Tag Archives: Sew Over It

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!).

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

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

Penny Hack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indie Pattern Month is over and there were so many fantastic makes! My third and final make was for the Hack It! week. This task was to take an indie pattern (or two, or three) and hack it to make it into something new! You can read about my Penny blouse below.

As soon as the new Penny dress from Sew Over It was released I just knew I had to have it!

It’s a simple shirt dress in a 1950’s style with a flat collar and a dropped shoulder. I really love the bodice and have one planned in a black viscose. Its going to be so much fun with a semi circle skirt (perfect for swooshing!), an elasticated waist (perfect for eating all the food) and that collar (perfect for making it look extra smart!). However, when I measured up I was a definite size eight on the waist and hips but a ten on the bust. Considering the style of the top I didn’t really think it warranted a full bust adjustment as it is quite loose fitting and so began to wonder about just making up a size 10 – after all the elasticated waist should cinch it in, right? Rather than dive right in and make the dress in a size 10 I thought it might be best to toile the bodice and check I want doing something crazy by going for the bigger size. It was then I saw on the Sew Over It instagram an amazing hack for the Penny dress. They had extended the bodice slightly and added some ties to the front to make a tie-front blouse. I immediately fell in love with the idea! I could toile the bodice whilst getting a wearable piece of clothing out of it.

I printed out an assembled the pdf pattern and cut out just the pattern pieces for the bodice in a size 10. I added 4 cm to the front and back bodice pieces (as the weight of the skirt would not be holding them down). I then added a triangle extending the centre front down by 25cm and drawing a diagonal to the side seam.

I then pretty much constructed the blouse as per the instructions for the dress bodice, but before moving onto the skirt instructions I just went straight to hemming.

The dress calls for three buttons but as I didnt want a massive hole where the tie front was I added a fourth. I could have started the buttons a bit lower on the neckline and I might do this for my dress (the button placement is left entirely up to the sewer with this pattern – there is no buttonhole guide)

The details:

Pattern: Penny dress – Sew Over It

Fabric: Orange twill from the Man outside Sainsburys (Walthamstow market – London)

Alterations: Size 10 bodice with 4 cm added to the length and tie front extensions to the front bodice piece.

I really love this pattern and can’t wait to make the dress – I also love the hack and can see this becoming one of my wardrobe staples, the fabric is really soft to habdle and feels gorgeous against my skin! I dont think I would want to make this with abything with less drape as the loose fitting bodice would end up quite stiff.

I really love the drop shoulder sleeves and think the styling fits in really well with the tie-front

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

Tulip Skirt

Tulip SkirtSo, this post has been a long time coming! I actually made this skirt way back in February but only got around to taking photos this weekend. So, given that you will have to excuse the odd crease as I have worn it a lot since then and on the first day I was well enough to not look a total mess and the light was good I didn’t want to waste any time cracking out the iron!

So, when I made this skirt, I had just signed up to the #VintagePledge, but I decided that I wouldn’t dive straight in to a vintage pattern. In fact, I went for the complete opposite extreme and picked a brand new one! When I saw the tulip skirt from Sew Over It had been released as a pdf pattern I knew I just had to have it. I love full-bodied skirts but I’m not sure that they really suit me all that well, I much prefer a pencil skirt. Well, the tulip skirt lies right between, the pleats add lots of fullness but the shape is maintained.

Stash Busting instead of buying new

P1010661eThis pattern calls for a fabric with a bit of body to it so that it holds the shape. Instead of rushing out to buy new fabric I decided to be good and take a look through my stash. In fact, I chose to use the same fabric as my previous make – this Megan dress. The fabric was so nice to sew and I was happy to be working with it again. I was also glad that it wouldn’t be going to waste! However, I had only just over a metre left and the pattern called for 1.8 m. I wasn’t put off though and decided to forge ahead anyway.

The pattern offers two different length options. Given my lack of fabric I opted for the shorter one but even so had to take another inch off to make it fit! I cut out the waistband facing and pocket pieces from a different fabric to reduce the amount of main fabric required.

Despite this project having lots of new-to-me elements it was actually really quick to sew. The first hurdle was the pleats in the front of the skirt. Even though I had never done pleats before these were super simple and the instructions made everything clear.

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Also, pockets! Can you believe this is the first garment I have added pockets to? I think I will be adding them to everything I make in the future as they are so simple to make, yet add so much practicality . Again, the instructions were clear and I never felt like I was struggling with this new technique. The pockets are just about visible from the outside but as my lining fabric is such a nice match I don’t think it matters and the added practicality of pockets clearly outweighs any negatives they might bring!

 

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One problem I did face with this make was the lack of an obvious right and wrong side on my fabric. This tripped me up a bit when it came to adding the pockets and sewing the side seams. I somehow managed to join the front piece with the wrong side facing out. As you can’t tell the difference on the fabric this is not a problem. It does however mean that my pleats are now going the wrong way. This does alter the look of the skirt a little but I still like it and can’t wait to make another with the pleats in the correct direction!

It seems that every time I insert an invisible zip it gets a little bit worse than the previous one. I still think my very first one on my first Delphine skirt was the best one I ever put in! This one is not terrible but you can see it in places. It doesn’t quite reach the top of the waistband but I think with this fabric it is not too noticeable. Also, I did not have a zip in navy or green to hand and so went ahead with a black one – it’s supposed to be invisible right so this shouldn’t matter!

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Any ideas about the slight gaping in the fabric around my hips?

 

I am so pleased with my pattern matching at the side seams. It wasn’t something I was particularly working hard to achieve. I like to think it makes cutting the pattern pieces out much easier if you place the top of each piece on the same point in the pattern repeat. This means it is a nice happy coincidence that the horizontal stripes match up.

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This was also the first garment I have made that has had any kind of hand stitching. The waistband facing is hand stitched. To be honest I was hoping to just turn under a little less than the seam allowance and use the same stitch-in-the-ditch technique as I used on my waterfall skirt. However, for some reason the waistband facing was shorter than the waistband in places so this was not going to work. I think this might be due to the different types of fabric I used cutting and stretching in different ways, but I’m not certain. I slip-stitched the facing to the skirt by-hand and I really like how it turned out. This makes me happy because I thought I would easily get annoyed with it. Patience is not always my strong point and with hand-stitching you need to take the time to keep it neat.

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Not sure how my hair has magically change from brown to red in this photo!?

Finally, I only turned the hem up by 1/4 of an inch, pressed and then another 1/4 inch before pressing again and sewing in place. This doesn’t look quite as neat as a wider hem but given the lack of fabric and shorter length cut it was about all I could do to keep it decent!

The details:

Pattern: Tulip Skirt from Sew Over It

Fabric: Tartan and lining from Fashion n Fabrics, St. Albans

Notions: Invisible zip, Gutermann thread in navy

Alterations: Size 12 short length, Shortened by 1 inch

I love this skirt and think I will get a lot of wear out of it. It kind of reminds me of a school skirt with its pleats but definitely in a good way! I can’t wait to make another and can see it quickly becoming one of my favourite patterns. It seems pretty versatile and the different length options open up so many possibilities.

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Can’t post about a skirt without an obligatory twirl photo

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and this is what happens when I get dizzy from too much twirling!

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