Don’t Say It {Jalie 3242 + Ohhh Lulu Romy Bra + Megan Nielsen Rowan Bodysuit}

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I hate the term ‘mummy and me’. It makes me shudder. There, I said it. I don’t hate the idea, just the cutesy term. Blergh. I prefer to call this ‘being economical with fabric’. I managed to get these two out of less than a yard, which was a surprise. I was sure it would have taken more.

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Yes, I made the same pair of swimmers as yesterday (this time sans zip and with the addition of foam cups). So I’m not going to talk about them again. You can check here if you missed yesterday’s post.

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Apparently he’s not embarrassed by me or handmade clothes. Yet.

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It’s still raining. Our feet are webbed and check out what it’s doing to my hair. At least everyone has water again and the garden is happy.

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Mashing It Up {Jalie 3242, Megan Nielsen Rowan and Ohhh Lulu Romy}.

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I’ve mentioned before how I’m happiest when submerged, like some kind of sunglasses-wearing dugong. As a family we spend a lot of time in the water. Kids have a habit of growing too, so I knew I needed to replace last year’s swimmers. Locally, there wasn’t a lot of lycra available that the boys would like, so I was browsing Spoonflower and pretty soon I had a cartful of their sport lycra. Ahem. Including those amazing Andrea Lauren moths for myself. You might have noticed I have a thing for moths. I have one tattooed on my arm and there’s a moth in my KMAD logo. It stems from a love of Silence of the Lambs, which I realise is creepy. I read the book when I was about 12 years old and have just loved that moth image ever since. I really like the old biology illustrations too, which is what the print reminded me of.

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The two little guys and the big guy got theirs made from Jalie 3242. Yes, it’s an underwear pattern, no I don’t care. They generally just wear them underneath boardies anyway, so it’s not like they are flashing them all over the beach. Though they could if they wanted to really. Look how cool those prints are! I must add, that when my husband tried his on, he pretended to announce his swim race for the olympics over a megaphone and ran around the house shaking his arms and legs about for a bit. Warming up for his pretend swim.

For theirs I replaced the underwear elastic band with a fabric band. Easy.

Bits for mine:
Sport Lycra from Spoonflower
Lining from The Remnant Warehouse
Chunky zip from East Coast Fabric
Elastic from Pitt Trading
Yellow rings and sliders harvested from an old pair of swimmers.

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I was keen to make a one piece for myself. My old favourite is getting a bit saggy and the Ohhh Lulu Cindy I made for myself a while back is too big now. I’m joining to local pool so will be doing a bit of lap swimming and figured a well fitting one piece is a good idea. I wanted to see if I could create a slightly different style using two of my faves – Megan Nielsen’s Rowan bodysuit and Ohhh Lulu’s Romy bra. Here’s a refresher on what they look like:

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I love how the bottom half of the bodysuit fits and Romy provides decent shaping and coverage without wire. I pulled out my pattern pieces, marked off where I wanted the bodysuit to end (by comparing it to my favourite black one piece) and lined up the Romy on top to see how they’d fit together. It was pretty much perfect. I took some width out of the Romy back piece and straightened it out, but that was it.

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I added the zip because I assumed I would need it to get the swimmers on and off (turns out I don’t, but nevermind). It was by far the most painful part of the whole process, but not as difficult as last time. I had to shorten it and add a tab to the end again, then I basted that sucker in by hand first and that definitely helped. Actually, I basted heaps with these (leg holes, bodice top edge, bra pieces, raw edges where the zip goes) – it really helps when you have to sew the binding etc on and you’re not struggling to keep multiple layers together.

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For the first time ever, I made my own straps using this tutorial and my own binding using this one. I prefer wider straps than RTW offers on most of their swimmers, so turning these wasn’t hard at all. Making my own straps and finishing with binding always seemed so scary in the past, I have no idea why. I’d always just finish necklines with elastic and legs with bands (or elastic). Probably because I started sewing lingerie before swimmers and that’s just what I knew. Anyway, the binding finish isn’t as neat as RTW and I know zig zag looks super ‘homemade’ but it’s not really obvious unless you’re too close.

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I’m really happy with the fit and I don’t think there’s anything I would change. I might try adding foam cups next time for a bit of extra lift, but it’s honestly fine without them. And adding the cups means I’d lose the enclosed seams of the bra lining because of the way the cup is split into two. I’d have to stitch them to the lining so they don’t move around and drive me nuts.

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We’ve just had about 6 months of rain over 4 days, so I’m not really sure why I’ve been sewing swimmers, but I’m glad they are all done. Bring on the beach! Bring on the pool! Bring on our trip to Samoa!

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Taking The Theme and Running With It {Butterick 6483}

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This fabric. It makes me sigh. I love that whole vintage beach vibe. It’s too good. I’d seen a couple of my favourite sewing bloggers (Roisin and A Million Dresses) use it and then I spotted Sew Positivity had also scored some. I made a cheeky comment about how jealous I was and do you know what sweet, sweet Elle did? She bloody went and found some for me and had it shipped here from the UK. What a legend.

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And one night while that delicious fabric was winging its way down under, I sat down for a solo Netflix viewing of the girliest movie I could tolerate. I settled on ‘You Before Me’. It was actually quite enjoyable. I admired Lou’s (Emilia Clarke) wardrobe through the whole thing (if you’ve seen it, you’ll understand) but my heart skipped a little beat when this scene graced my screen in full colour.

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OMG, that’s my bloody fabric!

Heck yes it is. Turns out, the outfit is Ralph Lauren and was sourced from the chain store TK Maxx. You can read about that here.

It’s actually a top and a skirt.

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The universe wanted me to own this fabric, I know it.

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The day it arrived on my doorstep, it was washed, dried and in pieces within a couple of hours. No mucking around here. I had my future sister in laws hens day coming up and the theme was ‘island princess’. This fabric was perfect for it.

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I’d already toiled Butterick 6483 so there were no hold ups in getting this baby done. The biggest change was a 2 inch full bust adjustment. You might have seen my otter version of this dress, which is actually my second version. This is the first but I was waiting on my red frog closures for a really long time so I’ve only just got around to photographing it. Big props to Tea Dust and Stitches who scored me the frogs, I am still waiting on a pair from China some 6 weeks later. This dress has taken a village.

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So. The whole thing sewed up like a dream. No issues whatsoever. The linen is superb to sew with and is lovely to wear. I popped a pocket in the right side seam and there is a zip in the left.

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A mandatory requirement of the hens party was a flower crown. I searched the shops up here but we really don’t have that much variety. Plus I was really keen on having some native flowers in mine. Preferably yellow or red to match my dress. I hit Spotlight and found this wattle. It was perfect. I grabbed some ivy to fill it out and also wire from the millinery section. I measured out some wire against my head and went to work, winding everything around it. Then I secured some parts down with green thread so it sat a bit flatter. A hack job because I had no idea what I was doing, but it ended up working quite well.

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You should have seen us in all our flower crowned glory last night, downing espresso martinis and generally just being fabulous. It was a sight to behold.

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Rainbow {Vintage Simplicity 7189}

I know. Now I’m just showing off.

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You’ll remember good old S7189 from the lipstick skirt I made a while back.

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It’s a bloody gem. I wear it all the time. I love those giant pockets and the way it wraps around the back. Yes, another wrap thingy. That’s two in two days. Buffet breakfast come at me.

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If you haven’t noticed the fabric then you’re obviously not a child of the 80s and we can’t be friends.

Just joking. We can be friends. Please?

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YEAH IT’S RAINBOW BRITE! So cool. It’s a poly cotton I scored on ebay. I’m generally not a poly cotton lover but I’m ok with it when it’s a print that’s hard to come by. It actually drapes really nicely and won’t need ironing, which is a bonus. The pocket and tie facings are in gingham, just for fun and to break up the print a bit. Small black dog growing out of me is an added bonus. He’s a ninja, I didn’t even realise he was there.

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Weeeee! I’m an adult!

B-A-N-A-N-A-S {McCalls 7627}

I’ve said it before, I love me a wrap. Skirt, dress, top – whatever. I like how they look, I like the adjustment factor. I just like them, ok? That said, this pattern isn’t one that I would have generally jumped on. Those sleeves, man. They aren’t for me. Please don’t be offended, I’ve seen a couple of bloggers have embraced them, but I’d definitely look like a failed Pirates of the Caribbean extra. No.

webDSC_5422Yes I’m that person who makes notes on patterns. Judge me.

So then how did this frilly Laura Ashley number make its way into my stash? Well, Spotlight were having one of their 3 for $15 deals on McCalls and I needed it to make up the numbers. I actually really wanted M7358, but of course it wasn’t in the drawers. And McCalls won’t ship it here either, I checked on the website. Weird. Actually they won’t ship either here, but here I am with M7627 anyway. GIVE ME THE OTHER ONE, MCCALLS.

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I feel like it seems that I hate-sewed this top now. I didn’t. It really did grow on me the more I looked at the pattern. I figured I’d go for version A as it was the least frilly and I’d leave off the sleeve flounces so there was even less frill. It all seemed too much with the peplum as well. I do love that peplum though. A tiny circle skirt for your waist.

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What I didn’t really notice until I started tracing and cutting were all the other floofy details, like the pleats at the shoulder and bottom of the bodice front. Plus the shoulder seam doesn’t actually sit at the shoulder, it sits off the shoulder (check the pattern illustration, it’s clearer there). And those sleeves are super boxy when I thought they’d be more fitted, which sleeves tend to be on my chunky arms.

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The pattern suggests cotton, gingham, poplin and other cotton blends for this top, so I was excited to use my rad banana lawn from Cotton and Steel. So soft, so dreamy. But even though I freaking love this fabric, I think the top needs more drape – so something like rayon or crepe de chine would be better. Personal preference. It would make the sleeves sit better anyway.

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I finished the peplum hem with bias tape because it’s about a million times easier than trying to hem those circular shapes the usual way. I also folded those ties in half length ways and sewed them, rather than hemming the edges. They would have been super wide on me otherwise.

Ch-ch-ch-changes?

I’m going to redraw that sleeve so the seam sits on my actual shoulder, eliminate those pleats and use nice simple cap sleeves instead. Then I’ll be happy. Fit wise, it’s pretty decent, but too long on the upper front bodice pieces (where it wraps). This is always a problem for me though, I must have a short upper body. On this one, I took it up at the shoulders but next time I’ll take a dart out of my pattern pieces. This has worked well for wrap dresses I’ve made before.

Not a bad pattern by any means and I will definitely wear it. It’s ideal for our summer. Plus, bananas.

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Stay Puft {Old numberless dress pattern from vintage Ghostbusters sheet}

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‘The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man (also known as Mr. Stay Puft or nicknamed ‘Tubby Soft-Squeeze’ by Ray and Peter) was the final enemy of the Ghostbusters in the first film. He was the chosen Destructor Form of Gozer…’

I had to Google it. I couldn’t remember if he had a legit name.

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Ebay. She’s been good to me over the years. I’ve never really had a bad experience, but this one was borderline. Being a fitted sheet that is nearly as old as me, I expected some wear and tear. I’m a realist. The listing described the condition as ‘has some wash wear’. Mate, it’s threadbare. It was like sewing with tissue paper. Also ‘one small stain’ roughly translated to ‘has multiple brown stains that I really don’t want to think about too hard’. To be honest, I was pretty disappointed when this arrived in the post from the US. But onward, right? I soaked the sucker in Napisan for two hours and now there’s not a mark to be seen. There’s very little that can’t be fixed by a good soak, including my mindset.

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The wear however, can’t be fixed with a soak. It was obvious it would have to be fully lined, so I just used white cotton lawn. I’m used to lining bodices and do it all the time, but I very rarely line skirts. Which took a bit longer than usual because I had to use my brain to consider how I would add the pockets and finish the hem (the lawn is only 108cm wide compared to whatever the width of a single sheet is. Wide). I really should have lined the sleeves too, one is way more faded than the other due to the tetrising I had to do to get Mr Stay Puft on both sleeves.

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Still, it came out ok. I reallllllly wanted to use the Emery pattern for this, but alas those darted bodice pieces wouldn’t fit on the sheet I had left after cutting the skirt. I could have sacrificed some of the skirt to make them fit, but because the print is so large I was a bit pedantic about the way it was cut. And I wanted that skirt super full. Which is helped out by the lining too.

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In the end I decided on my old faithful tea dress bodice. The princess seams mean you can move the pieces around to get the absolute most out of your fabric. It’s a very old pattern that I inherited from my nanny and has been much altered over the years. It’s the pattern that launched my business and I still sell dresses from it in the shop today. I did have to shorten the bodice slightly and lower the back to get the pieces to fit, but it’s all worked out in the end.

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I ain’t afraid of no ghost.

 

 

 

An Otter Success {Butterick 6483}

Sorry, that was terrible.

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When I was about five years old, I had a pair of PJs with a mandarin collar and frog closures (they are the scrolly buttons) and I adored them. So when I saw Butterick 6483 for the first time, it took me right back to those PJs that I hadn’t thought about for 30 years. That just made me feel really old.

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Obviously I had to have the pattern. Rather than wait for it to arrive in stores here, which takes a bloody long time, I ordered it directly from the US site when they were having one of their $2.50 sales. Hot tip: shipping will most likely cost you more than a few patterns so make it worthwhile.

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Like most of the Big 4 patterns, fitting straight out of the envelope doesn’t really happen. And seeing how nice the fit is on Gertie made me want to go the extra mile. So I grew up and made not one, but two toiles (just of the bodice, I’m not that dedicated). My measurements put me in the 16 so I made the 14 for my first attempt, which was too big at the waist and way too small at the bust. Eeeep. The thought of a full bust adjustment on this bodice almost made me give up on the whole idea, but I persisted and made a 12 with a 2 inch FBA. And what do you know? I got a pretty great fit.

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I could take those waist darts in a bit further, but she’s not bad!

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Now I really need to FBA every pattern that comes my way. Totally worth it.

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As far as construction goes, it’s not as complex as you’d think. The instructions aren’t too bad, which is great because there’s no sewalong for this one. Actually, there’s very little about it on the internet in general, which I thought was strange. Sewing blogs and google are my go to before I start a pattern, just for general feedback and any common problems. The only real problem I had was that I found the collar too big for the bodice. Not once but twice. Because (spoiler) I’ve actually already made another version of this dress but I’m still waiting on my frogs to arrive so it’s yet to see the light of day. But yes, same problem twice. I’ll have to go back and double check that I’ve traced out the pieces in the right sizes.

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Other changes were adding a pocket to the right side seam (because I need at least one) and changing the lapped zipper to a standard one. The pattern also states a hook and eye is required in the notions but then never mentions it again. I’m wondering if it’s supposed to be used to give the frogs extra help where it crosses over? I’m going to add one there because I do get a bit of movement at that point if I raise my arms.

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Should we talk about my major crush on this Tula Pink print? Lets. I loved it from the minute I saw it start making the rounds on social media a few months ago. OTTERS. MOONS. PRETTY THINGS IN DARK COLOURS. I waited not so patiently for it to be stocked online and finally scored myself some from Hawthorne Threads last week. YASSSSS. It’s as beautiful in person as it looks online. Makes me happy.

My other version of this dress is pretty tops also, so I will share it if my frogs ever arrive. C’mon, ebay. Give mama her frogs.

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Sorry Lindy Bop {Tilly and the Buttons Megan Dress}

You know when there’s a sale and something catches your eye, but dammit, it’s out of stock in your size? It’s really not that often that I buy RTW anymore anyway, but every now and then I’ll see a dress in a cool print and think ‘WHHHHHYYYYY can’t I buy that fabric?!’.

Screenshot-2017-9-27 Marlene' Hot Pink Yacht Print Swing Dress

WELL.

Last week one of the lovely ladies in a FB sewing group (hi Sammy!) posted that she’d accidentally ordered two of the same dress, so rather than sending one back, she cut it down and made two of the cutest little girls dresses I’ve ever seen. That print, man. Too good. So I completely copied her (yes, there’s been a bit of that going on lately – stop being so inspiring people!) and ordered the biggest size left on the Lindy Bop website.

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It wasn’t long before it was resting in pieces. Feels so wrong to completely unpick a brand new dress the minute it arrives on your doorstep. Sorry Lindy.

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I’d decided on the Tilly and the Buttons Megan Dress (which can be found in her Love At First Stitch book) because I knew I wouldn’t have a huge amount of fabric to play with. As it turns out, I didn’t use the bodice pieces of the dress at all because they weren’t big enough, just the skirt. And I only just squeezed it out. I did keep the original zip, hook and eye and rings and sliders for potential future projects.

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I tried really hard to avoid placing that sun in the vicinity of my boob, but working with limited fabric meant that she did have to go on the front bodice. I don’t think the placement screams nipple once it’s on though.

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Put in a metal zip because they’re stronger for this style of dress and cool as heck.

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If you’ll excuse my awkward pose and just check out that kinda sorta best matching I could do on the side seam there (and ignore the fact I missed it on the centre back seam). Fit wise it’s actually a bit small because I made a mistake. Gah. The fabric is sateen which means it has that lovely little bit of stretch, so I sized down as I wanted it quite fitted. As it turns out, I didn’t use my brain to consider that this print is a border print, isn’t it? So the stretch is running the wrong way – up and down instead of around. NO. So it’s a wee bit tighter than it should be. Ok for standing, potential wardrobe malfunction if I have to sit. Standing events only please.

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I have no shame in destroying RTW and will absolutely do this again.

Something For The Small Ones {Made Everyday Shorts}

I was creeping around Spotlight recently (as you do) and made quite the discovery. Microfibre quick dry. That’s code for boardies fabric. If you’ve tried to make board shorts before, you would have discovered that the fabric is pretty hard to find. So of course I bought a couple of metres so I could make shorts for the boys.

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Problem was, I no longer have a shorts pattern to fit them. Kids (boys especially) are particularly hard to find patterns for once they get beyond about a size 8. Actually, even RTW is hard to buy for boys after that age too. Apparently they don’t need clothes.

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ANYWAY. Someone had posted the Made Everyday shorts in one of the FB sewing groups I’m in (yes I’m that cool) and I was pretty chuffed to see they went up to a size 10 and had heaps of pattern variations. I made the racer style. Love that curved hem.

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In the past, I would have shuddered at the thought of making all that bias tape, but that has changed recently since I’ve discovered double fold. It doesn’t seem to be as common as single fold, but damn it’s so much easier to work with. I didn’t even mind making my own. I cut my strips 7cm wide, sewed them together at the ends to form a long strips, ironed them in half length ways, opened that up and then folded them in to meet in the middle. Then folded in half length ways again. Hard to describe, very simple to do. I have some of those little triangular bias tape makers but I honestly find this method easier. Weirdly soothing.

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That bias tape runs around the hems and outside of the shorts making them look quite neat and professional. Both boys are the same size in the waist, so I only had to trace off the size 10. Which I may have traced directly off my computer monitor as soon as buying because printing is such a chore. Ha. There’s only two pieces so it’s not hard. They are definitely getting more of these.

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Blatant Plagiarism {Sew House Seven Tea House Dress}

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It’s another Sew House Seven Tea House Dress! The one that I had planned all along, but first I made a top version and a dress version in less fancy fabric. And even though I didn’t love that first one, I wear the second one at least once a week. I know this new version is going to be on high rotation too.

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Oh does it look familiar? Perhaps you’ve seen it on SH7’s Instagram? Yeah. It was that exact dress that made me buy the pattern. This is a shameless and blatant copy of the lovely Sarah Watts’ dress. Sorry Sarah. Can you blame me though? LOOK AT IT.

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If you’ve never felt Cotton and Steel’s rayon before, let me try to describe it to you. It’s soft like kitten ears, drapes like an angel’s…outfit but still has a decent amount of body so you don’t cry when you get around to the sewing part. It’s the greatest. You should totally get some. Mine is from here.

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You know what I love about this pattern? It is so bloody beautifully drafted. It’s amazing. There’s quite a lot of pieces, which can be overwhelming, but the instructions are so delightfully clear and helpful that it all goes together like a dream. Everything lines up and fits together like a lovely puzzle. The second greatest thing is that there are no buttons or zip – it goes over your head and then you cinch it in at the waist with the ties.

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If you’ve read my previous posts about making this dress, you’ll know that the front yoke facing is the most tricky part. This time I went slowly, pressed the hell out of everything and decided to hand sew the facing in instead. The result is a much nicer finish and far less swearing than trying to do it on the machine. My hand sewing would make Frankenstein weep, but I still prefer it anyway.

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Cute little box pleat and waist ties from the back.

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This dress is going to be my summer uniform. There will be more. Oh yes. There will be more.

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