I cord-n’t stop the awful puns


In the middle of the summer, I got in to my head that the dress I wanted for autumn was a blue needlecord dungaree dress. I didn’t know why, it was just what I wanted.

Time marched on, and I found myself in September, having not bought any corduroy. Tilly & the Buttons had just launched Cleo so suddenly the internet was awash with dungaree dresses.

Still I didn’t pull my finger out.

Then, I went to Hong Kong, and when I came back I knew exactly what the first thing I was going to make was. That dungaree dress I’d had my eye on for months. It took me until the middle of November. It was worth it.

Coupled with my trust Belle and Sebastian brooch

What is it?

A corduroy dungaree dress

Is it blue?

Yes!

What’s the fabric and where is it from?

The fabric is a thickish corduroy which is actually leftover sofa material from the time that I made a sofa cover that I then dyed blue with machine dye. The whole process made me feel like a wizard, which was pretty cool.


What’s the pattern?

It’s a mash up of the Hollyburn skirt and the Cotton & Chalk Sunday Set pattern, which I got free with a copy of Simply sewing magazine. I really liked the dungaree part of the Sunday Set, but wanted a longer skirt, and I also wanted slash pockets in the skirt which the Hollyburn has.

What was good about making it?

The sense of achievement pulling together lots of different patterns to make a dress was pretty cool. I also like the fact that I’ve managed to make something that combines my usual style with something a bit more casual.

On top of this, I got to use my trusty clamp (or whatever it is they’re called; the squeezy plier things) to squeeze the jeans buttons in place, and that’s always fun.

Look how neat it looks!

Finally, the two tone effect that occurred due to the machine dying meant that not only does the fabric have a really interesting variation in it, but the cutting and sewing was a piece of cake as everything was in clear straight lines.

What was bad about making it?

Turning the dungaree straps. Oh man that was a pain. They’re quite long, and quite thing, which, adding in the thickness of the fabric meant it was totally unwieldy to deal with.

Would you make it again?

Probably not. Not because I don’t love it (and indeed, I’ve had a load of wear out of it over the last two months) but, realistically, I don’t think I’d wear another dungaree dress!

x

Unicorn dress!

A photo posted by Rhiannon D (@rhiannonbrum) on


Sometimes you find a fabric that you fall in love with, but you don’t know whether or not you’ll use it (and it’s pricey…) so you leave it.

And go back and look again.

And leave it.

And so on, until eventually, one day, you buckle and buy it, just in case.

And then it sits in your stash a while longer, and then you find out that the delightful Gabby is getting married and there is really no better fabric to make a dress to wear to her wedding with than that rather special fabric.

What is it?

A DRESS WITH UNICORNS ON IT!

Is it blue?

Yes

What’s the fabric and where is it from?

The fabric is Riley Blake Unicorn fabric that I bought in Guthrie and Ghani. The lining material is a blue chiffon that I got from Sayeeds (?) in Walthamstow.

What’s the pattern?

The Sewaholic Cambie dress with the gathered skirt option

What was good about making this?

Uh, the fact it is unicorn fabric?! That aside, I really like this pattern, it fits me well and the sweetheart neckline is lovely. Having made it once before it came together really swiftly. I also got to discover the rolled hem setting on my overlocker when it came to sorting out the chiffon dropped hem.

What was bad about making this?

Chiffon is awful to cut out. So slippery and teeth gnashingly annoying. I’ve since heard a couple of hints that will make it a bit less painful should I go down that route again.

Would you make it again?

I think so. Like this it’s a great dress-up dress, whilst with a slightly tamer pattern it’s brilliant for work. And I haven’t even considered the fitted skirt variation yet….

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Navy mid length skirt

IMG_4797

One of the sewing resolutions that I set myself for this year was to try and build some more me-made plain coloured staples into my wardrobe as a balance for the super fun but not always practical patterned dresses I love. This was one such adventure, into the land of practical workwear (pictured above with my Mimi blouse hack)

What is it?

A just-below-knee-length flared skirt

Is it blue?

Yup!

What’s the fabric and where is it from?

A navy blue crepe bought from a stall in Leicester market – I think run by someone called Stuart?

What’s the pattern?

The Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt in variation A

What was good about making this?

The pockets were a new skill for me, and really straightforward once I got my head around the instructions.

What was bad about making this?

I didn’t really like it once it was finished; there’s just something about the way the fabric joins in almost – but not quite – a reverse pleat in the centre that I cant get on board with. I’ve warmed to it a bit in the two months in between, but it definitely doesn’t get worn as much as some of the other skirts I’ve made (although whether that’s true after Me Made May remains to be seen!)

Would you make it again?

I’m not sure. I might make one of the shorter versions, but I think I probably prefer a gathered skirt to this one.

x

Gingham Cambie dress

IMG_6152I love gingham. It’s amazing and summery and makes me feel like holidays are just around the corner (almost certainly due to gingham dresses being summer uniform at school). Coupled with the sweetheart neckline loveliness of the Cambie dress pattern, it was a match made in heaven, and to be honest, the main surprise is that it took me so long to make it!

What is it?

A dress with a sweetheart neckline and a gathered skirt

Is it blue?

Nope

What’s the fabric and where is it from?

The fabric is a cotton gingham that I got as part of the stash swap at Sew Brum

What’s the pattern?

The Cambie dress by Sewaholic Patterns in variation B

What was good about making this?

I really enjoyed the simple way that this pattern came together, and had a surprisingly good time trying to pattern match the gingham up. I didn’t have any faith in the description of the way that the skirt would gather up, but actually it was lovely and the pockets are a delight (seriously, who doesn’t love a dress with pockets?

What was bad about making this?

I had a nightmare getting the lining to attach to the bodice at the waist, and in the end I made the decision to leave it unattached except for a small section in the centre. It worked well and is definitely how I’d do this if I made another cambie without a skirt lining.

Would you make it again?

Yes as this was a wearable toile for the unicorn dress….

x

Black floral Nicola shirt dress

IMG_4542 I have a search. A search for the perfect shirt dress. As an item of clothing I blooming love them but as a thing to make I’d felt pretty daunted by it as a possibility.

I’m going to say right now that this dress is not the perfect shirt dress. In fact, this dress very nearly got consigned to the WIP pile for all eternity and even once complete it very nearly caused a meltdown and immediate binning.

But more of that when we get there, for now….

What is it?

A black floral shirt dress with V-shape neckline and full length sleeves

Is it blue?

No (note to self: this is becoming a bit of a trend at the moment. Must buy more blue fabric)

What’s the fabric?

A super soft cotton (polyester? rayon? I have no idea) that’s black with white and red flowers (best description I can think of for them)

What’s the pattern?

The Nicola Dress from Sewaholic

Where’s the fabric from?

I got it at the Birmingham Rag Market during SewBrum for the princely price of £1 per metre!

1-IMG_4078What was good about making this?

I got to try out a new skill with this dress; making sleeve plackets! I realised I hadn’t quite read the instructions correctly about half way through, but I was pretty please when I did it, as evidenced by my immediate wearing of said sleeve…

IMG_4536What was bad about making this?

Where to start? With the collar piece that I cut to the wrong size because the schematic diagram for the layout wasn’t particularly clear? The confusion around finishing the facing? It doesn’t help that I got so far with making it and then ran out of time before Christmas, so left it unhemmed and unbuttonholed (?) for about a month. By which time I was fed up of it and bored, a feeling repeated when I hand sewed on the buttons (whodathunk a shirt dress would have lots of buttons….).

The absolute moment of (near) tears though was when, having finished it, I tried it on with the belt that comes with the dress. It looked hideous. A moment of learning the hard way that I do not suit a loose bodice or fussy waistlines with extra fabric. I looked – and felt – like a giant sack of potatoes.

BUT ALL IS NOT LOST.

For then I remembered my old friend the cinch belt and lo, with a bit of a nip in and reallocation of fabric folds, the dress was completely redeemed. And now I love it. So much so that I’ve worn it a couple of times already in the fortnight since making.

Would you make it again?

Nope. This dress is not the dream shirt dress that I was hoping for and, whilst I’m pleased with the finished product, I think that I wouldn’t make it again. I have however found out about the fabled McCalls 6696 shirt dress that seems to be getting a lot of positive press in the blogsphere, so have bought a copy and plan on making that after my current (nearly finished) project.

The great shirt dress search continues…

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