A dress, a top and a new-to-me

Hello everyone! You have all been blowing my mind this month with your incredible outfits – choosing finalists is so hard, you’re all doing such a great job!

I’ve been using this IPM to build up my totally non-existent winter wardrobe. Every autumn I pack away my summer clothes and am left with nothing to wear. In the past I’ve filled it in with some quick makes but this winter I’m determined to make some longer-term clothes that will make me happy to bring out of storage and be super-duper warm. Forgive me though, my weekends are spent away from my sewing machine (three cheers to long distance relationships!) so I’ve two garments to show you today that fit the first three challenges.

The first is another Gillian dress from Muse Patterns. I love my red Gillian and when I uncovered some peacock blue merino in my stash I just knew what I wanted to make. But while I love the gathered yokes, this time I opted for something a little more streamlined. So out came the scissors and snip, snip, snip – I had slashed and squished the front and back bodices to remove the gathers. I then added the yokes to the bodice pieces, creating some new pattern pieces that had no gathers and no yokes. I opted to leave the waistband out, because I’ve got a short torso and in my red version they make the bodice too long to sit in a place I like.

I made this whole dress in double layered merino, so it’s super warm and snuggly. I feel the cold more than your average kiwi, and the warmer I am the happier I am, so double layered merino all around I say! The fabric went as far as a double layered bodice and sleeves, but once I got as far as the skirt I only had enough fabric left for a single layer. So to avoid a cold bum I used some darker navy wool from my stash, but when it came to sewing I wasn’t very smart about it and treated the two as one piece of fabric, which meant that my overlocking is visible on the inside. If I’d been a bit cleverer, I would have sewn them right sides together and made life much easier and tidier.

Gillian is a dress that comes together so fast, you hardly even realise that you’re sewing before you’ve got 80% of a dress in front of you. In fact, the only reason I had to stop sewing during my first sewing afternoon was because I was so efficient in cutting double layers for my dress that I left nothing – not a sliver – of fabric to make the waist ties. I had to stop while I pondered my conundrum and thought of a possible fix. The result is the ribbon ties, which I think add a touch of luxe. Yeah, ‘luxe’, like I’m a fashion magazine.

I LOVE this dress, I love the colour and the warmth and the fit and the pattern’s versatility. I’ll happily make another, as soon as I can find some more delicious merino. You can read more about this dress on my blog.

My next garment is a bit less exciting, but still something I’m very happy with. Like everyone, I like free patterns – and Skinny Bitch Curvy Chick‘s Tonic Tee is quickly becoming a staple. Initially I got it to make some merino tops to wear under other garments, but I do need some actual tops to wear on the outside too, so I smashed this top together in an evening.

I improvised on the collar. When I was a teenager I had this top with a gorgeous, oversized draping collar slightly similar to this. I’ve always remembered it and wanted to recreate it, and this is the closest I’ve come, even if it’s still not looking as I’d hoped. It is just a big, wide rectangle sewn around the neckline. The overlocking pops out a bit where the ‘lapels’ start, but a pretty brooch fixes that faster than under stitching!

Separation from my machine means that I haven’t made something to go with this top, so here I’ve just paired it with my jeans. I have plans of making some lovely warm wool skirts, and perhaps even some merino wool stockings to pair with this top, and the others that I plan on making once life is a bit more settled.

The pattern was an answer sent from heaven. I didn’t have my usual TNT knit top pattern with me at my new, temporary home, and when I saw the Tonic Tee and that it was free, it was a literal “thank you very much internet!” moment. It’s super fast to sew together and I’ve already used it to make a top for a friend and she was super happy with it. I cannot, however, comment on the instructions, as I used my own knowledge to put it together. The fit (I cut an M) is just perfect for me, but I’m afraid I cannot comment on whether this is perfect for me as a curvy chick or a skinny bitch. I feel that I sit somewhere in the middle, and it’s a spot I feel very happy in. 

So two garments for three of the challenges – nowhere near as impressive as our wonderful contributors, but something nonetheless. I’m facing the prospect of making some clothes now with commercial patterns and am already dreading the thought of it. Indie patterns just feel so much friendlier to use, and feel like a much better social contribution to the livings of our fellow sewists – so three cheers for IPM and the celebration of our wonderful pattern makers!



4 thoughts on “A dress, a top and a new-to-me

  1. Pingback: How did the judges go? | The Monthly Stitch

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