Stylish Dress Book : Tunic ‘B’
nani IRO Neon Mountain View Double Gauze Cotton
I just realized it’s been a really long time since we’ve had nani IRO at the workroom. I’ll try not to let that happen again. This fabric just makes people happy.
It seems to be a tradition of mine to make this particular pattern from nani IRO. The very first version I made was exactly SIX years ago!
I love this simple top, it’s so easy to wear and incredibly comfortable. My favourite detail is definitely the sleeves. I love a puffy sleeve! I really like how this sleeve is two parts. If you’re making this pattern from the untranslated version of Stylish Dress Book, this can be the one tricky part. When you’re tracing out the pattern piece for the lower sleeve, you need to add in 10 cm to the width of the piece to add the fullness.
This collection has so many fun pops of neon, perfect for the coming winter months when things get very grey. I always find myself choosing brighter prints when the days get shorter. There is more nani IRO on the way for the new year, it’ll be a good mid winter pick me up!
I also made a pair of nani IRO pants using the 101 Trouser pant pattern. It’s already too cold to wear them, but I’ll try to get in some photos of them soon.
p.s. I ironed this top twice before taking these photos, but double gauze is wrinkly & comfy like that.
Robert Kaufman : Chambray Union
I’m a sucker for a full skirt (especially with pockets!). Add that to a shirt dress and throw in some chambray and I’m in heaven. The Robert Kaufman Chambray Union collection has seriously infiltrated my wardrobe this year. I can’t help but want to make all the things with it. I keep re-ordering it for the shop and it keeps selling out. It’s just perfect for everything.
I’m pretty sure it was Johanna who pointed out this particular McCalls pattern to me last year and then ended up getting a hold of a copy for me. Thank you J!
There are so many great details on this dress. I really like the waistband and the gathered back detail. For the buttons, I decided to do covered buttons with the same fabric. Covered buttons are so easy to do and give such a polished look. I used Liberty Stanley for the little bits of bias binding on the arms and the pocket fabric. It makes me smile to see those bits.
The pattern was great to sew and fit me without any adjusting. I chose to do the sleeveless version, but there is a short sleeve option that I’m going to try next. I’m pretty sure I need a Liberty version of this pattern!
Victory Patterns : Hazel Dress
Liberty of London : Umbria
I love a clever sewing pattern. The Hazel dress is one of those. I just love the way this pattern sews up, how the lining is added to make everything clean finished on the insides, that there is no zipper and the adorable bow! The pattern shows doing contrast fabrics for the top and the skirt, but I’m boring and love just using one fabric. Plus, I really love this particular Liberty Print, so I was happy to only showcase Umbria. To sum it up, this pattern is pretty awesome. So much so, that I used it to create a sleeveless shift version dress. I’ll post that one soon.
I’m pretty sure I’ll be making another Hazel with at least one of the new Fall 2014 Liberty prints that should be arriving this week!
Tom Ford shirting from Sultan’s Fine Fabrics
Me Made May just finished and I had a lot of fun re-visiting my handmade wardrobe with fresh eyes. I’ll be posting many items over the next few weeks that I was able to finally photograph in detail to show you a closer look.
This Wiksten Tova dress was made from a luxurious Tom Ford shirting fabric that I bought at Sultan’s. As soon as I spotted the roll, I knew I needed to make a dress from it. I especially love making a Wiksten Tova using any type of plaid or check because one of my favourite things to do is cut the yoke on the bias. I was also very careful when cutting out the pieces to match the pattern from the front to the back piece, especially since the pattern is so bold.
I’m not sure if there’s a limit to how many Tovas a girl can have, but I think I could still use a few more.
Victory Patterns : Roxanne Top
Liberty of London : Growing Fonder Tana Lawn Cotton
We’re halfway through May and if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I have been doing the Me Made May challenge for this month. Me Made May is an opportunity for people who knit or stitch handmade clothing to celebrate their wardrobe. I am NOT sewing a new garment everyday! I’m using this opportunity to celebrate my years of building my handmade wardrobe. I’m also taking the opportunity to document newer garments that I’ve never really shared and to re-document some old favourites. I’m loving looking into my closet each morning with fresh eyes and picking an outfit to share with you.
This is my second Roxanne top. I just loved the other version and wanted to try the second option with sleeves and the tie. I decided to use the beautiful Liberty of London Growing Fonder Print. I love the detail of this pattern and the fine lines. If you look closely you will also see there are metallic accents here and there. It’s just gorgeous. I decided to do some extreme pattern matching for this tunic. When I was sewing this, I was also watching the Great British Sewing Bee and imagined Patrick Grant judging my work. He’s a tough cookie, but he would appreciate these fine details. This really inspired me to push myself! I was very careful to centre the pattern on the front , the back and also each of the sleeves. I cut each sleeve separately and made sure the pattern was identical on each one. I also made sure that the pattern lined up as you go around the top from front to sleeve to back. To be extra extreme, on the back, I carefully calculated so that the pattern matched up in the centre from the back yoke to the back bodice, ACROSS THE SEAM! No one will ever know, but even the facing on the front neckline perfectly matched the piece it was sewn to. This took a fair bit of time, but I really enjoyed the challenge.
The one little snag I ran into was just a result of me not fully reading the pattern. When you sew in the sleeves for this, you use a smaller seam allowance of 3/8″ rather than the 5/8″ that you use for the rest of the pattern. When I figured this out, it really made a difference on how the sleeves fit!
I love the drama of this pattern! When you wear it, the way the back flows out and the way the back hem curves down just feels so fancy and fun!
I’m collecting all my Me Made May photos here and I’ll be posting lots of new garments for the rest of the month!
Victory Patterns : Roxanne
Liberty of London Tana Lawn Cotton in Susanna
I have had the pleasure of watching Victory Patterns emerge from dream to reality in the last couple years. When Kristiann Boos, one of the workroom’s instructors, told me she wanted to start a pattern company I was absolutely thrilled! Kristiann’s sense of design and style is so unique, I knew right away that she would produce patterns that were unlike others out on the market. She started out with PDF patterns and finally this year launched printed patterns. Kristiann’s patterns are lovely to work from. They are clearly written & illustrated, plus beautifully packaged.
The Roxanne pattern is a beginner level pattern. I chose to make the sleeveless version, mostly for the amazing collar detail. I went with the dark navy Susanna print from Liberty. The pattern was very simple, with the most complex part being that collar. The design of the collar is very clever and I got huge amounts of satisfaction sewing it. Once you’ve completed the collar, the rest of the top flies together. The top has a lot of volume, there are pleats that fall from the yoke at the back. With the right fabric, such as the Liberty Tana Lawn this volume creates a gorgeous silhouette and movement with the high/low hemline. I love that this top feel very elegant and dressy. I can’t wait to try a version with sleeves next.
This is the second Victory Patterns pattern that I’ve tried. I made the Hazel first, but still need to photograph it now that the weather has cooled down enough for long sleeves.
See all the Victory Patterns here & see the Roxanne pattern here.
Lizzy House ‘Constellations’ fabric
This dress was made earlier this summer when Lizzy House was in town. Lizzy was here for ten glorious days teaching classes at the workroom, plus living and working at The Sewing Factory. Lizzy explains The Sewing Factory perfectly here. Basically, The Sewing Factory is a team of three comprised of Katherine, Lizzy and I. It’s what we love to do best, which is to be together and sew everything we can.
You can see all our adventures together in photos here.
You’ve seen this Simplicity pattern before in many versions. This won’t be the last, it’s just too good. I knew I needed to have a Constellations dress using this pattern since it’s my idea of a perfect dress and Constellations is my idea of a perfect fabric line. And I got to fussy cut some adorable fabric covered buttons for it! This dress is a dream. And it’s blue. I’ve made a lot of blue clothes this summer. You’re about to see them come your way as I’m photographing them slowly.
Speaking of blue. I just got some Chambray for a skirt. It will probably be made with this Simplicity pattern. To add to the 2215 collection that I’m creating. I think Chambray is the fabric of the season. I am falling in love with it for clothing projects and I love that it’s coming out in other colours besides blue. We just got some Chambray at the shop yesterday and we’ve got even more on order for the fall!
I also wanted to introduce you to Ashley! I had the pleasure of meeting Ashley in person this summer, when she visited the workroom. She was sweet enough to drop by to meet me at the shop while she passed through town, as she is all the way from California. She has been sewing up a storm of beautiful clothes that has got me inspired these days and I think you’ll love them too.
Hoodie pattern by Guy Latulippe
Alice’s Garden : Liberty of London Linford Fleece
As soon as September arrived, the temperature at night seemed to drop down to chilly. I’ve been enjoying throwing on my cozy new hoodie for my night walks with Maisy. Making a hoodie has been on my wish list for a long time, so I was thrilled when Guy told me he had a hoodie pattern that he had designed.
The first Hoodie class was held as a day camp in August. Day camps at the workroom are one of my favourite things!
Let’s talk about the fabric first. This Liberty of London fleece is incredible. Not only is it a cotton fleece printed with a gorgeous Liberty print, but it also so thick and soft. We had received two prints (Manning & Alice’s Garden), just in time for the Hoodie class. This print is called ‘Alice’s Garden’ and I just know it will cheer me up in the winter months when I am missing my garden.
I’m always excited to demystify basic pieces of clothing like the t-shirt and underwear. We sewed the hoodie up on a regular sewing machine and used the serger as we went along to finish the seams. I usually will do all my serging at the start before I sew, but for this project it made sense to serge the seams together as each step was sewn and then they got top stitched down. I used a light shade of mauve for my sewing and did a double line of stitching for all my top stitching. Little details like that make me pretty happy. But my most favourite detail on this hoodie is that I did a pretty great job of pattern matching the pocket. I’ve had a lot of practice pattern matching my Wiksten Tank pockets, so this one was a piece of cake!
All the hoodies made in class were so beautiful. Each one different and very professional looking. Guy talked to us about variations on the pattern, so I think my next version will have a zip front. The fall session of the Hoodie class starts soon and I can’t wait to see the next round of hoodies.
The Staple Dress : pattern by April Rhodes
Innocent Crush voile (Maybe print) by Anna Maria Horner
photographed near the Humber River
I’m giving myself a challenge for the month of June. I’m going to focus on finishing projects. For the first part of this year I’ve been all about starting projects. If I was inspired by a quilt or dress or anything, I just went ahead and started it. The constant feeling of a new project is amazing, but I’ve realized that I should balance that with a month of finishing. The challenge has a hash tag, #junefinish and you are welcome to join me! You can follow my finishes on Instagram or Twitter and please post your own #junefinish projects too! As of today I’ve finished 5 things this month! It has felt so satisfying to finish up new projects and older projects. My Staple Dress was my #1 finish for the month of June!
I started The Staple Dress a few weeks ago. It was all cut out and just needed to be sewn. (There is a sizeable pile of cut out clothing in this state right now) This is a simple pattern that doesn’t take much to finish off. It’s great for a beginner sewer and very satisfying for an experienced one. I was able to sew it up in one night with some finishing details in the morning. There are two variations on the hem and I went with the drop hem. It seemed a bit dressier to me and also just something different. I really like it!
Many people have made theirs and skipped the shirring to wear it with a belt, but I’m the opposite. I love shirring and never wear belts. I am really loving the weight of the voile with this pattern. I’m planning on making a couple more of these dresses and they will definitely be either voile or Liberty Tana Lawn.
This dress has so many things going for it. It’s super cute, very comfy and sews up very fast. Pretty much the perfect combo. I just read that April will be releasing a couple new patterns soon and I can’t wait to see what they are!
You can find both the Staple Dress & the Date Night Dress by April in our shop!