Sew together for summer

I’m taking a new tack with Me Made May. I’m doing a daily post on Instagram (I’m @stuffjohasmade in case you’re interested) but on here I think I’ll just do a round up at the end of the month. Part of this is sheer laziness, but it’s also because we’ve invested in a fancy camera and the weather’s suddenly gone from grotty to glorious, so I’m suddenly a bit more interested in taking pictures.

First up, it’s my entry in the Sew Together for Summer contest. The competition is the brainchild of Sarah of Sew Sarah Smith (@sewsarahsmith), Monika (@rocco.sienna) and Suzy (@sewing_in_spain) These lovely ladies seem to have read my mind; all I am making at the moment is shirts and shirt dresses, and all you have to do to join in is whip up a shirt dress and share it on Instagram!

So for my entry, I decided to revisit an old faithful. I’m flying back to the UK next month for a wedding and obvs I need a new dress. I’m trying to sew things from my pattern stash rather than buying new, and the Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress seemed perfect for the task. I’ve made it a few times before, I know it fits nicely and it’s reasonably simple to sew up.

Front

This was taken on the roof of our building. It’s a bit of a sun trap and has awesome views over Lake Union to downtown Seattle. It’s basically what sold me on living there. And there’s a chicken coop up there too!

I picked up my fabric in Dry Goods Design in Seattle. It’s a lovely, buttery soft cotton lawn with a nice handle, and was a dream to sew with. I had no issues working with it, apart from when my machine decided that buttonholes were a bad idea. I had to unpick a few but they generally went off without too much bother. The buttons themselves are from another shop in Seattle, Nancy’s Sewing Basket. It’s a great shop with a brilliant range of dressmaking fabrics and notions, but it’s at the top of a massive hill (a bit of a feature in Seattle) so I’ll be visiting only when I have a good shopping list. Seriously, that hill is steep.

Back

The back. Plenty of space in that hem for bad wedding dancing.

I’m pretty pleased with the finished result. The wedding’s in Norfolk and I’m hoping for some good weather. The dress feels light and airy, so should see me through the day right up to the point where we’re drunkenly singing Take That’s Never Forget at the end of the night. And isn’t that what weddings should be about? Dresses and drunkeness?

Collar close up

Here’s the collar. The fabric is so nice to work with that it was easy to get a crisp finish with my iron.

Bonus top!

I… ermm… accidentally bought too much fabric and ended up with enough left over to make a bonus top! I managed to squeeze out a new version of my copied RTW top. I wore it this weekend when we visited Bainbridge Island for a spot of exploring and wine tasting. Mostly wine tasting. I had to have a nap when we got home.

Photo May 20, 13 28 55

Pre-wine tasting.

A good vintage

As soon as I announced that I had a posting schedule I knew I would break it. This post is coming to you a day later than planned because I have spent the weekend gallivanting in Dublin. It was a nice little trip – visiting a friend to catch up on Eurovision because we missed it when it was aired last week. Like many others, Eurovision is a bit of a tradition for us. We always try and watch it together and according to my score sheet, my douze points this year went to Belgium. I never pick the actual winner…

Front

Yes, it’s blue like all my other clothes, but it’s stash fabric, so what’re you gonna do?

So anyway, here’s my latest make! It’s a Sew Over It vintage shirt dress and I am just a teeny bit pleased with it. It’s my second version of the dress, having made the first in a class earlier this year. That one probably won’t get blogged – it’s a perfectly wearable dress but there are so many things I’d do differently (like sew the buttonholes in a straight line) that I’d rather show you a completely successful version. Like this one.

Side

The armholes are finished with bias binding.

My latest attempt is made in a lightweight cotton lawn from Goldhawk Road which will be perfect for summer, if it ever turns up. The guy in the shop said it was Liberty, but I’m more inclined to believe it’s Liberty knock off. It doesn’t feel silky like tana lawn and it had a printing imperfection near the selvedge which probably wouldn’t happen with Liberty fabrics (I like to think their quality control is a bit more advanced). Nevertheless it’s super pretty and it was really nice to work with.

Back

The dress itself is easy to make and fit. It has pleats in the waist instead of darts and it has a lot of ease around the waist. I made a size 12 and added an extra inch to the bodice length as my first version sits a little bit too high, and I wanted to be able to wear a belt at the waist. It’s not a difficult project – the sewing is straightforward as long as you’ve marked everything up properly. The hardest part was attaching the collar. The very clear instructions have you sandwich the collar between the bodice and the facing so you’re sort of attaching it blind, although there is a pattern marker to help you. It’s a bit of a faff, but it does produce a nice neat finish.

One of my triumphs with this dress was definitely the buttonholes. My first version used thicker fabric which meant my machine had a hissy fit at the waist seam. I must have done the first buttonhole above the waist at least ten times, and that’s not an exaggeration. But on this dress the buttonholes went in like a dream, and when the machine went a bit haywire I calmly unpicked, rethreaded and carried on. Eleven buttonholes later I heaved a sigh of relief and congratulated myself on holding my temper.

buttonhole

I mean, look at the state of that! Ripped out SO. MANY. TIMES.

I can’t wait for warmer weather so I can wear this dress without freezing. It’s a flattering shape on me and will be brilliant for work – I don’t have enough summer work clothes so this will really help. I’ve got a few other fabrics in my stash that would suit the pattern – I just need more time to make them up.

What are you making at the moment?

Detail

I added belt loops where the pleats meet at the waistline. This photo doesn’t show them very well, but I also really like the buttons – they’re a little bit shell-like but with an offset square carved out of the middle. Simple, yet sweet.