A New Summer Outfit

This outfit is one of those that make me smile while wearing it. I’ve been wanting to make the skirt for a long time and in fact, both the pattern and fabric have been waiting for quite some time in my stash. The blouse pattern was a more recent purchase but, I’ve been keeping an eye for a pattern in this style for some time and in my opinion the patterns are a good match.

Starting with the blouse. I used a Butterick vintage pattern, 5580, that unfortunately does not mention the year it was released, although my guess is around the 50’s, both because of the style and for not being printed. Well, the instructions are printed but the pattern pieces are already cut and have different sizes perforations and notches to guide. It took me a bit to get used to it.

As usual in vintage patterns, this one only had one size available, size 14, 32” bust and that’s exactly what I made. I choose option A, without changes at all.

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The instructions suggest to cut the fabric in bias and that is what I have done. As it is a quite fitted blouse it helps the way it is cut. The way it fits is one of the things that made me choose this pattern and to achieve the fit it also has 10 darts. Two diagonals in the chest area and the remaining 8 at the waist, 4 in the front and 4 in the back.

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The waist darts are a little unusual to me and I don’t think I’ve ever made a blouse with such kind of darts. I did try to find how this kind of darts are called but failed. If you happen to know it, please do share 😊

The blouse has no buttons and to help with the dress/undress it has a side zipper (I used an invisible one). The armhole is finished with bias binding and to add a bit of colour, I used a self-made bias using a floral fabric. I do adore to add small details even if it is in the garment’s inside.

One of the things I like particularly in this version is the collar although version B also looks really nice… might have to make another version sometime. In order to keep everything in place, I handstitched the collar facing at the neck and shoulder.

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The fabric used is a shirting fabric from Mike Tecidos and it worked as expected but a fabric with some drape must work lovely as well.

To go with the blouse, I also made a skirt that was in my “to do list” for such a long time. The Chardon skirt by Deer and Doe.

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I made version A in size 36, based on my waist and hip measurements, using a linen/cotton fabric bought some three years ago and although the photos seem to indicate otherwise, I did iron it.

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My only change was to shorten the skirt 5 centimetres. The pattern is lovely and I have intension to make more but I intend to use an invisible zipper next time, instead of a regular one. That would be my only change and that is just a matter of preference.

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Although it has a few inverted box pleats, it is a fast project and the result is (as my girls like to say) so satisfying. Let’s be honest, it is a pretty skirt and it has pockets.

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The instructions recommend finishing the hem with bias binding and that is what I’ve done. This time I did not made the bias, instead I used a bought one that have a satin finishing and a very similar colour but some stripes that make a subtle contrast. I’m happy with the result and used it as well in the facing.

 

This is turning out to be a long post… Summarizing, I am really happy with how both patterns turned out and how well they worked together. I have intention to use them again.


A Summer outfit for F

F is in need of some Summer clothes as most of hers from last year don’t fit anymore and therefor, will be used by M. On the other hand, I know that if I have coordinated outfits for the girls, those will get more wear. So, for this Sew Crafty Design Team Project, I used some fabrics that I love and know it will easily coordinate with M’s outfits.

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I’ve been wanting to make the Laurel Blouse by Jilly Atlanta for some time now and Sew Crafty has this gorgeous dobby cotton lawn and, as you most likely already know, it’s one of my favourite fabrics.

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According to F’s chest measurements, I made a size 6 but added some length as her height fits in a size 7 and the fit is just right.

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The fabric is not as light as some dobby cotton I’ve worked with, but still lightweight and nice to work with.

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The pattern has the option for lined yoke or finishing with bias and I opted for a lined yoke as I prefer the way it looks. Just realised, looking at the photos, that I need to redo the front yoke lining. It is not laying right and it is bothering me… my fault!

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To complete the outfit, I made the Graphite Shorts by Made by Toya using Essex Linen from Robert Kaufman and I do wish I had a pair of shorts like this for myself!

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Like the previous ones I’ve made her, these ones are a size 7 without alterations. She really loves these shorts and asked me to make some more. She definitely feels very comfortable wearing them. Can’t blame her!

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The fabric is a mixture of linen and cotton, was very good to work with and we’re both very pleased with how it turned out. I honestly find it perfect for summer projects.

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I’m sure she will want to wear this outfit a lot! She already asked if she can take it to school in the next non-uniform day. 😊


Building Block Dress, a Book Review

It is no secret that I am a big admirer of Ana Sofia’s work, from the blog S is for Sewing, also I have the pleasure of meeting her in real life and calling her my friend. It is also no secret that we are both great admires of Oliver + S patterns. For that reason, it was no surprise that we both got the book “Building Block Dress” as soon as it came out.

The book was published a little over a year ago and our intension was to make a book review back then but, as you know, sometimes life gets in the way and we postponed the review. Now that is the book’s first anniversary thus, we thought that was a good time to make it happen and I’m so glad we’ve made it.

It was not the first time we’ve made a joint book review (see here). I really enjoyed it as it’s always a pleasure to chat with Ana Sofia and exchange opinions. 😊

Now, about the book and why in the first place did I bought it. As you might have noticed, I rarely make alterations to a pattern and the ones I make, are always minor. This is because I am (or was…) always afraid of ruining everything. I sometimes have ideas but then I am too afraid of messing everything up and end up not doing it. This book is just about pattern alterations and how to make it, exactly what I needed.

The book includes one pattern, for a basic dress, for ages 6 months to 12 years and examples of alterations you can make as well as instructions to perform them.

I’ve made two different projects from the book and I will start with the dress I made for F.

I asked F what she would like me to make her and she said a dress. She was very detailed and precise about what she wanted, from the colour to the ruffles, size of the sleeve and where the waist line should hit. I managed to make everything as she asked except for the colour. She asked me for bright blue but I asked if it could be navy blue instead and she agreed on that too.

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From the two projects I’ve made, this is the one with less changes to the base pattern. I started with size 7, took a few centimetres of the bodice and made a gathered A-line skirt to make it more twirly than the original one, which was one of the requirements.

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F also requested a ¾ sleeve with shoulder ruffles and for that I just took a few centimetres from the long sleeve option and made the flutter sleeve following the instructions available, but instead I have cut the fabric on the fold, so no hemming was needed. Next time I will make the ruffle narrower though, just for personal preference.

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Although the book offers several pocket options I haven’t added any. There are also several options with explanations for hemming, but once again, I’ve kept it simple with a basic hem.

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There are a few extras in the dress that are not in the book, but F asked me if I could make them and they are quite simple so why not make her happy. Those “extras” are the sash with a bow and the ruffled collar. The sash is just a stripe of fabric attached to the bodice and the ruffled collar is also a stripe of fabric with twice the length of the collar attached following the bias-faced neckline instructions.

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There are instructions to change the closure at the back, but I kept the original, with buttons. The only thing I’ve changed was omitting the skirt placket once it was unnecessary for F to dress/undress.

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The second project required some more changes, but with the instructions that was no problem at all. I would say the main change was to move the closure from the back to the front.

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I started with a basic bodice for size 6, moved the button placket to the front and shortened by a few centimetres. I kept the long sleeves as the original but inserted elastic at the bottom.

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The collar was made the same way as the one from the dress and the bottom part of the blouse are just two rectangles of fabric gathered at the top. Simple, but I really like how it turned out.

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My main challenge was moving the closure from the back to the front and now that I’ve made it, I don’t know why it was scaring me that much!

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The pattern includes seam allowances and explains how to make a muslin and to adjust the pattern to get the best fit and that, as everything else in the book, is valid for any other pattern.

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I know there are other books about pattern alterations, but knowing Oliver + S patterns and how detailed their instructions are I knew the book should be no different and I was right. The explanations are simple yet effective and very visual, with photos and figures to help.

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I am still finding it hard to believe that starting with the same pattern I ended up with two completely different garments. Bear in mind that I don’t (or didn’t) usually hack patterns and was something that used to scare me a bit.

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So, summarizing, I found the book very helpful for pattern alterations in general and not only for the one included in the book and a good reference book to keep in a sewing library. I’m glad I got it! 😊

If you haven’t yet, go and see what Ana Sofia made (so pretty!) and what she has to say about the book. 😉

I really enjoyed making this book review with you Ana Sofia. Thank you! 😊