Despite my love of novelty print fabrics, my December 2016 project for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network represents my first ever Christmas-themed dress. I loved the red fabric print with black and white reindeer, some stripy, some spotty, some floral and some plain – it seemed Christmassy but not too babyish. Better still, it was 60” wide so I only needed 2m to make pretty much any dress I wanted.
The week before making this, I rediscovered a dress I made with Simplicity Amazing Fit 1606. I put it on and instantly loved the style and the fit. Recently I’ve been sewing and wearing more practical clothing: straighter skirts, layers, plainer colours, less shaping etc (pinafore dresses especially), and putting on this fit and flare dress made me feel like I was going to back to an older version of me that had got pushed to the background somehow. This style of dress is what I think of as being my ‘signature style’ – colourful novelty print with fitted bodices and swishy skirts. It felt good, and I wanted more!
If you want to read a bit more about the making of the dress, or see more pictures, there’s a fuller account over on the Minerva blog here. I accessorised the dress with a plain black sash belt, and this amazing reindeer ring! I hope you all had a good holiday period, and that despite the difficulties facing the world in 2017, you can find some happiness, somewhere!
Howdy! This month’s project for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network is a wall-mounted stuffed unicorn head! The pattern is Simplicity 1218 and it’s a really cool pattern. You can make a reindeer/stag, a unicorn, a giraffe or an elephant! I definitely want to make a reindeer in time for Christmas, with a red nose, obviously!
If you want to read more about how I made it and what I used, head on over to Minerva’s blog here. Writing and opinions all my own!
So my daughter needed a pirate outfit recently, to wear for ‘Pirate Day’ at school. I knew about this in plenty of time, but, of course, I waited until the night before to get my ass in the sewing room to create something. How else am I gonna be motivated and focused?! IN NO OTHER WAY because my life revolves around deadlines, time slots, and feelings of obligation. (You’ll have to just bear with me here as I’m drafting this post after several glasses of neat Sloe Gin sorrynotsorry.)
So, I had two options: make a fancy dress pirate costume, or make a normal dress using some pirate fabric. Bearing in mind I had, that day, attended my daughter’s pirate-themed assembly, in which she heroically played the part of Ann Bonny the famous female pirate, wearing, erm, an old pair of stripy pyjama bottoms and a red tshirt, amongst her peers who all looked the part in amazing pirate outfits (even if they were all mainly from Asda), and me, her own mother, even going as far as to wear my own pirate dress (the Sewaholic Cambie, if you’re interested); I wanted not only to sew her something handmade to make up for my lack of adequate costume provision for her class assembly, but also to create something different to everyone else’s outfits, so I decided on a normal dress in pirate fabric, also reasoning that it would be something she could wear frequently (because why wouldn’t you want a pirate dress for everyday wear?). This decision was in no way influenced by the fact that it would be easier and quicker.
I had a look through my children’s dress patterns and found this vintage Simplicity Jiffy 5291 pattern from 1963 for a swinging sixties shift dress! The pattern was sent to me a while ago by a friend who likes sewing but who has two boys 🙂 After quickly taking my daughter’s measurements I decided to chance it. I figured a loose fit would be quite handy because I wanted her to be able to wear a tshirt underneath to keep her warm. This decision was in no way influenced by the fact that this is a single size pattern.
The sewing was easy peasy and super quick. The only zip I had in my stash was a regular dress zip in turquoise, so I thought the best way to conceal it would be to do a lapped zipper, and I’m mega pleased with it. My daughter was really pleased with her new dress the next day and I’m hoping she’ll want to wear it again soon! I reckon it will fit her for a few years yet – bonus!
This is the second vintage pattern I have used in 2016, which I know is not a major achievement or anything, but I do usually sew modern patterns, so I’m pleased to be able to include it in Kerry and Marie’s 2016 Vintage Pledge.
I’m also quite pleased that in the writing of this blog, I managed to produce a sentence with 146 words in it. My husband thinks the semi-colon in that sentence should just be a comma, and probably he is right, but I wanted to clearly separate the ‘what people wore’ part of the sentence from ‘what I chose to make in relation to what people wore’, so I’m keeping it, because I like it.
A few months ago, the director of Sew Essential, Lucy, contacted me to ask if I would consider writing a blog post linking to their site in exchange for some freebies. Clearly I said yes, and I’m here to show you my new dress! I chose the Colette Patterns Moneta pattern, which has been on my wishlist for aaaaaagges, and some John Kaldor jersey to make it up in. Lucky me!
Having made many, many versions of the Kitschy Coo Lady Skater dress, you might surmise that I was not in need of the Colette Moneta dress pattern, but to you I just say HAHAHA NOPE. They are different – different necklines, different sleeves, different skirts. It’s always a pleasure to work with a Colette pattern – for me they are a tried and trusted, familiar, independent brand that just completely nailed it: they came at just the right time to the sewing community with their beautiful, vintage-inspired modern sewing patterns and they’ve gone from strength to strength. You’ve got to admire Sarai and all her team, past and present, for having exactly the right vision.
Construction-wise, the Moneta dress is pretty darn simple. Oh the joys of sewing with knits! No darts! Hardly any pattern pieces! Can be whipped up in a few hours! I reinforced my neckline with 1/4″ elastic, and I used the same width of elastic to shirr the skirt, simply because I didn’t have any shirring elastic to hand. It worked out fine, thankfully. I sewed it mostly on my overlocker, with a few stints on the sewing machine.
I made version 3 of the dress, straight up, no alterations. This version has an unlined bodice and 3/4 length sleeves – perfect for autumn and winter. I didn’t make a toile, as I know from previous experience that Colette Patterns work for my body shape, and the stretchiness of the fabric would allow for any slight imperfections. Bonus!
The fabric is a medium weight jersey with a very silky and drapey hand. It’s actually 95% polyester and 5% spandex. It works brilliantly for this dress which benefits from a fabric with good drape. It’s so silky and smooth that it almost reminds me of swimwear fabric. It feels lovely next to the skin. The dress won’t get me through the depths of winter unless I cover it up with a massive jumper, but it’s definitely a great dress for autumn and spring (and, let’s face it, British summer!). I love the hot pink 🙂
Thanks to Sew Essential for providing the pattern and the fabric. As always, opinions and writing are all my own!