Sunday, 19 October 2014

Vintage Peplum Dress

Pattern Review: Simplicity 1460


I have been wanting a jean dress in my wardrobe for a while now and I decided to try it out using Simplicity 1460. I have to admit I don't tend to go for vintage styles, but the scalloped neckline caught my eye. I chose to pair the bodice from view C with the peplum from view B. I wore this to work last week and this is how I styled it. 


I am going to hold my hands up and admit that I should have done a muslin for this dress, especially as it has minimal options for fitting as I sew. I did have major fitting problems with the bodice. There was too much excess fabric in the top of the bodice and the sleeves extended too far. I removed the excess by adding in a 2" dart from the armhole to the bust and in the back from the armhole to the top of the back waist darts and reshaped the sleeves. I traced a new bodice pattern piece and was lucky enough to be able to cut them out of my already cut bodice fabric. 



I cut a 16 all over, I decided to size this up reviews read that the waist for this runs small. And it is very true. I could have gotten away with a 14 as my fabric has a bit of stretch but it would have been snug. I added 4" to the peplum to make it a decent length skirt.  Although it is still a bit big in the bodice the fit is much better than it was, and I am happy that I have ended up with something wearable. 


I snapped up 3 metres of this medium weight stretch denim from my recent fabric binge in Paris, I was a steal at €10. It was really easy to sew with and I treated myself and purchased some jean needles for my sewing machine. I still have a fair bit of the fabric left so I have plans to turn it into a skirt 


This pattern is unlined, but uses facings for the neckline. I decided against using the denim as it would be too bulky and picked out some blue polycotton from my stash, purchased from Brixton market for £1.20 per metre. There is a cute family owned shop called Wools and Crafts down the road from my house and I found some basic buttons for 15 pence each. I am definitely going to re-tweak the pattern and make this again, especially as I like the overall silhouette and it would work in a variety of fabrics. I would also like to make this as a skirt. It's essentially a circle skirt with buttons which is cool. 


As I mentioned in my last post this dress was going to be my November Garment of the Month, but I managed to crack on with this dress on a 'use it or lose it' day off last Monday. I will reassess my stash and see what will satisfy my sewing mojo next. 

You can see my Pattern Review for this dress here. 

Has anyone else been kicking themselves for not making a muslin recently? 

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

DVF Rip Off Wrap Dress/October Garment of the Month

Pattern Review: Butterick 5454


At the beginning of September I went on holiday to Paris.  We were walking past the Galeries Lafayette where Diane von Furstenberg was paying homage to 40 years of the wrap dress. It was such an awesome window display, here is a very sunkissed photo that I snapped. 



Suddenly it dawned on me that my current wardrobe does not contain a wrap dress. And I wanted one. Like right now. For this wrap dress I used Butterick 5454, now OOP. I had made this pattern before ages ago in my pre-blogging days and knew that it would be perfect. 


As you may have guessed, I am not a huge fan of dresses with sleeves, so I went for the flounce sleeved version, which is also a bit different and not hugely DVF in style. I cut a size 14 all over and made minimal changes My only alterations were to grade in a bit more boob coverage to the bodice pieces (aka a FBA) so I could wear this bad boy to work and I took 1.5" off the length, no reason really, just personal preference. 


I love the pleat detail as it creates a great A-line shape for the skirt. However, I wasn't sure how I felt about them in the back, I do have a fair amount going on there already, but having worn this dress they have really grown on me. Another thing that I love about the pattern are the sleeve options. I probably wouldn't go for view C, but I think that it is awesome that they have drafted the pattern pieces for this view should you be working with a border print fabric. I thought that was a nice touch. 


The fabric is a fun jersey print that I picked up from Dress Sew during my travels in Vancouver. I think it was around $7.99CAD per yard, and I snapped up two yards. It pre-washed and sewed beautifully. Lastly I love that this dress requires no notions! No popping out to buy a zipper, finding a hook and eye or anything else! This was a quick and easy stash-busting project, that filled a hole in my wardrobe and provided a fab burst of colour for the colder months. 

Speaking of, Summer is well and truly over here in the UK and there was a definite chill in the air when taking these photos. Not to mention rather windy!


You can see my Pattern Review here.

I already have a ITY knit in my stash earmarked for another version of this dress, so expect to see it burst forth on the blog sometime soon. In the meantime I have started thinking about my November Garment of the Month - Simplicity 1460. Believe it or not, this will be my first time sewing a vintage style pattern. Wish me luck!!

Simplicity Misses' 1950's Vintage Peplum Tunic & Blouse 1460


Friday, 3 October 2014

Teal Knit Dress

Pattern Review - New Look 6123

I have been in stash-busting mode recently and knocked up another version of New Look 6123. You can see my previous version here. I love that ponte knit makes you feel as though you are wearing pyjamas, and so coming into the colder months I can see a ponte knits having a large presence in my life. Especially being sat at work when it is dark outside!


This teal ponte knit has been in my stash for a while and I knew that it would be perfect for this pattern. I picked this up from Fabricland during a trip to Bristol. Fabricland do a great selection of basic ponte knits for £3.99 per metre. When I wore this to work this week I had lots of comments on how lovely the colour is. Interestingly it looks less blue and more green in real life. 


In true creative style I made the same view as last time - cutting a size 14 all over, and made the same adjustment to take out 2" at the top of the centre back. I graded this out to nothing where the zip hits my bra strap. This seems to be a common adjustment these days and looking at the photos I half wonder if this is due to my terrible posture!


I graded in some additional height on the bodice pieces. My last dress is pretty heavy on the cleavage, so if I wear it to work I tend to wear a strap top underneath. I was looking to avoid that with this version. I added 2.5" to the skirt so it fell below the knee and pegged it a touch more so that the fabric recovers from the width of my hips. 

Despite this dress being very figure hugging and showing every lump and bump, for some reason it doesn't make me feel self-concious. I expect that this is due to how comfortable the fabric is, or maybe that sewing tends to encourage a body awareness that is liberating. 





Either way, the fact of the matter is that I LOVE this dress. Is it wrong that I have some more ponte knit in my stash already earmarked for this pattern??

As some of you may have noticed, I haven't labelled this as my October garment of the month. I finished this dress before the start of October and I have a new dress waiting to be hemmed that is a much better fit with the October theme. Watch this space!

You can view my Pattern Review here. 

Is anyone else currently having a love affair with ponte knits? 

Happy Sewing!

Friday, 26 September 2014

September Garment of the Month

Pattern Review - McCalls 6562


Similar to my cardigan, my Autumn sewing list has a focus on wardrobe staples. For my September Garment of the Month I decided to add in cute going out top. I do love a good dress, but as London can be pretty casual I often head out with a nice top and jeans.



This pattern is McCalls 6562 now out of print. I purchased the pattern when it was on sale and only for view E. I know I complain about pattern envelopes a lot on this blog, but I do think that the other views are pretty strange? I like to think that it is the fabric choice as Cennetta's version is super cute. 

I mean look at this! It upsets me on so many levels.
No wonder this pattern is discontinued. 

Anyway, enough of my ranting and more about the construction. This top is a wearable muslin. This is not a style that I usually wear, and looking at the line drawings I was worried that it would not be fitted enough. 

I sewed this version straight out of the envelope, cutting a medium  and made no alterations. I am not too enthusiastic about the length. When I am standing it's fine, but when I sit down I expose a rather unsightly builders bum to the world. I know that if I lengthened it I would most definitely have to grade out to a size large on the hips. 



Another issue is the gathering at the back. As it is a loose-fitting top it does highlight the need for a swayback adjustment. I do find this even in loose fitting RTW tops, so it's not too surprising, although I would say that the gathering in the back is pretty pronounced. Luckily the flounces hide the majority of this. 

I have no idea what the fabric content is. I think that it is a satin/poly blend. I snapped this up in Shepherds Bush market priced at £2 during a fabric shop with my sewing group. It does drape pretty well and was really easy to sew with. I omitted the facings as it was a muslin, but I did decide to line it using some black stretch lining from my stash, picked up from Simply Fabrics in Brixton for £1 per metre. 



When I finished this top I was pretty unconvinced, but seeing the photos it's not as bad as I thought. I wore this out on a girls night out and it got lots of compliments. It's not a style that I am used to wearing and it does occasionally send me into a panic when I realise that I am not wearing something I can belt or that doesn't nip me in at the waist. 

I don't think that I will be making this pattern again any time soon, but I am still pleased to have the top in my wardrobe and that I can tick off trying out an unused pattern in my stash. Plus, it is official that I am in love with invisible zippers. They go in so easily and mimic the majority of my RTW clothes. 

You can see my Pattern Review here.

For my October garment I am treating myself to a TNT pattern - another version of New Look 6123.

Have you been pattern stash-busting, or are you working with some TNT patterns to build your Autumn wardrobe? 

Happy Sewing!

Monday, 15 September 2014

Autumn Sewing

Pattern Review: New Look 6735


So everyone is telling me that Summer has come to an end. Although I am holding onto Summer and refusing to wear a jacket to work, I did rustle up this (boring) cardigan to see me through more transitional temperatures. 


I used New Look 6735. From the envelope there is no way that I would have ever purchased this pattern. It is so not me. Or so I thought until I saw the lovely Andrea from Four Square Walls sporting a comfy houndstooth version. And as fate would have it I happened to snap up the pattern for £2 last Summer.

The fabric is a ponte knit from Simply Fabrics purchased for £3 per metre. I wasn't sure how much I would like the final product or how much it would suit me, so in terms of fabric choice I was going along the wearable muslin route. Despite the super cheap price this ponte knit is soft and lovely to wear. I picked up the buttons from John Lewis. 


The cardigan is really quick and easy. I cut this bad boy out on Sunday morning, went to the pub for a couple of hours, arrived home around tea time and it was finished later that evening. It only includes 4 pieces and as it is loose-fitting the fit is simple. That said I feel that the pattern is well drafted. I like the shape of the neckline, the shoulders and the width of the collar. I cut a 14 all over and the only alteration was that I added 1" to the sleeves. 

I am sure that I will make this cardigan again. I am planning another black one that is more fitted and shorter, so I can pair it with a mini skirt. I also have some fun ponte knits that I picked up last weekend in Paris which would be perfect as a statement cardi. 



All in all this was a satisfying project and it was great to have some instant gratification, although I admit that it is perhaps not the most exciting thing that I have sewn. 

You can see my Pattern Review here.

At present I have a large stash of autumnal fabric that cries out to be paired with tights and boots. So despite the cooler temperatures lurking in the near future, I am looking forward to sewing warmer garments. And on the plus side, stash-busting with ponte knits means that you can actually see a dent in the fabric stash!

How are your Autumn sewing plans coming along?

Sunday, 24 August 2014

August Garment of the Month

It has been ages since I last posted! I have been travelling to with work to Chicago, Vancouver and Abu Dhabi and my fabric stash has grown considerably as a result. However, my sewing mojo disappeared for the month of July and August, but finally it seems to have returned.



This pattern is New Look 6049 which I have made previously here. I was keen to try this in a non-stretch fabric as I was sure that it would affect the fit. I was right and as a result this version is slightly tight across the bust. I added 2.5 inches to the length and went out to a very generous size 16 at the hips to ensure that I would have ease to walk and sit comfortably. My final adjustment was to increase the narrow shoulder adjustment I had made previously. The neckline now lies flat which is great. 


The fabric costs £3 and there was only 1 metre left when I picked it up at Nags Head Market in the Holloway area of London, close to where I live. I had originally gone to the market to get some meat from the butchers and somehow came home with 6 metres of fabric!! I have no idea exactly what the fibre content is, but I know that there are some man-made fibres in it. It washed beautifully and was a dream to sew with. I lined the dress with yellow lining from Simply Fabrics for £1 per metre. 


This is not usually a colour that I would wear, but I am really pleased with how it turned out, and the more I wear and look at this dress the more I love it. I am also delighted with the fit. Only some minor tweaks and I think that I will have the perfect shift dress pattern for my shape. 


You can see my Pattern Review here. 

My September garment of the month is going to be view E of McCalls 6562. At the moment I feel as though I have a gap in my wardrobe for nice tops I can wear on a night out with jeans. I will play it by ear and see if there are any other items that take my fancy, as I am just happy that my sewing mojo is back and I am making a dent in my fabric stash.  

How did your Summer sewing go? Did you accomplish everything that you set out for? 

Happy Sewing!


Saturday, 5 July 2014

Franken-patterned Halterneck

Pattern Review: Vogue 8725


I have been itching to make another version of Vogue 8725. I knew that I would love a version with a flared skirt for the summer, but I wasn't 100% keen on the front seam in the original pattern. So I opted to use my adjusted skirt from Butterick 4443


I picked up this linen from Simply Fabrics priced at £4 per metre and knew instantly that it was destined for this dress. It is lined with dress lining also from Simply Fabrics (seriously, where else do I buy lining from these days??) priced at £1 per metre. 


I don't have too much to add about this dress. For those of you that are new to this pattern I love that it has A,B,C and D cups. It makes the fit really easy. I cut a 14 all over and took it in a tad at the back and under the bust. Looking at it, I could probably have taken it in a touch more under the bust, but I like that it is comfy and allows me to breathe.


This was a satisfying and quick sew and the fabric was a dream to work with and I love that this pattern really flatters my lady lumps, especially the ones up top. I have some more fabric lined up to make another version! I have a couple of trips coming up and am looking forward to wearing it out and about, despite linen creasing like nobody's business. Fingers crossed my hotel will have an iron!

You can view my Pattern Review here

I was out in Regents Park when these photos were snapped. I hadn't been there since I was at uni. It's such a lovely park. We had a stroll around the rose garden which was in bloom. Aren't these beautiful?!


Do you have any favourite summer sewing patterns? 

Happy Sewing!