Tag Archives: My pattern

Me Made: Oversized Smock Dress

I always like finding out how other sewers work, how they went through the thought process that bought them to a certain garment.

Its a bit of a riddle like what came first, the chicken or the egg?  Was it the pattern or was it the fabric.  Usually with myself, it is the pattern leads to the choice of fabric (although if I was more organised and only bought what I need for patterns I would have a very small fabric stash!)  But this time round, I used a fabric which dictated a pattern to me, I have now made oversized smock dress 2.0.

Way back when I first had this idea with a beautiful grungy coloured tie dye fabric and self drafted a pattern.  I wanted it almost baby doll like and almost too exaggerated.  It worked and I still wear this to death, but it could be baggier! (check that out here)

So into my life via my cheap shop came this beautiful Mauve Fabric.  It was quite heavy, soft to the touch and had an amazing drape.  It also was the most beautiful mauve colour I had ever seen, and for someone who limits her colour palette to black/white/grey&nude, I was in strange territory…

So How Did It Sew?

 

I think I have sussed out what I want from a smock dress.  I think the key for me it the amount of length on the shoulder, from collar to sleeve.  I exaggerated this aspect and it has turned out extremely successful compared to other attempts.  Also keeping it ‘boxy’ and square really gives that oversized feel, with no shape.  I love how the waistband hangs with an arc, and the skirt follows.

The colour looks great on, despite still being quite muted, it IS indeed a colour that has snuck its way into my wardrobe, but a beautiful Autumnal colour at that.!

I can’t wait to wear this layered up over tights and boots this Autumn/winter  the heavier fabric really gives that added warmth to the piece.

I am sure this is not my last oversized smock dress, so watch this space!

 

DIY: My pattern – White Frill Top

One thing I lack in my wardrobe is good solid interchanging Basics:  These are the types of cheap tops that come in many colours that fill the high street shops.  They know you need them, that’s why there are so many!   It is one thing I miss shopping for in my pursuit of the perfect DIY wardrobe.   Plus are they really a waste of money or bad for the environment if I wear them TO DEATH?

But Self made isn’t without its faults,  I am finding with sewing it is more and more about the ‘event’ piece, normally a dress. How many times do I wear a dress just around the house?  Most of my TOP 10 PATTERNS were good basic pieces.  So I set out about making a top myself.

One shape I kept seeing was the button front with a ruffle ‘shirt’ like frill part.  Using the white fabric I have in bulk, I set about making a wearable toille version that I could perfect before using more expensive fabric.

So How Did It Sew?

 

The pattern was an old traced top I had in my collection.  I traced it, added a V neck and some buttons.  I think next time I will not make actual button holes, instead try and add in some loops with domed buttons instead.  Over all this was a simple sew.  The ruffle was a simple add on, the most time was spent on the hems (when is it not…) Even though I made this from my bulk light fabric, i have found it far more wearable than a thicker Jersey.  I have even worn it open over a dress like a cardigan as i like to cover my arms a lot.

Hopefully I can make a few more of these but as always I find it a challenge to branch out into colour.  Maybe a mustard or wine colour, but definitely a black is a must!

 

 

My Pattern: Black Insert Dress

One thing that dominated summer on the high street, and has moved seamlessly into Autumn, is applique Roses.  I invested in some way back when, with the full intention of using them this summer.   I had planned to make a simple black dress and just jazz it up with the appliques.  But I went a step further than simple… I added inserts and Bell sleeves.  I went full Stevie Nicks vibe on this dress and I love it!

I started with a skater dress bodice that I had drafted with a slightly higher neck.  This pattern was traced and re cut from an old dress in my wardrobe and has become the base of many dresses, good and bad, its’s a perfect fit.

After tracing a copy, I then cut it down the middle front for the lace insert.  I didn’t add any seam allowance here as I was technically just ‘replacing’ the fabric by sewing in a piece of lace.

The Bodice was easy to whip up.  The insert technique I used was to overlock the raw edge, fold it under, then literally sew the lace edge on top of that on the outside. Sometimes it was fiddly, sometimes i had to go back and patch holes, but it just worked.  I was lucky that my chosen lace had a black edge which i used as my visual guide in sewing.

The Sleeve was made on the go, measuring where i wanted the insert to sit on the arm, then flare out into the bell sleeve.  I did a rolled hem on the base of the bell sleeve as It would also be seen as I wear it.  It was a bit of a faff, but worth the extra time and headache it took

attaching the skirt to the finished bodice posed its own issues… one being the lace not being adequate support at the waist, especially with a zip involved.  What i found best was adding some binding to the inside of the skirt.  It meant there was no movement and everything stayed in place as I fiddled with the lace, and then the zip.  Unfortunately I only had Grey binding…. but no worries you cant see it on the inside.

I debated leaving it plain, but then I have endless amounts of black dresses, so I took the plunge and had sewed the appliques on and I am not disappointed.  I am glad I waited to the end to decide to add them, even though it would have been easier to sew them onto the sections, I got the placing right when I tried it up against myself (and avoided and misplaced nipple looking roses!)

I didn’t want it to be symmetrical, and it wasn’t; mainly because when I ordered a pair, they sent two the same. So they could never have sat symmetrical.  So I separated the so called ‘pair’ and put one on the skirt and one on the bust at different angles.

overall i am really happy with this more experimental pieces.  I love how I have ended up with a Free-People-esque boho dress.  The bra needs a bit of a second thought when wearing this (not the grungy white one i was wearing in the pictures!)  But its revealing without being to sexy, mainly due to the bodice neck height.

My Pattern: NFD Shirt Dress Rip

As I have mentioned before, one of the reasons I make my own clothes is because most of the clothes I love and want to wear don’t come in plus size.  I am left to either spend forever finding something similar in my size.  Unfortunately, I am not too fond of the fit of plus size clothing… they don’t work well on someone with small shoulders, or someone not willing to wear shape-wear on my stomach everyday.

One brand I love is Never Fully Dressed.  Fortunately, I do fit into some of their more oversized pieces… others i have no chance, mainly the sized items.  One thing I feel in love with, but knew it wouldn’t go near the boobs, was the Leigh Shirt Dress.

Leigh – Never Fully Dressed

Just having pictures as a reference was slightly difficuly, I picked out a few key features:  Insert placket, Rolled sleeve and tab, High front/low back and possibly due to the size of the item, some front seams.  I drew up in my sewing book a rough pattern guide to get the ultimate flair:

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I had in my stash a thin Linen fabric with a slight stretch to it, and being quite hot, I needed to use it.

So How Did it sew…

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From the off, I found it easier to cut the back and front out as one piece, instead of using the inserts as planned.  This was mainly because the fabric had a smaller width than i had panned.  But the measurement was perfect for the flair of my shirt.  It was a simple case of cutting the front, laying in on the next piece and drawing the drop from that.  so Simple, yet effective.

This piece was a complete Frankenstein monster of different pieces… The collar and placket were from the Kalle I had recently fallen in love with,  The arm holes and sleeve were from Merchant and mills the dress shirt.  I also borrowed a placket from a Jude I believe it was, for the sleeve. (I will correct in the comments if I am wrong)

After sewing up the piece, I realised that the shoulders (something I hadn’t used the pattern for) were far too big.  In fact it was far to big over most of the bust area, so I decided to place some insets in.  These were made simply by folding the what i needed and sewing it down.  I took it across the bust slightly to give it a better shape.  I had to do it twice but I really like the effect.  As an added fit, I put in some darts on the back, to balance the low drop back.

Overall, I am so happy wit this piece, I love a good oversized top that I can just chuck on and look great in.  I also love having something that covers me for the summer that is light and airy.   I have worn this so much over the last months of summer.  I am considering another in a thicker cotton fabric to take me through winter.

Hopefully, I will also be able to make one as I had originally planned to capture the beautiful fair out of the original.

 

My Pattern: Easy Tie-Dye Smock Dress

One thing I love about summer (probably the only thing as I prefer the cold) is festivals and Festival fashion.  I had one to go to at the end of August, and I wanted to attempt to take mostly hand made Items.

I had bought a beautiful terry knit from Girl Charlee a while back.  I had bought it for a sweater, but soon discovered it was thin enough to become something better.  Unfortunately it had fallen into that trap of getting fabric that I love, and fearing I would ruin it ended up putting off actually using it.

I had been looking for a decent oversized smock dress pattern.  I had tried to draw some plans out, but in the end I just went with the fabric and jumped in.

So How Did It Sew?

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I only had 2 metres of fabric, but I used every scrap of it just by making it from a series of rectangles.  The top was folded over, and a head hole cut in.  I didn’t finish it with binding, I just pulled the jersey and it held.  I did the same with the hem. The skirt was just a length of the fabric cut in two and sewn together.  The arms again, due to the oversized square nature were just sewn on.  To give it a more casual look, I rolled up the hem and did an invisible stitch to hold it down.  I think it really adds to the casual look of the piece.

I absolutely love this dress, and I wear it constantly.  its ridiculously comfy, but that it due to its size and the softness of the fabric.

I ended up taking this, my long coloured Kimono and a couple of other key hand made pieces to the festival with me.  To be fair, by the end of the weekend, no one really cares what you look like.  Plus all the people there dressed like it was the 90’s and not in a good way!  I saw some shell suit jackets, loads of bumbags and some questionable patterned shirts. But if it weren’t for everyone holding a smartphone I would have been convinced I had travelled through time!

Even though I have described how I made it, and it was a quick sew, it took a bit of planning and thinking.  Once you cut the fabric that is it, so I had to have some idea of where its going.  Most of the time I felt I didn’t, and worried about my fabric, but it turned out perfect in the end.

I highly recommend a visit to Girl Charlee, for someone who struggle with pattern, most of the good pattern I have bought and actually wear is from there.   But with saying that I do need to give some of their basic colours a try.

My Pattern: Black Babydoll

I tend to do things in quick concession, especially when I am chasing that train of thought.

My attempt at the self drafted baby doll has urged me on to make another so soon, and apply the tweeks I learnt from the first to get an almost perfect version.  This was mainly the issue with the sleeves not being as oversized as they could have been.

This time I used a black silky material.  Although its quite thin, it was not as see through as the purple first version.

So How did it Sew?

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It would be silly to go into detail on the sew as it was basically the same as the previous.  Although I will add the material was a little fiddly a times (as is the nature of silky fabric!)

Overall I am really pleased with this version, its more wearable than the first.

The only issue is the sleeves feel a bit flat, but I liked the overall look.  In future I could easily insert a netting to give it some shape, but this is entirely dependant on the fabric I choose.

My Pattern: Long Summer Kimono

A lot of my makes are inspired by the fabric on which i stumble upon, even if i have a small seed of an idea forming, it usually takes the right fabric to make it so.  This is definitely one of those i stumbled across and fell in love with as it spoke ‘kimono’ to me.

I found this beautiful light chiffon fabric in my fabric shop.  It was two stripes of blue/green pattern on a nude background… the nude was on wither side and through the middle.

I felt this was a very fashion forward fabric.  It could easily be seen in a Topshop or H&M as apposed to a me made.

I had bought quite a few chiffon type fabrics as i really want to make more kimonos, they are something i live in during the hot summer months.

Since I was off to a festival that weekend i really wanted a full length cover up.

So How Did It Sew?

Date Completed: 2nd June 2017

I worked with the fabric on this make.  I removed the peach/nude part and got my width for the bulk with that, sewing the pattern together down what was to be the centre back.  This gave it slightly more structure than just being wrapped in a bulk of fabric, which is something I was aware of it becoming whilst I made this.  It has splits up the side to give it more flow and not just bunch round to the back.

I tapered down the collar, and did a simple folded seam all over, first with the over locker then tucked in with a straight stitch.  I chose the black thread as I liked the contrast with the bits of yellow, white would have looked washed out or dirty.

I really enjoyed just going with the flow of this fabric, and literally laying on it or holding it up against me for measurements.  Its really liberating, but I think you get the best out of the material that way, especially one with such a dominant design.

I ended up wearing it to a day festival, and I loved it.  When you wear a statement pieces like this, you get the luxury of everything else being plain to make it stand out.  Here it is in action:

More to come, I am bound to live in this the whole hot summer!