Another Nancy Dress

Do you ever have projects that you cut out and then loads of things get made first and the project languishes in your ‘to make’  pile for months? I do. This is one such make.

I kind of felt like I had to make this Nancy Dress (Sew Over It) because I cut it out so long ago. Even though I don’t really wear dresses any more. Maybe I would if I didn’t live in such a shitty, cold country. I’m really grumpy about the weather at the moment, can you tell? I’m really fed up of being cold for 4-5 months of the year so the thought of actually wearing this dress at the moment makes me want to crawl up in a ball and wait to freeze to death.

Too dramatic?

Maybe I’ll be interested in wearing this in Spring/Summer for the 3 weeks when we actually have nice weather in the UK? I hope so as I do like the way the Nancy looks and feels to wear. I made another version in one of my favourite fabrics I’ve ever used but since I stopped working in an office, I don’t think I’ve worn it.

This is another viscose and I bought it so long ago I have absolutely no recollection of from where. I think a light, drapey fabric works really well for this pattern – though maybe something with more body would look cool too as the fullness of the skirt would hold its shape more.

A great bonus of this pattern is that there is no zip to fiddle with – it’s just a button (and I added a loop) at the top of the opening which allows you to get the dress on.

I made the straight size 10, as I did last time, with no changes. I have learnt from sewing for so long that I have a disproportionally small bust compared to my other measurements and having made things that end up tight on my arms /shoulders more times than I can count, I finally realise I should not pick sizes according to my bust measurement, but my hip and waist. Then if the pattern is fitted to a small bust adjustment – which I didn’t do here as the pattern is drafted with a lot of ease and it makes it a comfortable dress to wear.

I do love the fullness of the skirt!

I kind of forgot actually how comfortable dresses can be, especially to sit in. I love all the jeans I’ve made but if I’m spending a day sitting at my sewing machine (for example!) then I won’t put them on as they’re not the best for long-term sitting in. This is an especially comfortable dress for lounging in as it’s so easy to wear.

I’ve only made two Sew Over It patterns and the Anderson Blouse I made got remade this Summer. I think like a lot of sewists, judging by general trends, I started off interested in more retro styles (especially the 60s) and then evolved into wanting to make more every day basics, realising that my lifestyle is more suited to jeans and shirts than beautifully fitted retro dresses so I’ve moved away from the pattern companies who have a more retro aesthetic. Having said that maybe the Nancy is a good mid-way point as it’s still comfortable for every day wear but I still enjoy the slight nod to the 60s.

I managed to catch an outtake of myself with a remote control on my camera – that takes real skill, if I say so myself!

 

 

A Christmas Dress (in April)

Back in December (when Christmas was in the future), I was invited to a Christmas party for the band I’m in. I decided to make a new dress for the occasion – because why not!?

I was in the mood for something sparkly/shiny and found this amazing fabric from the New Craft House. I think I got the last metre, which was just enough to make this dress.

I used the Inari pattern from Named as the basis for this dress, but I wanted to add more fullness to the hem than the dress version is drafted with. I didn’t, however, write any notes about what I did. If memory serves, I placed all the pattern pieces on the fabric and extended the tee from under the arm to as wide as it would do for the width of the fabric.

Since this is a woven fabric, I used the facings included with the pattern but I think I stretched out the neckline of the dress a bit – it’s definitely wider than I would have preferred. Lesson for next time – stay stitch the neckline.

I do enjoy how slinky the fabric is and I hope this dress will be a little more wearable for more occasions than a lot of the other things I’ve made for specific events.

I think one of my favourite details of the Inari pattern is the sleeve cuffs.

Did you sew a Christmas dress/outfit this year? I bet you’re not as late sharing it as me!

 

 

Art Deco Carnaby Dress

This is my first – and no doubt last – Nina Lee Carnaby Dress and I love it! This was one of my planned Summer makes and I did make it last month, but just as the weather started to turn a bit chiller. Hopefully I will get some wear out of it with tights and a cardigan in this Autumnal weather. I do slightly wish I’d made it without sleeves so I can wear it with a long-sleeved top underneath for extra warmth, but c’est la vie!

And it has pockets! I really like how they’re hidden in the hem seam.

The fabric is some lovely cotton from Sew Over It, which they sadly don’t have any more. In fact I got the last metre and a half/ 2 hours (I can’t remember which). When I first saw the fabric, I thought it would make great pyjamas, but they didn’t have enough left for the Carolyn Pyjamas.

I made the size 10 and the only change I made was to use an invisible zip instead of the exposed one called for in the pattern. I also spent ages trying to pattern match across the back seam and on the pocket seams but it didn’t seem to work as well as I’d hoped. I managed to just about get it to look matched across the back, if not perfectly centred.

The pocket seam is almost hidden, but again, not as well as I’d hoped. I think I just need a bit more practice at doing it – I haven’t done much pattern matching before, so I’m not the best at it!

I really do like this fabric – there will be lots of colours of tights and cardigans I can wear with it. And it was a pretty quick make. This was my first Nina Lee pattern (I have plans to make the Portobello trousers before the year is out) and I’m impressed. The drafting seems to be good – often I find sleeves and shoulder seams really tight, but this fits and is comfortable right out of the packet. The instructions were also really clear and easy to follow. Next time I might do the exposed zip she recommends as the instructions for that seemed really clear too. I would definitely recommend this if you’re relatively new to sewing, or if you want a quick make that will give you a really chic dress.

With this and my jungle print laurel, I have definitely rediscovered my love of the simple shift dress.

p.s. I might keep my eyes open for anyone selling more of this fabric as I would still like some really chic pyjamas – let me know if you see it anywhere!

 

 

Jungle Print Laurel Dress

I’ve made another Laurel Dress and I love, love, love it! This is also my second completed make from my Summer plans! I made this pattern twice before (1, 2), not long after I started sewing my own clothes but I made them too small.  I still wore them around the time I made them because I’d made them and I was proud, but once I discovered more comfortable patterns they soon got neglected and I gave them to a charity shop a few months ago. I made the mistake (I think) of choosing the size closest to my bust measurement, when I know my chest is small so I should choose based on my waist/hip measurement if I want a thing to actually fit, and do an sba if necessary. I previously made the size zero (bust 33, waist 25, hip 35) and this time I made the size 4 (bust 35, waist 27, hips 37) and it’s so comfortable, but still looks like it’s the right size across my shoulders – it was the sleeves and armholes that were particularly snug the last time. For reference my measurements are: bust 32, waist 27, hips 37.

The fabric is some gorgeous cotton lawn from Fabric Godmother, which is sadly now out of stock. I didn’t really realise that cotton lawns are thinner than cottons so this dress is quite thin, but I think layered with tights, a vest and a cardigan, it will work for the colder weather. But it’s also a good dress for this warm weather we’ve been having!

I added in-seam pockets because I was going to add the patch pockets but I couldn’t really face pattern matching the fabric, so I went for the hidden option! I also made no attempt to pattern match across the back – I figured it’s a large enough design to get away with no matching.

I made version 3, which has the ruffles on the sleeves. This pattern is pretty old so I’m amazed it has this option included, since ruffled sleeves have been a trend for a couple of years now! The ruffles are really easy to add, in case anyone is wanting to try it. You could also easily add ruffles to another pattern – it’s just a rectangle gathered into the end of the sleeve. For this pattern there are 2 rectangles for each ruffle which are stitched together to hide the wrong side of the fabric on the inside of the sleeve.

I will say this dress does come out quite short – though it doesn’t look like it in these photos because the camera is looking a little down on me. I’m 5’3″ and it’s above the knee on me so if you’re tall you might need to lengthen it a bit so you don’t end up with a tunic instead of a dress!

I think, as with the Inari becoming my go-to tee/tee dress pattern, I think the Laurel could become my go-to shift dress pattern now I’ve made it in a size that fits and is comfortable. Though I do have the Carnaby Dress cut out and ready to make, so maybe I’ll have 2 shift dress patterns!


I think I was running out of enthusiasm for posing at this point?!

Have you made the Laurel Dress? Or rediscovered a pattern that didn’t work when you made it before but now it’s a favourite? I feel like I might revisit some other patterns I’d written off because they were uncomfortable and see if I made the same mistake with the sizing as I did with the Laurel!

 

 

Bright Turquoise Inari Tee Dress

As I mentioned in my Summer sewing plans, one of the things on my list was an Inari tee dress made from some turquoise cotton twill I bought literally years ago and was cut out last year. Well this year I made it – it really is a quick sew so I don’t know why I didn’t get around to it last year!

I’ve made the cropped tee version of the Inari pattern twice before – once in stripey jersey (which I just added a hem band to to lengthen it a bit) and once in crazy silver fabric for the New Craft House Summer party last year where I won best outfit!!! Coincidentally (or not, I don’t know) I’m wearing the Tatty Devine necklace I won at the New Craft House in these photos! The dress felt a little ‘surgical gown’ so I decided I needed an accessory.

I made the dress in the same size as the tees, which is size 8, and it fits really nicely. I went through a phase with patterns where when making them to match my measurements, the sleeves and armholes were too tight, making the garment a little too uncomfortable to want to wear, but I’ve not had that problem with the Inari, thankfully. I think this might become my go-to tee and tee dress pattern.

I really love the cocoon-y shape of the dress and the split hem. It adds enough interest to make it not as simple, but it was still really simple to construct  and the instructions are perfect.

I also love that the sleeves have cuffs – I’m in favour of any design element that means I don’t have to measure and sew a hem. I think hemming is my least favourite part of sewing, though hems never take as long as I think they will!

I think my choice of white overlocking thread was adding to the ‘surgical gown’ vibes I was getting from this dress. I don’t know why I thought white would be the best colour – probably because it was already threaded with white! Anyone else do that? Slightly in my defence, the only colours I currently have are black, navy and white. Maybe navy would have been better? But either way it was never going to match completely. I think I need to invest in some other colours of overlocker thread! At least a mid blue as I do sew blue things fairly often.

 

Today’s outtake is brought to you by ‘what pose should I do next’ face. I took outfit pictures of several things at once and this was the last one so I – and the boyfriend – was getting a bit fed up and this is the result! Also you wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve ironed this dress to get it not looking crumpled, to no avail!

Have you got a go-to tee/tee dress pattern? I’m slightly tempted by Tilly and the Buttons new Stevie pattern, but I’m trying to not buy so many patterns until I’ve sewn more of the ones I already have – and especially if I already have a pattern that serves the same function, then do I need another one?

But shiiiiiinnnyyyy……..