July 2021 Sew Diary

I almost forgot about my sewing diary this month – and it may well be my last month featuring summer clothes. I’m moving on to autumnal shades and patterns now.

Peppermint Magazine Paddington Top

As you know, most of my makes are dresses so it take something special to make me want to make a top. 9 times out of 10 these will feature a puff sleeve. I loved this top as soon as I saw it; I love it now all the more because of how simple it is to sew. I won’t go into the details as I have already blogged about it here but, suffice to say, it will make another appearance in the future.

The fabric I’ve used here is a Dear Stella cotton (mythical constellations).

Tester: StitchWitch Patterns Basque Dress

I LOVE this pattern and I am already planning to make a colour blocked version to really accentuate the gorgeous V-shaped feature on the basque. I was lucky enough to be a pattern tester and get my hands on the pattern before it was released. There are actually so many variations of this pattern; you can make a top version, there are two sleeve variations (or you can go sleeveless) and two skirt variations (an A-line and gathered version). Again, there is a blog post about this make here.

I loved this so much I’ve made it twice more over the course of the month and it proved perfect for the heatwave we had. Another version of the dress will be coming to Sew Totally Me soon.

Friday Pattern Company Adrienne Blouse Dress Hack

I spent a week’s worth of stolen moments wrestling with toiles of the By Hand London Sandeep dress – I’ve written an epic saga on my tribulations but suffice to say before I started cutting into the real thing, a palette cleanser was essential. The Adrienne is a pattern I know inside out but I didn’t want another top so I decided to hack it into a dress. I used this beautiful floral jersey from Jenny Stitches – I may have mentioned before that Jenny always has irresistible florals.

By Hand London Sandeep Dress

Full disclosure, I don’t think I have ever fallen out with a pattern, until this.

I was so disappointed as I loved this pattern immediately when I saw it and it went to the top of my to make list. I don’t think I ever hit ‘buy’ on a pattern so fast.

Everything about this project was absolutely hateful. I usually get on really well with BHL patterns, and with the 2-20 size range in which I usually make a 16. The 2-20 range of the Sandeep dress is drafted for a B cup. I thought I could do an FBA as that is what I usually do but the V-shaped darts don’t allow for a tidy finish – when you have to add a bust dart, you ruin the dramatic statement of the bodice and it created a whole host of other fitting issues. So, I thought, instead of giving myself a headache trying to play with it (I’d already made two toiles and wasn’t satisfied) that I would try the 16-38 range as it is drafted for a D cup and therefore would sort the fitting issues with the bust because the usual FBA wasn’t going to be the answer for the V shaped darts.

So, I bought the other size range and started again… A slight FBA STILL needed to be done, moving the bust darts so that they didn’t even remotely align to my bust apex – and I probably should have stopped there because what I discovered was that, going with the D cup range to fit my bust was one thing, but it created so much excess fabric that the following amounts had to be taken out:

1″ at the front neckline

2″ on the back neckline

3″ on each raglan sleeve

TOTAL: 9″ of excess material

Basically, the message I was getting was boobs = fat. This was so disappointing.

After toiling it again and making the necessary adjustments to lose the 9 inches, it seemed to fit better – it wasn’t perfect but I was no longer even trying for perfect as it seemed impossible. But the neckline sat flat, back and front and the shoulders no longer fell to my elbows.

Until I made it up in a duchess satin and discovered that what was comfortable in cotton (by toile 5 I had run out of calico) was unbearable in polyester (I will never use polyester again as it’s just not breathable). When I made adjustments on the toile, there were issues that weren’t visible in cotton (or the calico) for that matter. It’s very obvious in the duchess satin were there is tension caused by taking out the 9″.

The worst part – at least in terms of comfort – was the raglan sleeves. I knew taking out the 3″ on each sleeve would take away a lot of the flounce but in the toile it didn’t feel uncomfortable. In the Duchess Satin it was unbearable and you could feel the pull on the bicep so an adjustment would have been necessary.

I’ve given up on the bodice – there is no part of me that will want to make it again – but I might make the skirt some day (in the far distant future).

Sew Over It Marguerite

After the chore that was Sandeep, I needed something familiar and enjoyable so I returned to my all time favourite pattern. I love the style upon which is based – from the movie, The Hundred Foot Journey – but as part of the Sew Recreate The Look challenge I wanted to combine this look with Julia Roberts’ brown polka dot dress in Pretty Woman.

And then because I was on a roll, I used this heart print that has been neglected in my stash for months to make another one.

Charm Patterns, Scout Dress

This was my original idea for the Sew Recreate The Look Challenge, which I documented here – I couldn’t love this pattern any more if I tried. It’s perfect – the only thing I wasn’t sold on was the sleeve pattern piece and opted for my preferred style – short sleeves. I’ll definitely get a pattern review up in the next couple of days.

Crafty Sew & So PJs

Crafty Sew & So hosted a virtual PJ challenge alongside their in person retreat last weekend and I couldn’t really choose any other pattern than their pintuck cami pattern (with PJ shorts). What a quick and satisfying make, perfect for levels of dressmakers!

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