Moneta Maxi Dress

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Whenever it is warm I always want to wear a nice cool maxi dress. This one is based on Colette’s Moneta pattern with a self-drafted skirt pattern sort of based on the Moneta skirt.

The fabric is some organic cotton jersey from Fabworks which is lovely and cool, although I underlined the top because it is a little see through. When I ordered it I only ordered 3 metres even though I knew I wanted to make a maxi dress, but I managed to email Fabworks before they had sent the order out.

I’ve fallen out of love with sewing with knits lately. Even though they’re super quick and you don’t need to finish the inside seams, I just find them really frustrating to work with and end up cutting corners to get things finished. I think I’m going to buy a walking foot before I next try to work with knit fabrics since some of the seams sewn with the zig-zag setting ended up a bit wobbly. In order to counteract the wobbly seams on the neck, I used neck bindings rather than a band, as illustrated in the Hey June Santa Fe instructions. This worked well and there’s no wobble to be seen! I also cut the neck band vertically rather than horizontally so there are stripes of each colour rather than one solid stripe.

The skirt was self-drafted, I used the width of the Moneta skirt at the top of the skirt, measured the length and then marked the width of the bottom of the Moneta at the bottom of the maxi skirt. I was expecting to put a slit up the side to make it easier to walk, but the skirt actually had enough space for my legs when it was sewn up, thanks to the gathering. Initially, I gathered the skirt using a thick piece of elastic to provide more stability with the weight of the skirt, but the elastic ended up twisting and being uncomfortable so I re-sewed it with clear elastic instead.

Despite my fatigue with sewing knits, I’m pleased with how this turned out, and I think I’ll get a lot of wear out of it this summer!

New Look 6180

IMG_8729IMG_8719It’s another shirtdress, this time it’s a New Look 6180! I think this pattern was on sale when I bought it, I added it to an order to make it up to free shipping and then decided it was far too difficult to make. However, after the success of my Alder shirtdress, I figured I could probably tackle this.

I chose a lightweight viscose for this so it would be nice and cool for the summer. I really like this turquoise Ikat fabric (which was £3 a metre from Minerva Crafts!!) but you can’t see the collar detail very well in these photos. I tried to pattern match, but the only part it was really successful was across the front of the bodice. I think I need some more practice on the sleeves, I still find it a bit hard to visualise where the stripes need to go, and I don’t think the chevrons really helped in this case.

The construction was pretty straight forward, the skirt has pleats and is gathered with elastic which was easy enough and I followed the Grainline Alder sew along to help with the collar construction. If I make another dress I’ll do an FBA as you can see in the second picture it is pulling at the bust. Overall, I’m pleased with the fit, and it’s quite relaxed and roomy which is perfect for warm weather… now we just need some sunshine!

Grainline Alder Shirtdress

Look, Ma, I made a shirtdress! This is the first time I’ve posted in a while, even though I’ve been sewing and knitting I haven’t had much motivation to take photos while the weather was grey and miserable. However, I finished this dress on Friday and got my partner to take a few snaps when we were at the pub.

The dress itself is the Grainline Alder shirtdress, I cut it in the largest size and drafted the sleeves myself. I completely astounded myself with how well this came out, I’ve never tried making a shirtdress before, however, the sew along on the Grainline blog was super helpful, and I managed it without many mistakes. The only major mistake I made was to make the curve at the edge of the collar stand too thin, so I wasn’t sure I’d be able to put a buttonhole on it. In the end, I didn’t add a buttonhole, but I usually wear my top button undone, so I’m still pretty happy with it.

Fit wise, I love the shape and style, I prefer more loose silhouettes and it’s really comfortable to wear. I did have to add a hidden button at the bust to stop any gaping and there’s some excess fabric at the back (you can see it slightly on the second picture) which I need to remove next time I make it. As this was a wearable toile, I just quickly drafted some sleeves without much consideration to style or shape, and they worked pretty well, but next time I think I’ll tweak the sleeve pattern a bit. The fabric itself was £3 a metre, so I wasn’t expecting much quality wise, and the threads tended to catch and show through on the front of the fabric. However, it is fine for the toile, and I actually quite like the pattern, it’s not too feminine so works well for this silhouette.

I was inspired by #sewtogetherforsummer on Instagram and figured it was worth a go, as I said, I was pretty pleased with the results. I have another Alder shirtdress planned, and I’ve also ordered some fabric for a Newlook 6180 and I might even make my partner a shirt, now I’ve tackled collars and buttonholes!

Odyssey Shawl


I’ve been so excited about this shawl for months now, ever since I bought the green and black skein of Countess Ablaze’s yarn. It’s from The Odyssey Trail, her series of one of a kind colourways based on the Odyssey, and this colour is ‘Take your turn in order from left to right’ from book 21 of the Odyssey. I studied Latin and Ancient Greek at high school and took a module on the Odyssey when I was studying English literature at university, so I was really inspired when I discovered Countess Ablaze’s colourways. I love the last few books of the Odyssey, which cover Odysseus’s return home and I was so glad I could get some of this colourway.

The pattern is Asunder and I chose it because I thought it showed off the variegated yarn well with the dropped garter stitch, and the stripes remind me of a shield. I also chose it because there are enough rows of grey that the variegated yarn is not next to my neck when I wear it, because it’s a sock yarn and isn’t quite soft enough for me to wear next to skin. The grey in the shawl is Cascade Heritage Silk, which is a nice grey colour, and lets the green yarn stand out.

I loved knitting this so much, it was so soothing and comforting. I really enjoyed watching the yarn change colours as I was knitting it and I adore every shade of green in the shawl. As you can tell from the pictures, it’s been quite warm here, so I haven’t had a chance to properly wear the shawl, but I’m hoping there will be some cool summer nights where I can wear it round my shoulders to ward off the chill.

In the pictures, I’m also wearing my Seamwork Mesa dress which I just finished. I’m not completely sold on it, I think because I used too thin fabric so it isn’t as flattering as I liked, and the stripe matching on the gingham was pretty stressful. As usual, I added patch pockets to the front, because I can’t help it, and also I liked the way the contrasting stripes looked.

Bank holiday sun

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I’ve finally finished my Moneta dress! I spent quite a long time putting off making it (because of the 63 page pdf, ugh) but I’ve finally finished. The top went together quickly and smoothly, the only alteration I made was to add a neckband because it makes it a bit more stable.

When it came to the skirt, I didn’t add any pockets into the seam because I didn’t want it to be too bulky around my hips. I originally used the same striped fabric as the top but the way the stripes fell on my hips looked a bit off so I used some grey jersey I had lying around instead. I added the patch pockets to pull the whole thing together, but I think the left pocket is a bit wonky so I’ll need to sew that again. I’m really enjoying wearing this dress, it’s really comfy and I can definitely see more in my future.

As it’s a bank holiday my partner and I went for a wander to the Plantation Gardens, they’re a hidden garden in Norwich with a mix of different things including hidden paths, a bridge and a medieval type wall. I’d never been before and really enjoyed looking round and taking photos.

I also got my hair cut yesterday, it’s quite a change from my last hair style, but I’d had a pixie cut four years ago and really wanted one again. My hairdresser was so excited to do a pixie cut, and I’m really happy with the result.

A Camas sew-along!

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I made a Camas top this week as part of Thread Theory’s sew-along, it’s been really nice to get into the habit of sewing for an hour or so a night, and I’m really pleased with the results.

The fabric I used is a fairly thin viscose jersey, I chose it because it drapes really nicely, something which is suggested for the Camas top. In the second picture it looks like it has a sheen to it, which it does, but only in some lights. I made the top without any adjustments except for sewing the placket together at the front and adding fake buttons. I think this was a good choice, since it’s got enough stretch to not need the buttons, and it avoids any possibility of gaping.

I really enjoyed making the pattern, the instruction booklet was easy enough to follow on it’s own, but I liked having the extra pictures from the sew-along as well. My favourite bit is definitely the gathered yokes, it adds a really nice bit of sophistication and interest to the front, but this pattern was always going to be a winner for me since it’s smart-ish while still being comfortable!

Already, I’ve got some ideas for more Camas tops brewing, I’d like to make one with contrast yolks and also I’d really like to make a cardigan in thicker jersey knit. The only really fitting adjustment I think I need to make is to make the shoulders narrower as I think the extra fabric there is pulling the yokes down at the side.

Getting to grips with jersey

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Agnes

agnes-top4Before Christmas, with my sewing resolutions in mind, I bought a load of grey jersey and set aside some time to get my head around jersey. I used Tilly’s Agnes sewing course, which took me step by step through how to make this t-shirt. Surprisingly, it didn’t take me as long as I thought it would and apart from the neckline it was pretty straight forward.

The fabric in question I got from ebay for £4 a metre and although it seemed fairly good quality, it didn’t have quite as much stretch as the pattern asked for. To counteract this, I chose the larger pattern size, as I was in the middle of two, and ended up letting out most of the seam allowance at the bust. The only trouble I had was with the neckline, as the fabric didn’t have enough stretch it didn’t pull in enough, so I ended up re-doing it a couple of times. That being said, I’m glad I didn’t have too much negative ease on the top because I like my tops to be quite loose fitting. With the sleeves, I made the shorter sleeves, but when I tried them on they still came down to my elbows, so I cut them a bit shorter.

I definitely want to make some more Agnes tops, in future I will adjust the pattern a little at the shoulders, but that’s not a surprise since I have really small shoulders and should probably just adjust all patterns automatically. I’m thinking for my next one either a solid colour with the ruched shoulders, or a plain version with stripes.

So how did I find my first foray into sewing jersey? Pretty good, actually. I don’t have a serger (although I might buy one if I think I’ll get a lot of use out of it), so I was doing everything on my machine in zig zag, but that was pretty easy to get used to. I was surprised by how nice the zig zag stitch looked at the neckline and hems. For my next couple of projects I want to make a Moneta dress and a plantain top, I was planning on making the Moneta dress this weekend, but the fabric I ordered hasn’t arrived.