• A Kalle Shirt Dress with Spoonflower Fabrics


    Howdy stitchy friends! I’m thrilled to be showing you all my latest make. I have been absolutely gagging to sew up a Kalle Shirt Dress for so long – in fact it is one of my #2018MakeNine, so yay to ticking another make off the list!

    So when Spoonflower got in touch to talk about collaborating on this post, I did a little excited dance inside at the thought of being able to design my own fabric. Short of weaving the fabric myself, it feels amazing to be handed the ability to design the raw material!

    I recently upgraded to an iPad Pro with Apple Pencil so I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to have a go with designing a pattern myself. I downloaded the Procreate app, and had a blast having a bit of a doodle!

    I knew I wanted to recreate my own version of an abstract-type pattern, much like I’ve been falling in love with in the Oliver Bonas shop window. Plus I knew this abstract-style would be relatively easy to recreate, and a good starting point for beginning my journey into fabric design.

    Once I had my design finalised, it was easy to upload onto the Spoonflower website. And I loved playing around with the different layout/sizing/tiling tool – it helped to visualise the finished product. I ended up shrinking my design right down after seeing what it would look like. And before embarking on this fabric designing mission, I already decided on making a Closet Case Kalle Shirt Dress. And I wanted something with plenty of drape, to give this dress a soft floatiness. So I opted for the silk faille, which was the perfect choice as it turned out.

    I was a little bit worried that my fabric design (which was predominantly dark blue) was printed onto a white fabric, but I don’t think it shows much at all. The only part I think you can really tell is if you can see the inside of the dress on the back panel (as it hangs lower than the front).

    The pattern itself wasn’t the easiest I’ve ever sewn. And I used the sewalong on the Closet Case website so much for reference. It really helped with so many aspects of the make – from making a hidden placket, to perfecting a crisp collar point. The photos especially were so handy to refer to – I’m a much more visual person, so progress photos really helped.

    Before I started this make, I decided on making the tunic length version, because I was concerned that the dress length option would swamp me, as I’m not particularly tall at 5’4″. Well…. it is a bit on the short side for wearing as a dress! And I certainly wouldn’t wear it without tights or leggings underneath. So note to self – future Kalle dresses should be made at the dress length Jen!!

    I had fun making the hidden placket too – I’ve never made one before. I was a bit concerned that the fabric wouldn’t press nicely into the placket folds, but it was fine. I tested on some fabric scraps first, and found that this silk faille pressed really nicely, albeit a little bit slippery to work with.

    I think I stuffed up on inserting the sleeve cuffs, as I ended up with too much fabric being sewn into them and then puckered the seam. Fail. Luckily the fabric pattern is super forgiving and hides a few mistakes well!

    The silk faille felt quite synthetic to work with, but had a lovely silkiness, which feels lovely on my skin. Really floaty and summery! But the main quality of this fabric that I loved was that it was almost completely opaque, so I didn’t need to think about any lining fabrics etc. It was a bit of a dodgey one to topstitch, and felt like the fabric was kind of laddering a little as I stitched into it. You will see from some of  my close up photos anyway.

    I loved using a number of different sewing machine feet to help with topstitching this project – including my ditch stitching foot especially! I could set that to run along a seam, with my needle slightly to one side, to get a perfect line of topstitching just a couple of millimetres from a seam.

    Overall, I am super happy with this make. I can’t believe that I’m able to wear my own doodles and it look really cool! I am a bit disappointed that I chose on making the tunic length version as it is a bit too short to wear alone as a dress. So I will likely take this up to shirt length and wear it as a boxy shirt with jeans. I will definitely be returning to make more Kalle dresses, for sure!

    Pattern: Closet Case Kalle Shirt Dress [tunic length with hidden placket]

    Fabric: Spoonflower, silk faille designed by me usingProcreate

    Size made: 8

    Alterations made: Evened out the curve at side seam hem slightly, so less dramatic

    Disclaimer – This post is sponsored by Spoonflower


  • A Cosy Pastel Blue Fleeceback 'I Am Lion' Sweatshirt

  • A little bit of comfy cosiness in sweatshirt form for you this morning guys! This British winter really has outstayed its welcome (and let’s be fair, it is only really welcome in December, for ult festiveness). So to prevent me freezing my bits off, I am still all about sewing sweatshirts.

    This pattern was my very first I Am Patterns make. And I have to say in full caps I AM A FAN! I absolutely love how they really inject statement design features into their patterns. So for this sweatshirt, an I Am Lion, they have taken a basic jumper pattern and given it puff shoulders. I am also 90% of the way through an I Am Zebre (the one with the puff sleeves), which I am really excited to finish.

    I used my overlocker for sewing together the whole garment.This was a bit nerve-wracking for the gathering on the shoulders, but it worked really well! And shout out to I Am Patterns for super clear instructions. Everything made total sense throughout.

    I used a snuggly warm fleeceback sweatshirting from Guthrie & Ghani. I wish I could explain just how nice this fabric is… but I feel like my words won’t do it justice. It is *so* soft and fleecey on the inside. And it was so much fun hammering in the snap fasteners. I used some Prym ones I bought from John Lewis. They come with an easy fixing tool, which worked brilliantly at holding the snaps in place while I used my mighty strength to hammer them in.

    I’m still a bit on the fence as to whether or not this style suits me really. I do, however, feel like a strong powerful woman – this is what puff shoulders can do for you! I think if I make this again, I would take some of the volume (not really sure if this is the right word) out of the shoulder puffiness (definitely sure this isn’t the right word, but you catch my drift!), and possibly bring the shoulder seam in slightly for my narrow shoulders. What do you think anyway, yay or nay?

    So until this grim British weather decides to do one, I can be found at my sewing machine making further warm jumpers! Thanks for reading lovelies x

    Pattern: I Am Patterns, I Am Lion

    Fabric: Fleeceback sweatshirting from Guthrie & Ghani

    Size made: 40

    Alterations made: None

    And some close-ups of my handiwork…

  • A Springtime Anna Dress

  • So just desperately trying encourage Spring to come out and say hello, with this little make. So bored and tired of the seemingly never-ending British winter!

    And this make was a little bit unusual for me, in that I have been very much ‘off’ floral patterned fabrics for some time. So this feels somewhat out of my comfort zone… but I couldn’t help but fall in love with the fabric when it appeared on the Guthrie & Ghani website. You know, *that* feeling when you emotionally connect with a fabric and would do anything including selling your vital organs just to buy it. Yeah, that feeling.

    The fabric was as pretty IRL as it was on the website. It is a crepe with a tiny bit of stretch to it. I was a little thrown off by this to start with… questioning – is it a woven or a knit… what patterns would work for this, given that it has a tiny bit of stretch etc etc. I contacted Guthrie & Ghani to ask, who helpfully replied advising to sew as a woven. I was still a little bit unsure of the perfect pattern, given that it had the bit of stretch to it. I guess my vision when I ordered the fabric was a tea dress, with my new Topshop black biker jacket over the top – probably inspired by some fancy Pinterest photo.

    After much umming and erring, I decided on a By Hand London Anna Dress as the pattern this fabric was destined to make. I have made this before (here), and previously cut a straight size 8. Now, since then, a fair about has happened in life – including birthing a child and eating all of the cake. So my body isn’t quite what it used to be! But I decided to cut the same size, after trying my other version on, and it feeling kind of ok. Plus, with my fabric having that little bit of stretch to it, I thought making a size that tiny bit smaller might actually help the fabric work with the pattern.

    I did make some quite big alterations to the neckline of the Anna Dress. I know it is supposed to be a wide cut neckline, but I have very narrow shoulders – so neck gape is a problem I’m used to fixing on almost every dress/top that I make. However, this neckline needed quite a lot taking out to make it fit. But so pleased that I did! It fits so nicely now.

    BHL are one of my all-time favourite indie pattern designers – and I am so pleased that bought their paper patterns way back when they used to print them. Because they are all of the heart eyes. The Anna is great for beginners too – no sleeves to insert, and the trickiest part is probably inserting the invisible zipper. So it was a fairly quick make – yes to this!

    The fabric, however, was a bit of a headache through the making process. Mostly because it didn’t press very easily, but did burn easily (!), and the fabric pattern leaked onto my ironing board. It was definitely a wrestling match at times – and I used a lot of hand basting and pins to help keep this fabric in check. And newsflash – I’m really getting into handstitching. I used to avoid this at all costs. But now I’m a bit excited to do even a bit of hand-basting or blind slipstitching. I’ve discovered the zen in sewing by hand – took me a while.

    Anyway, hope you like this dress as much as I do. I want to wear it all the time now! I’ve included a photo with me wearing my biker jacket with the dress, which was my vision before I even started making it.

    Hope you are all getting some Easter sewing in guys! And eating all of the chocolate… I know I am!

    Pattern: Anna Dress, By Hand London

    Fabric: Stretch crepe from Guthrie & Ghani

    Size made: 8

    Alterations made: Fix for gapey neckline on front and back bodice