Book: Boundless Style

boundless-styleOne of the best Christmas presents I got this year was Boundless Style by Kristiann Boos of Victory Patterns. I haven’t made any Victory Patterns yet, but I do love the Hannah Dress so I might have to treat myself to that at some point – when the weather warms up a bit!

Boundless Style is one of the cleverest sewing books I own – and I own an embarrassing number of sewing books! It has loads of patterns in, but they are separated into bodices, sleeves and skirts, allowing you to add together the elements you like the most to make things you love – you won’t be thinking ‘oh, I love that dress, but with these sleeves,’ because that’s the whole point of the book! You can also make the bodices with peplums, to make them into blouses and the skirts on their own as skirts. And all the patterns come on a CD in the back of the book – each different thing comes separately so you can just print off the bits you want.

These are all the bodices:

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I personally really love Billie, which is particularly excellent in the colour-blocked version on the cover. I also like Celine and I’m surprisingly drawn to Georgia, though I don’t normally like wrap/ crossover things.

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I love the fabric combinations used throughout the book, and pretty much want to copy this dress made with the Billie bodice, even though it probably wouldn’t suit my colouring! I think I’m falling back in love with collars.

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I’m slightly less keen on the Catrina, but I like the fabric choices and the use of piping to highlight the seaming. There a tutorial on applying piping in the front section of the book, too, which is great.

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I’m undecided about the Jackie and whether it would look good on me. I like how it’s styled here, with the peplum top and then a pencil skirt underneath. There’s also a version of this bodice which has a tie on the front. I think the thing that puts me off this one is how low the back seems to be cut – not sure if you’d be able to wear a bra underneath!

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I think my second favourite, after the Billie, is the Celine as there are various ways she shows you to style it: with contrast neckline, matching neckline, and with or without the tie at the neck. I think this one with the peplum looks particularly great. I need more work-appropriate tops in my wardrobe, so I’m thinking some of these peplum tops might be just the thing!

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After the bodices, come the sleeves. Again there are 5 to choose from. I particularly like the Monroe and Bardot; they both have some interesting pleating details. Some of the sleeves also come in multiple lengths, so there are really loads of options!

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After getting more into 70s style with my Alix dress, I might give the Farrah sleeves a go –  I assume they are named after the epitome of 70s style, Farrah Fawcett.

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I wonder if I love these sleeves because I love the colour-blocked dress on the front cover. Bit love them I do. I like the length as if I have long sleeves, I always end up rolling them up anyway, so just below the elbow seems like the perfect length for me! You can just about make out in the photo below that there are some lovely pleats just to the front of the shoulder on these sleeves.

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You can see the pleats a bit better here:

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The Bardot sleeves have a lovely big pleat on the top of the shoulder, which I really like.

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The last section in the book is the skirts, which all can be made in multiple lengths, including peplum, cocktail, tea and mid-calf. You wouldn’t think there were that many kids of skirt!
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I like the Ella skirt – and this seems like it would be the best option for adding peplums to the bodices.

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I also like the Lydia, and think the pleated skirt could look nice with several of the bodices.

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I think this dress which I loved in the front of the book is the reason I particularly like the Lydia skirt……..! Still thinking I might copy this. And I love the piping around the waist seam, I would never have thought of that myself but it’s a really nice way of highlighting the design details.

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You can also make the skirts just as skirts. And she shows you how to make linings for each of the skirts. There really is everything you could need to make a giant mix and match wardrobe of clothes in this book!

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I particularly like this page in the back, to show you all the steps you need to do to make any of the dresses, regardless of which bodice, sleeve or skirt you choose. Also hopefully means you won’t end up forgetting to sew a zip into the dress, which is definitely the kind of this I would do!

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I wanted to include this last photo, from the beginning section of the book about all the techniques you need, because I love how she uses crazy coloured fabric – and a different colour for each different section of the skirt – to show you how to construct things. I find it really irritating when you have photos telling you how to make something but you can’t tell which is the right side and the wrong side of the fabric, or which piece is which, so I think this is a brilliant idea!

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Do you have Boundless Style? Are you tempted to get it? What is your favourite sewing book? And do you make many of the patterns from sewing books? I always have plans to but then I forget they’re there sometimes.

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Selfless Sewing: 2 Delphines for my sister

As I mentioned in my December planning post, my main task for that month was to make some skirts for my sister as she couldn’t really find any in shops that she liked, but she can’t wear a lot of the trousers she has because of her prosthetic leg. I managed to make 3 in time for Christmas and 2 of those were Tilly and the Buttons Delphines, from her book Love At First Stitch. I’ve made one of these for myself and was glad to have another go at the pattern.

The first one I made was from some lovely, soft red corduroy from Fabric Land – it’s so soft that it’s called buttersoft! I was worried the skirt might not hold its shape in such a drapey fabric, but it does, which is excellent. I made the skirts in a size 3 and lengthened them by 3 1/4 inches so it would hit just below her knee and cover the place where the prosthetic attaches onto her leg.

phoebes-red-corduroy-delphine-2As well as lengthening them, I sewed the side seams with a 1cm seam allowance instead of a 1.5cm seam allowance as Phoebe’s waist measurement is 28 in which is exactly the finished measurement of the size 3 but I wanted to give her a little ease. You probably don’t know this unless you know someone who has had a leg amputated, but initially, although you get your permanent leg fairly early on, the way it attaches at first is around the waist, so Phoebe’s waist is a little bigger than it otherwise would be. I can always take in the waists if they end up too big once the leg is attached with suction – the reason for this change is that it can take up to 8-9 months for the residual limb to shrink down to its permanent shape and size – there is swelling and fluid retention to being with – and this shrinking happens faster once you have your prosthetic. So there’s a little lesson for you!

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The navy blue drill was also from Fabric Land. It was really hard to photograph, so I apologise for the blurriness of these photos! I think this fabric is a little more on the petrol end of navy blue – I guess navy blue isn’t a colour that’s always just one colour, it’s not black or white! Phoebe’s not so keen on this one, but I think it might be easier to wear it when the weather gets a little warmer as she will hopefully have things that go better with it. Otherwise, it’s not the end of the world! It’s a quick pattern to make.

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The other change I made to the pattern was to use non-invisible zips because my sewing machine will not sew invisible zips. I think the bobbin is out of sync or something because when I put the invisible zip foot on, the needle always jams inside the bobbin case. Grrr. I should get it serviced really….. I can’t remember the last time I sewed a non-invisible zip (I kept persevering with the invisible zips, but sewing them with a normal zip foot) and I’d forgotten you need to sew the bottom part of the seam first and then put in the zip, and not the other way around as with invisible zips. So I had to unpick the first one a couple of times because I twigged!

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When I was home for Christmas, I got Phoebe to model the red skirt. It fitted really well and was the length she was after – win! It looks good with her apt Christmas jumper too! She wore it the whole of Christmas day (after she had opened the present) so hopefully that means it has the seal of approval!

I quite enjoyed doing some selfless sewing – maybe this is the solution for when I feel like I have too many clothes but still want to sew things? I could make clothes for other people!

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