Fine tuned

There’s nothing more satisfying that a dress that works. Testing it helps and I did that with this month’s Minerva Crafts project using Deer and Doe Belladone dress.

Ok, here’s the elegant photo of the dress.

After I took this photo I realised the red flowers follow their way to my red shoes.

Oh, and I added red piping to bring out this colour in the fabric.
I had a choice of flower colours to choose from when selecting the piping. Of course I chose red.
A better fitting back dress
As you can see, I used the red flowers on the back shoulders and matched a red flower at the centre back. 
Here’s a closer look at the red flower placement at the back.
Here are the bodice pieces I tweaked to get the fit right.
The armholes gaped at the back and the back bodice base also gaped so I’ve wedged out this fullness. The armholes felt high so I lowered these too and the pulling from the test dress has been eliminated.
If neat finishings are your thing, here’s a peek at the inside of this dress.
The bodice is lined with non-stretch poplin.
Sewing on the piping is always much more accurate with good Prym measuring tools.
When all is said and done, this dress made me happy.
 Happy it fits well and happy to know Spring is around the corner in my little neck of the woods.

This little number is now ready to tour around Japan this month. Thanks Minerva Crafts.

Day and night dress challenge

Today is my turn to show you what you could try if you’re considering entering Elizabeth’s Day and night dress challenge. There are so many of us that are showcasing examples to inspire you.
Yesterday I hope you saw Elizabeth of Elizabeth Made This and Brittany of Brittany J Jones

Ok so I may have made more than I should have. But it’s Summer here in Australia and I did have a week’s break hence my showcasing two patterns for this challenge.

You’ve already seen my original challenge day night dress, using Victory Patterns Nicola dress.

The fit of this dress is great.

I usually have to make a sway back adjustment but this wasn’t required for this dress.

Making the night version was a dream make.

See what I mean about the fit of this style?

The skirt is fully lined but it doesn’t stick to you so it’s easy to wear in hot humid weather.

If sewing zippers is your strong point, this dress uses buttons or snaps as the closure. And if you’re weight keeps changing, simply reposition the snaps/buttons.

This was such an easy dress to make, even with the huge bold floral fabric (John Kaldor) supplied to me by Minerva Crafts UK. If you live in Australia or New Zealand, I have a duplicate kit of the floral dress to giveaway on my Minerva Crafts blog post.

As I had time off, I decided to crack open this Burda Young pattern as another Day and night dress challenge idea. This pattern has been in my stash for a while and I bought it for a Summer party dress.

However I had to work out the bra component so I could wear this dress with confidence. 

I have made a one-shoulder dress before and it had a lot of inbuilt support. I used a bra kit I bought online last year from Susan of Measuretwicecutonce 

There’s nothing really showy with this dress but I wanted to feel comfortable in it, so I also delved into making a bra that would work for this dress. 

Because of the print, the three circles run between my shoulders.

This pattern has no shaping at the back so this pattern is great to wear in the Summer.

We went to the beach during the week and I realised that a simpler bra style would work too. I wore this simple grey bra underneath this day dress. I drew the smallest size shaping from the dress and used 2-way stretch lycra and elastic.

The purple bra worked really well under this night dress.

Here’s a closer view of the front straps. This is more refined for the evening dress.

Here’s what the back of the bra looks like. The straps are slim and sit nicely.

The alterations for this dress were: 
– shortening the hem on this dress, 
– lowered the armholes by 3cm
– added darts at the back for shaping on the evening dress only.

This fabric has a snake texture but breaths well. Being black, it’s now a new ‘little black dress’ LBD.

I suppose this is what happens when you have a ‘staycation’ and your sewing room is available to whip up anything, anytime. 

Stay tuned this week with 

Tuesday, Jan 10th: Je’Tua of Robertswife, Meg of Cookin’ and Craftin’, Melanie of Its Melanie Darling
Wednesday, Jan 11th:  Linda of Elle Gee Makes, Tee of Maggie Elaine
Thursday, Jan 12th: Bianca of Thanks I Made Them, Daniela of On the Cutting Floor
Friday, Jan 13th:  Melissa of Mahlicadesigns, Rachel of Sew Redy, Renata of Runnningnstyle, Sonja of Sewing ala Carte

Saturday, Jan 14th: Doja of Elewa blog, Judith of Judith Dee’s World, Tanya of Mrs. Hughes

Everyone’s worked really hard behind the scenes to inspire you to make your own challenge dresses. Go for it!

Don’t forget to enter your day and night looks into the community challenge for a chance to win prizes from these wonderful sponsors:

You can enter your projects here.  Only projects that are entered through the linkup will be eligible for voting.
The linkup is available from Sunday, January 8th until Saturday, January 28th.  

Voting will be available on the entry page from January 29th-February 4th.  After all of the sponsors have been notified, the winners will be announced.

For Summer

This embroidered print I bought a Selective Fine Fabrics in Brisbane recently is great using New Look 6000. OCD much (Lollipop and Blue poppies).

No sleeves this time so this dress works for Summer parties. I used the embroidered selvage for the hem.

The waist darts help me adjust this dress to fit as my waist changes. Underlining also made sewing in the invisible zipper easy work.

Originally I wanted to used FOE on the neckline and armholes but caved and used lining. The lining gave a better finish both on the inside and on the outside.

A few weekends ago I had a great day fabric shopping in Brisbane with Marjorie and Jenny visiting a couple of high end retailers. We spent ages looking at fabrics at Selective Fine Fabrics and this was one of the fabrics I decided to splurge on.

Why did I make this so quickly? I have a ladies lunch last Sunday hence a new dress! 

Then I decided to be brave and make View A using this John Lewis fabric I bought in the UK a few years ago. John Lewis doesn’t post fabric to Australia which I wasn’t aware of when we visited the UK 3 years ago.

Again I’ve fully lined this dress. I used View E front as the lining pattern. This made the front fit a lot easier to do.

One thing that makes this dress so easy to make and wear is using a 50cm to 55cm invisible zipper. I buy these zips from My Hung because they’re close by and affordable. My Hung have their zips hanging flat so I never have the iron out the kinks from packaged zips.

I think I’ve done this pattern to its limit for now. 

Well I thought I was until I decided to use an African wax print for a vintage-style version.

This is the dress I used for the square neckline tutorial.

Those butterflies are so lovely.

So I suppose I’ve finished working with NL 6000.

As this was an easy pattern to redo in a few different ways, I decided to enter these into PR’s One pattern many looks contest.

I certainly can’t say “I don’t have a thing to wear” in the lead up to Christmas this year.

Back to the sewing room.

Shirt or blouse?

When is a blouse not a shirt? Uhm. I’m not too sure but I can say this shirt/blouse got me through PR’s Sewing Bee for Round 1.
Can you see the stress on my face? I avoid contests where possible.

This fabric from White Tree Fabrics UK, was originally earmarked for a wrap blouse, until Round 1 was announced. So I put the brakes on that project and grabbed McCalls 5433 and decided on making View A with all the sleeve bells and whistles of Views B/D.

I was really, really lucky MyHung Parramatta had matching buttons.
What was my challenge?
  •   Picking the style for this fabric
  •   Using the fabric to highlight its print
  •   Not this shirt look like a PJ shirt
  •   Making it fit me again
  •   Picking the seam finishes because this shirt is going to be inspected inside and out!

I’ve been working with Liberty prints lately so I cut out each body pieces separately and tried to match the print lines. They run diagonally.

Top Left clockwise: buttons on cuff; collar on shirt; two part collar; cutting front bodice

However there’s a button tab so I decided to cut this piece a wee bit longer to accommodate matching or not matching the print. My plan was to place the shirt buttons on the flowers of the print.

So technically, this is a shirt.  But I still can’t tell you when a blouse is not a shirt.
An inside view
The inside of the back.

The seams are French seams. I machine felled the sleeve seam allowances to the shirt.

The collar, collar band, button tabs, cuffs and sleeve band are interfaced.
This progress shot showed me I was on the right pattern placement track.

Fit adjustments

Roll shoulder on the shoulder seams and sleeve curve. I left the sleeve length long so I can roll it up to bracelet length when I need to.
This already had a centre back seam to accommodate my sway back.

To make sure I could size this up at the hips, I cut a 12 at the hips.

A back view shot for fit.

Long story short, once I finished this shirt and took the photos I wore the shirt the next day at work. Well I felt it was too loose at the front, I before work I sewed the front dart in by 1cm and it fit a whole lot better but there were no ripples.

So I tried to smile but ‘sheesh’, this is stressful.

The ladies at work love my shirt. The roll up sleeves were just what I needed to work at my desk and I did not dirty my sleeves. I hate cleaning cuffs on business shirts and I don’t intend on ruining this shirt simply because I love wearing it.

Sue and Yoshimi got through to Round 2 with over 40 others who burnt the candle at both ends to get through. There were 116 of us who were judged in Round 1.

The Brynna test

In January I bought a few pieces of fabric (yes just a few) from Pitt Trading for future projects – as you do. Their fabrics were on special.
This floral print caught my eye and while it’s not what I usually wear, it was too nice to leave.
The fabric is light weight but not see-through and washes/irons really well so it’s good quality fabric. Bargain.
I really love the neckline finish. The pattern suggests using self-made bias but I love the look of satin bias (pre-made of course).

Brynna test dress
Based on the measurements of Sew Liberated Brynna dress, I only adjusted the shoulder seams. I avoid changing hem lengths when testing patterns because this is my weak point, but hems are dead easy to adjust once I know what the length looks like on me.

And so, once I made up this dress, I cut 5cm off the hem and resewed the pocket so the pocket opening wasn’t so low. I also skimmed off 2cm off the pocket bag using the overlocker.

Will I wear this test dress?
When the chill in the air isn’t so bad, I’ll be wearing this dress because the waistline is so forgiving. And it’s so pretty
This dress will be great for travelling in.

The actual Brynna dress turned out brilliantly in Liberty fabric. It was certainly worth testing this dress style in a fabric that was similar to the ‘real’ fabric. I now have two.

Minerva make – McCalls 6898

Florals – a classic style choice when Spring comes to Sydney. And Spring is here and so is my latest floral shirt using a lovely floral print and clever buttons from Minerva Crafts using McCalls 6898.

McCalls 6898 shirt and Vogue 1204 jeans
This is an ‘unassuming’ shirt style ie. plain. Although it’s almost Laura Ashley meets military style. 
I love these buttons.

Styling advice for petites usually states using small prints. I’ve seen this advice a lot so when I saw this print at Minerva Crafts in June the colours and print drew me to it.

This fabric washes nicely, irons easily, is lovely to work with and easy to wear all day. This print comes in four colourways and I was really tempted to use the purple colourway but this red/blue/cream combo won out. These colours seemed to reflect the English countryside we were experiencing at the time.

The real reason I wanted to use this fabric was to include it in my business casual gear but to also team this with suits too. Hence using the long sleeves and simply the collar band.

Back to the pattern
This gem has A to D cup sizes so if you’ve been forced to do an FBA on most patterns, this is a handy pattern to have in your stash. I gravitate between B and C sizing so I’ve used C size so that I don’t feel restricted during the day. Yes there a bit of room in this shirt but because it’s for work, I like to wear shirts that don’t cling to me. Personal preference.

Length changes
This was easy but needed some thought. I’ve shortened the sleeve just below the elbow to keep the markings for the cuff.

I’ve taken the length from the lower pieces again to keep the hip shaping. Here’s a link to the petite tech post for this pattern. It’s pretty straightforward (simple) to achieve.
Used french seams and bound the sleeve seams together.

Pleats or gathers?

I chose pleats again. I’m not a ‘gathers gal’ at the best of times but this fabric gathers nicely.

These are so cute and they just about match the size of the print. They’re adorable to me. And you really can’t see them with this print.

See how the buttons blend into the print.

How could I resist a sign like this???
The fabric is such a good shirt weight, both this pattern and fabric would lend themselves to a shirt dress. I intend on using this pattern again by extending the hem for a dress.