OSP, Sewing

The Wrap Dress Project – Fitting the Bodice Part 2

Soooo,ย  this post has been a long time coming. In fact I started this post back in September… ๐Ÿ™ˆ good thing I added photos and made some notes when I started the draft!

After the first muslin of the bodice there were a couple of things that needed altering before the second muslin. The number one priority was an adjustment to get rid of the gape in the neckline.

While I was wearing the first muslin I pinned neckline to get rid of the gape so I’d know how much I needed to adjust. It worked out at about 1/2 an inch on both sides.


I used a tutorial I found on Craftsy to create a dart in the pattern piece, and then trued up the neckline curve. It does seem a little counter-intuitive to create a dart to reduce fabric, then adding more to true up the neckline, but it works. โœ‚๏ธโœ‚๏ธ

After I’d made the adjustment to the neckline I redrafted the bodice facing pattern piece so that it matched the shape of the adjusted neckline

Time for bodice muslin number two… this time complete with collar and facings… I followed the construction instructions for the pattern to make up the collar and facing. Fully lining it means that the construction sequence will be totally different, but the using the pattern sequence for this muslin version… and not bad… ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

Doing that adjustment has raised the neckline enough and eliminated the gape. Adding the facing and the collar seems to have resolved where the shoulder seams sits – which is good.

The only issue – is this pooling/ weird folding thing happening at the nape of my neck. I had this happen when I made the Lenox Shirtdress, and I kinda made up a fix, by scooping out the neckline on the yoke, and messing with the collar. This time I wanted to find out what the proper adjustment was, so consulted with the almighty Google.

Turns out what I needed was a square shoulder adjustment – and the blog post I found at that link gave me a slash/ pivot method for doing the adjustment rather than messing with the neckline. I pinned out the amount of pooling/ folding that I wanted to get rid of and used that as the amount to pivot – it was almost an inch!

I decided not too do a third muslin of the bodice, but to make the adjustments to the skirt pattern pieces, and to muslin the whole dress as the next step.

It’s not a secret anymore that these wrap dresses are going to be the bridesmaid dresses for my sister’s wedding in April. ๐Ÿ‘ฐI’m making mine at the moment, and will be starting the fittings for the other bridesmaids soon. ๐ŸŽ‰

Finished Projects, planning, Sewing

Make Nine – 2017 round up, 2018 plans

I was late joining the #makenine 2017 bandwagon – I think I first posted in May about the nine patterns I was hoping to get done in the year. I did a hunt through yesterday, and discovered that I made eight of the nine patterns I’d selected. The Sammi Pants pattern was the only one I didn’t get around the making. Most of these patterns are now in my regular rotation, and I plans to make many more of them in 2018 (and probably beyond, based on the amount of fabric currently in my stash… ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ™ˆ)

2017-12-29 18.11.57 I did also add quite a number of other patterns to my collection that weren’t on the Make Nine list. All of these ones are in my regular rotation, and there will be many more of these appearing in my wardrobe during 2018 and beyond.

2017-12-29 22.57.34 Now for my Make Nine plans for 2018. I had to think for a while whether I was going to have time to commit to the full nine for 2018. I’m going to be making the bridesmaids dresses ๐Ÿ‘— ๐Ÿ‘—๐Ÿ‘— for my sisters wedding ๐Ÿ‘ฐ (I’m the maid of honour), which is going to take a fair bit of time. But, I’ve spent the last couple of days making another practice version and I don’t think that the bridesmaid dresses are going to be as time consuming as I first thought – so I’ve selected nine patterns (including the one for the bridesmaids dresses) and here they are…

2017-12-30 19.34.59 None of the links in this post are affiliate links, I’m just sharing where I sourced my patterns from in case you’d like to check them out for yourself.

Finished Projects, Sewing

Stripe matching like a boss…

I shared a few progress photos of this skirt on Instagram and in a couple of sewing related Facebook groups Iโ€™m in, mainly photos of successful stripe matching on the side seams of the skirt.

And quite a few people asked about the stripe matching. Now, Iโ€™ve blogged about this particular skirt pattern before here, so I wonโ€™t go into the specifics about the pattern, but I will share how I managed the stripe matching.

TL:DR – take your time lining stuff up before you cut it out, and use about eleventy-billion pins… ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿผ

But if you want more details, here they are… also more photos of satisfyingly lined up stripes if I do say myself!

This skirt is not the worlds most complicated pattern – itโ€™s 3 pattern pieces. Thereโ€™s the main part of the skirt, of which you cut a pair, the single waistband piece and the pocket…

Because this is a PDF patternย it has obvious horizontal and vertical markers in the joins of the paper and I used one of the horizontal ones and made sure it lined up with one of the stripes on the fabric to make ensure the first skirt panel sat squarely (stripely?? ๐Ÿค”)

Once I had one of the skirt panels cut out I placed it right sides together on the next bit of the fabric and took my time making sure all the stripes lined up *exactly* before I picked up the scissors to cut out the second panel. No photos of this, I didnโ€™t realise it would interest people โ€˜til I was a long way past this point…

The waistband is a single piece that is folded in half (height-wise) during the construction process so there is a notch on the pattern at the fold point. I worked out what colour stripes I wanted showing on the waistband and positioned the pattern so that the notch marks lined up with the top of the stripe I wanted at the top of the waist band.

I wasn’t too worried about making sure the pocket stripes lined up with the skirt stripes colour wise – it’s an inseam pocket so it won’t be visible… there is a pocket hiding in this picture…

During construction, there were two main places I wanted the stripes to line up. Down the side seams, and on the pleats across the waist line.

I marked on the skirt the outer edges of each pleat, and the centre point (big shout out for the Frixion markers – they are excellent for marking pleats as the marks just disappear when you press the pleats). As I folded each pleat I made sure the colours lined up and then pinned them in place, with TWO pins on each side of the pleat. In most cases the stripes lined up naturally as I folder the pleats, I didn’t need to mess with them too much at all. I didn’t baste the pleats, because I’m a rebel like that…

The side seams I again lined up the stripes as I pinned and I pinned on the ‘join’ betweenย every singleย stripeย – instead of my usual twice, or often not at all…

Iย did takeย my time sewing the seams, making sure that fabric fed evenly. I was also careful when inserting the invisible zip not to ‘stretch’ one side more than the other (which happens to me more often than I care to admit) so that the stripes below the bottom of the zip would line up, without any puckers, or tucks at the bottom of the zip.

Pattern: Style Arc Candice

Size: 20, with a bit added to the waist band, and the pleat depth messed with a little to suit (too lazy to print and stick together the next size up)

Fabric: Something of a mystery from East Coast Fabrics. It was on a quilting bolt, but there was nothing printed on the selvedge. It’s got an interesting texture – makes me think there’s a little poly in it. I also think I bought the last of it… sorry…

Cashmerette Patterns, Sewing

It’s all in the chemistry – Upton Dress

Oh, I know it’s been a while… but I’m still here…

Work got busy (I got a promotion), I had a trip away for work, managed to get the flu while on the work trip, and I have been working away on the Wrap Dress Project. The Wrap Dress Project has reached a milestone, and I’m taking a little break to whip up some tried and true patterns before I dive back into the next phase.

I promise that there are posts about the next steps in the Wrap Dress fittings sitting in my drafts, but for today I just couldn’t wait to share my newest Upton Dress – all the heart-eyes over here for this one!! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

e2339759-a2f3-4bb1-96a9-670c3cfa388f This fabric easily cost three times what I’m usually happy to pay for fabric. It’s from Spotlight, and was almost $25/m, which makes this gorgeous cotton frock quite expensive when you think that pleated Upton’s use 4+m… ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜ณ

*David Attenborough voice* ‘and, here we see the sewist in her favourite habitat’ – at least that’s what my sister says… ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ

But once I’d seen it there was no way I was going to be able to leave it in the store! It just had to come home with me, and I do no regret my decision one little bit.


I finished it off last night (with the fabric line selvage label added to the hem) and hung it on the hanger, thinking ‘I do like that’. Then this morning I put it on to take some photos, and on the way into the spare room (only room in the house with a full length mirror) and I caught sight of myself in the bathroom mirror as I walked past – I’m pretty sure I started skipping. I just love it!

Don’t get me wrong, I love (or at the very least like) pretty much everything I make, but there is something about the Upton dress – I love how I look in it. Everything fits well, it makes me look like I have a waist, the skirt length is perfect without my having to add or subtract anything, and who doesn’t love a box pleated skirt!

And, this fabric print. I’m not a chemist, or a chemical engineer, but work with a lot of them, and I did study chemistry at school. I’ve also spent a good portion of the last year learning an awful lot about one particular chemical compound (can’t write about these things without picking up enough knowledge to be just about dangerous) – so it was fitting. ๐Ÿ”ฌ๐Ÿ”ฌ

It’s a big call, but I think the Upton Dress is my ‘desert island’ pattern. ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ You know, if you could only sew one pattern ever again – the Upton would be it for me. Good thing I have fabric for about… 20 more in my stash…

img_1764 Pattern: Cashmerette Upton. Size: 20G/H with the bodice lengthened by 1in.

Fabric: Spotlight – Studio E Geek Chic Atoms

Adjustments, OSP, Sewing

The Wrap Dress Project – Fitting the Bodice Part 1

Somewhere there is some saying about starting at the top and working down when making fit adjustments to patterns, so I started where I always start with adjustments when making clothes for myself – with a full bust adjustment (FBA).

As always seems to happen, my high bust adjustment matches to largest size in the pattern, so patterns usually fit my neck and shoulders nicely, but I need do a FBA to have the bodice fit properly. My measurements mean I needed to add 2.5 inches to both sides of the front.

I decided to do a ‘Y cut’ FBA on this pattern for two reasons:

  1. So that the bust dart didn’t end up ridiculously huge – a common issue when doing ‘large’ FBAs; and
  2. I figured that in this style of top I some extra width across the top of the bust wouldn’t hurt – we’re all about avoiding wardrobe malfunctions in my world!

I always carry the full width I add at the bust doing a FBA down to the waistline, as I usually need extra inches at the waist too. Once I’d added the width and taped the pattern up I worked out where my bust point needed to be – that black dot in the middle of the addition – far, far away from the bust point marked on the pattern. From there I measured and marked 2 inches below, and towards the side seam (no Madonna looking cones for me, ๐Ÿ™…๐Ÿผ thank you very much) these formed the point of my new darts.

The original pattern didn’t have a bust dart, only a waist dart. I added the bust dart – marking from the end point of the dart out to the edges of sections that were added during the FBA, folded the dart closed (I taped it up actually) and trued up the side seam.

While the bust dart was taped closed I did a bit of tissue fitting to work out what size the waist dart needed to be – you can see it’s significantly smaller than what it would have been if I’d just closed the original waist dart.

When making muslins I don’t usually make any adjustments to the back of the bodice, most of the time the fit is fine, so I followed my usual practices and left the back bodice pattern alone.

Cutting time!! โœ‚๏ธโœ‚๏ธโœ‚๏ธ

I marked, pressed and stitched all of the darts closed, then pressed them again before sewing up the side and shoulder seams – time to see how well this first round of adjustments worked… ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿป๐Ÿคž๐Ÿป๐Ÿคž๐Ÿป

And, honestly, not bad for the first round of adjustments to a pattern style I haven’t tired before… I did have a minor heart attack when I first put it on – I thought that I’d made the bust darts too low!! But on closer inspection the shoulder seams were sitting too far forward, and when I pulled them up and pinned them where they should sit – magically the bust darts were in the right place!! I’m not too worried right now about the shoulder seams sitting that far forward – this shirt still has a collar and facing to go on, and there are seam allowances involved in attaching them that may well fix that issue, so for my next muslin I’m going to make up and attach the collar and facing as well to check on that.

I did decide that there was just a little more gape in the front that I’d like – it’s not very obvious from the front, but it was from above… I pinned out about 5/8in on both sides.


I’m pretty happy with how this round of adjustments has gone – it doesn’t matter how long I’ve been doing this or how many times I’ve adjusted patterns I’m always pleasantly surprised when the adjustments turn out the way I wanted them too… ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜Œ

For the next muslin the plan is:

  • Fix that neckline gape issues – I found a tutorial on Craftsy which I’m going to give a whirl, it looks like it should do the trick
  • Test out the collar and facing as well as the main bodice pieces – this will tell me whether I need to do something about where the should seam is – also means I have to redraft the front facing as I’ve changed the length and am planning to change the shape a little with the neckline gape fix…
  • Think about whether I want to lengthen the front at all – I’m considering it, but I’m also conscious that adding the skirt (and the layers involved in the wrap and my planned lining) may add enough weight that it pulls the bodice down a bit… something to ponder… ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”

On to round two…

Adjustments, OSP, Sewing

The Wrap Dress Project – an Introduction

A while back I was scrolling Pinterest on my train to or from work. It’s my brain unwind, and I find it surprisingly inspirational for helping solve random work related challenges, something about distracting one side of the brain to let the other one just work… anyway, I digress. I was scrolling, and I came across this picture:

At first I thought it was a photo of someone in a bought dress, but I clicked through anyway to Emily Hallman Designs blog and discovered that she made this marvellous creation – and that was it, I knew I had to try something like this.

I read her blog post about the alterations she made to the style of the dress – adding fullness to the skirt, shortening the sleeve and adding a cuff, and fully lining it, and I thought to myself – ‘I really like how this looks I could probably do all of that, but it’s an open wrap dress ๐Ÿค” not super thrilled about the wardrobe-malfunction risk that goes along with that ๐Ÿค”’ and I think that ‘no press stud in the world is really that good’ also ran through my mind.

I pinned it to my Style Ideas board and promptly parked the idea and went on with making other things. But I couldn’t totally disregard it, and I kept coming back to that pin when scrolling through that board choosing patterns to buy.

I’m not sure where the idea started but as I kept coming back to the pin I began to wonder if I could possibly convert the open wrap to a closed wrap and install a zipper in the side seam to get into the dress… was I up for the multi-step adjustment challenge? I was! ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿป

I’m approaching this as a series of steps, and will be working through multiple muslins as I progress until I get to the end result – if I get to the end result… I have a feeling I may be making a few tried and true patterns here and there throughout this process as a sanity break…

The plan as it stands (each of these steps will be muslined at least once)

  • Adjust bodice for fit (FBA on a wrap dress – that’ll be a first for me)
  • Adjust sleeve length & add cuff
  • Adjust skirt to fit
  • Add fullness to skirt and lengthen
  • Draft lining
  • Add side seam zip to construction
  • Convert to closed wrap (construction sequence)

Then if all of that has worked, I’ll finally get to make it up in the good fabric!!

I’m planning to blog about each of these steps as I go – at the moment I’m onto muslin #2 of the adjusting the bodice for fit step… so there will be a post up soon about for first part of that step, complete with lots of photos!!

Wish me luck… ๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ€

Finished Projects, Sewing

Carolyn Pajama Production Line

I started my Carolyn Pajama Production Line (that’s a thing now, by the way) a couple of weeks ago and got both pairs of pants finished in a day. Finishing the shirts took a lot longer than I expected… work this week was c-razy – a 2330 finish one night, back at it at 0700 the next day, anyone? ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜ณ


I’ve got a big sewing project in the works and I’ve been doing some planning over the last few weeks – I know that this special project is going to take some time so I looked at what my wardrobe needed to make sure I could get through a few weeks (maybe even longer – I’m scheduled to be travelling for work again shortly too) without adding any new wearable garments to it.

My checking revealed that I really needed at least one more pair of jammies, particularly if I was going to be travelling – the ‘need something suitable in case the fire alarm goes off in the middle of the night at my hotel and I end up standing around outside for hours’ scenario is a real fear… ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ

I had fabric set aside until the stash for two pairs of flannelette pjs and two pairs of cotton pjs, and as cute as the flannelette pjs would have been, but it’s starting to warm up here, so I went with the cotton, not the flannelette. I probably won’t get to making up the flannelette ones until next winter now.

Back in June I made my first test of the Closet Case File, Carolyn Pajamas pattern. I did a Full Bust Adjustment to the top pattern, and it fit great. The pants took quite a bit more fiddling with, and three muslins before I was happy with the fit…

  • I removed pockets,
  • full tummy adjustment,
  • shortened the front rise,
  • lengthened the back rise,
  • did a flat seat adjustment, and
  • did another adjustment to add some more width across the front of the thigh…

Nothing major… ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ™„

I used bias binding as flat piping in both pairs of pajamas. I had the bias binding left from another project, although I did have to make up some extra to finish the hem finding on the flamingo shirt – I ran just a little short! I did double rows of top stitching when finishing the pants and sleeve cuffs, I just like how it looks โ˜บ๏ธ


The stripey pair are very definitely at-home lounge wear, so I used novelty buttons, and zany binding.


I liked the option of being able to perhaps wearing the flamingo top out – with either dress pants or jeans – so I finished it with regular buttons instead of novelty ones. I’m still not 100% sure I will wear it out – from a distance the print kinda of blurs into a soft pink haze, and isn’t clearly flamingos so it may just stay as pjs.


Up next is the big sewing project – which we’re going to code name as OSP for now…