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All words + images courtesy of Tugba, 2021.
For my first make as Ambassador, I knew immediately it would have to be the Wattlebird Dress. The simplicity of the shape and neckline of the dress had me lusting over it for a few years now, so I was chuffed to finally get my hands on it!
Pre Sewing Adjustments
Before making the dress version, I wanted to gauge the fit and sizing of the pattern so made a wearable toile top out of a fabric remnant from my stash. For this version I cut a straight size 6 and made no adjustments. After complete it, I found that the bodice was a little too loose and wide on me so I made amendments to the pattern accordingly. As the pattern is super simple and doesn’t have much in the way of complicated shaping or seams, I simply took an inch out of the width of the front bodice. I then shortened the darts slightly so they didn’t look strange and graded it back into the bottom half of the dress, which I cut 2 sizes bigger to account for my hips.
I had 3 metres of a lovely yellow slub linen that I bought from the London Stitch festival, pre covid. Initially intended for a jumpsuit, I eventually went off the idea as I thought the colour would be too much as a whole jumpsuit, but thought it could make the perfect little summer dress - cue the Wattlebird Dress! The slub linen was more of a medium weight, unlike my toile version which was made out of a light weight cotton. I thought the linen would hold the shape of the garment better, while also being nice and breathable. It’s also thick enough not to be transparent in any way, despite its light colour.
The simplicity of the Wattlebird Dress shape gave me the opportunity to attempt something I’ve wanted to do for a while and that’s to create a repeat print fabric using lino blocks that I carved myself, from my own designs. I was keen on adding a 70’s inspired floral block print design on the fabric to elevate it further as I thought it would lend itself well to the style of the dress. You can find details on this on my blog here.
As I was already one wattlebird cami in, I thought the dress would be a breeze to make up, but I still came across a few fit hurdles along the way!
Everything was fine up until I had stitched the side seams together. I decided to add another pocket to the dress to mirror the existing one, but once I sewed the sides seams together, the dress still looked far too big, despite all of my adjustments. I think the Wattlebird is supposed to be quite a relaxed fit, but because I like to wear my summer dresses without a bra, I wanted the top to sit a little more snug at the bust. As I had omitted the centre back seam in favour of cutting the back out as one piece (minus the seam allowance), taking the size out of the centre back was not really an option. The idea of unpicking and redoing 2 side seams with pockets was not so appealing to me, so instead I decided to add 2 darts in the back piece and take the dress in a little at the side seams too, removing a total of 8cm! I’m happy to report that I can now comfortably wear it braless, so mission accomplished! The adjustments and grading out also resulted in a more A line dress which lent itself quite well to the 70’s inspired floral block print.
If I were to make it up again, I would make adjustments to the back piece in addition to the front as I think there is a little too much fabric in the back and sides. I think this is also due to grading the sizing up 2 sizes at the hips, next time I’ll straighten the sides a little as I think this is adding to the excess fabric at the sides and back.
All in all, I'm super pleased with the outcome. I think the print, the fabric and the pattern really come together nicely. Despite the struggles with the fit, I’m happy with the end result and think I’ll get a lot of wear out of it - weather permitting of course!
THE FINCH BUTTON UP
All words + images courtesy of Tugba, 2022.
Having finished my first project as ambassador, I found myself in a place where I didn’t feel like I needed anything for myself, but with my partners birthday fast approaching, I knew which pattern I wanted to do next. My partner had requested a Liberty print shirt for his birthday, so the Finch Button Up fit the classic mens shirt brief perfectly!
I got him to choose his own fabric as I wanted it to end up as something that he liked and would actually wear. Lucky for me, he opted for an abstract geometric print that could (and would) hide a multitude of sewing sins!
Prior to selecting a size, I took my partners measurements and decided that the size small would work best. The pattern isn’t the quickest sew, as men’s shirts have quite a few technical details within them including plackets, cuffs and collar.
As I wanted this sewn up in time for my partners birthday and I didn’t leave much time for myself, I had quite a tight deadline to sew to. Speed sewing is not usually my style, I like to take my time and do things at a more leisurely pace. I find sewing to a tight deadline can suck the fun out of the sewing process for me, not to mention lead to some silly errors! One such mistake was cutting one sleeve on a different direction of the print. Luckily, despite the fabric print technically having a direction, that direction isn’t very obvious at a quick glance. Phew!
When it came to cutting out, pattern matching the front of the shirt was one area that I took my time over, as I really wanted it to be spot on. However, despite taking care to do this, what I didn’t account for was the button wrap, so it ended up off by a few centimetres anyway! Again, luckily it doesn’t look too ghastly due to the forgiving nature of the print.
One thing I would have liked to do had I had more time was to toile this pattern up as me and my partner both face the same issue - our petite stature means that clothes come up big on us! I had this in mind when working on it, but despite taking approximately an inch off of the length of the front and back pieces and the sleeves, the shirt still looks a little on the roomy side. The shoulders in particular could have done with reducing by an inch and the sleeves shortening further.
The main thing is Tom is super pleased with his gift and I did manage to get it sewn in time! Plus now I know what changes need to be made for next time - if there will ever be a next time!