This weeks Crafty Bloggers' Club post is from Emily. You can find more of her makes on Instagram @mossy.makes
Hi, I’m Emily and I’ve been sewing for about a year now, having inherited a sewing machine that is considerably older than myself, when I got married!
I’ve used Crafty Sew & So patterns before: I received the patterns for the ‘Pintuck Cami’ and ‘Pyjama Bottoms’ in the Sew Haley Jane December box and they are firm favorites in my household. So when Kim asked me to have a think about what I wanted to make, I knew I wanted to make a garment. Kim suggested the ‘Ready to Party Dress', and initially I was skeptical, because making myself party-wear has not been something I’ve done (I started sewing properly as a lockdown project – like many of us I imagine) and, frankly, my wife Sarah is nine months pregnant and I may never attend a party again! However, I like a challenge and a dress-up! Now it’s completed, Sarah and I are planning an afternoon tea getaway where I can wear it (as soon as we can get someone to come and babysit our soon-to-be-born little one). Then someone we know needs to get married so I can wear it and utilise its nursing function!
This 'My Handmade Wardrobe' pattern comes with an adorable booklet with loads of detail – I loved it! There is also a make-a-long on their blogpost which was great when I needed a bit more detail or larger photos.
I made my life much more complicated than it needed to be with this pattern, so thank goodness Freya suggested I used a cotton material (so at least the fabric was a breeze to work with). I’m not going to lie, when they suggested making a garment in craft cotton I wasn’t sure as I’ve only ever used it for bags and face-coverings, but this premium craft cotton was luxurious. It’s fantastic to work with and so soft, also (and I hope you agree) it hangs fantastically when it’s on. This design is called Green Savannah Sunset Animal Soup. It seems silly but I feel expensive when I wear this dress!
How did I make my life more complicated? Well, I only chose to make it into a nursing dress! My wife is pregnant, but I am inducing lactation so that we can co-nurse. This is going quite successfully so it looks like I will be able to nurse our little one. I’m therefore totally in the mindset of ‘make all new garments nursing friendly’. Although, in the words of my Mum ‘oh Em, I just lifted my blouse up!’.
I originally thought of putting the full length zip into the front instead of the back so that the whole top could be easily opened, but my wife suggested something she’d seen in ready to wear garments: placing zips into the princess seams. Freya thought this could work and cunningly suggested putting the zip three inches down from the armhole, which worked really well. Having put in about three invisible zips in my life, putting two into princess seams was complicated. Thank goodness I made a toile! All I can say is ‘press, press, press!’. Since I had two zips in the front, it seemed unnecessary to put one into the back bodice, and the top fitted on me easily without it. (I also find a back zip difficult without someone there to help you put it on). So, I cut the back piece on the fold and moved on, only realising later, when attaching the skirt to the bodice, that I’d not taken out the seam allowance, so I quickly put some darts in the bodice at the waistband (in using the darts from the skirt panels as a guide).
Well! It then seemed bizarre to add a zip down the back of the skirt, if it didn’t run the whole way up the back. So, I put one into the side seam, but low, starting below the zip. My wife had a right laugh watching me try to wriggle out of the dress. We unpicked the zip and inserted it again but higher up (I used the "insert a zip with the seams closed" method – mostly because I like to unpick the middle seam and shout ‘free the zip’!).
And voila! It was finished! This pattern is gorgeous: it’s not too complicated, has some lovely delicate features, and looks fantastic on. I cannot wait to make all the iterations of it. I also loved making it and thinking about how to explain my ideas in this blog post, because it forced me to take time over each step, press everything and baste and check fit before I sewed things up properly. Inevitably, the garment was better for it. Lesson learnt – take more time over my makes and don’t rush the process!
Things I’ve been inspired to make next:
I really love the bodice, and when I tried it on before putting on the skirt I thought how nice it would look as a top, so I might make one of those next. To hack it I’d just make the bodice a bit longer (which might take me a bit of thinking – especially with those gorgeous princess seams)
I have a bit of fabric left so I might use it to make a pair of dungarees and a bucket hat for the little one.
Ironing all those princess seams made me realize I definitely need a taylors’ ham. I have a bit of remnant wool from a cape I made, so I might use that to make myself one!
“Crafty Bloggers' Club Contributors are given products and materials to test from Crafty Sew & So. We hope you enjoy their honest and impartial reviews of the products. All opinions are their own.”