Grey jersey Vesper

Remember how back in the beginning of summer I made a maxi dress in grey polkadot jersey? And I wasn’t sure if it was really “me” because it was stretchy and comfy and whatnot? Ok so the epilogue to that post was that I wore it ALL.SUMMER.LONG. Seriously, it has been one of my most successful makes in terms of usage.

Here it is on a girls weekend to Berlin:

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Photo by Katherine Leedale Photography, ecstatic grin/gurn model’s own.

Fastforward to now. It’s been a lovely warm autumn, which put me in the mood for another maxi. Whilst browsing for a suitable pattern I remembered that when I won a pattern from SBCC (way back in June), I held off because the ladies told me they were about to release a maxi – Vesper. A quick email and she was all mine.

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The Vesper dress has a pleat at the front and crossover straps at the back. Construction is straightforward, the instructions are great and I sewed it in a few hours over a weekend.

Fabric-wise I used a lovely grey jersey that I ordered a while back from Guthrie & Ghani in the UK. Side note – lovely Lauren wins best customer service award in my book for her super-speedy and helpful email replies!

I’ve learned that the nice thing about knits is you’ve got a lot of flexibility with the fit. I kept trying it on as I put it together and making small adjustments – lowering the neckline and pulling in the side seams a little.

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Since going underwear-free is never an option for me (and visible straps are a pet peeve), I also added a little band across the back. It’s not usually visible unless I turn in certain ways or, say, adopt an awkward tilted airplane pose, what?

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This time I’m making no pretences, it’s a little baggy, a lotta comfy and I love it. Grey jersey dresses are clearly my jam. I’m already plotting another.

Siobhan xx

Dotted Out and About Dress

A couple of weeks ago summer arrived in Geneva in a big way. It was suddenly super hot and sticky – the kind of weather where you just want to lie in the shade and eat icecream all day. As such, planned projects with sleeves and/or structure got unceremoniously shoved to one side in favour of something light and cool and comfy.

Enter the “Out and About” dress from Sew Caroline, a simple knit dress with a gathered skirt, paired with a lovely soft cotton jersey from Grünemeter – light grey with multicoloured irregular dots that look like they’ve been splodged on by hand. YUM.

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Construction-wise there were definitely some good moments with this project – I discovered that my machine has a “stretch stitch” (the one that looks like a lightening bolt), which was exciting. I used this with my walking foot for all the seams, and it worked well. The seams stretch but feel strong at the same time. I also used clear elastic for the first time to stabilise my shoulder and waist seams. This was easier to insert than I was expecting, is nice and thin and gives a reassuring firmness to the seams, I’ll definitely use that again.

BUT this was only my second ever attempt at working with knit fabric and I would be lying if I said I didn’t struggle a bit. Gathering the skirt was frankly a bit of a nightmare. For some reason Lady Janome just did not want to play with the jersey on a long straight stitch. I tried re-threading, I tried changing needle, I tried fiddling with the tension, but it just kept jamming… low point, paused for watermelon… I finally found through trial and error that if, when it jammed, I lifted the foot and gently tugged the fabric out/loosened everything back up, I could continue sewing (without cutting the thread) and still pull up the gathers at the end. Small victories.

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The pattern is deliberately loose-fitting so I deviated from the construction notes, checking the fit on the bodice before attaching the skirt. I took the waist in by 1cm at this point, lowered the neckline and added a couple of darts to better accommodate the girls / eliminate armhole gaping. However, once I attached the skirt I felt the bodice was still too loose and so took another 2cm off each side at the waist. I also followed Caroline’s additional tutorial to make the dress sleeveless, binding the arms with self fabric and topstitching with a double needle. M came in at this point and said – “hey it looks just like my tshirt”, which I’m chalking up as a win.

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Ultimately I’m happy with how the dress turned out. I’m not sure that the shape is as flattering as the fit-and-flare silhouettes I’m used too, but for a breezy weekend dress I think it does just fine. And it is COMFY – like secretly wearing your pajamas to the supermarket comfy. And when the weather is this hot, that’s a huge plus.

Siobhan xx