Check it out dress

I am loving some of the graphic style prints that I am seeing in the stores recently. Not normally one to follow trends, this grid or checked pattern is one I can get on board with. For work wear, I have been loosely trying to stick to a bit of a palette of black, white and red for work, perhaps once my wardrobe grows more colours will enter. This fabric certainly fits the brief and makes me feel a bit on trend and edgy 🙂

V8766 Raglan Hack

The pattern is a hack of my favourite 4 dart bodice, V8766 paired with the skirt of the Belladone. I love the diagonal pockets of the Belladone and I thought they would complement the shoulder detail.

V8766 Raglan Hack

This time I hacked the bodice slightly, I wanted to play on the grid pattern and also wanted to incorporate a complimentary bias trim. I modified the bodice to have a raglan shoulder detail and cut the shoulder pieces on the bias to emphasize the design lines.

IMG_6190a

To do this I eyeballed where I wanted the seam lines to be and marked these on my pattern pieces. I then matched the front and back pieces at the seams (omitting the seam allowances) and traced a new pattern piece for the raglan insert (including seam allowances on the new piece). Perhaps a diagram showing the end result is easier (you can see my fold lines on the pattern pieces including seam allowances, the dashed lines are the seam lines):

IMG_6251a

Now that I have my personal alterations sorted for this bodice it all went together super quickly. I used 25mm bias to further emphasize the raglan seams, pockets, to bind the neck and armholes.

V8766 Raglan Hack

I love how this raglan feature just adds a small point of difference. I would like to do something similar on a ponte dress with a pleather or quilted raglan piece.

V8766 Raglan Hack

These pics were taken a couple of weeks ago, since then the temperature has dropped considerably and I’ve been wearing this with tights and a cardi. Admittedly for most people it hasn’t been that cold, about 20-25C, but I am well known as a complete wuss when it comes to the cold!

On another note – how slow is this week going?  For me it is absolutely crawling, I can’t believe I am only half way through! Roll on the weekend!!

Vintage Pledge – V2876

Hellooooo again!  Soooo…I signed up for the Vintage Pledge..yep it’s out there in the Blogosphere so I’d better do it huh? I have loads of vintage patterns, mostly from the 40s and 50s. I love the artwork and the interesting details not often seen on patterns nowadays. I also have a number of the reproduction vintage patterns and have been meaning to make them for a while now. I thought the pledge might be the motivator I need to actually sew them instead of just stare wistfully at them. I have started small and have pledged to sew three patterns this year.

Vogue 2876

This is the first, Vogue 2876, a vintage reproduction.  The pattern is for knits and wovens apparently, I chose an ITY knit to give a dress in the Leona Edmiston style that I adore.

PSA: This pattern has EIGHTY steps!!  Don’t let this put you off, this is not as complicated as it sounds. A lot of the instructions are super basic and in my case, I felt some were completely unnecessary e.g. I omitted the shoulder pads so that eliminated 7 steps, and I left off the side opening and zip as it neither were required with the knit fabric eliminating a further 16 steps.

Vogue 2876

The insertion of the diamond was the most tricky part as it is done via top-stitching it on rather than a back to back construction approach.

The bodice is also supposed to be attached to the skirt by top-stitching but this was not really possible with the slippery knit fabric. Instead I placed the bodice and skirt back to back and stitched most of it together this way except for the wrap section which I pinned extensively and top-stitched.

Vogue 2876

Changes to the pattern:
– As usual I shortened the bodice, this time by 2″.
– I took the pleats out of the sleeve and made them 3/4 length
– narrowed the shoulders by 1.5″
– 3″ off the length of the skirt

Vogue 2876
Look – faux wrap!

 

What I like:
– the front diamond and bodice gathering
– love the style
– it’s dressy enough for work
– it feels amazing to wear

What I would change for next time:
– nothing and there will be a next time for sure, I’d love to make it in a plain fabric to show off the details more

PRO TIP – Don’t try to do clever things like play pattern tetris and flip your pattern pieces. Doesn’t work with an asymmetrical pattern if you only flip some, you just may end up with two right fronts – ask me how I know 😦

Vogue 2876

Are you participating in the #vintagepledge? How are you going so far? If I make two of these does it count towards the pledge??

JLV Felicity Dress

Recently I was privileged to have the opportunity to test the latest Jennifer Lauren Vintage Felicity dress. I love the aesthetic of JLV, the nod to vintage designs with great details but very wearable and not at all costume-y.

JLV Felicity Dress

The Felicity dress is no exception, it has no bodice darts, instead it has lovely gathering that sits above the bust and I think at a flattering level, rather than right on the bust (which just adds unnecessary bulk). Jennifer drafts for a D cup and so has really given the design a lot of thought for the more busty of us!

The neck and armholes are finished with bias binding which I love as it creates a tidy finish inside and out.  I chose to make my own as I wanted the matchy look – I used my cheat method of a metal ruler with my rotary cutter. My ruler is the exact width of bias strips so this is a super fast way to do it as I only cut what I need and seldom require a join.

JLV Felicity Dress

It does have small back neck darts though which you hardly ever see on modern patterns these days. I find these really help the fit of the back and prevent any gaping around the back zipper. Speaking of the zipper, I did have some issues with mine. My fabric seems to want to stretch a little and it was almost like the zip is too heavy for the fabric and so it wanted to stick out all horribly. I fixed this by taking the back in a little and lengthening the back darts to take out the excess fabric. FYI – my muslin I did first in a cotton did not have this issue at all, so I 100% blame my fabric, which still feels amazing so I am not bearing a grudge!

JLV Felicity Dress

I made the dress in a very light, floral, floaty rayon (bought at Darn Cheap Fabrics in Melbourne last year) and whilst it is a bit creasy, it is amazing to wear.

Whilst this is a PDF and I know not everyone is keen on these, JLV really thinks through the process and has the pattern laid out so you print the bare minimum of pages for your view option. There is no layering of the pieces, so tracing is not required. It was a million times better organized than my recent Tessuti debacle.

JLV Felicity Dress

I chose the three quarter skirt option instead of the gathered option. Perhaps not the easiest option with my fabric as it dropped a lot at the sides and despite hanging it for several days before hemming, still doesn’t look perfect. It is straight, but depending on how I stand, really affects how it looks. I hemmed with the narrowest rolled hem that I could.

JLV Felicity Dress
I love the pockets! In my opinion all good dresses have pockets.

The JLV instructions are very clear and well illustrated and to further support this, a sewalong starts tomorrow! I am definitely making another Felicity dress, in fact my fabric is pre-washed and ready to go!

Disclaimer – I was given this pattern to test. Jennifer asked that I blog the dress if I wanted to and to offer my real opinion. Those that know me, know that I’m not one for mincing words or sugar coating things. If I like something, I say so, if I don’t I’m not one for keeping quiet either 🙂

Colour Block Mash Up

Happy Monday all!

I’m still getting used to the idea of working in an office again. It seems to be going alright so far, although really not used to having my time monitored. I’m more of the philosophy that it doesn’t matter as long as the work is done. Oh well, I’ll get used to it I am sure. More importantly…it’s all about what I’m wearing!

Here is another Simplicity 2174, although this time View C, sans sleeves.

Simplicity 2174

View C has a modernised subtle sweetheart style neckline which is high enough to still be decent for the office. I found the fit to be very much the same as View A so it was nice to make the same alterations. This time I omitted the facing and instead cut the pieces again in a cotton voile to line the bodice. Being a cotton, this has a good cooling effect too as my fashion fabric has a high poly content.

Simplicity 2174

Initially I was going to add an A-line skirt but it just looked odd with the colour blocking of the bodice, so I recut using the skirt pieces of McCalls 4829, an OOP sundress pattern with a paneled skirt option.

I cut the panels with nice big seam allowances so I could make sure the seam lines were nicely lined up and I am really pleased with the result.

Simplicity 2174

This is such a different silhouette for me, normally I’m all about the fit and flare. I have been branching out lately with some art teacher chic and now I’m trying the shiftdress. I actually like the shape and find that I feel a bit profesh. Whilst the shift is definitely great stylish work wear, I have to remember I am a “lady” and to crouch properly and sit nicely, you really have to move differently in this style!

S2174

For the side panels I used a gorgeous quilted fabric that I believe to be a Cue remnant. The centre panels are also supposed to be Cue remnants. Both bought from Pitt Trading and mailed to me from Sydney (excellent service there!). Cue is a clothing store in Australia and New Zealand that specializes in office wear. For me, the opportunity to buy their remnants was too good to be missed and I bought enough for four garments!

Simplicity 2174

Likes
– I am pretty happy with the fit
– great work wear
– the fabric is on trend
– the high poly content means less creasing and therefore perfect for my desk job!

Changes for next time
– perhaps shorten the bodice a touch

PS – I have Revenge on the telly at the moment – what great inspiration for stylish office wear! (terrible show though). Also really loving Annalise Keating’s outfits on How to Get Away with Murder.

Pia in Polka Dots

Howdy all! Taking a small hiatus from workwear, I’m back with another Tessuti Pia Dress.

Pia in Polka Dots

My previous one is getting so much wear, it is the perfect weekend dress, especially for slouching around, ducking out to the shops and eating big lunches! It’s also great to wear when sewing garments that need lots of trying on, with no fastenings it just pops over the head, much more convenient and saves sewing in some stage of undress (my usual attire!).

I have fast become a convert to this silhouette and of course had to make another stat!

Pia in Polka Dots

Nothing new on the construction from before, although I did omit the Vilene tearaway facing and just stay-stitched the neck and armholes. I have never had an issue with stretching out and felt the Vilene was overkill. Having now worn this dress several times I can attest that I still have no issues with stretching out.

Pia in Polka Dots
Pocket close up – intentionally slouchy

The fabric is a chambray bought here in Brisbane at Sewco, unlike others I have read about online, this chambray had no issues with fraying and the stitching is holding well, just like any other cotton fabric.

Pia in Polka Dots

This is a pretty good quick make, especially as it was my second time. There is no darts and no fitting to worry about. I find it nice that I can sit and sew from start to finish without having to get up and down to try it on. I have plans to make the Eva Dress soon, I just have to work out a good time to print it off. (I wonder how receptive the new place will be with me pilfering work resources, or will I have to use stealth mode?!) Am I the only one to print PDFs at work?

PS – Just how casual is “casual Friday”? Could I wear this to the office? I’m not sure it feels city/weekday appropriate.

Back to Black – Simplicity 2174

I’m still on a mission to increase my very miniscule work wardrobe. I plan to make a few basics and then a few more colourful and interesting dresses. This LBD is View A of Simplicity 2174, one of their Amazing Fit range.

S2174

A princess lined dress with two neckline options, two lengths and A, B, C & D cup sizes. I love this idea of Simplicity’s to make patterns with different cup sizes. For those of us that always need to do an FBA (or presumably an SBA) these patterns are a godsend.

S2174
There is a little pulling in this photo but that is not apparent in real life

I admit to being skeptical at first and figured it would at least be a good start and I could always adjust further from there. Not necessary. I used the D cup pattern pieces (a couple under my normal size) but found these to be more than sufficient.

The pattern pieces are also made with a 1″ side seam so you can baste it all together first to check sizing and then adjust as necessary. Genius idea. (of course one could just add a larger seam allowance any pattern but I often forget)

S2174

I used a suiting fabric bought at Levines in LA a couple of years ago. This was fabric by the pound and so cheap – I ended up with about 5m of this fabric and used the balance to make a M6611 jacket (to be blogged soon).

S2174

Not many adjustments were required to my size 14 due to being able to avoid an FBA. I did cut the shoulders a size smaller and shortened the bodice at the waist by about 1″, but will likely shorten it a touch more next time. I ended up taking in the sides a touch more than the 1″ allowance, particularly at the bust level where I needed to take it in another ½”. I actually wondered if perhaps I should have used the C cup pieces, but in my rashness binned them so not an option! My fabric has a little stretch to it, so this may be difficult to gauge until I use a non-stretch fabric.

S2174
Here’s how I look at my new office “you want me to do what?!”

Likes
– pockets!
– I am really happy with the fit
– great work wear
– I think it is pretty flattering
– I love the little neck vent
– did I mention it has pockets!!!

Dislikes
– none! (and that is pretty unusual for me)

S2174
Handbag picked by Lizzy (does she know me or what?!)

I feel like I could wear this dress a couple of times a week and no-one would notice, but wear a patterned or more statement dress and it would be pretty obvious. Whilst I build my wardrobe up, this dress is a great staple.

Lady in Red – Style Arc Jessica Dress

Big changes afoot for me shortly – I am currently working from home, but as of next week, we are moving to a proper office. As one would expect, this has good and bad aspects, but for me the most important consideration is – what will I wear?!!!

As of right now I have just seven work dresses; two winter dresses and five summer dresses, one I am not loving as a work dress (it’s a little low cut) so really only four.  Obviously I have some work to do to resolve this. Rather than go through the inevitable shopping pain, I have started on making a new work wardrobe. One of the dresses counted in the four/five is this one I made a couple of weeks ago, the Style Arc Jessica Dress.

Jessica Dress

This was my first Style Arc experience, and I have to say I am not overly impressed. I would be even less impressed if I had bought the pattern (I borrowed it). Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the pattern, I just think there are so many things that could be done better i.e. multi-sizing, instructions, fabric layout map. I am sure most people are aware of these issues with StyleArc.

I made this dress in a size 14 (pretty accurate to my measurements), but shortened it between the shoulders and bust by 1.5″, and took an inch off each side and narrowed the shoulders by about 2″, and took about 2″ off the hem. I guess this may make it a petite (short) size 12?? or even maybe a 10?

Jessica Dress

I used a crepe knit from Spotlight that I was originally going to use for a wrap dress (the wrap dress is still on the cards, just this leapt the queue, c’mon you’ve all been there!)

Construction on this was reasonably straightforward, although it is probably better to use common sense than the instructions. The twist is not as complicated as it looks, it is simply a loop made with one side of the front and then the other front fed through it. I actually twisted one side 180° as I felt that made it sit better.

Almost the whole garment thing can be made on the overlocker and I did the hemming on the cover-stitch. This make is a relatively quick make, being knit, the fit is quite forgiving, although I had to do some fiddling as the whole thing was way too big initially. Not being experienced with StyleArc patterns I can only assume their sizes run large?

Jessica Dress
Perhaps a slip might be in order to prevent some clinginess?

Likes
– comfortable – work PJs for the win!
– reasonably easy to construct
– it’s red!
– suits a curvy figure, especially needs bewbs to fill out the top I think

Dislikes
– in my opinion the sizing is off as this needed a lot more fiddling than a knit dress would normally require
– I’m not truly sure this is my style, it feels a little clingy/revealing in the back, but I need to try with granny undies or a slip and this may fix it
– the shoulders still feel too wide for my liking

Jessica Dress

 

Like Lizzy says “it is perfect casual workdress – I don’t have to look super-corporate every day so it’s a great choice for those days at the desk when you just want to be comfortable.”

I won’t be making it again though – I want  to try a few other knit dress patterns that might be better for my shape.  V1191 is a similar pattern but has a set in sleeve. I have a couple of wrap dresses planned: V8379 and M6713 (totally going to have to do a bike pose for this post). And then, the one I am most excited about and currently top on my list V2876 – I love this dress and really hope it works well for me.

Eliana Dress & a Giveaway

Recently I was privileged to be a tester for the new Eliana Dress by Pauline Alice.

I don’t do much pattern testing for lots of reasons; there is a larger than normal risk that the pattern won’t work, there is not usually a photo of what is supposed to look like, there could be errors , plus I really don’t get asked that often 🙂  Of course there are many advantages to testing too, getting a sneak peek of upcoming releases, getting a free pattern and I believe some designers even gift fabric! Me, I like to sew what I want when I want.

When the opportunity came up with Pauline Alice I was pretty inrigued, I like the direction her patterns going in. She is releasing some very different, eclectic designs and I thought it might be fun to see what was coming next. Admittedly, I was a little apprehensive after the dungaree pattern, don’t get me wrong they look great on some people, (have you seen Kirsty’s?? they are awesome! and her pinafore is genius) but they really are not for me.

Anyhoo, I give you the Eliana Dress:

Eliana Dress

The dress has and elastic waist, optional vents for front and/or back, can be made in knit or woven and has options for sleeveless or raglan long sleeves.

It’s summer here so of course I went with the sleeveless version, I used a light two way stretch poly knit gifted to me by the lovely Marjorie.

Eliana Dress

Please note, my dress was made with the test version, since then a couple of changes have been made,  the bodice width has been reduced a little bit and the armholes have been raised slightly.  I raised my version at the neck to combat the armhole issue I encountered.

Eliana Dress

Construction wise, this was a pleasure to sew, the instructions are clear and well illustrated. Pauline has clearly given this a lot of thought. This is a great pattern for beginners too as there are no zippers or buttons.  It has size options from Euro 34-48, I made the 44 – I would love to see this come in larger sizes, but I think it could easily be “graded” by just adding to the side seams.

I would not suggest making your own binding in stretch fabric as I did. This was fiddly, took forever and used a billion pins!!

Eliana Dress

Be warned, this is a pretty short dress – I didn’t alter it at all and it is definitely shorter than I would normally go for! On a person of normal height this would be quite short!!  On a side note, how awesome would it look as a maxi dress??!? I’m thinking navy or black, perfect for an evening BBQ (hmmm, am I obsessed with maxi dresses right now?).

I would shorten the bodice next time as it is a little blousey on me and I feel this would be a little more flattering.

Eliana Dress

Giveaway time:
Pauline generously sent me a hardcopy of this pattern as a thank you, but as I already have a copy printed I thought I would give it away. Please let me know in the comments if you would like to go in the draw, ensuring your email address is included, or accessible via your profile. Entries close 12pm (AEST), Friday 30 January. GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED.

Tropical Maxi

Last Saturday I had a birthday party to attend, not just any party, this one had an island theme. How fun, not only was the party on an island, all guests were requested to dress in tropical themed clothing. Originally I had ideas of a bright pink rayon dress with orange hibiscus flowers on it, but of course, do you think I could find the fabric? After a quick IG survey of the available options a black poly knit printed with hibiscus flowers and tropical foliage was agreed upon.

New Look 6282

The pattern is a modified version of New Look 6282.

New Look 6282

The pattern is designed for a woven, but as my knit wasn’t super stretchy and the pattern is not fitted I decided this wouldn’t be too much of an issue. Because I like to live life on the edge, or perhaps because I made this only 3 days before the event (you decide), I didn’t muslin first (I was also hoping the knit would be forgving. Luckily this worked!

New Look 6282

Based on my measurements I cut a size 14 in the top and a 16 for the skirt. The skirt is supposed to be in three panels front and back. As I had no intention of the split I didn’t see the point in this, so when cutting I laid the centre and side panel pieces side by side, overlapping the pieces slightly to account for the seam allowance and matching the notches. This resulted in the front and back being whole seamless pieces. I also omitted the skirt lining.

New Look 6282

The bodice is supposed to have facings. To me, this is not ideal for this kind of dress at all. Instead, constructed the front a little differently
– I cut two fronts, one to use as a lining.
– I then sewed the fronts together around the top, right sides together, sandwiching the shoulder straps where indicated
– I then elasticized and finished the back piece
– the side seams were then sewn, the back sandwiched between the two fronts, this makes a nice tidy interior with no pesky facings to pop out
– the back straps were then placed where convenient and stitched in place

I only shortened the dress by 3″, so anyone taller than 5’2″ may need to lengthen the skirt. I also didn’t change the length of the bodice, normally I would shorten by an inch or so.

New Look 6282

I really like the back strapping detail (note I did bring my centre straps in slightly as I preferred this look). I love that this is a bra-friendly dress, so often not the case with a strappy dress.

New Look 6282

Not only was this dress great for the party, I also wore it to the beach today, it’s great to throw on over togs.

I am already planning another couple of these dresses as I really like the bodice, although at least one will be knee length.  A maxi dress is pretty fun, but is quite hot to wear and I find I am always hoicking it up.

BTW – I suspect this will be one of the last of my beach shots.  Next weekend we move house, back to the city! Whilst the beach is very pretty, it is so far from civilization and we have both been going crazy so far from stores, amenities, and life in general. Yay to being back in the city (10 minutes from a fabric store, not 40) – boo to packing and moving.