knit dress

Retro Floral Leini Dress

Floral Leini Dress

My love affair with Named Patterns continues… This time I made the Leini Dress from their Summer 2014 collection.

The fabric is a cotton jersey from Mood (sold out, but there’s another colorway available here). It’s not my usual style, but for some reason I was really drawn to this bold floral print. I think it has to do with the colors – navy, mustard, and olive green are some of my favorites to wear, so I think they made the print seem more approachable. And I’m really glad I decided to buy it, because I’ve grown to love this fabric (and dress) a lot!

I thought the print would work best with a fairly simple design, so I decided on the Leini Dress from Named. The elastic waist makes it easy to wear, but the bodice pleats and clean finish around the neckline and armholes make it a bit more interesting and polished.

Floral Leini Dress

Floral Leini Dress

Floral Leini Dress

Floral Leini Dress

This fabric is just a touch see-through, so I had trouble deciding on how to line the bodice. I was going to use self fabric, but the outlines of the flowers were visible from the right side. I also didn’t have any white jersey in my stash, and any other color would have cast a tint. Finally I hit upon using some light beige mesh I have in my stash for bra-making. It’s nice and lightweight, and it allowed me to get the clean finish I wanted.

The pattern says it works with either knits or wovens, although all the other Leinis I’ve seen seem to be wovens. I think it worked really well in jersey, although I’d also like to make one in something like rayon challis. I used a combination of serging, zig-zag stitching, and straight stitching, based on whatever seemed appropriate at each step.

Floral Leini Dress

Floral Leini Dress

Floral Leini Dress

Floral Leini Dress

I made my usual size 34 and the only adjustment I made was to shorten the skirt by a few inches. I think the fit is meant to be a bit loose through the bodice, so you could probably size down if you wanted to, especially if you’re using knit fabric. The only change I’d make next time is to raise the armhole just a bit – maybe 3/8″. Overall, I think this is a great basic pattern and would work well for anything from a casual day dress to a fancier silk number.

What’s your favorite summer dress pattern?

<3 Lindsay

Olivia Wrap Dress

Olivia Wrap Dress

I started this dress back in November intending to wear it to Thanksgiving. With the amount of time I left myself that wasn’t going to happen, so I didn’t stress it and instead gave myself the new deadline of Dec. 23 so I could wear it out to Christmas tea with my family.

This is the Olivia Wrap Dress from Named – “a classic wrap dress with a slightly tulip-shaped skirt”.

I’m sure you all know by now that I’m a big fan of Named and this pattern is no exception. November was a while ago so the construction details are kind of fuzzy, but I remember everything being pretty straightforward. The pattern is well designed and I love that there’s no neckline gaping or skirt flashing in the wind!

This dress was kind of a wearable muslin and there are a couple things I’d change next time. The bodice is a bit roomy all over, so I think I need to both shorten it and do an SBA. I’d also probably eliminate the in-seam pockets. They’re nice to have, but I don’t like the way they tend to flop around and mess with the silhouette of the skirt.

Olivia Wrap Dress

Olivia Wrap Dress

Olivia Wrap Dress

I shortened the skirt by a whopping 5″ before I cut it out because I know Named patterns run long on me (I’m 5’4″), and I thought I would probably want it to end above the knee. Actually I ended up deciding to leave the length just below the knee as the pattern intended – I think it looks a bit dressier that way. There wasn’t enough length left to do a hem (and I’m lazy) so I just left it raw!

The fabric is “Silky Stretch ITY Jersey Knit Asian Scallop” from fabric.com (no longer on their site). It’s a polyester fabric, which I don’t normally go for, but I’d read that it works well for wrap dresses (more fluid, less robe-like). I may have to reconsider polyester because I do really like this fabric. It’s silky smooth, has a great drape, and doesn’t wrinkle at all – great for traveling!

Olivia Wrap Dress

Olivia Wrap Dress

Olivia Wrap Dress

Olivia Wrap Dress

And with that I’m caught up with last year’s blogging – at least of the more interesting things! In January I made my dad a shirt and I’m almost done with a pair of high-waisted Ginger jeans for myself. It never really got cold here this winter (it was in the 80s last weekend!) so I’m already planning my spring wardrobe. Anyone else dreaming of sundresses already?

<3 Lindsay

Mesa Dress

Mesa Dress

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.

Mesa Dress

Mesa Dress

Mesa Dress

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.

Mesa Dress

Mesa Dress

Mesa Dress

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!

Mesa Dress

Mesa Dress

Mesa Dress

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!

<3 Lindsay

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.

Marsala Lady Skater

Marsala Lady Skater

I finally got around to making the Lady Skater! I received this pattern as part of the first Pattern Parcel and printed it out right away. But instead of making the Lady Skater I had planned on, I used the bodice to make my stripy “Madewell” dress. I then used the bodice to make a couple less-than-successful tops and promptly forgot about the pattern until late this fall. When I re-discovered it I went searching for inspiration and found Sophie’s warm brown winter-y Lady Skater from a couple years ago. It looked like the perfect cold weather basic, so I went a very similar route with mine.

Marsala Lady Skater

Marsala Lady Skater

Marsala Lady Skater

Marsala Lady Skater

I bought this rust-colored jersey from fabric.com. It’s made from bamboo and it. is. heavenly. Super soft, great recovery, wrinkle resistant, and the perfect thickness for a dress! I’m definitely a bamboo fan.

I really love the color of this fabric too. I didn’t realize when I bought it (or maybe I subconsciously did) that it’s very similar to Pantone’s “color of the year” marsala. It’s a really lovely, warm color and almost a “faux neutral” because it seems to go with everything.

The Lady Skater’s a very quick sew – only about three hours from start to finish. I made no modifications other than shortening the skirt by 1.5″ to account for my height (I’m 5’4″). I could probably stand to shorten the bodice by 1/2″ as well, though it’s not bad where it is, especially with a belt. I went with the 3/4 length cuffed sleeves – my favorite sleeve length – because if I wear long sleeves I always push them up to 3/4 length anyway. I sewed everything on my serger with the exception of the topstitching around the neckline and the bottom hem.

marsala lady skater

Marsala Lady Skater

Marsala Lady Skater

Marsala Lady Skater

This was such a satisfying make! Whipping up quick basics is great for keeping my sew-jo flowing in between more complicated projects. Especially when they so perfectly fill a gap in my wardrobe! I don’t normally wear dresses too often, but this one’s so versatile and comfortable that it’s already gotten worn a handful of times.

What have you been making lately? And do you also try to alternate easy and hard projects, or do you have a different system altogether? Or maybe no system at all! I’d be interested to hear about it…

<3