Thursday, 24 August 2017

Lovely Laneway


I was delighted to get the chance to do some pattern reviewing for Jennifer Lauren whenever the opportunity came up lately.  I felt like I needed to be pushed out of my comfort zone both in terms of sewing and also style, so this seemed like the ideal opportunity.

I was pleased whenever I discovered it was the Laneway because it filled these 'criteria' in that it was probably a little bit more tricky than I've sewn of late (become a quick-fix sewer)  and also, in all honesty, it's probably not one I would have chosen myself because I would have seen it as a bit too dressy.  

I've sewn the Bronte and the Enid tops and love them both and so I knew that the pattern itself would probably be a good one.

Sizing

So, with a style like this, probably the trickiest part is deciding which size to make.  The pattern has options for sizes 6 -24, THAT'S A LOT OF OPTIONS!  The other great thing is that there are 3 cup size options also, so that should lend itself to a great fitting dress.  My measurements fell into the size 16 with a D cup and I made a rough toile of that in a cheap lining fabric and was fairly happy with that.  The pattern also sets out the finished measurements of all sizes and cup sizes which is extremely useful.




Styling

The pattern itself has 3 options for the collar, an asymmetric collar, a centred collar and a normal additional plain round neck collar.  I went for the asymmetric collar as I thought it was a little bit different.  There are also waist darts front and back for great shaping, a concealed zip at the back and front inset pockets.

Fabric choice

I went for a tencel chambray which I purchased a while ago at myfabrics.com.  I'd already made some culottes so knew it would have nice fluidity and movement, not too light or heavy.  I also deliberately chose a plain fabric in the hope that it would show the features of the dress, like the darts and the collar.  It was, however, a bit of a nightmare when I came to sew the zip. Grrr! It slipped and slid all over the place.  I had to hand baste it in place, then machine basted and then finally machine stitched.  A good little tip (which probably a few of you experienced girls already know), when you've stitched one side of the zip in, close it, mark the other side of the zip at the point it meets the bodice/skirt seam and go by that when attaching it to the second side.  It worked pretty well, phew!



Printing off the pdf pattern

With Jennifer Lauren patterns, she makes this really simple in that you only have to print off the sheets of paper that you need for your size and this is all made really clear in the pattern, so only certain pages for each cup size.  Also each pattern piece can be seen really clearly in sections, rather than having hundreds of sheets all taped together spread across your table or floor.  I really like this and not many pattern designers do this.

Love these subtle inset pockets.

Instructions

All I can say is that the pattern instructions are excellent.  Your hand is held practically every step of the way and although there are quite a few stages to the Laneway (4 front darts, 2 back darts , inserting sleeves, inserting pockets, skirt assembly, inserting the concealed zip and the neckline facing/collar), none are really too difficult and the pattern explains it all really well.  Nothing to do with the pattern but my skirt seemed to drop at the front, I think this is something that can happen.  I had pinned it, tried it on the next day and it dipped quite a bit at the front, so I just had to trim and adjust the hem.


Overall impression

I love it.  I do know that these more fitted style dresses do suit me as I have a fuller figure, but I've tended to avoid them because of nervousness about fitting, but this pattern made it fairly straightforward with all the size options. I normally go for looser styles with ease, but this is a lovely change. I also love the pockets and the asymmetric collar, it's just that little bit different. The fit turned out fairly well, in all honesty it maybe doesn't have quite as much ease as the pattern intended, but I'm happy enough with it.  I think it would be too big to go up another size.  I'm also pleased that I made it in this fabric which means I can casualize it (yes, of course, that's a word, haha) and I think it will be lovely with a cosy cropped cardigan and knee length boots for the winter.  A corduroy version I feel might be on the agenda if time permits. So I've enjoyed this as a different type of sewing project for me and definitely recommend it.


Sunday, 30 July 2017

Itch-to-Stitch the Bonn Shirt dress

So, I've been meaning to sew a shirt dress for ages and, in fact, have many, many sewing patterns for shirt dresses, but when the #sewtogetherforsummer girls picked a shirt dress as the challenge, I decided to go for it. (I've been rather slow in blogging this with holidays etc, so this years challenge is over, but I'm sure there will be another one next year) After much consideration, I plumped for the Itch-to-stitch Bonn shirt dress, which is, I suppose quite a classic dress in that it has a slight V-neck, small collar, button front and 4 sleeve options.


 I had great success last summer with my Emily culottes and the sizing seems to work well for me.  Also she gives a lot of sizing details and options (A to DD cup size) which means you can pretty much tailor the fit to your own size and shape.


For the dress I used a muted blue floral cotton lawn from dragonfly fabrics, which I can't seem to find on the website now, so I guess it must have sold out, but it was the perfect weight for a summer shirt dress.


 I also made a shirt version in an ikat from Faberwood, which I'm afraid is also sold out, but again it is a lovely weight and perfect for this pattern.  You can see the collar and neckline detail in the above picture, just a simple placket and collar.  I went for the short sleeve in both versions, but you have the option of  3/4, long or flared cuff.  I might be thinking of a long sleeved one for the autumn.


 The shirt version has a curved hemline front and back, which gives a nice bit of shape.


I made the size 12C and with the shape of the bust darts I'm pleased with the fit of it.

I think, if you're considering a classic fit shirt dress this is a great one to start with and not too tricky. The instructions on Itch-to-Stitch patterns are very detailed and you are pretty much hand-held the whole way.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Sew Me Something Helena


So, I finally got around to trying out the Helena dress by Sew Me Something.  I've had it for absolutely ages, but dithered about which size to make.  It's meant to be an easy fitting style of dress, but I didn't want it drowning me either.

Anyway, I went for the size 12 in a blouse length just to see how it was for size in a nani iro fabric that I've had stashed for a while.  So it has a curved neck band and pintuck detail at the front and a double yoke and gathers at the back.




I must admit the yoke was a little bit tricky.  To have a neat finish around the neck and back yoke, you have to kind of bring the dress through the yoke which is easier said than done, but it is explained very well and once I realised what I was meant to be doing it went fine.




I did a decorative stitch along the bottom of the yoke, just because.



You can just about see the pintuck detail at the front, the inner tucks are the longest with gradually shorter towards the outer tucks.  There are also bust darts giving some shape.


 I went for the normal shorter sleeves, but there is an option for a longer sleeve with placket and button fastening which might be nice for the cooler months.

 Not sure if it shows that well in the photo, but there is a metallic sheen to this nani iro fabric which is a nice dimension.

So I was pretty happy with the sizing, maybe a 14 would have given the more over-sized look.  Anyway I made the dress in a 12 also and I'm pleased with it. It's in a muted brown linen from Merchant and Mills.  I LOVE this fabric, it's yarn dyed brown but with a purple/navy thread through it.  It's slightly crisp and a lovely weight and great to work with.  If I hadn't already blown the fabric budget for spring/summer I might be after more.





I' m pretty pleased with the dress, which had the addition of in-seam pockets.  I think I would have preferred it slightly longer to wear as a dress, but to wear over jeans or leggings it's fine.  It's a great pattern and makes me want to go ahead and make some of the other Sew Me Something patterns. They're all very wearable everyday-style patterns which I really like.  What more could you ask for?

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Zadie



So, after a very long hiatus, I thought it was time to get back to blogging.  A combination of factors, like busy life, trickiness of getting proper photos in winter light and different priorities meant the blog took a back seat.  But I have been making and this is the first make I want to share (bad hair and all!)
It is the highly recognisable Tillyandthebuttons Zadie dress, a jersey dress with lots of scope for using different colours of jersey and putting your own slant on it.

It has striking diagonal seams on the front and back bodice, pockets (Yeah!), option of long, 3/4 or cap sleeve and a flattering pleated skirt.

Tilly has a little mini Zadie that you can print off to try out different combinations of colours/fabrics which is a good idea.  She also sells ready made kits in various colour combinations.



For my version I used the Saint James ponte jersey in navy and emerald stripe.  I got a few different colour variations from fabric.com a while ago.  It's amazing quality, cosy and a lovely weight, very cosy indeed.  The navy and emerald are from a local fabric shop.  I don't think I will use a stripe fabric again personally, definitely not in the skirt section.  It's never going to be straight because of the curve of the pattern where bodice joins the skirt and because of the pleats.  It looks as if it is really sloping down in the photo, it's not as pronounced in reality but I think I will avoid stripes.


It's a pretty straightforward sew, the only potentially tricky bit is the pivot points where bodice, skirt and side panels are joined.  All I would say is make sure you mark the dots accurately and clearly and hit those dots bang-on with your needle. With all Tilly's patterns her instructions are excellent with photos all along the way.


So, overall a lovely comfortable, cosy dress which has been perfect in winter to spring, but I am planning a more summery one with the cap sleeves.

Will be back soon to share some other makes before I make my summer sewing plan and look forward to Me-Made-May!