Shirtdress the Second

After the success of my last version of my Nautical Shirtdress, I knew that I would be making another version of M6696 before long. I bought this gorgeous Robert Kaufman Chambray from the Village Haberdashery in October planning to make a shirt, but when it arrived, I knew it would have to be a special dress. Finally I decided to start it 2 weeks ago, and have it finished ready in time for birthday drinks last Saturday!

Outside the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford
Outside the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford. Check out the stripes across the front!

This dress seemed to take forever to finish! Around 15 – 16 hours in total, in several stints across a week!

I wanted to match the pattern across the front, but due to limited fabric, I accepted that I probably wouldn’t be able to do this across all the seams. However, when it came to cutting out, I found I needed to shorten the skirt an extra inch from last time (4″ in total) to fit the pattern onto the fabric. This meant that I could match the skirt side seams! YAY! Check this out:

Stripe matching!
Stripe matching! This is the side seam with the pockets at the top.Also – no sight of the hem – good old Blind Hem foot!

I stupidly also didn’t think about matching the skirt / button band – when I was sewing it I realised that it was only about half an inch out. I could have remedied this by chopping some out of the button band but it doesn’t bother me tooo much!

I really love the sleeved version (B), but I decided that this one had to be sleeveless (A). The fit is pretty spot on, so I only made a few alterations to the armhole, as usually sleeveless bodice blocks are drafted slightly differently to those with sleeves (naughty McCalls!) I used Jen from Grainline’s tutorial to help me with this, but it’s actually a really simple alteration:

-I removed 3/4″ from the top of the shoulder seams (front and back), blending down into the bottom of the armhole (and yoke)
-I didn’t initially remove a horizontal wedge from between the yoke/ back, but when I tried on the bodice, it was gaping a bit, so I removed 5/8″ in a little dart between the yoke and back – it’s not a perfect solution, but it worked pretty well.

-I finished the armholes with bias binding, inserting it flat, then sewing the side seams. This bias binding came from my Grandma’s stash, I’ve used it in a couple of projects, but this was the last of it. I really like having it in this dress 🙂

Armhole binding, and mini dart between the yoke and back.
Armhole binding, and mini dart between the yoke and back.

Sewing the rest of the dress was fairly straightforward, just time consuming. Every seam I decided to match took about 4 or 5 times longer than it would usually:
-I pinned everything really carefully into place, matching stripes
-Basted it on the machine (4mm stitch)
-Checked it matched, re-did any bits that were out of line
-Sewed it up again with normal stitch length.

I top-stitched rather than slip-stitching everything. This was hugely helped by the snazzy new foot my Grandma got me for my birthday – it’s a quilters 1/4″ foot – but essentially perfect for topstitching! 🙂

1/4 " topstitching :)
1/4 ” topstitching and snap fasteners

I used snap fasteners rather than buttons – I really like the effect but was definitely a bit nervous about putting them in! My friend Leire lent me her pliers for the purpose. (Thanks Leire!!) They’re certainly easier than I expected, but I would recommend making sure you’re paying full attention before attempting to put them in! Ask me how I know that…

I finished the hem using my blind hem foot – this is so quick, and much better than my hand sewing! I had to draw a line of gathering to accommodate the curve of the hem – this is also a useful guide for pressing up the hem evenly! It helps to snip through this after you’ve sewn the hem to avoid puckering. I left the hem pretty deep – it’s around 3″ – I might let it down a little at some point if I no longer want to wear it short!

The only other alteration was that I made the pocket deeper – the pockets in my first version are just a little too shallow to be really useful. I did this by just extending the pocket in width and depth. Finished pockets:

Bigger pockets! I had to sub in some plain chambray as I didn’t have enough of the jacquard left. Excuse the creases.

Pattern: free (costed in my previous version)2m Jacquard Chambray: £36
Thread: £3
Snaps: £8
TOTAL: £47

All in all, I’m delighted with this dress – though I think next time I make this pattern, I will give myself a longer time to do it! Squeezing that much sewing into a week was lovely, but I did put quite a lot of pressure on myself to finish it on time for my birthday drinks!IMG_0335What’s on your sewing table at the moment?


Three things!

Hi everyone!

I’ve got a three things: the final Me-Made-May roundup, thoughts on MMM, and some Summer Sewing. Enjoy!

Simplicity 1887 in front of a Chateau. Obviously.
Summer Sewing: Simplicity 1887 in front of a Chateau. Obviously.

Me-Made-May 2015, final roundup and thoughts

I can’t believe we’re almost halfway into June and I haven’t yet posted my last Me-Made-May photos! Unfortunately, I was rather under the weather for the last week of May, so the daily wearing of me-mades got rather overlooked in favour of wearing jogging bottoms on most days… however, I did manage to leave the house on a couple of days and so got a few final pictures! There’s not anything new, just some old favourites in a slightly different location (I was visiting my parents in Yorkshire for some R&R):

Friday 29th May
Nautical Shirtdress

Nautical Shirtdress. Modelled in front of Huddersfield Railway Station. Oh the glamour! Notice the statue of former PM Harold Wilson to my right.
Nautical Shirtdress. Modelled in front of Huddersfield Railway Station in a fairly biting wind. Oh the glamour! Notice the statue of former PM Harold Wilson to my right.

Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st May
Liberty Mitsi dress

Moneta/ Lady Skater Mashup. Photo taken near Marsden in the Pennines.
Moneta/ Lady Skater Mashup. Photo taken near Marsden in the Pennines.

I wore this dress both days – I didn’t pack enough clothes for the trip and so had to recycle! Also, I only left the house really briefly on Saturday, so my clothes didn’t get a chance to get dirty! I think this dress is my most-worn item throughout May. Which leads me to:

Thoughts on Me-Made-May:
I’m really glad I participated this year, as it really encouraged me to make the most of my me-mades. I liked putting that extra bit of effort in each morning, and coming up with nice outfits – as I wanted to make the most of my makes, so it only seemed right! I enjoyed feeling pulled together (sartorially), and coming up with nice outfit combos. I found it really positive, so I’m trying to keep this attitude!

Probably my favourite MMM outfit.
Probably my favourite MMM outfit.

Most of the clothes I’ve made are summer dresses. They are the thing I usually enjoy making the most. However, I live in the UK, where the weather is pretty temperamental. Looking at my wardrobe each morning I realised that I have plenty for warmish weather, but that I don’t have too many makes that are appropriate for mid-season. I often found myself longing for jeans and a button-up shirt, as I was bored of tights, and it wasn’t warm enough for bare legs.

The last week or two it’s warmed up a bit, and I really am wearing all my nice summer dresses. But, I think that once I’ve finished my summer sewing I’m going to try and focus on slightly more Spring/ Autumn clothing, rather than only making clothes that I can wear 2-3 months of the year.

A taste of things to come.
A taste of things to come.

This means three things:

  • More jersey dresses – I wore my Liberty jersey dress probably more than ids socially appropriate because it’s cute, comfy, and is suitable for most of the year in the UK. I might not wear it on the coldest/ warmest days, but for anything between cool and warm, it’s perfect. And it doesn’t need ironing.
  • Button-up shirts – I treated myself to some lovely chambray (what else) and the Granville Shirt pattern as a reward for running the 10km Town & Gown last month. I’m also currently obsessed with shirts. I traced the pattern off when I was at my parents, so will be doing a muslin as soon as my Summer Sewing is done.
  • Some jeans (the Gingers?). This relies on me getting hold of some nice denim. I’ve got a trip to London with Claire next month, so I’m sure I’ll manage! Then it’s time to do some Sewing Through The Fear.
Woolly, one of my parent's cats, decided to help me trace off the Granville pattern.
Woolly, one of my parent’s cats, decided to help me while I was tracing off the Granville pattern. He liked pouncing on the pattern paper.

Summer Sewing!

I spent last weekend in Strasbourg visiting a friend. We’d planned to go cycling through the vinyards, so she told me to bring a pair of shorts. Of course, I didn’t have anything quite right for lengthy bike rides, so I had to run up a quick pair of Simplicity 1887.

I didn't get many photos... so I'm afraid you'll have to deal with this one.
I didn’t get many photos… so I’m afraid you’ll have to deal with this one.

I cut the straight 14 – I checked the sizing against a trouser pattern I know fits well. The only fitting adjustment was to reduce the width in the thighs a little as they were too loose. The pattern is pretty straightforward and quick. Even though I took the time to do flat-fell seams for extra strength, it only took two short evenings.

I’m not sure they’re the best-looking pair of shorts in the world (on me), but they are very comfy and were just the right length for cycling in warm weather! They will probably be something I wear for activities on holiday, but not much beyond that.

0.85m fabric from Witney Sewing Centre: £8.75
Pattern: £8
Thread, elastic: £2.50
Total: £19.25d

Phew! That was a lot at once. I’ve got some big sewing plans for the next few weeks as I’d like to have some new sundresses for my holiday in July, so will be busy busy busy until then!

In the meantime, if  you’re on Instagram, you can follow me (@cinderellissews) for sneaky peaks like this one:

Shirtdress in the making...
Shirtdress in the making…

Congratulations if you’ve made it this far! Thanks for reading 🙂