OMG you guys! Let me introduce you to my dress pattern of dreams, the Pauline Alice Aldaia Dress. Admittedly, my version of view C looks almost identical to my beloved Tilly and the Buttons Martha Dress, but Aldaia is actually intended for stable knit fabrics so that's a bonus. Also, how tempting are views A and B? Personally, I can't wait to pair the faux wrap-front with the full skirt.

This pattern has everything I look for in a dress - fitted bodice, flared skirt, modest neckline and short sleeves. I love that the front bodice is shaped with princess seams and the back with flattering waist darts. I'm also smitten with the panelled skirt, which provides all the fullness of gathers and none of the bulk.




What makes this dress extra special though is the deliciously autumnal jersey from Stoff & Stil. I think they've sold out of this print, but they have so many lovely knits to choose from!

Shockingly, this was my first time using a Pauline Alice pattern. The packaging is super cute and the pattern is printed on quality paper, which makes such a difference. The instructions are on the short side, but sweet enough for a simple jersey dress with clear illustrations. 

I made a straight size 42 and it fits really well without the usual neckline gaping I tend to get. I shortened the bodice by 2cm (though I might just go for 1.5cm next time) and added 2cm to the skirt, so be warned that it's quite short considering I'm only 5ft 3". 

The only thing I found perplexing is that the pattern doesn't call for elastic to stabilise the waist. Even though it recommends using stable knits, they too tend to stretch out over time, so I added elastic to mine for a snug fit.


One thing I was initially put out by was the way the neckline and sleeves are finished with facings. I mean, the beauty of sewing with knits is that you don't have to finish seams and you can just turn raw edges under and topstitch...amarite?!? 

I'm so glad I didn't cut any corners though and that I bothered to hand-pick the facings down. I love how sleek and professional the finish looks. I definitely won't be skipping this step in future...because gorgeous knits deserve better!



In fact this dress looks so smart that I wore it to a wedding recently, when I ran out of time to finish my intended wedding-guest dress. I paired it with this electric blue cardigan, chunky necklace, cute shoes and mustard clutch (not pictured...booo), and I felt like a million dollars. Oh, and did I mention how comfortable I felt too...secret pyjama dresses for the win!

Have you made the Aldaia Dress yet? Are you tempted?

Can you believe we're three quarters of the way through 2017...and this year's #VintagePledge? I was making great progress with my plans (here and here) before I stalled, and now we're in the middle of some pretty major building work which has rendered me sewing room-less!  

I don't really need to ask how you're getting on though, because from the looks of the dedicated Pinterest board, you're killing it! So much so, that I reckon a mini round-up of your recent makes will inspire those in need...like myself.

Enjoy!

Gwenstella Made's reproduction 1950s lemon drop dress 


Annotations of Jenny's 1930s linen cape dress


Jess Sews Clothes' 1978 jersey cowl-neck dress  


Carolyn's 1960s reproduction flamingo dress


Jade Juney's 1960s denim shift dress


Andi Satt's 1950s reproduction 'shirtdress'


Nicole Needles' 1950s leopard-print pedal pushers


By Gum, By Golly's 1950s-inspired outfit


Handmade By Heather B's Pendleton 49er knock-off


By the way, there's still time to take part in the #VintagePledge as it's a year-long challenge!

Are you taking part in House of Pinheiro's #SewPhotoHop on Instagram this month? If not, make sure you do next September as it's heaps of fun with loads of prizes up for grabs.

Anyway, today's 'makes you happy' photo prompt spurred me on to get this post written. A little while ago, my cheeky monkey of a mum went through my sewn makes and sent me a wish-list comprising of things she thought would suit her. She already has my Sewaholic Lonsdale Dress (modelled in the pictures above) and a few others too!

Despite it being a long list (SO cheeky), she knew that I've not been wearing many of them recently and so fancied her chances. Truth be told, nothing makes me happier than seeing my unwanted makes go to a good home...and there's no better home for them than my mum's! 



She was so excited and grateful to receive them, that she volunteered to take photos for my blog. Isn't she literally the cutest?

Being a slightly smaller frame than me, she did have to get a local seamstress to take them in a smidgeon, but it was well worth it I think. She's modelling the Belladone and Vogue 5671 below, with hopefully pictures of the others to come.





What do you do with your unwanted makes? Do you have an eager friend or relative to lovingly take them off your hands?

Over the last couple of years I've definitely taken a bit of a back seat when it comes to pattern testing. It's not due to a lack of goodwill, just a lack of time sadly. But every now and again a pattern crops up which looks too darned cute to pass up and fast to stitch up. That's how I felt about the latest pattern from Cocowawa Crafts, the Chestnut Sweater and Top




As a lover of back detail and snuggly sweaters, this pattern offers the perfect combination of both. I paired it with the snuggest cactus-print French terry from Stoff & Stil and it's like wearing a pyjama top. Hell, it may even look like it, but I really don't care because it's SO comfortable!




As much as I love the sweater version, I tested the top because waistbands can look unflattering on my shape. I really like how the back facings help give a clean finish at the neckline and hem. I'm also a fan of the high-low hem and the cheeky little side splits.

I couldn't resist the bow-closure back, which in hindsight I may need to reinforce. The pattern calls for hardy ribbon, but I used jersey strips because I loved the colour combo with the teal. They won't stand the test of time though, so I may have to replace my bows soon...anyone know where to find teal ribbon please?!?

The pattern pieces came together very nicely and to get this fit I cut a size 4 for the neckline, armholes and sleeves, then a size 5 for the rest.

Aside from some small niggles which Ana has amended, the instructions are detailed and easy to follow. Like most patterns made with knits in mind, you can sew this on a regular sewing machine so it's no biggie if you don't have an overlocker, twin needle and so on.


Having never sewn a Cocowawa Crafts pattern before, my first experience has been very pleasant indeed! What do you think to Chestnut?

I made my first ever Named Kielo Wrap Dress for a wedding in April...and I've never worn it. I convinced myself that I looked hideous in it from the back, when in fact, it's not quite as bad as I first thought. And now it's too cold to wear it. At least I have a 'new' maxi dress in the bag for summer 2018!




To be clear, my issue with the dress is purely personal relating to my body shape and nothing to do with the pattern itself. Kielo is undoubtedly cool and looks effortlessly elegant on everyone I've seen wearing it, but my issue stems from the fact that it hugs/exposes far too much of my muffin top and wide bum than I'm comfortable with. 

For the record, I'm wearing the BIGGEST control pants EVER in these pictures, which has definitely helped to smooth things out a bit.


Let's just take a minute to appreciate my gorgeous floral jersey from Minerva Crafts though! It's sadly sold out, but there are plenty of other flowery pretties to choose from. 

Back to the pattern, it's super speedy to sew up, so a real winner in that respect. If you're a fan of the design, you could quite easily whip up an entire summer wardrobe of Kielos. The only thing I found frustrating was trying to get a neat finish around the armholes. The interesting side seams make the shape at the underarm tricky to finish with binding, so it's definitely not my neatest work ever. If you have any tips/tricks for perfecting this, please do share in the comments below!

In terms of sizing, I cut out a UK size 12 and shortened the bodice by 4cm (it may have even been 8cm, but I can't remember!?!). Next time I think I'll shorten it by another 2cm or more to better align the ties to the narrowest part of my short waist. I'm sure I also shortened the length, but it's been so long my memory's faded. It's fair to say that Named patterns are drafted with tall girls in mind!



Obligatory unwrapped Kielo pictures with bonus faux-flexing. 



To see you through the cooler months, just add the long sleeves which Named have made available as a free download. This can be quite a versatile number too, if you're inclined to explore different ways of tying your, erm, ties.

What do you think to the Kielo?

Instagram tells me that the idea for this dreamy robe came to fruition in February 2016, so how on earth did it take me so long to sew up?!? Better late than never, I guess!

The pattern is Seamwork's Almada, which feels Japanese-inspired to me so I paired with a Kokka double gauze from Miss Matatabi and I love the combination!




It's a satisfyingly simple make, so there's not an awful lot to say about the construction. I really like the way the ties are made, with the seam running down the middle of the underside and with a very neat finish once they are attached to the front of the robe. I decided to go all out and use French seams throughout for a super polished look, which I'm really pleased with.

The neckline is finished with bias binding, which I decided to carry on to the hem as well, because double gauze can be surprisingly bulky. As well as being bulky, double gauze is also a shifty character, so my walking foot played a crucial role!  




I'm delighted with the result, but there are a couple of things I'd do slightly differently next time. First, I would raise the positioning of the ties to better suit my short torso/higher waist. I would also raise the placement of the snap to better cover my modesty - in the pictures I've just crossed the robe over as high as I could and limited my movement...hahaha!

Finally, I'd suggest stay-stitching the neckline before applying bias binding, because I definitely stretched mine out a bit.  


Has Almada stolen your heart? I'd love to see your version, so please do share a link below...

EDIT: This give-away is now closed and five lucky winners have been picked from comments below and on Instagram, using random.org.

Congratulations @anna_jo_sews@chloelallen@new_vintage_sewing@seamsoddlouise and @vapy99, I'll be in touch on Instagram to ask for your full names and postal/email addresses!


Friends, I have an exciting give-away today, but first, a huge THANK YOU to everyone who took part in my #VPJuly fortnight on Instagram. We posted almost 850 fabulous photos between us, fuelled by generous prizes! The year-long vintage stitching inspiration continues of course - you can still join the #VintagePledge and don't forget to check out the competition on Pinterest.

Back to the give-away!

Who here has been lamenting the lack of Great British Sewing Bee (GBSB) action on our tellies this year? Well, GBSB is back with a LIVE show at London's Excel from 21-24 September! It hosts hundreds of workshops, demonstrations, fashion galleries, catwalk shows and drop-in clinics, as well as over 200 exhibitors selling specialist dressmaking and textile supplies.

So, if you're in the UK and fancy spending a day re-stocking your fabric stash and mastering the art of dressmaking with the TV show's judges and contestants, keep reading...


GBSB LIVE TICKET GIVE-AWAY
  • I have 5 pairs of tickets to give away to 5 lucky UK readers only
  • The tickets are only valid for the Thursday and Friday of the show (21-21 September)
  • To enter the give-away tell me what you love about the GBSB in a comment below
  • The give-away is open until midnight (GMT) on Sunday 30 July

Good luck!

Yasss! #VPJuly is (almost) here! Whether you're taking part in the #VintagePledge or not, I hope you can join me for a fortnight of photo fun on Instagram, from Monday 10 July to Sunday 23 July. There are crazy cool prizes up for grabs and everyone's invited, regardless of where you are in the world!


#VPJuly 2017


#VPJuly takes place on Instagram, where I'll be posting daily photo prompts on a vintage theme. To play along, share a related/relevant photo each day and make sure you tag it with #VPJuly (instead of #VintagePledge). On prize days (shown with a * above) make sure you @ mention the relevant sponsor and at the end of the day I'll search the hashtag and pick a lucky winner...whoop!!!

To clarify: Take part in the Instagram challenge this month with #VPJuly. Share finished projects and work in progress this month and throughout the year with #VintagePledge.


#VPJuly Sponsors/Prizes









#VPJuly wouldn't be half as fun without prizes and this year we have both returning sponsors and new ones, all very generous with their offer! Use #VPJuly to be in with a chance of winning and make sure you tag the relevant sponsor in your Instagram posts.

The prizes are: £30 to spend at Til The Sun Goes Down, 5 reproduction patterns of your choice from Simplicity UK, £25 to spend at Sew Essential, £25 to spend at Girl Charlee UK, 3 patterns & 4m of fabric of your choice from Stoff & Stil UK, 4 PDF patterns from Sew Over It, £30 to spend at Beyond Measure, and £100 worth of vintage-inspired dressmaking fabrics from Minerva Crafts.


Don't forget that you can sign up to #VintagePledge at any point during the year. Make the pledge your own and join me for as much or as little of the activity as you like. To check out the competition following our dedicated #VintagePledge Pinterest board, with details of how to become a pinner here.

Happy #VPJuly everyone!