One of my favourite things about sewing is being able to sew things in styles I already know I like without looking in stores forever to find something. This dress was copied off a similar shift dress I already own.  My checked ‘schoolgirl’ dress is one of my favourite winter dresses as really like the shape. I also love denim dresses and wanted to do something with this denim I had. Hence, It made sense to me to  copy the dress I owned instead of buy a pattern or a new dress. This wasn’t too hard as the dress I copied is actually a children’s size dress, so it’s made simply with little shaping. 

To do this I traced the main pattern pieces of the dress directly onto this fabric from Spotlight. (This fabric is super useful for tracing double sided patterns, making toiles and copying clothes so is a good fabric to always have a stash of. I usually buy a few metres of it when Spotlight has a sale so I’m always well stocked!) It’s a little tricky to trace the sleeves but possible if you flip them up so that you can follow the curve of the seam allowance when tracing and then cut the pattern piece you traced on the fold. 

After tracing I added seam allowance as it’s a little easier when the dress isn’t in the way and I can lay the fabric completely flat. My little ‘sewing hack’ for this is to use a ~2cm wide strip of paper with the desired seam allowance marked and place this along the no seam allowance pattern pieces at intervals and mark. Then just connect the dots and cut out. This just speeds up the process a little more than if a ruler was used. I then cut my pattern pieces from the fabric. 

I followed a standard dress construction method finishing the seams using a zig zag stitch, hemming the sleeves and bottom of the dress and using bias binding to finish the neckline. I added a keyhole opening at the back as I didn’t want to insert a zipper. The button is one I bought in Japan a few years ago and has a deer on it. The shop I got it from was a super cute florist that also sold buttons. It’s nice to remember it when I wear this dress.  I also decided to add some patch pockets on the front to add some interest as the dress is quite simple on it’s own. As always, when I’m sewing something I haven’t done before, I referred back to  ‘Love at First Stitch’ by Tilly Walnes for instructions to do this. I could not speak highly enough of this book. She uses patch pockets in the Margot Pj Pants that I adapted to use for this dress. 

Being able to make new clothes using existing RTW items is a really useful skill to know and makes it easy to make clothes you know are in your style and fit well without a whole load of guesswork, especially for simpler items like this dress. I know I’ll be making lots of copies of my existing clothes in the future. 

Fabric- about 2 meters of a heavy weight denim from Spotlight

Pattern- Traced off a RTW dress I own

As it is Mother’s Day, I thought I’d blog about this top I made for my Mum. As she has been asking for me to make her a shell top for a while, I thought this would be a really good way to show my appreciation for everything she does for me, my sister and every one around her. She’s is always there to help when I need, is really encouraging in anything I want to do and has done such an amazing job as a mother who has now successfully raised an adult (!!). I know she doesn’t get nearly enough credit for everything she does. Happy Mother’s Day Mum!

I was quite nervous about doing this as I hadn’t sewed anything for another person before and wanted the top to be perfectly finished.  As you can see I am modelling the top as Mum is much happier being behind the camera and didn’t pose for photos, but she did lend me her clothes to show how she wears the top. The fit on me is sightly different to on Mum. I’m taller and bigger than Mum so it’s boxier and longer on her but the overall effect is similar. 

This top is a heavily modified Moana Top by Papercut patterns. I used this pattern last year but I didn’t really love the end product due to my fabric choice and it was too small when I’d finished making it. I also did a super dodgy job of the zip and used the wrong weight facing so the top was all round no good.  However, it did fit my mum really well so when she requested I make her a boxy top I figured this pattern would be a good place to start. I extended the width of the top by about 3cm each side to make it less fitted and removed the back darts. I also removed the bottom frill and extended the length of the top, slightly curving the bottom. Normally the insides of what I make aren’t sewn with the most care, however when sewing for mum I felt like I needed to make them much nicer. I even made a toile first to double check the fit after my pattern adjustments because I really wanted to get the fit right so that I made something that mum would love to wear. I didn’t realise how useful this was until I finished the top and didn’t have to make any fit adjustments at the end like I usually have to!

This fabric was an adventure to buy. We stumbled across a super cute quilting store in a tiny country town whilst on a road trip and bought the last metre of it. I was a little worried it wouldn’t be enough but am so happy it worked out!

Overall I’m really happy with this top. The fabric is gorgeous and I love it with this top style. Although it took a little longer to make than it would  if I was sewing for me, I did enjoy the extra steps that made it look cleaner in the end. Now I’ve got to learn to use my new overlocker so I can get the insides really looking nice when I make things for other people!

Fabric- From Inheritance Patchwork

Pattern- Moana Top by Papercut Patterns