Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Tilly & the Buttons Rosa Shirt dress in Liberty Needlecord

I was so excited when I saw the Rosa shirt dress by Tilly & the Buttons.  It had my name all over it - love the suggestion to use piping and contrasting neck band etc and I m a sucker for a princess seam!

I had this Liberty needlecord in my stash for quite some time and had been waiting for the perfect project- and decided this was it.

The trickiest bit of the make was the cutting out.  My own fault- I thought I had 2 metres of the fabric but it turns out, I only had 1.5.  Doh.  but I m a stubborn type so I was going to make it work.  I had one hell of a jigsaw going on to make it work.  Outside of the main dress body pieces I was rather flexible on using the grain and just made things fit.

First sewing step is to stitch the front & back pieces together.  It suggests 3 steps - sew& trim, over lock, then top stitch.  I followed this but not exactly - as I wanted to do some fitting fine tuning before overlocking & topstitching.  So I sewed the pieces that make up front & back together down the princes seams, then tacked the other seams together on the largest setting on my machine so I could check the fit.    I have to admit that when I sew princess seams I don't pin- I just pin at the notches, sew with the most curved fabric on top and ease it into position between the pins as I go.  I then put it on my dress form and played around with it.

 I was seriously happy about the fit at the back without any alterations, but the front looked a bit loose, so on the reverse I pinned the seams further in and on the front from the bust to the hip.  I noted the side seams also looked like they needed some alterations, but I ll fine tune that later.

I made my adjustments to the fit, then I overlocked & topstitched.  I would highly recommend not diving into finalising those seams until you refine the fit.  The reason I love princess seams so much is you can get such a great fit with them, so I would definitely allow yourself the opportunity to do that. For topstitching I used Gutermann top stitch thread in navy.  I sewed closer in than the 10mm suggested, probably more like 6mm.

My adjustments to fit...

And topstitching.

I was quite happy how my top stitching was looking! I only went for 1 row as I felt the fabric was quite busy enough!

I decided to add some piping too- I decided down the front, at the cuffs and across the back 'v' shape of the yoke.  I've never done piping before so I read a few tutorials on line and had a go.  I discovered my 'stitch in the ditch' foot as I call it was perfect.

For the button band down the front, I did this differently to the pattern,. I put the facing pieces on the front, not the back of the main fabric so I could do the piping and have the contrast button band showing.  For the piping, I sewed piping on the top of one piece first, using this foot:
 I then pinned the other piece on top, turned it over so the previous stitch line was visible and sewed using the foot, on top/just inside the previous stitch line so I knew I was close to the piping.
 I then ironed it the right way and stitched in the ditch to keep the insides folded in the right way.

 The V was a challenge- I really didn't know how to do that- to be honest my only criticism of the pattern is that it doesn't given any tips at all on piping, which is shown on the cover and therefore I assumed that would be included.   I did the same on the V but cutting into the piping to make it go round the curve.  I know this looks a bit of a mess.
 Overall it is ok.  Its a bit puckered right below the V (really don't think my technique was right) and the  inside of that bit looks terrible.  Would love some tips on how to do this better.
Really happy with the neck and front binding though...  I used scrap denim from my refashioners project and love the contrast.  I had a small issue with the neck- the collar was smaller than my neckline- I clearly either cut the collar small or the neckline stretched, which I think is the likely reason. I added in 2 small darts to overcome it and actually I quite like them as they give a nice fit on the back (but look awful on the hanger)

I put binding on the cuffs and used a bit of scrap fabric to go on the inside, as per pictures below.

 And then I sewed the sleeve down to the hem seam, capturing in the cuff lining I had made.

The finished sleeve with piping on the edge.

 Last job, buttons - or in my case snaps.  I love these Prym jeans snaps and I hate sewing buttons so easy choice!! I used the Prym 15mm Antique Brass Anorak snaps with the Prym vario pliers which I highly recommend.  This is how I use them for perfect results.

First up you use this little piece of metal in my fingers  and give it a hammer in the right spot to cut out a hole for the snap to go through.

Put the snap piece in the pliers.  One side holds firmly in place so put that one on top.
 Push it through the hole you made in the fabric, and squeeze the pliers really tight.  And repeat!

 And there they are!!

I finished off the hem and I was all done, Rosa was ready.  Some pictures of the finished dress  below.  I'd highly recommend this pattern.  I wore my dress yesterday and its super comfy but feels very stylish too.  I love the fit-  there will be more of these for sure!  Top tips would be to ensure you plan in fitting of the princess seams and I'd also double check length in case you want it longer - I really wouldn't want it any shorter, I only did a hem of about 5mm, next time I may cut it fractionally longer to give myself a little more room for hemming.

Thanks for reading,  Any tips on getting my piping better are most welcome
Messy Essy Makes

Inspiring dress!

Today I wanted to share a RTW dress I bought that I find really inspiring!!  Its from &Other Stories and I bought it in Copenhagen a few months ago.

So here is what the dress looks like when you put it on!! Its a giant triangle, like a tent.  Its got a concealed button fastening up the front.

But then you use the ties on the front and they pull  in to create the most perfect dart/pleats, exactly to your shape!

Tie them down the front and it makes such a great fit & perfect silhouette

Isn't it great!!  I d love to cut a pattern one of these days- such a simple concept and it gives a lovely shape.  Hope you like it

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

My top 8 favourite patterns

I'm I wanted to write a post sharing my favourite pattern picks- my top 8 patterns I’ve made over & over, that are my ‘go-to’s I rely on.  Here we go…in no particular order!!
1. Sew over it Tulip skirt:   Lets start here as this is the on  I’m working on right now, my 3rd and surely not my last.  I love this skirt- its got a flattering shape, I can sew it in under a metre of fabric,  Its quick- like 2-3 hours quick, It has pockets, I can just sew up the size 12 and bang, perfect, no alterations in site.   In my mind, this is the perfect pattern for a stunner of a fabric- one with some body & structure – where the skirt will be the star of the show and all you need to do is grab a plain top and run.   I specifically like the fact its darts at the back (I find the 4 darts very flattering) but pleats at the front, meaning a nice shape and body at the front, but not overly heavy on the derriere.    I bought this one as a PDF- as a rule I hate PDFs but since its only a skirt, there were not too many pieces so it was ok to put together relative to some of the others I’ve tried.

2.      2. Tilly & the buttons Agnes top: My first jersey sew, my first I tried on my over locker and have reused time & time again since.  You can make endless alterations and achieve anything from just a plain top for everyday, to something with standout fabric & fancy sleeves with a bit more wow.  For jersey, love, love this one.  Instructions are perfect, especially if you are starting out with jersey. 

3.      3. Simplicity ultimate fit princess seam dress- 1586: I love this one because it suits my shape & I do like a fitted dress- this one, with all the princess pieces allows you to get a perfect fit.  I love the flexibility of it too.  I ve put 3 examples below- don’t they all look different?  It can flex from a summer staple, to something looking quite smart, to something comfortable and cosy for winter.  With these ultimate fit patterns you get pieces for different cup sizes and also for how curvy you are (on top of the usual dress size) so you can really tailor your make to your body shape with the most appropriate pieces.  I find it goes together perfectly – this isn’t one I just sew & go- it needs fitting each time and it does vary each time depending on the stretch of the fabric and look you want.  The cotton one for example is obviously a lot less fitted than the one made of stretch twill.   In terms of hacks, the only things I ve done is really switch the zip to the centre back to use a visible metal zipper and interchange different sleeves

4.      4. Aime come Maggellan: I loved this pattern when I first saw it, it had my name allover it.  I just find it with enough detail to be interesting, but plain enough to be practical and wear either over or tucked in.  Another one that can look different whether made lightweight & sleeveless for summer, or with sleeves for winter.  I also like the fact it uses little fabric and can be a great stash buster as you can use different fabrics for the different elements if you like.  Instructions are in French, with a brief English translation, but putting it together is common sense and there are little illustrations- so I didn’t have an issue.

5.      5. Simplicity shift dress Simplicity 6145:  This is my most used pattern.  I’m sure loads of these patterns exist, this is just one I found early on that worked and I’ve stuck with it.    Its just a good old shift dress with darts- with some nice sleeve and collar options.  I just find the basic shape perfect, I ve used it as is, added additional back or front darts, and I’ve used it like a block to adapt from/shorten to a top etc.  I would highly recommend if you are looking for that perfect basic shift- or like the idea of having a block but don’t know where to start- you could start with this and alter it a bit to meet your needs.

6.      6. Vogue cowl neck blouse v8816.  One of the patterns I went for early on and these tops I wear all the time.  Literally all the time.  They work with jeans casually, they work with a suit looking more formal.  Super simple to put together – no zips, it just goes straight over your head.  As you probably know if you’ve read my blog before, I m addicted to Liberty tana lawn and this pattern just suits it so perfectly.  Surprisingly, I’ve never made one with sleeves. I must rectify that.  I ve also never tried in jersey, something that is sure to work well.   Only watch out on this pattern is because of the cowl neck, I have several times intended to make it but under-estimated my fabric requirement (so ended up making something else).

7.     7.  Sew over it Ultimate trousers.  This is the one & only trouser pattern I ve ever tried – but I find it a super one, especially if you lack confidence in that department- the style is quite straightforward, allowing you to focus on the all-important fit.  Love the fact it has short option too with the cute turnups.  I wore them all summer long and they are still going strong.  I wrote a full review of this pattern & the class I took in an earlier post here…

8.      8. My own blocks!!!   Last but certainly not least, I can’t tell you how happy I am to have my own block.  I use it all the time and can sew up a simple top or skirt in no time, no need for fitting or measurement as I know it just works.  I used Chinelo Bally’s Freehand Fashion book to work out my blocks, I made them up, tweeking them as I go and then when happy, cut them out in card & hand them on my wall.    If I just want something pretty basic, or want to experiment with my own design, I usually start from here.

So there we have it.  I ‘m looking forward to adding to this list and there are some of the ‘classics’ that I m yet to try… the Grainline Archer & Linden and the byHandLondon Anna dress I m pretty sure will go straight on the list when I try them….

So what patterns have I missed that you would recommend??  I m always looking to add to this list
Messy Essy Makes x