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Springtime Heidi dress

I’ve been doing so many bits and pieces over the last fortnight, between making and fitting the bridesmaids’ dresses, doing some experimental pattern drafting, and a huge amount of gardening that it feels like I started sewing BurdaStyle’s Heidi dress months ago! It really didn’t take very long to sew at all, it was more that I was doing in in small chunks around everything else that made it last so long from start to finish!

I bought this brushed cotton fabric in Brighton last June for (a rather expensive for me) £10/m, but I liked the print too much to care. I also lined this with a silk/cotton voile from Goldhawk Road which makes it really airy and lightweight for spring and summer.

IKEA print Alexander dress

As soon as I saw BurdaStyle’s “Alexander” blouse I feel in love with the floaty gathered sleeves and the retro-styling, but I also knew this blouse was meant to be a dress!

I had some pretty IKEA “Josefin” fabric in my stash since last June that I’d bought for £3.99/m and was just waiting for the perfect pattern to come along. This seemed like a great match, and as a bonus, I probably only used a little over 2m of the 3 I bought here, so there’s enough left over for something else, too.

Vintage flowered Alexander blouse

Before I jumped in with both feet in my quest to turn BurdaStyle’s “Alexander” blouse into a dress, I thought it wise to first make the pattern as intended – a cute blouse with flowy, gathered sleeves, front and back buttons, and a vintage-inspired peplum.

I had some vintage flower-print lightweight cotton in my stash that had been in my Granny’s stash for some time and she’d given it to me last time I was over in the States. As it turns out, she’s ill at the moment and in need of some cheering up, so I thought it fitting to send this blouse back to her since she liked the print so much and we’re roughly the same size!

Unfortunately this is one of those patterns that look SO much better on a real person than a dress form, but you’ll see that when we get to the dress!

Here’s a view of the collar , which I altered using Gertie’s “drafting a convertible collar” tutorial. This was a super easy way of lowering the quite high collar and adding a little something extra to the neckline:

KnipMode wrap blouse

Even though I prepared this to sew in hospital, I was in and out so fast I ended up sewing #20b from the May 09 KnipMode as my first project back in my own sewing room since it was all cut, interfaced, and ready to go!

I chose to make the 20b variation since I liked the full (rather than band) collar, the roll-up sleeves, and the breast pocket, which made it look a bit more like a camp shirt than an Asian-styled top. It also means I’ve finally used the last of the enourmous stash of fabric I bought in America in August 2007, as this cotton/lycra poplin was originally intended for that Hot Patterns blouse disaster…

Floppy sun hat

I had the itch and energy to sew on Monday (Day -2) so I spent a few hours working on my first activity pack. Because even after I get out, I’ll have to avoid all exposure to the sun for the next two years to avoid aggravating graft vs host (Gvh) disease, so I thought this wide brimmed, floppy sun hat from the May 09 Burda (#141) looked like a good way to ease myself back into sewing and eventually shield my face and shoulders from Mister Hurty McSunshine.

This hat pattern comes in two sizes – 56 or 58cm head circumference (I made the latter as I’ve got a fat head), and I really wanted to make sure the brim stayed nice and stiff to get the maximum shade, so I picked up some incredibly stiff fusible canvas the last time I was in MacCulloch & Wallis.

Black biker trousers

Continuing on with my need to fill my wardrobe’s trouser-shaped void, I decided this time around to try (gasp!) a different trouser pattern! But since I still wasn’t sure how well BWOF 05/2006 #112 would fit me, I opted to sew it up in the leftover black cotton drill from Simon’s pirate coat so that nothing would be lost if the fit was awful.

Frankly, I should’ve trusted Burda more – the fit is even better on these than on my casual TNT (“tried and true”) pattern I’ve been making for ages. These trousers have a seam running down the front leg that goes right into the pockets at the waist, and I think this extra seam really helps to shape them more closely to my legs.

I couldn’t wait for the photoshoot to wear these, though – so forgive the wrinkles! By this point they’d already been out for a friend’s birthday cocktails followed by langostines (yum!) in Soho, plus a full day at work. So just trust me when I say that there are no fit wrinkles when they’re fresh…

Vest of all

Simplicity 4951 is one of the first patterns I ever bought, and is by far the most frequently made out of all of the patterns I own. I made the jacket once (which is now happily worn by my mom), but it’s the camisole I come back to time and time again.

It’s a very simple design – a top piece with two joined triangles and a gathered underbust seam that you double (and since it’s lined if you’re small like me, there’s no need for a bra), a rectangular bottom front piece, and a taller rectangular back piece. Add some bias tape or ribbon straps, and you’ve got the perfect summer top in under an hour and under a meter.