Stripy Chevron Dresses

Every cloud has a silver lining, and being ill* in bed means I have caught up with the 200+ posts in my blog reader and even though I feel better today I am staying in my pjs at my computer just in case. Luckily I have more dresses from the “Garments I’ve made ages ago but have been wearing too frequently to take pictures/blog about them” series.

I wanted an easy-to-wear summer dress so I used my trusted t-shirt block (with self-drafted/made-up cap sleeve adaption) and combined it with the Cake Tiramisu skirt. The neckline and sleeves are finished with bands. That simple, other than the meticulous pinning on every white stripe to get perfect seams. (The good thing about knit fabrics is that you can stretch the fabric slightly if your pattern matching while cutting wasn’t perfect.

turquoise chevron

As soon as I tried on this dress, pre-hemming, I knew it was going to be a favourite.  It is a fairly sturdy interlock knit made from 100% organic cotton and it is a really nice weight to wear; cotton is nice for the summer, it is heavy enough to cover lumps and bumps, and it was good with tights this week. It was £16 a metre which is more than I’d normally pay for fabric, but it is extra wide and holds shape well. When buying the fabric I had resisted the chosen aqua as a more subtle colour, but once I tried it on I knew I needed more, so that same day I ran down the road to get some more in the hot pink.

pink chevron

Two identical dresses would be a bit odd, so I went crazy and mixed things up a bit by adding a v-neck! I’ve never sewn a v-neck before, and annoyingly I can’t find the tutorial I used to help me get a nice centre-front; I did something similar to this and sewed a v-seam where the centre front would be, being careful to match the stripes on both sides. I sewed the centre front first on either side, then figured out how much I needed to stretch the neckband to work out where to place the centre-back seam; this gave me a v-neck with absolutely NO gaping which is pretty brilliant!pink detail

I also decided to cut 8 skirt panels instead of 4 to get a more zig-zaggy look (slightly inspired by the cover of Threads 161). I divided the skirt pattern pieces in half and drew a couple of new stripe lines on the new pattern piece, and I made sure these always matched up with the fabric during cutting. When marking stripes I draw a line (eg for the bottom of the white stripe) and then shade/mark below (for the pink) to be sure my line is in the right place of the stripe. The cutting was quite a tricky business on a single layer of fabric, but luckily this fabric could be used upside-down and on the reverse (does an interlock have a reverse?). Despite the hassle of arranging pattern pieces so particularly, I really prefer the effect of the zig-zags and love that I have created a new fabric by adding more seams.

swirly

 

 

I have worn both of these dresses a lot, and on consecutive days, and NOBODY has noticed that they are even similar! Is it just a keen-eyed sewist who would notice the similarities, or have I done too good a job of customising them?! I wore both of these as my cheat attempt to join in with One Week One Pattern.

*There was a nasty 24 hour bug going around (when I say nasty I mean I lost 2 kgs in 2 days) so if any parents of small kids are reading I beg you to make sure your kids don’t come back to school the day after they’ve been ill; I didn’t need to feel guilty about being away from my class as by the end of the day there were only 15 children in! (FYI children will tell teachers that they were sick in the morning but mummy made them come to school.) Annoyingly for me the 48 hours I must stay off work are the weekend.

Advertisements

Aubergine Corduroy Hummingbird skirt

cord hummingbird 4

This skirt has taken ages to appear on the blog.

The fabric was bought over a year ago at the Peter Jenson sample sale, but because I had so much of it, I wasn’t desperate to sew with it. Then in the summer I got the Cake Hummingbird pattern and thought the cord would make a great skirt. I cut the fabric in the summer but couldn’t find a zip that was anywhere close to the colour. So it sat untouched until the autumn, when I found a brown invisible zip that blended in okay, but by this time I had lots of other projects on the go and was busy moving house. Then in the Christmas holidays I remembered I had a skirt cut and ready to sew, and it was really quick to put together.

A month later and the weather, time and laundry have finally coincided for me to be able to take some decent slightly better photos!

cord hummingbird 3

This is my second Hummingbird skirt (the first is a black twill that is worn all the time, but is too dark to get decent indoor winter photos) and the construction was really straightforward. As with all Cake patterns, it is really easy to get a good fit just by following the steps in the pattern. This time I added the tail flounce which was a little trickier as there was a long bias edge to work with. The flounce is really fun and allows a lot of movement in an otherwise fitted skirt.

cord hummingbird 5

The colour is very aubergine and as much as I love it, I’m finding it tricky to pair with other garments, especially in winter darkness when I’m getting dressed. I wasn’t sure if it would be too much purple to wear with my new cardigan, but when I had some fabric in my bag (to send to Gillian so we could be twins) someone said they looked nice together. What do you think?

cord hummingbird 1

I lined the pockets with leftover hot air balloon fabric for a fun surprise. The skirt isn’t lined which is a bit of a problem when wearing winter tights, so I made a wearable muslin of a half-slip to wear underneath. I made the slip from some old lining fabric but I have some Valentino silk I picked up at a swap ready for the real thing.

cord hummingbird 2

Pink Polka-dot Hummingbird

I bought this fabric in July on a trip with Jo (I was looking for plain jersey, which hot pink dots definitely is!) and had decided it would be perfect for a Cake Hummingbird top, without even owning the pattern. Then when I got the pattern I was being extra good about resting my wrists and so it sat around for a few weeks.

2

When my wrists felt up to crafting I wanted an easy project to ease myself into. I also didn’t want to waste crafting time tracing/cutting out lots of pattern pieces, so I decided to try the peplum of the Hummingbird top with my fail-safe jersey bodice. I cut the peplum piece and my normal top pieces, stopping just below the waistline and simply sewed them together at the waist. Simple.4The most time-consuming parts of this make were the neck and sleeve bindings (my new favourite method of finishing knits -look how flat it sits in the picture below!) and trying to work out the best height to join the peplum. When I tried it on it sat a bit low so, instead of unpicking all the lightning stitches, I created a bigger seam-allowance; next time I need to sew it just a teeny bit lower so I can keep the original length of the peplum, as it looks a touch too short in some of these pics.
3

I really love this top! It is so fun to wear, and looks just a little bit more interesting than just a normal t-shirt. It does feel a bit weird when wearing it as it sometimes feels like I’m wearing a crop-top when the breeze blows the peplum away from my body! Will definitely be making more of these in the future, and maybe with the original bodice!1

These pictures were taken at the end of the summer holidays but I waited to post them as I wanted my 200th post to be special and sentimental; I think the length of my fringe here clearly shows they were taken before my back-to-school haircut!

I still have a few more summer makes to show you (and one that needs a bit of a tweak) but tomorrow is the start of the By Hand London Anna Sew-along and I am looking forward to joining in with a sew-along in real time.

Autumn Sewing Plans

sewing plans

I have a couple of finished garments to show you, but before I show you all my sewing I though I should share my plans for autumn back-to-school sewing. At the beginning of the summer, while bored from my break from sewing (saw the physio this week and the rest has helped) I decided to draw all the things I was planning to make. Last year I made a personalised croquis* using the instructions in the Colette Sewing Handbook and I printed some out to doodle my wardrobe plans. I’m not normally one for planning my sewing, as you’ve probably worked out by now, but I was preparing for a blogging meet-up shopping-trip and had time on my hands.

blazer

  • A By Hand London Victoria Blazer. I have already shown you the blazer I made, which turned out pretty similar to the original idea; plain dark jacket with contrast (spotty) lapels.
  • A dark grey or black Hummingbird skirt. Last autumn/winter I lived in my black cord skirt, so another plain dark skirt is a basic wardrobe necessity.
  • A “plain” t-shirt to go with my patterned skirts. This was the plainest jersey I could buy; I am attracted to fun prints in fabric shops, but there is a space in my me-made wardrobe for plainer tops to wear with the snazzy prints! I’ll use my jersey t-shirt block for this, with self drafted cap-sleeves.

aubergine skirt

  • Last year I bought LOTS of aubergine-coloured corduroy and I haven’t made any clothes with it yet! I love cord skirts in winter, so am going to use it to make a Hummingbird skirt.
  • My wardrobe needs a plain navy top or t-shirt to match with my navy skirts. Still haven’t bought fabric for it yet.

hawthorn

  • I love the new Colette Patterns Hawthorn shirt dress; it is cute without being too vintage or girly looking. In my head I imagined a dark purple fabric with a subtle print, with a plain collar and cuffs. Whether this fabric exists in real life is still under investigation…

blouse

  • I’m pretty sure there will have to be a few adjustments made, plus my first time making sleeve plackets, so I thought I should plan to make a wearable muslin of the Hawthorn blouse; If it is in a busy print it should disguise any mistakes I make.

elisalex

  • I got this turquoise dotty fabric from Paris as a birthday present, and thought it could be a great first go at an Elisalex dress bodice, with a Cambie-style gathered skirt. I have seen so many lovely Elisalexes and variations, that I had to give in and get the pattern too.

tiramisu

  • I love my Tiramisu dresses and really want a long-sleeved cosy one for the winter, in a heavy ponté jersey. Not black, so maybe dark purple/plum or maybe a deep red or pink…

peplum

  • When fabric shopping with Jo from SewLittleTime I bought some pink polka-dot jersey that we thought would be great for a Hummingbird peplum top. I didn’t even own the pattern, but Jo had the measurements written down so I bought some fabric in the hope of owning the pattern.
  • My second self-drafted pair of jeans were a much better fit, but the knees are already starting to fade from so much wear. Time for a new pair of jeans, in a dark almost-black colour.

So those were my plans at the beginning of the summer – stay tuned to see which plans stayed the same and which ones changed! Is anybody else getting excited about autumn sewing (despite it still being summer!)? What are you planning to sew?

 

*The croquis was made by taking an accurate (and unflattering) photo of myself in underwear and then tracing over it, to get an accurate outline of my body. I used an edge-detector tool on the computer to generate my outline and printed it in pale grey. The final image shows what I actually look like, and not what I think I look like, so my sketches of my designs look more realistic.

 

 

Stripy Tiramisu

image

Today I wore my stripy Tiramisu as I needed a feel-good outfit for a busy day. Everything went well and I got home in the sunshine ready to take some pictures of my new dress.

The fabric was an impulse purchase from John Lewis, so more expensive than the jersey i normally buy but great quality. I lengthened the bodice and shortened the waistband slightly to improve the fit, but the first time I wore it I realised it gaped a bit. So obviously I sat at work sewing the crossover together as I was wearing it (worryingly nobody batted an eyelid!).
image

The stripes were a little more time-consuming on this make, so I had to redo the front and back centre seams a couple of times to get them perfect. It turns out stripes on the bias need more pins than normal seams!
image

I couldn’t resist an action shot of some twirling.
image

Spotty Tiramisu

Last week, in the days heading up to The Big Blog Meet Up, I got chatting to some sewcialists (sewist + social) on twitter and got convinced that I needed to get a new pattern – Steph C’s Tiramisu dress. I haven’t made a jersey dress for ages (years?) so it was a good job we were off to do some fabric shopping.

tira 1

It is a mock wrap top with a half-circle skirt, but the thing that makes it a bit more special is the sizing. You choose the bodice based on your high-bust measurement and then choose the cup-size, so you don’t get any indecent gaping. Also, the waistband is only half-drawn; you join the dots between your bodice and waist size to get a perfect fit! Genius!

I made the 40D (D is the largest cup size and they are not based on bra sizes) bodice and the fit was pretty good without a FBA. The pattern has points indicated for fitting as you sew, which would be so helpful for beginner sewists. There is also lots of help and advice online and one of the things mentioned was that the jersey will pull with the weight of the skirt, so when fitting the bodice I didn’t worry too much. With the skirt added, the bodice didn’t pull down quite enough so on the next version I will add have added a couple of inches to the bodice (and removed this from the waist band).

tira 2

Yup, there will definitely be more of this pattern to come. I wore it to work and got lots of compliments (maybe fished for as I swished my skirt!). As soon as I put the finished dress on I swished and twirled around – how have I never had a (half)circle skirt before?! I really love the shape of the half-circle skirt -smooth round the waist with a lovely amount of drape and fullness – so I may have to try a woven circle skirt before the summer.

tira 3