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Monthly Archives: July 2012

To be honest with you, for me, there is nothing I would rather make or wear than a dress!

When I bought this spot-print fabric I only bought one meter (intending to make a gathered skirt) Usually I over-buy so that was unusual for me. Later I really regret only buying 1 meter of it because looking at it when I got home I thought It would make a great dress.

I am so happy to have found a pattern that has a fuller/non-fitted skirt (more comfortable for everyday) but does not use very much fabric (LOVE THAT!) This pattern in size 10 it only requires 1.15 meters of 115 cm wide fabric or using 150 cm wide fabric only 1 meter (I think that is only just over a yard). YES! I could make a dress in this fabric after all.

Sometimes it is important to look at the line drawing and look past the totally UNCUTE way they style things on pattern envelopes (sun dress with a bowling shirt anyone?)! I only bought this pattern for the dress but there are other separates with this pattern (not really feeling any of the others).

I really loved Emily’s (from Sew Many Happies) version of this dress. I think its what really motivated me to try this pattern out!

This pattern is so quick to make. Aside from getting the straps the right length. I am a little asymmetrical at the shoulders so this is always a nightmare for me! I lost count of how many times I unpicked the straps to readjust them and after sewing the lining to the dress one of the straps is STILL not quite right (it gapes slightly) but this is where I tell my inner perfectionist to shut  the hell up, put on the dress, enjoy it and carry on with my life!

Another discovery is that my waist is very big in relation to my hip size/build. When working with patterns in future I am just going to automatically add 6mm just at the waist. What can I say? I love my chocolate ;).

I feel like this sun dress looks a little bit like Hazel by Colette Patterns but with a longer waistline and thicker straps. Paunnet made a gorgeous version of the Hazel. I just love sun dresses! I know I am slightly crazy making them throughout winter, I am wearing this one today with a cardigan and I will be adding a scarf and cropped trench coat when I go outside.

I will definitely be using this pattern again. Like I said I love a dress pattern that is cute but doesn’t use a lot of fabric, because I am on a tight budget.

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I know I said it was a wearable muslin but I ended up liking it a fair bit. I just love the square neckline. Also I know it’s yet another floral dress, but what can I say I love them.

I am wearing this dress today but I have to wear it with a cardigan because it’s winter where I live. My next project will be a woolen skirt! First winter appropriate thing I have made this year (I am much more of a warm weather person).

Loving the way the dress feels with the underlined skirt. I have so many cotton fabrics that are slightly too thin (on there own) for a fitted skirt but with a layer of underlining the skirt becomes a lot more durable and crease resistant.

I have started adding all my sewing patterns to springpad. The goal is to have an archive of all the patterns I have. That way I have access to it when I am out (on my phone and galaxy tab). Its a pretty nifty way to browse your patterns and I good way to check sewing notes related to each pattern as well as fabric requirements for each project.

I will make  this dress again, but with the amended neckline at some point. I can promise that the next 2 things I make will not be floral dresses but after the next 2 projects that who’s to say. I do love a floral dress or 20.

Above: don’t you hate this effect?

So as I mentioned in the last post a lot of commercial patterns (including butterick 5032) gape on me. There always seems to be excess fabric near the neckline that is lose. So in case anyone else has this problem here is how to eliminate it on the pattern.

You cant just take it out of the middle of the pattern because it will affect the grainline and the waist measurement so here is how to do it.

Note: I am obviously not a pattern maker or pro I am just self-taught so I don’t claim this is the best way. But anyway here is my way…

1. So after making a muslin or prototype try the dress on and pinch and pin out the excess fabric and measure how much you have pined out is the amount you want to take out. On one side of my bodice that was 2cms (making it a total of 4cms excess fabric, but 2cm is the amount we want to remove because we are only working with one side of the pattern).

2. Make a copy of your sewing pattern (So you still have the original pattern if the modifications are turn out to be incorrect)

I made a copy by putting Burda tracing paper and pattern weights over the bodice pieces and tracing it being sure to mark all notches and darts on the new pattern. Dont know why I photographed the original pattern over my traced one but um yeah should be the other way around.

3. Mark out a triangle, wedge/dart shape that starts at the neckline and runs all the way down touching the waist dart (or original dart). The distance of line I have drawn with red indicates the amount I want to remove from the pattern (in my case 2cms)

4. Cut along dashed lines. Where to cut is shown above as indicated by the green dashed lines in the picture above. where these darts meet in the middle cut leave 1-2 millimeters (or a tiny bit of paper) so that the pattern is not cut directly in half.

5. After you have cut into all the dashed lines move green dashed line so that it is touching the other thinner green line (that is adjacent to it but not dashed) and tape shut. and you have removed the excess. The waist dart (blue dashed line line) will have opened up more and now be bigger (this will NOT affect the waist measurement)

Below: temporary dart is now taped shut and bottom waist dart is larger resulting in the excess being removed.

5. Add paper to the now larger gap in the waist dart. If necessary add paper and blend and the neckline too.

6. Above is the new gape-free pattern piece. I used the same method to remove excess in the back bodice pattern piece too.

 So I fell for this pattern. I love the square demure neckline with the fitted skirt and bodice. I did not know what I was in for (fitting wise) but I was not prepared to make a calico muslin/prototype. So I made it up in a fabric that I had a lot of as a sort of wearable muslin. I am 90% finished making the dress.

Below is how the dress (Butterick 5032) looked after I got rid of all the excess fabric in the skirt. But as you will see it took some time to get to this point…The skirt skims the curves but there is still room for movement there, I could afford to get rid of more but I usually over-fit so I tried not to go over board.

Sorry about all the mess in the picture.

If a comerical pattern was to fit someone exactly out of the envelope I am convinced the wearer would have a minuscule waist, breasts above armpit level and either have hips that are disproportionatley big or insist on an absolutely ridiculous/frumpy amount of wearing ease in a “fitted skirt”.

Or perhaps I am the one with the weird body. I always just thought I had an hour glass shape. But in Butterick world I have an enormous waist and tiny hips.

My hips and bust are exactly the same measurement (envelope says: size 10, size 12)  and  My waist is a size 14 ( well according to the pattern envelope).

Above is how I amended the skirt. (The red line is where I cut off the pattern and includes seam allowance).

Then after decreasing the size and roundness at the hips and legs I then added a little extra to the waist. I also tapered the skirt in near the hem (so it would look a bit more like the design on the pattern envelope (it has a vent so you can still move easily).

Above is what I added to the waist. I also added 0.5cm to the side seams of the bodice, now I have a bit of ease and I can still wear the post food bloat (sorry if that was too much information).

So pictured above is my biggest grievance, this gaping effect (sorry about the loo in the background btw). Does this happen to anyone else? It seems to happen with all the fitted dresses I make.

Perhaps it’s because the space above chest and just bellow my collar bones is a lot more concave than the average. Or perhaps its just a bad drafting of the pattern.

Anyway I have fixed it on the pattern for future dresses but I don’t think I will worry about it on this one, It was sort of a wearable muslin anyway.

Also I am LOVING… Underlining!

This is the second time I have tried it. You are essentially just making the fabric thicker by basting another fabric to the backside of your fashion fabric (I do this my basting around it with a long stitch on my machine but some people do it by hand-stitching). I underlined the skirt to give it stability but there was another unexpected benefit.

This is the finished hem of my skirt (I kid you not!) Do you see any stitches? Thats because when I used the invisible hem foot on bernie (my bernina) the stitch picked up the underlining fabric only so that so see absolutely no stitching on the right side of the fabric. How brilliant is that?!

Ok so here is what the stitch looks like from the back. I get soo much joy out of this dam stitch and foot (The skin on my hands is all yucky because of the cold weather sorry again)

Also here is the glorious foot I use to to the invisible hem stitch (stitch 7). OK now we have established that I am a sewing geek.


I wanted to start posting some pictures of how I wear the pieces I have made.  Just like Zoe does in her Me-made-may postsand Me-made-outfit of the week and Suzannah does in her fabulous How to wear DIY posts.

The me-made or handmade item I am wearing today is my wild-print pencil skirt using a pattern from Burdastyle Magazine (issue 2/2011 Style 107). I originally blogged about the skirt here.

I love this skirt. The pattern was a perfect fit and it didn’t require any alterations or fitting, but then I suppose the fact that the fabric has stretch helps too.

Pencil skirts are so flattering on tall girls and they also look awesome on a curvy hourglass shape :)! I am not actually going anywhere today but sometimes its fun to dress up ‘just because’. I have to wear a uniform at work (not fun!). But at home I have free reign. So if I had a creative job in an office this is what I would wear.

Outfit notes: The  white shirt is from cotton on and the spike necklace (which is kind of hand to see) was $3 on sale from a shop called Lovisa.