This time around, I made the dress with the view B faux cap sleeves, but with a gathered skirt. I made two changes. I added red piping at the waist, and I added in-seam pockets.
This dress was made for Kid No 3, and is a huge hit. She loves ladybugs and the colour red, and recently asked me why she doesn’t have “a dress that twirls”. The pockets are hidden in the gathers of the skirt, and she loves the “secret pockets” too.
This was a lot of fun to sew. The pattern makes a really pretty dress that’s lined and nicely finished on the inside. But the sewing was quick and problem-free.
Warp & Weft Sewing Society
This is a Warp & Weft Sewing Society project. We are a group of talented sewists and quilters creating beautiful projects inspired by the fabrics from Warp & Weft Exquisite Textiles.
I have recently seen so many gorgeous knit maxi dresses on the web, that I thought it was time I made one too. I was especially impressed by a number of dresses made by some curvier ladies, that looked amazing. So after some mulling over, I decided to use the Moneta dress pattern by Colette Patterns.
The instructions are great, and the pattern is simple and quick. If you’re new to knits, this shouldn’t give you much trouble and there is a Moneta sew along, just starting. It’s also very quick to assemble.
I used a lovely, springy bamboo jersey by Telio that I bought locally. It’s amazing, and I will definitely use it again, in all the colours possible.
I sewed the XL, based on my measurements, but it was huge. I ended up taking in the sleeves by two inches and the sides of the bodice by an inch on each side. I could have taken a bit more in the sleeves, and a tiny bit more at the waist. I probably should have cut the medium with a fake FBA (to the size large).
I’ve seen at least one review that recommended using the sleeve in a size smaller than the dress, and I agree, this would be a good idea. I thought the bodice looked short, but with the weight of the skirt, the length was perfect (I’m a bit long waisted too). I extended the skirt by 12 inches, to make a maxi dress, but I didn’t keep the angle, as others have, keeping the same dress width at the bottom.
The instructions have you gather the skirt using clear elastic. I’ve seen at least one review that noted this was difficult. I had no trouble. But I had to recut the skirt a bit (more on that later), and I was out of clear elastic, so I used lingerie elastic. This is much, much easier as it doesn’t slide around. I added clear elastic to the shoulder seams though, which wasn’t in the instructions.
After taking the dress in, I had two main problems: the first was the neckline. Did it look like the pattern photo and technical diagram? Absolutely! And was it flattering? Absolutely not. It’s just the neckline to show off my bad curves, and hide my good ones. In the end I recut the neckline into more of a scoop neckline and lowered it by 2.5 inches. I could have lowered it more. I also used a band to hem the neckline (like in the Renfrew top by Sewaholic) – tutorial here. My double needle broke, which is why I did this, but I prefer the look, in any case.
My second problem was with the stripes in the skirt. The skirt panels are not rectangles, but curved at the top and bottom. I think this might be to have a prettier hemline with a shorter skirt. However, with stripes, it means that the stripes near the waist will appear to curve down at the sides of the dress. You can see it in the pattern photos on the Colette website, if you look carefully. You would only notice this with stripes. It also means that if your fabric panels are cut the slightest bit off, or if the gathering is uneven, the skirt will appear crooked. In the end, I recut the skirt to be straight on both the top and bottom, because the curved stripes really bothered me.
And in the end? Even with the fitting modifications (and the fit is good), I don’t think the dress is especially flattering – on me. I’ve seen lots of versions of this dress, on a lot of different figures, and they look lovely. On me, though, the gathered shirt emphasizes exactly where I need to loose a little weight (sigh). A better silhouette for me would have shorter cap sleeves, or 3/4 sleeves, a lower scoop neckline, and less gathering at the waist, and I think I’ll stick with a solid next time. It is, however, the most comfortable dress I have ever owned. So overall, a great pattern, but not ideal for my figure.
I’m a bit discouraged, to be honest. I was hoping this would be a great, easy (it is easy!), go-to summer dress. But I think I have to keep looking. I’ve just cut out Vogue 8825 in black , which I think might look better on me. And I’ve bought the Lady Skater by Kitchy Coo, as well. Hopefully I’ll have more luck with one of those. Wish me luck!
Modifications: I took in the sleeves by 2 inches and the sides of the bodice by 1 inch per side. I lowered the neckline by 2.5 inches and made it a bit more scooped. I used a fabric band on the neckline. I reshaped the skirt so that the stripes would be straight at the top of the skirt and I lengthened the dress by 12 inches. I used lingerie elastic at the waist, and clear elastic at the shoulders.
Results: Great pattern, but not ideal for my figure.
I wasn’t sure if I could do the whole pants purple koi (maybe a bit too rock ‘n roll), but a tuxedo stripe sounded fun.
I used the After-School Pants pattern by Oliver + S. It was a breeze to sew. I made size 6 and 7 in a medium-weight twill, with koi accents, of course. I had originally planned to use quilting cotton, but after patching yet another pair of pants, decided on something just a little tougher.
The only changes I made to the pants were to add a bit of extra top stitching, to make them look a bit more like jeans, and to use the koi print for the side stripes, interlined with the same twill. I though quilting cotton alone might not hold its shape well enough, when combined with the twill.
I originally had not planned to make anything else. Fish pants seemed pretty distinctive. But while the pants took four long stripes of fish, but there was still a little fabric left over. And of course, it’s gorgeous, so I had to do something fabulous with it. I only had one yard of the Don’t Be Koi print, but I still managed to get four garments out of it.
So I made up the Roller Skate Tunic by Oliver + S (view C), which I’ve made once before. I cannot tell you how much I love this pattern. When it first came out, I wasn’t sure I liked it, but it definitely grows on you. It is a really quick, easy sew, and there are so few seams to finish, which is always a bonus. I used some more koi, and some white shirting that has been in my stash for ages and ages. It’s actually older than my oldest daughter (so embarrassing!). The tunic is lined in soft cotton batiste. I made no modifications, beyond colour blocking the tunic.
For my son, I used the Prepster Pullover by Blank Slate Patterns. I first thought about making a button-down shirt, but my son is not a fan of those. So many buttons for little hands! This shirt is easier to get into, so he gave it the thumbs up before I got started.
I used contrasting fabric for the placket and collar, modified the pocket to add some extra koi, and lengthened the hem on the sleeves. I also changed the construction order. The pattern has you put in the collar at the end, after you’ve sewn in the sleeves and attached the sides, but it is much easier to do earlier on. There’s a cool article on the difference between the two construction methods here.
Unfortunately, the Koi collection is almost gone, but you could get a similar effect with the Charley Harper collection or the Beyond The Backyard collection. Anything bright, with some good contrast would work well.
Beige twill, white shirting (poplin?) from my stash, and Don’t Be Koi from the Koi collection by Rashida Coleman-Hale for Cloud9 Fabrics, courtesy Warp & Weft.
Sizes: 6 (pants and pullover) and 7 (pants and tunic).
Sewing Level: Pants and tunic: advanced beginner. Pullover: intermediate.
Modifications: I colour blocked the tunic. I interlined the side stripes with twill and added some top stitching to the pants. For the shirt, I used contrasting fabric for the collar and placket, changed the pocket, lengthened the sleeve hem, and changed the construction order.
Spring is finally here (sort of). And that means the great clothing change-up. But when I brought out all the spring clothes and put away the winter clothes, what was missing? Spring pyjamas.
This time I let the kids do the fabric shopping (sadly, I still had to do the paying). And they picked some great prints! So cute. The girls all chose prints from the Picture Pie collection by Ed Emberley for Cloud9. And my little boy chose Little Birds from the Havana collection by Monaluna. Cute, cute, cute.
I used the Bedtime Story Pajamas sewing pattern by Oliver + S, for the bottoms, and appliquéd an animal from each print onto store-bought t-shirts for the tops. I’ve made these pants seven (!) times before, so obviously, it’s a great pattern. I hardly even need to say it do I? But as always with Oliver + S, the instructions are super clear and the sewing is a breeze, and this would be a great project for beginners.
The photo session, however, was an exercise in frustration? comedy? Four little kids at bedtime are hard to wrangle sometimes.
This post is part of the Kids’ Choice sew along organized by Elegance & Elephants.
Picture Pie in Raccoon, Fox and Fish by Ed Emberley for Cloud9 (organic).
Little Birds in Blue from the Havana collection by Monaluna (organic).
Sketch in Grey by Timeless Treasures for the waistbands.
Sizes: 18-24m, 4, 6.
Sewing Level: beginner, intermediate if not just the pants.
Modifications: I lengthened the pant leg and folded twice to hem, instead of binding the leg hem.
Results: Excellent! I’ve made these 7 times before. I would highly recommend this pattern.
One of my goals this year is to try to make more clothes that I will wear – everyday basics that fit into my real world, mum-of-four lifestyle. And while I’d love to say that darling dresses and strappy heels were a huge part of that, t-shirts and jeans are the norm. However, darling dresses do figure in my sewing plans, so stay tuned for that in upcoming blog posts.
I was super excited to get the Renfrew Top by Sewaholic for my birthday. It’s such a versatile pattern. It can be a basic tee, or you can dress it up.
I wanted to test the fit, so started with I a wearable muslin in cotton jersey. I made the neck from view A and the sleeves from view B.
I made the size 16, based on my measurements. It all depends on how you like your tees to fit, and the stretchiness of your fabric, but I found the 16 to be large. The shoulders are quite loose, and the sides as well. I took in an inch on each side, (leaving the full width just under the arms for curvaceous reasons-ahem) and it’s still not especially fitted. Next time I will definitely go down a size, maybe two, and do a cheater FBA. I’m also considering shortening it a bit. But maybe without the band at the waist, it would be better. We’ll see.
Since this was a wearable muslin, I used simple cotton jersey. It’s soft, casual and comfortable and easy to wear.
The only change I made, was not to zigzag along the neckband. I did this in the back of the shirt, but I didn’t like the look, so I didn’t continue on the front. It’s a wearable muslin after all, so I think that’s fine. If I were making the cowl neck version, however, I might keep the zigzagging just to stabilize everything, since it wouldn’t show.
I don’t have a serger, but my sewing mating has an overlock stitch, similar to what you would find on a serger. Net time I have to remember to trim the seam allowances so that the insides are more neatly finished. The pattern uses 5/8 inch seam allowances, which is fine for sergers and sewing machines when using a narrow zigzag stitch. But my overlock stitch works with 1/4 inch seam allowances.
Overall, this is a really good pattern. The instructions are very clear and the whole thing comes together in an afternoon. Next time, I’ll try the cowl neck in a different fabric.
Since this is a wearable muslin, (kindly worded) fitting suggestions are welcome!