Recently, I had my first ever annual leave. I spent the entire week in my home... sewing. It was a delight. I commenced two dressed (already blogged and now completed), but these pjs were the only project to be completed during the week. They made it out alive and in one piece!
Introducing.... this gorgeous and playful 1960s reproduction pattern from Burda. I made a sleeveless View C (bias finished armholes), and the bloomers from View D. Before commencing the cutting out and sewing, I sketched how I wanted it to look. Sketching is something I am doing more of now, helps keep my sewing plans in line.
The ruffle was a real doozy for me. Simple enough, but I think I completed it in many more steps than necessary. There is the actual pyjama top, then the ruffle, then bias which is stitched down under the ruffle (i.e.: holding the ruffle out of the way). Then the ruffle was all-sticky-up and awkward. So I top stitched it down. Much happier. Honestly, it took me too long to get a completed ruffle.
I'm not sure if I would ever make this pattern again. It's fast and simple, but how many pairs of pjs do I need? I would maybe consider the full length version as more of a robe type affair. But eh, there are so many other delightful things I could make.
Burda is an interesting beast. They certainly assume you know how to do things. They assume you know conventions about finishing and trimming seams, or how to make a casing, or how to understand their brief instructions. I use their instructions like a guide, but it usually follows the same sort of order. Stay stitch if needed - darts - bindings - decorative things like ruffles/pockets/zips - side seams - hems and finishing. If you know the standard order of construction everything will be fine. If you need more help than that while sewing, then go with Vogue, Butterick or Simplicity.
The bloomers are totally adorable. I used lingerie elastic that I had in my stash so... free! The elastic is tight enough that I don't have gravity issues... and loose enough for nighttime comfort. They are also a great little stash busting boxer short pattern. Adorable and a breeze to make!
As always, the labels from Dutch Label Shop make everything look complete and finished.
Pj's: Burda 7109
Messy room: Courtesy of busy work and full weekends
Another work dress! This is a lovely pattern I've made before - Vogue 8811. Seriously loving it. This is my third version. And yes, this dress is a result of my annual leave sewing week.
It's the standard size 12 made with no pattern adjustments. The neckline facing was neatly top stitched, the sleeves and hem done by machine as well. The only scrap of hand stitching was the side zip. There is more stability and control when hand stitching side zips, especially when trying to match an unbalanced plaid! Oh, there is also an adorable thread loop and button at the back neck. Gorgeous vintage detail. My large button stash rewarded me with a perfect little lonely black button. I hope it enjoys its new life.
The fabric is a mid-range polyester thing from Spotlight. It's really pretty and it was lovely to sew. It has a rich navy base with dark greys, bright blues and deep reds through the plaid.
I tried to do some serious pattern matching - the centre front and back stripe, the top of the kimono sleeves, the bodice and skirt side seams... everything! What a slow process cutting out becomes when more attention is needed. To keep the centre stripe lined up on the bodice and into the skirt, the skirt had to be cut with a different grainline. That meant the skirt side seams were right through the bias. I would have finished this weeks ago through the annual leave week, but I had to let the bias settle. It ended up dropping 5cms through the sides over the course of 2 weeks! Glad I left it for as long as I did.
The shape of Vogue 8811 is so flattering and classic. It's perfect for work and pretty easy care. No difficult sleeves to press, no awkward darts to manage. Easy care is the focus of my handmade work wardrobe. The poly fabric means I can easily fold/roll/squeeze it into a suitcase and travel without an iron requirement.
By the way, I never put shoulder pads into my dresses - I have enough shoulders naturally!
Dress: Vogue 8811
Gold knot earrings: Lovisa
Shoes: Django & Juliette
Behold! My most recently completed sew. It's the Simplicity 1692 blouse reproduction from the 40s.
Usually I steer clear of Simplicity patterns, but this blouse goes alright. I cut and made the size 12 with no alterations. (I still have a partially embroidered toile of this pattern on my dress form right now to be finished soon.) I don't know if you can see but there are little pearl buttons on the shoulder and the stupid loops. Those loops took me 4 hours to turn through. Yeah, 4 hours. I was watching telly. After some internet stalking I found one version of this blouse where they used ric rac trim as the shoulder loops. Brilliant idea.
The blouse neckline is really pretty with the low narrow scoop at the front. The waist tucks means it sits nicely under skirts and pants. I even did a pretty great invisible zip in the left side! Kimono sleeves are the best kind of sleeves. I might make this blouse again. If I did it would probably be in a textured black something - like a seersucker? Or maybe even a draped velvet? That would be decadent.
The skirt is Simplicity 3766 from the 50s, a true vintage pattern. It's a perfect go to skirt with a grey-blue colour which is great for this navy based Japanese cotton lawn print. You may recognise the cotton lawn fabric from an early post about this 1940s Vogue dress. This little blouse was made from the leftover fabric. The pearl buttons were also in my stash. And I stole the invisible zip from mum. So... the blouse was free!
Blouse: Simplicity 1692
Skirt: Simplicity 3766
Brooch: Sarah Coventry from the Rock N Roll Markets
Something strange happened with this dress. Something for good!
When it was started, I didn't really care about the finish of it. All I wanted was a new summer frock that fitted and had a cute 1950s sundress vibe.
After hand picking the zip in only the white gingham squares I started to care about the details. The finish. The inside. The seam allowance treatment. I didn't want any visible top stitching. I didn't want to take the sewing machine route to a quickly finished piece. I took time and care in lining up the gingham so the horizontal lines ran uninterrupted around the dress. The waist seam was lined up to the best of my ability.
It paid off.
Now I have a wonderful little retro sundress which fits, has a lined bodice, contrast pockets, and ric rac trim! Seriously, look at that trim.
I wanted this dress to look like a 50s sundress, to wear on sunny days or at picnics. What better way to achieve that than... ric rac! The ric rac covers the 2" deep hem stitch line. So much love. This was my first time ever using a decorative trim. I usually prefer to leave the garment plain. But there is something that trim does to an outfit. Makes it look more authentic and finished.
The back bodice looks different to the usual Butterick 5748 since I changed the location of the zipper. It's easier to get into and I find it more comfortable with the back zip anyway. I don't mind that the sleekness of the original pattern has been lost. In the photo below I was chatting to my neighbour.
The pattern is the lined bodice of Butterick 5748, size 12. That's where following the pattern ended. The bodice is lined like the pattern, but not the skirt. I used Hong Kong seam finishes for the skirt seams. To me, doing a full lining in a summer dress is just silly.
Side zip changed to back zip, 16" zip - love it
Circle skirt changed to gathered skirt
In seam pockets added to both sides
The dress had a first time outing to a lovely lunch for Dad's birthday. We were in the city all day so I took a cardi with me in case. The dress was comfortable and breezy. I absolutely love it.
Dress: Butterick 5748 (modified)
Shoes: Charlie Stone Shoes
Cardigan: Cotton On from years ago
This dress was made in one day!
Well, it was cut out on a Friday night, and then sewn from beginning to end on the Saturday, worn on the Sunday. It has neckline facings, French darts on the front bodice, standard darts on the back bodice, a hand picked side zipper, a 'hug snug' bound waist seam and a thread loop at the back neck also done by hand.
All that aside.... LOOK AT HOW PRETTY IT IS.
The fabric is a navy blue based Japanese cotton lawn from Spotlight (available here). It is a delight to wear, especially in the Australian summer. Or more specifically, the Sydney summer. We've had on and off heat waves of over 40ºC over the past few weeks. This dress is a dream in those temperatures.
The high neckline is flattering and great for sun protection, same as the kimono sleeves. The tea length skirt keeps behind-the-knee sunburn at bay.
Have a look at the beautiful back detail. The handmade thread loop is a delicate touch, and I was lucky enough to have a perfect green button hiding in my stash. Vogue 8811 is such a simple and stunning pattern. If it's languishing in your stash neglected and unused, then pull it out and get sewing!
The only modification I made was to omit the kimono sleeve facings like I did last time. It adds extra bulk that isn't necessary. In fact, I did a narrow hem by folding up 1cm and pressing it, then folding the raw edge inside again so I have a 5mm narrow hem. It was fiddly but it's so light and delicate.
I also did a small horizontal line of stitching just below the peek-a-boo keyhole at the back. It's to keep the facing down and sitting flat at the bottom of the keyhole. The neckline facings are kept in place by stitch-in-the-ditch at the shoulder seams.
One more picture because the neckline is so pretty!
Dress: Vogue 8811, size 12
Earrings: Equip from years ago
Hair flower: Kmart
Knitter. Home seamstress. Dance Teacher.