Top 5 of 2017: the misses & the highlights

Following Gillian in her Sewing Top 5 series, next up are: my misses and highlights of 2017.

sewing top 5 misses highlights

It’s a bit strange to make a podium for your misses, isn’t it? You don’t want to honor them but would rather forget them. On the other hand, you learn something from your blunders. That makes them a kind of necessary evil for improving your sewing skills. In no particular order are here 5 of my misses:

1 The Bridgetown backless dress from Sew House SevenThe Bridgetown backless dress from Sew House Seven

What went wrong? First, I cut the sleeves cross grain because I thought the stripes would give a nice effect. On the contrary, this made them pop up instead of falling on the arm. Second, the fabric was somewhat too stiff to give the dress the needed drape. Third, there was not enough ease around the hips. I should have looked better to the given finished measurements. I never wore it.
What can I do with it? Restyling it into another garment will be the only solution for this dress.

 

2. The Saunio Cardigan from NamedSaunio Cardigan Named

What went wrong? What was I thinking using a woven fabric when the pattern asked for a knit. It could have turned out ok if I’d made the arms a bit wider. Now they are at their narrowest. I wore it a few times but I’m not really comfortable in it.
What can I do with it? Perhaps I should make a belt for it like Jessica did. Otherwise, it is also going to the restyling pile.

 

3. The Carolyn Pajama DressCarolyn Pajamas Dress

What went wrong? This Carolyn Pajama Dress hack was supposed to be my entry for the ‘Sewtoghetherforsummer challenge.’ Unfortunately, I didn’t reach the deadline of 21st of June to finish it. Now, it is still laying there on my WIP-pile.
What can I do with it? Finish it! It’s cut and I have all the needed notions.

 

4. The Skeleton PJ’s for my godsonSkeleton Fabric

What went wrong? I promised my godson PJ’s for his new year’s present but I only managed to finish the pants on time. Hence he received a PIP—Present in Progress. He triet them on and they were on the small side. I could solve this by putting a band on the side seams. I had also already cut the pieces for the top so probably these will be on the small side too. In fact, in the rush to get the present ready on time, I used a too small pattern for his measurements. I made some alterations on it but it was a lost cause. Now, almost a year later, he has grown more than 7 cm so the PJ’s are not usable anymore.
What can I do with it? Use the pieces for a PJ for a smaller child.

5. Turning my WIP’s in UFO’s

I started 2017 with 6 WIP’s—finished two— and I ended it with 4 UFO’S.

  • Duffel bag to use for pattern drafting class
    Started in September 2016
    I cut all the pieces and bought a zipper
  • Boxer shorts for my sons
    Started in September 2016
    I cut all the pieces and made a mistake: the front and the back have different colours from the same fabric!
  • Paxson for my son
    Started in December 2016
    Cut all the pieces
    I put the sleeves with the wrong side of the fabric up!
  • Hudson pants for my daughter-in-law
    I made 7 Hudson pants for my family’s New Year’s present. Unfortunately one for my daughter-in-law was too small.

What can I do? Finish all of them!!

 

sewing top 5 misses highlights

Life isn’t only about sewing! Or, is it? So here are my highlights of 2017.

 

1 Podere Santa PiaAbout ten years ago we bought a holiday home—Podere Santa Pia— in the South of Tuscany, Italy. It is our heaven on earth. Going there as much as my working schedule allows is truly a highlight of my life! More, I can also sew there and that makes this place even more of a paradise.
Every time we visit Podere Santa Pia, or we have friends or family visiting us we take a goodbye picture. You can see them all on Instagram with #ciaosSantaPia.

 

2 Spending time with my familyWe have three, now adult, children and I love them and their significant others to pieces. We installed a tradition to make pizza’s on Sundays, when we are at home. These are great nights.

 

3 Quiet days with friendsEnjoying a “quiet day” at the Martin Creed show at Museum Voorlinden.

We have a more than 35-year long during friendship with another couple. More than 15 years ago we decided to no longer give each other material gifts for birthdays. Instead we give each other time. We call this “our quiet day”, which we organize for each other several days a year. This can involve visiting an exhibition, or a historical place and have a nice dinner together. When this “quiet day” is in Podere Santa Pia (see highlight 1) the joy is double.

 

4 City trip to LondonMy husband had a business meeting in London last May and we took advantage of it to stay there for 4 days. It had been 15 years since we visited and we were excited about the renewed acquaintance with this fantastic city. Totaly new for me now was the discovery of the famous Goldhawk Road, THE fabric shop street. Strolling around in this street and, of course, buying fabric was the crowning point of this trip.

 

5 Nick Cave concertI don’t often go to concerts anymore. This year I only went to two: Bob Dylan’s Never-ending Tour and Nick Cave’s Skeleton Tree Tour. Both of these concerts were amazing but I was totally blown away by Nick Cave. This was so heartfelt and moving, and at the same time energetic and diabolic. The best concert I’ve ever experienced.

 

Next Up in the Sewing Top 5 series are: the reflections and the goals.

 

 

 

 

 

4 reasons to participate in the 2018 Secret Valentine Exchange

Woohoo!! The 2018 Secret Valentine Exchange is back. I love this “sewing-community- handmade-gift-swap” so much that I give you—again—4 reasons to participate. I wrote this blog post exactly one year ago for the 2017 Secret Valentine Exchange but everything is still true!

2018 Secret Valentine Exchange
Design made by Sanae

The  Valentine Exchange is a non-conventional handmade gift swap that occurs worldwide. It’s the fifth time it takes place and it is organized by two very creative and inspirational women: Sanae from Seattle (US) and Ute from Berlin (Germany). You can read more about the exchange on Sanae’s blog.
In 2016 I participated for the first time and it really was a heart-warming experience.

Here are my 4 reasons why you should participate as well!

1 You get to know new people

  • Like I said before, the hosts, Sanae and Ute, are amazing people to meet.
  • Then you meet your assignment: the person you have to make a gift for, in my case, that was Elle from the UK. I received an email from the organizers with some information and her IG-account for inspiration.
  •  And of course, at the end, you get to meet the person who made something for you. Last year Angela from Oakland was my Secret Valentine.

2 You get challenged

The purpose of the SVE is to make something yourself with barely any costs, to use materials from your stash. I learned that Elle’s favourite colours were: grey, navy, gold, and mustard. Luckily I had some scraps in my stash of these colours.

Grey and mustard scraps from my fabric stash

Then you have to let your creativity work. Elle is a great sewist, so I decided to make some pattern weights and a bag for putting them in. I used the open wide zippered pouch pattern from Noodlehead for it.

The pattern weights are filled with lentils
The open wide zippered pouch from noodlehead

I pimped it with some cuberdons, a famous sweet from Ghent, my hometown.

3 You get thrilled twice

  • It is very exciting to send a gift to someone and have to wait to receive their response, whether they liked it or not. Elle expressed her thanks extensively and still does, and every time I get warm and fuzzy all over again.
  • It is also very exciting to receive your gift, especially when it comes from overseas and when it is beautifully wrapped gift containing a block print of David Bowie on a white canvas bag. I use it all the time because I love it so much.

4 It is very easy to sign up
Just fill in the Google form. The deadline is  Wednesday, January 10th, so you have still a few days. You don’t need to have an online presence to participate. You just have to let your creativity work!

Are you participating?

** I also posted about my 2017 Secret Valentine Exchange **

What I sewed in 2017-Top 5: the hits

There are two reasons why I love a new year. One, you can start a lot of things with a clean slate, and two, you can look back and reflect on the past year.
Like last year I collected all my sewing data in an infographic and here below you see the result.

what I sewed 2017 sewing top 5 the hits

What do these numbers say?

In one sentence: I sew for women, using a pdf pattern from an Indie Pattern Designer. No drastic changes here in comparison with last year.

40 sewing projects

These 40 sewing projects are all finished ones. (I may have a few UFOs also). That’s one less than in 2016. Like last year I am a little disappointed with this number because I have this irrational idea in my head that I want to sew something new once a week. I knew I didn’t succeed at this because last September and October I totally lost my sewing-mojo.

 

Top 5 of 2017

I am joining Gillian from ‘Craftingarainbow’ for the #SewingTop5 of 2017. It’s already the 5th time she launches this annual blog series. Like she says: “It’s a chance to review what worked or didn’t, celebrate the highlights, reflect and get some goals for the next year.”  All the things I like about starting a new year.  So, here I start with my Top 5 Hits.

Top 5 Hits

My hits are sewing projects that gave me the most joy. This joy can be derived from various sources: from the pleasure of wearing it, the challenge of the sewing, the first time of tackling that particular technique, or the gratitude you receive from the person you sewed for…

Here are in random order my 5 Hits of 2017.

The Vogue DKNY V1235 Dress1. The Vogue DKNY  V1235 Dress
I sewed this dress for my daughter to attend the wedding of her best friend. I worked very hard on this dress: I made two muslins for it and executed my first FBA—that still sounds like a medical procedure ;). It was also the first time I sewed with border fabric. I love how the placing of the border I had in my head came out. My daughter received a lot of compliments on the dress and she loves wearing it. This makes me sew happy!

 

Toaster sweater 2 Sew House 72. The Toaster Sweater#2 from Sew House Seven
Thanks to the SewMyStyle project I sewed this Toaster Sweater and I am so glad I did. It was a quick sew with instant gratification. I wore it a lot and I would never have thought that I could pair it with a variety of clothes, old and new ones, like the A-line skirt and the plissé skirt.

 

Chari Dress Schnittchen Patterns3. The Chari Dress from Schnittchen Patterns
I was a pattern tester for Schnittchen Patterns new collection and though I am not a ruffle kind of girl, I’m glad I picked this pattern. It turned out that ruffles could be stylish for me.
This dress also proved to be the ultimate summer dress when we had temperatures around 40°C last August. So, no surprise here that I wore it A LOT!

 

restyle refashion4. The restyling of a men’s shirt
Wow! This project had several firsts for me! I never restyled/refashioned something before and I never hand-printed fabric. I succeeded in both new skills and I am very proud of the result. Extra exciting was that this project was for the First Restyling Exchange. So it was not for me but for Elisabete, who sent me her husband’s shirt and received a top for her. It was thrilling to wait whether the top would suit her and if she would like it. I got two yesses!

 

plissé skirt Lotte Martens5. My Plissé Skirt
I only sewed this skirt on Christmas Eve but it feels like my best sewing project of 2017. The fabric is exquisite and it took only half an hour to transform it into a skirt. More, I feel like a queen when I am wearing it. A fabulous project to finish my 2017 sew year.

Next up are  Misses & Highlights, and Reflections & Goals.

 

1 year of blogging

1 year of blogging

Exactly one year ago I pushed the publish button of this blog for the first time and herewith I entered the blogosphere.  Not that there weren’t enough sewing blogs already but I wanted to share my personal sewing stories. Although I was pretty nervous—would someone out there ever read it?—I also felt very excited. Especially when I received positive and supporting comments. So today I am celebrating 1 year of blogging and…

one year of blogging

 

1 year of blogging = 55 posts

I published 55 posts! That’s more than once a week.  While they are all sewing related, I don’t have a fixed format. Most of the time I write about the garments I sewed. Three of them: The Daphne Day Dress, The Chari Dress, and The Laneway Dress were pattern reviews and I loved the combination of sewing and reviewing.
In February I started the Eye-catchers series and this series worked really well. I got a lot of positive comments on it and it gave me heaps of sewing inspiration. I absolutely am going to write more Eye-catchers.
Writing a guest post for the Sewcialists blog was also a fun experience. After two years of inactivity  Gillian from ‘Crafting a Rainbow‘ reanimated this blog. I am glad that I could contribute with a piece about sewing bloggers who inspired me.

4 most read posts

I love some statistics so I consulted Google-analytics and found my most-read posts. The result doesn’t  surprise me.  In fact, they cover my different types of blog posts.

Eye-catchers #18

what I sew: one year blogging

 

The striped nanöo top

what I sew: one year blogging

The Laneway Dress

The refashion of a men’s shirt

What is not so good about having a sewing blog?
It’s time-consuming

Creating content, making and editing photos, this all takes a lot of time for me. Also because I am writing in English, which is my second language. Sometimes I think: “ Wouldn’t it be better to sew instead of blogging!”

 Feeling guilty

When I haven’t posted for more than a week I start to feel guilty. I tell myself that this feeling is unnecessary because blogging is a fun hobby and it should stay fun, not an obligation. Alex, from Sewrendipity, wrote about this guilt feeling too.

Still, I think the good vibes that blogging brings are stronger than the negative ones, so I am going to continue for at least another year!

 

Thanks

A huge thank you to my daughter for editing all of my posts, and to my hubby for taking almost all of the blog photos.

Maremma love
Mother & daughter in the Maremma, my favourite place on earth. Photo was taken by my husband.

 

And of course enormous thanks to you readers all over the world. Because without your support this blog would have no sense at all.

xxx

How to make a-made-in-a-blink festive skirt

Plissé Skirt

Two days before Christmas it looked like I wouldn’t have a new garment for the annual family Christmas dinner. That’s nothing new because last year I didn’t sew one either. Then I went to ‘De Stoffenkamer’ to buy some fabric for presents when this lovely black plissé caught my eye. Immediately, the image of a new skirt—a plissé skirt— popped up in my mind. More, this was going to be a very easy sew, so I bought the fabric right away.

A plissé skirt: how did I do it?

A panel of plissé fabric

Lotte Martens Fabric

The black plissé panel is from Lotte Martens, a Belgian fabric designer. In fact, it is a semi-plissé, which means the pleats aren’t as deep as in a regular plissé. The panel is hand printed with a Bremen gold design. This is Lotte Martens’ trademark. She hand prints all of her fabrics and you know that I love hand printing. Since long I yearned to sew something with a Lotte Martens fabric.

This plissé fabric also reminded me of my visit to the Fortuny Palace in Venice for the Biennale 2015. There I learned that the plissé was invented by Mariano Fortuny, a Spanish fashion designer who lived in Venice. He opened a couture house in 1906 and continued until his death in 1946. Fortuny rebelled against the fashionable styles that were popular during his time. Together with his wife, Henriette Negrin, who was an experienced dressmaker, he created the Delphos gown in 1907. The Delphos gown is a shift dress made of finely pleated silk weighed down by glass beads that held its shape and flowed on the body. The pleating was all done by hand and the process was kept secret. Today these dresses are seen as works of art and many survive, still pleated, in museums and personal collections. (Source: Wikipedia)

Delphos gown
On the left: Clarisse Coudert, who married Condé Nast, wearing a Fortuny tea gown. ca. 1909 – On the right: (Isadora) Duncans three adopted daughters (Lisa, Anna, and Margot) in Delphos dresses c.1920
One side-seam

The panel is 70 cm with a 150 cm fabric width. For this type of skirt, you don’t need a pattern. Double the fabric, right sides together, pin and stitch.

The elastic waistband

Measure a piece of broad elastic around your waist. Sew the ends together to create a circular form.

Divide the waistband and the skirt into four even parts and mark them with chalk and/or pins. Now pin the waistband to the skirt. I placed the side of the waistband with the mini ruffles atop the top of the skirt. This makes the stitching of the elastic easier.

The whole sewing process took me about 20 minutes.

Conclusion

We had to leave for the family party at twelve and I finished it at 11 o’clock! I love wearing it and I got a lot of compliments. Who doesn’t like that?!

Will I make more plissé skirts? When I find the right plissé fabric I probably will. Or maybe another type of garment like the Fortuny tea gown. Who knows?

My TNTs – Tried and True patterns

The November theme of the Sewcialists is TNT patterns.  One of the purposes of this theme is to show the patterns that you tried, several times, and that you love. You can either share them on Instagram with the #SewcialistTNT or tell about them on your blog. (At this moment you have still one day for it!)
So I dove into my sewing archives and discovered that I had several TNTs.

My first TNT patternTNT Tried’N’True patterns

In 2013, after a sewing hiatus of more than 20 years, the first pattern I tackled was the A-line skirt from the book  Allemaal rokjes from Mme ZsaZsa  (You can translate the title as A whole lot of skirts !).  After sewing this skirt I felt the joy of sewing something for myself that has a good fit. The feeling was so strong that I immediately sewed some more of the same skirt. For myself and for my daughter.

allemaal rokjesIt is always the same pattern but some have more flare and others have a box pleat at the front.

Why sewing a TNT pattern?
  1. You save time
    The fact that you have already a traced and maybe an adjusted pattern saves you a lot of time. This is a big win for me because I am tall and I have to lengthen all my patterns.
  2. You professionalize
    Every time you sew a pattern that you sewed before you improve your sewing techniques. Well, after sewing in about twenty blind zippers in your skirts, I can do it with my eyes closed ;).
  3. You can vary a lot
    You can use another type of fabric for the same pattern. You can make small changes like lengthening the sleeves or the hem. Small decisions that bring a lot of variety to your wardrobe.
  4. You have joy
    Sewing a garment more than once gives joy. When you are sewing it you know already that the fit will be good, how it looks on you and how you feel in it. That makes that you have a smile on your face while you are sewing it because you know the outcome will be great.

 

Look below for some patterns that are my TNTs. For me, a pattern is a TNT when I sewed it at least three times.

The Hudson Pants from True BiasHudson Pants True Bias

The most loved and worn comfort pants in our family. I sewed several for whole my family.

 

The Odette Dress from BluegingerdollOdette dress

I sewed all three of them in a knit fabric. That makes them secret pyjamas.  And you don’t have to sew in a zipper on when you use a knit fabric, win-win.

 

The Brooklyn Skirt from Seamwork

Same skirt and the same pattern with no changes, but three different types of fabric giving three different looks.

Ogden Cami from True Bias

The same pattern in three different lengths. This cami and dresses gave me so much joy in the scorching heat of last summer.

Future TNTs?

Will I sew some more variations of above TNT patterns?
I don’t have a crystal ball but it is possible. But, more likely it is that I create new TNTs.
And you? Have you some (favourite) TNT patterns?

 

 

 

The A-line skirt that brought my sewing mojo back!

After going on holiday, I think my sewing mojo went on a holiday as well. I don’t know how it happened but I didn’t touch my sewing machine for more than a month. I just couldn’t bring myself to sew. Then I remembered how long it had been that I sewed a skirt for myself. Although I have several WIP’s gazing at me I went for a new A-line skirt and it gave me back my sewing joy!
A-line skirt

The A-line skirt pattern

When I was wearing the Laneway Dress from Jennifer Lauden I noticed how nice the design and the fit of the skirt felt. I love the A-line and it has pockets. The decision to use this pattern for the skirt was quickly made.
The pattern didn’t need any modifications. For the dress, I had lengthened the skirt with 5 cm but I took it back to the original length. The fit was good so I let it fall on my natural waist.

The fabric

A few months ago I got a bag with fabrics from my sister-in-law; all from unknown origin and unknown composition. This small piece is probably upholstery fabric. It is medium weight and both sides are useable. I opted for the side with the dark background and blue-ish flowers. I love that it has some art nouveau vibe. The fabric feels a little rough that’s why I lined the skirt with some green lining that I had left from sewing my husband’s jacket.

I had only 1,10 m of this fabric so I could not place the front and the back piece in the same direction.

Luckily the line of the drawing is not that strong so you have to look really closely to notice that the front and the back are not in the same direction.

The sewing process

Sewing this skirt was easy and quick. Having sewed already more than 20 skirts the last years I had no difficulties putting this one together. However, for the pockets, I followed Jennifer Lauren’s method and it proved again to give very neat ones.

For the waistband, I used preformatted interfacing band, a handy prop. This band has three punched lines to make it easy to sew it on and fold it over.

A-line skirt
Lining, waistband, skirt and neat pocket. Also, that’s not a tuck between the lining and the waistband but a loose thread!

Conclusion

I love this A-line skirt. Not only for making me happy when I’m wearing it but also for bringing back my sewing mojo. Give me more of these kinds of skirts!

A-line skirt

Nina Leen, a fantastic photographer

Those of you who are also active Sewist of Instagram will know that September is SewPhotoHop month and how fun it is to participate.  For the others, I’ll explain. SewPhotoHop is an Instagram photo challenge where you post a picture inspired by a daily prompt. These prompts are always sewing related.

As one of the prompts was ‘Past Era’, I searched the internet for fashion photos from the late fifties—my favourite era—and I was taken by this telling picture. I was even more intrigued when I learned that the picture was made by Nina Leen, a so far for me unknown female photographer.  As I scrolled through more of her pictures I wanted to know more about her and share it with you.

Nina Leen
Plaid and checks are lined up at the Roosevelt Raceway pari-mutuel window, March 1958
Nina Leen, photographer
Nina Leen
Nina Leen, holding onto her Rolleiflex around her neck and holding up a tripod in her other hand, 1945.

Nina Leen was born in Russia (between 1909 and 1914; she always kept her age a secret). She emigrated to the United States in 1939. The first pictures she published in LIFE, in 1940, were from animals that she made at the Bronx Zoo. Then started a long cooperation as a contracted photographer with LIFE until the magazine closed in 1972. This means three decades of photos within a wide range of topics: animals, young people, American life, fashion, actresses, and the group of artists known as the Irascibles. Nina Leen died in January 1995.

***  If you want to see the Nina Leen pictures that are published in LIFE you can easily search the LIFE photo archive through Google with the following command: nina leen source:life.  ***

Nina Leen, photographs

What I like about her photographs is that they are often conceptual and even sometimes surreal. Her fashion images have a crisp, linear quality while her photographs of American culture are relaxed and without artifice.

Below I let her photos speak for themselves.

Nina Leen
From an April 20, 1942, LIFE story about proper skirt-hem lengths.
Nina Leen
Wedding Essay, June 1947.
Nina Leen
From the series: 420-Cotton Dresses—I love the photobombing man.
Nina Leen
Beach Fashions, April 4, 1950.
Nina Leen
Beach Fashions, April 4, 1950.
Nina Leen
Beach Fashions, April 4, 1950.
Nina Leen
Cover image for the Feb. 25th 1952 cover of LIFE Magazine “News In Gloves”.
Nina Leen
Tanned model is wearing striped denim bare-backed overalls with attached halter by Two Smart Girls, Miami, Florida, March 1955
Nina Leen
From the series: 477-Howe Fashion.
Nina Leen
Fashion at the Roosevelt Raceway, New York, 1958.
Nina Leen
Simone d’Aillencourt modeling a Traina-Norell dress, 1959.
Nina Leen
Nina Leen, fantastic photographer, with a fashion model, 1954

 

 

 

Eye-catchers #18

An eye-catcher is a person or a thing that attracts the attention

The online sewing community is very visual. So, every day I see heaps of sewing related images on social media and blogs. Some of them catch my eye because they make me think or they give me inspiration. Here, I want to share these eye-catchers with you.

DIY sewing

 

Follow below what caught my eye last August:

Catherine’s  V9253 dress

DIY sewing

This was the first V9253 dress I saw in my feed and this version by Catherine from Thread Snips left me speechless. She searched for the perfect fabric and ended up with silk noil. More, she dyed it herself in this gorgeous colour. The result is a stunning dress that fits her perfect! I should really start to dye my fabric too.

@mokosha_ll’s  dress

Burda Dress

There are sewists out there who can work wonders. @mokosha_ll squeezed this Burda Racer Tank Dress out of 0,8m (where 1,8m was suggested!) As usual she combined two different patterns for the bodice and the skirt. That’s something I want to do more.

Bianca’s caftan

Simplicity 5313

The summer of 2017 was certainly the summer of the caftan. A lot of them popped up in my feeds but look at the brilliant version Bianca sewed. She used a 1970s vintage pattern, Simplicity 5313. I totally adore how she played with her striped fabric. Very inspiring!

Beth’s striped dress

Burda dress

Beth proved that there is more than one way to play with stripes. Although I am not a big fan of striped garments— I only have a few myself — I like the way how the stripes are put here. The pattern is the Asymmetric Sheath Dress from Burda. Beth posted this on her Instagram although she made it a year ago. She herself is not that convinced of it but I find it beautiful.

The tribute blouse of Meris

M6436 Blouse

August 2017 was the Sewcialist’s Tribute Month. It was all about paying tribute to inspiring sewists. I wrote a post about it but I didn’t get to sewing a tribute piece. But a lot of sewists did. You can read all about it on the Sewcialist’s blog.
I was immediately taken by this blouse by Meris of The Fabric Alchemist. The pattern is M6436. Meris made a tribute to Morgan from Craft & Bee, who made not less of 10 versions of this pattern. What I found striking is that Meris used this beautiful fabric from a kimono gown of her husband’s grandmother. That makes it a double tribute and a total lovely project.

Did anything catch your eye recently?

Laneway Dress Jennifer Lauren

The Laneway Dress from Jennifer Lauren Handmade

A month ago Jennifer Lauren called out for pattern reviewers. She is the driving force behind Jennifer Lauren Handmade, a New Zealand Indie Pattern company. She wants to show people with a variety of body types wearing her designs. Hence the call out for reviewers. I volunteered and I’m happy that I am an official Laneway Dress Reviewer!

Laneway Dress Jennifer Lauren Handmade

The Laneway Dress pattern

I was pleased that there is an A0 format of the Laneway Dress pattern because I try to avoid assembling pdf-patterns. One of the advantages of the Laneway Dress is that it comes with different cup sizes (B, C, and D). To prevent unnecessary prints and costs Jennifer made a different page for every bodice pattern with the facing. So you have only to print the page with your cup size. This is very economical and much appreciated.
After grading between the 20 for the bust and 22 for the waist I cut out the pattern pieces. Here I found that the difference between the lines for the different sizes was not always that clear, especially on the curves. To distinguish them I marked them.

Laneway Dress

With 14 cm difference between my full bust and my under bust, I went for the B-cup and the fit was right.

The pattern is designed for an average height of 170 cm. Being 181 cm I lengthened the bodice and the skirt each with 5 cm. On the bodice pattern there are no lengthen/shorten lines but in the instructions is explained how you can do it.
I didn’t lengthen the skirt at the seam but I put 5 cm in the middle because I wanted to hold the original width of the skirt.

Laneway Dress Jennifer Lauren Handmade

The Fabric

I had this African Wax Print in my collections since September 2016. I bought it in Paris in the Sacre Coeur neighbourhood where there are a lot of great fabric stores. When I bought the fabric I just went for the colours. I didn’t notice that the balls were, in fact, all kind of sports balls! Although the Laneway Dress has a 1940s A-line silhouette which is not immediately associated with African Wax Print I went for it and it worked perfectly!
For the contrasting collar, I used some gingham from an old table cloth.

Laneway Dress Jennifer LaurenThis  100 %  African Wax was a dream to sew but very difficult to photograph. The colours change all the time. I also used the selvedge as a ‘natural’ hem.

The sewing process

This is the first pattern I sewed from Jennifer Lauren Handmade and it was a very satisfying experience. The accompanying instructions are detailed and illustrated with clear designs. The order of the steps is logical and there is nothing confusing.
A little different from my usual method was the way the pockets were sewn. It was described and illustrated in detail and they came out neat and smooth. For sure a technique that I will adopt now.
Laneway Dress Jennifer Lauren Handmade
What I also like in the instructions is that every step includes how to press the sewed seams.

Due to the grading between sizes, the fit was ok but could be more perfected. In hindsight, it would be better for me to grade between 18 for the shoulders and armscye, to 20 for the bust and 22 for the waist. Another minor mistake was that I had lengthened the bodice too much. I was able to take off 1 cm but for the future, I better lengthen the bodice only with 3,5 cm.

Laneway Dress Jennifer Lauren Handmade

Is this a quick sew?

I would not say that sewing the Laneway Dress is a quick sew. The sewing, however, is really satisfying. It is not difficult and after every step, you immediately see your progress. That makes that you are sitting there sewing with a smile on your face.

Laneway Dress Jennifer Lauren Handmade

Conclusion

I only finished my Laneway Dress today but I am positive that I am going to wear it a lot. It feels comfortable. The design of this dress is exquisite and the use of non-obvious fabric choice only confirms this. So, thank you, Jennifer Lauren, for letting be me a Laneway Dress Reviewer!