Refashioned Ikat dress

A very short while back, I turned some Ikat jersey into a Chanel-inspired dress. It worked out okay, but I didn’t love it, and pretty much knew from the outset that I would be changing it into something different. I already had my idea. 

This refashioning was very simple. I simply cut the original skirt portion off. It currently hangs intact, complete with the elastic waistband, on a hook in my sewing room. I’m constantly tempted to put it on and twirl around the house but I have better plans for that piece as well.

The top portion of the dress was reattached to my last little bit of Ikat jersey. I had just enough fabric left for a fitted skirt. To lengthen the skirt a smidgen and to finish the edges, I added a band of white, silk/modal jersey. I also straightened up the ends of the sleeves little and attached a similar band to them.

I much prefer my refashioned dress. I think it’s going to get loads of wear now.


Little blue tunic


I’m not always in love with the clothes I make for my girls, but on this particular occasion, I feel like I’ve struck gold. I would wear this! Usually, I’m trying to blend sewing what I want to sew for them with what I know they will like, and therefore, actually wear (read ruffles, fairies, and gathered skirts). It’s a delicate balance. I also try to use up a lot of my fabric leftovers for their clothes, rather than spend money specifically on kid fabric. 

Now, if you saw my last post on the winter coat I made for myself, you will be familiar with this gorgeous double faced wool. It was a big birthday splurge but so worth it. I ordered a little more than I thought I would need, just to be certain that I would have enough for a long coat. I also had this little tunic in mind on the off chance that I had any leftover. Luck was on my side. I had just enough for both makes, plus a few extra squares that will soon be patch-worked into another little dress.

 


I love the oversized look of this tunic. I drafted the pattern myself but I used the placket piece from Thread Theory’s Henley top, reminding me in turn that it’s been a while since any clothes for hubby have been on my job list. He keeps suggesting that I put up a chalkboard in the basement my sewing room, so that he can add what he wants to it. I covered the buttons with a few scraps of Japanese cotton.


The pattern itself isn’t rocket science. It’s just two pieces, with pockets and a placket. I made it large enough for my biggest girl (to be on the safe side and to guarantee maximum hand-me-down potential). I planned to give it to the peep it fit best. It fits them all but Miss Four fell in love with it first.

 
 




Last stop on the Two-Piece Set-Acular

And here it is, my last stop on the Two-Piece Set-Acular train.
 


It’s not that I don’t want to make any more, but I just don’t need any more two pieces. I’ve made a few this season already.

But what’s one more between friends?

 

This glorious maxi skirt was only intended as a separate. My plan was to wear it tran-seasonally, paired with my oversized wool jersey top and possibly some tights underneath.

The skirt is a simple, self-drafted number. It’s hard to make a mistake with something so simple, but I did forget to put in pockets. Side pockets would have made this skirt perfect. Of course, being floor length, my girls swooned at the sight of it. Miss Four put in her order for an identical copy. I had just enough left over to do this.

The little mischief is wearing her hand-me-down Liberty playsuit in these photos. She was perfectly mirroring all my poses behind the tripod so I said she could jump in and join me for the last few. Her one goal in life right now is to be inside the TV.

 

The top is a design you’ve seen before. It’s made up to the same pattern as my white version (here). I just skipped the peplum. I really love this little top. It’s so cool and comfortable, and just the right cropped length for me to feel comfortably covered. I can see myself wearing it a lot with jeans.

Ikat vs Chanel

The pants in this ensemble are yet another crack at my TNT pants pattern, Vogue 8909. You’ve seen other versions before (here, here, and here). This time, I made them using silk jersey. They are so comfortable it’s criminal and I suspect they will be getting a lot more wear than simply with this dress.
 

 

 

The rest of the dress was inspired by my current Chanel infatuation. You’ve seen the Ikat jersey print before and I’m quite sure that you will be seeing it again. I still have a few kid size remnants left in my stash. The silk chiffon from Tessuti is gathered into a skirt that overlaps at the side to flare and swish as I walk.

 
 

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this outfit. It was actually my first attempt at a Chanel-inspired ensemble (my second attempt in Cracked Glass silk CDC was a winner!). The pants are definitely here to stay. But it’s quite possible that you will be seeing the dress come back as something entirely different down the track.

A simple white staple and a super leather skirt

It might seem like I’ve been churning out a tonne of clothes in the last few months. I sew a little each night and it’s been good to restock my wardrobe. I arrived in Kansas nearly six months ago with one small suitcase of clothes, culled down to the bare minimum. It was seriously all the clothes I owned. But before you feel sorry for me, there were at least another 2-3 suitcases filled to the brim with fabric and patterns that I chose to bring with me in the place of clothes. It’s been great to have the need to sew anything and everything, rather than just wait to replenish staples.

 

But amidst my wardrobe restocking, I’ve somehow missed out on some staples, meaning long sleeved cotton tops and T’s, the boring stuff. So I decided to sew one. That’s right, one will do me. I’ll stick to frosting any day. It took me a good two weeks to choose the pattern and decide how to modify it. And then it took me another week to actually sew it. It was like somebody pressed my slow-motion button. I can frenzy up a full outfit in 3-4 days if I’m excited enough. Yes, it cuts into my sleep a little, but to me it’s worth it.

I used Vogue 8952 for this top. I’ve used the pattern before, here and here. I made the raglan style this time, but modified it a little:

  • the sizing is roomy so I sewed down a size but widened the back by 5/8″ (my normal broad back adjustment)
  • I widened the sleeves
  • narrowed the waist
  • Increased the hem allowance but kept it straight and simple. I’m most likely to wear this top tucked in.

I’m pretty happy with the fit and the shape of this top. It is exactly what I was after and I know I will get a lot of wear out of it. So was it worthwhile sewing this ‘staple’? It was actually. I was able to refine the shape of a simple top to exactly what I wanted. The fabric also makes a difference for me. As boring as it may seem, this basic cotton knit from Tessuti Fabrics is actually a really beautiful fabric. It’s quite stable, but still stretchy, with a lovely firm weight and feel. It is pure cotton, not poly, so I also know it will last well without pilling.

 

And now that we’ve gotten the boring old staple out of the way, what do you think of my new skirt?! It’s a pretty simple, self-drafted circle skirt, fully lined in silk habutai from Mood. The leather is a Minelli cowhide from Tandy. It is a fair bit heavier than what I’ve used before and probably more suited to a jacket. I much prefer lambskin, but I compromised on weight to get this colour. I love the colour. It is exactly what I was dreaming of.  

The weight of the cowhide made sewing a bit difficult at times, and I know I could have finished the back waistband better where it fastens. I ended up putting a button on the inside, attached with a leather loop. I couldn’t stitch through the leather neatly enough so I sewed some interfaced fabric on the inside and attached the button to this. It’s worked out ok in the end. I’m going to call that outside stitching a design feature, and cross my fingers that the button holds up to the weight of the skirt.  

Tormented by jersey

So, this dress actually worked out pretty well in the end, but those who follow me on Instagram will understand the torment that I’m talking about. Let’s start with the fabric. It is the most beautiful, vibrant printed jersey from Mood. But it is also very heavy, something I really should have taken into account when planning this make. I’m still very much in love with the fabric, but I just think I chose the wrong style of dress for it’s weight.

 

I started out with intentions of making a near identical replica of my tie dye dress, but with long sleeves for the Fall. Those who see me everyday are probably sick of the sight of my tie dye dress, but it is seriously so comfortable and swishy that I am helpless to resist it’s sherbetty goodness each time I open my wardrobe. It’s made from a similar feeling jersey, but much lighter in weight.

So I began making my new dress by cutting the sleeves, but straight ones suddenly felt too boring. I decided to play around with a flared, graduated elbow length shape instead. But when I attached them, they looked a bit hippy for me. So I cut those ones off and shortened them to what you see now, but not before experimenting with a bit of silk chiffon blocking. This actually looked great, but my silk scraps were too small and my arms would have needed amputation if I wore them for more than an hour. Truth be told, I think I was just having a finicky, impossible-to-please-me kind of day.

 

So, in the end, I settled on the short sleeves and finally decided to attach the floor length gathered skirt. It was pretty, but it was boring…to me anyway…why am I so fickle! I was looking at a very lovely bowl of creamy ice cream, but I was craving some kind of Heston Blumenthal frozen foam, which seriously wasn’t going to happen with a piece of jersey. In any case, I didn’t have to struggle too hard on my decision to unpick the skirt, because the  fabric was too heavy for the bodice anyway. 

So off came the gathered skirt and out came Alice (my dressmakers dummy). I draped that skirt within an inch of it’s life, until I had the assymetrical look you see now. I still think that there’s a bit too much weight on one side of the skirt so I may shorten it a little more, and hack at the innards a bit. But it is wearable, and I really love the asymmetrical drape that I ended up with. I’d also really love to know how I did it in the end…

Layered pant Chanel style

So a little while back, I made an amazing Anna dress. And it really was a fantastic dress. It was my second Anna (my first was a wearable muslin), so the fit was great, the style indisputably pretty, and the fabric, beyond amazing. I’d even drafted a full lining attached to the facing, handstitched some of it’s innards, and took more care than usual in it’s construction. I ended up wearing it three times, to date nights and the like. I got compliments from strangers who noticed the pretty style, or the stunning fabric, or the way the modern graphics of the print were slightly at odds with the feminine style of dress, but at the same time so perfectly matched. But each time I wore it, I always felt like I was wearing someone else’s dress.

I had inklings of this when I was making the dress in the first place. I remember observing, as I was cutting the large portions of fabric required for the gathered skirt, that I could relax because they would be large, undamaged panels that I could cut off and re-use later. My head was telling me that the fabric deserved an Anna, but my heart was telling me to do something a little more uncharted, something a little more me.

Well, it’s the best of both worlds for this most special of special crepe de chines from Colette of Tessuti Fabrics. It lived a wonderful, yet short life as an Anna. And now I’ve had the double pleasure of remaking it into something a little more exciting (twice in fact, if you saw my first remake of layered trackie dacks on Instagram).

So this story needs an intermission now, with a few inspiration shots from the Chanel 2014/15 Cruise collection *swoon*. Let’s call this the triple P collection. It had me Panting, Pinning (Pinterest), and Planning knock offs. There was layering and blending of beautiful fabrics and prints that quite simply left me breathless. Skirts layering pants, culottes layering pants, beautifully shaped 3/4 length sleeves, and all in gorgeous colours and shapes. Here is a taste of my inspiration. Be still my beating heart…

Chanel | Cruise/Resort 2015 Collection via Karl Lagerfeld | Modeled by Magda Laguinge | May 13, 2014; Dubai | Style.com
I love that every look in this collection is a skirt over pants!  my favorite silhouette lately.
Ready-to-wear - CRUISE 2014/15 - Look 56 - CHANEL
Ready-to-wear - CRUISE 2014/15 - Look 50 - CHANEL


 The dress I made is a simple, slip-over-the-head affair. It is self-drafted, mainly because I had a very limited length of fabric to work with and no patterns on hand to match what I wanted. It is unlined, un-faced, and beautifully light to wear. I didn’t have enough fabric to make a facing or create bias binding so I fused bias stay tape to the neck and armscye edges and then turned them back as narrow hems. It worked beautifully. I also wasn’t sure whether to add the waist elastic or not, but I’m glad that I did in the end. This is now a beautiful summer frock that I can see myself wearing a LOT.

 

 

But wait, there’s more! Thanks to Mr Lagerfield, I was also now desperately in need of a pair of matching fancy pant trackie dacks to layer with the dress. So that I did. Once again I used Vogue 8909 (you’ve seen my other versions here and here). But this time I eliminated the yoke, faux fly, and pockets to create a more simple, streamlined pant that could be worn better for layering.


I love the way pants look layered with a simple dress and I also love both items as separates. I’m wondering if I can pass them off as a bit of matchy matchy for Ada Spragg’s Two Piece Set-acular. But before I finish up on this style, I borrowed that kimono for one last go at some print mixing a la Chanel.


The Muppets are calling, they want him back

So I think I may have mentioned the horrors of sewing with faux fur before. It’s not an experience I want to repeat anytime soon, but I also can’t bear to waste fabric (of any description!).


I was a little jealous of Miss Four’s stylin’ faux fur vest. She’s been wearing it everywhere, to gymnastics over her leotard (documented on Instagram) and basically whenever she feels like she needs to out dress the rest of her family.

Initially, I planned on making myself a cape version to match her blue furriness. I’ll admit that mine was a slapdash job from the very start, with me choking on fur balls and hacking at the blue monster, all the while cursing those tickly, invisible fibres as they kept landing on my nose.


I did try on my finished product. I looked a little like Oscar the Grouch in blue. It looks much nicer on Alice (my dressform). But it looks even nicer converted to a winter skirt for Miss Four! All I did was add a seamline along the back to form a casing for the elastic, two buttonholes on the front, and voila, a wrap skirt! Miss Four is delighted. Husband is shaking his head in dismay. 

 
I love this girl’s style!