The Morrison Top and Dress

Blue Dot Patterns

 

 

My favourite part about pattern testing is finding new companies to try. I am so happy that I came acrossBlue Dot Patterns.

 

 

This week they released the Morrison Top and Dress and it is such a great addition to my wardrobe. This pattern includes a top and dress pattern and can be made in either knit or woven fabrics. I’ve sure you’ve heard me talk about how much I love versatile patterns, and this one definitely fits the bill. 

 

I chose to make the top version in a woven fabric. I had a small bit of this fabric in my stash left over from an Anna Dress (By Hand London) that I made for my husband’s birthday last year. I originally bought the fabric from

Fabricville

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This top is rated as a beginner pattern, and I agree. The written instructions and diagrams are clear and really well done. The most difficult part of the construction is adding the bias neckband onto the neckline of the top. To add mine, I used a lot of pins and did the topstitching with my quilting foot that I bought from Amazon a few months ago. I honestly don’t know how I ever survived topstitching without it. 

The only thing I needed to change during the construction of the top was to raise the stitch line under my arm to make the armhole smaller. Other than that I did not need to make any modifications. 

Final Thoughts

There are many things I really like about this pattern. First of all, I love when you can make the same pattern over and over again and have it look different every time. The fact that this can be made in a knit or a woven really gives you options in terms of styling. When I originally saw the line drawing for the dress, I imagined it in a light knit fabric that would be perfect for a beach coverup. Now, having made the top in a woven fabric, I think the dress in a woven would look really cute with a jean jacket or sweater.

I also love that this pattern can be added into your existing wardrobe pretty easily. The pattern couldn’t have come at a better time for me. With my maternity leave coming to an end, I am starting to look at what I have to wear to work. This top can be dressed up with black pants or a pencil skirt for the office, but also worn on the weekends with jeans and a sweater. (pictured here with my Blackwood cardigan).

The only drawback of this pattern is that it doesn’t really have the option of adding longer sleeves, however, I tend to wear cardigans 90% of the time, so it’s not really a problem. 
Pattern Info
Difficulty: Beginner
Time to Make: An afternoon
Will I make it again?: Yes! Originally I had planned to wait until it was warmer outside (as in no more snow) to make a summer knit version of the dress, but I found a red peach skin in my stash that would make a great Morrison dress. 

Circle Skirt

Sewing For Your Life

 This month I had the opportunity to test Sewing For Your Life’s newest pattern. (Click here to see theNina DressI made back in December). This skirt has 8 different waistband options and 3 different options for straps (like suspenders). Sandra also released a double circle skirt and half circle skirt pattern with the same waistband and strap options.

When I saw the sample of  the skirt pattern, I knew that I had the perfect fabric for it in my stash. I purchased this fabric from my local fabric store (Tania Textiles), but I only had 2.2 metres of it. (I know that 2.2 metres seems like an odd length to buy if you’re just going to put it in your stash, but I bought what was left on the bolt). The skirt pattern calls for 2 metres if you are using a fabric that is 150 cm wide, but just over 3 metres if you have a fabric of 140 cm wide. Of course, this fabric was 147 cm, and I was not able to fit the front piece on the fold. Note:If your fabric is narrower than 150 cm, you have to fold the fabric so that the fold is perpendicular to the selvedge edges. 

In the end, I decided that my fabric choice was more important to me than the length of the skirt, so I trimmed the hemline of the skirt just enough for the pattern piece to fit perfectly across the width of my fabric. I’m happy with the way it turned out. Being only 5 feet tall, trimming an inch of the length didn’t end up making much of a difference to the overall look of the skirt. 

 

The circle skirt was easy to put together. It only required 3 pattern pieces (the skirt, the pocket and the waistband).

The only tricky part is that seam allowances are not already added to the pattern, so you have to cut the front on the fold, and then add a seam allowance to the fold line and cut 2 of the same piece for the back. It’s not difficult to do, but could easily be forgotten if you aren’t paying attention. 

 

Finishing Touches

The only other change I made to the pattern was to exchange the pocket pieces for larger pockets.

To hem my circle skirt, I used bias tape all the way around on the inside to give it a nice clean finish. Using bias tape helps you to have an even curved hem, and it gives it a fun contrast on the inside. For this project I needed to use just short of 5 metres to complete the hem. 

 

FinalThoughts

This is a skirt that I can see myself making multiple times. The silhouette is classic and it’s nice to have the different waistband options. I didn’t need to make any major changes to the pattern and was able to construct it in no time at all.

The only downside is that you need to let the skirt hang for 2 days before hemming it. (Circle skirts are cut with part of the skirt on the bias. This causes that part of the skirt to relax or stretch out a little more than other parts. By letting it hang for a couple of days, you will be able to cut your hem evenly and not have any surprises later). Even though the construction is fast, it will be a few days before you can wear it. 

You can purchase this skirt pattern (and Sandra’s other patterns) here.

 

The Eilidh Dress

Pipe Dream Patterns


 

Is it too early to have already decided on my favourite make of 2020? Because I have, and this is it! This is the Eilidh Dress by Pipe Dream Patterns. I had the absolute pleasure of testing it this January. It comes in two different styles; one with a twist in the front and the other with a twist at the back. This dress is still in the testing phase, but Joann was nice enough to let me share these makes before the pattern is released. Make sure you follow Pipe Dream Patterns onInstagramor check the websitefor more information about this pattern’s release.

 

 

 

View 1

View 1 of the Eilidh Dress features a twist front. The dress can be made in a solid colour, or colour blocked with each side a different colour. It also has the option of a high back (which I made) or a low back.

I made my version in a solid crepe scuba knit from Fabricville.

Although the dress looks complicated, it was surprisingly easy to accomplish. The instructions are clear and Joann even included scaled down pattern pieces so that you can try the twist on scrap pieces before cutting into your good fabric. I made a couple of small changes to the pattern. One was to add an extra 3 inches to the length, and the other was to shorten the sleeves by 1.5 inches.

After I had completed the dress, I realized that I should have done a sway back adjustment. I will have to do that on my next version.

 

 

View 2

View 2 has a high neckline, short sleeves and a low back with a twist. The neckline is finished with a band which is then topstitched to keep it in place.  This view must be made with a just one fabric (unlike view 1)

 

I made this version in a Liverpool Knit from Club Tissus.

 

 

 

Out of the two dresses, I found the twist on view 2 a little more complicated. I’m not sure if it’s because I used a lighter material, or because it doesn’t really take shape until the dress is constructed (and there is a body in it). After taking my time, and reading (and rereading) the instructions, I was able to do the twist. Instead of matching letters together, I used coloured pins. So, when constructing the twist, I needed to match the two pink headed pins together, then the two yellow. And the rest of the dress comes together really quickly. Again, the only change I made to the pattern was to add 3 inches to the length.

Final Thoughts

There are so many things I like about this pattern. First of all, you have some options when making it, including changing the sleeve lengths up or sewing up the slit in the twist front dress to different lengths. Also, even though both dresses contain a twist, I find that the two dress views look quite different from each other. That’s really nice when buying a new pattern. It is also laid out very clearly and has helpful diagrams to follow when constructing the dress. Finally, it does not require a lot of fabric. Even with adding an additional 3 inches to the front and back pattern piece, I was still able to get view 2 of the dress out of about 1.5 metres. 

Scrap Busting: A Winter Set and Scarf Tutorial

A Hat and Scarf

I have been trying to find a way to use up the small, and sometimes awkwardly shaped pieces of jersey that are left over after cutting out my projects. Pockets? Maybe. Linings for hoods? It could work. But then I made this super cute set for my baby and realized what I great scrap buster a hat and scarf could be. 

I used the Brighton Beanie pattern from Peek-a-boo Patterns, and self-drafted a quick and easy reversible infinity scarf to go with it. 

 

The Brighton Beanie (Peek-a-Boo Patterns) is a knit hat that can be made in 3 different views. The pattern fits sizes Newborn to Adult Large. I choose to do view C, the hat with one seam around the bottom and 3 darts. The hat can be worn slouchy (which is so cute, especially on a baby) or with the cuff folded up. This looks especially great if you line the hat in another fabric because your lining fabric will show. 

As always, the instructions were clear and their visuals were helpful. The hat came together quickly and easily. And the best part? To make this hat in the 6-12 month size, I only needed scraps that were 17 inches wide and 10 inches long. 

 

Reversible Infinity Scarf Tutorial

Materials:

For the reversible infinity scarf, you will need two different knit fabrics of similar weight. The length of the fabric should be around 12 inches (my example is 10 inches because it’s what I had left over), and the width will be determined by the neck size of the wearer.

Step 1:

 

Determine the neck circumference you’d like to have. Use the general guide below or measure yourself for a personalized fit. Make sure it is not too tight and that you can to fit it over your head. You want the fabric to drape, not be tight around the neck.

General Length Guide:

Child: 20 inches

Adult: 25 inches

Step 2:

Cut a rectangle out of each of your fabrics using the guide or your measurements. Place the right sides together and pin the top and bottom edge (the long sides). Using your serger, or a stretch stitch on your sewing machine, sew the top and bottom edges together leaving the short ends free.

Step 3:

Fold the rectangle in half (with right sides together) so that the short ends are together. Pin around the short edges. Sew together leaving an opening of about 2 inches (to turn the scarf).

Step 4:

 

Pull the scarf through the opening so that the wrong sides are together. Sew the opening up by hand. Press if necessary.

 

My 2020 Goals

Happy New Year. It’s that time of year. Time to reevaluate goals and decide what is a priority for the new year. This year I am making an effort not to make resolutions (or resewlutions), but to make general goals which are easier to stick to. That means I will not pledge to go on a fabric ban (because we all know that won’t last) or to make 2 garments every month (because things happen). Here are the types of things I want to keep in mind this year.

Sew more for others

 

In the last year I have collected some really cute patterns for kids. I would love to create some outfits for the little one, and maybe some that match mommy or daddy’s outfits too!

Keep track of Fabrics

 

I use Trello to keep track of my fabrics (including a picture and the yardage). I’d like to keep this up-to-date and make sure I check it when I’m shopping to avoid repeat purchases.

Use the Correct Needle

Yup. This one is a tough one. I have a bad habit of keeping the same needle in the machine for multiple projects. So, this year I will make a note of what needle is in the machine before starting to sew.

Sew for my lifestyle

 

I will be returning to work after my maternity leave this March, so my goal is to make sure that I have some pieces that I can wear to the office. Party dresses are great, but not necessarily practical in all situations. 

Keep only what I like

I need to do a major closet overhaul this year. Things I don’t wear are taking up too much space. So, 2020 is the year to be honest and get rid of what I don’t wear (and what doesn’t fit) and to make sure I have room in my closet for things that I want to wear.

Finish my projects

 

No more giving up before the end. This year I will try to finish all projects. I may even learn something from the process (or like it once it’s all put together). And if it doesn’t work out, I can always use the fabric for something else.

The Nina Dress

Sewing for your Life

 

Introducing my favourite make of 2019! 

In December, I was lucky enough to be a pattern tester for this dress. I will admit, I had never heard of the pattern company Sewing for your Life before their tester call went out, but when I saw the sample of the dress, I knew it was something I wanted to make. Sandra’s designs have a vintage feel, and are available on her Etsy shop.

 

The Pattern

The Nina Dress is a vintage-style dress inspired by the TV show The Collection. It features a Hepburn collar, elbow-length sleeves and a beautiful (and twirly) skirt. The fabric recommendation is for a woven fabric with a small amount of stretch. I made mine from a polka dot stretch cotton sateen that I bought from my local fabric shop. This dress requires 4.5 metres of fabric which, according to the size I made, had to be at least 140 cm wide. I think that the dress could be made from a non-stretch fabric without any problems.

 

 

My Changes

I was very happy with the drafting of the bodice, as I found that both the bust and the waist fit perfectly. I only had to do my usual adjustment of widening the centre of the bust dart to remove extra fabric bulk from under the bust.

I did find the sleeves to be a little roomier than I’d like, so I tapered the sleeve seam down. I reduced the hem of the sleeve by 2″, but kept the underarm seam unchanged. 

Construction

The instructions for the Nina Dress were, for the most part, clear. Sandra added a few details about why things are done the way they are, which was a fun touch.

There were a few new skills that I learned when sewing this dress. First of all, I had never sewn a Hepburn collar before. The result is super flattering and I can see myself adding it to other garments in the future. I especially love the back view of the collar. It looks a lot more complicated than it is in reality.

It was also the first time that I had hemmed a circle skirt with bias tape. And I’m so glad that I had this option. The final skirt was 9 metres to hem (but isn’t it beautiful!). The pattern suggested completing it by hand, but I think it looks just fine done by machine.Finally I decided to add a belt. After looking at some tutorials, I set off to Fabricville to get what I needed. I think the belt helps the dress look finished, and it was fun creating something new. (The belt buckle came in a two-pack, so you can expect a belt on another project soon ;))

The result and Final Thoughts

I cannot say enough good things about this dress. The construction was straightforward, however, it still taught me some new skills that I will be able to use in many of my future projects. I wore this dress to my work Christmas party and was asked many times where I bought it.  This may not be the reason I sew, but it doesn’t hurt either. 

I have plans to make another Nina dress, this time in a solid colour, with a contrasting colour for the collar, belt, and turned up cuffs on the sleeve.

You can find this pattern, and Sandra’s other patterns here.

 

The Addie Dress

Seamingly Smitten

This year is the year of the statement sleeve. The bishop sleeve is everywhere and it looks so good! I’m so happy I had the opportunity to test the Addie dress for Seamingly Smitten patterns. 

The Pattern

The Addie is a 2-for-1 pattern. You can make it in a top or in a dress form. I chose to make the dress form, and cut it at the petite length. Jenny’s patterns are simple to follow. They are in S/M/L sizing (as opposed to numerical) and the lines on the pdf pattern are colour coded. The pattern comes with step-by-step instructions and photographs. You can also cut the pattern in petite or tall lengths.

 

Construction

I choose a peach skin fabric (100% polyester) from Fabricville to make the dress. I would recommend the fabric because it has such a nice drape for the sleeves. I needed just over 1 metre to make it . The dress itself was very easy to put together. The sleeves are not set in, so the side seams and arms are sewn in one line from the hem of the dress to the wrist of the sleeve. 

My Changes

I am glad I made a muslin version of this dress before cutting into my fabric. Based on my bust measurement, I should have cut the XL, but decided to make the L for a slightly more fitted bodice. There was a lot of added ease and when I cut the L, it was much too roomy on me. I originally cut the tall hemline so that the dress hit my knees, but I decided to cut the official version at the petite line.

 

Before cutting my final dress, I decided to grade the pattern from a Large through the shoulders and bust to a Small at the waist. I did not reduce the width of the skirt, so I have a few extra gathers. I also trimmed about an inch off the whole sleeve. 

The Results

This dress turned out so much better than I was expecting. It is very comfortable to wear, and the shorter length looks great with tights and boots. 

Final Thoughts

Seamingly Smitten patterns are great beginner patterns. They are easy to follow and have some great design details. The only downfall is that the sleeve is cut on the fold, giving a little extra bulk at the front of the sleeve.

I have plans to make this dress again with a couple of changes. I love the sleeves and skirt, but I don’t love the loose style bodice (even though I know it’s really popular right now).  I find that if things aren’t fitted under the bust, I tend to disappear in fabric. So, when I make this dress again, I’d like to try making the bodice more fitted and putting a zipper down the back. I would also like to add another layer to the bottom of the skirt, because lately I can’t get enough of skirt ruffles.   

Interested in this or other Seamingly Smitten patterns? Feel free to use my affiliate link below.

Seamingly Smitten Patterns

The Kate Dress

So Over It London

 

 

The Kate Dress represents a couple of firsts for me. It is my first So Over It London pattern, the first pattern I made from an e-book and the first time I went to a copy shop to have patterns printed on A0 paper. 

 

The pattern

The Kate dress is a 3-in-1 pattern. It can be made as a dress, a skirt or a top. It is classified as an intermediate pattern because there are a few elements that can be a bit challenging, but completely worth it in the end. The Kate dress has a hidden button placket down the centre front. It also has a side zip for ease of getting on and off. Even through the construction can be a little tricky, the instructions are clear with photographs of each step.

 

My changes

The pattern calls for 3.5 metres of cotton lawn, rayon or lightweight crepe. For a dressier look, I used a cut of matte satin from my stash, which I had bought from Fabricville. And with some effort, I was able to make it work with only 3 metres. To do so, I had to cut the pattern out flat (and not on a fold), and instead of cutting the back bodice in one piece, I added a seam allowance and cut it in 2 pieces with a seam up the centre back.

After constructing a muslin version of the bodice, I noticed that I had some extra fabric around the armscye that had to be removed. (More about how I did that alteration in a future blog post). I also needed to add a little width to the bust dart between the bust point and the waist. 

I chose not to do the side slits in the skirt. This made construction easier, as I could just serge the seam allowances together instead of serging both sides of the allowances separately and pressing open. 

 

The Result

This dress is perfect for outings in the park to see the fall leaves change.I will definitely be making another version of the Kate dress, as well as the Kate skirt.

 

 

Final Thoughts

Next time I will choose a solid fabric or a non-directional print to save with fabric consumption (the gores of the skirt take up a lot of the fabric, especially if they can only be cut one direction. 

I would also like to make a version of this in a viscose twill that will be more appropriate for the office. 

Also, don’t forget to let the skirt hang for a few days before hemming it. The parts of the skirt that aren’t on the grain will stretch slightly after hanging. If you hem the skirt without letting it hang, you will end up with a crooked hemline.