Saturday, 24 September 2016

Heather: Badgley Mischka Wedding Outfit

Today I attended the wedding of some good friends (Congratulations Mr and Mrs S!) and, of course, I was wearing handmade! 
My hunt for a pattern worthy of the occasion started on the pattern pages at Sew Essential. I particularly like Sew Essential's website for browsing patterns because you can search both by type of garment, and by designer. I don't know about you, but I find it frustrating when I have to flick between lots of brands to find what I want- I just want to look at ALL of the dresses! In the end, my inspiration came from Sew Essential's twitter post:
@sewessential: New season Vogue #sewingpatterns now in stock here there are some beauties! @McCallPatternCo
Vogue 1513
— Sew Essential August 18, 2016
Once I had finished swooning over the pattern I set out to look for a suitable fabric (Of course, there was nothing suitable in my stash...). Now you'll recall from a few posts ago that Sew Essential have a great selection of dressmaking fabrics, and I was really spoiled for choice choosing a suitable fabric (they really are all gorgeous). I finally whittled my 15-strong selection down to this beautiful smudged paint print by John Kaldor in a polyester Crepe de Chine. 

John Kaldor Cassandra fabric available at Sew Essential.
The fabric has really beautiful drape making it perfect for the shoulder detail on the dress. It also means that it's pretty slippery, so my first step with this pattern was to trace out all of the pattern pieces in the correct sizes onto dot and cross paper, and in the full size rather than on the fold. This meant that I didn't have to battle with the slippery fabric in two layers. I made up a toile using some peach viscose lining fabric which was a little crisper than the crepe de chine, and I hoped this would give the dress some body. 

It turns out that making a toile was a pretty good idea! I started with a size 6 graded through to a 14 at the waist and hips. I shortened the back shoulder length by an inch and reshaped the armholes for comfort. Once I had completed the toile I then proceeded to resize the waist of the dress back down to a 10/12- it was huge! I also made some minor adjustments to the top of the princess seam under the arms (this detail will be important later) to improve the fit across the bust. 

Happy with the toile fit I made the alterations to the paper pattern and cut my dress out with my trusty rotary cutter and cutting mat. It still moved around a lot, but was certainly easier than using scissors. I assembled the main garment and then cut out the drape, finishing it with a machine-rolled hem for a neat finish. 

Drape detail.
I hadn't cut the drape out when I did the main dress cutting, as I wanted to avoid any excess fraying. It turns out that this is, yet again, one of those times where I should have read the instructions... You're supposed to insert the shoulder drape into the front right princess seam, tack it in place around the armhole and neck, and then attach into the centre back. Of course, I had already stitched and overlocked all of these seams... cue stitch unpicker.

The second challenge with the drape was the fit. Remember all of those tiny tweaks I made around the armholes earlier? Turns out I needed to transfer those onto the drape too, as the drape fits closely into the shape of the armhole. I had removed about an inch from the armhole depth and length you can see in the picture below that the underside of the drape hangs about 2 inches lower than the top layer.  Desperate to avoid reshaping from the bottom of the drape and ruining my rolled hem, further unpicking was required.

Drape detail
The rest of the make was much smoother. I finished all of the seams with the overlocker and hand stitched the hem. I even found time to make a matching fascinator, and asked my friend to design me some matching nails!

Here's the finished dress in action. What do you think?


The fabric and pattern used in this blog were kindly provided by Sew Essential. Browse the site at

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Bridie: Project Runway Purple Playsuit

So back in May (I know a while ago now) myself and Heather went to the Big Simplicity Blogger Meet Up. Which was a fabulous day, we learnt so much and met lots of lovely people including Lucy from Sew Essential who asked if we might like to do a post featuring they're fabric. Off course we jumped at the chance. When I came to look at their website I was very impressed with how easy it was to look around and thrilled with the beautiful fabrics they have. Although that did make picking a fabric difficult, eventually I found this beautiful John Kaldor fabric which I thought would make a fabulous playsuit. So then began the search for a playsuit again this also took me a while there are a surprising amount of playsuits on the website. The one I eventually decided on was Project Runway Simplicity 1158. I was originally going to make the V neck version but decided as my shoulders are unable to hold anything up with out help, I thought to save any embarrassing flashing situation I went for the sleeveless halter neck version, much more sensible for me! 

Unfortunately life got in the way of me starting this project when I had planned to. I was asked by a friend to help out with some costumes as she had been dropped in it. Of course i said yes and we had a laugh doing it but not being able to sew what I wanted to (especially as everything I was sewing was beige and I NEED colour in my life!) did send me a bit loopy! I mentioned this and my issues with anxiety in my previous Vlog if you fancy a look.

So when I finally did get to work on this project it was a sheer joy. I thought the fabric might not play ball as it has a sheen, but to my delight bit behaved beautifully! Although I had to make sure i was careful when it came to the right and wrong side of the fabric, there was a difference although only a slight one. I would suggest working in a well lite room when working with this fabric. 

I would say the pattern is good for intermediate sewers or beginners who want to go up a level. I found it a nice way to get back into proper sewing, I had to make sure I read the instructions properly although as always with commercial patterns that doesn't always help! Although once I'd figured out what they were trying to tell me (especially when it came to the pockets) it came together very nicely!   

I am so pleased I think I picked the perfect pattern for this fabric and I'm so glad I went for the halter neck version although its hard to do up if you don't have help. I faced the arms with cream bias binding which I think works well.

The neck tie at the back is a really pretty feature, I think if I'd used a more shinny fabric I'd be worried it would come untied but because this has a textured feel it holds well.

My favorite part is of course the pockets, got to love a pocket! Another nice feature is the elasticated waist, as a mum I'm all for being comfortable with out looking frumpy which I think this does very successfully.

So here it is I love that it works well in Summer but also Autumn with thick tights and layered up. I thick it goes well with the colours I wear in Autumn which tend to be jewel colours, tan, black, and khaki. 

I hope you've enjoyed this post, I'll be doing a twirl in this playsuit in my neck Vlog so keep your eyes out for that, you might get a better idea of how it wears.

Happy Sewing x