Fabric: Sunset from the Fly Away collection by Amy Schindler for Robert Kaufman. FloraDots in Violet from the La Dee Da collection by Erin McMorries for Free Spirit Fabrics. The lining is white cotton batiste. The piping is made with Kona solids.
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.
Everyone needs a new dress for Valentine’s Day, right? I made three.
Years ago, I made myself the Ever After dress, as a Halloween costume (never blogged). It was lots of fun, but there was so much fabric left over afterwards, including 1.5m of wide, dark blue stretch velvet. For Halloween it was great, but it’ not really my style for everyday wear. And so it sat in a box.
But I have recently made a mini inventory of the fabric in my stash, and yikes, there is so much of it. I counted up the meters of fabric, but no, I am not posting it here. Too embarrasing. I am determined to remove some of the largest, oldest pieces of fabric. This was definitely a “what can I do with this?” project, but it turned out quite well.
I made three versions of the Hopscotch Dress by Oliver + S in sizes 18m, 4 and 6. It’s a simple, knit A-line dress with some gathering in the front, and can be made as a dress or top, with long or short sleeves. I made the long-sleeved version because I thought it would look better in velvet.
This is the first time I’ve sewn knits on my new machine (a Pfaff), and it was a dream. I don’t have a serger, but it wasn’t really necessary with this pattern. My regular machine worked very well.
As always with Oliver + S, the instructions were wonderful. The sewing was also quite quick. And the fabric, which is quite stretchy, worked very well.
The only thing to keep in mind with this pattern, is that it is quite fitted and fits very true to size, while I find a lot of Oliver + S patterns are a little big. Unfortunately, that means the dresses might not last past spring, but then the kids won’t be wearing velvet in the summer anyway. And really, I am just happy to see so much fabric out of my stash and in wearable form.
I ended up with three dresses that are very comfortable to wear, but look quite dressy – perfect for Valentine’s Day.
And don’t worry, Kid No 2 who is not much into dresses, got something nice too. Blog post coming soon!
Does this dress look familiar? If you read my blog, it might.
This is the Jump Rope Dress (view B) by Oliver + S. The shirtwaist dress features cuffed sleeves, gathered patch pockets, collar and front placket. I made view B which has long sleeves and an a-line shape. I made the size 7.
This is the second time I’ve made this dress, and this version is almost the same as the last one, but larger and with different contrasting fabric. The main fabric is a cotton linen chambray. I really like that the pattern and fabric work well both for summer and winter.
I only made two changes. The dress was very long, so I turned up about two inches and made a wide hem that I can lengthen later. I also finished the cuffs so that they are wide and can be turned up with a nice seam finish.
You may have seen that the Pantone colour of the year, for 2014, is Radiant Orchid. I was so excited when I saw the colour, because for the last couple of years, the colour of the year has been just a little outside of my colour palette, and finally, this year, it isn’t.
But what to sew?
I have been hoarding this beautiful piece of Bromley voile from Warp & Weft, in just the right shade of purple. It’s really pretty and very soft.
I had just the pattern in mind. This summer, Jeni Baker of In Color Order was one of the stops on The Staple Dress Blog Hop. It featured The Staple Dress by April Rhodes and I was lucky enough to win their giveaway.
The Staple Dress, is a super simple, whip-up-in-a-day, pattern. There are only a few pattern pieces, no darts, little fitting, no closures and no fussy details. I made the version with the straight hem and with pockets. (Who wouldn’t add the pockets?)
The toughest part was adding the elastic thread shirring. I’ve used thistechnique before and it was a breeze.
I received the paper pattern, but you can also get the pattern as a PDF. I prefer paper, since I don’t have to tape things together and the instructions come in a handy booklet.
I found the instructions very easy to follow and extremely thorough. This is definitely a good project for a beginner. It’s hard to go wrong.
I made the large, though the finished measurements said it might be snug. I wanted to be sure that the dress wasn’t too blousy, especially with a fabric that doesn’t have too much drape, and the unstructured design of the Staple Dress. In the end there was plenty of room.
The only problem I had was that the waist is really high (by design). The high (but not empire) waist ended up being very unflattering on a curvy, long-waisted girl like me. So I had to undo the shirring and move it all down, and I moved the pockets down as well by three inches.
The only other thing I changed was to make the dress a bit shorter. I’m 5’5″, and I ended up shortening the dress by 2 inches. I also made the dress hem a wide one, instead of the recommended narrow one, in case I change my mind about that shorter skirt later on.
Would I make this again? Yes. It’s super easy to sew. Though I think next time I would either use a draper fabric, maybe even a knit (you can see some examples here and here) in a smaller size, or add darts, for a bit more shaping. But overall, I’m pretty happy with the results. It’s a nice, simple, comfortable dress, that I can just throw on, and that fits well with my lifestyle. And of course, it’s the perfect colour for 2014.
Modifications: I lowered the pockets by 3 inches, lowered the waist shirring, shortened the dress by 2 inches, and used a wide hem.
Results: A quick and easy project that would be great for a beginner.
C’est orchidée la couleur Pantone de 2014, alors voici une petite robe très simple pour commencer la nouvelle année. Le patron est ‘The Staple Dress’, un projet à fabriquer dans un après-midi, et apte pour même les débutants.
Way back in July I volunteered to do a little pattern testing. I’d never been a pattern tester before so I thought I’d give you a little run down on what it’s like. The pattern I had the chance to test is the super cute Sally Dress from Very Shannon (great first name!) of luvinthemommyhood fame.
Now before you look at my version, you should hop over to her site and take a look at the finished versions there, then hop back here.
The dress is fully lined with nice big pockets (love those pockets!). It has no closures so it’s great for beginners and comes in sizes 2T to 8, which is a nice range. It also comes sleeveless or with two sleeve variations (short sleeves and elbow-length sleeves).
This is a really cute dress and it’s very easy to sew. I think Shannon did two rounds of testing, but I was only available for the first round. So when I did my round the sleeves weren’t quite ready and the bodice was also changed in the second round. I do like the sleeveless version though.
Now one thing about pattern testing is that you are sewing to a deadline, which I try not to do too often. In this case my busy schedule meant that I only had one day to get fabric. And there was only one place that was open on the day I could go. Ack! So this isn’t my first choice of fabric for this pattern (I do like the prints though), but I still like the way it turned out.
The prints are Houndstooth and Swell Strip, both in multicoloured, from the Textured Basics collection by Patty Young for Michael Miller Fabrics. The houndstooth was a gift from Double Decker Fabrics.
This is the inside out view where you can see how nicely it’s finished on the inside. I lined the bodice in super soft cotton batiste.
Now I have to say this testing didn’t go as easy as I would have liked. I had to resew the bodice twice, and shorten the skirt (which meant taking apart the pockets), and because I was matching the stripes, redo the pockets. Now of course, all the little problems that had me resewing were fixed and retested before the final pattern was released, so have no fear! You will not be subjected to all of that. And if I hadn’t chosen a striped print, I could have made life so much easier on my self.
But it all still went a little wrong. This dress relies on a very fitted bodice for the fit and my little one is very slim in the chest, which mean she’s floating in the dress. I made the size 7, which I always make, and it’s just too big. I probably would have been happier making the size 4, but lengthening it.
And the other thing that went wrong was that I hadn’t seen how long the dress was supposed to be. None of the photos showed the full model. Of course now there are quite a few cute Sally Dresses out there, and some are quite short, some shorter than I’d like, but all are much shorter than mine.
So I had a choice. I could rip out everything and recut, or I could just hang onto it until next spring when it will probably fit perfectly. And since my little girl loves it as is, I went with the second choice.
I will, hover, have to try again, and maybe this time add sleeves too.
There is one little person who has been missing out of the handmade sewing this year, and that is my smallest. As kid number four, she has a huge selection of hand-me-downs, but it’s still nice to have something new once in a while.
As soon as I saw this fabric I knew it would be perfect for a summer dress and I knew just the right pattern – the Geranium Dress from Made by Rae.
I bought this pattern way back in January, so it was about time to actually make it.
This is a great pattern. It’s cute, quick, easy to sew and comes with some nice variations for sleeves, neckline and pockets. You can also make it as a top. And it’s easy to add a personal touch with piping, rickrack and other trim.
I chose the simple curved neckline and flutter sleeves. The pattern calls for the sleeves to be finished with a zigzag stitch, which sounded a bit odd to me. I saw some versions of the flutter sleeves online which were lined, but they looked really stiff. So I stuck with the directions and I’m happy with the results.
The bodice is lined and I used a very soft cotton batiste. If I were to make the dress again, the only thing I would do differently is to understitch the lining to better hide it. I thought about it as I was sewing, but I wanted to keep the inside nice and soft- as if a couple extra lines of stitching would suddenly make the inside unbearably itchy for my baby. The things mothers do for their little ones…
The sizing was really good. I made the 12-18 months size and it fits well, but will also probably last through to spring. I have a new walker, sometimes crawler here, so she sometimes finds the length a bit annoying, but I think it looks adorable.
The pattern calls for 1 1/3 yards of fabric for the 12-18 months size. Even though the print I used is directional, I still had a lot left over. I was even going to make a matching diaper cover, but my printer ran out of cyan ink – because you need that to print in black and white. I hate it when that happens.
This is possibly my favourite sewing project. I love the results. Super cute!
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. You can find the fabric used in this project, Floral Meadow from the Storybook Lane collection, online in the Warp & Weft shop.
This is the fastest (wearable) garment I have ever made. I made this in about two hours, and if I weren’t a mother of four, who knows how quickly I could have done this without interruptions? The mind boggles.
This is the Heather Ross Smocked Sundress. You can find the free tutorial on the Martha Stewart website where there is a video as well, or in Heather Ross’ book Weekend Sewing (though the reviews of the book are not kind). There is also a pattern for a larger dress for women, the Mendocino Sundress Pattern available to download, also for free.
The main criticism of her book seems to be that there are errors in the instructions and missing details. I found the instructions for this project to be alright – I mostly skimmed them. But then I’m an experienced sewist, perhaps a beginner would find them more problematic?
I didn’t have any problems with the smocking with elastic thread. It was incredibly easy. My machine handled it beautifully. There also isn’t a lot of seam finishing in this dress, since most seams are enclosed or involve the fabric selvedge. Yay! And fitting isn’t that much of an issue, since the dress has a lot of give in the smocking. This dress fit perfectly.
I only made two changes. First, I cut the dress a bit shorter than I had intended (oops!), and so I hemmed the dress with a narrow hem, instead of the wide one in the instructions. It’s still quite long, so it should last a while.
Second, I changed the straps. The directions call for four straps that tie in bows at the shoulder. It’s a cute look, but those ties always come undone. Instead I used two straps, and fed them criss-crossed through a small loop in the centre back. I anchored the loop very securely with extra rows of stitching. This way there is one bow in the back, and it can be tied more securely.
Let’s talk fabric! This is quilting cotton, which is great for summer – so breathable and super easy to work with. The print is Monkey’s Bizness Market Floral in the bright colourway from Alexander Henry. I really like this print. It’s a floral pattern, but not too girly. I’m not one for ruffles and frills and bows and often floral patterns are either a little too old or a little too saccharine. This one is perfect and the scale of the print is really nice too. Even my husband said it was “so pretty” (and this almost never happens!).
Another great thing about this pattern is that it doesn’t use a lot of fabric. I only had one yard of this fabric, and I only used 2/3 of that. I did cut the straps on the straight grain though. If I had cut them on the bias, I would have had less fabric left over.
I’m really happy about the results. I wanted something cute and easy to sew, especially after the more advanced linen shirtdress I made recently. This was both. And my daughter really loves it and says it’s super comfortable as well. Yay!
Warp & Weft Sewing Society
This is a Warp & Weft Sewing Society project. Esmari of Warp & Weft Exquisite Textiles has some great fabrics. Lots of quilting cottons, but other things as well, including some really unique finds. Right now there are three of us in the sewing society all creating projects using her fabrics. It’s quite fun, because we could all be using the same fabric, but of course we’ll come up with such different results – so much creativity! Be sure to check out the other Warp & Weft Sewing Society members, Cynthia and Carla to see what they’re up to.
I made this dress two years ago, but since I took some good photos this weekend and I haven’t blogged it yet, I thought I’d do that that now.
This is Burda Kids 9702. It comes in sizes 18 months to 5. But if you’d like it in a larger size, it appears to be almost identical to Burda Kids 9755 which comes in sizes 6 to 11. I really like this pattern, so I just recently bought the larger one as well.
I made view A, a sleeveless dress with gathered skirt, buttons in the back and a bow tied in the back at the waist. It isn’t especially clear in the technical drawings, but view A has an almost empire waist, while view B is longer in the bodice. I would probably use the longer bodice if I were to make the dress again. I skipped the flowers on the waistband.
I made it this dress a size 5 when my daughter was a size 4. It’s meant to be tea length, but it was extra long at first. But I’m glad I didn’t shorten it because it has lasted two years, which is amazing when you consider how much she’s grown over that time. Crazy!
This was a really easy pattern to make. The instructions were great and there were no hitches – just straight forward sewing. It was also quite quick. It’s a classic style, and I’ve tried other patterns in a similar style before, but this one has been the best. I cannot recommend it enough.
I made the dress in quilting cotton. The fabric is Pick A Bunch Organic Blooms in Sunflower by Nancy Mim’s from Robert Kaufman. Quite a mouthful! But really cute, and the larger print works well with a longer skirt. I had a tough time choosing the thread. The entire dress is topstitched, and the colours are so different. In the end I went with a dark pink that matched the fabric background.
This dress has gotten a surprising amount of use. It’s one of my daughter’s favourites. It’s great for summer, but she also layered it over shirts in the fall and spring. But it looks like it’s almost time for a new one, she’s growing so fast!