A Summer Dress with an Interesting Geometric Back Detail

Self-drafted from a Burda pattern

I am sure we all have patterns we use all the time. Ones that just work for our body type, don’t need too much alteration and are simple to use. One of mine is a pattern printed in Burda Magazine Nr. 07/2014. It is a gathered skirt and simple bodice made up of 4 pattern pieces. I have used the bodice pattern countless times before, making many different types of dresses, and was always happy with the results.

So when I was looking for a pattern to make an alteration to, this came to mind quite quickly. I had this idea in mind that I would change the back of the dress to be a bit more open and airy. I wanted something that combines comfort with style in the summer heat, while also satisfying my love of geometry.

So here is the result, a slightly different dress with a geometric back detail.

 

folklore summer dress geometric back detail back3

 

And yes, I am starting with a picture from the back this time. 🙂 It is definitely nice from the front too, but the wow-factor is certainly going on in the back. The geometric pattern is made of 2 sets of 2 fully-lined triangles overlapping each other. The lower triangles are a bit smaller than the top ones. Here is the back in a bit more detail.

 

geometric back detail

 

I did not have quite enough of the patterned fabric to make the whole dress, so I used just a strip of it for the skirt, while making the rest in a plain black polycotton. I think the whole dress has got a sort of folklore feeling about it because of that.

 

folklore summer dress with back detail front1

 

 

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Making a puff sleeve from a regular sleeve pattern

I recently decided to make puff sleeves for a modified version of Butterick’s B5209.

Since this involved a bit of mathematics, I thought I’d share it here.

  • First, take any old sleeve pattern. I used a shortened version of the sleeve from a Bolero pattern.

basic sleeve pattern with markings

  • Mark the middle of the sleeve pattern and draw a line from top to bottom. Then mark 2 equidistant lines either side of this line. I used a distance of 8.5 cm either side of the middle, as that was perfect for the size of my sleeve.

sleeve pattern cut in 4

  • Cut the sleeve pattern along those drawn lines.

sleeve pattern pieces with 3cm distance

  • Lay the pattern pieces out and leave equal gaps in between them. I used a gap of 3cm, but it can be more or less, depending on how puffy you want your sleeve to be.

changing the height of the outer pieces

  • Now align the outer pattern pieces by moving them downwards, so the curve at the top of the sleeves lines up with them. Draw a joining line between the pattern pieces along those curves.

moving outer pieces out by another 3cm

  • Now move those outer pattern pieces outwards at the bottom by the same distance as the gaps between the pattern pieces. (In my case, I moved them out by another 3cm each.) Join them at the bottom by drawing a curved line.

puff sleeve pattern

  • Draw around all the pattern pieces, take them off, and you’ve got a puff sleeve pattern.

Stupidly, I forgot to tak a picture of this, but I used two lines of gathering stitches at the top and achieved this:

puff sleeves gathered at the top

You can also put gathering stitches in the bottom of the sleeves, if you are putting them into a band. I originally planned on doing this, but in the end, finished the bottoms with elastic, so did not need this.

Once you have this, join the front and the back of the sleeves as you normally would, then attach them to your garment.

  • To finish them in a super easy way, simply sew elastic in the bottom of the sleeves.

puff sleeve with elastic band

 

puff sleeve bottom pinned with elastic

  • Make sure to pin evenly when putting elastic in, line up the middle of the sleeve with the middle of the elastic band, then find the middle of both remaining sections again, line up, pin and so on.

And here we have a finished puff sleeve from the front

puff sleeve front

and from the back

puff sleeve back

 

Making a pair of “ugg” boot slippers

self-drafted "ugg" boot slippers 3

 

In the last few days, as I sat down to work on making a bag, I realised that it’s been around 10 years since I lived in a small-ish house. This realisation was brought to me by a very bodily feeling, namely that I get a lot colder than I used to. Don’t get me wrong, I grew up in a small house, it used to be perfectly normal for me to wrap up and wear slippers. However, the last place I lived, you could walk around all winter in a T-shirt with the heating barely on. Ah, the luxury…

So I interjected my current work by making myself some slippers. Not that I hadn’t thought about it before, but, seeing that our flat was so warm, I found it quite hard to get motivated to make something I didn’t need.

Self-drafted pattern

Of course, my idea to “quickly” make myself some boot slippers turned into an endeavor that took a day and a half. Most of that was probably due to the fact that making a pattern for shoes, especially if you have never made shoes before, can be quite daunting.

The sole

I started by tracing my feet on cardboard with a pen, which was the quickest and easiest part of the whole pattern-making exercise.

 

tracing my feet for "ugg" boot slippers

 

This turned into the base pattern for the sole. With added seam allowances, I used it for all the necessary sole pieces, of which there were 4 for each foot: 1 outside sole made of vinyl leather, 2x wadding, and 1 lining. Apart from the sole for the lining, I sewed all the others together, layered with the cardboard pieces in between the two sheets of wadding.

 

"ugg" boot slippers sole parts

 

"ugg" boot slippers sole

 

The shoe pattern

I wanted slippers that look a bit like “ugg” boots, so I spent a few hours figuring out how to make that happen. I practised on a really small scale, which turned out to be a good idea for not wasting too much material. I’m not 100% happy with how it scaled up once I added seam allowances and will be sure to alter the pattern, in case I need boot slippers again. I cut the pattern pieces for the wadding and lining longer than for the outside fabric, as I wanted a fur trim at the top.

 

"ugg" boot slippers self-drafted pattern

 

"ugg" boot slippers pattern pieces

 

Sewing the slippers together

I thought it would probably be a good idea to attach the wadding to the outside fabric, so I sewed it on around the edges, inside the seam allowances. Then I sewed the pattern pieces for the shell together, stitching them to the sole in the end.

 

"ugg" boot slippers outside shell

 

"ugg" boot slippers inside of outside shell

 

The lining definitely needed overlocking around the edges. Faux fur tends to make a huge mess when you cut it and this was no exception. Nevertheless, once I had sewn all the lining pieces together, it made me think that I want some furry boot slippers as well. 😉

 

"ugg" bot slippers lining pieces overlocked

 

"ugg" boot slippers fur lining

 

Now it was just a question of turning the lining around and slipping it into the boots. I then simply overlocked it onto the waddin. After turning the fur over twice, I now had the boot slippers I desired.

 

"ugg" boot slippers 5

 

self-drafted "ugg" boot slippers 2

 

self-drafted "ugg" boot slippers 1

 

 

 

 

 

Self-drafted Scuba Dress

scuba dress on me front

 

I’ve been a busy girl this week. First, I updated my blog with a coat I made a while ago, then I made this dress, and then I also made a cute bag, which I shall tell you about next week. There will be some instructions as well as a tutorial on how to make bag straps in a pretty easy way.

How did I find the time for all this? Well, for one, I am unemployed at the moment. 😉 However, if you have an overlocker, you already know how quickly you can assemble a garment, and it will come as no surprise to you that it took me less than 3 hours in total to make this dress (this time includes some pattern-drafting on an existing basic pattern). If you don’t have an overlocker andlike to work with jerseys, get one. Seriously. Just do it. It doesn’t have to be expensive. I bought mine second-hand from ebay for around 90 Euros.

What fabric did I use?

I bought this scuba from this website a few months ago (UK equivalent here). I only saw today that they finally have a scuba-section. They did a survey last year in which I stated that I wanted more scubas, which made me wonder if I had something to do with that. 😛 Seriously though, I love that I can now find scubas on there without going through all of the jersey-section.

What’s even better is that I have the exact same scuba in a different colour, which I ordered from calico laine and which, due to the catastrophe that is dhl, took about 3 months to arrive in Germany. I’ll post pictures of the dress I made with that in the future. I actually wore it to Uproar in the Dam, so that blog post is well overdue…

I do have a bit of a thing for scuba fabric, by the way…

Onto the pattern…

This dress is mostly self-drafted, but based on an old T-shirt dress of mine (see here). This version includes princess seams, which line up with the front seams of the 4 skirt panels. I added some additional seams between bust and shoulder and forewent the princess seams at the back. I also used some black scuba strips to insert into the neckline and arms and around the waist.

 

 

scuba dress front 1

 

scuba dress side view

 

Some close-ups of the front and back details

 

 

And another update on the Merrylock 3040

I want to show you the hem of this dress, because I’ve been sewing my hems with the Merrylock 3040 for a while now,  but the other day I was reading my blog post from when I first got it and I have to say, not only have I got used to it, it also makes a pretty decent hem now without destroying the fabric. Please see below how well it is now doing with crossing seams.

 

scuba dress hem with merrylock 3040

 

hem inside merrylock 3040

 

hemmed with merrylock 3040

A self-drafted cute cross-body cat bag

cute cat bag 1 front

Why a cat bag?

I guess no one in their right mind should ask themselves why it is necessary to have a bag shaped like a cute cat face, but I shall make this query anyway.

For a few years, I was the proud owner of a cross-body bag shaped like an apple. Even though people sometimes mistook it for a cherry or even a strawberry (because of its red colour) I loved this bag so much. I took it with me to all my adventures, to clubs and festivals, concerts and fine dining.

That however, was also its demise. It is now a very scruffy-looking, faded old bag. And I still love it, but it’s probably time to say goodbye to it.

So before I went to Amsterdam for Uproar in the Dam, upon inspection of said apple bag, I realised (too late) that I needed a new bag. Googling for “cat bag” did not bring any results that I liked, so I thought I’d do what I always do when something I want doesn’t exist yet, I will make it.

 

DSCI0540

Materials

I bought some silver and black vinyl to make this from. This was my first time working with anything pleather/vinyl-related and it was certainly a learning experience!

You cannot put pins in vinyl, as I had learned from numerous sources around the internet long before I ever thought I’d actually use it. I used bulldog clips, which I had taken home from the office. They might have been pretty low-quality though, cause they weren’t great at keeping the layers together.

The eyes are glued on bits of black pleather and the nose is a baby snap.

I backed both sides of the bag with a dense, thick felt, of which I still have about 2 metres lying around.

The lining is made of a camouflage cotton lawn. I had made a dress from this (which I must photograph, so I can show it off) and had about enough left for this small project.

 

cute cat bag 1 lining 2

 

Topstitching

My topstitching is not the best. Not just for this, but in general. I have definitely made neater things with better topstitching, but it is a very important part of working with this material and I absolutely need to practice it. I am ok (for now) with the terrible stitching on the straps, as this is my first time working with vinyl, but I will make sure to get better.

 

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Tutorials

Since I worked with this material for the first time (did I mention that before?), I needed some help along the way. Even though I ended up making a pattern myself, I was heavily influenced by this tutorial. There is a lot of glueing involved, which I replaced with sewing, but it was a good pointer in the direction I wanted to go.

I also had a look at a blog showing me how to do straps. Her topstitching is so neat! I didn’t do exactly what she did, especially as my straps were going to be longer, but the tutorial taught me that I can sew four layers of pleather together. (I was a bit worried about my machine not handling that much, but it was fine.)

 

cute cat bag 1 back

 

cute cat bag 1 with straps