Day & night dress challenge

Or ‘the challenge that keeps you learning’.

That’s how I see Elizabeth Farr’s yearly Day and Night Dress Challenge. This year’s theme was not to make a dress. Nope. Here is this year’s recipe in my case, the Yoyo dress.

Step 1: Take a dress you’ve made but neglected.

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A lot of work went into making this dress so that it worked for my petite frame. I added pockets and this print is such a classic. But I want to wear it more.

This dress was made as part of my ongoing sponsorship through Minerva Crafts. They have sponsored by hobby for over 5 years now and I am very grateful for their support.

The dress is only a year old and I’ve worn it once to work but I want to wear it more as it’s great with this humid weather.

The dress is great in the heat but when I wear it in the office, the air con can give me the shivers across my shoulders.

Step 2: Create your day look. How you do this is your choice.

Step 3: Create your night look. Again, you choose what this is.

And that’s all you need to do.

Go to Elizabeth Farr’s yearly Day and Night Dress Challenge and you’ll see what I whipped up this year!

Things to note to be counted as an official entry:

  • Your extra items must be something that you’ve made until March 17th when the community challenge ends.
  • Post a picture of your day look and your night look to Instagram until March 17th. If you’re shy, you can totally post a pic of your dress form donning your looks!
  • When you post your looks, tag Elizabethmadethis on Instagram @elizabethmadethis with the hashtag #dayandnightdresschallenge to be entered for a prize.
  • Prizes will be drawn randomly from the pool of entrants after March 17th.

I hope you do join in.

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a maze of blue

This knit dress pattern took me out of my comfort zone and I’m glad I adjusted this pattern too. Simplicity 8334 uses snaps to finish the look and Prym has a good range of snaps to choose from.

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Because this dress has plackets and snaps, Art Gallery Fabrics was my choice this month. Their colours are great and the fabric is good quality.

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I did test this style using a fine poly spandex fabric. By doing this, I could test out the size; practice sewing the placket and finally practice adding snaps to it.

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My test version wasn’t finished because I wouldn’t wear it as it was. Nope.

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There were some fitting issues I had to make before I cut into the Art Gallery Fabric I had.

My current shape is more ‘shapely’ so I’ll run through the adjustments I did to give me more room where I needed it. Sewing to fit where my body is at now is where the challenge is so I’m happy to share what works.

‘Prominent bust adjustment’

This is usually referred to as a full bust adjustment or an FBA. What I wanted to avoid is increased the bust areas without adding a seam.

I have a Fitting and Pattern Alteration reference book by Liechty, Rasband and Pottberg-Steineckert that I constantly refer to. What I wanted to avoid was adding a dart so I found a Youtube video by Louise Cutting. Louise is a long time Threads contributor and her video showed exactly what I wanted.

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This is how the front bodice now looks like. The length of the bodice is the same, however there’s more room where I need it.

I also make a forward shoulder adjustment. You can see that I move the shoulder seam forward on the back shoulder line below.

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Sway back adjustment

The centre back is cut on the fold for this pattern. The result on me is the fabric pools above my hips but there’s a stress point at my hips.

I ended up making the centre back into a shaped seam. This made the back sit evenly across my back.

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The next adjustment I had to do was a ‘prominent buttocks’ adjustment.

I couldn’t find a Youtube video that helped so I used the ‘slash method’ and added room for my ‘buttocks’.

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There’s a lot less fabric pooling above my hips now

Simplicity 8334

Once I checked the sizing for this pattern I knew I was bigger than size 16. This meant for the first test version I added 1cm to the side seams.

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This dress is meant to be figure hugging and it is. The pattern has 2.5cm ease that’s why I added more than this for size 16.

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The plackets were new to me as were adding snaps to the plackets. I love using Prym snaps because they are sturdy and Prym has Youtube videos to support us using their products.

See the neck opening here before applying the snaps.

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Now have a look at the final version with the snaps from Prym.

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Now look at the finished dress with the snap on the side seams too.

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Once I made the pattern adjustments, I made a test version and I was really happy with the results.

The pattern comes with a no sleeves version that I want to try next, and a ¾ length sleeve.

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After moving the shoulder point forward on the sleeve, I decided to use a short sleeve. This short sleeve pattern was traced off the sleeve pattern provided. No complex drafting needed.

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Don’t be put off by the adjustments you need to make so that a pattern fits your shape.

Once you make a test version, you’ll feel more confident about your adjustments and then you’ll go creative crazy and use lots of unique snaps to make your dress suit your lifestyle.

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Once you get this pattern to work for you, you’ll love how handy this dress style is when you’re juggling your daily time commitments.

There are so many lovely fabrics to choose from at Minerva that you could make this pattern up just twice and have them ready for any occasion.

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This blue maze print suits my lifestyle. What version would you make?

Have fun!

staying active

My gym gear gets lots of use and right now so this blog post will start from the last pieces I made last month as part of Pattern Review’s activewear contest.

I know it’s hot and humid but jumping because I love sewing my own activewear.

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The key reason I enter contest run by Pattern Review is to motivate me to make those pieces I’ve been thinking about but haven’t had the motivation to make. They’re not all great but I know for certain if they work for me or not.

The Pnema tank by Papercut patterns has been in my pattern library for a few years now.

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On the left is the dress version I made after I made the tank top. The instructions were easy enough to follow even after stressing about this pattern for so long.

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I’m happy to show you share this inside view. Finishing the bra section using elastic to finish in the edges suggested in the pattern looks untidy.

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With my limited lingerie knowledge I used plush-back elastic on the bra and picot edge underwear elastic edges on this tank/dress.

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Here’s how the tank looks on. It’s ok but not great and I can’t get the support I need from the bra to be able to wear it for running. Nope. But the bra is fine for no-impact sports.

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Here’s how the second version looks using lingerie elastic. The finish is neater.

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I know… this is going to be a beach dress.

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The bra pattern was too low so I had to shorten it so my bust was less gravity-affected.

All of this fabric was sitting in my stash waiting to be used and I’m glad to have used the contest to finally use this pattern.

Slow sewing required

There’s so much softness in this kimono using light-weight cotton voile – I wanted to swan around in it all day long. The sleeves are such fun to wear.

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Originally, “kimono” was the Japanese word for clothing. They used the straight-line-cut method – cutting pieces of fabric in straight lines and sewing them together.

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Today Kimono is used to refer specifically to traditional Japanese clothing.

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This version designed by Named Patterns has a unique wide-cut sleeves with a deep vent.

Below is the internal view of the finished seam vent. It sits nicely and this cotton silk voile is lovely to work with.

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The long belt wraps twice around the waist. I wrapped it around me once so the tail ends would also float.

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Because this gorgeous voile floats so nicely, I left the length as is. This kimono is designed for a height of 172cm. I cut the 38 size and only adjusted the shoulder points forward.

The pattern suggests you add seam allowances but I didn’t and it worked our really well. This is a roomy style and this worked out well for me.

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In my case, I made this during the busiest time of the year – in the lead up to Christmas. Hence the title, slow sewing required. Most of the sewing is sewing straight lines so there’s minimal fuss.

Where I took my time was interfacing the collar and belt with silk organza. Everyday interfacing didn’t seem to flow as nicely with this cotton voile fabric. Organza was a better choice.

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Actually, I shortened the belt loops by 5cm. When I originally pinned them to the fabric, I felt the belt loops would look like elephant ears, so I cut them shorter.

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The belt fabric is still soft and fine so I can wrap the belt around me twice and not seem bulking in the shortened belt loops.

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This kimono is so simple to sew This fabric is great for Summer.

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Using a floaty, soft fabric like this cotton voile with this kimono was a perfect combination. It’s so dreamy.

This is such a lovely piece to bring in the New Year. Wishing everyone lots of health and happiness in 2019.

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I could get used to floating through the year ahead.

Ida clutch

Meet the newest member of the Ida Clutch bags of Sydney. This pattern by Kylie and the machine is free and this pattern has brought joy to many clutch admirers.

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In my stash building efforts, I bought this laser cut plastic-like fabric and I finally used it to test out this easy pattern. I do test most patterns because I’m curious to see how it works out. Then I’m hooked and make a few at a time.

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This clutch took an hour to work out because I wanted to make a small handle.

All of these materials and notions are from the stash.

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The floral print bought from Pitt Trading is kinda odd so I tried to experiment with it on this clutch.

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This is an internal view of the bag. This view makes my clutch look like a hungry fish at feeding time.

This is my first Ida clutch and it won’t be my last one.

Summer samba time

Bag making is like bra making – it takes time to gather the notions but once you do, the bags just ‘make themselves’.

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Last month I was in Melbourne for Frocktails and at The Fabric Store they had these leather hides that I found fascinating. I wasn’t until I got home that I decided to grab a couple of these laser cut hides and make some totes using Sacotin Samba pattern.

Samba comes in 2 sizes and the wave contrast can be used for a more interesting looking tote.

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What you see here is the outer bag after I sewed the leather to the contrasting base fabric. I didn’t want to waste the leather under the contrast fabric and this way, the contrast seam edge is now under the leather – it won’t fray.

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As you can see, this tote has feet. I bought these bag feet online and they won’t show wear too easily. The base fabric has glitter finish so it’s kinda festive but it doesn’t scream Christmas.

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Once I made a test version I decided to look for a cleaner bag handle option. The pattern is designed for rope and rings in the fabric. I decided to go with a cleaner option of white d-rings from Spotlight. The D-rings are sewing intern the bag facing.leather hidden zip

Internally there’s a hidden zipper pocket that hides under the bag facing. The magnetic closure goes in easily and I reinforce the fabric by adding a piece of fleece under the clasp to keep it secure.

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The bag pattern does have a patch pocket that is very handy.

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I did need to use clips to hold the leather together for sewing. The other tool I used was a Teflon foot to sew the seams easily. This is such a great investment.

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I’m preparing 2 Christmas hampers and using these bags as the containers for these goodies.

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This skyline print bag was my test version for using the wave shape for the main print.

This version also has bag feet and a magnetic clasp. The handles use O-rings and metal clips but I still need to get metal studs to secure the bag strap ends.

More online shopping is required – right?

Summer comfort

We’ve had all sorts of weather leading up to Summer and a jumpsuit made with fabric that meets Aussie Summer conditions is what I’ve done this month using Minerva Crafts fabrics and notions.

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McCalls 7330 isn’t a loose style but it’s comfortable enough if you use challis, chambray, cotton blends or washed silk.

I used Robert Kaufman cotton Tencel slub denim dress fabric indigo and it feels great on. I’ve lovely to work with and has enough distress in the fabric to make it look like a real favourite.

When I saw the line drawing I decided to use dark buttons on this version.

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The button tabs as shaped really well on this pattern. What you can see here is my a-ha moment once I sewed on the pants to the top.

I made a modified View D by swapping the front blouse pockets for the external pockets featured on views A and F. McCalls 7330 has enough ‘bells and whistles’ in this pattern that you can make it a few times and it will still look sensational.

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These belt loops were added after I tried on the jumpsuit to assess the waist fit and not before. Part of my reason to try it at this stage was to assess how many buttons I would need on this version.

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I used 3 buttons on this version. The top of the jumpsuit has a more defined v-neckline but it doesn’t gap. I’m short enough to do this. Everyone’s different so I’d recommend you try on your version as you sew.

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The armholes are finished using bias binding but I should have used the armhole binding pattern so the fabric had laid flatter.

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The back pants sit nicely as I did a sway back adjustment. This meant the centre back seam curve was widened at the base. I also extended the centre back waist and took it in my 2.5cm

This fabric is easy to wash, iron, cut and sew with. The weave breaths well and moves with you.

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McCalls 7330 is roomy enough to wear this comfortable but the style has enough waist definition if that’s what your shape needs.

I’m actually working on version no 3. Version no 2 is view B, a short pants version.

Thanks for Minerva Crafts for providing all the notions, pattern and fabric I needed to make this fun Summer jumpsuit.

Merry Christmas everyone. See you at the beach!