Tag Archives: dressmaking

Pattern Testing Jazz by Ready To Sew

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I’m not sure about any of the expressions I gave in any of these photos… It’s me again! I’ve had a lot of exciting opportunities recently which is great, but does mean a lot less time for the old blog. That being said, I have a new make to show you all!

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It is my great pleasure to introduce to you Jazz, the new pattern from french pattern company Ready to Sew. They contacted me to ask if I would pattern test and I jumped at the chance. It’s a loose fitting dress or jumpsuit and has sleeve and length options, and I have to admit the design isn’t necessarily something I would have gone for without prompting. When I was sent some photos, however, I saw a black sleeveless jumpsuit version, and I realised that actually my wardrobe could definitely benefit from an easy breezy outfit like that.

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I went for a navy viscose from Abakhan Fabrics. It was my first time with viscose but this specific fabric, while drapey, still had a bit of weight to it which I think probably helped. My cutting could have been a lot better, but sewing it didn’t present too many challenges as long as I went slowly.

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I was sent this pattern to test the instructions and constructions, which I’m not going to detail here. I don’t think it would be very fair to talk about negatives which might not even be in the final draft. This is an intermediate pattern and I definitely feel that in the instructions. Ready to Sew does have a nice feature in their instructions where they have links to tutorials on how to do certain steps such as the invisible zip, if you’re concerned it might have some new construction techniques for you.

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I’m happy to wear this jumpsuit, but as I had to make it quite quickly (see above business, coupled with a temporary loss of sewing space in the flat) I did make a few irritating mistakes which I’d like to rectify next time I make it. One great thing about this pattern is that on the cutting layouts there is a guide showing you which edges you need to serge, which I’ve never seen before but love.

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I enthusiastically zig zagged the required edges, but in my eagerness I didn’t really take much care in ensuring the stitches would actually be caught in the seam allowance. A few zig zags do poke out onto the front of the fabric as a result, oops. Also, I’m beginning to think the sewing foot I thought was for invisible zips is actually only for normal zips, as I have yet to use it successfully.

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As I said earlier, I originally wasn’t sure how this jumpsuit would fit into my style and wardrobe. I very rarely wear or make clothes without a waist, having a look at my choices over Me Made May shows that for certain! I think I’ve got it into my head that because I’m petite and have short hair, I want to show some kind of curve of the body at all times.

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This is, of course, ridiculous. Gender is performative and ultimately irrelevant to clothing, so who cares if I don’t look ‘femme’ one day, or don’t create an hourglass silhouette in a corseted style every day? Choosing to do or not do these things is both completely fine, of course, and any variation in between. Please, wear things you want to wear. I took a look at myself and realised I hadn’t critically evaluated why I wanted to always cinch in my waist, which needed rectifying. This jumpsuit was a nice way of showing the internal criticisms that I am still valid and cute and stylish in something loose fitting. And I like it! It’s really comfy, super effortless and I can eat as much as I want without worrying my food baby will press against the waistband!

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I also like it with a belt, and apparently want to sneeze if this photo is anything to go by. As I don’t often need to define my waist further, plus the fact that I rarely wear accessories (so don’t own many), I didn’t have an exact matching belt to try with this. I had a waist tie from a top I no longer own which, while black and so not exactly matching, did a good job.

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I am already planning my next one, I’m thinking for going for a brighter colour, or maybe a khaki to look like some kind of french fashion style army person who wants no part in the war, and only wants to look cool.

Disclaimer: This pattern was given to my by Ready to Sew free as a pattern tester. All views are my own.

Tilly and the Buttons Orla Top

This make was rather a long time coming. All the way back in September, I was encouraged to buy this teal crepe from Sew Over It by Pocket for Sweets, during the Instagram challenge Sew Photo Hop. I got their jade crepe. Such a beautiful colour!

I knew I wanted to make an Orla top similar to the one made in the sewalong. However, I fell foul of not having the right equipment. I had been using some fairly cheap fabric scissors and until now they hadn’t presented too many problems. A couple of hacks into this fabric, however, and it was obvious I needed some better kit. I got myself some pretty wobbly pieces there!

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Christmas came, and I was lucky enough to get new fabric scissors and a rotary cutter and mat. However, I then had a lot of moving and new jobbing to do (see this post), and so Orla took a back seat.

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As soon as the sewing machine was plugged in, I was a go on this top again. I cut with a combination of rotary cutter and scissors and wow having the right tools makes so much difference you guys. I love my blade buddies.

This was a pretty straightforward make, as you would expect with Tilly’s patterns the instructions are clear and easy to follow. The fabric I chose is reasonably thick but still has a nice drape which made it a good choice for this top. It doesn’t press that easily though, so lots of steam required to put it into submission. It also frays quite badly so it might be easier to mark your notches with thread rather than snipping them into the fabric? Mine disappeared into the fabric a bit.

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I made the possibly over confident decision to make this first ever exposed zipper one with a decorative edge. I did a bit of a botch job on this, although I’m still pretty pleased with it. Do you try to tuck the bottom in like the instructions suggest with a normal exposed zip, or do you sew the metal bottom on the right side of the fabric? I felt like I was going mad because everyone I found online who used these didn’t seem to have any problems.

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I took the sides in by a bit because I like my clothes a bit more fitted at the waist, although I still feel like it might be a bit loose. The biggest bit of trouble I had was with the collar. I need to start thinking about whether my collars would be better off with lining on the bottom side, because I always have a problem with the bulk created with all the layers of fabric and interfacing. I also cut some of the collar pieces before I owned my rotary cutter, and so they don’t have the crisp lines they should have.

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Overall, I’m pleased I’ve finished this top, but there’s a part of me that still isn’t sure about it when actually wearing it. I wonder if the top is just a bit too long for me? Or perhaps the shoulders are too big, despite my pressing attempts. Plus, there’s the slightly costumey collar on my little neck. I just wonder if there’s something not quite right about it. However, I did wear it out over the weekend and felt good in it, so it might just be that I feel uncertain about it because it feels a bit different to my usual style.

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I would be interested in trying this top again, possibly in a slightly lighter fabric to see how that changes the look. I did like how it tonally matched with my secondhand coat, making a pretty sweet transitional ensemble.

Mending: Space Dress Edition

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It’s no secret that I love my space print Lilou. So much so that I am seriously thinking about making another space printed Lilou…

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I learnt a lot of skills during this make, the main one being there is a reason patterns give a recommended zip length. I went for one way too short because it was in my stash, and as a result it was always super hard to get out of the dress. It was a proper, two person pulling and swearing job. Not the most glamorous of undressings…

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I finally got ‘round to unpicking the zip and replacing it with a dress length invisible zip. I’m still not perfect on the zip insertion, but I’m definitely getting better every time which is nice.

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Here are a couple of photos to illustrate the fact that I mended my problems. This was before I went to work and still had that lovely morning glow/ stunned look. You’re welcome.

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Reel Life- Judy Hopps

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Welcome to another edition of Reel Life, where I find ways you can dress like your favourite characters from screen in the outside world. I love Zootopia/ Zootropolis/ whatever you call it where you live, and so I had to create a look for Lieutenant Judy Hopps. Excitingly, you can recreate this look with independent patterns.

Rowan bodysuit

Her whole outfit is very fitted, and so I’ve gone for stretch fabric patterns. Megan Nielsen released two gorgeous new patterns earlier this month and seeing the Rowan bodysuit I knew it would be a great fit for the top half of the outfit. Judy Hopps wears a police uniform which actually looks like it’s all in one piece, and the Rowan bodysuit creates a seamless silhouette, very effectively recreating the look. The colour on this example photo is almost correct already! I would use the turtleneck long sleeved options, and I would open out the neck pattern piece, curve the edges down, and create a faux mandarin collar similar to Judy’s. The neck might need extra interfacing to keep its shape depending on your fabric choice.

I like the armbands she wears, and you shouldn’t need a pattern for these. Get some stretch fabric, possibly ribbed, and cut a rectangle to fit around your arm. I would curve the end outwards to fit over your hand like Judy’s do. Or, alternatively you could adapt the cuff of your Rowan top and create an even more integrated look. So many possibilities!


Virginia Leggings

For the bottoms I think these Virginia leggings (also from Megan Nielson) would be great- comfy for all those chase scenes whilst also stylish. Bonus points for adding knee patches in grey stretch fabric.

Flora dress

Lastly, the police vest. There are a couple of ways this could be achieved in a real world sense. You could make just the top half of a pinafore pattern, bringing together the side seams with bands at the sides. You could perhaps knit a tank top, complete with police badge incorporated into the design? Or, I realised that the bodice of the Flora dress from By Hand London looks quite similar in shape. I would make it up slightly larger than usual, in order to account for the bodysuit underneath.

And there we have it! All ready to solve animal related crime.

Which characters from film and TV would you love to dress like on an everyday basis? Let me know in the comments and you may see it in a future Reel Life post!