Tuesday, January 07, 2014

The one hundred dresses I made on my summer holiday


I love it.

While I have not literally made one hundred dresses this summer (or at least, so far), I have taken the opportunity given by long days with nothing to do to update a hefty portion of my wardrobe. Just before Christmas I read Tilly's post on sewing to your personal style, and it really resonated with the part of me that has been restless and frustrated with my wardrobe since mid-last year. It's a real issue, having an undefined personal style (#firstworldproblems).

Through no real intention but with fortuitous coincidence, I have made only two dresses this summer. Fortuitous because I already have a huge collection of summer dresses (is this the one hundred?) all of which fit neatly into my newly intentional wardrobe. My sewing then mostly coalesced around smartening up my top/short-sleeved blouse situation, and in discovering a new and exciting way of making bias binding in the process.*

In an effort to show the clothes looking like actual clothes and not misshapen cloth bags hanging on my door, I have attempted selfies of myself in two of my favourite recent makes. Note, these are taken after work and a glass or two of wine, using the camera on my computer. Bad selfies are the worst but people blogging about sewing with no pictures is the worst-er.

Firstly: this chevron print tent dress, an adjusted version of a vintage sixties Butterick pattern (4602 - the Turnabout Dress). I picked up the fabric, a navy chevron printed cotton, at the Arthur Toye closing down sale. Goodbye, Arthur Toye, I will miss you :'(


This wolf (!) print pencil skirt, using the basic pattern from Gertie's Book for Better Sewing (but with none of that mucking about with linings and underlinings and ridiculously huge waistbands).


The fabric was a souvenir from my travels in Berlin, I picked it up at a shop called Frau Tulpe's Stoffe which was stuffed with painfully stunning prints. I even tried to use my abortive German to communicate my love for EVERY SINGLE BOLT OF FABRIC. As I waved vaguely at all the fabric I remarked "sehr schoen, sehr schoen" like an 18th century courtier, while the perfectly nice fabric shop lady looked at me with bemusement.

Finally, my aforementioned blouse makes: I decided to be the last person ever to make a Sorbetto blouse or two. I am quite in love with this pattern, it suits my body shape and wardrobe intentions, and best of all it's free. I'd cut the pattern out so when I began to sew I didn't even need to muck around with sticky tape and tape measures before I could cut and pin and thrust it through the machine.

I made a version in a white and navy polka dot voile, and another in a vintage fabric that I picked up in Patea about five years ago on an amazing road trip with Shannon, like so:

Sorbetto top

Allow me to show you a fabric detail:


YES. Those are tiny green stick-figures playing in the water with their tiny green stick-figure children, and sailing their tiny green stick-figure boats.

I am very much an all or nothing kind of person, so I'm sure that once I have completed this phase of frenzied sewing I will return to my regular sloth. Or knitting. In the meantime, I have downloaded and printed a bunch of new patterns - the Grainline Hemlock top, this capelet, the Colette Laurel dress. I'm wondering if I can sew up the Laurel in a knit fabric, or if that would be a ridiculous and wasteful thing to attempt. Sewing readers, your thoughts please?


*Using this continuous binding technique and this cardboard ironing jig (which is mostly a pain in the arse to use but totally acceptable when suddenly discovering the need for bias binding late late at night). Although, this tip using a pin looks pretty good too, and I may try it next time.



  1. Sweet sewing haul! Go you! I love the Gertie skirt - I few sewing ladies I know have made that one recently and it always looks awesome, maybe I should get over my general fear of pencil skirts and make one. I've made 2 Laurel dresses now and I freaking LOVE that pattern, its one of my favourites. I have seen it made up in stretch jersey and it looks rad. I have made a similar style 60s dress in stretch fabric and it looks great (also I didn't need to put in a zipper because of the stretch - yus!).

  2. Awesome! I think it would look great in a knit not having to insert a zipper is always a bonus.

    You should totes and defo make a pencil skirt - I always feel like a grown up when I'm wearing one which is fun.


Thanks so much for commenting! You rock my tiny world. For realz, man.

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