The 32nd Birthday Dress (Simplicity 7484)

The 32nd Birthday Dress (Simplicity 7484)

I’ve been a terrible blogger lately, I know! I promised you guys a maxi sewalong wrap up post, and I SWEAR I’ll write that this week. Swear it. I’ve been struggling with how to display all the fabulous makes vs. my limited technical skills. It’s a problem. Additionally, work has been nuts. Excuses I know, but I don’t want anyone to think I forgot about them! Until I can get that post up, I wanted to share at least something. This dress is equally as old, my birthday was the 27th, but I wanted to post it nevertheless. The pattern may look familiar and it’s yet another lemon dress, but I think it’s worth talking about anyway. Here we go…

The pattern is vintage, Simplicity 7484, which you may recognize as last year’s maxi pattern. I wear the shit out of that dress, so I knew I wanted to make another this year. I’m all about rayon lately, so for the the fabric, I went with this amazing navy lemon fabric from Etsy. It comes in both white and navy, and it is just a dream. It has a very lovely “wobble” and is just the right weight for summer.

Even though I love the fabric weight, I knew I would need to line the bodice cups. I prefer not to announce the temperature, if you know what I mean. I also had a bit of a problem with the bodice front gaping on my previous version, so I added a little clear elastic along the edge this time. This was all brilliant in theory, but for the life of me, I couldn’t get the fucking notches on the bodice to match up on the waistband. In end, I said fuck it, gathered it a bit, and moved on. Being honest, I don’t really love the gathered look. I might eventually unpick the seam and redo it. But…I think we all know I’m pretty lazy, so don’t count on it! Other than these changes, it’s basically the same as my previous version, I won’t bore you with repetitive pattern details.

I also didn’t properly hem this. Its’ on my list of things to do, I swear. Of course I finished this dress last minute, quite literally. I finished it actual minutes before I had to run out the door to meet friends for dinner. It was hectic. I kinda wish I had made the maxi version, but I’m not smart and just didn’t order enough fabric. I’m a hot mess, that’s what I’m trying to say in this post.

Despite the shenanigans, I have worn this dress, unhemmed 😨, since then. Don’t even care. It’s so easy to wear and fits in with my summer of no bras initiative. No zippers or buttons to fuss with, just slip on, tie a knot, and go about your day. Comfort is king around here lately, which is a big change from the corsets and boning of years past. I suppose the older you get, the less fucks you give? Or is that just me? I hope your summer sewing is going well, stay tuned for a maxi wrap up (I promise) and one more halter dress. Happy sewing ๐Ÿ™‚

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Maxi Sewalong-My Dress (By Hand London-Orsola Dress)

Maxi Sewalong-My Dress (By Hand London-Orsola Dress)

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but #maxisewalong2017 wraps up tomorrow!!! Get your makes in by noon Eastern time for a chance to win a pattern from By Hand London or a $50 gift card from LA Finch Fabrics. Speaking of those lovely folks, let’s talk about my dress…

I took these early in the morning, pardon the puffy face.

As I mentioned last week, I opted to use the Orsola dress pattern (lengthened) and some very lovely rayon from LA Finch Fabrics. I toyed with the idea of changing up the skirt portion, to kind of of give it a similar shape to last year’s maxi, but opted to keep the original shape. I’ve been sewing a lot of 70’s style wrap dresses recently (you’ll see those soon), so I kinda wanted to switch it up with a more modern look.

To get a maxi length, I added 23″ inches to the skirt portion. There are no guidelines for where to lengthen the Orsola, so use your best judgement. Anywhere between the notches and where the skirt curves should be fine I’d think? It was a bit difficult to measure myself for this, admittedly the skirt is a bit too long. I have on heels in these photos but it still needs to taken in a bit. I also opted to skip the skirt facing, purely out of laziness. Let me tell you, BHL put a skirt facing in this pattern for a reason. Getting this hem to lay flat was a BITCH, and in some places, it really doesn’t even do it. Whatever dude. I also opted to skip the stay stitching on the bodice, ร  la Elisalex, to give the back a bit more drape and flow. Thanks for the inspiration, lady!

My favorite part

I used two different rayons for this, a solid black rayon challis and a lovely rayon voile. I love love love these! The challis has a bit more structure and it isn’t quite as drapey or silky. While the voile has more drape and feels heavenly, it frays like crazy. The challis also presses a bit better than the voile. Both are lovely, luckily I have enough left over to make tops from each!

I really enjoyed this make, and of course, this sewalong. I really hope you’re all enjoying it too! Check out Instagram tomorrow around 3:00pm Eastern time, I’ll be doing a live drawing for winners. As a last reminder, submissions are due tomorrow, July 27th, at noon Eastern time. You can submit your makes by using the tag #maxisewalong2017 on IG, posting in the Facebook group, or e-mailing me directly. As a note, if I haven’t liked or commented on your maxi posts on social media, I haven’t seen it! Please make sure your account is public, and feel free to tag me, sewnbyashley. Happy sewing ๐Ÿ™‚

Maxi Sewalong-My Picks

Maxi Sewalong-My Picks

 

We’re just 8 days away from the end of our sewalong! ย I’m blown away by the submissions so far, you guys have some serious skills. ย Last week we went over somefabric ideas, and the week before, pattern ideas. This week, I felt like it was time to finally talk about what I’m making, along with some options that were so nearly chosen. First off, pattern…

Surprise surprise, it’s from By Hand London. It may seem bias because they are fabulously sponsoring us, but if you follow my posts at all, you’ll notice the bias is nothing new. Orsola fits in so beautifully with my summer wrap dress obsession, it was really a no brainer. That said, Orsola does not come drafted as a maxi length dress. I will be lengthening the skirt, and maybe altering the shape a bit ร  la last year’s maxi. But then again, maybe not. I do think Orsola has a beautiful skirt shape, there’s something more “grown up” about it to me. What do you guys think? I have 8 yards of fabric, so definitely enough to do whatever! Speaking of fabric…

I opted to use two fabrics from LA Finch Fabrics, another fantastic sponsor. I had a really hard to choosing fabrics and resisting my natural urge to wear all black. As a compromise, I decided to do the bodice in a very nice black rayon challis and the skirt in the lovely rayon viole pictured above, which appears to be unavailable at the moment. Blargh! When I told you guys I was obsessed with rayon, I wasn’t lying!\.

Originally, I’d planned to do the Anna dress in the black rayon challis I mentioned above, with some neckline embroidery. Being totally honest, I decided against Anna because I was afraid of embroidering rayon. I’ve not done much of it, and I just don’t quite have the balls yet. I also toyed with the idea of doing Anna in a print, such as…

This blue rayon challis. I love the print and the geometric design, but in the end, blue + geometric was just too far out of my comfort zone. What can I say, I’m a creature of habit!

To see everyone’s makes so far, check out our Facebook group or Instagram, I’ll be sharing your makes all through out the sew along. #maxisewalong2017 wraps up July 27th 12:00pm eastern time, so get your submission in before then for a chance to win a prize from Finch Fabrics or By Hand London!! Stay tuned for the live prize drawing next week! Happy sewing ๐Ÿ™‚

Maxi Sewalong-Fabric Ideas

Maxi Sewalong-Fabric Ideas

How are you maxi dresses coming along? We’ve already had a few submissions, and they are stunners! You ladies are a talented bunch! For those of you that haven’t begun your dresses yet, have no fear. Last week, we talked about pattern ideas. This week, I want to go over a few fabric ideas for those patterns. Half the battle and all, you know?

For starters, lets talk about my latest obsession, rayon…

Rayon challis is my very special favorite right now. Rayon is a natural fabric and as such it breathes, which means so much during the summer heat! Challis has a nice “wobble” and just flows beautifully. This fabric is from our lovely sponsor, LA Finch Fabrics. Charlie Caftan, anyone?

You could also choose something with a bit of stretch, and still be in the rayon category. This crepe, also from LA Finch Fabrics, has 1% spandex, giving you that little bit of wiggle if you’re nervous about fit! Could totally see an Anna Dress in this print!

Not all crepe has stretch, though, so make sure you look for that. The fabric pictured above has no stretch, but OMG THAT PRINT! I sooooo want to see Vogue 9253 in this one!

The last rayon I want to talk about is rayon voile. Super soft and flowy, voile would be perfect for 7119.

Another favorite fabric of mine is cotton lawn. This lawn is from Robert Kaufman and also available at LA Finch Fabrics. I’ve made the Lonsdale out of lawn in the past, and I have to say, it’s one of my most worn garments.

Last year I made Simplicity 7484 out of linen, and it was just perfect. This organic cotton has a similar hand would be just stunning.

Polyester crepe is less favored with me, but oh my look at that print!!! While I don’t find polyester to be as breathable, crepe is still very floaty and airy. Linens, cotton poplin, and tencel (among others) would all also be great options. If knit options are more your bag, Amy at That’s Sew Amy will be sharing some knit inspiration with you later today!

For more inspiration, check out our Facebook group or Instagram, I’ll be sharing your makes all through out the sew along. #maxisewalong2017 wraps up July 27th 12:00pm eastern time, so get your submission in before then for a chance to win a prize from Finch Fabrics or By Hand London!! Stay tuned, next week I’ll be talking about my fabric and pattern choices. Happy sewing ๐Ÿ™‚

A Dress Only a Mother Could Love (Simplicity 6385)

A Dress Only a Mother Could Love (Simplicity 6385)

My bangs are real fucking weird in all these pictures.

Let’s treat this dress like a cautionary tale, the story of what happens when you use terrible fabric and rush the sewing. I should know better than this by now, right? You’d think so, but clearly I don’t. Blargh.

Check out those flamingos, though.

I started this dress way back on April 19th for Stitch Odyssey’s vintage pledge. Oh man, I had such solid intentions here. Visions of a lovely tiki dress, margarita sippin’. PLANS WERE MADE.

Weird. Ass. Bangs.

Plans went awry. My first mistake was in my fabric choice, as it so often is. This fabric came from the clearance section at Joann’s some time ago, and is of dubious quality. Coarse and stiff, with little to now give. It’s a rather wide fabric, I didn’t measure it, but definitely wider than anything I’ve worked with before. Here you can see that it’s a double sided border print, the same on both ends. The print is kinda wild, and I REALLY thought I’d done an okay job pattern matching. Folks, that’s clearly not the case ๐Ÿ™

My second mistake was with the pattern. This is a vintage pattern I purchased here, on a vintage pattern buying spree. What can I say, I’m really into the 70’s look lately. The thing with vintage patterns, though, is that sometimes you have to grade them. It can be a little impossible to get the exact size you need. Well, I decided to cut this one late night, and guess what I forgot to do? That’s right, grade the pattern. I didn’t realize my mistake until it was too late, so I had to add little “expansion triangles” at the side seams to make it fit. This pattern needs to fit just so, and the unforgiving fabric just wasn’t cooperating, so we have weird creasing at the underbust facing. WHATEVER MAN. I managed to finish the dress and learned some lessons. That’s good enough for me! Here’s to hoping for more success with my next project, another vintage Etsy find, Vogue 8181. Happy sewing ๐Ÿ™‚

*this post contains affilate links*

Maxi Sewalong-Pattern Ideas

Maxi Sewalong-Pattern Ideas

I am so excited to see your maxis already rolling in! You guys are killing it. For those of you who haven’t selected a pattern yet, no worries. I’ve got some great woven ideas for ya! If knits are more your thing, head on over to That’s Sew Amy for some inspiration. Enough chatter, let’s get to the patterns…

The Anna Dress from our lovely sponsor, By Hand London is an obvious choice. This pattern is mega popular with sewists of varying body types, so you know it would look great on you. Also, I would LOVE to see a sheer version of this. Seriously. Make one so I don’t have to ๐Ÿ˜‰

I had to include the Charlie Caftan from Closet Case Patterns because it’s a stunner and I need one. Also the styling on this model is just everything.

My love for the Sewaholic Lonsdale is well documented (here and here), but I’ve never made a maxi length version! It’s on my list, perhaps it should be on yours too? The Saltspring , also from Sewaholic, is another great option!

Vogue has some great options this season as well. Pictured above is 9253, but I’d also love to see 9259 as a dress.

Picture is from clarysage

If vintage patterns are more your thing, maybe give Simplicity 7484 A try. I made it for last year’s sewalong and it’s one of my most worn garments! Several Etsy shops carry it, highly recommend!

Speaking of past maxis, McCall’s 7119 is super cute and such an easy sew. I’d definitely recommend this one to a beginner.

If you were stumped before, I hope you’re feeling a bit more inspired now! If deciding on a fabric is holding you up, stay tuned, next week we’ll talk fabric. Don’t forget, the deadline isn’t until July 27th at noon, so you still have plenty of time to stitch up your garment. I have to say, I’m jealous of whoever wins the prize fromFinch Fabrics or By Hand London. I’ll be sharing your makes on Instagram and in the Facebook group throughout the sewalong, so make sure you check there! Happy sewing ๐Ÿ™‚

*this post contains affilate links*

2017 Maxi Sewalong is here!

2017 Maxi Sewalong is here!

Amy of That’s Sew Amy and I are super stoked to announce the return of maxi dress sewalong! We’ve got some great sponsors this year, and I can’t wait to reveal my fabric and pattern to you guys! SPEAKING OF SPONSORS THOUGH…

We are mega happy to announce LA Finch Fabrics as a sponsor this year! They’ve kindly offered a $50 gift card to one of drawing winners. How cool is that?? Free fabric is the best fabric, amirite?

The ever lovely ladies at By Hand London are also a sponsor this year. If you know me, you know how much I love their patterns. That’s why I’m thrilled to be able to give away a By Hand London pattern, of the winner’s choosing.

If you’d like to display a badge on your blog, use the above image or imbed using this link. Look for blog posts from Amy and I in the coming weeks, we’ll be posting fabric and pattern inspiration for ya! And of course, reveling our own selections, way stoked about that! Below are some rules and information, please do feel free to reach out with any questions or concerns!

What is considered a maxi dress? A dress that falls to the ankles.

Will there be a winner? At the end of the sewalong, I will draw two winners live on my Instagram. No contest or judging, just sheer luck!

Who can participate? Everyone and everyone! You can submit your photos of your dress by using the hashtag #maxsewalong2017 on Instagram, by posting photos to the Facebook group, or you can e-mail me directly. Whatever you feel most comfortable with! If you do a blog post for your maxi, please let Amy or I know, we love to see your makes! ย If you share your maxi on social media, please use the hashtag #maxisewalong2017 so I can see it! ย Your account will also need to be public, for the same reason. ย I can’t enter you in the drawing if I can’t see your submission ๐Ÿ™‚

Time frame:ย The sewalong will run from July 1st to July 27th (my birthday), be sure to send in your picture by noon on July 27, 2017 (EST)!

Why?ย For the fun of it! ย I love seeing all your makes, so much inspiration!

Rules: Dress must be for you. It has to be made within the time frame above. You can use any pattern you wish or draft your own. Adding embellishments to a current maxi dress will not count. The dress can be as formal or casual as you want. You have to submit pictures of your finished dress. I know taking pictures of your self can be uncomfortable, so you definitely donโ€™t have to be wearing the dress in the photos โ€“ but it makes it more fun!

Social Media: Use hashtag #maxisewalong2017 on social media to see what everyone else is up to. Post inspiration and progress photos for everyone to see.

The Watergun Fight Dress (By Hand London Orsola Tester)

The Watergun Fight Dress (By Hand London Orsola Tester)

I don’t know what to do with my hands. Again.

I’m deeming this the summer of the wrap dress. I love how comfortable they are to wear, and how easy they are to make. They’re super flattering, and can expand a bit if I go too hard with the snacks, which I absolutely will do. They can be fabric hogs, but that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. Orsola isn’t such a fabric hog, she comes in around 4 1/2 yards I think, including lining. Not too shabby!

Plus, it’s great for jumping.

I was super stoked when I got the email about this pattern! The back is just the perfect little bit of sexy. Originally, I’d planned to make this with a sari I’d ordered of Ebay. HOWEVER, that thing was straight up hot garbage. The fabric felt like that Halloween costume fabric, if you know what I mean, and upon washing, the fabric dye bled everywhere. Straight to the garbage with that! Bless Amazon and this lovely Cotton + Steel fabric! In two days, I had a gorgeous rayon, though I kinda wish I’d gone for the dark blue. The only trouble was that I’d stupidly ordered three yards. There was NO fabric for the lining! Last minute shopper that I am, I had zero time to make it to the only store in my city to carry this fabric. Soooo I ended up at Joann, and boy was that a mistake. Somehow, they had no solid black rayon challis, weird, right? I ended up with a polyester crepe, much to my disappointment. Oh well, moving on…

That back, though.

Orsola sews up fairly easily, though you should be prepared for quite a few darts! I’ve never minded darts, but if you do, prepare yourself, because it has about 18. Orsola also features a fully lined bodice, and a skirt facing. I’ve never sewn a skirt facing before, and I was skeptical. I loathe facings, they’re floppy and annoying and should be avoided at all costs. That said, I actually like this one. It adds a bit of weight to the hem, and it seems to help it lay prettily. I opted for the tulip skirt version, which is really not much of a change for the straight skirt. I also failed to understitch the bodice lining, which was DUMB. DUMB DUMB DUMB. Bad self.

Side view, sans face.

I had some picture taking woes with this one, but luckily my friend Michelle and her lovely wife stepped up and shot them for me, some of the photos feature their absolutely adorable daughter, Tiger Lily, so don’t be confused by the child. She was so fun! Afterward, we had a bit of a watergun fight, my eyeliner was a bit worse for the wear lol! Photo dump below, I hope you enjoy Orsola, I’m looking forward to making many more. Happy sewing ๐Ÿ™‚

The Return from Hiatus (By Hand London Poppy Dress)

The Return from Hiatus (By Hand London Poppy Dress)

Pre-haircut times.

Holy hiatus, it’s been awhile since I’ve shared anything with you guys. I’m so sorry! Between looking for a house and actually moving, things got a little crazy there for a bit. In my defense, I’d actually had this done for a bit, but (obviously) wanted to wait for the pattern release to talk about it. The pattern is The Poppy Dress and Top from By Hand London, and I’m super stoked to talk about it, let’s get into it.

Butt view

Poppy is a knit pattern, very much of the “secret pajamas” type. I’ve dressed it up for work and dressed it down to walk the dogs, it really is very versatile in that way. I made both the t-shirt (with the short sleeve option) and the midi version, but there is also a maxi version I’m dying to try out. The pattern features really lovely box pleats on the sleeves, and fish eye darts for waist shaping. As a tester, I omitted the fish eye darts on my versions.

T-shirt version!

For both the dress and shirt, I used this super soft, very cozy Merino jersey in Marsala graciously provided by The Fabric Store. Easily the most expensive fabric I’ve ever sewn, I can honestly say it’s worth it. Though it is a very lightweight knit, it sews beautifully and I didn’t have the usual struggles with it getting sucked into my machine. It seems to hold it’s shape, as well, without bagging out or “growing” as the day goes on. So nice!

Ok so maybe my jeans were a little snug.

Poppy is fairly easy to sew, but in full honesty, I struggled with the neckline. I’ve never sewn a neckband in knit, and just could not get it to lay flat! Talking to other sewists, it really seems like this is just my in experience. The current version is much better than my first attempts, but still not great. This pattern also marked my first attempt at using the double needle on my machine. I know that seems odd, but I’ve truly been terrified of it! I completely convinced myself I was going to do irreparable damage to my machine, somehow. Folks, I am an idiot. Using a double needle is super easy and gives a nice little bit of stretch to the hem. WHY HAVE I BEEN FINISHING KNITS WITH A SINGLE NEEDLE!?! Dumb dumb dumb.

The sun was SO BRIGHT

I kinda wish I’d sewn the fish eye darts, they’re what attracted me to the pattern in the first place. Maybe I’ll attempt to add them, but even without them, I seriously get comments on this every time I wear it. That’s high praise for a dress I’ve gotten drunk and slept in more than once! I hope you consider the Poppy, and I look forward to sharing more with you soon, maybe without a two month gap. Happy sewing ๐Ÿ™‚

Lemon Dress Part II (Sewaholic Lonsdale)

Lemon Dress Part II (Sewaholic Lonsdale)

The sun was in my eyes for all of these, so weird faces are imminent.

Every year at the beginning of spring, I break out my summer dresses and wonder why I haven’t made more from each pattern. Such was the case when I wore my Octopus dress a few weeks ago. The pattern is Sewaholic Lonsdale and my oh my is it amazing. My previous version was in an AMAZING lawn from Cotton & Steel, I’m obsessed with it. The fabric is so soft and feels wonderful, the pattern is super flattering and comfortable. I forgo the strapless bra about half the time with this one, ladies you KNOW that’s an achievement.

Legit almost fell down right after this photo.

So obviously I knew I wanted more of these in my closet. This year I’m all about light, easy summer dresses, see Instagram for further evidence of this growing problem! The problem with wanting an army of lovely summer dresses is that you have to find lovely summer dress fabric. I’ve currently put a halt on my fabric buying, my stash is out of control, so I had to rely on what I have. Thanking my past self, I found this lovely lemon fabric deep in the hoard. It’s the last bit of yardage that remained at my local Joann’s, sadly it’s discontinued. Trust me when I say sadly, I legitamately mourned this fabric. It’s a lovely sateen, much lighter than other sateens. I sewed up a strapless dress in it last summer, and it’s still one of my favorite makes.

Shadow face

The pattern is fairly simple to construct, the instructions are clear and well written. There is a sew along that comes in handy during the trickier parts, like the upper front bodice sections. Tasia, wherever you are, you are brilliant. I always find her patterns so easy to follow and sew alongs so helpful! Anyway, I digress…

Tied the back too tight, loops look weird. Oops.

For this pattern, I cut a size 10. Though Sewaholic patterns are drafted for a pear shape and I’m an hourglass, this dress isn’t fitted through the hips so I didn’t fuss with alterations there. I do find the skirt to be much too long for me, so I did a very lazy alteration there. I cut the skirt length to the smallest size, and did a 1 1/2 inch hem. Also, this pattern is a serious fabric hog, calling for 4 1/2 yards. I didn’t have that, so I cut on a single layer to save fabric. I still came up a little short on fabric though, so the straps are a few inches shorter than drafted.

Those shoes though

I am so stoked to have another Lonsdale in my closet! I hated to use up the last of my beloved lemon fabric, but I think it was worth it. What about you, are you in summer sewing mode yet?