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My Butterick B6380 ‘patterns by Gertie’ Tea Dress pattern review and photo shoot with Love Sewing Magazine.



Ok, today’s blog post is a little different. I’m going to give you my pattern review of Butterick B6380, which is the free pattern in this month’s Love Sewing magazine. This time however, I am also sharing with you my pics from the photo shoot that I had with Love Sewing, as I was thrilled to be asked to write a review on the pattern as a feature in the magazine. Somebody pinch me.

So although I have made many Butterick patterns before, this is the first time that I have made a ‘patterns by Gertie’ design and I was super excited to try it. I love the vintage style of the dress and have admired many of Gertie’s makes that I have seen made up by other sewists.

B6380_aThe great thing about the pattern that you receive in Love Sewing magazine is that it covers the whole size range (6-22) in one pattern. You can see that it is a vintage inspired tea dress with a close fitted bodice, and a shaped panel at the waistline with gathers above front and back. It has a sweetheart neckline which is cleverly formed by two small tabs, and has more delicate gathers at the shoulders. It fastens with a zip down the centre back seam.


I had so much fun selecting the fabric for this dress. I wanted a floral fabric ( you know me – no surprises there)! but didn’t want a full-on vintage design, so chose this wonderful crepe from Fabric Godmother.  It has grey flowers on a sage green background and as soon as I saw it I fell in love. I’m hoping it gives the dress design a modern twist, I think it works really well. The fabric has a beautiful drape and was very well behaved and easy to sew with!

After making a toile, I realised that I wanted to make some adjustments. In terms of sizing, I found that I needed to make the bodice in a size 12 and grade out to a size 14 at the waist. This was very simple to do.

I also wanted to take out some of the volume in the puff sleeves – they had a little too much height for me so I gently shaped the sleeve head to make a softer curve. Again this was nice and simple and now the sleeve head shape and gathers are just how I like them!

I also decided to pop in an invisible zip. The pattern calls for a lapped regular zip, but my preference is for an invisible fastening and this was no problem to swap over to.


Finally I felt that the neckline was a little too low for me. So simply raised it by extending the seam at the centre front by 3cm. I took the opportunity to use this extra seam length to add three little self covered buttons as a decorative nod to the vintage style of the dress.



The dress is fully lined by the way, and this involves basically sewing another dress using lining fabric. If this is something that you haven’t done before – don’t be put off, as the Butterick instructions are extremely simple to follow. It’s not a quick dress to make, but your time and patience will be rewarded. The style of this dress is so feminine and the fact that it is fully lined makes it feel super special to wear.


I’m going to take this opportunity now to share with you my day at the Love Sewing photo shoot. Quite simply I was spoilt rotten, pampered and fussed over from start to finish!

I took the train up to the studios in Stockport and was warmly welcomed by Amy,   the editor of Love Sewing magazine. I had met Amy briefly a couple of times before, and knew that I would enjoy spending the day chatting with her and getting to know her better. She is perfectly adorable, and could not have made me feel more relaxed.

This is the first time I have ever had my make-up applied by a professional make-up artist and it was fabulous! Quite frankly I could have taken Nina home with me. To top it all she styled my hair, and basically pampered me throughout. What a sweetie.

Accessories and shoes were all lined up to choose from, talk about ‘kid in a sweet shop’!



The stunning photographs were taken by Renata. Her studio set is wonderful, and I could have squealed when I saw the famous Love Sewing white panelled back drop.

Renata quickly relaxed me and took me through lots of suggestions to get a great variety of shots. I must admit I had felt quite anxious about this, as having my photo taken is the thing that I enjoy the very least about this whole sewing malarkey. However, it was so much fun and the whole team worked together to produce these fantastic photos and a day that I will treasure.

Although I could witter on about this experience all day, I will end with my personal highlight. The page 3 shot with Amy. As a regular reader of Love Sewing, I enjoy the personal feel that Amy gives the magazine and always enjoy seeing the picture of the reader reviewer with Amy on page 3. Total fan-girl moment. I could cry.


I cannot thank everybody mentioned here for making this whole experience so special. It was unforgettable.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x


Issue 51






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The Shift Dress by The Avid Seamstress.


It’s such a pleasure to share with you today The Shift Dress – the brand new pattern launch from The Avid Seamstress

I was so excited when I found out that I had the opportunity to be involved in this dress launch, as I had recently made The Day Dress by The Avid Seamstress and absolutely loved everything about it, so I knew that this would be a great experience too.

When you receive your Avid Seamstress pattern, you are receiving so much more than just a pattern. It is clear that each garment has been created with love and attention to detail, so not only do you receive your pattern pieces printed on high quality paper, but you are supplied with helpful information on how to measure yourself correctly, useful sewing term explanations and sensible tips for getting the best out of your sewing experience. The sewing instructions themselves are contained within a lovely booklet accompanied by photographs and drawings of each and every stage. If this is not enough then do head on over to their blog for even more information, tutorials and general sewing love!


At this stage I would like to mention my fabric choice. We were lucky enough to be given our choice of fabric from Fabric Godmother.  Such a tricky decision, so so many beautiful fabrics to choose from, but in the end I opted for a stunning stretch cotton. It features pretty florals on a royal blue background and was a perfect choice for this dress. The small amount of spandex in the fabric gives it just a little bit of ease (whilst maintaining it’s shape), to ensure a very comfortable fit.

Unfortunately the fabric that I used has been so incredibly popular it has now sold out, and Fabric Godmother are unable to get any more back in stock. However they do have a great range of cotton sateen fabrics which would match the fabric type that I used, and would be perfect for your version of The Shift Dress!

Suggested fabrics are lightweight to medium weight fabrics – wovens, chambray, crepe, silk, viscose and cottons.

Before I cut into my fabric, I made up a quick toile. I almost always do this when making a new pattern, and I think it is especially important to do so with a fitted dress like this. As The Avid Seamstress rightly says, apart from allowing you to make any alterations to the garment, it enables you to ‘road test’ the instructions so that by the time you are making it for real you will have the confidence to enjoy the process.

Length is always a concern for me, as I am quite small  (5’2″).  For this dress I needed to shorten the bodice by 1″, and the skirt by 5″. I marked this out and adjusted this on the pattern pieces before cutting out the fabric.

The Shift Dress is a classic design, and a wardrobe staple, but this design gives you more. What I really like is the low back of the dress. Ultra pretty, but not so low that you show your bra strap or feel that it is revealing too much. The low back also makes it possible to open and close your entire zip yourself without any help which is not always possible with a back zip.



The back skirt of the dress has flattering waist pleats, follow the instructions precisely and you will find that these line up perfectly with the waist darts on the back bodice. I am all about the pleats at the moment and these are adorable.

Back pleats match up with the bodice darts, and the waistband seams match up where the invisible zip is fitted.

Taking your time with the invisible zip pays off too. Thorough and helpful instructions will take you through this process and help you achieve great results. You are left with a zip which is truly invisible and your horizontal waist seams should match up perfectly.

Such a flattering and feminine design.

Another feature of this dress is that the front skirt is made from two pieces which forms a panel at the bottom. Hopefully you can see this from the photo below. This gives you the option of colour blocking the skirt or mixing up your fabrics to create a unique look. You could really have some fun with this.


A new challenge for me was the kick pleat at the back of the skirt, as I don’t think I have made a pencil skirt before. This is one of the final parts of making the dress and I was concerned that it might be tricky.  I had no need to worry as the written instructions accompanied by photographs ‘held my hand’ through this process and I was chuffed with how it turned out.


I should mention that there is the option to include pockets in this dress. On this occasion I decided not to use them, but it is so great to have that choice. They are simple in-seam pockets.

I decided to hem the dress by hand as I wanted the hem to be completely invisible. It took no time at all, and just lately I have found a little hand sewing quite relaxing. One of these days I will work out how to use the blind hem option on my sewing machine, as this looks like it could be a game changer!


I think this could be the perfect dress to wear as a wedding guest, or to a Summer party. Maybe a Christening outfit or for other occasions when you want to dress to impress. This Autumn our family are celebrating an 80th birthday, and I am thinking this might be the perfect outfit for such a happy family celebration.

I could also see this as smart office wear. Made up in a solid, it could showcase a perfect corporate image, don’t you think?

Taking it completely in the other direction, if you chose a chambray, you could rock a much more relaxed look. Paired with ankle boots, statement necklace and leather jacket you are good to go!

It is certainly a pattern that I will make again, as it is comfortable and fits in all the right places. I also love that when I wear it I feel really confident,  and would recommend this pattern to anybody who wants to look ‘put together’ but feel really comfortable at the same time.

Aside from myself, the amazing Dominique and Samantha will be sharing their thoughts on this exciting dress, so do head on over to their blogs and check out their makes too!


Finally I would like to say a huge thank you to Lisa and all the team at The Avid Seamstress for allowing me to be a part of this launch. It has been a wonderful experience in every way.

Fancy winning a bundle of Avid Seamstress sewing patterns? Head on over here to find out all the details on how you can do this!

Are you planning to make The Shift Dress?  I would love to hear about it. Do you have an event coming up that you plan to make a Shift Dress for?

Thanks for reading, take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x