I have a preference for the Indie patterns when it comes to sewing but sometimes a have to turn to the Big 4 if I have a particular make in mind.
I recently picked up 2 contrasting fabrics from Lamazi fabrics and knew that I wanted a pattern that would compliment them both.
Danish Design – True Beauty Wine Cotton Jersey
After a little research I came across Vogue V9169 and thought that style A which is a short sleeve tee shirt would be perfect.
My first gripe with the pattern is the sizing – the pattern can be purchased as either Extra Small to Medium or Large to Extra Large, this would be fine if we all fitted into just one size but in reality this is not likely. For my body measurements (34/32/38) I needed the medium size for my bust and hips but the large size for my waist. I have had this problem before with some dungarees I made using a Simplicity pattern and find it so frustrating having to re-size the pattern pieces for my waist. I am pretty sure it is luck rather than judgement that on both occasions the patterns have worked out.
All that said I am very happy with how the pattern turned out and think it looks really good in my fabric choices. I did sew up a toile first (see below) just to test the size out and did find that I was able to take it in at the waist anyway so maybe I could have got away with just sewing a straight medium size.
The pattern itself is fairly easy to sew up although again I do think that the instructions over complicate things. For my toile I followed the instructions but for my final make I did a couple of things differently which I will mention below:
The instructions leave adding the sleeves until towards the end which means the side seams have already been sewn up and you have to add the completed sleeve. I find it far easier to add the sleeves on the flat before stitching up the side seams and can see no reason for not doing this and it means that you then get a nice side seam all the way down from the edge of the sleeve to the hem.
I also attached the bottom to the top part of the top differently. In the instructions you completely finish the top section with all the top stitching before joining the bottom section and then top stitching again this means there are a lot of rows of stitching unless you are very accurate and can run exactly over your original stitch line (I am not). I turned the top section and basted into place and then gave it a good iron. I then joined the bottom section as per the instructions and then basted the top to the bottom section, gave a good press again and then top stitched with a double needle. I found this worked well for me and looked much better than my first attempt. I should also point out that in my first attempt I stitched the sections together in the wrong place (my mistake). If you look at the photo of the floral top you can see the stitching line is too close to the edge and therefore does not give the lapped affect that is intended.
Overall I am pleased with how things turned out and love the fabric that I have used I still prefer the Indie patterns though and think they will always be my first choice.
I thought I would share with you my latest make. I visited the NEC for a sewing show back in March and picked up the most gorgeous cotton/linen blend fabric which I knew I wanted to make a shirt dress with. I had a shirt dress style in mind so then it was a case of searching Instagram for something that would fit the bill, I wanted something with a fuller skirt which only buttoned on the bodice. I eventually came across the Marilla Walker Isca Dress.
This is not a pattern company that I was familiar with and on checking out her site the paper version of the Isca was sold out. It was available as a pdf and although I do now use pdfs (they really aren’t as scary as I used to think) I just have a preference towards a paper pattern. Luckily for me I put a search into Ebay and one popped up on there which I duly sent for.
The paper pattern comes with a nice instruction booklet and very good quality paper printed pattern pieces. There are 2 style options available – A is a traditional style shirt dress, B is described as a drape front dress and looks more like a wrap dress from the line drawings. Sizing goes from bust measurement of 31 inches to 48 inches and waist measurements of 24 inches to 41 inches. I used my body measurements (36/32/38) so graded from a size 4 on my bust up to a size 5 on my waist. My waist fell between the size 5 and 6 but looking at the finished measurements I was confident that the smaller size would be fine. I made a wearable toile first, not something I usually do but I didn’t want to risk ruining my lovely fabric.
The toile is pictured above and is made from a cotton that I picked up in the sales at Hobbycraft. At only £2 per metre it was a bargain and turned out much better than I expected (floral isn’t a fabric I go for normally). From the toile I only needed to make a couple of adjustments – I took the side seams in by 1/2 inch and shortened the length by 5 inches, I then adjusted my traced pattern accordingly. The pattern is described as being Intermediate level but the instructions really are excellent – some of the best I have come across so a confident beginner could definitely give it a go. The instructions even include details of different seam finishes – Lapped Seam, French Seam and Plain Seam. There is also an in depth explanation of how to do a small/full bust adjustment.
The front bodice is in 2 parts which helps to give some shape over the bust area and the shoulder seams include a shoulder reinforcement which gives a really nice finish to the inside shoulder seam. I found the instructions for adding the collar very easy to understand. It was a different method than I have used before but much easier to follow and one I will use again. I did use the wrong seam allowance on the collar of my toile, my fault because the instructions clearly state that it is a 1cm allowance here not the usual 1.5cm like the rest of the pattern. The toile still turned out fine though and I only became aware of the error when I made my final garment and realised that the collar stand was wider than on my toile. The skirt construction was very straight forward; the hardest part for me was adding the gathers which is a technique I find tricky at times but it’s just a case of taking your time and trying to spread the gathers out evenly.
I did have a little trouble with the button holes, I practised on some scrap fabric and that went fine but when I came to adding them to my placket when I got to the third button the bobbin ran out (I should of checked beforehand) and then the stitches got a little bunched up. For the buttons I was undecided what to go with; I recently bought several packs of buttons from a vintage charity shop in Leicester and all of them would have worked so in the end I decided to go for a mixture of 2 of them and alternated them along the placket. I think they add a really nice finishing touch.
I would definitely recommend this pattern if you are looking for a shirtdress and I am tempted to give the drape fronted version a go next time.
I have also uploaded a video review over on YouTube where you can check the dress out in the flesh so to speak: