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Summer Dress Party - Catch up on Saturdays Event

By Lauren Guthrie
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Thank you so much to everyone who came along to our special Summer Dress Party on Saturday! And to those of you who sent lovely well wishes for the day on Twitter and Instagram.

I had such a brilliant time and it was really lovely to see so many ladies get ideas and inspiration for their own Summer Dress Project.

We had samples of all the Independent Dress Sewing Patterns that we stock – there were over 30 in total.

Those of you who are keeping up to date with the Summer Dress Season Blog posts will know that I’ve been making lots of dresses recently and I had made a few more especially for the day.

Rachael and Lucy (who some of you will know from the shop) and Layla (who teaches our dressmaking workshops) also helped me out by making dresses too.  It was great to see the different styles all together.

What Summer Party would be complete without lemonade and cake?!

As the lovely ladies arrived we were chatting them though the different patterns and helping to measure and decide what size would be best to make.

How cute are these little postcards we had made up for the day?

Claire, who also teaches our dressmaking workshops and Elizabeth who, as a very loyal customer, knows all the patterns as much as we do, came along to help out too. She had made a lovely version of Tillys new Bettine Dress – doesn’t she look great!?

I want to say a huge thank you to all the girls in my team and to Layla (who is missing from this picture while she was busy teaching) for helping me to put the day on. I couldn't have done it without you! 

I know a lot of you couldn’t make it along to the day so I’ve uploaded a little video onto YouTube to chat you though some of the dresses. It's from the Live Periscope Video that I did last night.

If you haven't heard of Periscope before then its well worth checking out. It's a live video streaming app that means you can watch videos live and ask questions and chat - its so much fun! You just have to watch out for the weirdos who leave dodgey comments while you are broadcasting! It takes me a second to block them from the chat and then I get put off my train of thought! Ah the joys of the World Wide Web! 

We still have all the sample dresses in the shop so if you get a chance, there is still time to come and see them all. 

Part 5 (the final instalment) of the Summer Dress Season to come this Friday when I'll be showing you my 'Cute Everyday' Dress. I'll do another little Periscope Video on Friday night as well to show you it in real life - so tune into that too if your free. 

Do you have a favourite dress so far? What summer dresses have you been making? 

Summer Dress Season - The Breezy Maxi Dress

By Lauren Guthrie
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Picture this…the sky is bright blue and the sun is out, it’s lovely and warm – so warm that you don’t even need a cardy, you’re by the seaside, ice cream cone in hand….we need a dress to complete this picture….here it is - the Breezy Maxi Dress!

The Sewaholic Saltspring Dress has been one pattern that we have had in stock almost since we opened, but until I made it I didn’t realise how gorgeous it was! It is the perfect holiday dress or for balmy summer days when you need something very light weight and breathable but still want to cover your legs.

 


This breezy relaxed dress can be made in either the maxi length or above the knee.

It has spaghetti style straps that tie in a cute bow.......

and due to the way the bodice is constructed; it will always have that really lovely blowsy effect at the waistline. The bodice is lined but the lining is shorter than the outer fabric, which is what causes the fullness. It has elastic at the waist too which makes is really comfortable and can also fasten with a zip at the back making the fit really flattering over the bust.

It also has lovely big in seam pockets for keeping the ice cream money in! What more could you want!?

 

  • I’ve not worn maxi dresses before really but it’s another pattern that has totally surprised me and I’ve liked it a lot more once I’d made it and tried it on.  It makes me feel so summery and the skirt has a lovely amount of fullness to it. 

  • I really enjoyed the process of making it up. The bodice construction is really interesting and something completely different from anything I’ve done before. Combining elastic and a zip closure was a bit different but the instructions were really clear so as long as you take it one step at a time you’ll be fine.

 

It has to be flip-flops or fancy flat sandals for a dress like this. And, if the situation calls for it, layered up over your bikini or swimsuit for jumping in the pool or sea to cool down!

I think it looks really cute with a cardigan too!

Here is me on holiday back in June wearing it out for tea...

I used this fresh blue sail boat cotton lawn for my dress.

Due to the shape of the bodice and the way that it sits you need a fabric with a really good drape and a lot of movement. I think I just about got away with it in this cotton fabric so for my other top picks I've chosen light-weight jerseys and rayons. 

I think these vibrant fuschia and turquoise colours would look great

These ditsy floral prints would also work really well. I've chosen the Light Blue, Pink and Green colourways. 

All of these fabrics and the Saltspring Pattern too have 15% off for the next week (ends midnight 30th July). The discount has already been applied so no code needed. Just click on the highlighted text to see the full fabric listing. 

  • The instructions are really clear, just take them one step at a time and you’ll be fine.
  • The straps are quite long and narrow so I’d recommend a loop turner for turning them inside out.
  • I’m a huge fan of the invisible zip and due to the way the bodice is made on this dress you have to use a regular zip. I followed all the instructions and inserted the zip but I just wasn’t’ happy with the way it was sitting. It could have been that the cotton lawn I used just didn’t drape enough, either way – it just wasn’t working.
  • Due to the elastic at the waist I realised I could get the dress on and off over my shoulder anyway, even when the zip was closed, so I just took the zip out!
  • I then just sewed the centre back seam of the skirt and bodice lining and then slip stitched/ladder stitched the outer bodice together at the centre back seam by hand. I think it looks much neater.
  • The length was perfect for me and I’m 5ft 5 so if you are a bit taller than that you might want to add a few more inches onto the length for the maxi version.

Next week, for the final week of Summer Dress Season I'll be showing you the ultimate 'Cute Everyday Dress' - this one is so lovely I want to wear it everyday...but then I have so many dresses now I have to change! 

Tune in next week for pictures of our special Summer Dress Event that is happening in the shop tomorrow (Saturday 25th July) as well. All the dresses from my blog series will be on display along with samples of every other indie dress pattern that we stock. 

I think they are going to look awesome all together! Can't wait! 

Summer Dress Season – The Super Comfy Dress

By Lauren Guthrie
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I think it’s important to feel really comfortable in everything you wear. Not just in how the dress physically feels, but how it looks and how you feel you look in it too.

A fancy dress is all fine and well on the hanger but you need to feel good inside and out when you are wearing it too so this week I’m featuring the…..

I’ve made lots of lovely dresses before but almost feel a little bit self-conscious when I’m wearing them – maybe it’s a really strong colour or print, or it could be a design feature that is really striking. Usually it means they don't often get worn and all I can think about all day is going home and getting my PJ’s on!

Well the Sewaholic Davie Dress has been completely different for me. I’ve made two now and it’s my most worn dress ever! Sometimes garments just click with you more than others and this one certainly did it for me.

 

The Davie Dress has really flattering princess seams and as it’s made from knitted or jersey fabric there are no fastenings or closures to deal with.

It comes with three variations

  • knee length with grown on cap sleeves (that are an extension of the bodice piece)
  • Above knee with the cap sleeves
  • Above knee with no sleeves

It’s not featured but of course you could do the knee length with no sleeves too!

There is also an option to have a keyhole opening at the centre front seam over the chest. Or alternatively you could just stitch the seam right up instead.

  • Due to the type of fabric that it is made from it is just so comfy to wear! No need to worry at all if you have a big lunch or too much cake – it’ll just stretch! Yay!
  • I really like the shape that the princess seams give you over the bust.  It’s made from lots of long panels – which means that there are lots of long vertical seams – I think it can make you look slimmer and stretch you out a bit.
  • The way the skirt falls slightly fuller is also really sweet and makes the dress a bit more fun and interesting.

 

This dress is perfect for everyday wear and I love wearing it with my little brown leather belt, which helps to pull in the waist and break the dress up.

Before the weather got really warm I was wearing it with colourful tights and ankle boots but now that the sun is out I think it looks great with sandals too. 

The little cap sleeves are lovely on their own but easy to layer up over a cardy too if it gets a bit chilly.

Here is me wearing it on holiday in Washington DC earlier in the year with Ayaz, I wore the floral version all day sight-seeing!

 

As I mentioned before, this dress is designed to be sewn with jersey stretchy fabric. I’ve used a lightweight fabric and a thicker ponte roma and both have worked really well.

For my bright coral version I used this Peach Ponte Roma

Our full selection of Ponte Romas are in this link, but I think it would look as equally bright and summery in this fresh mint or soft green one. These fabrics are so soft and snuggly! 

 

For my light weight version I used the Dusk Meadow Florals jersey but I also love the strong colour of the Bright Pink Floral Fabric too! 

 

All the fabric in the pictures have 15% off all this week (expires midnight Thursday 23rd July). Discount has already applied so no code needed. Just click on the highlighted text to see the fabric listing in the shop. 

The Sewaholic Davie Pattern also has 15% off all this week too! Yay! 

 

  • I made the size 4 and found that I had to lift the shoulder seams up by 1 inch. The arm holes were sitting quite low and the line of the princess seams needed to come up slightly too.
  • Once I had constructed the dress I just tried it on, then pinched it up at the shoulder seams and re-stitched the seam, then trimmed off the excess seam allowance.
  • This meant that the neck opening became smaller so I lowered the back neckline by 1.5 inches and curved it out. Always be cautious here and just trim a little. You can always trim more but you can’t add it back once its gone
  • If making the above knee version be aware of the length. My first dress ended up a bit shorter than intended as I lifted the shoulder seam and then had to even out the hem which meant taking a little more off the length.

On my second version I lengthened the pattern pieces by 2 inches but found that the hem was still quite uneven and seemed to go up a lot at the side seams.

This might be because of my smaller hip measurement and lack of bum – but it did mean that I had to take 1.5 inches off the back hem line and 1 inch off the front to even it all out.
I used the hemming stand that came with my lady valet bust. It has a little pot of loose chalk in it and when you squeeze the air balloon at the end it puffs the chalk out leaving a line. Pretty cool huh?

  • All the seam allowances are to be pressed open and top-stitched down. I did this on my floral print one and as the fabric was really fine I found using the walking foot my machine helped to keep it even.
  • When it came to using the thicker ponte roma I did a test patch to see what the stitching would look like and decided to just leave it. I preferred it with a simple seam line but these things are all personal preference.
  • The instructions advise using bias binding at the neckline but on both my versions I felt that it would bulk things out too much. Instead I simply turned the edge and hemmed it. It’s worked well and hasn’t stretched even though I’ve washed and worn the dress a few times, so don’t be afraid of going off piste for that bit!

I hope you like this dress as much as I do! Next week I'll be showing you my 'Breezy Maxi' Dress! It's gorgeous - and perfect for balmy summer days! 

You can see all these dresses and more at our special Summer Dress Party next Saturday 25th July

Come along to the shop any time - we are open from 9.30am-5.30pm where the girls and I can help you find your perfect Summer Dress