The Nani Iro dress of dreams

IMG_9798

IMG_9798

(A quick note: As you read this, I’m at one of the weddings I mention below wearing this dress (thank you scheduling!) and in these photos I’m at the other wedding. But that’s not really a story. This is the story….)

So I’ve mentioned before that last summer I was lucky enough to go to Japan, and, as part of that trip, I was allowed one visit to a fabric shop. The prize find of that haul was this piece of Nani Iro fabric, which I hugged almost the entire way around the store, too scared to let it go.

IMG_0607For a very long time I was terrified of even beginning to think about cutting it. Then I found out that I had not one, but two weddings taking place this summer and I knew that this was the perfect opportunity to finally pluck up the nerve.

So, one evening in July, I did a final press, laid out my pattern pieces with extra care and this happened….

IMG_9420

What is it?

A shift dress with a pleated skirt

Is it blue?

The most beautiful sky blue covered in tiny patches of colour, some of which are metallic

05-IMG_9786

What’s the fabric and where’s it from?

Uber dreamy Nani Iro Birdseye fabric from Tomato in Japan (although you can buy it online if you know where to look)

What’s the pattern?

The Mortmain. Because when making something that has to be exactly right, the obvious answer was to use my most tried and true pattern.

03-IMG_9796

The dapper couple!

What was good about making this?

Finally cutting in to the fabric. I pattern matched parts (but not all because I was pretty tight on the fabric front…) of the pattern and was really pleased with how neatly they came together. In fact, in general, the whole thing was a very neat sew.

What was bad about making this?

The only issue was that because it’s such fine double gauze, the needle and pins would leave puncture marks in the fabric. Most of them pressed out, but it was a worry.

Would you make it again?

The Mortmain? Probably. Maybe. I might have overdone it. Although I’m not sure…

The double gauze? I have an absolutely teeny amount left, but I’m thinking about whether I can use it for the yoke of a shirt maybe?

At any rate, you know I’ll share here 🙂

x

Blue flowers? Must be acidic soil…

01-IMG_9759Sometimes you just get a bee in your bonnet, or at least you do if you’re as stubborn as me… 

In this case I decided that I wanted to get my wearable toile of the Colette Crepe ready in time to wear on a weekend trip to my parents. Even though I hadn’t cut out all of the pieces on the Friday evening and didn’t finish work and dinner until gone 8…

Yet amazingly, remarkably, I actually managed to do it (and ok, staying up until 1am probably helped).

10-IMG_9770

What is it?

A wrap dress with a rounded neckline and back wrap

Is it blue?

The flowers are!

What’s the fabric and where’s it from?

The fabric is a cheapy viscose I picked up in Barry’s fabrics purposely for making a toile with.

What’s the pattern?

The Colette Crepe pattern.

08-IMG_9774(Not the best photo but my usual photographer was a bit …delicate)

What was good about making this?

The speed! I admit I cute a couple of corners, but given this was a toile I didn’t mind too much, and the result was a four hour sew.

What was bad about making this?

The viscose was pretty horrendous to work with. At the time of sewing I’d hoped it was because it was cheap (more on that in a future post…).

The fit wasn’t ideal, it feels far too big around the bodice despite being pulled pretty darned tight. However I cut a straight six so figured I could make alterations on the actual version.

Would you make it again?

This was a wearable toile for a version I wanted to wear to a wedding so in theory yes.

But….

….to be continued….

Shh! Secret cats!

IMG_9216This may look like a polka dot dress, but it harbours a secret. A rather feline secret.

And why’s that?

Because some of the polka dots are secretly cats!

IMG_0663

What is it?

A sweetheart neck, princess seam bodice with a gathered skirt

Is it blue?

I think it definitely counts as on the spectrum. Plus a couple of the polka dots (and secret cats) are blue too

What’s the fabric and where’s it from?

The fabric is a lovely cotton called Happy Pop that I bought when we were in Japan last year.

What’s the pattern?

The By Hand London Kim dress

What was good about making this?

Aside from the secret cats? I made a couple of alterations to this after having made the underground dress, and it’s all the better for it. I could probably still take another centimetre off the straps, but otherwise it’s fitting and looking much better.

I also found the fabric was wonderfully easy to pattern match as the different cats made it easy to know where to lay out the pieces.

Honourable mention should go to the insertion of the invisible zip in this dress, which I expected to be a nightmare but which was near perfect (to my standards!) as you can see above.

What was bad about making this?

Pretty much nothing. It worked really well, I think I just want to take that one additional centimetre off…

Would you make it again?

Quite probably, I love the sit of the neckline on this dress and I have some lovely cotton I bought on ebay that is waiting for something like this….

x

Space dress! Again!

IMG_9081

It’s one of life’s great questions: why have one space dress when you can have two?

As a result of internet ordering and some rather economically cutting when I made the first space dress (thank you a pattern that didn’t need matching!) I had quite a bit more fabric left than I expected. Enough, in fact, to make another Mortmain. It would have been rude not to!

What is it?

A shift dress with a pleated skirt. I altered the neckline to make it a sweetheart neckline rather than the standard round neck.

Is it blue?

As blue as space.

IMG_9043

Playing Sound of Music in our local park…

What’s the fabric and where’s it from?

The constellation fabric from Fabworks Mill, as before.

What’s the pattern?

It started out as the trusty Mortmain by Gather Patterns, before I cut and altered the neck to give it a sweetheart.

What was good about making this?

It was good fun to try my hand at some (very light) pattern drafting by altering the neckline. I also discovered a total cheat’s approach for finishing the neckline when you can’t / don’t want to deal with altering a facing piece. I simply overlocked it at 5/8″, turned the overlocked edge to the inside and stitched in place. Piece of cake.

13-IMG_9053

What was bad about making this?

The nervousness about whether the alteration would work was the main one. That and the fabric creases a bit more than I’d like, so pressing the pleats in place was a bit of a pain.

Would you make it again?

Probably not with the sweetheart (although maybe I will) but I will probably make the Mortmain again, not only because it’s my go to cotton dress, but also because there’s some super special fabric in my stash that, although now used, at this point in time was waiting to be sewn…

x

Going underground…

Remember I mentioned that time I went fabric shopping with something of a hangover? Well floral fabric wasn’t the only thing my poor tired brain latched on to. It also found this:

IMG_7081

What’s this? Why only the most inaccurate tube map you’ll ever see. Don’t believe me? Take a closer look at it and then compare it to this which is the actual tube map.

So wrong.

And yet…. so right. I knew I had to have it. So I did, and this was the result.

IMG_8507

What is it?

A princess seamed bodice with a sweetheart neckline and gathered skirt.

Is it blue?

One of the lines is blue…

What’s the fabric and where’s it from?

Underground print cotton polycotton from a stall in the rag market. I’ve seen it elsewhere online.

What’s the pattern?

The Kim dress by By Hand London

What was good about making this?

I’d wanted to toile the Kim dress and this seemed like a good fabric to do it with. The instructions were really clear and it came together pretty quickly. I liked the construction of the bodice too.

I wore it for the first (and only, see below…) time on a London work day and had the miracle of not one but two complete strangers engaging me in nice conversations. Which made my day better too.

What was bad about making this?

The straps were way too long, but I didn’t find this out until I’d finished it. To get the neckline to sit in the right place (rather than half way down my bra…) I had to take at least 2 inches out of each side (maybe more). Which then meant that the waistline sits a bit too high. So although it fits it’s not as flattering as it could be. So it doesn’t get worn as much as it should.

I might get round to slashing it open and putting in a waist panel in to lengthen the bodice back out, or I might remake it using another £6 worth of fabric, or I might slash it and turn it into a skirt instead, but until then, every time I go to put it on I look at myself in the mirror and take it off again.

Would you make it again?

Yes as this was always meant to be a toile, although next time I’ll lose some length on the straps and add some length on the bodice to balance it out

x

Strawberry shortcake

IMG_8101

Way back when I went to Walthamstow for the first time, I picked up some fabric and, despite the cold, rainy October day, I just knew that it was destined to be a summer dress.

Then, at Christmas time (ish), the pattern with Simply Sewing magazine was the Charlie dress by By Hand London and I was smitten.

Rush forwards to May and the time for making summer dresses felt very near at hand, so armed with the PDF pieces I hit the stash and sewed it up in two shakes of a rabbit’s tail.

I love this dress and have worn it loads, including two summer breaks (ok, one summer break to Lille and Glastonbury Festival where it was muddy. Really muddy. And then it rained and got muddier).

And as for the strawberries? Well, why wouldn’t you match your breakfast to your dress when you can?!

IMG_9628

What is it?

A bandeau-style princess seamed dress with shoulder straps, fold over neckline and self drafted gathered skirt.

Is it blue?

No

What’s the fabric and where’s it from?

Teeny tiny sort of see through strawberries that I got from a shop in Walthamstow

What’s the pattern?

The bodice is the Charlie dress by By Hand London. I used the version that came with Simply Sewing magazine but they’ve since released a version that anyone can buy (and which the link points to).

What was good about making this?

I got to do a couple of firsts with this, not least first time making a top with princess seams. I really like the fit the bodice has as a result of the princess seams, it feels really feminine and flattering and I’ll look out for more patterns with it.

13512141_10101372100653325_6307639798613534003_n

(can we just take a moment to appreciate Kat’s cat leggings?)

What was bad about making this?

I had a bit of a scary moment where I thought I wouldn’t be able to do it up, but that turned out to just be one strawberry too many!

Would you make it again?

I would. I’d shorten the shoulder straps by about an inch as they fall down when I’m not paying attention, but that’s about it. I’d like to try it with a circle skirt, which is what the original pattern came with. Other than that though, it’s a winner for me, and might just be the perfect summer dress (maybe).
x

The £1.50 Moneta

IMG_7493

There are a couple of different things you can take from my expression here; the fact that I managed to get a(nother) Moneta out of a metre of fabric, amazement at how swooshy it is, delight with the mix of colours. I think the main thing though is the appreciation that despite having what can only be described as a horrendous hangover (may have had a sherbet too many…) I managed to not only navigate the rag market but I scored this fab jersey for the princely sum of £1.50.

What is it?

A(nother) Moneta with a Peter Pan collar and slightly longer than usual skirt.

Is it blue?

Some of the flowers are. But some of them are copper coloured. And some of it is white. Let’s go with multicoloured?

What’s the fabric and where’s it from?

A ponte roma that I got from a stall in the outside section of the rag market. I nearly fell over when they told me the price.

What’s the pattern?

That old favourite I know so well

What was good about making this?

Pattern placement for the collar was really satisfying, and there’s something very smugness inducing about getting a dress out of a metre of fabric.

What was bad about making this?

I don’t know why but for some reason my sewing machine and overlocker weren’t enamoured with this fabric and both had weird puckering. It wasn’t too much of a hardship but it was a bit annoying.

Would you make it again?

Another awesome Astoria

1-14-IMG_7183

There’s something incredibly snuggly about sweatshirt material. I think it’s probably something to do with the way that it looks like it’s been constructed from hundreds of teddy bears to give it the ultimate comf factor. When you get that comfiness and put it into something that can be worn for work as a cover up for smart dresses without looking slobby, well then you’re on to a winner!

I’ve had this for about two months now [let’s not look at my making to blogging time lag in too much detail….] and I can confirm that it is fab and gets worn with pretty much everything. In fact, I’m wearing it right now as I type this (and I have the picture to prove it!).

IMG_7905

What is it?

A cropped sweater

Is it blue?

You betcha!

What’s the fabric and where’s it from?

A super comfy sweatshirt jersey from Guthrie & Ghani. I had my eye on it for ages and then found a metre in the remnants bin; just enough for an Astoria. It’s like it was meant to be!

What’s the pattern?

The Seamwork Astoria

What was good about making this?

It continues to be a super swift make, which is a definite bonus

What was bad about making this?

I’m not entirely sure I had the fabric rotated the right way… Which isn’t exactly a bad thing per se, it’s more just that I found myself getting confused!

Would you make it again?

It does make a great throw over for dresses due to the crop of the sweater… I think if I could find a comfy grey I probably would (I truly love a grey jumper) but otherwise as much as I love it I might be exhausting the number of Astoria’s I can get away with!

x

Tiny elephants top

IMG_7071

One of the very first patterns that I found when I started sewing was the Colette Sorbetto. It’s a free to download top and I thought “well that’ll come in handy”.

Two years later, I was looking for something quick and easy to sew up for a weekend during Me Made May. Turns out, the Sorbetto was very handy!

What is it?

A simple sleeveless top with exposed bias binding

Is it blue?

Yup

What’s the fabric and where’s it from?

The fabric is the remnants of the super lovely elephant fabric that the boy bought me back when I started sewing and some bias binding I had that by complete fluke was exactly the right shade of blue.

What’s the pattern?

The Sorbetto, but hacked to remove the central pleat. I found a tutorial for this on the Colette blog which was really straightforward

What was good about making this?

It was so quick and easy to sew and a great way to use up a bit of fabric that I really didn’t want to get rid of.

What was bad about making this?

Ummm…… honestly? Pretty much nothing.

Would you make it again?

Yup, I’ve got a couple of leftovers that would make great tops and, as if they knew, Colette have just run a week of different hacks on the pattern. They’ve got a knit one, a dress one (although I probably will keep the neckline on the original) and a modernised one. I’m going to end up with one for every day of the week at this rate!

x

Space dress!

IMG_6446

When I made the floral Anna dress, it was a toile for some rather special fabric; this fabric. Space fabric.

Everyone loves space, because it’s amazing, and this dress makes it even more amazing.

What is it?

A fricking SPACE DRESS

Is it blue?

Not just any blue, space blue

What’s the fabric and where is it from?

The fabric is a lightweight cotton that I got from Fabworks Mill (although it’s sadly now out of stock). I was pretty excited to get the fabric, but that got even more exciting when I discovered from Elle that the fabric was originally from Paul Smith! And then I googled how much a Paul Smith shirt cost, which was pretty terrifying. Fabric find of the year!

What’s the pattern?

The By Hand London Anna dress in the midi length version

What was good about making this?

Getting to sew with space fabric. Also, making something for a special occasion always makes it seem more exciting.

What was bad about making this?

As before, the sheer volume of seams that need overlocking with a six panel skirt is just boring.

Would you make it again?

Honestly? Probably not. I might consider making the maxi length dress, but after a couple of wears of this and the other Anna dress, I’m not sure if I like the bodice fit enough to make it again. I do still like it lots though!

x