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A bottle cap print summer day dress

I have lost my sewing mojo. I think it occurred because I actually completed both sewing plans I laid out at the start of summer (casualwear and activewear), and then I realised that I really don’t need any more clothes. And with no events on the horizon to sew for, I’m kinda left a bit deflated. I actually sewed this dress a few weeks ago, more for something to do but also because I really liked its sister dress, but with summer waning, I’m not sure how much opportunity I’ll have to wear it.

One aspect that drew me to this project was rediscovering this fabric in my stash when I was hunting around for anything to turn into face masks earlier in the summer. I’d kinda forgotten about this cotton fabric that a friend had bought in Tokyo and brought back for me. Its bright and cheery bottle cap print spoke to me now, bringing a bit of a holiday feel to my home-bound existence. It was a narrow width fabric but my friend had the foresight to buy plenty of it so I didn’t have any struggle fitting McCalls 7381 into it.

A big grey Fail of a dress

How excited was I to discover that the Spanish-language pattern magazine, Patrones, had launched an app complete with digital issues and downloadable pdf patterns!? You know, the thing we’d all wished Burda had done years ago rather than the abomination of a website they made instead!

I literally was on my iPad in seconds (there’s a version for Android, too) and was browsing the previews of a few issues when I came across a dress I just had to have!

A blue Tacara dress

I definitely have A Type when it comes to dresses. In general, I like them close-fitting, or at the very least with a pencil skirt. I mean, there are exceptions – some dresses with a very different shape that I end up loving, but in general I stick to what I know I love to wear. I guess this is my way of saying that when I branch out from my comfort zone, I’m never immediately convinced whether I like it or not – it takes some wearings and time to try and figure it out. And I’m still on the fence with this one.

I wasn’t convinced when Seamwork magazine (referrer link) released their Tacara dress pattern as it’s outside My Type. But I kept seeing it on more and more women and liking the way it looked, so I got it printed in A0 (those are some BIG pieces!) and I bought the required 2.2m of lightweight blue cotton spandex jersey from Ditto, when we were at their shop in Brighton over the holidays.

A digital floral sheath dress

I’ve been trying to sew down my stash a lot this year – picking projects that use up fabric I’ve already got (and love!) rather than buying new and running out of space in the little wardrobe that holds my fabric stash. So just before Christmas I was finally starting to recover from the dreaded flu and thought my sewing mojo could really use a boost in the form of a Quick Knit, err, Dress! Usually I sew a Quick Knit Top to boost my mood but this time I fancied a dress instead, and I had just the fabric to use.

I bought this particular fabric from the FabWorks stall at the Great British Sewing Bee Live show back in 2017 and I knew it’d make for a great and comfortable winter dress. I’m not often drawn to prints but I loved that this one was a floral with pixellation in places on a super stretchy but lightweight French terry, so it would be warm and very easy to wear through winter.

A mustard Saraste shirtdress

I’ve been wanting to make the Saraste shirtdress from the Named book, “Breaking the Pattern” ever since I first saw it at their UK launch party. It comes in three different views in the book: as a princess-seam blouse with ruffles, a button-down shirt with shoulder cutouts, and as a shirtdress with ruffled collar. I ended up making the shirtdress, but added in the shoulder cutouts for some extra interest, too.

A double gauze day dress

A while back I’d heard of a fabric called “double gauze” that was supposedly perfect for hot weather, but at the time it was really only available imported from Japanese shops and really expensive at that! Fast forward a few years and it’s now much more readily available locally, so when I was in Brighton last August I bought some of their muted teal double gauze fabric (also available in a bunch of other colours), keen to try it out. Double gauze is two layers of cotton gauze/muslin fabric joined together with stitches in a grid pattern which creates a sort of seeersucker or quilted texture. It also means the two layers may not be 100% on grain to each other, and it really likes to shrink in the wash so be sure to pre-wash it.

I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it though until I saw the perfect day dress in the May 2019 edition of KnipMode magazine (#11, though #12 is a longer version with longer sleeves). The pattern is available to buy online, too, though be aware the instructions are in Dutch.

My bias silk 40th birthday gown

Happy 40th birthday to me! Since it’s a big birthday year I kinda felt like I just had to celebrate big, too! So we rented the whole of a private members cocktail bar near Kings Cross, invited a bunch of people, laid on pizzas, and let the rest just happen! Every year I like to make myself something special to celebrate my birthday, and I felt like I should sew a big, glamorous dress for myself to feel like a total star at the party, too.

I happened to have four meters of gorgeous copper-coloured silk satin (charmeuse) in my stash which I’d bought from Truro Fabrics back in 2015 with the intention of sewing a gown for the World Transplant Games gala dinner in Argentina. But I didn’t quite have enough time to sew it before we left, and the silk has been in my stash ever since. I still had the receipt in with the fabric, too, and the price reflects the incredible quality of this silk – I’d paid about £75 for it.

A tropical print Bettine dress

Like the best comic book superheroes, this dress has an almost unbelievable origin story.

As you know, I’ve been sick with multiple viral infections for months, and have been pretty down about it all. Well, I stepped out of the flat one day a few weeks ago and bam! right on the pavement outside the flat was a Tilly & the Buttons Bettine dress pattern, just lying there! I mean, seriously, what are the chances?

I could’ve just left it there for whomever dropped it to recover, but with rain forecast later in the day I didn’t want it to get ruined and besides, this was the Universe giving me A Sign, and I didn’t feel like I should overlook the only good luck I’d had in months! So I took it home and started fabric shopping immediately.

A Golden Velvet Moneta Dress

I started as new office job back in May (I’m a product manager in the music/tech space when I’m not designing sewing patterns or writing books!) and since this company is significantly bigger than all the previous offices I’ve worked for in the past, I’ve spent the last few months getting excited about the prospect of the first big office Christmas party of my life. And of course, with that comes What To Wear.