Finding my mojo in boho: Vogue 9253

Aka – The ‘it’ dress

Yes, the dress that seems to be ‘everywhere’, Vogue 9253. I make no apologies for succumbing to the pattern ‘fad’, I loved it on its release and purchased it as soon as it was in-store in Australia… which seems to take much less time than it used to.

I got home from hospital and decided I needed something lovely in my life to focus on… so sewing it was. There is no time for self misery when you surround yourself with beautiful things and people. I pulled this fabric put of my stash and immediately pictured this dress.

Vogue 9253

Vogue 9253 – much more ladylike but alas a droopy hat.

I’ve struggled in 2017 with trying to sew sensible things, things for my lifestyle and whatnot… but in all honesty I enjoy sewing when inspiration takes me by surprise. Right now, I have the urge to sew all.the.pretty.dresses so I think I might just indulge myself. Welcome back mojo.

Modifications

I sewed up the front bodice pieces in the centre by 2 inches (10 centimetres) and turned narrow hems under along the raw edges. And then sewn these down to the bodice. The stitching lines continue down the skirt front and its front split opening.

Vogue 5253 - inner brodice finish. I sewed the front seam up 10cm.

Vogue 5253 – inner bodice finish. I sewed the front seam up 10cm.

I also only partially sewed the centre seam of the front skirt pieces. I find it easier to walk in maxi skirts that have a split, preferably in the front. This enables my legs to break free of the fabric, rather than the fabric wrapping around and slipping between my legs when I’m walking or there is a breeze to contend with. I finished the seams in the same manner as the bodice centre front seam.

I decided to not put in pockets as I felt the light fabric didn’t really suit pockets and they might interfere with the fluid drape of the skirt.

Vogue 9253

Vogue 9253

I french seamed the skirt side seams and narrow hemmed the skirt centre back seam edges for a neat finish.

I added strips of interfacing along the centre back seams to stabilise the fabric for the invisible zipper.

I shortened the skirt pieces by 3 inches. I’m 5 foot 4.

This fabric actually has a massive fabric repeat which I didn’t notice when I purchased it. It appealed to me due to the carefree large-scale print which seemed to have no rhyme or reason to it. I deliberately chose not to pattern match (shock, horror) as I prefer the carefree feel the fabric print, deliberately placing motifs just felt too structured for the relaxed feel I envisaged this dress/fabric match delivering.

Vogue 9253, back view

Vogue 9253, back view

Dislikes

The tie droops at the front. I think I may hand stitch this to the bodice seam, at least in part.

Verdict

Even with my minor grumble, I have lots of love for this dress and pattern. I do think sewing up the front bodice a little makes it much more wearable for day-to-day use.

I sewed this very slowly. I’m learning to ‘slow down’. I was still very tired from my week in hospital so I sat at my kitchen table as I created this, hand basted my pleats and darts, hand basted hems in place before machining. Yes, probably more fastidious than required… but it is a nicely finished dress and I love it.

I’m tempted to sew all.the.caftans… and I do hear Charlie calling my name… can I resist? Do I really need another pattern?

Pattern: Vogue 9253, size XS
Fabric: Rayon from East Coast Fabrics, Brisbane. Purchased in 2016.
Also see: there are sooooo many out there… just google Vogue 9253 or look up the #V9253 hashtag on instagram – enjoy! There was also a recent competition run by McCalls Patterns for this pattern. See all the winning entries here.

 

Why I sew…

When I saw the #sewphotohop challenge today I felt inspired to write up this blog post.

This dress better than most answers that question… it’s the place where the worries of life slip away… a place of promise and potential… where problems can be solved and beautiful things await.

It’s the place I lose myself. It’s the place where I also find myself again.

Vogue 9253

Vogue 9253

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Sadie Slip Dress in tencel ‘denim’

I’ve been daydreaming about a bias slip summer slip dress in denim, maybe I’m stuck in the 90s. I’m ok with that, the music was great!

I guess it seems counterintuitive to sew a bias-cut dress in one of the heavier fabrics in the sewing galaxy. However I simply couldn’t shake this idea and here we are…

Sadie Slip Dress

Sadie Slip Dress, pattern by Tessuti Fabrics

This is the Sadie Slip Dress from Tessuti Fabrics.

I have loved this pattern since its release. If they agree with you, there is nothing more lovely to wear than a bias-cut dress. The way bias fabrics can slide and glide around your body as you move is simply sexy sinuous heaven to wear compared to a dress cut on the straight of grain that ‘hangs’.

Yes you can see my bra straps. No apologies. I intended to wear this over a tshirt but haven’t got around to making it yet. It was such a beautiful winter afternoon I decided ‘what the hell! Let’s blog this dress today!”. How gorgeous is this weather – 20 degrees at 4.30pm in the afternoon. The tshirt can wait (and to be honest… I’ll wear it with my bra straps showing… tsk tsk… #wildchild).

This is a ‘tencel denim’ rather than a traditional denim you use for jeans. Cut on the bias, it has a lovely satisfying weight about it to wear.

A simple summery slip dress. Sadie Slip Dress by Tessuti Fabrics

A simple summery slip dress. Sadie Slip Dress by Tessuti Fabrics. I STILL have my summer tanlines halfway through winter!

Shoestring straps

Turning narrow straps can be frustrating. However if you get your hands on something like the Dritz Tube Turners, life gets much easier. If you are a DIY sort I’m sure you can rustle up a similar set using piping/straws/skewers. I purchased my set after seeing a little twitter clip by Claire-Louise of the Thrifty Stitcher. She shares lots of useful tips and tricks – well worth the ‘follow‘!
I found my set on eBay. This youtube video is gives you a clear idea of the way they work.

Length

I haven’t hemmed this – yet.

Yes I’ve photographed and blogged it anyway as I am a little undecided whether to leave it this length or cut some more off. I find taking photos really helpful to make these decisions. So let’s consider this Sadie ‘a work in progress’.

I cut 4 inches off the length of this pattern before I even cut into my fabric. Rachel of Boo Dogg provided some sage advice about the length of the drafted pattern as she has made this a couple of times (you will find them on instagram, she’s not blogged them).

I’m 5 foot 4 for the record. So if you are about my height you might like to consider adjusting the pattern before you start.

Sadie Slip Dress, back view

Sadie Slip Dress, back view. I’ve use the back darts for additional shaping.

Facing

The instructions have you turn a narrow hem on the edge of the facing. If I was using silk, I probably would do this. As I was sewing in a heavier fabric, I opted to just overlock the edges of my facing to minimise any potential bulk in this area.

I used a suitable interfacing for this fabric, nothing too heavy. I also very carefully understitched the facing… yet the front edges still want to roll out along my bustline (which results in lots of awkward fiddling!). I really wish I had increased to depth of the facing pieces (more like the Odgen cami facings – you can see them in this sewalong post on True Bias. Compared to the Sadie facing pieces seen on this Tessuti blog post) as I think this may go some way to alleviating the tendency of the facings to roll out.

I’m going to stitch the facing sides down as per the Odgen cami construction and maybe try a tiny weight in the centre front of the facing. Fingers crossed.

Sewing with the Bias

Bias is notorious however I’ve never had too much drama sewing garments cut on the bias. I minimise all handling. I gently roll or fold my fabrics up, I never pick them up and hold them up. When I sew, I try to make sure the fabric is not sliding or hanging off the edges of my table. I try to minimise anything that might encourage ‘stretching’.
The Tessuti instructions are excellent and has you use tearaway Vilene to stabilise the neckline. I skipped this, thinking the fabric was reasonably stable and if I was gentle, the neckline should not distort during construction. I was lucky – it didn’t. Perhaps with silk or a similar fabric you might like to consider using Vilene to stabilise the neckline.

This pattern has optional back darts for shaping if you use fabric with less drape than a silk. I have used these darts on this dress.

Thoughts?

I do love this pattern. Great pattern, would make a simple summer dress, a sexy cocktail dress, a slip to wear under sheer dresses, a lovely nightie. Endless possibilities. A good pattern for $10.

The instructions do have you create full flat pattern pieces as you are cutting on the bias. So you may need to consider your paper supplies or pattern paper supplies when getting ready to make this.

Now to cut this off more or leave it be… I think I rather like this between-midi-and-maxi length… but perhaps tomorrow I will think different.

Pattern: Sadie Slip Dress, Tessuti Fabrics.
Size: XXS
Fabric: Floral Tencel Mid Wash, Spotlight Australia

Sadie Slip Dress, back view. Sewn in lightweight tencel denim. Pattern by Tessuti Fabrics

Sadie Slip Dress, back view. Sewn in lightweight tencel denim

Running
Last Monday I ran 18kms in 1 hour 43 minutes after work – just to see if I could. I have increased my distance considerably in the last few weeks – against all sound advice – and fortunately have not injured myself  in the process (yet!).
Then I came down with ‘the flu’ on Tuesday. Less than 2 weeks out from my first half marathon – I was gutted! I’ve recovered reasonably well but think my time might be a bit slower as a result. When it’s your first half marathon, anything is a ‘personal best’ – bonus.
Next weekend I shall be busy:- running and running and running!

Sadie on the way to the beach

Sadie on the way to the beach. Yes it’s winter here. I know. Poor me.

Ogden Cami Dress

A quick holiday post, from the spectacular Bruny Island, Tasmania, Australia.

I wasn't 'in love' with this fabric when I purchased it, just its drape. Now it's sewn up I rather love the print

I wasn’t ‘in love’ with this fabric when I purchased it, just its drape. Now it’s sewn up I rather love the print

I suspect the True Bias Ogden Cami may be a popular Australian summer sewing pattern with many. I think the sleeveless, casual style & being a pattern for ‘wovens’ makes it perfect for steamy summer days.

This is just another experiment for yet another Ogden Cami Dress ‘hack’ that have been topping up everywhere. Far from perfect but I’ve worn it a few times already, so perhaps a success anyway!

I use the term ‘hack’ loosely. No pattern drafting going on here.

I simply extended the Ogden Cami hemline, flaring it out about 1/2inch on either side from about 1 inch below the armhole.

Odgen Cami Dress

Odgen Cami Dress

I flared the lining piece at the sides I don’t think I would I worry about this modification next time as the cinching in of the waist achieve that soft overlay flare anyway.

I attached the lining to the outside of the cami bodice rather than the inside, treating it like an overlay rather than a lining.

I decided where I wanted my waistline to be and allowed for a slight blouson effect.

Odgen Cami Dress

Odgen Cami Dress

To create the waistline, I attached bias tape to the inside of the dress. I first stitched along the inside of the bias tape, along the fold line. I pressed it downwards and edge stitched along the other edge of the bias tape.

Ogden Cami dress - internal - waist elasticity casing & hem.

Ogden Cami dress – internal – waist elasticity casing & hem.

I left a stitching gap and then threaded some 1/4in elastic into the bias tape channel.

I turned up the overlay and dress hemlines with more bias tape – and hand stitched the hems in place.

Nothing fancy but it’s quite a cute little dress for summer.

Pattern: True Bias Ogden Cami, modified

Fabric: rayon/linen blend fabric on Lincraft

Location: water shots at Jetty Beach on route to the Cape Bruny Lighthouse, Tasmania. An incredible day in an amazing place in the world. Not overly ‘touristy’ just divinely beautiful, unspoilt & the journey ‘off the beaten track’ is well worth the effort.

A dress: Vintage Vogue 8974…

Or when everything old is new again… (and a recent make!)

A floral vintage Vogue Patterns 8974

A floral vintage Vogue Patterns 8974

I’m not really a vintage gal. It doesn’t seem to fit with my casual aesthetic and I think it would be a little odd in my workwear wardrobe which tends to be quite modern and fitted.

However that doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate it on others or have the odd craving for a bit of old-fashioned pretty. And not every interpretation of a vintage pattern needs to be ‘vintage’. Perhaps that is why I have been drawn to a couple of the Vintage Vogue re-issue patterns of late.

I’ve been looking for a dress pattern for three metres of gorgeous black bamboo linen I got at East Coast Fabric with Jen and Lizzie when I was in Brisbane in October.

I’m after a longline, sleek summer dress but with a striking design detail to relieve the severity of a lot of black fabric.

Amid my searching I came across Vogue 8974, a design from 1949. This hasn’t been made much (in Blogland at any rate), I suspect the need for a strapless bra and the a-line skirt (rather than a generous gathered or pleated skirt of the 1950s era) has let it loll in the back of the catalogue, waiting to be discovered.

Vogue 8974 pattern art - courtesy of Vogue Patterns

Vogue 8974 pattern art – courtesy of Vogue Patterns

I really love the jacket as well. I’m not really a matchy-matchy girl so I’ve just made the dress. I think the jacket would be a very cute project in the future!

CONSTRUCTION

It’s a relatively simple make. The pattern construction has a very cool snap closure at the side waist. While I loved the idea of this, I decided to replace it with a zip. I find dresses with side closures that don’t release all the way to the armhole incredibly difficult to pull off over my shoulders. I almost dislocate my shoulders getting them off. I don’t know if my shoulders are weirdly larger in comparison to my rib cage or it’s simply that I’m not the world’s greatest contortionist. Either way, I don’t enjoy clothes that require a can opener to get in and out of.

Vintage Vogue 8974

Vogue 8974 line art, courtesy of Vogue Patterns

I added a lining to the bodice as the linen is slightly sheer on the white areas of the print. I didn’t worry about lining the skirt as it hangs away from my body and I wanted to keep it light and airy as linen is so cool to wear in summer.

I think I could shorten the bust darts a little.

The front bodice neckline is a little fiddly to sew but pinning and patience gets you through. I often add a little length to a bodice, however I left this one as drafted and it seems to be the right length on me.

The bodice has lovely french darts and a marvelous neckline.

The pattern doesn’t direct you to interface the facing pieces for the bodice, which I thought was odd so I added this.

I omitted the buttons as I don’t think this fabric needs embellishment.

FIT

It’s a tricky one. I made the size 6. People talk about the Big 4 having too much ease etc etc. I’ve often seen people make certain sizes based on this theory and then have a disaster make.

Refer to the body measurements on the envelope by all means. I ALWAYS chose my size and grade between sizes based on the FINISHED measurements on the pattern paper. It’s always interesting to compare the envelope body measurements to the finished measurements and see how much ease they are allowing. I would recommend chosing your size based on the ease that you prefer. This may be more or less depending on the style of garment.

Vogue 8974 - side view

Vogue 8974 – side view

I sewed this up and was pretty happy with everything EXCEPT the bodice upper edge sat away from my body from my mid upper bust and around under my armpits. While it looked OK and my family couldn’t see what I thought was so odd… I felt like ‘bewbs in an icecream sundae glass’. That’s the best description I can come up with 🙂 You can still see some of this gaping at the side (see below) and I’m not 100% pleased with the fit above my bust either. Perhaps a firmer fabric would be less likely to crease above my bust. So maybe the bamboo linen is not destined to be a Vogue 8974. We will see.

Vintage Vogue 8974

Vintage Vogue 8974

As the front slopes down to the back, it isn’t just a matter of running in the sides to pull it in and make it fit (no I don’t muslin much… I like to think of myself as an eternal optimist and sew with that attitude). As I was mid-make, taking it in at the sides was my only option and I pulled more in from the back on an angle to make it work. This in turn messed up my lovely neat-as-a-pin facings which was a little disappointing. Yes, very dodgy but only you, me and few other thousand readers know this – and I don’t wear my dresses inside out. So my secret is safe 🙂

I had to take at least 2 inches off the straps. For some reason you attach the straps to the back bodice and then adjust them at the front. The front bodice is quite fiddly and I think it would be simpler to adjust the straps at the back instead if I make this again.

A pretty cross-over back strap detail.

A pretty cross-over back strap detail. The rarely seen tatto- you’re welcome.

I took 3 inches off the length (I am 5 foot 4) and turned the hem up with some blue bias tape from the stash. I hand stitched the hem, I love the finish of a handsewn hem.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Love this design. It feels modern and feminine without being fussy. I’m extremely tempted to make it again… I just need to figure out how to best deal with the gaping at the upper bodice and underarms. Or maybe it’s meant for someone with more curves than me!

It reminds me a lot of the Sewaholic Lonsdale which perhaps I should also revisit.

If you have any suggestions on fitting or another dress pattern I should try along these lines… I’d love to hear it!

Pattern: Vogue 8974
Fabric: Linen from The Fabric Store, Brisbane (purchased a couple of years ago). Blue, khaki, white and splogdes of yellow, I adore this colour combination.
Also see: See Carmen Sew | The Fold Line | Silver Cat Tea Party

 

Photobombed by a pelican

Photobombed by a pelican in my lunchbreak.

It’s quite odd posting my projects out of order. Seeing my hair change lengths and colours. It’s much healthier now than a year or so ago.

This time last year, I cut off my nails as they kept snapping and my hair was thinning and breaking for no apparent reason… actually I think it was mainly two things… too much stress, exhaustion and no rest…  It was the day I put my hair up in the ponytail and a large amount of it simply snapped off around the hairband, I realised something had to give… I changed some things and I feel much better a year on. So all’s well that ends well.

Vogue 1499 – playing with stripes

I’ve had a few of these projects in the last 12 months, the things that just miss the mark. While I’m not ‘in love’ with this dress, I don’t dislike it terribly. It’s a fun design and I enjoyed making it.

Vogue 1499, Anne Klein design, side view

OK but not quite right – fit or style wise

While I used to berate myself for wasting fabric, bad choices and so on… I don’t feel that way any more. Every garment or project contains a lesson in itself, whether it is better understanding fabric choices, personal style, new construction methods and so on.

I’ve been on the hunt for some ‘pretty’ dress patterns. For casual ‘weekend’ clothes I prefer loose t-shirts, simple dresses, jeans, maxi skirts and so on. However the rest of my wardrobe is work/event/going-out and is quite different and I’ve been looking for dress patterns to refresh that part of my wardrobe.

I started with Vogue 1499, an Anne Klein design. Like many sewers, I’ve drawn to sewing with stripes. The fun you have stripe matching and the way stripes can quite alter your silhouette is endlessly fun.

The dress is described by Vogue as: Lined dress (partially cut on crosswise grain) has fitted bodice, cap sleeves, side-front and side-back seams, pleated skirt, and invisible back zipper. Note: No provisions provided for above waist adjustment.

Vogue 1499, Anne Klein design

Vogue 1499, Anne Klein design. Image from Vogue Patterns

While this double ikat (I think that is what is called when the stripes run both directions) is quite lovely, I think like the Burda shirt, the colour & design is just all wrong for me.

The fabric has been sitting in my stash for a couple of years so I was happy to use it.

The dress bodice and it’s cap sleeves are lined with a cotton lawn and I used bemsilk for the skirt lining. The skirt has separate pattern pieces to the pleated outer skirt and is a loose a-line shape.

I did iron this – however it got slightly crushed in the car driving into town to take some rushed photos after work. Plus I think the seat belt put a huge crease in the front bodice (these are compulsory in Australia). We had to try a few spots in the CBD to escape the ever-present wind at the moment.

What’s not quite right for me

I also think that this design would have looked much better in a smaller stripe. I’ve taken a pattern and sewn it in a very casual fabric and not quite achieved my usual ‘casual’ style or a dressy dress. Such is life!

The fit seemed quite roomy and I ended up having to unpick the neckline, add two back neck darts. The front bodice is still a little large at the neckline.

Vogue 1499, Anne Klein design, back view

I spent some time matching those stripes and was quite pleased with the result! It was a very windy afternoon unfortunately!

The sewn down pleats seem to length my already long torso and I am considering unpicking them.

The waistline, despite all those directional stripes, isn’t as flattering as I hoped. It seems to thicken my waist.

Maybe my shoulders are scrawny but the cap sleeves also seem a little too large.

Vogue 1499, Anne Klein design, front view

My waist seems to go on forever! Not sure if unpicking the sewn-down pleats would help.

Conclusion

It is an easy sew and spending some time, hand sewing some elements results in a really nice finish.

Despite not being my ‘dream dress’, I think it’s a lovely pattern and would be delightful on others. The bodice lines and the nice little bust darts are really lovely.

I think using some solid colour blocking on the side panels, rather than using stripes, could potentially look fabulous combined with a print.

I’ve since made Vogue 8997 and LOVE it so that’s coming to the blog very soon.

Pattern: Vogue 1499
Fabric: Cotton Ikat from Spotlight Australia
Also see: Amanda’s Adventures in Sewing | Pattern Review

Papercut Adrift Dress – a birthday dress

or When You Almost Exactly Copy The Pattern Envelope…

I had this lovely spotty rayon fabric in the stash and while I tried to resist more or less replicating the Papercut Patterns version, I couldn’t resist this pattern/fabric combination. My Grainline Alder Dress was made from the same fabric and has been a much-loved summer dress… so here we are with a new summer dress!

Hello Papercut Adrift Dress

Papercut Adrift Dress - front view

Papercut Adrift Dress – front view

This pattern comes with a skirt and dress variation. Obviously this is the dress. The skirt option has front and back waist darts and a waistband.

Described by Papercut as… A feminine dress for warm summer days. Features include gently ruffled sleeves and hemline, wrap skirt, bust darts and gathered waist with additional wrap skirt option. The wrap-around skirt option features a waistband with front and back darts.

CONSTRUCTION

Very simple. The pieces went together beautifully.

Skirt Construction

I did hit a snag as I traced the pattern pieces and constructed the garment without much (any) reference to the instructions – other than a cursory glance.

When I went to fit the bodice to the skirt, they did not match at all… after a ‘what is wrong with me’ message to ever-helpful Papercut team, it turns out the skirt pattern pieces have darts marked on them but do not indicate it is for the skirt option only.

So if you are a derp-head like me and don’t always reference instructions, then you will hit a snag. Darts are only for the skirt option – this is not indicated on the pattern sheet. Once I unpicked the skirt darts, it went together perfectly.

The instructions (when I did read them) have you attached the flounce/frill to the skirt pieces and then sew the front and back pieces together. I chose to sew the front/back skirt pieces together. Then the flounce pieces together. Then I attached the flounce as one piece to the skirt pieces. I’m sure that one continuous seam doesn’t make ‘that’ much difference to the overall flow of the flounce… but I would prefer to construct the skirt that way.

You do need to do the skirt hem before you attach it to the bodice as the front flounces are sewn into the waist seam. On the bright side, you won’t have a project hanging about that just requires a hem. This one forces you to hem mid project!

Papercut Adrift Dress - back view

Papercut Adrift Dress – back view

Seam Allowances

As the seam allowances are only 1/2 inch, I think it’s best to neaten all your edges before you sew the seams. In some cases the instructions do tell you to overlock before you sew the seam. In other cases not. Having sew a few Papercut Patterns I knew this was a issue and overlocked most things before I sewed the seams. I chose to overlock the skirt/flounce edges together after sewing the seam.

I find overlocking 1/2 inch seams a little more fiddly (after sewing a seam) and the results not as neat as those with a larger seam allowance. Some fabrics might distort while overlocking – so be mindful of that.

Neck facing

The instructions also have you top stitch the neck facing down. I’ve chosen to catch stitch it down at the shoulder seams and this has not been a problem.

Hems

The skirt and sleeve hems are finished with a narrow hem.

Papercut Adrift Dress - side view

Papercut Adrift Dress – side view (just befor birthday lunch at a local vineyard)

Waist tie

I did insert cord as instructed but didn’t like the look.  So I made a thin cord of self fabric instead. I think next time I will try inserting elastic as I prefer as elastic gathers in a skirt at the waist – much more tidy. This would also mean no buttonholes at the waist for the cord.

The cord and fabric cord doesn’t slide as easily and I tend to arrange the gathers to be more evenly spaced.

I also found having a white cord hanging at my waist amongst the flounce at my waist was a bit visually messy. Perhaps with a more patterned/floral fabric, the cord wouldn’t bother me – it all comes down to fabric choice and pattern.

THOUGHTS

I do rather love this.

A fairly simple sew – provided you have patience with attaching curved flounces and rather endless curved narrow hems.

Cute and fun. Feminine without being twee.

I love the sleeve/skirt flounces and the loose fit of the garment.

It’s best suited (in my opinion) for fabrics with some soft drape.

I thought I might add a little to the bodice length next time… I am 5 foot 4 but very long through the torso. Then again, the slightly raised waistline makes my legs look long when I wear heels… might not be such a bad thing? 🙂

Papercut Adrift Dress - sleeves

Papercut Adrift Dress – sleeves

I’m surprised we haven’t seen more of these on blogs and social media, it’s a nice little summer dress.

Oh and it’s the ‘birthday dress’… because I wore it today for the first time, took photos after lunch and it’s my birthday… counts as a birthday dress… yes?

Pattern: Papercut Adrift Dress, XXS
Fabric: Rayon (woven), Spotlight (Australia). Purchased during a clearance sale for $3!
Shoes: Jo Mercer
All purchased by me.

Also see: Carly in Stitches  |  tagged Instagram posts

 

This post first appeared on www.sewbusylizzy.com

Alix Dress, By Hand London (the tester version)

This is the ‘tester’ version of the Alix Dress from By Hand London. I haven’t made up the newly released version.

Alix Dress - the tester version from By Hand London

Alix Dress – the tester version from By Hand London

It is described as: “ A high-waisted prairie dress with a V-neck yoke, inset waistband, tie back belt and a full skirt, pleated at centre front and back. And best of all, no zipper! With long, billowing raglan sleeves secured at the wrist with a delicate elasticated cuff and three skirt length options (& everything in between!)”. It’s got a 70s vibe which is one of my favourite eras. I made the tester UK 6 / US 2 size.

When I went to sew this dress up, the feedback from the earlier testers was the pleats were a little ‘pointy’ on smaller bust sizes and perhaps using gathers instead of the pleats might be worth trying.

I did this. However I think the gathers need to be spread over a larger distance than the pleat space as I ended up with a ‘puff’ of fabric directly under my bust with nowhere for it to go. You can see this below on the left hand side of the image.

The released pattern has been changed to have an option to change the pleat into a gather and from the purple sample on the By Hand London website, the gather has been eased across a greater distance on the inset waistband than I did here. That should remove the ‘puff’ of fabric issue.

It’s a shame as the general bust fit is OK on me and the neckline is lovely. Low but it is OK on my build.

Alix Dress, By Hand London

Alix Dress, By Hand London

I thought there was a considerable amount of easing to get the front bodice piece to fit into the arm. I think it is why there is bubbling above the bust along the armhole line. It’s not terrible but I would prefer a smoother fit. And I dare say I’ve put up with worse in RTW before I started sewing.

The fit does change depending on my bra choice as you would expect but that bubbling the upper bust remains. I have had a lot of compliments when I have worn it (from the non-sewing non-fit people in my life). Perhaps those people don’t zoom in on my bust zone!

I had to reduce the pleats in order to get the skirt piece to fit onto the inset waistband. I’m going to have to cut out the pattern again to see if this was some sort of idiot pattern cutting accident as apparently I was alone in this issue.

alix-11

I don’t believe there have been many changes to the pattern I tested (other than the pleat to a gather option) and apparently my issues with the bust and upper bust fit were limited to me, the feedback on fit was generally very happy. Maybe I’m just becoming too fussy, I sewed it up too fast or my bust/upper bust is weird!

Despite all my issues, the print of the fabric hides many sins, I had to zoom in with the camera to capture the issues as once you step back the fabric puffs and bubbles seem to disappear. I have worn this dress a few times in the last few weeks as the rayon is cool to wear and I quite like long sleeve for a change. I’m not a massive fan of elastic in my wrist cuffs but it’s not a huge issue.

I made the mini dress version and while it is short, it is not self-consciously so – you should note I am 5 foot 4 or 164cm tall.

This dress has no buttons, zips etc. It simply slips over your head and ties pull the dress in for a neater fit.

The perfect accessory - an old happy greyhound

The perfect accessory – an old happy greyhound. Banjo was beetling around off-the-leash at his usual furious pace!

I’ve got lots of dresses I would like to make this summer but right now I need some sleeveless ones sooner rather than later!

Dress: Alix Dress, By Hand London (tester version), size sewn UK 6 / US 2.
Fabric: Woven rayon from Fantazia Fabricland, Tweed Heads QLD
Also See: Adventures of a Young Seamstress | Lily Sage & Co | Sewn by Ashley | Sweet Shard | Sew 2 Pro |

And this is what the first splash of cold water feels like some days…

Alix Dress, By Hand London

Alix Dress, By Hand London

Thank you all so much on your feedback on my last few posts. My work life has been exceptionally busy and I’ve been ‘on the road’ a few times in the last few weeks – however I have read them all and will respond as soon as I can!