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I Am Patterns Perle ruffle dress

One small benefit of being on lockdown and on a reduced income in our household like many others, is using this time to work through my fabric stash. I can’t really justify spending on fabric at the moment when I have a few pieces at home already.

Whilst rummaging through it last week, I found this lovely soft linen. I’ve had it so long I cannot remember where I bought it from, but I really wanted to use it to make a dress, especially as linen is so comfortable to wear during this warm spell that we are having at the moment.

The pattern that immediately sprung to mind was the I Am Patterns Perle. Isn’t it a pretty pattern? It’s one that I’ve had for a little while now, and luckily I had *just* enough fabric for it. How satisfying to have exactly the right amount of fabric with zero leftover!

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It’s a simple classic wrap dress with a belt tie and ruffles around the neckline/dress front edge and cuffs. I absolutely love this design.

It really is very simple to sew, and if you like gathering then this is a dream! I don’t, but I absolutely LOVE ruffles, so it’s a necessary evil! The most time consuming part of making the dress by far, is evenly gathering the ruffle piece that runs around the neckline and down the front edge of the dress. This strip is about 3.5 metres long (before gathering) and so I sectioned up the dress and the strip and gathered it up in sections to make sure they would be as even as possible. It was totally worth all the effort!

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I finished the edges of the ruffle pieces by using the rolled hem setting on my overlocker. Perhaps not the best thread colour match, maybe a tad too pale, but at times like these you’ve got to make do with what you’ve got, yes? The neat finish of the finished edge was just what I wanted, and I quite enjoyed using my over locker for something different than I usually use it for. For this finish I needed to lower the blade and use 3 threads rather than the usual 4.

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So that’s all well and good, but as this is the first time that I had sewn this pattern I needed to make a few adjustments for me which I will use the next time I make it. Take a deep breath – there are a few ..

Firstly, the sleeves were a little too wide at the cuff for my liking. Luckily I pinned these and tried on before sewing so I was able to taper the sleeve seam from the underarm to the cuff. Nothing major there. I might make them a little shorter next time too.

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I just love this dainty cuff.

The main problem that I found after sewing was the position of the belt ties. This is probably something to do with the fact that I am only 5’2″ but they were WAY too low for me. I understand that the design of the dress wants you to tie the dress with a ‘tucked’ look, but let me show you how low the position was on me ..

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The position of the waist ties needed to be raised by about 6 or 7 inches. Now ideally I would have shortened the pattern at some point above the position of the waist ties before cutting out, but as this was effectively my ‘toile’ it was too late. So to make it fit I had to take drastic measures. I cut off  both the belts and saved the longer belt piece to make a separate loose belt. I sewed up the small openings in the side seams where the original belt would have been threaded through and attached slim ribbons inside that tied the dress from the inside securely before the final wrap and belt. These stop the inside front of the dress from dropping down below the outside cross over, Does that make sense – you know the sort of ribbons you often find inside your dressing gown.

By raising the position of the ‘waistline’ it has meant that the ‘skirt’ section of the dress is very much longer now. Again factor in my height, but I kind of like this length anyway. This of course would have been easy to shorten if I had wanted to.

Whilst not ideal, it fixed the problem, and like I say, I will make adjustments to the pattern piece before cutting next time. The only small thing now is the edge of the front wrap ruffle on the ‘skirt’ where the belt was originally attached is slightly shaped, rather than hanging precisely vertically,  but this is barely noticeable and doesn’t bother me. You might be able to see that slightly shaped ruffle edge on the above mirror photo.

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To stop the v-neck from gaping, I sewed a short length of stitching along the row of existing stitching to keep this neatly in place. I can still pop this on over my head.  You could also use a press stud or something similar.

Necklace layering accessories are the gold mirror acrylic scissors from my shop  and gold roman coin necklace from Missoma.

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Last but not least, the finishing touch for any Lockdown sewing project, are these stunning ‘made in self-isewlation’ labels from the lovely Sally at Modista Sewing  who is selling these cuties with all profits donated to the National Emergencies Trust. She has already raised over £1000!

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I look forward to making more of these beautiful dresses in the future (when I can face all that gathering again)!

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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A Tabitha T-shirt Dress

I know I’m not the only one who has been really excited to start making things from Tilly’s  new book, so today I’m super pleased to share my first make from it. This is the third book that Tilly Walnes ( the founder of Tilly and the Buttons ) has released and as I have the other two and have used them SO much, I knew that this one would be right up my street too.

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Make It Simple  is a collection of six basic sewing patterns which can be sewn as they are, or adjusted to make them slightly different. I chose to make the Tabitha t-shirt first. This is a classic t-shirt with round neck and your choice of short, 3/4 or long sleeves. The book helps you if you want to make this pattern into a dress like I did. You are also shown how to make it into a ringer tee with cuffs using this pattern, and there are also instructions on how to decorate it using heat transfer vinyl if you want to add a cute design too.

My fabric choice was this beautiful striped knit that I was lucky enough to  choose from the fabric swap table at last years #SewBrum meet-up. Thank you very much to whoever donated this generous amount of fabric! The stripe matching at the seams was a bit of a faff I must admit, as you can see the stripes are quite narrow, and those side seams on this fairly long skirt took quite a while to pin. Although I used my walking foot to avoid any shifting of the fabric, one side was better matched than the other side, and so reluctantly I did decide to unpick that side ( not fun) and re-sew it.

I used some black ribbing for the neckband from my stash.

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Red mirror acrylic scissors necklace from my shop x

The t-shirt is turned into a dress by drafting a simple skirt pattern to your measurements. The book takes you through this process step by step so that you can create your perfect skirt pattern piece. Just something to note – there is a small error on the diagram of the skirt pattern on page 88 where the ‘place on fold’ marking is shown on the wrong edge of the pattern piece, just make sure the ‘place on fold’ marking is running along the long straight edge of your pattern piece.

The drawstring cord is threaded through a waistband channel to give the waist a nice gather. The drawstring holes can be made using eyelets (as I did), or simple small buttonholes. I chose to use some striped cord from my stash for the drawstring, but the book also shows you how to use a strip of your dress fabric, curling it into a tube by running it through your fingers.

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These brass coloured plastic ‘cord ends’ were the perfect finishing touch for the drawstring. Beads are an alternative or just leave them plain!

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The end result is a super comfortable dress (secret pyjamas – sshhhh), and one that I will certainly make again. I think a short sleeved version with a knee length skirt would be perfect in the warmer months.

The book is really beautiful. Each sewing step is broken down into chunks with an estimated completion time for each step, especially useful if you only have a few minutes spare to sew at any given time. There’s also something for everyone in this book – trousers, dresses, t-shirts, pyjamas and a cardigan. Do search the #makeitsimplebook hashtag for some inspiration!

I do hope that you and your loved ones are all keeping well wherever you are and that sewing is offering you some comfort and distraction through these worrying times.

Take care, look after yourselves and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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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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A Special McCalls M6706 Pleated Skirt

The beginning of the month means that I get to share with you my latest make for Minerva Crafts.

For those unfamiliar, Minerva Crafts is a large online fabric and haberdashery retailer in the U.K and every month I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to sew up something using their lovely fabric, and write about it over on their Blogger Network.

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This month I chose to make this fab pleated skirt using a really great stretch cotton twill. Unfortunately, the navy colour way has now sold out (at the time of writing), but I had a look today and it is still available in a black which I will link to here.

My full review is over on the Blogger Network now, where I share my thoughts along with more pics.

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Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x