It's All About Kew

 Hola!

I've been away on a short (yet sorely needed) break and come to you today with a post about the Kew Dress.

The Kew Dress is by Nina Lee and has to be one of my favourite dress patterns of all time.  I have made several versions of this such as here and here

Once again my label can do the talking.

 Since it's original inception, the Kew Dress has been updated and added to, with several extension packs now available for differing sleeve and skirt shapes - there is the regular A-line version, a gathered version and also pencil skirt. All of which now come as separate skirt patterns too with the expanded sizing range. 

The version I could not get out of my head was this amazing maxi hack by Nina herself. It's a beauty of a version back from 2020 and I even bought the fabric straight away to make one!

And of course everything languished about for a couple of years.... 

During that time I found out I'm a fan of tiers (news to me but I'm going with it) and made a skirt and the Indigo Dress (yet unblogged). The gathering is now super easy using the shirring method and so an attempt at this Kew seemed less daunting!

I think I had also procrastinated about making this as I was sure I needed to size up and re-trace all my pattern pieces. I dug out my previous version and it fit just fine, so with a holiday on the horizon I set about a little project with a week to go. (For reference this is a 14 bust and 16 waist).

Oh it was worth the wait....

The pattern is immaculately drafted and the strap placement perfectly hides a bra. There are bust and waist darts in the front and back which shape the bodice nicely. The skirt piece then has a slight A-line shape to it and so skims the hips and tum wonderfully.

For this version I followed Nina's instructions and added a centre back zip which eliminated the need for a functioning button placket. The buttons were sewn through both layers of the placket without a buttonhole.

This fabric is 3m of viscose and I THINK it was Fabric Godmother however I can't be 100% sure on that. Regardless I absolutely love the colour palette and vibrant floral.

The tiers were added at mid-thigh and calf height and just consist of 2 large rectangles added to the layers above. The effect is a lovely swooshy maxi-dress perfect for the warm weather.

To anyone looking for a great dress this summer I would definitely recommend the Kew Dress! 

Kew (sic) another picture of me posing about in it.....

Wishing you all happy sewing.... in the meantime here's a picture of a little Wall Lizard I knitted when I got home.

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'It's Not Mave' Tiered Skirt Tutorial

 Saint + Sofia continue to advertise to me and give me ideas.... so watcha gonna do?!

Completely inspired by a tiered maxi skirt I did the usual sewist trick of thinking 'hmm, I wonder if I can make that?'. Turns out yes. Yes you can. 

At first I toyed with the idea of getting the True Bias Mave Skirt which is pretty much a dead-ringer for the maxi skirt in question. So if you did want an actual pattern, that's probably the one to go for. 

This is NOT a Mave review as I didn't use it in the end. I went with Ye Olde 3 rectangles and a waistband method. 

I took a good look at the proportions of the skirt and had a little help from The Fabric Wrangler to measure down from my waist to thigh, thigh to mid calf and then calf to ankle for the three tiers. 

The top tier was 1.5 x my hip measurement, second tier 1.5 x the top, and the third tier 1.5 x the second. The waistband was just double the width of my elastic + a seam allowance. Like this:(Aparently this post is now a tutorial - let's go with it).

My hips are pretty big to start with so when you're going up in these increments, the fabric rectangles got hilarious. This is the third tier laid out on my landing!

My favourite way of gathering is just to use shirring elastic in the bobbin and so attaching the tiers wasn't too traumatic in the end. 

I used a 2" elastic for the waist and at first try on, there was too much fabric gathered at the waist. This probably wouldn't be an issue for most people but I have a 12" waist to hip difference and so a bit of the fullness needed to come out. I unpicked the waistband, shaped the top tier a bit to reduce the volume and reattached it. The top tier and waistband is now 'hip measurement + 6 inches'. So my pattern is now more like this:

Much better! I gave the elastic a few rows of top stitching to flatten it down and voila. Skirt.

I have previously said 'Emma doesn't do skirts' but I think I've found one I like!

 Excellent wafting about potential and also eliminates the whole 'my trousers don't fit' issue. 

Oops forget to mention the fabric - this is a hot pink leopard print viscose from Rainbow Fabrics. They don't have it anymore but I did see the same on Felicity Fabrics not long ago. 

Thanks for stopping by again, happy weekend x

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Helen's Closet - Cameron

Brain fail on an exciting title but you get what you came for with this one. 

The shirt saga continues, but with slightly better results than last week!

I'm a sucker for Helen's Closet patterns and as soon as she dropped the new Cameron Shirt I snapped that up. It's a unisex pattern so plenty of making opportunities with this one. 

The shirt is dartless and 'boxy' in style with all the classic shirt elements you might expect. Collars, plackets, pockets, cuffs, the lot. 

On the measurement chart I fit into my usual 16/18 for Helen's Closet patterns so I cut that out of some viscose I'd stashed from Sew Anonymous. I was going for 'wearable toile' but as soon as I started making up the shirt I really wanted it to work as the fabric grew on me. 

The pattern instructions with this shirt are insane. And by that I mean voluminous, detailed and cover every potential aspect of a shirt you could possibly need. The pattern would be worth buying for the instruction booklet alone. That must have taken some serious time and effort to write.

That being said I immediately got myself in a muddle with the button placket. It has you do some fancy move where you flip and edge stich - this was a 'bit much' for my causal toile and so I just did the old 'fold and fold again' placket. Plackets for the non-fancy if you will. 

The pattern also got some feedback that the collar stand was tricky to insert as it's fairly short in comparison to the neckline. An updated pattern piece was released but even with the new one I did have to stretch it in a fair bit. 

 

The finished shirt initially came out really big at the shoulders. The shoulder seam extended a few centimeters past where it should have landed. In an attempt to save the toile that I now liked, I was advised to take the sleeves out again, recut the top shoulder at the armhole to about a size 12/14 and then re-insert the sleeve. I'm so glad I took the time to do that as it works a treat now!

It is a very large shirt though, and perhaps I could have sized down all over however I think it might be the style of the shirt. 

I then found a viscose remnant in this gorgeous lilac colour from Sew Hayley Jane outlet. Spurred on with my toile I cut into this and remade the shirt with all the tweaks done to the pattern.

 

I love adding buttons on my machine and found a neat little trick to put some wonder tape on them to hold them in place under the presser foot.  

The curse of the second make hit once more. I haven't a clue why but this version, despite being smaller (in theory) turned out bigger than the first! I think the fabric stretched out when I was making it potentially. 

I also messed the collar up quite badly, went to recut another but didn't have any fabric left (not even a patchwork version to squeeze out of leftovers). So I just finished it off without it. Not sure about this style but it works as a shirt nonetheless. 

So to summarize I prefer the wearable toile. However as I look back at these photos it still looks a bit sizeable and not particularly flattering from the back! It's a long shirt and probably looks better tuicked in or with slimmer leg trousers. At least it's casual and comfy...  

I'd make it again I think, but the next one shall be for the husband so will be interesting to see how it fits on him. 

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