The other night I was looking through my patterns and thinking about what to try next.

When I choose the fabric first I become far too indecisive, so to make it easier I thought, after I complete the first set of upcoming projects, what patterns am I itching to try? This made it easier to decide

All these plans are subject to change of course!

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Above: I finally decided on the right dress of this fabulous drill, that has vintage sewing pattern ladies on it.

The vintage pattern envelope print will be the pleated skirt part of a fit and flare dress!

I wanted to make a shift dress out of this cool print, but I figured it might be too overwhelming covering an entire dress (plus I dont have much of it). I like the idea of doing the bodice of this dress in a plain blue drill, perhaps it would be a bit more balanced. Plus I really want to try this pattern (simplicity 1418). I L O V E box pleats (do I get extra sewing-nerd cred for that? heh)!

 

babydoll60s

Above: I really want to try this pattern out! The envelope front was a little overly ‘crafty’ looking, but looking at the line drawing it’s a really nice A-line baby-doll 60s style dress.

Julia Bobbin has already used this pattern to make a gorgeous Betty-inspired dress some time ago.

The fabric I selected here is just ‘Meh’ to me. I like feminine florals, but this ones just a quilting cotton that creases like crazy, so just a good fabric for trying a new pattern out with.

 

polkadotshift

Above: So I have already used this pattern before, but I need more shift dresses in my life! I never seem to get enough of them!

I was keeping this polka dot poplin for a 50s style dress, but now I think it would be cute as a shift dress! I adore navy! Which is funny because as a girl/teen I though navy was boring/not my thing, now I’m in love with it.

Navy blue seems to be the colour that suits my skin/hair the best and it looks killer with orange (which is my favorite colour, but one that suits me less)

 

girlydress

Above: I really want to make something sweet and feminine! Especially now that I have such short hair, I have days where I really want to wear a ladylike dress!

Fabric is another cotton/poly poplin that has some weight to it.

I didn’t realize how sweet this pattern looked made up till I saw this lovely dress.

I would be making the plainer bodice (view c) because it’s a busy print I would want to keep the dress pretty simple.

Not sure if I would use the skirt from this pattern perhaps I would franken-pattern it up with a skirt that flared out (simplicity 1418 with the two pleats front perhaps)?!

 

pantsandshorts

Above:So…pants and shorts- And yes I am crazy enough to consider those very short tartan things ‘shorts’.

I have only ever made one pair of shorts years ago, and I don’t even remember how you construct them.

I figure it’s probably easier to copy pants or shorts you already own,  rather than try and make a commercial pants or shorts pattern fit right, I could be wrong, but I’m game to try!

I want to try and copy these hot pants and these really fitted black and white checkered ones ones because I love the fit of both!

 

And finally here are some other patterns I really want to try. I know I have issues (pattern hoarding issues), I hope you guys understand….

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Did you spot the stay threads on my floor? that would be a boring game, but I sew in my living room and I feel as if there is no point in vacuuming because I’m always sewing!

Anyway that concludes the sewing plans that may or may not eventuate, depending on my whims.

I have been working on a cute shift dress and I am adding scallops to them hem, something I have never tried before.

Has anyone tried any of the aforementioned sewing patterns? Let me know in the comments!

I made a loose woven tee! As usual I had to ham it up for the cameras and play dress ups with my new tee, please forgive me, it’s all in fun!

(Click to enlarge the images. My annoying wordpress template shrinks them. Must get on that soon!)

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I think this is a good top for wearing with skinny jeans or tight fitting bottoms, the loose fit of the top makes it a bit more relaxed and I guess ‘demure’.

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Can you see the detachable bow I added? It’s kind of camouflaged! I had some spare bias binding so I hand sewed the bow to a brooch pin, so if I feel like my top needs a bit of sweetness I can pin it on.

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It’s really hot in my apartment. The above look is how I dress when I’m at home/not doing anything special.

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The top goes with a lot of accessories…Gingham is practically a neutral right? well I’m sure that’s debatable!

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With a leather brooch I made. Is it too silly/clown like? I kind of love stylized daisies (perhaps it’s a 60s thing)

Sewing/Fitting notes: 

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Above: I did an invisible hem on the sleeves and the bottom of the top. Still obsessed with my invisible hem foot!

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Above: up close and personal with my tee!

Sewing notes: The original plan was to make a shift dress using the pattern New look 6225, which was the same pattern as i used for  this dress. I thought this quick project would be a fabulous antidote to drama I had with my Mad Men Megan dress.

LOL have a look at my pattern notes (perhaps I need a better system)….

lolpatternnotes

I remember transfering all the alterations/changes to the pattern tissue, the last time I made this dress, but somehow the fit was looser and it came out a lot more boxy than I wanted it to!

Unlike my first shift dress using new look 6225, this one does not not have a CB seam (but that’s what the pattern intended) perhaps that had an effect on the fit?

The gingham I used is also less drapey, it’s a bit crisp and has a lovely hand. I bought it during a 40% off sale at lincraft around $6 a meter. Anyway really not sure why the fit is so much looser…

I always intended this fabric to be a shift dress but I tried it on and it looked like hospital scrubs (not cute). So I thought “wow I better shorten it!” -That’s when I went far too crazy and shortened it too much. It seem’s to be a mistake I often make. I like short dresses but this is too short. It was that weird no-mans land between ‘top’ and ‘mini dress’, just covering the bum.

As you can see below it was too boxy, but also too short to be a dress and I didn’t feel like taking it in at the side seams

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I could either add a contrasting band to the bottom or shorten it into a top.

I’m so glad I shortened it and made it into a top, because this top goes with almost anything! I like how it’s slightly cropped, but its still a little modest because of how loose it is.

I cut this dress/pattern some time ago, but I decided to time my sewing. It took about 3.50 hrs (not inc cutting time), then an additional 2 hrs when I umed and erred over shortening it for the 3rd time.

A loose woven tee is actually the perfect addition the my wardrobe. It’s one of those basics that’s not super exciting when blogged, but when added to a wardrobe like mine, its a real workhorse. After trying it on in daylight, I think the top is actually too wide, if you took some excess fabric out of the cf it would sit much better, but it’ll do ;)

That was a crazy long winded post for such a simple project, need to learn to edit!

Time for me to go eat and vacuum up the endless sewing threads that cover my living room/sewing nook and thanks to this project I leave you with this “sewing wisdom”

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So at the last minute I am happy to say that my Mad Men inspired dress (as part of Julia Bobbin’s mad men challenge) is complete!

Those who follow me on instagram have witnessed my dress angst. I love the final result, but I am not exaggerating when I say: this dress made me crazy! I even became a bit superstitious about it towards the end. It seemed like a simple and easy design, but much like Don Draper attempting to have a monogamous relationship- it was doomed from the start! Anyway, more on that later (the dress, not Don sorry)…So here is the inspiration:

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I am not even going to attempt to do a Megan Draper impersonation, shes so fabulous and beautiful but I look nothing like her and besides the old fashioned telephone is at my parents house…my boyfriend and I don’t even have a landline!  Kind of wish I had my ears pierced so I could rock some earrings with this dress!

Feel free to click on the images to englage! They look better that way and my blog template shrinks them down a lot :(

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I lost track of all the alterations I made to this dress, because there were so many. The main problem was the neck and the stand collar. When I originally tried it on, it was so tight and restrictive that I could not see myself ever wearing it. I think the burda pattern I used was an original repro pattern! Folks back then must have been used to things that were restrictive around the neck, but I just can’t handel anything that is too tight there (and my neck is not big)!

I took the side seams of the dress in and because of this alteration I also had to take the sleeves in, which in turn probably made the neckline even tighter!

Initially I thought I could just reduce the tightness in the neck by sewing out into the seam alloance a bit, but that did not do enough. I eventually ended up cutting off about 1 cm from the collar and the neckline and reattaching the collar. Golly there were a lot of tucks to contend with.

This project got me very well acquainted with my unpicker! Another challenge was the unusual darts at the shoulders. Even though these sleeves are raglan sleeves, they had these curved shoulder darts, which probably enhanced the fit, but boy did I re-sew those shoulder darts many times, very tricky to get them right (everyone’s shoulders are unique especially mine).

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I really like the fit of the dress, it’s sort of semi fitted. The print placement is OK. I am pretty proud of the placement on the little stand collar…The sleeves are so cute! I love the slight belle effect. Going through my photos I noticed how many of them had me with hands on hips, but that’s just because it makes the sleeves look cool, I promise!

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I really like the curved bust darts! So many 60′s dresses have them and I was surprised that they give a good fit. I also really enjoy wearing this fabric, it’s a cotton of some description and it has a bit of stretch, seems to be the perfect dress weight! Sorry about the shoes! I wish I had cute 60s shoes, I have been on the lookout for some!

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Despite my lack of expertise on the topic, I feel like this really does have a late 60s feel, I don’t know if someone as glamours as Megan Draper would wear it, but for a silly gal like me it works. As soon as Sydney gets cooler I will wearing it with some tights perhaps black or an embellished fishnet pattern!

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I can’t wait to see everyone Mad Men dresses and I am VERY excited about Mad Men’s return. I actually thought last season was one of the best, but if I told you more about my views on the show, I would risk revealing spoilers….

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The fit of the back is good :). Ugh :( I hate short hair that is long at the back! this is before the back of my hair was trimmed…Looks better now.

Who else is looking forward to the final season of Mad Men?

I got a question about how much I lowered the neckline of my Burda shift dress (Burda 7056). So I thought, why not just post what the alteration looked like?!

Please click on the image below to enlarge it!

necklinealterationBurda7056

Edit: I forgot to add that I lowered the neckline by 4cms (thats over an inch in imperial measurements).

You can see it isn’t the original pattern from the envelope.

This is because I trace the original sewing pattern, that way if I need to make a different size I can. Does anyone else re-trace their patterns? It is a lot of work….I know some people fold the size of the pattern they want to cut out, but that doesn’t work for me.

I confess that I often buy doubles of the same pattern, that way I have one altered version and one with all the sizes.

Note how even after I altered the neckline of this dress, it still sits pretty high. So if you are working with this pattern and you don’t like tight/restrictive necklines, you will probably want to alter this!

Hello lovely people! Just a quick skirt project to show you!

Burda-7034-01Burda-7034-02I have to apologize for the store bought top (I thought it went with the skirt!)

Burda-7034-03Burda-7034-04If I’m feeling daring I suppose it’s semi-acceptable to wear it with a cropped top (not sure this would be the right one)

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Burda-7034-06The insides and Invisible zipper!

Burda-7034-05Here’s a picture of it on the hanger (hoping you have already forgotten how the back looks…)

 

Why?/materials: I wanted to try Burda 7034… I’ve been in love with pleated skirts for a long time.

I also wanted to see if I could make a skirt from a dress pattern by using just the skirt portion and adding a straight waistband to it (not really a new idea but I hadn’t tried it before) . I’m happy to report that it was reasonably successful…projectplan-burda7034-ed

The downside is I always seem to have a honeymoon period after I have made a skirt, I get excited that I can mix and match it with things but then I NEVER end up wearing it, so who knows how this one will fair…

The cotton fabric was purchased as a full roll of discounted fabric a long time ago. I have also made a dress from this fabric way back in 2012.

So what does this one have going for it?

  • So quick to whip up!
  • I like a fuller skirt with short hair
  • I may have got the length right this time…
  • Using my special foot to do a blind machine hem is always swell!

So what do I dislike?

  • There is some funky stuff happening in the back. I’m OK with pleats in the back (because I wouldn’t mind some *ahem* added volume in the back) but I’m not sold on the positing of pleats on the back.
  •  I wanted this skirt to be a little more snug, and sit higher on the waist. The waistband is just a straight piece of fabric, so that is probably not helping things…(If I make this again I may size down).
  • The back has a little puckering, but it does not bother me enough to mean I’ll fix it…

Fitting notes:

In order to determine the length of the waistband (well also width) I took my measurments and I wrote down the length of waistbands already in my wardrobe. Measuring things you own and love is often a good way to get an idea of how you like things to fit.

After attaching the waistband to the skirt and trying it on I ended up shortening the waistband by about 3.5cm, it was pretty easy to do after the fact, by cutting off the excess fabric.

The dress pattern/skirt was a size 8. I sewed the seam allowance in twice (s.a was 3cms before trimming) I will remove 1.5cms from the pattern or go down a size if I make this again.

Would also be cool to add some kind of shaping to the waistband, darts or elastic…

I don’t remember if I shortened the initial skirt pattern, but I ended up cutting off 11cms before hemming

I must remember to make all these changes to the pattern I have not done it yet!

So that’s one item in the sewing pile done!

It was pretty fun to make! If you happen to have some left-over fabric, consider using the skirt portion of a dress pattern you like, to make a skirt!

shift-dress-details

Click the above image to enlarge it. The image is nice and large but my wordpress template shrinks it in the post :(

Now that I am completely enamored with shift dresses, I thought I would create a collage of inspiration. That way, when I have found a shift dress pattern that works for me, I can add some cute details and tweaks inspired by vintage sewing patterns of the 60s. Hope it inspires you too!

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I know this is a very simple dress, but I am pretty happy right now! I feel more ‘me’ when I’m wearing this dress!

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To me that’s what makes a successful ‘make’- When you feel like you are really showing your personality/personal style in the garment and it fits your lifestyle.

Let me tell you something about my lifestyle:I live in a small apartment in Sydney Australia, I am at home a lot, and right now it is HOT. I love the heat, always have, but it really does feel like I’m living in a greenhouse, so a loose fitting cotton shift dress is just what I need!

I went shorter than I ordinarily would…because the dress is such a loose shape I felt like the short length made it more flattering/youthful.

Material notes:

The pattern is New Look 6225. It’s actually a top pattern, but I always planned to lengthen it into a dress (because I love love love raglan sleeves).

The fabric is a mysterious cotton bought years ago at Spotlight. There was a whole roll of it for sale (over 6 meters) for something crazy cheap like $9 for the roll. I bought that whole roll. That was an awesome day!

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Things I love about this dress:

  • This is the perfect dress for hot weather. It’s loose fiting and the fabric is light and breathable
  • The bold ‘geometric print cotton fabric I used. I have made a dress from this fabric before, but I feel like this shift dress works much better with the print!

Things I love about this pattern:

  • It’s a good pattern to showcase a bold print (because it’s such a simple style)
  • Raglan sleeves. More flattering on my wide shoulders AND much easier to sew than the dreaded set-in sleeves
  • No zipper/notions or buttons required! This dress slips over my head. Gotta love that!
  • Quick and easy too make.
  • Wide round neckline. Round necklines are a favourite of mine and suit me better, not really sure why

If you try this pattern do be aware that it has a LOT of ease. I recommend going down a size and/or sewing the seam allowances bigger (in my case 5/6mm further in)

Fitting/sewing notes:

summershiftdress06

Normally I would be apprehensive about using a ‘new look’ pattern, because the fit of ‘new look’ patterns is often very poor, but because it was intended to be a loose fitting garment I went ahead and tried it.

New Look patterns are is the king of too much ‘ease’. This is why I made a size 8 and sewed the seams allowances at 2cms, rather than the usual 1.5cms (in effect removing 5mm from the seam allowances from all the pieces).

I made view B (with the lower neckline)

I added 9cms to hem of top, in order to make it into a shift/mini-dress

I used the sleeve pieces B,C and shortened the sleeves by around 5cms

I made my own bias binding…

I used a 85cm long bias strip for the neckline. I made it much wider than the pattern suggested (so it was easier to work with).

I didn’t use bias binding on the sleeves, I just turned and stitched them like a regular hem. Truth be told I am not a massive fan of using bias binding. I love the way it looks, but it feels sloppily done when I do it. Perhaps I just need practice!

I can’t remember why I did it, but I added a seam to the center back, rather than cutting it on the fold. It may have just been a more economical use of fabric in this case (it would probably look better cut on the fold).

Seam treatment: I just overlocked them, but this kind of dress that would have been a good candidate for french seams. I’m pretty lazy when it comes to changing the colour of my overlocking thread… I overlocked the garment with white overlocking thread. Yes I am THAT lazy! Sorry.Once I am more professional perhaps I will make the insides of my garment nicer!

I am already planning more dresses using this pattern. I love the idea of doing one where the sleeves are in a contrasting fabric. Fun!

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