I started this blog to encourage myself to get better at sewing and use up some of those piles of fabric in the cupboards, baskets, trunks and other various receptacles around the house. Prior to last year my recent sewing had been A-line skirts, curtains, cushions and some easy upholstery. Things where fit didn’t matter. I had sewn more complicated garments in the past but always with terrible results. I had had my confidence battered and had wasted some really nice (and expensive) fabric.
Since resolving to sew more I’ve slowly been challenging myself with more complicated or “scary” patterns, and making the effort to do things properly and use appropriate fabrics. For me dresses are one of the scariest. They can eat fabric and can be a challenge to fit properly so if you get it wrong you’ve not only wasted your time, but also probably $$$. But dresses are what I like to wear the most, if I look at my RTW wardrobe the dresses outnumber everything else. They make me feel feminine and need very little thought in the morning when I’m still trying to wake up and don’t have any working brain cells to figure out an outfit. With the explosion of sewing blogs and independent pattern companies I came across two dress patterns that I thought would be relatively simple and give me a bit of a boost confidence wise on the dress front.
I made up the Kimono dress first in a beautiful blue silk I got from a local designer who regularly sells off ends of bolts or fabrics she no longer wants. The pattern is very simple and would probably be an easy hack if you want a woven kimono sleeved t-shirt (hmm just added another item to the “Sew do” list). With an elasticated waist and a couple of facings there aren’t any darts to complicate matters so it’s a quick and easy win which is very wearable and depending on the fabric you use, can be dressy or casual. I wear this one to work, or at least I did, I seem to have acquired a little extra belly recently so it’s a bit more snug than it used to be and not currently wearable outside the garden.
But it was a really handy dress so I decided to “grade up” the pattern by adding an inch to the centre line of all the pieces and made it up again in this modern paisley print. And I think I love this version even more.
With the second pattern I thought I would try this new to me concept of “muslins”. A couple of years ago I bought a cool paisley knit to make a tailored jacket (concept fail!), the fabric was full of faults and the shop ended up cutting me nearly 4 metres of the stuff. Even after the jacket that style forgot I still had about1.5 metres of useable fabric leftover so figured what the heck, it’s technically free fabric, make up the pattern and see if you like it.
Love it! I think it has a cool 60s vibe and it’s super comfortable to wear.
Feeling emboldened by the success of the knit I grabbed one of my upholstery linens and tried making a woven muslin.
What do you think? I like this version too, the style suits me and the stripes make me happy. I like how the stiff fabric makes the skirt stick out. Although that’s also the pattern as it does it in the knit version but it’s not as exaggerated. I think the bust darts need to move up a little and could use a bit more room in the back as I’m quite broad across the shoulders but it’s perfectly wearable.
Feeling well chuffed with myself and with Christmas party invitations piling up (yes I’m very slow with my posts), I decided to use the beautiful yellow fabric I got at the Arthur Toye closing down sale, that was going to be a sarong skirt until I got cold feet on the idea, and make myself a party dress.
Perhaps it was the colour but in this version the Dress form of Doom struck again and I have a pile of custard on my hands. The fabric is shot through with metallic threads and when I put the dress on to check the fit after my bust dart and back changes it was like being stabbed with thousands of tiny knives. OUCH. Of course I’d left it to the last minute to sew as it was such an easy and quick pattern and didn’t have time to fix the problem. Sighing I wore my woven muslin to the WSBN Christmas picnic instead and one of my non me made dresses to the other parties. Even though I like the pattern, this custard version is sitting in the naughty corner waiting for me to drum up the enthusiasm to make a lining for the dress so I can actually wear it without feeling like I need a box of band aids. It’s possible I will try again in a less violent fabric.