Diana Wrap Dress by Wardrobe By Me

I have tested for Wardrobe by Me before but have the draft of that post still sitting on the computer, hopefully it will be published shortly. Nonetheless, who can refuse a dress inspired by the famous DVF? Not I. I have been searching for a perfect fitting wrap dress, and have made a couple, such as this one, or this one, but neither of those have the ideal comfort or fit factor.

                  WBM wrap side WBM wrap side 2WBM wrap front

WBM wrap backThe Diana wrap dress is perfect! I’m not just saying that either because I was a tester*.  I didn’t make any pattern adjustments and quickly made two versions during the testing time frame. The pattern comes with 4 sleeve lengths and 2 collars, as well as a sleeveless version. The sneaky thing about these collars is that they are detachable so you can really get two different looking dresses from one sew.

The wrap dress ties around the waist and has a slight flare from the hips. Instructions are provided for lengthening the skirt to a maxi dress version. There is a layered option for printing and no trim pages. Ideal fabric to use should have a minimum of 3% lycra or elastane, you really do need something with good drape, ask me how I know!!!

Version 1 above was made with vintage flowers charmeuse fabric (98% polyester/2% spandex). Construction is really well written in the final version with nice pictorials. I found that although the size was perfect, my fabric choice made the dress a bit tight around the bust and arms but entirely my fault as my fabric wasn’t stretchy enough.

I decided to make a second version with the recommended fabric, it’s an ITY blue knit (95% polyester/5% spandex). The fit is much better overall and extremely comfortable. I can’t wait to make more versions, especially in the different length sleeves. This is a classic pattern and a great fit. The seam allowances are small (0.7cm) and although knit fabric rarely frays, I chose to overlock my seams for neatness. This meant I had to overlock the pattern pieces before sewing as an opening is left at one of the side seams so the belt can be threaded through.

WBM Diane front                  WBM Diane side WBM Diane side 2

WBM Diane backI didn’t change the length of the pattern and think it sits right at my preferred length. Both these dresses have been in regular rotation since making them for a number of reasons, easy and comfortable to wear and they don’t require ironing :).

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

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New Look 6301 Black ITY Jersey Mock Wrap Dress

Yet another dress to add to the arsenal, and it’s black again. I used New Look 6301 in my quest to find a nice wrap dress, although this is a mock wrap, I figure if I can get the fit of the bodice right then I should be able to add the skirt portion from another pattern.

New look 6301 side FT                           New look 6301 front FTNew look 6301 back 2 FT

I decided on view B initially, with the short sleeves and flowy skirt but since I had purchased this ITY black jersey (100% polyester) without a pattern in mind I only had 1.5m. I had cut out all my bodice pieces and realised I didn’t have enough for the flowy skirt which I also wanted to lengthen. A trip to the fabric store and it had all sold out, so action plan B. I decided to cut view D (required 1.9m fabric) in the end and it just fit on my length of fabric, including lengthening the skirt by 3 inches.

I used a narrow zig zag stitch for construction, neatening my seams with the serger. I used the included pieces for my neck and armhole bindings and once attached to the bodice, I chose to serge the seams rather than grade them as instructed to do.

Although not completely evident from the pattern envelope, this dress has an elasticised waist. I chose to eliminate it because I felt my bodice was a good fit and the ties tighten the dress up anyway. I probably would shorten the bodice next time by 2cm. The ties can either be tied at the front (above pictures) or to the back (bottom pictures).

New look 6301 front BT                           New look 6301 side BTNew look 6301 back BT

For the hem, I serged the raw edge and then turned it up 1 inch (as per instructions) and stitched with a narrow zig zag stitch. My twin needle was playing up again and I think it just doesn’t like this fabric for some reason, maybe it is too slippery.

I am happy with the outcome and fit of this dress and think the pattern will be a good candidate for some franken-pattern dressmaking.

 

NapTime T-shirt and Peplum Top from Scraps for the Kids

I mentioned previously how I wanted to avoid adding to my scrap pile after each project so was straight onto using this rayon knit (100% polyester) in a #4 scatter pink colourway, and white ITY knit (95% polyester, 5% spandex) from my Athena Top. I came across a free raglan shirt pattern from Nap-time Creations.sleeve pattern

I wanted a flutter sleeve, something girly. I simply retraced the sleeve pattern, shortened it to a length I felt appropriate and then drew in vertical lines and slashed and spread. My new sleeve pattern piece was born. I found the size to run true in this pattern.

sleeve insertionI serged the armhole/sleeve opening and sewed on the sleeves and then the remaining sleeve opening was folded inwards and top stitched. I didn’t hem the sleeves as the jersey doesn’t fray and I don’t think I would have got a nice finish on the curved hem anyway. I mistakenly however forgot to raise the armscye which would normally be attached to a sleeve but in this case it is probably 2cm too low. I will make this change next time for sure.

sleeve hem turned under

For the neckband, back and sleeves I used the ITY, and cut a band 1.75 inch wide with a length of 41 cm for the neckband.

topstitching

I sewed the entire top together using a straight stitch as the zig zag wasn’t looking too great but I did read recently as long as you stretch the fabric behind and in front of the needle while sewing then the strain on the seam whilst the top is being worn shouldn’t pop any stitches. See how we go after a few wears. I did a 1/2 inch hem in the end and hemmed with a stretch twin needle. This top has quite conveniently matched up with the Schoolday skirts I made recently. Two new outfits in one week 🙂

My second scrap busting project used the remnants, brights printed crepe de chine # 4 in yellow/grey (100% polyester) and poly matt crepe de chine in ivory (100% polyester) from my final version of the Athena top. I wasn’t sure how to use it for kids clothing because the colours are quite dark so thought just a little accent would be enough. I found the peplum top by On the Cutting Floor pattern online and probably should have flat pattern measured but thought the 4 would be good for miss 3 1/2, turns out I as wrong as it fits miss 1 1/2. The top is both too short and tight. I’ll definitely be making changes if I make it again for my oldest one.

front      back

I followed the instructions as written for the most part but ran into trouble with the armholes whereby facing and fabric are to both be turned into each other 1/4 inch and then top stitched. This is extremely fiddly on such a small scale so next time I will be bias binding the armholes.

I do like how a facing is included in this pattern but unfortunately due to fabric choice it does show through, I just ensured I finished everything off nicely. I probable should have done french seams because of the light coloured fabric but there aren’t too visible from the outside. I used some stash navy bias binding for contrast on the bottom of the peplum.

I deviated from the pattern in terms of button closure. I sewed the long rectangles along the back closure as described but then sewed the opening together about 11cm down from the neckline to where the peplum seam starts with the peplum section left open (if that makes sense). There were a number of reasons for this. Firstly I only had 2 of these cute 15mm flower buttons in my stash, secondly it fits over her head comfortably with this size of opening, and lastly, trying to get a 1 1/2 year old to sit still so I can do up 4 buttons is asking for trouble. So now I need to sew up some bottoms to match this peplum top.

So many goals and not enough time. Along with stash and scrap busting I’m aiming to work through my pinterest kids clothes inspiration board so sorry if kids things don’t interest you there probably will be a few kids clothes posts in the future.

The Athena Top by Gray All Day

Helena from Gray All Day has just released her newest pattern, in fact I was a pattern tester for her new Athena Top*. I’ve never been a pattern tester before so hope I did the role justice. I was drawn to this top for a number of reasons, primarily because I am in desperate need of some separates in my wardrobe. As you can probably see from my posts I make a lot of dresses. Secondly it’s probably not a silhouette I would normally choose and was more than happy to get out of my comfort zone. Thirdly, I am so inspired by those who have a vision and are enthusiastic and motivated about achieving their goals that I am happy to contribute to their success, especially because I know I would never venture down that path.

It can be made up in a knit or woven and I tried both versions. These are my tester versions and you can see others at Gray All Day so I won’t go into detail about construction as the instructions changed for the final version.

First the knit test version. I used fabric in my stash as I had bought the perfect fabric 2 months earlier, a rayon knit (100% rayon) in a #4 scatter pink colourway, and white ITY knit (95% polyester, 5% spandex) which were originally purchased to make a 2 tone t-shirt. The Athena Top seemed like the perfect match to achieve the look I originally was going for. The top is a loose fit with oversized sleeves and thus requires fabrics with lots of drape. This top has a lot of ease, in fact it has no negative ease. I went down 2 sizes than where my measurements put me on the size chart.

athena knit front

For construction I used a slight zig zag stitch to sew up the seams and rather than pressing the seams open I serged them together. This of course added some bulk when adding the neck and sleeve bands but the fabric was pretty thin so I got away with it. I used a twin needle for the hem, the best one I have ever done. Not sure why they have been so troublesome in the past.

The second test version I made was from woven fabric, Cupro Touch (100% polyester) which is apparently the “European cousin of tencel fabric” in sun colour. I cut the same size as the knit version and you can see it still fits well with enough ease at the hips for adequate movement. I neatened the side seams by serging. The neckline and sleeve hems are finished off with self-made bias binding in which pattern pieces are included, and then completely turned to the inside and topstitched.

athena woven front

I was relatively happy with the tops and the low back hem adds some more interest although I would prefer more length next time. My personal concern was that the neckline was too wide and low for my liking however the final pattern has been altered with this change in mind as well as other changes so I didn’t feel it was accurate to post my complete thoughts about this top without making another version as the final pattern is written.

                           black skirt frontblack skirt side black skirt back

The third version is a woven top, made from brights printed crepe de chine # 4 in yellow/grey (100% polyester) and poly matt crepe de chine in ivory (100% polyester). I cut the same size as my previous versions. I don’t have much to add construction wise with instructions to french seam all seams for the woven version and a neater neckline finish with the self made bias binding (with pattern pieces included). My only change here was to do the neckline top stitching 3/8 inch from the edge rather the instructed 1/4 inch. As aforementioned the neckline is higher and more stable on my shoulders in the final release version of the pattern. There is also a lengthen line included on the pattern and I lengthened both front and back by 1 inch (personal preference). This version is by far my favourite and although have been wearing my knit version I think this one will prove more versatile and comfortable.

athena top woven inside

Nice inside with the french seams

Helena has done a great job with this pattern to create something unique and versatile and I now happily have a few new separates for my wardrobe. I initially found styling the top a little difficult because I usually wear more fitted tops but have come up with a few combinations and I think it looks just as nice tucked in as it does out.

denim skirt front

 pants side

*Helena provided the pattern free for testing.