Category Archives: dress

Autumn sewing plans

Hello there!

The chilly weather we have been having around these parts recently has got me thinking about my autumn sewing plans. There is definitely a change in the air; when I got up at 6am this morning it was dark. I’m not going to lie to you, I love autumn. I feel a lot more comfortable dressing for autumn, in layers and cardigans and scarfs than I do for summer. Nothing beats cosying up inside with a cup of hot chocolate, a cat or two and a blanket. Oh and the boy, if he happens to be around.

My autumn sewing plans were already in development, in my head at least, when the lovely Liz from Liz Makes It drew my attention to the Fall Essentials Sew-Along (aka FESA14) being hosted by the ladies from Rhinestones and Telephones and What Would Nancy Drew Wear. Never one to pass up the challenge, this sounds like the perfect opportunity to kick-start my seasonal sewing. FESA14 runs from 1st September until 30th November, and the idea is that participants sew items from one or more of the following categories:

  • Fashionable Foundations for Frosty Weather
  • Chic Chemises for Cool Climates
  • Fabulous Frocks
  • Underneath it all
  • Tender Tootsies
  • Those Cozy Nights
  • Baby It’s Cold Outside

Details and inspiration for each category can be found here. Being the ambitious kind, I am aiming to complete one item from each category. Nothing wrong with setting ambitious goals, and I already have a few WIPs that fit nicely into some of the categories, so this will be an incentive for me to complete them. Here are a couple of patterns that are currently tickling my fancy:

Miette cardigan

Miette cardigan by Andi Sutterland

I currently have a Miette cardigan in progress, in fact I just have one sleeve and the button bands left to complete. This is the perfect cardigan to wear with dresses to transition them from summer to autumn/winter staples.

Sewaholic Robson coat

Sewaholic Robson coat

I was given the Robson coat pattern from Sewaholic Patterns for my birthday back in May, and I am planning to sew this up as an autumn jacket, probably in a plain colour such as grey so that it goes with everything.

Coco from Tilly and the Buttons

Coco from Tilly and the Buttons

I see more Coco’s on the horizon; I wear my red Coco dress to death and am planning a version with contrast roll neck and cuffs, as well as some top versions.

I am hankering after a basic black work skirt, something warm and with a bit of drape. I am thinking of using wool of a wool blend. I’m still looking for the perfect pattern though, suggestions would be most welcome.

I also want to sew more dresses. I love dresses and would wear them every day if I could. My starry-eyed Anna and simplicity dresses get a lot of wear, but I need more! I am contemplating the Yaletown dress as I really like the wrap-style bodice.

Sewwaholic Yaletown dress

Sewaholic Yaletown dress

Yep, Sewaholic again…and what of it?! I make no secret of a fact that I am a total Sewaholic fan girl, Tasia’s patterns are great. And no I am not being paid or receiving any incentive to say that!!

Phew, that should keep me busy! Anyone else joining in with FESA14 or just hatching their own autumn sewing plans? I’d love to know what’s on your list.

K xx

 

 

Lady in Red Coco Dress

Hello Everyone! Thank you all so much for your lovely comments and congratulations on my engagement. It’s so exciting and I can’t wait to get stuck in to wedding planning. I’m going home for a few days over Easter and I am going shopping to try on wedding dresses with my mum. I’m feeling a little bit apprehensive as I think I have quite strong ideas about what I do and do not like, and I’m a bit worried I won’t find something I love – hence why I’m starting early! Although I have decided not to make my wedding dress – far too stressful – I am planning to make my three Bridesmaids dresses. I have a few pattern ideas already and I spotted the fabric I would like to use when we were shopping for my ring in Birmingham last weekend – I just hope there is enough of it left when we go back next week!

Aaanyways, while I will doubtless be chatting about my wedding around these parts from time to time, I have no plans to turn this into a wedding blog. Normal service does go on, and today I am pleased to be able to reveal my latest Calico Laine Blogger network made – the Coco Dress from TIlly and the Buttons.

coco1I love wearing dresses, largely because you can put one on and immediately feel put together. On top of that they are often super-comfy to wear – especially when made out of jersey. For this reason I was drawn to the Coco dress. I ordered the fabric, a delicious bright red double knit jersey from Calico Laine, about six weeks ago, keen to get started as soon as possible. I pre-washed it and everything, took it up to my sewing room…and there it sat for quite some time. Opps. What can I say, life happened. However, at the weekend I finally picked it up and boy, what a quick and satisfying make this pattern is! I cut out on Sunday and stitched it up last night, and it was all finished in time to wear to work today.

coco2The only alteration I made to this pattern was to lengthen it by two inches. I had read on some other blogs that it comes up a bit short on us tall laydees, and I’m glad I did because this length is perfect. This jersey is so soft and lovely to work with. I was initially unsure about making a plain dress in such a bright colour, but I decided to go for it and I’m glad I did. This is a really cheerful dress and it makes me smile :)

 coco3

One of my favourite things about this dress is the buttons – they are beautiful buttons from Liberty’s gifted to me by one of my bestest friends. I’ve had these buttons for a while and was waiting for the perfect use for them, and this dress is it. They are the perfect way to jazz up an otherwise plain dress and are a pretty good colour match too!

coco4I can see this dress getting a lot of wear. This is one of the few plain coloured garments I have in my wardrobe and it’s just so comfy. J’adore Coco! I can see myself whipping up another Coco or two in the near future, especially with Me Made May 2014 coming up! Last year I managed three days a week in me made clothes and this year I am upping my game and aiming for five days a week. Eeek!

Are you taking part in Me Made May? Are you going to be stocking (stitching?!) up on basics in preparation, and what garments do you think will be your go-to staples?

Kat xx

Starry-eyed Anna Dress

Hello everyone, I hope you’ve had a lovely weekend. Mine has been a relaxing one full of sewing, knitting and baking – I feel rather productive! Unfortunately my hayfever seems to have started even earlier than usual this year – one of the few downsides of moving to the countryside it seems, so I have been extremely sniffly – ah well not a lot I can do. Other than that it’s been a lovely weekend, and to top it off I have a new dress to show you!

For February’s Calico Laine blogger network made, I have finally jumped on the Anna dress bandwagon. This pattern is the brainchild of the By Hand London girls, and there have been many wonderful versions of this pattern popping up all across the blogosphere ever since it’s release last year. Mr KK bought me the pattern for Christmas (there may have been a little prompting) and I’ve been looking forward to making it ever since. For this dress I choose and purple cotton with small white stars on from Calico Laine. This is a much smaller print that I usually tend to work with, but I think the subtlety of the pattern really lets the shape of the Anna dress shine.

Anna3

I did try to take some outdoor pictures of this dress, but the weather is so horrible it just wasn’t working…

Anna1So indoor it is!

I’ve mentioned previously my aim to conquer to FBA, and I was all ready to have a go on this dress, however when I looked at the measurements it turned out not to be needed on this particular dress. I’m not going to pretend to be upset. The construction of this dress was pretty straightforward. Anna’s kimono sleeves are built into the bodice which means no fiddling around inserting sleeves – winner! I decided to do a fully lined bodice rather that the dreaded facings, and for this I used the remains of my Goldhawk Road grey cotton silk, although sadly there was not enough left to line the skirt too so I left this unlined. I am most likely to wear this dress with a slip anyway. I made up the lining insertion as I went along, which resulted in a bit of of botched job – it was only afterwards that I stumbled upon By Hand London’s ANna sewalong post giving step-by-step instructions for inserting a full lining – doh! The pattern calls for an invisible zip, which always makes me nervous, but it actually went in pretty easily. For some reason it’s not quite as invisible as it could be, which may be down to the fact that the zip does not quite match but this is just laziness on my part. It’s still one of my best zip insertions to date!

AnnaBack

Even though I made a muslin, I was worried all the way through this make that it was going to be too small in the bodice. Luckily it has turned out pretty much perfect. I had to be picky I would add a bit more ease to the side seams next time, as there is a bit of pulling, but it isn’t too bad. I slip stitched the hem again – I’m not usually one for hand sewing, but it does give a better result. I also have my overlocker back in action, thanks to the lovely Claire who gifted me some overlocker thread, which means I was able to finish everything nicely, although French seams are still my true love when it comes to finishing. For the skirt I did a mixture of the two, overlocking the raw edges and then turning and stitching. This solves the problem I sometimes get with French seams where threads peak through the seams on the right side of the dress.

I love everything about this dress – the pattern, the fabric and the fit. I foresee more Anna’s in my future – I am especially looking forward to making the maxi version for summer. I have also seem some great versions which have a gathered shirt, which also suits this pattern.

I’ll leave you with a few out-takes including the one where I decided to do a thumbs up just a little too late…

Anna4…and the one with the photo-bombing cat!

Anna2

Happy Sunday everyone!

Kat xx

Simplicity Amazing Fit 1652

Back in September the lovely people at Simplicity got in touch to ask if I would like to choose any of their patterns to feature on my blog. I often struggle to fit dresses and I had heard great things about the Amazing Fit collection of patterns, so along with a shirt dress (more on that in a later post) I chose this dress:

Simplicity 1652I intended to sew this dress up much quicker, along with one more, in time to complete my 2013 sewlution of making two everyday, work-appropriate dresses. However, as often happens, life got in the way. I moved house in October and my life was consumed with packing and boxes and unpacking and even more boxes for what felt like a very long time. By the time I was finally in a position to start work on this dress, it was December and I had made peace with the idea that I was not going to complete my sewlution. But I was still going to make this dress!

I used a lovely cotton that I bought some time ago from Fenwicks in Leicester. I’m not a bit fan of facings so instead I lined the bodice and skirt using a gorgeous silk cotton I bought from Goldhawk Road. I know that many other bloggers have raved about this lining – I can tell you that all the accolades are justified. It’s beautifully soft and feels so luxurious. Because the pattern calls for facings I winged adding the lining. For the most part this worked out ok, but there was a fair bit of head scratching to start off with. I debated whether or not to add the sleeves and I’m glad I did as I think this makes the dress slightly more wearable for winter.

In the picture about it looks like the zip is gaping – in real life it sits fine but I do have a confession to make…in an attempt to take pictures of this dress in natural light there may be some pins holding the dress together in some of these pictures(!). Even so the light isn’t brilliant but it’s the best I could do on this gloomy day. These pictures were taken in a rare break between rain showers by my long-suffering boyfriend! Oh and in case you were wondering, yes I was freezing!!

Being a perfectionist, I like the inside of my makes to look as neat and tidy as the outside. Partly because of the addition of the lining, and partly because I didn’t stop and think about how I was going to do the seam finishes until I was well into making the dress, I have ended up with a bit of a mish-mash on the inside. For me, French seams are the ultimate seam finish but for most of the skirt I didn’t think about this until I was past the point of no return. Also, as much as I love them, sometimes life is too short to sew everything twice, especially for a skirt like this which has 7 seperate pieces – that’s a lot of seams! Sadly my trusty overlocker is also out of action at the moment (my own fault, I need to get around to buying some more thread!) so I used a zigzag stitch on my sewing machine to go over all of the unfinished seams. If you don’t have an overlocker, this is a great alternative – the main thing I missed was the cutting function which makes the seams extra neat for that professional finish.

I’m really, really happy with how this dress turned out. The fit is spot on and I love the fabric. I’m pleased that I took the time to add additional touches such as the full lining. I also slip-stitched the hem for the first time EVER (usually I’m too lazy to do this!). It was worth it though for a good finish. This is the first everyday dress that I have made and I can see it getting a lot of wear. I may have failed on my Sewloution (and for this I grovel to the mistress of the jar for forgiveness) but I ended up with a fabulous dress – so it’s all good!

Looking back on 2013, I was shocked to discover that this is the first dress I have made since August 2012. 2012!! Given that I would wear a dress every day if I could, I find this hard to believe. I think perhaps it’s because fitting dresses can be a daunting prospect. However this make is proof it can be done and so I have decided – 2014 is going to be the year of the dress!

What are you hoping to make more of this year?

Kat x