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.
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 😀
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.
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.
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!
In November I asked two of my closest sewcialist friends (Hanne and Caroline) to take pictures of all my maternity makes at once. I didn´t get round to taking photographs by myself due to the horrible weather and the lack of indoor location. I also never got round to blogging about the makes BUT because I really enjoyed looking at other people´s maternity makes while I was pregnant I´ve decided to blog about all my (favourite) makes now. You´ll see more maternity makes popping up in the upcoming weeks while I edit pictures and write posts.
It’s not a secret that I’m usually not a fan of the cutesy style of Tilly. But when she released Bettine I was sold. I didn’t need a new dress pattern but still I couldn’t resist. I blame early pregnancy hormones.
I sewed and wore this dress at the end of August. I took pictures the same weekend but since I took them inside they are no good (even after 3 tries). It was my first attempt at getting back to blogging but I didn’t want to go outside and take pictures, so I used our wardrobe wall… The only thing I like about these pictures is my hair… Before the hairdresser chopped off way too much 😦
I wanted to blog about another wrap dress I made but the weather and a teething 20 month old got in the way for now. So while you eagerly await those pictures, let me tell you about my sewing plans for this Fall/Winter.
My maternity makes were all over the place last time and I’ve ditched them all. There just wasn’t anything special about them and they didn’t coordinate at all. I’ve been meaning to make a capsule wardrobe for ages but so far it’s proven harder than I expected , seeing I like to start from scratch but I don’t want to throw out any of my clothes…
So with almost no maternity clothes left and Fall just around the corner, I’ve decided to do a quick brainstorm on what to make.
Well, it’s been a while since I’ve written an actual finished outfit post. No excuses, just life I guess.
For months now, I’ve been looking for the perfect wrap dress pattern. If I could afford a real DvF dress, I would wear only those. The pattern itself was also way above my budget… There must be millions of other patterns out there (and a few in my stash) but none of them really spoke to me. I was either dreading the tracing, the taping or the altering. I gave the Style Arc Kate a try, but didn’t get any further than cutting out the pattern and realising it would be too big (and waaaay too long), so I folded it back into the enveloppe. I tried the one from my Famous Frocks book which is loosely based on a Farah Fawcett Dress.
I got as far as assembling the top but the facing kept flapping up, the collar wouldn’t lay flat, the armholes only looked nice on the mannequin so I called it quits before it made me even angrier. Somehow I had made this dress 4 times before and only now realised that the drafting and instructions are ridiculous.
I finally settled on Burda 6957 which is a maternity wrap dress. (btw I’m pregnant) but my pregnancy brain must have blocked out the fact that I hate hate hate hate adding seam allowance to knits. It would have worked apart from the fact that they tell you to close the wrap with snaps… I’ll let that sink in for a moment… Closing a maternity wrap dress with snaps… So, it’s totally adjustable. Ofcourse with a faux fabric wrap belt to top it off. Back in the enveloppe it went.
Since I wanted a real wrap dress this time I decided to lower the wrap portion of the Alissa so I could extend it in the wrap ties. Since I didn’t want to fiddle with any binding and I found an article saying the DvF dress had a cut on facing. I decided to go with that. (I’ve been looking all over the internet to find the article again, to no avail.)
But without further ado, here are some pictures 🙂 I cannot take any credit for these pics as they were taken on Lieke‘s Birthday picknick. Caroline takes lovely pictures and Lieke and Anneke made me forgot there was a camera 😀 Sewing friends really are the best!
I love the dept of the wrap. It’s sexy without being revealing.
I opted to make the ties really long so I could wrap them a few times around my body. I just used the entire width of the fabric for each tie. I inserted them between the main dress and the facing so all would be nicely finished on the inside.
As you can see I’m unwrapping my dress in a public park. The things I do for my readers. But as you can see as well, the waist doesn’t really sit at the same level as the wrapped ties. This is mostly due to the sheer weight of the skirt. The viscose knit drapes beautifully but it’s heavy. So I’ve already shortened my bodice pieces for the next one.I was trying to photobomb Anneke while Caroline was taking pictures of her sweater. She’s way better at photobombing than I am. I love my scarf with this dress and I’ll probably wear it like this once autumn arrives.
It was such a lovely day and we couldn’t resist getting our feet wet, ofcourse add shallow water and a camera to three sewcialists and you’ve got a splashing party all around.The dress held up pretty well in the water although it grew 15cm in length due to the weight of the water.Needless to say I ended up completely soaked but the dress has proven to be chic and playfull at the same time 🙂 Perfect for running after my toddler!Look at the three of us in our handmade outfits! Ah, to be young, wet and happy on a Sunday morning. Life is good 🙂
Patterns: Megan Nielsen Alissa Maternity top and Cascade Skirt Size: Both were cut in a size M Alterations: Lowered the wrap on the top, added a cut-on facing and ties. Shortened the back of the Cascade to match the side seams. Fabric: Viscose knit in Cherry-Plum, 3m
Every girl or woman is guilty of wearing her husband’s/boyfriend’s fleece sweater at least once. We all know it, they’re comfy, they’re warm, they’re even a bit comforting. However, what they are not is flattering or attractive.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a fleece that’s just as warm, just as comfy but flattering at the same time…
I found the perfect fleece cardigan! (This is a word heavy post so for pictures, scroll down)
I finally gave in and ordered a bunch of Style Arc patterns. Not just one, I ordered 11! It was totally justified because shipping rates are insane so it was better to bulk order. (I’m trying hard not to think about the fact that they lowered their rates two days after my order)
Anyway, I ordered only post maternity patterns. Knit dresses, button up tops etc. One of the patterns I ordered was the Nina Cardigan. I just wanted a real cardigan pattern so I could use one of my gazillion sweater knits. I loved the shape and the fact that I would be able to wear it before giving birth.
I’m very lucky that the only thing that got bigger while being pregnant is my belly so I could just order my regular size. For those of you who don’t know, Style Arc works with single size patterns. It scared me at first, but then I thought “what the hell, just order it already”.
The packaging: +/-
The pattern comes in a clear plastic envelop, I didn’t care for it because it had creased the papers. It is ‘re-sealable’ though, so that’s a plus. They insert a swatch of recommended fabric which I find a great help especially since English and Dutch names for fabric are so different.
The instructions: +/- I wouldn’t advice Style Arc to an absolute beginner as the instructions are quite limited, but since this is such an easy piece, it could work. There are however some helpful diagrams to clarify the more difficult parts in construction so even if I’m not that experienced yet (I would call myself intermediate) I’m confident I could tackle their patterns.
The pattern: ++ The pattern is just one very long piece of paper. The weight is somewhere between tissue paper and regular printer paper and what’s more, is that it is neatly folded so it’s super easy to fold back up. That is a very definite win in my book. Since it’s a single size pattern you could opt to just cut all the pieces since they aren’t printed on top of each other but I decided to trace anyway since I’m afraid I might lose pattern pieces in my mess of a house (construction going on and all) The markings and notches are very clear on the pattern and it even included some extra instructions. Since this was such an easy pattern I didn’t transfer the notches. (and guess what: I messed up)
This particular pattern only comes with a 6mm seam allowance, which is fine by me because I sew all my knits on a serger and this way I didn’t have to trim them down. It could be a bit tricky to do this on a regular sewing machine though. I, for one, am not going to try.
The construction: ++ I’ve never come across a pattern that was this well drafted. Every seam aligned perfectly. Seriously, I almost never pin knits and this didn’t need it either. I just pinned the places where seams had to match (which is where I messed up). This was probably the fastest make ever (even with the messing up part) and it’s due to the fact that it’s such a great pattern. It took me about two hours (including tracing and cutting) to get this done, so next time it’ll be even faster. And yes, there will be a next time.
The alterations: ++ I didn’t make any alterations to the pattern, the size was perfect and the fit as well.
Overall conclusion: I would give this pattern an 8/10. But the 2 points lost are due to the Style Arc packaging and instruction style, so have in fact nothing to do with the pattern or make itself.
The actual cardigan:
As I said before, I wanted to try this in a fleece. I have been wearing my hubby’s fleece sweaters but it’s cold and he needs them as well. What’s more is that those sweaters date back to the days he was 15kgs heavier, so they are even on the large side for him. At first I didn’t mind all the room for my expanding belly, but with each kg I gained I felt less and less attractive and the oversized sweater wasn’t helping.
I’ve had this fleece in my stash for a while. I initially bought it to make a hoodie for a Craftsy class but when it arrived it turned out the be regular fleece and not sweatshirt fleece, so it was banned to the corner of my sewing room. Then I wanted to use it as interlining for my maternity coat, but that took too long so I bought a coat and still hadn’t used the fleece. I came across this pattern and it felt like a match made in heaven.
It was very easy to cut and it didn’t fray or shed all over the place. I like the green colour and it goes with a lot of my stuff. I knew it wasn’t as stretchy as the recommended fabric but I wanted to give it a try anyway. I cut this using my rotary cutter and I must say that this is probably for the best as to not mess up the 6mm SA.
Every seam went smoothly through the serger until I arrived at the neckband. I had glanced at the instructions so I knew what to do. I decided to pin the neckband to the rest of the cardigan as the keep the center back seam aligned. But somehow the end of the neckband didn’t match the end of the bottom pieces. Whatever I did, it wouldn’t fit. I thought it might have to do with lack of stretch so I tried to stretch it as far as I could and pin along the way. This is were the drunken monkey messed up my mind even more. I pinned the neckband and couldn’t help thinking that it was weird that on side the neckband was too short and on the other side it was too long. I could’t figure out why since these were all identical pieces. I stretched my fabric as well as I could to get it even. When it was finished and I opened everything up, I realised my very very very stupid mistake (I blame the backache, the lack of sewing these last few weeks and the kicking baby inside of me). Can you spot the mistake in the top picture?
Yep, that’s right. Instead of matching the center back seam on the neckband with the center back seam on the bodice, I match the center back seam on the neckband to the freaking shoulder seam! I still don’t know how that happened. I didn’t bother with unpicking (unpicking serger seams are HELL) but just cut the seam off and sewed it on again and suddenly it fit perfectly… Go figure.
In the end I just finished everything off with a rolled hem (or my attempt at one at least) to keep things nice and tidy. It wasn’t really necessary but this way all the seams were locked in place.
I absolutely love how this turned out. It’s the perfect size, it has slight shaping in the back and it drapes nicely. I initially meant to only wear this at home but it looked so good I just wore it to work today. It’s warm but not too warm and it doesn’t get all sweaty and clingy like some fleece sweater can. It’s roomy enough so I can close it over my expanding belly, but it’s not meant as a maternity pattern so I’ll get a lot of wear out of it afterwards as well. I can use a belt if I want to close it or I can just let it hang open. Because of the shaping in the back, it doesn’t look like a potato sack and actually gives you a waist 🙂
My famous last words for this cardigan: If you ever decide to buy just one pattern for a cardigan, get this one. Seriously, you won’t need any others. This one fits ever need you’ll ever have 🙂