Friday, 24 July 2015

Dropped waist summer dress

Hey, everyone! Greetings from the highest point of south east England! Here I was (last Sunday), at Leith Hill, just south of Dorking in Surrey, which was a lovely spot. From there, apparently I was supposed to be able to see both London to the north, and the sea beyond Brighton in the south on a clear day -- although my eye sight wasn't quite so brilliant, I am pleased to confirm that it did offer far reaching, and stunning views.  
Yep, I made another summer dress! It all started when I saw someone on the train with a lovely dropped waist sundress on a hot summer day, and that was all the motivation and inspiration I needed to knock this little number together. Long term readers will know that I have a soft spot for a dropped waist silhouette (remember this spotty outfit here, together with a simple tutorial?), and I realised that I didn't have anything in that shape in my summer wardrobe, especially anything less structured. 

I immediately thought of this purple fabric of an unknown composition (it was a super cheap buy from a market - who am I to be all OCD about what it's actually made of? :p) in my stash, and without hesitation I started to draft a simple side dart bodice pattern for this dress. The great thing is, because the fabric cost next to nothing, and I had 5 metres of it (did I mention it was cheap?), I wasn't too concerned about messing it up. Thankfully, with a bit of luck, the dress came together within a matter of a few hours. 


I love it when a plan comes together ;) Excuse some of the creases, I was too impatient to press it properly before putting it on!


Back view


An inside-out view. I finished the neckline and armholes with a single-folded bias tape, which I made from the scrap from my 1940s fitted, Sew for Victory blouse


Despite not knowing what the mysterious fabric is, I have found it very comfortable and cool to wear, and indeed I felt pretty cool wearing it, too! There is a slight niggle with it, though - I'm no longer sure if purple is my colour! Just as I was wondering that when I put on this dress, my dear (very honest) husband said, hmm I don't know about that colour on you...!

Anyway... How's your summer sewing going? And happy weekend, everyone! 

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Free sewing pattern - Picnic Dress!

I've got a little freebie for you today - a pdf copy of my Picnic Dress pattern! For me, this is the perfect summer dress pattern -- it's simple, quick to sew, and is pretty versatile for achieving different looks with different fabric choices. 

This was the version I made last week: 

And this was how my love affair with this little pattern began, and indeed where the name came from:

I've only used floral prints so far, but some bold, wide stripy prints could look super trendy, too. 

At the moment I've uploaded the pattern in my size only, but I do hope to grade it to a multiple sizes in the future. Do bear with me ;)

Sizing
To help you determine whether we are "body doubles" (hello!), and/or enable you alter the pattern to fit you, I am a little lady who is 5'3 tall (160cm), wear UK RTW 4-6, US 0-2, fit Simplicity patterns in 4-6, and Burdastyle 30-32, and often benefit from a slight small bust adjustment

What you'll need
  • 45'/112cm wide light/medium weight woven fabric - you will need 180cm. I think cotton works perfectly for this pattern, but I can also see this working with some cool, summery and drapey viscose/rayon prints. You could also achieve a smarter look with a taffeta, with some added boning in the princess seams. 
  • Interfacing is optional, and you'll only need a small piece (some scrap pieces perhaps?) for the small facing pieces only.
  • Invisible zip 16'+ 
Instructions
Firstly a word of warning, I didn't write instructions for this one. This is because it is quite a simple pattern, with princess seamed bodice and a rectangular gathered skirt and spaghetti straps, and I would expect that many of you could sew this up in your sleep ;) That said, if you would like to sew it, and would like some help with the steps then please do let me know and I'll write them up. 

To download the pattern, click on this link (if you haven't already clicked on the one at the  the beginning of this post). When you print, make sure you choose "actual size" rather than "fit to page", and do measure the test square before you start cutting. Then you are good to go :D 

Here is a close-up of the bodice

Back view

Enjoy the free pattern! I hope you like the pattern, and I can't wait to see what you make :) Any comments or questions, please get in touch. 

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Pink Picnic Dress!

Update - You can now make your own version with the free pattern here! Enjoy ;) 

Summer is here, and I am really loving the long and warm days, as well as the light and breezy evenings. What better way to celebrate it than joining in with the Sundress Sew-a-long 2015, kindly hosted by Heather B?

Remember my first Picnic Dress? It has been one of my all-time favourites, which I find myself reaching for as soon as the weather turns warmer here, as well as packing for holidays. More than two years have now passed (how time truly flies), so it's time to make another! 
This time I made it with a beautiful lightweight pink floral fabric, which has been whispering to me, wanting to become a Picnic Dress from the moment we first met. Isn't it just the prettiest and the most girlie sundress? 


It was so quick to sew, and only took a couple of afternoons/evenings to finish! It was a simple self-drafted pattern, which I very much enjoyed using again. Want to make your own version? I am planning on sharing the pattern with you shortly -- initially it will be in my size, but I do hope to grade it to other sizes when I have the time and patience for it. Watch this space! 

We are so lucky to have all this beautiful countryside right on our doorstep. All this is just a 5-minute walk from our house! What's more, just last week, we spotted a few deer in the commons land by our house on our evening walks, yet it's difficult to believe that we are less than an hour from central London. Last summer we had been so busy sorting out the house, that we didn't have much time to appreciate our surroundings. Whilst that was very rewarding in its own way, we really are able to enjoy the summer and the Surrey Hills this time, and just hope that the good weather will last for a good few more months!


Thursday, 25 June 2015

Belated MMM round-up!

My goodness, hasn't it been a while? I've had quite a bit going on in my life in the last few months, but as soon as it all settles down I'll be able to update you with all my news. Before then, I feel obliged to upload some snaps from my first participation at MMM :)

I should declare now that although I managed to hit my target of wearing me-made clothes for at least 3 times a week with relative ease, I did not religiously photograph myself so there were quite a few days/outfits missing. But here are the ones that I did take: 

Let's kick off with the jolly holiday pictures - we spent just over a week in Mauritius (it turned out to be a much needed holiday, after a few stressful issues lately), and it was fabulous! 



In contrast, at the beginning of the month, I got a lot of wear out of my Navy Wool Coat, since it was still pretty cold in the UK. 

Then there were a few work outfits: 


Also my Geometric vintage blouse, my red Lottie blouseModest raspberry dress and old favourite dress had at least a feature each this month as part of a work outfit.  
Then we have some more relaxed times, including dress-down Fridays as well as weekends/evenings. 

Overall I'm pretty happy with how my first MMM went, and would be keen to participate again in the coming years! Now I'm going to head to the blogsphere and check out everyone else's selfies ;) Before I go though, let me leave you with one of my favourite snaps from the vacation, which was taken from a sun lounger by the infinity pool at the hotel:


Until next time, stay well and keep sewing! 

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Me-Made-May '15!

I'm finally ready to participate in Me-Made-May! Here's my pledge:

I, Alice from Queen of Darts, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '15. I endeavour to wear one me-made garment at least 3 times per week for the duration of May 2015

This has been something that I've wanted to do for the last couple of years; however, some part of life/work always got in the way, and frankly I didn't think I could quite handle it all, or at the very least being able to enjoy following through with the pledge. This year I finally feel like I'm in the right place - sure, life is never simple (and it certainly isn't free from stress right now), but bring it on - I can't wait to be a part of this great challenge! 

Have a great week people! And I look forward to seeing all the wonderful Me-Made-May outfits shortly ;) 

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