Queen of Hearts {that linen one with the big sleeves}

Well. It’s been a minute, hasn’t it? And it’s not like I haven’t been sewing. I’m always sewing. Then I diligently photograph, post to insta and then the blogging part has sort of dropped off. Partly for time reasons, partly because I feel like I make a lot that is same-same and I don’t really have the words to say the same thing yet again but in a different way. Partly because blogging is a bit of a dinosaur now but I still like it anyway, ok?

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I’ve been drafting a bit myself lately and that sounds way more fancy and complex than it is. When I say ‘drafting’, I mean ‘making up my own patterns by cobbling pieces together in a way that doesn’t look too shit’. I’ve never had formal lessons, just a bit of good old Nanny YouTube and a lot of trial and error.

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My last post was back in July and I was into tiered skirts then and I’m still into tiered skirts now. And so it seems, are a lot of you. So I thought I’d share my process of making these dresses. It’s not hard. A bit tedious, but not hard. (PS this is wonderful embroidered linen from Pitt Trading. I love it and so does everyone else because it sold out very quickly. Twice. And as a PSA, buying from places like Pitt Trading and The Remnant Warehouse is nice because they sell mostly designer remnants. So you get cool stuff, at a decent price and it saves it from going to landfill. More designers should sell off their end of bolt stuff. It’s cool. Some companies do it through their own websites – check out Lazy Bones and Doops Designs).

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I start with the bodice. I use this boxy, cropped, dartless one ALL THE TIME. I started by tracing off the bodice of an old 80s smock dress pattern. I changed the front and back necklines, the shoulder slope, raised the armholes and waistline and then drafted the facings to suit. Which is really easy, you just follow your new front and back necklines. Or you can finish with bias tape. Whatever floats your boat. I used to hate facings but now I think they look more polished, I just stitch them down in the shoulder seams (ditches) so they don’t flip to the wrong side. Oh and clip and understitch. Annoying little extra steps, but don’t skip them, it makes a huge difference. Anyway. Find your bodice. Change it until you’re happy. MAKE SURE YOU CAN GET IT OVER YOUR HEAD. If you don’t have a pattern you can steal one from, you could try the free Peppermint Magazine/In The Folds one. It doesn’t have sleeves though.

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So. Sleeves. I change them up too. I have the original version from the 80s pattern. It was puffy (it was the 80s!), so I flattened the sleeve head to reduce the ease. Sometimes I cut out a rectangle of fabric double the length of the sleeve opening, gather it to fit and presto! Cute frilly sleeve. Look, same bodice! One with a peplum, one with that same peplum lengthened to a skirt. Oh the possibilities!

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But for the white linen dress, I re-traced that sleeve, lengthened it and slashed it from the bottom, leaving the sleeve head in place so it would still fit into the armscye of the bodice. Like this.

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You can leave then sew the sleeves up as normal and add them just like that or you can add elastic into the hem, which is what I did for this dress. Yay! Big silly sleeves! So even though the bodice remains the same, just changing the sleeve can make it feel like a completely different dress (or top). Sewing magic.

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Now for the skirt. This is the easiest part, I swear. It’s just gathered rectangles. Sometimes I’ll do three tiers, sometimes two. It doesn’t really matter as long as each tier is 1.5x the width of the first (which is 1.5x the width of the bodice). So, for the linen dress my tiers were:

  1. 16″ (wide) x 15″ (high) cut on the fold (x2 – one for the front and one for the back). Gather those suckers until they are the width of your bodice. Put the pockets in this one if you so desire.
  2. 24″ x 15″ cut on the fold (x2). Same again. I like to hem it before I attach it to the tier above, but you can do that at the end if you want. Gather it to fit the tier above.

Gathering. Everyone always asks me for tricks or shortcuts. I have none – sorry. In fact, if you try to shortcut, it probably won’t look as good. I mark the centres of each rectangle of fabric with a little notch. I run two rows of gathering stitches across the top. I gather those rectangles to fit where they need to go and then I find those little centre notches and match them with the centre of the piece above, pin them in place. That way everything is even and I spread the gathers out so they look nice and are running straight up and down (so no little bits get twisted and caught up when they are sewn on).

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Now you have a cute new dress. Excellent work! If you want, you can make a waist tie by sewing two long rectangles together. Just make sure you leave a gap for turning (I like to leave it in the middle) and then sew it up from the right side. Or don’t have a waist tie and just swan around in your big old sack dress like the queen you are.

(I hope that all makes sense. Sorry I talk so much).

 

Tiers of a Clown

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Help me. I’m obsessed with tiered skirts. It’s all I want to make. I’m a full skirt lover from way back, of course. I wear dresses with gathered skirts almost every day. I laugh in the faces of people that say gathers are unflattering on large hips. HA. Have you seen my 44″ beauties? Gimme more hip floof, I say.

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Why the tiers though? I don’t know. More twirling power? Fond childhood memories? I was born in the 80s, so remember stuff like this one:

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LOOK AT ALL THAT SKIRT! Tiered skirts have been around much longer than that, of course. Check out these lovelies:

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So. I’ve become a bit distracted with getting more of this in my life. I do have one pattern with a tiered skirt (McCalls 7834, which you can see here):

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But it only has two tiers and I was keen to try three, which meant a bit of an adjustment in height and maths. Still easy though. You can do it. My first version was entirely self drafted, a smocky fit and made out of amazingly light and floaty cotton/silk from Potter and Co.

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The fabric is 136cm wide and I used 4m in total. The top tier of the skirt is 2x the width of the fabric (one for the front and one for the back, gathered to fit), the second tier is 4x and the bottom is a whopping 6x. So much fabric. Felt like I’d gathered 11kms of fairy floss. But holy heck, it floats around like a cloud and I love it so much. Room for food and plenty of comfort. I used the same fabric in blue spot for the pockets and bias facing at the neckline.

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But was this enough? Nah. I needed something more fitted and maxi, obviously. This was my birthday dress but alas, I finished it a day late. Not a big deal, it would have been far too chilly for the movies and out to dinner at this time of year anyway.

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Ohmygosh, this fabric. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t gravitate towards florals as a rule, but hell – look at this. It was giving me allllll the hippy dippy love child vibes and I needed it in my soul. It’s a mid weight cotton (quilting weight, I guess) from Nerida Hansen, designed by Ayang Cempaka. It looks like it’s currently out of stock though.

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The weight of the fabric meant that I could do a more structured bodice and even though I’m mostly a boat-necked, sleeve having bodice kind of girl, I thought the sheer amount of fabric might drown me, so I used good old Butterick 6453 instead. I’ve made this in the past and it’s a nice, simple make. Do look at the finished measurements though (there’s a lot of ease, I’m generally a 16-18 in the Big 4 and this is a straight 14 with a smidge extra added to the princess seams, a total cheaters FBA).

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Anyway, I made the tiers here taller (obviously) to give me a maxi length skirt. Because the fabric is much heavier than the cotton/silk I used for the last version, I was conscious of not using quite so much. As it is, it’s ended up quite heavy! I might end up adding a waist stay to support it. The fabric is 140cm wide and I used around 70cms width for the front and back on the top tier, 2x the full width for the second tier and 4x the full width for the third. In hindsight, I think the 2nd tier could do with a touch more fullness but I’m not worried.

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Spring is coming, I can feel it. Can’t wait to wear my new boho babies all summer long.

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Man Sewing {Thread Theory Fairfield Shirt}

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So hello, here we are in 2019. The shirts in this post were sewn last year though, it’s just a lengthy process trying to get my husband in front of the camera. Shirts though, I’ve found a love for them over time. The little extra details and the fiddly bits are all quite rewarding when you pull them off. It’s a bit like bra sewing, I guess – little details that will make you yell, either in frustration or jubilation.

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I bought the Thread Theory Fairfield pattern during the black Friday sales, so it was quite a bargain. I grabbed the PDF version because they had an A0 option (I was NOT taping this sucker together) and toddled off to Officeworks to print it. I toiled this shirt because upon googling reviews, I ready many times over that it runs small. As in, comes up smaller than the finished measurements on the pattern. I measured my husband according to the very helpful Sewalong and his measurements were all over the chart. Apparently he has a big neck (really, though? I don’t think so) as well as long arms (that’s true and unsurprising for a 6’4″ human). So I toiled and made the medium, graded up to the large at the neck with some added length for height. And what do you know? It came up too small all over – even though he fit smack into the body measurements.

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Anyway. For his next version, I went with the size large, but graded down to a medium at the shoulders and armscyes and up to an extra large at the neck, as well as adding some length to the sleeves and the body, once again. And hey, look – that fit is pretty good! Still too tight at the neck (doing the top button up is uncomfortable) but he doesn’t mind as he never has a reason to button all the way to the top. This version is made from some really lovely Egyptian Cotton shirting from The Remnant Warehouse.

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New work shirt for the worker. I photographed it untucked to show the length. But he wears them tucked for work. Actually, this is a problem with RTW for him, shirts tend to be too short and they come untucked easily. Not this one though.

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I enjoyed making that one and learned so much that I immediately cut out another in this Dear Stella quilting cotton. I know, quilting cotton. The big companies have realised we use QC for clothes now though and some of them feel amazing. This one drapes really quite nicely and so does the Art Gallery range. I love them.

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As a rule, he’s not much of a print wearer, but when this fabric arrived I asked if he liked it and to my absolute shock, he said yes. He later told me it’s because it reminds him of Sailor Jerry rum, but whatever, I jumped on the idea of making him a shirt with it.

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Same process again, you can see the detail that has gone into designing this pattern. Every seam is enclosed, whether it’s frenched or flat felled. Flat felled armscyes scared the hell out of me at first, but the instructions are awesome and the sewalong is really helpful too and honestly, the end result is so worth it.

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It was also my first time doing tower plackets and now I love them.

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So here we have a happy husband. One new work shirt, the other more of a casual Friday thing. And a wife that is pretty bloody chuffed with her efforts, just quietly. Yes, he grew a beard between shoots. He does grown them quite quickly, but it does show how long it took me to get him into it.

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Slowing Down In Style {Closet Case Patterns Carolyn Pjs}

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Up until a couple of years ago, I always thought that sewing pjs was such a waste of fabric (and time!). If you sew, you’ll know that people often assume that sewing your own clothes is cheaper than buying it, but in our current age of fast fashion – it’s really not. I mean, some things are, sort of. It’s cheaper for me to sew a bra than by a $60 one, but it’s not cheaper than buying a $20 one (I hope that makes sense).

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There are all the obvious benefits too, of course – a custom fit, rad fabric and the ability to add pockets to just about anything. But there’s a big divide between store bought pjs and the cost of making your own. The ones above require between 4 and 5 metres of fabric, depending on the width and if you consider a rough price of $15/m, that’s $60-$75 for pjs. A big leap from the inexpensive ones you can buy in shops. That’s without the 5-6 hours or so it takes to actually make the suckers!

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So what changed my mind? The average human spends about a third of their life asleep. I am a keen pj wearer, often having a shower and getting into them by about 5pm most afternoons – earlier in winter. I spend a lot of time in pajamas and so it makes sense that I would wear beautifully handmade ones. Plus, it really brings down the cost per wear situation.

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It’s currently school holidays and my second favourite part is the slowness of our mornings (my absolute favourite part is no homework). Sometimes we will hang out in our pjs until midday. It is such a nice change to the rush to get out the door on school mornings. What better time to shout myself a couple of new pairs? Less of a shock for the poor postie when he delivers my parcels too.

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I found the fabric for my first pair on the Spotlight clearance table. As an added bonus, they also had 40% off all fabric, so this mid weight stretch satin was quite the bargain. Being 150cms wide meant I didn’t need to buy as much either. Check out that print placement though – almost like a border print, but the print runs through the centre of the fabric instead.

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I used my beloved Closet Case Carolyn pattern, which is another expense when you think about it, but I have used it many times now – not only for me but for sewing gifts for other people too. It’s such a beautiful pattern and definitely worth it. I decided to skip the piping and let the print do the talking this time, but I did cover some buttons in some scrap satin in another print.

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I got a bit creative with the print placement and made the shirt a bit business in the front…

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And party in the back. I love these so much. The fabric is soft and slinky, and the little bit of stretch makes them very comfortable. I was on a roll, so immediately cut out another pair from this koala flannelette I’d bought a while back. Makes sense to have a fancy pair and a cosy pair, right?

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Unfortunately though, I’d skimped out and only bought 4m so had to dig through my scrap stash for cuffs and pockets. Damn you, past Katie!

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The whole mis-matched thing has grown on me though, so I’ll definitely be wearing these cosy babies once the weather decides it’s winter again. For now though, the slinky satin pair are perfect for our warmer nights.

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Tony Tiger approves. Kenny Koala remains indifferent.

 

 

Here’s To You, Mrs Robinson {Sew Over It Ultimate Wrap Dress}

Pattern: Sew Over It Ultimate Wrap Dress (designed for knits)

Fabric: Stretch Velvet from Spotlight

(I’ve decided to start putting the pattern and fabric info at the beginning of the posts so they’re easier to find. Let’s see if I remember to do it on future posts…).

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I’m not quite sure why this dress gives me Mrs Robinson vibes, maybe there’s something about the combination of a wrap dress and velvet that’s a bit old Hollywood for me. Who knows? I’m rolling with it anyway.

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I’ve had this pattern for ages. Possibly years. What has stopped me from sewing it? Reviews. Whenever I’m about to sew something, I google the pattern and see if anyone has had issues with it. It’s a generally very helpful process and I do recommend it. This one repeatedly comes up as too short, too wide at the neck, too low cut and with a flippy facing.

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Right. Too many things to consider, until now. Because really, they aren’t things that are too enormous to fix. And you know, we’re all unique snowflakes and what is a problem on one body, might work on another. Plus I’ve seen a bit of this getting around and I wanted in:

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From here.

But I decided that to make it more wearable, I’d prefer it shorter. I mean, I have a tendency to overdress for most occasions anyway, but even I wouldn’t get much wear out of a longer length, deeeeeeep necked velvet wrap dress. Besides that, there’s probably not enough tape in the world to keep my top half contained. It does remind me a bit of the most made and blogged dress ever, Vogue 9253. Or this one, if you like the mullety hemline.

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Into my patterns I launched and came up with the Ultimate Dress pattern that I’d never made. Ooh why? Googling again reminded me. Right. This can be fixed though. I held the pattern pieces up to my body in the most accurate and scientific fashion.

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The back of the neck didn’t look too wide for me, so I left it as is. I added 8cm to the hem to combat the short length (It’s so short. I could have added more length – I’m only 165cm and really used to shortening everything) and took a wedge out of the front neckline at about the midpoint. This is a really standard wrap adjustment for me. I’m short waisted, so they are always too long at the actual wrap part. This increases the coverage too.

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My measurements (40/32/40) put me in a 16 for the bust and 14 for the waist, but I cut the 16 as knits and wraps tend to be pretty forgiving and I wanted to make sure I had enough coverage. As it turns out, I’ve tied it as tight as it allows, so I might grade it down to the 14 at the waist next time.

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So that just left the facing. I knew I didn’t want it, not only because it was said to flip to the wrong side (annoying) but also because I knew you’d be able to see the edge of it through this fabric. Stretch velvet is a bit unforgiving like that. So I decided to band it. I cut a length of the fabric in the direction of the stretch (this only has stretch in one direction, which is good, because otherwise the dress would grow in length), after measuring the length of the neckline all the way around.

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I cut it at 80% of that measurement and stretched it slightly as I went to make sure it sat snugly against my body. As it turns out, it was too long but that’s fine because I could just cut the excess off when I was done. The only problem with this method is there’s not a nice, neat way to add the ties (they’d normally go under the facing for a clean finish. I think that’s the only real issue with banding this dress. I lined the stitching of my ties up with the stitching of the hem so it’s not noticeable from the outside and honestly, they are wrapped over themselves anyway.

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I constructed most of the dress on my overlocker, so it’s a really quick sew. It doesn’t have a waist seam either, making the cutting part quick too. I finished all the raw edges (hems, sleeve hems) with the overlocker too, then used that stitching as a guide to fold it over twice so the hems are narrow but nice and even. Stretch velvet doesn’t really press, so this is an easy way to keep it under control without pulling your hair out and throwing things. I only really used my normal machine to hem, attach the ties and finish the edges of the little gap in the waist for the ties. I just used straight stitch too because those parts don’t need to stretch so there’s no danger of popping stitches.
Hot tip: Don’t cut your ties along the stretch! Cut them so they have as little stretch as possible. I’ve made this mistake in the past and they just keep growing.

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The only other thing I changed was the sleeves and I just stole them from another pattern and adjusted the sleeve cap to fit. And I put them in flat instead of set in, because it’s about 1000 times easier. I think changing the sleeves has brought it dangerously close to dressing gown territory, but with shoes and face I think we’re good.

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All in all, quite a successful sew considering I’ve avoided this pattern for so long! I like the curved hem and how quickly it all came together (bless knits). The fit ended up pretty spot on and I’ll definitely make more because it’s really comfortable. I love a wrap dress but wovens are far less forgiving fit-wise, knits make it easy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

All Aboard The Linen Bandwagon {Megan Nielsen Sudley Dress}

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You’ve seen it around, haven’t you? Linen dresses, linen pants, awesome linen overalls (jumpers for my US friends, I think?) – usually worn by women with long, tangled, sun bleached hair dreamily looking off into the distance. Maybe on a beach, maybe wearing a big hat.

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I decided I might like a piece of that. Not that I look like the models, but since when has that stopped me? I ordered my olive linen from The Remnant Warehouse (it’s nice quality too, not too thin or stiff) recently and knew I’d pair it with the most simple of Sudley dresses. I scooped the neckline slightly and made it the same front and back. I used the 3/4 sleeves and have rolled them up and put a stitch in them so they stay put. The neckline is finished with bias facing and yes it has pockets, of course. The pattern itself has about eleventy billion combinations of sleeve length, waist length, neckline shape and skirt length variations.

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Oh yes. I was going to pare it right back. Simple as heck. That’s me, isn’t it? Just super minimalist. I can hear you laughing. No surprise that I’m not really digging this on me. I think it’s a grower. I love the dress pattern and have made it many times (please don’t mention the F word, every time someone says something about a garment being ‘flattering’, my internal feminist ranting starts up – why the hell I need to make my body look better for everyone elses viewing?). Rant aside, I think it’s the block colour and the actual colour. It’s very different for me.

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Will I wear it though? YES. It will be so nice to hang out in during summer and I might even add some tights and boots for winter. That might make it less high school art teacher chic for me (sorry art teachers, I know you’re out there and I love you).

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My kids were trying to photo bomb me by this stage, hence the crinkly nose laughing. Never a dull moment.

 

ā€œIā€™m not a solution to your problems. Iā€™m another problem.ā€ {Self Drafted Joan Dress}

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Today, my brain had had enough. Or not enough, depending on how you look at it. I’ve been madly cutting and sewing dresses for the shop, giving myself a *cough* motivating tight deadline so I can get this release done and have a break over Easter. But today I put myself a day behind. Today I decided to pick up a totally different project – one that had been giving me trouble for months. Today was the day to figure it all out and give myself a break from the monotony of cutting and sewing the same dress 24 times.

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Meet the Joan Dress. Named after my Nanny (Dad’s mum), not the Madmen character (but she was also very rad, so she gets a quote in the title of this post). I was determined to add the perfect new dress to my store. I was convinced the would have a simple, darted bodice and a gathered skirt with pockets. Sounds easy, right?

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I think the trouble was that I was thought I needed a dress with a lower neckline available in my shop. I do favour higher necklines and I know that’s not everyone’s jam. But after many attempts at tracing out the perfect bodice, sewing up muslins and then even a couple of entire dresses, I wasn’t happy. My heart wasn’t in it and the whole idea was shelved.

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Until this beautiful Cotton and Steel fabric was delivered a few days ago. I received it for winning their #cottonandsteelcloset comp on Instagram last month and it’s so lovely. I knew what it had to be – a classic boat necked tea dress with half sleeves. There was no doubt about it. While I love a bit of colour these days, I wore a lot of black for a long time and this feels like home to me. The little gold moons and stars are superb.

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Which prompted me to dig potential Joan out of the naughty corner and start afresh. A boat neck it had to be. But a pattern drafter I ain’t. I ended up using a mash of 4 different vintage patterns to get this one right. Different armsyce, dart placements and necklines all helped me find that elusive look I was after. So simple, yet so hard to create all on my own.

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It’s done though. A few more little tweaks and then I can grade the sizes. Still lots to do, but the hardest part is done. And I have a pretty new dress too.

 

Wiggle It, Just A Little Bit {Patterns For Pirates Wiggle Dress}

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Ah the Wiggle dress. You might not be part of many sewing groups online, but I am. And for a while, you couldn’t innocently scroll through your feed without someone extolling the virtues of the Wiggle Dress pattern. It got recommended any time anyone asked a question.

‘I need a dress pattern for date night!’

‘Wiggle Dress!’

‘I need a dress pattern for a ball!’

‘Wiggle Dress!’

‘I need a relaxed casual dress for a BBQ!’

‘Wiggle Dress!’

‘I need a pattern for my husband’s work shirts!’

‘Wiggle Dress!’

‘I need a cure for bed wetting!’

‘Wiggle Dress!’

You get the idea. It’s basically the sewing pattern equivalent of coconut oil. It got a bit weird and culty.

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For me, it was my introduction to Patterns For Pirates. I saw one of the pattern testers post the dress somewhere (see? online sewing groups aplenty) and impulse bought it. Not really considering the fact that I’ve never worn anything so fitted ever – let alone sewn something like it. But it looked so cool, you know?

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Still, I wasn’t really sure it was for me and in a weird way, the crazed fans sort of put me off it a bit. So it got shoved to the back of the pattern stash for a while.

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Recently I bought 3m of this cotton lycra from Spotlight with the intention of making a Kielo dress, but my toile ended up being a disaster and to be honest, I don’t even want to look at the Kielo again for a while. I was digging through my patterns and wondering what I could do with the fabric when I found the Wiggle dress again. Enough time had passed that I decided to give it a go.

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It has a variety of length, sleeve and neckline options but I kept it simple with below knee length, half sleeves and the boat neck with scooped back. It’s so straight forward that I didn’t bother with the instructions and added a neckband because it’s my favourite way of finishing knit tops. My only pattern adjustment was to shorten the front and back pieces above the waist point, which is a pretty standard adjustment for my short waisted self.

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I like it more than I thought I would, although I do feel quite out of my comfort zone wearing something so fitted all over. Cute fabric though and I’m pretty damn pleased with my stripe matching effort.

 

That 80s Dress With The Ruffles {Vintage Simplicity 5884}

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If you follow me on Insta, you would have noticed that I’ve been getting into a bit of pants (sorry UK friends – trouser) sewing lately. I bought the Jedediah Pants pattern by Thread Theory and figured I’d start with sewing pants for my husband since he’s a bit less curvy than me. He’s actually the complete opposite of me – tall, angular and mostly straight lines. I made one muslin, a couple of changes and bam – now he has three pairs of pants (which I’ll blog when I can photograph them all on his person). Did I get cocky? Yes. I moved onto Closet Case Patterns Morgan Jeans for me. Oh man, what a steep and painful learning curve. Long story short – even after two muslins I can’t get any semblance of fit.

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So what’s a girl to do to come back from such a knock to the ego? She bloody digs through her gifted vintage pattern stash and finds something to reassure herself that she can actually sew. An elastic waist almost guarantees that baby will fit.

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I’ll admit I did hesitate. I mean, look at it in all its 1983 glory. It could be amazing or really, really bad. There is no middle ground with a pattern like this.

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Did I sew that sucker anyway? Of course! I do love me a frill and they are bang on trend right now. Not that I’m a huge follower of trends, but frills man – so fun.

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I sewed this one out of a super light and floaty Lizzy House double gauze (I bought mine locally and I’m not sure it’s even available anymore). If you’ve never used double gauze before, let me try and describe it for you. It’s a bit like a Labrador puppy (stay with me) – soft as hell, cute as a button but does like to roll over on itself and misbehave in a ridiculous manner. Plus it sheds like crazy. It needs a firm but gentle hand or it will end you (or itself when it throws itself under the overlocker blade – fabric, not puppy – the puppy analogy ended).

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I think after the ruffles and the forgiving waist, the coolest part of this pattern is the rad way the back is finished. On modern patterns with the keyhole back, I’ve only ever seen them finished by slashing the back and wrestling with a very narrow seam allowance to stitch down either side. This way is so much neater and easier! You sew the facing around the neckline and then stitch down the back to a point (through the back and facing) and back up. Then you slash between your two stitching lines to get the back opening. It’s super cool (and I might have been living under a rock but I’ve never seen it before). I do find I learn new techniques from vintage patterns.

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To be honest though, I really wasn’t sure how this would turn out until the very end. I’d decided to attempt sleeves because I really do prefer them, but I knew those puffy delights on the pattern weren’t for me. I decided to make them but leave off the gathering into the cuff on the bottom – I figured they’d be more like flutter sleeves that way. ALMOST RIGHT KATIE. But I forgot one thing – the metric shit tonne of ease in the sleeve caps. OMG. It was like gathering another skirt. Those babies stood out all on their own with structure never seen before in double gauze, no doubt. Those sleeves were turfed into the bin, I dug out the sleeve pattern pieces and traced it again, this time taking a couple of wedges out of the cap. Not technically correct I’m sure, but it worked very well.

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Feeling pretty damn pleased at my problem solving skills, I tried the dress on before hemming. Oh wow, I nearly cried – frump city. The skirt hit me between the shin and ankle and was very very ‘sister wife’ looking. I had nothing to lose, so I cut 15cms off the bottom, hemmed it and tried it on with a belt. YASSSSSS. It was just as I’d hoped. It’s truly amazing what a hem and a belt can achieve.

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I was so damn pleased with my frilly 80s secret pjs, that I went up to my sewing room and grabbed this beautiful nautical print from The Material Girl that I’ve been saving for something special.

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Isn’t it amazing? Bearded sailor, pretzel rope – what’s not to love? I only had 2m so had to forgo my precious sleeves. If it comes to it, I can wear a cardi or a fitted t shirt underneath.

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I sized down for this one as the gauze one is slightly blouse-y and because I was using a quilting weight (although incredibly soft for qc) cotton this time, I thought it would be better a bit smaller. Also that clever back facing wants to flip on this version, so I’ve stitched it down.

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I love this dress so much that you might just see its friends appear in the shop eventually…

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Take Two and Three {My quest for the perfect button up shirt}

So this guy, right? Pretty close to perfect. But could I leave it alone? No.

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My only bother was the collar felt too big – both in size and circumference. So what does this dickhead do? Retraced the neckline so it’s smaller but higher. If I’d stopped to think about that for more than a second, I’d realise that it was a rookie error and would make the whole shebang move further up my neck. I did cut down the collar and stand a smidge at the same time.

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Upon realising my mistake, I unpicked the collar and stand, recut the neckline so it was lower once again and made another collar. Which gave me this baby. Aw yes, better. Now to try on…

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WTF HAPPENED WITH THOSE BUST DARTS? Is this sorcery? Did I trace them with my eyes closed? Possibly. I don’t even know, man. Also that collar in sitting weirdly to the left. Now I have beautiful vintage Lion King fabric in a poorly fitting shirt.

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Ah well. Still a better fit than RTW. Will still wear.

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Last week, I ordered some beautiful Liberty lawn. So stunning. So spenno. Another tester was in order to get this shiz right before I cut into all those $$$$. This flamingo voile from Spotlight is the perfect test fabric really. Lovely and light but also reasonably priced. This time I took about a centimetre off the centre front all the way down, making that neck circumference a bit smaller and taking out some of the excess in the front. Good. I added some to the side seams to compensate and moved those bust darts in a bit. Good. New, smaller collar remained the same. Good.

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I think this is it. I mean, the collar still feels a bit big around my neck, but I don’t really like the feeling of being choked either. So this is the one. Promise I won’t touch it again.

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Wearing this to work today like a professional. Will be back with my fancy Liberty shirt later in the week.