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Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Date Night Dress - Butterick B5488

Last week I went on an actual date with my lovely husband, one that didn't just involve drinking wine at home in our pjs. This was all thanks to my Mum and Dad who took the kids for a week during the Easter holidays. As going out (especially together) is such a rare occurrence these days, I felt like I should make a new dress for the occasion! 

I bought some fantastic navy blue georgette with birds printed on it from Abakhan in Manchester the other week (fabric buying ban failed!). I fell in love with the design and justified it as I am making an evening dress in georgette in a few weeks' time and wanted to practice. The pattern I had in mind was Butterick B5488 which came free with issue 38 of Love Sewing Magazine. I really like the loose tunic style and semi-structured neckband on this dress. 

The pattern is relatively straightforward to follow, but I always find that the instructions and diagrams from the big pattern houses aren't as clear as those with indie patterns. Although I managed to make the neckband without any issues, I somehow managed to forget to insert the sleeves before attaching the band to the dress. The soft pleats work really well with this kind of drapey fabric. I was initially concerned that the fabric was a bit see through, but the volume of fabric used and the colour prevent me from flashing inappropriately!!

The neckband doesn't sit 100% straight, even after ironing. But it's not really noticeable and doesn't spoil the garment at all. I do like how loose this dress is, perfect for going out for a big meal!


We went to Chilli Banana Thai restaurant - would definitely recommend!

Thursday, 6 April 2017

One for me, one for you - M6927

McCalls M6927 was the free gift with Love Sewing magazine a couple of issues ago. The version with the dipped hem caught my eye and I trawled through my stash in search of some suitable fabric. I bought some pink crepe with a bird design from Fabrics Galore about 18 months ago. I was tempted to use it for another pussy bow blouse, but settled on it for this instead. 

This is a really quick sew with only a few pattern pieces. Annoyingly, the envelope didn't give all the finished garment measurements, so I felt like there was a bit of guesswork about the sizing. I've been feeling a bit fat recently, so I ended up cutting out a size bigger than I would normally make. In retrospect, this was a mistake as it is too big around the shoulders and arms (and I've lost a few pounds in the last few weeks). I don't think the finished result is very flattering at all, although it is quite versatile for wearing with jeans or a skirt. The fabric was very slippery and quite difficult to work with, especially on the hem as it wouldn't iron into place and I had to use practically a whole pincushion worth of pins to keep it in place at the curves. I keep reading about special hemming feet which make this much easier and I'm tempted to invest after this project!

I made another version with 3/4 sleeves for my Aunt's birthday, and I'm pleased to say that I got the fit right on that one. I used some of the fabric I bought in Manila for this. It was also crepe, with a cute apple design. Although hard to work with, it does give the top a more dressy feel. 



It's almost that time of year again, so I am posting my pledge   for this year's Me Made May:

 'I, Alex Howard of Alex's Adventures in Fabric @adventuresinfabric sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '17.  I endeavour to wear at least one me-made item each day for the duration of May 2017'

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Another freebie - the Free Spirit dress

A few weeks ago, i heard about a new girl's dress pattern by Duchess and Hare. The pattern was free to members of their FB group - unable to resist a freebie, I downloaded the PDF as soon as it was released. From the sample pictures, it seemed really versatile with lots of options for customising. 

I decided to make a version for Polly as she is starting to outgrow half her wardrobe.  Looking to my stash, I found a couple of potential fabric choices, but the dress needs more fabric than I initially thought due to the fullness of the skirt. A few people have made it with a contrasting bodice, but the fabrics I had didn't really lend themselves to this. Then I remembered some blue corduroy with teddy bear print that one of my Mum's friends had given me. I had just the right amount and it went well with some leftover ribbon from the Flo Dress I made for her first birthday. I also had a scrap of blue paisley lining fabric for the lined bodice. 

I decided not to add the bodice pleats because the fabric is quite thick and heavily patterned. They do look good on lighter fabrics though, so will definitely add if I make another version in future. Attaching the bodice to the lining used a method I hadn't tried before. Described as rolling it up like a burrito, I was initially confused and had to re-read the instructions a few times. Once I did it, it worked brilliant and was like a magic trick!  I did mess up the simplest part - sewing the sides of the bodice together. I ended up unpicking three times. Gareth came in to talk to me at one point and went straight back out as he knows that it isn't a good time if the unpicker is out and I've got a face like thunder!

I decided not to add the in-seam pockets as Polly isn't really bothered by pockets yet, but will definitely include them if I make it again when she is older. The skirt uses a lot of fabric and very tightly gathered. I always love this look for girl's dresses, but I think you could get away with using less if you didn't have quite enough according to the pattern. 

My favourite feature in the dress is definitely the keyhole back opening with ribbon tie. It makes it more dressy and will also be perfect for spring and summer. 

Polly loved the fabric when I showed her, and enjoyed showing off her new dress to friends. It's a bit big for her, but I'm pleased she can get plenty of wear out of it.  I struggled to get any decent pictures of her wearing it as she was far too busy playing!