This blog post is just a brief glimpse into my latest make. As it is made using fabric kindly gifted by Minerva. I have written my full post over on their blog and you can whizz over to read the full post here.
I chose to use this stunning Lady McElroy cotton lawn which you can see features a busy floral print on a dark navy background. It’s fairly light weight so it might have to wait to be worn until the weather gets warmer, but I look forward to that day as it turned out super cute don’t you think.
Back to the Sydni Shirt Dress. It’s a dress and shirt pattern featuring optional front pleated pockets. You can decide if you want to make a collar on both versions, and the dress has those all important in-seam pockets and a tie belt. Both versions also have a dipped shaped hem at the back. The size range on this pattern is great too, starting at an XS through to 4XL (see measurement chart below). This pattern was very kindly sent to me by the Sew to Grow team, and I love how it has turned out.
The collar is optional on both the dress and the top.
The deep in-seam pockets are a must in my opinion, and I love the slim belt and belt ties that are sewn into the side seam.
I kept the hem horizontal all the way around rather than keeping the dropped curved hem at the back. The side slits are a pretty and useful feature.
Thank you so much to both Minerva and Sew to Grow, who between them have provided me the tools to create such a pretty dress. As mentioned before, lots more detail can be found on the Minerva blog. See you over there!
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.
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!
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.
After a few busy weeks, I decided that I wanted to make a really easy, quick project that didn’t require much concentration. A bit of a palate cleanser.
Turns out this was great timing too, as I chose this as the simpler of the two projects that I wanted to make during the recent #sewingweekender and this one was the only one that I finished that weekend, as I was crazy busy!
Who doesn’t love the comfort of an elasticated skirt, right? Especially when you can show off the vibrant print of a pretty fabric.
Talking of the Sewing Weekender, this skirt has been in my mind for a year. At last year’s Sewing Weekender in Cambridge, one of the guest speakers was Juliet Uzor. In case you don’t know, she was the winner of the 2019 Great British Sewing Bee, and as you can imagine we were all crazy excited for her presentation.
Her talk was fun, happy and really enjoyable, (she’s absolutely lovely by the way), and all the time I could not stop admiring her skirt. She was wearing a knee length wax print skirt, I think it was pleated though (not gathered like this one), and it was just beautiful.
Fast forward a year and I thought I would use this cheap, but colourful wax print that I had in my stash to make something similar, and guess what my friends, the gorgeous Juliet just so happens to have a youTube video with a cheeky little tutorial on how to make a skirt with exposed elastic! This is the video that has helped me attach the elastic like this and you can check it out here.
This fantastic rainbow elastic is again something from my stash. I think it might have been an eBay purchase at some point. I have found it quite tricky to find really wide colourful elastic like this, do you have any suggestions of some good wide elastic retailers? I’d really like some wide striped for more skirts like this.
The fabric, although pretty is very low quality. I was really disappointed with it. There is definitely some polyester in this, but it’s ok for something like this. I guess you get what you pay for .. However the softness of this particular fabric allowed me to make a softly gathered skirt like this and I shall enjoy using a much better quality wax print fabric to make a more structured pleated skirt another time.
Don’t forget to pop in some simple inseam pockets using any pocket template from an existing pattern or drafting your own. You can skip this of course if you are a beginner and want a more simple version.
I was undecided about what length I wanted, so opted to cut a midi length, and I can always shorten it. I kind of like this length though, so will leave it like this for now.
Hope that you are all keeping safe and well, and finding time for a little sewing here and there.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!