Sunday, 10 March 2019

Dangerous Curves: Sew Over It Camille Jumpsuit

I made my first jumpsuit! And another Work to Weekend Pattern – that’s two back-to-back now (plus I’ve also made the Dana shirt last year but never got pics – maybe it’ll surface at some point when the weather warms up).

The Camille Jumpsuit was one of the patterns that pushed me over the edge to click 'purchase' for this e-book pattern package. Although I probably could have put together a package of similar patterns from the Burda Style magazines that I already own, the curated look of the e-book really sold me, and the modelled photos of the Camille jumpsuit look so sophisticated!

This blog post is a long read so the short story is - I love this pattern and want to make it work for me, but I still have a way to go with perfecting the fit. Don't you just hate it when your standards don't match up with your skills?!

I made up the pattern in this gifted soft brushed cotton, which is so lovely to wear and has a nice drape for the trouser portion of the jumpsuit, which I love. I was tempted to use the reverse of this fabric too, as there’s a cool abstract effect where just smudges of colour from the floral design peek through the black background, but in the end I couldn’t deny the awesome pink and orange blooms their day. I disregarded pattern matching as I didn’t spot much of a pattern repeat, but realise there is a little mirroring on my bum!

I worked really hard on the fit through the torso of this garment, but frustratingly I neglected to think about the sleeves. I used a size 12 as my base and went to town on almost every fitting tweak except that one! I feel I spotted somewhere on the internet another sewist mentioning tight sleeves – but I got lazy or forgot. As I’d used up every scrap of fabric in cutting out I could only let the seams out by 1/4” and hope for the best – but it’s not really enough as now I have some issues in getting in and out of the jumpsuit as my arm movement is a bit restricted! If you're interested in this pattern but have some flesh on your arms then seriously consider how much room you need before cutting out

The adjustments I did manage to make are as follows, many based on playing around with my Fit For Real People and Pants for Real People Books:

- A 2” FBA which I sort of made up by following and adapting the SOI tutorial for the1940s wrap dress.  As the bodices are not exactly like-for-like, this resulted in making one of the jumpsuit bodice pleats much deeper than the other – but it looks OK on.

- The FBA also gave me a long skinny horizontal bust dart which I was tempted to ignore and leave open, but as the print is quite busy and there’s a long skinny vertical dart on the back bodice I figured it would be worth it for the fit I wanted, even though it might look weird in a solid fabric.

- I added a 3/8” wedge to the top of the inseam as a full thigh adjustment. A good idea that I think I should apply to other patterns!

- I added 3/8” to the seam allowance to the bottom edge of the bodice pieces and on the top of the trousers to make a full 1” seam allowance for fit-on-the-go adjustments. Because of this, I changed the order of making up and made each piece separately, with lots of pinning and basting before finally closing the wrapover and attaching to the waistband pieces. I ended up using a 5/8” SA on the back bodice and back trouser pieces but used the full inch on the front trouser and front bodice piece.

- After trying on my bodice front wrap was gaping, so I increased the crossover (not sure how much exactly) and snipped off the resulting excess which I’ve pinned to my paper pattern pieces in case I want to make this adjustment again. I think I might have over-fit the bodice however as now there is a bit of pulling at the centre front waistband. Not sure what the happy medium is between pulling at the waist and gaping at the bust - possibly a different fit adjustment somewhere!

- As mentioned, I used the sleeves in a size 12 as is and they were really tight, so I let out the seams as much as I could – they’re still too tight!

One niggle is I couldn’t find a notch for the front facings to correspond to the shoulder notch on the back facings (not my cutting error – it’s not on the paper pattern). That was a bit annoying as it would be easy to accidentally put them in upside down. With a bit of trial and error I think I made it up right!

While I love the idea of this jumpsuit and would make up just the trouser portion of the pattern again in a heartbeat, I definitely still have work to do to make the full jumpsuit fit right. Unfortunately I’m not sure if I’ll be able to wear this attempt at it again – or if I do, I’ll have to thoroughly warm up first to keep my arms and shoulders nice and limber for when I need to zip myself in and out during bathroom breaks!

Next time I would:

- Do a full bicep adjustment, and add more room in the sleeve throughout

- Add pockets. I omitted them despite cutting them out this time out of laziness – I was doing so much basting and unpicking for fit that I plain couldn’t be bothered when it came to it!

- Maybe see if I could rotate the long skinny side bust dart into one of the pleats or to add more room at the armscye? Never done any dart rotation before so that would be a gamble (or learning experience depending how you look at it)

- Add a smidge more room for my big booty – either at the side seams or using a technique that is almost like a full bust adjustment for the rear!

Wow, that was an essay! If you read all that, well done and thank you! Here’s to progress with the fitting journey (and body acceptance) and an improved jumpsuit next time!

NorseOtter xx

Sunday, 3 March 2019

A Bright Basic: Sew Over It Anna Coat

I made my first coat!

As per usual, I finished this a few weeks ago and have been giving it a whirl to see how I really feel about it before writing up my blog (not because I haven’t had time to get photos, honest!). This is the Sew Over It Anna Coat from the Work to Weekend e-book. 

I had a little confusion picking my size for this as the fitting notes suggest you focus on getting the shoulder measurement right. However, I wan’t entirely sure where exactly to take the measurements – perhaps this is really standard assumed knowledge, but I would have found it helpful to have a diagram or description of which parts of the shoulder the points to measure between.

The rest of my measurements, weight distribution and fitting journey also left me undecided on which size to choose. I wanted to use the high bust fit and do an FBA as this has given me good results with other patterns so far, as picking a size based on my full bust tends to give me too much fabric in the upper chest. However, the points I ended up choosing for the shoulder-to-shoulder measurement (between the knobbly bits according to my helpful friend Heather via the SOI facebook group) put me in a size 16, which was also the size given for my full bust sizing and was only a size or two above my waist and hips.

I kept it simple and went for a 16 all over, even though my upper bust measurement put me in a size 10, reasoning the wrap style would be forgiving where I needed a closer fit. I also compared the finished coat measurements to the guidelines for ease given in Fit for Real People, and as there was 1-2” less ease in the pattern I figured it couldn't end up too huge!

Overall, it is fine, although I feel like it is too roomy in the upper chest and shoulders despite all that! It fits some thick layers underneath, which as an unlined coat that I nevertheless wanted to wear straightaway happens to be quite useful. I shortened the sleeves by 1cm, but I think next time I’d need to do a hollow chest and forward shoulder adjustment so could maybe leave the sleeves as drafted if the shoulders ended up in the right place!

The fabric I used is 100% cotton twill furnishing fabric called ‘Como’, picked up at a fancy shop called Pret a Vivre. I wouldn't normally shop there but noticed a £1 per metre sale which felt like the sign I needed to try coat-making. I also bought another 4 metres of the ‘Wheat’ shade of this fabric (this colourway is ‘Ember') so will have to get cracking on another coat soon… or make a sofa! 

With such a bargainous fabric I felt free to get making with a few more risks than usual. For one, I did not prewash the fabric (as it’s so thick and heavy I thought it’d never dry in the small window of inspiration I had). And another was to use the smoother ‘wrong’ side of the fabric for the outer, leaving the soft napped side inside. While I’m pleased that it has resulted in a deeper, richer colour being on show (and hopefully making it look less like an actual sofa when worn) having the texture on the inside does make it a little awkward when taking it off – it sticks to the sleeves!

I really enjoyed working with this, the fabric reminds me of a brown cape my mum once bought me from a second-hand shop that clearly had also been made out of curtains – it was so fun for dressing up and feeling glamorous when I was little! The fabric was so easy to work with and pressed well. It does crease quite easily - I'd ironed the coat for these photos but after sitting on the train to get out to the woods it already looks pretty wrinkly. 

The pattern also came together pretty quickly – although I did get a little confused about the inseam pocket instructions. I’m not sure if this was a different technique than my usual or whether I was having an off day but I assumed I knew what was going on and happened to get it very wrong – involving a lot of unpicking! I also got a little confused about the stitching for the collar and lapels - the photo for this step isn't as clear as it could be, especially for a first timer. I'd advise marking your stitching start and stop points well and taking it slow, otherwise you may end up with pulling at the intersections. 

For my personal taste I find the tie belt a bit skinny too – and it’s starting to look a bit mangled with wear already so I’ll possibly make a wider one. This time I would do a fold in and topstitch technique rather than turning the belt inside out though- what with the nap clinging to itself and the narrowness of the belt it was very time-consuming to turn the belt right side out, and came out a bit lumpy in the end.

While I have my criticisms of this pattern (it's not as user-friendly as it could be given it's supposed to be a simplified version) I do like the finished result and as a wearable toile I've barely taken it off! I'm not sure I need two coats of the exact same style so I probably won't make another Anna - I'd rather apply my new coat-making chops to something with a few more details. 

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Art Teacher Chic Day Dress: Isca Shirtdress

*Disclaimer: I am not an art teacher. 

Hi everyone,

It's been a while! I notice that a few of the bloggers I follow have cited 'Slow January' as a reason they haven't been posting much and I am on board with that.

I was away for most of December visiting friends and family in Canada and the US (my first Christmas abroad!) and have been taking January easy to recalibrate after the all the travel, hectic social schedule, and rich food and drink. I missed sewing a lot and was desperate to get back into it when we arrived back in the UK, but also felt down on my body image after all the indulgence of the weeks abroad. It's taken a while to feel motivated to make something for myself.

This is the Isca Shirtdress by Marilla Walker, made in Seasalt fabric I purchased at their shop in Lewes when out antiquing with my mum last Autumn (on a side note she's not impressed with how many of the old treasure troves have been converted to coffee shops - is that gentrification or genericification?). It's a lovely soft medium-weight cotton twill with this abstract print that I wasn't sure I could carry off (much less match up) but for the most part I think I managed the pattern placement well. There is a little mirroring on one of the side seams, but otherwise I think I did well.

The fabric makes this dress perfect for about 75% of English weather as it's warm enough for Winter, but the dress is loose enough to stay cool in for the (slightly) warmer days of Spring and Autumn. I'm wearing it at the moment a lot with thick tights and a thermal t-shirt underneath. My challenge with this fabric (aside from the print) was that it was a little bulky for gathering.

The instructions called for one line of gathering stitches on the skirt pieces and I wish I'd done my usual three as this might have made the thicker fabric easier to gather evenly and hold their place - as it was I spent ages distributing the fabric and pinning, only for it all to get crushed into odd pleats by the presser foot. I wasn't bothered enough by it to redo it though. This was the only instruction I slightly disagree with and may just be due to fabric choice - the other steps are excellent. 

I actually had the bodice of this dress finished back in late November, intending to take it away with me, but unfortunately my work schedule was so busy beforehand I never had a chance to finish, so it languished with finished sleeves pinned to the armholes on my mannequin for weeks before I summoned the forces to get on with it.

I'm really glad I did because actually this is the perfect dress to wear when you're feeling less body confident as it skims nicely but still has enough structure at the shoulders to look put together and neat. I've worn it loads since I finished it and find the roomy pockets so useful! I wasn't convinced they'd suit me at first but I'm won over.

The only changes I made were to make a 2.5cm FBA following the excellent fitting alteration instructions (I would never have figured out how to do it with those seamlines on my own!) and to cut 25cm off the hem to make it a more playful length. Next time I think I might leave it a smidgen longer at it's quite short at the back when I sit down! I could probably tweak the seams at upper bust to make it a closer fit at the shoulders too.

I would definitely recommend this pattern and can see myself making more of these - I love the easy breezy vibe contrasted with the smart collar and would love to try colour blocking or playing with stripes to highlight the diagonal seamlines more. I'm surprised this dress hasn't had more love on the blogosphere/ instasphere as it's great, and in this shorter length looks quite similar to the Deer and Doe Myosotis dress that was a huge hit for many sewists last year - except personally I find it a more unique and practical design. I might take inspiration and try it with a mandarin collar someday though!

I leave you with this close-up of my mug which is intended to show how well my earrings (if you can spot them!) match the print. The buttons are from my stash inherited from my boyfriend's grandma - I actually had a choice of three colourways, and can't see myself needing to go shopping for buttons any time soon!

Here's to more blogging soon - I have a backlog of things I made last year that I need to find the time and daylight to get photos of. I'm happily wearing them all though so at least when they make it up I'll be able to give a comprehensive review!

NorseOtter xx

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Lander Pants and #SewingLeftovers Mimi G Turtleneck

Hi everyone,

I have a twofer for you today!

I'm wearing my second (but certainly not last) pair of Lander Pants and a modified Mimi G Simplicity 1283 Turtleneck. Both of these projects are kind of old (turtleneck finished in March, and Landers in June) but have done solid wardrobe duty and tick off some #MakeNine aims so deserve their own post!

Here I am wearing my newly finished Mimi G turtleneck in Japan (paired with my first Lander Pants) back in March.

A quick #MakeNine update: I've nearly finished my Mimi G Simplicity 1283 flares and have a Marilla Walker Isca shirtdress (rather than shirt) cut out. The only projects remaining on my plan are my FehrTrade cycling gear which I'm not sure I'll get around to now, and think it might be too unseasonal to make the ruffle tee (although maybe if I make in something fancy it could be a festive top?).

The turtleneck I'm proud to say is a #SewingLeftovers project using jersey remaining from my gift t-shirt making kick last year. I made a few modifications - I removed the zip from the back neck for personal preference reasons (plus I'm rubbish at inserting zips neatly into jersey).

Also I didn't want the cropped length so blended from waist down with the free SBCC Tonic Tee (which I've never actually made up). The top still came up a little short (I believe SBCC is drafted for petites, and I'm a very average height of 5ft6) but it's a decent length for tucking in. I also had to make shorter sleeves due to fabric limitations, but I'm generally a fan of half and 3/4 length sleeve styles.

I didn't have the easiest time in terms of sizing with this pattern - my measurements landed me in the middle but I bought the larger size range pack due to reviews that the pattern came up quite tight. I picked my size for the top based on my bust measurement but the shoulders and neckline came out large on me, and I ended up gradually trimming bits off and fitting as I went til I sized down to smallest size in pack.

This is better but not perfect, and despite still being a bit big in the neck and shoulders might now be a bit tight across the chest. I prefer to double over the roll of the turtleneck to make is sit a bit tighter and balance the proportions.

The Lander Pants are made from denim purchased in Nippori Fabric Town in Tokyo. I took the obligatory tourist shot of course and ended up with with loads of great fabric, but I've not dared cut into the beautiful traditionally-pattern stuff yet. 

I don't think the denim is bought is actually Japanese though sadly. The colourway was inspired by Helen's version (although is not a very faithful colour copy!), and I went for high contrast topstitching but hope this doesn't come across as IKEA branded...Luckily I had a very close match of regular thread for the tricky areas like buttonholes that my vintage machine can't handle in topstitching thread. 

I was intending to make the cropped version of these kecks but on trying them on I liked the unhemmed length and embraced the fraying. 

I made a slight error when grading waistband seams and was worried I'd weakened the seam that was keeping my trews up by cutting too close to the stitching. I decided to freestyle some reinforcing stitches from the outside to strengthen these areas. I tried to make them look like intentional distressing but actually they blend in pretty well and hopefully they'll continue to hold up!

 I love this version almost as much as my first pair (although I think maybe my black version is a little more flattering around the stomach). They've certainly had a lot of wear and I'm keen to make the full-length version in a burgundy or forest green at some point.

I'll leave you with a shot of the rear fit. I've not made any modifications to this pattern for fit, although maybe I should get realistic and add some room for my belly for the next version. I might also add a line of edgestitching close to the button fly to reinforce that area as it does pull when I sit down.

Until next time,

NorseOtter xx

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Another Japanese Sewing Book Make: Clean and Natural Tucked Dress

Hi everyone,

Thanks for the comments on my last post - there were lots of helpful tips to help improve the dress and many thoughts about the state of sewing magazines. The fact that there is so little decent published editorial (other than apparently Threads, which I must track down) does reinvigorate me to blog more. I'm no expert but I love sharing my opinions with others who are interested in sewing and reading about others' sewing experiences, and being inspired by their style, fabric, and pattern choices! Another thing that does get my creative juices flowing is listening to podcasts, so at least in this area there is a wealth of sewing-related audio content - I particularly enjoy Love to Sew and have just begun listening to Dressed. Any other recommendations - let me know!

Anyway on to my latest make. This dress is inspired by attempts to use up vintage fabric in my stash - this piece is from the '80s I expect. I'm not sure of the fibre content but would hazard a guess that it's a cotton/viscose blend because of its softness and drape. I'd had a 70s-style wrap dress in mind for it for ages, but it's a really narrow piece - only 90cm across - so didn't work with a lot of patterns I have.

In the end I decided I wanted something easy-fitting and turned to my collection of Japanese pattern books because Japanese fabrics are usually quite narrow, and I just about managed to eke out the Tucked Dress from Clean and Natural in the largest size. I love the sample image and would love to try one one in chambray one day - with the turban too of course!

Technically I shouldn't have fit this (silly me for not checking the sizing charts before buying - Japanese bookshops are very seductive) as the largest size is for a 35" bust and I'm usually 38.5 or 39"! The hips were OK but the largest waist size was an inch smaller too. Luckily this dress style has plenty of design ease so I knew the waist wouldn't be a problem, but I was a little worried about the bust still. I consoled myself with the thought that I'm trying out using patterns sized with the high bust measurement at the moment and 35" works for this, so I could always do an FBA if needed.

As there are no darts in this style, just the waist tucks, I decided that instead of making a simple pull-on dress I would add a centre-back zip in case having a chest 4" larger than intended made the dress difficult to get on. A quick try-on of my traced pieces showed I should be able to wear the dress without any pulling, so I just went ahead with the straight size with the addition of the zip.

Next time actually I wouldn't bother with the zip, as it turns out I can get it on without needing it after all (should have tested that at basting stage!). Plus my centred zip just isn't very good - unfortunately the zipper pull keeps wanting to peek through, and the folds of fabric on either side are a little wobbly in places! Not hugely noticeable though and it's all good technique practice in a relatively low-stakes make. A couple of weeks ago Amy of Almond Rock mentioned that she finds centred zips tricky to get neat as well, so at least I know I'm in good company!

I didn't make any other changes to the dress, although I considered shortening it. I'm quite enjoying floating around at this length - my friend told me I looked very 'Abigail's Party' in it which I'm taking as a compliment, plus it makes it different enough from my autumnal Anna dress.

I enjoyed making this - I mentioned in my last post finding the La Maison Victor translated instructions a bit frustrating. With this dress I only translated the text that identified pattern pieces - as the illustrations are so good and the construction so simple I gave myself the freedom to just do whatever made the most sense to me, which was great!

I did an efficiency drive and after stay-stitching where needed sewed up all the pieces separately before pressing and overlocking them all, and only piecing them together at the end, rather than the usual 'working in units' approach. It seemed to work - although I do wish I'd ease-stitched the sleeve caps when inserting in the round as there were a couple of puckers I could have avoided. My only other annoyance is using interfacing around the neckline which is a too heavy for the fluidity of the fabric, but hopefully it'll soften up in the wash.

Having this lovely autumnal dress has made me want to make more dresses after a bit of a separates drive this year (many of which still need to be blogged). I was planning to make the Persephone Pants next in the queue but am also loving all the dramatic bishop-sleeved '70s maxi dresses out there at the moment and feeling like I want a piece of the action! I'm drowning in inspiration at the moment but without much time to take action - I'm seriously considering booking a 'sewcation' so I can get down to making my seasonal sewing plans come true and finally sew up the merino jersey I've been hoarding...

How are your seasonal sewing plans going? More podcast recommendations welcome!

NorseOtter xx

Sunday, 7 October 2018

La Maison Victor Solange and Some Thoughts on Sewing Magazines

Hello! These aren't the greatest photos and this isn't the greatest look for me to be honest, but I felt I needed to get this dress blogged so here we are!

A few weeks ago I made the Solange Dress from the first edition of La Maison Victor to be published in the UK (back in July 2017 I believe?). I was quite excited about making this dress; I even took an instagram snap of my project materials artfully gathered together ready for sewing, but the end result is decidedly 'meh' for me.

© La Maison Victor
I decided to copy to look of the sample garment and cut into some stripy ponte bought in Japan (I also squeezed out a Burda top with the remnants here). However, what I decided to ignore at the time but can see plainly now is that even on the model the pockets add unwanted bulk around the middle, and on my less-than-lithe midsection that unflattering effect is even more pronounced. I've barely worn the dress since I made it because I feel so self-conscious in it.

I don't think it's a very flattering cut, but I'm sure I didn't get the fit quite right either. My measurements put me in body size 14, with my upper bust at 12 and full bust at 16. I did a bit of blending between sizes at the front but made the back 14 all over, but decided to do a bit of finangling with the sleeves so that they would fit into the armscye after the alterations. I’m not sure this worked too well as the sleeves like to crease when wearing, and the bust darts sit too high for me (although this does seem to be where they’re designed to sit from the line drawings, but it just looks a bit silly on me).

The pattern has a gently shaped back seam which I nearly missed when cutting out, but I could have used this to get a closer fit for my sway back.  The centre back seam is to allow you to insert an exposed zip, which ended up being a fussy process because I couldn't quite work out the instructions so just guessed it and left off the ribbon facing step.

To be honest I wish I hadn't bothered with it at all, as it creates wobbles in my seam and back neckline, but I have a habit of doggedly following the instructions sometimes even if I don't really want the finished result. Maybe it feels like cheating not to do it? I also feel that sometimes you have to face your fears in sewing and conquer tricky steps, or you'll spend all your time avoiding certain processes. That said, this didn't turn out great and I wish I'd practised on a sample instead!

You can't see in these photos but one small gripe about my cutting out of this dress is that I didn't think about stripe-matching the pockets, and I easily could have with the amount of fabric I had. I just thought they'd never be seen, so wanted to conserve as much leftover fabric for another project as possible. But actually the pockets do gape when sitting down so lack of matching is really obvious.

Again, as with the zip, realistically the pockets probably take away more than they add to the look of the garment so the easiest option would be to leave them off altogether! I have my hands in them in most of these pictures as that's the only way to keep them under control - otherwise you're forever smoothing them down to prevent your hips looking even lumpier than normal!

This was one of those projects that ends up being a lot more complex than it might seem at first glance. For starters I had a few headscratching moments where I couldn’t quite tell what the instructions were asking me to do. I guess something got lost in translation sewing-speak wise but I finally realised that ‘add a stitch next to the seam’ meant ‘add a line of stitching’ which meant ‘understitch’. Got there in the end!

I didn’t find it very fun to make either as I was expecting an easy palate-cleanser of a make but the instructions had a lot of fussy treatments and markings, more like what you’d expect from a woven garment than a simple semi-fitted t-shirt dress. Some of the processes really went awry - for example I found sewing the recommended woven neck binding around the ponte neckline made my twin needle skip stitches right where the topstitching is most visible! 

I've only worn this dress a couple of times since I made it, and I'm not sure if I'll keep it as it doesn't make me feel good. It's a shame to waste nice fabric that I bought on holiday, but it wasn't expensive and it's not unique so at least I have that consolation. I have more Japanese fabric in lovely traditional prints, but I'll take this as a lesson that I need to match them more carefully with the garment patterns and make a toile first to avoid disappointment!

If you've read this far through my rant, thank you! I'm sure we've all been there with projects that just don't work out. There were some other patterns I quite liked in that issue of La Maison Victor but I'll take a break before going back to see if they're worth toile-ing through. I haven't bought any subsequent issues.

I used to love sewing magazines, but nowadays I'm a lot more selective and only buy if there are at least two patterns I'd consider making, and usually this means going straight for Burda. There isn't much in the way of written editorial in Burda (usually just one article, giving context for a special pattern) which is a shame as I do love to read about sewing - that's why I still blog and enjoy reading others' blogs!

However I prefer it to buying the other sewing magazines like Love Sewing or Simply Sewing which have fewer patterns (that are less to my taste) as a lot of their editorial seems to be repurposed from other sewists' blogs that I'd have read for free online anyway! La Maison Victor seems to combine the weak spots of both magazines - as few patterns as Love Sewing et al plus the lack of written content that Burda has. I'm not saying I wouldn't buy it again, but it'd only be if the patterns were truly inspiring.

What are your thoughts on sewing magazines? Do you subscribe or pick and choose? Or avoid altogether?

NorseOtter xx

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Remembering Summer in my (slightly) modified Mimi G Jessica Dress

It's properly Autumn here in England now, but I've still got a few summer projects to share. Typically, I only finished this dress in time for a couple of weeks' worth of wear before it got too cold, but I'm pretty pleased with it. All these pictures are taken at the dress's debut outing on holiday in the Dordogne. Sorry for the picture overload - I wanted to take advantage of the beautiful scenery, especially at the  magical Jardins de Marqueyssac.
 I wish I'd finished it earlier as it's the perfect floaty weight for the hot summer we had, but all my plans had a bit of a setback with my ankle issues. I'm glad it still got some wear!
I particularly love the pairing of pattern and fabric. This cotton lawn from The Man Outside Sainsbury's, made famous by Karen of Did You Make That? My one spree to his stall in Walthamstow Market at the beginning of the year has served me very well! This lawn was £7 a metre I believe and apparently Liberty, but there wasn't anything printed on the selvedge. It is good quality and a lovely 70s-ish floral print though, so I'm more than happy with it.

The pattern is the *free* Jessica dress from Mimi G. It's a lovely pattern and was very on-trend this summer. It was a pretty easy make and the instructions were decent, although you do have to mark your own buttonhole and pocket placement. I also didn't follow the order of construction to the letter, preferring instead to leave any hemming to the end in case I wanted to alter the length, but in the end I kept the skirt length as drafted.

I made a couple of modifications to this dress including a 1" FBA. However, after making up the bodice I realised it still wouldn’t overlap in middle, even after adding some extra room. My on-the fly fix was to create an additional button band for the bodice - luckily I had spare fabric left over. I prefer the look anyway. The band was 25.5cm in length and worked out perfectly for a neat turn at the top edge. 
If I made this again I would graft the bodice button band onto the skirt's button band so that doesn't have a break at the waist seam. I'd have to alter the order of construction and, for a neater and more efficient finish inside I should make some modifications to the shape of the facing at the bodice centre front so there isn't any doubling up there. 

To further tweak the fit I tried on bodice and took in a small wedge at side seams under the arms blending to nothing halfway down and curved in the seam under the bust for a closer fit towards the waist. Annoyingly, after all that faffing with fit I was a little careless with the placement of the straps and they're not quite symmetrical where they're anchored at the back- but not so off that anyone would notice! 

My only slight issue with the pattern is that it instructs you to make horizontal buttonholes, which for me means a bit of pulling at centre front. I'd do vertical buttonholes in future for a sturdier and more symmetrical line down centre front. Other than that it's a great pattern which is relatively easy to tweak for fit, and hopefully I'll get more wear out of this dress next year! 
NorseOtter xx