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.  
Self-drafted dropped waist purple dress
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. 
Self-drafted dropped waist purple dress
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!
Self-drafted dropped waist purple dress
Back view

Self-drafted dropped waist purple dress back
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

Self-drafted dropped waist purple dress inside out
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: 
Self-drafted Free Pattern Picnic Dress Pink
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 ;)

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'+ 
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
Self-drafted Free Pattern Picnic Dress Pink
Back view
Self-drafted Free Pattern Picnic Dress Pink Back
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! 
Self-drafted Free Pattern Picnic Dress Pink
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? 
Self-drafted Free Pattern Picnic Dress Pink
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! 
Self-drafted Free Pattern Picnic Dress Pink

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!
Self-drafted Free Pattern Picnic Dress Pink
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