I made my first Nina Lee Kew Dress and it's love...the fiercest, most passionate kind. 

After getting an invite to Amy of Almond Rock's wedding last month, the self-inflicted pressure was well and truly on. Not only was Amy making her own dress (which was utterly breathtaking by the way), I've also been in a bad place about my weight and in a total sewing funk. In fact, I can't remember the last time I made a fitted woven dress that I felt comfortable in. 

I don't know what possessed me to try Kew, other than madly hoping it would miraculously look as good on me as it does on everyone else I've stalked online. Well guess what? It bloody well does!




Before going into pattern details, can we take a minute to swoon over my fabric? It's this gorgeous poly crepe from Sew Me Sunshine, which is actually much more teal in real life. The peach buttons from my stash are the perfect pairing.

This was my first time working with a Nina Lee pattern and I'm seriously impressed. It's very well drafted, the instructions are easy to follow and the design mixes vintage and contemporary details beautifully.

I made a straight size 14 and it was very nearly a perfect fit. I just shortened the shoulder straps by 3cm and sewed the facing along the neckline with a 1cm seam allowance (instead of 1.5cm) as I was worried about it being a bit revealing. I'm always so self-conscious about my large bust and try to avoid unwanted attention, but the finished neckline is very pretty. Also, I'm not the biggest fan of dipped hems, so I evened mine out to the shortest part of the skirt.

The only thing I would do differently next time is to lower the bust dart by a smidge...but that's it!




This pattern did what no other has managed to do in months...it made me feel sassy and elegant and happy in my own skin. Oh, and it only took me a day to sew up...so a win-win on all fronts!

Thank you Nina for designing such a gorgeous pattern and thank you Amy for giving me the motivation to sew something special.

I'll leave you with a few of my favourite photos of the stunning bride and I! If you want to know how Amy made her wedding dress of Dior dreams, then check out the series of posts on her blog throughout August.




Last month, I spent a wonderful day sewing at The Village Haberdashery with these gals!

We were invited there by the lovely Ana of CocoWawa Crafts to celebrate the release of her latest pattern, the Honeycomb Shirt and Dress. Despite heading home with just one more button to sew on and the hemming left, it's taken me this long to finish and photograph. Life sure does get busy!



After unexpectedly falling in love with my Honeycomb Dress, I wanted to give the shirt version a whirl so I could pair it with this cute cocktail-print crepe from my stash. I think it was from Ditto Fabrics, but I got it such a long time ago that I can't be sure.

I'm really happy with my decision to make contrasting ties and buttons for this version, as they really stand out. This was my first time making self-covered buttons and boy are they fiddly little fellas! Why didn't anybody warn me?!? I really like how they turned out though and even though I'm not a gadget person, I think I would have given up if it wasn't for this nifty tool




Once again I made a straight size 4 (UK 12), as the pattern has a lot of ease. I added a fifth button to eliminate gaping at the bust and sewed the sleeves on with a 1.5cm seam allowance (the pattern calls for 1cm) to get rid of some of the extra ease. For my third Honeycomb - this stripy goddess in the making - I've tweaked the pattern pieces slightly to reduce the dropped shoulders...will report back on how that works out.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with this sweet little shirt. Are you a Honeycomb pattern fan?

Friends, it's July and I'm still catching up on blogging last year's makes!

This here is my third version of the lovely Pauline Alice Aldaia Dress, made using a cute confetti-print jersey from Stoff & Stil. Sadly, I think this print is sold out, but they have plenty of other jerseys to choose from.

I shared comprehensive thoughts on the pattern and fit in my post about my first version. You can also see my velvet Aldaia Dress here, which I've since refashioned and still need to blog about.





A short and sweet post for you, but I thought this dress was too pretty not to share.

Have you made this pattern yet? What do you think to it?

Hands up if you're smitten with the new Tilly and the Buttons patterns!

I mean, what's not to love about the Stevie Tunic and Seren Dress? Seren has jumped to the top of my sewing queue (especially after seeing this dreamy version by The Foldline's Rachel) and I was lucky enough to test Stevie, resulting in not one but two gorgeous versions in my wardrobe.



As a tunic, I don't think Stevie would do anything for my shape due to my crazy bust-to-waist and waist-to-hip proportions. But as a top, it's everything I look for. Easy to wear and simple to sew with cute details.

The kimono sleeves means no fiddly easing in and the back yolk lends itself nicely to some  contrasting print and directional fun. Other super sweet details are the turn-up cuffs and a patch pocket, which I omitted on mine for a more streamlined look. As much as I love those details, I find cuffs don't work well with my cardigans and pockets make my bust look even larger.

Incapable of resisting a button, I went for a loop at the back instead of the ties. I love Tilly's trick of using an elasticated hairband!

I cut a size 4 across the neckline and shoulders, grading to a 5 for the rest, and I'm pretty happy with the fit. Be warned that it's a semi-cropped design, so add length before you cut out if necessary. 



As soon as I finished my test version, using fabulous floral rayon from Seoul's Dongdaemun fabric and craft market, I cut out another. This time using some monochrome ikat from my stash. I literally changed nothing and I'm happy to report that Stevie looks great in both drapey and more structured fabrics.







Stevie is definitely going to help plug a massive gap in my wardrobe!

What do you think to the new patterns from Tilly and the Buttons?


Hi friends! It's been a while, but I finally found time to sew something thanks to the lovely Ana of CocoWawa Crafts, who sent me a copy of her latest pattern.

At first, I wasn't sure if Honeycomb (available both as a paper pattern and PDF) was for me. I'm used to more fitted silhouettes and was convinced the relaxed fit wouldn't give me enough waist definition. That's why I fished out this animal-print viscose from my destash pile (bought from Minerva Crafts many moons ago), thinking that if it looked terrible on me at least I won't have wasted fabric I love. 

It turns out I quite like the looser fit and wish I'd gone for a print I'll actually wear. Still, I now have an excuse to make another version or two. If you're a fan of this pattern then you're in luck, as today is the start of the Honeycomb sew-along!



Let's talk details! The bodice has a front button placket with a Mandarin collar and two sleeve variations. You can choose to make a blouse with a gathered peplum or a dress with a midi-length skirt which can easily be adapted. Both versions get their waist shaping from sweet little side ties.

I sized down, making a 4 (UK 12) with no major alterations and I'm pretty happy with the fit...although I did make a couple of small changes.

I added two more buttons to the front placket because there was way too much gaping with just four buttons for a big bust like mine. I should have added an extra one between the top two, but I'm never going to wear it buttoned all the way up, so I got lazy.

My one observation is that the armholes are pretty big, something that would definitely need addressing if you wanted to make a sleeveless version or use a fabric with less drape. Despite the suggested 1cm seam allowance, I sewed my sleeves on at 1.5cm to try and eliminate some of the armhole ease. 

Next time, I'd love to find a way to shorten the back bodice without compromising the matching up of my side seams. Due to my larger bust again, I find that when a front bodice fits, the back bodice comes up a little long. Should I be shortening the bodice pieces and doing an FBA? Any thoughts/advice on this would be much appreciated!



Overall, this is a pretty cute pattern with lots of inspiring versions already out there. In fact, it's so easy and comfortable to wear, that I'd go as far as calling it the woven equivalent of secret pyjamas!



What do you think to Honeycomb? Will you be giving her a go?

Late last year I collaborated with Minerva Crafts on a review of Vogue 9075 for Sewing World magazine. With spring/summer just around the corner (we're even due some sunshine today apparently) I thought I'd share it in full below. I picked out the pattern/fabric myself and both were sent to me for free, but what you're about to read are my honest opinions.




Jumpsuits and tropical prints must have been this summer's ultimate dressmaking dream, right? Well, I got to make mine a reality thanks to Rachel from The Foldline for introducing me to Vogue 9075 and to Minerva Crafts for stocking this wonderful crepe

The pattern lingered in my stash for a good few months before I came across the fabric, but when I did, the attraction was so strong that it pulled me right out of my sewing slump and reignited my sewjo. As an added bonus, this light and floaty crepe takes to pressing very nicely, yet doesn't crease when worn. It's quite robust too, so you don't have to worry about ironing on a lower heat - in fact, I found it behaved better on my setting for cottons. 

As a jumpsuit, view B has pretty much everything I look for in a pattern - short sleeves, a princess seamed bodice, pockets and pleats rather than gathers at the waistline. The neckline could be lower (an easy alteration for anyone who feels the same), but personally I'd rather one that's a smidgeon too high than too low. 

Annoyingly, Vogue 9075 is a split-size pattern meaning you can either choose a range 6-14 or a range 14-16. Overlapping the size 14 makes it easier if you're in between sizes, which is good, but I still much prefer having all sizes in one packet. You never know when generosity might strike for a little selfless sewing!

On the plus side, the sizing was spot on. Going by my measurements I cut out a straight size 14 and without any grading whatsoever, the neckline didn't gape, the shoulders weren't too wide, my full bust was accommodated and the waist fit nicely. Also, choosing the largest size in the range meant no tracing for me...whoop! The only alteration I did have to make was to chop 7cm off the bottom of the pants before hemming, but that's to be expected.



One of my favourite things about this pattern is that the bodice and pants pieces have fold lines for petite people. Being 5ft 3in, I always have to shorten pattern pieces, but having a guideline already there feels like such a luxury and it worked perfectly for the bodice. Word to the wise though: just because you have a petite torso doesn't mean you have a petite crotch! There, I said it. I automatically shortened the crotch using the petite guideline and really wish I hadn't. Any sudden upwards arm movement results in an automatic wedgie...front and back!

Despite being conservative with words, the instructions are pretty clear with detailed diagrams. Where I think there's room for improvement in terms of instructions and construction, is around inserting the pockets. Not only are the diagrams for this step a little confusing, there is no mention of under-stitching the pocket facings, which I did anyway for a cleaner finish. I also think the pocket openings end up a little on the small side, so I will probably rectify this next time. 

To this day, I'm still not sure whether the pants pleats are supposed to be stitched down or hang free like I've left them. The instructions advise you to baste down the length of each pleat, but at no point do they go on to tell you to a) remove the basting stitches and/or b) topstitch in their place. I'm sure either finish looks just as nice, but this oversight is a little perplexing. 

Alarmingly, aside from hemming the sleeves and pants, there is no mention of finishing any seams in the instructions at all. It could be that I've been spoilt by indie patterns going the extra mile to help create insides that are as beautiful as the outsides, but as Vogue 9075 lends itself well to lighter fabrics that tend to fray, I think finishing seams is really important. 


It's definitely something you might want to think about before you get started if you want a longer-lasting jumpsuit. As you can imagine, the construction of the pants is a bit fiddly, so I suggest finishing/overlocking your pants and pocket pieces before you start sewing. 

However, Vogue 9075 does call for a neatly lined bodice, which eliminates the need for irritating facings and encloses the unsightly waistline seams. I used a luxurious silk cotton for mine and it feels heavenly against my skin. Once again though, my experience came in handy when finishing the armholes. Instead of following the instructions which would leave me with unfinished and exposed seams, I overlocked my fashion fabric at the armholes and then handpicked the lining to it for a much cleaner finish. 


Aside from my minor niggles, Vogue 9075 is an excellently drafted pattern and I'm seriously impressed by the fit. I'd say it's 'very easy' for slightly more experienced stitchers, but a well-worth challenge for beginners. 

I'd love to make a wool version for colder weather and a chambray version for next summer. I think it would also be fun to play around with the length going with maxi for maximum elegance and above the knee for a more  playful look. 

All in all, Vogue 9075 is a winning pattern in my book.

I've struggled to keep my blogging promises recently, but even though this post is over a week late I'm ridiculously excited to finally announce the 2017 #VintagePledge prize winners! 

Choosing winners was a challenging task - check out the beautiful makes shared on the dedicated Pinterest board to see why - and I only wish I could shower every one of you with goodies! Contrary to other years, I decided to award prizes based on 'collections' instead of single garments. I also found it hard sticking to my six sponsored prizes, so I dipped into my own stash to spread the love a little further and crown 10 winners.

Before the big reveal, a reminder to all winners: leave a comment with your email address or drop me a line at astitchingodyssey[at]hotmail.co.uk to arrange delivery of your prizes!

SPONSORED PRIZE WINNERS


Tanya, you've blown me away with your stunning 1920s and 1930s makes! Your fabric choices and embellishments are second to none. I hope you enjoy your Simplicity gift hamper including three sewing patterns of your choice and this tote bagiron-on transfer and sewing planner stickers from their 90th anniversary range!



I'm so impressed by how contemporary your vintage makes look, Sabine! Turning vintage glamour into everyday chic is no mean feat. Your prize consists of three vintage-inspired PDF patterns of your choice from How to do Fashion and a 12-pack of delicious Doughnut Pattern Weights from Oh Sew Quaint.



Not only have you sewn yourself fabulous vintage makes, you've also dressed your loved ones in bygone fashions. I'm in awe of the sheer variety of garments you made last year. Have fun spending your £30 Sew Essential voucher on your choice of fabrics and sewing patterns!



Kirsten, your range of 1930s and 1940s makes has stolen my heart. Everything you've made looks beautifully authentic and I'm so impressed that you stayed true to your vintage aesthetic during pregnancy as well! You'll be spoilt for choice spending your £30 voucher on gorgeous sewing accessories and tools from Beyond Measure.



Oh, Cate! Your knitted and crochet jumpers are to die for! In fact, I'll trade wardrobes with you any day...your vintage aesthetic is one I can only aspire to. Enjoy spending your £25 Girl Charlee UK voucher and picking two PDF patterns of your choice from Decades of Style.



Kelly, you stitched up a staggering number of vintage makes last year. They're all so perfectly made and true to their era...what a talent you have! A beautiful dressmaking fabric hamper worth £50 from Minerva Crafts will be making its way to you soon.



NON-SPONSORED PRIZE WINNERS


I know I said I was awarding prizes based on 'collections' this year, but how could I not acknowledge this work of art? Jenny, your 1930s-inspired wedding dress is simply breathtaking and you were a vision of old Hollywood glamour on your special day. I think you'll do this vintage pattern the justice I haven't managed to since buying it years ago and I'm pretty sure you'll rock the fabrics too.



Tasha, your handmade vintage wardrobe is the stuff of dreams. There's literally nothing you make that I wouldn't snap up in a heartbeat. I'm pretty sure these prints from my stash couldn't be going to a better home, I hope you have fun scheming what to make with them!



Anyone who manages to make me less skeptical about 1960s fashion is a winner in my books! Jade, you've won me over with your super cute shift dresses  and the incredible detail you've put into them. Here's hoping you can get creative with these reproduction patterns.



Last but not least, I can't get over this gorgeous dress made by seven-year-old Lillia Rae, the youngest #VintagePledge participant to date! Lillia Rae, it's been an absolute pleasure following your sewing adventures last year...hope the selection of fabrics below will lead to many more this year!


And that's a wrap, dear friends! 

A HUGE congrats to all the winners and a MASSIVE thanks to everyone who has stitched up a vintage storm with me over the last four years. I may not be hosting #VintagePledge this year, but please feel free to keep using the hashtag on social media so we can stay in touch and continue to inspire each other!