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!

 

The Overture Set

Following the successful make for her birthday, I wanted to make a dress for my sister for Christmas, she has a very different style from me but when I saw the Overture Set which came with Issue 20 of Simply Sewing Mag a few months a go, I knew that would be the one.

The Overture Set
picture from Simply Sewing Mag site

I bought this amazing silk feel fabric from the sale at Abakhan and I thought it would be perfect for this as the dress looks nice and floaty. I read through the instructions before I cut the pattern out and was very quickly overwhelmed, I had never done a collar before… I was in two minds, one said, try it or else you’ll never learn, the other said, you’ll never be able to do that. I went with the latter I’m afraid folks and decided to leave the collar out. I might have tried it if it hadn’t been for a gift but I want it to be lovely.

The fabric, whilst beautiful, was an absolute PAIN to sew. I haven’t done much work with slippery fabrics like this and what a nightmare! I had to use about a million pins and even then I couldn’t be sure that another piece of fabric was slipping in from somewhere… It also slipped off my desk constantly too.

It was my first time working with a yoke and that was even  more difficult because of the fabric. I don’t think I did this right because the seam allowance looked a mess… so I used a bit of bias binding to hem the seam allowance on the yoke. It looks quite neat now but I need to learn how to do this properly. I have since watched this video on how to sew a yoke by Sew Over It and I think I’ll be able to do this next time! I used it more successfully in this shirt for my brother.

I was tempted to also ignore the pockets but as I blatantly cast aside the collar, I felt I best try these at least. I did have to unpick two of them completely though because I lined the wrong notches up but I was determined by this point. The pattern comes with really good instructions on how to insert the pockets whilst maintaining the French seam, which was really useful to learn.My next challenge was the arm hole binding and the hem. I wanted a neat finish that would not look bulky or ruin the flow of the dress, this is really tricky on silky fabric so I used a black ribbon as I thought any other binding would be too restrictive. The neckline doesn’t sit as perfectly as I would like,  I maybe need to consider using facings next time.

I also used a thicker black ribbon to bind the hem, which is longer at the back than the front.  I thought it would make a neater finish and I was right because I do feel it is neat and quite modern looking.
Overall, it’s got a lovely shape,  thanks to the pleat in the back,  which is a great feature, and I was pleased with it. My sister loved it and says she can’t wait to wear it on her holidays, but for now I had her pose in front of Mum’s Christmas tree for me! (last of the Christmas pics now,  I promise!)

Pockets

The Reworked Olivia Dress

This dress is the Olivia Dress, another member of the Cotton and Chalk family for Simply Sewing magazine. It’s sister being The Rosie Dress. I was disappointed with this make for a few reasons, which you shall see throughout, but I think this was probably more down to my skills than the pattern.

s-l1600_kindlephoto-55710506

4 Metres Purple Large Paisley Dress fabric. 58" Wide. (End Of Roll)

So… I thought the dress looked really hippy-ish and I went for the first view, which is long and has 3/4 length sleeves. I had some purple paisley viscose which seemed to fit the bill nicely; turns out I was wrong…

There was something oddly satisfying about cutting out the big lengths of fabric needed for this. However, much less satisfying was the neckline, which nearly finished the relationship between me and my machine. The poor thing took some abuse on neckline sewing day, though clearly it’s my fault as I’m the human who was completely unable to work the facings out.

I stepped away from my machine for a walk with my Mum and her dog, Murphy, and felt much better about the whole facing situation. Not before my Mum got the ‘bad workmen blame their tools’ saying in though! I’m glad I did because I restarted and I’m much happier with it, I’ve even managed to pattern match the facing!

SAM_2664.JPG

Once I worked the neckline situation out, the rest of the construction was pretty easy. Check out my super neat, contrast elastic casing!

received_10153944905011200_kindlephoto-74235817

However, as promised, there was another problem… because I did have to insert elastic, it was hard to fit this to my shape along the way and the dress was too big in the end. Also, because the pattern is so busy it just felt too frumpy and unflattering, which just goes to show the importance of fabric choice.

received_10153944905131200
not impressed…

My husband gave me that look that suggested he was dreading me going out of the house in it and said I looked like Demis Roussos. If you are thinking you don’t know who that is, like I was, let me help you out…

demisgif04

Yep, a 1970’s Greek singer, who is apparently well-known for wearing over sized dress style garments! Charming… he is just so constructive in his criticism! Sadly, he did have a point.

received_10153944905236200
frumpsville

So I took it back to the machine after a month or so of blatantly ignoring it. I took the arms and sides in by an inch and took 9 inches off the length (I managed to keep a little bit of the original side slit, which I like as a feature). It’s not a big change but enough to completely change the look of this dress for the better and make it in to something far more wearable. What a winner!

sam_2663
much shorter side split, much whiter legs

I wore this with tights and my blue wrap cardigan to a gorgeous meal with my amazing hubby at The Mizen Head in Bamburgh. We went for a walk on the green by the castle, where you can hear the sea and the air is so fresh. It is quite literally my favourite place in the world.

received_10153973180931200

received_10153973180816200
Yes, I did eat all that! YUM!

received_10153973180321200received_10153973180231200

received_10153973180141200.jpeg

received_10153973179961200received_10153973179871200received_10153973179651200

received_10153973179631200Definitely a happy Friday for us in the most amazing place with some of our family.x

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

Sewstainability

A journey towards sustainable sewing

jess sews clothes

blogging my homemade wardrobe

Merrymaking Sewing

Adventures in learning to sew

Notes from the Sewing Room

Projects and thoughts from a little dining room in England

Petite Republic

five feet and under

craftandothercrazyplans

Trial and error-the best way to learn

The Zipper Foot

A beginners sewing journey, learning all the time along the way. Hoping to process into more complex patterns as time goes on.

Coastal Crochet

All things crochet inspired by coastal living...

Naomi Sews

All things sewing with Naomi

Adventures in unpicking with sewmyown

Developing my skills as a novice sewist and exploring my Dalek obsession

Redhead Thread

Adventures in sewing

Jolirose

Sharing my love of all things French and my obsessions with sewing and knitting

Sewistella

Sewing, Seaside living

the curious kiwi

Happily immersed in sewing nerdyness…

Sew Pretty in Pink

Andie's sewing & crafting adventures in Toronto, Canada

That's Sew Peachy

A little sewing blog by a little sewer...

Sewcialists

A Sewing Blog for Everyone

Sew in the Garden

When life gives you melons do an FBA.

Sew sleep deprived

Lesley blogging about her sewing projects

Emma and her Machine

Adventures in Sewing

The Renegade Seamstress

Refashions Beyond My Wildest Seams

Flowercat Designs

Sewing. Flowers. Cat.

Sewing instead

I would rather be...

Fox Hollies

Never underestimate the power of a woman with a sewing machine

Charlotte Sjöstrand

mes créations en français et en anglais- My creations in english and french

SewAndrew

here’s what I’m sewing...

Pocket for sweets

Musings on dressmaking

Wendy Ward

designer | writer | teacher | maker

not sew simple

one stitch at a time

swarm of chickadees

a sewing blog with a nonsense title

Zoe Sews

A blog about my sewing adventures

all my own work by ann

Sewing and textiles with Ann

Fa Sew La

My adventures in sewing a handmade wardrobe.

Doctor T Designs

Clothing, Costumes, and Crafts

craftysarahsews

Selfish sewing and creative adventures in Leicester

applebymakes

Stuff that our family has made

%d bloggers like this: