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I finally made something cold weather-friendly! I started a new job recently ( 🙂 Yay! So excited! It’s wonderful!) so I really wanted something handmade to wear that is for winter (because winter never seems to end) and works well with layers.

I was really excited about the idea of this dress but I’m not sure I have really pulled it off. I wanted the shift dress to be super simple so that I could wear turtle necks and long sleeve tops under it.

Not sure I like the pocket placement or the length (I intentionally made it slightly longer so as to be more suitable for work). I took a lot of care when cutting out the front and back pieces of the dress but not much when cutting out the pockets. Big mistake!

The fabric was wonderful to work with. Not certain of the fiber content but it presses really well.

The tartan certainly takes me back to my high school days (in Australia a lot of school uniforms are made of similar fabrics to this)…

Thinking back those final 2 years of high school were some of my happiest. Maths stopped being compulsory and I started doing really well academically because I was enthusiastic and interested in work/school subjects.

If only I kept this up after my design course! I really started to lose confidence in myself after completing my design course…
I remember the fun I had with friends back in high school. I was an outsider back then but at that point I really embraced who I was- being different and not hiding it. As you can imagine I was never one of the ‘cool’ people. In my small group of friends we were all very different from one another but we had fun and laughed a lot. I didn’t keep in contact with any of them and I really regret this!

I started dating my (still current boyfriend) back then and we are still so happy together! I remember going to so many concerts (ska bands and what not ha ha ha) with him back then, in my doc martens and customized clothing.

Things may have changed a lot but luckily the bad memories seem to have faded into the background. I do think things are much better now! I just have to make an effort to be positive (especially about myself) I want to keep creating good memories! I don’t want to look back on this time in life and think I wasted it beating myself up about things and worrying!

Sorry that was pretty heavy! I just remembered this is a sewing blog so lets talk about the dress…

Sewing nitty gritty:

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I discovered some nifty things whilst making this dress. My favorite discovery was using my blind hem foot when attaching patch pockets. You just need to experiment with the positioning of the needle and then it’s magic! The plate on the foot acts as a great guide when stitching around the pocket. Yay!

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Another thing I did with this dress was to lengthen my stitch and do basting intermittently on parts where the tartan had to match at the zip BEFORE stitching the other side of the invisible zip on completely (a tough one to explain) I felt this really helped because sometimes lots of pins are just not enough!

Reasonably good stripe matching at the invisible zipper (below)…

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I also basted the pockets on before stitching them properly and unpicked the basting later (changing my stitch length to the longest avaible stitch length for ease of unpicking). I prefer this to pinning the patch pockets on because pins can get in the way!

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Want to see how i created my patch pockets? Secret lining!

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The pattern I used for this dress was from an old burda style magazine (9/2008 style 106 size 10/36). I did make a muslin of this pattern before hand. I got excited because I thought perhaps I had found the ultimate shift dress pattern. I realize now that finding the ultimate shift dress is much like finding the ultimate pair of jeans…a quest without an end! haha

I have another dress lined up using this sewing pattern- should be fun to see how this pattern will work for a shorter dress in marimekko fabric :). When I work with this pattern again I am going to let out the side seams.

Obviously this style is not intended to be fitted at the waist, but I do feel like there is not enough ease at my hips (kind of rare for me).! If you have never worked with burda patterns before, but want to try please bear in mind they have a LOT less wearing ease! It may just be due to my change in size recently but I really think burda patterns are more fitted and true to size than the big 4.

The patch pocket was taken from another pattern (McCalls 6322). I’m working on a dress using this pattern too, but why not mix and match pockets if you have found one that works of you?!

Other things worth mentioning…

Using lots of pins when working with stripes 😉

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All-in-one neckline facing (before I graded and turned it)…

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My (almost) matching ‘unmatched’ pockets :S :p argh!

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So close! -at least the stitching around the pockets is good.

The last images are an ode to how much I love my blind hem foot. Stitches on the skirt hem are totally hidden! 🙂

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So here was the inspiration…

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Image credits: Stockholm Street Style, Aurelie and Angelo, Stockholm Street Style via pinterest

 I have been very inspired by street fashion and style bloggers wearing bright colours, dressy separates and things with pleats. I wanted a pleated skirt! For reference check out my street style pinterest board here.

A little disclaimer: the pictures show the less attractive parts of my crowded apartment and the lighting was bad because the weather is so dreary. Also my hair is doing that flippy thing that I hate. It was that sort of day! Also I should have ironed the pleats on the skirt more. Also this is a bit of a of long winded post for something so simple. Sorry bout that!

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Materials: New look 6946 (not sure if it is still in print)

The fabric is a lightweight blue drill that was a 2 meter remnant piece from The Remnant Warehouse  (I L-O-V-E that place!) I bought the fabric a long time ago I think the 2 meter piece was about 3 or $4 a meter. The invisible zipper is from there too and boy do they have cheap invisible zippers! Lincraft usually charges $4-6 per zip which is an obscene price and I hate packaged zips, you have to iron them in order to use them, its horrible!

At the remnant warehouse I think the zips were around $1 or less. I bought SO many. If you live in Sydney Australia and you need to stock up on zippers check it out!

Amount of fabric needed: 1.40 meters of 150cm wide fabric or 1.60 meters of 112cm wide fabric

Alterations made: I made a straight size 10 and the only alteration was taking out a tiny 5mm out of the top waistband. Actually I did also shorten the skirt. I cut out the shortest style and shortened it again by 5cm (for reference I think I am around 176cm tall). This is longer than I usually wear my skirts but I feel more grown up :). I would go longer but bellow the knee doesn’t seem to work on me.

Project pros: A super quick and easy project great for getting your sewing mojo back, if you have been working on something more tedious. Versatile skirt. Feminine and easy to mix and match. The pleats are pretty and the a-line is flattering.

The waistband and the skirt pieces are the same for front and back. So nice and simple!

Project cons:  This mid/lightweight drill creases like crazy. This skirt wrinkles a lot after a car trip or a lot of wear. Perhaps I should underline the skirt next time I make it. Would that counteract how much the cotton fabric creases? Also as you can see in my picture the pleats are kind of unruly.

Wear-ability: I think it will get a lot of wear out of it… but then again it does need to be ironed. It’s funny how I don’t mind pressing things all the time as I sew but I really struggle to bother ironing something the day I want to wear it (bad I know)!

I I love the versatility of separates. When you make something a little more plain its like getting more than one new item because suddenly you give new life to other pieces in your wardrobe.