With the addition of this dress the Wattlebird jumpsuit  is now the most made pattern in my collection. With a few modifications each time, I’ve made a top, a jumpsuit and now a dress. While this block doesn’t fit me perfectly I think I’ve finally been able to get the top to a place where it’s the perfect fit for me so I’m still keen to make some more.

For this version of the wattlebird pattern I made a simple dress with a tiered gathered skirt. This is very similar to the wattle-fawn set that they sell. I also had this version as some shorter length inspo.

I bought a metre of this lovely red linen from Tessuti Fabric in my pre-uni semester fabric shop. I don’t really have time to venture out to the city during uni semester (and with the current situation I can’t anyway 🙁 )  so tend to buy a few nice pieces before uni starts so I’ve got something to sew. I didn’t have a plan for it but knew I liked wearing red and think linen is the nicest.

This presented a challenge when cutting out this dress. The length and width of the tiers were dictated by the amount of fabric I had left after cutting the top. The lower tier is made up of three panels in order to get a longer length.  I had just enough at the end to cut out a scrunchie which I was very pleased with. This also meant I used all of this fabric with only very minimal waste created when I cut out the top front, everything else was carefully placed together squares.

I cut out an extra small. I do measure between small and medium but have found this  pattern to be very oversized so cut  smaller and found the fit to be better. This extra small is the smallest size offered in the pattern  so I would maybe be inclined to make a toile to test the fit if you measured this size. (A note – I have the older version of this pattern which has only 4 sizes however I believe common stitch has since extended the size range, however I’m not sure if this is both smaller and larger.)

In both my previous versions, in size M and S, I have created vertical pleats on the top, which have helped to reduce gaping at the armholes and made the top of the bib a little bit smaller as it also gaped at the top. However in this smaller size the width of the top was perfect for me. As I still had problems with the fit of the armhole,  I instead opted to create a second dart to help with the armhole fit.  I find the drafted horizontal dart looks nice but doesn’t create the best fit for my body shape. I did think of cutting the binding on the bias as a solution to it flipping out in previous versions, however I didn’t have enough fabric to do this. I removed the binding and measured a dart on my body to take out the gaping fabric. This has created two radial darts on the side. It’s a kind of funky look but I don’t mind it too much as the fit is so much better on the bodice than other versions.

For the skirt I cut two rectangles. The first was 1.4 time the length of the top hem. The second was 1.7 time the hem. This was purely due to fabric restrictions and I would have liked a fuller skirt, especially for the second layer. I then gathered these at the top edge and attached to the top. The zipper was the last thing sewn in at the back as it reached into the first tier.

I made the matching scrunchie using a tutorial from the Hemming. I have straight ties instead of her rounded ones, due to the amount of fabric I had left, but rounded off the ends. The scrunchie is also only 8cm wide. This was a super cute and very simple project for using up the scraps and I’ve already made a few more with left over fabric!

I am really really happy with this dress and I think it will be a staple in my wardrobe. I’ve worn it the same way I wear my wattlebird jumpsuit (with a t-shirt or sweater underneath) so that I’m able to wear it when it’s nice and sunny but also when it is a little chillier.

Fabric – Linen from Tessuti Fabrics (link to similar)

Pattern – modified Wattlebird Jumpsuit from Common Stitch

Shirt making is something that until recently I’d never been drawn to do. I kind of only thought of shirts as workwear which is something I don’t have a need for (except for one subject at uni last year in which I raided my mother’s wardrobe). However when I saw this super cute leopard print all I could think of was a cropped boxy collared shirt that would be more casual take on a shirt. 

I used the Archer button up shirt, from Grainline Studio, as the starting point for this shirt.  I choose this pattern as I had access to the pattern and as it has a detailed sew along, which was super helpful to me I had never done a collar or button placket and was intimidated by both of these things. The sew along is so incredibly detailed with advice on fabric, interfacing and cutting before the sewing begins and then plenty of photos and videos to help with the actual construction. I’m sure this would be helpful even when constructing a shirt using a different pattern as it’s very reassuring and clear. I didn’t use the instructions and relied entirely on the sew-along. 

I made a few minor changes to the top so it would be more like the one I had imagined in my head. Principally I took out the shaping on the side seams and made it straight down. I also cropped the shirt at the top of the hem curve.  I made the sleeves ¾ eliminating the sleeve placket and substituting for a cuff.  To do the cuff I cut a rectangle folded it horizontally, attached to the end of the sleeve and tacked it up. 

I chose to topstitch down all my seams with a double line creating a faux flat felled seam and a lovely finish inside as the seam allowances stay nicely tucked away. I did this with regular weight white thread so this is very subtle touch. It’s just for me as I can see how much neater my top stitching has become over the years. While I was very proud of them my first few garments included some very, very wonky topstitching that was definitely a ‘handmade tell’ of the not so great kind. 

I used a heavy weight interfacing because it was all I hard  in my sewing supplies. Next time I would use something lighter. The collar sits a little stiff at the neckline and waist tuck.  I’ve worn this shirt a few times now and the interfacing seems to have broken down a little near the tuck and upper collar, so it sits a little bit more how I wanted and is a little softer. 

I used buttons from an old men’s button down shirt (because #recycling and also I didn’t have to go to the store) and I think they fit in nicely with the shirt. They are just plain white so let the print be the most exciting feature of this shirt. I also used the rest of the recycled shirt to make joey pouches for the animals caught in Australia’s bushfire so this meant I was really able to use most parts of the shirt. (Follow along with the Animal Rescue Craft Guild on facebook or instagram for updates! This was a great and very helpful scrap busting project, so I would highly recommend) 

Overall I was very happy with the results of this shirt. I think the one I envisioned in my head was a flat collar (not sure if that’s the technical term?) over one with a collar stand like the Archer however being a new shirt sewist I did not take note of this difference. This is a little further outside my usual wardrobe but it is slowly becoming more worn. I think I’d like to make a flat collared shirt in the future (similar to this one by Heather-Lou).  

I’m very, very happy with how this shirt turned out. This year I’m trying to pick projects that advance my skills with new techniques and elements for me to try. This project fits that category and was a nice first make of 2020. I ended up really enjoying seeing the collar come to life and even ended up enjoying the final step of hand sewing the buttons on. 

Fabric: Little Big Cats cotton shirting from The Fabric Store 

Pattern:  Archer shirt from Grainline Studio