Dreaming of … a budget where I can buy everything from Anthropologie

What would you buy if you won the lottery? I love playing this game. Obviously I’d give half to charity 🙂 and then I’d donate a wing to Hogwarts so that even though I didn’t get to go, my kids would be able to, but apart from that I’d probably blow the whole lot in Anthropologie!

A few weeks ago I visited my Grandma in Bath and we spent a good portion of our day browsing in Anthropologie. I fell in love with this dress. And this one. And this one. And…you get the idea!

Anyway, the Gallery Row dress was my absolute favourite. The fit was great, the length was perfect and the fabric draped beautifully. It was farrrr to low though, which was a shame. But then I reminded myself that I can sew. This had the added bonus of saving me ÂŁ158. I already had fabric that I wanted to use – it had the same drape as the original dress and the navy blue is actually more my colour.

So I pretty quickly got to it. I used the burdastyle dress with gathered rectangle skirt for the bodice. My muslin was the lining of the dress and I had to shorten the darts substantially – they were trying to crawl up my throat! I also moved the zip to the CB so that I could use a chunky metal zip like the original dress.

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For the skirt I cut a full circle skirt and an extra quarter circle panel. I wanted to add pockets to the front of the dress (like the original), so I used this extra panel in the middle of the skirt front and then sewed in seam pockets in here. Very subtle, but practical I think you’ll agree. It also meant that I could lightly gather the skirt to make it even more full.

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I made a fairly slim petticoat to give a slightly more vintage shape. I couldn’t find a tutorial that made much sense to me, so I followed my own ideas and made a very simple version with a gathered cotton slip and a net layer to give some shape.

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Overall it was a pretty simple dress to make, but I love the outcome. The lining of the bodice fits perfectly, but somehow the outer bodice is slightly looser. I actually really like the way this has turned out. It looks great with a belt and the fabric slightly overlapped. At least I think so! Still holding out for the funds to shop exclusively in Anthro, but for now I’ll settle for making use of my sewing skills!

Dreaming of…a good title for this post

And I just can’t think of one, so you’re left with the above!

This is a rather brief post. I’ve been doing lots of making for others recently, some commissions and some sewing for friends. This post is a combination of both… a commission for a friend.

My friend, Sarah, recently asked me to make her a dress with floaty sleeves similar to a floral one I’d just sold in my Etsy shop.

We came up with a design and changed some of the shapes and features from the original dress.

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After looking through all of my fabrics, she decided on this very silky navy bird print (which you may recognise from this dress). I also used the mustard / gold fabric as the lining for the dress – which also served the dual purpose of acting as a muslin.

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The main thing Sarah wanted to keep was the circular floaty sleeves so I drafted some new shapes for these. They were very simple to make, but I love the effect they give to the movement in the dress!

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I finished the dress by slipstitching the lining to the bodice. The fabric is so floaty that some of the tiny stitches can be seen, but I think it’s better than seeing a line of harsh machine sewing and I think Sarah agrees.

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I hope you agree it looks lovely on her – now we have to think of lots of events for her to wear it to!

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Ok, that’s enough photos – hope you’re all enjoying the sun. I’m making the most of it and trying to get plenty of sewing done at the same time. Watch this space for some exciting makes soon!

Dreaming of… vintage transformations and their affinity with Pimms.

Panic over, I’m back. After a very busy week…I have another busy week, but managed to fit in some simple makes and even got around to photographing one of them so that my crazed fans lovely followers won’t be too worried about where I’ve disappeared to!

You may remember this dress, which I wanted to make into something more wearable.

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I drew some sketches and knew that I had to choose something with relatively small pieces as the original dress is slim. I painstakingly unpicked every single seam in order to get the most out of the fabric and ended up with a large pile of blue fabric and a sea of bright threads!

As you will see in this post, the whole process of remaking this dress went very well with a glass of Pimms in the sun. Right from unpicking at the start, to posing later on!

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I started by making this very simple Colette Sorbetto top with an inverted, open pleat and self bound edges. I used the skirt panels to make the top, and had to sew the back panels back together to be able to fit the back bodice in.

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Unfortunately, when I tried it on, the pleat pulled open a bit so I wasn’t too keen on wearing it.

Luckily, it fit my beautiful friend Nicola perfectly, so on a sultry summers eve in her garden (with Pimms, bbq and chickens as an added bonus), I happily passed it on to a good home, and took some photos in the process.

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And that’s all folks.

Oo apart from – look at Nicola’s pretty nails…
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Oo again – what should I make with the rest of the fabric? I need something that either uses small pieces, or where I can subtly piece together small bits! Any ideas welcome!

Dreaming of…two dresses in one

Although I guess technically this is just 2 dresses in 2. This is the Burdastyle double layer dress, which I bought when Burdastyle UK had a 2 for 1 sale. DSC06789

Over half term, as a break from reports, I went over to Beth’s house to help her make a dress. I wanted something simple to make for myself so I took this Burdastyle double layer dress. I’d already assembled the pattern and cut out all of the pattern pieces. All four of them – 2 for each dress.

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I started by helping Beth make a dress pattern for some lovely curtain fabric she has and then I set off on my own dress while she made some beautiful bunting.

This dress calls for bias binding around the neckline and armholes. I wanted cream binding and didn’t have any, so I made my own following this Colette tutorial. I think I made about 3000m of tape, which still wasn’t enough for both dresses. The moral being – always make more than you think you need.

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The pattern instructions call for the elasticated waist to be put in by sewing a zig zag stitch over a piece of elastic thread. I tried this, but it didn’t feel sturdy at all and the gathers just felt too loose. So instead I used a straight stitch to sew down some 5mm wide elastic. I stretched out the elastic as I sewed so that when I released it, it gathered up nicely.

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The hem is finished with a rolled hem, which worked nicely on this silky fabric.
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The beauty of this dress is that I now have a lot of mix and match options. The over and under dresses are completely separate so can be used with other garments and the fabric is thin enough that it can pretty much be layered with anything. I’ve already worn this on 3 occasions, with different combinations each time. Wahoo, versatile fashion!

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BTW bonus points if you recognised that this is the dress I sketched in this post

Dreaming of … summer skies and floaty dresses

If only these photos were representative of the Welsh weather at the moment. Unfortunately they are most definitely not. I managed to snap these after school last week in between rain in the afternoon and rain in the evening.

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The river is nice and full for the ducks though!

The river is nice and full for the ducks though!

Wearing this dress, even for just a few photos, felt great and I can’t wait for some proper sunshiny weather to wear it properly.

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I used, fast and easy Butterick 3356 for this dress and it really was true to it’s name. No darts, no fastenings, no linings! Super easy!

The original dress pattern is for a loose fitting dress, which doesn’t always suit me, so I added waist ties.

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It also calls for a gathered rectangle skirt, but I wanted a bit of a flare so I made a half circle skirt with a central front and back pleat.

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The neck and armhole edges are finished with ribbon. Yes, ribbon. Basically I’d run out of bias binding and seeing as the whole point of a ‘fast and easy’ pattern is that it should be fast and easy (!!) I took the lazy route of seeing what I had in my stash. What I had was some yellow ribbon so I put it to good use. Feel free to slap me on the wrist! It isn’t really tooooooo bad, but does stick out a little bit awkwardly around the neck. Hopefully the busy print of the dress makes it less obvious.

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Fingers crossed for some warm weather soon!