Klum House Portsmith Tote

Klum House Portsmith Tote

Sewing bags is another of those things that I wouldn't have tried if it wasn't for the #sewmystyle2018 project. Normally I'm pretty much focused on dressmaking and I'm also not keen on the idea of the kind of hardware that it might entail. As it turns out, careful sourcing of supplies makes a big difference, and helped to make this a quicker make than I anticipated. With Christmas coming up soon I'm now also thinking that these can be an excellent idea for handmade gifts as they suit personal style much more easily than garments would.

Klum House Portsmith Tote

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Nina Lee Mayfair Dress



This is one of my top makes from this summer - it was quick and easy to wear in that glorious weather we had. I used the Nina Lee Mayfair Dress pattern and fabric from Minerva Crafts as part of the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network. All the details of fabric and fitting are over on their blog (link here). Since I've made mine I've seen quite a few glamorous maxi versions that I'm using as inspiration for winter evening wear, so don't be surprised if you see another one making an appearance over here!

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Chalk and Notch Fringe Dress for #sewmystyle2018

Chalk and Notch Fringe Dress Pattern review for #sewmystyle2018

I'm leading this month's sewmystyle2018 pattern, the Fringe Dress and Blouse from Chalk and Notch. I jumped forward back at the start of the year for this pattern because I completely fell in love with the relaxed yet feminine lines and wanted to make all the versions!!!!! You can choose frm a blouse or dress, with two different bodice and sleeve options. I made this rayon version at the start of the summer and have loved wearing it throughout the season as it's so comfortable......and has pockets ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Craftsy class review: My First Toe-Up Socks with Susan B. Anderson


Craftsy class review: My First Toe-Up Socks with Susan B. Anderson

After embarking on my first knitting project using a We Are Knitters kit, and falling down the rabbit hole of knitting podcasts, I decided that the next thing that I really wanted to knit was a pair of socks. I know they aren't beginner level, but everyone I watched seem to enjoy making them. Given that these are project number 2 in my knitting journey, I looked into using an online class to hold my hand. I found them very useful whilst learning to sew (there's a load of reviews under the Learn to Sew tab if you're interested) and I'm so glad I used one for these socks. They do have mistakes but they turned out better than I was expecting for my first try! If you too are new to sock knitting, have a read to find out why this is a great way to get started.
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Ideas for sewing the Chalk and Notch Fringe dress for #sewmystyle2018

I really have been waiting since the #sewmystyle2018 schedule was launched for this! I love how elegant and easy to wear this pattern looks. There are multiple variations already included in the pattern which gives a lot of design options to play with:

Ideas for sewing the Chalk and Notch Fringe dress for #sewmystyle2018

The Fringe pattern is a woven dress and blouse with two views. View A has a button up front, elbow sleeve and sleeve tab. View B has a pull over, notched front with a cuff. Both views include a blouse length, optional dress pockets, optional front or back waist tie and a shaped hem, gathered skirt. The sleeve/cuffs are interchangeable for both views.

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Hey June Halifax Hoodie

Hey June Halifax Hoodie pattern review

It's #sewmystyle2018 reveal day! I loved making the Halifax Hoodie by Hey June...it was so quick and straightforward! The pattern comes with so many options and variations though I went with the simplest version you could possibly make and definitely have a new wardrobe staple ready for Autumn.
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We Are Knitters kit review from a beginner knitter

We Are Knitters kit review from a beginner knitter

A deviation from my sewing obsession to discuss a different kind of making (apologies to dedicated seamstresses if you were hoping for something more fabric related.) We Are Knitters send out kits with everything you need to create something knitted from their very large range of patterns. They supplement their instructions with videos on YouTube, and have enough sales not to have to wait too long for a bargain. I have never even held knitting needles before diving into this so if you are a beginner too, this is what it's really like!

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Deer and Doe Chataigne Shorts in stretch denim

Deer and Doe Chataigne Shorts in stretch denim

Words cannot express how much I love these shorts...this is a perfect pattern!!!
Seriously, perfect fit straight out of the packet. Easy, comfortable....what else could you ask for?

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Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress in Lisa Comfort Fabric

Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress in Lisa Comfort Fabric

Another printed pattern that has been in my stash for about three years! The design features on this are gorgeous - gathered shoulders, the waist pleats, the notched collar. It takes a lot of vintage features and makes them easy to wear without looking like you are playing dress up. I have had fabrics earmarked for this that have come and gone, but it was obtaining 2m of Lisa Comfort's new fabric that gave me a push in the end. Inspired by her version, I now have a perfect summer dress!
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The perfect Wedding Guest Dress - Sew Over It Eve

The perfect Wedding Guest Dress - Sew Over It Eve Dress

It seems like I've been making a lot of Sew Over It patterns recently. In this case it's because I needed a pattern I could rely on to be flattering and practical as well. This summer we have had a Christening already and have two weddings to go to as well. After my first Sew Over It Eve dress, I knew a smart fabric choice and couple of tweaks would give me something to depend on for these upcoming celebrations. I love the feminine look of the gathered shoulders and floaty sleeves. Being a wrap dress there's a little bit of flexibility with fit over the next few months too!
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Blank Slate Patterns Forsythe Trousers

Blank Slate Patterns Forsythe Trousers

One of the reasons I signed up to the #sewmystyle2018 project was that I wanted to push my style comfort zones. Some of the patterns on the schedule are not what I would have picked, but have ended up being my favourites and worn a lot. This month there are two patterns - the True Bias Lander Pants and the Blank Slate Patterns Forsythe Trousers. As much as I know the community love the Landers, I really don't think they are my style, and out of the two patterns, came to see the benefits of the secret pyjamas that could be achieved with the Forsythes.
That is exactly what they are...secret pyjamas!

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Tilly and The Buttons Mathilde Blouse in Liberty Silk

Tilly and The Buttons Mathilde Blouse in Liberty Silk

This is one of the first patterns I ever bought....I even took it along to the Knitting and Stitching show to get Tilly to sign it! Somehow though it's taken me three years to make it - perhaps I needed confidence in making the adjustments that would suit my style, or that I needed to find the right fabric. In the end I went all out, because this one is in a Liberty silk that I adore. Mathilde is a loose fitting blouse, with a yoke, pleated front, button up back and billowy sleeves. The dexterity required for a button up back is beyond my capabilities, so I altered mine to feature no closures.
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Sew Over It Penny Dress

Sew Over It Penny Dress



Sew Over It are releasing their Penny dress as a printed pattern, due to its popularity. I can understand why, as this is one of my most worn patterns – it’s simple, comfortable and elegant…. I keep wanting to add more to my wardrobe and have an eye out for the perfect fabrics for this.
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Reflections on #sewmystyle2018

I can’t believe that we have reached the halfway point for #sewmystyle2018! I have loved being a part of this project so far this year – seeing so many makers and their takes on each pattern has been really inspiring. As it’s the halfway point, I’ve been thinking about the past 6 months and those coming ahead….

By Hand London Rumana Coat - knee length version

February was possibly my favourite month so far. I loved getting to grips with the Rumana coat, and found our online community to be super helpful for this. This could be the one item I’m proudest of so far in my dressmaking journey. I also managed to make the Estelle jacket too (how was I so productive!) and am glad to have such a quick and easy pattern on hand that I can pair with lots of different outfits. My ivory cropped version is already getting a lot of wear, and I like knowing that if I need another one it’s easy to manage.

Style Arc Estelle Ponte Jacket pattern review

I have had a few misses too - my Sunny dress was far too short, and I’ve converted it to a top now. I had such beautiful fabric I felt quite disappointed. I also never managed a blog post about my Marigold either – my version turned out well and is perfect for holidays but I couldn’t manage any decent photos (it looks better in real life!) so left this out. I know none of you mind, but I had hoped to post about each make in the schedule as part of the journey (who knows, maybe a belated post may arrive sometime).



I was really excited about having a surprise release on the schedule and enjoyed being able to make the Mysosotis as soon as it came out. However, there are a number of features that are quite similar to other patterns in the line-up. I also knew that I needed to start making clothes that could fit into my every day wear more easily so I had to push my creativity to think of other ways to make and style this pattern...hence the 10 hack ideas! Sometimes things turn out for the best – I love my final version!



So far I’ve also enjoyed discovering new designers as well as new patterns. I think that this project has helped me to move out of a comfort zone and learn new skills that I wouldn’t otherwise have done. At times I’ve looked at patterns and thought that if they weren’t in the schedule, I would have passed on them. There aren’t any that I’ve thought were a waste of time though because I’ve made them all work for my style and learned new things.

Coming up there is still a lot of making to do! I’m most excited about the Halifax hoodie, as I know that I will wear this a lot in the winter. We still have another surprise from Evie La Luve coming up as well so I’m interested to find out about that, though haven’t made this type of pattern before so a little apprehensive. Similarly I haven’t made a bag before so the Totes will be a new experience. I know how popular the Lander Pants are so getting to these is going to be fun!

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Helen's Closet Suki Kimono for #sewmystyle2018

Helen's Closet Suki Kimono for #sewmystyle2018

The Suki Kimono by Helen’s Closet is such a good pattern for creating staple wardrobe items. There is a lot of versatility within this pattern, and I have loved seeing the different versions being created this month as part of #sewmystyle2018. This is a pattern that I really enjoyed to sew – it isn’t too challenging but does have a number of features such as the waist ties and neckband that are unusual and make this handmade robe look different to a high street version.
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Sew Over it Pussy Bow Blouse - take 2



If it isn't obvious by now that I am a Sew Over It fan girl, then I'll give you a head's up - I love their patterns. I hardly ever return to patterns because I'm usually too eager to make the next thing on my wishlist, but theirs are the ones that I do return to. My first Pussy Bow Blouse is a staple item in my work wardrobe. It has lasted a good three years, and gets the toughest of wears, but is starting to show signs of the toils I put it through, so I made another one. I didn't learn from the first one though, which is a shame! PS - worn here with my Ginger Jeans.
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Papercut Patterns Adrift Dress

Papercut Patterns Adrift Dress pattern review

The Adrift dress is part of Papercut Pattern’s nautically inspired ‘Ahoy!’ collection. It features a wrap skirt with gentle ruffles at the sleeves and hem .... after copious watching of the Royal Wedding last month I'm fairly certain that ruffles are a trend that is here to stay. I love the styling of Papercut Patterns and enjoy wearing this dress because it’s so comfortable yet still looks elegant.
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The dress I'll never wear but loved making

ivory chiffon dress

I made this dress almost two years ago, more as an idea of something I wanted to sew, rather than for a specific purpose. If I was looking to sew my own wedding dress, or to sew bridesmaids dresses, it probably would've been a smash. As it is, I still haven't found the right occasion to wear it so it remains a work of love rather than practicality. If I had chosen black rather than ivory, it probably would be a perfect evening dress that would be worn a lot (if I could find similar trims), but in any case, I really did enjoy making this so have included it here for you...
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Deer and Doe Myosotis blouse hack


Deer and Doe Myosotis blouse hack and pattern review

Having eagerly awaited this pattern since the #sewmystyle2018 schedule was released, I surprised myself by being a bit conflicted on what version to make. I adore the statement sleeves and ruffles with their boho chic feel, but can see that the practicality of version 2 with its plain sleeves and skirt would make it more wearable on an everyday basis. Since doing the #wardrobebuilder project last year I also am a little more considered in my makes as I found that what I enjoyed making isn't always what I ended up wearing a lot, which is what led me to this....a Myosotis blouse. This way I get to keep some of my favourite features and make something that I know I will be able to wear a lot.
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10 design hack ideas for the Deer and Doe Myosotis dress



We finally have the new Deer and Doe Myosotis dress pattern released for #sewmystyle2018! It's a loose fitting dress with some gorgeous feminine features, but I know you all love a hack that means you can get more versions out of your pattern. Here are just a few ideas if you are stuck for inspiration....do leave your suggestions in the comments too!
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Deer and Doe Myosotis Fabric Inspiration

Deer and Doe Myosotis Fabric Inspiration

I am beyond excited for this month's #sewmystyle2018 pattern. It's a brand new release from Deer and Doe, who I love, and we've been waiting all year to find out what it is. The pattern is going to be released tomorrow, so I'm still going to be vague on details, but I can tell you which fabrics I've picked from this month's sponsors if you want to start looking and taking advantage of your exclusive discount.

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Closet Case Patterns Morgan Boyfriend Jeans

Closet Case Patterns Morgan Boyfriend Jeans sewing pattern reviewLast month was 'No Fear New Jeans' month from Closet Case Patterns which meant that there were some great discounts to be had. I happened to have my pattern ready and waiting, but it did spur me on to getting on with these jeans, and getting over my fear of contrasting topstitching. You can see I've been wearing them a lot already from the photographs - they are so handy for casual wear!
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Closet Case Patterns Kalle Shirt

Closet Case Patterns Kalle Shirt pattern review for #sewmystyle2018

March's #sewmystyle2018 pattern is the Kalle shirt and shirt dress from Closet Case Patterns. I have to say I was really looking forward to this because I love their designs and know that there is always a lot of help and tutorials to match in case I get stuck. Although it was freezing at the start of March, I made a warm weather version, thinking of having something cool and casual for the summer. I'll also put it out there at the start that I'm really proud of how far my topstitching skills have come on - it's one of my favourite features on this make!

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Style Arc Estelle Ponte Jacket

Style Arc Estelle Ponte Jacket pattern review

Okay, so I didn't quite get this up in time for February's #sewmystyle2018 reveal, but I don't think it matters if we aren't all 100% on schedule. I started the month with firm Rumana plans, and after seeing all of your Estelles, realised that there was an option for this pattern for me that would fit into my wardrobe needs. It seems both of my projects were about shortening significantly from the original, but that's what suits me!

Fabric

This is an easy one...the clue's in the title of the pattern!  I love how simple that makes it to pick a fabric for the Estelle. That said, there is a huge variety of ponte available! I went with a straightforward ivory from Minerva Crafts for £13.99 a metre. I only ordered one metre, knowing that I was going to shorten it considerably and I just got the pattern out of it. It's soft and comfortable to wear, and is easy enough to sew with. I used my regular sewing machine on this because I knew that the back neck needed it and getting out two machines would slow me down. This pattern has raw edges at the front and bottom, so a rotary cutter and ruler is essential to getting a good finish here.


Pattern and Instructions

The pattern is a simple waterfall jacket with a shawl collar. There are only three pattern pieces to work with and it really is a quick sew. When you order Style Arc patterns you don't get a pdf with lots of sizes on it - you have to look up their measurements and order the size you require. You get sent this size and one either side, but not the whole range. Personally, I like to have the whole range - it's nice to be able to make things for other people, and though it isn't an issue with this pattern, some makers need to grade across a few sizes when making dresses so I'm not sure how easily they would be able to do this.

The instructions are brief. They are quite simply a list of steps, and there are some accompanying illustrations, but these aren't matched to the instructions so there's a bit of detective work if you aren't an experienced sewer. I had a look on Style Arc's site for some extra help, and there is a bit more there, but I still found the shoulder pivot tricky. I also wasn't clear which side of the back neck would end up on show once the jacket was being worn so am not entirely happy with how this looks now.

This pattern took about three hours to make in total - the seams don't need to be finished and it features raw edges, all due to the handy non-fraying nature of ponte. This does mean that accurate and neat cutting is crucial, but it really is a speedy make.

Style Arc Estelle Ponte Jacket pattern review

Alterations

I altered the length of mine quite a lot. I measured from the back neck to where I wanted it to finish on me and used that as a guide to establish how much I needed to remove from the back, then compared this with a measurement from the front shoulder. I used pretty much the same technique as for the Rumana coat to keep the shape of the bottom, but this was a lot easier because there is no hem to factor into the calculations. I will admit that there was a fair bit of estimation in this one, but I wasn't too fussed about if there was a one inch deviation either way on the finished length from what I intended. As it was it turned out exactly as I wanted it. Shortening to this length does mean that the pockets are a no go though.

I also went with a turned up sleeve (just folded up and secured with a small stitch at each side). The sleeves on the pattern as made are a little too gapey for my style. I could taper them from the elbow to the wrist, but liked the turned up look better in the end.

Thoughts

What I like about this pattern - is how quick it is to make. If you need a little cover up or blazer to go with an outfit, you could easily put this together in a matching material with little hassle.
What I'm not sure about with this pattern - is the instructions. A beginner might struggle, and there were some parts that could have been clearer. I'd also prefer to get all the sizes in one download too.
Would I make it again? I really think I will. It's very flattering, and can be paired easily with lots of outfits.
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What I learned at the Knitting and Stitching Show

Last weekend the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show took place at Olympia in London. This was the first time I had been, and many of you would have seen a discount for tickets here on the blog (as well as giveaways on social media too!). Instead of a 'review' I thought it might be more helpful for you to have my thoughts on what I learned there instead!

What I learned at the Knitting and Stitching Show
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Apps to help you with your sewing

Sewing apps

Something slightly different this week with a guest post all about apps you can use for sewing. I admit I didn't know there was much out there for this so pleasantly surprised to see what Isaac has for us! *spoiler...I'm an avid user of number 5*

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Lunch on the Orient Express


Have you ever wondered what it is like on the Orient Express? Why people make a fuss about it? or have you considered booking but wanted to know a bit more detail before committing? I tried looking for detailed information before I booked for a lunch experience, and couldn't find what I needed. Hopefully if you are in the same position this might be of use to you (niche market I know, but someone has to put it out there!)
This is definitely one that should be added to the bucket list..........

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By Hand London Rumana Coat - knee length version


By Hand London Rumana Coat - knee length version

Ever since Elisalex started releasing sneak peeks of the Rumana coat on Instagram, I've been one of the many seamstresses looking forward to its release. Luckily, it's on the #sewmystyle2018 schedule so everyone signed up to the newsletter could get their hands on a great discount for the pattern. This is not a quick and easy project by any means, but is one of my most satisfying by far.

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The Beginner's Guide to Sewing Your First Coat

The Beginner's Guide to Sewing Your First Coat

Making a coat is one of those sewing milestones that gives you a great deal of accomplishment. It is certainly a more involved project, and can seem advanced in some ways, but can totally be taken on. If you've always wanted to give it a go but are a bit scared, don't be. It will take more time, and there could well be a whole heap of unfamiliar terms and items, but that's all part of learning. Once you've made one, you'll be planning your next.

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Offers for the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show at Olympia London



Thank goodness for the Knitting and Stitching show! I've been holding to my New Year resewlution and working through my stash, and I reckon I'm just about ready to go and restock! What I also love about these events is that there's lots to explore beyond the retail therapy - there's a huge list of workshops to learn new skills in too. Tickets do sell out fast, so I'm posting this exclusive discount code now, while there are still spaces left! Read more for details....


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Sewing is more than just a hobby

Sewing is good for you

Something a little different for you this week... a guest post all about how sewing is good for your health. I know lots of you have been taking part in #smyly, and here are more reasons why sewing is more than just a way to pass the time. How many of these are truisms for you?
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Friday Patterns Sunny dress and top for #sewmystyle2018

Friday Patterns Sunny dress and top for #sewmystyle2018

So it's the reveal day for this month's #sewmystyle 2018 pattern - the Sunny dress and top from Friday patterns. This was such a great project to start of the year's challenge. It was a simple enough pattern to not be too scary, and I love the whole ethos behind Friday patterns...they love to create minimalist patterns that are easy to sew, and they donate 5% of their sales to charity. Oh, and it's a great pattern to have to hand as well by the way!
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Wear a blanket to work...Seamwork Mesa

Pattern review of the Seamwork Mesa dress, with long sleeve alteration.

This has been one of my most worn clothing items this season. When it's cold and dark in the mornings, and I'm feeling exhausted, all I want is comforting clothing. So my task this autumn was to find a way of achieving this, whilst maintaining a professional appearance for work. I have to say, the Seamwork Mesa pattern and quilted ponte combination I went with has totally smashed this. It's comfortable, quick to make, and everybody comments on it (always a nice touch when you've made it yourself and they don't know that). I know lots of you love the secret pyjamas idea - this is my version - a secret quilt!
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Sewing activewear, plus GBSB live workshop

Sewing activewear, plus GBSB live workshop

I was lucky enough to get booked into a workshop for the Great British Sewing Bee Live. I chose the workshop on making yoga pants using an overlocker and coverstitch machine with Jade Early (aka 'the girl with the bright red hair'). Although I haven't had a burning desire to make activewear, I was looking forward to moving beyond my basic serging and also to use a coverstitch machine. I won't be purchasing one in the near future so thought I'd take the opportunity to use one on a garment and see how I liked it.

Unfortunately the organisers of the GBSB live decided to skip the coverstitch machines and we found this out on the day. So, this activewear has been sewn using a combination of regular machine and serger. I managed to get a fair way through the yoga pants, and was able to finish these at home along with using the remnant fabric for a top too...perfect timing for my fitness goals for the New Year!
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Minerva Crafts Blogger Network - Simplicity 8292 in Atelier Brunette Crepe

Minerva Crafts Blogger Network - Simplicity 8292 in Atelier Brunette Crepe

This is a Minerva Crafts Blogger Network make, so for full details head on over there to find out more about how I made this beauty. Atelier Brunette fabrics are clearly pick of the month for me, with December kicking off with a super comfortable sweatshirt made in their beautiful French terry. This dress uses their soft and drapey crepe, which is perfect for the delicate fluted sleeves of this Simplicity dress.

Minerva Crafts Blogger Network - Simplicity 8292 in Atelier Brunette Crepe


As you know December's #wardrobebuilder theme is party dresses, of which I have managed to create plenty since beginning learning to sew. Although I have quite a few occasion dresses, I've noticed a gap in my handmade wardrobe for special occasion dresses that can be worn to day events as well as evening ones. Some kind of sleeve would also be welcome, given that the weather in the UK is likely to be too cold for sleeveless attire. That's why Simplicity 8292 struck me as a pattern that could do 'double duty' for evening and other events, such as weddings, so long as I chose the right fabric.

Normally I am also drawn to floral prints, but using a plain (yet high quality) fabric has meant that I can accessorise this dress for the occasion, and really makes a feature of the fluted sleeves. The Atelier Brunette crepe is soft and lightweight; it helps with the drape of the sleeves and has enough body to hold up to the rest of the dress. The bodice of this pattern is lined, and this sits perfectly underneath the main fabric.

Minerva Crafts Blogger Network - Simplicity 8292 in Atelier Brunette Crepe

Having had a look at the finished measurements, previous experience with commercial patterns and an attempt at tissue fitting led me to cut a size 12. This fit very well at the bodice, but was a little tight at the hips. I had to pick the seams at the side and back at the hips and stitch again using a 1cm seam instead...next time I'll grade out to a size 14 here!

More details over on the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network, and links to all the supplies too.
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#sewmystyle 2018 January: the Friday patterns Sunny dress and top

Happy New Year! After finding so much inspiration from other makers last year with the #wardrobebuilder project, I've teamed up with an awesome international team of bloggers to lead in  #sewmystyle2018. This is the first month of the project, featuring the Sunny dress and top by Friday patterns, sponsored by Stone Mountain and Daughter fabrics. Every month I'll be keeping to my #wardrobebuilder habits, posting inspiration and ideas for each month, along with a final reveal at the end of the month. Make sure you are keping up with us on social media, and if you haven't yet signed up to the project....do it quickly......there are some fabulous patterns coming up on the schedule!

#sewmystyle 2018 January: the Friday patterns Sunny dress and top

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Hi, I'm Laura. Welcome to my journeys with modern, feminine dressmaking; pattern reviews, tips and guides for beginners. I'm a lifelong foodie, so you'll also find some delicious recipes and places to get that foodie fix.
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