Tag Archives: pattern drafting

the drop-drapey dress

Interrupting the Norway series for a big announcement: I sewed a dress. No, really. Sat down, got out my pattern box and paper, drafted, cut and sewed all in one weekend. This hasn’t happened for about…6 months? Way too long a time to be away from the sewing machine!
drop waist drape dress. tidytipsy
(Here’s a tip:don’t bend one knee while being photographed straight on. It’ll make it look as if you had two different length legs…)
I’m still hopelessly into 1920’s drop-waist fashion. The Great Gatsby hasn’t helped in getting me out of it. Also I’ve been admiring the lovely shift dresses from Ruche but then the real inspiration for this dress came from Zara’s red drape dress. So beautiful (if only it weren’t in polyester!).
Then Lauren posted a series of gorgeous Scout Tee’s and that got me going. I pulled out the Scout pattern and got to work making it into a dress and adding some drape detail.
drop waist drape dress. tidytipsy
My cat helped with the cutting (not). Um, yes, I use CD’s as pattern weights. Beatles and Gianna Nannini rock.
drop waist drape dress. tidytipsy
The fabric is a lovely flowy rayon. I had two rayons in my stash and I love how fluid and silky they are. And such a pleasure to sew. While my last sewing attempts in winter had me frustrated, this little dress came together so effortlessly and easily.
drop waist drape dress. tidytipsy
I’ll be the first to admit it doesn’t look like much on a hanger. You can’t really see the shape and the drape detail.
drop waist drape dress. tidytipsy
I love how it looks worn though! It’s just what I envisioned, though the drapey part is a lot less pronounced than in the original.
drop waist drape dress. tidytipsy
I have very few florals but this versatile little dress will be a great addition to my wardrobe. It will be perfect both for cooler summer days as well as spring and fall with tights and a cardi.

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red button down skirt

Finally, some sewing again and it’s not even navy blue!
red skirt. tidytipsy
A bright red skirt which has been in the works for nearly two months! Phew. It’s based on the same pattern as the blue pencil skirt, but I wanted to add a button placket at the front.
I first procrastinated on actually drafting the pattern and when I finally did, I made many stupid mistakes…I redrafted and sewed the skirt up pretty quickly and it was looking really neat when I realized I had miscalculated the button placket and the skirt was now way too tight. So I ripped the placket out again and got creative in adding a new placket without having to redo the whole skirt (I was out of fabric for that anyway). Add a little time between each step to stew over it and get my motivation back up and you have two months of work on a simple skirt. At least now it fits!
red skirt. tidytipsy
It even has pretty buttons and button holes and is fully lined (don’t get me started on how many times I messed up the lining).
red skirt. tidytipsy
I think I’ve worked on it too long to determine if I like it. I’m sure some of you know that feeling. I’ll see how I feel about it in three months. That sounds depressing, I promise to be more upbeat in my next post 🙂
The necklace I’m wearing is by Native Clutter on Etsy btw.

1920’s dress

To say I’ve been thinking about making a dress like this for a while would be an understatement. I first saw this elegant black dress in the Downton Abbey Christmas special and immediately fell in love with it. Simple yet classy. I went ahead and did a few sketches and thought about it for a while, then got frustrated with the idea and put it away.
Then I started watching ‘The House of Eliott‘ (for those who don’t know, it’s a TV show from the 1990’s set in 1920’s London). And saw Beatrice wear a dress exactly like my dream dress and though “wow, they must have a pattern for it at the BBC”. Then I realised it’s probably the very same dress, reused for Downton Abbey 20 years later!
Since I couldn’t get it out of my head, I pulled out the old ideas, did some (lots) of research on simple 1920’s shapes and went ahead with a soft navy blue jersey as a test (the ultimate goal being a silk dress). I seem to be going through a navy blue phase recently. I reused parts of the Salme Kimono dress pattern and pretty much added everything else freely:
1920s dress. tidytipsy
To be honest, I actually made three versions of this: one muslin, one in sheer blue cotton fabric which turned out way too stiff and this one in jersey.
1920s dress. tidytipsy
It’s incredibly comfortable (I should sew with jersey more often!) and lovely to wear and it’s quite close to the original idea though not as perfect as I’d hoped.
In detail:
– I think the original dress has set in sleeves and less drape and ease in the sleeves. The original also has some pleating detail at the shoulder right where the sleeve inset is.
– I was so scared of the neckline stretching that I stabilized the hell out of it, sewing a cotton strip to it and then finishing it with bias binding. In retrospect I really wish I had drafted a facing for the neckline and I definitely will if I should ever actually make this dress in silk.
– The sleeves are a bit too short but I can live with it.
1920s dress. tidytipsy
The fabric belt is sewn to the dress, which is ok, though I’m already thinking of a version with a band attached between top and bottom. As for sewing with jersey, I’ve only tried it once or twice before and it always puts me in a dilemma: I love how soft and drapey jersey is and would like to sew with it more. On the other hand my main sewing machine (and really the only one I feel completely comfortable with, no matter how hard I try to love my other machines) is straight stitch only.
The solution for me is just to ignore the problem and sew jersey with a ballpoint needle straight stitch. Please don’t tell anyone. It kinda works though.
1920s dress. tidytipsy
1920s dress. tidytipsy

sorbetto dress

I know, I’ve been talking and talking about all the stuff I’ve been sewing and never showed a single picture. So today I made my boyfriend clear a wall in our apartment so we could finally get all that stuff photographed.
First off, a new dress. I saw this picture a while ago and knew I wanted to make a dress like that. I used the free Colette Sorbetto top pattern as a base to work from, redrafted the armholes, lowered the neckline sightly and used the tova dress pattern as a guide for the length of the dress. The final pattern definitely needs some tweaking but for a first try I am super happy with how it turned out.

The fabric is a grey linen and the bias tape was made from the fabric left over from this top.

I don’t really like how these pics came out colorwise but better than nothing, right? We just don’t have the right light in our apartment for taking pictures.
I love how versatile the simple grey dress is and can’t wait to pair it with some colorful accessories and tights for fall.

Sad but true, it is actually cold enough to wear wool cardigans at the moment. Also I can never decide whether to crop out the head or not, I don’t really like pictures of myself either way 😉
The dress has french seams and in-seam pockets (don’t ask how many times I ended up redoing them until I figured out how to add in-seam pockets to a french seamed dress).
And finally, because I don’t want to wait until the rest of the world is ready for warm things again, do you remember this yarn? The socks from it are long finished and I finally got them photographed today.


So, hope it was worth the wait 😉 I have some tops to show but didn’t want to cram it all into one post so there’ll be an extra one for those as soon as there’s time.
Have a lovely sunday!

striped tunic shirt

I’ve been seeing stripes everwhere and I really wanted to draft a tunic pattern next.

The neckline finish is again with yellow bias tape. I rolled the sleeves up because I’m into that look right now but of course it can be worn with the sleeves rolled down as well.

And the obligatory picture of me wearing it (somehow they always turn out awful and the colors are way off, I am so much better behind the camera than in front of it!!). Nevertheless, it fits me really well, yay 🙂

I added a little gathering in the back as well, to make it less plain:

The pattern is not yet perfect, I will be changing a couple of things for the next shirt. Sewn as always on my vintage treadle (I know, I keep repeating myself, but I really really do love my treadle!).

dressmaking – my first dress

Dressmaking is FUN! Even though it took me many many many hours to draft a pattern (see this post here) and a lot of patience and seamripping and improvising to get this finished I am thrilled by the end result and can’t wait to make another item of clothing! I have never really sewn clothing before so on this project I not only learned to make patterns but also to make necklines, armholes, sleeves, buttonholes, darts and what not!

This dress looks pretty close to the vision I was trying to recreate and I love it! It has two darts at the back (not visible in the picture) and the skirt part is just a big rectangle which I ruffled to fit the length of the bodice (I prefer wearing it with that belt to emphasize the waist more).
It is made out of a silky soft blue poplin (which at 8€ a metre was pretty reasonable for german prices). It doesn’t wrinkle and you hardly have to iron it at all. It was lovely to sew with also.
I sewed it on my vintage Phoenix treadle machine which worked like a dream. I think treadling is it for me…at this point I find it hard to imagine ever sewing on an electric machine again!
I had to use my mom’s Pfaff to make the buttonholes and finish the inside seams with zig-zag stitch and found it so hard to adjust back to electric.
By the way Cal Patch suggests french seams in her book ‘Design-it-yourself clothes. Patternmaking simplified’ which I used to make the pattern. I just haven’t done french seams before and was already overwhelmed by all the new techniques I was learning making the dress…I’m saving the french seams for my next dress 😉

To the end I never managed to make the sleeves fit the armholes… no matter how often I altered the pattern they were always too big. I ended up making three pleats on each sleeve but in retrospect I should have ruffled the ca. 5 cm on top…would have looked neater I think.
The part that I really screwed up on is the neckline…I tried making my own bias tape and finishing in neatly but it just didn’t work at all! I came out all wrinkly 😦 Also it kind of creases between the neckline and the armholes rather annoyingly. I don’t mind too much though…all in all this dress is a raging success for me and I am so happy with it!