Linnet Dress no.77

I feel like Linnet Dress no. 77 is an awesome secret I’m sharing with you! I stumbled upon this dress on Pinterest and have never seen any posts about it from the online sewing community anywhere on social media. And it’s stylishly adorable!

Before I share the dress, let me digress for a moment. This is my first blog post in over five months. I have been suffering from bloggers block. For those of you that know I had a bout with breast cancer last year, let me assure you I’m doing great. My last several posts featured “reconstruction” clothes. Since my last post in September, I have sewn at least fifteen projects, mostly tops and tunics for the seasons of fall and winter. I’ve had many successes and a few failures. Lots of stuff worth sharing. But I kept finding myself so anxious to start the next project, I didn’t want to take the time to do a blog post on something I just completed. Creating lots of new clothes was part of my renewal and recovery. Additionally, I’ve been asking myself for quite some time why I blog, other than to show off my sewing skills. My “reconstruction” theme gave me a temporary purpose, but I would like to move on now. So I’ve been feeling a little lost and am looking for a way to get back my blogging mojo. I figure if I can get this post out on this fantastic dress that deserves attention, maybe I’ll be revived.

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When I found Linnet Dress no. 77 on Pinterest, I was immediately taken by it as well as several other patterns by this Japanese company. The pattern came quickly from Japan via an Etsy site. I can’t remember how much I paid for it but I remember thinking it was pretty reasonable. No more than an indie pattern in the U.S..

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This is the cover sheet of the pattern that comes in a clear plastic envelope.

The pattern is printed on a substantial weight paper, and people who are more patient than me would probably trace off their size instead of cutting it up like I did. You need to add your own seam allowances.

The fabric I used is Geishas and Ginkgos Circles Cotton Mystique by Andover Fabrics. I purchased the fabric from Harts Fabric online store for $12.99 per yard. The dress requires about 3 yards. I love this fabric. It’s a two tone chambray printed with the circles.

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The instructions showed an invisible zipper. I choose to do a regular one in a contrasting color, just for fun. 

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The collar is cut on the bias and folded down.

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Half way up the collar back is a button with a thread loop button hole.

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Inside sneak peek.

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I used a machine blind hem for the sleeves and bottom.

LET’S BE HONEST:

1. The pattern comes in size Small to Extra Large. I cut a size Small and it fit perfect. I don’t remember why I chose a Small. I can’t find a size chart anywhere. It must have been on the thrown-away scraps from the pattern sheet. I usually cut a Medium in Japanese patterns.

2. You do have to add your own seam allowances. I added 5/8″ because that’s what I’m used to.

3. The pattern accommodates different cup sizes by giving a suggested range of 6 cm to 10 cm for the length that the front pleat is stitched closed from the neckline. The length of mine is 9 cm, and I can easily see how a larger bust can be accommodated with a shorter pleat.

4. I made no adjustments in this pattern. It’s one of those patterns that from the first try-on, you know it’s a great pattern with a flattering fit.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post! Cheers! Lori

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The Carefree Dress

Who doesn’t love a flowing, cool, maxi dress for summer? One that makes you feel like your on vacation even when your just walking around the house. This is what I choose for reconstruction make #4. Click here for an explanation. I don’t think any other type of garment combines casualness and luxury the way a long, loose-fitting, sleeveless dress does. I’m really excited to share this one with you.

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The pattern I used is McCalls 7404 which I purchased on sale at JoAnn’s for $1.99. I think it is a “new release” as the date on the envelope is 2016. When I first saw this pattern, I knew I would buy it. It fit my reconstruction criteria of loose and gathered above the chest. Additionally, I was attracted to the casual maxi dress idea as I didn’t have any in my closet. I made view D.

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The fabric I used is Joel Dewberry, Bungalow Rayon collection, specifically Dahlia Rayon in Maze. I purchased it from Hawthorne Threads and knew I wouldn’t go wrong this selection as I was super pleased my Joel Dewberry rayon I had purchased for The Triple Digit Dress. I bought 3 3/8 yards at $9.95 per yard. I machine wash and hang dry this fabric. It’s soft and drapey, yet substantial and easy to iron.

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The armholes and neckline are finished with bias tape. Long strips are included as patterns pieces. There is also a bias trim inset between the bodice and the body of the dress. The pattern instructions were to iron it up and top-stitch. I ironed it down instead.

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The back has a slit opening and hook closure. I can pull the dress on without undoing the hook. So while the opening is not actually necessary, it’s a nice design feature.

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There is a slit at the bottom of the center front seam.

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LET’ BE HONEST:

1. I cut a size Medium (12-14). It fits fine, except the armholes are very large. Before attaching the bodice to the body of the dress, I took in the bodice side seams 5/8″ to lessen the armholes, but that was not enough. I wear a “cami bra” with this dress to prevent from exposing too much.

2. Because I am not a tall person, I cut off 5″ off the bottom of the pattern pieces.

3. Because of how rayon stretches with gravity, the bottom was very uneven. I let it hang for a couple of days, then trimmed the bottom to even it out. And hemmed it from there.

4. In addition to cutting several inches off the bottom, I lowered the front slit about 2″. I really didn’t want the slit to go above my knee. Who wants to worry about a gust of wind or be careful when you sit down?

5. The most difficult thing about this dress was getting the rayon bias tape even and nice. I hand basted it in all three applications before machine stitching.

I have to say this is now one of my favorite dresses hanging in my closet. Wearing this dress is just so comfortable, free, and easy. What about you? Have you discovered a free and easy dress pattern lately?

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The Triple Digit Dress

I’m still sewing my summer reconstruction makes like crazy. Click here for explanation. We’ve got two, if not three, more months of HOT weather. With this being the case, I haven’t come close to maxing out on sewing for this season. However, I’m happy to take time away from my machine to share with you reconstruction make #3, a comfortable, cool summer dress.

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To belt or not to belt, that is the question.

The pattern I used is Simplicity 1668 which I got on sale at JoAnn’s for $1.99. I snatched this pattern up as soon as I stumbled upon it as it fit my reconstruction criteria perfectly – loose and gathered at the chest.

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The fabric is Tulip Rayon in Poppy by Joel Dewberry which I purchased once again from my favorite online store Hawthorne Threads. (I know I sound like a broken record always mentioning Hawthrone Threads, but I haven’t managed to get to Los Angeles for fabric shopping in several months. I am thankful for their great selection and great customer service.) I got 1.75 yards at a cost of $9.70 per yard. I love this fabric. I prewashed it in a cold machine cycle, and hung to dry. It’s soft, lightweight and drapey, yet not too delicate for everyday wear.

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An elastic casing forms the gathers at the middle front.

The gathers near the shoulder are sewn to a facing. The armholes are finished with purchased bias tape.

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There is a box pleat with top stitching at the back neckline.

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Curved hem is finished with a facing. Not the easiest thing in the world to do perfectly on a rayon. Mine is passable.

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LET’S BE HONEST:

1. I cut a size Small (10-12) at the top and graded a Medium (14-16) at the bottom. I also added 1″ in length by slashing the pattern pieces where indicated. The photo on the envelope showed the dress several inches above the knee on the model. I’m not tall, so I figured adding 1″ would fall at the knee on me. I’m happy with the overall fit and did not have to make any adjustments while sewing.

2. The pattern is labeled as “easy-to-sew.” I think that this can apply to the other views-elastic pants and shorts, and jacket. For the dress, I have to say the neckline with the elastic casing, shoulder gathers, and facings is a little fiddle-some, especially in a rayon. I wouldn’t recommend this dress for a beginner.

3. I interfaced the belt even though the directions did not call for it.

4. Now I’m going to talk the nitty gritty of practicality. I LOVE this dress. I think the pattern and fabric are a perfect match. And it couldn’t be more comforable to wear. However, I still find myself grabbing the same old shorts and sleeveless tops over this cute dress on a daily basis. Is it too “nice” to just wear around the house or a trip to the grocery store? I think the real reason I don’t throw it on more often is the fact that it’s care is “high maintainence.” First I have to accumulate a load of delicate wash cycle items to wash with it, then I will need hang it dry, and then I will need to iron it. This means it will be a long time before I wear it again once I throw it in the laundry pile.

What about you, do you avoid wearing some garments you love just because of their care requirements?

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Happy Coverall Dress

Except for some last minutes sewing details for my sister-in-law‘s wedding next weekend, I am madly focused on my summer “reconstruction” makes. Click here for explanation. I’m sewing much faster than I’m blogging. I’ve got lots to share. Stay tuned. Reconstruction make #2 is a simple grab-n-go dress that’s nonrevealing and has pleats in all the right places. It’s a great alternative to shorts and a T-shirt.

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This dress has been through the washer and dryer twice already.

The pattern I used is Simplicity 2147.  I bought it on sale at JoAnn’s for about $1. I was attracted to this pattern because of the loose fit and bodice yoke with pleats and ample chest coverage. I was not attracted to it because it says “Learn to Sew”, although that signals quick and easy – a good thing when your whipping out summer clothes. I made view B.

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The fabric I used is Robert Kaufman, Double Gauze Chambray in Indigo. I purchased it from my favorite online fabric store Hawthorne Threads. I ordered 2 yards at a cost of $11.70 per yard. This is my first double gauze experience. I have seen many makes with double gauze floating around the online sewing community and had been curious about it for some time. I love the characteristics of this fabric, it’s soft and lightweight while having a similar fashion aesthetic of a regular chambray. However, I don’t think it was the perfect choice for this pattern. I’ll explain below.

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Because of the loose weave of the gauze, the fabric sort of stretches over the shoulder and creates a wing effect on the edge of the sleeves. Not a big deal, but something I wasn’t jazzed about the first time I tried it on. Can I live with it? Yes!

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The side view is a bit unflatteringly “full.” I don’t know if it’s because there are also pleats in the back or it’s the nature of the fabric. What I do know, however, is that as the day wears on, you get a rear end sag from the double gauze stretching out while sitting. The dress appears freshly washed in the photo.

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The neckline is finished with purchased bias tape. The sleeves have a narrow machine hem.

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I like how the wrong side of the fabric is the “negative” of the right side.

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I did a machine blind hem for the bottom hem. The stitches are hiddened well in the crinkly, double gauze!

LETS BE HONEST:

1. I made a size 12 and graded out to a size 14 on the bottom half. I did not do this out of concern for my hips. I did this because I added 5″ to the hem. (View B is described as a mini-dress, which I don’t do.) I noticed that the body of the dress narrows slightly towards the bottom and I thought if I continued the inward angle following the size 12 line, it might feel a little narrow at the hem.

2. Hmm…what else can I say. Despite the winged sleeves and saggy rear end, I really love this dress and will continue to reach for it often this summer.

What about you…can you overlook disppointing details when the garment perfectly fills a need in your wardrobe?

 

 

 

 

 

The Esme Tunic

I have felt a desire lately to put more craft and creativity into my Fresh Makes. I recently purchased the book “Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style.” Putting a spin on one of her patterns was a perfect way for me to the get back into touch with my artsy side.

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That is my dog, Spright, peeking under the fence.

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The book includes patterns for five basic garments. This is the Esme Tunic. The Esme includes two other versions, a hip length top and kaftan.

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The fabric I used is Alison Glass Knits in Indigo. I purchased it online at Harts Fabrics for $15.99 per yard. It is also available at several other online fabrics stores. I had already made two simple shirts with Alison Glass Knits, and thought this would be a perfect fabric for this simple tunic. I love this knit fabric! It is very stable, substantial weight jersey knit, that after a few washings, feels like flannel. (Beware: It shrinks a lot! I prewashed this the Indigo twice because my first two projects with this fabric shrunk more in the first wash after completing and wearing.)

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I added a reverse applique design at the neckline inspired by Alabama Chanin. When the Alabama Stitch Book came out in 2008, I was obsessed with the techniques and garments from the book. I made countless projects for a year or two. Then time marched on and I focused on other things. But recently I felt a yearning to do some handiwork, and thought this neckline would be perfect for some embellishment. (The stencils are of my own design, not from the book.) The paint I used is Jacquard Lumiere, Pearl Megenta.

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The underneath fabric which is also the facing, is Alison Glass Knit in Lime, leftover from my prior project.

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The lime colored facing was attached so the right-side of the fabric shows through when the blue fabric is cut away.

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I used a rounded zigzag stitch for the hem. I normally use a double needle straight stitch on knits, but I thought this would look better with the folksy style of the tunic. I leave the edges raw and cut closely to the stitching. That’s all you need to do!

LET’S BE HONEST:

1. I traced and cut a pure size medium without any alterations (except for the length). The flair was significant enough to accommodate my larger hip to smaller bust ratio.

2. I took off two inches from the length before cutting because I thought I would make it a just below hip length to wear with jeans. I tried it on and asked my 20 year old daughter for her opinion as to whether I should keep it long or make it shorter, and she said keep it long. So I did! If I knew I was going to do this, I might not have taken off the two inches. I feel perfectly comfortable in it, but, I’m old!

3. The Esme Tunic is a simple pattern that a beginner could sew. BUT not solely with the instructions provided in the book.

4. I bought this book out of curiousity and because it seems to be getting a lot of hipe on social media (or at least the stuff I follow). I have always liked Lotta Jansdotter’s asthestic and the fact that she’s Swedish. I’m part Swedish and have visitied Sweden many times. But I have to be completely honest, intially, I thumbed through it pretty quickly and thought it was a waste of money. The accessory projects are so easy, I definitely didn’t need a book to show me how to do them. But I realized I am not the target audience for this book, and it is comforting and inspiring for someone who is non-crafty to make projects from a curated book from lifestyle icon.

5. BUT, I thought, I spent money on the book, I need to make something from it. AND, I have to admit, I LOVE the cut and fit of the Esme Tunic. I might even make another one!

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Pack n Party Dress

A few months ago I flew out of state to attend my nephew’s wedding. I was flying one of those budget airlines where every amenity, even water, is an extra cost. I paid for one carry on bag for a four day trip, so I needed a wedding guest dress that could be rolled and stuffed into a small suitcase. A comfy, wrinkle-free polyester jersey knit dress fit the bill perfectly.

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The pattern I used is Simplicity 2580, which of course I bought the only way to buy big four patterns, on sale at JoAnn’s for about $1.00. I was attracted to the neckline of View C and the slightly A-lined silhouette. I traded out the short, petal sleeve for a straight, 3/4 length sleeve (from McCalls 6697).

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While JoAnn’s is my go to stop for patterns and notions, I rarely buy fabric there. But I was limited on my fabric shopping opportunities for the project, so I forced myself to make a selection at JoAnn’s, and I rather like this out-of-the-box choice for me. The colors are fun, and there’s plenty of pattern to hide bulges that can so easily show on a slinky knit.

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The front bodice is self-lined and is actually folded at the front neckline which creates a nice, smooth finish. I finished the back neckline with a double needle and trimmed the raw edge close to the stitching.

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I added clear elastic on the seam where the bodice is attached to the skirt. This is a technique I first learned making the Moneta Dress and have used it several times since.

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I am not a big fan of machine hems on dresses, but I think a double needle on a super stretchy knit is a safe bet.

LET’S BE HONEST:

1. I cut a straight size 14 for the bodice and the sleeve (from McCalls 6697). For the skirt, I graded to a size 16, and then additionally added a slight bit of flair which totalled 8″ of width at the bottom. I wanted to make sure the fabric draped nicely over my mid-section, hips, and thighs. I am very happy with the fit.

2. I have wrestled with skipped stitches for years using the double needle on slinky or thick knits. I finally bought a STRETCH double needle (had to order it online) and, oh my gosh, it has solved all my problems. Had I known what a difference it makes, I would have bought one 30 years ago!

3. I love the neckline on this dress! I think it is probably universally flattering on women of all bust sizes.

4. This pattern sews up easily for a seamstress experienced with sewing on knits.

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Here I am sitting with my dad and my son’s girlfriend, Ryley. Ryley is wearing a Alder Dress by Grainline Studio that I made for her!

 

 

 

The Factory Dress

It’s still blazing outside, and I’ll be starting my part-time teaching job in less than two weeks. Therefore I was very motivated to sew up some practical work wear that can take me from end-of-summer through fall. The Factory Dress by Merchant and Mills fits the bill perfectly.

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I have coveted the Merchant and Mills patterns since discovering them some time ago. When I calculated that it would cost me approximately $46 to purchase a pattern directly from the UK based company, I figured I would never own one. When I learned that I could purchase one domestically through Fancy Tiger Crafts, I took the plunge. I still paid $20 + $7.95 shipping, much more than I normally pay for patterns. I do splurge very once and a while to sample patterns outside the Big Four. The Factory Dress is “inspired by working women, with a dash of the Twenties.” I found the notion of elevating a working class uniform to something more sophicated intriging.

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The fabric I used is once again from The Fabric Store on La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles. I hit their summer sale and scored this beautiful linen for $12 per yard. I purchased three yards, but could have done with a little less. Might I add, the sweet employees always measure the yardage very generously. I prewashed it in the machine “at my own risk” and also partially dried it in the dryer. I wanted to soften it a bit and give it a slight laundered linen look.

I accidently put the pocket on the wrong side. I think I make mistakes like this because I'm left-handed.

I accidently put the pocket on the wrong side. I think I make mistakes like this because I’m left-handed.

I top-stitched around the collar by hand.

I top-stitched around the collar by hand.

Inside peek - I serged all the seams. It has side seam pockets.

Inside peek – I serged all the seams and did a hand hem on the sleeves and bottom. It has side seam pockets.

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Gosh, that morning sun is bright.

LET’S BE HONEST:

1. The pattern ranges from size 8 to 18. I cut a straight size 10, even though, according to the chart my bust is a size 12 and my waist and hips are a size 14. I read other reviews, looks at images of the dress online, and also notice how loose fitting the dress is on the model on the pattern envelope. I “get” the loose fitting style aesthetic, but what also know to be true is that style only looks flattering on very slim people. I was aimming for comfortable wearing ease, and the size 10 turned out perfect. I made no adjustments.

2. This is a well drafted pattern. The paper the pieces are printed on is like a lightweight brown bag with a smooth, shiney backing. The directions, printed on heavyweight paper, are done in vintage graphics and hand illustrations.

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I must confess, I really only looked at the illustrations while sewing. I suspect that the written instructions are probably not quite adequate for a beginning seamstress. But I’m done nit picking pattern instructions, because I certainly wouldn’t want to write them and my hat’s off to anyone who does.

3. When wearing, there is a marked difference between the distance from the hem to the ground in the back and the front. It scoops up in the front and dips in the back. It could just be me, but I don’t completely think so. I did not engage my husband to mark the hem with my old fashion hem gauge, but I did a gradual trim before hemming, making the back 5/8″ shorter. I realize many people don’t notice or care when hems aren’t parallel to the floor, but it’s one of my pet peeves. I can thank my mother for that.

I really had no issues sewing up this dress. I can’t wait to wear it and honor those hard working women of the past!

What are your pattern buying habits? Are there patterns you have been eyeing, but cost is preventing you from buying? Do you have a price limit just on principle?

Thanks for reading my post! Cheers, Lori