some chambray) so I’ll be a woman on a mission. Wish me luck!

OAL2015: Ballet Dress and Vianne Cardigan

Dixie DIY Ballet dress in blue and purple floral jersey
Dixie DIY Ballet Dress

Those of you who remember my original post about OAL plans might be a bit disappointed not to see a fabulous dinosaur print Sewaholic Cambie. I’m sorry. As the Outfit Along deadline grew closer and I still hadn’t started my toile I decided that a change of plan was probably necessary. I really didn’t want to rush and end up wasting such brilliant fabric. I’d had the Dixie DIY Ballet dress pattern and the fabric to make one with in my stash since the end of last year and as the colours went with my cardigan and it would take less fitting I went with it.

This is my second attempt at photos. I tried on Sunday with my proper but old (ish) bridge camera but they all came out grainy and rubbish. It did the same thing on my photos of my Simplicity 1418 but it just seems wrong that my phone can take better photos. Though my new phone does have 6 more mega pixies so I should just accept it and always use my phone for photos. Anyway, I’m wandering off topic.

dixie diy ballet dress

I had the day off work yesterday because my Nan is down visiting my mum and my mum has the week off work so I thought it would be nice to take a day off to spend with them. We had a lovely day in St David’s, which is one of my favourite places in Wales because there is an ice cream shop there called The Bench, who sell ice cream tapas.

Ice Cream Tapas
We went for: Salted Caramel, Strawberries and Cream, Rum and Raisin, Malteser and Death By Chocolate

But before we went I got my mum to snap a few photos for me as her garden is so much better for light and photos taken there quite often come with a photobombing Max, which I enjoy.

I’m really, really pleased with my first Ballet Dress and I think it’s the beginning of a passionate love affair with knits. (I already have 4 more planned.) I sewed a size M and the only change I made was to shorten the sleeves. I sewed everything but the hems on my overlocker and used a twin needle on my sewing machine for the hems. The neckband went much better than on my kirsten kimono tee and I only had a teeny bit of puckering on the back and my hair will cover that so who cares.

ballet dress neckline

I bought the fabric on eBay from the Textile Centre but the listing doesn’t say what sort of fabric it is other than jersey and it’s closed now so I can’t check the detail but it’s lovely and soft and swishy. I still have about a metre or so left, which I’ll probably make a t’shirt out of.

The dress was sooo quick and easy to sew, it only took me a couple of hours from start to finish. Seriously, I love knits! I didn’t follow the instructions and just did my own thing, sewing the sleeves in flat and then sewing the side seams and sleeve seam all in one. I found it a bit challenging to sew the clear elastic at the waist seam and I’m also terrible at hemming knits. My stitching line wobbles all over the place but no one will exactly be inspecting it.

Dixie DIY Ballet dress back

Looking at this picture of the back makes me think I might need a small swayback adjustment or it could just be rumpled because of sitting down before the photos were taken. But then I do have quite the plumptious butt so I don’t know why I’m doubting the need for adjustments in the rear – wishful thinking methinks.

vianne cardigan open
Andi Satterlund Vianne cardigan

And now for Vianne. I did finish knitting it just about in time for the OAL (I finished on the 30th July) but I didn’t have time to block it and take photos to upload to the Ravelry thread unfortunately. I am terrible with deadlines and always procrastinate right until the very last minute. I’ve always been the same so joining crafting challenges is probably a bit daft.

vianne and max
Not entirely sure what’s going on here but there’s a Max so I had to choose this one

I’m not really all that happy with how the cardigan fits me. Because I’m short the arms are nearly full length on me, which looks a bit daft but when I push them up I get a lot of bunched fabric on the arms. It just generally feels a little too big but then it fits fine on the waist and the button is even pulling a little bit there. My first button seems higher than on other people’s cardigans I’ve seen online too, so I’m not sure what I did there.

vianne cardigan and max
Attack of the killer growing out fringe

I really like the style of the cardigan and I do plan to knit another one but I’m not really sure how to go about making one that fits me better. Can anyone point me in the direction of some resources on fitting knitting garments please? I was sort of thinking of maybe sizing down but then not knitting all of the waist decreases. Or sod it, just size down and stretch the hell out of the waist when I block it. Or corsetry.

the mesh back of the vianne cardigan
I love that little hellhound

The back is so pretty and I really enjoyed knitting it but I can’t see myself wearing it when I’m so not happy with the way it fits. Though to be honest, from about half way through the first sleeve the idea of giving it to my mum had popped into my head. Mainly because every time she’d seen me knitting it or pictures of it online she’d gone on and on about how much she likes the colour and how purple is her very favourite colour ever etc.

When I got to her house yesterday I’d left it on the breakfast bar in the kitchen while I popped to the loo and by the time I came back she was wearing it. So I just sighed at her – in the long suffering way of adult children everywhere at role reversal stage –  and said, “Wait for me to give it to you, will you?” It fits her better than me because she’s taller and bustier so at least it’s going to have a good home.

Anyone else spent two months knitting something for yourself only to end up giving it away?

Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono Tee

As I think I mentioned in a previous post, Manfriend’s lovely mum recently gave me her overlocker. It sat in my sewing room glaring at me intimidatingly for quite a few weeks before I worked up the nerve to even attempt to thread it.

Toyota overlocker
Menacing

But it turns out if you just read the instructions and follow the coloured dots it’s really not that difficult. I did it in the wrong order the first time but the second time went fine. Chuff knows if I have the tension right but the stitching looks fairly balanced to me.

I decided that the Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono tee – which is a free pattern by the way – would be a good one for my first knit project as it doesn’t have sleeves to worry about.

Kirsten Kimono tee

I went on a bit of a knit fabric sending spree on Minerva and used this diagonal striped jersey. It’s very slinky and I think it would make a lovely drapey dress. Normally I trace my patterns but I seem to have started just cutting out pdf patterns. I suppose because I can just print them out again if the fit is wrong, though it would mean taping the pesky things together again and I’m not sure what’s worse, taping or tracing.

I use a rotary cutter for cutting out my fabric so cutting out was no more difficult than cutting out woven fabric and this wasn’t a particularly curly fabric so I think I had a fairly easy go at it for my first knit garment. I cut a straight size medium but I sort of wish I’d graded out at the hips.

Kirsten kimono tee back

For some reason I expected it to fit more like the Deer and Doe Plantain. No idea why as none of the photos I’ve seen of other people’s versions do. But for my for my next version I will grade out a couple of sizes at the hips for more of a floaty look. Or maybe slash and spread somehow to avoid reprinting and taping the pattern.

I didn’t bother stabilising the shoulder seams (can’t remember why) and it all went together really quickly. I struggled with sewing the neckband and it’s a bit of a puckered mess but it doesn’t really bother me too much. I’m sure I’ll get better with practice.

Kirsten kimono tee neckline
Pucker up!

I got this far and the t’shirt sat, unhemmed and unworn, waiting for me to figure out my sewing machine walking foot and twin needle. Which my sewing machine was having NONE of. I broke two twin needles and when I tried using a zig zag stitch that wouldn’t work either. But I recently upgraded my sewing machine and it handled the twin needle easy as pie. In fact, since having my new machine I’ve started to wonder if my original one was just a bit broken all along.

Anyway that’s all I really have to say. I wore it last night to go see Avenue Q in Swansea with Manfriend and a friend from work and her husband. Avenue Q is brilliant by the way and if this touring version of it is going anywhere near your town you should definitely go and see it as it’s hilarious. Puppets with no bottom half having sex is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen Better Off Ted.

Here’s one last creepy picture Manfriend took of us after taking these photos. He had his phone on beauty mode so we look bizarre and blurry faced.

Creeeeepy
Creeeeepy