The Purple Stitcher

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Archive for the ‘Womenswear’ Category

The Refashioners 2017: Suits You

I’ve decided to join in Portia Lawrie’s Refashioners challenge – Suits You this year. The challenge is basically to refashion an old, unworn or unloved suit!

Most people entering the challenge have raided their local charity shop and bought a XXXL men’s suit to give them lots of fabric to work with. But no, old daft me decided that wasn’t enough of a challenge! I decided to use an old pale blue George at Asda ladies suit that I found in the loft, which I’m clearing out due to a rewire in the new year! I have no idea why I bought it as it’s soooo not my style, although it actually seems to fit me pretty well, which is where the extra challenge comes in as it doesn’t give me very much extra fabric to work with, doh!

The Refashioners 2017          The Refashioners 2017

I had a lot of fun playing round with the suit and trying to decide what to make with it but in the end I settled on a version of one of my TNT patterns – the BlueGingerDoll Winifred dress. I’ve altered the pattern quite a bit to fit me well, the shape suits me and I wear my existing ones quite a lot, so would be nice to have a new but also different version.

Although I have made the collarless version of the Winifred dress recently I do like the collar feature and decided to take advantage of the jacket collar and integrate this into the design. Lots of pinning and fiddling was undertaken at Liverpool Sewing Club, with me trying on again and again to ensure the button holes were not visible and the new centre front seam was straight and actually in the centre. Then to figure out the rest of the bodice fitting! As the jacket had princess seams it didn’t actually need the tuck darts that the dress usually features, which help create the bust fitting and flowing skirt. So when I figured out where to finish the bodice/jacket section and finally got the fit I liked, it was time to make the first cut!

The Refashioners 2017

I decided to shorten the sleeves to elbow length, which i find really comfortable but I normally make short-sleeved Winifreds. As you can see from the before photos, the sleeves were a tiny bit tight, so I decided to remove the sleeve lining (I’ve left the bodice lined) to see if that helped with the fit. This is where I noticed the big difference in the seam finishes between the areas of the suit that would be visible (the trouser seams) and those not visible (sleeve seam). This is after all a budget suit and the manufactures need to save money and time where they can!

The Refashioners 2017

Visible seam

The Refashioners 2017

Hidden seam

At this point I decided to remove the shoulder pads as a) it’s no longer the 1980s, and b) they really don’t suit me. During this unpicking and deconstruction of the jacket stage it became obvious the difference between my Asda suit and the high end men’s tailored suit, that a lot of people, such as Portia were refashioning:

The Refashioners 2017          

Now to move onto the skirt construction. The Winifred dress usually has an elastic casing or shirring at the back waistline but I wanted to test the fit first, so I decided to construct the skirt pieces separately first and check or fit before adding this detailing., The dress front is normally put as a full bodice and skirt all in one but my refashion needed a seam adding. I unpicked the side seam on the trousers and after a little maths and playing around with the layout decided to press out the hem and keep the inside seam in place and use this as the centre front centre back seams, as the skirt flares out and obviously so do the trousers at the hips. Although this flare isn’t enough to create the full width of the skirt, so now comes lots of patch working! I used the extra pieces from the bodice, trousers and sleeves to create extra width to get the rough shape of the Winfred dress. I then had tacked (yes me, the worst hand sewer known to mankind!)  the two skirt pieces to the bodice and the rough shape of the skirt together.

The Refashioners 2017          The Refashioners 2017

I needed to try the dress on and see if the shirring was needed or if the fit was okay without it and I was very pleased to find the shirring was not actually needed. A combination of the jacket bodice princess seams and the fact that I am extremely pear shaped meant I could lose the shirring and still have a great fit! Any good me-made dress has pockets, so time to go back to my leftovers from the suit and I used the lining from the bottom of the jacket to cut some side seam pocket, using the pattern piece from another BlueGingerDoll dress, the Odette, as a template). I’ve hacked this pattern before to add pockets but if you’re not sure how to do this then  By Hand London have a great tutorial on their website, with lots of photos, which always help me as I’ve a very visual learner!

The Refashioners 2017

Now it’s time to put it all together properly! I used my pattern pieces as a rough guide and cut off the excess no longer needed, machine stitched all seams and remove the tacking (whilst watching Strictly of course)

The Refashioners 2017          Strictly - The Refashioners 2017

 

All finished, or is it?! Hmm, it’s very nice and I’m happy with the fit but it’s rather plain and therefore not really very me! My hand embroidery skills aren’t up to scratch, so I decided to have a look around for a co-ordinating trim. I really like peacocks feathers and found this one on Moksha Trim, so decided to stitch that to the waist but still wasn’t 100% happy, so had a play around at Liverpool Sewing Club with the ladies helping me work out the best placement and having a laugh in the meantime

The Refashioners 2017          Laughing Test - The Refashioners 2017

 

Yay, all finished! Cue lots and lots of photos:

The Refashioners 2017

The Refashioners 2017

Patchwork side panels!

 The Refashioners 2017           The Refashioners 2017 The Refashioners 2017           The Refashioners 2017 The Refashioners 2017 The Refashioners 2017          The Refashioners 2017

 

I’m really please how this has turned out and that I’ve managed to do it from not a lot of fabric and without adding any extra fabric, just 1.5 meters of trim!


2015 Sewing Round Up

2015's Sewing Part 12015's Sewing Part 2

This year has been a very hectic one for me as I’ve started a new job, had a few health issues and also had building work done on my house. This has resulted in me blogging less than I intended, although I have had some time for sewing but usually a little last minute when i need something for an occasion, oops! So I thought I’d do a round up of my sewing projects from this year, with little explanations about them.

1.Dad’s Batman upcycled waistcoat:

Dad's Upcycled Batman Waistcoat

My dad wanted a fun waistcoat to wear to work (he’s a teaching assistant) but that wasn’t too over the top. I decided to upcycle this plain black charity shop waistcoat, with some Batman ribbon. My dad loved it and so do the kids at his school!

 

2. Zara’s tiny baby blanket

Zara's Tiny Baby Blanket

My friends Ije & Si’s little daughter Zara was born at just 27 weeks in January and therefore spent the first 3 months of her life in the Special Care Baby Unit at Arrow Park Hospital. I therefore decided to make a personalised baby blanket for her to use. Because of her delicate skin I researched premature baby blankets and only used top quality cotton fabrics and sourced some top quality pure cotton wadding from Simply Solids for the filing.

 

 

3. Zara’s incubator covers

Zara's Incubator Cover

In SCBU the babies incubators were often covered in order to provide some shade and darkness for these little babies that should really still be inside their mummies tummies! There were generic boring hospital issued ones, so I decided to make personalised ones for Zara. After checking the dimensions required with the nurses in the SCBU and know that Ije loves right colours, I made these two fun covers, 1 with a balloon polycotton and  the other with rocking horse polycotton, both and both were backed in a strawberry polycotton and filled with synthetic wadding, all from Abakhan Fabrics. I appliqued Zara’s name onto both to add that personal touch.

 

 

4. Zipper pouch

Zipper pouch

I took part in my first ever swap this year and this is the practice pouch I made for my swap partner. Very much me colours and love the little lacy zip closure.

 

 

5. Julia cardigan

Julia Cardigan

Time to get back to the dressmaking and selfish sewing, so I made myself a version of the Julia Women’s Cardigan. The pattern is from Mouse House Creations and the funky fabric, which appears to have a Spanish theme, is from Abakhan Fabrics. This is pretty easy to make, all sewn together on the overlocker and is very comfortable to wear, love the fact that the sleeves are actually love enough for little miss monkey arms here! 🙂

 

 

6. Dad’s saxophone padding

Dad's saxophone strap padding

Not the most exciting of sewing projects but very practical! My dad is learning to play the saxophone and finds the neck strap rather uncomfortable. Therefore i used some black fleece to back the strap to make it more wearable.

 

 

7. Wedding bunting

Wedding bunting

My friends Jenny & Adam got married this year and I asked if there was anything they would like me to make as a wedding gift and Jenny requested bunting to decorate the top table. I found this beautiful blue lace online and used blue satin bias binding to make 10 foot of bunting.

 

 

8. Wearable Wedding guest toile

Wearable toile tiramisu dress

I wanted to make a new dress to wear to Jenny & Adam’s wedding, so used this funky hot air balloon from my stash (originally from Abakhan Fabrics) to make a toile, to ensure the fit was right before making the actual dress. It’s good fun and the fit isn’t too bad but I did shorten the bodice by 1″, remove the side inseam pockets and lengthen the final dress by 3″

 

 

9. Wedding guest dress

Wedding guest tiramisu dress

This is the final dress i made to wear to my friends Jenny & Adam’s wedding. The fabric is a Liberty jersey from Sewbox and the pattern is the Tiramisu dress from Cake Patterns. I’m really please with the fit and shape of the this dress after making the changes discussed an the toile version. It was also very comfortable to wear all day and of course the flowing skirt was great for dancing the night away in.

 

 

10. Handmade holiday – beach cover ups

Handmade holiday beach coverup 1

Handmade holiday beach coverup 2                     Handmade holiday beach coverup 13

I went on my first beach holiday in almost a decade this year, so deiced to make a number of items for my holiday. I’m rather self concious, so deicded to make these three beach coverups from light weight cottons and vopiles. The fabric was all from my stash and i used this tutorial Board & Crafty but altered it to make it much longer than the tutorial states. I had a great time in Sharm-el-Sheikh and would love to visit again.

 

 11. Handmade holiday – simple maxiskirt

Handmade holiday simple maxiskirt

I don’t really wear maxi skirts very often but decided to try one for my holiday. I have lots of this lovely black polka dot lightweight cotton which I bought in the Abakhan Secret Sale, which I have previously blogged about. I then used this DIY Maxi Skirt Tutorial from Sew Caroline but I did hem mine as I wasn’t used a jersey fabric, like she had.

 

 

12. Handmade holiday – maxiskirt upcycle

handmade holiday upcycled maxiskirt

I loved this maxi-dress that I bought from Asda years ago but never wear it as being very pear shaped although it fit me well on the hips it was way too big on the bust, so it just sat at the back of my wardrobe gathering dust! I decided to convert it into a skirt instead! I pinned it at a suitable length, then added 2.5″ and then cut off the bodice. I then turned over 1.5″ at the top and sewed and inch wide channel  and feed in a piece of 1″ wide elastic that I had already worked out would hold up the skirt but stretch enough to get on & off. Hey presto – one new, usable maxi skirt!

 

 

13. Liberty Sorbetto top

Abakhan Liberty Sorbetto top

As I recently blogged about Abakhan Fabrics have recently had 22,000 meters of clearance Liberty fabrics delivered which they are seling at great prices. I chose to work with the Dragonista tana lawn to make a top and in order to show off the beautiful fabric wanted to pattern that had simple clean lines without too much fuss. Therefore I decided on the Colette Sorbetto pattern. However as I don’t suit loose sleeveless tops at all I chose to add the Sorbetto sleeve pattern by Sew Incidentally and then made a few alterations to the pattern to fit and suit me better. More info is available on the blog post I wrote about it here

 

 

14. 3 quick cushion covers

3 easy cushion covers

I decided to sell off some of my fabric stash recently at my church’s Christmas Market. SO I made some samples of quick & easy cushion covers to make. I used this tutorial from The Happy Housie for the 1 piece envelope cushions – the purple rectangular one & the embroidered cushion. I then used this tutorial from The Wonder Forest to make the yellow daffodil envelope cushion as it has different fabric on the back and front.

 

 

15. Liberty infinity scarf

Wrapped liberty jersey infinity scarf

Abakhan Fabrics then received even more clearance Liberty fabric in, this time including the tana jersey. I chose to work with 2 of these coordinating jerseys to make this snuggly infinity scarf, which I’ve blogged about here previously. It’s a great fabric to work with and very warm and comfy scarf to wear.

 

 

16. Christmas day top

Christmas Day top

I saw this red jersey with little green and white polka dots on in Abakhan many years ago when i was pretty new to sewing and it just called out Christmas Day top to me, so that’s what I started making. I liked the look of this Retro Top pattern on the Burda Style website, so decided to give it ago using that. Unfortunately the pattern is only available in a size 12, so I had to try my hand at drafting it up to a much larger size, which turned out not too bad. However I didn’t mange to complete it in time for Christmas that year and completely forgot about it until i found it again a few months ago! However in the meantime I’ve lost almost 2.5 stone, so it was rather large on me! With the help of my friends at Liverpool Sewing Club I decided that rather than trying to take the side seams in I’d add waist darts at the front and back, giving it a more fitted look but also leaves enough room for Christmas dinner! 🙂

 

Here’s to a great, sewing filled 2016!

Happy New Year


Abakhan Clearance Liberty Infinity Scarf

Wrapped liberty jersey infinity scarf

As I have previously discussed Abakhan Fabrics have recently had 22,000 meters of Liberty fabrics delivered! Initially just the Tana Lawns were available to buy but now the Cotton Twills, Kingly Cotton Cords, JerseysLifestyle Craft Cottons and Mayfair Silk Chiffons  are all available to purchase from Abakhan at great discounted prices.

New Abakhan Liberty Fabrics

 

As with all Liberty fabrics, their jersey is of great quality & is a beautifully soft fabric with a distinct stretch, jersey is your go-to for versatility and comfort. The jersey composition is 95% cotton with 5% elastane and 150cm.
Liberty Tana Jersey Fabric Mitford PinkAfter browsing through all the Liberty jerseys available, I chose my favourite 2 and ordered 1m of each. I love abstract prints and find the swirls and bright colours in the Liberty Tana Jersey Fabric Mitford Pink beautiful and my much my style.

Liberty Tana Jersey Fabric Robin Pink

 

 

I also love the slightly quirky but still pretty and colourful Liberty Tana Jersey Fabric Robin Pink and ordered 1m of that also, as I reckoned the two would work beautifully together.

And I was very pleased when my parcel arrived and as expected they do look fabulous together:

Liberty Jersey

I decided with winter approaching (yes I know it’s pretty mild one so far) to make a big snuggly infinity scarf with this jersey. You can’t make too many stylish scarves at winter and a beautiful soft Liberty jersey infinity scarf will be the perfect stylish accessory perfect to snuggle against on a cold winters day! Just in case you don’t know – an infinity scarf is basically one giant loop of fabric and is sometimes also known as a circle scarf.

imageInfinity scarves are quick and easy to make, as well as stylish and comfy. I have made a few before, so this took me even less time as I already have my head wrapped round the concept, which i admit took a little getting used to at first. I cut this out on Sunday evening and then stitched it together on the overlocker at Liverpool Sewing Club on the Monday evening – took me less than 2 hours in total!

 

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I used the overlocker to sew the Liberty jersey with as it makes it much quicker and easier and I am rather fond of sewing with an overlocker. You could just a standard zigzag or overcasting stitch to sew jersey with on a standard sewing machine however.

 

The Liberty jersey is beautiful to sew with, so soft and easy to handle and with just the perfect amount of elastane in that it stretches well but also returns back to it shape quickly and uniformly. No skipped stitches, no tension issues or any other hassle at all with this jersey!

I’m really happy with my new scarf and love the fact that in this milder weather I can wear it open as one long loop and when it get cold wrap it round again and snuggle up in it’s softness.

Open Liberty jersey infinity scarf

Wrapped liberty jersey infinity scarf

Liberty jersey infinity scarf

I’ll write a tutorial on how to make one of these lovely Liberty jersey infinity scarves, however that will; have to wait till the new year as it’s now Christmas Eve and I still have some hand sewing and pressing to do on my Christmas day top, oops!

Merry Christmas – let me know if you get any of Abakhan’s lovely Liberty fabric from Father Christmas or any other sewing related gifts.

NB: I received this fabric free of charge to try out from Abakhan. All opinions about it however are fully my own.

 


Abakhan Clearance Liberty Sorbetto Top

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Abakhan Fabrics have recently had 22,000 meters of LIBERTY fabrics delivered! The tana lawns are now available to buy online as well as in-store, with 50 fabulous designs to choose from. This Liberty clearance range is just £11.24 per meter, a lot cheaper than the usual selling of £22.50pm, which therefore often makes them unaffordable for dressmakers like me who need a decent length of fabric to work with. The Twills, Cords, Jerseys and Lifestyle Craft Cottons will be available to purchase from Abakhan soon.

Abakhan Liberty Clearance Fabrics

A selection Abakhan's Liberty clearance fabrics

A selection Abakhan’s Liberty clearance fabrics

Liberty Art Fabrics

Liberty is a well-known brand name and many sewers and crafters use and love their fabrics. Tana Lawn is one of Liberty’s most well known and loved fabrics, with the name originating from Lake Tana in East Africa, where the original cotton grew.  Made from specially selected ultra-fine long staple cotton and finished without the use of crease-resisting chemicals or irritating allergens, the result is a famous masterpiece of fabric technology: fine, cool, comfortable and durable, with brilliant reproduction of colours and prints.

 

Those who know me well know that I am not really into floral prints, unless abstract, however Liberty offer a wide varity of prints, including a number of unusual and distrintive designs and I love the Dragonista design that Abakhan currently have available in the tana lawn in three different colourways:

Liberty Dragonista in Blue, Aqua & Terracotta

Liberty Dragonista in Blue, Aqua & Terracotta

 

Liberty provide some great info on their website regarding their designs:

Dragonista: An archival design chosen by the antiques guru Martin Miller; the name behind the famous ‘Miller’s Antiques Price Guides’, and creator of the fabulous ‘Miller’s Residence’, ‘Glencot House’ and ‘Martin Miller’s Gin!’.He is also a poet, writer and artist with an infectious love of antiques.

Martin added a Miller twist to the design ‘Dragonista’, incorporating antiques of his own into the Liberty design, which was originally a ‘Chinoiserie’ style design for a Liberty scarf dating back to the early 1990s.

“In effect, it’s like taking a static work of art into a form that gives it movement and vitality. The iconic brand of Liberty is renowned for blending the classic with the modern which both complements and appeals to my style, and I am excited to be part of this wearable, living collection.” Martin Miller.

 

I chose to work with the Dragonista in blue, as I love bold and bright colours. This can be purchased from Abakhan’s website.

I wanted to make a top and in order to show off the beautiful fabric wanted to pattern that had simple clean lines without too much fuss. Therefore I decided on the Colette Sorbetto pattern. However as I don’t suit loose sleeveless tops at all I chose to add the Sorbetto sleeve pattern by Sew Incidentally.

I did have to do some pattern moderation, which is pretty standard for myself, as being extremely pear shaped I had to add a few inches to the waist & hips measurements as the pattern wasn’t large enough and grade from the size 16 bust to these new waist & hip measurements. Also being rather tall (5ft 9in) and long bodied I decided to add 2 inches to the length of the pattern. Still, even with all those additions I do love the Sorbetto as its pretty quick & easy to make (although I just can’t get on well with making my own bias binding!)

I took a few photos whilst working on my top. If you want to see in-progress photos and info of my projects then feel free to follow me on Twitter and Instagram:

Cutting out my top

Cutting out my top

The front of my Sorbetto top

The sewn front of my Sorbetto top

Sewing the sleeves on

Sewing the sleeves on

 

The tana lawn was so lovely to work with and drapes really well, I can definitely recommend it for clothing and the Sorbetto top. I am very pleased how my top turned out and I reckon it’ll look great for both work with smart trousers and a jacket, or with jeans and a cardy for the weekend.

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Neckline & pleat detail

Neckline & pleat detail

Shoulder & sleeve detail

Shoulder & sleeve detail

See, I told you it's work suitable!

See, I told you it’s work suitable!

 

Abakhan have loads of other tana lawns available, these are some of my other favourites:

Some of my other favourite Liberty fabrics

 

Why not go have a look at the range and let me know which are your favourites!

 

NB: I received this fabric free of charge to try out from Abakhan. All opinions about it however are fully my own.


Bluegingerdoll Bonnie Sweater

Bluegingerdoll Bonnie Sweater Overview
I was recently given the opportunity to pattern test Bluegingerdoll’s new Bonnie Sweater pattern. This is their first pattern designed specially for knits so I jumped at the chance as I love knit fabrics, so comfy and easy to wear.

 

Designed for comfort and elegance Bonnie is a vintage inspired sweater that works in every season and for any occasion. Made with knit fabric Bonnie is a quick and easy make and can be created in a matter of hours.

View A is an iconic 1940’s inspired cropped sweater design, featuring flutter sleeves and fitted waistband its perfect to pair with those high waisted skirts and pants.

View B also cropped at the waistline and features a scooped neckline and 3/4” sleeves.

View C features a boat neckline, long sleeves and hip length bodice. All three variations feature subtle, feminine gathers at the top of each sleeve reminiscent of a bygone era.

  Buegingerdoll Bonnie Sweater Line drawings

 

I love polka dots, so chose to use this black and white spotty jersey from my stash, which had originally been purchased from Abakhan Fabrics. After checking that I had enough of it in my stash I went ahead and checked the garment measurements against my body measurements.

  Bluegingerdoll Bonnie Sweater Front

I love the fact that there’s such a variety of mix and match options for this pattern – 3 different neckline, 3 sleeve options and 2 different bodice lengths. I chose to use the lower neckline (seen on view B in the pattern line drawings and the longer length of view C, as being pear-shaped and long-bodied a hip length top suits my shape better. I then chose the shorter flutter sleeves as these tend to suit my bingo wings better and as I’m a fan of layers I wear short sleeves tops all year round.

Bluegingerdoll Bonnie Sweater Back

 

As is a common pattern fitting alteration for myself, due to being very pear-shaped, I graded the side seams from a 20 at the bust down to a 24 at the hips. Cutting out took a very short time as with the options I chose there’s only 4 pattern pieces involved. Construction was also rather speedy using my trusty overlocker and it all went together very quickly. The instructions were easy to read and follow with detailed diagrams where needed.

 Bluegingerdoll Bonnie Sweater Neckband

I instantly loved the shape and fit of the Bonnie sweater and found it very comfortable. The little details included in the Bonnie pattern are also very cute, the gathers on the sleeves give them a lovely effect.  Since my bingo wings are a tad on the larger side I didn’t think the sleeve ‘fluttered’ as much as I’d like, so to give them a little more flutter-ability I finished them with a narrow hem and zigzag stitch as suggested in the pattern but pulled at the jersey whilst doing this to create a ‘lettuce-edge hem’ which even if I do say so myself, looks fab!

 Bluegingerdoll Bonnie Sweater Flutter Sleeves

 

I can easily see this being one of my wardrobe staples. Plain fabrics and simple patterns such as polka dots and stripes will be great for work wear and the more funky patterns will be great for the weekends with my trusty jeans. I already have a great hot air balloon print in my stash which I reckon will suit the Bonnie sweater pattern perfectly!

 Bluegingerdoll Bonnie Sweater Overview 2

 

The wide variety of differing Bonnie sweaters that have been created by the pattern testers shows just how versatile this pattern is: A Stitching Odyssey – Pattern Testing: Bonnie Knit Top – Bluegingerdoll Patterns;  Made by Meg: Bonnie TopHandmade by Heather B – A Pair of BonniesSewn by Elizabeth – Bluegingerdoll Bonnie Knit Top and Tanya Maile.

 

To buy your own copy of the Bonnie sweater sewing pattern visit the Bluegingerdoll website: http://bluegingerdoll.com/products/bonnie

 

NB: As part of the testing process, I received this pattern free of charge. All opinions and the decision to blog about it are however are fully my own.

 


Bluegingerdoll Odette Dress

A few months ago I used the then newly released Bluegingerdoll Winifred dress to make a dress to wear to my friend’s wedding and made 2 ‘wearable toiles’ first. As this was a new pattern Bluegingerdoll ran a great sewalong, which I found very helpful & entered my dresses into the sewalong competition. I was lucky enough to win the competition! More information about my dresses can be found on the Bluegingerdoll blog when Abby interviewed me.

I was then lucky enough to be chosen to pattern test their latest pattern, the Odette dress.

‘Odette is a one of a kind dress for your wardrobe. A fitted, fully lined bodice featuring a bateau ‘V’ neckline with a distinctive contrasting insert that frames the face.

The waistband highlights the waistline along with a seven gored skirt that skims the hips and has just the right amount of flare, as well as in-seam pockets for added practicality.

Your choice of three sleeve variations:

View A – Sleeveless, View B- Short sleeve and View C – 3/4 sleeves with complimenting cuffs’

Purple Stitcher Blueginerdoll Odette Dress

 

As 2014 seems to be the year of the weddings for me (6 in total!) and the timing was just rightfor the next wedding – Shannon & Peter Marsh on the 1st August I decided to make my Odette to wear on this special occasion. Those of you that know me know that I love purple (kinda obsessed) and I suppose the name of by blog The Purple Stitcher, probably gives that away! I went on the hunt for the perfect purple fabric. Generally I only do floral when they’re abstract and I was luck enough to find this beautiful almost pop art cotton in my local Abakhan Fabrics store in Birkenhead.

Purple Stitcher Bluegingerdoll Odette dress main fabric choice Purple Stitcher Bluegingerdoll Odette dress main fabric choice close-up

 

As I wanted to wear the dress at the height of the British ‘summer’ I decided to go with view A, the sleeveless version and to use a lightweight black cotton lawn for the lining and a lilac polycotton for the insert with cute flower shapped buttons, all purchased from my local Abakhan Fabrics store.

Blueginerdoll Odette Line Drawings

 

As always when using a new pattern I made a toile and is my usual style it was a charity shop duvet cover! This enabled me to get the fit just right. The fact that the bodice, waistband and skirt are all separate pieces was very useful as it enabled me to grade between these areas much easier. I’m very much pear-shaped, with my size going up by 1 from bust to waist to hips, so this is a very common pattern alteration for me. Now that Bluegingerdoll sizes come in plus-sizes this means there was no redrafting involved, which is a great time saver. I cut the bodice at size 20, the waist at a 22 and the hips at a 24 and with some help from the ladies at Liverpool Sewing Club I was able to check the fit and am very happy with the final results.

Purple Stitcher Blueginerdoll Odette Bodice

 

I’ve never actually sewn inseam pockets before on a dress, so was very excited to find these on the Odette and was very please at how quick and easily they went together. I also love having pockets on a dress how fun and practical is that! I also reckon they look fab and add another dimension to the dress:

Purple Stitcher Bluegingerdoll Odette Dress Pockets

It’s also been a very long time since I made a dress with an invisible zip, so used the fab tutorial on Bluegingerdoll blog to insert this and was once again pleased just how quick and easy this went in.

Purple Stitcher Bluegingerdoll Odette Dress Back Bodice

 

I’m very pleased with my Odette, the pattern is very flattering especially to pear-shapes like myself, and the extra little details like the interchangeable insert and in-seam pockets, add those extra special touches. I also love the fact that depending on your fabric choice it can be a more chilled day time summer dress, as seen in some of the other pattern testers blogs – Made by Meg, Handmade by Heather B, use pinstripes and make it workwear as seen by Kadiddlehopper or as with mine, add some glamorous heels, a beaded pashmina, fabulous jewellery and an evening clutch and suddenly it’s an elegant evening dress!

Purple Stitcher Bluegingerdoll Odette Dress Evening Look

I loved wearing my dress to Shannon & Pete’s wedding, it was comfortable to wear all day long and managed to survive my enthusiastic dancing! Here I am with the beautiful bride at the wedding, doesn’t she look stunning!

Purple Stitcher Bluegingerdoll Odette Dress With Bride

 

 

To buy your own copy of the Odette dresssewing pattern please go here: http://bluegingerdoll.com/products/the-odette-dress

 

Bluegingerdoll have written a great sew-along for the Odette Dress with some great hints, tips and detailed photos for the steps involved:

Bluegingerdoll Odette Sewalong Button Large

 

NB: As part of the testing process, I received this pattern free of charge. All opinions and the decision to blog about it are however are fully my own.

 

 


Ice-Cream Waterfall Tank – Sew Caroline

Recently I was given the opportunity to test a new pattern, the ‘Waterfall Tank’ for the fab indie designer Sew Caroline.

The Waterfall Tank is a really cute little tank top, aka a vest top, with a really pretty ruffled double layer top bodice, hence the name – waterfall tank. It is finished with bias binding, which is then used to create the straps, with 2 options here – either tie or fitted straps.

Ice-Cream Waterfall Tank

 

As soon as I saw this top previewed on Sew Caroline’s Instagram  feed my mind immediately went to all those short lengths of funky and designer fabrics that I have and no idea what to use for other than a bag! I love the fact that there are so many different options for the waterfall tank you could o as I have and use a different fabric for the ruffle and main body. Or you could use 3 different fabrics, one for each section, or just use the same fabric and make your own bias biding – the instructions for doing this come with the pattern!

Having a rummage through my stash I found a lovely Michael Millar Ice-Cream fabric that I cough just under half a meter of last year. So off I toddled to my local Abakhan Fabrics store in Birkenhead and found a hot pink polycotton an bias binding to coordinate.

Ice-Cream Waterfall Tank Detail

 

I chose the tie strap version as it looks like fun and I like the idea that I can wear it at different levels of revelling, depending on the situation! Sew Caroline’s instructions are very easy to follow, with lots of useful photos and great instructions on making your own bias binding, if you choose to. Sew Caroline also suggests using French seams and offers great, easy to follow instructions for doing this, which is very handy.

I’d recommend the pattern for advanced beginners for the fixed straps as the mitred corners & French seams could be tricky for complete beginners. Otherwise it comes together very quickly and easily. From printing the pdf to completing it took me approximately 3 hours to make. The only change I made to the pattern was to grade up a little in the hips due to being very pear-shaped. For the next version I’ll probably add a couple of inches to the length as being 5ft 9in and long bodied I prefer a longer length bodice.

Ice-Cream Waterfall Tank Side

 

The waterfall tank is comfortable to wear and flattering to a pear shape like myself, especially if you use a different fabric for the ruffle as it draws the eye to my slimmest part! As it’s a cotton, not jersey like most tank/vest tops, it skims over any problem areas, so again is more flattering. I feel that conformable in it that it’s going on my summer holiday with me this year!

 

If you want to see more versions of this top in a variety of different fabrics and sizes there are two round ups on Sew Caroline’s blog – Waterfall Tester Round Up Part One and Waterfall Tester Round Up Part Two

The Waterfall Tank pattern is now available from Sew Caroline’s online store, so if you fancy making your own version then why not hop over there and take a look.

Have you made your own version, or have any ideas or suggestions? If so, why not let me know in the comments below.