Dahlia in Polka Dots

This is my 3rd make of the Colette Patterns Dahlia dress, love this pattern, :). I used version 1 again, my my other make is posted here. This time I chose not to line it and used a pretty navy blue with white polka dot polyester silky fabric from Jo-Ann’s. I also added pockets! Used the in seam pocket piece and instructions from Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book.

I used the size 10 pattern pieces with a  3″ FBA, more details on my original post with link above. Other than adding the pockets, nothing new to add. You can read about using Gertie’s pocket pattern and instructions more when I added them to my Wren dress here. I made my own bias tape again which was a little trickier with this fabric but I still managed to make it work, :). I wanted to use my bias tape maker but it was not designed to work with this particular type of fabric. So I just sewed it on using a 1/4″ seam allowance and folded it over the seam. A little trickier but not too time consuming.

The other major change I made was to add pockets! Every dress possible should have pockets, :). I kind of forgot about the side invisible zipper though… It turned out fine though, even if is a bit more difficult to get over my chest, I manage just fine. I had to cut off about 3 inches of the invisible zipper. But, the pockets work and are functional!

And of course, the photos, :).

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Seamwork Ida Dress with Optional Cut-Out


As I mention every time I post a pic and review of a Seamwork Magazine pattern, I subscribe to their monthly magazine/patterns. I just can’t sing their praises enough and think everyone should take a look. Basically, for $6 per month, you get 2 credits to use towards any of their Seamwork patterns (1 credit = 1 pattern), or, they started allowing you to use the accumulated credits to use towards Colette patterns! With Colette’s patterns, you can use 3 Seamwork credits to purchase a PDF version of any of Colette’s patterns. The magazine articles are available to peruse for free, the $6 gets you 2 of their awesome patterns. I can never state enough how amazing I think this is. They come out with 2 new patters with every issue, but you can use the credits for ANY of their patterns. If you use my code, we both win, :). I get a free month and you get half off of your first month with the option to cancel at any time and still keep all of your patterns, not that I am canceling anytime soon, ;). Just click here! The 2 patterns this month are a basic t-shirt and pencil skirt. Last month was the Ida and Willie.

And now they offer so many awesome additions like a visual fit guide so you can better visualize which changes or adjustments you may need to make.

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This review is over the Ida using the bonus pattern pieces for the back cut out. LOVE it!!! This dress came together super quick. The only changes I made were to skip adding the side slit, grading from a medium to a large at the hip line, and  I added a 1.5″ full bust adjustment using Jennifer Lauren’s tutorial.

I had no problem getting all of these pieces cut out of my 2 yards of 60″ wide scuba knit from Jo-Ann’s. This Nicole Miller fabric was just too perfect to pass up.

Other than the two adjustments mentioned (FBA, sizing, and no side slit), I made zero other changes, I didn’t even nip or tuck anything when I put the dress together. This is why I love Seamwork patterns so much, they are fairly quick and easy to put together and still look really great. I get so many compliments on all of my Seamwork pattern projects. With my new super busy schedule, it’s nice being able to still make a few things throughout the month.

And the photos of course! It was super freezing cold today, 18 degrees!!! But I got my kind boyfriend to quickly take a couple out on our deck to I could finally write this post up, :). The things I do for fashion, ;).


Wren again

As you have probably noticed, the Wren pattern by Colette Patterns is probably one of my favorites, ;). I love that if given a full day I can start from cut to finish and complete this dress within a day or in the case of this one, 1.5 afternoons. And it’s so versatile!

This was my third Wren, second doing the version 2. This time I took off the 3″ of length I had added to the skirt but otherwise made it with all the other changes I had made to the pattern detailed here. I cut the back skirt portion on the fold like the front skirt. One less seam to stitch, ;).

The fabric is a gorgeous floral from Girl Charlee. I saw it and it was instant love and knew it would make a perfect floral wren #2, ;). And it did! I also like the just above the knee length. Super cute! And as with my other two, I pick stitched the faux wrap front sections together to prevent an accidental peep show.

Almost forgot, I made one other change, I did the pockets a little differently following the tutorial from Gertie in her book Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book. Basically I used the pocket piece from this book but you can use any side seam pocket piece from any pattern. I placed mine about 1 3/4″ from the waist seam.
1st I stitched the pocket pieces right sides together to the skirt front and back at each side. I used a zig zag stitch and stitched just within the 3/8″ seam allowance. Then I pressed the pocket out (#2). After which I pinned the front skirt side to the back skirt side and around each pocket as shown in #3 before stitching them together using the full 3/8″ seam allowance (#4). After this you can leave as is or serge the seams. I discovered cutting into the corner of the top and bottom of each pocket made serving a bit better. Then you turn everything right side out, push the pocket in, and give everything a good press.


And there you have it, a pretty Wren with pockets!


Definitely the new fave!


Anna dress from By Hand London


The Anna dress from By Hand London. I’ve seen this dress floating around Instagram and on people’s blogs and just loved the look of it and the fact it was “easy”. I mean, when you look at the FBA explained through their sew along it did appear to be very simple. Well, things are never that simple for me. I used a size 10 top which needed at minimum for me, a 4″ full bust adjustment. Well, when using the FBA explained through By Hand London this didn’t give me the length needed, the top of the pleats were placed halfway up my bust instead of below, and added bust darts which I couldn’t get angled correctly. So I Googled and found this amazing tutorial by Another little Crafty Creation. This version was more like my usual method, took away the bust dart, and added the length I needed in the front bodice without adding it to the sides. Yay! After adding my 4″ using this method, I then lowered the top of the dart pleats down an inch, added 1 more pleat but ended up adding a fourth as I still had extra each in the bodice when attaching to the skirt, and an inch of length which I added to the back too. I ended up adding 2″.


After a few tries and hours, I had my front bodice drafted and fit and thought I needed to add length to the back. I did, but not the 2″ I ended up adding, an additional inch would have been perfect. So I had to take out my zipper and undo my seams to take out the extra inch but it was worth the time and effort.

Other than fitting issues, the construction of the pattern was fairly easy and straight-forward. I chose to do French seams as the fabric I chose was a rayon challis. Beautiful flow but unravels like crazy. And of course I wanted to add pockets. Looking back I should have added slant pockets as explained how here, but I decided to add side-seam pockets for which I created a tutorial here on the extra steps needed to make them French seamed. I used a pattern piece from Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book and the notch lines as well. Basically they sit about 2″ below the waist.


Overall the project took much longer than I had anticipated but it looks gorgeous. I hand stitched the thigh high split seams and machine stitched the hem at a 1″ allowance. I folded the hem up 1/2″ and then another 1/2″ to enclose the seam. Before cutting out the pieces I had chopped 3″ off the length of the skirt pieces but ended up cutting another 2″ off. I prefer to wear flats most of the time and didn’t want the beautiful fabric which I purchased from fabric.com to be dragging on the ground. For the record, I am 5’7″. This dress is made for very tall people! Or very tall heels…


I had the intention of fully lining the dress but it turned out the fabric was opaque enough I didn’t need to. So I self-biased the neck line instead of using the facings using the method from So Sew Easy. I got to use my new bias tape maker, :).


Just to recap: I added a 4″ FBA, 1″ of length to the front and back bodice pieces, cut off about 5″ of length off the skirt portions, added side seam pockets, and self-bias tapes the neckline. I used a size US 10 for the bodice grading out to a size US 12 for the skirt.

And voila, a pretty dress I plan to wear to a wedding this weekend, :).




African Wax Print and Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book

Ever since I saw that Gertie had another book coming out I knew I had to look it over and it is still currently in my Amazon queue for a future purchase someday… In the mean time I was able to find a copy of Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book at my local library, yay!

I must say, the instructions and information are amazing, as are all of the pattern pieces and combos available. I decided to go with the sweetheart neckline strapless bodice pieces, three-quarter circle skirt, and pocket pieces. Because, well, every dress possible should have pockets! For the fabric I ordered this gorgeous Ankara African wax fabric from Tambo Collection on Etsy. They shipped it to me very quickly and it looked exactly like the photos, :).

I saw Gertie’s green faille dress in the book and loved it but didn’t have enough fabric for the box pleats and as I decided to alternate the bodice pieces with teal I thought it looked better without the decorative bias tape across the front.

For the sizing I traced out and sewed up a straight size 10 other than making a full bust adjustment of 3″ to the bodice front. Always make a muslin! This one took me 2 tries but it looks great and I felt much more sure putting together 2 layers without worrying about fitting as I went. I did my usual full bust adjustment on a princess seam. So basically I cut a slash in the side front piece going from just under the front middle notch to the double middle side notch (you can see this in the photo in the bottom right corner). I spread this a total of 1.5″ and then I cut a horizontal line on the middle piece at the same notch point and spread that piece straight up 1.5″ keeping the front middle section straight as it is cut on the fold.

dress mock up

The I used the same muslin pieces I’d used for my trial to underline the front pattern pieces which I cut out of alternating patterned and solid teal fabric. For the top I did have to take in the top middle seams in a tad to make the top curve over my chest properly. Gertie has you stitch a row of gathering stitches which I might try next time. Then for the inside structure of the bodice I followed her inserting boning instructions to apply a total of 9 strips of rigilene boning to all of the top seams and a small bit in the middle front. Next time I will put some casing around the rigilene. Even though I melted the edges they still dig in to my skin a bit. All in all it looks quite lovely, :).

inside boning

Then I put the zipper in the bodice to try on the fit again before attaching the bodice to the skirt. At this stage I decided an invisible zipper would look nicer than a lapped zipper, for which Gertie goes over in great detail on inserting either option with and without lining. Then it was time to work on the skirt! I used her handy tutorial on inserting the pockets which was easy peasy before attaching the skirt to the exterior bodice pieces. Love it when everything is notched and matches up so nicely, :). I opted to not put in the 1/8″ edge stitching on the pockets since the fabric is so sturdy, I just pressed them really well with my iron. After I had attached the bodice I put in the zipper and then hand slip-stitched the lining in place.

Look at that pretty inside! And those things sticking out are the pockets.

inside of dress

And ta-da! I now have another gorgeous summer dress that fits like a charm, :). Love how the contrasting panels just add to the beauty of the dress and pattern.

ankara dress front view

Pockets!

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Side view

ankara dress side view

Back view

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And of course I needed a spinning shot, or 2… 😉

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Wren in Green

And of course I couldn’t resist making Version 1 of the Wren dress as well, :). I’ve had some green knit fabric gifted to me for awhile now and decided this was the perfect project.

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I wrote more details on my adventures in making an FBA (full bust adjustment) for the top portion of the dress here as well as adding 1/2″ of length to the top portion. Otherwise I made no other adjustments to the skirt. I cut out a straight side medium and used the 3/8″ seam allowances and 1.5″ hem. I probably could have gone up to a large for this version since my fabric choice had less stretch than the floral of my previous Wren but I think it turned out pretty good. I had this dress together within 1 afternoon, :).

Love this pattern! But then again, I pretty much love every Colette pattern I’ve made so far, :).

 

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Wren in Floral

As soon as I saw the new Wren dress pattern by Colette Patterns I knew I had to have it. Love the look and lines of both versions and lucky me, I had enough fabric to make both in my stash! I decided to make the Version 2 first with the flared skirt and love it.

After reading a few reviews I made a few changes. First I lengthened the bodice by 1/2″ in the front and back and added a 3″ FBA to the front as well. This was a little tricky and took me about an hour and 10 trials but finally figured it out. I used the tutorial by Jennifer Lauren. She wrote up a great step by step tutorial on adding an FBA to a knit garment without adding in bust darts. It still pulls slightly but overall it fits really well. As a result I ended up adding about 1 3/4″ of length to the neckband facing portion. Then for the skirt since I wanted it longer for work I added 3″ of length. That was easy enough to do just but cutting along the slash lines and adding some extra paper.

So for Version 2 I wanted something flowy and had the perfect floral knit in my stash from a Jo-Ann’s purchase many years ago.

floral

The overall construction was pretty easy until I got the to the sleeves. I wasn’t paying attention and didn’t realize I had started following Version 1 instructions for the top pieces, oops! So the sleeves were sewn on after I had already stitched up the side seams. Just made it a little trickier. Then I tried to make attaching the skirt much harder than it was. I found some clear elastic but it wasn’t the best quality so I ended up just using some 1/4″ knit elastic I had in my stash and it worked out great. I used my twin needle on my regular Brother cs6000i for the hem of the neckband facing, sleeves, and skirt and serged all of the other seams with my Brother 1034D serger. I had this dress together pretty quickly, within a few hours, :).

The other major change I made was to add pockets. I think I added them a little too low (placed them 3″ below the waistline). I used a pocket pattern piece from another pattern and cut out 4 pieces from the same dress fabric. They aren’t perfect pockets by any means but they are functional, :). I also pick stitched the faux wrap closure shut in a few places for security sake, ;).

Pocket in wren

And voila, a beautiful Wren in version 2, :).

Dress front 1

Back View

dress back view

Side view

dress side view