Tilly and the Buttons Freya dress duo

Tilly and the Buttons released book Stretch last spring. Few months later and there it was on my shelf. Few more months and I have two Freya dresses in my closet.
There are few more designs in the book but this one was a great start to use up some fabrics from my stash.

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The first one I made from this lightweight jersey I got on eBay year ago or maybe more. It feels so good to use a fabric that you have been looking at for too long. I got it without a project in mind and as it was so lightweight I never knew what would be the right pattern for it. It was time to take a bit of a risk and hope it would live a happy life as a Freya. And it does.

The push I needed to do it was a great challenge run by Chantelle @i_seam_sew_happy_xx and Lou @oh_liverpool_lou over on Instagram called #stitchedwithatwist. The idea behind it was to use any pattern and hack it in any way that rocks your boat – embroidery, adding details, changing pattern design a bit….. As this jersey is so lightweight, I thought it would work great for bigger dreamy sleeves and coincidentally lovely Athina Kakou released a hack on how to make bishop sleeves for a regular sleeve over on her blog. I loved it, so I knew I wanted to try it out. If you like it as well go over on her blog. She has many other hacks available as well and if you are still looking for a great jersey pattern she has one with great reviews – the Sheona dress/top so do check it out.

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Another hack I made was to lengthen the dress to midi. I am very inspired by long autumnal dresses and wanted that feel of someone so cool as Florence form the Florence and the Machine. I mean that is as cool as one can get in my book. I lengthened the dress at lengthen or shorten line that is part of the pattern (not from the hem). I did not want it to be too wide at the bottom so this seemed to be the right way.

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Bishop sleeve goodness

The second dress is this ultimate lemon dress for dark winter days. It is the vitamin C for your sight. I got this Art Gallery fabric from Minerva crafts last year and it is the softest. I have not hacked this one for the challenge but I did make some alterations to the pattern as well. I also lengthened the hem on this one but this time to the knee level. I did it the same way as with the first version. But I had a problem with access fabric in the lower back which cried for a sway back adjustment. So I tried that one out and I guess it helped but there is still some extra fabric. Not sure why and if maybe I need to make a bigger adjustment but I was not frugal with it at all. This does mean I now have a seam running down my spine in the centre back but as the fabric is a happy one with random print I do not mind it that much (and it is in the back anyway).

 

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picking lemons in a lemon dress, bam!
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after looking at these pictures again I just want to go back on holiday!

New project from the book will probably be a Joni dress but I do need to find a great fabric for it to make the picture in my head a reality.

Until then…..
Thank you for reading!
Ana

Ginghamization

I shared this dress on Instagram few weeks ago and I got a lot of comments asking what pattern I used or how I made it so I thought I would write a blog post about it for anyone who might be interested. I made the dress two years ago and do not have any in progress shots so can not share any pictures of the steps involved, but I did try to describe it with words as much as I could. Just scroll down for the ginghamization goodness.

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Gingham is a well positioned fabric in the fashion world. I love it and think it always looks great. Somehow it is chic but casual at the same time. How is that even possible? Gingham superpowers at play. So when I saw the perfect gingham cotton fabric at a local fabric store I bought it straight away without even knowing what to make with it. I knew it would live it’s life as a dress but had not known in what form. I think I bought 2.5 or 3 meters of it, but it is hard to recall now. This is more like a guess based on the amount needed for the final dress plus I have a bit leftover.

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With time some ideas started brewing in my mind and I knew what kind of a dress I wanted. I did not have a pattern for it so decided to look for a basic bodice I could use as a base and work around it. I needed a simple bodice with two front and two back darts. What I wanted would not be suitable for princess seams or bust darts as the fabric pattern would look different and possibly strange/unattractive. I went for one I already used before and knew would work. It is bodice pattern from Burda Style dress no #101 from 2/2011 magazine issue. But you can use any bodice pattern with darts that suits you.

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Burda Style dress 101, 2/2017

 

I played around on paper first to see how the fabric placement would look. I find this as a good method when I want to play with fabric print and direction to test out the ideas.

 

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I am not one for beautiful sketches but good enough to get the feeling if it will work (and you can see it worked from all the ticks – why are they all there I have no idea)

 

And now the construction of the dress.

BODICE. I had the bodice already traced so went straight for the fabric cutting. First step was to sew the darts on both bodice pieces. Then I needed to cut out the triangles. I measured the bottom of the front bodice piece on fold and side of the bodice front from bottom to bust height. That way I had measurements for two sides of a square. Then I cut out two squares of fabric and folded them diagonally to get two triangles.

I pinned the triangles to the front bodice and ‘tried it on’ to see if it lay flat or if there was some gaping or what not. What you want to check at this point is where the waist seam will be so you know how to position the triangles for them to meet in the middle, right where the skirt will be attached to the bodice. When I was happy with it I sewed the triangles to the front bodice within the seam allowance on the side and bottom of the bodice. The top of the triangles on the fold is left unsewn. You can stitch them down by machine or by hand with invisible stitch, but I did not want to have any visible stitching or do any hand sewing so left it like that. Hand sewing can easily be done when the dress is finished if you end up with any gaping, but I did not, so it is free and I can put my hands in if I want to rest them, for example. Then I attached front and back bodice pieces together. My dress has a side zip so I left one side open to insert the zip later.

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I opted for a V opening on the back of the bodice (not pictured), this was an easy alteration to do. I cut out the original back bodice and then measured how low I would like the opening to be. I did not want it to be too low so I could securely hide the bra. When I measured it in front of a mirror I simply cut out a triangle opening. I finished the neckline with a bias binding but you can also do it with a facing or a full lining for a cleaner finish, which is my go to option these days. The armholes are also finished with bias binding.

SKIRT. The next step was the skirt and I went for the drama effect and cut out a full circle skirt. When it was ready I attached the skirt to the bodice and inserted the zip. And then all that was left was endless seam finishing on the circle skirt.

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And voila, there is my gingham dress of dreams! It is not hard at all but gives a simple dress so much more character. If you go ahead and do it I would be happy to see your version, so please leave me a comment, send me a message or tag me on Instagram 😊

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And one bathroom selfie for the end because we are in 2018

 

P.S. – I love this photo of ladies in their gingham outfits waiting in line by Nina Leen for Life Magazine. You think I would fit among them with this dress? The caption of the photo is ‘Women wearing checked outfits, waiting to place bets at racetrack’. That kind of line is not where you would find me but if it were a line to buy cinema tickets that could work. Imagine a gingham movie premiere – now that is where I would love to be!

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Photo by Nina Leen for Life Magazine; source

 

Thank you for reading!

Ana