Summer Wardrobe

Daughter No2 has a list of things for me to make her.  (This is the time to warn you that this post is photo heavy!) It’s updated and renewed every couple of months as she adds things from new Burda magazines and changes her mind depending on the current weather (season).  I’ve done fairly well, but I’ll never get them all done, mostly because we don’t have suitable fabric in the stash.  ( And the length of the list!)  So, I can get started on the projects for which we have fabric, but the others are either shelved or put on hold while we look, and don’t find exactly what she’s got in mind.  At a price we’re prepared to pay! 🙂

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Burda skirt 117 A 02/2017

However, there was a skirt on her list from last autumn (!) that’s been on the list constantly, and a couple of weeks ago she decided it would be the perfect summer skirt.  I’d already traced it out, so I set to work making a toile.  I traced the 36 and the 38, going with the 36 around the waist, grading out to the 38 over the hips.  This is when I realised that the skirt had no pockets!!!  The pattern is 117A from February Burda 2017.  This has been a very productive magazine, with lots of useful patterns.  The style lines are rather nice, and it looks like it has pockets with flaps, yes?  Nope!  Just the flaps, inserted into the seam.

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So I changed that!  I altered the shape of the side panel to include a facing, added pocket bags and now we have pockets, with decorative flaps!  Much more practical.  The toile was approved, even the length!  I was sure she’d ask for it to be made 3-5cm longer, but she was comfortable with it as it was.  Now to allocate fabric…  In the stash, she identified 6 possibilities.  One in dusty pink floral fabric please, one in pale blue Hawiian print fabric please, one in black embroidered linen fabric please, one in leaf print canvas please, one in rust coloured stretch denim please, and, finally – one in vintage floral fabric.  Please.  *take a deep breath*  OK…  this in addition to a couple of dresses, tops, shirts, etc.

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So I told her to get her machine out and help!  There’s no way I can get all that done on my own, with the other things I need to do!  I did the cutting, she did the overlocking and started to sew.  We started with the pink cotton with floral circles.  Without the addition of the pockets, this is a quick and easy pattern to run up, although I have also changed the exposed zip in the back to a normal one.  We felt it wouldn’t look right on a cotton fabric.

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I like this little number, and she’s right, it will look good in all the fabrics she’s chosen, and will be a very useful addition to her wardrobe, summer and winter!  There’s not really much to say about the pattern, or the fabric really.  The cotton print has been in the stash for rather a long time, so I’m very glad to be using it, although this didn’t take very much!  Although the blue Hawaiian print fabric was made into another skirt before she jetted off to Italy for a week, I hadn’t managed to get photos of it on, so that’ll wait till the next post.  Be prepared to see this skirt often…

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The little sleeveless blouse was another item on the list, but it wasn’t originally!  When I came back from South Africa in May, I decided to finally use up some of the smaller stash pieces that had been hanging around for a while.  I had a piece of pale sage green cotton poplin (no idea when or why I bought it) that I paired up with a vintage Style pattern  (1958), and used that fabric to make a wearable toile.  Daughter No1 liked it, but it didn’t fit her well at all, and really didn’t suit her.  Enter Daughter No2, on whom it looked just right!  So she got the toile and I found another small bit of fabric (left over from the wavy back top) to use up.  This time, she did the making, and the cutting!  The pattern is vintage Style 544, dated 1956.

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The pattern consists of a front, back, and two facing pieces.  The dart tucks at the waist give it a great shape, and eliminate bulk when tucking into skirts and trousers.  The high neck looks fabulous and really suits someone with a longer neck.  (that’s me out!)  She managed to make the blouse fairly quickly, only running out of time to choose buttons and finish that part off, before heading back home.  So I found a selection & sent her photos to choose from.  The vintage covered buttons were duly chosen and I made the buttonholes and sewed on the buttons.  This is another of those patterns I can see being used a number of times, especially as it needs so little fabric!  I love those.

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Vintage covered buttons

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Another quick make for the summer is a cami.  In this case, it was a couple of Ogden Camis – and the fabric came from the scrap box.  The first up is a pale blue soft linen.  There wasn’t quite enough for the full facing, and really, I should have shaped it or cut it higher (I still might do this) because it sits at an akward height and you can see it though the outer layer.  Honestly, if you couldn’t see it, I probably wouldn’t change it.  I love how quickly the pattern comes together, and I love that I managed to make something useful out of a small,odd shaped piece of left over fabric.

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As you can see, all three of these tops go pretty well with the pink skirt!  I think this means this skirt is going to be well worn this summer, not just one of those summer flings.

White Waves

I’ve finally been able to photograph a number of items I’d made for Daughter No2 this year.  I’ll try not to do it all in one go!  This first project is a top I made back in March, she’d marked it as interesting back in 2018 – February, to be precise.  The pattern is the Layered Back Blouse 111 from Burda February 2018.  She bought the fabric, an off white cotton with white spots, from Croft Mill Fabrics.  They’ve since sold out of that fabric, but it’s the right sort of weight, it has some body but is lightweight enough to cope with lots of layers.  This is a petite pattern, but we decided to make it up without any adjustment, having taken a finished back measurement and pronouncing it a suitable length.

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Blouse 111 Burda 02/2018

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The pattern is relatively easy to make, the magazine has detailed instructions for this blouse, so it’s easy for a non-experienced sewist to construct the front placket.  We eliminated the piping and I sewed the sleeve bands on the inside, rather than on the outside.

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That pretty, wavy back

The back, while looking tricky is ok if you make sure you have marked the stitching line on the back carefully.  I trimmed the seam allowance of the flounce piece to 7mm and overlocked the raw edge, before folding it over to align with the stitching line.  I then pinned (with the pins in the stitch line) the flounce onto the stitching line, making sure the matching points were lined up.  I think that’s the only tricky part – stitching slowly and slightly stretching the fabric to get around the corners and not get any tucks.

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Daughter No2’s favourite part is not just one.  She loves the wide sleeves, the wavy back – naturally, and the front placket.  The fabric is cool and light and being white, she can – and does – wear it with everything!  She’s had a few compliments while out and about in it, and has therefore decided she’d like another, and has earmarked a piece of black broiderie anglaise we bought while in South Africa.  But – she also wants a pair of shorts with that fabric, so I’ll be cutting the two out together just to be sure there’s enough fabric!  Fingers crossed…

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Work in Progress Wednesday 4/19

A blog post!  Finally!  You guys have probably been wondering what on earth happened, radio silence for ages now!  Well, I’ve had my head down making kid’s clothes for a friend, and to help me to clear out those stash boxes of left over fabrics, and the weather lured me out of doors!  We had such beautiful, unseasonally hot weather at the end of February that I just couldn’t resist the siren call of the allotment!

It was luck that I hadn’t, to be honest, because now, at the beginning of March, I’m ready to sow seeds and plant stuff.  Even if the weather has reverted to it’s usual windy, rainy self.  So, now that the inclement weather is back, I’m back in the sewing room!  Last week I had a proper sewing day and made 7 Rowan Tees by Misusu Patterns!  It’s a free pattern for kids.  I traced the sizes from the 98 or 3 year old, up to the 7 year old & raided my stash of leftover ponte, double jersey and quilted jersey.  I made 3 of the smallest size, and randomly chose fabric and other sizes so I’d have enough for growing into, as well as fitting the older kid.  Those were all the remains of the fabric after making Toaster Sweaters, Talvikki Sweaters and the LB Pullover.  I’m very happy with my little pile, and will be distributing them amongst 3 kids.

 

 

 

But back on the sewing for normal humans – grown ups!  I suddenly realised that daughter no 2 would be home this weekend for the week – reading week at uni, and I’d promised a bunch of toiles ready for fitting!  Some patterns were ready to toile, others still needed to be traced – oops!  So I’ve made a start with a pair of shorts, and today cut the toile for a dungaree dress, 115 from Burdastyle April 2017, and traced and cut the toile for the blouse, 111 from February 2018.

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Dungaree dress 115
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Blouse 111

I also cut a top for my mum from her favourite Burda pattern (the fifth one this year!) and decided to experiment with viscose and the Kabuki Tee from Paper Theory.  I toiled that pattern in February in the size 18, but decided I could afford to size down one.  So, we’ll see if it works in viscose!  I’ve seen plenty of cotton, nani iro, double gauze and linen versions, but ot viscose.  Fingers crossed…  By the way, has anyone seen the announcement that Tara is releasing a new pattern – a jumpsuit – either this week or next?  I’m waiting with baited breath for this one, I really like the look of it when she made a version last summer.  Let’s just say I’m on tenterhooks, waiting to pounce and hit that “pay now with PayPal” button as soon as it’s live! *edit* it’s live!  Here’s the link if you’re remotely interested…

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Fifth version of Mum’s favourite top pattern to be made this year.
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Kabuki Tee in viscose. Mad or inspired?

It’s due to rain tomorrow, so instead of getting really, really muddy, I’ll stay indoors and start sewing those toiles!  I already have the fabric for the Burda patterns, so if I get those made up next week after fitting, it’ll be a good stash bust.  I also found the #sewbibs hashtag on Instagram this week, a good push to make that dungaree dress, and possibly to finally trace and toile the Burnside Bibs for myself??  I already have the fabric for those too…  It would tie in nicely with the other hashtag, #sewthatpatternnow.  And of course, #makeyourstash.  But I’ve been doing that one for a while now, and I’m only making very slow inroads into the stash boxes!  Mostly because I keep hoarding the leftovers!  Send help…

 

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My first daffodil! Well, Narcissus, really. So pretty!

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I’ll leave you with a picture of the Narcissus blooming on my allotment last week, before Storm Freya hit and flattened them, so I cut them and brought them indoors.  My first harvest from the cutting garden this year!

The Trench Coat Edition

 

The trench coat 103 in the February issue of Burdstyle 2017 has been on my “to sew” list since it came out.  There was just something about the style, length and simplicity of the design that appeals.  Daughter No1 was very keen on having it, and I really wanted to make it in one of her fabric designs, but the price of doing so was just too much.  I still hope that one day I will be able to do that, but in the mean time she has her coat, and she’s still happy with it.  And so is Daughter No 2….

 

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The spy coat!

I guess I’d better explain!  🙂  Both girls liked the coat, and both wanted a version.  So I went looking online for suitable fabric and found a rather nice pink/copper cotton twill at Croft Mill Fabrics for just £5/m.  I bought 5m, which was a real bargain.  I wasn’t sure whether the girls would like the colour, but as it was cotton, I was quite prepared to dye it to whatever colour they wanted.  As it turns out, however, they were both perfectly happy with it!  That makes it easy for me then!  My Work in Progress post will take you through all the construction details.

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I traced the 38 and toiled it in an old duvet cover from the charity shop.  On trying it on Daughter No2, we noted the following alterations:

  1. Lengthen sleeves by 4cm
  2. Broad shoulder adjustment 1.5cm
  3. Lengthen coat by 4cm
  4. Lengthen belt pieces 1.5cm

For Daughter No1, these were the alterations:

  1. Forward shoulder adjustment 1cm
  2. Lengthen coat by 4cm

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So, I was going to make Daughter No1’s coat first with her alterations, then reverse the shoulder adjustment and make the adjustments for Daughter No2 and make her coat. The coat itself is pretty straightforward to make.  Although Burda call it a “gathered trench coat”, there’s actually no gathering.  The waist is formed with dart tucks in the front and back, and the belt piece starts in the back panel seam to be fixed in the front with a button.  It does have the effect of  cinching the waist in a bit, but definitely not gathering.  The button is sewn through all the layers, there is no buttonhole.

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I did make them slightly differently, the coats have topstitching in different places, and Daughter No2’s coat has no shoulder pads.  I used shoulder pads in Daughter No1’s coat because of her posture.  I halved the thickness of the pads, she didn’t want “Dynasty shoulders”, but she did need the shaping they give.  Can you tell that the shoulders are different?

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Linings for the coats were chosen for each girl.  The coat wasn’t intended to be lined, the Burda instructions have you use Hong Kong finish on all the raw seams, and that would be fine for a Spring/summer coat.  We wanted these to be warmer, so I needed a lining.  I’ve not used traditional lining fabric for the main body, but I have used “proper” lining for the sleeves.  There’s nothing worse than your sleeves getting bunched up under your armpits when you put on a coat!

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I’d found the cotton poplin William Morris inspired print at Fabworks and knew it would be perfect for Daughter No1.  Daughter No2 needed something more contrasting, and I was looking for something geometric with a grey and white colour but was coming up empty handed.  Eventually I found a blue and white paisley print with bronze detail at the Rag Market in Birmingham.  It is viscose and cost a mere £2/m!  It was the right choice and Daughter No2 approved.

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My next problem in choice was the buttons.  I raided my button box and then all the charity shops in town.  I ended up with 3 rather yummy plum/maroon vintage buttons for the front of Daughter No2’s coat.  But there weren’t any for the sleeve tabs.  Another rummage through the button stash revealed 3 pretty pink mother of pearl buttons that would work.  So that was one done, Daughter No1’s buttons were more tricky to decide on.  She didn’t want a colour that would stand out too much, she decided subtle was the route to take.

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Buttons!

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In my raid of the local charity shops, I had found 4 beige-y/pink buttons, BIG ones!  So the colour was subtle, size – not so very much…!  But – they have worked rather well, and I found a couple of smaller similar coloured buttons in my stash that I used for the sleeve tabs.  So, there you have two pink/copper coats with different linings and different buttons for two different girls with different styles.  Although the shell colour is the same, and I used the same pattern, they do look different on.

collage coatsThat’s another Burdachallenge2018 entry for the year, and I’m glad to have made the trench coat.

 

I Can’t Help Myself

July’s Burda magazine was pretty good, I thought.  There were a fair few patterns I marked as interesting to make, either for me or the girls.  One that stood out immediately for me to make for myself, was the cropped, slightly flared trousers, 120.  The only thing I didn’t want from the pattern was the pleated detail on the hip yoke pockets.  It had similar details to the cropped trousers I’ve made heaps of so far, the rusty linen was the last pair.

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Burda flared trousers 120 July 2018

I had some turquoise washed linen I’d got from one of the stands at the NEC in March that I decided was perfect.  I had the right amount of fabric, which was a good start!  I did make a toile, as I always do with trousers, I need to know just how much length to take out of the leg, and whether or not to grade out from the hip up to the waist so I can close the zip.

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Burda trousers 120 July 2018

 

In the end I removed 4 cm from the length of the main pieces in order to get the knee line to line up with my knee, I left the lower trouser piece intact.  I also graded out to what would have been a 46 at the waist, because I go straight up from the hip.  The waistband pieces are straight, which is perhaps not ideal.  I recut them so there’s a centre back seam, which helps with getting a better fit.  Although, I have to say, looking at these photos, that I could probably do with making them a little shorter, about 2cm should do the trick.  And I need to take them in a bit, they do look rather big in the thigh area, I’m sure I could loose a bit of fabric there easily.

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Please excuse the creases, I’d been sitting too long already!

The linen pair are great!!  I made them in the first half of July, just after we got back from our Cornish break.  The colour is almost a neutral, but has enough colour to stand above.  The linen is a bit thicker than I’d really like for the sort of summer we’ve had this year.  On the day I delivered the shirtdresses to daughter no2, I wore these trousers – that’s when I finally got those photos done.  It was easily the hottest day of the year, it got up to 32C in Birmingham, and I thought I would melt.  I’d also sat on a train for 45 minutes, then walked for another 10 in the heat.  I was already uncomfortable way before taking photos!  No matter, apart from that, they’ve been lovely.  I had to make them a little tighter where I’d let the pattern out!  The linen, of course, stretches with wear and they ended up hanging a little low, so I took 7.5mm out of the centre back and 1.5cm out of the side seams, necessitating the removal and re-insertion of the invisible zip.

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Lovely enough to make another pair!  Your remember I had some inky blue linen/cupro from Fabworks a couple of months ago (probably longer than I’m thinking).  I’d expected a soft, floppy fabric, and got something with lustre and sheen (like a silk) and a lot more body.  So it went on the backest of back burners while I decided what to do with them made something else.  But then this pattern said, “give it a try”.  The body of the fabric would hold the shape, and it’s thinner than the turquoise linen.  I had two metres, so why not!  Just a note, this particular colour has sold out, but they have other shades on a special offer…  There’s also a post with information on how to care for this particular fibre partnership.

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I stuck with the original enlargement, this stuff has NO STRETCH!  It was the right call.  They fit really nicely into the waist and do not fall down during the day, just right.  Again, I left off the pleated detail, you’re really never going to see it anyway, and it’ll just make bulk under my tops.  More bulk….

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So I’m really happy with this pattern, I think it could easily be made in wool for wear with boots and tights in the autumn/winter, in fact, I rather thought this last pair would be slightly transitional.  While we’ve certainly had the most amazing summer weather, just how long will it last now it’s August already??

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I have another pattern to make quickly from the July Burda, top 117 looks interesting, and I think I’ll make it with one of the pieces of fabric I got from Seasalt.  But I just need to finish a couple of tops on order from daughter no 2 first…

 

 

Esenciales

A little sewing procrastination happened after that mad “help me” post from a couple of weeks ago.  In order for me to get all my thoughts in order and ducks in a row, I decided a quick detour would be a good idea.  I had a piece of red and white viscose crepe left over from a blouse I’d made in January for the Burdachallege 2018.  I also had a pattern I’d traced 106 from April 2013 Burda, it’s only got 4 pieces, quick and easy!  I’d rather liked the look in the magazine when it first came out, but never really got round to making it.

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Top 106 April 2013

This year, while I was tracing a pair of shorts from the same magazine for Daughter No2, I remembered this top and traced that too.  A quick toile revealed it was too long for me (5cm) but didn’t need anything else, no FBA! Yippee!  Now one thing to remember, if I were to go by measurements, the 44 would not fit me.  In order for the top to look on my the way it does on the model, I’d need to go up 2-3 sizes.  But there’s no way I’d want to wear it like that!  All I want is a loose-fitting top with a bit of ease – not a tent!  So bear that in mind when judging how tops look on me, compared to someone who’d normally fit into any size bracket.

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The pattern pieces fitted on the remains of the fabric easily, neck facings were interfaced with fine sheer fusible from Gill Arnold.  You could, if you preferred, use self-bias binding for the neck edges instead of the facings.  The style is a loose fitting top with pleats at the front neckline with slight drop shoulder and no sleeves.  The pleats were basted in place and steamed to hold the shape until I sewed on the facing.

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I used French seams throughout and double turned the hem edges on the sleeve openings and the hem of the garment.  It’s turned out really nicely and I like that I have another red top for the summer!  I have worn the original red top from January loads of times, it gets compliments all the time.  So now I have a summer one!  Thankfully the shape is great for the current weather, and now I want another.  I’m sure I have some small pieces of fabric lurking in the stash that I could use in this pattern, but first….

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I must get on with reducing the piles of fabric and pagazines/patterns on the table in my sewing room and covering the bed in the guest room!  I can say that I have made one of the items I rambled about last time, that inky blue linen/cupro blend.  And it’s made fabulous cropped trousers!  Will be showing those off soon…

 

Dressed for Summer

This is a post that should have gone up last week, I finally managed to get photos of Daughter No2 in her new dresses last Friday, so I should have got everything sorted on the weekend – except we tuned out over the weekend, because it finally rained! We haven’t had rain since the 27th of April, according to my gardening diary. So it was nice to just relax and do those things you do on a rainy day – together…

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Shirtdress 117 from May 2011 Burdastyle

So Burda 117, May 2011.  Unfortunately it is not available on the English Burdastyle website, so you’ll have to track down a copy in the flesh or download the German version!  Daughter no 2 had spotted it earlier in her hunt for a shirtdress, one of many patterns to try this summer.  I love the slim, elegant skirt and little sleeves.  The version in the magazine is made in a gorgeous blue and white floral print and it was this and the shape of the dress that drew daughter no 2 to it.  Now I was on the look out for a suitable fabric.

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Burda dress 117 05/2011

I finally found something suitable from Croft Mill Fabrics and we snapped up the last 2m.  It was a blue and white floral print cotton-linen blend, but when it was washed, it turned into a pale blue and darker blue floral print…  Luckily the new colour was accepted and approved, but now I needed new thread and a change of button choice.

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The blousing in the back that she didn’t really like

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I traced the 38, and made a toile using some pretty vintage cotton I bought earlier in the year from a Mid-Century Modern Show in Dulwich.  Overall, the dress was approved, I needed to bring it in towards the waist, effectively making it a 36 in that area, and I needed to make a swayback adjustment in the skirt.  The back of the dress has vintage inspired fullness, which I really liked, but daughter no 2 didn’t.  So I adjusted the pattern to remove most of the blousing.  The toile was then finished off, buttons etc from the stash, and now it’s fully wearable.

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The pattern is straight forward to make, nothing complicated.   The skirt pockets are stitched to the front skirt, which means no flapping about.  Apart from nipping in at the waist and reducing the volume in the back, I haven’t altered anything else.  The buttons came from the stash as my very local haberdashery closed last winter and my next local in Stratford on Avon will be closing in September.  So the stock is very low and choice is worse.  I couldn’t trust getting anything online so was desperate to find something suitable from my button box.  I wasn’t sure I had anything, the dress needs 10 buttons, and I had nothing that was suitable in those numbers.  But I did have two sizes of the same design button that hubby thought would do the job just fine.  So I used the 3 bigger buttons on the bodice, and the 6 smaller ones on the skirt.  It looks like it was done on purpose, rather than by necessity!

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I delivered both dresses to Birmingham on what felt like the hottest day of the year!  Oh boy, has this summer been warm!  They were both tried on immediately and the squeals of delight told me I’d done my job! 🙂

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The new, volume-reduced back view

What I rather like about both dresses is their ability to be worn layered with a tee shirt or cami and jeans/shorts/cropped trousers.  Of course, after floating that idea, it had to be tested out, with what I thought was great success.  I have since been informed that both dresses have been worn successfully and that she loves them.  Phew! 😉

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I am still chipping away at that long list of things to make, three more items crossed off the list will hopefully be photographed in a couple of weekends when she and her sister come for a visit.

But I am now on the hunt for a jumpsuit pattern that will be suitable for petites, with sleeves.  Other requirements are that it be loose fitting around the waist, be able to be cropped to 7/8 length and be able to be worn in an office.  Ideas please hive mind…