• By Hand London Jenna Dress in the Prettiest Double Gauze

  • Well, I’ve been up to a little bit of sewing! It’s been so tough to find time to myself to sew lately – a combination of the admin of about to move house, and a toddler who has been fighting sleep. Not ideal!

    Anyway, I’ve managed to steal lots of snippets of time here and there to sew this. And I’m so pleased to A) Finally finish it, and; B) Show it to you all!

    This is a By Hand London Jenna Dress. As soon as this pattern dropped, I immediately added to the sewing list. It was one of those which I fell in love with, and attached to instantly. But it’s taken a while for me to get round to finding the perfect fabric, and actually having some much needed time to myself to sew!

    And then…. I came across this stunning double gauze fabric at my local haberdashery, Backstitch. And WOW. Just WOW. I love the splashes of colour… the arty Jackson Pollock-ness of this… and the neon pink is just stunning.

    I married this fabric up with the Jenna pattern because I felt as though it was a little bit of a clash of girly cutesy dress with the sort of girly grungey/graffiti kind of look. Anyway, that’s where my brain went in case you’re interested 😉

    The Jenna pattern was just as you would expect from By Hand London. Beautifully straightforward – literally no issues with this at all. It was an absolute joy to sew.

    I tweaked the back neckline to bring it in a little, as it was quite gapey on me. And I think if/when I make another Jenna I will try to just take a little out of the front neckline too. It’s not a big deal, but I think I could tweak that a tiny bit and have the perfect fit. I didn’t bother toile’ing this – time was scarce and excitement was high (sure you’ve been there and bought the t-shirt!).

    The double gauze fabric was a little on the sheer side so I decided to fully line the whole dress with a white cotton lawn – which adds to the lovely soft feel when wearing this. I picked up the lawn at Cotton Reel Studio‘s closing down sale, and have to say it is so lovely. Buttery softness at its best.

    Oh and how did I get this far without mentioning the ties on the sleeves?! They’re so cute. And very easy to sew. These were maybe the main feature which sold the dress to me. I love the girly style they give the dress. The only thing I found was that I wasn’t sure whether or not to double knot them. A single knot looked better, but it didn’t last long before it fell apart. Or maybe I should just stitch them together…. I don’t know…!

    One other small thing I decided to do to this dress – I used a lightweight interfacing and fused it to all of the bodice pattern pieces. I decided this would help with holding the structure, as otherwise the double gauze being a nice loose weave, would have potential for sagging out of shape.

    I also dug out my hand sewing skills for finishing the little details – like the lining along the zipper, and the hem. I feel like when I spend the time to hand stitch a hem, I appreciate the dress so much more! I don’t always do this… in fact I mostly whizz my hems through the overlocker, and then topstitch on the machine… but now and then I feel like a dress is truly worthy of having that time spent on this final detail 🙂

    Anyway, hope you’re into this dress! I’d love to know what you think. Feel free to drop me a comment – or head on over to my Instagram to give me your thoughts!

    Jen x

    Pattern: By Hand London Jenna Dress

    Fabric (shell): Double gauze from Backstitch 

    Fabric (lining): Plain white cotton lawn from Cotton Reel Studio closing down sale

    Size made: 10

    Alterations made: Adjusted back neckline to remove gape (narrow shoulders adjustment)

  • Celebrating Summer with a Vogue V9311 Maxi Dress

  • Well here I am again, swishing my way around summer in a me-made maxi dress! And this one has been a long time coming… I actually made this last summer but it’s taken a whole year for me to get around to blogging it. This is a true reflection of the amount of free time I get as a full-time working mum LOL!

    Rarely do I ever really make many of ‘the big 4’ patterns. I guess I’m just an indie patterns kinda gal at heart. I just couldn’t resist the style of this one though – with its 70s hippy vibes. And the pattern? A Vogue V9311.

    It was a pretty easy/straightforward pattern to sew – not too many tricky areas. I decided part-way through that I would leave the sleeves off. I think at the time it was a bit of a heatwave going on, so the thought of sleeves made me feel a bit sweaty! I was just trying the dress on before the sleeves part of the instructions and just thought it looked great without. Also there was a little bit of me that felt like it may have been too much pattern if I’d have added them.

    The fabric I used was a polyester – not 100% sure on the type, but at a guess, it was maybe like a georgette. It was a little sheer, with this gorgeous floral print on a lilac background. So pretty! I bought this from Sew Essential and it was a total bargain. I think it was around £5 per metre!

    I used a lining fabric to fully line the whole dress, just because the outer shell fabric was just that little bit too sheer to get away with. Unfortunately though, the combination of the slippery lining and shell fabric means that they sort of shift around as their own entities… so I feel as though I need to wiggle and shift it around as I’m wearing it. Which is a little annoying.

    Although, I am super pleased with the hem and slit finishes as I spent hours blind slip stitching all of this by hand. It did take a long time, but it was a really therapeutic process. Sometimes I lack the patience for hand stitching, but more and more I’m finding a real sense of ‘zen’ from doing this… so I intend on biting the bullet and doing this more. After all, the finished look is so much nicer than a rushed machined topstitch – especially on a lightweight fabric like this.

    Another part of this make which I gave my all to was French seaming the entire dress. Again, such a rewarding process! As a result of this, I wrote a tutorial blog post especially for the lovely people at Brother Sewing UK – so head on over to their blog to see all of the steps and photos in detail – http://brothersewinguk.blogspot.com/2019/07/getting-to-grips-with-french-seams-with.html.

    Anyway, it sure does feel good to have this dress up on the blog! It’s been a long time coming 🙂

    Pattern: Vogue V9311

    Fabric: Sew Essential

    Size made: 12

    Alterations made: Finished without sleeves

  • A Silky Yellow Magnolia Maxi Dress

  • Hello sewing fans! Sorry for my absence on the blog lately. I’ve been snowed under with, well… life. But very happy to confirm that I have been managing a little sewing here or there. And this dress is the result of my many bitesize sewing sessions!

    I’m over the moon with it. I had eyed up this fabric quite some time back, on the Ray Stitch website. It is a bamboo silk, and they sell it in a rainbow of the most beautiful opulent colours. This colour is called ‘saffron’, and the moment I saw it I knew I had to have it for a dress…. because, you know, YELLOW IS MY FAV!

    The pattern is a stunner too – it instantly headed to the top of my sewing list! It is a Deer & Doe Magnolia Dress. I love everything about the style of this… the sleeves, the V-neck wrap bodice, and the maxi skirt with a cheeky slit to one side!  My only slight concern about this dress is that it’s… ahem… a bit on the booby side! But I feel like this is ok as it’s long and covers the legs, and also has long sleeves. So otherwise well covered up 😉

    And the fabric/pattern combo… well, what a match made in heaven! This silk is just gorgeous. It is a great weight, so doesn’t feel too sheer to wear without a lining – and also means that the drape is so so lovely too.

    I have written a little guest blog post for the Brother Sewing UK blog where I have revealed how I tackled sewing this tricky slippery fabric. So head on over if you want to find out!

    Anyway, hope you like this make too. I’m super pleased with it 🙂 And watch this space for more makes hitting the blog very soon!

    Pattern: Deer & Doe Magnolia

    Fabric: Bamboo silk from Ray Stitch

    Size made: 40

    Alterations made: None!