It’s been a little while since I made this dress but it has a springy palette so provided the weather improves, it should get some wear soon!
This dress is made entirely in Liberty Tana lawn. The main fabric is Tuesday Trees, which was designed by Lauren Child (the creator of Charlie and Lola). It’s a pretty print with a hint of colour, just enough to complement the patchwork panel.
The pattern is the Painted Portrait Dress by Anna Maria Horner. I purchased both the pattern and fabric quite a few years ago and it is wonderful to actually see them made up into something wearable finally.
I used a variety of prints to make up the panel, which was actually very easy to sew. I found it a bit tricky to attach the side panels to the main bodice and had to reduce a bit of the fullness to get it to fit in. The fitting is still fine, I made a size Small.
My only regret is not making the sleeves full length, as it would be much more practical for me in the summer. I even considered remaking the sleeves but didn’t want to unpick all my stitching and overlocking. This may be an option still if it annoys me enough! But overall I’m very happy with the style and fabric combination, it’s something that would catch my eye if I saw it in the shops and it is comfortable and light to wear (once the weather cheers up!)
I managed to send off both my giveaway packages this week, thanks to everyone who took part on Instagram. I made this patchwork pouch out of a stack of my favourite Anna Maria Horner prints using the In Color Order Lined Drawstring Bag tutorial . It took a bit of time as I haven’t done any patchwork in a long time but I really enjoyed the process and love the result.
I used a pink and red striped Tula Pink print for the top of the bag which I think complements the colours nicely. I hope its new owner enjoys using it, and I’m thinking of making another one for myself.
I’ve been meaning to share this top for a little while, its the Waterfall Raglan by Chalk and Notch patterns. I made both the top and dress versions for my daughter.
I used a beautiful Art Gallery Fabrics knit for this. The fabric is from the Fleet and Flourish collection by Maureen Cracknell and is called Swifting Flora Fond.
I cut a size 5 for my daughter and it fits her well with some room to grow (she is just over 4 but quite tall).
The loose style of the top looks great over trousers. She doesn’t have many tops at the moment so I am planning to make a few more using this pattern.
I made the dress using a jersey which is overlaid with a cream corded lace which I bought from Simply Fabrics in Brixton.
At first I thought the fabric would be fine to use as it has a jersey base but when I did the stretch test I found that it only had about 20% stretch due to the lace which is bonded on to the jersey. When I initially sewed the sleeves they were a bit tight so I unpicked and sewed them again using a 1/4 inch seam instead, which gave a bit of extra room.
I also used a thinner fabric to make the facing for the neckline and turned that inwards which made the neckhole a bit bigger.
It’s a great dress for twirling in and the fabric makes it special. I also bought some velvet as I have seen some beautiful velvet versions online too.
A quick post about my daughter’s birthday dress! I’ve been making quicker than I can blog recently so I’m going to post a few projects with less waffle. This is made using the Fleur and Dot Peter Pan Collar dress pattern (it’s not quite finished in the above photo!).
I bought this gorgeous fabric as soon as it came out last year. It’s from the Lavish fabric range by Katarina Roccella. It also comes in a beautiful white and pink colourway. I made a small change to the finishing of the cuffs as I wasn’t happy with having the overlocked edge showing, so I turned the edges over twice for a neater edge instead.
I cut a size 5 and my daughter just turned 4. She is tall for her age so although it’s a little bit big now I’m happy she’ll get some decent wear out of it. The pattern was straightforward with only a few pieces to cut (bodice, collar, sleeves). The measurements were provided for the skirt. I was a bit unhappy about the very small age ranges provided for a not inexpensive pattern. This was a preschool pattern which came with sizes 4,5 and 6. Infant size and Youth are available separately. I don’t plan to repurchase the Youth size but will probably look for a similar pattern with a wider age range.
I finally bought a tool for adding the popper fasteners which is a huge improvement to hammering them in with the little plastic tool that’s provided. I did put the buttons in the wrong way round at first though! Luckily my husband was on hand to get them out but I don’t recommend doing this!
Altogether it was a fairly quick sew. I learned a few new skills and am less intimidated by press studs!
The Moneta Party’s started! I can share my lovely new dress with you all.I was in two minds whether to join in as I’m supposed to be keeping my pattern and fabric stash under control and I already have the Out and About Dress pattern which is very similar. However the Instagram posts (and amazing prizes) tempted me in. I already had the fabric which is an Observer knit by Art Gallery Fabrics.
I wore it to work this morning with this Great Plains waterfall jacket and it was really comfortable. I love the expression ‘Secret Pyjamas’, that’s exactly how it felt to wear! The weather was still a bit cold for my liking but it will be perfect in a couple of months for a dress like this.
I’m not very fond of having my picture taken so you’ll have to excuse the awkward poses!
I love the length of the dress, as I’m quite short (5’2″) it’s hard to find dresses the correct length and I spent most of my teenage years in clothes that dragged on the ground. I’m still lazy about hemming shop bought clothes but I make sure I hem my sewing to the correct length for me.
I made some modifications to the original pattern. I lengthened the sleeves and skirt to full length using the Out and About dress sleeve as a guide. I overestimated the length of the skirt and had to cut some off when I hemmed it.
I also gathered the skirt and sewed it to the bodice front and did the same with the back pieces before joining the sides. This is because I hate the feeling of elastic digging into my waist, and I didn’t have any clear elastic at home. I might try this technique if I make the dress again though.
I made a size small but graded the waist to a medium. I was happy with the fitting although the neckline is fairly wide. It does look beautiful and is a bit different to dresses I already have.
This was my first time using a twin needle and I was surprised to find it was actually quite easy! I was a bit sceptical about finishing the neckline without a facing but am really happy with the result.
I will probably make another one of these soon but will try a shorter length as the maxi length is hard to manage when sewing. Now I’m off to look at all the beautiful Monetas!
This shift dress has been in my wardrobe for a while now. I bought the fabric and pattern at the Knitting and Stitch Show in October. There was a dress on display in another print and it looked like a straightforward project. Another friend on Instagram also posted about her plans to sew the same dress so we ended up having a mini-sewalong.
She did say that her first attempt was quite small so I erred on the side of caution and used a smaller seam allowance than stated. It’s actually a bit loose now but I don’t mind that too much.
I improvised a loop with elastic and used a button instead of a hook and eye fastening. I find them a bit fiddly when I can’t see the fastening easily.
The fabric is a beautiful navy floral crepe which washes perfectly. The colours were less bright when wet but got brighter again once the fabric dried, to my relief. I couldn’t find it on the website so it may have sold out, but they have a great selection of dressmaking fabric available.
I usually throw the dress on with navy smart trousers for work or jeans on my days off.
It also goes well with my Driftless cardigan. It’s a versatile and comfy dress and great for showing off patterned fabrics which don’t need a lot of design details.
Next I’m working on my dress for the Moneta Party. There’s still time to join in if you haven’t already!
I bought a few Grainline Studio patterns in the Black Friday sale – the Scout Tee, Lark Tee and Driftless cardigan. I have been planning a handmade wardrobe for a while and want to get ahead so I can join in with Me Made May later in the year. I have a few dresses and tops now but not that many basic every day tops. I also prefer to wear fine gauge cardigans and have realised that I’m not really going to be able to knit my own ones so why not try sewing them instead?
This Scout Tee is made with Observer fabric in Speck Stardust Metallic print. I made a size 4, grading the waist to a size 6. I looked at the garment measurements afterwards and realised that the grading was probably not necessary as there is a lot of ease in the pattern anyway.
I’ve tried to move away from making clothes in quilting cotton as it feels quite stiff and crisp even after washing, but this print was so pretty with the metallic splashes that I decided to make an exception. It feels quite comfortable on, although I usually wear a thin layer underneath.
This top is made with an Indonesian lawn I bought on holiday in Dubai. The fabric is very soft and light. It says Liberty on the selvedge. Although it does not appear to be genuine, the fabric is comparable to tana lawn.
I was planning to make this a toile but I love the print now I’ve made it up and have worn it a few times already. This weight is ideal for the pattern as it drapes well and is comfortable.
Finally, this is my Driftless cardigan. This pattern was more of a challenge, with 11 pieces to cut out. Unfortunately I forgot to cut out the lower hem bands and threw the remaining fabric away before I realised, so improvised by slip stitching the hem. It is not really noticeable and gives a reasonably neat finish.
The fabric is a featherweight jersey from Fabworks which has now sold out. It was a bit slippery so a challenge to cut out, but easier than expected to sew. I am planning another in their amazing felted wool jersey. The teal has sold out but there is some navy and black left if you’re quick.
I’ve got a few more projects ready to blog about so am looking forward to sharing those with you as well! In the meantime, I am also planning for Edinburgh Yarn Festival, my first visit there and first trip away on my own since I can remember!
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Despite a nasty bout of flu, I’ve had a good start to the year. I signed up to the Makelight ‘Beautify your Instagram’ course on impulse, with the idea of improving my photos and connecting with other makers. I didn’t have any real expectations otherwise, but have noticed a huge improvement in the quality of my images, because I’m thinking so much more about my lighting, composition and colours. I have always been drawn to bright colours, (think Rice Denmark ) but this hasn’t always come across in my photos, as I would not pay much attention to lighting and the background or composition. I found the Insights report provided very useful in focussing my attention on choosing colours I love. This can be challenging, as I do enjoy being spontaneous on social media and having to think about lighting for example, means that I can’t just post snaps of what I’m making at night! Being patient has its rewards though, as I’m really pleased with how my photography is improving.
One thing that has really surprised me is that I have been able to use objects I already have at home as props. I had always thought I’d need to go out and buy lots of new things for this purpose, but it turns out that I have plenty of bright and pretty things to use already. I also like having glimpses of work in progress in some of my pictures. I have also got to ‘meet’ many other people on the course, some of whom are very inspiring. Emily and Stef have created a friendly and eclectic community of businesses and makers and I was amazed to find myself in a Facebook group of 300+ members! The Live Q&A sessions were extremely valuable as Emily answered individual questions on all kinds of issues – branding, lighting, equipment, styling, sojmetimes for nearly two hours. The amount of time given was much more generous than I had expected, and the Instagram feedback session (where individual feeds were reviewed) was particularly helpful, even though I wasn’t lucky enough to have been chosen.
Having been quite busy in the month with work and family commitments, I wasn’t able to go through every lesson or Live Q&A, so I’m very glad to be able to access those and the workbooks after the course finished. I’m sure I will be referring back to the lessons and continuing to build on the skills I’ve learned. The main benefit to me is that it has reawakened my love of photography and finding beauty in things around me – this is something I took great pleasure in a few years ago but had put aside for a while. I would really recommend this course to anyone who wants to develop their social media in a meaningful and enjoyable way.
The Makelight ‘Photography for Makers’ Course is due to start shortly or you can try the taster course for free. Follow me on Instagram here .
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