Sunshine Rosie Dress

Today’s dress is another Cotton and Chalk Rosie Dress. This will be the third time I have made this dress and I don’t want to bore anyone but I also want to show off the sunshiny loveliness of this dress. It’s a super flattering pattern as it has a V-neck and a middle panel, which adds shape.

This and the last one I made are a far cry from my first one and I feel it really showcases how far I have come in terms of the fit of my garments. My first did not fit at all, it was badly made and I didn’t know how to change it. Fast forward 18 months and I’m able to change the fit of my garments so much more to fit me.

I decided to leave this one sleeveless, both due to fabric restrictions and the fact that I have to accept that I needed some sleeveless dresses in the warm weather for my holidays! I used this lovely yellow block print cotton from Sew Me Sunshine and because of the wide skirt, two metres was just enough to make it.

I did not make my own binding because I did not have enough fabric so I used some plain yellow in my stash. I love binding my necklines so I love a pattern which actually plans for it even more! I also used it to finish the arm holes.

I used clear elastic to gather the skirt, which is my favourite way to get lovely, even gathers, I have written a tutorial for this over on Sew Me Sunshine and I use bias binding to finish the hem to give neat finish.

I don’t make much in yellow but it’s beautiful and bright and I absolutely love it. Sorry for the holiday pictures but I thought it might brighten autumn up a bit as I definitely wouldn’t be wearing this now! 😔

By the way, my amazing necklace in a Jazzy Lapin design for Sewalicious. It’s amazing!

Rosie Dress

Today’s make is one I have returned to… The Rosie Dress by Cotton and Chalk for Simply Sewing Mag was one of my first free patterns and one I tried pretty early in my sewing. The Cotton and Chalk patterns are massive on the ease and the dress I made was a little dodgy (with a very wonky zip) and it was definitely too big. I also didn’t use sleeves, which isn’t something I wouldn’t do anymore as if I make things for myself, I’m making them to hide the bits I don’t like!

Anyway, I got this lovely navy tie dyed style fabric, which reminds me of the Shibori style of dying from a shop I recently discovered called Fibers to Fabric over on Etsy. They sell some beautiful, bright, ethnic style fabrics! This fabric is a lovely light cotton and although I sewed this up on a rare snow day from school, it had my thoughts in spring. It presses and handles a treat and is beautiful and rich in colour. I decided it would be perfect for a remake of the Rosie dress.

I sized the whole pattern down by a size, even though the measurements say I should be an XL, I knew it would be too big, so I used the L. The pattern has subtle gathers at the shoulder and bust and a waist-band which is pretty flattering.

It comes with a bias binding neckline which you stitch in place before you join the front for a really neat finish. Anything that use bias binding it a winner in my eyes (I mentioned I hate facings, right?) The construction of the bodice was pretty easy but a little lengthier than usual as you have the extra features. I was lucky the the patterning on the fabric is pretty random so I didn’t have to worry too much about pattern matching.

The sleeves are interesting as they have a little gather in them also, this is created by a 2 inch piece of elastic which you pull as you sew.

Having seen that the fabric took pretty easily to the elastic, I decided to try a little trick… Because I was essentially too lazy to put a billion gathering stitches about the waistline and I know the dress needs A LOT of gathering, I decided to try the method for gathering that the Moneta uses, which is to use clear elastic to gather the waistline.

I measured the bottom of the bodice and cut elastic to that size and then I stretched it as I sewed it to the top of the skirt piece whilst stretching the elastic. It worked an absolute treat, it was so much easier and it has made for really neat gathering. All I had to do then was attach it to the bodice, no gathering required! (winner). I’m not sure this would work with all fabrics but because this is a light, soft cotton, it worked a treat!

I distinctly remember making my first Rosie dress and it’s meant that I have really felt how much my dress making capabilities have improved. I’m really happy with this gorgeous dress, it feels floaty and feminine and perfect for spring and summer.

The Nina Shirt Dress

The Nina Dress by Cotton and Chalk for Simply Sewing Magazine was sat on my sewing list with no real conviction. I probably would have gotten around to it at some point. Then I saw the #sewtogetherforsummer challenge on instagram created by the lovely SarahMonika and Suzy in which everyone is making a shirt dress.. err.. for Summer, obviously!

I had bought this lovely grey vintage fabric in my holiday haul and even though it’s not very summery, it’s a lovely soft colour and really light. I was determined to make it work, even though I didn’t really have enough fabric… So there was some serious pattern tetris going on and I still didn’t have enough for the collar and the facing… Or the sleeves. My solution was to use a contrast and I’m not sure if this has worked or not.

I cut my size and measurements, even though my previous attempts at Cotton and Chalk patterns have been dangerously heavy on the ease! I thought this would work to my advantage when making a shirt dress as ready to wear dresses like this often don’t fit me.

There’s 6 body pieces, which came together nicely. In lieu of my facings, which I don’t really like anyway, I used a white bias binding as I knew I was using white for my collar and sleeves.

In spirit of the challenge there is a fabulous tutorial on collars on Sarah’s blog which I had a good read through; it has some great tips. I’ve only ever done one collar before on my brother’s shirt but I strangely enjoy the process. I’m really pleased with this way this one turned out and definitely won’t be scared of them in future.

On a whim and in an attempt to tie the contrast sleeve in with the rest of the dress, I created a slim cuff for my sleeves in the grey. The pattern does come with a frill cuff but frills aren’t my thing.

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I put it together to a point, before my mum came for tea and I was forced to tidy my house! Rude! I looked at it at this point and felt it looked a little like a uniform. It was also, predictably, too big but I had the 6 seams to work on for fitting.

And.. oh my goodness, did I have to work on the fitting. It not only had too much ease but it was absolutely massive. I used a technique (if you can call it that) which I’ve seen lots of people do and I pinned it at the front, put it on inside out and stapled it in place where I needed to take it in. After this very long process I had a dress which fit but had a bit more flare at the bottom, which I actually quite like and I think suits my shape.

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I found these amazing white square buttons at my local haberdashery, which tie in with the pattern perfectly. As I added these and started to get the fit, I found I started to like it better.

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I hand hemmed the bottom, which is fast becoming my favourite way of finishing garments, now that I have gotten over my hatred of hand sewing! Then, she was complete.

For some reason I then left her sat in my wardrobe looking at me, until the day I came to wear it to work and I realised I love it, I love the colour and it has suprisingly won me round as a summer dress, I love the shape and I love the square buttons the most!!

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It’s been a great challenge to be part of and I’ve since tackled two more collars, which you will soon see on my next makes, I’m sure.

The Katie Dress

The Katie Dress is Pattern number Four of the Cotton and Chalk Collection from Simply Sewing Magazine. I have also made patterns OneTwo and Three. I have found them all really easy to use, though sometimes a little on the roomy side.

As the pattern suggests using a Ponte Roma for this dress, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity for me to try using this fabric so I bought some in black with really cool paint stroke style pattern on it called Serene Reeds from The Textile Centre

The fabric was so easy to sew because it doesn’t fray at all,  it is a bit bulky where the seams meet,  like on the shoulders, but otherwise it sews up so easily. I stuck with the facings (don’t think this is becoming a thing because I top-stitched it anyway!) but it makes the shape of the neckline better. You put the facings on the front panel and add the rest once the bodice is constructed, a bit strange a first but it looks neat and it’s worked! 
I constructed the rest easily. The bodice and skirt seams matched up really well,  which means I did it all right,  thank goodness!  I tried it on before I inserted the zip and realised that not only was it roomy, as I expected, but that it would go on easily without a zip. So I took an inch off each side and simply stitched straight up the back seam- easy peasy! As the fabric has stretch,  it pulls on easily. 

I’m really happy with the shape,  I have ready to wear items which are very similar in shape and I feel like it really suits my body shape. I resisted the urge to wear a belt but I think I probably will in future. 

I would like to pretend I wore it somewhere interesting but this has slotted right in to my work wardrobe, especially good as in a bid to be less boring in my fashion, I have inadvertently set myself a new years resolution to wear less plain grey and black at work, something which I’m actually sticking with somehow!

 

An Accidental Minion Dress

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This pretty much sums up my face when I realised that my well – thought out blue Sunday Set by Cotton and Chalk actually looks like a Minion outfit with thanks to my yellow top-stitching!

I had some blue denim coloured chambray, which I intended to use for a shirt for my brother, I wasn’t getting round to it so I promptly began using it for something for myself (selfish, I know, please don’t judge me!) I have used View A of the Cotton and Chalk dungaree design pattern.

As I was using a plain fabric I wanted to jazz it up a bit; there’s lots of top stitching on this one and it needed buttons so I thought to use colour for this would be perfect. I originally intended to do this in pink but as I had a yellow zip, I had a quick change of heart. As I was making it, I was thinking, this looks AMAZING! Now it’s made, I feel like it does look slightly minion-esque… Though I am pleased with the construction and I still definitely intend to wear it with pride!

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I made no changes to the pattern at all, even the straps were a perfect fit. I practised some very neat yellow top-stitching. (Go me!)

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Inserted the zip, which was pretty much the first step, something I haven’t seen before. I inserted some really cute pockets with the fabric left over from my Mum’s Birthday Pressie. They look so cute and are actually my first ever pockets!

I also hemmed the bottom of the dress in this fabric, just because I like extra details like that so much!

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I chose some stand out buttons and did button holes in the yellow thread to go with the top-stitching; a bit of a risk when I’ve only just mastered button holes! The only other thing I did differently was to do little bar tabs at the top of the pockets so it doesn’t wear over time.

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The construction of this was super easy and it makes a good wardrobe essential, if you see the pattern about I would definitely grab yourselves one. I really took my time with mine; I wanted the top-stitching to be neat and I really enjoyed the process. I want to risk trying the trousered version next time, but anyone who reads my blog will know that they are my nemesis so we shall see.

As I said in my last blog, Northumberland is perfect for pictures. We visited Hatherslaw light railway and spent some time looking for ‘Scarycrows’ in Etal and also took a few pictures from the gorgeous roof terrace. We’ve had some beautiful autumn weather.

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My beautiful niece.x
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railway tracks – what doesn’t go with black wellies?!

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perfect wind timing on my circle skirt!

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You will see from the pictures that I completely don’t care that I look like a minion – we’ve had a lovely day! I feel the dress is a great way to wear something that feels like a skirt and a dress in one – I clearly love it!!

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The Rosie Dress

I gave you a sneak peek in to what I have been up to in this post and promised The Rosie Dress would be coming to you soon… so here it is.

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I’m very pleased with how this has turned out. It’s the perfect shape for me. I really love the colour and the pattern of the fabric too, which keeps it looking modern. I keep looking at it just because I’m so happy!! 😊

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This is another make that has allowed me to try some different techniques, it has rouching at the shoulder seam, under the bust and all round the top of the skirt. I played the rouching under the bust easy though as I need a bit more room, although I think maybe I could have taken it in a little more. I really enjoyed gathering the skirt part up too.

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As usual, I left out the facings and made my own bias binding out of the same fabric. I only just managed this though as I literally used every scrap of this fabric, I even had to create the waist band in pieces instead of on the fold but I don’t think you can tell because of the nature of the pattern.

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I used a red cotton to make a contrast binding for the arm holes as another cheat to make the fabric go further but I quite like it.

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I used three red buttons as decoration on the front middle seam; this was a triumph in itself because I never think to buy matching buttons!

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I then inserted the invisible zip, which I’m definitely improving on.

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See… invisible…

However, when I put my zip in, a strange wonky thing happened with my seams, I have no idea what happened there… but I think I’ve got away with it because of the fabric. Plus, I wasn’t about to undo it all because I don’t see how it was fixable even if I did.

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What on actual earth happened here??!

The hem was an easy peasy double fold hem and it was done. I’m so pleased with this, the pattern was super easy to use and I think it looks really modern and cool. I’m making the most of the weather whilst I can so here are my garden pictures…

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I’ve styled it with my trusty black belt, black tights and a black cardigan and I think this is probably how I will wear it.

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I also had to wear a black vest underneath, but this isn’t unusual for me with V-necks so I’m not too concerned but I will be trying to account for that next time.

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I’ll definitely try a sleeved version of this pattern, maybe in a block colour. I may even cut or grade a smaller size next time, as I think I’ve lost enough weight to warrant this now.

I’m wearing this to go to a concert ‘Night with Mike Sweeney’ tonight with my lovely hubby and in-laws so have a lovely evening everyone!

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