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Sewing a Penny dress with Lisa Comfort's cotton lawn

Sewing a Penny dress with Lisa Comfort’s cotton lawn

Sewing a Penny dress with Lisa Comfort's cotton lawn

When Minerva Crafts offered me the chance to review Lisa Comfort’s new fabric range I leapt at the chance. I absolutely love all of her ‘Sew Over It’ patterns and so to be able to make one of her patterns in a fabric she designed seemed like the perfect opportunity. The hardest part was choosing which colour and print to use and finding the perfect pattern to pair it with! The fabric is a lightweight cotton lawn and is available in a range of prints and colour ways. Given the scorching hot summer we have had I decided that I needed a nice loose fitting dress to match the breezy cotton lawn fabric. The Sew Over It Penny dress and Lisa Comfort’s cotton lawn in navy Elderflower print* looked like a winning combination! To read my fabric review and see all of my pictures of this gorgeous dress head on over to the Minerva crafts blog!

Sewing a Penny dress with Lisa Comfort's cotton lawn
The details:

Pattern: Sew Over It Penny dress*

Fabric: Lisa Comfort’s cotton lawn in navy Elderflower print*

Notions: Buttons, elastic

Alterations: Altered skirt to bea loose fitting straight skirt insteadof a semi-circle (read the blog post to find out more)

 

Don’t forget to read the full blog post on the Minerva crafts blog!

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Sew Over It Penny dress and Lisa Comfort Cotton lawn

See all the details of my sew over it penny dress - made in lisa comfort cotton lawnPairing Lisa Comfort's fabric with the Sew Over It Penny dress patternPairing Lisa Comfort's fabric with the Sew Over It Penny dress patternLisa Comfort Cotton lawn and the Sew Over It Penny dress

(Link has a * next to it? That’s an affiliate or referral link. Full disclosure: I get a small commission if you buy via this link but I will only send you to products I truly think are worth it!).

Sewing the Joni dress by Tilly and the Buttons

Sewing the Joni dress by Tilly and the Buttons

I have a new post on the Minerva crafts blog ! Here’s a quick summary but be sure to read the full post here.

As many of you will know already, I love to sew with knit fabrics! and so when Minerva Crafts sent me some of their gorgeous spandex stretch jersey* to review I was delighted and couldn’t wait to get sewing! 

Sewing the Joni dress by Tilly and the Buttons

With the two recent book releases from Wendy Ward* and Tilly and the Buttons* both dedicated to sewing with knits I had plenty choice of patterns. This time, I chose to make the Joni dress from Tilly and the Buttons’ book – Stretch! Make Yourself Comfortable Sewing with Knit Fabrics*.

Sewing the Joni dress by Tilly and the Buttons

You can read about how I got on with the fabric and see more pictures of my dress over on the Minerva Crafts blog.

Sewing the Joni dress by Tilly and the Buttons

The details:

Pattern: Joni dress from Tilly and the Buttons’ book – Stretch! Make Yourself Comfortable Sewing with Knit Fabrics*

Fabric: spandex stretch jersey from Minerva Crafts*

Notions: 5mm Elastic

Alterations: Size 3 – small amount of extra room added to bust (approx 5mm)

Sewing the Joni dress by Tilly and the Buttons

I think my Joni dress is my new favourite make (the newest is always my favourite!). I loved making it so much that I think I will have to buy some more of this fabric in a few different colours to make some more!

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Sewing the Joni dress by Tilly and the Buttons

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Sewing the Joni dress by Tilly and the Buttons

Sewing the Joni dress by Tilly and the ButtonsSewing the Joni dress by Tilly and the ButtonsSewing the Joni dress by Tilly and the Buttons

(Link has a * next to it? That’s an affiliate or referral link. Full disclosure: I get a small commission if you buy via this link but I will only send you to products I truly think are worth it!).

A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics – A New Book by Wendy Ward

Beginners-Guide-to-Sewing-With-Knits2

Some of you might have been lucky enough to get your hands on Wendy Ward’s new book “A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics*” It was first published at the start of 2018 but immediately sold out! But now it is back and you can get your hands on it once again!

A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics – A New Book by Wendy Ward

I was lucky enough to be sent a copy to review by the publishers and my choice of fabric from Minerva Crafts to create one item from the book. The blog tour which is currently taking place was of course scheduled for when the book was first released but was put off until now to accommodate the wait for the second print run to be complete.

This of course means that I have been sitting on this make for a long time and can’t wait to show you! I chose to make the Peak t shirt in a dress length. The fabric I chose was a large floral print scuba*. You can read my full review of the book and see some more pictures of my make over on the Minerva Crafts blog.

Beginners-Guide-to-Sewing-With-Knits2

The details:

Pattern: Peak T-shirt dress from A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing with Knitted Fabrics* by Wendy Ward

Fabric: large floral print scuba* from Minerva Crafts

Notions: Gutermann thread

Alterations: None

I have worn this dress so much since I made it in December and it is a great everyday pattern taht will be super versatile when made in the different length options and in different weight fabrics!

Read all about it here

As many of you will have noticed this is not the only new book in Sewing town focussing on knit fabrics…stay tuned for my next post on the Tilly and the Buttons Stretch Sewing book*…coming soon!

If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current makes over on Instagram

(Link has a * next to it? That’s an affiliate or referral link. Full disclosure: I get a small commission if you buy via this link but I will only send you to products I truly think are worth it!).

Beginners-Guide-to-Sewing-With-Knits

Beginners-Guide-to-Sewing-With-Knits

Sew Over It Penny Dress made by HsHandcrafts

Sew Over It Penny Dress

When the Sew Over It Penny dress was released last year as part of the Sew Over It pdf club I snapped it up straight away. However, the Penny dress didn’t really fit into my sewing plans at the time and so I decided to satisfy my urge to buy the pattern anyway and hacked it into a tie front blouse.

As well as sewing, knitting, and all the other crafty hobbies you can think of I also love music and play the piano, clarinet and tenor saxophone. I play in a couple of big bands and often when we play a concert the dress code is all black. Now whilst I have a few outfits that fit this description I really wanted to add a handmade dress to my wardrobe that I could wear for our latest concert. The Penny dress immediately sprung to mind. I had already printed and assembled the pattern for my blouse hack and the skirt length would be perfect so as to not flash the audience whilst sitting down!

I dug out a black poly viscose I bought on Goldhawk road almost a year ago(!) and got to work.

Sew Over It Penny Dress

The Sew Over It Penny dress is a button up shirt dress with a semi circle skirt making it the perfect mix of smart and casual. It is also a really satisfying make as there is all the fun of the button up shirt and collar to keep you intrigued and then that lovely full-bodied skirt allow you to play with so much fabric!

Making the dress

The construction was quite straight forward as I had already figured out the tricky bits like the button placket last time around. My only problem came when cutting out the skirt – despite having a massive sewing table I didn’t have space to lay the pattern piece flat so had to resort to the floor whilst being extremely careful not to cut the carpet!

To make the dress feel a bit more me I decided not to use black buttons but instead used these cute little wooden square shaped buttons that I picked up at the GBSB live show last year. Unfortunately I dont remebr the name of the seller but they had loads of great buttons.

 

The details:

Pattern: Sew Over It Penny Dress

Fabric: Black poly viscose from Goldhawk Road

Notions: Gutermann thread, square wooden buttons

Alterations: None!

The dress was finished just in time for the concert and I felt great being able to combine my two hobbies in this way!

If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current makes over on instagram

Sew Over It Penny Dress - made by HsHandcrafts

Agate dress from Named clothing made by HsHandcrafts

Agate dress from named clothing – a sewing pattern review

The Agate dress* from named clothing is the newest addition to my me made wardrobe and its a beauty!

Agate dress by named patterns made by HsHandcrafts

Agate dress from named clothing – a sewing pattern review

Thanks to Minerva crafts I had the opportunity to sew up the beautiful Agate dress pattern* from Named clothing, in some of their gorgeous crepes.

You can read all about what I thought and see all of the pics over on their blog where you will find my full review!

 

The details:

Pattern: Agate Dress* – part of the Earth Science collection from Named Clothing

Fabric:  Peach Linen Polyester Crepe Fabric in black* and Polyester & Viscose Blend Crepe Fabric in grey

Notions: Two invisible zips, lightweight interfacing, Gutermann thread

Alterations: Shortened skirt by 4 inches

I do really love this dress although it is a bit smart for everyday wear. Don’t forget to read my full review and get all the pics over on the  Minerva crafts blog

If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current makes over on Instagtram

(Link has a * next to it? That’s an affiliate or referral link. Full disclosure: I get a small commission if you buy via this link but I will only send you to products I truly think are worth it!).

HsHandcrafts Agate Dress

HsHandcrafts Agate Dress

Phoebe dress by HsHandcrafts

Phoebe Dress Review – pattern from Sew Over It

The Phoebe dress from Sew Over It was released as part of the pdf club last year and I immediately snapped it up as a great option for work wear. As it is made with knit fabric it is also secretly super comfy. However, I didn’t get around to making one for a long time, partly due to having so many other things to make and partly because the fabric requirements had me stumped for quite some time – two different weights of knit fabric to be used together in the same outfit.

The pattern called for a metre each of a heavy weight knit for the skirt and a lighter weight drapy knit for the top. Once I had completed the intro to kits course from Sew Over It and I was a bit more comfortable with sewing with knits I felt more ready to make my selection. In fact, I had a metre of the Ponte used for my Emma dress left over. I picked a soft blue jersey from Girl Charlee to use for the top and got started!.

 

Phoebe Dress Review – pattern from Sew Over It

I actually really like this pattern – I love a pencil skirt but often find that when I tuck in a top I get horrible bulges around the waistline, particularly towards the end of the day when all my careful tucking has ridden up and scrunched around my waist (not pretty at all). This pattern removes that problem entirely by creating the illusion of a top neatly tucked in to a pencil skirt without any tucking in at all! In fact the gathering at the front makes it look like you have miraculously managed to get your top evenly spaced around your skirt in beautiful gathers!

Keyhole neckline

One feature that makes this pattern stand out for me is the keyhole neck feature on the back. I think without this the pattern would be rather simple and not really that notable but this neck feature is a nice finishing touch and makes it feel like a slightly more advanced make.

I found the sizing of the Phoebe dress to be pretty good for me. Like all Sew Over It  patterns I chose to make a size down compared to that given by the measurements as I generally find them to be a bit roomier than I would like and I think given the fitted style of this skirt that was a good choice. The loose fitting top means there was no need even for an FBA (full bust adjustment) which is pretty much a staple adjustment for me so it gets bonus points from me there – however, if you don’t have a full bust I would maybe choose to down size for the top.

 

The details:

Pattern: Phoebe dress from Sew Over It

Fabric: Dark blue Ponte de Roma and light blue jersey – both from Girl Charlee UK

Notions: A small blue button from stash for the keyhole closure, Gutermann thread

Alterations: None! (there’s a first time for everything)

I do really like the Phoebe dress pattern and think it will prove quite versatile. I probably could have chosen a drapier fabric for the top but I’m still not quite sure what I am looking for there.

My only reservation about this pattern is that whilst there are many advantages to it looking like separates whilst actually being a one-piece you don’t get the one benefit of being able to wash them separately

If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current makes over on instagram

HsHandcrafts Phoebe Dress

 

Sew Over It Online Course: Intro to Sewing with Knit Fabrics

Following on from last years Me-Made-May I decided I needed to stop sewing so many fancy dresses that would only get worn occasionally and start bulking up my me-made wardrobe with items that I could wear everyday. For me, this means comfy clothes that are smart enough to wear for work – the perfect solution? knit fabrics!

Sew Over It Online Course: Intro to Sewing with Knit Fabrics

Some of you might be aware that over the past four years I have been working towards my PhD and that at the end of last year I finished it and am now a doctor! Well, as part of that process I had to write a thesis (around 350 pages) and then defend it in a two and a half hour interview. Only then could I say I had passed. After I had finished writing the thesis and handed it in I was ready for a good break before I started my new job and had the interview to prepare for so I decided to take a week off and bought myself the online course on sewing with knits from sew over it as a fun thing to do in my new found free time!

In that first week after completing my thesis I worked through the whole course and had sewn my first version of each of the included patterns : the Emma dress and the Alice top. Since then I have sewn another version of each of the patterns. So I have definitely achieved my aim of bulking out my me-made wardrobe with comfy everyday clothes that are smart enough for work

The course starts out with a some tips on picking your fabric (the two patterns that are included require quite different fabric choices with different amounts of stretch and so this is a really useful starting point. I then went straight onto my first Emma dress which I made in a navy blue Ponte from Girl Charlee. The fabric was lovely to work with – it only has a small amount of stretch and so is quite easy to sew as it doesn’t need to much attention to prevent it stretching out.  

The instructions for the Emma dress were really clear and I whizzed through the first one in no time – even inserting an invisible zip in a stretch fabric! Something which sounds quite daunting but the instructions were so clear and before I knew it I had done it. Although, given the fact the fabric is stretchy I don’t think the dress really needed it and so I decided to omit it from my second version and I have no problems with getting it on and off so I think it is only really required if you choose a fabric with hardly any stretch.

I was so pleased with my first Emma dress I made a second straight away. For this dress I decided to risk straying from the instructions slightly and chose a lighter weight jersey, and omitted the zip – the dress has a lot less structure in the lighter fabric but I still really love the style of it and love the fit you can get with those princess seams (FBAs are so much easier!)

I then moved onto the Alice top. The construction of this top is really interseting as it has a lined bust panels and I must admit the first one I made I was convinced I had wrong until i turned everything through to the right side and miraculously it looked like a top! What I really love about this top is that the pattern comes with three different cup sizes so there was no need for me to make any adjustments.

The first Alice top I made (not pictured here) was in a blue diamond jersey from Girl Charlee – unfortunately the pattern was not on grain and so I decided to abandon all hope of lining it up anywhere and just went straight into cutting. Given the different panels on this top I don’t think it really matters as there is so much going on with the gathered centre front and separate panels. My second version is made in the softest grey jersey it is just the most comfy top ever!

This top is definitely a lot simpler to make than it looks and again the instructions are clear and easy to follow – I can see myself making a few more as it is a good work-wear staple and I have already have loads of people ask me where I bought it from (cue smug face when I tell them its handmade!)

The details:

Pattern: Sew Over It Intro to sewing with knits online course Emma dress and Alice top

Fabric: Navy ponte de roma, charcoal and black gingham, blue diamond jersey, soft grey jersey (all from Girl Charlee UK)

Notions:Invisible zip in the navy Emma dress, Gutermann thread

Alterations: Navy Emma dress size 12 with 0.5 inch FBA, Grey Emma size 10 with 1 inch FBA, Alice tops both size 8 with D cup

I can truly recommend this course, I had already sewn with knit fabrics before starting it and had really just bought it for the patterns that were included. This would definitely have been worth it if that were all I got from it as the patterns are really lovely but actually I learned quite a lot from the course. The instructions were super clear and I picked up a few handy tips along the way

If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current makes over on Instagram

Wedding Season

New to Me” week has just drawn to a close on the Monthly Stitch and there were so many fantastic entries, which means I am so flattered that mine was picked as a finalist! You can read my post here, or go and see it over on the Monthly stitch. I would be so grateful if you wanted to go and vote for it too – and you should definitely go and check out the other entries, I am sure I will be buying up a few more indie patterns after seeing all of those fantastic makes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

With wedding season fast approaching I needed the perfect guest outfit for my Aunty’s upcoming nuptials. The wedding will be at the beginning of August and it is an outside affair. I needed the perfect dress – fancy yet not too flamboyant, summery yet amenable to the British weather!

After scouring the list of indie designers so kindly provided on this blog I set my heart on the Georgia dress from By Hand London. Having never used one of their patterns before I had no idea what to expect. As it turns out they give plenty of direction and there is even an online sew-along with more helpful tips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, once I had read the instructions and looked at the pattern pieces I realised where my first problem would lie. That bodice. With the bodice made up of 5 separate pieces a full bust adjustment was not going to be easy and it was pretty obvious I was going to need a full bust adjustment looking at the size of the pattern pieces. This is where the sew-along came into its own. There were plenty of detailed instructions with photographs about what was required. So I followed the instructions and added a 1 inch wedge into the centre of each of the front bodice centre and side pieces and made a toile. It was not good! There was no way I was going to be decent with that bodice on a dress! – So I took matters into my own hands. The circumference of the bodice was fine, it was just the height, which the FBA described in the sew-along had not accounted for at all. I slashed all the bodice pieces in half horizontally and added another inch of height.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once I had figured out these changes to the bodice the rest was fairly plain sailing. The pattern recommended medium weight fabrics with a little bit of stretch but having looked at some pictures of others I wanted to use a slightly heavier fabric (to hide a multitude of sins on such a fitted dress!). I went with this gorgeous stripy jacquard from Fabworks. It’s pretty heavy for a dressmaking fabric and it frays constantly – my floor looked like I’d attacked the fabric with a shredder when I’d finished but the colours are amazing, a royal blue with stripes of pink, mint green and white running through it.

The details:

Pattern: By Hand London – Georgia dress

Fabric: Blue Jacquard from Fabworks

Alterations: Size 8 bodice with a one inch FBA and an extra inch of height added. Skirt is graded from a size 8 at the bodice to a 12 at the waist and a 14 at the hips

 

I probably could have afforded to go down a size at the hips but for a first go at this pattern I am pretty pleased with it. There are still some fit issues on the bodice but for a first attempt at a pattern from a new-to-me designer I am pretty pleased!

Helen

If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current makes over on Instagram or on my blog

My new go-to

It’s Indie Pattern Month over on the Monthly Stitch and there are loads of great things to see, interviews with indie designers, discount codes, competitions and best of all lots of amazing sewers making indie patterns! Last week for the first week of Indie Pattern Month the theme was dresses and there were some amazing winners. I submitted my most recent Heather dress from Sew Over It. You can read about it over on the Monthly stitch or find the post below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t you just love it when you find a pattern that is perfect for you? Be it the style, the fit, or just how fun/easy it is to make. I am so pleased that I have recently found one of those patterns. As soon as the Heather dress by Sew Over It was released, I just knew I had to make it!

 

My first effort was a straight out of the envelope size 10 and it was a pretty good start. Once made I just had to nip a bit out of the back seams so that it wasn’t really baggy. However, just one wasn’t enough and so on my second version I made a few extra changes. I took a couple of inches out of each of those back seams as well as an inch off the waist at each side seam. I also added a bit of extra room into the bust by just curving those princess seams a to have an extra quarter inch. In order to make this dress different from the first I took 5 whole inches off the length! (Sometimes it pays to be short, you can really play around with the length of things!

For Indie Pattern Month, I have made my third version of this dress. This has pretty much the same alterations as the first, but this time the length is somewhere in between (only 3 inches off the pattern this time!) I also added an extra quarter inch to the bust (making that a total of 1/2 an inch on each seam). I really love the dress and can see myself getting a lot of wear out of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For those that follow me on Instagram you will be well aware that I love anything blue and so this definitely fits in with my wardrobe! I really love that it is made from a knit fabric as it makes it so comfortable for everyday wear but it doesn’t look to obviously like secret pyjamas due to the way the fabric holds its shape. I always love a good Ponte de Roma and this one is no exception. It has a lovely feel to it and the pattern is super fun yet not too in you face (even if I do now match my curtains!!) I bought it at the Knitting and Stitching show back in spring at the London Olympia from Guthrie and Ghani and have been waiting for the perfect time to cut into it.

The pattern is pretty easy to follow. I got a bit confused the first time around the pockets but if you take your time and follow the instructions there is absolutely nothing to worry about as it is so well described.

The details:

Pattern: Sew Over It – Heather dress

Fabric: Blue diamonds Ponte de Roma from Guthrie and Ghani

Alterations: Size ten, 1/2in added to the bust on each princess seam, 1 inch taken out of each side of both back seams, 1/2in pinched out of each side seam at the waist, hem raised by 3 inches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sew Over It has always been one of my favourite Indie designers and the Heather dress is just another great pattern from them. I already have three but I can definitely see many more in my future!

If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current makes over on Instagramon Instagram

Anchor Dress

Anchor DressEarlier this week I showed you my completed Outfit-Along dress and cardigan. For those of you who were paying super close attention you will have noticed I mentioned that it was the second dress I had made using the bodice block from Freehand Fashion. Well, here is the first.  I am really pleased with this make and it was so close to being a perfect fit that I made another straight away for the outfit along..

I decided to make a dress for my holiday which was a couple of months ago now. I had this nautical themed fabric with anchors on it so it was perfect for watching my partner compete in the 3-peaks yacht race yacht race. Also, the race was being filmed for tv so I wanted to be wearing something extra special just in case I was caught on camera!

side

So as I said, I created the bodice block using Chinelo Bally’s book and fitted it by making a toile in white polycotton. Once I had the fitting just right I cut out the bodice in my fashion fabric and attached it to the lining.

bodice

AS I was making this dress way back in June I couldnt help but be influenced by seeing all the great makes over on the monthly stitch for Indie Pattern month. That definitely got me in the mood for sewing and whilst I didn’t have time to contribute anything myself I decided to get into the spirit of the ‘hack it’ competition and use the skirt from one of my favourite indie pattern designers and used the skirt from theLilou dress in love at first stitch by Tilly Walnes. I took about 10cm off the length to allow me to squeeze it out of the fabric (I only had 2.5 m).

2016-05-28 18.06.27

I really enjoyed making the skirt – look at all those pleats. I think fabric manipulation such as pleats and gathers is definitely one of my favourite aspects of sewing!

front3

I would have quite liked to put in an invisible zip but couldn’t find a red one long enough so opted for a centred zip instead. I think it actually fits in quite well with the dress.

back

 



The details:

Pattern: Bodice block and Lilou skirt from Love at First Stitch

Fabric: Anchor print polycotton (I think it was from Abakhan a while back)

Notions: Gutermann thread, red zip

anchor dress

I love this dress and now I have a well-fitted bodice block can see myself making lots more dresses in this style. I really like the fit and flare look but have never had many clothes like it before because of all the fit issues with ready-to-wear stuff.
anchor selfie

If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current makes over on Instagram

oh and I almost forgot…the obligatory twirling photo!

twirl