Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Something new . . . something blue

I made a new pattern!  Will wonders never cease?!  Of course, there's a backstory.  You know me:  I have to over-explain.  It's a compulsion, I tell you!

So for a long while I'd been thinking that I'd like to make a tee shirt dress based on a mash-up of the Renfrew top and the Hollyburn skirt.  Of course, I never got around to it . . . and then I discovered that Dixie DIY had already made a pattern for just the dress I wanted!

As I read through the finished projects though, I realized that I'd have to do a fair bit of redrafting to get the look I wanted.  Many people noted that the waistline was quite high, the skirt quite short, and the sleeves quite wide.  Knowing I'd have to actually do some work made me procrastinate about buying the pattern.  But then Dixie posted last week that she had revised the pattern to correct all those issues!  Bingo!  Into the cart it went!

And Dixie's Ballet Dress is a really great pattern.  I took the time to do flat pattern measurements and they are spot on with the measurements listed in the instructions.  The entire download is only 20 pages, two of which are instructions - so, less than a lot of PDF patterns.  I found it quick and easy to put together.  The only thing I felt was missing was yardage information on the sale page - I had a specific stash fabric I wanted to use, and would have appreciated knowing in advance whether it was enough.   I read somewhere that if you purchase the pattern through Etsy, you get an instant download, whereas if you use one of the other options, you'll have the pattern emailed to you.  Of course, I bought mine through Etsy - who wants to wait?  And it was $4 well spent!

Dixie's instructions have you make up the bodice and then sew up the sleeve seams and set in the sleeves, but I decided to attach the sleeves flat like I'm used to doing with the Renfrew, and it worked just fine.  One thing that surprised me was that the piece for the neck binding seemed quite short compared to what I've been used to, and I did have to really stretch it while attaching it to the neck opening.  But it gave me a nice neckline that lays very flat - I didn't even topstitch it!

Another thing that was new for me was adding in clear elastic at the waist seam - unstretched, just to give some stability there.  It felt awkward to me doing this on my serger, but I can see how the elastic will really help support the weight of the skirt.

So, the finished dress?  Here it is from the front and back (and yes, I think I'm just about ready to admit that I need a small swayback adjustment):



Obviously, I shortened the sleeves.  I had intended to do the 3/4 length sleeves as written, but as I was ironing my fabric, I found yet another little hole in a very inconvenient spot.  Because of it, I really had to get tricky with my fabric layout - all the large pieces of this dress are on the fold, and my hole was about 2" in from the fold.  So that only left me enough spare fabric for short sleeves, which in the end is a good thing I think.  I'll certainly be wearing this over the summer.  I cut my sleeves off 2" below the armhole, and then turned 1" back for the hem.

After I finished the dress, my first reaction was "meh."  But that reaction has nothing to do with Dixie's pattern, which is fantastic!  Rather, it stems from not being crazy about this cotton/lycra jersey and also from my inability to decide just what kind of fit I want.  When I was choosing which size to do, I decided that I didn't want anything too tight or constricting, so I started with a S at the bust and graded out to a M at the waist (and used the M skirt).  But then when I put on my finished dress, I felt like it was too loose, despite being exactly the size I thought I'd wanted only hours before.  I'm a fickle creature, I tell you.

So I started playing around with different stylings of the dress, and the more I played with it, the more I liked it.  First, I added a narrow silk scarf at the waist with matching (!) ballet flats from J. Crew:


Cute!  Then I decided to go all nautical - times two!  Here's the first nautical outfit - a red French terry hoodie from Anthropologie and metallic glazed linen espadrilles from J. Crew.  I've turned around too so you can see the cute bow on the back of the hoodie:



And here's another red nautical-inspired sweater from Anthropologie, along with a red, white and blue ribbon hat from San Diego Hat Company (which I bought the first time I visited SF in 2003!) and those same navy Corsage Sandals from Boden that seem to go with everything:


I could have gone on and on - I didn't even get to making outfits with kelly green!  But I took these photos on Friday afternoon, and started to run late for getting to the concert!

So I will definitely be making this again.  I've already got some navy blue with white polka dots lined up for version 2.  And this time I think I'll go a tiny bit smaller.  One thing I forgot to mention is that the pattern includes 1/4" seam allowances, but I added on another 1/4" so I'd have plenty to cut away on the serger - I find it easier to stay even that way.  So I'm considering using these same pattern pieces rather than retracing, and just taking a bigger seam allowance.

Have any of you guys made this pattern?  Have you purchased it?  Dixie says that if you bought the earlier version,  you can email her to get a copy of the update.

38 comments:

  1. You're so good at styling your outfits! I love this dress with the bow sash and the ballet flats, very cute.

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    1. Aww, thank you! When I was teaching, all the other teachers used to make fun of me for being so matchy-matchy. But I really like being matchy!

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  2. oh this is so cute, i really need to make this pattern! looks super versatile. and i love the jacket with the bow on the back. i'll have to remember that detail!

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    1. Yes, I think this would be perfect for your lifestyle!

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  3. This is one of my favorites from Dixie -- it's such a versatile pattern! Love your new LND. :) It looks great with reds!

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    1. I agree - I've already got an idea about hacking it! And of course, Girl Charlee has recently delivered some new knits I can use for making more of these :-)

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  4. This is such a great, basic dress! I love the look you made with the scarf.

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  5. I love the scarf and ballet shoes look and, most of all, the second nautical look with the hat - it's so cute! I can see you on a summer holiday by the seaside in that one!

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    1. Ah, if only! I have a feeling our vacations are over for this year!

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  6. You keep moving things on my "To Sew" list! Definitely need some easy summer dresses and this fits the bill perfectly. Love it with the scarf belt.

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    1. Hehehe - glad to enable! This one won't take you any time at all!

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  7. Cute dress! I've got to check out Dixie DIY pattern.

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    1. Thanks! This is the only one I've tried, but I have my eye on the Summer Concert Tee too . . .

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  8. I love navy dresses and this one looks perfect. Navy and polka dots. Yum.

    Too bad I am so off sewing after the attempted swayback adjustment on my Sorbetto!!! Need to stay well away from the sewing machine for a bit...grrrrr. hiss.

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    1. I'm pretty excited about the polka dots! And of course I'm already making up outfits for it in my mind!

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  9. Super cute. I bet you will wear it loads. It looks super comfy and easy to layer and accessorize.

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    1. Thanks! Yes, this is the kind of garment that is very practical for me!

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  10. This is so adorable and SO wearable - you're going to spend a lot of time in this cute dress (especially if the summer ever arrives). Next time, I think you could make it a smidge smaller in the waist. That and the sway adjustment might make a great dress even greater (if such a thing is possible!).

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    1. I'm sort of hoping summer doesn't arrive too soon, because I really love it layered with the sweaters! I am thinking I will go down a size everywhere next time - so XS at the bust and S at the waist, but keep the length. And do the stupid swayback. There's a part of me that feels very resentful about needing to do an alteration on a knit, but I can see from the photo that it needs to happen if I want this to look good unbelted.

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  11. That is just too cute! It goes with so many items in your closet too. I can definitely tell you had fun dressing up for this post.

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  12. Perfect dress, it's just the kind of pattern I like a lot and I find very flattering. The combination with red is very cute!

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    1. Thank you! I do love the accessibility of PDF patterns - no need to order or go to a shop, and available worldwide!

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  13. I had the same concerns you did when I first saw this pattern so I'm so glad to see the revised version made up. It looks like the perfect summer dress and I love that you always style your outfits different ways (so I can copy). Just like Miss Lulu said, I keep finding things on your blog to add to my sewing list!

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    1. Thank you, Shar! I'm the same way - most of my "must makes" are things I've seen on other blogs, so I'm glad I'm not the only one copying, LOL!

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  14. I really wasn't feeling this dress until I saw your version. It's really cute. And I love that Anthro cardi.

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  15. I smiled at the statement of over-explaining. I do it too. It must be the teacher in us, yeah?
    Great dress and I especially love how you accessorized it. It's fashion chic to pair a belt with a dress for some waistline definition.

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    1. Hahaha! Every time I sit down to write a post, I tell myself I'm going to keep it brief - but I never can!

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  16. Super cute dress - and I love seeing your process of making outfits! My favorite is the one with the scarf belt. I like bloggers who write a lot - gives me more to think about!

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    1. Thank you! I have SO many more outfit ideas for this dress - plain navy just goes with everything!

      I always feel like I want to explain my process as fully as possible in case it could help someone - I've certainly been helped lots of times by reading other people's posts. But it does take a lot of words!

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  17. Super cute! Love the nautical look!

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  18. I love it! Your version seems really versatile, and I love the silhouette. If the pattern wasn't a PDF pattern, I'd buy it instantly. (But I have no printer ... and PDF patterns are the only thing that ever makes me wish I had one!)

    I <3 that Anthro hoodie too! I love seeing glimpses of your non-sewn wardrobe -- seems I love a lot of what you have.

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    1. Awww, this seems like it would be just your style, and it would be so cute on you! I've heard that you can print out PDFs at Kinkos, but I've never done it so I honestly don't know how that works! But it might just be easier to self-draft a pattern like this from a tee shirt and flared skirt, like I was originally going to do.

      The good thing about being mostly the same size for the last 20 years is that I've got quite the stash of old items to choose from! I do love these older items, and it's great to bring them out and pair them with my new makes!

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  19. This is really cute! I love that color on you, and I love the way you've styled the dress! I'm not so into knit dresses, but you're tempting me!

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    1. Thanks, Sonja! I do love navy - it's kind of a wonder that I don't have more navy pieces in my wardrobe!

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