Vogue 1027: a faux wrap dress

At some point, I must have decided that I needed more Summer neutrals in my closet. What better than a DKNY jersey dress in the most beautiful, weighty viscose. I’ve used several different shades of this viscose jersey over the years. It always sews up really nicely.

I’m also quite fond of Vogue patterns. I find they fit me very consistantly. I can make my standard adjustments and sew up the pattern right off the bat, without a muslin. My standard adjustments are 1/4 inch extra width through each shoulder seam, and lengthening a 1/2 inch through the bodice (#sewingtall). I usually also lengthen the hem length.

I didn’t bother with lengthening the skirt because I wasn’t planning on hemming the fabric. I prefer to leave a weighty viscose in a skirt like this with a raw hem. I feel like it looks a lot cleaner than a hem. However, having said that, I did follow the rest of the pattern instructions properly, which involved facings on the sleeves and a hemmed neckline. They worked out beautifully.

The measurements on the pattern envelope correspond very well to my actual size. I believe my dress reflects what I see on the pattern cover. I did make a few observations on the design, mostly relating to my fabric choice.

1. The waistline is supposed to be higher. Mine does technically sit in the right spot, but the weight of the fabric in the circle skirt pulls the dress and stretches the bodice down. Furthermore, I’ve folded the fabric belt half down to cover my elastic seaming below the waistline. I believe the belt is supposed to be folded up completely, again shortening the look of the bodice. It’s a catch-22. I adore the drape of a weighty viscose, but it does make for a heavier dress.

2. The instructions say to create casing for elastic with an extra seam below the bodice seam, using the seam allowances from inside the dress. Looking at the pattern cover, I’m not convinced that they did this step. I don’t like the look of this seam line on the finished dress, so I’ve tried to hide it with the belt. Also, measure your own waist to determine the elastic length required. Their measurements here are completely off. My elastic probably isn’t tight enough to hold the heavy skirt up adequately, but I was wary of too-tight elastic being uncomfortable and creating too much “gathering” through the waist seam.

3. Considering the 4-way stretch of my jersey, I probably could have sized down through the waist and skirt to achieve a more snug fit (which I feel would suit the style of jersey I used). I also wonder what the crossover bodice would look like if I ditched the pleats (I certainly don’t need the space with my bust size!). I’m not unhappy with the way this dress turned out. The bodice fit is good, and the shoulders are comfortable. And the dress even has pockets!

I will definitely sew this pattern again, maybe in a bit more colour next time. Meanwhile, I can see myself wearing this dress quite a bit over the next few months.

 

A Mini Chloe production line and pretty new labels

It all started when my daughter’s little friend pulled me aside one day and whispered, “I really, REALLY love Harper’s dress”. And that was just the icky poly tester version I made her. The poor child was suffering though the heat and weight of it that day, but she still refused to take it off.

minic3

Also about this time, the Dutch Label Shop contacted me to see if I’d like to try out some of their labels  . I was given the labels for free. It was such a busy time for me that I very nearly didn’t take them up on their offer, but I’m glad I did.

I uploaded my own design to be made into a Woven Logo Label and I absolutely love how they turned out. I didn’t expect the lines to be so defined and clear. They really do look great. The service was also excellent. They have a representative on hand to check the designs to make sure they suit the label and they contact you if needed. These labels are a little larger than what I’d normally put on a kid’s dress, but in real life, I’m much more likely to put a nice label on a coat or jacket and these will suit that perfectly. I also rarely sew for anyone outside of my direct family and I don’t make a habit of labeling everything I make. However, there is something very nice about the finishing touch that a label gives the garment.

label3

But back to my production line of Mini Chloe’s, which include some of those dresses in the picture above. The first off the rack was made in pink fabric  as requested by the little admirer. It’s the only dress I didn’t get around to having modeled (P.S. my models charge me actual money for photo shoots these days!). It’s also not my best work sewing-wise, but the fabric is divine. It’s a vintage cotton or mixed natural fibre, but it feels like washed silk. I was in a big rush to get this dress done to surprise the little girl.

Then, I made her two sisters each a version. I used some Art Gallery voile for the little sister.

mmag3

And a beautiful mix of silks for the eldest girl. These ones are a special gift so I took care with the making of them.

cchjuly3

cchjuly5

Then, I felt guilty about my middle child only having that horrid (but spritely yellow) polyester version. So I scrounged through all my scraps to discover that I had enough fabric left to whip up a rayon and silk version in her size. This one will be lovely to wear. She already has a matching skirt in this fabric, so she immediately fell in love with the dress.

cchjuly2

But that’s not all. I was sorting through my small remnants of silk and rayon for middle child’s dress, my daughters were taking delight in recalling the clothes I’d sewn with all the different fabrics. They came up with the idea of “friendship dresses” for their closest friends (who also happen to be sisters). The plan was to incorporate fabrics in the friends’ dresses that I’d already used for theirs (so they could match). I had to use a bit of creativity to find enough fabric, but adding panels to the dress design made it easy. The second one will be on Instagram soon.

ccjuly2

I love this little dress pattern and I love my new labels. The dress is so quick and easy to sew that it makes gift-sewing a breeze and the labels add the perfect final touch. I have no doubt that those cold-shoulder sleeves will be out of fashion at some point, but the dress is still a simple, classic shape. I might try sewing it sans-sleeves next summer.

 

The last refashion

This fabric really has been around the block. It started as a dress. Then I turned it into a playsuit. And now I’ve shortened the legs again. Shortening the legs is hardly deserving of the word “refashion”. However, there’s are reason I’m showing you this. It’s amazing how significantly different a garment can look, after such a minor change.

22

24

26

I didn’t mind the previous versions, but none of them were quite right. I’m so glad I persevered.

Shop the Look

6 Shore Road by Pooja // Aqua // Banana Republic

2

Death by dryer: to mini Rigel Bomber

Remember this awesome Rigel Bomber? I made it a long time ago, but it’s had an awful lot of wear since then. The outer cotton fabric is heavy and durable. My mistake was in lining the jacket with a slippery viscose. I don’t regret it though. That viscose remnant I used was totally luxurious and something I noticed every time I slipped that jacket on.

Unfortunately, viscose can be a little more delicate than other fabrics when it comes to laundering. I made sure I prewashed everything first, but it didn’t occur to me to dry the fabrics in the dryer. I rarely used my dryer in Australia. Even in Winter, with three kids, I could efficiently line dry all of my washing. This is starkly different to where I live now, where most people almost exclusively use their dryer. I initially fought this practice, but when your neighbourhood has a no clothesline policy, it’s hard not to succumb to the convenience.

So to cut this rather long story short, my bomber found it’s way into the dryer (I do my laundry on autopilot and sometimes there are casualties). The outer fabric was still perfect, but the viscose lining shrunk significantly. Death by dryer.

I wasn’t going to waste my precious fabric-of-the-year though and decided to have a shot at modifying it into a mini-bomber. It worked pretty well. I was a bit scissor happy on the sleeves, because I had to guess the length while the recipient slept. It seems this child is longer than I think. The sleeves are just long enough. The proportions of the whole jacket are also a little off because I wanted to preserve the ribbing and pockets, and I could have slimmed the sleeves and torso down a little more, but otherwise it’s not too bad.

1

6

4

2

So what did I do:

1) I cut off the wrist cuffs and the bottom ribbing

2) I unpicked the centre back neckline and took about 2″ out of the back (and the ribbing) by sewing a CB seam. I added a bigger pleat to the lining but otherwise left it alone.

3) I unpicked the zipper, reattached the lining to the front fabric, and then simply overlapped it to fasten with buttons. Overlapping it at the front also helped balance the fact that I took a chunk out of the CB.

4) I brought the side seams in on the outer fabric by about 1″ (but could taken more out). I made most of the modifications to the outer fabric only. That way, if the viscose decides to shrink more, it won’t matter.

5) Lastly, I reattached all the ribbing, did some buttonholes down the front, and sewed on buttons.

Miss Seven is absolutely in love with this jacket. I think this is because she remembers me wearing my version so much. From my perspective, it’s delightfully weird to see her wearing one of my favourite jackets in a mini-size. But at the end of the day, she was desperately in need of a Spring weight jacket, so I’m glad that this is the one to fill that spot.

3

Stripes ahoy

I’m still quite smitten with high waisted skirts and pants. The thing is, I’m not always loving the look of a tucked in shirt. And if you don’t tuck your shirt in, then what’s the point anyway?

IMG_3506

IMG_3511

IMG_3512

My solution is this top. It’s oversized and yet slightly cropped. The hem falls low enough to keep my tummy concealed, but high enough to hint at a high waisted pant beneath.

This is just my first version of a new pattern, but I’m pretty happy with it so far. I’ve tweaked a few things, ready for my next attempt, but I certainly haven’t lessened the width of those lovely wide sleeves.

IMG_3501

This top was made up in a very drapey, slightly weighty viscose. I’m looking forward to trying this pattern out again in silk next time.

IMG_3508

Drop it for the skirt

Can I call this a drop waist skirt? Well, if I can, it’s so totally me! I made my first version of this skirt up a few weeks ago and I’ve been loving it to pieces ever since. This time, I jazzed the pattern up a little by adding a couple of cute front pockets. I also found a way to use up some completely and utterly amazing fabric scraps I had lying around.

IMG_3465

The way the skirt hugs the hips, and the addition of the front panels makes this skirt so much more flattering than a basic, gathered skirt. Here are some shots with a simple white top, which show the details of the skirt more clearly.

IMG_3478

IMG_3477

IMG_3482

IMG_3481

In real life, I’ll be wearing it with my favourite stripes, which is the main reason I designed that top in the first place.

IMG_3439

IMG_3445

 

 

Culottes in a playsuit anyone?

This little jumpsuit was refashioned from this dress. As pretty as the dress was, I found I wasn’t wearing it enough. I hate to see such stunning fabric locked away behind closet doors.

 

The pattern is my own design and the jumpsuit very closely follows the drafted pattern. The main difference is my slightly angled bottom panels. In trying to preserve as much of the dress as possible, I didn’t manage to align the hem very well. I also didn’t have much of a choice on pattern placement. It appears that I may have inadvertently positioned a solar system directly over my reproductive organs. Why is it that Bruno Mars and the case of the uterine foliage pops into my brain right now?!  

 

The main fabric is a gloriously drapey, woven viscose. It is a very special fabric. The bottom panels were made using silk jersey scraps I was lucky enough to have lying around. Navy CDC or silk organza were other options I toyed with for the panels.

This playsuit is designed to be unfitted through the waist, with a slightly flared, cropped leg. There is also the option of ditching the bottom panel for a shorter version and using a self-fabric waist tie to cinch in the waist for a more fitted look. I’d really love to see how this pattern plays out in linen, or especially, a heavier weight and more structured cotton sateen.

 

This playsuit ticks a lot of boxes for me in terms of real life wearability. It’s cool for Summer, unrestrictive, and practical for chasing kids around in. So what do you think of playsuits right now? Could you see yourself in something like this?

A mini Jaywalker

After making my own Jaywalk pieces (more on that to come), I had enough of these lovely stripes left to make a little dress for Miss Six. I used the Go To Signature dress pattern for a second time, with the same neckline adjustment as before. I also shaped the hem on this one to be higher at the front and lower at the back. I’d intended on adding an elastic waist to this version, but after the first fitting, Miss Six was quite certain that she loved it exactly as it was with absolutely NO further changes. Let it not be said that I would argue with the Queen.


This fabric makes for a beautiful kiddie dress. It is soft and comfortable and holds it’s shape beautifully. It’s going to be a great addition to her daily wardrobe. Unlike in Australia, public school kids don’t wear uniforms in America, so Coco is enjoying the fact that she is now in line to receive equal clothing makes as her sisters.

 
 
 
  
Just look at that lovely side seam, all lined up for me. I’ve discovered that if I take the extra time to baste seams with stripes together first, I get a better result in matching those lines.

Two little scrappy skirts and a pair of matching bike shorts

So this is it, my very last Australian make…for the time being at least. It’s amazing what you can do with scraps, and silk crepe de chine no less! You might recognise the fabric from my recent Meissa. But I think it also works perfectly as a swirling, twirling, ballerina skirt.

 

I only had awkward lengths of bias cut silk from a previous disaster to work with. The best I could do was gather two very odd skirt pieces and then layer them together. The great thing about making little scrappy pieces like this is that I don’t feel scared of experimenting. I’ve shamefully only been using one or two stitches on my serger. So this was a great opportunity to discover how ridiculously simple it was to make nice, neat, narrow and rolled hems on the serger.

I used my last bit of viscose jersey (from here) to make the waistband, with just enough left over to make a pair of matching bike pants for her handstand sessions.

 
 

And finally, here is a little teaser that I upcycled from a pair of white linen pants. I’m going to smuggle it to Kansas for Miss Five for her birthday. More photos to come.



The family uniform

This is very nearly my last project for a wee while. I will apologise in advance if I don’t get around to answering comments like I used to, particularly over the next few months. But I still read every single one of them and I always get super excited to see them!
Today I vacuum packed all my fabric and filled MY suitcase with most of my notions. All that is left on my sewing table is few little scrappy bits of fabric that I have allowed myself to play around with before I pack away my machine. I suspect I may have one or two little skirts left in me before we go.
But oh, won’t hubby be so very proud to see this last collection! Haha, I jest! Just look at us all in the same uniform. Of course this wasn’t planned. But there was NO way I was going to waste a single skerrick of my fabric splurge. The original dress I made with it is here.

 

So let me start with MY little shift. I used up the last main bit of my gorgeous Italian viscose for the body and a little remnant of stretchy jersey viscose for the rest, both from Tessuti Fabrics. Try to ignore the aqua bullseye if you can, and my only decent pair of shoes won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.

 

The pattern I used was Vogue 8805 again. I made the following alterations:
  • slimmed down the arms (the same as here)
  • Shortened the sleeves (the same as here)
  • Shortened the bottom panel by 12cm
The next in line in the House of Iles is Miss Five. Using New Look 6016, I basically remade this dress here as best I could with the lengths of skirt fabric I had available. I did grade it up to a size 5 and make the sleeves shorter with a slight flare though.

 

 

 

And then finally, I was able to scrounge enough remaining scraps to make the same little summer frock for Miss Two. Unfortunately, I had to cut parts of the little skirt on the crossgrain so gathering it nicely was a bit more challenging, and I’m hoping parts of it don’t stretch out too noticeably over time.

 

 

Yeah Mum, I can dance!
So I am pleased to say that this is all that is left of my fabric splurge. It is the truth in it’s entirety and a voucher VERY well spent!