Saturday, April 30, 2016

Paradise Island Shift dress

For years, I have been planning to sew myself a dress in woven fabric, but I never dared to. I bought several patterns and even bought the perfect fabric, but the garment never was born. Then, I saw a testers call for the Paradise shift dress* from Bella Sunshine* and I decided that this was my sign. Having a designer at my side, one that drew a pattern for 7 different cup sizes, I had to be able to succeed right? I totally did, I love my dress.  Looking back at all my sews it might be the one that makes me most proud, it is for sure in the top 5.

So, about those different cup sizes. How cool is that! One of the main things that held me back was the fear of making full bust adjustments. A few years ago, I would have had to make bigger adjustments. Over the last years, my belly and hips are catching up with my chest. The adjustments still scarred the crap out of me though. With this pattern I could just pick a ready made pattern based on my upper and lower bust sizes, easy peasy.

The shape of the dress is created by darts. There are eights darts in the main fabric, but because the dress is fully lined, you need to sew 16 darts. I was a dart novice, but after making a full muslin and a final dress, I feel very comfortable in sewing them. The hardest part was ironing them correctly, the right sewing technique makes all the difference.

For my first dress I chose a very light colored fabric which resulted in a very hard to photograph dress. I should have known, I already tried to make pictures of this fabric twice here and here, there is a saying about a donkey in there right.. I succeeded in getting one good picture though. De fabric is rather thick and therefore does not drape nicely.

For my final fabric I used Echino fabric, which I bought at Modes4U, over two years ago (I said this dress took a while right). I love the colors on this dress and a linn percentage gives it a nice drape. I did not pay attention to the fabric placement and the dots ended up around my breasts, which is not ideal. But it is not that bad, they are everywhere anyway. I have a narrow piece left, and I should have turned it into a dress for my youngest. This Paradise shift dress is actually a mommy and me pattern set. At the time of the call I did not dare to commit to another dress, I have been overstretching myself on testing a bit lately.

The ladies pattern comes with size range from 0-20 with cups A-G and is on sale for only $9 through weekend, the mommy and me bundle is $12! Check out the shop here.

I love to hear what you think of my creations. Feel free to leave a comment in the language you prefer (although Google translate might have to assist me if you choose something different than English, German, Dutch or Hungarian).

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Solis pattern release

All around me, both in my digital circles like Instagram and Facebook feed, and also closer to home, my family and friends, we are all starting to long for sun. Yesterday, Kingsday ( a Dutch national holiday) was colder than Christmas. It was raining every 20 minutes, so even in a good coat, it simply wasn't nice to be outside. Because we can not go outside and enjoy the sun, we just pretend inside. Today, I am showing you the three summer dresses I made with the newest pattern from Sofilantjes*, the Solis dress*.

Probably the most striking thing of the Solis is the back, so let's start with that. The dress has a halter resembling dress, without having a knot in the neck. Due to the construction, the back is perfect for a color pop. In the first dress I made, I chose a contrasting piece for the upper back piece only. On the second dress, I made the entire back contrasting. That was something I had seen during the testing of the Buearm and I still love the effect.

The Solis both has a circle and pleated skirt option. A circle skirt will please almost every girl. I have one dress with a circle skirt myself and I always have the urge to dance when I wear it. The pleated skirt is much more fabric friendly. Much less fabric is needed and the print will not end up side ways. A pleated skirt is not common in jersey dress, but like I said here, I love it. I made both versions. I started with a circle skirt dress and made two pleated skirt dresses.

I actually had planned to sew the blue dress as a tunic. The pattern has an official tunic option, but while I was drawing the pattern, I saw that It could actually cut the dress length from my small piece. I really dislike creating scraps, so it became a dress. The dress for my middle daughter has a similar story. I used the scraps from this project and planned to make a tunic, but realized a dress was in the cards, and I could not ignore it.

You all know I love pockets, and this time I did not have to smuggle them into the dress. The Solis dress actually comes with pockets! Both in dress and tunic length. Both of my girls were having a lot of fun during the shoot, and they actually came up with this shot. The put their hands in the others pocket. I love it.

The fabric from the dress with the nostalgic print, I bought at Stoffenelf, I do not know the designer. The other two are both from Lillestoff. The jeans look a like is super soft, a bit too flexible even, the neckband therefore overstretched (not visible in the picture, because I fixed it). Be sure that the fabric for the neckband is nice and sturdy and has a good recovery. On the blue dress I actually used a piece of woven cotton for the upper back piece. I know, you can not see due to her hair, but I thought you might like to know it works.

In our sew weekend goodie back I found a full color flex print from Lavie Belle. I had been dying to use it, but did not find the perfect project until now. It really turns a simple dress in a special piece. Lavvi Ebel sells many, many super cute prints.

On the circle skirt dress and the brown one, I used an alternative hemming method. I made blind seam, and I am totally in love with it. I had left the circle skirt unhemmed for the first photo shoot. I was still debating on the finishing method. My experience with hemming jersey circle skirts isn't a happy tale. Last week, for another test, I used the blind hem stitch on my sewing machine, and noticed I also have one for jersey fabrics. I first tried it on the brown one and was super excited. Then I hemmed the circle skirt and that also went surprisingly well. I have a new favorite hemming method.

The pattern comes in sizes 12m/80 to 14/164 both in Dutch* and in English* and is available in the Sofilantjes webshop. The pattern will be on release sale for two days only (April 28 and april 29), during those days the price is $5 (excl. eu taxes).

I love to hear what you think of my creations. Feel free to leave a comment in the language you prefer (although Google translate might have to assist me if you choose something different than English, German, Dutch or Hungarian). If you buy anything through my affiliate links (*), I get a small commission (the price stays the same for you), I am very grateful for everything that feeds my fabric addiction.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Girls uptown/downtown maxi dress

This week, Tori from Sew Straight and Gather re-released her girl Uptown/downtown dress pattern. I did not make a typo there, it really is a RE-release. The uptown/downtown pattern was her first pattern three years ago, and now it has an even better fit and has become more versatile. If you want to read more about what changes she made, check her blog post. With pattern adjustments, comes pattern testing, and I happily helped out.

I think maxi dresses were out of fashion the first 15 years of my life, because I never came across them. When they started to turn up around me, I somehow did not feel the need to acquire them. The only maxi dress I own is a party dress from black velvet. Confessing about gaps in my wardrobe seems to be a returning theme on the blog lately. My girls are huge fans of the maxi dress though, it apparently gives the instant princess feel. Here you can read about my first, and here about my second maxi dress. So, when Tori started her tester search I immediately knew that a jersey maxi dress would help in the mother-of-the-year elections.

The uptown/downtown dress has three necklines, two sleeve lengths (not counting sleeveless and tank) and two skirt lengths. I made the tank top version and it fits perfectly. I love the wide straps of the dress, it is very summery, still the straps are nice and sturdy and will not slip off. There are many, many possible variations in final dress, so check out the tester gallery to get a good sense of the variety options. The dress has pockets. During the testing process the pockets were dropped an inch, so on this dress they gape a bit, but that is better in the final version.

The fabric is from Lillestoff. I bought it around the time of release (way way back..) with the intention to make something for myself. While raiding my fabric closet, for long enough fabrics, this one was almost the only one that seemed suitable. After seeing her dress version with this fabric, I knew it would be great on my daughter.

I am still experimenting with the multi-language method. Many of my readers are coming through blogloving, and apparently I can not "hide" pieces there. This time I tried to separate the text brackets more, let's see if it works better.

The pattern is on sale for just 5 dollar until the 24th. If you already acquired the pattern once, you will get the upgrade for free! Due to the re-release the woman/girl bundle is also on sale. Seeing that the pattern is also great for fancy stretchy fabrics, you might want to buy it to make your own black velvet maxi one.

I love to hear what you think of my creations. Feel free to leave a comment in the language you prefer (although Google translate might have to assist me if you choose something different than English, German, Dutch or Hungarian).

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Eryn's dress release

At the beginning of last year, I came across the Lieveke en zus blog in a Project Run and Play link up. Ann likes to hack patterns and she has great taste, so I have not missed one of her posts since. Two weeks ago she released her first pattern, Eryn's dress. It is a versatile summer dress and I sewed up two versions.

The pattern has two skirt types, two strap types and an optional bow. Pockets are included (yeh!), as well as an asymmetrical button placket and bicolor straps. I tested both strap options, and although I did not expect it, the dresses have a very different back view and I love them both. Both dresses got the big skirt, I know what makes my girls happy.

My middle daughter was not in a posing mood around the time of the first shoot. She somehow forced a non-frowning face, but her pulling down the dress which kind a ruined all front shots. Today we tried again. The sun turned her into a happy camper, so she actually loved the shoot. I hope I will be able to capture that smile more often this summer.

The white fabric is from an unknown designer (I am desperately trying to sew with long forgotten pieces of fabric to create space for new gems), the blue one from Cloud9. I used the same fabric for this dress. The contrasting pockets were made with scrap fabric. People often tell me that I have an unconventional fabric choice, this time I even went a bit further than I usually do. I really love the effect though.

Many people wanted to be part of the tester team and I believe that over fifty people were in our tester group. This also resulted in some hacks, here you can find one with a cool front detail, and she adjusted the back. I have a jersey version cut out, but a flu attack ruined my planning. In the end I ended up with so many cute shots of these dresses, that it might be for the best that my third version isn't finished yet.

The dress is available in four sizes between 2 years and 10 years and is available on the Lieveke en zus shop. For now the pattern is only in Dutch, but seeing Ann's global mindset, she might come with a translation. Talking about Dutch, did you notice the small button on the top of this post? I am planning to write multi language blog from now on. Blogloving kind a ruins my perfect layout idea by not hiding either the Dutch or the English, so I hope I will come up with a solution to that soon.

I love to hear what you think of my creations. Feel free to leave a comment in the language you prefer (although Google translate might have to assist me if you choose something different than English, German, Dutch or Hungarian).