I feel the deadline looming when I will need to pack away my sewing machine for the trip ahead. Has anyone else travelled with a sewing machine? I’m actually a little worried about keeping it safe. But I have found myself two big foam boxes (used by cafes/restaurants to pack veges) which I think I will join together by taping around the machine’s hard cover, and I am hoping that this will be enough protection. I might box it up in cardboard too.
But in the meantime, I am working my way through what I would like to call my ‘rainy day’ stash. These are the lengths of pastel viscose and knits that I have purchased with my daughters in mind; snaffled up from the remnant table at Tessuti Fabrics knowing that they would best suit simple swing dresses, tops or tights (for little girls), all the while knowing that I would never get around to sewing them. Selfless sewing if you will.
I made a few modifications to New Look 6016 when making Miss Four’s outfit. The pink, long sleeve top is a size 4.
- I widened the sleeves (made them straight, not tapered)
- added cuffs
- added 2cm to the hem (she is very tall)
The latte ponte pants are also a size 4, but I added a bum ruffle (bum flare sounds a bit rude!). I’m not completely happy with the bum ruffle. I’d make it much smaller and higher next time, or add one in the front too. But I AM pleased to say that this feature had the desired effect in terms of wearability to Miss Four. She LOVED the bum detail. In fact, her song throughout the photo shoot went a lot like this. “I look so cool. I look so cool. I look so cool”. Accompanied of course with the requisite bum wriggling. I am optimistic that these will be the first pants she is happy to wear this winter.
Little Miss Two’s top is a size 2, with the same modifications on the sleeve as the other top. I didn’t change the length (she is tiny!) but added a bottom ruffle just because I could. You might recognise the ruffle fabric from here. Drop waaaaaiiiiiist!
I was thinking of changing the name of my blog to Drop Waist and Co. But I’m going to call this dress a Fit and Flare instead. It’s probably a mere technicality, like calling pasta, ‘linguine’, but I’ll run with it. So, just to clarify before we start, this is NOT a drop waist dress. It is a fit and flare frock.
I ordered 3m of this gorgeous grey merino wool ponte from Tessuti Fabrics (the same used in my Winter Malvarosa) with the intention of making myself a dress and then using the remainder to furnish the wardrobes of my little girls with snuggly winter items. Obviously, something didn’t go to plan, because suddenly, here before me, I have another winter dress for moi! Oops.
Here it is. My somewhat modified version of Vogue 8805. If you are wondering what changes I made, here they are.
- added 6″ in length to the arms
- tapered the arms to be about 3″ narrower towards the hem
- slimmed the sides down to fit me closely, about 2″ off both side seams
- added two fish eye darts in the back
- added some flared cuffs (inspired by Nikki and her gorgeous LWD)
- added a front zipper
- shortened the middle panel by 1″ and added a pleated skirt to the bottom
The flared cuffs and pleated skirt were made using a navy wool twill remnant from Tessuti Fabrics. What do you think? Worthy of my new ‘practical’ shoes?
If it seems like I only own two patterns at the moment, well that is probably not far from the truth. Even my mannequin, Alice, is wrapped in plastic and ready to take her (rather undignified) place amongst the boxes we have chosen to store while we are away.
Of course, I actually have two large boxes crammed to the brim with sewing patterns, but half of them have already made it to Kansas and the other half are boxed up for storage. Choosing which ones to take and which ones to leave behind was quite a big task. I dread the thought of carting around unused baggage for the next few years, nearly as much as I dread missing that painstakingly custom modified pattern that I unfortunately decided not to take with me.
I currently only have a small selection on hand (that will also come to Kansas with me later). New Look 6016 is one of them. I have lost track of how many times I have used this pattern. Most recently, I am finding it exceedingly useful in making simple knit tops, dresses and tights for ALL of my daughters even though it only goes up to a size 4. But I do find the sizing to be extremely large, something I am still muddling my way through in terms of fit. The problem with children, well my girls at least, is that apart from the standard chest and height measurements, any other fitting efforts are near impossible. It is like pinning a dress to a live eel! So I pretty much rely on my best guesses as to whether I should lengthen, shorten or slim down any parts of the pattern.
I think this dress worked out reasonably well. The wool will keep her warn and it looks like it will allow a little room for movement and growth. It is basically a modified version of the long sleeve top in the pattern. I used up all the scraps from my recent makes (here and here), as well as my last little bit of Lodden Blue Liberty. For the neckline, I found a band of black bamboo ribbing in my stash (If I ever have any little sraps of ribbing/stretch knit, I always cut a few neckband/cuff width strips and store it away like this for convenience. One of these bands came in useful for this dress because I simply didn’t have enough fabric for a matching neckband.)
I started out with a size 2 and made the following modifications:
- created a mid panel, purely because I didn’t have enough fabric to cut the entire bodice as one. The top panel is a heavier wool ponte and the mid panel is a lighter weight wool jersey. I used the lengthen/shorten line as a seamline
- lengthened the arms by 2cm and added the curved panels at the end of the sleeves
- lengthened the entire top to the Size 4 guide
- Added the Liberty of London ruffle to the bottom hem
And here is a still shot of the dress from the back. The front had too many dribble patches on it from our brief photo shoot!
I think it will look better with tights but I couldn’t subject Miss Two to long pants in our summer heat. I’m actually surprised I got any decent photos today. Most of them were like this, but blurry. She’s only little but she sure can move.
After months of requests for a pink winter dress, I finally relinquished. I feel I should apologise for yet another drop waist, but at the moment, with all the crazy packing and organising going on for our move, I feel like I need to stick to simple and necessary sewing. Of course drop waist dresses are necessary! How could anyone possibly question this fact?!
I dragged out New Look 6016 again to make this dress. It was made with a beautiful pastel viscose which came from Tessuti Fabrics. The skirt was made with a little leftover Lisa Ho cotton/silk from The Fabric Store. This Lisa Ho fabric is amazing, so light and silky, and perhaps a little bit too special for a four year old. In my pre-blogging days, I made a pair of Suzy pants with it, and more recently a pair of boxers for hubby.
As usual, I made several modifications to this pattern. I started with a size four.
- lengthened the top by 4cm
- widened the sleeves by about 2cm each side to eliminate the taper, and added cuffs (I didn’t shorten them at all)
- added a gathered skirt (I always aim for 2 x the width of the hem I’m attaching it to, but as I generally use scraps for these skirts, I use what I have)
This is actually one of my favourite knock ups. The drapey viscose worked out so much better than I anticipated and I much prefer the top with cuffs. I can see myself making a few more of these little dresses in the winter months, mainly for my girl who flatly refuses to wear anything but dresses. As you can see, it is the perfect dress for twirling and practicing magic with your spoon-wand.
Boy this Vogue 8805 is getting a workout! Here it is, slightly modified, in yet another (gasp, horror) DROP WAIST DRESS. Seriously now, it is starting to look like I have a problem. But in my defence (if I can call it one), this was not meant to be the next dress of my series, AND I actually don’t know where this dress came from. I didn’t plan to make it. There was no vision in my head. I just sat down with some fabric that I wanted to use up from my stash and suddenly a drop waist started to appear.
I used the leftover cotton ribbing from my Rigel Bomber in the sleeves. This makes the dress lovely and comfortable. The rest of the dress was made using a Liberty of London called Lodden Blue that I was lucky enough to pick up as a remnant from Tessuti Fabrics a while back. Unfortunately, as I look at the photos, I can now see that I cut the back a little off grain, bah! All the worse because I had this sinking feeling as I was cutting it. I knew I shouldn’t have cut on the fold, but instead drawn up the full pattern piece to cut as one.
I was inspired to use the Liberty in this dress after seeing Emilie’s creation, as posted on Sew Tessuti a while back. I probably wouldn’t have thought of using Liberty otherwise, and can you believe it, this is actually the first Liberty print dress I have ever sewn for myself?! So here is a little happy twirl to celebrate this beautiful Summer fabric!
The modifications that I made to Vogue 8805 were:
- shortening the sleeves (back to 2cm from the yoke seam)
- shortening the middle panel by about 5cm
- Adding a ruffle panel of 2 x widths of Liberty
- I took about 2.5cm off the neckline all the way around and then added a band
- Used my twin needle to finish the sleeve hems
And so my drop waist obsession continues. As happy as I am with my self-drafted drop waists, I feel it just wouldn’t be fair of me to pass through this phase without exploring some of the other like-minded patterns out there. I would like to introduce you to my Malvarosa, by Pauline Alice. It was made using grey merino wool ponte from Tessuti Fabrics.
The design is very clever and yet so simple to construct. I love the seamlines of the drop shoulder and the pockets are genius. I chose to sew the dress in a knit so I topstitched most of the seamlines to help the sleeve cap sit flatter. At first, I didn’t really like the shape of this dress (mainly the boxy shoulders and wide boat neck), but 24hrs later, I think I am falling in love, especially with the cropped sleeves rolled or scrunched. I chose not to sew the pockets into this dress, purely because I wasn’t sure how stable they would be with the knit fabric.
I did find the sizing to be extremely large. I know the dress is supposed to be loose fitting, but you may find you could go down a size. The great thing about this pattern is that it also includes the finished size of the dress which I would definitely recommend paying close attention to. I knew I would need to size down because of my fabric choice. I sized all the way down to a 36 (33″ bust) when in most patterns, I would choose a 34″ bust measurement in a knit or loose style. I could have gone smaller.
Did I make any other modifications to my Malvarosa? Not really. In adjusting for my rather long length, I added 2cm to both the arms and bottom hem. I also interfaced the neck facing pieces before stitching them down with the twin needle. After I trimmed of the (significant) excess, the result is a very stable bound neck which looks lovely and neat.
My finished dress is very comfortable and beautifully warm. I quite like it paired with my new leather arm warmers and maybe even a scarf (although I didn’t get them out for the photoshoot). And my feet, you ask? Yes, still without decent shoes.
I purchased some very pink pinewale cotton corduroy from Spotlight about three years ago. Heaven knows why I bought so much of it, but I have been trying to whittle away at my supply ever since. Thankfully, it is actually a great wearing fabric and from experience, it washes well and fades little. I thought it would do nicely for a little winter coat, as long as I was able to underline/interline (what’s the right word for this, anyone?) in a better insulating material.
I used Simplicity 8668 for the coat. More recently, I’d used this pattern to make Miss Four a little ponte dress. I lined the jacket in a pretty cotton chambray that I was lucky enough to pick up as a $10 roll from Tessuti Fabrics.
This was an absolute steal. I think I have about 10m of this gorgeous chambray and it is just so versatile for a little girl’s wardrobe. I know it isn’t the best fabric for lining a jacket (particularly patch pockets!), but it was the prettiest match I had on hand.
I also underlined the jacket with bamboo wadding. Bamboo is fabulous as a fabric! And bamboo wadding works wonderfully inside jackets. It insulates well, is antibacterial, wicks away moisture, is quite light and compact, washes beautifully and holds its shape (no need for quilting it in the jacket). I purchased it from the Bamboo Fabric Store some time back. I’ve also sewn with bamboo jersey, terry towelling, and ribbed knits before and they are all just beautiful.
But back to the underlining. I wasn’t quite sure whether I should have basted the wadding to the lining or to the outer fabric. In the end, I chose the lining because I though it would make the front facing area too bulky when it overlapped. I would love some advice on this! But first, some more shots of the super cool one.
The buttons I used were from All Buttons. I’d originally purchased them for a Chanel-style jacket I was making for myself last year. I think they add a little class to the candy pink cord (you may have noticed I am doing my best to counter-pink the pinkness of the cord). I also cheated when setting in the sleeves, simply gathering them rather than easing them in. It’s a hastily made jacket, but then I didn’t want to spend a lot of time or money on something that gets worn as hard as it will on Miss Two.
The jacket is a size 4 so it swims on little Miss Two. But as long as I can see her head and hands, I am ok with this. It means she will be warm! Especially when she teams it with her new wool ponte pants (made using New Look 6016 ). I think these pants are super cool. They are unfortunately a little low in the rise for nappy wearers but I think we can get by with this for a few months until she is properly ready for her big girl undies.
And now for the winning pose…