Tag: sewing: dresses

This dress? I love. It’s By Hand London’s Anna dress in its new-ish D-cup extended-sizing block, and it’s already on my TNT radar after just one make. I shortened the bodice by two inches and the skirt by six; the bodice is perfect but the skirt is not quite long enough for my liking, so next time I’ll only shorten it by three. Other than the hem length I’m making precisely zero changes the next time this graces my cutting table. And it will grace it again. And again. And probably again. I love finding patterns I want to make in all the fabrics.

And! Because I’m so short and the cross-grain is my friend, I needed just under two metres of 115 cm wide fabric to make this. Next time the longer skirt will probably push it to just over two metres but I am absolutely fine with that.

Turns out the invisible zipper was not necessary – I can pull this on and off over my head without unzipping. So that’s a bit of work I’ll probably omit next time, because why zipper if you don’t have to?

So one week post coccyx fracture and I’ve figured out how to set up my chair and pillows so I can sew rather than just being a lump on the sofa. I can’t do marathon sessions, but I can sew for decent periods of time as long as I take adequate breaks and keep up with my painkillers.

On a side note, I’m contemplating closing my blog. It’s a monthly expense I’m not sure about, really – my view stats are so low it seems almost like pointless work to keep going, and aside from that I often forget to update it when I make new things. Does anyone even read it? Does anyone want it to stick around? Not sure. Opinions?

Catch-All Finished! Handmade Sewing

Make #4 for 2021 – a sleeveless Hinterland dress. This is another one I’ve been meaning to make for ages, and in this case, I even had the fabric pre-washed and ready to go. For, er, a while now. But! Now it’s done. It was a quick and easy sew with few alterations. Fabric is quilting cotton because of course it is.

I took an inch off the bodice above the bust dart (a standard adjustment for me) but the dart is tilted as-drafted and therefore ended up a bit too high. I’ll take off an inch below the dart next time.

The button placket is fake, and not in the usual buttons-sewn-through-both-plackets way. I cheated by cutting the bodice on the fold, then folding the edges under on an extra strip of fabric and topstitching it in place. Adding the placket was a last-minute decision after the dress was mostly complete, and I didn’t love the idea of unpicking half my work to add a functional one. Next time, maybe.

Discovered that my stitch-in-the-ditch foot is excellent for 1/8″-from-edge topstitching if I align the needle to the left instead of the centre. I just got the foot a few days ago, along with an adjustable hem foot, a zipper foot, and an invisible zipper foot. I’m slowly collecting little bits and pieces to make my sewing life easier.

Finished! Handmade Sewing

A brand-new York pinafore in the snow, today. I’ve really been on a sewing streak, lately, but I need to set aside my own projects tonight and tomorrow evening to finish some dance costumes so the kids can try them on before winter break.

If anyone’s looking for something cute and quick, York is great. It feels like it just flies from start to finish. The fabric is cotton that has been sitting for a few weeks waiting for me to turn it into this. I didn’t have enough fabric to match the pocket, but let’s be honest: I probably wouldn’t have tried to match it anyway.

Not sure why I always groan internally at patterns that have significant applications of bias tape – when it comes down to it, I never mind sewing it on and I do really like the clean, simple look of bias-bound edges. The inside edges of the kangaroo pocket are red, but I used white tape for the rest.

So I sewed a size 20 according to the measurements chart, but I ended up taking in each side by two inches, so four inches total. It was a bit much – I should have left it at one inch for each side – but it’s still cute and wearable so I’m not concerned.

Catch-All Finished! Handmade Sewing

A second post for the day, this time with the most ridiculous item of clothing I’ve ever sewn myself. Hot pink with cats in sunglasses and flower crowns? Ridiculous. But also: perfect. I really do love this. I found the fabric at the local shop and there was no way it wasn’t coming home with me.

Pattern is Style Arc Hope, modified slightly. It’s funny, because the line drawing for the pattern didn’t impress me much. I thought, though, that if I shortened the sleeves to above the elbow and the skirt to knee-length that it had the potential to be cute, and I think I was right.

I sewed a size 16, which is sized down from what the pattern recommends because I’m not a fan of overly generous ease. The fit is just right, for me, so I’ll stick with that for a while.

I should probably make another one of these in a less… eye-catching print. Something a little softer, because it’s a really nice shape. Not sure if I want to dive into that right away, though, or make something else. Honestly, I’m having a very hard time deciding on projects lately – I just want to make everything and sew all the time. Time to win the lottery, I guess.

Off to flip through patterns. Maybe something will spark.

Catch-All Finished! Handmade Sewing

I just shared my first post at Minerva.com – I’m delighted to be a new member of their Maker team! Full disclosure: the Liberty of London Tana Cotton Lawn was gifted to me by Minerva in exchange for a blog post on their site, most of which I’m also sharing here now.

I may possibly have made an embarrassingly high-pitched sound when the parcel came, and I may possibly have made a lot of ‘ooo’ noises when I opened it. It’s light, smooth, and even silky. It’s just a touch crisp but with a lovely, almost fluid drape; I love cotton and cotton blends and sew with them all the time, but the quality of this fabric is miles above what I’m used to. Featherweight fabrics can sometimes be a challenge but this was a dream to sew.

Even the gathering, which is something I don’t tend to enjoy, wasn’t a problem because the fabric was so easy to manipulate and to evenly spread out the fullness.

I knew, for this, that I didn’t want to take a chance on a new pattern. I wanted to sew something that I’ve sewn before, something that I knew I’d wear over and over. I chose Chalk and Notch’s Fringe dress – I’ve made it several times and, amazingly, it fits my under-five-foot self without a ton of adjustments. All I need to do is shorten the bodice by two inches and I’m ready to go.

I’m a fan of Chalk and Notch patterns in general. There are only a few left I haven’t made, and I tend to sew them repeatedly because I’m always pleased with the results. The Fringe has two views to choose from, and either can be made as a blouse or a dress. There’s quite a bit of built-in ease – and if you’re like me, too much ease isn’t always preferable – so do check the finished measurements along with the body measurements to choose a size.

My body measurements fall into the size 20 but I sewed a 16. I usually do view A, but this time, for something just a little different, I went with view B.

And I love it. It’s light and airy and beautiful, and the fabric feels wonderful against my skin. It’ll be nicely cool when summer comes around again, but I’m not about to wait for that – leggings and a cardigan, or long-sleeved tee underneath, will make it a year-round dress. It’s definitely my favourite Fringe so far.

Fringe wasn’t the only Chalk and Notch pattern I sewed this week: I also made a new (slightly hacked) Page hoodie. I’ve wanted to make a sweatshirt with a lace overlay for months but couldn’t decide on a colour. I found this soft dusty green at the local fabric shop – 95% of their stock is quilting cotton but they’re starting to bring in small amounts of basic apparel fabric as well – and thought it would be perfect.

I used the length from the drawstring hem but the band from the other view, and I also cut the sleeves to elbow length and gathered them in to the cuff meant for long sleeves. The hood was going to be the same as the front but I thought I could get away with two layers of lace, instead, and I do really love how it looks. I love the whole hoodie, really, and – of course – I’m thinking about making another one. In a darker or brighter colour, this time, for a different kind of contrast.

And now I need to sit down at the machines again and finish a hot pink cat-print (yes) dress so I can take photos before the sun goes down.

Catch-All Finished! Handmade Sewing

My parcel of birthday fabric arrived yesterday afternoon! After the requisite several minutes of fabric-petting I bundled part of it right into the wash so I could spend the evening sewing.

And I did! I’d planned to finish a mini Fringe before jumping into a jersey pile, but my sewing machine decided its buttonhole functions weren’t going to behave themselves. Erg. With all the quirks the machine is developing lately I worry that it’s coming to the end of its life.

So instead of finishing in-progress projects I made another I Love the 90s dress – one of the few projects (along with my Estuary skirts) I’m able to make with no alterations. Actually, that’s not quite true – I do always lower the neckline and make a band instead of lining the bodice, but I made pattern pieces for those so it feels just like a cut-and-sew project.

I was expecting the print to be smaller, but it still looks cute so I’m not complaining. I did accidentally manage to put a hot-air balloon on each boob, though. Oops. I don’t think it’s too obvious, is it?

I made another little Going Home raglan, too, with the scraps from the 90s dress. Took under an hour because a) knits; b) tiny. I love projects that let me use up my leftovers, especially since fabric tends to be on the expensive side for me. The only local fabric shop sells exclusively cotton wovens (and a bit of flannel), so if I want anything different I have to order online.

Really wish I had a local source for knits.

Tonight I’m going to start (and, let’s be real, probably finish) a third Page hoodie, this one in red with a contrast hood lining. I’m thinking about colour blocking the sleeves and putting a wide stripe of contrast down them, but I only have half a metre of contrast so I’ll have to see what’s left after I cut out the hood and cuffs.

It’s finally warm enough to take photos outside again! I mean, it was -5 when I took the photo above, but I can manage that for a little while in short sleeves.

Catch-All Finished! Handmade Sewing

It’s a dull, washed-out kind of day but at least I have a bright red York pinafore to make up for it.

It’s kind of ridiculous how long I’ve waited to make this – I tagged the pattern for future sewing when it first came out, but was convinced that it just wasn’t going to look right on me and waffled back and forth for literal months. Not sure what made me decide, yesterday, to just dive in, but I’m glad I did. I kind of love it. Even the slight cocoon shape works.

Alterations were simple – I shortened the yoke by 1.25″ at each of the two lengthen/shorten points, and I graded from a 22 yoke to a 26 waist/hip. It works well with the thick corduroy, but if I make one in a thinner fabric I may go to a 24 waist/hip instead. I might try the other pockets, too, just for fun.

I used much less bias tape than the pattern called for – I’m guessing the estimate was generous. I made my own out of a scrap of red/green/white tartan and it’s super-cute on the inside. I always seem to convince myself that I don’t like the process of sewing a bias facing, but every time I do it I conclude that it’s not at all the pain in the butt I told myself it would be. Good thing, too, because the neck, open sides, and pocket openings are all entirely finished with bias tape.

I’m not sure how much time I spent on this but it seemed like a fairly quick sew. It’s not a dress but I’m tagging it as one anyhow, because I’m not likely to need a ‘pinafore’ tag anytime soon.

Catch-All Finished! Handmade Sewing

Just when I thought I might see spring sometime this century, Friday brought 25 cm of snow and near 100 km/h winds. I didn’t budge from my sewing room most of the afternoon – I had new patterns to tape together, plus a few projects on the go.

A couple of weeks ago I acquired some seal-print cotton/spandex jersey, and it took about 24 hours for it to become this I Love the 90s dress. It’s a cute pattern – empire-waist dresses will never not be my jam – and the fabric is gorgeous quality. It’s very soft with great recovery, and has a nice weight and thickness to it, too. Plus, seals. I am a five-year-old in a fortysomething-year-old body and I’m absolutely fine with that.

The only alterations I made were to have a single-layer bodice, which necessitates adding a band to the neckline for finishing, and to drop the neckline, too, because otherwise the band makes it a little too high for my liking. This is my second dress from the pattern, and it won’t be the last.

I haven’t worn the first one much, but that’s not the fault of the pattern. It was only my second project with jersey, and I managed to muck up the hems just enough so that they flipped after washing, and even the iron couldn’t get them to lie right. This morning I finally got around to unpicking the sleeve and skirt hems; I redid them with my twin needle and I think they’ll be fine now.

… Back to being a five-year-old in a fortysomething-year-old body, though, because I also made this Claiborne top from panda-print cotton. First time using a DIBY pattern, and it worked all right, but some of the pattern pieces didn’t quite line up. I’m not sure whether that’s exclusive to this pattern or a more widespread issue, but it was a little frustrating.

I didn’t actually pay attention to any of the instructions. I mean. Basic top, gathered empire waist, gathered sleeve ruffles, neckline facing. Not complex. Sometimes I like to just do my own thing. I did end up cutting two inches off the sleeve ruffles because I found them too long and puffy, but other than that it’s sewn as drafted.

I have a parcel of birthday-gift fabric arriving in a few days and I’m super-excited. I ordered enough for four projects – a third Page hoodie, a Josephine sweatshirt, another I Love the 90s dress and a Fuller cardigan. Eee. Have I mentioned before how much I love L’Oiseau Fabrics? Because I do, especially when it comes to jersey and french terry.

And now, back to the sewing machine.

Catch-All Finished! Handmade Sewing

Please ignore the expression on my face. Squinting-into-the-sun selfies are rarely attractive.

So. Hedgehog dress! The print is little hedgehogs with flowers instead of quills, and it’s stinkin’ cute. I’m almost always 300% in favour of cute novelty prints. I had originally planned to make a Pembroke top with this, but when I laid it out I realised I might have enough to make a short-sleeved version of Ellie & Mac’s I Love the 90s dress.

I used every single scrap of fabric, but it worked. I had to put on a neckband rather than lining the bodice for fabric-quantity reasons, and next time if I do that I’ll scoop out the neckline much more because I find it a bit high for my liking. Couldn’t do the pockets, either, which is disappointing because everything should have pockets – but, a hedgehog dress without pockets is better than no hedgehog dress at all.

I made a straight 3x, and like… since when does that happen? I always have to grade up for my waist/hips/butt, but somehow I fit nicely into the 3x measurements. And the fit is so good – the bodice is fitted without being tight, and even the sleeves are perfect without a large bicep adjustment. Sorcery, I tell you. Plus, the dress goes together lightning-fast. It’s literally nine seams and three hems. I’d love one of these in a cozy, stretchy French terry for winter. Maybe that’ll be next on the list.

In other news, I’m now part-time at work. It wasn’t my first choice, but chronic illness sucks. My budget is tight, now, but I’m much more able to have an actual work-life balance. I work Monday & Tuesday, Thursday & Friday. Wednesdays, my mid-week day off, I’ve designated as a creative/brain-recharge day. I can’t do anything too strenuous or I’ll screw the rest of my week, but writing, reading, sewing, knitting, and certain types of photography are all things that please my brain.

Catch-All Finished! Handmade Sewing

The universe tried to defeat me today as far as photos go. It was cold and windy with a thick layer of grey cloud, and I had equipment issues, to boot. I misplaced the quick-release plate from my tripod, so the only real option I had was the edge of the parking lot where I could set my camera on a car; then the remote refused to work so I had to resort to setting a ten-second timer and scrambling into place after each click.

Issues aside – yay, I have a new dress! It’s a Montrose hack. I lengthened the hem and flared it some, gave it a mild high-low cut, then added elastic and a fabric tie belt to the underbust. I should have traced the edited pattern pieces before putting the dress together, but I didn’t think about it at the time, so if I decide to make another in the same style (which I likely will) I’ll have to pin the dress out and trace from there.

I swore I was not going to be that person who puts a photo of her cats in every post, but Parker’s asleep face-down on a pile of seersucker and it’s the cutest thing.

Catch-All Finished! Fur for Brains Handmade Sewing