We have a special occasion in our extended family – we have just welcomed a new baby girl born to my sister in law, so my husband has just become an uncle and our sons will now have a cousin! The little baby girl is now one month old and we have just visited her for the fist time. It is a tradition in our country to bring something special to the new baby while visiting for the first time. I decided to sew a dress, and indeed it is quite a special dress.
In preparation for this project I purchased McCall’s pattern M 6015 designed for toddlers. I chose to make it in Medium size that should work just fine next summer when she is 9 months old. I also made a nice matching headband with a little poppy bow.
Have never sewed anything that small, however, it was a truly lovely project as I was thinking about this special new person who has just arrived into the large and interesting world.
What made the dress special were fabrics and notions that I used. We bought this lovely poppy fabric in Germany, while visiting probably the most decorated and beautiful small town situated along the so-called Romantic road in Bavaria – Rothenburg ob der Tauber. I felt that it would work very nicely for this small dress. The trimming comes from my mom’s stash and dates back to her youth. And the lining is white cotton that little girl’s great grandpa had bought many many years ago and which I got from my mother in law more than a decade ago when our first son had just been born.
Lots of memories and few pieces of memorabilia went into this dress. I truly hope that it fits our new niece next summer and that she enjoys the dress then as much as I enjoyed sewing it.
I really love this dress! Even though it is one of only few polyester garments that I have ever made – usually I choose natural fibers or viscose and types – the style, the color and the comfort of this dress are just perfect!
This dress started as a piece of fabric that I bought from Minerva crafts online store back in spring during my first proper fabric haul. I was purchasing this fabric with particular McCall’s pattern in mind – owned the pattern already and figured that it should be a perfect match. However it took half a year for this planned item to get worked on.
It was a pleasure to sew this dress! No fuss whatsoever. The pattern was rather simple and worked really well, the fabric was easy to handle. I did not have to perform anything new – already had experience with the lining, the zipper and gathered skirts.
Probably the only peculiar part of the process was related with the sleeves. The pattern called for short sleeves, whereas I needed them long as this was supposed to be a cold weather dress. Decided to gather them close to the hem and for that needed to neatly install a narrow casing for the elastic. All went as planned and I was very pleased with the end result. Love wearing it with the leather jacket and heavy boots. However it looks very well in combination with high heels too.
I used McCall’s pattern M8032 and chose to make view B. Self-drafted the bottom of the sleeves. I needed 3 meters (of 115 cm width) of the polyester fabric called Celine vintage style lace jacquard from Minerva Crafts and viscose lining for the bodice of the dress. Other notions were thread and an invisible zipper. This dress cost me 33 EUR. It was made in October 2020.
For my autumn wardrobe at first I had planned all sorts of colors. Many gorgeous and colorful fabrics were sitting in my stash and I had plans for almost all of them. But then something else happened. In few blogs that I follow I saw beautiful pastel dresses, sweaters and pants, the colors dominating these collections were light pink, grey, sand or cocoa. This inspired me to throw all of my previous ideas out the window and start planning all over.
The first among my new ideas was flowy light salmon color dress that I wrote about in my previous post. The next was this seemingly simple straight cut dress from Burda magazine that I made in pastel cocoa tencel.
After deciding on the color scheme that I would be exploring, I quite quickly found a suitable pattern for this tencel that I had bought at my local fabric store. I chose the pattern from Burda 2020/08 issue and thought that I was choosing the dress that will come together quickly and swiftly. It was not to be!
First of all, tencel was very difficult to handle. It does not hold any shape whatsoever. Of course, that’s also nice as it has a beautiful drape. But this also meant that cutting pattern pieces was quite a struggle, sewing was not too easy either. And in addition to that, the dress was deceptively complex when it came to the construction. It only looks straight and easy, however, all sorts of things are happening around the neck and yoke.
First I had to deal with with the back pleat. Decided to give a shape to it by top-stitching from the wrong side all along the pleat crease lines. Then I decided to install the lining and instead of making the same pleat at the back, I came up with an idea to gather the back piece below the yoke, which was clearly not a great decision. The gathering of the lining gives a bit of bulk right below the yoke, which I do not quite like. V shape opening in the front presented me with a challenge of attaching the neck band. I contemplated extensively how to avoid the top stitching but could not come up with any reasonable solution. So I ended up doing the best top stitching I possibly could.
The next challenge I had with the neck band was its shape. Raised neck patterns rarely work well for me as my neck is disproportionately thin. The neck band of this dress is supposed to lay nicely around the neck, while mine ended up standing up straight regardless of what I tried. In the original pattern the neck band was supposed to be closed at the back using two buttons. I realized that if I do this, it will not look nice, that is why I opted for only one button at the bottom of the neck band. It still does not lay as I would like it to, but it’s not too bad after all.
It ended up being much more complex make than I had initially expected. I barely harnessed the patience to actually finish the project. It is only now that I finally started enjoying this dress. It feels soft and nice against the body. Fair enough that the fabric wrinkles quite a bit – lyocell, tencel tend to do that, so will have to live with that. However, after this project I told to myself that I would not be buying tencel fabric in the foreseeable future. There are many other beautiful fabrics so much easier to work with.
I used the pattern #102 from Burda 2020/08 magazine. I needed 2.25 meters of the tencel fabric and viscose lining for this dress. Other notions were thread and 1 small button. This dress cost me 43 EUR and a ton of patience! It was made in October 2020.
In summer of 2020 I sewed a lot. It was not until late August that I finally realized that this summer would soon be over, and all the nice summery garments might not be worn until next year. Then I regrouped and started thinking of what my autumn wardrobe might look like this year. September was sunny, warm and truly beautiful. That is probably why I set off for light neutral colors and flowy designs. The first autumn dress that I made this year was this beautifully luminous viscose piece.
I used the main building blocks of McCall’s pattern M7994. Instead of ruffled sleeves I decided to make my own sleeve pattern to feature gathered hem. I also chose to line the skirt as well as the bodice, while the instructions only asked for the bodice to be lined. This fabric is somewhat sheer, that is why adding a proper lining to the skirt was absolutely necessary. Eventually I made a narrow belt which was not part of the instructions either.
Few alterations had to be made. As per usual I had to merge size 8 for the shoulders with size 12 for the waist. In addition to that, I chose to lengthen the bodice. At first I added 3 cm, however in the process I realized that this had perhaps been too much and ended up shortening the bodice a little bit. Entire alterations part ended up being quite challenging. Sewing the dress was also not too easy – viscose fabric was difficult to handle while cutting and then while sewing.
Installing an invisible zipper at the back with the lining being involved was quite a feat. It was my first lined dress zipper and it took me a long while to complete the task.
This was far more complex project than it first appeared. Mostly because of difficult fabric, but also due to the lining coming into the picture. However, after all I love this dress! Have worn it few times to work, it is a pity that November came so fast, and for the late autumn this color is probably a little bit too optimistic!
I used key building blocks of McCall’s pattern M7994, drafted the sleeves and the belt myself. I needed 2.25 meters of the viscose fabric and viscose lining for this dress, bought both of these fabrics at my local fabric store. Other notions were thread, invisible zipper, a buckle for the belt and few eyelets. This dress cost me 42 EUR. It was made in September 2020.
When I started with this entire sewing business, at first I took really small steps. Bought rather random fabric – the one that was cheap rather than the one that I truly liked. The idea was to have something to start working with and not being worried about probably ruining it. Back then I also had little understanding about how much fabric I might need for one or another kind of garment. From my first modest fabric haul I had this very bright and vibrant polyester fabric. It also has some sheen to it – now I am not even sure why I had decided to go for such an extravagant print or this color scheme. Anyway, it was there, looking at me, so something had to be done with it.
For my very first dress attempt I chose seemingly simple pattern from Burda 2019/05 magazine. All sorts of mistakes were made! At that time I had not yet figured out that while redrawing the pattern onto the sheet paper it is worthwhile adding seam allowances at once. Instead, I was adding them while cutting the fabric, which caused multiple inaccuracies later on when the sewing started. Then, I had a challenge with the neck band and later on – with pockets. Learnt quite a few things with this dress. The fabric was also not helping me as it was slippery and unruly. Anyway, after completing the dress, I realized that I was left with a decent piece of the fabric, which went back onto the shelf.
It was not until late summer that I got obsessed with zero-waste concept, also in sewing. So instead of starting up with new fabrics, which by then I had gotten plenty, I decided to use up all leftovers. That day I think I cut four or five tops of different kinds, thus using up every last bit of leftover fabric that I had collected by then. For this yellow-green situation I chose McCall’s pattern M7899 and made myself a very nice top that works very well with a jacket or blazer. Have worn it many times to work and probably love it even more than the initial dress.
Things turned out unexpectedly here, and I now have two garments instead of one and no waste whatsoever. The dress is from Burda 2019/05 magazine, pattern #105, I cut it in size 36. The top is view A of McCall’s pattern M7899, I cut it in size 6. This McCall’s pattern provides few nice options with the sleeves, might actually try other views of this pattern as well.