Froufrou

Peasant blouses are all I want to wear in (not too hot) summer, usually paired with a gathered skirt and either clogs or ballet flats. My favourite peasant blouse was a 1970s vintage one I had bought when I was a teenager, which I’ve been trying to find a replacement for since it got ruined in the wash (pro tip: don’t put a white blouse and a goose poop green cardigan in the same laundry cycle – I WAS TIRED OKAY?!).

On the hunt for peasant blouse patterns, I discovered Butterick 4685 through Constance’s lovely versions. I immediately fell in love with the ruffle version, which is the one I chose to sew.

I made this blouse a year ago, so I don’t really remember any details, only that it was quite easy to make and that I used bias tape inside the curved hem instead of turning the hem over as advised in the pattern. About that curved hem, I don’t think I’d include it were I to sew this pattern again. I only wear this kind of loose-fitting peasant blouse tucked into a skirt anyway (to the point that I didn’t even think to take some untucked pictures, sorry!), so straightening the hem would make more sense.

One of the reasons why I wouldn’t wear this blouse untucked (other than the fact that I actually prefer tucking my blouses into skirts) is the way it looks from the side: you’ll have to take my word for it since I forgot to take a picture , but it makes me look like I’m pregnant (that’s a classic and I don’t really mind) front AND back (less of a classic and I do mind!). That wouldn’t stop me from sewing this pattern again, though, since it looks perfectly cute once tucked in!

The fabric I used came from the Stoffenspektakel, as did the fabric of the skirt I’m wearing in the pictures! It’s a gathered skirt I sewed almost two years ago, but haven’t blogged because it is so simple there was no point in a whole blog post of its own. At least now I’ll have a record of it on the blog!

I added patch pockets with a folded top edge (you can click on the picture above to see them better) to my usual gathered skirt base. If the fabric of this skirt looks familiar, it’s because it’s the exact same print as these two jersey pieces, only in a cotton poplin this time!

Man have I worn this skirt these past two years! I’ve been wearing it with or without tights, summer and winter, and the fabric has held up beautifully. But wait, does this mean I haven’t sewn a gathered skirt in almost two years?! Must. Remedy. ASAP!

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Cherries and Polka Dots

Ah, cherries! I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of them. I really can’t resist a good cherry print for summer. And if you throw some polka dots in the mix…

I bought this fabric at the Stoffenspektakel. There was only a 2 metre piece left, and I hemmed and hawed for a couple years before deciding on a pattern for it. But after making my flamingo dress, also from a small yardage, I immediately knew I had to use the same pattern for this cherry fabric, Woman W88 (a vintage pattern I bought on Etsy).

The pattern actually uses quite a lot of fabric, but I’ve only been using the bodice and strap pieces, substituting a gathered skirt the width of my fabric (x2) for the voluminous skirt of the pattern. I’m definitely planning on using the skirt of the pattern in the future, but this substitution has proven very useful when dealing with smaller yardages.

I did not make a lot of changes compared to my first version, only tiny modifications. First, I finished the neckline with a narrower bias tape. I’m not sure this was such a good idea. It looks good, yes, and I was able to topstitch it in place instead of slip stitching it, but it also means that I had to cut the hidden ends of the straps way shorter (thus more prone to fraying) than on my first version.

I also didn’t add the cute little strap bows this time. I felt one dress with these bows was enough, and I didn’t want it to be too obvious that I had two dresses that were exactly the same but for the fabric. For the same reason, I changed the shape of the pockets, too, from rounded to square.

One small fit problem I hadn’t noticed on my first version is that the waistline is maybe a touch too low. Another small fit problem I hadn’t noticed on my first version, probably because it was hidden by the bows, is that the two front neckline darts do not sit perfectly flush to my body. It’s barely visible (even less in the pictures), but a possible improvement to keep in mind for a future version.

Because there will be future versions of course. It’s the kind of pattern I can see myself sewing over and over again, changing only the fabric and small details.

Aux robes pareilles

I don’t know that my second version of such a simple pattern as the Moneta deserves a blog post of its own, but I really love this dress and I was wearing it when I thought about taking pictures for the blog, so here goes.

You may remember that I had to shorten the bodice of my first Moneta dress after completing it. Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to alter the bodice pattern pieces, too. And, contrary to what I was forced to do on the first dress (since it was already cut and sewn), I didn’t simply cut off the bottom of the bodice pieces. I shortened them properly by slashing and closing, and I feel like this allows for a better fit at the waist than on the first version: the waist seam is now horizontal, even at the back, so no need for a swayback adjustment after all.

What may also have contributed to this more horizontal waist seam is the fact that I used my preferred method of gathering the skirt (the same as for a woven garment, with three basting rows, but adding clear elastic when attaching the skirt to the garment) instead of the recommended one.

If I did alter the bodice pattern pieces, I didn’t think of altering the skirt pattern pieces at the time. And I realised that right after having cut both skirt pieces, argh! I remember thinking that the length of the first dress was okay, but not perfect, and that on the next version I’d definitely add some length to the skirt to compensate for the length I had lost at the bodice. I could have kicked myself when I realised I had forgotten to do so! I made a very narrow hem to get as much length as I could out of my already cut skirt pieces, and I think that the length I got is more than okay, but I must remember to add a couple more centimetres to the next version in order to get to my perfect skirt length (63 centimetres — this one is 60 or 61).

Those 2-3 missing centimetres sure haven’t stopped that dress from becoming one of my favourite ones! Aren’t those cherries the cutest? I had made this beloved skirt a bit more than a year ago in a lovely cotton poplin, and when I found the exact same print but on jersey (at Herbert Textiel), I didn’t think twice and immediately ordered 2 metres for a Moneta dress.

It’s a white fabric with a dark print, so it does show a tiny bit of white at some seams (see the sleeve seam in the close-up picture below — note that you can always click on the images to make them bigger), but it’s nothing you notice unless you’re specifically looking for it.

What’s crazy is that, out of the two metres I had ordered, I managed to get this dress of course, but also a matching cardigan! I cut and sewed them both at the same time, which was really fun and gave me the impression of being incredibly productive! In case you’re wondering, no, I don’t intend to wear them together, nor to wear the cardigan with the matching poplin skirt!

But when does one enter crazy cherry lady territory? I mean, people (okay, students 😉 ) have already started asking questions, and they haven’t even seen the cardigan yet, nor the three other cherry fabrics I still have in my stash!

Made With Love

bb1You know me by now, I’m a terribly selfish sewer/knitter. I have to be really close to someone to even think about sewing/knitting them something. And the worst part is, I don’t even feel bad about it! Sewing is my hobby, not my job, and I want it to stay fun… Not that sewing for other people can’t be fun; it’s just not my personal preference, and sewing for myself also puts way less pressure on my shoulders!

bb3But I do appreciate the occasional selfless sewing project, especially when it’s something I wouldn’t sew for myself. Sewing for my boyfriend (blog post about the jacket I made him in March still to come, ahem!) gave me the occasion to have a stab at menswear, which I enjoyed a lot, and sewing this little outfit for my goddaughter, my first time sewing baby clothes, was very rewarding, too!

She turned one in October and I could not not sew her anything! I browsed my Burdas to find something I could see her wearing, and this baby collection caught my eye right away: such cute patterns! I liked the idea of sewing a whole little outfit, so I chose the quilted jacket, the blouse with ruffle collar and the stretch trousers to go with them.

bb4Fabric wise, I went digging through my stash. I own a few cotton pieces I impulse bought at Veritas that are too small to use for adult garments (except maybe a fitted blouse), but so cute I could never bear to part with them. This cherry one was a favourite and I knew it would look so cute on my goddaughter, so that was an easy choice. After that I looked for matching pieces in my stash: a red cotton jersey for the outer layer of the jacket and a blue one (the same I used for this Ondée) for the leggings. I just bought the batting, bias binding (polka dotted because I know my goddaughter is not afraid of print matching!) and buttons (glittery ones for the jacket and plastic snaps for the blouse).

I only had two 75 cm x 100 cm pieces of the cherry cotton and I wasn’t sure it would be enough for the blouse and the jacket lining, but it was, literally to the half centimetre! I sighed in relief when all the pieces were cut! Same with the red cotton jersey, but this time literally to the millimetre, phew!

bb5Burda advises you to cut the pattern pieces before quilting the outer layer, adding 3 cm seam allowances, then re-cutting these seam allowances to 1,5 cm after quilting. I quilted the whole piece of fabric (“basting” batting and outer fabric with spray adhesive and using masking tape to get even lines), then cut the pieces.

Other than quilting the outer fabric, which was looooooong (but not difficult at all), the jacket was a breeze to make! The instructions were perfectly clear, and I don’t know why, but I found it quite fun handling such tiny pieces!

bb6The blouse was also lots of fun to make. I only deviated from the instructions for the hem of the collar ruffle: they have you turn it once, zigzag stitch then cut the excess fabric. I preferred turning the hem twice and using a straight stitch to make a baby hem, which I think gives a much cleaner result.

The trousers were less fun to make (just boring in comparison with the cute jacket and blouse), but they took about an hour from start to finish, so no complaining on my part. I used my serger to assemble the pieces and a zigzag stitch for the waistband casing and the hems.

bb2I finished the whole outfit way past my goddaughter’s birthday (but way before the next one so I’ll count that as a win 😉 ) and could only give it to her mother (who seemed to love it, yeah!) very recently, so I don’t know yet whether it fits her* (I made a size 80), but in any case I’m really happy with the look of the outfit. And I truly liked sewing for her, so this is definitely not the last time I do!

*EDIT: It does! 🙂

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With a Cherry on Top

Cherry1Hello! It’s been awhile hasn’t it?

Here is the last garment I sewed, a Sewaholic Saltspring dress! The fabric is a lovely rayon I bought from Goldhawk Road during a day trip to London with Mimolette last March. It’s not as drapey as the pattern recommends and actually looks more like a very lightweight cotton, but I think it works pretty well for this dress nonetheless. And it was suprisingly nice to work with, too, since it behaves like cotton. The only downside is that I need to press the dress after hanging it to dry or it looks a little bit crumpled and sloppy. Fortunately, it doesn’t wrinkle too much when I wear it, just when I wash it.

Cherry2I love love love the finished dress! And I also loved working with the pattern, which I found very well thought-out. I now understand why everyone kept raving about the shorter lining that helps keeping the blousing in place: it really does its job! I French seamed the skirt seams, and the bodice construction (at least without a zipper) encloses all raw seams, so the inside looks very neat. Also, thumbs up for the sew-along method for turning the straps right side out with a bobby pin: so easy, worked like a charm!

Cherry4It’s an easy pattern as is, but I made it even easier by omitting the zipper. I didn’t like the look of the partially open back of the original version, and I had read that one could put on the dress without a zipper, so that was a no-brainer.

To eliminate the zipper, I cut the back skirt on the fold instead of in two pieces. I could have done the same for the back bodice, but I didn’t think of that before I had already cut it in two pieces, so I just seamed it shut. This accidental back seam turned out quite handy to differentiate the front from the back when I’m getting dressed!

Cherry5Another modification I made was to sew an in-between version of the skirt, lengthwise. I added 20 cm to the shorter version, because I wanted my dress to have a late 70s, early 80s flair.

Cherry6You may have noticed that I’m wearing a cherry necklace in the pictures. When I finished the dress, I felt like it demanded to be worn with a cherry necklace, so I obliged and made one, since I didn’t own any! I’m fairly chuffed with the result, which I intended on wearing only with this dress, but have actually been wearing with an unexpected amount of outfits! The cherries and leaf are polymer clay and the stems pliable jewellery wire.

Cherry3This exact outfit has been my favourite one this summer. It’s a shame it’s not the kind of dress I can see myself wearing with tights and cardigans to transition it to fall, but at least I’ll be looking forward to wearing it again next summer!

Ma Pomme Dress

MaPomme1I made this dress as a replacement for one of my go-to summer dresses, which was one of the first garments I sewed. The dress in question was actually a vintage dress refashion, so it’s kind of a miracle that the fabric had held up for so long, but I was still sad when I realised I couldn’t wear it anymore.

Then again, I was also glad to have an excuse for sewing myself a new one of course!

MaPomme2I had bought the fabric (100% cotton; the brand is Little Darling) earlier this year at the Stoffenspektakel with this exact dress in mind. It was a delight to sew and is also really nice to wear.

As for the pattern, well, I didn’t use one! I drafted this dress myself, you see… OK, OK, my “pattern” is literally a rectangle! 😀 And two of the sides were in fact the selvedges of the fabric. So the cutting part was not too difficult: I just had to tear a piece of roughly the length of this dress (and a few centimetres more just in case – which I ended up using as you can see on the finished dress)… and that’s it!

Same with the shoulder straps: after I measured the desired length and width of my straps, I simply tore four pieces (not forgetting to add seam allowances), then rounded one of the short edges of each.

MaPomme3What makes the dress is the shirring of course. I used a method similar to this one (after sewing the fabric piece into a tube – with a French seam – and making a casing at the top to insert a piece of elastic afterwards to avoid ruffles) and it was, once again, very easy. But man did it take a long time! Eighteen rows of shirring along 1,50 m of fabric, I was feeling murderous near the end! Then I saw how cute the shirring looked and I relaxed a little bit. 😉

MaPomme4I forgot to take close-up pictures of the pockets, but they are almost the same (just a little bit deeper) as these ones, made following this tutorial. I did take a picture before attaching them to the dress, though. The buttons on the pockets are the same as the buttons on the straps, only smaller. I bought them at Veritas… in Luxembourg (I hadn’t found any I liked here in Brussels and I was spending two days there)! None are functional.

MaPomme5There are two small things I’m not so fond of with this dress. The first one, the fact that it creates a sort of semi muffin top under the arms (front and back), is inherent to this type of garment, at least on my body. And the second one is simply that I didn’t think to interface the shoulder straps and that they are a touch limp as a result. These two details are what stops me from loving this dress as much as I love the previous one I showed you, but I still like it a lot!

See you soon for the rest of my summer sewing projects!