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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A Dora Top, a Knitted Hat and a Walk

So far I have only blogged about my Dora Dresses, but if you have had a look at my pattern on Etsy, you will have seen that the download includes the option to make a hip length top version also.

The best part about the top version is that it is a great scrap busting pattern requiring very little fabric to make, approximately 1m for most sizes. You do also need 0.5m of lining material, but with wider fabrics and in smaller dress sizes you may be able to squeeze the whole top plus the lining out of 1m.

The fabric for the version in the photos below was from Backstitch. I bought it quite a long time ago, and had some scraps leftover from another project. This top was made out of those scraps, win!

The Dora top is a great layering piece and very versatile. In the summer I would wear my cotton lawn versions by themselves with jeans (it doesn’t really get warm enough here for shorts), but in winter I am layering them up with big cardigans and still getting so much wear out of them.

Below I’m wearing mine with this long cosy cardigan I bought a while ago from Celtic and Co. I love their knitwear and it’s made in the UK. I really should try and knit some cables at some point, but I’m still a bit intimidated, maybe one day.

If you like the look of the Dora top you might enjoy these posts about my Dora Dresses. The silver one and the green one.

Handmade Dora Top Sewing Shetland

Handmade Dora Top Attie and Dora

Speaking of knitting, I just finished making this hat for Aaron. I had a couple of balls of wool left from this jumper project and the pattern for the jumper came with an additional hat pattern, so I thought I’d give it a go. It’s just a simple hat, as I left off the colour work, but Aaron says it is his favourite hat ever, so not a bad result. I think it looks a bit weird on me, but it really suits him and my dad has already requested I make him one, so I think this hat has been an unexpected hit.

Hand Knitted Hat Attie and Dora

Aaron in Hat Attie and Dora Blog

We took the above photos on our Sunday walk a couple of weeks ago. It was really fun taking photos of Aaron. It made me realise I should probably make more handmade clothing for him. Can anyone recommend any good menswear patterns? I really struggle to find any I like. I did buy the Aldrich menswear book ages ago so maybe I should try drafting my own. So many ideas, so little time 🙂

My First Hand-Knitted Jumper

Handmade Shetland wool Jumper Attie and Dora Shetland

Bit of a change of subject today. Although I think of Attie and Dora as very much a sewing focused blog, I have recently become interested in knitting and want to incorporate lots of warm practical knitwear into my handmade wardrobe.

Knitting my first garment was an interesting process for me. I had very little experience of knitting, but I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome. I was a bit out of my depth, but jumping head first into this new challenge worked for me. I admit I did need help with deciphering some of the instructions. I find knitting pattern jargon really confusing. Luckily I know a few knitters who were happy to answer my questions. My mum taught me how to graft the armholes, I would have been clueless at that stage without her guidance. I used a youtube tutorial to figure out how to knit on four needles when I got to the neckline, but mostly I just went for it and figured it out as I went along.

The pattern included an icelandic style yoke, but I wanted a block colour for a more versatile garment. There is no name of the designer on the pattern, my mum bought it in a charity shop.

I bought the wool from Jamieson’s of Shetland. It is ‘mirrydancers’ Shetland Marl and I think I used 8 or 9 100g balls.

This project took me quite a while as I was only doing a few rows at a time in the evenings. I find knitting really relaxing and a fun alternative to sewing, particularly if I want to feel that I am doing something creative, but can’t be bothered to go up into my sewing room. I find I will knit while I watch tv and I love that  working in stocking stitch doesn’t require much concentration. It is sort of meditative.

It wasn’t all a breeze, there were moments when I made silly mistakes and was despairing a bit, but once I finished it I felt such a massive sense of achievement and have started my next knitting project already, a grey mohair cardigan using a pattern from Wool and the Gang.

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