Powerpuff sleeve experiments

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3 - DETAILS (1)
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I’m really happy with this dress as I worked slowly and carefully on drafting the pattern over several weeks. I had an idea in my mind of what I wanted and I used up plenty fabric scraps and muslin to test out different modifications. I knew I wanted to embrace the square neckline and puff sleeves trend in a dress that has a nice balance of looking fitted but feeling casual to wear.

The front bodice is built around princess seams but the upper bodice side panels are separate pattern pieces (which you can’t really see in this fabric). The skirt is a gored slight tulip shaped skirt that continues down from the princess seam lines on the front bodice and the darts on the back bodice.

There are (cute pink) buttons all down the centre front. I spent a long time calculating the seam allowances and extra width to add to account for the button panels! I find one of the trickiest things about drafting your own patterns is that you obviously have to work out the pattern pieces and construction method for fastenings too. But that is also really exciting as you can think about what methods you like from previous patterns you have made and emulate those.

Once I was happy with the pattern I decided to make it up in this vintage bedding fabric (i.e. someone else’s old sheets) that I got in an Oxfam shop ages ago. It’s quite hard to photograph but I think it looks good with the pink buttons.

My plan now is to keep tweaking the pattern it and use it as the basis for future dresses. I think it would be interesting to play with contrasting fabrics for the different bodice pieces.

I made this mostly at Green Fabric in Forest where I have been going once a week to sew since September. This amazing place is a textile fablab, a coworking space for different types of creative and crafty pursuits, and it holds participatory workshops (e.g. upcycling, ceramics, making your own cosmetics). All with the aim of promoting the ecological transition at the local level! Having a place to sew that is not in my apartment has been great (who knew, doing everything in one place is not very stimulating!). I love the feeling of going there with a sewing plan and not being distracted by things at home, and it’s great to meet other people doing amazing creative things and to be surrounded by intriguing machines and materials!

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2 - BACK (2)


Jump around

Earlier this year, my lovely friend Ciara asked me to help her change a wrap-around dress of hers into a jumpsuit. I’m not particularly good at alterations and modifications, but I was up for a fun lockdown challenge! In the end I did a not-so-fantastic job on the transformation (sorry, Ciara!), but I did become a bit fascinated with the dress-come-jumpsuit’s construction, particularly the way the pockets were incorporated into the belt.

So I rubbed off the blouse part, modified it a bit to my liking, drafted some shorts to add to it and this is the result!

I was so pleased with the process of drafting/pattern hacking and I love the final result. The fabric is a petrol grey thin flowy cotton (in my stash for a while with no memory of where it came from :/ ) and I embroidered some little leaf details onto the yokes. The pocket lining and blouse bias is finished with some turquoise satin lining fabric. I love the combination of the colours!

I have only worn it a few times so far as I don’t know if I am really a jumpsuit person. I thought I would wear it in the summer a bit more but in the end I didn’t turn to it that much. Going to see if I wear it a bit more over the winter with some thick tights. The waist gathers at the back do look a bit ‘crinkly bottom’ in the photo here though – maybe I need to give it a better press!

I enjoy when something inspires you to access the energy/headspace needed for this kind of ‘problem solving’ (or ‘making it up as you go along’) sewing, opposed to sewing something where you know exactly what you are doing, with a tried and tested pattern, for example. Working on this was a slow process over a few weeks (months?) earlier this year when we were still under different restrictions, and even though I didn’t always feel like exercising that part of my sewing brain I was always glad when I did. My plan now is to adapt the pattern a bit to make a dress version based on the bodice cut. Sewing really is engineering and I love it! It’s also great when one item of clothing can act as a source of inspiration and can lead you down an unplanned (garden) path.

p.s. And the plan is to fix Ciara’s original butchered garment and make it into a top! 🙂

Tartan Army

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I’ve written before about my love for the Teahouse Dress pattern from Sew House Seven Patterns, and you can see the dresses I’ve made from it here and here. I had been wanting to sew up this tartan fabric for a while now and the notion took me to use it to make a short version of the Teahouse Dress. Really pleased with the result, even thought the front facing is slightly pulling on the princess seams in so they don’t sit as fully flat as I would like. After some unpicking I got it to sit a bit better.

I think it looks really nice with the black waist ties. I also did that thing of diving into a project without fully thinking if the fabric was appropriate for the pattern. As I was cutting out the pieces I realised I would need to make a big effort to pattern match the tartan fabric as much as possible but it was quite tricky with the princess seams, but I enjoyed trying and I think the result is ok!

As a Scottish person living in another country, I am hesitant to walk around in a tartan dress, but I also love tartan and I’m half Belgian now so I’m allowed to. 🙂

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Upcycling my own sewing

I made this dress in 2019 and I never really wore it much. I always found it a bit tight in the armpits! I had some of the fabric left over so this summer I used it to start working on a new bodice style. Then I decided to take the skirt off the original dress and add it to the bodice. And jazz it up with these buttons!

I still don’t looove it so I wonder what this dress will be transformed into in a few years time?