Dresses · Indie · Jersey · Summer

Kielo Wrap Dress

I am not really one to follow any fashion/ sewing trends and I do tend to steer clear of pdf patterns, usually because I’m too lazy to put them together. However one Saturday during my half-term holiday (teacher perks!), I decided to stick together a mammoth pile of pdfs. These included:

  • The Kielo Wrap Dress
  • Itch to Stitch Marbella Dress
  • Seamwork York Top
  • Sewaholic Cambie Dress
  • Sew Over It Elsie Dress
  • Sew Over It Penny Dress

As you can probably guess, I did not manage to stick them all together in one day! I did, however, manage to stick together the Kielo Wrap dress as well as cut out the fabric! As it was a death by pdf scenario, I ended up casting the cut out fabric and pattern to one side for a good month or so. 

The Kielo dress has been on and off of my to-do list for quite some time now. Some months I fall in love with it and think its a great pattern, but when I then go to buy the pattern, the version they have on their website just puts me right off. I think it may have something to do with the colour of the fabric they use. For some reason, I cannot see past the choice of material and instantly visualise myself looking a chunky, dumpy mess! However, after some Instagram stalking one evening, I noticed one sewing blogger wearing a short version of the Kielo Wrap Dress out of some gorgeous polka dot fabric. This instantly inspired me to grab for my precut fabric (as it was very similar!) and get sewing. 

The fabric I used for this version, is once again from the Textile Centre (I am a huge fan of the Textile Centre, especially for fabric which I haven’t sewn with before. It is cheap and cheerful which doesn’t put too much pressure on you if you mess it up). It cost £3.99 pm and is now unfortunately out of stock. The fabric is a lightweight jersey and has a lovely slinky feeling to it, it feels like some form of lycra jersey mix.

Disclosure: I am relatively new to sewing jersey, hence why I buy cheap jersey fabric. I have always been put off sewing with jersey as I find it quite hard work! So apologies for some awful binding! I do, however, ensure that I buy sustainably sourced cotton and get most of my cotton from Stoff & Stil.

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I cut out the UK 14 and graded out to a UK size 16. I have to admit this pattern didn’t fill me with a load of body confidence about the size I cut out, especially being an indie pattern. However, I soon stopped caring once I tried on the finished garment. 

 I sewed everything according to the instructions and ended up with teeny tiny armholes! I could barely get my arm through it, let along move comfortably. So I unstitched the side seem by 1.5 cm each side, which made it feel a lot more comfortable. 

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I decided to finish the armhole and neckline off with self-made bias tape. I have sewn bias binding a good few times on woven fabric, and it is actually my favourite way of finishing. However, the same cannot be said for stretch fabrics! I really didn’t enjoy the process and it ended up being a little untidy, to tell the truth. I think I definitely need more practice sewing on stretch fabrics.

Anyone who has any tips sewing bias binding on stretch fabrics please do leave a comment! 

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I am absolutely in love with the shape of the dress! I am very pear shaped and this is great at accentuating my waist, yet covering my chunky thick thighs. 

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The slit also makes the dress hang better over bottom-heavy shapes. If there were no slit, I could definitely envision pulling in all the wrong places.. 

The sewing process was very smooth and enjoyable. As there are only a few pattern pieces and a couple of darts, it only takes a couple of hours to sew up. 

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Pros of the pattern:

The style is such a great idea! It flatters so many shapes and is a very versatile style. I cannot wait to sew some more up in winter fabrics. I’m thinking a shorter grey version! I also love the length of the ties, they wrap around in such a flattering way and can instantly make you feel slimmer when you wear the dress.

Cons of the pattern:

Now, I have already admitted I don’t really like taping pdf patterns together, however, once I have a glass of wine in my hand, the whole process seems to go a bit smoother! I have happily taped up other indie patterns, yet the Kielo dress has got to be the most frustrating pdf I have ever come across! I just couldn’t get any line to match up at all. This has probably more to do with the fact that my taping skills are lacking and the pattern pieces are giant! 

Costs of the pattern: £11.60
Cost of material: £11.90 7
Time to sew: 1.5 hours. 

Happy Sewing, 

Katherine x

cotton drill · Dressmaking Makes · skirt

Burda skirt 6836

I have been trying to “shop my stash” for some time now as my fabric stash is bursting at the seams! However, every time I use some fabric that I already own, I end up going on a big fabric binge! As a result, I have been matching the patterns I already own to my fabric. This Burda pattern has been on my to-do list for some time now, and in typical Katherine style, I couldn’t find any fabric to use! After spending hours trying to find suitable fabric, I decided to refocus on my own hoard  stash and I ended up finding a lovely grey cotton twill fabric. 

The fabric was bought from The Textile Centre and was in the sale at a bargain £1.99 pm! Unfortunately, it is now out of stock however you can still buy the fabric in a different colour here

Like many others, I am not a huge fan of Burda patterns. I find their instructions nigh on impossible to follow and find they always come up large. However, I was really drawn to the shape of the skirt as I thought it would flatter my pear-shaped figure and so I decided to persevere and go for it. I cut out style A as I liked the thicker waistband.

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The pattern is a great stash busting make as it used less than 1.5 meters. It is also great for new sewists as it only consists of 3 pattern pieces, the front, back and the waistband. You will also need a 9″ invisible zipper (however, I used a 7″ inch one). There are no complicated techniques, just a couple of pleats on either side of the skirt. 

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I cut out the size 10 as the finished measurements came up quite large. However once I sewed the pleats on the front and back part of the skirt, I didn’t like the look of how deep they were. I decided to make the pleats at the front and back a little narrower as they accentuated my hips too much. The waistband was obviously then too big for me so I pulled the waistband in a little to ensure it wasn’t too baggy at the waist. 

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As you can see the finished waistband is half the width of the original pattern. Once I cut out the pieces and put my cutting mat away, I realised that the instructions said to fold over 1.5 cm of the waistband and then stitch. I think this looks quite messy as the inside will have the interfacing showing. I was then going to cut out another waistband so I could fully line it, however, once I tried on the skirt I thought it looked better with a thinner waistband. Therefore I then folded over the waistband and “stitched in the ditch” to finish it off. 

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Inside of the skirt, I used my overlocker to finish the seams. You can still see some loose threads where the original pleats were

The instructions for the skirt is to leave the skirt unlined, which I decided to do as the skirt is for the summer months and I wanted it to be as light as possible. The fabric is also pretty thick with a nice amount of stretch to the width, so it wasn’t necessary to line it. However, when I make more for the winter months I will definitely line them. I finished the seams with my overlocker and sewed a 1cm hem at the bottom. 

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I just love the matchstick duck pattern!

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Positives: 

The skirt is extremely comfortable and I can see myself wearing it a lot during the summer. It was also a really quick and easy make and unlike other Burda patterns, the instructions are somewhat easy to follow. However, this may be because I have experience sewing a waistband and sewing pleats. I wouldn’t recommend the skirt pattern for a beginner, purely because the instructions are not as detailed as other easy pattern skirts I have used. However, if you are willing to research techniques then I would say go for it! The skirt only took me a couple of hours to complete, which makes it a lovely evening make!

Negatives: 

The pattern doesn’t really have many negatives. The only thing I would criticise is the sizing, as I am very pear shaped, I didn’t want a tight-fitting pencil skirt. However, I still had to cut out the smallest size, which I found crazy since I have 43″ hips! For much slimmer women out there, they may find the skirt too baggy. 

Overall I will definitely be making more of this pattern, as I have finally found a pencil type skirt pattern which is flattering on!

Hours it took to make: 2
Cost of the pattern: £3.00 from ebay
cost of fabric: £3.00

Katherine x

 

Cotton Lawn · Dresses · Dressmaking Makes · evening · lace · Liberty · Simple Sew

Grace Dress – Simple Sew

I was invited to an old school friends wedding reception this month, and I wanted to wear something pretty but not too formal. The Grace dress sprang to mind straight away.  I got the pattern free with a copy of Love Sewing magazine and loved the lace overlay version of it. 

I also wanted to use up the fabric that I have been hoarding away in my stash. Luckily I bought some black lace back during my holiday to the Somerset last summer from Fabric Land, Bristol. The fabric was around £4.99 a meter. I bought 2 meters of it and never had any idea what I could make with it! As it was my first time working with lace, I wanted to use a pattern which I had made before and had a simple construction. 

The pattern itself has a gathered skirt, lined bodice, and a waistband. I first made the dress last summer out of a cotton liberty print poplin, where I fully lined the whole dress. 

 

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My original Grace Dress in Liberty cotton poplin

Although the dress fits quite well, it gapes a bit around the shoulders and armhole. Therefore with the lace version, I decided to attempt to do a full bust adjustment (FBA), which I had never done before! I used a variety of books and websites to help with my FBA, and I think the fit turned out perfect, however, I don’t know if it was more luck than skill!

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With the liberty print dress, I cut out a size 12, based on my full bust measurement. However with the lace dress I cut out a size 10 (based on my high bust measurement) and graded back out to a size 12 at the waist, otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to breathe! I think the lace dress has a much better fit around the waist and bodice, and I feel like it looks a lot more flattering, especially for evening occasions.

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 The lining of the dress is a mixture of some scrap black fabric for the bodice and some cream peachskin fabric for the skirt. I bought both fabrics from The fabric Room. The black fabric is called “Flippa”, it was £3 pm, the black is now out of stock, however, you can get other colours here.  The cream fabric is a gorgeous and drapey peachskin which can be found here, and best of all it is only £2 pm! I highly recommend the Fabric Room for great plain fabrics, however, the catch is you have to order a minimum of 3 meters. 

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As the lace had a fair amount of stretch to it, I struggled at times to match up the lining bodice and skirt. However, once everything was in place I just topstitched the top and bottom part of the bodice in place. This also helped me at a later stage when I was inserting the invisible zip.

Unfortunately, when It came to inserting the zip I did come across a few problems! The first time inserting the zip (perfectly I hasten to add!), the waist was just a tad too big and it looked a bit frumpy and odd. So I painstakingly unpicked it! I then quickly found out that unpicking lace is the root of all evil and probably the reason I will not work with lace for quite some time! Once I had unpicked it, I then reinserted the zip to then find out it didn’t sit right, this is where a few tears were shed! With the third insertion of the zip and a lot of pins on the floor and thread everywhere, I then noticed the zip was a little wonky at the waist. For my own sanity, I left it and just ignored the fact that I have a wonky zip. If I can’t see it, it’s not there right? In hindsight, I may go back to it in a few months time and reinsert it, although I really don’t know if the material is up for it… 

 

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I deliberated for ages wondering if I should show you the HUGE mess at the back, however, I want to document my mistakes as well as my achievements!

You will also notice that the back is a lot deeper than the pattern, I decided to lower the back to give it more of an evening look. I love the neckline and back of the dress. Just a shame about the train wreck of the zip! We live and learn!

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Overall I am pretty happy with the dress. I love how it fits my body much more than the liberty print dress and I adore the little lace detail at the bottom. Although there were a few hiccups along the way and the elephant in the room is that horrid zip! I really enjoyed wearing it and felt great given the time constraints that I had. 

I am sure you can all agree that sewing brings many joys in life, but when one thing goes wrong, it can be one of the hardest and most frustrating things to fix!

Happy Sewing!

Katherine x 

 

 

Uncategorized

Charlotte Dress – Sew Over It

My sister is going to a wedding in May and asked me to make her a dress for the occasion. She complains that RTW clothes don’t fit her properly – so she wanted a dress that fits the bill. After trawling through many patterns, we finally decided on the Charlotte Dress by Sew Over It (which is ironically my sisters name!). The dress is a PDF only pattern, which I am not a huge fan off, as they take such a long time to tape together. I also wanted to try another  Sew Over It pattern as I was quite disappointed with the 1940’s Tea Dress pattern (which  I will post about soon).

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According to the website, the Charlotte Dress is aimed at intermediate sewists. It has a number of features including kimono sleeves, lapels, pleats and facings.

The pattern calls for a medium weight woven fabric with plenty of drape and recommends crepe or viscose linen. My sister wanted a more structured dress which held the pleats well and therefore we opted for a cotton poplin. The material I used for the dress was a blue leaf pattern cotton poplin. I brought the fabric from a stall at the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show in London, it was £6 pm. You can get the same fabric in different colours from here (at £7.99 pm). I brought and used 4 metres.

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The pattern is not lined. It has facings for the front and back and a self lined waistband. As the fabric was slightly sheer, I wanted to fully line the dress. This also gave it some much-needed weight. I used the same fabric to line the bodice and some white sheeting from John Lewis to line the skirt.

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Inisde of the dress – front view

I was a little disappointed that I ran out of material to line the skirt, however I actually quite like the contrast between the pattern and plain white fabric for the lining.

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Inside of the dress – back view

I ended up grading down the pattern by two sizes. This is because my sister wanted to have a much tighter fit on the dress – especially at the waist. As the waist does not have much ease, we decided to omit the tie waist. This ended up creating a much sleeker silhouette. However, If I was to make it in a softer fabric such as crepe I would definitely add a tie to the waist.

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Sorry for the poor lighting! This shows off how nicely fitted the waist is

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Best parts of the dress

  • The instructions were very good and well laid out.
  • The fact I didn’t have to insert any sleeves!
  • How easy it was to change the facing to a fully lined dress
  • The neckline is extremely flattering for larger busts
  • It has pockets!
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As my sister did not want to wear a slip under the dress, I top stitched the neckline closed

Challenges

  • I had to reduce the shoulder seams by an inch and reduce the back neckline by an inch.
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pockets!

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Other than that I had no other challenges. The dress was a simple cut and the neckline design makes it a very flattering dress. My sister is really pleased with it and she will look amazing at the wedding 🙂

Katherine x

Uncategorized

Thoughts at Christmas

I am sure you can agree, life for many of us has been very hectic! My sister had a beautiful baby in October and work  has been super super busy. Luckily I have still managed to get some sewing in – which I will be blogging about soon!

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My beautiful niece/ elf at christmas!

Over the Christmas break my dear old nan passed away (my mothers mum). She had battled with dementia for a number of years and was in a nursing home for the last two years of her life. Although we were kind of expecting it, it doesn’t make it any easier. She was a wonderful woman who has influenced my life in many ways, and will continue to inspire me in years to come.

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My darling nan at her Christmas party last year.

As a result of this family heartache, I havent really felt the need to socialise with friends. Instead, I have wanted to be close to my mum. My mum lost her dad in the Herald of Free Enterprise disaster in 1987 and I could only begin to imagine how painful it must be to lose your father at such a young age, and in such devastating circumstances.

My thoughts over this Christmas period have been extremely reflective. I feel grateful for having my family so close to me and ever so grateful for experiencing new life in our family. Sewing has at times taken a back burner, which in all honesty I do not feel guilty about.

I have however reflected slightly on my sewing journey. I feel that I am making too many “safe” choices when it comes to my sewing projects. I am hoping to challenge myself in 2018 and embark on a journey which will not only test my ability, but teach me new techniques, whilst creating a capsule wardrobe.

Watch this space for my  Me Made 2018 choices!

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In Loving memory of my dear Nan.

Katherine x

Dresses · Dressmaking Makes · winter · wool

The Afternoon Blouse and Shift Dress

Good Evening!

School is still being quite hectic and I am struggling to get much sewing done in my spare time. I would like to dedicate one full day of sewing this weekend, however I have open day at my school so I doubt that will happen!

During the summer holidays  I stumbled across a post from Simple Sewing Magazine on Facebook. The post was from the pattern company Jennifer Lauren Handmade and that they were looking for pattern testers.  I jumped at the chance and quickly signed myself up. whilst I wasnt succesful to be picked as the first pattern tester, I was picked to test the Afternoon Blouse and Shift Dress, which you can find here. There is no ignoring the fact that Jennifer Lauren Handmade has produced some absolutely gorgeous patterns, I particularly like the look of the Laneway Dress. However, I can’t say I was a huge fan of the Afternoon Blouse and Shift Dress, at first I thought it might look a little dull and plain-looking, which isn’t my style at all. 

 

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Although the pattern sketches are gorgeous, I wasnt a fan of the simplicity of the dress.

Continue reading “The Afternoon Blouse and Shift Dress”

Cotton Lawn · Dresses · Dressmaking Makes · Liberty

The Annabelle Dress

I have used the Annabelle dress pattern a number of times already, with both times using a viscose fabric and I loved how flowy it was. It is a perfect pattern for casual and work wear and I was just itching to make another for the warmer weather!

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Annabelle Dress in viscose

As I have already made the pattern in a viscose fabric, I thought I would try another version in a different fabric. According to the pattern the suggested fabrics are: cotton lawn; linen; viscose; crepe de chine and satin. I wanted to use fabric that was already in my stash (I am trying to not buy fabric for a while!), so therefore I was limited to my choices. Luckily I had some gorgeous Liberty Tana Lawn. I only had 2 metres of fabric (53 inches wide), and the pattern requirements call for at least 2.7 metres of fabric for the size 14. Cue some interesting cutting out!

Continue reading “The Annabelle Dress”

Dresses · Dressmaking Makes

McCall’s M7084

When I first moved back to Kent, I decided to enrol in another sewing course.  The course worked really well with work as it was on Wednesday evenings for two hours over a ten week period.  Our course tutor asked us all to bring in a pattern to work on.  As I was the only one out of our group that had a little dressmaking experience I decided to challenge myself.  Enter the McCall’s M7084…..

Continue reading “McCall’s M7084”

Uncategorized

Welcome!

Starting this blog has been on my to do list for quite some time!  As I had been sewing on and off for a year, my New Years resolution in 2017 was to make all of my own clothes and not buy a single item!  I quickly failed that and only then did I realise how silly I was to make such a commitment.  It did however make me appreciate how much I enjoy sewing.  Since January my sewing skills have grown rapidly and it is here I hope to share my sewing journey with you!