Spotty chambray sheath dress

I’ve been really wanting some easy to wear dresses this summer. Last summer I was all about the Southport dress, but I’ve had a couple of nasty sunburns this summer (bad Kiwi! Should know better!) so I was wanting something with a bit more coverage. I bought McCalls 7464 in the post-Thanksgiving sale last year, and I thought the jewel neckline and sleeves would give me a bit more protection. It helps that a sheath dress was one of the items in my #2017makenine too…

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I used a lovely Japanese chambray from Miss Matatabi. It’s so soft and comfortable, but I think I bought the last of it sorry! It was really lovely to sew, and I have a chunk left over for a top. I find some chambray too blue (I know that sounds stupid, they’re obviously all blue), but this softer cornflower blue is the perfect colour for me. I imagine it’ll be lovely in the heat, though I haven’t had the chance to test that theory yet due to our stormy, chilly summer!

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M7464 is a ‘petite’pattern. I wasn’t 100% sure what that meant, but it turns out that it means the patterns have a shorter nape to back waist length which is perfect for me! It was a simple enough pattern to sew up, I read through the instructions once before starting and then didn’t really refer to them again. I really like the shape of this dress, with it’s front and back princess seams, I think it’s really flattering but not too form fitting! I made view C, but with everything cut on grain rather than cutting the princess panels on the bias (so technically probably view A without the pockets. Either/or.)

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I do wish I had a better match with my zip colour. I thought this pale blue one would be best, but I might have been better with a navy one! Either way, it isn’t too bad really.  One thing I did change from the pattern was to omit the full lining, as I was after an easy breezy summer frock. Instead I used the tutorial for drafting Non-Flip Facings from What Katie Sews. It worked really well, they haven’t popped out of the neckline once! next time I will make the front facing an inch deeper at the centre front neck, as I failed to take the seam allowance into consideration and so it’s only about 1 and 1/4 inches deep at the CF. Even so, it stays put!

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I am really happy with this dress, but there are a few changes I’ll make for next time (and I have two pieces of fabric set aside for another summer version and a winter version already). I feel like the waist of this dress is sitting at the right place, but I have about 2 inches of excess fabric in the upper chest. You can see it bubbling around my collarbones in some of the above pictures. If I pinch it out, the whole dress just feels perfect around the upper chest, rather than feeling a bit sloppy. I’ll need to do some research into the best way to remove that excess fabric and how to modify the sleeve to fit the new armhole (any suggestions or tutorials appreciated!). The back length feels fine, but I might experiment with removing excess from the front and back as well as removing it all from the front. There are toiles in my future! Once I’ve got that sorted, I think I’ll have a perfect dress pattern.

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Furry photo bomb! Zelda is so nosy, she always needs to know what’s going on when  I have the door of my sewing room closed. She must get terrible FOMO when I leave for work every morning…

 

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More Secret Pyjamas: Sallie Playsuit

I feel like I’ve spent weeks sewing for a summer which still hasn’t shown up! We’ve had gale force winds all week (strong even for Wellington, I thought I was going to have a Wizard of Oz moment one night), and now that they’ve finally dropped off the clouds have come down so low that I can’t see to the end of the street. Get it together Wellington, I have shorts and lovely floaty linen tops which need to be worn! I did manage to wear this play suit for most of yesterday, until it got a bit chilly in the afternoon and I had to revert back to jeans…

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I made this up just after Christmas, during my manic stay-home-and-sew holiday. I bought about five metres of this black knit from the Fabric Warehouse’s massive fabric sale sometime last year, and its lovely and soft. I can’t remember what it actually is, but I’m assuming a cotton/lycra/something blend. It was very easy to cut and sew, the edges only rolled a little bit and it went through my overlocker and sewing machine with no trouble. I have so much left, I think I’ll make myself a slip and some camisoles out of some of it and them stash the rest of it until inspiration strikes!

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The pattern is the Sallie Jumpsuit and Maxi-dress from Closet Case Files, the only alteration I made was to lop the legs off the jumpsuit at the length I wanted them! In hindsight I wish that I had widened the shorts slightly, or maybe just gone up a size in the bottom half, just so that I had a bit more room for the pockets and a bit more flare in the shorts. When I went back and read the post Heather Lou wrote about her playsuit she outlined exactly how to make the shorts more swingy, and I’m kicking myself for not looking up that post before making this!

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Even with the narrower shorts I think it’s a pretty cute and easy to wear garment. I love the front and back V necklines, and the little cap sleeves. I must have stretched one side of the neckline out slightly, probably when I was fusing the inferfacing to it right at the beginning, and it does annoy me slightly. You can see in the first photo that the left side of the neckline isn’t sitting quite right. I do love the clean finish that lining the bodice gives though, and the double layer of this thin knit means that it doesn’t show the line of my bra which is nice. In fact, I ended up using a double layer of fabric on the shorts as well, as they were a bit clingy and definitely showed too much VPL! Two layers is a nice weight, but it was a bit of a fiddle adding the lining into the shorts once it was all assembled. I do like to make things difficult. for myself…

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I’m pretty sure I’ll always wear it with a belt, but here it is without. I have a few changes I’d like to make if I make it again (and I would like to make it again, I think it’d be a great travel garment!). Firstly, I’ll pick a slightly thicker knit to try to avoid the clingy shorts thing, and just line the bodice with something lightweight. I’ll also follow the tutorial to make the legs wider. I had a bit of an epiphany when I tried this on for the first time, never having had any success with RTW playsuits (or the woven one I so ambitiously made when I was new to sewing). Because I have a really high waist I need to take length off the bodice or it’ll be way to blousy/gapey, a mod which I make automatically now, and which doesn’t really affect anything when I’m making a dress but really does when I’m adding a pair of shorts instead of a skirt. My crotch depth is pretty standard, so of course I need to add length to it if I’m hoisting the waist up by a few inches. It seems so basic now that I think about it, but I hadn’t ever considered it. So next time, add the amount I take off the length of the bodice to the shorts! I also want to have a go at the dress, I think it would be another lovely easy to wear summer garment. So many plans, so little time…

Even though it isn’t perfect I’m pretty sure it’ll still get some wear (if summer ever shows up), because it really is so soft and comfortable. And yes, getting out of it to go to the loo is slightly more hassle than if you were wearing a dress or shorts and a tee shirt, but it’s really not a problem. The neckline is plenty wide enough to make it quick and easy!

Traditional New Year Sewing

If you do something three years in a row that makes it tradition right? This is the third year in a row that I’ve started the year with a post showcasing a new pair of shorts and a summer top, so I’m going to say it’s now traditional! My first year was a Grainline summer outfit, last year was my weirdly constructed Panthea shorts and an Emmeline tee, and this year it’s a True Bias party.

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I’ve already posted about the Ogden Camisole, so I won’t talk about that too much. This one is also rayon, a lovely rayon crepe which I bought from Tessuti in Melbourne when I was there in November. I find rayon crepe can be so variable, I’ve worked with some which is really drapey but loosely woven and which seems to grow as you work with it (or wear it, alarmingly), and also some which has been stiff and scratchy (but which holds it’s shape). happily, this stuff has the best qualities of all of the rayon crepes I’ve used, it’s smooth and drapey but hasn’t sagged out. Even still, I was careful to stay stitch everything, and tried not to handle the pieces too much until they were sewn together! I really love this top, I’ve worn it lots since I finished it at the end of December. It was a good thing to wear to casual festive parties.

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I’ve also made the True Bias Emerson Shorts! I’ll say straight away that I really like these shorts. The elastic back waistband means they are really comfortable, but the flat front waistband stops them looking too casual. I like the slash pockets and the front pleats too, and they were a really quick sew. What more could I want in a pair of shorts?

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I could maybe want a less crush-able fabric. I made these with the remnants of linen from my McCalls shirtdress, so they’re really cool and soft to wear, but man do they crease! I ironed these just before putting them on, but I made the mistake of sitting down to put my shoes on, and this is the result. Oh well, linen!

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I’m happy with the fit, though looking at this picture I can see that there are drag lines towards the inseams. I don’t know if I need more room for my bum, or if I’m just standing a bit funny! I’m not too worried about them for basic shorts, but if I make them again I might have a fiddle with the crotch depth. I do like the length and the width of the leg, I think they’re quite flattering!

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These are a really quick sew, they only took me a few hours one afternoon to put together. Actually, both pieces are really quick projects, nice and easy for the slow days between Christmas and New Year! I really like how the cami looks knotted (this is me ripping off the outfit from the True Bias sample photos…), but I find that there isn’t quite enough fabric around my hips to get a decent knot that doesn’t just fall out. I might have a play with some future versions, I could either grade it up a few sizes towards the hem, or I might try adding some cut-on ties to the hem. There are so many things I want to do with this pattern, expect to see a few more before the summer is done!

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I was wearing this outfit the other day, and I managed to get horribly sun burnt on my 10 minute walk to the shops! I have very itchy/sore shoulders, in a lovely shade of raspberry striped with white (cami straps and bag strap). I’m really hoping it’s faded by Thursday, it’ll clash terribly with the yellow dress I want to wear to the wedding I’m attending…

Also, it was my third blogging anniversary on Sunday! Thank you all for reading and commenting and offering so much help and inspiration, I do love the sewing corner of the internet ❤