Mesa dress with ruffle

12 07 2017

I’ve made the Mesadress from Seamwork magazine a couple of times when it came out teo years. It’s a nice t-shirt dress with a flattering shape to it. I hadn’t thought about this pattern in a while, but then I got this amazing stained window glass fabric and was in need of a simple pattern to show off this amazing print.

When researching the Mesadress on instagram I found this version with a ruffle added to the hem. I thought that this in combination with the stained glass fabric would lead to a Dolce & Gabbana kind of dress and I think I’m right 😉

The fabric is very slinky, so my ruffle doesn’t really stand out. But I’m pretty happy with it anyway!

I also got a very vibrant red jersey from the same shop and had intended that for a shirt, but the Mesadress seemed like a great match for this one too. I first tried it with just the ruffle on the hem. 

The sleeves felt a bit too casual, so I ended up adding ruffles to those too!

I normally would never go for a dramatic sleeve like that, but I really like it!

For both dresses I just cut a band that was at least 1 1/2 times the circumference of the hem and gathered it with elastic cut to the same length of the hem itself. For the sleeves I doubled the length and gathered with gathering stitches. I attached the ruffle to the sleeve with a lightning stitch.

Review: subscription box from Sew Hayley Jane

12 07 2017

For the past six months I’ve subscriped to the luxury sewing box from Sew Hayley Jane. As I always get a lot of questions on instagram about this box, I thought it would be nice to do a little review on this months’ box. I’m not in any way compensated for this review, you’re getting my own honest opinion. 

There are three kinds of boxes to choose from. I chose the luxury box when I subscribed, because I wanted to start sewing with more expensive fabrics and those aren’t that easy to come by in my neck of the woods. I also like that you get matching thread and a suitable pattern. I wasn’t that interested in the haberdashery items, but so far I have been using them and they’ve turned out to be a nice addition for me. There’s also five fat quarters and a little treat every month. I’ve been using some of the fat quarters for things like bags. I’m practising zipper bags and I might make a quilt out of my favourite ones. 

This is how the box arrives:

I’m always surprised by how nice it looks. You can tell how much care Hayley puts into the packaging. She handwrites a note every month:

I really like that little detail. And again, when I open the box I’m always delighted with how neat everything looks. This box travels overseas, yet everything looks pristine and nice. The haberdashery items are packed individually and again this is clearly done with a lot of care.

This month there was biastape (matching to the fabric), a little notebook, beeswax for handsewing, five fat quarters that fit this month’s theme of garden parties and as a little treat some raspberry jam. 

The fabric was a very floaty georgette from Lady McElroy and perfectly suited for the Eve pattern from Sew Over It. 

I don’t always use the fabric for the pattern of that month, I’ve made something else with 3 out of the six fabrics I got so far, but I do think fabric and pattern are a great match usually. I think I’m going to make the Eve dress with this fabric. Sometimes the fabric inspires me to try something I hadn’t thought of before. My first fabric finally got me to make one of my vintage patterns and another recent fabric finally got me to make a shirtdress, which I had been wanting to do for a while. I usually love the patterns. Out of the six patterns I’ve received so far only one didn’t really appeal to me. Most of the other patterns had actually been on my wishlist for a while. I think Hayley picks some great classics that are suitable for women of different shapes and sizes. 

The fabric has been absolutely lovely to work with so far and I think this month will be no exception. Everything has been really high quality so far. 

I would definitely recommend this subscription box. It oozes care and attention to detail every month and I’m excited to work with the contents every time. If you considering one of these boxes you can check the contents of previous boxes on the website and see if it suits you and your tastes. There’s a hashtag on instagram: #sewhayleyjanemakes so you can see some of the things other people make from their fabric. 

Deer and Doe Belladone

25 06 2017

I’ve been eyeing all the Deer and Doe patterns for a while. I kind of put myself on a buying hiatus (intermittently broken for those moments when I find a fabric that I can’t stop thinking about) and don’t allow myself to buy all the patterns. I own so many patterns and I’ve made just a fraction of them. For a while I only got new patterns through my Fabric Godmother dreamwardrobe subscription and it was in one of her parcels that I got the Belladone dress. I got it with a teal crepe, but wanted to make it with the fabric from another Dream Wardrobe parcel, this gorgeous cotton sateen with it’s bright floral print. 

I cut a size 42 and it fit perfectly (in my opinion). It was an easy pattern to make, with very clear instructions. I changed a couple of things. I changed the way the back panels sit. I saw that a lot of people had gaping fabric here and I hoped to prevent that (so far no gape). I changed the back zipper to a side zipper. I want to be able to put on my clothes by myself and I can’t work a back zipper. 

I’m really happy with this dress and will make it again. I’m thinking to use my Van Gogh fabric for this dress. 

Experimenting with A-line dresses

22 06 2017

I love an A-line dress on me. It emphasizes my waist, skims over my hips and elongates my body. I also love knits and wanted to create some simple knit A-line dresses. I don’t have an exact pattern for something like that, so I set out to combine a top pattern with a skirt pattern. 

For my first experiment I used a Moneta bodice with the neckline of the Plantain from Deer amd Doe. I combined this with a pattern from La Maison Victor for the skirt of the Ariel dress. This is a pattern for a woven, but with some measuring I made it fit on my bodice (I ended up with negative ease at the waist). I also tried a scooped back on this one. I used a knit from Art Gallery fabrics that has a lot of stretch. 

It looks ok on me, but I’m not happy with the constant showing of bra straps and having to adjust these all day. I think I’m going to make some changes, but I’m not sure what kind of changes yet. Will I add something to keep my straps in place or will I cut a new back bodice without scoop?

With this knowledge I experimented further. For the next dress I worked with the Agnes pattern by Tilly and the Buttons. I really like the fit of the tops I’ve made so far, so I hoped that it would work out as beautiful as I dreamed of for this fabric I got at La Mima’s. I was happy with the skirt, so I kept that.

I’m in love with this dress. It’s everything I want in a dress. Now that I’m happy with my frankenpattern, I’ll expect to make more versions. Maybe add some details to distinguish the different versions like a shoulder yoke, princess seams, the puffed sleeves of Agnes.

Round up of things I made

26 02 2017

I keep wanting to blog my dresses thoroughly, but there’s little time these days. So a quick overview and a clean slate is in order.

1. Juliet blouse by Simple Sew

I got a lot of positive reactions on this, but I’m not sure myself. I’d make modifications to the neckline, sleeves and the placement of the waist. The fabric is lovely though and it feels great. I made a M, this pattern runs large.

2. Laurel dress by Colette Patterns

I love this fabric so much! I’m going to make pillow covers from the remnants so I can look at it all the time. I cut a size ten, which means that this pattern runs large too, because it should not fit me this well. I added darts to create more of a waist and some length. This was the first time I used biasbinding on the raw edges and I’m very pleased with the result. 

3. Ariel dress by La Maison Victor (September-October 2015)

This dress is just so pretty in person and it doesn’t come across enough in photos. It’s flirty and feminine and I’m in love with it! I don’t think I’ve ever put this much work in a dress. All seams are bound. The hem and facing have been stitched invisibly. There was a lot of pressing. The fabric is a beautiful medium weight crepe that hangs perfectly. Yup, love this dress! 

4. Gillian wrapdress by Muse Patterns

I’ve owned this pattern for quite some time and I never even taped the pdf together because the examples shown in the pattern instructions kind of put me off. I bought it based on the version that you see on Indiesew, which is a beautifully sewn purple version. But I wanted a wrapdress and didn’t want to buy a new pattern, so I taped the thing and made it the next day and love it. I think it’s a very sophisticated dress and I love the little forties details. Also, it’s one of those rare wrappdresses that shows no cleavage when I bend over. That’s a neccessity when teaching.

5. McCall’s 7433

I’m not going to lie: it is a tight fit. It was meant to be, in fact all these dresses were supposed to be tight because I still want to wear them in two months. I’m losing weight again after taking a four month break and made all my recent clothes to fit a slightly smaller me at the weight where I want to end up. All the other dresses fit me better than they were supposed to, but are easy to take in. This one’s tight, but as I made it for summer that was the way it was supposed to be. I loved making this. It’s a supersoft double gauze by Cloud9 fabrics and it frays like crazy. All seams are bound. I wish I had done an invisible hem, but I will the next time as this pattern is a contender for my les fleurs navy rayon from Cotton+Steel. The instructions were clear and everything went together like a dream. This will be so wonderful to wear as the weather gets better!

5. The Susie blouse from Sew over it

This is going to be a great staple! I was a bit hesitant to sew it as I couldn’t understand how it could be both flattering and without closings. But it works wonderfully and I can see a couple more of these in my future. I hadn’t added the cuffs when I took this photo. They really make for a professional loooking sleeve though!

6. A ton of Moneta’s by Colette Patterns

This is a size L. I made no alterations except for adding width to the skirt for the boxpleats. When I gather the skirt it really emphasizes my belly. As you can see the boxpleats create a sort of panel over my belly that slims everything down. I add about 15 centimeters to the pattern pieces. As I’m 5’11 you’d think I’d need to add lenght to the bodice or skirt, but I really don’t. I think the extra weight of the skirt drags the bodice down. I also added a neckband per the tutorial on the Colette blog. I did the same for the next couple of Moneta’s:

This next one is different. I own so many Moneta’s I wanted to change it up. I added the Seamwork Margo skirt to the Moneta bodice. I’m pretty pleased with the result:

Sewing a dress with Gertie

30 10 2016

I turned 37 a couple of weeks ago and had already given myself a gift in August. When sewingshop Ray stitch in London announced they were offering a workshop with Gretchen from Gertie’s blog for better sewing I jumped on the chance to sew with one of the people that got me started sewing to begin with.

We were going to sew a dress from her latest book and learn a bit about fitting, making a all-in-one facing and a lapped zipper. I made the basic bodice with a 3/4 circle skirt. 

I had a blast at the workshop and learned so much. We had a lovely group of six and the people of Ray Stitch were most welcoming. Gretchen is a very hands on teacher who was great at giving everyone her full attention and helping us master new techniques.  I loved the fitting process and am looking forward to pay more attention to fit in the future, it’s really worth your time when you achieve a great fit. In the end though I didn’t manage to finish the dress as I wanted. My fabric was so slippery that I had a hard time getting my lapped zipper in the way I wanted. I managed to get the thing sewed up, but in my head I was already thinking of a do-over and maybe some handsewing on the zipper.

When I went home I had Gertie’s Ultimate dresses book with me and read the whole book on my way home. I started to re-imagine my sleeveless dress with 3/4 circle skirt into a dress with pencil skirt and cap sleeves. I had enough fabric to do so. So I took the entire dress apart again and made sure to take my time and just try to do everything as perfect as possible.

I stabilized nearly everything, including my zipper (the one that gave me so much trouble) and finished the zip with biastape. It went in without a glitch now. I slipstitched the facing to the zipper for a nice finish.

Everything worked out, but I had a bit of trouble with the facing. I had graded and clipped it before I took it out again and now it was on the small side. On one side of the zipper it doesn’t look as neat as it could have. Otherwise it all fits great!

Specs: basic bodice, pencil skirt and puff sleeves from Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book, cut out in a size 12. Alterations: lowered the arm scye, small bust adjustment, added an inch to both waistseams. Didn’t need to lengthen anything! 

A faux leather Hollyburn skirt

9 10 2016

Ever since I made my first Hollyburn I knew there would be multiple skirts. I planned a lot of variations. There’s a Megan/Hollyburn mash-up in my future. 

I had this gorgeous faux leather in my stash, waiting for the perfect pattern to go with it. For the longest time it was destined to become a Megan dress. But the sweatiness of a faux leather bodice kept me from it. Then I realised it would make a great skirt and that I had lots of tops to go with a faux leather skirt. 

I made the midi version in a size 10. I topstitched the frontseam:

I love the Hollyburn for its pockets!

And the back:

It was a quick and easy sew except I made a couple of dumb mistakes like cutting out two identical  front skirt pieces and attaching the waistband with the wrong sides together. But these were mistakes that came with beeing rather too busy to sew and wanting to finish the skirt.