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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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My super comfy Safiya Trousers

My second make from the latest Tilly Walnes book Make it Simple  are the most lovely pair of wide legged cropped trousers, and I think if I had to choose a favourite pattern from the book right now it would be these.

The trousers are made just using two pattern pieces and don’t need any fastenings such as zips or buttons because the waistband is elasticated ..Oh joy .. and it’s cleverly designed to have a flat fronted waistband (aint nobody need any bulk in that area)!  with the gathers at the sides and back. They are super easy to make and a fairly quick sew too – you could have these whipped up in a morning or an afternoon.

The book also includes the extra pattern pieces and instructions on how to make them into a jumpsuit or a wrap top playsuit too!

 

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At the moment I am sewing just using fabric from my stash, and I think if I remember right that this was a purchase from Barry’s in Birmingham. I would describe it a a navy blue linen look polyester – so not the nicest composition I suppose – but the drape and texture is lovely and as long as it isn’t a boiling hot day, where this fabric wouldn’t be the most comfortable to wear,  I feel for the most part it’s a lovely pairing with this pattern.

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I really enjoyed making this last week as part of a sew-along with Tilly over on her Instagram.  Whilst we are all staying safe at home it’s a lovely thing to join in with a sew-along, and this pattern was broken down into 5 easy parts for you to sew along with each day all week. She used a beautiful soft lilac linen for her version.

The only change that I made to the pattern before cutting out was to shorten the length of the leg by 4cm. I knew I would need them to be shorter and this was a starting guess. At 5’2″ I always have to shorten the leg on trousers and even with this alteration I still needed to shorten the length of the finished trousers by a further 7cm to give me the cropped length that I was after, whilst still retaining the 2.5cm allowance for turning up.

Lets talk pockets. The optional pockets on these trousers are massive and brilliant. They are in-seam pockets which are sewn in the normal way and then the top edge of the pocket is caught in when you turn and sew the top of the trousers down to form the waistband. Very clever. I chose to use a leftover piece of bottle green floral viscose to use for the pocket pieces as this always gives a nice pop of colour.

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Look how deep they are!

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Finally I quickly made up a fabric belt and belt loops for a bit of extra pazazz! This is not in the pattern, and you could easily draw this rectangular shape out yourself,  but I just used the template for the belt from another pattern ( my Stylearc Clare Pant pattern).

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There are so many fantastic versions to gain inspiration from online, check out the hashtag #sewingsafiya to have a drool.

What more can I say about these lovely trousers that hasn’t already been said? Ten out of ten.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

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Red mirror acrylic scissors necklace with Swarovski crystal available from my shop.  x

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The Zadie Jumpsuit from Paper Theory

I love a good bandwagon, and although I am a little late to this party – at least I turned up!

The Zadie Jumpsuit  is a pattern that I picked up a few months ago from The Fold Line. I’m pretty sure that most of you will be familiar with it, as it has been everywhere recently, but let’s run through the design ..

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It’s a very relaxed fitting jumpsuit which fastens by wrapping those ties around your body and doesn’t need any zips or buttons. Large slant pockets look great and are practical, and the flattering wrap design allows you to tie it as loose or tight as you like. I made the sleeveless version, but you can add sleeves if you like and the length of the leg is up to you!

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This pattern has quite a bit of ease built into it. On the ‘body measurement’ chart, I come up as a size 12, but noticed that the ‘finished garment measurements’ were really quite a bit bigger. I have read other reviews mention that they made one or two sizes smaller than the chart suggested, so I made a quick toile in a size 12 to see for myself what it would look like. It was really big, so after assessing the fit, I opted to size down 2 sizes and made the size 8. This feels so much better. I also noticed on my toile that the crotch length was too low, so shortened the rise by 1″ on this version.

This is the first Paper Theory pattern that I have sewn. I enjoyed the instructions and drawings, and found the pattern very easy to follow. I did, however, make a couple of small changes. One thing that I did was to stabilise the neck edge as soon as I had cut it out by ironing on this wonderful iron on bias tape from Sewessential. This magic tape does the same job as stay stitching, but I think is less tedious ( I hate stay stitching – it’s SO boring). The pattern calls for you to stay stitch the neckline after you have already sewn quite a few other seams, and I felt that due to the weight of the fabric, mine might have already stretched out by this stage with that much handling, so to be safe I secured that neckline edge with tape as soon as I had cut it out.

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The pockets are massive and I love them!

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Ooh I should mention that I’m not sure exactly what the fabric is. It was a £5 per metre bargain from the Birmingham Rag Market, and is a kind of linen blend I think.

The jumpsuit has small darts at the front and rear on both the bodice and the trousers. At first, when joining the bodice to the trousers, I didn’t think my pleats were lining up, but take care to line up your side seams and the centre front pattern marking and you will find that they match up perfectly.

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The wrap ties are nice and long – perfect for giving you a good shape at your waist. I like how one of the ties feeds through a slit in the side seam, this ensures a secure close fit to your boody.

Just a small point, but it might be worth mentioning…  on step 3C in the pattern instructions it tells you to sew the side seams, press them open, and then neaten them (with the overlocker or otherwise). I found that it was much less fiddly to neaten my edges before sewing the seams, then I could press my seams open with the raw edges already finished.

The bias trim around the edge of the neckline gives this jumpsuit a really neat and lovely finish I think. I used my trusty bias tape gadget to turn my strips into folded tape, but this isn’t necessary and you can easily make your own bias tape without.

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The trick when applying the tape is to pin it like crazy!  Especially around the curved lengths ( I used wonder clips in these areas).  Any wibbles and wobbles might be noticeable, so stitch into place slowly and carefully.

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For modesty, I added a tiny press stud to where the wrap crosses over just to keep it in place where I wanted it.

It’s incredibly comfortable to wear, and I feel that the 1″ rise shortening adjustment was right for me. It probably wouldn’t have hurt to have shortened the length of the bodice by a little too, however, I love it and feel it fits me quite nicely. Something for me to consider next time perhaps.

Of course, at 5’2″, I know I will always need to adjust the length of the legs. According to the ‘fitting notes’ in the instructions this is done by shortening the length at the hem (no shorten/lengthen markings), so this is what I did. To achieve this cropped length, I needed to turn up the length by 5.5″

I thoroughly enjoyed making up this pattern, and have already purchased a gorgeous chocolate brown linen ready for my next pair.

It’s a thumbs up from me. Stylish, comfortable and a lovely project to sew. There will be more!

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Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x