It’s become something of a tradition to make my husband Nathaniel a new shirt for his birthday. He picks the fabric and the style, and I do the rest. Button-ups are one of my favorite things to sew, so it works out well for everyone!
There’s not much to say about this pattern that I haven’t said before. It’s the Frank Shirt from Burdastyle: Sewing Vintage Modern and I must have sewn it at least 15 times by now.
Alterations this time:
reduced the collar height and flare
added buttons to the collar
used the tower placket piece from my Quinn shirt instead of doing a continuous sleeve placket
My favorite part of this shirt is the double pleat + tower placket combo. I think it ended up looking really sharp.
Overall a successful and satisfying make!
In related news, have you seen Joost’s new Singular Shirt pattern? It’s available for free and has 38(!) different options. I’m really curious to try it out. You input about 15 different measurements and are given a custom-fit shirt pattern. There are no instructions, but that shouldn’t be a problem if you have prior shirt-making experience. I’m definitely going to give it a go for Nathaniel’s next shirt!
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?
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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?
I received a free copy of the final pattern in exchange for testing. All opinions are my own.
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!
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.
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!
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…
The fabric for this post was provided by Art Gallery Fabrics. All content and opinions remain my own.