A tale of three Aldaia dresses

I’ve been working on my fall wardrobe: I worked on a pair of black pants so I can choose between jeans and those, I made a few tops to go with those pants, I made three dresses that are longsleeved and jersey, there’s going to be a jacket and hopefully a coat.

I kept seeing beautiful Aldaia dresses on instagram. This black one, this red one and another black (or charcoal, I’m not sure) one. So obviously I made three in prints 😁

I had my doubts about this pattern. It’s made for women who are a lot shorter than I am and I haven’t really seen it on women with my type of body. But two of the fabrics that I got from Stoff & Still kept popping up in my head as Aldaias and so I got the pattern, had it printed at an online copyshop and went to work.

You can mix and match sleeves, bodices and skirts. For my first version I wanted the faux wrap, the circle skirt and the long sleeves. I ended up needing more fabric than I actually had. It was hard (for me) to calculate the amount of fabric. Based on what the pattern said I thought I had enough, but I came up two skirtpanels short. I added 10 cm to the length of the skirt. I used some leatherlook jersey for the two missing panels and decided to just go with it, see if I liked it and if I didn’t, maybe order another metre of the original fabric. At first I put the leatherlook panels on the sides of the front skirt, but this did not look good, there was no cohesion. I tested it with the sides of the bodice in the same fabric, but this didn’t work either. I turned them to the back and decided to worry about them later on.

I think the pattern itself is pretty good. It was a pleasure to sew, everything lined up perfectly. I do have some doubts about the sizing. I was afraid that I chose a size to small based on the finished measurements, but it ended up being too big. I also loved working with this fabric. The Stoff & Still jerseys I’ve now worked with behaved beautifully, no rolling, puckering or what have you. The fabric is firm, but has excellent drape. I’m definitely looking forward to buying more (these were a gift and thus they reeled me in 😂).

When everything was done I still was not happy with the different panels. I decided to cut out some of the drops and applique these to the leatherlook panels to get more cohesion. I really like how it turned out.

I’m not really happy with where the waist sits. I think I’ll play around with it on a fourth version (these were all cut out as I did some cutting sessions). After making these, I read this post by Jenny from Cashmerette on waistlines. She says that for some people the waistline looks better when you place it above your actual waistline. I notice that I prefer my waist to sit a bit higher and going forward I’ll use that on my projects. I took the dress 5/8 in at the sideseams as it felt pretty huge on me. I think I could take them in some more.

For my second version I didn’t need to worry about yardage. I had the same amount of fabric, but was left with enough to make a Sointu kimono tee. I think I needed a little over a metre. I made the V-neck bodice, elbow length sleeves and the pencil kneelength skirt. I had some problems with the V-neck, there’s a slight pucker where I didn’t get my fabric flat enough, but it is hardly noticable when I’m wearing the dress. I used the same size, but used a seam allowance of 5/8 all over instead of 3/8. This helped with the fit.

For my third version I used the fabric from the August box of Sew Hayley Jane.

I wanted a more dramatic skirtlength to go with this and so I used a midi skirt pattern I drafted myself. Construction was simple as it was the third time in two weeks that I made this dress.

I really like the pattern and think it will become a TNT for me. I’ll probably play around with different skirts and will try how it looks with a shortened bodice.

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Fabric shopping at Stoff & Stil

A couple of weeks ago I was approached by Stoff & Stil with a question. They wanted me to try some of their fabrics now that there is a webshop for The Netherlands too. I had just been browsing their website the night before and had almost broken my ban on buying fabric, so I took this as a sign that the universe wanted me to get some fabric! Here’s my review of the experience. Obviously I got some fabric for free, but I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. My opinions in this review are my own.

Stoff & Stil is a Danish company that produces their own fabric collections. They have brick-and-mortar shops in Denmark, Norway, Germany and Sweden and webshops for a dozen countries, now including The Netherlands. Shipping is done by DHL. If you have shopped online with H&M before they had a distribution centre in Eindhoven, you know this means delivery times of about a week. Stoff & Stil has some wonderful modern designs that I had been wanting to try. The company also sells patterns (going to try some of those next), yarn, sewing supplies and kits with everything you need to make a certain garment (also very tempted by those).

I made a little list of things that I needed for Hanna, Wybe and me and went shopping. In the end I got more fabric and paid for part of it myself because it was really hard to narrow it down! And I managed to not buy any flower prints, which was really, really, really hard. But… I have so many florals that it really was time for a change.

The website itself has some cool features: lots of fabrics feature garments made with that fabric so you can get a good sense of what you can make with it. I also appreciate that there’s information on shrinkage and washing instructions. This information is also labeled on the fabric when you receive it. I almost never pre-wash jersey, but seeing the labels with the estimated shrinkage made me wash it all. Everything came out of the washing machine as it should, no fading on the colours.

I ended up getting nine fabrics.

This navy dotted cotton jersey that I used for this dress:

I don’t know if you can see it on the label, but it’s OEKOTEX 100, which makes me very happy.

These two jerseys for Hanna:

The rabbits I turned into this little dress:

b

The one with hearts I will make into some pants and use as sleeves on a sweater with the remnants of the bunnies.

These two cotton jerseys, that will become a dress and a vest.

These cotton jerseys are all very uniform in quality. Nice drape, but firm fabric that’s easy to work with.

I also got this black viscose stretch crepe, that I’m going to turn into breezy summer pants. I’ll update when I have worked with it. It feels pretty nice!

There’s a section with outdoor fabric where I finally managed to find yellow fabric for a raincoat for Hanna (I think it’s going to be soooo cute!).

Next: the one fabric that disappointed me slightly. It’s called cotton jersey soft, but it doesn’t really feel soft. It actually feels slightly stiffer than the other cotton jerseys I got. I’m going to use this one to make t-shirts for Wybe and me, maybe a jumpsuit.

And finally, my favourite of the bunch. This is a viscose, but it’s a thicker viscose than you usually get. It has all the drape and airiness of viscose, but it also feels substantial and is easy to handle. It washed beautifully and hardly wrinkled. I’m really looking forward to making this into a pretty dress.

In conclusion:

+ Large selection of modern designs

+ Cotton jersey and viscose are high quality and wash well.

+ Large selection of organic fabric and lots of fabric that has the Oekotex label.

+ Lots of useful information on the fabric itself.

+ Pictures of garments made with the fabric.

– Longer delivery times than shops based in The Netherlands.

Will buy again!

Sew Over It Eve dress

This year’s Sew together for summer challenge involved making a wrapdress. I love wrapdresses, I have a gazillion patterns for wrapdresses and I was actually planning about five of them in some of my most beloved fabrics. So ofcourse I completely froze and started doubting all my decisions. After thinking about it for a while I settled on using this fabric. I got this cotton jersey earlier this year at Naaiplezier (I think it sold out really quickly). I love fabric with leaves on it and this one is particulary good quality. I think it is biological cotton (I can’t find the info, but I’ve been buying organic for some time now).

I kept thinking about making an Eve dress with it. I made this pattern before and knew that it’s key to keep the fabric from stretching out to much. I immediately stabilized the front bodice with seam tape after cutting it out. I finished the neckline with foldover elastic for extra stability. I also stabilized all horizontal seams with clear elastic and use a triple straight stitch thoughout. This stitch provides both stretch and stability.

The pattern itself is really easy to sew up. I cut out a size 14 instead of 16 to account for the stretch.

I’ll add some photos of the back later on to show you the fit.

Frankie shirt and Stella joggers

Since a few weeks I have been on sick leave from my job. Since I gave birth to Hanna I haven’t been able to get my blood glucose levels steady and this has been wreaking havoc on my health. I’m now taking the time and attention I need to get things under control again. I have not really been wanting to sew at all as I was feeling so tired and listless. I tried to find some easy projects to sew like the Agnes dress of last week. I also wanted some simple jogging pants that I could wear outside the house too and I had been desperate for a stripey shirt again. I decided on the Stella joggers and Frankie shirt from the Stretch! sewing book by Tilly. I used a black ponte from Cotton Reel Studio (which doesn’t seem to be in stock at the moment) for the joggers and a striped (biological!) cotton from Studio Spatz. Both are really lovely and comfortable fabrics.

I traced a Tilly size 5 for both. For the shirt I slightly scooped out the neckline (lowering the neckline by about 1.5 cm) as the higher neckline did not look good on me at all.

I was hoping to get a new tnt pattern with this shirt, but I’m slightly dissapointed by how it looks on me. I had been making this shirt for several other people who all looked so good in it that I had developed really high expectations. I think I need more scoop or a v-neck on my shirts or go full bateau/boatneck. I still have enough fabric left to try out another shirt pattern. It is a great pattern otherwise, everything goes together fast and simple, lines up and the lot. And it did look really good on other people and not bad on me.

I’m quite excited by the joggers. I never had anything like these.

I had not expected to like pants with a band at the ankle, but it’s the thing that I like best. I didn’t do a drawstring, but used elastic at the back to keep a smooth front. Again, this was a really nice pattern to sew up with everything coming together perfectly.

Still haven’t finished my Colette Penny (eg the bane of my existence), but hopefully will get to that one soon (just two buttonholes and the hem left to do).

Me-made-May and Agnes dress in basic black

This year was my third year participating in Me-made-May. It isn’t a huge challenge to wear my handmade clothes. Most of my wardrobe is handmade since last year. I also love most of my handmade clothes. Some of them didn’t turn out as I wanted , but those usually get donated or gifted to someone who does love them. I share a three-door-wardrobe with my husband and we split the available space exactly in halve. So my space is limited and that’s good I think. I have one box in the attic for seasonal clothes like warm sweaters for winter and summer dresses that I change out every six months. The largest part of my wardrobe consists of clothes that can be layered and worn throughout the year. Two things I took away from this year are that I need to make more separates if I want to wear those and that I need to slow down my sewing if I don’t want to overflow my wardrobe. The RTW clothes that I have left are all separates and I don’t love them like I love my handmade clothes. I hardly ever wear them. It’s not an aversion against separates as I do love my handmade separates and reach for those often (enough). So I’m going to replace my RTW separates with handmade ones over the year. Secondly, I love sewing. I love sewing every day, but I decided that I shouldn’t sew every day because I don’t want to be someone who churns out clothes like there is no tomorrow. I like my clothes to be special to me. I have already significantly slowed down my sewing this year and I’m happy with that. I took up painting as an alternative creative outlet and started to work more on fixing up the dollhouse I got second-hand. This means that my significant stash will have to wait a bit longer and that I probably won’t buy new fabric for another year. Except that I just did buy new fabric… (insert emoticon filled with shame).

Which brings me to today’s new garment. For years I wanted to make myself a black dress that I could wear throughout the year. I don’t know why I never did. I just never even bought the fabric for it, but every time I made plans for seasonal sewing the black dress made the list and didn’t get made as I had not bought the fabric and felt bad about buying more fabric since I already had so much fabric…. after this year’s Me-made-May I felt I needed to make some basics, mostly separates, but also one or two dresses that would go with everything during the whole year. I had just discovered a new webshop for biological fabrics called Studio Spatz and decided to get fabric for some of those basics I envisioned. I got this black (GOTS and Oeko-tex) cotton and used the Agnes shirt by Tilly and the Buttons as a template. The pattern has the waistline marked on it and that’s where I usually cut of the pattern, add a seam allowance and attach the skirt. I have a couple of skirt templates that I can use and this time I went with a midi length one. I make sure that all my pattern pieces have the same waist measurements so I can use them interchangeably. I finished this three days ago and am already wearing it for the second time. It’s a very comfortable dress. The skirt just skims my belly and hips just the way I like it.

So that’s the first piece of my small, sort of capsule, wardrobe of basics. I’m now going to work on black Ginger jeans and a striped shirt. I’m trying to figure out which patterns I want to use for the tops I want to make. I also still have some finishing to do on my Colette Penny dress. I’m kind of putting that off all the time as I’m not really happy with how the dress is working out, but I will try to put it behind me this weekend.

Colette Parfait

I own almost every Colette pattern there is. I bought most when I started to sew in the first sale I experienced. The Moneta dress was one of the first things I ever made. I stumbled across Colette Patterns when I researched learning to sew and found Gertie’s Blog for Better Sewing. Gertie had made the early patterns and so I found the Colette company. The Moneta dress had just been released and that became the first pattern I bought. I realised that I did not have the skills yet to make everything I wanted and so I put aside some of the other Colette Patterns I had bought for myself. And then every week a new must-have pattern was released and I sort of forgot about the older patterns.

When it comes to my personal style I am very much a Colette woman. Not every pattern, but overall it is closest to my style. Deer and Doe patterns comes very close to my style too. I realised how much potential I was wasting in my PDF folder by not using all my patterns and decided to make every single one I own. This would give me the chance to test my skills, use my fabric, make things out of my comfort zone and have a cute wardrobe.

I started out with the Parfait dress that I bought at the very beginning of my sewing career. It’s not a typical dress for me, a little too much skin and I decided to make it in a fabric that’s not very typical for me either, a Swiss dotted fabric from Gertie’s collction. All in all more girly than I usually wear, but very fitting for summer.

I needed to line the dress and did not use the facings. It was good to practice this again as it’s been a while.

This dress comes with a lot of pattern pieces. I cut out a size 12 and made no adjustments. It seems my body has very common proportions and I usually only adjust for length. I left off the patch pockets as those were a bit too much for me in this fabric.

The most difficult thing for me was the V-shape of the bodice. My V-necks always end up rounded. Next time I’ll take it with me to sewing class and get some help. I also made a mistake with the gathers, but I corrected that.

The straps have non-functioning buttons:

I used my preferred method of finishing (pinked seams and rolled hem):

I slipstitched the lining to the invisible zipper:

I’m pretty happy with how this turned out! It does really feel like me even if it’s very different from what I usually wear. My husband REALLY likes it a lot, so there’s that. I also love the fit of it.

Next up is either the Penny or the Ceylon!

Tilly and the Buttons Freya dress

I got the book Stretch! as soon as it came out because I wanted to make the Joni dress. But then I got distracted by the Freya dress that was popping up all over the place. I normally don’t even like pleats on my chest! Yet a dress with pleats on my chest I had to make all of a sudden.

I had this lovely flower ponte from Textielstad (they don’t seem to have any left) and I kept thinking about Freya, so I traced it (which went surprisingly quick), cut it and sewed it up in about 2,5 hours. I was surprised when I held a finished garment in my hands after just two episodes of The Queen (I actually watch that show on repeat at the moment). It’s awfully short on me even though I added 3 inches to the hem. I might do something about that, but so far people seem to really like it so I’m keeping it as is at the moment.

I also made a cosy version to hang around in on the weekend:

This fabric is also from Textielstad and also seems to have sold out since then. It’s a thick embossed jersey. I lengthened this significantly. It’s so comfortable! I fell ill the day after making this and wore it while feeling miserable on the couch.

I really like the pattern. It’s well designed, everything comes together perfectly. I haven’t read the instructions, so I can’t comment on those. I’m looking forward to using this pattern to make some basic tops to use for layering.