Summer Sewing Gets Going

Let’s just pretend that it hasn’t been ages since my last actual sewing post and get straight into what I’ve actually made in 2017. Although not much has been blogged, I have been busy travelling to Australia for classes with Susan Khalje (a reflective post is in the pipeline), working on some serious up skilling and making undies. Oh, and I did move countries. But for now, let’s focus on two recent makes, both patterns from Ann Normandy: the Slip Dress and the Shift Dress.

The Slip Dress

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Described as ‘couture quality, A-Line dress cut just above the knee’ this dress appears simple. Although there is nothing technically challenging about this garment (no welt pockets made from the finest mohair collected by elves at midnight from the underbellies of baby Angora goats on the steppes of Siberia), finishing techniques ensure a very polished garment both inside and out. All seams are flat felled so you could wear this inside out and not have people stare at you awkwardly, thinking you’d gotten dressed in the dark. Or dressed by your small child. Always a bonus.

As my linen was on the finer side I decided to underline with a cotton batiste, slip stitching the hem onto the underlining for a truly invisible finish. And, because I think I know better that the person who designed the pattern, I chose to only turn the neckline and armscye seam allowance twice instead of the recommended three times. I should have listened as it would have given just that little more room to pull it over my head (why do I go off like that?) Next time I will try it turned three times.

As I like my dresses to hit at a certain part of my leg, I also lengthened the pattern by a few inches (I am only 164 cm) so it may be worth checking the length before you cut out your fabric.

Another nice feature of these patterns is that they can be cut against the grain, using the selvedge as the hem. As this went right against what I had been taught by my great sewing teacher (Mum), I wrestled with this decision and ultimately  cut on the grain as I wasn’t up to experimenting as Ann suggested.

The fabric is from Linen Club, a store I originally discovered in Oman, purchased at a random store in Malaysia with my two new sewing friends Gerda and Betty. This was my first time shopping with my new colour palette and both fabric enablers thought the colour was nice on so I purchased it.

Overall, a lovely, slim fitting summer dress that is perfectly suited to the tropics . I can see myself wearing this all the time over the summer and hope to make at least one more before I head to Croatia again in June. And, because I believe in offering public service announcements… this dress allowed me to defend myself from a random spot of street boxing and still look totally collected. Awkward but totally collected 🙂

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Now, on to The Shift Dress

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Here getting it’s first outing two hours after completion, this is my second make from Ann. Featuring a great neckline and beautiful square armscyes, this version is also made from Linen Club linen, purchased in Muscat, Oman over a year ago. This linen is a little heavier than my Slip Dress version above so I did not underline it but I did cut it against the grain, running the hem along the selvedge. I also chose to topstitch in a contrasting thread to highlight the details. Sometimes I think I’m really clever and then I see the work on those Russian bloggers and want to go hide in a dark hole forever, not touching my machines again!

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Once again, flat felled seams were used throughout garment construction. For some reason I found the instructions really difficult to follow. The accompanying black and white images were not helpful as the lack of colour made distinguishing details difficult. At one point I put the instructions aside and ‘thought like Ann’ to complete the garment. I think I did her justice 🙂

So, some action shots.

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I love the neckline and other square details but think it’s a little big overall. As I made up the smallest size I have no option but to consider taking in the side seams a smidge next time.

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Now that I have made up two of Ann’s patterns, I would definitely recommend them to you and plan to make another version of each one very soon. Until then…

Chat quietly amongst yourselves.

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