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My Tilly and the Buttons Indigo Smock Dress

Ok, this is special. It’s quite unusual for me to purchase a pattern full price – I almost always wait for sales to come around as far as patterns are concerned, but when The Indigo came along, I just couldn’t wait.

It’s right up my street – a breezy smock dress or top, with a choice of sleeves, exposed frill seams if you like, and that dreamy floaty gently gathered skirt – I could not resist it. I kept the sleeves simple so that I could wear it underneath jackets and cardigans with no bulk, and added a ruffle on the skirt hem – but more about that later!

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My fabric choice was this pretty green and orange floral print Javanaise viscose from Abakhan online. I can’t seem to find this exact fabric anymore, but have linked the search for similar fabrics as there are plenty more in other gorgeous Autumn colours. I must admit it’s a fairly lightweight floaty fabric (which is what I wanted), but it does mean that it’s a little slippery to work with. This is definitely a fabric that I needed to hang to let the hem drop, despite it not being cut on the bias – as there was certainly a risk when cutting out that the fabric wasn’t lying perfectly straight! I hung this dress twice – once before I added the hem ruffle, and also after adding the hem ruffle before the final hemming.

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I knew that I would need to shorten the sleeves to ensure that they were a lovely bracelet length, but completely forgot to adjust the pattern before cutting out. As a result I needed to take off 7cm from the finished sleeve before finishing with a small hem.

The gently curved waistline shaping is pretty and flattering. I have chosen to gather my skirt and attach it to the bodice in the regular way, but I’m sure you’ve seen all the lovely versions that are popping up all over the internet at the moment with the pretty exposed frill seam. Such a cute feature and definitely a version that I will try in the future.

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This Summer I have been loving wearing my midi length ruffle skirts and so I wanted to incorporate a nice wide ruffle at the hem of this dress. I also really like the design of ‘that Zara dress’ and think this is not a bad dupe for it. At the time of writing this Sister Mintaka has some glorious spotty black and white viscose if you want to go full-on copy!

The ruffle on the bottom of the dress was easy. No maths required in this case! I tried the dress on (I made the dress length exactly as it came), and decided how deep I wanted the frill/how long I wanted the dress to be. In my case I wanted an extra 6″, so simply cut two x 6″ strips the entire width of the fabric that I had left over after cutting. After some gentle gathering and joining them to form a loop, one strip would sit at the front of the skirt and one at the back with the side seams of the frill matching up with the side seams of the dress. The fulness of this gather happens to be just right for me,  but you could definitely work out your perfect gather percentage if you want to be more mathematically correct!

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Just when you thought this dress couldn’t get any better – it has pockets!

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To be honest, these sit a little low for me, so I will probably position them a couple of inches higher up for my next one.

The dress bodice has a simple round neck, with bust darts, and what again makes this design so brilliant is that there are no fastenings – on and off over the head – hooray!

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These photos were taken on a blustery October day, what better way could I have shown you how floaty this gorgeous dress is …

 

All in all, it’s the perfect smock dress that I was after. Easy and comfortable to wear, and perfect in a variety of fabrics for any season. Ten out of ten!

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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Acrylic Pastel Pink Acrylic Button Necklace and Pastel Mint Green Acrylic Cotton Reel Brooch available from my shop.

Denim jacket is Calvin Klein from TK Maxx years ago.

Red trainers from Primark (current).

 

 

 

 

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The Summer Skirt – a ruffle skirt from Wardrobe By Me

I’m sure that we all know that Love Sewing magazine is always packed full of good stuff. Not only do you have at least one printed pattern included, but there are always several great downloads and instructions for other lovely patterns.

Issue 65 which was out a couple of months ago was no exception. In addition to the two free patterns that were included with this issue, there were a couple of other great pattern downloads inside that I was really interested in. Both are skirt patterns, and the one that I have chosen to make first is this faux wrap ruffle Summer Skirt from Wardrobe by Me, an independent pattern company with a Scandanavian feel.

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These ruffle skirts are EVERYWHERE at the moment and I absolutely love them. I did have a concern that the length may swamp me – I’m 5’2″, but whether or not it does – I’m loving it and wearing it regardless! Whilst we are on the subject of height – I took three inches out of the length of the skirt.

I must admit I did come across a few hurdles in making this pattern, and there were certainly a few moments where I was scratching my head. I’ll explain.

This pattern has 8 pieces. It is a printable download from Love Sewing Magazine. The instructions are found within the magazine. It is such a beautiful pattern and if you have issue 65 and you will find it on page 49.

The first thing that I noticed was that the ‘layplan’ or cutting layout shows it for only 7 pieces. Initially I worried that in order to cut out the 8th piece not shownon the plan, (one of the ruffle pieces), I would need to buy more fabric – until I noticed that the ruffle piece shown on the layout is only cut on a single piece and doesn’t need to be placed on the double layers of fabric as shown. This way the other ruffle piece (that wasn’t shown in the drawing) can be cut out of the other single layer of fabric – doh! Obvious really but just had me puzzled for a while.

The ruffle pieces are incredibly long (they are joined together at the centre back), so this is a bit of a mammoth gathering task – not my favourite sewing job at the best of times! I must look into a gathering foot for the machine sometime..

With all the confusion in the cutting out of the ruffle, somehow I managed to cut them out ‘backwards’. What I mean is that the wrap on my skirt is now from left to right rather than from right to left. Small detail and I don’t suppose it really matters – unless there’s some wrap code that I don’t know about – don’t tell me if there is!! Ha!!

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I think I must have been having some kind of bad day when I made this pattern as I also struggled with the waistband. The elastic in the waistband is inserted just in the back and stitched in place. This ensures a nice snug fit and a flat waistband at the front of the skirt which is lovely. I had it in my head that it was elasticated all the way around and couldn’t work out why the elastic length that they instruct you to cut was so short. What is wrong with me!

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The back – I forgot to raise my t-shirt so that you can see the elasticated back waistband – whoops!

I must admit I wasn’t a fan of how the waistband was attached either, again after quite some time making sure that the placement of it was correct. I really struggled with this one – despite the notches, it took me a couple of goes to get it right. I have seen a gorgeous version from Wendy over on Instagram where she has adapted the waistband a little and I think I might do this next time too. Isn’t her animal print fabulous!

The fabric that I used to make this is an adorable ditsy print floral fabric (a viscose I think)? that I bought from The Sewing Cafe when I was in Hinckley last week. It looks brown, but is in fact a very dark sage green colour, so pretty. The drape on it is stunning and it has just the right amount of swishyness for this pattern!

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These pattern review pics were taken at stunning Calke Abbey today. I usually take my pics inside but it seems such a shame to do so when the weather is so beautiful, and as myself and my husband have recently become National Trust members I thought we would combine a trip to this stunning property with taking some pics of my latest make.

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So despite all my struggles on this one, probably mostly my fault, I am absolutely in love with the outcome! It is exactly what I wanted and I really enjoyed wearing it today. More will definitely be made as I especially would love a red floral version – so nice for holidays!

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Another pattern download from the same magazine is a tiered skirt and I hope to make this one up soon too. I’ll let you know when I do.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

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My latest Sewisfaction Blogger Team post – The Fringe Dress from Chalk & Notch.

I’m just dropping by today to mention that my latest blog post for the Sewisfaction Blogger Team is now up on the Sewisfaction wesbite

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Although I won’t go into too much detail here, I  would like to mention the pretty fabric which was kindly sent to me -what a fabulous colour and so perfect for Summer!

It is the first time that I have sewn anything by Chalk and Notch, and I really enjoyed making this dress. If you are familiar with this pattern you may notice that I chose to change the hemline to a regular horizontal hem rather than keep it as a shaped hem.

This year my #2018makenine pledge is to try to sew nine items using patterns from independent pattern companies that I have not used before, and this is my fourth make for this challenge.

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Thank you for stopping by, and I’ll see you over at Sewisfaction!

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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My #alittlelawnparty entry – a Simplicity 2586 pattern review.

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You know me – I love a good Instagram sewing challenge.

This challenge has been organised by Mel from  Handmade by Ditsy-Tulip  and Atia from The Bright Blooms . If you follow me on Instagram you might have noticed that, as an ambassador for this challenge, I have mentioned it a few times on my stories. But if you need more details then do head on over to Mel and Atia’s website where it is all explained.

To summarise, it is a friendly sewing challenge to celebrate the arrival of Spring. In a nutshell the idea is to have a bit of fun sewing a Spring themed garment and share your make on Instagram using the hashtag #alittlelawnparty . I think originally the idea was to make a garment using cotton lawn, but as this is not always easy to get hold of at a reasonable price in certain parts, so you may use any fabric of your choice as long as you are using it to make an outfit that is ‘Spring-like’.

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At first I thought deciding what to make would be really easy. For someone who absolutely loves floral fabrics and has a ton of dress patterns this should have been a breeze for me, but whilst I knew the fabric that I wanted to use, I struggled deciding which sewing pattern to pair with it. I also think that because the challenge runs over a two month period, I sat back a little and kind of left things a little later that I should have! Not to worry though, if you are still working on your project the closing date is not until the 15th of May 2018 so there is still plenty of time to get your entry in!

After posting a picture of what I thought was the perfect pattern for this challenge on my Instagram account, I swiftly changed my mind after I received several messages to say that the particular pattern that I was planning to use required a great deal of adjustments and changes. By this stage, I really hadn’t got the time to spend on a dress which required so much work and alterations, so the happy outcome was that I chose another pattern that I have had in my stash for absolutely ages- Simplicity 2586.

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I don’t know very much about this pattern, except that it does not seem to be available in the U.K. It is possibly an old out of stock pattern? – correct me if I’m wrong – and I think I bought mine from an Etsy seller a long time after ago (as they do seem to be available in the U.S) but watch our for hefty postal charges as most of these patterns seem to be from U.S sellers.

I am crazy about the blue belted version of the dress as shown on the front of the pattern envelope, and thought that this could make a pretty Spring dress. I had bought this adorable crepe from Sew Me Sunshine fairly recently and decided that this combination was the dress I wanted! It’s a blush pink crepe with the classic crinkled texture and is scattered with light blue flowers. So so beautiful. I have linked the fabric for you and at the time of writing this it is still in stock at £3.50 per half metre.

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The dress has turned out really well, although the next time I make it I will make a couple of little changes. Whilst I LOVE the crepe and chose it as I wanted a really drapey fabric, it is quite slippery to work with (as you would expect with crepe) and in certain areas like the narrow neckband it was a little fiddly. I may have said some naughty words whilst sewing this part. On the subject of the neckline, I felt this came out quite low and wide. Still very wearable but I think I will adjust it a little next time. Finally the sleeves. They are slightly wide, but I can live with that. The sleeve cuffs though – they are massive! I would definitely need to make these much smaller for future makes as they are huge! This will teach me for not making a toile up. ( I always make toiles of patterns that I haven’t made before – I can’t imagine why I didn’t this time)!  Tut Tut!

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That being said, the dress is beautiful I think, and it is super cute. It has pockets for a start. Gotta love them.  I also really like the ruffles around the bottom of the hem and the fabric belt,  and with some small adjustments this could very well end up being a favourite pattern of mine. Easy to slip on and off over the head, I like that there are no zips, buttons or elastic on this dress. Nice and straightforward as far as construction is concerned. I do love Simplicity patterns.

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A huge thank you to Mel and Atia for organising such a fun challenge. Do head on over to their websites linked earlier on in this post for all the details. There are some great prizes to be won at the end of the challenge too, which is always a bonus! We are very lucky in the sewing community to have such generous businesses that always provide such wonderful gifts for these sewing challenges.

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More Spring inspiration can be found by searching the hashtag #alittlelawnparty over on Instagram. I for one am ready and waiting for warmer weather to arrive so that I can actually wear my dress!

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x