Merino cowl dress (for the win)

Don’t you love it when you do an experiment and it isn’t a Pinterest Fail? I impulse-bought some green merino from Levana, with an interesting chevron pattern, to make a cowl neck dress. Not having a cowl pattern, and having already done a significant amount of internet shopping that week, I scoured the web for a free pattern, and found this one.

cowl dress

Happily for size 36 people, but sadly for me, it’s only in one size. I thought, ‘oh well, I’ll just add the extra inches at the centre seam’. In my experience, this sort of blind optimism often leads to disaster, but not this time. It meant that the cowl was deeper than planned, and the back neck was a lot wider than it should be. I added a box pleat at the centre back neckline, and it draped beautifully. Actually this pattern was released a couple of weeks later, also with a draped back, and I felt very on-trend.

cowl dress 3

I find that having an unexpected success like this really motivates me to sew more. Or maybe it’s just the time of year, now the days are getting shorter and there’s more inside time. Either way, there’s more to come…

 

 

Birthday present – Miz Mozelle

I was lucky enough to be able to visit my baby sister for her birthday this year, and I made her a dress for the occasion.

4

This is the Miz Mozelle from Jamie Christina.

I used a blue textured rayon, and jazzed it up with a bit of Japanese cotton bias binding. The cotton was swiped from fabric the Fashion Critic chose, for me to make into a shirt for him. Luckily we bought plenty so I think he’ll still get his shirt.

I think the rayon suits the blousy top.

7

The wrinkles are because it came straight from my suitcase.

It has an elastic waist so it’s a good choice if you’re likely to be eating birthday cake.

cake.jpg
We were.

Details:

  • Pattern: Miz Mozelle dress by Jamie Christina
  • Fabric: textured rayon from the Fabric Warehouse, cotton trim from Japan
  • Alterations: made one size bigger in the bodice and sleeves since the pattern is for a knit and I used a woven
  • Next time: don’t bother upsizing for a woven, there’s lots of room
  • More versions: herehere, here, here, PatternReview

Here comes another one – New Look 6968

new look 6968 3

And this one wasn’t made in a day. It’s version A this time, but without sleeves.

6968

The fabric is a cotton sateen from the Fabric Warehouse, which I bought when Penny (from Dressesandme) was in town.  Actually I think she’s now better known as Penny (formerly from Dressesandme) – I’m not sure where else she’s found these days. Anyway for me this fabric has a memory attached to it, which is the best kind of fabric really.

pattern

I just love the neck detail, and obviously with this print I had to sew it VERY VERY carefully so the darts were symmetrical.

pleats

I wasn’t sure if it’d end up looking like a Magic Eye print, causing passers-by to gaze at me crosseyed and shout “I’ve got it!”. But no-one has (yet), so I think it’s OK. Did Magic Eye even make it out of 1993? Let’s move on, quickly.

You may have noticed the zip at the top there – I attached some ribbon to either side of it, and it’s the loveliest way to make it a bit special. I machine-stitched it to the facing and lining on one side (right side of facing to wrong side of ribbon), and slip-stitched the other side to the zip by hand.

tape

There’s a blind hem, and a kick-pleat at the back (or a vent? I always wonder if kick-pleat is the right term. It isn’t a pleat).

new look 6968 2

And you’ll be seeing this one again, I’m afraid. In fact, I already have fabric purchased for iteration 3. I really need to branch out and make some new patterns.

new look 6968 6

0 Degrees of Separation – the goldfish dress

Another WSBN blog tour, 2015 style! This one was Leimomi‘s great idea, to hop from pattern to fabric to pattern to fabric until we’re all connected in one long colourful conga-line of sewing. As with any good conga line, there have been a few mis-turns and branchings-off and people going AWOL (including me!) but the band’s still playing and we’re all having a great time.

I’m in between FlossieFT and Two Random Words. Coincidentally they have both been moving house lately, so their links aren’t up yet. FlossieFT and I are both making dresses out of some fabulous goldfish-print cotton that I found at Ikea in 2013, and Two Random Words and I are both making Simplicity 1880s (sadly out of print, because this is a terrific pattern).

Simplicity 1880It’s a dress that can either have a shirtwaist or a crossover bodice. It’s a great pattern to feature a big print like this one. I cut the skirt on the fold, to avoid disrupting the print with a seam. And did some nifty pattern matching on the front! This took way more fabric than I expected, but luckily I had plenty.

Simplicity 1880

There are yokes at the front and back, and pleats at the waist. This gives it plenty of room at the back and makes it very comfortable to wear. The yoke is only a single thickness of fabric which is a bit unusual.

Simplicity 1880

Simplicity 1880

I topstitched round the front opening and collar, which wasn’t in the instructions but I prefer it.

Simplicity 1880

It looks super with a Jenna cardi! (and thanks to Kat, Jenna-cardi mastermind, for the photos outside Fabric-a-brac)

Simplicity 1880

No kidding, I made a dress in a day (New Look 6968)

My sewing speed can be – is often – glacial. I’ve become a religious pattern tracer (think of the children! What else are they going to look for in the op shops of the future, when they’re full of clothes from Glassons/Primark/KMart?). It takes ages. I have – let’s see – seven projects currently under way, the first started in 2008 (and none that I’ve touched for at least a fortnight). Is “under way” even the correct term in these circumstances?

Anyway I do find that a trip or upcoming event is the best way to turbocharge some sewing action. A few weeks ago I had both, in the form of a conference. I had found some gorgeous floral cotton sateen at The Fabric Warehouse the previous week and decided to make a new work dress.

(Can I just interrupt myself to tell a story that illustrates my love for The Fabric Warehouse? My first stop that day was Spotlight. I can’t remember what I bought but I can remember that the girl who served me was wearing a trainee badge, had the bluntest scissors in existence, and insisted on cutting – if that’s even the correct word with those scissors – my purchase TO THE PRECISE CENTIMETRE. Then I went next door to TFW, where the lovely assistant measured a very generous 1.5 metres WITHOUT A TAPE MEASURE and cut it with the biggest sharpest scissors in the world, in one swoop. And that’s how to do business. Spotlight, we are never ever ever getting back together. Sorry for putting Taylor Swift into your head.)

So here’s the dress.

New Look 6968

This is New Look 6968, view C.

This dress has in the past been made using a single metre of fabric, but if you want the fancy collar (and why wouldn’t you, it’s awesome) then you’ll need more.

New Look 6968 front1

The collar is in two pieces, and one side has a little gap that the other side fits through. Better to show you:

New Look 6968 front3

I cut this dress out in the morning before work, whipped it up in about four hours that evening, and was even in bed early enough to have a decent amount of sleep before an ungodly flight the next morning.

New Look 6968 back

Some things had to be sacrificed, like any sort of invisible hem treatment…

kick pleat

… or darts that match …

seam matching

… but the print is very forgiving and it’s fabulous to have another work dress. All I need to make it an outfit is a cardigan, and luckily I’m up to four Jenna cardis and counting!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Colette Hawthorn shirt dress

Confused? This is an extremely belated entry, for a dress I made before the Christmas party season last year. Thought I’d better post it before it wears out completely. Whoops!

Colette Hawthorn 1

I think I made this even before the blouse (using the same pattern).

Colette Hawthorn 2

The gorgeous navy broderie anglaise fabric came from my fairy godmother in Hong Kong. Here’s a close-up after some not-so-subtle adjustments on PicMonkey.

close up

And the back, why not?

Colette Hawthorn back

I’ve been wearing it with a black slip underneath but after looking at these photos on the mannequin am tempted to try a red one. Once again I am truly smitten by this pattern which fits beautifully and is lovely to make. Check out my first ever sleeve placket (WAY easier than they look, in case you’ve never done one)…

sleeve placket

The buttons came from Vancouver and were bought specially, they add a bit of sparkle. Just right for a fairy godmother Christmas dress.

button

Travelling light with the Lady Skater

This year I had a rather nice holiday to central America, and wanted to travel light. I was inspired by people who can manage with a carry-on suitcase. So, I made three Lady Skaters. Possibly this is the most popular pattern on the internet, and for good reason. It’s perfect and I have nothing to say about it, so here are three travel tips instead:

1. Pack light

1

2. Don’t forget your hat

  2

3. And have fun!

3