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The Day Dress from The Avid Seamstress

It’s been two or three years since I sewed my first Day Dress, and just recently when I was trying to decide on what dress I wanted to make to attend the Sewisfaction Big Summer Stitch Up sewing event, I came across this pattern, and thought it was about time that I gave it another go.

I have made several of The Avid Seamstress sewing patterns before, and they are an absolute joy. The instructions are always so beautifully written, any sewing terms are clearly explained and the whole process of sewing one of these patterns is such a great experience.

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I made view C – but I love the look of view B (with the buttons) too.

Because the bodice is quite fitted on this dress, I went for a stretch cotton twill, as I wanted it to fit snugly, but still be wonderfully comfortable at the same time. This Ellie Stretch Twill from Sewisfaction was perfect. I just cannot resist a pretty floral fabric. It looks like it is out of stock now, but if you follow my link, there is the opportunity to join a waitlist to be notified if it comes back into stock. Because of the stretch, I also sized down one size, and this worked out great.

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The cotton reel brooch is available in my shop x

When I tried on my original version, to check the fit, I noticed that the back neckline was gaping a little bit on me – something that I often find – I corrected this with a 1″ adjustment which I marked on the pattern piece before cutting out. I’m not sure what the technical name for this adjustment is (I’m calling it ‘a gaping back neck adjustment’), but basically it means cutting a straight line from the middle of the neckline on the back bodice piece, almost all the way down to the waistline, then cutting along that line and bringing it in and overlapping it at he neckline by the required amount (in my case 1″), and taping it in place. This really works for me. Don’t forget that you will need to cut a new back neckline facing piece now as the original one obviously won’t fit any more. I simply traced my own piece by placing some pattern tracing paper over the newly adjusted back bodice neckline.

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Of course pockets are a wonderful part of this dress, and I chose to make them using some silky lining fabric that I had in my stash, just to keep any bulk at bay.

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The back of the dress is fastened/unfastened with an invisible zip. Everything lined up wonderfully, and I really like the gentle gathers in the skirt – not too many, not too few! I must admit I gathered the skirt in the usual way, rather than use elastic as per the instructions, and this worked equally well.

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The length of the skirt is spot on for me. It just hits the knee, and this is as per the pattern with the hem overlocked and using just the teeniest tiniest hem I possibly could. You might want to think about your skirt length though if you are much taller or shorter than me – I am 5’2″.

I am over the moon with how the dress has turned out. It fits me much better than my original version that I made all that time ago, partly because of that gaping back neck adjustment and partly because I sized down. My love for The Day Dress has returned BIG TIME, I don’t think it will be too long before I make another – I love the look of the version with the buttons down the front.

The finishing touch is this cute new label which I purchased from Pink Coat Club recently. A perfect addition to any handmade garment if you are a kitty Mum like me.

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Today’s blog pics were taken in Leicester Botanical Gardens. Such a pretty tucked away treasure, and certainly somewhere we will return to again.

Take care, and I’ll be back again soon,

Kathy x

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Simplicity 8816 Cross Back Apron

Since the launch of my acrylic jewellery business, a great deal of my working day is spent at my craft bench making acrylic necklaces and brooches. I will be the first to hold my hand up and admit that I can be clumsy at times and pretty soon I realised that an apron was going to be a necessity.

In the previous few weeks I had seen a lot of cross back aprons and this was the sort of style that I wanted. (Although having said that I’m not ruling out the addition of a frilly retro number another time).

I really loved The Maria Apron by Maven Patterns, especially when the lovely Sarah blogged about it here. But in the end I could not resist the big old wrap around pockets that Simplicity 8816 had to offer.

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There are a few different options with this pattern, and I went for View A, (the orange version in the top right of the image above), which is the mid thigh length cross back version – although it’s almost knee length on me – I’m 5’2″.

I’m really happy with my choice of fabric. Some of you will probably recognise it – it’s the beige Lenda fabric from Ikea. At £5 per metre, and nice and wide, I think I only needed about 1 metre to make the medium size. Also – who doesn’t love cutting their own fabric! The fabric is a sturdy, medium weight, and ideal for protecting my clothes from a battering of glue and paint!

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It’s such a quick and easy pattern to make, perfect for a beginner. The pattern pieces that you need are simply the apron front, the pocket, the front band and the strap. Easy.

The instructions call for the addition of bias binding to finish the armhole edges of the apron. I have tons of home made bias which I cannot resist making if I have leftover fabric (especially ditsy floral fabrics), so I was over the moon to have the opportunity to use up some of it. I may have got a little carried away with it, as I also decided to use it to finish the side and bottom edges of the apron too…and the top of the pocket!

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I particularly like the pockets – they wrap all the way around the entire width of the apron, divided by three rows of vertical stitching, giving you a whopping FOUR massive pockets. Oh joy! Add a bit of bias to the top and your pocket dreams are right there!!

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There’s a little bit of topstitching on this one, which is a part of sewing that I really enjoy. Hence I had a great old time with this detail on the front band, straps and pockets.

 

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Shameless plug – but the button brooch is available from my shop x

The cross straps at the back give me just the right amount of coverage – I felt other styles of cross back aprons covered too much of the back which I didn’t need and felt might make me too warm when I was working. So this was just right. Putting it on initially was funny as I was putting my arms through the wrong bits – if you have ever put on a cross-back item of clothing you will know what I mean – but I’m used to it now.

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So this is definitely a good investment in my handmade wardrobe. I have been wearing it for the last few weeks and I wouldn’t be without it now.

Although I am using it for crafting purposes, it would be equally as suitable in the kitchen as an alternative to the butchers style apron don’t you think? Wouldn’t it be fun to colour block it? Imagine using different fabric for the pockets, band and straps!

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Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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The Tiered Skirt from issue 65 of Love Sewing Magazine

The style of this skirt pattern is a bit of a trip down memory lane for me. I had a tiered skirt like this about 15 years ago and I can remember wearing it ALL THE TIME after the birth of my second son, as it was elasticated like this and it was one of the few items in my wardrobe with accommodated my changing body shape at this time. I wore and washed it so much that in the end I had to let it go as the fabric had just dreadfully faded over time.

Fast forward a few years and I am delighted to see a revival in tiered skirts and dresses, and when I noticed this free download in issue 65 of Love Sewing Magazine I couldn’t  wait to make it.

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It’s an incredibly simple pattern to cut out and sew. There is just one pattern piece to download which is the skirt yoke. The rest of the pattern (the tiers) are formed by adding slightly gathered rectangles, each rectangle getting longer as you go down the length of the skirt. The measurements of the tiers (along with the sewing instructions) are written in the magazine issue.

All that you need to finish off your skirt is a length of elastic, and you are good to go!

Yesterday we went strawberry picking and I decided to use this opportunity to show you some pics of the finished skirt.

 

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The pattern in the magazine shows the finished skirt as having the yoke plus 4 tiers. As I am 5’2″,  I only needed to cut 3 tiers and found this to be the perfect midi length for me. You can definitely play around with the number of tiers that you cut to make it as long or as short as you want.

Fabric suggestions are tana lawn or lightweight cotton fabrics and I chose to sew it using a super pretty floral viscose from The Frugal Fabric Shop.

This fabric was sent to me as a gift from Kate from The Frugal Fabric Shop when we had a little product swap recently. It’s cool and swishy and just perfect for this skirt don’t you think?

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Due to the ditsy floral print of the fabric it’s hard to capture the beauty of the tiers on this skirt. Hopefully the image below from the magazine shows you what the actual design of the skirt is a little more clearly. I think making this up in a solid colour next time might be a good idea.

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This pattern was designed by Fiona Hesford from Sewgirl, and I loved just how quickly it came together and how comfortable it is to wear.

I cut it out in the morning and sewed it up in the afternoon. It’s very rare that I wear my new ‘me-mades’ straight away, as I always like to photograph them for my blog first, but with this skirt we had a sunny day last Saturday, and I wore it straight away on my morning walk!

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Thank you to Fiona for sharing such a great pattern with us via Love Sewing magazine. Hand on heart I am making this one again .. and probably again …

Issue 65 of Love Sewing magazine has been one of my fave’s –  I also made another free skirt download pattern from this issue – a ruffle skirt – and you can take a look at the blog that I wrote on that pattern here.

Do you have a favourite ‘go-to’ skirt pattern or can you recommend any other tiered skirts or dresses?

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x