Echino Grassy Plain Dress

The dress that got me interested in Japanese Sewing Books is this purple scarf dress featured on the cover of ‘Les couleurs francaises’. It is also my reward dress for completing the target I set for myself in my Japanese Sewing Book challenge. I used my precious Echino Grassy Plain fabric which I thought was so appropriate for the design. The fabric was in my untouchable stash but I am glad it has turned into this dress!

The dress is Project C from ‘Les couleurs francaises’. It is relatively easy to make with many detailed diagrams. I used the pattern for size M, the shoulders fitted well but it was huge on the sides so I took them in quite a bit. The original design had a tie scarf collar. To make the most of this outfit, I decided to make some modifications and made the collar and scarf separately.  Here you see the dress with a collar I drafted myself. I wanted a collar that would look hidden when I wanted to wear it with the scarf.

Here’s the version with scarf which looks similar to the photo in the book.

And here I wear it slightly differently. I love the idea of a separate scarf, it is so versatile and you can wear it in so many ways, even with other outfits!

The scarf could also be used to drape a crowl neckline.

Or as a head scarf :) I actually like this boho look quite a lot.

I love this Echino fabric! I tried my best to match the print on the side seams but it was not possible given that the print was wavy.

I hope you like my reward dress :) I love it and can’t stop looking at it! I can’t wait for my princess to grow to be 100cm, that way we can wear matching dresses like the ones in the book! TGIF, have a fabulous weekend everyone!

Nani Iro Tunic

While I was away from my sewing machine, my husband and I managed to catch three movies (Inception, Salt and Eclipse), get our hair trimmed at the salon and enjoy a couple massage. We even brought the kids to the beach, the park and went swimming together. Couple and family time have been great but it has been almost a week since I last had my sewing machine plugged in. I was very much looking forward to creating again. However, I must admit that when this day came, it was not easy getting my sewing groove back.

It took some effort to pull myself away from my Macbook and to get into the fabric cutting mode this morning. And after I changed the machine needle, the machine threader was not working properly so I’ve been relying on my eyes to do the threading the entire day which became rather exhausting.  I never knew how much I have taken the threader for granted. *sigh*.

Anyways, I am happy that at the end of the session, I completed my first project of the week and my final project from the Japanese Sewing Book ‘Feminine wardrobe’. That means, I get to make my Echino dress! Yipee!

Here’s me sporting a new tan and my Nani Iro Tunic. I love this Double Gauze fabric I got from Fabric Tales Japan. It is too gorgeous! I was crazy enough to leave the collection and designer names on one of the sleeves!

I knew I wanted to make a tunic with this fabric when I bought it but I have not tried Japanese sewing books then. The fabric print is very serene and reminded me of watercolor paintings. I wanted to use a pattern that is different yet simple. I’m very glad I waited and finally used this Japanese pattern and adapted it for a tunic.

This is the original photo from the book and the dress pattern which I adapted.

The pattern is C3 from the book and I used the bodice pieces from C2 as they were essentially the same pieces, only shorter. I didn’t use elastic for the sleeves as I thought that would be too puffy for my liking. I used french seams for the inside of sleeves so they looked neat even from outside. I love the front yoke and the pleats on the front bodice, back bodice and sleeves.

I love this tunic. It is super comfy and perfect for summer! Think I am getting the groove back.

50s Inspired Sabrina Cape Dress Part 2

Thanks for waiting, I am now ready to unveil the 50s inspired Sabrina Cape Dress. Yes, the entire outfit!

With cape

Without cape

This outfit was inspired by the image below originally posted by the Selfish Seamstress. Do you think my part modern, part vintage pattern combination successful delivered the outfit?

My review on burdastyle’s Sabrina dress sewing pattern can be found on my previous post.  I adapted the cape portion from my seriously overused butterick B5032.

It’s funny that I’ve used this cape pattern for two very different capes and never the one on the pattern cover. The other one is here. I cut the pattern pieces for the front and back of the cape, did the darts, sewed the front and back pieces together and did a fitting with the dress on. I identified where the front had to end so that the cape can be buttoned to the dress. I cut away the excess fabric and sewed on a poly lining.  After another fitting to ascertain the placement, buttonholes were sewn on.

Oh! And I just wanted to show a better photo of the cute egg colored buttons i mentioned in the last post and the iron-on hemming tape I discovered at Daiso.

I read about the Very Purple Person using the hemming tapes on her projects and was curious about it. So, I decided to give it a try when I found it. It is a dream to use! Your hem is finished beautifully in a few seconds!

TGIF! Have a fantastic and rejuvenating weekend everyone!

50s Inspired Sabrina Cape Dress Part 1

When I read this post by the Selfish Seamstress, I knew I wanted to make one of the 1950s outfits she posted. I love the idea that the cape is attached to the buttons on the dress like this one I found a day later on etsy.

I already have a vintage cape pattern, butterick B5032 pattern, so I didn’t want to purchase another one. Instead, I made the dress out of burdastyle’s Sabrina sewing pattern which I’ve always wanted to try but am arm shy. But with a cape, the outfit is ideal! I would never have thought of this outfit on my own so I am thankful to have seen these vintage patterns. They are my inspiration. I have just completed the dress portion so here it is. I hope you see some similarities :)

I used a medium weight ikea fabric in navy blue plaid for the dress, white fabric for what was called the ‘neckline’ on the sewing pattern and added some navy blue piping on top. I love the egg colored buttons which were attached to the front and back of the dress to hold the straps in place.

Expect lots of sewing for this dress. I have never used this much thread on a dress before LOL and I only realized it when I counted the number of used bobbins. There are princess seams running on the skirt on both front, back and pleat pieces in between. This is my first time sewing a box pleat skirt and I really enjoyed learning something new. I lengthen the skirt quite a bit as the original version was rather short.

Sad to say, the sewing instruction was a total letdown. It was overly brief and confusing for a dress that had quite a number of steps to complete.

If you bought this pattern, I hope you will find the steps I took below helpful. You can follow burdastyle’s instructions till the end of interfacing and then:

1) Sew the front neckline piece to the front yoke piece (this was not named on the pattern but you can identify it by the bust measurements printed on it), right side facing. Repeat the same for the other front neckline and yoke pieces. Please note that the bodice is very fitting so measure yourself before selecting the size.

2) Sew the back neckline piece to the back yoke piece, right side facing. Repeat the same for the other back neckline and yoke pieces.

3) Sew the front and back pieces together at the side seams for both sets.

4) Sew the two sets together by joining the two necklines, right side facing. You can insert piping here if you wish. Turn right side out, fold in one set of the neckline/yoke set and top stitch the neckline. Fit.

5) Sew the centre front piece and the pleat pieces together, right side facing, matching the numbers. Sew the pleat pieces to the side front pieces, right side facing, matching the numbers. Sew the top of the side front to the centre front, right side facing, matching the numbers until your waistline.

6) Sew the back front, pleat and side pieces in a similar fashion.

7) Sew the  side seams on the right. For the left side, sew until the zipper mark.

8 ) Baste top of skirt to one of the bottom seams of the front yoke, matching the side seams. Fit and stitch.

9) Fold in the seam allowance of the internal bodice and iron. Top stitch at the seam.

10) Fold the strap in half and stitch, right side facing, leaving a gap, trim allowance, turn inside out and top stitch. Repeat for the other strap. Pin on marked button spots and do a fitting.

11) Insert zipper and make button holes. Sew buttons.

12) Finish hems and we are done!

I have been procrastinating on the Sabrina for a long long time. There is another reason that gave me a push. The weather here has been anything but predictable recently. I have never witnessed this much rain in June and July! They were supposed to be the hottest months. Can you imagine,  these couple of months we actually had a number of flooding incidents! So, I thought this dress with cape would be sort of weather proof- warm or cool. Also, it is perfect for my Sundays. First watching my prince swim at the sunny pool, followed by church service in an incredibly cold auditorium.

One thing though, I find the dress a little bit difficult to remove due to the tight fit at the bust area. But, it’s only a small issue given how comfortable this is when worn! If you use knit, this issue can be easily resolved and you will not need a zipper.

Now, I just have to get the cape done!

Sunday Etsy Faves: All dressed up

Four very different dresses caught my eyes today. The first is a toga dress in blue with a simple ruffle down its front. Simple but striking and blue is so in, so now. I love it!

Penelope James One Shoulder Dress by featherweight

I might not have mentioned this before but green has always been my favorite color. It is rather ironic but I don’t usually wear green as I think it makes me paler than I already am. Yet, I am so in love with the color of this dress. It makes me think of summer in Paris. Aren’t the brown shoes just perfect?

Fleur’s Petal Dress by Nadinoo

I love the print and what looks like piping running down the front of the dress.

Melt the Guns Frock by iheartfink

Finally, a vintage inspired lace dress. Perfectly graceful and pretty. The magic of lace.

vintage dress from AstralBoutique

Retro Hot Pink Dress Completed!

Yes! The Sew Convert has completed the retro hot pink dress based on vintage butterick B5032 pattern! The sewing pattern was first printed in the 1950s and I chose to sew the dress with belt. This is a relatively easy dress to make with clear instructions. I did however unpick the seams joining the top to the skirt twice to ensure that side seams matched and that the dart lines on top matched the centre of the skirt’s pleats. So, this is the first solid colour dress The Sew Convert has made. No, not really… The Sew Convert decided to pick a polka dot fabric for the belt:)

I was not happy with the first belt I made as it was a little too short so I lengthen it. Somehow, a handmade belt does not feel as secure and stable. Perhaps I should add a loop to the belt? I also shorten the length of the skirt to increase its wearability. When I compared the photo below with the pattern cover above, I must say the dress does resemble what’s promised remarkably. I’ve been looking at the dress, perhaps a little too much but I still can’t decide if I like it more with belt or without belt. Which do you prefer?

Dress without belt

Back of dress

Close up of belt and pleats details

Dress with belt

Side view of dress

What I love about this dress is the flattering fit and the colour. The pleats on the front are well positioned to hide the tummy:) I also think it is a versatile garment. Throw on a jacket and you can wear it to the office, off comes the jacket and you can meet friends for drinks. With or without belt. The Sew Convert remains indecisive…

Sew Retro!

The Sew Convert is now a member of Sew Retro! It’s so exciting to be part of a group that loves sewing vintage and retro inspired clothing:) What’s more, these ladies are so talented! I thought I should take this opportunity to share some of my favorites by Sew Retro members!

Simplicity 4194 by Sewing and so on

I love how the fabric choice and style add to how effortlessly vintage this blouse looks. It’s  a beauty!

Bestway 19665 by Cargo Cult Craft

The Sew Convert heart this gorgeous outfit and all its intricate details. You have to visit her blog to see the close up photos! Love those shoes too!

Refashioned 1940s frock by The House of Mirth

This black and white gingham dress looks so amazing, I want one for myself!

Dress Pattern Shopping Day

The Sew Convert is not herself today. She is feeling lethargic and lacks the motivation to sew. She is literally melting at 34 degrees celsius!

So, instead it turned out to be a pattern shopping day for The Sew Convert.

Colette Pattern’s Rooibos and Macaron dress patterns are on the way! The Sew Convert can’t wait to make these yummy dresses!

Rooibos Dress

Macaron Dress

My oh my! What other good deal did The Sew Convert discover?  Vogue Patterns is having a two-day sale. Most patterns are going at $5.75! The Sew Convert’s patience had paid off .  These are some of the lovelies that ended up in her shopping cart. Oops:P

Vintage Vogue V1171

Vogue V1158

Besides ordering the vintage jumpsuit pattern she mentioned previously, The Sew Convert also got herself a Vintage McCall pattern with cape inspired collar. The cape collar is full of potential and can possibly go with other outfits!

Now, The Sew Convert is not a ladylike person. In fact, she is most comfortable in her bootcut jeans. However, her infatuation with vintage outfits might be revolutionizing the way she dresses. If so, it would be documented right here on the blog.

While The Sew Convert did not make an immediate purchase, this 1940s Swing Dress from Sense & Sensibility Patterns also caught her eye.

1940s Swing Dress

What’s more, there is a downloadable pdf pattern while all instructions are online! Gorgeous as it is, The Sew Convert shall get this when she is done with the rest:) Who knows, there might be a sale when The Sew Convert is ready!

On a separate note, Grosgrain’s A Frock by Friday was postponed to this week. While tomorrow is Day 2  of the sewalong, The Sew Convert will only be able to continue sewing on Thursday as her mum can’t babysit.  Hopefully, she’ll be able to catch up with the rest. Nonetheless, she looks forward to a fun-filled day with her princess. Fabric shopping might very well be in the itinerary:)