Bonnell Dress

Bonnell Dress

Recently I had the opportunity to test Dixie DIY‘s new pattern – the Bonnell Dress. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Dixie a couple of times at Austin sewing meet-ups, and when I saw she was releasing this dress as a pattern I was super excited!

I love the silhouette of this dress. The cut-outs are not only fun, but combined with the waistband they really help create the illusion of a small waist and hourglass shape. The bodice and waistband are lined, so the cut-outs have a clean finish, and the dress looks great inside and out.

Description of the Bonnell dress from Dixie’s website:

The perfect summer dress! Sleeveless dress has bodice darts, jewel neckline in front and V-neck in back, waistband, gathered skirt with side seam pockets, triangle cutouts at bodice side seams, and a center back invisible zip.

And, guys: I love this dress. Seriously. It’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever made. Lately a lot of my sewing has felt more like a chore than a hobby. I’ve been making some boring house things like curtains and pillows, as well as fulfilling some sewing requests from family members. And even the stuff I’ve been making for me isn’t exactly fun to sew. Like my last pair of jeans turned out great, and I’m really glad I made them, but the sewing itself wasn’t that fun. So this dress was exactly what I needed for a breath of fresh air. Sewing semi-fitted cotton garments is definitely my favorite type of sewing. Button-up shirts? Yes. Love them. And making this dress definitely had a similar feel.

Bonnell Dress

Bonnell Dress

Bonnell Dress

I never used to wear dresses much, but I’ve been making more of an effort lately. And while I have a few casual jersey dresses, I didn’t have a single casual woven dress. Once I knew I’d be making this pattern, I took some time to really think about what type of fabric to use to make this dress as versatile as possible. Chambray is one of my favorite fabrics, both to wear and to sew with, so I finally decided on this lightweight Kaufman railroad chambray. I thought a print would be too busy, but a solid would be too boring, so I compromised with this striped fabric. Neutral, but still interesting.

Bonnell Dress

Bonnell Dress

Bonnell Dress

Before sewing, I did my standard 1/2″ SBA to the bodice. I made a size 0 for the bust and hips, graded to a size 2 at the waist, and the fit was perfect.  My hem is 3/8″ longer than called for because I only turned it up once instead of twice. I’m 5’4″ and think it’s a good length, so if you’re taller you may want to lengthen the skirt a bit. I also machine-stitched the waistband down rather than doing it by hand.

The original neckline was a bit too high for me, but I’m someone who doesn’t like to have clothes touching my neck. After trying the bodice on I decided to lower the neckline by 1″ at center front, grading back to the original line at the shoulder seams. This is an easy change to make during construction, so if in doubt I’d just cut the piece out as normal and lower it later if you feel like you need to. Of course you could always do a muslin first if you’re not as lazy of a seamstress as I am!

Bonnell Dress

Bonnell Dress

Bonnell Dress

Nothing major changed with the pattern after I tested it. I made a few suggestions about small issues, and they were all incorporated into the final pattern. The instructions are very clear and easy to follow, and there’s a tips section in the beginning with extra info if you need it.

Also, the printed pattern is just 16 pages, which I really appreciate!

Bonnell Dress

Bonnell Dress

I’ve already worn this dress a handful of times, and I know it’s going to get a ton of wear this summer. It fits both my style and my lifestyle perfectly, and I’m so, so happy with it! I could tell almost from the instant I started sewing that it was going to be one of my favorite dresses, and I’m glad it turned out exactly as I envisioned it!

After I finished this dress I had some good sew-jo going, and I made another dress and a kimono to wear to a wedding and a rehearsal dinner this past weekend. If it ever stops raining I hope to have them photographed and blogged soon!

Are you doing any summer sewing?

<3 Lindsay

I received a free copy of the final pattern in exchange for testing. All opinions are my own.

Delphi Maxi Dress

Delphi Maxi Dress

Last month, Art Gallery Fabrics contacted me to see if I’d be interested in reviewing some fabric from their new knit solids line. Free fabric? Of course I was interested! I know AGF makes some stunning printed quilting cottons, so I was curious to see what their knits were like.

I chose the vibrant and summery Sahara Sun color to make a project with. And the first pattern that came to my mind when confronted with a length of solid knit jersey was one of Named’s new patterns, the Delphi Layered Maxi Dress. Obviously I have a bit of a thing for Named. What with my recent makes of two pairs of Jamie Jeans, an Augusta Hoodie, a Kaisla Blazer that’s almost finished, and an Asaka Kimono cut out and ready to sew, I think it’s safe to say I’m a fan of their designs!

Delphi Maxi Dress

Delphi Maxi Dress

Delphi Maxi Dress

A maxi dress is a new silhouette for me, but it turns out it’s one I really like! Growing up I always had the notion that maxi skirts and dresses were a look that only tall people could pull off. But since I started reading sewing blogs I’ve seen ladies of all shapes and sizes looking great in maxis.
I also wasn’t sure how the layered section of this pattern would look, so I’m really pleased that the silhouette ended up being so flattering. I think the proportions of this dress are great!

The pattern was straight-forward and fairly quick to sew, with good instructions. You do want to be careful with the sizing on this one though. My measurements are exactly that of Named’s size 2, and that’s my usual size in their patterns. However, Priscilla’s Delphi review recommended sizing down and mentioned underarm/back gaping issues. Since this is a knit I figured I’d be safe sizing down, so I cut out the 0 instead. I ended up with the same gaping issue though. The way the dress is constructed it’s hard to tell until the very end how the bodice is going to fit. If I’d made a muslin I would have taken a good 1/2″ or so out of the bodice side seams, which I think would fix the issue. But honestly the gaping doesn’t bother me much, so I’m not going to go to the trouble of unpicking.

The only change I made was to shorten the skirt by two inches to match my 5’4″ stature.

Delphi Maxi Dress

Delphi Maxi Dress

Delphi Maxi Dress

The fabric was really lovely to sew with – both my sewing machine and my serger sewed it perfectly without any tension issues. It’s a nice, soft medium-weight cotton knit with a good drape. Thick enough to use for skirts, but still light enough for t-shirts. I love how vibrant the color is, and it feels great to wear!

The pattern called for 3.5 yards in my size, but I actually only ended up using about 2.5. Your mileage may vary, but just know that you can probably get away with less than it says!

Delphi Maxi Dress

Delphi Maxi Dress

Delphi Maxi Dress

Are you planning on sewing any maxi dresses this summer? Now that I’ve dipped my toe in the water I’m excited to explore this silhouette some more! So many new wardrobe possibilities…

<3 Lindsay

The fabric for this post was provided by Art Gallery Fabrics. All content and opinions remain my own.

Learning to Knit

knitting1

One of the side effects of finally signing up for Instagram last Me-Made-May was discovering that many of my sewing friends are also excellent knitters. And, being a crafty person, I of course wanted to understand how all these gorgeous projects were being made. I had zero experience with knitting, so I bought the Knit Lab Craftsy class. And then I waited for the heat of summer to subside enough that just the thought of wool wouldn’t cause me to break out in a sweat.

During a couple rainy days in September I watched the first lesson and tried it out. It didn’t look good. My yarn was a mess, the temps went back up to the ’90s, and I put it aside.

Then there was the holidays, a new job, and lots of winter sewing to keep me busy, so it wasn’t until February that I picked up my knitting again. This time I was determined, and after three days something finally clicked and the whole knit/purl thing finally made sense! First up I made the Seed Stitch Cambridge scarf that came with my Craftsy class. It took me about a month to finish, but it was really gratifying to see the scarf taking shape and to feel myself getting faster and more comfortable with knitting. The repeating stitch patterns kept it interesting and forced me to practice alternating knits and purls.

knitting2

I was really happy with how it turned out, and eager to knit something else that wouldn’t take quite so long. I found the free Man Hat pattern on Ravelry and decided to try it out. Since it’s unisex I figured if it didn’t fit I could always give it to my husband!

This involved learning a new set of skills (knitting in the round, decreases, double-pointed needles, etc.), which I did with the help of youtube. The chunkier yarn knit up much faster and I was able to knit almost the whole hat on my flight to Paris last month. I really enjoyed making it, but I’m not quite sure what it was that made it more enjoyable than the scarf. Three major factors were different: bamboo needles, knitting in the round, and chunky yarn. So I’m a fan of at least one of those things… or maybe all three?

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And luckily it fit! This picture’s from when I finished it in March, as you can see by my long hair.

knitting4

I’m really glad I gave knitting a try! I don’t think I’ll ever knit nearly as much as I sew, but I do love how portable it is. And learning a new skill satisfies my crafty spirit (at least temporarily). So, fellow knitters, I’m curious – what do you knit in the summer? I’d like to keep practicing my knitting, but wooly sweaters are the last thing on my mind right now!

<3 Lindsay

New Hair, New Jeans

Jamie Jeans

One more pair of Jamie Jeans before I move on to other projects! While the construction techniques were fresh in my mind I thought I might as well use up the other stretch denim in my stash. Well, that and I have two old pairs of jeans that are in bad need of replacing.

For this pair I used a darker wash denim and gray top-stitching thread. Both this fabric and the fabric for my last pair came from fabric.com. Unfortunately neither are currently available, but it seems that what you want to look for is a mid- to heavy-weight denim with no more than 2% lycra. For how cheap it was, I’m pretty impressed with the quality of this denim. It’s a bit stiff and chemical-smelling to start out with, but my last pair has already been washed a few times and it’s softened up really nicely. I can also wear them for a few days before they start to bag out too much.

I made the same adjustments as on my last pair, although I left the legs slightly longer. So I don’t have much to say construction-wise.

Also – I cut my hair! And I cut it myself, with the help of some youtube tutorials. I’ve had long hair for about four years now, but I never really got the hang of styling it. With the summer heat and humidity looming I got an urge to just cut it all off – so I did! I think I chopped about 7″ off. And it feels so good.

Jamie Jeans

Jamie Jeans

Jamie Jeans

Bluebonnets

It’s spring, so that means bluebonnets! Every man, woman, child, and dog in Texas has had their picture taken in the bluebonnets at some point in their lives. The bluebonnet is Texas’ official state flower and it grows wild in fields and along highways for a few glorious weeks each spring. It’s been ages since I’ve taken a bluebonnet picture, so I thought it would be fun to find some for this post! Do you have any similar traditions in your part of the world?

Jamie Jeans

Bluebonnets

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I did find it slightly boring to make the same pattern twice in a row, but I’m very happy to have two new pairs of jeans. These are my favorite yet, and they’re certainly going to get lots of wear!

So have you hopped on the jeans bandwagon yet? I’m about to hop off it for a while. I have dresses, a blazer, and a kimono to make!

<3 Lindsay

Patrones #347 – Magazine Review

patrones-1As I mentioned in my last post, I picked up a copy of Patrones magazine in Barcelona. I’d heard of it before, but didn’t really know what to expect, so I was pleasantly surprised with how modern and fashionable a lot of the patterns were.

And at 40 patterns for 5 it’s a great deal!

The main drawback is that the patterns only come in three sizes. So a bit of pattern grading will be in order before I can make anything up. As with Burda, the pattern pieces are nested on sheets that you must trace off and add seam allowances to. This is more work than I like to put into a pattern before even getting to the muslin stage, but for 13 cents a pattern I think it’s worth it. The pattern instructions are fairly brief (and in Spanish, of course) so I guess this will be a test of how far my sewing skills have come!

patrones-2You can see an overview of the patterns here. The lace and day to day collections are my favorites.

patrones-16The first eight patterns are party dresses. And of those, this dress and jacket are definitely my favorites. I think the frayed silk edges are really pretty, and the back is gorgeous. However, with 23 pattern pieces and a gazillion seams, it’s certainly not for the faint of heart.

patrones-17

patrones-3Another gorgeous back here. Not so crazy about the front bodice band thing though.

patrones-4This look reminds me of something Taylor Swift would wear. They’re both really nice pieces, and I would love to have that exact blouse. All those pleats are a bit intimidating though.

patrones-5I really like the pants here. Those center front seamlines remind me of the Jamie Jeans. The lace top is also very pretty.

patrones-6I love this dress! If I can find the right kind of lace I definitely want to try this pattern out.

patrones-7Three really solid pieces here: buttondown, blazer, and pleated pants.

patrones-8I’m not sure if I’ll ever have an occasion to wear lace pants, but I do like the look of these ones. The camisole top is really nice and will also go on my list if I can find the right fabrics.

patrones-9This peplum top and skirt would work well as a set or as separates.

patrones-10Not sure about the top, but I’m intrigued by the shorts. They’re kind of hard to see here, but they have an interesting fold-over waistband, pockets, and pleats in the front.

patrones-11Really cute shirt-dress, although I probably wouldn’t make it in lace. Side-note: I need those shoes.

patrones-12The plus-size section was a bit underwhelming. Seven fairly basic patterns, with the sleeveless blouse being my favorite.

patrones-13There are also four first communion dress patterns that are rather pretty. They would also make good flower girl dresses.

patrones-14The magazine includes a knitting pattern for a baby cardigan and a crochet pattern for the cardigan above, which I rather like.

patrones-15There’s also a “sewing school” section that has step-by-step instructions on how to make this satin nightgown.

So overall I was pretty impressed with this magazine. In general, the patterns are much more wearable and fashionable than what I’ve seen in Burda lately. Definitely worth five euros! Of course, I have yet to make any of these patterns up, so I’ll have to see how that goes before I can form a definite opinion.

Have you sewn a pattern from Patrones magazine before? Any tips or potential pitfalls you can warn me about?

<3 Lindsay