Pattern Whisperer presents: loose-fit dresses

June 2, 2017   /   byBeth (SunnyGal Studio)  / Categories :  Feeds
The idea for this Pattern Whisperer post has been kicking around in my mind for a while, but I was stumped about what to call this category of dresses. Loose-fit dresses doesn't really sound descriptive enough. Some of them are cocoon shaped dresses, others are very A-line or have a tent shape. Maybe un-fitted dresses? Basically the whole collection are dresses without a defined waist. Perhaps there's an interest in this shape after a long stretch of body-con styles, and I'm quite late with this trend. And yet it's also a retro shape - think of Balenciaga or Courreges in the 60's. Whatever the reason, once you figure out the right proportion for you then it really is a great shape to wear - and pretty easy to sew as well.

So here are some Pattern Whisperer picks for loose-fit dresses. Or cocoon dresses, or A-line or shift or maybe even muumuu. If you aren't familiar with that one it's a loose dress of Hawaiian origin that hangs from the shoulder. A perfect description of this category. And usually brightly colored - always my preference. And if you haven't read my previous post - that dress definitely falls into this category so it can go on the list as well. 

First up the Xerea dress from Pauline Alice Patterns. I love her designs - my favorite indie designer (which admittedly is a very small list). I really like that she includes multiple variations in this pattern with different necklines and dress shape. Very cute! Available in paper or PDF. and instructions in 3 languages. I will also give a nod to her Malvarosa dress, also with multiple variations in one pattern and pockets. (actually she seems to put pockets in everything, yay!)

Xerea dress image

Now for some BurdaStyle choices.
I adore this dress with just enough ruffle to be interesting and it would be so lovely in a printed silk or even a border print as they show. Also it has darts for shaping and a pretty neckline.
BurdaStyle Flounce Dress 02/2017 #106B  PDF from their website or in the Feb. magazine.

Burdastyle flounce dress 02-2017-116B

Another Burdastyle that intrigues me is this one, which they call the Bat Sleeve Dress 05/2016 #115B.
As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, you have to figure out which of these type of dresses work with your particular figure and style preferences. Someone did just that - and I remembered it when I chose this pattern to show. Allison of Allison C. Sewing Gallery made both the dress and the top and they are fantastic!  You know how some bloggers seem to make all the patterns that you want (or wish) you could make? She is one of those that makes me want to subscribe to Burda and sew up the exact same patterns that she chooses. 

Burda bat sleeve dress 05-2016-1115B

One more Burda - this is is a basic shape but adds some spice with the low back and ties - which I imagine would also keep that deep V on your shoulders. I like it just how they show it in the hot pink but it would be great in a dark color as well.  Shift dress with pockets 05/2011 # 111B

Burdastyle Shift dress 05-2011 111B

And now for Style Arc. Which I have rarely sewn but always see so many nice versions of their patterns. 

The Mila dress offers great color blocking opportunities or mixing up the fabric with a print and solid. The shape of this dress is really interesting - I've seen some great versions online but I know this is one that just wouldn't work on me, not enough fit adjustment potential in the bottom half. Style arc Mila dress

For another take on the cocoon shape, the Adeline dress gives you that slouchy comfy t-shirt shape but in a dress. I think it has side seams plus a center back seam so some adjustment potential. I like the drawing with the model wearing sneaks - I'm all about sneakers and espadrilles this summer. 
StyleArc Adeline dress

Now for something a little bit different, this dress from Butterick B5881. Not a cocoon or tent shape but definitely one that skims over the figure and is not waist hugging. I'm not a fan of linen but I know a lot of people are and this would look great in a lightweight linen. I think this pattern has been out a few years but seems to still be available.  The color block version is a nice idea although I don't care for the example - looks like leftover pieces they wanted to use up!

B5881

From McCalls I found three patterns that could make a nice loose fit dress. The first M7348 is a great beginner pattern - with learn to sew details and designed for medium to heavy weight knits. Also good for learning to sew knits. The M7562 looks really cute in the example on the model, I think the fabric choice would make this dress interesting. Lori from Girls in the Garden sewed it up and ended up changing it into a top - so she has some tips on sizing.  The pattern on the right, M7403 has interesting seaming and looking at the yardage it is not designed for knits even though it kind of looks like it. But you could certainly make it in a medium weight knit that has some body. I like the version C shown in the stripes.

McCalls dresses

What no Vogues?  Yes, here are a couple. This dress  V9107 looks so sharp in the black and white version, and I think it would look chic and sophisticated at a summer party where you could eat all you want and not need to wear Spanx. There, I said it - these dresses all have that comfort factor. Sometimes you want to look all sleek and shapely and other times you just want to relax and wear a cool loose swishy dress. This pattern has nice variations and could work all year round.

V9106 dress

OK - don't laugh - but I LOVE this dress Vogue 9237. The sleeveless version. It's so simple and I might even make it (although I confess I wouldn't buy the pattern - just swipe the idea and make it from one of my basic dress patterns. I guess I'm a sucker for a ruffle and this one is sort of a surprise ruffle. A walking away ruffle.

V9237

Here's a dress that I have chosen previously; the Papercut patterns Sway dress - and I still think it is really pretty. However I haven't sewn it up. But it looks good every time I see it pop up on someone's blog or Instagram. I think this is the perfect traveling dress for any warm weather vacation - whether beachside or in some city cafe.

papercut sway dressSaveSave

Here's another one that is so tempting. And has such an interesting shape, the Named Inari Tee dress.
So many nice versions of this one around, my favorite might be this striped one by Handmade by Carolyn. She looks so slouchy-cool. Is that a state of being? It is in that dress. Also this version by Karen of Did You Make That? The thing to note it is appears that nobody can make only one. Multiples appear. So good value for a pattern, right? And it must be quick to sew. I've almost convinced myself :)

Named Inari tee dress

So that's the round up of my suggestions for loose fit dresses. I haven't decided if I will sew up any of these but you never know. June is busting out all over here, the temps are climbing and a dress like this sound pretty good on a scorching day.

Happy Sewing,
Beth

and today's garden photo  - since I mentioned color-blocking in a few of these dresses how about the original color-blocker?  Mother Nature! Nobody does it better.  Violas in purple and white.

IMG_0132

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This is a syndicated post. Please visit the original author at SunnyGal Studio Sewing

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Ida Clutch Bag

I have something a bit different to show you today, which is this little clutch bag that I made for my sister, who absolutely loves it.  I first spotted it on Instagram when Kirsten from Fifty Two Fancies made it, and instantly though that my sister would like it.

 

The pattern is called the Ida Clutch Bag, and is a free pattern from Kylie And The Machine.
One of the bags on the introduction page is leather, as is Kirsten’s, and I really loved them, so decided to give it a go myself.  

Much googling finally brought me to Leather4Craft on ebay, where I bought some veg-tan goat skin leather for £22.00.  It came as a rectangle of leather, which I stupidly forgot to measure, and is lovely and soft.  There was more than enough for this little bag.
More googling was done on cutting and sewing leather.  I used my rotary cutter to cut it out, and pattern weights to hold the pattern piece down.  I say pattern weights, it was really my phone and some masking tape…

You can maybe, sort of, judge the size of the leather from this photo.  There was enough leather to the top to cut out another pattern piece, and there was a bit left over that is probably about half as wide as the bit that my rotary cutter is sitting on.
Sewing the leather turned out to be a lot easier than I thought, but leather needles are a must.  I practised a dart on some scrap leather first, and my machine handled it beautifully.  Sewing leather is a bit of a one shot deal, you don’t want to be unpicking, and my walking foot was great.

I marked the point of the dart with a pin, which left a little hole in the leather, then clipped the dart ends within the seam allowance.
 
I marked the dart legs with a pencil on the wrong side of the leather.
 
I obviously couldn’t use pins on the leather, as they would leave little holes, so I used a mini clothes pegs to hold everything together.  Quilting clips would be great, but I don’t have any.
 
 This is what the darts look like from the wrong side,
 
And this is the right side.
 
The instruction page on the interfacing mentions that the sample leather bag is interfaced (I think it’s in the comments), but I was a bit too scared to try that!  So I just interfaced the lining.  I used a medium weight interfacing for the whole bag lining (Piece B), and then a woven interfacing on top for Piece C.

I added an inside pocket, and made it as big as I could without interfering with the darts.  It’s big enough for a phone.

Next came inserting the zip, and the instructions for it are brilliant.  I didn’t take any photos of it, but here’s what it looked like when it was finished. 
The pin in the photo above is marking the tailor’s tack for the snap placement, which leads me on to attaching the snaps.  I wasn’t looking forward to this, because I was afraid of ruining the leather.  But some more googling showed me how to do it.  
Everything I read called for interfacing, but, as already mentioned, I didn’t want to interface the leather.  So I didn’t use any, and it’s grand.  Here’s what I did.
First of all, I practised on a leather scrap!  The snaps have two prongs on the back that are secured with a little washer.   
 

I stuck a pin through the lining and leather where the tailor’s tack was (the tack was just in the lining), to mark the snap position on the leather.  Then I used the washer as a template, and marked the position of the prongs with a pen (making sure it wouldn’t bleed through to the front!).

 

Admire that lovely top stitching!
 

 

Then I snipped into the leather using some embroidery scissors.

The prongs on the snap go through the holes from the front, then it is held in place with the washer.  I just put it through the leather, so the snap is not visible on the inside of the bag.

Here’s what it looks like from the right side.

I did the same with the other snap, and here’s what it looks like when it’s closed.

As suggested in the instructions, I sewed the edges of the bag with a zipper foot.  It was tricky to get over the closed end of the zip, and I ended up just turning the hand wheel.

I’m delighted with how this little bag turned out, and leather definitely isn’t as tricky to sew as I thought.

Now I sort of want to make a leather purse…  Have a great weekend,
Lynne
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New Look 6500 shift dress: a simple pattern that I couldn’t leave unmodified

How much adjustment do you do on a very simple pattern? Do you feel it’s worthwhile to make very small changes to get it just right or perhaps you sew up simple things as is and save your efforts for a special dress or coat.
This simple dress pattern is something that I choose as one of the suggestions for my Sew a Dress class at Hello Stitch in Berkeley. (scheduled again for Sun. July 30 – the first one was great fun. More details at the bottom of this post on all the upcoming classes). As it happens Craftsy asked me to write a longer post outlining all the steps to sew a simple dress, consequently I decided to sew up this pattern and get a lot of things done with one project. Plus I’ve been on a shift dress kick lately. They are such simple and pleasant things to wear. Since it was 107˚F in the SHADE here yesterday I would rather have worn a dress made of ice cubes but since that is not going to happen a shift dress it is.

batik shift dress

I have had this fabric in my stash for a good 5 or 6 years. It’s a cotton batik that I bought in Hawaii, quite a large amount (5 yards) and just never found a use for it. Slightly heavy as a lot of batiks are, so not really good for most dresses plus the vertical stripe had me stumped. I think I found the perfect style for it that uses the stripe best. Plus I can wear my stripes navy blue espadrille sandals – double win.
Here’s the pattern envelope, with a sneak peek of a subsequent version of this dress. Which everyone has gone wild for on my Instagram teases, embroidered denim must be the thing this summer. The envelope says D0569 but all the pattern pieces say New Look 6500 so I’m calling it that. I really like New Look patterns, they come up with some super cute dresses and tops, plus they include all sizes in one envelope and cost $ 3.99 all the time.

New Look Shift dress pattern

batik dr front view

Onward to my adjustments: I sewed this dress for the Craftsy post, not as a wearable but as a “photograph-able” item, i.e. something that would really show in the step-by-step tutorial but I had no intention of wearing it. It was actually quite a pleasure to just sew up a dress with no changes, I sewed the size 12 and went from there.
Here is the version I sewed for Craftsy, in a quilting cotton that I had in my stash, I think a remainder from a project I did for someone on Etsy ages ago. And I really loathe this color of green so don’t even tell me that you like this dress on me 🙂 Plus for the most part sewing/wearing garments with quilting cotton is a bit NO for me. With some exceptions they always look a bit off: too wrinkly, too juvenile, too unsophisticated to claim my interest.

green shift dress

green shift dress3

But I include the photo of me wearing this one to show the neckline fit. That neckline was choking me – I don’t like that high round neckline and when you move your head forward it’s so uncomfortable. Good shoe match thought, right?

Back to the blue and white batik version. Can you see the difference in the neckline? It is so much more comfortable for me in the second version. I wanted to figure out exactly how much to open the neck so I made a version of just the top half of the dress in swedish tracing paper – and every time I use that I remember that is has absolutely no give. While it seems like a good idea because you can sew it – putting it on is not so easy. I did put a zipper so I could actually try it on – which worked in the end but it was kind of shredded. However it was good enough to slice and dice a bit, figuring out how I wanted the final neckline to be shaped.

neckline comparison

I cut out the batik version based on my new neckline, and basted it together at the shoulder seams to see if I liked the neckline. It still seemed a bit too high for my preference and also I like the armholes to be more cut in at the shoulder in a sleeveless dress. So instead of cutting more off the edges of the dress I made a one piece facing for front and back, and then used tracing paper to mark a seam line. At the neck I took away a further 5/8″ (total seam allowance now 1.25″) and then on the armholes I think I sewed it at around 7/8″ which makes the armhole a bit bigger all around. You have to be careful that it doesn’t make the armhole too low but this dress had a very tight armhole so there was plenty of room.

batik dress facing new seam

On my next version of this dress (the embroidered chambray fabric)  I’ll show how I make the one piece facing plus this upcoming version is lined so it incorporates facing and lining together.

The original New Look pattern had separate neck and armhole facings which works ok, not my preference but not as horrible as some make it out to be. But there’s a better way. Another option for these simple summer dresses is bias binding but I wanted to show the traditional or basic type of dress sewing.

But we are not done yet! In fact this adjustment should have come up first in my writing but I only remembered to take this picture a few minutes and include it. The bust dart on this dress is both large and high. I measured it on the pattern piece and could see that it needed to be lower so I did that before I did anything else, just a straightforward shift downward about 3/4″. The bust dart is kind of larger than it would be had there been other darts (vertical waist darts)  or other shaping. Trying it on it made the dart a bit too pointy – not my favorite look. So I reduced the width of the dart.

dart adjustment on shift dress

On the tracing paper on the left you can see the faint outline of the original dart, too high. The second placement, lower but too big, and then the final version in the purple dotted line, just right. I sound like Goldilocks don’t I but if you’re going to do adjustments you might as well go all the way until you like the fit.

Batik dr side and back view

Back and side view, you can barely see the dart but that is the ideal, at least for me. Since the side seams were not even in length I split the difference at the top of the seam at the armhole and sliced off about 3/8″ off the side back at that point. Worked out fine.

batik dress front 2

So that’s chapter one on my summer shift dress extravaganza. I have some more complex things in line for my sewing table but not sure what order I will sew them.

Here’s the link to that Craftsy post: The Complete Beginners Guide to Sewing a Dress.

Update on classes at Hello Stitch Studio on Berkeley. The Fit Lab was great – we are going to schedule this class again soon. In July we are repeating Saturday classes for sewing Skirts, Tunic Tops, and a new on starting on Wed 7/26 in the evening is a Button-front shirt class. All these classes are two sessions scheduled a week apart so not a long term time commitment and you will get a project done (or nearly) and learn some new and useful techniques. The Dress class is an all-day one on Sun. 7/30. FYI: I’ve found parking to be surprisingly easy around the studio and it is no more than a 10 minute walk from the Berkeley Bart station so really convenient to get to.

This was yesterday afternoon. Survival mode with an iced coffee. thankfully lots cooler today (ha ha only mid 90’s˚F).

thermometer


Happy weekend sewing,
Beth

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