One of my 2017 Make Nine patterns is the Gigi dress by Olive Ann Designs. I made this for little niece Greta and was very happy that she chose to wear it for a family lunch at our house.
The back of the dress – which is what attracted me to the pattern – is gorgeous. Pleats give fullness, and the bow is so pretty.
I was a bit worried about the front. The high neckline and short sleeves didn’t look very comfortable, but they are needed because of the low back. Greta seems to like it though, and the only problem is that the dress becomes quite short when she lifts her arms. Leggings or little shorts solve that problem, and I’ve made both for her from this bright pink jersey.
She has worn this with a little denim jacket over the top, and it looked adorable – she’s a stylish girl.
A pattern for a matching doll’s dress is included but that looked far too fiddly to make and play with. Maybe when Greta is older!
Ahh, little girls’ summer dresses. I’m planning a few different styles for tiny niece this year.
This one is the Purl Bee Smocked Dress & Shirt pattern which I received for free when I signed up for their newsletter.
I think I did some smocking at school, and it was fun to try it again. I say fun – I decided to use polka dots rather than the gingham they recommend, and it took a few tries to get it right.
It’s a lovely pattern. The smocking produces beautiful pleats at the neckline and a gently gathered full skirt. The binding finishes the arm edge and extends to form straps.
The only thing I will change next time is the width of the binding. I found 1 5/8″ rather narrow and fiddly, and the inside isn’t as neat as I would like. I think making the binding a little wider would make the dress much faster to sew.
On Monday, I’ll show you how I did the smocking on polka dots. It’s very easy but might save you some time if you’d like to try it!
This Farhi dress has been a favourite for years, and the top was looking rather worn. The skirt still looked good though and it is such a beautiful pinky red, so I thought I’d try to save it.
I removed the side zip and cut off the top. Then I lengthened the remaining zip slit and inserted a skirt length zip. There wasn’t enough fabric in the top to make waist facings, so I used a wide piece of bias binding. I sewed this to the top (right sides together), folded it over and machined it down.
And an added extra – a beautiful Ghost dress which I’ve had for a couple of years and not worn. It’s a very floaty, slightly sheer dress, but it had elbow length sleeves which meant it didn’t work for hot weather or holidays. So I took a deep breath and cut them off!
After a lot of thought, I decided to leave a centimetre of sleeve attached, which I folded over twice then handstitched to the inside. This meant I kept the original topstitching on the edge. Here’s the inside.
And I’m very pleased to report that I have already worn it, for our wedding anniversary dinner!
I’m going to a very posh ‘do’ in October – it’s a dinner at our local city museum. The perfect opportunity to sew a cocktail dress, but I couldn’t find a pattern that I wanted to make. Until I saw this one – has your heart ever skipped a beat over a pattern?!
The neckline, the draped skirt. Sigh. And it is in my bust size! Er, yes, it was expensive, but not outrageously so, and I thought I could always resell it. (PS there is no way I am selling it!).
I’ve resized a vintage pattern before, and found it a long process. Having the right bust size make things so much easier. The waist and hip were only slightly too small, so I made the adjustments at the side seams. This is my first muslin and it fits! (My dummy is smaller than me. I see her as a challenge. One day we’ll be the same…).
I love the shape of the neckline. It’s sexy but still modest. Also the way the strap joins to the slanting edge.
The hardest bit to show you is the front draped panel of the skirt. The skirt underneath is straight, then this panel is attached at one side and at the waist. It floats when I walk and looks so pretty.
I haven’t got the drape quite right. There are no printed markings and I need to go back to the original pattern to check the position of the markings, which are just holes. I think I missed a few.
My cocktail dress will be in midnight blue silk, and I’m planning to make a version in some black linen viscose first, to wear on holiday.
I need to do some research into boning. The dress doesn’t need it to stay up, but I imagine it will give a better fit? Do you have any experience in using boning? It must be 25 years since I last used it for college ball gowns!