I’ve gotten a bit behind on my summer blogging! I made these Jedediah shorts for my husband a few months ago and they’ve been getting a lot of wear. Thread Theory‘s been on my radar ever since they launched (I love sewing menswear!) but this is the first time I’ve sewn with one of their patterns. It definitely won’t be the last though! The instructions were great and very thorough, and the fit was spot-on with no adjustments. The only change I made was to omit the rolled cuff and just do a standard hem.
I also made his t-shirt – about a year ago! – by copying the pattern of his favorite J Crew t-shirts. I just got around to making him a second one a couple days ago, but he needs more still. The J Crew ones come broken-in which apparently makes them very comfortable, but unfortunately also means they get holes in them really quickly.
Not bad for basics! Now to get working on his birthday shirt for next month!
I fell for Pauline Alice’s new pattern, the Xerea Dress, the moment it was released. Shift and tent dresses (views A and B) aren’t my usual style, but I loved the design details so much that I thought it was worth a try.
The pattern came together pretty easily. The instructions are fairly brief, but they’re thorough and easy to follow. The two variations come as different PDFs that are 21 pages each. There was an issue (now fixed) with the pleat lines not being marked at the right spot, but I’d just assumed I stretched out the fabric and adjusted accordingly.
I tried using “snug hug” seam binding instead of bias tape for the neckline and armholes, and it seemed to work okay. The neckline doesn’t quite lie flat, but I don’t think it’s too noticeable.
The deep pockets are my favorite design feature and I wanted them to stand out, even with a busy print, so I decided to add some navy blue satin piping. I used it on the hem as well and I like the way it added a bit of structure.
I ended up not loving the loose silhouette on me, but there’s an easy fix for that – a belt! Luckily I still had my scraps, so I just cut a long rectangle and sewed piping along the top edge. Sorry – I forgot to take an un-belted picture!
This gorgeous fabric is a printed rayon from Blackbird Fabrics. It’s the perfect weight for a dress and it feels so nice to wear. I just received my second order from Blackbird Fabrics (more rayons!) and again I’m really impressed both with the quality of the fabrics and the surprisingly fast shipping from Canada.
Even though I ended up changing the silhouette, I love the way this dress turned out! It’s a garment that’s easy to wear, but it still feels special because of the fabric and the piping.
This may be the end of my dress-making streak – I’ve made six this summer! Although I am still interested in trying out View A of this pattern, the shift dress with short sleeves. Maybe for once I’ll do a muslin to see if I like the silhouette before I jump in feet first!
There are a few tops, skirts, and shorts I want to make before the end of summer. Plus I still need to blog some separates I made weeks ago. Lots to do as always. Hopefully I won’t let another five weeks pass before my next post!
Are you finishing up your summer sewing, or are you already planning for fall?
No time like a wedding to bust out the silk, right?
A few weeks ago I posted the silk Belladone dress I made to wear to a wedding rehearsal dinner, and now this is the main event: the Wedding Guest Dress. As soon as I RSVPed I started plotting what I would wear… I wanted to make something fun and out of the ordinary, that I wouldn’t normally have a good excuse to make. What immediately came to mind was Named’s Asaka Kimono pattern – which I’d fallen in love with the minute I laid eyes on it – and this seemed like the perfect occasion to try it out!
The fabric is a super-lovely silk crepe de chine which I won in last year’s Anima Pant Contest. I’m so glad I finally found the perfect project for it! It feels amaaazing to wear, and was surprisingly not too difficult to sew. I think the slightly raised texture of crepe de chine makes it the easiest type of silk to sew – it was certainly much less shifty than the silk twill I used for my Belladone dress.
The hardest part of making this kimono was cutting it out. I had about a 1/2 meter less fabric than was called for, so pattern piece placement was crucial. Silk’s not easy to cut out at the best of times, and with the added fabric shortage pressure the situation was a little stressful and time-consuming. I was just barely able to eke it out of the fabric I had, but the inner collar pieces and belt had to be pieced together, and there were only the tiniest of scraps left over.
After the cutting drama thankfully the kimono itself came together pretty easily. The construction’s actually fairly simple. The instructions are thorough, and there really aren’t any tricky bits at all – not even a zipper or bias binding to deal with. It’s a loose fitting garment, so you don’t have to worry too much about fit. I didn’t want it to be too loose, so I sized down to a 32 from my usual 34, which seemed to work well. I didn’t make any other alterations.
If you want to wear the kimono as a dress, you’ll need to address the center front situation. A kimono’s basically a robe, so the collar will definitely gape open. I just stuck a pin through a couple layers of the collar, and it worked well for me. It’s not visible from the outside since you’re only sticking it through the under layer, and I didn’t have any issues with the pin poking me or falling out even after hours of dancing/eating/etc. A more elegant solution would be to tack the collar pieces together or maybe add a snap, but the pin works! The kimono overlaps enough at the bottom that I didn’t have any flashing issues there.
I can 100% recommend wearing kimonos to weddings! With the adjustable belt you can eat as much cake as you want (I might have had three slices…) and the flowiness of the kimono makes it so fun to dance in! The sleeves are basically the best ever.
I’m not really sure when I’ll have an opportunity to wear this kimono again (it’s not exactly an everyday kind of garment) but I’m very glad I made it! And if you can think of any kimono-appropriate events other than summer weddings let me know!
I’ve been all about summer dresses lately. And when I saw the latest pattern from Seamwork Magazine, the Mesa shift dress, I just couldn’t resist bumping it to the top of my sewing queue. It’s super quick – you can get it cut out and sewn within two hours. And I just so happened to have the perfect bamboo jersey in my stash!
I made an XS, and while my waist measurement is in that column, my bust and hips are about 1.5″ smaller. Funnily enough, I thought the fit was good in the bust and hips, but I had to take it in at the waist. I had a lot of fabric pooling at the low back (a common occurrence with shift dresses I think), so I took in the side seams 3/4″ at the waist on both sides as kind of a quick and dirty fix. It solved the problem pretty well, although I feel like there must be a better way to do it. There’s no center back seam, so a normal swayback adjustment won’t work. Any thoughts?
That’s the only alteration I made to the pattern. The sleeve length and hem length are unchanged, and I’m 5’4″, for reference.
I used this striped bamboo rayon knit from fabric.com and I love it. After my Lady Skater and now this dress, bamboo is quickly becoming my favorite knit fabric. It’s a bit more expensive that normal rayon, but I’ve found that it holds up much better. It’s super soft and the perfect medium-weight thickness that is substantial enough not to cling to every lump and bump, but still light enough to wear for a summer dress. After some recent failures with flimsy lightweight rayon that pills if you look at it the wrong way, I think I may be a permanent bamboo convert.
One quibble I have with Seamwork/Colette is that I wish they would be a bit more economical with their PDF patterns. This pattern took 33 pages, and all the other ones I’ve printed have seemed to take about 10 too many pages as well. The main problem is that their tiles are much too small and leave a lot of wasted space on the page. The pattern piece layouts aren’t the best either. If you’re cutting one of the smaller sizes you can take a look through the PDF before you print and omit pages that only have bits of sizes you don’t need on them – I can usually save at least 5 pages that way.
The instructions are great though! And overall I’m definitely a fan both of this pattern and the magazine in general. It’s really fun opening my e-mail to find two new patterns on the first of every month!
This is the most comfortable dress ever – it seriously just feels like wearing a t-shirt. It’s the perfect easy outfit for hot and humid days. I’ll be wearing this dress a lot this summer, and I’ll definitely be making a couple more as well! With tights and boots, I think this pattern will also transition really well into fall.
Are you a Seamwork subscriber? A shift dress fan? Do you know where I can buy all the bamboo? Let me know!
Back to the beginning! Deer & Doe’s Belladone Dress was the first indie pattern I ever picked up, and I used it to make my wedding dress back in 2013. Ever since, it’s been in the back of my mind to use the pattern again to make a simpler daytime dress. So that was the idea when I pulled the pattern back out, but somehow it morphed into something a bit more silky and fancy than originally planned!
The thing was, I needed a dress for a wedding rehearsal dinner I was attending… aaaand I had this beautiful silk twill in my stash from my recent trip to Paris. Then I had the idea to add some contrast flat piping at the waistband and back cut-out, and this dress’s fate was sealed. I’ll get to you one day, casual Belladone!
I made the flat piping and bias binding from a bit of royal blue poly satin. Originally I had the bias binding showing around the neckline and armholes, but it looked kind of off. Too sporty or something. So I flipped it to the inside instead and tried stitching it down by machine. That didn’t look good either, so I unpicked it and stitched it down by hand instead. It took forever, but it definitely looks better this way, even if there is still a bit of puckering. This silk fabric is pretty unforgiving.
I made the same size as my last Belladone, 34 graded to 36 at the waist. I omitted the hem facing, and just did a small double turned hem instead. The only other change I made was to the upper back bodice. My last Belladone tended to gape a bit so I made the easy alteration detailed by Lauren here. Basically you just slash up the middle of the pattern piece and overlap by however much you need to take out – I did 1/4″.
This was my first experience sewing with 100% silk fabric. I was expecting it to be shifty and difficult, but it really wasn’t too bad. It’s actually a bit easier than sewing with rayon bemberg, which I’ve done quite a few times for linings. This is dangerous knowledge though, because now I’m going to want to make everything out of silk! It’s so lovely and floaty to wear. I at least need to make a few silk camisoles to help keep me cool in the summer humidity. Any pattern recommendations?
I’ve been on a bit of a dress-making kick – four in May and already two in June! It’s a fun change from the basics and separates I’ve been making a lot of lately. I do need some shorts pretty desperately though, so that’s next on my list!