Tag Archives: SS2014

Creation: The Turnaround Dress

With my work on the Wardrobe Architect project I’ve come to term with my style. It’s not modern, trendy or even what anyone else might wear, but what I’ve learnt is that I’m OK with that. Sitting next to the other women at work, I feel a bit out of place, they follow trends, look modern and I’m in my me-made/thrifted/old clothes and doesn’t have an ounce of trendiness in me. Again, that’s OK. It’s not only the Wardrobe Architect project that deserves credit, all sewcialists around the world deserves credit. Because of you I’ve learnt that dressing can be fun and unique, it doesn’t have to follow trends plus the sewcialists are an empowering community. Getting involved in that community has given me strength and confidence. But I digress. I will explore my views on sewing as a lifestyle more in an upcoming post, but right now I have a dress to present!


Perhaps I should have pulled my dress down a bit. Ah, well
Perhaps I should have pulled my dress down a bit. Ah, well

This dress gets a little credit for pushing me into believing in what I sew. Because I love this dress and I want to wear this dress. It’s not trendy, it’s not modern, but it’s fun and it tells more about me than any modern outfit, in which I’d undoubtedly feel misplaced, would. Personality is important in my clothing, I’ve come to realise. I will wear my clothes with pride, since each piece should be carefully selected to suit me, and not worry one bit about how on trend something is.

The Turnaround dress (8)

This fabric has been in my stash for quite some time. It was first bought, in the beginning of 2012, with the intention of becoming a Colette Truffle. However, it just didn’t feel right. Then it was switched to a Burda City Dress (02-2013-XX), to showcase the print, but after I thought of that I realised that the width of the fabric was only 115 cm (45”), not enough. Enter Jenny Hellström’s Sy!-books. The Evelyn dress from the second book, Urban Collection, was a perfect match to show the fabric to its best since the dress is cut in one piece. It’s a blouse dress with a Peter Pan collar. It is very straight, having only horizontal bust darts and vertical neck darts in the back and the designer herself says that this dress needs a belt for definition. Good thing I had a perfect brown braided leather belt to go with it! I have not made any alterations to the pattern, but if I were to make it again I would lower the bust dart as it falls a little high right now (same issue on my Norah Sundress, by the same designer).

The Turnaround dress (15)

The fabric is a printed cotton, very soft to wear. The collar is made from an ordinary cotton weave. When I was itching to get the project done I first contemplated a pure white collar, hoping it wouldn’t clash too much with the cream lines. However, I had no suitable buttons, so since I couldn’t finish the dress either way, I opted to buy another collar as well, matching the purple in the flowers. Luckily I also found buttons to match the purple, to bring the accents of the dress together.

Hard to get the facing to lie flat...
Hard to get the facing to lie flat…
Puff sleeve with elastic ruching.
Puff sleeve with elastic ruching.

The dress came together fairly quickly. The instructions are pretty clear, for most part. As with my first Jenny Hellström pattern, the Midnight Sun Shirt, I found that the instructions lacked a bit when it was the most difficult bits, the collars. After sewing it wrong the first time I managed to figure out what she meant. I’ll take the lesson and read more thoroughly next time, really thinking about what I have and, more importantly, what I want after I finish the step. I will definitely use more Jenny Hellström patterns, they are, at least as far as I’ve come, well-drafted and fun, she wants us to play with fashion, which I want do too.


Creation: Norah Sundress

OK, my Spring this year had a very solid theme, fitting. It started with my “perfect knit dresses” (Rule Britannia Dress and Tie-dye Aqua Dress) back in January and then my Almas (Starry and Striped) followed suit, ending with my Anna dress. It was fitting, FBAs, muslins. In the end I’m very, very pleased with the fit on all of these garments, but it left me in the mood of wanting to make something more simple. Enter Heather B’s summer sundress sewalong. I had a piece of heavy weight polka dot cotton, stashed away. It wasn’t really suitable for office wear so a sundress seemed like the best deal for it. I did debate using Colette’s Truffle or the Jenny Hellström Norah dress. I made the latter and I’m not sure it was the best decision. However, I wanted an easy project with minimal fitting and the result reflect that. The dress is a balloon dress, described as like walking around in a minitent without feeling like a camper. Yes, this dress really is all sorts of wrong for my figure. There. This is the third pattern I make from Jenny Hellström’s Sy!-books and a few conclusions about the patterns are starting to arise.  

I was promised a tent and a tent I got
I was promised a tent and a tent I got

Firstly, the patterns could have used a thorough testing and proof reading. In two of those patterns I have found errors (in the Lily shirt there was an error in the instruction for constructing the collar, inthis Norah dress there seemed to be a discrepancy of whether or not the back piece should be cut on the fold or not as well as not illustrating the facing pieces as pattern pieces).

Seriously whose boobs are this perky? (mind you, the dart has been lowered 2.5 cm (1"))
Seriously whose boobs are this perky? (mind you, the dart has been lowered 2.5 cm (1″))

Another conclusion is that the patterns are drafted for a small, perky bust. I had noticed on my Turnaround dress (not properly blogged) that the horisontal bust darts sit very high. For my Norah I lowered them about 2.5 cm (that would be 1” in imperial) and they could have gone down a bit further. Or perhaps have benefited from an FBA, but that seemed so unnecessary on a dress of this shape and when I wanted a simple project.

I added a belt, but I'm not sure I like it that much better.
I added a belt, but I’m not sure I like it that much better.

So, a tent-look was promised and a tent-look I got. It’s not flattering at all, but it’s really comfortable. Unless that the armholes are a bit tight and then there’s the already mentioned case of the high bust dart. In order to draw it in, I sewed myself a narrow belt in the same fabric as the dress. Husband thinks it’s an improvement and sure it takes away from that tent-like feeling, but I’m not feeling the dress, even for a “lounge around the house”-dress. The fabric is a bit meh and washed out, I prefer my colours bright, plus it’s a bit too stiff to fully work as a dress.

Unflattering (for me, I'm sure other body types could make it work)
Unflattering (for me, I’m sure other body types could make it work)

  The verdict? I have worn this dress during some hot summer days and while it was comfortable in shape, I wasn’t completely comfortable in it. The sundress days are over for this year and the dress will move into the back of my closet. If it survives the full year I might wear it next summer, otherwise it might be chopped up and used for children’s clothes. We’ll see. And in the future I shouldn’t play with silhouettes I know won’t work. I knew this silhouette wouldn’t work and laziness took over since the dress was easy to make. However, had I made the Truffle it probably wouldn’t have been comfortable anyway and more time had been wasted. Do you ever find yourself disliking a garment you made? How do you treat it afterwards? Does it even make the blog?

Creation: Anna Dress for Wedding

Ah, Anna. She has been everywhere this past year, on every blog I read, there she was! She looked great on anyone I saw her on. But I wasn’t convinced she’d look great on me. Now I surrender. Blue Anna (12) Back in February we were invited to my SIL’s wedding. Of course I wanted to make my dress for the occasion. As we came from the theatre when she told us I wanted to make a dress mimicking one we’d seen. I looked through several patterns, trying to find at least a bodice I could work with. I didn’t find one that felt 100%. I could’ve still gone for one of those but with trying to get it right and then Frankenpatterning sleeves and skirt I figured it was easier if I went for a pattern which I could use in its whole and perfecting it. Step one of perfecting it was fit. I cut a size XX. I sewed the side seams with 1 cm SA, so it would fit according to finished measurements. I made a 2 cm FBA (1 cm per side) according to the tutorial from the By Hand London’s sewalong. It worked fine for me, but I’ve read that it doesn’t really work if you need to add more than 2.5 cm (1”). I found no gaping in the neckline at all.

Blue Anna (6)
You could call this selfie a fail, but it does show the FBA dart I added.

    After cutting my pieces, the first thing I did was a staystitch on the neckline. The V is pretty deep and I didn’t want it to stretch when I handled it. Other neckline finishes I added was that I interfaced the facings as well as understitching them (did wonders!).  

Blue Anna (14)
Unfortunately I got some gaping at the top when adding the hook and eye

  After cutting my pieces, the first thing I did was a staystitch on the neckline. The V is pretty deep and I didn’t want it to stretch when I handled it. Other neckline finishes I added was that I interfaced the facings as well as understitching them (did wonders!).  

French seams and lace hem
French seams and lace hem

For the whole dress I did French seams, except for the bodice to skirt seam and CB due to the zipper. The sleeves and hem are finished with a hand-sewn catchstitch and on the hem I added some lace as hem tape. Just because it’s pretty. We sew to add details like that, right?   The fabric is an organic cotton sateen from Sonja’s Ateljé. It was very nice to work with and is soft, while still holding the shape of the pleats. The fabric recommendations is 2.5 m for the short version, I bought 2.7 to be on the safe side and account for shrinking, still I have one metre to spare (which was lucky since I accidentally cut a notch in the fold of the centre front skirt. Oops!). Very generous fabric recommendation. I hope I can use the remaining fabrics for something useful. It’s a very wide fabric, so I can probably squeeze something out of it.  

Lace hem with catchstitch
Lace hem with catchstitch

As the dress is in one colour only I thought I needed something to go with it. Based on what I had at home (purse, bolero, hair piece and jewelry) my colours became blue, gold and white. I wanted something more to complete the look and as I was reading blogs it came to me; Tilly’s bow belt! I used her easy tutorial and then my look was completed.   The fabric wasn’t very cheap I paid 554 SEK for it (but can probably make a top with it as well), but after hearing what others spent on their store-bought dresses it’s not so bad. My dress is organic and custom-made. You can’t beat that! It would be nice with a few more occasions to wear it.   As I said, I surrender. This dress is gorgeous and flattering and I really want to make more. This dress is also my first post on The Monthly Stitch for Indie Pattern Month. If you like it, please head over there and vote for me!

Creation: Organic Striped Alma

Following the success of my first Alma, I did yet another one in organic cotton, the Organic Striped Alma. As I covered all of my alterations in the post about the Starry Alma, I will just focus on what makes this one special. Striped Alma Just as with my last one the fabric is a cotton sateen from Stoff och Stil. Yes, the stripes go diagonally and no, I have not cut it off-grain. I tried to line up the stripes along the side seams, but the bust dart as well as the vertical darts left the stripes distorted. I really don’t mind because I think the fabric makes an awesome blouse. Striped Alma (2) The starry fabric was light weight and drapey, this is more sturdy and heavy. It’s one of those fabric that is so easy to work with as it doesn’t crease or slip and it is an absolute dream to press. However, I’m not so sure it goes very well with the cap sleeves, making them stick out. I’m thinking of adding an elastic to the cap sleeve hem to bring them in and down. Do you think that could work? Striped Alma (3) If you look closely (and are very familiar with the Alma) yopu would notice the the front left vertical dart is a bit lower than it should be and a bit more centered. It’s not a fitting alteration in any way, rather a sloppy mistake. After I had sewn the darts I was to clip the thread. I accidentally got a bit too close and snipped the fabric as well. Oops! So I had to unpick the dart and move it about 1 cm to cover the hole. Luckily it didn’t alter the fit and the holes left by the needles in the first dart steamed out easily and left no marks. Striped Alma (1) Also I think I haven’t done the notch properly, it’s not quite as deep as the other versions I’ve seen. But I like the one I got. Besides no one in real life knows how it’s supposed to look. Before starting this project I spent an evening with scraps and my overlocker, trying to master it. I still have plenty to learn, but I did learn enough to finish my Alma seams on it so it looks very pretty on the inside (I forgot to take a picture so you will have to take my word for it). The Alma will rest for a bit now, but I am planning to do a long-sleeved version, complete with the cuffs, for fall. I love this blouse! I wore it today, it was very warm out, but with the cap sleeves it was not hard to wear, very breezy and I still looked professional. Do you ever worry that others will notice you are wearing multiple versions of one pattern? Do you use a pattern multiple time or do you want to get to the next one as soon as possible?    

Creation: Starry, Organic Alma

A few weeks ago we had a town hall meeting at work, with four executives coming to talk about the organisation in the future. Three men and one woman. What struck me was that all four of them were dressed in suits and classic button down shirts. Now, it’s not so weird that the men were dressed in that attire, but I don’t like the common attitude that a woman needs to “dress as a man” in order to be dressed to impress in the corporate world. Granted, the suit and shirt she had were tailored for women, but still, it was a female variation with the man as standard. Starry Organic Alma In my wardrobe and style update I want to look proper and professional, but still  use feminine attire. I don’t want to look like I’m wearing a female cut of menswear, I want to wear clothes cut and styled for women. Enter Sewaholic’s Alma. A simple cut blouse, but with shaping and darts that flatter the female body. Simple and elegant and a blouse I can easily wear to the office and look professional. Score! Starry Organic Alma Closeup Since this is  a fitted blouse, I did a muslin. First I cut the size 8, with the length of size 16. I got some excess fabric at the lower back and as Jo of Sew Little Time pointed out, some wrinkles indicating in needed an FBA. So for my second muslin, unphotographed, I did the following alterations to get my perfect fit: Front: Cut a size 8, length according to size 16. Lengthened an additional inch. Did a 1” FBA (½” on each side) (following this tutorial) Back: Cut a size 8, length according to size 16. Graded to a 6 waist down. Sewed the side seams with 1 cm seam allowance (1.5 cm included). And mixing SI and imperial units wildly. That’s how I roll. Starry Organic Alma (2) I have never, ever had a blouse that fitted me this well. Ever. It’s flattering, well-drafted and adaptable. It works both tucked in and out. I really like that Tasia has created a  blouse that is a great canvas, but also easily modified. I really want to try to make a long-sleeve, or at least ¾ length sleeves, for fall. And play with neckline, although I think the notched neckline is just perfect to create a small interest in being discrete. The only thing I’m not completely satisfied with is the width of the armholes, I find them too big. Perhaps for my next version I’ll make real sleeves instead of the cap ones. Starry Organic Alma (1)

The fabric is a lightweight cotton satin. It’s from Stoff & Stil’s organic collection, so in addition to making me happy, it also makes the environment happy (or at least happier than if I hadn’t bought organic fabric). I could wriggle into the Alma without a side zipper, but due to the lightness of the fabric I chose to add the zipper. I will probably do that in the future too, since I want to treat my beloved me-mades with some respect.

The material price is about 250 SEK (€27.60) which includes a custom-fitted blouse in organic material. I’m happy with my make! BTW, my hair is a mess. I need a haircut, but we’re attending a wedding on June 28, so I wish to cut it a bit closer to that date. Therefore now it’s in nowhere’s land.

Creation: Aqua Painted Dress

I am back to work since a couple of weeks following my parental leave. Now, don’t you worry about baby E (who, by the way is outgrowing her baby status soon) she’s at home being taken excellent care of by hubby. There’s a reason I write parental leave and not maternity leave. Besides working I am also trying to find time for my hobbies; sewing and judo (how stupid of me to have two hobbies that require to study and learn and remember more and more techniques). Tuesdays and Thursdays are judo nights. Seeing how Fridays and Saturdays are family nights that leaves three sewing nights; Monday, Wednesday and Sunday. I’ve have found that with limited time I am more efficient and can now present my next make.

I decided to use McCall’s 5974, “the perfect knit dress” and the pattern behind my Rule Britannia dress, yet again. Why ditch a winning concept? And it’s been my plan ever since January when I picked up the two pieces of fabric from the scrap bin.Aqua Painted Dress (3)

As I had already made this pattern once this dress went together rather quickly and only at the cost of one twin needle (although that was my own fault and I can’t put the blame on either the needle, the machine or the fabric). I made the FBA a bit smaller, for the Rule Britannia Dress it was 2”, for this one I narrowed it down to 1.5”. Instead of a narrow hem at the neckline, it bubbles a bit on the other dress, I sewed a banded neckline with a piece of fabric 2 cm wide and 80% of the neckline width. I liked that finish so much better. I also sewed the side and back seams with a 1.5 cm seam allowance as opposed to the suggested 1 cm. And yes, I’m uncontrollably mixing imperial and SI units. It’s how I roll.

Aqua Painted Dress (6)

The biggest challenge for this dress was stripe matching. I had 2 m of fabric, more than enough, so I knew  could do it. I cut the back first, on the fold, this was the easiest piece to match. The front has three pieces; bodice, midriff and skirt so I had to work with getting the lines as correctly as I could. You see, the lines are supposed to look tie-dyed, so they are not regular, the distance between them varies. With this in mind, I think I did a pretty damn good job.


Aqua Painted Dress (4)
Look at that stripe matching


The fabric is a printed cotton jersey, a printed tie-dye as opposed to, you know, a real one. I like the summery feel of the fabric, yet I think it works in the office (at least my office). It’s fun, comfortable, it fits and it’s flattering. I have nothing else to ask for. Although having made two jersey dresses in a rapid fashion I’m now in the mood for some woven fabrics, I have som eprojects lined up.

Do you use the same pattern more than once? Do you make version different from each other or are you fine with “having one in every colour”? How do you find time for all your hobbies?

Creation: Midnight Sun Shirt

In the spirit of Sew For a Change I decided to mend and make do. This led me to cut up one of my me-mades and make myself a shirt.

Midnight Sun Shirt (12)

The long wrap dress was made from a wrap top and was ill-fitting and I felt very hausfrau when I was wearing it. I was never really comfortable in it. The fabric however is a lovely cotton poplin that is wonderful to wear, so there’s no way I would let it go to waste.

Violet Dress

I cut off all seams and just used the piece for a new pattern, the Lily shirt (same pattern as dress above, only shortened) from Jenny Hellström’s book Sy! Från hood till skjortklänning. In the book she instructs us not to mess with darts and rather take the clothes in at CB/CF and side seams. But, after my Rule Britannia dress I was on an FBA high, so I tried that out. It’s not a perfect FBA, the vertical darts runs from the bust to the waist, so it was a bit hard. Even if the fit is not spot on, I think my attempt of an FBA made it better than using Jenny’s idea. However, she wants everyone to sew and that you could be a beginner and making her projects and I honestly don’t think FBAs are for beginners, they come at a later stage and shouldn’t hold back enthusiam.

Midnight Sun Shirt (14)

I was a bit short on fabric so I had to cut the collar in halfs and set a seam at the CB. It’s not that noticable. Also, I had no fabric for sleeves, so a sleeveless shirt it is. I used black bias tape for facing the armholes. The belt is a leftover from the fabric’s stint as a wrap dress and I like it with the shirt too so that gets to live on as is. Plus, do you see how well my shirt gos with the matching Midnight Sun Skirt?

Midnight Sun Shirt (9)

This was a rather quick make, I can’t belive how fast it took me to sew this up (the buttons were hand-stitched on during that fatal Olympic hockey final). The instructions tells us where and when to sick-sack/overlock the edges and we are only instructed to do so for the seams that get a lot of strain. That saved me a lot of time, so let’s hope the shirt doesn’t fall apart.

Midnight Sun Shirt (13)

Mind you, this fabric is not black, it is blue, so what do I have? Another look for #SewBlueFebruary! Here’s a closeup of the collar as well. image

Assymetrical Top

This was the first garment I finished after baby E was born and, to be honest, there hasn’t been many others. But still, a garment which has gotten lost in blogging world.

Assymetrisk Top (1)

The top is Burdastyle 02-2013-109, one of the knit tops from that issue. It also comes as a dress option, with a skirt panel added below the top. The dress is the “sewing school” project of the issue so the instructions are clear and easy to follow. Assymetrisk top, detalj

I do like the assymetry of the top, both from the front and back. The front left side has pleats and gathers, a bit tricky to do, but a very nice detail (and yes, there still are som gathering threads I need to unpick). I had to shorten this band to make the top sit well on me, otherwise I had to pull it down to leave a very inappropriate cleavage (especially since I was in the beginning of breast-feeding at the point). This means that the pleats are a bit closer to the seam than they are supposed to be, but to me it’s not an issue.Assymetrisk TopThe fabric is a viscose jersey in one of my favourite colours, bordeaux. I found it in the scrap bin so it was cheaper than usual. The assymetric hemline doesn’t bother me, I like it on the outside of garments, as above, and I think it can be tucked in as well, haven’t tried, though.

Project summary:
Burdastyle 02-2013-109
Alterations: Shortened shoulder strap.
Difficulty: Novice

Fabric: Viscose jersey
Notions: Thread, interfacing bias tape.
Estimated price: Fabric 88 SEK (€10),thread and interfacing 5 SEK (€0.57). Total: 93 SEK (€10.61)

Project rating:
I’m not very good on tops and blouses, so finding those patterns and making them is definitely needed. This is a fun shape in a colour I like so it will probably get a lot of wear in the winter, layered. The colour doesn’t scream “summer” to me. Perhaps I’ll make one more, but since the style is distinct I don’t want too many of it.