Most worn: Ginger Jeans



Given that my black Ginger Jeans are one of my favourite and most worn items, I gave the pattern a second go for a pair of spring/summer jeans. I'd say the results are mixed on these for a few reasons, and I actually made these last summer but haven't blogged about them because of that. However, I found a way around what I wasn't happy with and now I've ended up wearing them a lot since the spring.
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Most worn: Sew Over It Penny dress



This year I've been trying to revisit patterns that I know I already get a lot of wear out of. The Penny Dress is definitely one of my summer favourites because I love the way it looks and it's lovely and cool to wear on hot days. It's also quite a nice little one to make because the bodice is much simpler than it looks.

Fabric

My last Penny was made from a rayon fabric and I think this works quite well with the pattern because it's light and drapey. It's comfortable to wear as well as taking the elasticated waist well and not adding too much bulk. This time I upgraded my rayon to an Atelier Brunette fabric. This is the Shine night viscose which I got from Lamazi Fabrics - it's usually £19 per metre but I bought mine in their Black Friday sale with an extra 20% off. It's worth the extra cost because the rayon is a very high quality and supersoft. It does crease very easily though.

In the fabric requirements it says you need 3.2 metres for a size 10, but I managed to get mine out of 2m with a lot of careful pattern placement. I would have liked to have added pockets but because I was being stingy with fabric I didn't have enough. (I may go back and add them in a different fabric at a later time if I find one that's a good match).


Pattern

This is my second time making the Penny dress; there's a link to my first post here, with lots of other details. I find the flat collar and elasticated waist makes for a simpler sew, and the sleeves are also really easy to make because they aren't a separate piece. They are all flattering features, as is some gentle 50s style gathering at the shoulders.

I have the original version of the pattern, and I think subsequent releases may have adjusted the length of the torso, but mine hasn't and it is something I need to alter. I added about 2cm to the bodice length which turned out to be a much better fit and is a lot more comfortable. (It's now available as a printed pattern which I much prefer to pdf).

Love it!!!!!

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French Viscose Halterneck Dress

Confession...I actually made this last year and have only just now got around to blogging about it! After I wore it on holiday the weather has been so miserable I didn't even feel like photographing it. This is one of those dresses where you fall in love with a fabric online, and when it's delivered you love it even more. Unfortunately the pattern I used didn't hold up to the same standard of satisfaction. It was a nightmare to make and can be tricky to wear at times too. If I didn't love the fabric so much, it probably wouldn't be worn as often....

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Breaking the Pattern Solina Dress


I have been screenshotting, saving and pinning images of dresses that look pretty much like this for ages. High necks, long sleeves and midi lengths all in glamorous floaty fabrics that come together to make an elegant dress that you can wear out  in all seasons. There certainly is a gap in my wardrobe for something like this. And then along came this book, so I knew what I had to make first out of it!

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Boho Blush Shawl double feature


It's been a bit quiet over here on the blog - there has still been making but not much photography and writing! About this time last year I decided to learn to knit as well as sew, and I've been just as addicted to this as dressmaking. (If you are interested, the knitting label on the right will link you to my very first projects and how I got started with learning this new skill). I gave away my first shawl as a gift for my Nan, and found myself on holiday later in the year desperately wishing I had another (it was hot in the days but cold at night!). So whilst on holiday I spent my time looking at patterns and yarn. It just so happened the Andrea Mowry also had a sale on her patterns, so the Boho Blush shawl became top contender for my return from holiday project. I loved knitting it so much I made a second as another gift, this time for my Mum, which turned out even better!




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Sew Over It Rosie Dress in Liberty lawn

Sew Over It Rosie Dress pattern review


This is a perfect summer dress pattern. It's one I've had in my stash for some time and I'm kicking myself that I haven't made it until now! The Rosie dress has a pleated and gathered skirt with a princess seamed bodice. You can choose from different necklines and straps, or to make the skirt on its own. I made mine in beautiful Liberty lawn and love it!

Fabric

I bought this Liberty cotton lawn from the Sewbox stall at the Knitting and Stitching show. They sell pre-cut packages at a good price - this was 2m for £26 (pretty much half price). I had intended this for another project, but it didn't have enough drape for that. It is perfect for this dress though as you need something with a bit of structure to hold the centre pleat. It's light and feels comfortable in the heat.
I managed to source a navy cotton lawn to line the bodice with - that is actually more difficult than you might think! The only one I could find that wasn't at full Liberty price was this one from FabricUK.

Sew Over It Rosie Dress pattern review


Pattern and Instructions

I bought the printed pattern in one of Sew Over It's sales and kept it for quite some time! I initially bought it because you can insert boning into the bodice which I found interesting. In my version I left off the boning in the end but the instructions are there, with handy illustrations too.
As per all Sew Over It printed patterns you get a package containing an instruction booklet and the pattern pieces printed on tissue paper. I normally sew a size 10 in their patterns, and this was no exception. There are a few different options that you can play with - I cut the sweetheart bodice and wider straps. You can also choose a straight bodice or vintage style 'collar' and narrower straps too. I find their instructions quite straightfoward and didn't have any problems in making. I would say though that I underestimated how long it would take to hand sew that hem....there's a whole lotta skirt there! I wouldn't machine it though as I think the hand stitch is better.

Alterations

I kept the length for a change! I had to take in the bodice side seams a little at the top as they were winging out - there could have been some stretching as I was making because I didn't stay stitch the bodice pieces (that's not in the instructions either though). The waist has a little more ease than I usually wear, but I didn't want it too tight for a summer dress.

Sew Over It Rosie Dress pattern review

This is an intermediate pattern, but I found it really enjoyable to take time over these details, using the tips that I gained from the Couture Techniques Craftsy class I had taken. This is easily a pattern that you could use for a wedding guest dress; it's a perfect summer dress.

Personally, I find the way that the pleats are arranged at the front, along with the gathered back skirt, makes for a very flattering silhouette. The pattern also includes a variation just of this skirt which I am seriously considering in a crepe fabric once I have figured out what I can wear on the top half to match...suggestions welcome!
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Most worn: Colette Moneta hacks





It feels a bit odd putting this pattern into most worn as I've only made it this year but I'm already getting lots of wear out of my first hacked Moneta, and this second modal version is also out a lot lately too! This is one of those times when you buy a fabric just because you love it, and then take ages to decide what to make with it. As it happened I realised I needed a dress that would look elegant enough to wear in a  nice restaurant, but was also appropriate for daytime rather than evening. It might also be the first time that I have used a border print fabric like this so I really wanted to do it justice and make best use of the pattern.

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Most worn: DIY slash neck Breton stripe top

Most worn: DIY slash neck Breton stripe top

I wear this all the time - it's one of my favourite tops ever, not just that I've made. It's more of a happy accident than anything though! This neckline suits me more than most others and the fabric not only matches a lot but is really comfortable to wear. Thanks to YouTube, again, it's so easy to do as well.
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Sew Over It Ultimate Wrap Dress

Sew Over It Ultimate Wrap Dress

Do you ever buy a fabric just because you love it and then have to think long and hard about what you will actually make with it? This was one of those. I saw this fabric on the Lamazi Fabric Instagram feed and impulse bought 3m, as you do. I must have had a wrap dress somewhere in my mind to have bought this much and eventually decided on the Sew Over It Ultimate Wrap Dress. I bought this pattern years ago but have never got around to making it, until now.
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Zweig sweater

Zweig sweater


I know a fair few of you who love to sew have also taken up knitting over the winter, so here's one for you! I've really enjoyed being able to pick up some knitting for a little bit each evening and in December I decided to move on from socks to a sweater. Being me, I steered away from traditional first try choices, such as chunky wool or a simple pattern - they just aren't my style. I was entranced with the beautiful fingering weight jumpers that I had seen on the many YouTube channels and knitting magazines that I've been looking at. Many of them would involve learning lots of new techniques, but it goes back to my basic attitude of, if you have to learn it sometime, you can learn it all on one project and end up with something that you really wanted. Hence, my Zweig...
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Colette Moneta hack

Colette Moneta hack
Finally, I made a Moneta! I feel like everybody else in the sewing community has several of these in their closets and I'm very late to the party, but I am now a Moneta member. Before, I was put off by some of the design features that I knew wouldn't suit me, but by finding the right alterations and fabric to use, I've made something that I already know will be replicated many more times. Normally the Moneta pattern features a scooped front neckline and a gathered waist. This version has a boatneck bodice with a pleated skirt instead.
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Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition at the V&A Museum

As soon as I heard that the popular exhibition of Dior dresses that had been on display in Paris was coming to London I booked tickets for as soon as I could go. It was a truly inspiring collection that has made me think carefully about my future dressmaking choices (as well as one of my souvenirs - his book of advice for women),

If you are not able to go, here are some of the highlights of the collection (well, for me anyway). I hope you find them just as inspiring.

The most iconic image of Dior's New Look...


....and the current look under  the first female director, Maria Grazia Churi


The collection starts with a tour through Christian Dior's original lines....






Then takes you through a series of themed collections including designs from all directors since Dior himself. However, I am mainly drawn to either Dior or Churi's designs throughout.

Historical themes:




Global inspiration:





Le jardin:
The inspiration behind dress designs and perfumes.
This spectacular gown is from a very recent collection.



The exhibition then takes you through the signature looks of design directors after Christian Dior.
(Apologies that all my photographs were of Maria Grazia Churi! I was attempting to snap anything that really spoke to me.)




The room of toiles made me think about taking time to perfect fit and design before using a quality fabric.



The finale of the exhibition is the gown room which really is the show stopper. The room itself changes from dawn to dusk through the night and back again which shows the gowns off in golden and silver hues.










Well worth a trip, if you can get tickets.
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By Hand London Alix Maxi Dress

By Hand London Alix Maxi Dress
This week, the Great British Sewing Bee had a 1970's theme which means that the #gbsbsewalong is vintage themed. I was totally taken in with all the gorgeous maxi dresses from the final challenge; whilst I was watching all I could think of was the By Hand London Alix Dress pattern that I had, and how I had always wanted to improve on my first version with a summer maxi, so here it is (in March!). I took a lot of learning through from my first version and I'm much happier with this maxi.
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Comparing Melilot, Kalle and Alex shirts



This week I'm guest posting on the Minerva Crafts Blog with my Deer and Doe Melilot shirt made from their Cotton and Steel rayon. The pattern I picked was more to do with testing out the versatility of the fabric (more about that on the Minerva Craft site here), but got me to thinking about what I prefer about the different shirt patterns I have used and which I will use most often. Seeing as this year I'm really focusing on which patterns I can use a lot, it made sense to compare the best features of each. All three are casual shirts but offer different looks and making experiences.



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Bluprint Class Review: Couture Dressmaking Techniques and Couture Finishing Techniques

Bluprint Class Review: Couture Dressmaking Techniques and Couture Finishing Techniques


First up...I used these classes through Craftsy. It's now been taken over by Bluprint. Everything is still available, it's just under a different name. I have only dipped into the new platform but it seems to work the same...
So many people have recommended Craftsy for online classes that when they were on sale last, I had to have a go! I signed up for two classes by Alison Smith; Couture Dressmaking Techniques and Couture Finishing Techniques. I figured it was time I tried to improve what I was making, and was interested in the kinds of techniques that I could use to achieve a really professional finish to my handmade garments. If you are also thinking about spending more time on the quality of your makes, read on to find out more about these classes - I definitely recommend giving them a go.
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How to get the most out of the Knitting and Stitching Show...plus free tickets!





Seeing as I have 5 pairs of tickets to giveaway for this year's Spring Knitting and Stitching Show in Olympia, I thought I would share with you my best tips on how to make the most out of your visit. I'm sure plenty of you will have your own advice as well so please do leave a comment...I'm sure there's plenty I'll have missed because there's so much going on! Details on the giveaway and how to get discounted tickets are right below....




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Joji Locatelli Jujuy shawl in Eden Cottage Yarns

Joji Locatelli Jujuy shawl in Eden Cottage Yarns


As many of  you will have noticed I have recently expanded my making and crafting addiction to include knitting. I have tried out a kitting kit from We Are Knitters as well as a Craftsy class on how to knit socks. Over the summer I decided to try my hand at a pattern all on my own. I chose a shawl because I figured that if it didn't fit or my gauge was off it wouldn't be the end of the world! Obviously I'm really proud of my first shawl...but boy did it take time! If you are also taking up knitting and thinking of your next project, have a read on to see how it was for me. If you are experienced, you can read this and probably chuckle at my rookie errors....
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Most worn - Longline Seamwork Astoria sweaters

Most worn - Longline Seamwork Astoria sweatersIn 2017 and 2018 I tried a lot of different patterns and really expanded my wardrobe with lots of different types of garments. I really enjoyed developing my skills and exploring different types of patterns that I might not have tried. For 2019, I'm not looking to take part in another challenge, but am looking to make more of the types of garments that I wear most often. I'm looking for clothes that are comfortable and that might also be able to do double duty, at home and at work, for maximum wear....starting off with the Seamwork Astoria.
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Tilly and the Buttons Francoise dress with collar and cuffs

Tilly and the Buttons Francoise dress with collar and cuffsIt feels like a lifetime ago that I made my first ever dress using the Francoise pattern from Tilly and the Buttons, but when I was faced with a sizeable remnant of suiting fabric, this immediately sprung to mind. The Francoise dress has a classic sixties shape and is quite a simple pattern to put together, and paired with this collar and cuffs it is perfect for work. 

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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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