No such thing as too much glitter

I made this dress last Christmas for the Party Hardy theme on the Sew It Up blog, this year they had a ‘Less Black, More Glitter’ theme so even though it is black, it’s definitely sparkly.

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I ordered the fabric without really thinking about what I wanted to make. Like usual when I don´t have fixed plans, I had only ordered 2m .

With a bit of creative pattern tetris I managed to squeeze this dress out of the fabric with only scraps to spare. I started this dress december 23th 2014 and I finished it about an hour or two later that same night… While making the dress was fast, blogging about it sure wasn´t 😀

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It was an easy dress to make. I used two Megan Nielsen patterns and smashed them together to create a faux-wrap dress. I used the cascade wrap skirt and the Alissa maternity wrap top. I stitched the overlap down to create a faux wrap that I could wear with a belt. I was able to cut every pattern piece as is except for the back bodice, which I had to cut with a seam down the middle.

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While the fabric was scratchy on the outside, it was smooth on the inside, although slightly sheer. I was very happy when it still fit this year and I was able to wear it to my in-laws Christmas party. I wore my black Megan Nielsen slipdress underneath it.

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Final Verdict:

I was feeling like a whale at 34 weeks pregnant but wearing this dress made me feel so pretty. I was happy to realise that this dress works perfectly, pregnant or not. It still fits post-pregnancy so if I´m ever in need of a back-up fancy dress I know which one to pick!

Summary:

Fabric and notions:

  • Black glitter jersey (bought here)
  • Black thread

Pattern, sizing and alterations:

The Epiphany of the Perfect Knit (Pencil) Skirt

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For months I’ve been pinning pictures of fitted knit pencil skirts and oversized sweaters. I really wanted that as my go to outfit for fall and winter, even to go to work. (One of the perks of being a teacher – wear a scarf and tights and you can pretty much get away with anything)
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But finding the perfect skirt deemed to be harder than expected. I couldn’t find the perfect skirt or perfect pattern. I tried on a few skirts in stores to see what I liked, but they were either too long, too short or too flimsy (or pricey). Buying a pattern seemed silly as well since this is basically the easiest piece of clothing on the planet to make and I wasn’t looking forward to spending money and then taping the PDF and then altering the entire thing (since I always have to)
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Why was it so hard?
My demands, that’s why it was hard!

  • I wanted my skirt to come all the way up the slimmest part of my waist, not any higher since I have a very short waist and I didn’t want a waistband getting stuck underneath my boobs.
  • I wanted it to be mid thigh length so it was covering the larger part of my legs, but not restrict any walking.
  • I wanted it to be very very stretchy with great stretch recovery.
  • I didn’t want it to show underneath my clothes.
  • Most skirts where either barely covering my behind or the right length but with a waistband that would creep up while wearing ending in a skirt that was too short.

This morning I was planning my sewing for the next three days (we’ve got a week off of school and the first three days baby is still going to daycare) and it hit me!

I’ve got tubular ribbing in my stash! (You see where I’m going with this…)

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Take a piece of tubular ribbing twice the length you need/want.

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Fold it in two length-wise. The fold will be the hem.

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I used the wrong side out because I prefer the texture.

I decided not to finish it with a waistband or elastic or even serge the layers at the top since
1. Knit doesn’t fray
2. Waistband or elastic would show under my clothes
3. The serging might affect the stretch.

UPDATE: On day 2 I decided to finish the skirt with a waistband after all. Not because it would be more comfy but because I kept thinking ‘What if I get into an accident and people see that I’m just wearing an unfinished piece of fabric.’ I tried, wearing unfinished pieces… not for me. I simply serged a 1″ elastic sandwiched between the two layers, I then folded the top so that the serged edge was under the elastic. I then stitched down the serged edge 1″ from the top, creating a ‘waistband’. It doesn’t show underneath my regular clothes so it looks the same and no stretch was affected 😉

For those of you that think this is totally stupid, you are entitled to your opinion. For those who think this is genius but are worried about finding tubular ribbing in your size, good news, it comes in different widths and it’s all very stretchy since I used the narrowest size in my stash (14″x2) and my 42 inch hips fit into it perfectly!

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The green is the same width as the blue one I’m wearing.

Waist to mid-thigh, fitted, stretchy, great recovery and the double layer makes it completely opaque and the lack of waistband makes it sit smoothly under my clothes. I’m happy! Let’s order some more ribbing!

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Cuddly cat bomb!

Cuddly cat bomb!

Have you ever wanted to smack yourself for coming up with something so easy you don’t understand how you didn’t think of it sooner?

Outfit: Sweater – Megan Nielsen Briar sweater with owl applique (unblogged) // Skirt – No sew knit (pencil) skirt

Whatever you’re about to do, Lola is right there with you!

So I finally made the Victory Patterns Lola dress. Waaaaaay overdue, but I never wear sweaters so I didn’t see myself wearing a sweater dress. But then I saw so many gorgeous versions (here, here and here) popping up around the internet and I found the perfect fabric so I decided to give it a go. But not before I made this wearable muslin (yes, seriously, I made a muslin)

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I can definitely say that whatever you have to do, Lola is the girl for the job. I took her out to the doctor’s, to work and she even helped me with the shopping and taking care of the baby.

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Seriously, sewing this dress is easier than making the baby smile. She does have the best bitchy resting face though

I am in love! (With both the dress and my gorgeous baby!)

The facts:

    • Fabric is a sweatshirt fleece that was intended to be a blazer but that didn’t work out so it was totally meant to be a Lola.
    • My measurements put me in a size 12 but I wanted it a bit snugger so cut a size 10 but I could easily go down another size on the top.
    • This dress took me 2 baby nap times from start to finish! And that’s even with unpicking the twin needle stitching on the pockets 4 times! So super fast, just the way I like it 🙂
    • My mother-in-law loved it (that was a pretty weird feeling), she was even saying she’d like on of her own (even weirder)
    • My hubby noticed the new dress and he even noticed the fit wasn’t perfect yet.

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The pockets are both her greatest strength and her greatest weakness. She lets me take baby’s laundry, baby’s bottle and the baby herself upstairs (not in the pocket) all at the same time, but she also made me look for my earbuds and classroom keys for half a day and I only found them because I fell on top of them when I crashed on the couch when I came home.

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This dress is snuggly and comfy. For now she’s perfect to throw on as a single layer with boots (I even wore it yesterday with heels since it was 23 degrees here). She kept me warm but not too warm all day. (Except for that one classroom where they are trying to recreate Rachel and Monica’s tropical Christmas Party. Too bad I don’t have Joey running around to turn the radiator off from underneath.)  When it’s a bit colder she’s perfect with tights and my me-made blazer (more on that in another post).

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Inspecting the blazer and watching the cats play in the background. Using baby as a prop is not the best idea.

There will be a lot more Lolas to come. I still have my ‘good’ fabric to cut into and some regular French terry, but I’m having trouble finding nice ribbing for that one. (Stupid hard to match radiant orchid!)

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This is what I found when looking through my test pictures… I was being spied upon 🙂

Have you ever made a pattern and loved it while all along you thought it wasn’t your thing?

PS Thanks Gillian, for explaining how to get Flickr pictures in my blog 🙂

Audrey would have been proud!

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Back in the summer I had a chance to be a pattern tester for the new Audrey and Me Pattern Company by Charlie of This blog is Not For You. Her first patterns are the Hepburn Dress and Skirt and since I wanted to get some experience in making a woven dress I chose to make the dress version.

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The dress itself gives you a lot of options. 3 different necklines and the possibility to combine it with the Hepburn skirt to turn it into a fitted dress instead of a fitted bodice with a flared skirt with deep boxpleats.

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I opted for the scoop neckline as I don’t like the look of higher necklines on me. The fabric I used is leftover from my Portside travel set and I’m so happy I ordered too much because I just love love love this fabric! I’m seriously tempted to order some more in this and the natural colourway (or the beige one, or the red one) for next summer! I also used a leftover metal zipper and I seriously adore metal zippers!

85% cotton, 15% polyester - looks like linen

85% cotton, 15% polyester – looks like linen

 

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I’m very excited about this dress as it’s my first woven dress with a bodice lining and my first dress with an exposed zipper. Also the first time doing an FBA!

 

 

Sorry about the wrinkles :)

Sorry about the wrinkles 🙂

My measurements (bust 102cm/waist 82,5cm) put me in a size UK18, but after muslining that I had to take it in so much at the waist (I like my waist quite snug) that I decided to make a size UK16 and do an FBA.

On my first muslin (size 18) I took in both side seams from nothing at the dart to 1 cm at the waist and I enlarged both front waist darts with 1 cm as well. Which resulted in an overall loss of 8cm at the waist. I also shifted the CF to fix some gaping I had at the neckline, I took it in 3 cm grading to nothing at the waist (because of this it got to tight for the girls).

I did two bodice muslins for the size 16 but that was only because I made my FBA on the first one too large. I finally settled for a size 16 with a 4 cm FBA (2 on the pattern) and I took out the extra length the FBA added + I did a 3 cm swayback adjustment. These are all common fixes for me, I always do a swayback and I have a very short waist.

When I made my dress out of fashion fabric I noticed that under stitching the neckline and armhole openings didn’t really work (very very fiddly) so I unpicked the whole thing and cut the lining 2mm smaller on neck and armhole opening, this way it naturally favors the inside. That’s how I always do it.
I really tried turning the bodice like the pattern said (through the straps), but in the scoop neck version the combination of the narrow straps and my medium weight linen made it impossible. It might work with a lightweight fabric like a cotton batiste. Either way it won’t be an issue with the other versions as those straps are wider.

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I unpicked the whole thing and just sewed together the neckline and side seams, turned the bodice and used faux leather piping to create a facing for the armholes.

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I have no remarks about the rest of the dress, every notch and marking matched up perfectly so putting together the PDF and the dress itself was really easy.

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It fit great when I made it – although I’ll probably deepen the front waist darts a bit for the next one – but since then I’ve lost some weight so it’s too loose now. I’ve also come to terms with the fact that I have either narrow shoulders or sloping shoulders because the straps slide down and this is not the first pattern I’ve noticed this on.

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Because of this I don’t know what to do with the dress. I really like it because it’s so perfectly finished and it has so many firsts but I’ll probably never wear it again as it’s too loose and the straps slide down. So my plan is to be happy with the experience and the pictures I got out of it but to take it apart and use the fabric for something else (probably a Moss skirt or a Nasha skirt) so that in any case, not all is lost.

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My perfect moss-coloured Moss Skirt

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In March of 2013 I attempted to make a Grainline Moss skirt for the first time. It was a total fail.

It took me until this summer to finally pick up the courage to give it a second try. I cut it out with the idea of sewing it before I went on vacation. It didn’t happen.

So when I finally picked it up the last week of September it was just because I was in a sewing rut and I needed a fast project to get me started. By fast I usually mean ‘something that doesn’t involve tracing or cutting’. Since this one had been lying on my closet for weeks all cut out with notions assembled, it felt right.

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I hadn’t been sewing long when I first attempted to make it and it was actually the first ever PDF pattern I bought. I wasn’t familiar with Jen’s way of drafting so everything seemed strange compared to other skirts I had made. Now I know that her drafting skills are superb. Seriously, everything lined up perfectly! And if I hadn’t had to insert the zipper twice (!) it would have been a fast project.

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So what happened…

I had everything finished apart from the waistband. I went upstairs to try it on and while I was admiring the fit (seriously, fit was perfect) the zipper pull came off. I had stitched across the zipper and everything, still it came off. And if I hadn’t been horrified enough, at that exact time I got a call from my baby’s daycare saying she was running a temperature and if I could please come get her. It was her first time having a fever, so you can imagine how fast I wanted to go get her. But the zipper pull had just come off my skirt… SO I HAD TO SEAMRIP MYSELF OUT OF THE SKIRT! My perfectly aligned side seam. I still well up when I think of it.

When I finally had time to sit down and fix it (because I wasn’t looking forward to unpicking my complete front fly and zipper) I actually broke my zipper even more.

Luckily I got some encouragement on Instagram

Luckily I got some encouragement on Instagram

So completely unpicking it was.

But I’m happy I did, everything came together in the end and I even opted for the shorter version even though I was meaning to make the longer version all along. I finished the hem with bias tape because I wanted to keep all the length there was. I really like the pretty insides. Except I don’t like the inside of my waistband. I should have matched my thread to the colour of the waistband lining. It’s not really visible here but my thread was the same green as the outside.

 

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This was supposed to be a complete stash-based skirt but due to zipper failure it wasn’t. The moss colored denim (totally intended) has been in my stash since the beginning. I bought it in every colourway I could find thinking that 1m was enough to make me ANYTHING I wanted. That’s why the pocket and waistband lining are in another colour 😉 I had already pre washed it and I guess I must have folded or stored it wrong because there is a permanent (colour) crease next to the centre front and right above the hemline. If I had had more fabric I would have cut around it… Now I’ll just have to hope that steaming and pressing will get it out eventually. If not I won’t wear it any less 🙂 Next time I’ll pay more attention to the waistband ends, they curve up a little but for a first try it’s fine.

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I am kicking myself right now for not making it sooner, because it’s exactly the type of skirt I wore 10 years ago when I actually felt good about my clothes. It is very short and I’ll probably only wear it with tights. (seriously, the ghostly colour of my leg makes this skirt seem ridiculous otherwise) But I don’t mind because tights makes me feel comfortable. I even wore it to work today (have to remember not to bend over, kids might get distracted) I’ve already planned a few more, fabric picked out and everything. But I might be seduced to make the Named Nasha skirt especially since seeing this perfect version by Maike. I can honestly say I’m never attracted to Named patterns based on their styling, it’s just not my thing. But once they start popping up around the blogosphere my credit card needs to be given to the hubby for safe keeping 😉

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As you all know by now, I feel very self conscious when I have to take pictures of myself. But I really really liked my outfit today and so I decided to take pictures immediately after I got home. It wasn’t a pretty day, had been raining all morning but somehow it turned out perfect for the pictures. No weird shadows I had to get rid off. I’m starting to like my back door 😉

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Have you ever waited so long to remake a failed project?

 

PS Sorry not sorry about all the wrinkles… I had been wearing it all day 🙂 And listening to my music made me feel more relaxed while taking pictures.

BFF Nettie twins!

After I made my two Nettie bodysuits I figured it was time for a Nettie dress. I had just bought this spongy ITY knit on sale (and bought 4 metres) and figured this was the perfect fabric for my new summer dress.

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I made sure to carefully cut the pieces so the stripes matched. I even cut the sleeves to match… But I cut the red on top instead of the blue so I didn’t attach them 🙂

I didn’t make any alterations after my previous Nettie, I just graded out to a bigger size in the hips. I used a navy blue ribbing in my stash for the neck and shoulder bands. I initially wanted this to be a maxi dress but it looked like I was eaten alive by the stripes 🙂 So I cut it off midcalf and finished it with a narrow lettuce hem on my serger.
WORKED LIKE A CHARM! Seriously, this dress makes me feel put together! Slip on some heels (and some shapewear – stupid postpartum belly) and I’m good to go!

I made this dress the day before a small scale blogger meet-up and decided to wear it! Before the meet up I met up with my best friend and went window shopping. She noticed that my dress was much like some RTW dresses she liked. But she tried those on and she just didn’t look good.(Totally the dresses’ fault, not hers) They were too tight, too short, too flimsy. So I promised her that next time she came over, I would teach her how to sew one herself!

I broke out all my suitable stash knits for her, but she hesitantly asked if I had any of my striped fabric left 😀 I did, so she made herself a Nettie dress out of the same fabric!

That ofcourse needed pictures!

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Side note: Best compliment about this dress was Hanne telling me she thought it was RTW until she saw the perfect stripe matching 😀

I never knew I needed you but now I can’t live without you! Or yes, I made a Nettie!

It took my best friend and a lot of convincing to get me to pose for these pictures but in the end I’d do anything for the sewing community 🙂

I’d been eyeing the Nettie pattern ever since Heather Lou released it, but due to limited funding I held out. Until I swear, it just fell into my inbox! Oh.my.god you guys, sewcialists are so amazing. And especially Hanne who bought this pattern for me as a belated baby gift 🙂 She figured this pattern was just what a new mommy needed and boy, was she right!

I immediately got to it (3 Netties in 3 days) and this seriously sewed up superfast. Apart from the snap placket it was all serger all the way!

Nettie 1:
For my first version I used a floral double knit I had in my stash. I didn’t make any alterations and this is the result:

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As you can see I still needed a few modifications:
– The overall thing was a bit too long.
– I needed a swayback adjustment
– I needed a narrow shoulder adjustment

But it was definitely wearable! And it goes so well with all those bright coloured skirts I have in my closet but that just looked to dull with a white top.

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Nettie 2:

On my second version I made some alterations:
– I shortened the bodice by 3cm
– I did a 3cm swayback adjustment
– I pinched out the excess on the shoulder which resulted in 1,5cm at the top to nothing at the underarm.

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I do think this version fits a lot better 🙂

I have made a Nettie dress as well, but you’ll have to wait for tomorrow’s post to see that one.

All in all, Nettie is a pattern you didn’t know you needed until you have it and then you can’t imagine your life without!

PS Hubby’s comment was hilarious: “Oh, you made a onesie like the baby! But you’ll just wear this around the house right?”

“Bigger on the inside” travel set

I wish I had made a Tardis (preferably with The Doctor included – preferably David Tennant) but I made a travel set instead!

We had an upcoming holiday to France. Only problem: Baby is not a light packer… Or rather mommy is not a light packer for the baby. So with a car filled with baby necessities we needed luggage that we could push and shove into the last remaining airpocket 🙂

Enter: the Portside Travel Set by Grainline Studio.

I’m seriously IN LOVE with this pattern. I’ve never been the one to sew anything but clothes but this was the exception. I decided to make a set for me, my husband and the baby (talking about being ambitious)

I could praise this pattern all night long. It’s perfectly drafted, everything matches up perfectly and the explanation is very clear!

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I used a brown cotton canvas for the bottoms, a white/navy blue linen look canvas for the upper part and off white canvas for the lining. I opted for navy blue webbing for the straps and a navy blue metal zip (I heart metal zips). This might not seem like the most ‘fun’ bag (I’m totally jealous of the one I made the baby) but I felt great carrying it around and my husband loved it as well. And doesn’t this fabric look like it could be a 10th Doctor suit?

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I decided to omit the shoulder strap since I knew I would never use it.
Apart from that I followed the pattern to a T.
Once you get past interfacing the gazillion pieces (seriously, so many pieces! – Note: I did have to interface 3 sets!) this is actually quite a quick sew. The only trouble I had was when I had to insert the zips ’cause I suck at putting them in by machine, so I decided to hand pick them.

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In retrospect the only mistake I made is that I didn’t attach the straps like Jen suggested and it ripped in transport, they did look nice though and I love the pockets! (Note: Very easy fix)

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I sadly wasn’t able to finish the entire set because I started this only the day before we were supposed to leave. (It’s a quick sew, but not that quick) But I did manage to finish the three duffel (duffle?) bags and those were the most important ones anyway!

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But why did I call them “Bigger on the inside”? Because these are HUGE on the inside! I was able to fit an entire week worth of stuff inside one of them (apart from my shoes obviously, but then again, if I had only taken two pair instead of three, they would have fitted inside as well). To give you an idea. My bag contained: 2 small towels, 1 large, 5 dresses, 2 jumpsuits, underwear and socks, a jacket, my toiletries, accessories, a bikini, two scarves, 2 books and all my chargers).

One last thing: Baby LOVES her bag!

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The ‘mixed feelings’ dress that is the Colette Myrtle

(This is a word heavy post, if you want a review, read on. If you just came for pictures scroll to the bottom)

When Sarai released the newest Colette knit pattern, I was jumping with joy. Seriously, I felt like a bouncy castle. I don’t think I ever purchased a pattern this fast and seconds later my printer got to life. I’m not the one to start on a pattern right away, like ‘forget all the rest, nothing is more important’ right away. But with this one I did.

The Myrtle was everything I was looking for and more. I had immediate vision of a wardrobe filled with Myrtles, Myrtle variations and Myrtle hacks. But what goes up must come down…

It started with assembling the 64 pages… I would have liked it if I didn’t had to print the extra bodice pieces for the 2X and 3X sizes. (Edit: Apparently, they are releasing a new version so you don’t have to assemble as many pages) It’s an easy pattern to assemble and everything matched up perfectly, no complaints there!

But then I had to pick my size… According to my measurements I had to make a size L (which made me cringe a little) and it specifically said on the pattern that the waist was supposed to have negative ease, so you had to pick your size based on your body measurements, not the finished measurements. I’ve gotten into a habit of measuring pattern pieces for knit patterns because not everyone likes the same amount of ease. I like my knit garments somewhat fitted, especially around my bewbs (you have to highlight your good features amirite). I wanted my dress to look like the black model (seriously, I want her curves!)

(Note: I’ve edited this part as I mentioned before that it had 10″ of ease, I must have mixed up the measurements I took because it turns out it’s only 4″ after remeasuring. But in my defense, that’s still way too much imho) I’ve come across knit patterns with zero ease, I even came across some Big 4 patterns which have a lot of ease because they use the same block for wovens, but the amount of ease in this pattern is huge! My bust measures 100 cm (39″) and the flat pattern pieces (SA included) measure 115 cm (45″)! For a knit…

I wasn’t even going to muslin that size. Based on my measurements I could have gone with an XS instead, but I went the safe route and made a size S. I did my usual 3cm swayback adjustment.

The instructions are very clear, but I would have sewn it differently (which I did). I self lined the entire bodice. The pattern has you cut one back piece and fold over the neckline and armholes and twin needle them down. Twin needles are tricky enough in the best situations, so I wasn’t even going to try it. I don’t like the look of it either. Instead I cut 2 back pieces so I could self line it and have a nicer finish. Worked like a charm. It took me about have an hour to assemble this dress, so instant gratification it was. And when assembling the whole thing I first sewed the front armholes and then the side seams, this made it a lot easier to avoid catching your back in the seam.

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When I put on the finished dress and posted about it on Instagram, I had mixed feelings about it. It looks nice enough. I like the drape of the collar and the whole things feels very comfortable to wear. As you can see, it’s still not very fitted in the waist so I could have gone down a size easily. But the shoulders and armholes look off. They’re too wide for my taste. So that was something I’d have to change.

I also own the Maria Denmark Day-to-Night Drape Top and I did like the shoulders on that one, so I put one on top of the other and changed the shape of the armhole.

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I also stabilised my back neckline with some fusible seamtape to reduce gaping. The result was much more my taste.

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While still pretty loose, I’ve already worn my three Myrtles (there is a maxi dress but I don’t have pictures yet) multiple times. I really really like them. I don’t like a lot of things about the original pattern, but I think it comes down to the simple fact: How much ease do you want? Which model do you prefer? If you prefer the model with the looser fit, I’d say make the suggested size. If you prefer the tighter fit, go down 2 sizes 🙂

#MMMay14 – Roundup

Well, it looks like May isn’t likely to become my favourite month. Week one went extremely well and I must say that I really did wear all the Me-Mades I pledged I would but picture taking is another matter. In week 2 the baby got sick, followed by the hubby and me in week 3. Week 4 was a short workweek but we had a charity event on Wednesday which took so much preparation that I just lost it. Every ounce of organisational skill went out the door 🙂

We used the weekends to finish our kitchen and to clean up the mess afterwards so sewing wasn’t a priority either. (I didn’t have any room anyway)

But I’ve managed to find the exact fabric I’d been looking for for months and I’ve picked out a few patterns I’d like to try (yes, Nettie bodysuit, I’m looking at you) so once school ends and exams start, June will become a great sewing month, I hope (fingers crossed).