Joanne Faux Knit Wrap Dress by Sinclair Patterns

Another test* and another great dress to come out of it with the Joanne Faux Knit Wrap Dress by Sinclair Patterns. This pattern company has steadily become a favourite of mine due to a great fit straight up and the fact that the garments are actually in rotation in my wardrobe.

The Joanne dress is fitted at the bodice with a faux wrap and a pleated accent to one side seam. The skirt pattern is available as a knee or midi length flared skirt and there is also the option of a top with an overlapped peplum. Sleeve lengths available are short, 3/4, long or elbow length and also a flounce variation and not to forget a sleeveless offering which also has a different cutting line for the armhole so the fit is spot on. If you love a dress with pockets, they are also an option, along with a belt/tie.

Fabric recommendations are a light to medium weight knit and for mine a chose an abstract brown spot rayon knit (97% rayon/3% spandex). I found the stretch and weight perfect for my sleeveless midi dress version. If your fabric isn’t as co-operative, instructions are provided for stabilising shoulder, waist and pockets seams. I chose the regular length pattern, although petite and tall options are available, along with all the other benefits of good PDF patterns.

Construction is actually quite quick with this dress, I’d say maximum 2 hours. The neckline isn’t too revealing either which I like. I’m really happy with the fit and didn’t make any alterations to the dress, even omitted my normal sway back. Although I made this as a summer version, I can layer it with a long sleeve top underneath to get me through the colder months.

The Joanne Dress is on sale currently for $7.99 through until 25th September!

*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.

Metallic Simplicity 1354 Dress Fit for a Wedding

This pattern is one that I am using to make an LBD for my wardrobe staples and although planned to make that dress first, time was of the essence, or lack there of. So I thought I would jump straight in and make it for my friends wedding with my metallic fabric.

There are no reviews of Simplicity 1354 that I can find but it is an Amazing Fit pattern and I have never used one of those before. I know this is a bit of a risk right! I made view B but opted for a pleated skirt rather than gathered as I think it is more flattering on my body. I was hoping that with all the princess seams and back opening that fitting issues could be tackled during construction. My fabric is 140cm wide poly metallic (100% polyester) with pongee lining (100% polyester) in nude.

 DSC_0342 1

A new to me, but not a new process by any means is chainstitching. I am making a concious effort to increase my productivity/efficiency and this has been a somewhat difficult habit to start. I tried to do it as much as possible in the construction of this dress but required a different level of concentration and organisation on my part to not get my pieces confused. Regardless, the dress got made and that is the bottom line.

The dress is unlined but I thought since it was a ‘special’ dress I would add lining and just as well because the fabric was so scratchy. I made up the lining bodice shell first to check the fit and just as well. Sorry there are no photos of this process but needless to say it was a tad tight all over although I felt the actual design lines and shape were a good fit. I figured rather than cut another lining I would decrease the seam allowances and unpick the ‘basting stitches’ and all would be good. So for my metallic fabric I cut the size larger and figured it would be easier to take in rather than let out. During the initial stages I had made the sleeves but wasn’t sure if I like them and they made the dress too matronly so decided that perhaps a cap sleeve was the way to go such as this inspiration dress although I don’t have sequins or a chiffon skirt and my neckline is not that low. So really nothing like my inspiration after all, I guess that’s why it’s called inspiration. After making up the bodice in my final fabric I decided to eliminate the sleeves altogether. There was so much going on with the metallic fabric alone and then the open back and pleated skirt, it just felt overdone. Keep it simple right!!!!

Bariano Sabina Beige Sequin DressBariano Sabina Beige Sequin Dress

The metallic fabric frayed so easily so I tried to minimise handling and serged the seams as soon as the fit was right more so to strengthen the seams. My fit modifications were to take in the side seams, about 3cm from the underarm, tapering to nothing at the waist. The fit felt pretty good everywhere else and I figured I could alter the back once the dress was assembled and I was up to putting the zipper in.

In the process of adding the lining, I forgot the “burrito” method and should have researched before steaming ahead. I sewed up the side seams of both fabric and lining and couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working, cue Google. I then had to unpick my side seams (straight stitch and serger) and then do what I was supposed to. It all worked out in the end so I’m a happy camper. Due to the addition of the lining, there were portions of the instructions that weren’t relevant for me but I think overall they were quite comprehensive. The pattern calls for a facing instead for the neckline. For a long time, I avoided adding linings to my garments if it wasn’t in the instructions as I wasn’t confident it would always work out but what I go by now is:

“If the seam is being attached to something, ie collar, sleeve, skirt, then the lining doesn’t need to be sewn to the fashion fabric at these seams”

So now it’s not such a daunting task and far more manageable, although at times head scratching still occurs. But I digress.

DSC_0347 (2)

After attaching the lining, trimming seam allowances and clipping where necessary, I turned the bodice right side out. I understitched as far as I could around the neckline and armholes and am pretty happy with the result.

DSC_0348 (2)

 DSC_0349 (2)

The skirt has pockets and I wasn’t sure about them in a more formal dress but thought if sewn correctly they should be pretty invisible and it’s a practical solution to have pockets in skirts and dresses with children to carry say snacks, snacks and more snacks to keep them quite during a wedding ceremony.

I didn’t even attempt pattern matching with this garment because of my busy, shiny fabric – it was too hard in my opinion and I was on a time restraint, starting this dress a week before I needed to wear it.

The pattern sequence of construction was okay overall to allow for fitting adjustments but because I wasn’t sure what skirt I would be making until the very end I changed up the order by fitting my bodice first and then attaching the skirt whereas the instructions get you to sew the bodice to the skirt and then baste the entire front and back of the dress together at the side seams to adjust fit.

I made self fabric buttons as none at the store were appropriate for the fabric.

After wearing the dress the lining of the centre front occasionally peaks out even though I understitched as far as I could. Realistically I don’t think it will bother me too much on subsequent wears. I also found that the back opening appeared to have stretched during sewing as it didn’t lay completely flat. From memory there was no stay stitching required on these pieces which have a bias edge but in future I will do this. I also should have added belt loops to the dress as the belt kept slipping up above my waist due to the slippery nature of both the belt and fabric.

DSC_0344 1

Overall the dress was really comfortable and I will definitely make it again but with the gathered skirt this time. I would recommend this pattern because you really can adjust the fit to suit your body type.

PS. Sorry about the minimal photos. I lost my phone the day after I arrived interstate for the wedding and thus have only a couple of photos to share of the front view and perhaps not the most flattering. Not sure what I was or wasn’t thinking at the time but I left my dress there too so can’t take any photos after the event to show those details, sorry!!!

Vogue 8899 Midi Dress..Jungle January Here I Come!

I think I went through an animal print buying phase as I have about 4 prints in black and browns that I have recently cut into and am in the process of making since, hello, minimal thread changing.  Maybe I’ll say it was a subconscious decision to join Jungle January. Anyway, here is the first of them.

Vogue 8899 front

Vogue 8899 side 3

I’m not quite sure why at the moment I am making things with splits in them as I have been sewing them partially closed or completely closed anyway, must be the other features that I’m really drawn to. I used Vogue 8899, view A. It’s a lined, pullover, sleeveless dress, loose-fitting bodice with insets, elastic waist and side front slits.

I used a polychiffon 4615 in a green colourway, although looks more brown even to the naked eye, 150cm wide. It’s 100% polyester and a pain to cut but sewed up quite easily. For the lining I used a pongee 100% polyester cream lining. I followed the instructions as written for the order of the bodice construction however because my chiffon was sheer I used the lining as underlining as I think doing french seams at the gathers and the bodice insert would have been near impossible. I serged all the seams to give a nice clean finish. I was a little surprised though that the gathers around the triangle insert were not as pronounced as on the pattern envelope on the front and non existent on the back but I think that’s because the triangle cut out stretched out and became the same length as the seam even though I stay stitched it.

Vogue 8899 front insert

 Vogue 8899 back insert

I assembled the skirt fabric using french seams and attached to the lining at the waist. I did completely sew up the splits but I think the volume of the skirt conceals them anyway unless in motion – lots of swish factor.

Vogue 8899 skirt

  Vogue 8899 swish sideVogue 8899 swish back

I left the dress to hang for a couple of days before hemming with a rolled narrow hem on both layers. Here is the oh my god moment, at the final press on the hem I noticed a cut in the fabric, I was almost in tears after being so meticulous about everything.

Rolled hem


Initially I was going to mend it with light interfacing but that would have changed the drape of the fabric and possibly have been visible so I ended up cutting off that part of the hem and re-hemming.

It’s not that noticeable due to the full skirt but I’m still so annoyed as it’s such a careless error. Lucky I was able to mend it in this case.

I remembered this time to adjust my armholes by cutting off 2cm from the underarm. Due to the fact my construction was different to the instructions, I sewed up my side seams and overlocked them and then trimmed the armhole to what was comfortable. I finished them off with some bought bias tape and top stitched which matched the finish of the neckline which was turned twice as per the instructions to make a narrow hem. With visible topstitching it makes me wonder how best to match thread with fabric? I initially was going to use black to sew this dress together but decided on the cream in the end, especially as my lining is cream. From what I have read it is best to use the thread closest to the background colour and which blends in more. Do you have a fail proof method of deciding what colour to use or are you not as fussy?

Overall the dress went together really easily and I think if it was made up in a non-transparent, thicker fabric it would be extra quick as you could eliminate the lining all together except for the triangle insert for stability. I may make this again but it has to go to the end of the sewing line.