Tag Archives: Dress

A Zero Waste Dress for a Wedding

A couple of weeks ago I made this (mostly) zero waste pattern for my sister to wear to a wedding that she’s going to next year. I used the Daisy DIY Maya Dress tutorial and it was so easy to follow. The only wasted bits of fabric were the scoops you take out of the front and back necklines.

You use your own measurement to decide how but each piece needs to be. Luckily the fabric Phoebe had bought was the exact right width to get her bodice fronts and backs from one full width. The rest of the pieces used a full width too – it was a narrow width cotton. The sleeves and the ruffle at the bottom ended up being the same height, not necessarily by design but it was a happy accident. And the ruffle at the bottom was 3 widths of the fabric in total and ended up using the full length we had left. There were 3m in total of the fabric.

I honestly can’t remember the last time I did so much gathering – or any gathering for that matter! But since there are no closures, it’s a pretty quick sew – the slowest thing was hemming all the ruffles!

We did decide to use some scraps of plain navy fabric to add some pockets – because who doesn’t like pockets?! And since I took these photos I also added some waist ties, from the same navy fabric, because whereas I like the loose billowy look, Phoebe wanted to be able to shape it a little at the waist. I used the Hinterland Dress pattern pieces as a guide, and we used it for the neck shaping too as Phoebe has like 8 Hinterlands and likes the neckline, and how you can tie it for a looser or tighter fit as needed.

She was originally going to make the Zadie Jumpsuit for her wedding outfit, but then we saw about buffet dresses being a thing on the sewing bee and it seemed like it would be easier to fit, cool to wear if the weather is hot – and you avoid the whole ‘naked on the toilet’ problem you have with jumpsuits!

I really enjoyed sewing this dress, after I got over the stress of cutting into the fabric and praying our measurements were okay! It was nice to sew something for someone else and to do something relatively simple. I definitely have my eye on another of Daisy DIY’s tutorials for some fabric I’ve had for a while in my stash – I’m probably going to do the Gathered Rectangle Dress. I’ve measured my fabric and I just about have enough – and with the hot weather we’ve been having, I think it might need to be my next project! I don’t have any summer dresses really!

My niece wanted to be in the photos too! It looks like the greatest photobomb!

Mersis Dress for a wedding?

Just before I moved, I decided to make a Mersis Dress I had been planning to wear to a wedding that was to take place this Summer (having been postponed from last year), but it has been postponed by another year – but at least I’m ready early and won’t be sewing the hem on the train on my way there!

This is the Mersis Dress by Pattern Fantastique – I totally lusted after their sequinned version and immediately knew it could be a good option for this crepe I had been hoarding for my wedding outfit. There were going to be two weddings last year but one did take place with only 20 people and the other has been postponed – you wait ages for a good wedding, 2 come along at once, swiftly followed by a global pandemic!

I was originally going to make the Zadie Jumpsuit, which looks amazing on everyone I’ve ever seen it on! But then I thought about the whole ‘having to get naked to go to the toilet’ thing and decided maybe a dress would be more practical for tipsy toilet trips!

I especially love the shape of the back neckline and I’m so pleased I decided to make this pattern. It feels really loose and relaxed on, but still looks chic I think, and has interest in the ginormous sleeves!

I made the size 10 with no changes – it’s such a loose fit all over that it’s not too difficult to fit but I wanted the shoulders and neckline to fit nicely and I think I made the right choice of size. The pattern goes up to a size 26, which is 51″ bust, 44″ waist and 54″ hip. It’s not the most inclusive set of sizes but they used to only go up to a size 16 so they have improved what they offer, so I felt okay about buying the pattern.

The crepe was something I bought from an instagram destash and there was 3m, which was lucky because being so long, this does take up quite a lot of fabric. I am 5’3″ and didn’t make any changes to the length, though I like that it sits a little longer on me than in the pattern images – I assume it’s drafted for the standard 5’6″, though I can’t find that info on the website. I definitely should have ironed the dress before I took these photos, though!

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned before, but I can be a bit slapdash with cutting out – I like to batch but out a few projects at a time and tend to do them a but quickly, especially if the fabric is a bit shifty, which this was. I definitely could have taken more care with the cutting out as some of my pieces ended up not quite fitting perfectly. The pockets also gape a little bit as I matched the notches instead of following my instinct to get them to lie flat, though I don’t think it looks terrible – it follows the line of the curved side seam.

I think I would be interested to make this pattern again, in a more stable fabric as a slightly glam summer dress. It could lend itself to some colour-blocking too, as there are some interesting seam lines. I also kind of want a sequinned version still…

Of course I might still change my mind about wearing this to the wedding by the time it comes around, but then I think I won’t possibly ever wear this, so I should stick to my guns. But sewing a new thing is always fun – and having an event as an excuse is my favourite thing…..

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!