This is another dress I made specially for a holiday to the seaside. Its from the May 2016 issue of BurdaStyle Magazine. The style is called a bat sleeve dress. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I was intrigued by this pattern enough to make it.The pictures didn’t really do anything for me but it was the line drawing that grabbed me:
I have made it in ponte before here.The instructions were quite good – though this is very simply constructed dress made up of 2 pieces (front and back) and a neckband. You just have to finish the arm flaps before draping them over each other and securing with the neck-band.
I used a viscose jersey – very drapey and perfect for my purposes. I wanted something akin to a beach cover-up. Easy to to pop on and off. It did the job admirably! Here it is in action.
Today I have something a little different to my usual style. In an effort to move out of my comfort zone, I decided to make this cocoon dress. The pattern came for free with Issue 8 of Sew Now magazine. Here is the pattern envelope with the line drawings.
Simple Sew Patterns – The Cocoon Dress
The style is very simple. AT the time that it came on to my radar, I was preparing for a family holiday to USA where we going to be at the beach in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. I knew that it got very hot and humid, I wanted something that wouldn’t be too formfitting.
I sewed the first make with a linen chambray type fabric that I bought from Jacks Fabrics in Leeds Market. Sewing it up really is very easy. No zips. No buttonholes. I eliminated the center front seam but cutting the front piece on a fold (I can’t recall why I did this but it worked out).
I staystitched the neckline and used stay tape to keep it from gaping. If there ever was an hour project then this surely is. By the time I made my second one – it was less than one hour from cutting to snipping the final thread.
The sizing was accurate. My bust measurement is between their size 8 and 10. I opted to cut size 10 which was just right. The pockets are nice and deep.
I confess a part of me was worried that this might look like a sack of potatoes on me. By the time I tried it on for fitting I got a bit more excited. It is so comfortable and quite stylish. I made a video immediately after I had been wearing it for a day because the number of compliments on the dress I received that day was astounding.
My personal philosophy about making my clothes is that I make and wear what makes me happy. When I am putting together an outfit – my concern isn’t primarily on how I look to others who see me. It is on how I feel and whether I like it. Of course its lovely when I get compliments on my outfits. But, when I have left my comfort zone and I receive compliments – its an even nicer feeling. I digress….
And my YouTube review..
The second one was made using some fabric that I had been very precious about for a long time. The fabric was won in an Instagram competition wherein 2 meters of Nani Iro triple gauze fabric turned up on my doorstep – FREE!!!
I have oohed and aahed over this fabric for years. I thought it might work well with the Cocoon dress. Cutting was hard! There was plenty of wincing and bottom lip biting. But cut it, I did. It was a point of importance that I sewed it up straightaway in order to avoid buyers remorse so to speak.
A note on sewing with triple gauze…..triple gauze is made of 3 layers of gauze that are loosely woven together. Its about twice the thickness of double gauze. Being 100% cotton the fabric is breathable and incredibly soft. Sewing it however was not fun. The thickness created by the 4 layers of gauze added up. Though I have never quilted – I imagine that it was like sewing a quilt. After sewing one seam it was clear I had to use the walking foot which made things a bit easier.
In the end, I had a lovely deliciously comfortable dress, albeit that looks a bit like pyjamas. I love it. Its bright, lively and vibrant! It is the kind of dress that makes me feel obliged to project the energy it embodies.
Verdict: Highly recommended! Another thing I love about this dress is that I can go braless without any obvious issues. Win!
Thanks for stopping by! Until next time, Happy Sewing!
This was a dress that I made for a sewing challenge called #sewingtogetherforsummer last year. The challenge was to sew a shirtdress in time for the British summer (I know – its an oxymoron). Anyhow, I chose this pattern as it had been a recent addition to the stash from my epic US pattern haul.
McCalls M7387 is a top, tunic and dresses pattern. Its semi-fitted through bust and has a collar, back pleated into self-lined yoke with forward shoulder seams, and front-fly button closing.
I was drawn to the pattern by the high side slits and the super curved hemline. The fact that it has dolman style sleeves was also lovely. I made view D, size: small.
The fabric I used was bought from Jacks Fabrics during one of my many fabric shopping jaunts last year. It’s a lightweight rayon or viscose challis. I don’t normally go for black and white but this ikat print was attractive.
Sewing the pattern up was reasonably okay. The button placket is covered so that had a few tiny challenges which resulted in me eliminating the covered placket in favour for showing off my cute black rim buttons.
The style of this reminds me of the Deer and Doe Melilot which has similar sleeves. Curved hems are always a bit tricky to sew but with rayon a good pressing removes all evils.
The back pleat is a big one – not a regular box pleat. Consequently, it is very important to mark the notches and the direction of the fold for the pleat. When I make this again in the future I will be adding pockets – its the one thing that’s missing for me. The pattern envelope shows it worn with a belt but I much prefer it without one.
Its a joy to wear this dress – light and airy, it was perfect for summer. Here is how I wore it most of the time. Sometimes I swapped the wedges for black flip-flops.
I made another M6886 as a reader review article for Love Sewing magazine (Issue 44). They invited me to their studio for a proper photoshoot with a make up artist and everything! Even got my nails done :-). It was quite an experience – one that I will cherish. Here is the review……
McCall’s M6886 Pattern Review for Love Sewing Magazine
You can never go wrong with a classic silhouette like McCall’s M6886. Designed to be a close fitting pullover dress, it has three neckline variations and four sleeve lengths. I love the scoop neckline on View D. The simplicity of sewing this dress is at odds with how well presented and chic I feel in it – surely something so quick to sew shouldn’t be so elegant? Yet it is and that is the beauty of this pattern – I can see why it’s incredibly popular in the sewing community with over 160 reviews on PatternReview.
Well written instructions mean that even a new beginner can tackle this. The instructions are also written for sewing machines so even if you don’t have an overlocker you are covered. I cut a size 8 which fits me well – I took in a half inch at my narrowest waist point as I wanted a snugger fit there.
Let’s talk fabric – this lush wool ponte from Minerva Crafts is the bee’s knees, the cat’s meow as it were. I was torn between the brown and pink colourway but settled on the popping pink of course! Unusually, this beautiful ponte roma stripe is made from 100 percent wool fibres. It has a luxurious feel and was an absolute dream to sew. The stripes measure approx 7mm wide so I easily got away with minimal stripe matching (I can honestly say that stripe matching is not my forteJ.). It also helps that it’s reversible which means cutting out can be economical. The fabric is comfortable to wear, isn’t scratchy and the wool makes for a cosy warm dress – perfect for fall/winter. Love!
This dress has got so much layering potential for winter too – I plan on keeping it cosy by layering it over a black turtleneck with tights and knee length boots! Sweet!!!
If you are looking for a practical, easy to sew and figure flattering pattern then look no further than McCall’s M6886. I have more plans to add to the three that are already taking pride of place in my closet!
I don’t think I did too bad in a studio 🙂
Thanks so much for stopping by and until next time, Happy Sewing!
I am super, quite possibly uber, excited to finally be able to share this project. This is a pattern review I wrote for Sew Now magazine (Issue 8 circa May 2017) – a publication I really enjoy as it is a mix of sewing and fashion. For the review, I sewed up Named Patterns Anneli Tee Shirt dress in a delicious green jersey. Enjoy!
Everyone loves tee shirt dresses and I am not an exception. Named’s latest offering from their SS17 Playground collection is the Anneli double front dress. The pattern includes two variations: a straight, ankle-length jersey dress, and a casual T-shirt.
The packaging screams exclusive brand and you certainly get what you pay for with this incredibly well drafted pattern. The instructions and sizing are excellent. This is achievable as a first time project. All the seams lined up beautifully – even the neckband snaps perfectly flat against my body. Super quick to sew up, it took only 1.5 hours from start to finish with no alterations at all. The double-layered front which creates an interesting wrap effect gives it a uniqueness and a point of difference,making it perfect for the warmer days of spring and summer.
If I had to pick a word to describe the Milano jersey fabric – delicious! Verdant in colour and lush in texture, this gorgeous fabric is reminiscent of 2017 Pantone’s Colour of the year ‘Greenery’. It feels soft and luxurious next to the skin.
I love this casual and easy to wear dress.Minimalist witha directional edge, Anneli is effortlessly stylish. I paired my Anneli dress with hoop earrings, chunky bracelet and a pair of thong sandals— and I was all set! I love that I can stay warm with an oversized baggy sweater. Or get sporty with a denim jacket and trainers, or bohemia with a statement necklace and a floppy hat or throw on some cute flats for a more polished look…..endless possibilities.
I have to say that Named understand the appeal of the tee shirt dress. They are comfortable and when we feel comfortable, we feel confident. Anneli ticks many boxes for me; it is fashionable AND feels good to wear AND delivers on comfort AND is quick to sew. A new favourite!
Thanks so much for stopping by and until next time – Happy Sewing!!!!
Peace and love,
PS. It was a really windy day when we did the photoshoot so apologies for my VPL – it couldnt be helped!
July is Indie Pattern Month over at The Monthly Stitch. Its a month set aside for celebrating indie patterns. I always the challenges set by Kat and Mel and this year is no exception. Week 1 is dresses and I made yet another Giselle maxi dress using fabric bought from my first Yorkshire Spoolette meet up in Feb 2016 <link here>. Tangentially, I have used all but 1 of the fabrics I bought then and that’s great for me :-). I digress, lets get to it ……..
Can I just start off by saying that I love this dress! OK. So when Kat and Mel announced the themes I was pleased to see that dresses were in Week 1. It didn’t take me long at all to decide on which indie pattern dress to make – Giselle by Kate and Rose Patterns.
I have made 3 of them ( here and here) before but none in a rayon challis fabric. The fabric is irresistibly soft and I very nearly made pyjamas with it. It also gets double points for stash busting as it has been in the stash since Feb 2016 :-).
Since I have sewn this before fitting was not an issue. I made the version with the under bust yoke but sleeveless. The sleeves and neckline were finished with cotton bias binding.
This is a quick dress to sew up. The skirt panels are basically rectangles that are gathered and sewn together. I always add in seam pockets to this pattern as it comes without pockets and that’s my only complaint (a very minor one 🙂). I finished my seams with the overlocker.
Its a loose fit easy to wear dress. Very swishy and its one of those dresses that always has me on my best posture. You know the sort of dress you feel like you are letting it down if you slouch or don’t stand proud :-).
I made this dress using a birdy fabric that I had bought some time ago but was quite precious about it. The challenge was just perfect – it made me brave enough to cut into the birds :-). I had bought the viscose jersey from B&M Fabrics in Leeds.
I wanted a simple pattern with few seam lines to maximise the impact of the birds. Enter Burda 06/2016 #101C dress. Here is the line drawing which shows the simplicity of this pattern.
The dress is meant to be a mini but I maxified it for full impact 🙂 Sewing it up was so fast and took less than an hour to sew up. I opted to sew a neckband for a t-shirt look.
The dress is so comfortable and I love it.
I can’t help but feel like lifting off and flying when wearing this dress. Thanks for this challenge Kat and Mel! Now, I need to go finish my Apron challenge make :-).
This is the project that made me realise a skill deficit; I had real problems lining this dress which made me set a 2017 new year resolution: to sew more lined garments.
I was attracted to this dress after seeing this picture.
Sewing it was very easy. I cut a size 38 which is my Burda size. It is supposed to have front pockets by the princess seams but I couldn’t imagine using them – the dress is elegant and ruining the princess line with a bulky pocket? No, I wasn’t having it. I could have also added in-seam pockets at the side seam but I completely forgot. You know when you are sewing and everything is going swimmingly and the fabric is a pleasure to deal with – its easy to miss something.
The fabric was bought from Jacks Fabrics in Leeds Market. Unfortunately when I saw it they only had about 1.5 m (£3.80/meter) left which is a shame because I think I would have liked to make long coat out of this. The fabric is viscose wool mix which has a lovely textured hounds tooth pattern.
The shift dress is fitted at the bodice using dior darts (which are my new favourite darts now). It just skims the rest of my body being neither boxy nor tight. I like the boat neckline as well, it lends a Jackie O feel to the dress. I have styled it with a brooch as seen here on IG.
I initially thought that maybe that might make me look too air hostess’y but they do always look stylish so no problem there.
The lining is a bemberg in magenta which just feels luxurious against my skin and so worth the trouble I went to sew it. I ended up hand sewing the lining on to the armholes and neckline ( on the dress form) after several fails at ‘bagging the lining’. Determination and discipline got me through this because I knew if I moved on to the next project I wasn’t going to return to this for a really long time. So I doggedly finished it and its far from perfect. But I will learn to line it properly next time and will report back in autumn when I make another one in a glorious tartan :-).
Verdict – I will definitely be making another one. I like Burda patterns for their cheaper price point and how well they fit me as I had to make no adjustments at all to this. Still lining it was worth it as it fits like a dream and the luxurious feel of a dress gliding past your arms to settle on your shoulders is wonderful.
I’d love to make a colour block version like this MaxMara one here (RRP $650 btw):
Don’t you just love sewing for the options it gives to recreate very expensive looks?
As always, thanks for stopping by and until next time Happy sewing all!
I actually first made this toile in June 2015 – I know because I have a log of the picture of the muslin.
Vogue V9112 is an asymmetrical seam detail dress design by Marcy Tilton. Loose-fitting, pullover, sleeveless dress has single-layer, pleated, stand-up collar, seam detail, side pockets, bias neck and armhole facings, shaped hemline, and narrow hem. Wrong side shows on collar and hemline.
Here is the cover picture:
….and the line drawing which shows all the lovely intricate seams:
I was put off this pattern by how much ease it had after making the toile. I cut the size medium based on the pattern size recommendations (this was before I figured out the lack of finished garment measurements). Needless to say it sat around in the UFO box for a while then I picked it up again determined to fix it as I liked it in principle. However, I was very ruthless in removing ease and ended up with something that barely resembles what the designer intended. I am okay with that though as I made it work for me.
I took it in by a lot on the sides and the back seam. I omitted the pockets as this was a toile. Although now, with hindsight, I should have just added the pockets since its turned into something wearable. Being linen – it if of course lovely to wear. It’s the sort of thing I will throw on when its nice and hot and I want to be unfettered.
I will be giving the pattern another go definitely – in linen again maybe with some Sashiko embroidery on one of the curved pieces.
The final result is something much more fitted at the bust and loose-fitting everywhere else. I finished the armholes with bias binding. The only thing I need to change now is the colour – I am thinking of dyeing it a deep violet colour.
Verdict – worthy of a second shot at it because despite the fit issues (based on personal preferences only) I still like it. I do need to remember to be careful when cutting it out as it is all cut single layer – I got away with it because I was using a plain solid fabric but with directional fabric I would have messed up.
Thanks for stopping by and until next time, happy sewing!
This past winter I caught a bit of the Coco bug. It’s an easy super quick make – I totally blame SewChet for her beautiful stag print Coco <link here> which reminded me of the versatility of this pattern :-).
I have had this quilted ponte for a long while now (bought from Jacks Fabrics in Leeds Market) and its one I had set aside on the “sew or donate within 1 month” pile. Luckily it got sewn. The thing with this fabric is that it’s a workhorse – I have made my girls sweater dresses <link here> and they got washed loads over the 15 months my girls wore them. Despite all the laundering the fabric didn’t bobble or pil horribly so I knew that this will be a good workhorse dress.
To add to the sixties vibe I was getting off the fabric I interfaced the collar band so it would stand tall and proud in a contrasting black ponte.
I have much love for this dress and its been worn loads this past winter.
I joined Instagram (IG) with a very sceptical mind. I kept my eye out for the catch. Having tried Facebook very briefly when it first came out and disliked it intensely, Twitter as well which I didn’t and still don’t get – I was of the opinion that social media just wasn’t for me. But slowly my favourite bloggers were also going onto IG and touting how amazing this platform is.
As a general rule I like to think of myself as open-minded enough to try out new things and experiences (at least once). Trying to live by what I preach – if my kids had a penny for every time I said to them “But you haven’t tried it!” they’d be millionaires by now. So I went ahead and joined IG in Nov 2015. I had no idea what a hashtag was or how things worked on there. Since then my affair with IG has been on/off with the on being more prevalent. There are times when I do get annoyed at the proliferation of an overly promoted new pattern or event but its all part of the experience (it’s a minor irritation at best). But it is quite a helpful place for info on patterns, sewing or just about anything really. And I think this is where the IG and the sewing community meets to create a confluence of energy, creativity, inspiration………its a wonderful place.
For example, have your eye on a fabric that you MUST have but can’t find it in your regular haunts? Not to worry IG buddies are the best at telling you where to get it. Want to buy something from the US but postage is prohibitive; IG buddies tend to offer to pick it up for you and send slow cheaper mail (you pay P&P of course). Got a pattern you are not sure about? IG is always full of opinion. Cant decide which buttons to use; IG can help. Have a RTW inspiration garment you want to sew but dont know if there is a similar sewing pattern; Ig to the rescue. Missing pattern piece; IG to the rescue. I could go on and on. But sometimes you don’t even know that you need rescuing before IG comes to the rescue. Which brings me to Vogue 1314….
As part of a sewing challenge I was doing last year the prompt was “On my table” and I posted this…..
Immediately my IG buddies warned me about the sizing problem with it – It runs large they said. Thanks, said I……… I had already cut it out. They are right I said, after basting it to check fit. The ruching was drooping which looked unpleasant.
I cut away about 5/8″ from each side seam and basted to check fit – I liked what I saw without the ruching so I left it at that. I dithered over whether to add the sleeves or not and my OH weighed in with ‘no sleeves’ which is what I did. Lets pin this here for now and look at some pictures.
Fabric is a John Kaldor ity jersey that I bought ages ago from Fletchers Fabrics in Leeds Market. I have loved this fabric for so long and was too sacred to cut into it but I am trying. Readers I am really trying to use my precious fabric. Now this is beautiful lightweight jersey with a slight sheen to it. It also has the characteristic of showing up every simple cellulite dimple, muscle clench and panty lines. So I had to line it with power mesh and wow – what a difference that makes. I went from Nicki Minaj to Kim Kardashian…(maybe not that much of a difference. But I think you get what I mean). The mesh gives it a nice smooth lining and feels really nice on. It also meant that I have clean finish armholes. The neckline is finished with a band. I hemmed it with a twin needle which stretched it out, so I cut it off and left it unhemmed since this doesn’t unravel. The hem definitely needs stabilisation before hemming.
Sorry for the long rambling post but the story behind this dress was so integral to how it turned out that I wanted to share it. I associate this dress with the awesomeness of IG – it’s not perfect at all but there are a lot of great aspects to IG communities with much less of the negatives that come with other things like Twitter and Facebook (IMHO).
Verdict: I like this dress a lot (truth be told it makes me feel like I have a big booty which in turn makes me feel guilty that I like the feeling of having a big booty which I think makes me very unfeminist —argh TMI).
Right. So yes I like this dress and will make another one in the next size down with the ruching at the sides. The relative simplicity of the design lends itself well to loud prints and I do love a loud print. It has the potential of becoming a TNT.
And…back to social media… Do you like it for your sewing? Do you prefer other social media platforms? or better yet share a sewing story where social media helped out. G on, we’d love to hear it. 🙂
I had missed sewing with linen over the colder months so when I saw this pattern I decided to have a go with some linen that has been in my stash a long time. The lace used for the contrast was something I picked up from Bombay Stores in Bradford. It was quite costly at over £20/meter but I bought a half meter during their 20% off sale. The colour matched the linen perfectly so I knew I would use it for a yoke or something similar. Continue reading →