A Spring romper three ways

I really, really love fashion. I love designing. I love making. I love forcasting new trends. And I especially love dressing up. My preference is to wear my own handmade clothes, but I’m not averse to mixing it up with a little RTW, which is why I was happy to partner with Tobi.com recently and spend a little time playing around with some of their styles.

There’s something to be said for keeping aquainted with ready-to-wear clothes. In the bubble of home-sewing, it can be easy to fall into a rut when it comes to exploring different construction techniques and design features. I know this is something that I’m very aware of with my sewing. I get some of my best ideas and sewing inspiration from RTW.

I’m not saying that this little TOBI romper is particularly unique, but it is super cute! I’ve made several playsuits and rompers in the past, including my all-time favourite silk version. However, a few great details attracted me to this one. I love the diagonal (very slightly flared) inset on the base of the shorts. It creates a very flattering shorts shape, without adding unneccesary volume to the hips. It’s a design feature that I’m keen to try out on a pair of shorts myself this Summer.

I was also intrigued by how the front of this romper was put together and how the extremely low neckline would work in real life. Leaving the neckline open (as designed) is an extremely sexy look. Twenty-something-Debbie would have rocked this look, but current-Debbie needed a little fix. I added a small hook and eye above the front tie to close the neckline a bit and it works perfectly for me now!

I think this little romper looks great on its own, especially when paired with a subtle nude heel. However, I love it even more when I add my own personal touch. You can’t go wrong with a pop of colour on a cool Spring evening. I made this wool crepe trench a while back by modifying a vintage pattern. It has been the perfect transeasonal coat for me.

And for my final look, I paired the romper with my favourite vintage, leather skirt. The romper fabric is a lovely, silky rayon, so it’s smooth enough to layer with a skirt. I’d wear this look to work. Whoever knew a little old romper could be so versatile!

Disclaimer: I was sent the TOBI romper and shoes for free in exchange for creating a blog post. All content and opinions are my own.

Spring stripes

When I purchase fabric, I usually have a project in mind, but I rarely follow sewing patterns without some sort of modification. This means that I’ve had to get pretty good at estimating fabric requirements on my own. I usually come pretty close these days, but sometimes I end up erring on the more generous side (because it gives me a little leeway to change my mind on the design, and because I know that I’ll always find a good use for the scraps if any remain).

This was the case with some lovely hand-dyed velvet, wool crepe, and ponte that I found in my stash. I loved the way the contrasting colours looked together. They all have some stretch, but not enough to do away with darts. The velvet and wool are woven, but the ponte was a knit.

I started by cutting the fabrics into wide strips (seaming some of the velvet strips for extra length where needed). Then I stitched them together to create a striped fabric. I had just enough fabric to make a midi skirt in a slim-fitting style. I designed it by draping (on myself!) and re-stitching those stripe seams around the hips and bottom until they absorbed the darts needed to create the fitted shape.

In retrospect, I should have left the initial (striped fabric) seams unfinished (no overlocking!) until I’d sewn the final garment. I ended up doing a lot of unpicking of those overlocked seams to shape the top of the skirt. I also added gores (of orange wool crepe) to the bottom of the skirt for a bit of extra flare.

There’s a bit of a difference in the amount of stretch in each fabric. So, even though the stripes are the same width, the white ponte stretches more than the velvet, and this is most apparent at the waist. I probably should have made the ponte a little narrower, or the velvet a little wider to adjust for this.

I’m still pretty happy with how it turned out though. It’s a warm and comfortable skirt for Spring. And it just so happens to match perfectly with my refashioned velvet top.

 

A Summer dress

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Apparently you guys like pretty dresses, well those of you who follow me on IG do. My top posts of 2016 are pretty much all the dresses. I hadn’t even blogged about this one and it still made the cut.

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I made this one using a large remnant of vintage linen, thrifted from an estate sale. The textured windowpane fabric was from a small length purchased on whim from Tessuti Fabrics some time ago. I think the blue pairs perfectly with it.

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The pattern is modification on a self-drafted princess bodice that fits me perfectly. You’ve seen me use different versions of this bodice all Summer (here, here, here, and here). The skirt is just gathered (with pockets of course!). I was after a cool, easy-to-wear, Summer dress.

I was worried about the straps being too stiff, but I’m glad for their sturdiness now. And they don’t feel too stiff when I wear the dress. They actually feel comfortable and secure. I hate flimsy straps that feel like they may stretch out or tear. Instead of creating tubes and pressing flat (as I’d normally do for a strap of this width), I used wider lengths of linen, folded the raw edges in and then in on themselves again, and then topstitched both edges. It means that there are four layers of linen in each strap, perfectly suited to holding up the weight of a midi-length, gathered skirt.

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I’m a big fan of the midi length dress. It’s an easy length for tall ladies to wear. I know I’m going to get a lot of wear out of this, maybe even sooner rather than later!

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