Vogue 8764 Floral Dress for White Tree Fabrics

Oh how I wish this dress had turned out better. The pattern, V8764, is for a 3/4 length sleeve dress with an a-line skirt, invisible back zipper, top-stitching and lovely little V detail at the neckline – I love the illustration on the envelope, it looks so elegant! Such a great looking dress for work, tea parties and trips to the shops don’t you think?

v8764 vogue tilda white tree fabrics dress

The fabric I used is a Tilda Martine cotton in blue/grey from White Tree Fabrics – you can find it here. (Don’t forget to enter the code ‘SEWSENSATIONAL’ at the checkout too for a hefty 20% off and free delivery!) It’s a lovely cotton fabric to sew with – very soft and flowy and doesn’t fray. I love the little ditsy floral print too, it’s very dainty and perfect for a tea dress like this. The dress also has a lining in the bodice and the skirt making it feel like a very luxurious garment. I’ve never sewn a proper lining before so it was great to learn how it’s done!

Now, here’s my problem with this pattern – whilst it’s full of loveliness, it’s also wayyyy too big for little people like me. I cut the pattern to the smallest size and, due to all the seams and lining and top-stitching, didn’t find myself with a lot of opportunity for fitting until it was too late! The length isn’t a problem to alter and the waist fits ok (perhaps adding some belt loops would solve this further!) but that neckline. I just cannot deal with that neckline! Maybe it’s because I’m quite petite, but it’s so wide on me and gapes horrendously at the front. It’s making me a bit sad because I do really like the dress and the fabric – if the top was more fitted/had a higher neck then I dare say it’d become one of my go-to dresses. I’m not sure I can edit it without re-cutting my pattern pieces now that I’ve attached the lining and zip and top-stitched around the neck. What do you reckon?

vogue v8764 tilda lawn dress

That’s not to say that this dress will turn out badly for everyone though – I did a quick online search and found some great examples of people who have done a much better job – take a look!

Blogger Network #8 – Wedding Flower Bunting

flower buntingOh gosh, it’s October, that means I’m getting married next month! Eek! I’m over the moon with excitement and nerves and all those emotions that come with a year of planning this one, significant November day. This month, therefore, I chose to incorporate my wedding planning into my Minerva Crafts Blogger Network post and have made some white rose bunting for our head table at the reception venue. Isn’t it just darling?

The pattern for the flowers is Simplicity 1601, though I only chose to make view L. The pattern comes with about 100 different flowers to make as well as a Christmas wreath, Christmas stocking, picture frame and wall-hanging – talk about value for money! The fabric I used is simply ivory polyester lining fabric, which is the cheapest of cheap, and then some dark green felt and yellow felt to make the leaves and centre, plus some little sparkly glass beads to represent the stamen in the middle of the flower.

Now, if I told you that this project involved fire, would you believe me?! To make the petals all life-like the pattern instructs you to cut out all the shapes, light a candle and then curl the edges of the fabric using the heat from the flame! Well, I’ve never had so much fun! Here are a few pictures of them being made:

flower buntingOnce all the petals are sufficiently curled it was simply a case of stitching them together, attaching the leaves and sewing on the glass beads to the centre. I chose to make my flowers into a string of bunting by sewing them onto a long length of ivory ribbon but I’m sure there are endless possibilities for what you could do with them! I quite fancy making some of the poinsettia-like flowers (view F) for Christmas next – they’d look great draped over a fireplace.

Christmas Reindeer Coco

tilly and the buttons christmas coco dressSorry, I used the ‘C’ word, but not without good reason! I made another Coco (yes, another one) but this time in super soft Scandi-reindeer fabric! I got this bottle green Christmas jersey from the Remnant House in Harrogate and, although it’s a little stretchier than normal Coco fabrics, it suits the pattern really well. The stretchiness kind of makes it hug your body… and it’s such a soft knit that it feels a little like you’re wearing pyjamas which, when it’s cold outside and you’re stuck at work in the winter, is absolutely perfect. It’s also been pointed out that this dress would suit my Icelandic December honeymoon down to the ground, so this dress is definitely a win in my books. (On a side note, do reindeer even live in Iceland?)

A lot of people love the Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress pattern and I’m definitely no stranger to it myself. I’ve already made a long sleeve Aztec Coco and a long sleeve striped Coco – so this time I decided to go for a cropped sleeve just to mix it up a little bit. Now that I’ve made the dress 3 times it’s become even more of a breeze to sew it together; I can literally make this dress in under 3 hours!

What do you think of my Christmas Coco? I heard rumour that Eleanor from Ellie-Lou is making one from the exact same fabric so keep an eye out for hers! It’s always good fun to see how other people interpret the same pattern and the same fabric but often get different results.

tilly and the buttons coco dress - with reindeer fabric!

(PS – apologies for the bad lighting/my-head-blending-into-the-sky that’s going on in these pics –  I need to educate my photographer in the balancing act…)

Three Little Kittens

buttonbag felt kitten basketHOW CUTE ARE THESE GUYS?! I made these little felt kittens last weekend when I had a free afternoon and was lacking in sewing motivation. I received the kit as a gift last year (it’s this Kitten Basket kit from Buttonbag) but I’ve only just got around to making them because I couldn’t face destroying the lovely packaging. They’re just too adorable for words so here are a few pictures to coo over instead!

felt kittens

Blogger Network #7 – Baroque Linen Megan Dress

Tilly and the Buttons Megan dressAnother dress and another Tilly and the Buttons sewing pattern – I need to shake things up a bit more I think! Anyhow, welcome to my September (September! Where did that time go?) Minerva Crafts Blogger Network post. This time I made the Megan dress from Love at First Stitch and, to be honest, it’s pretty great.

The pattern in the book is nice and easy to follow and features lots of tips and tricks explaining how to do all the stages if you’re a beginner or need a reminder. Whilst these tips and tricks can get a bit in the way if you don’t want the help, that’s pretty much the only negative point I have to say about it!

The fabric I used is a ‘baroque print’ linen from Minerva Crafts and I really love it. I saw the fabric on the Minerva Crafts website and absolutely had to have it – I chose the blue colourway but it also comes in red or black. My only negative point here is that linen can be a bit scratchy on your skin so, if you have the skills, I suggest making a lining for this dress out of something softer (you’ll have to self-draft this as the pattern doesn’t explain how to make a lining – I currently don’t have this ability so my dress remains unlined!)

The one deviation I did make from the pattern instructions however was to do the entire dress using French seams. Since learning how to do them on my Mathilde blouse I’ve gone a bit French seam crazy – I even did them on the inside of my Margot pyjamas the other week! Linen does fray quite a bit so having encased seams makes the dress much neater on the inside. If you’ve never learnt to do French seams I definitely recommend it – you’ll be just as addicted as I am. Try this handy guide from the Coletterie to get yourself started.

Tilly and the Buttons Megan dress in baroque linen

Since making the dress I’ve put it through the wash to soften it up a bit and, looking at the photos, I think I need to take the hem up a couple more inches to remove the ‘Little House of the Prairie’ look I’ve got going on! Does anyone know how I can stop the neckline at the shoulders being so stand-off-ish too? I don’t know whether it’s just because linen is a bit stiff, or because I’ve not cut it round enough, or not done my top stitching close enough to the edge…. any help would be appreciated! It doesn’t look so bad in the pics but up close there’s a good centimetre gap between my shoulder and the dress. Thanks!

Mint Seersucker Margot Pyjamas

margot pyjama trousers from love at first stitchCan you call a pair of pyjama bottoms a ‘dressmaking’ project? This project is the first garment in Tilly’s lovely ‘Love at First Stitch’ book and is designed to be an introduction to sewing your own clothes. The steps for sewing the trousers (or shorts) together are simple and littered with little how-to’s and picture diagrams of what should go where. As a now somewhat seasoned sewist, following this pattern was a doddle, perhaps only made difficult by having to weed out the actual instructions from all the ‘beginners sewing tips’!

I used a lovely minty green striped seersucker fabric from Minerva Crafts for my pyjamas – this was actually the only fabric I bought from the Meet Up back in June! It’s lovely and soft and doesn’t really need ironing, making it perfect pyjama material – especially if you’re a bit of a fidgeter or, as Tilly puts it, like to do pilates in your PJs!

seersucker margot pyjamas, tilly and the buttonsThe instructions say that you can make a matching waist-tie for your Margot pyjamas using the same fabic, but I decided to use a piece of contrasting pink ribbon. There’s something about mint green and bright pink that just seems to work quite well! I also went a bit off-piste and added some elastic into my waistband as I wasn’t convinced that the ribbon would hold out. I made the size 3 by the way and they’re quite roomy, even though the pattern measurements are (supposedly) precisely my size.

margot seersucker PJs from Love at First StitchI don’t think I’ve got much else to say about this pattern as it’s so basic – my Margots went pretty much from paper pattern to ready-to-wear in a couple of hours. Have you made the Margot PJs? How did you find it?

Blogger Network #6 – Liberty Print Summer Dress

simplicity new look 6263 dressIt’s August! It’s sunny! That means a summer dress must be made. For my August Minerva Crafts project I decided to make the Simplicity/New Look 6263 a-line dress. It has a nice floaty shape, no sleeves, a fancy round neck and a keyhole feature on the front – which sounds perfect for hot summer days.

Now, here’s my confession – I really fell out with this dress whilst I was making it. The fabric is absolutely lovely (Liberty don’t you know – it’s the same one I used for my Meet Up Party Dress but in a different colourway). The pattern is simple but challenging (that round neckline caused me a little bit of pain). So why don’t I love this dress?

There’s just something about this dress that just doesn’t feel or look right – I didn’t make the neckline taught enough, I made the top too wide, the shape is really unflattering on me… I’m really struggling to pull any positives from this make aside from the fab fabric! I mean, it looks good on the hanger… just not on me.

simplicity/ new look 6263 a-line dress in liberty print

I think this pattern, whilst lovely on the pattern envelope, is just all wrong. The keyhole looks quite good, I’m happy with the neatness of the curved seams, my bias binding round the armholes turned out ok. Even the length is right. But you can’t make awesome clothes every time you try, right guys? This one might just head to the ‘to-be-recycled’ pile… :(

Now, show me your sewing fails! I can’t be the only one who’s made something that looks great on paper but terrible in real life…