New dress: Named Reeta shirtdress in Liberty tana lawn

Oh man, this was one of those projects. I should have finished it about a week ago, but the last half d.r.a.g.g.e.d…. What happened was that I got all caught up on the yoke/facings part of the construction and got slightly frustrated – and then my enthusiasm to finish deflated like an overripe balloon. It’s a good thing that I love the finished result then, isn’t it? I’ll tell you straight up that, quite apart from the construction, the Named Reeta shirtdress is one of those garments that I wasn’t convinced was going to look any good riiigghhtt up until literally the last step or two of the project. It’s amazing what a difference the buttons and waist cording make. It looked very bathgown-y right up until that point – you’ll just have to trust me on that.

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New dress: Seamwork Killian and a fitting tutorial

Another dress so soon, I hear you say? Well yes – this is one of the new patterns for Seamwork this month and I have to tell you, it’s a great month! I love both of the patterns on offer for July, but wasn’t too sure about the bust support factor for Siahra (although I know some ambassadors got around this, so am interested to read their posts on the matter), so I opted to make this dress – Killian. This style is absolutely up my street with its slight vintagey vibe and I’m delighted to report that it’s jumped straight into my favourite-dress-patterns-of-all-time list. I will definitely, definitely be making more of these, and perhaps with some variations, so stay tuned for those.

First though, you might wonder why I like it so much? Really, it’s because it has features that I think really suit me. It’s that simple. I’m also very happy with the fit I achieved and thought that it might be helpful for beginners (or anyone who’s interested) if I explain how I went about the fitting process. Obviously everyone is different, but one thing I found hard as a beginner was just assessing a pattern and figuring out what to tackle, and in which order. I’m not a fitting expert by any means, but I’ve definitely gotten better at fitting my body over the years, so perhaps it will help someone. I’ll pop that detailed section at the bottom of the post. Let me know if you have questions!

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New dress: Seamwork Kimmy

I wasn’t kidding when I said I was into dresses right now. I have this one, another two in progress and ANOTHER two prepped and just waiting to be cut out (which as you know, is my favourite thing to do (yes, I’m a weirdo, but I just adore the cutting part). This is the Seamwork Kimmy, which came out last year at some point. I really liked the version on the model and filed it under “potential future projects” in my brain, and then I saw some versions on Instagram that prompted me to order the copyshop version while I was getting some other stuff printed. It’s a fun little sundress , which is mostly a success, but I don’t think it will go down as a favourite of all time. Let me tell you why…

The Pattern

The Kimmy is described as: “a versatile dress that marries effortless style with ease and comfort. Dolman sleeves with adjustable gathers and an elastic waistline offer this frock its figure-flattering shape.” The pattern comes in Seamwork’s two sizing ranges: 0-16 in the misses range with a C cup block, and 18-26 in the curvy range with a DD block. There is an overlap between the two ranges now, but this is an older pattern, so the break happens at the size 16. The pattern is drafted for a height of 5’8″. I’m 5’6″ and didn’t make any changes to the length and, as you can see, it’s still fairly short – above knee length. You’ll probably want to check that if you have long legs.

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New test: The Pierce Vest and Dress from Ensemble Patterns

I signed up to test for Ensemble Patterns a long time ago and had completely forgotten about it, so it was a total surprise when I saw the call for testers for a new knit top with a difference. Celina from Ensemble had taken a little time off and was back with one of her patterns, which I was only too happy to do. I’m a fan of her work: I’ve made both the Perkins shirt, which I adore, and the Robinson trousers, which I wear all the time. She has great personal style, an edgy quality to her designs and I can always expect something a little bit different and on trend from her.

And here it is: the Pierce Vest pattern. The name slightly sells the pattern short, as the Pierce Vest comes in numerous lengths and can be sewn as a vest, a tee, a tunic and a full-length dress. As you can see, my final version was the dress and I love it! I made it from a beautiful thick knit jacquard that I got from Jumping June a while ago. It’s by Albstoffe and such nice spongey quality. I like it for this dress because it doesn’t cling, but skims, which is what I was after. You can use a variety of knits for this dress, although if your fabric has in excess of 40% stretch, you’re advised to size down.

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New dress: Peppermint Wide Strap Maxi Dress in linen

I am so into summer dresses right now. I can’t say why exactly and, strangely, (because I like them a lot) I actually haven’t made many dedicated summer dresses. I now have several cut out and plans for another few, so that “problem” should be rectified soon!

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Seamwork Kari summer romper in Ruby Star rayon

I have to tell you that I almost gave the game away this month! I’ve been wearing this Seamwork Kari romper on and off since I made it and I allmooossttt put a picture on my Instagram account for Me Made May. Argh! Luckily, I realised in the nick of time and didn’t post. This romper is just a perfect summer garment – breezy, so easy to fit and with secret shorts – what’s not to love?

It’s also named after my fellow Seamwork Ambassador who is called Kari (I bet you guessed that already) She makes so many great garments and is such a nice person – check out her account at @littlebrickhouse on Instagram. Her namesake pattern is, as you can see, a romper. For me, that is such a funny name, because where I come from rompers are only worn by babies. We would call this lots of other things, but not a romper. Still, now that I’ve used the name, it’s stuck in my head, so I’ll probably be calling it a romper forevermore, although it will still definitely, definitely always conjure up a mental image of me wearing a giant babygro.

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Sewing Bee Round 4, Part 2: Named Saraste top and Megan Nielsen Dawn jeans

Now to the second part of my final Sewing Bee outfit! As I mentioned in the first post, the theme for this round was to make an outfit for a post-pandemic event or activity and my immediate choice was to fly back to Scotland and party it up with my friends and family, who I haven’t seen for a while. I knew I only had 4 days to make the whole thing, so to have any chance of completing it and not just making, say, a t-shirt for the final, I had to take a guess at what the final round would be. As it turns out, I was very close ( a few of us had guessed it would be something like this) and so I had a little headstart as I’d already decided on my theme and inspiration. I still made a few changes before and during the construction process, but my rough plan was to:

  • Make a three-piece outfit inspired by the landscape of Scotland
  • Make an outfit that would be suitable for the plane journey home and then as a party outfit on arrival
  • Make something wearable that would fit in my wardrobe
  • Try to use stash fabrics
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New outerwear: Ottobre Ruth raincoat for Round 3 of Pattern Review Sewing Bee

Rarrrrr! I’m back from Spring Break and it’s time to catch up on some blog posts. As you may or may not have been following, I’ve been sewing in the annual Pattern Review Sewing Bee. I entered for the first time this year and as of the time of writing this, have just submitted my entry for the final round – Round 4. We find out who wins this week I think but I am 99.99% sure it won’t be me. I think my final round outfit was pretty cool, but there are some truly amazing creations in the gallery. Check them out here if you have time and are interested. Also, here are my entries for Round 1: Pyjamas and Round 2: Denim Repurposing that got me this far.

Buttttt, before that, I need to write up my entry for Round 3 that got me to the final! As you can see it’s a raincoat for when you want to stand out in a crowd! Haha. The challenge for Round 3 was “pattern-matching”. The rules stipulated that to qualify you only had to match across one seam or area in a “seamless” way, but of course, we all knew that we’d need to match across more than one seam to have any chance of getting through the round. Where my biggest challenge in Round 2 was really about the fit of my dress, this was at the other end of the spectrum. Fit was not so much the issue as cutting and precision work.

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New dress: Megan Nielsen Karri in upcycled denim for Sewing Bee Round 2

Alright folks – I’m going to tell you this upfront. Fasten your seatbelts, because this is going to be a longggg post. I have so much to say about this project. First – I got through Round 2 of the Pattern Review Sewing Bee! Yayyy! I really wasn’t sure how it was going to go, but I was very fortunate to be one of the 26 sewists who made it through to the penultimate round. This means, of course, that I am in the throes of Round 3 – it’s all about pattern matching and I reckon this is going to be extremely tough to get through, but – first! – let me tell you about the challenge for Round 2.

The brief for the round was to repurpose denim garments and make a brand new garment plus an accessory. All in 6 days! The source of the denim had to be from garments (no stash fabric at all) and you had to take photos of the original garments as part of the entry.

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New test: The Mile End Sweatshirt from Closet Core Patterns

Hello again! In a break from my current SIEGE of Sewing Bee sewing (what have I done???), here is a post for a test I did a couple of months ago for one of my favourite pattern designers, Closet Core Patterns. As everyone knows, loungewear with a capital L has been one of the big hits of the last 12 months or so for obvious reasons. We have never lounged like we did in 2020 and, hopefully, we never will again. Nevertheless, loungewear isn’t going anywhere and Closet Core Patterns brought out two new patterns today that are destined to ramp up your cosy couture game.

The Mile End Sweatshirt and the Plateau Joggers form the Montreal collection and are on sale right now if you buy both together in a bundle. I tested the Mile End sweater and was pretty excited when I saw the name as I went to university in Mile End – however, it turns out this one is in Montreal and I went to the one in East London. Hah! Still – it was a nice connection! I actually made two different versions. The first one was a proper “test” garment and the second was because I really fancied trying one of the views. Or two of the views as it happens – it’s a bit of a mashup.

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