Ultimate Wrap Dress

I have two ultimate wrap dresses to share today.  I was given this pattern for my birthday in September by my lovely sister-in-law.  I had to make it up right away!

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My first version was made with a lovely purple double knit from my stash.  It came from Calico Laine– one of the most friendly and helpful stores I have used.  It has a nice weight and drape and is just perfect for this type of project.

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The pattern is described as an advanced beginner pattern, and if you have ever sewn with a knit fabric before you should have no problems.  The construction is really simple and well explained.  The whole dress came together very quickly.  The only tricky parts are turning the ties and top stitching the very long hem/facing!  The ties are very long, perhaps because they are the same length whichever size you make and I made a size 8.  If you were a bit bigger, the extra length might be needed.

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Having had success with the first attempt, I decided to make another in a more special fabric.  This dress is made from a stretch cotton bought at the Exeter Sewing Machine Company.  I couldn’t find it on their website, but in store they have a fantastic basement of fabric- a sewists treasure trove!

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Because this version is a woven, rather than a knit, I did need to finish all the seams to stop them unravelling.  Enter the new birthday overlocker!  I was too scared to just overlock the seams, and some of them needed pressing open anyway to allow for the ties, so I just overlocked the seam allowance instead after sewing on my machine.

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I also decided to square off the corners on the bottom of the wrap sections.  I just thought it might be simpler to keep all my seams neat that way.

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Having found the ties too long previously I guessed a little at what would be a better length this time.  They are a tiny bit short to tie on the side, but tie at the back just fine.  The little bit of stretch in this cotton still helps it to conform to the body and is pretty comfortable.  I usually wear a cami underneath because the cross-over neckline is a little bit low without.

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Both of these dresses are lovely with tights and a cardigan.  I might have to think about making a lighter, short sleeved one for the spring and summer.

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Toasty Toaster Sweater

Well here it is- my first contribution to the Sew My Style Project- the toaster sweater no.1.  Now I know that officially I was supposed to make version 2 (and I’m sure I will at some point), but work and college have been a little crazy this month, and I wanted yo be able to whip this up on the overlocker as fast as possible!

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Fabric-wise, both of these come from Fabric Godmother.  The patterned sleeve fabric was a remnant that I thought should be big enough for some colour-blocking.  They do have cut lengths back in stock now too.  The body, neck band and cuffs are this Ponte also from Fabric Godmother.

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In terms of the pattern, I wanted to keep things a simple as possible.  I wasn’t really sure about the high neck band and also didn’t plan my cutting out all that well so it ended up a little shorter.  I really like it though!  When up, the neck is super cosy, and I can also roll it down and wear it with a shirt.

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The fabrics were both lovely to work with.  The trickiest part was working out how to best use my 40cm remnant of the patterned jersey.  To make the most use of it I had to have the stretch running the wrong way on the sleeve, but it doesn’t seem to have affected the pattern much.  The sleeves are loose enough to be comfy and the stretch is the right way around on the cuffs anyway!

This was such a quick make.  Maybe 2 hours including cutting out.  I would love to make an even snugglier version with something a bit thicker.  I think next time I will lengthen the body about 2 inches too.  It’s not too short, just a little shorter than I usually would choose and I keep trying to pull it down.  Had lots of compliments when I wore it out today though.  I might also try switching the high neck for a neck band and having it more like a crew neck sweater.

Two Heather Dresses

 

This pattern was released a little before Christmas and it was perfect timing to create some cozy winter wardrobe staples.  Heather is a princess seamed jersey dress and is just super comfortable and as a bonus has great roomy pockets!

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My first Heather dress was actually my Christmas morning dress.  Christmas is certainly a day in which jersey dresses win- you can eat as much as you like!

Both of the dress fabrics came from fabricland.  I did manage to squeeze both of these dresses out of just 1.2m of fabric.  I slightly misread my fabric buying notes, but fortunately it worked out OK!  The red floral dress is this and the purple can be found here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are a couple of fiddly stages in the instructions to attach the pockets, but the instructions are good if you follow them accurately and carefully.  My purple dress ended up with cuffed sleeves and contrast pocket linings in order to get it out of my measly 1.2m!

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Cute contrast pockets!

Like several other bloggers, I did remove about 3 inches from the length and about 4 inches from the hip, graded to nothing at the waist.  I don’t have the most enormous hips, but that does seem to be quite a bit to take in (1″ from front and back at each side seam).  It now fits beautifully and is everything you could want from a winter dress- comfortable, stylish and pockets.  I can definitely see more of these dresses in my life!  I have couple of Ponte’s from eBay just crying out to become Heather dresses sometime in the future.

Camisoles galore!

A shorter post today for you.  I wanted to share a free pattern that I have got a lot of use out of in the last couple of months- the So Zo Vest.  You can tell that it is a good one because I have 4½ versions to share!

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4 of my 5 are made from old oversized t-shirts.  This pattern really doesn’t require much fabric- half a metre of most jerseys should be more than enough so it is also great for using up little bits from your stash.  The advantage of using a t-shirt is that you don’t even need to sew the bottom hem, just use the one which is already there.

Taken with Lumia Selfie

This might seem a seasonally inappropriate post, but I wear this sort of thing all year round- under another shirt or a dress in winter, and just with a cardigan in the summer.  I don’t think I will ever need to buy another.

Taken with Lumia Selfie

The instructions include the option to use flat elastic or fold over elastic.  All of mine are made with Fold over (foe) purchased from various Etsy and eBay sellers.  There are so many colours, patterns and options.

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Sparkly chevron fold over elastic

The ½ is for one which is not quite finished- it still needs straps but I ran out of elastic,

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Such a simple pattern, but so useful!  If you have never sewn with knits before this is a good option to try with very little waste or expense if it doesn’t turn out quite as planned, and a good opportunity to practice a few skills like applying the elastic.  I made my first 3 on a regular sewing machine with a triple zigzag stitch and the last two on my new overlocker.

I would definitely recommend giving it a go if you haven’t before.  Simple, free and minimal fabric requirements. What do you have to lose?

Cleo and Astoria

Two makes to share today. Firstly a Tilly and the Buttons Cleo Dungaree Dress.  I made this one shortly before Christmas and already I have had a lot of wear out of it.  I wanted to be able to wear it with as many different things as possible, so I made it in this medium whale grey corduroy bought from eBay (sadly no longer available but they have it in red).

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I made version 1 the mini length with a front chest pocket and rear patch pockets.  The instructions give the option for contrast top-stitching but I kept it pretty neutral, so that I can wear this with as many things as possible.

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I made a straight size size 2, even though it doesn’t quite match my measurements (my hips are a little bigger than that) but thought I could get away without grading as it is not a particularly closely fitted style.  The sizing is spot on.  It is a little bit of a wiggle to get it on over my hips, but once it it on it fits fine.  Length is great with tights, and while loose fitting over the hips, even with a short t-shirt you don’t feel like you underwear might end up on show at the cut out sides!

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As you might be able to spot above, I didn’t get around to top stitching down the facing.  This was for two reasons- one, I was impatient and wanted to get on installing my buttons then realised afterwards that I had made top stitching tricky/impossible, and two because I liked the clean finish.  I have tacked it down at the side seam and haven’t had any problems with it flipping out of place.

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I love wearing this with tights and boots.  Today I am wearing it with another new make- my Seamwork Astoria.  This is my second attempt as this pattern.  The first was far too tight and was a nightmare to get on and off- just not enough stretch in the fabric.  This one is better though still not quite right.  The fabric is a stash sweater fleece with a bit of stretch.  Probably still not the 20% recommended by the pattern which is why I think it is pulling a bit in some of the pictures.

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Astoria is a very easy make. It came together very easily on the overlocker, with a bit of twin needle stitching to keep some of the hems from flipping out of place.

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I made a couple of little changes- my fabric wasn’t quite big enough to cut out the full length sleeve so I added a cuff.  The cuff I kept a fraction wider than the original sleeve piece too as I found it quite narrow the first time I made it.

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Still not quite perfect, but a very wearable sweater now that the weather has got properly wintry again!  I’m sure there will be more around- possibly lengthening the pattern to a less cropped style.

 

New Year Sewing Plans

New Year is a great time or making plans.  This year I have a couple of sewing related resolutions to share!

1. Project Sew My Style

Project Sew My Style - What is it?

This is a first for me, signing up to a sewing community collective project, but I am really looking forward to it.  The concept is simple- 12 sewing patterns have been selected, one or each month.  Everyone sews them up and shares their makes via Instagram.  Find out more here.

Not all of the projects are things I would usually be drawn to, but I’m going to give them a try.  I am looking forward to this month’s make the Sew House 7 Toaster Sweater.  Both versions look so cozy.  And I love Megan Nielson Patterns so the Virginia Leggings and Darling Ranges Dress both look like fun.

The Toaster Sweaters (PDF or Paper)

To see the rest of the pattern selections and the timeline head over to bluebird fabrics here.

2. Blogging weekly/fortnightly

Still not sure how this will work out with college and work going on in the background, but I do have a couple of things made and photographed ready to blog.  Still learning my way around WordPress though!  I do have the best of intentions and I am excited about sharing my makes with the world.  Here is a sneak peek of the next blog post to come along…

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2017 is looking like a good year already!