Planning for Autumn

Even though the weather here is still warm (and hot some days), I've found myself thinking about what I'd like to make for my Autumn wardrobe.

I've been Pinning a few things to my Autumn Wardrobe Ideas Pinterest board, and thought I'd share a few of them with you.

One look I'm really keen on is a floral dress topped with a chunky cardigan, something like these.

Ok, so there's no cardigan in the third one, but isn't the dress pretty?  I like the chunky cowls in the first two photos as well. 

I've bought some floral viscose to make one dress, possibly a dress length Mathilde.

And I love this fabric by Rebecca Bischoff.  It's Blythe Roses in the Sunset colourway.   I think this would look lovely as a Colette Laurel or something similar.

I also have a couple of cardigan patterns picked out.

The one on the left is Meridien by Joji Locatelli, and on the right is Storm Mountain by Heidi Kirrmaier, both available on Ravelry.   I've actually started on Meridien in a lovely violet wool/nylon mix yarn.  I also have yarn that would be suitable for Storm Mountain.

The other look I really like, which might be more wintery, is a black leather flared or A-line skirt.

I actually have a flared black "pleather" skirt that I bought last year, but I've lost a bit of weight and I think it will be too big this year - it wasn't exactly tight when I bought it.  I don't really have a pattern in mind yet, I might even try and draft one myself based on my existing skirt.

I've also got plans for another coat this year, it will be this Burdastyle one, in navy wool/cashmere/poly blend. 

Have you started thinking about Autumn/Winter projects yet?  I'd love to know what you're planning.

Another Anna

Warning: Sunglasses may be required for viewing this dress!

A while ago I saw this dress on Pinterest and fell in love with it.


When I saw By Hand London's Anna pattern I was struck by how similar the shape was, so I set about a search for some similar fabric.

I couldn't find anything exactly the same, but I did find this:

I got this fabric on Ebay, but it's now available from Minerva Crafts.

I started making this version of Anna almost as soon as I'd finished my first.  Can you tell I love the pattern?!

I made the maxi length, with the slash neckline and a split that comes to just above my knee.   No one needs to see my thighs in a dress split as high as the pattern shows!

Anyway, sunglasses at the ready because here is the result.

I've tried some new locations for my photos too, taking advantage of the nice weather to go into the garden. 

Sorry about the strange facial expression of the one above, not sure what I was doing! 

I think the last one shows the fabric most accurately, and although there is (almost) no bright pink in the print, I love it with the pink belt.

I finished this dress about 10 days ago and have worn it 3 times already.  I call that a success!

I think I want at least one more Anna, but first I've got some other things to finish off.

Wedding Dress Progress

I seem to have had no time for blogging recently.  It's been as much as I can do to keep up with reading blogs, let alone posting myself.  Sorry about that. 

I'm not totally sure why, although I have been spending rather a lot of time working on this:

I don't know if you remember me posting a few weeks ago about the wedding dress I'd been asked to make, well that is what it looks like as of today.

It's been a bit scary so far.  The fabric (silk double crepe) is shifty, but not slippery, so if it moves a bit as you're sewing, it wants to grab onto itself and stay there.  Of course, the grabby-ness can be a help when you've got everything lined up properly, so it's not all bad. 

I also have the lining made, I actually did this first, so I could check the fit based on the alterations I made to the muslin.

As you can see I made a facing for the neckline and armholes out of the silk and attached that to a lining.  I wanted to make sure that none of the lining could be visible. 

I had to think a bit about the order of construction, as Marfy patterns don't give you ANY instructions at all.

Once I'd cut the pieces out, I cut the front bodice and back bodice again in silk organza to provide some stability to this area.  The dress the bride showed me as her inspiration was quite structured in the bodice, and the silk is just too drapey on its own. 

 Then the next step had to be hemming the skirt drape and attaching that between the front bodice and front skirt.  Once that was done, construction could proceed in the "normal" manner.

I really love how the skirt drape looks.

The back is plain.  It will have covered buttons and rouleau loops down the back.  I've had the buttons professionally covered as I hate doing these.  I figured the time it would take me to do them neatly equated pretty well to the cost of having them done for me.  They look really lovely, the backs are also covered for a couture finish.

The next steps are to pipe the neckline and attach the lining to the main fabric, then to work out the back fastenings.  I think I know how to do it - I just need a couple of hours of peace and quiet to sit down and work it through properly.  That will hopefully happen at the weekend. 

After that the dress will be pretty much finished.  Only hemming to do, and some sort of embellishment for the front along the seam joining the bodice to the skirt.  The bride wants some sort of silver lace, but so far hasn't found anything she likes. 

Anyway, that's pretty much what I've been up to. 

I have been sewing for myself too, I've made another Anna dress, which I'll show you soon.  Get your sunglasses ready - she's bright!

Sewing v Shopping

Last week I wrote a post about how my love of clothes shopping has all but disappeared over the last year or so. 

I got some great comments from my lovely readers, so I though it would be good to do a follow up post. 

I did a little poll, asking the following question:

"As someone who makes their own clothes, how do you feel about clothes shopping?"
  • I've always loved it and still do.
  • I used to love it and now don't.
  • I've never liked clothes shopping.

First, a chart to show the results - you know I like my charts!

I was surprised that not one person who answered the poll said that they have always loved clothes shopping and still do. 

74% of those who answered (14 out of 19 people) said that they used to love shopping for clothes but no longer do, and the remaining 5 had never enjoyed it.

I sometimes wondered if it was just me who felt this way, but it appears not.

Now, on to the reasons for not liking clothes shopping. 

Well the biggie for most people was fit.  At least 7 people that left a comment (out of 12) mentioned that they were fed up with being unable to buy clothes that fitted them well. 

One commenter mentioned that she'd bought a couple of tops recently where the fit was "quite" good, but she'd bought them anyway because she liked the fabric.  She did also comment however that she wouldn't have accepted the way they fit if they'd been items she had made herself. 

I actually did something similar myself recently.  I saw a top in gorgeous fabric in a little independent shop near me, but knew the boxy shape wouldn't suit me.  I left it there, but couldn't stop thinking about the pretty fabric, so a couple of days later I went back, tried it on, realised I could add some darts and bought it.  I added darts to the front and back and am pretty happy with it now, but I realise that's not something you can do with every ready to wear garment that doesn't fit well!

Another big dislike when it comes to ready to wear clothing was the finishing.  Several people mentioned poor finishing, or broken belt loops, and general quality of construction and materials used.   I am often shocked at the prices charged for a dress (or whatever) made of what is obviously very cheap fabric, the type that you know you could pick up for only a few pounds a metre... if you could find it!

That was something else a couple of people mentioned - that they wished it was possible to buy some of the fabrics used in ready to wear.  I agree, the prints and patterns of some are so gorgeous, and are things that you just don't see in fabric shops generally. 

The only thing that some people said they do like shopping for is shoes.  Even those that have never liked clothes shopping seem to love shopping for shoes.  I wonder why?

I tend to think it's because we don't have the fit issues with shoes that are associated with clothes.  Of course, sometimes you'll try on a shoe you love and it will be uncomfortable, but shoes never make us feel fat, or short or lumpy.  In fact a gorgeous pair of shoes will make you feel tall, slim and gorgeous!

I hope you've enjoyed this post, and the previous one.  It's been really interesting for me to find out that so many others feel the same way as I do about clothes shopping.

Now the only thing left to ask, is do we feel this was because we can make our own clothes, or did we start to make our own clothes because we feel this way?

Something else for you to ponder...

By Hand London Anna Dress - I'm in love!

Surprise, surprise, I've made another dress!

And I love it.

It's the Anna dress from By Hand London.   It features double pleats at the bust, kimono sleeves, and a panelled A line skirt.  You have the option of slash or V necklines and either midi or maxi length. 

I went for slash neckline and midi length.

This is pretty much the perfect style dress as far as I'm concerned.  It's fitted enough to give me some shape, but loose enough to be comfortable. 

As soon as I saw various different versions appearing around the sewing blogosphere I knew I had to make one myself.   Check out Karen's and Jane's .

I made this over a couple of evenings this week. I could have finished it more quickly but I had a real nightmare with a couple of parts - the reasons for this are purely of my own making, nothing to do with the pattern. 

The fabric is I think 100% polyester, a grey and black lace print, which I picked up at a little fabric shop near my dentist a couple of weeks ago.  I bought 2 metres thinking I'd probably make a dress of some sort, but that was as far as the planning went.

To be honest, although it's pretty, it was a bit of a nightmare to sew.  The zip went in twice and still isn't that great, because the fabric kept shifting all over the place.  Then the hem, oh my goodness, I think the hem took me as long as the rest of the dress did in total!  I ended up with a rolled hem, but I'm certainly not showing you any close up pictures of it. 

So, as I love the pattern so much I thought I'd do you a proper little review.  Here goes:

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:

An effortless Summer dress featuring double pleats at the bust, kimono sleeves and a panelled a-line skirt. Variations include both slash and v-neck options, plus midi and maxi skirt possibilities and a dramatic thigh high split. Super quick and simple to make, cut it short for the perfect festival dress, or make it worthy of the red carpet with a maxi skirt and thigh high split.

Pattern Sizing:

UK 6 – 20.  I made a straight size 14 and it fits perfectly.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Yes, except you can't see the bust pleats very well because my fabric is patterned.  A plain, or smaller patterned fabric would show them off better. 

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yes, very.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I loved everything.  Although I’m short I love a good maxi dress, and I liked the option of different necklines as well as different lengths.  Of course there is also that split!

The only thing I would probably change for another time is the neck facing.  I really, really don't like facings, so I'd either use a bias tape to finish the neck or possibly fully line the bodice.

Fabric Used:

I think it is 100% polyester.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

None.  I cut a straight size 14 and it fits exactly as I would like it to.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Definitely.  I want one in all the colours!  I would definitely recommend it to others. 


I love the shape and fit of this dress.  I’m definitely making it again.  
I can see myself wearing this one pretty much year round.  For summer it's a bit too synthetic to wear on really hot days.  I can also picture it with a chunky cardi, opaque tights and boots in the winter.  Yum!
I have fabric for another one already.  My next one will be a maxi, although I'm not sure about the split.  I think I'll probably go with the v neck, as my fabric is rather loud and I'm not sure it would look that good right next to my face.  Here it is:
I'm hoping it will be a kind of similar look to this Alice & Olivia dress I found on Pinterest recently.   In which case, the slash neckline would be better.