Triple Davina - Itch To Stitch

Well I think it's safe to say I've found my favourite jersey summer dress sewing pattern this year.

After a failed attempt at the Seamwork Bobby Dress (shoulders too wide and an unflattering elastic on me) I found fairly innocuous pattern in the form of the Davina dress by Itch to Stitch. I'll be honest I did think it was a bit dull at first however I then inspected the lines a little closer and saw the marvelous tester versions and was won over.

It did not disappoint and is far from dull. So much so that I made it three times straight after each other!

Size: The size was perfect and the chart very true to my body measurements. I was a 12 on top grading to 14 at the waist and it turned out ideal size-wise.

Features: A brilliant feature of this dress is how little fabric it takes considering how flared the skirt is! These jerseys were in my stash, all 2m and easily fit the pattern pieces on. Both the front and back bodice pieces do not need to be on the fold so that saves a lot of fabric in itself as you can squeeze them into the gaps around the skirt.

I particularly enjoyed how the dress fit to the curves of my body at the shoulder and at my lower back. The bodice is shaped at the center front and back seams and flows really well onto the contour waist piece and skirt. It feel very flattering to wear.

Another lovely feature is the neckline which is a soft curved v-neck with a small gather at the bust which helps pull the neckline down and prevents gaping. Clever.

Adjustments: The pattern has you line the bodice however it's way too warm for that so I chose to just bind the neck and arms with jersey binding. Worked a treat. On my black tropical version I applied the binding to the edges before joining the front, back and side seams and that gave the cleanest finish.

Fabric: The yellow version is made from the ol' faithful Jelly Fabrics, organic stripe jersey which I have bought by the mile not meter in the past. It's just so soft....

I then went for a tropical fruit print jersey from Lamazi -it is by Danish Designs called 'Sweet Lemons' and has a really luxurious quality about it.

Then last but not least, I went full tropics with this Monochrome Monstera jersey from Flamingo Fabrics. I feel it needs some mad banana earrings or something to go with it.

I think I'm pretty much done with summer dresses now I have this trio to pick from!

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It's a Cashmerette Kind Of Birthday

My first Cashmerette pattern and it's a good one! This is the Turner dress,a soft and elegant style knit dress with loads of variation potential. These dresses were gifts for my sister and friend for their respective birthdays - hopefully they liked them!

The pattern: The patterns are drafted for different cup sizes so that was great to have a whole range of fitting options to choose from. I had one PDF printed, the other I taped together. I would recommend just getting it printed! I made a toile for my friend in some navy jersey and it fit, with a few teaks to the waistline which was a fraction too big. We did notice that nearly everyone on photos wore a belt though so perhaps this waist room was normal. We chose a sleeve length and then picked out some fabulous fabric!

My sister's was slightly easier as we are pretty much the same size so I could just try it on! The bonus of family sewing.

Construction: Oh this was so good to whiz up on the over-locker. The pattern pieces fit together perfectly and it was really and enjoyable make. Then neckline is bound with stretch jersey binding so soft on the skin. The arms and hem were turned and cover-stitched with rainbow thread inside.

The Fabric: Extensive research took place for the perfect fabric (oh what a shame, all that fabric browsing is such a chore! ;-) The pink floral is from Angela at Jellyfabrics. There was just short of the required amount so some serious pattern Tetris went on trying to get everything to fit. I had to cut the back skirt in two pieces and create a seam however you can't really tell because of the print.

This super blue watercolour fabric was from Flamingo Fabrics and fortunately the right quantity was available. In fact I bought a 1/2m more just in case!! (Sewing for someone else is so nerve-wracking isn't it?!)

I think the bright fabrics added to the enjoyment of making these, and doing something for loved ones that is a bit of a treat. Plus - I bloody love jersey so was in my element.

Conclusion: Brilliant pattern, very detailed and the size range was excellent. My sister has worn hers loads and will certainly be receiving more in future now I know it was a success!

Edit: Here is lovely Laura giving it some twirls!

Shortly after this I also whipped up another in some incredible seagull print jersey from Jellyfabrics! Hey if a pattern works, it works.

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Sewing Sorbet - Emmeline Tee

A little palette cleanser of a pattern today.

I made this after a few sewing fails and a friend Sally recommended a quick win pattern in the form of the Emmeline Tee by Little Seamstress.

There are three versions available, a quick PDF to stick together aswell as you don't need all the pages for the different versions. It can be made in stretch or woven so fab for using small pieces up. I went for View A as I do like myself a t-shirt!

Size: The pattern suggests picking the size based on the bust measurement however as the sides are straight up and down I didn't trust this knowing my hips are significantly wider than the bust. I went with an XXL and slightly graded out an inch at the hip.

Fabric: Stash raiding occurred as confidence was low from previous projects and I wasn't sure if it would work. I'd had this crocodile* fabric from Sew Over It a while and there was only a small piece which was perfect to use up. It does send your eyes a bit boggley if you stare too long.

(*Reptile fact: Crocodile - long snout, jaggy toothy fella. Alligator - rounded snout, neater teeth and hides them well. Want to run away? Run in a zigzag, they cant turn very well. ;)

I made a couple of minor tweaks. I added cuffs at the arms as my fabric wasn't wide enough to fit the whole sleeve on. I also sloped the shoulder a bit aswell as the straight T shape was making the sleeves stick out a bit like wings. Other than that - love it!

Needing something comfortable with zero effort factor I also decided to make a dress version in this stripe print from JellyFabrics.

Same alteration to shape the shoulder. Instead of a neckband I just used jersey binding and bound the raw edges to the inside at the neck and sleeves. I also found a use for my leftover glitter stars - 'this is the back' markers!

Simple, basic, but really practical and a great little pattern. The sleeves are roomy enough not to get all hot and bothered and an optional tie belt gives options. (Buffet options). Bit short but that was just down to how much fabric I had left. (Remnants of a failed Seamwork Bobby dress!!)

A refreshing make indeed.

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A Dress Named Reeta

Well it may be covered in tigers and its a killer of a dress but this one is no Carole!

Enter the dress by Named Patterns - called  Reeta

The pattern has obviously been around a while but it has taken me until now to try it out. Why did I wait?!

The dress is supposed to be a loose fit midi-dress however I didn't have enough fabric for the full length so it's a little shorter than intended.

This was a lovely slow sew for me and just what my brain needed. I made it over the course of a few weeks, breaking the tasks down into little easy to deal with sections.

Size: I went for a size 16/18 and that worked out quite nicely. Plenty of room at the waist for the drawstring to cinch in and create some shape.

Fabric: This absolutely stunning tiger fabric is an ex-designer crepe from Fabric Godmother picked up last year. I don't think they have it anymore however they do now have their own blue tiger crepe available.

Features: The trickiest part of the make was the lapel collar and yoke construction however with a bit of concentration and a careful look at the diagrams it was doable. I had seen a few people say the collar piece was too small however I managed to make it fit - it did need cut notches and a bit of stretching though to get the curve to fit the markings.

The dress is cinched in the middle with a hidden wait casing sewn to the inside of the dress. The pattern has you do button holes for the drawstring however a friend recommended a bit of hardware so out came the Prym pliers!

I didn't have ribbon for the casing so used a bit of bias binding and that did the job nicely. The cuffs are wide, turned up and stitched down and they feel quite luxurious for that.

Now let's just take a moment to appreciate these EPIC BUTTONS! My sister is a very talented lady and has started a little business making handmade buttons. These are from her 'Baskin Buttons' collection. If you want to see more have a look at @turtlebirduk - and feel free to DM her for any requests!

Results: LOVE.

I would love to make this dress again, with sufficient fabric to make a midi length! Clyde also approves as he shot over to see what all the fuss was in the garden:

 Wishing you all well x

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Experiments in Shorts - Bootiful Musings

So I've had a slight mood shift and instead of getting infuriated by my failed makes and quest for trousers that fit- I realized my scientific brain needed to kick in and appreciate that this is not making, it's experimenting.

It's not as if I have anywhere to wear these things is it? Might aswell make the most of Lockdown Life and use the time to find and try out some patterns - potentially for using next year?!

This also comes with the added advantage that I can use up some of my stash.

I mentioned the Pomona Shorts by Anna Allen in my previous post. Here were the results of this:
At first glance the pink ones look pretty good - in reality they basically cut me in half and I couldn't sit down as my thighs nearly had all blood circulation cut off. After adding in a couple of inches where the side seams should be (there are none by the way) - they ended up looking like a man's boxer short. Not for me I'm afraid.

Things then got a bit crazy as I made myself a 'Fishbowl'. I'll let Phyllis explain in depth.

It basically involves straddling a flexi-rule which is both hilarious and slightly unnerving at the same time. You then get a cross section of yourself to use against patterns to check the crotch curves.

I compared it to (yet another) shorts pattern and there is NO WONDER my ass does not fit into most trousers. That's nearly 2 inches difference in the depth!

Resisting the urge to get all paranoid about my body I remind myself:

Onto the Belize Shorts by Itch to Stitch. These are the pair that I adjusted with my new fishbowl paper to have a small chance of being able to get in them. Anything taken out of the crotch curve has to be added back to the side seams. I initially added too much and had to taper them down a bit after sewing.

Not too bad either! Still not ideal as the gathering at the back waist is present however they are elasticated so to be expected. At least I can actually sit down in these. Something still feels a bit 'off' though. I tucked the hem under quite a bit and think I prefer the shorter length. A darker fabric or jazzy print and they would be passable. Plus I won't likely tuck my shirt in either so that solves the back ruffles.

Edit: I shortened them but the wide leg holes became pretty x-rated when sitting down. Recycled.

I bought this pattern absolutely ages (years?!) ago and never printed the PDF so forgot about it. Everything has it's moment! These are a straight up XXL. I didn't make any changes to the crotch curve as the pattern is already really deep and nearly matched my 'fishbowl' in any event.

Despite being a bit rough and ready - I like them! I think they have a good casual/sporty vibe which I'm more comfortable with. As with all P4P patterns, this comes with about 100 variations aswell so plenty of scope for making them your own. (Curved hems, cuffs, pockets, patch pockets, drawstring etc...)

Linen Loungers take the win here! I made them in a bit of leftover black linen from Raystitch.

I'll spare you any more of this trouser tedium today but save to say - I've just brought out the big guns in the form of Jenny Shorts by Closet Case Patterns. Wish me luck, I'm going in....

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Pants Off - Arden v Easy Pants (and a few extras)

Hello all,

It's the trials and tribulations of trousers on the blog again.

I've been trying to find my ideal pair of woven joggers, you know, casual cool and easy to wear. However it is proving IMPOSSIBLE.

I though I'd share some of the patterns I have been testing out just in case it was of interest to anyone looking for the same.

These are straight up, cut to measurements, none altered/none fitting issued versions of the pattern.

My waist is currently 35 and hips 47 inches and the charts were used based on this. 

Ding Ding Round 1 - we have Helen's Closet Arden Pants in one corner and Wardrobe By Me Easy Pants in the other. Into the ring they go...

Helen's Closet Arden Pants

Size: 18 graded to 20

Oh how I wanted to love these. I had been waiting for the release ever since Helen hinted at them at Christmas. 

The construction is super easy, the pocket is formed from one piece and folded which I liked and altogether they were a super quick make.

I made these in teal tencel, which in hindsight was not the greatest choice as they both look and feel like wearing scrubs. They made me feel a bit crappy. I wasn't into that.

 I found the back pockets gaped quite a lot but I think that's because there's a large difference between my waist and hip and the fabric gets bunched at the top.

They were never going to be classy trousers I realize that but they just didn't feel good at all. Such a shame as other people have been making some excellent versions.

Conclusion: A quick, easy, casual make for some throw-on-and-go trousers. Just not for me unfortunately.

Wardrobe By Me - Easy Pants

Size:  16 graded to 20

These packed more of a punch and it was certainly a more sophisticated pattern in terms of construction and design.

From the front they look ok, minor issues with the rise but I think tweaking could help. I just don't have the patience for a second pair. Loved the taper on the legs and the turn ups.

The pocket detail on these is brilliant, interfaced on each side, separate facings, much more of a time consuming and detailed sew than the Ardens.

The fabric was a better choice for these, some linen blend from Barry's of Norwich.

Back view however just is not flattering at all....

Unfortunately I could not wear these at all because they were also a size or 2 too small. When I sat down my thighs pretty much nearly tore out of them.

Conclusion: A very classy and sophisticated version of pull on trousers, a more complex pattern and flattering on someone with lesser booty than mine!!

All was not lost as although these were not made for me, I passed them onto a sewing friend and they fit her perfectly, so both pairs have a happy new home!

I declare a draw. 

Rational me should just realize I don't suit this type of style, however obsessive me took over for a while. I also went and made some Anna Allen Pomona Shorts -  that was a nope.

Then I went for Tilly and the Buttons Safiya Trousers  Much better but more like palazzos with none of the detail.

THEN four pairs of Joan Trousers from Friday Pattern Company got cut out as I knew they fit me - only to discover that all known laws of physics had changed since the last time I made them and low and behold. NOPE.

Conclusions: Wear more dresses.

Edit: At this point I had a mini meltdown about my body, sewing skills and general life itself however my lovely sewing friends (Hey Thursday Group!) sent some amazing encouragement advice. Not to give up.

Yoga, tea and a rest led me to reflect that I keep making 'quick' clothes and easy stuff. This is clearly not working out so a deep breath is needed, and a proper tailored pattern....and time.

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Melilot - Of Bugs and Buttons

Coming at you today with BUGS.

I have been looking for a casual shirt dress pattern for ages, something with a collar and all the features but with a loose vibe about it. After a couple of disaster makes, I tried a the suggestion of an extended Melilot shirt.

The pattern here is of course the Deer & Doe Melilot shirt which has been extended past the hip line to about knee length. I used the short sleeve version which gave a beautiful drape and reshaped the collar to a traditional point, just because I'm not a round collar kinda gal.

The size is 46/48 however I did add about an extra 1cm to the side seams to be sure it got over my hips for a dress version. It was fine!

I also changed the placket on this one - having previously made an invisible placket version  as I love a good button and wanted them on show.

As luck would have it I raided the stash and found this epic galaxy pink and turquoise buttons, that matched the colours of my bug applique perfectly! A bit of sewing fate there.

The fabric used here is buttery soft viscose linen blend from Sew Me Sunshine in Aqua. It is so lovely to the touch and very airy for hot days.

So this dress was actually a 'test dress' for a black one I want to make, much actually I think I like my bug toile more than what I was planning!

I will definitely be using the Melilot again for future dress incarnations as the shape is one that agrees with me.

Wishing you all well on this bank holiday! 

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