It’s Not You, It’s Me {Sew House Seven Tea House Dress/Top}


It was a post on Cotton and Steel’s instagram that started it all for me. They’d shared a post by Sarah who’d made the most stunning version of this dress from C&S rayon (her design). I bought the pattern less than five minutes later. I so rarely do that. I’m allergic to PDFs so bought the paper version and had to have it shipped from the US. But I just had to have it. And usually I’d sit there an imagine what fabric I’d use and how I’d make it mine, but I really just want an exact copy of Sarah’s dress. To be fair, I think she’s a legend and I love pretty much everything she does.

125 envelope flat for reps COVER

The pattern arrived yesterday after about a week or so of winging its way across the seas and I basically ignored my to do list, shoved everything off my desk (not really), traced it out and decided I needed to sew this RIGHT AWAY. Problem was, I didn’t have any suitable fabric. Which seems hilarious if you’ve seen my stash, but most of it is quilting cotton and this dress really needs something with more drape. I dug around and pulled out a few options before actually reading the back of the pattern. I knew the dress was fabric hungry (4.3m) and though, no worries – I’ll make the top first. HOW SENSIBLE OF ME. It would be a toile of sorts and I never make them. But heck, if there’s fitting issues it saves wasting 4.3m of fabric (how on earth do people think sewing your own clothes cheap? Quick calculation: 4m x $20/m = $80 vs about $30 for the Target equivalent. Anyway, I digress).


Turns out the top likes a bit of fabric too (3.3m) and the only suitable amount I had was some outlandish faux silk that I grabbed from Spotlight over a year ago. Now don’t get me wrong, I love this crazy fabric. But it’s pretty bright, even for me. Still, I love those Ken Done/Gorman vibes it gives me. What I don’t love? It behaves about as well as a three year old getting dragged through Woolies right on nap time. After a birthday party. And after you took their party bag away. A ticking time bomb of antagonism. Dramatic, no?


I had been saving it for a skirt, but nup – I had to make this top right now. She’ll be right, mate. No she won’t. The pattern is amazing, truly. Yes, there are a number of pieces but the instructions are very clear and detailed and it is finished beautifully. That was part of the problem. My darling faux silk doesn’t want to be pressed. You can’t have the iron too hot or the fabric will melt but even if pressed under another cloth, she just wanted to spring back up like nothing had ever happened. She could not be steamed into submission. Which was a big problem for that front yoke. Ugh. It’s making me cringe to show you, but I have to.


Really I should unpick that whole front yoke and hand sew it into place. I might. But I probably won’t. About halfway through I realised I wasn’t going to love it as much as I wanted to, but continued because I’m stubborn like that. Look at the cool yoke and box pleat at the back though. I love the whole Japanese vibe. No closures and the obi style belt ties make it super cool.


I thought maybe wearing it with ripped skinny jeans would make me feel less high school art teacher and it actually does. But I’m still on the fence a bit. I will definitely make the dress version, but I just need the right fabric. I know it will redeem itself.


I probably just need to give it a week or so and I will change my mind. To be honest, it’s been a rough week or so. I wasn’t going to talk about it, but a few people have commented, so here’s the overshare. Yes, I have lost some weight. I have been plagued with weird skin problems since I was 14 and at the age of 36, I am done with it. So done. My doctor’s final step was to try some heavy medication that I wasn’t comfortable with so I took matters into my own hands and overhauled what I eat. And guess what? It worked. For the first three months my skin was the clearest it’s been in my adult life. With that change came some weight loss and that’s the reason I’ve been sewing so much for myself recently – half my wardrobe no longer fits. Then about two weeks ago I started getting a new skin problem, not cystic acne this time, but red itchy patches of psoriasis. I’ve been told it’s most likely a reaction to dairy (which I’ve been eating a lot more of recently). So now I’m trialing dropping dairy. It’s harder than dropping sugar and grains because damn, I love dairy. Those cows, they know how to make some delicious stuff.


A while back, I was lucky enough to be asked to write a guest post for The Curvy Sewing Collective and that was published over the weekend. It was really exciting for me but one tiny FB comment was made about me not being ‘curvy’. And really, why should I let that bother me? But you know, it did. For my whole life, I’ve felt like the fat girl and then, when I felt like I finally fit in somewhere, I’m not curvy enough either? It annoyed me far more than it should have. That’s the thing with blogging and sewing blogging in particular, I think. Body comments will be made. For the most part though, it’s all very positive and rewarding and I don’t do it for anyone but me. I’m selfish like that. So you’re stuck with me, internet.

Ack, too many words. The pattern is tops, my fabric was not. But I’ll be back with another version when I get some kick ass fabric. The end.


32 thoughts on “It’s Not You, It’s Me {Sew House Seven Tea House Dress/Top}

    1. Me too. I’ve just finished the dress, and am so disappointed! The cotton is too stiff and I feel absolutely swathed in fabric. Frumpy! Lesson learnt.


  1. I love this top! I’ve been on the fence for ages about buying it because I hadn’t really seen it on anyone with curves or styled in a way I would wear (ie with jeans). So thank you! I’ll def be buying this once I get through my to do pile!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been wanting to make this dress for ages, but got spooked by the number of pattern pieces and the amount of fabric.

    Your top looks fabulous – very Gorman chic, but more interesting. (Gorman pieces tend to have really simple construction, which is great for showing off the prints but does get a bit samey.) It can take a while to detox from troublesome fabric, I reckon. There’s a Maya dress hidden in my wardrobe that I made out of special fabric I bought in the US – anything that could go pear-shaped did, and wearing it reminds me of how stressed I got sewing it.

    For what it’s worth, I loved your piece on the CSC – my first thought was ‘wow, I wish I could look like that’, and my second was to realise we have the same measurements. I’m having a break from sewing at the moment, but your post made me want to get out the sewing machine for the first time in ages, so thank you. I’m really glad to have found your blog via the CSC. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment, Penelope 🙂 It does have a few pieces, but the puzzle comes together really well.

      I’m so glad you liked the CSC post and I love that it was enough to make you want to sew again x


  3. Katie, I have only recently found your blog as I branch into sewing more clothes for myself. Congratulations on changing your eating habits and finding a healthier you! There is always going to be haters, but I value your blog for the sewing insights, inspiration and keeping it real! xCass


  4. I really like the top, especially because of the bright colours! It’s winter afterall, that’s the time of year when I find bright colours actually lift my mood. I just found your blog today but I love the way you write, it’s hilarious!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think it’s great, your fabric might not have wanted to play ball, but the overall look is fab. Also, good to see it on someone who isn’t “stick thin”, I’ve been wavering over this pattern for a while. And ignore the comments, as long as you’re happy and healthy, nothing else matters.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Katie,
    Your top is amazing as always and has reassured me that the dress will look good on me. I too share your measurements. The comment about not being curvy would have bothered me too. I was so thrilled to see that they had included you at CSC and loved your post there. You rock!


  7. Katie, I think your top is really cute even though it gave you trouble. That facing is tough even in the most pressable fabric! I’m also really sorry about the comment. It was against our FB group policy and I deleted it immediately, but I’m sorry you had to see it. I hope the one bad egg didn’t sour you on the CSC entirely.


    1. Meg, you guys are amazing and I love how quickly you were onto it. It didn’t sour the experience at all, I’m still so thrilled to have taken part. Funny how one tiny negative in a sea of positive sticks with you. It’s not like it was even that bad, just made me question where I fit in, I guess. Love to you all x


  8. I love the top! The print on the fabric is really fun & you look great. I’ve had the pattern for almost a year (shhhhh) and keep meaning to make it. I *should* make a muslin but don’t really want to; and your idea to just make the top first is SUPER SMART.

    Also, it’s a total bummer about the FB comment. That sucks! I saw your CSC post and it is how I found your blog and I’m very happy to have more curvy sewists to follow. It’s so nice & helpful to see patterns on a variety of bodies & I like your style.

    I have a little anxiety when I post on CSC that someone will make that same comment about me- and it just stinks to have it in my headspace. It’s tough to feel too big or too small…. Sigh. So done with the body police!! Sending many positive thoughts your way. Keep reminding yourself: You are perfect & enough exactly as you are!!!


  9. I think this top turned out wonderfully! The color looks really nice on you, even if you think it is too bright. I wouldn’t worry about hand sewing the facing down. Really, how often are you going to show the inside of it! (Also, I just hate hand-sewing.)


  10. I love your top. I have only recently been following you and loved your post on CSC. Power to you for making changes and thanks for sharing your journey.


  11. Man, why do we always focus on that ONE comment!? It’s like being critical has superpowers that 100 positive comments can’t match. For what it’s worth, I don’t put you in the ‘curvy’ box either. You’re definitely in the ‘totes cool and fun and edgy and creatively awesome with the same measurements as me but squished 10cm’ box. Just sayin’.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Ha! I saw the top on bloglovin’ and immediately read your post as I thought the top looked amazing. I often eyed off that fabric but never bought it mainly because it was polyester and I never feel Queensland weather copes with poly even in winter. But now…..

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Just popped over from your bee dress post (gorgeous!) to see the top since I’m a new reader and hadn’t seen it. Still cute!! If you don’t wear it inside out, no one would ever know. haha Too late for this one, but have you tried spray/dip starch to make difficult fabrics behave? Test a little swatch to ensure it doesn’t screw with the dye and just starch it to death. I find it really makes the bad ones press flat and gives good creases when you need to turn those edges under. BTW, those curvy people have evidently never taken geometry; curve = a line or outline that gradually deviates from being straight for some or all of its length. It makes no mention of the degree or size of the curve!! You’re gorgeous and screw ’em. 🙂


  14. Plz don’t judge that this comment is coming two months after you posted. But I have so many things to say:
    1. 4.3m?! wat?!
    2. You were, are, and forever will be hella gorg.
    3. Dairy is hard to give up, but it can be done. I actually gave up dairy because of skin issues (why am I an adult with acne?! Is this an old world curse?!) and after you let go of the fact that cheese does truly make everything better, you can find substitutes and dairy free everything. Even pizza. trust me, I’ve tried them all.
    4. THE NUMBER ONE RULE OF THE INTERNET: you never read the comments.
    Ok. Now I am going to go back to the original post I was reading before I came to this one.


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