Bye Bye Birdie Vintage Pledge Dress 2016

This year I signed up to the Vintage Pledge challenge for the second time. Last year I pledged to try my first vintage pattern and this is what I made. I really enjoyed the challenge and loved the resulting dress, so thought I would give it another go this year.

My pledge for 2016 was to try and sew at least 3 of the vintage patterns in my stash.

The first I have chosen to make is this pattern:

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which if you follow me on Instagram you may have seen me mention a few times.

This was kind of an odd choice for me as I am not a fan of 80’s fashion and if I’m honest I didn’t immediately like the style, but something about it grew on me and looking past the shoulder pads I could see potential.

I thought that the shape of view B was quite minimalistic and modern looking and chose a fabric with a modern feel to reflect this. I bought the black Bye Bye Birdie Atelier Brunette fabric from Sew Over It’s online store. I have used Atelier Brunette fabric before here and the quality is sublime, I am a big fan.

I found the construction of this dress really odd, particularly the collar construction. I am used to assembling the collar separately, topstitching and then sewing it between the facing and the dress, but in these instructions you sort of attached it piece by piece, first sewing the undercollar to the neck edge of the bodice, then the top collar to the facing and finally sewing the top collar and facing piece to the undercollar and bodice piece. The topstitiching was done after, and personally I found this method confusing, however I got there and to be honest I don’t think the method was bad, I think it was just the fact that it was new to me that threw me a bit.

The other thing I have to remark upon is the really odd zip placement. The top is very loose fitting and kind of boxy, and the zip is placed 1/4 of the way down the bodice through the waist and into the skirt. I found my zip stuck out oddly at the middle of my back where there was excess fabric. I ended up having to remove the long zip and just insert a 9 inch zip into the C.B. of the skirt starting at the waistline and this seems to suffice as the top is so loose fitting I can pull it over my head fairly easily. I am not sure if this was an oversight in the drafting or whether I added too much fabric when I made my lengthening modifications for my height (adding 5cm to the length of top and skirt). It may have been worth removing the excess fabric from the back, but I liked the look of it, so I kept it in and changed the zip position, as mentioned, to overcome this.

Another thing to mention is I left off the belt as I didn’t feel it was required and I added a snap fastener to the inside of the lapel to hold everything in place.

Here is my version of the dress

Vintage Pledge Dress 2016 Bye Bye Birdie Fabric

Vintage Pledge 2016

Vintage Pledge Dress atelier brunetteI am actually quite shocked by how much I love this. I really didn’t expect to like it as much as I do. I think this is one of my favourite makes to date and I love the style! I might be a fan of 80’s fashion after all.

I originally tried to take photos at the very scenic Noss Sound, but it was freezing, windy and started to snow, so we abandoned the mission and took some photos before Sunday dinner at my parents house instead. I left a couple of the Noss sound shots in as even though they weren’t the best images to show the detail of the dress, they sort of act as action shots….

Denim Elisalex Dress

Hi!

I made the Elisalex dress last week, and if you follow me on Instagram you might have seen me post about it yesterday

Denim Elisalex Dress

I managed to persuade my boyfriend to take these photos for me at lunchtime, so happily I can blog about this sooner than I expected. It really is tough taking decent photos during these winter months, I cannot wait for spring!

I have been meaning to try a By Hand London Pattern for ages. I love their aesthetic and they have such a brilliant collection of dress patterns I found it so hard to choose between them. It was between this and the Kim dress, the Elisalex won, but I still want both :).

I bought both the pattern and fabric from Backstitch . I’m a massive fan of backstitch, the quality is always spot on and delivery is super speedy. Here’s a link to the fabric used. This is actually the wrong side of the fabric, the right side was slightly darker, but I preferred the lighter colour as it was more of a grey tone, rather than denim blue. Although it looks quite blue in the pics it’s actually a light grey colour.

Denim Elisalex Dress

I lined it with a black poly lining as it was all I had in my fabric stash, thankfully it was a good colour combo, I love dresses with a contrasting lining fabric.

Construction was fairly straightforward. Winged princess seams are so beautiful and luckily I’ve been practicing them a lot lately as I have been experimenting with drafting different bodice styles using my block.

The fit is okay…unfortunately I was a bit lazy and ignored my usually required modifications, being 5’11” means patterns aren’t often drafted for a woman of my stature. I would usually always lengthen the bodice, sometimes the skirt and often require a full bust adjustment (FBA). I did make a toile and thought I could get away with no adjustments if I just sewed the shoulder and waist seams with a smaller seam allowance (0.5cm) to add a bit of extra length (2cm) to my bodice. However this “cheat” method didn’t quite work out. I think I could have lengthened the bodice more as the waist is sitting slightly higher than my natural waist. With regard to the FBA I think I should have done one, as I can see some slight drag lines around my armpits in these photos. It was a bit silly of me really, I think I have learned my lesson though and will be sure to make all those adjustments if I make this pattern again.

Enough moaning about fitting errors! I’m not going to pick this make apart as I still really like it and I think I will get a lot of wear out of it. The bodice style is really flattering, I love the neckline. At first I thought the volume of the skirt might be unflattering as I am slightly pear shaped, but having tried it on I think it’s lovely and it makes the dress feel more formal. I took 10cm off the length of the skirt as the longer length wasn’t flattering on me.

Overall I’m calling it a hit!

It’s funny, I don’t know how many of you have read the blog post about ablogogising by Did You Make That?, but I did and am now so aware of how negative I can be about my makes. I am therefore going to strive to be more positive in future, although I suppose it’s good to be a bit critical of yourself sometimes in order to improve.

Denim Elisalex Dress

Denim Elisalex Dress

Denim Elisalex Dress

Thanks for reading, if you enjoyed this please follow me on Instagram, PinterestTwitter, or Bloglovin.

Vintage Pledge 2016 Plans

Hi all,

Just a quick one today. I am really excited to read that sign up has begun for Vintage Pledge 2016. I really enjoyed taking part last year. I managed to achieve my modest aim to try my first vintage pattern in 2015, if you didn’t see my 2015 vintage pledge make before you can find it here.

I was quite pleased with how it turned out. Looking back there were some fit issues, which I could have improved on, but I wore it to a wedding last year and felt quite chuffed with myself. I adored the triangle cut-outs on the neckline. In fact I’m starting to wonder if I should make it again in a different colour with the fuller 50’s skirt…

This year I would like to up my Vintage Pledge game a little by tying a couple more patterns.

In 2016 I, Elie of attieanddora.com, pledge to sew at least 3 of the vintage patterns in my stash.

I don’t have a huge vintage pattern stash, but I dug out a couple for inspiration today.

This first pattern is so 80’s and I’m surprised at myself for liking it, as I don’t usually like 80’s fashion much, but there is something about this style. I think it could look pretty cool in a crisp cotton lawn, I love a good shirt dress.

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This second one was a gift and I’m not sure if it’s vintage, vintage reproduction? It is 60’s I reckon, which is one of my favourite eras in fashion. Anyway, I love this pattern. I’m not entirely sure where I would wear it, but I could even bypass the outfit for now and possibly have a go at making the accessories. I might get some faux fur and try and make that hat or scarf.

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What do you think of my initial choices?

Can’t wait to get started now and to see all the vintage pledge makes!

Teal Hudson Pants

First post of 2016 and this make may be one of my all time favourites…

I bought the pattern, Hudson Pant by True Bias, a while ago with the intention of sewing myself a few pairs of comfy house trousers.

Sadly, my sewing machine  had been playing up when sewing with knit fabric, skipping stitches etc, and so it took me a while to get round to sewing these up.

I am so glad I did, as I LOVE this pattern. The shape is so flattering, which is hard to achieve with jogging bottoms. I previously owned some RTW ones of a similar style and they were so saggy around the bottom, they made me look like I was wearing old man style PJs…. which wasn’t a great look.

These on the other hand, make me feel awesome and have been immediately upgraded from “house trousers” to day wear!

The fabric I used was a beautifully soft teal ponte from Sew Over It. I was planning a black pair, but I am glad I was a bit more adventurous with the colour as I love them.

Construction wise, I cut out the size that best fit my hip measurement, it was too big in the waist, but that isn’t a problem as when you  insert the elastic into the waistband you can adjust the waist size as you need. I am 5’11” so I added 3 inches to the length of the trousers, as they were drafted for a person of average height.

I followed the instructions and used my overlocker for most of the seams, I think I used my standard sewing machine for attaching the pockets and the ankle bands, but the rest was on the overlocker.

When it came to the waistband I went a bit rogue and decided against sewing the channels for a drawstring. I wanted this first pair to be versatile and wasn’t really going for a “sporty” look. I was worried they would fall down without the drawstring, but I pulled the elastic quite tight, to avoid this. The other problem with missing out the drawstring is that the elastic is prone to twist and fold inside the waistband channel, so I did hand stitch it to the inner side of the waistband to prevent this. The stitches are practically invisible as I got such a good thread colour match, but I am not sure how it will hold up, so I may still zig zag around the waistband as advised later.

This pattern will no doubt be getting a lot more use as I’ve already had requests from family members for pairs and my boyfriend is keen for me to buy the men’s version of the pattern so he can have a pair too. So clearly a big hit.

Teal Hudson Pants (attieanddora.com) sewing shetland

 

 

 

 

2015 Review

Well it’s New Years Eve and I can’t believe this year is over already! Time has been flying.

I received my end of year email from WordPress and it was pretty cool seeing my year of blog posts summed up like that. I am slightly disappointed that I didn’t post as frequently as I set out to, but I guess it was my first attempt at blogging and using social media properly. I am still a bit useless to be honest, but I’m working on it.

My three posts that got the most views in 2015 were:

  1. Beginning my sewing journey My first ever blog post and my first attempt at making the Lilou dress by Tilly and the Buttons. I love this dress, I still wear it a lot  and I went on to use this pattern twice more here and here. The fabric for this dress was bought during my first experience of online fabric shopping, I managed to incur a hefty customs charge on receipt of this fabric…but I still think it’s gorgeous, so it was worth it. I remember being really embarrassed taking these photos, I am not at ease in front of the camera, but I am improving on that front, thank god.

Lilou Dress (attieanddora.com) Shetland

2.  Velvet bridesmaid dress This was by far the most challenging thing I made this year. Working with velvet was so tricky, but it was a great feeling to finally finish the dress and see Marjolein wear it to her sister’s wedding. That was probably my sewing highlight this year.

It’s a shame I didn’t manage to get better photos of it, it was quite hard to photograph as the light wasn’t great that day and velvet is tricky to photograph, it looks a bit dull in this picture sadly, but  the fabric was beautiful in the flesh, it reflected light and had great movement.

Red Velvet Lilou Dress (attieanddora.com) Shetland

 

3.  A Coco in the wind  Ha! Oh man, this was a funny photo shoot. I really wanted to blog this dress, but it was so windy that day. I thought it was going to be a disaster, but I actually loved how these photos turned out.

It really can be tricky to photograph sewing makes in Shetland, with the wind and lack of sunlight in winter, but I do think it can make for some interesting shots. Plus the scenery is beautiful when you do get a fine day.

Polka Dot Coco Dress (attieanddora.com) Shetland

Here’s a quick look at the rest of my makes this year

Polka Dot Carolyn PJs (attieanddora.com) Shetland

French Bulldog Carolyn PJs (attieanddora.com)

Red Jersey Ultimate Shift Dress (attieanddora.com) Sewing Shetland

Vintage Pledge Dress 2015 (attieanddora.com)

Contrast Lilou Dress (attieanddora.com) Sewing Shetland

Grey funnel neck Coco Dress (attieanddora.com) Sewing Shetland

Alder Shirt Dress (attieanddora.com) Sewing Shetland

Refashioned Beanie Hat (attieanddora.com)

Envelope Clutch Indian Fabric (attieanddora.com)  Sewing Shetland

Ultimate Shift Dress Atelier Brunette Fabric (attieanddora.com) Sewing Shetland

Not bad really 🙂 It’s nice to see them all together like this, as I often feel like I’m not doing enough, when you look at it collectively it feels like an achievement.

I am starting to feel really excited about sewing in 2016 now. I did a really great course in pattern cutting in August, so now I am focussing on designing my own patterns. I have drawn up blocks using my personal measurements and I have started trying out some basic design ideas, but I have a lot more work to do refining them and hopefully coming up with something I really like. I will of course still be making garments using bought patterns too, so next year will be a bit of both.

Happy New Year Everyone, thank you so much for reading.

See you in 2016 🙂

 

 

 

Polka Dot Carolyn PJs

Hey!

Not blogged in a while, but lots going on in the studio.

I’ve mainly been working on drafting my own blocks, and designing, but have managed to find time to squeeze in some sewing too.

In my last post I blogged about the shorts I made for my sister using the Carolyn PJ pattern from Closet Case Files. After seeing how lovely they turned out I decided this would be the perfect pattern for the polka dot brushed cotton I had been hoarding. I think it was from Minerva Crafts, but I bought it several months ago, so can’t be certain. This fabric is super soft to touch, so it’s perfect for PJs.

It’s been a nightmare trying to photograph this make with the limited daylight in Shetland during the winter. I think the only option for taking photos in a decent amount of light here is to wait for a clear day and take them outside, but we have recently moved into a lovely new flat in Lerwick and while on the island I could have run outside in my PJs and taken photos of myself, don’t really fancy doing so in the middle of town….ha. So apologies for the rubbish pics, but I really wanted to blog these.

Polka Dot Carolyn PJs

Polka dot Carolyn 3

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I love this pattern, I found this such an enjoyable make, it was relatively straight forward, but the effect is really professional. I particularly found the collar instructions to be fantastic as I have struggled with collars in the past, but this one was simple to sew and looks great.

I serged the seams and after much deliberation decided to use self-cover buttons. I really struggle to find nice buttons, if anyone has any tips on where to source some nice ones I’d really appreciate it.

I have so many more ideas for this pattern. I really want to make a long leg and long sleeve pair next and as I didn’t add the piping to these, I will experiment with that in my next pair.

Coincidentally, while making these, I opened my copy of Grazia to see that PJs as day wear is back, which gives me a great excuse to wear them in public…

These photos are taken in my new studio space! It is so awesome that our new flat has this beautiful loft space, I practically live up here at the moment. It is so nice to have a dedicated sewing space that I can close off at night and not worry about people standing on my pins…. I will maybe give you a virtual tour next time, when it’s less messy 🙂

 

 

Birthday Bulldog Shorts

Okay, this make is a bit far removed from my usual taste, but I love this mad fabric.

Ages ago, during my first experience of online fabric shopping, I bought this fabric from Modes4u with the intention of making a birthday present for my sister. She loves french bulldogs and it just seemed too hilarious and cute to pass up.

I ordered 1.5m, knowing very little at that point about how much fabric it takes to make a garment. My order arrived, and was promptly shoved in the fabric cupboard, where it stayed until last week (sorry Lizzie).

Lizzie’s birthday is on halloween, and as I had failed miserably to make her something last year, I felt the time had come to bring out the bulldogs. 

I took a long time to decide what to make with this fabric, novelty fabric garments can be tricky to pull off.  My first thought was to make a dress, but I felt it was unlikely she would find many occasions to wear it. I eventually decided night-wear would be most appropriate considering the fabric choice.

I fell in love with Heather’s Carolyn PJs pattern the moment I saw it. I am a massive fan of Closet Case Files, and this is my favourite of her patterns, although they are all fabulous. I have been meaning to make a pair for ages, but have never managed to find the time. Finally I did, and man am I hooked. I see many pairs coming my way. I have some brushed cotton polka dot fabric waiting in the wings for this pattern. I love a good pair of PJs.

Anyway back to the Bulldog PJs. The fabric is 100% cotton and therefore nice to work with, however it does fray a lot.

I found these came together really easily with the help of Heather’s instructions. They were an extremely satisfying make as the construction was relatively simple, but the finish looks really professional. I especially love the addition of the cuffs and the faux fly front.

It was tricky pattern matching this garment due to the size of the bulldog pattern. This is an area I need to work on.

If I’m being fussy, the waistband seam was slightly uneven on the inside, so I will make sure to rectify that with my next pair, but as it’s on the inside, it won’t be visible anyway.

I hope Lizzie approves of these shorts, I would have loved to make the matching top, but unfortunately didn’t have enough yardage this time.

I really enjoyed this make and thoroughly recommend this pattern. Happy Birthday Lizzie! 🙂

French Bulldog PJ Shorts 2

French Bulldog PJ shorts3

French Bulldog PJs4

Another Ultimate Shift Dress and Sewing with Knit Fabric

Hello,

I’ve got the sewing bug again.

 After the velvet ordeal, I needed a break from my sewing table, but I am feeling inspired again and ready for some new projects.

I’m not one for counting down till christmas, but as the nights are drawing in and it’s starting to feel pretty wintery up here in Shetland, I felt the need to make a cosy winter dress.

The inspiration for this make came from a post I spotted on twitter a while back, Elena from (randomlyhappyblog.com) had tweeted about her lovely knit fabric “Ultimate Shift Dress” by Sew Over It and it looked so fabulous, I thought I’d make my own.

The fabric I used was a gorgeous red ponte de roma, funnily enough, from Sew Over It (must have been meant to be).

You may remember I made this dress before for my trip to India in a light cotton lawn. It was a relatively easy make and I was really pleased with the fit. Although this pattern is designed for woven fabrics, it is quite a simple shape, so I think it lends itself well to either fabric type.

It may just be me, but I really struggle with knit fabric on my machine. I have spent endless ages trying to figure out why my machine misses stitches when sewing knit fabric. I have tried: changing tension settings, different needles (ball point, stretch), sewing at different speeds, but nothing completely solves the problem.

My latest discovery to aid sewing knits on a standard sewing machine is to place a layer of tracing paper or greaseproof paper under the fabric to stabilise it during sewing. When stitching is complete, rip it off. 

This has partially fixed my problem, but I still see some skipped stitches and ripping the paper off can pull the stitches, leaving them looking loose and unsightly, especially annoying when topstitching.

I ended up using a combination of my old sewing machine, my overlocker and hand sewing to finish this garment.

Below is a brief overview of the process:

  • sewed the darts with a straight stitch on the machine (I think you are supposed to use a zig zag stitch, but they look fine)
  • stabilised the shoulder seams with a thin ribbon and sewed with a zig zag stitch on the machine
  • overlocked the side seams and sleeves together
  • set in sleeves creating a couple of very small tucks on either side of the shoulder notch, to account for the excess fabric in sleeve head (gathering as with woven fabric didn’t really work)
  • turned neckline under 1cm and topstitched with a zigzag stitch
  • hemmed the dress and sleeves by hand using a hemming stitch
  • Added a hook and eye closure to the back neckline

I love the finished product, super cosy and flattering. I think I have a bit of an obsession with sewing dresses in knit fabric now…

Also, if anyone has any tips on sewing with knit fabric on a regular sewing machine I would love to hear them.

Handmade Red Dress

Red Jersey Dress side

Red Jersey Dress

Handmade dress

Velvet Bridesmaid Dress

Hello!

It’s been ages, so let me explain why. Firstly I was down in London doing an intensive pattern cutting course for most of August (I will tell you more about that soon) and secondly, I have been working on a special project for a while now…

I spent the last few months making a bridesmaid dress for a friend’s wedding. It was a challenging project for me as it was the first time I have made something to fit someone other than myself, the fabric was velvet (enough said) and it was for a wedding, so obviously the pressure was on.

The pattern I used was the Lilou dress from ‘Love at First Stitch’ by Tilly and the Buttons. I had already made this dress twice, here and here, so I was confident with the contruction.

This was the first time I had to fit a garment to someone else, and it was great to learn new fitting techniques. I made two toiles using floral cotton. The first I made using a straight size closest to Marjolein’s measurements.

When she tried on the first toile, she felt the waist was sitting slightly low, so I removed 1cm from the length of the bodice. The overall fit was good, but there was significant pooling of fabric at the back, which I felt indicated she may have a sway back? This amused Marjolein no end (“I have a what back?”). I pinched out the excess which was approximately 5cm, and did a sway back adjustment on the back bodice pattern piece.

The second toile (see below) with these new adjustments fit well, so I got on and made the final dress.

I have to say when I first saw the velvet I was besotted. It’s probably the most beautiful fabric I have ever worked with. The way it reflects light and drapes is divine. However, I quickly realised it was also going to be the most tricky fabric I had ever worked with.

Red Velvet

Now I know everyone says velvet is a nightmare, but man, I had no idea how much of a nightmare.

Have you ever tried to cut the stuff? I will admit i was terrified, I researched loads before I started this make as I was concious of only having one piece of fabric to work with and therefore, no room for error.

The main things I learned through my “working with velvet” research are as follows:

1. Never ever iron velvet, just don’t even go there (I used steam and my fingers to press seams and remove creases)
2. Tack every seam to prevent slipping or movement of fabric during sewing (I mainly did two rows for extra stability)
3. Normal machine needles work fine for woven backed velvet
4. Silk or cotton thread would give best results, but polyester is also okay (i used cotton thread with good results)
5. Velvet has nap, so make sure all pattern pieces are the same direction

The main resource I used was this By Hand London post, and I also picked the brains of some very knowledgable sewing pals who gave me some excellent guidance.

Cutting the fabric was dreadful, it moved all over the place, as though it were liquid. I didn’t cut my pattern pieces on the fold because I was worried it would be difficult to achieve a symmetrical result .

As an alternative to ironing, I hung the fabric up for a day before cutting to let gravity remove some of the creases.

I layed the fabric out wrong side up and traced around  the pattern pieces using my wonderful chalk roller pen and used a rotary cutter to cut for accuracy. I used pins to mark out the direction of the nap on the fabric before flipping it over to make sure I cut all the pieces in the right direction. I cut all my pattern pieces with the nap going from top to bottom (i.e. from shoulder to hem).

When it came to sewing it up, as I mentioned above, tacking really was critical and I did tack every seam by hand before stitching the seams, darts etc.

I found that for sewing on the machine (which I did for the darts and the longer seams) using a lower tension and slightly longer stitch length worked best. The needle left visible marks in the velvet, so ripping out mistakes wasn’t really an option. I took my time over each step to make sure I didn’t make too many mistakes.

When it came to choosing a method for finishing the seam allowances, I tried a scrap of velvet on my overlocker as a test, but thought it looked messy and in the end decided to pink the seam allowances. This worked well, it looked neater than overlocking and as the bodice was lined, most of the seams were hidden anyway.

I used a lovely floral cotton lawn for the lining from Sew Over It, which worked well.

Sewing Velvet

The skirt was gathered, so I drew out the rectangles for the skirt pattern pieces with a width twice that of the waist. I wanted a good amount of gathers, without too much bulk. I wasn’t confident about how much extra fabric to add for gathering and in an ideal world I would have done a trial run to see how it looked, but had to make an educated guess and luckily the width I chose worked well and it wasn’t too bulky, as I had feared.

The zip insertion was by far the worst part of the process. The thing would not lie flat. I spent so long tacking it in and ripping it back out (luckily tacking by hand didn’t leave marks like the machine stitches) until eventually I was happy with how it looked.

I left the dress to hang over night to let the hem drop, levelled it, pinked it and turned it up to give a 3cm hem depth and used a hemming stitch to hand sew it up.

Velvet Hem

I ended up sewing quite a lot of this dress by hand, and although it was time consuming, I felt I had more control sewing by hand than I did on the machine, so I think it was worth it in the end.

So here’s the finished product …

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Photo taken by Mike Guest

I am so pleased with how it turned out, especially after putting so much effort into this project. The velvet meant everything took so much longer than with a regular fabric, but it was worth it.

It was a joy to see Marjolein wearing it on the wedding day. I felt honoured to have contributed to Floortje and Tim’s special day.

Phew! Velvet is tough! Cotton for the next project I think 🙂

Vintage Pledge Dress

Back in March I signed up to the Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge challenge. My goal was to try my first vintage sewing pattern in 2015.

Joan Holloway style dress

I chose this pattern as it was classic, but the triangular cut outs gave it a modern feel. I selected a simple black linen/cotton mix as I felt any design on the fabric might look cluttered with the cut-outs, and I really wanted them to stand out. I was aiming for a classic little black dress, to wear to formal events. I decided to omit the sleeves, as I felt it would look more modern without them.

Vintage Pledge Dress 2015 (attieanddora.com)

Vintage Pledge Dress 2015 (attieanddora.com)

Sewing Vintage Dress Shetland.attieanddora

Back Darts Vintage Dress Shetland attieanddora


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This was my first move away from Indie sewing patterns and it was a real eye opener. Indie sewing patterns really hold your hand through the process (which is great for those inexperienced seamstresses among us), but in the instructions for this vintage pattern a lot of knowledge was assumed.

DSC01744 (1)I found I was able to bumble my way through using the skills I have already acquired from my past projects, which was encouraging.

The neckline construction with the triangular cut outs was a little tricky, it involved sewing a facing to the bodice, stitching along the lines, to give the triangular shapes, slashing between the stitching and then turning the facing to the inside and pressing. This was a bit fiddly, but gave a good result. The neck bands were then sewn to the top edge of the facing.

Besides challenging myself to try my first vintage pattern the other main focus of this project for me was to build my skills in fitting. I am tall, so I always have to add length to my pattern pieces. In this case I added two inches to the length of the bodice and two inches to the skirt length. I did a FBA, as I often find dress patterns which fit me in the waist and hips, are slightly small in the bust. I made a full toile of the dress to check my alterations.

Despite taking care to make a toile and check the fit along the way, my first attempt at this dress just wasn’t right. I had spent ages working on it, which was really disheartening. Unfortunately the bodice was too loose on the shoulders and bust, and the zip was buckling on the side. I haven’t included any pictures in this blog post, as it was too painful.

To remedy this, I had to do some major reconstruction. I unpicked the bodice from the skirt and removed the additional length previously added to the bodice, bringing it back to the original length. I unpicked the zip (sob, it was perfectly inserted) and moved it down the side seam by another 2 inches to eliminate the buckling.

These alterations fixed most of my fitting issues (WOOHOO). There are still some small gripes I have with the fit of the final dress. I think the bodice is still a bit too big, it would probably have been best to go a size down or to redo the FBA to add less fabric across the bust, but overall I am pleased with the dress and it’s such a relief to have overcome my fitting issues, and finished with something wearable that I am really proud of.

Signing up to the vintage sewing pattern pledge has been a great experience for me. It has pushed me out of my indie pattern comfort zone and opened up a world of possibilities for new sewing projects. I can’t wait to try another!

Pattern: Simplicity 3285 Slenderette

Fabric- Black Promenade Plain Linen & Cotton Blend Dress Fabric from Minerva Crafts