Wow, I can’t quite believe that I finished this one! You know when you spot that perfect dress pattern and know instantly it’s one you just have to make? I found the Cynthia Rowley 8086 dress from Simplicity online a few months ago now and I’ve been quietly working at it every weekend since. This dress isn’t for the faint-hearted and will challenge your spatial awareness skills like no other – but it’s so worth it.
The dress is almost like two dresses in one: it has a high neck/low back dress underneath and then a high neck/open back overlay over the top. The skirt is full and pleated, there’s a zipper down the centre back and a button loop at the neck. It also has a bodice lining and an overlay lining. (The fabric is a woven brocade from Minerva Crafts, by the way) Can you see why this project took me forever?
That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it though – in fact, I loved that I could do a little bit each weekend and could see it slowly coming together on its coat-hanger. I spend quite a lot of time whipping up projects over the course of a weekend so it was nice to take a bit more time and care when making this dress! However, I did also run into a few problems… the pattern instructions are largely wonderfully written (as is often the case with Simplicity) but I had so much trouble when it came to attaching the overlay to the bodice. The instructions for this part were so unclear and it seemed as if steps had been missed out – which is a nightmare when this dress is already quite complicated. After a bit of Googling I found that other people also had the same issue (see Pattern Review for more!).
I also had trouble with the fit around my back and had to take it in and out a few times before I got it to sit right and not gape. This resulted in my back zip being massively off-centre, by which time it was too late to do anything about it! I think I’ve got away with it though – I wore this dress to my friend’s birthday party last weekend and all I got were lovely compliments. I think us sewists are too hard on ourselves sometimes: no one else ever spots the wonky bits that we berate ourselves for!
Despite the few hiccups, I got there in the end. There was a bit of unpicking and trying again but I don’t mind that so much – how else am I going to learn new things? Trial and error is often your friend when it comes to dressmaking! And I really love my finished dress too. I’ve got a couple of weddings coming up in September so I’ll probably wear it again to one of those – I think this dress will become a nice staple in my party dress wardrobe. What do you think?
I definitely recommend this pattern for the more adventurous intermediate/advanced seamstress. I’m super proud of my finished dress and I’m really pleased with how it turned out, especially because at one point I wasn’t sure it was ever going to work! Has this ever happened to you before? I think my cat Barnaby approves too – he loves being in my blog photos these days, perhaps I should get him to do my modelling in future.
If you’re a family member, friend or work colleague then look away now! (Although luckily for you there are no photos of me modeling in this post…) Yes, that’s right, I’ve made my first pair of knickers!
Making your own lingerie is a big thing in the sewing world right now – it seems there’s a blog post cropping up almost every other day from some talented seamstress who’s gone back to basics and whipped up their own undergarments. Maddie from Madalynne is an obvious inspiration, but they also turned their hands to bras and slips on this year’s Great British Sewing Bee which has perhaps caused this upsurge of interest.
I’ve never really considered making my own underwear as, at first thought, it sounds quite complicated and fiddly. But then I spotted the Sew Over It Knicker Kit on the White Tree Fabrics website and my curiosity got the better of me! The Sew Over It knicker kit is a fantastic introduction to making your own underwear – inside the cute little box you get everything that you need to make a pair including pretty cotton fabric, a reel of thread, a length of elastic, the reusable sewing pattern and the instructions. In my box I got a lovely purple floral fabric which I’m very pleased with (each box is different so the fabric you get is random – which I love!).
PS – use my code SEWSENSATIONAL when you checkout at White Tree Fabrics for 20% off and free shipping!
The instructions included in the kit are well-written and easy to follow. I finished my garment in an hour, from cutting out the 3 pattern pieces to stitching the fabric together and adding the elastic. There’s the option to embellish with ribbons or bows but I like the simplicity of mine without the added extras. I think what I enjoyed most about this project was the fact that you get everything you need all in one box – there’s no need to go out and buy extras, it’s all right there ready for you to get going.
And that’s really all there is to it! I really recommend this kit if you’re new to lingerie making or just want a quick sewing project that’s a little out of the ordinary. I had good fun making them and will definitely be reusing my pattern again! What do you think? Have you ever made your own knickers?!
Well who doesn’t want an elephant print shirt? Click the link below to see more of my August Minerva Blogger Network post! It features this elephant print cotton and the New Look 6407 shirt pattern (and my kitten, Barnaby)…
Click here to read about my make!
Remember the jersey maxi dress I made for my holiday in Italy last month? Well, it’s been featured in July’s edition of Love Sewing magazine! Grab a copy of issue 29 of Love Sewing and turn to page 14 to see me and my dress in print. Here’s a sneaky peek of it below (and also of the amazing free pattern that you get this month!). Thanks to Minerva Crafts for the fabric, Simplicity for making the 1804 dress pattern and Love Sewing for the feature🙂
Hey guys, just a quick photo post for you today! I’ve made the Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress pattern so many times that there’s not much left to say about it except I LOVE IT. This is the pattern of dreams for me. So much so, I actually think I can make this dress with my eyes closed!
I always cut the size 2 and it fits me perfectly, aside from having to take a couple of inches off the sleeve length. I finished making this one in about an hour yesterday afternoon and was out and about wearing it on the windy Yorkshire Coast today. Hope you like it!
(Oh by the way, the fabric is the striped ponte roma jersey in burgundy/white. It’s so perfect for the Coco dress and super comfortable to wear. Go buy it.)
Happy June everyone! For my Minerva Crafts Blogger Network post this month I’ve got something a bit different, a bit special and a bit dramatic: a floor-length jersey maxi dress! I made this dress especially to take on holiday to Italy with me – here I am modelling it outside the Duomo di Firenze (Florence) on a rather warm evening a fortnight ago.
I’ve never made anything that uses this much material before so it was a good learning curve for me and definitely challenged the proportions of my sewing (dining) table. The fabric I used is this great floral jersey with big swirly flowers all over it. It’s a lovely soft jersey and drapes over the body really well, although it’s pretty heavy when you’ve got this much of it!
The pattern is Simplicity 1804 but you could use any maxi dress pattern for it – like the New Look 6774, that’s a nice one with straps.
Want to read more about how I got on and see more photos of me being stylish outside the Cattedrale? Click here to see the Minerva Crafts blog!
Oh I do love a good Tilly and the Buttons pattern! Especially for the Spring weather. This is my latest Bettine dress that I made for my May Minerva Crafts Blogger Network post, sewed up in a wonderful blue cotton lawn which makes it lovely and light and great for the warmer weather. I’ve made the Bettine dress once before – see that here – and did the version with pockets. This time I tried the version with tab sleeves and used these beautiful metal flower buttons to finish them off. This pattern makes a great dress and I wear it all the time!
Click here to go to the Minerva Crafts website and see more of my make!