Posted on Leave a comment

Fibre Mood Elodie

Issue 12 of the latest Fibre Mood magazine is out today, and I was lucky enough to take a peek at the patterns that it contains a few weeks ago, and choose one to share with you on launch day today *

It wasn’t an easy choice, there are lots to choose from, I think that there are twelve, including three children’s patterns.

In the end I opted for The Elodie Dress, which looks deceptively simple, but actually features some lovely details when you look a little closer.

The basic dress is a simple round necked bodice with a centre back zip and an a-line skirt. Add to that the long puffed sleeves with statement cuffs, optional ruffle at the hem of the skirt and waist casing with tie belt and you really have something special.

The pattern calls for the fabric to have ‘fluid drape’, so I chose this floral viscose from Sewisfaction. I was drawn to it because of it’s olive coloured base, and I adore how it is absolutely covered with pink and blue flowers.

I chose to make a size 10. Looking at the size chart, it puts me in a size 12 bust, and 10 hips and waist. Then checking the finished garment sizes with ease, went for a straight size 10 as it looked like this would be spot on. The finished fit of the dress feels good. My measurements are 36-29-38.

Before cutting out, I had a good look at the pattern design to check if I might need to make any changes to the paper pattern before I cut into my gorgeous fabric.

I knew that the length of the dress would be too long for me. So that I could get a rough idea of the length I pinned the front bodice, waist casing, skirt and ruffle together and held it up to me in a full length mirror to see how long it looked. This only gives me a rough idea of course, but it told me that I definitely needed to take some length from the skirt. (the bodice length looked roughly ok). So before cutting out I shortened the length of the skirt pattern piece by 10cm. (I’m 5’2″ for reference).

The bodice of the dress is very simple. It has a high round neckline which is finished with bias binding. I had enough fabric left over to make my own bias tape from the dress fabric. An 8″/20cm invisible zipper sits at the centre back neckline and the bodice is fairly loose and relaxed meaning that no bust darts are required.

Gold mirror acrylic button necklace from my shop here x

The sleeves. Take a moment to appreciate. They are magnificent don’t you think? Nicely gathered at the front, top and back ensures they have volume to say the least, but somehow they’re not ‘over the top’ which was what I was worried about. They feel like they should be on this dress, and it would be a shame if they weren’t.

On the original pattern the sleeves finish with an exaggerated long open cuff finished with a button and rouleau loop. Whilst some would say that this is the main feature of this pattern, I just knew that I could not get on with a long open cuff, it would drive me crazy, so I just made a simple adjustment to the cuff pattern piece and cut out a basic rectangle (which needed 2 x buttons and rouleau loops per cuff), and I felt that this would be a more practical cuff for my everyday life.

I did hit a few problems here. Whilst I used the length of the original cuff pattern to ensure I had the same length cuff as the original, once they were sewed on I found that the cuff openings weren’t big enough to allow the sleeve to slide up my arms when I raised my hands above my head. I couldn’t lift my arms up! So I had to unpick these cuffs and make them longer in length (an extra 4.5cm in my case), giving them a wider opening when finished so that they gave me unrestricted movement when I raised my arms. It’s safe to say that my arms are not restricted now in any way! The depth of my cuff pattern piece was 8cm by the way.

Although they blend into the background, I self covered my buttons, which looks so pretty. Admittedly they are rather camouflaged so maybe a contrast button might have been a better ( and simpler) choice!

Camouflaged buttons!

The pattern doesn’t come with pockets in the skirt, so I added simple in-seam pockets to my version.

I like how the waist casing is made and attached to the bodice pieces and the skirt pieces. It’s clever how this is used as a casing for elastic and a faux tie is attached through the buttonholes in the casing where the elastic has been threaded through, to make it look like the tie belt is gathering the waist. Clever. Gotta love an elasticated dress right?

When the dress was finished I think I hit the jackpot in terms of getting the length just right. I certainly would have been sorry if I had shortened the skirt pieces by any more – phew!

* Disclaimer: I was kindly gifted my choice of the Elodie pattern by Fibre Mood to sew and share. As always my review is honest and all opinions are entirely my own. This post contains some affiliate links. This means that I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you if you click through and purchase something that I have linked to. Thank you.

I’ve ended up with a fantastic dress despite a few hiccups with the cuff sizing! It certainly took me longer to sew that I originally thought it would, so is not a quick make, but the style is very ‘me’ and I have no doubts that I will be returning to sew this pattern again and again.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon, Kathy x

Posted on Leave a comment

A Cocowawa Plum Dress

O.k, we all know that I love a pretty dress and a good ruffle. Throw in a button back and I’m 100% on board!

This is the Plum Dress  from Cocowawa Crafts. It’s a cute little baby-doll dress which has a relaxed fit, choice of lengths, and options to make the sleeveless ruffled version or the 3/4 length sleeves.

Plum-Dress-sewing-pattern-CocoWawa-Crafts-cover
Image from the Cocowawa website

I clearly went for the sleeveless ruffles, and glad that I did, because I have hardly any sleeveless dresses, although to be fair with the lovely dropped shoulder and ruffles they kind of look like little sleeves, which is great for someone like me that prefers to keep their bingo wings covered!

thumbnail_11B38CCC-29F7-46D8-8E29-C35AE12F2257

In terms of sizing, the pattern is designed to be loose fitting. What I was after was something a little less relaxed. So after checking the finished garment measurements and also after reading beautiful Amy’s really helpful review here,  where she also was aiming for this kind of fit, I opted to jump in and make the size 2 bodice and size 1 skirt. My measurements at this time are 36-30-40 (they change all the time – up and down like a yo-yo)!

This worked incredibly well, although it’s very slightly tight around sleeve opening, which will need adjusting next time, but apart from that the bodice fit and the gently gathered skirt is just what I was after.

thumbnail_CE74FE97-34DB-4F2D-A2E9-81E7ACE7ED0D

The neckline sits a little too high for me, so would also lower that for future makes, probably by a couple of inches. Whilst we are on the subject of the neckline, this is beautifully finished off on the inside with bias binding. I have lots and lots of home made bias binding that I have made with leftover cottons and picked a ditsy pink floral for this dress. I know you can’t see it, but it’s a pretty detail that I will enjoy each time I put it on. Of course you can always use shop bought bias tape too.

thumbnail_FEEF82D1-F793-4823-8C4F-67A62E8E1201

This beautiful cotton poplin is from Crafty Sew and So  and has been in my stash for a few months whilst I waited for the warm weather and the perfect pattern. The fabric combines gorgeous lilacs, lime greens and chestnut browns, and whilst this pic and was taken in the shade (it was a very hot day), I think you can get the idea of how sweet it is.

The pastel pink acrylic button necklace is available from my shop x

As mentioned I absolutely love button-back garments, and this is such a pretty feature on The Plum. I used these cute wooden buttons and lime green thread. After I sewed all the button holes, I realised that I only needed the top two to allow the dress to slip on and off over my head, so the top two are the only working buttonholes, the rest are just buttons sewn on over the top of the uncut buttonholes right through all the layers.

thumbnail_F66F9414-6FF6-418E-8F4F-2062BE41A530

On to the adorable ruffle sleeves. When I first gathered and attached them, I felt that they were a smidge too wide for me, especially with the poplin having that extra bit of body to it, so I narrowed them down by about 1.5 inches. I simply did this by trimming the long curved edge of the sleeve ruffle by that amount.

thumbnail_C35CC2A0-56E2-465F-BC33-603E0FD601A6

Ooh, I also kept the hem of the skirt horizontal – the actual pattern has a little shaping to the hem.

Not forgetting the pockets of course!

thumbnail_4706678C-FE72-4638-A170-EFADC99A65FA

These pics were taken in the grounds at Calke Abbey in Derbyshire. It’s the first time that we have ventured out doing anything like this since lockdown began, and whilst I still feel a little nervous around others, the numbers were strictly controlled by a ticket booking system.

Finally, a bit of fun. When you realise your husband is in the shot too! Ha!

thumbnail_1DB4D746-A1EF-473A-B9D7-88533396C16B

 

 

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

Posted on 8 Comments

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!

I-AM-Patterns-Perle-robe-portefeuille-volants

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!

IMG_8032

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.

IMG_8058

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.

IMG_8048
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 ..

thumbnail_B7E8A096-B1C6-48D5-8336-830BB5E0ED34

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.

IMG_7975

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.

IMG_8018

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!

thumbnail_9E6AF269-5F08-480D-97D7-A776862BF0A2

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

IMG_7925

Posted on 6 Comments

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!

thumbnail_08B281BB-154D-4634-9C7D-15CC18426830

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.

IMG_4936

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.

IMG_4953

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!

IMG_4930

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

IMG_4954

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!

IMG_4951

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

***

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).