Spring Dora Dress 25% off Offer Code

The weather is finally warming up in Shetland and it is really starting to feel like Spring. Two lambs have been born on the croft and if you follow me on Instagram you might have seen that I am expecting a baby, we are so excited and the baby is due in August ūüôā .

To celebrate this I wanted to share an offer code with you, for 25% off the Dora Dress and Top pattern in my Etsy Shop.  I hope this post will inspire you to give the Dora Dress pattern a try for your Spring/Summer sewing wardrobe.

Use the code SPRINGDORA at the checkout for 25% off. Follow this link to buy the dress.

This change of season has inspired me to make some new Dora Dress samples to show how the pattern can be worn during warmer times of year. You will notice I am not modelling these samples, as thanks to my growing baby bump I no longer fit in them, ha! I really enjoyed not being in front of the camera this time. I am definitely not a natural at having my photo taken so it was a relief to get to hide behind the lens and help Aaron to compose the shots.

The Dora Dress made up in a cotton lawn fabric is so comfy and breathable and great for hot weather. We don’t get much hot weather up here in Shetland but I did wear a cotton lawn Dora Dress while on holiday in London last year, it was above 30 degrees celsius ¬†(very hot for a Shetlander), and wearing the dress certainly helped me cope with the heat.

Marjolein, a good friend of mine who you may remember from this post if you have been following me for a while, kindly agreed to model these samples for me. She is an amazing comedian, I would recommend going to see her perform if you get the chance. You can follow her here.

The blue and white fabric was from Merchant and Mills and is a beautiful weight and drape for this dress. I love the print.

We took these photos at the Lodberries in Lerwick, if you watch the BBC series ‘Shetland’ you may recognise the building behind her as Jimmy Perez’ house.

Dora Dress Side View 2 Attie and Dora

Dora Dress Front View Attie and Dora

Dora Dress Front View Attie and Dora Patterns

Dora Dress Back View Attie and Dora Patterns

Dora Dress Back View

Dora Dress Side View Attie and Dora

Dora Dress Close Up Attie and Dora

 

This second version was made using a burgundy poly crepe fabric from Stoff and Stil.

Last summer I wore a green crepe version of this dress to a couple of weddings and I thought it made a lovely wedding guest dress.

Red Dora Dress Attie and Dora

Red Dora Dress Attie and Dora Side

Use the code SPRINGDORA at the checkout for 25% off. Follow this link to buy the dress.

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A Little Lawn Party Dress

I’m really excited to share my #alittlelawnparty dress with you. I was asked to be an ambassador for this spring themed sewing challenge by the organisers Atia @thebrightblooms and Mel @handmadebyditsytulip. There are lots of amazing prizes on offer so if you like the sound of making something spring themed you should definitely get involved. For more info check out this link.
When I was asked to get involved in this challenge it took me a while to figure out what to make. I was unsure as I don’t tend to sew seasonally. In Shetland there isn’t a massive distinction between what you wear season to season, you need to dress reasonably warm all year round. However, I thoroughly enjoyed choosing a pattern and fabric based on Spring, and it got me feeling all cheery and prepared for the changing weather, so maybe I should start doing more seasonal sewing.

The pattern I used is from the¬†Stylish Dress Book,¬†Simple Smocks, Dresses and Tops¬†by¬†Yoshiko Tsukiori. It is such a cool book. I actually got this book when I first started to sew, I made one top and then forgot about it. When I found it the other day I was overjoyed as I still absolutely love all the patterns in it. It was so funny sewing something up from this book again as I have come so far with my sewing abilities since I first used it. I remember struggling a bit with the first garment I made about 4 years ago, mostly as I didn’t know what bias binding was yet, ¬†but this time it was a breeze.

The construction of the dress was fairly simple. The neckline is finished with bias binding, leaving it open at the ends so that the cord can be inserted through. All the rest of the construction is fairly standard as it is such a simple shape. I overlocked the seam allowances and finished the hem on the machine. The dress came together really nicely and the sleeves were a breeze to insert. I think this pattern is really well drafted, simple but effective.

I’m not sure if I chose the right size, as I went for a L. It does swamp me a little, but being tall I think I can pull off that oversized aesthetic. I also lengthened the skirt by 5cm to account for my height 5’11”. This was a good idea as it would have been far too short otherwise.

The fabric is by Atelier Brunette. I purchased it from Backstitch a couple of years ago. I didn’t know if this fabric choice was going to work with this pattern. I thought it might ¬†look a bit like a moo moo or a nightie, but it is a beautiful colour and I think layered up with a cardigan it looks really good. Once the weather heats up a bit more, or if we go on holiday anywhere hot, it would be a really comfy summer dress.

I also included a photo below of my newly finished hand knit mohair cardigan. Another Needed Me Cardigan from Wool and the Gang. I wear my first one so much I thought I needed another. I love that this is a lighter colour than my first version as it works really well with more summery outfits. The great thing about mohair is it is so lightweight it works for cold and slightly warmer weather. I think with the weather in Shetland the dress with this cardigan is a more realistic example of how I will be wearing it.

I was really keen to take more photos outside, but it was so windy on the day that we couldn’t get a photo where you could distinguish the silhouette of the dress. So we had to move indoors. I’m excited to be able to do more outdoor scenery shoots again as the weather improves. These are my favourite to do and to share.

A Little Lawn Party Dress

Attie and Dora Pattern from Stylish Dress Book by Yoshiko Tsukiori

Attie and Dora Smock Dress and hand knit cardigan Wool and the Gang

Back view Attie and Dora. Dress from Stylish Dress book

A Little Lawn Party Dress Attie and Dora

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Terracota Kalle Shirt Dress

Hello!

Well the Kalle Shirt Dress is clearly a hit with me as I am on my 3rd version. This time I bought the sleeve expansion pack. I had originally planned to make my 3rd Kalle in a grey linen or chambray. I wear my first chambray Kalle all the time and my 2nd more “dressy” version on special occasions. This one was supposed to be a daytime appropriate option. My gut instinct on fabric choice was overridden by my desire to use up some of the fabric I already have in my stash. This terracotta cotton lawn from Atelier Brunette was originally destined to become a pair of PJs, but I changed my mind at the last minute and made another Kalle. To be honest I’m not convinced by the pairing of the fabric with this pattern, the colour feels a bit much especially with the addition of the long sleeves, but I really like it layered with my handmade cardigan. So this make has been a sort of unexpected hit.

Ordinarily I am drawn to a neutral colour palette, but the more I have experimented with colour lately, the more I feel I need a bit of colour in my life to brighten up my complexion. I can look so pale and washed out in photos and colour really seems to perk me up.

We took these photos at the Scalloway Castle. The dress really could have done with an iron, but we were on location at a castle, so a few creases couldn’t be helped :).

I made the same variations for this version that I did for my 2nd Kalle. I lengthened the dress and the sleeves by 5cm to account for my height (I am 5’11”) and long arms.

The fabric is from Atelier Brunette and the buttons are from Merchant and Mills.

The cardigan is handmade by me using a Needed Me Cardigan kit from Wool and the Gang. I just realised I haven’t blogged about this cardigan, but I made it last year and have since worn it so much I am in the process of making a second one in a lighter grey wool.

Kalle Shirt Dress and Needed me Cardigan made by Attie and Dora

Kalle Shirt Dress made by Attie and Dora

Kalle Shirt Dress and Needed me Cardigan Attie and Dora made by Attie and Dora Shetland

Kalle Shirt Dress and Needed me Cardigan Attie and Dora 2

Kalle Shirt Dress and Needed me Cardigan Attie and Dora

I still intend to make the neutral long sleeved Kalle that I had in mind originally, but in the meantime I think I will get a lot of wear out of this one.

Has anyone else made the Kalle shirt dress and loved it? It is fast becoming a wardrobe staple for me. I would love to hear your thoughts on this pattern.

These photos were taken on Monday when the weather in Shetland was spectacularly sunny (albeit still very cold) but today we have snow and it is absolutely freezing and if I’d tried to do this shoot today I would probably have frozen solid. I think this dress will be layered under many many hand knits for a while longer.

 

 

 

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Vintage Pledge 2017 Dress

I finished my 2017 Vintage Pledge dress just in time, on the penultimate day of the year.

This was an interesting project,  it took a long time to make despite not looking too complicated. This was mainly because I hacked the pattern and kept changing my mind about the style details.

The pattern was a gift from a family friend last Christmas. I posted a photo of the pattern cover on Instagram earlier this year as I had hoped sharing my intention to make this dress with the sewing community would spur me on to get it done. My major stumbling block was that I couldn’t make a decision about which fabric to use. I had an image in my head of a beautiful version in silk dupion, but as I had never attempted the pattern, that seemed a bit of a risky investment.¬†Towards the end of the year I searched through my fabric stash and came upon ¬†this forgotten peach cotton lawn from Atelier Brunette.

On finishing the toile I realised the style of the pattern wasn’t really to my taste. The full gathered skirt swamped me and looked very old-fashioned.

I shared some images of the toile on my Instagram stories seeking advice from my fellow makers about whether to proceed with the pattern as was, or to hack. The majority chose hack, so hack I did.

I drafted a completely new skirt, kept the cool back detail, and modified the front bodice to give me a bit more coverage across the bust.

The instructions included with the pattern weren’t the best, and as I had made so many changes I basically had to disregard them and make up my own anyway.

The original pattern called for a button closure, but I extended the wrap and added ties, which I prefer.

I decided to finish the front edges of the dress with bias binding, rather than facings, and I am please with how this turned out. I admit I did intend to finish all the seams with bias tape too, but I got lazy and overlocked most of the seams instead. I love to finish a garment really carefully so it is as beautiful on the inside as the outside and to extend its life, but I was worried that this dress might not turn out wearable, so I found I was a bit reluctant to invest so much time into beautiful seam finishes.

Happily, I am really pleased with how this dress turned out and really surprised by how much I love this colour on me ‚Äď I really need to experiment more with colour. It was out of my comfort zone, but I’m so glad I went for it, as I think it really suits me.

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Vintage Pledge 2017 dress Attie and Dora 3

Vintage Pledge 2017 dress Attie and Dora 4

Vintage Pledge 2017 dress Attie and Dora

Vintage Pledge 2017 dress Attie and Dora 6

Vintage Pledge 2017 dress Attie and Dora 7

 

Silver Dora Dress

Hello!

It’s starting to feel very wintery up here in Shetland. The nights are drawing in and it’s getting really cold. I’ve been getting back into knitting and have been trying to use up the left over wool from my last two projects to make hats. I am also really getting into a bit of drawing and painting again. Anyway back to the sewing chat.

You may have seen my blog post at the end of October where I announced the launch of my first sewing pattern for sale on Etsy, the Dora Dress and Top. I was so excited to put it online and finally share what I have been working on. Thank you so much to those of you who left me lovely comments on here and on social media. I was so nervous to put it out into the wild, so I really appreciated the support :).

I have quite a few more Dora dress and top samples to share with you, so lets kick off today with my favourite version, the silver Dora Dress. I used this awesome silver pleated fabric from Stoff and Stil.

I was so excited to try working with this fabric as I had never seen anything like it. I really wanted to create a statement piece that would showcase this pattern.

Working with this fabric was odd, it was quite strange to cut as it has a 3D structure. I personally found the best way to deal with it was to stretch it out flat for the bodice pieces before cutting, which was a bit of a risky move, but seems to have payed off. Then for the skirt I just lightly held the pattern pieces against the fabric (not stretching it out this time) and cut them out with my rotary cutter.

The best thing about this fabric is it doesn’t fray so I didn’t have to finish seams or hem, which was a treat!

I did fully line this version in black cotton voile to make it comfy to wear, I worried the fabric might cling to my body otherwise. The pattern calls for a lined bodice only, but it is really easy to do a fully lined version. I basically just made another dress in the lining fabric and sewed the two together along the neckline, understitching to keep the lining from rolling out and making sure to hem the lining to be slightly shorter than the dress version.

I love my silver Dora Dress. I think in this fabric it will make a great Christmas or New Years Eve party dress.

Have you started making a party dress for the winter festivities yet?

Dora Dress Silver Plisse by Attie and Dora

Dora Dress by Attie and Dora Patterns Side viewDora dress by Attie and Dora Back View

Dora Dress by Attie and Dora Patterns

Dora Dress by Attie and Dora PDF

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Chambray Kalle Shirt Dress

Hello!

Sorry I’ve been a bit quiet recently. We were on holiday, then moved house so I have been rather busy.

Anyway. I got my new sewing room set up, and finished this Kalle shirtdress (pattern by Closet Case Patterns).

Kalle Shirt Dress 2

I didn’t make any modifications, which was silly as it is a bit short for me. I also possibly should have sized down. For some strange reason I cut a size larger than I would normally. I think I thought it would look good even more oversized.

However, I still think it’s a great pattern. I will definitely make another in the right size. I am planning to make one in a slightly lighter weight fabric with more drape. Will let you know how it goes.

I am really into the style of this garment. I love how effortless, yet put together, it looks.

The fabric was some chambray from Merchant and Mills. It’s really soft and comfy to wear. Plus I love the colour.

Aaron and I took these photos on a beautiful evening in Burra. These photos were taken at 8pm. I love how bright Shetland is at night in the summer. We even spotted a whale on the way home, which was so exciting. Oh, and a wave splashed into my boot while I was trying to pose near the waters edge, the perils of blogging.

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Attie and Dora

Emptying my sea water filled shoe

Attie and Dora Kalle Shirt Dress

Attie and Dora Kalle Shirt Side

Attie and Dora Handmade Outfit

 

 

 

Handmade Wedding Dress and Silk Robe

2016 has been a really interesting year for me sewing-wise, but so far my biggest sewing achievement has gone unblogged. ¬†The photos came through just in time to write this post before the end of the year, and I can’t wait to tell you all about my experience making a wedding dress and silk robe for my friends’ wedding.

Lace Knit Wedding Dress and Silk Robe

Photo credit Alexander Martin

The bride’s vision was a knitted lace,¬†backless dress.¬†The dress was made in collaboration with the mother of the groom, Helen, who made the extraordinary knitted part of the dress. ¬†My job was to make the silk underdress, which would be combined with the lace knit overlay.¬†I was also tasked with the job of designing and making a floor length silk robe with a slight train.

The underdress was necessary, not only to protect the bride’s modesty, but also to provide some structure to support the knitted layer and hold the shape of the garment when the two were sewn together. This was of particular concern as the¬†wool had a tendency to stretch out.

The main challenge we faced making this dress was that the bride lives in Glasgow so I posted each toile to the bride and carried out fittings via FaceTime and Facebook messenger. I did visit her once in person to adjust the dress, which was helpful, but probably the saving grace in the end was that we made a duct tape dress-form of the bride’s torso so that we could use it to check the fit as we went along.

The dress

My process for making the silk part of the dress began by making the bride’s bodice and skirt blocks. I then started drafting the dress and sent her the first toile to try on.

The first toile was very low cut, all the way down to the small of her back. It occurred to us early on that this design feature could prove quite impractical, as it would be awkward to wear and dance in without it falling off. I did a lot of research about constructing backless dresses, mainly online and with reference to other patterns and shop bought garments. We concluded that if we made it so low cut we would either need to have something holding it together at the back along the top of the shoulders,  or we would need to stick the dress to her on the day to keep it in place.

In the end we decided this just wasn’t going to be practical and it made sense to raise the dress at the back closer to her natural waist, so I redrafted the pattern.

In total I made 10 toiles before the final garment. Some were due to fitting alterations, but also the style of the dress evolved quite a lot throughout the process as the bride tried them on and clarified her vision. The final version ended up being a bit of a pattern hack as very close to the deadline we changed the bodice style from princess seamed, empire line to the lingerie slip like style. I used the cup piece from a vintage lingerie pattern (New Look 6029) to save myself time and merged it with my dress to give the final garment you see in the pictures.

The under-dress was made with silk dupion, which was a beautiful weight and provided some structure for the knitted overlay. The two were made independently and then sewn together at the zip.  The dress was sewn partly on the machine, but finished by hand. I used satin bias tape to finish the hem and the neckline. The straps were rouleau made with the silk dupion. I sewed the zip in by hand.

I took some photos of the underdress before we attached the knitted layer.I apologise for the terrible lighting. I was very busy that month so they were taken at 6am before I went to work. The sun was only just rising, so I didn’t have much daylight to work with. I was actually lying on the floor to get the full length of the dress in the shot. Although they aren’t the most beautiful photos I ¬†wanted to include them to give you an idea of what the underdress looked like before we combined the two.

Also my over-critical brain wants me to mention that the dress could have done with a good steam before these photos, but oh well ūüôā

Silk Wedding Dress
Silk Wedding Dress
Handmade Silk Wedding Dress
Handmade Silk Wedding Dress

Handmade Silk Wedding Dress

This week the happy couple, Jim and Sam,¬†sent me copies of their wedding photos so here is the dress and robe on the day.¬†It was an amazing feeling to see Sam walking down the aisle in mine and Helen’s creation. We were very proud. It was a first for both of us.

Lace Knit Wedding Dress

Photo credit Alexander Martin

Lace Knit Wedding Dress

Photo credit Alexander Martin

Lace Knit Wedding Dress

Photo credit Alexander Martin

Lace Knit Wedding Dress

Photo credit Alexander Martin

Lace Knit Wedding Dress

Photo credit Alexander Martin

The Robe 

The robe was made with the same fabric as the underdress. I made an outerwear and sleeve block from the bride’s measurements. I then drafted the pattern, which was floor length with a slight train. The robe had no closure at the front, which meant it was very simple and elegant in style.¬†Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of the full length of the robe. The bride wore it as she walked into the hall for the meal and it billowed out behind her beautifully.

Lace Knit Wedding Dress and Silk Robe

Photo credit Alexander Martin

P.s.If I manage to get hold of a photo of the full silk robe I will share it on Instagram and update this post.