Monday, 31 July 2017

Another shirt dress. Testing the Mayberry.

In my seriously sporadic blog posting I'm back, to bring you another shirtdress!  Shirtdresses have been EVERYWHERE in the sewing world this summer. I guess it's partly been fuelled by #Sewtogetherforsummer but anyway it's a craze I am happy to jump on bandwagon with. So when Jen of Jennifer Lauren handmade put out a call for testers for a shirtdress, I speedily signed up!

The pattern calls for a floaty fabric, however I had this awesome, not so floaty stretch cotton, which came from fabric godmother which I wanted to use so I went with that. I reckon that if, like me, you've got a cotton in your stash that you think this dress would look awesome in, I'd say go for it.  It actually helps the feature, off-centred front to stand out I think.  However, the bodice will stand out slightly from your body, I guess that's your own judgement call. 

This was my first experience of testing for Jen and I was really impressed by the standard of the pattern and instructions at this stage. I think most people had a similar experience with the tester version so there haven't been many changes made from the tester version.  This is one of Jen's first patterns with multiple cup sizes and I found this to work really well.  I cut a size 12 and C cup for the bodice and graded between a 12 and 14 for the skirt.  For this version I also added 4cm to the bodice, this is fairly standard for me as I have a long torso but I didn't take any length out of the skirt to compensate and the dress falls to above my knees.  I'm 172cm/5'7" so this is just something to be aware of if you're fairly tall.  A change I didn't make on this version was to lengthen the bust darts, personally I find them a little short, its really not a big deal, I only realised they were bugging me after I'd been wearing the dress for a while but I think I'd lengthen them on a future version.

The off centre neck/overlap is such a nice feature and was really easy to achieve. The buttons I used are some which I'd recycled from a moth-eaten, vintage cardigan that I'd gotten rid of a while ago. I think they work really well with the fabric, and somehow can get lost and look a bit fancy at the same time. I used a navy ribbon for the waist fastening.  I should probably mention that the dress has pockets which I totally failed to get a picture of but they're definitely there.  To be honest, I know everyone raves about pockets in dresses but I really am not a massive fan.  On the rare occasion when I remember I have them and actually put something in them, the dress gets all lumpy and lopsided.  I might rebel next time and not include them!

I really like this dress, I think it's super practical and fun too.  While I took these photos ages ago, I've been wearing this exact outfit all day (except with a cardigan over it as the UK hasn't decided to fix on a season at the moment!)  I definitely think I'll make another slightly more wintery version with longer sleeves.  I love Jen's versions in solid fabrics, which allow the off-centre front to stand out.  So, you never know, I may break the habit of a lifetime and opt for a plain fabric for next version!

Friday, 28 July 2017

A long time in the making!

Today I have two projects to share that have been a really long time in the making.  The first up is a Sew Over it Vintage Shirt dress which is my latest Sew Crafty Design team project.  However, I ordered the fabric for this months ago and have only just got round to making it.  It's been a super busy few months and I'm happy I can now celebrate the end of them with a new dress.

This is made in a dashwood quilting cotton from the altitude collection at Sew Crafty.  This is a really gorgeous range of cottons which are perfect for a dress like this.  For years I mainly bought cottons like these as they are so easy to work with and come in amazing patterns and colours.  Then I moved away from them to other fabrics as I expanded the range of what I could sew and my stash was surprisingly low in this kind of fabric.  I really must rectify this as I do really enjoy working with them.

This is my fourth version of this dress (I really love this pattern) so I have the fit changes sorted by now, although I did have a few other changes that I made. I hadn't ordered quite enough fabric so I made a couple of adjustments; I made the shirt a smidge narrower and made the sleeves short rather than 3/4 length with a cuff.

I then ventured out into the rain to take some photos which was much rougher on my photographer than on me, so thanks Nini.

The Julia cardigan was circling the blogosphere a few years ago and when I checked my harddrive, I've had it stored for 2 years without ever getting round to printing the pattern and making it.  Part of the reason for my lack of action was the difficulty in finding the right fabric.  I really didn't want a polyester cardigan which ruled out a ponte or something similar.  Also as I really feel the cold, I wanted something with a wool content rather than just cotton.  Anyway, a few weeks ago I found the perfect black wool jersey in my local fabric shop and as my trusty RTW black cardigan has started sprouting holes, it felt like fate!

Cardigans and jumpers are still the items that I've made very few of and don't see all that many patterns for, but I'm so excited I finally found the right combo!  This is such an easy pattern to put together and so speedy, I cut it out one evening and by lunchtime the next day, I had a new cardigan.  The only thing I don't like about the instructions is that is isn't clear that so much extra fabric is needed for the doubled over cardigan and I did not have enough fabric to do this.  It's not a big deal in this black fabric as very little is visible but in another fabric I think I'd prefer to have the doubled over collar.

So although the weather in the UK is grim at the moment, its still too warm for this cardigan really, which is perfect as it means the wool is doing its job.  Winter Alexa will thank me.

These items are my entry for one of the monthly stitch indie pattern month challenges  and I'm so pleased with my outfit.