A Christmassy Eve

I know, I know, it’s only the middle of November, I have no business posting about any Christmas things so early. But my work Christmas do was yesterday (maybe the venue was all booked up on more appropriate Christmas party dates?), and I really wanted to wear this dress, so I’ve had to be super organised…

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This is the Sew Over It Eve dress, a woven wrap dress with the front gathered onto yokes at the shoulder, and with awesome 1970’s flutter sleeves. There is the option for a high-low hem, but I opted for the straight hem from version 2 of the pattern. There is a lot to like about this pattern, the wrap front fits beautifully with the gathering above the bust, and the wrap edge is shaped just right to sit close against the body without gaping.

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See how well that neckline sits? The instructions give you specific measurements for how long each front edge, yoke piece and back neckline half should be, so that you can ease it onto a length of twill tape, which I thought was brilliant. I feel nice and secure in this bodice, not like it’s going to fly open at any moment! I’ve never managed to find a wrap dress which fits my weird short torso without gaping open, so I’m super happy with the fit of this one.

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I feel pretty safe in the skirt too, the underskirt is the full width of the bodice so hopefully that’ll mean fewer wind-related incidents, even in Wellington. I made the size 10, which is where my measurements put me, and made no changes to the pattern. I might yet go back and take a tiny bit of length off the bodice, I’m undecided. I quite like the slightly bloused look, I think it suits the romantic, vintage vibe this dress has, but I’m also concerned that it might grow a bit over time, with the weight of the skirt hanging from it.

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The fabric is a Telio rayon challis from Fabric.com. It’s lovely and smooth and floaty, but it is a bit sheer. It was pretty easy to sew with, I used a microtex needle and my silk pins to keep it all under control. The hardest part was leveling the hem! I let it drop for nearly a week, and it was 3” longer at the side seams than at the front edges of the skirt. I find leveling hems a challenge, even with my dressmakers dummy and a hem ruler. It’s like cutting your own hair, it always ends up shorter on one side! Eventually I got it pretty much even, though when I wear it it looks less even than it does on the mannequin. I’m going to blame that on the way I’ve tied the wrap, and on how I’m standing.

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In the end, I didn’t wear this dress to the Christmas lunch after all, it was way too cold and windy! I came home and decided to take some photos of it anyway, so if I’m looking more cheerful (manically cheesy) than usual in these pictures that’s because I’d had a few glasses of wine before getting the camera out…

Is anyone else doing some very early Chrismas sewing or attending any premature Christmas events? Tell me I’m not alone!

 

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Christmas Day Dress

I feel like I must be the last sewing blogger on the internet to make the By Hand London Anna Dress (though Kat assures me she hasn’t made it either)! there are so many versions of this dress out there, and the bodice seems to get matched up with other skirts all the time. I managed to grab a paper copy of the pattern when BHL stopped printing them, and I’ve imagined it paired with several lengths of fabric from my stash since then. Then when I saw the Cotton + Steel/Rifle Paper Co collaboration, I knew that I would use some of their rayon for my first Anna.

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I’m going to rave about the fabric before I get to the pattern, because I love it so much. You might have noticed that rayon is one of my favourite fabrics to sew and wear, and C+S rayon is even nicer than most. This one is lovely and smooth and drapey, and has a nice weight to it which makes the skirt hang beautifully. And how gorgeous is the print? I’ve always been a fan of Rifle Paper Co., so I was super excited to get some of this fabric (it came from Miss Matatabi, by the way). I also have some of the canvas waiting to be made into shorts, and some of their cotton for a dress…I’m not obsessed at all…

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I really wanted a pattern which would let the fabric be the focal point, and I think the Anna works really well as a canvas. The bodice and cut on sleeves doesn’t have too many seams to interrupt the print, and the multi-paneled skirt hangs and swishes beautifully in the rayon. I also really like the boat neck, I think the width of it is a nice way to offset the higher neckline.

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I did make a muslin of the bodice, as I read enough reviews which said they had trouble with a gaping neckline to be wary. I ended up pinching out nearly an inch on either side of the back neckline, and half an inch of each side of the front. I used the tutorial on Ginger Makes to do my flat pattern adjustment, and it worked really well. I still get some gaping at the back if I roll my shoulders right back (how my mother would ask me to stand!), but I think that’s probably just the nature of a high, wide neckline. When I stand normally it sits nicely. I was surprises that I didn’t need to take any length off the bodice or adjust the bust tucks, it all fit pretty nicely once I had the neckline sorted!

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I’m very pleased with how my zip went in, its one of the most invisible invisible zips I’ve ever sewn! I have a little bit of extra fabric at the back waist, but nothing too major. I have to have some moving room!

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I also discovered that I could do a blind hem with my beloved Bernina! How did I not know I could do this? Its so pretty, and so fast, I love it! Blind hems for everything from now on.

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It’s funny, this dress feels very me three years ago. Its the sort of thing I would have been desperate to buy before I could sew, and the sort of thing I would have sewn until about 18 months ago, but I feel like my style has moved on quite a bit from then! I still really like this dress, and I adore the fabric, so it’ll get worn, but it’s funny to think how much this dress sticks out in my current wardrobe. Its nice to have some really girly dresses in there, I suppose. I was planning on this being my Christmas day dress, but to be honest I’m not sure there’s enough room in the bodice for the two Christmas meals which I will be required to eat over the course of the day! I’ll see how I go, I might have to change into something more forgiving after lunch (because eating less really isn’t an option!).

I hope you all have a good holiday period! I’m planning a stay at home sewing marathon over New Year, then we head away for friends’ wedding. I had better get working on the dress I want to wear for the wedding…though I suppose I can always wear this one if I don’t get it done!

Southport the Third: the birthday version

I know, I know, this is the third True Bias Southport dress I’ve posted about in as many months. But this one is special, its my birthday dress!

Once again its made out of rayon, because why change a good thing? This time its rayon challis, and it is much better behaved and much nicer to wear than my crepe version. I have a well documented stripe obsession, so I was pretty excited to find this fabric last year! I had originally earmarked it for a jacket lining, but I decided it really wanted to be a dress. And as my sewing skills seem to have gone out of the window since I went back to work this year, I thought I would stick to something familiar, which I knew I’d wear heaps.

So it should have been easy! I remembered that I took 5/8″ off the straps of my blue Southport, so I cracked on and took 5/8″ off these ones too. I got all the binding on nice and smooth first time, the skirt went together beautifully, all my stripes matched up perfectly, and I was really enjoying myself. I tried it on to decide where I should hem it (I had a feeling it would look weird if the skirt ended on a white stripe, so I left a narrow black border, which I think was a good decision), and found that the arm holes were so high and tight that I felt like Quasimodo. At that point I remembered how I had modified the straps and traced off my new bodice shape after my last Southport, so I had now removed 1 1/4″. Shit. No wonder it was a bit tight! I was so miffed that I had to unpick all my beautiful binding… Happily I could let the seam allowance at the shoulder out to a tiny amount, and they’re almost right. The armhole is still a bit high, and the binding isn’t as neat as my first go, but at least its wearable! And did I mention my stripe matching?


Even inside the pockets!

I can’t believe that I’ve done something stupid each time I’ve made this dress. I’ve now made a clear note on my bodice pattern piece, hopefully I won’t do anything so silly again!


I do really like this dress though. Perhaps not quite as much as my blue version, but a close second. I love the matte black buttons that I chose (thanks you instagram for persuading me that plain black was the way to go!) and I stuck with the easy option and used grosgrain ribbon again. I’m hoping I might have enough of this fabric left to make myself a Tiny Pocket Tank or something similar! I wore it all day on my birthday, and it took me from posh morning tea with my Mum, Sister and Aunt to present shopping and burgers for lunch with Monsieur, to a cup of tea with my MiL, to Sangria and Tapas with my lovely friends without ever making me feel out of place. What more could I ask of a dress?


Fancy cakes (I’m not even sure if cake is the right word, but they’re delicious!), my chocolate cake-salted caramel-chocolate mouss confection, a super cute vintage pattern I found when we were present shopping, and the kitty seal of approval for my dress. A lovely day!