Pattern Club Review - Kim Dress from By Hand London

By Lauren Guthrie

This week’s pattern review come courtesy of the lovely Rachael and the By Hand London Kim Dress. I think it looks so gorgeous in this Liberty Lawn!

Here is what Rach thought of the pattern……

How would you describe the style of the garment?

A fitted feminine dress with fully lined bodice and options of scooped or vintage sweet heart neckline at the front and a lowish scooped neckline at the back. I choose the wrap style pencil skirt but there is also the option of a 50’s style gathered skirt with a pin-tuck hem.

Size range offered UK 6-20

What type of figure or body shape is it suitable for?

I think all types really. As the bodice is so fitted it will give definition to the waist, especially the gathered skirt option.

What types of fabrics are suitable?

Woven fabrics will work best, something not too heavy other wise it might feel bulky at the waistline seam. Cotton Lawns, medium weight and quilting cottons, voiles and poplins would all be ok too.

What fabric did you choose and why?

I choose this classic floral Liberty Lawn called John (interesting name for a floral print huh?). I’ve never made a full liberty garment before and I though this would be lovely for the style of the dress.

How easy was it to trace the pattern?

Not too tricky. The paper is still quite robust for tissue and the lines were easy to decipher.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Did the difficulty level on the pattern match what you think it should be?

Very easy to follow. Lots of description but not too complicated. The level is 2 out of 3 sewing machines so its not rated as a beginner but there aren’t too many tricky party. A confident beginner who has made a few garments before would be ok.

Where the illustrations/pictures easy to interpret?

Very easy. Well laid out with added arrows for lining things up.

What challenges or difficulties did you find when putting it together?

None at all really. Maybe just turning the lining inside out as the straps are narrow but I squeezed them out in the end. The curved hem might be a bit tricky if you haven’t done it before so just make sure you press it really well first. I love this little gathers at the waistline too. 

What tips would you recommend to make construction easier?

Just follow the instructions accurately and you will be fine. If you are a bit more advanced just take your time so you don’t rush ahead and go wrong.

How did you find the fit? Was it true to size?

I made the size 10 bodice and graded from a 10-12 in the skirt to add some room for mu hips and it fits perfectly!

What adjustments did you make?

I didn’t make any this time but next time I’d just shorten the shoulder straps a bit and the have been falling off my shoulders. You need to work that out before fully attaching the lining and make the adjustment at that stage so it’s worth taking time to try it on and do the necessaries.

What advice would you give when choosing a size?

It was pretty spot on for my measurements but if your nervous go up a size as you can always take it in a bit at the side seams if needs be.

Are you happy with the finished garment?

Yes! I’ve planned my next one already!

How long did it take to make?

About 3 hours, roughly.

How much fabric did you use? Did this match up with what was recommended on the pattern?

I used 1.4m of fabric and the pattern recommends 1.6m for a 60” wide but the Liberty Lawn isn’t quite that width. It depends on the pattern on your fabric too. My pattern repeat was so small I didn’t have to worry about it too much and could squish them pieces in together a bit more. If your unsure I would recommend prepping your pattern pieces first and then laying them out to work out how much you’d need for the size your making. Or if you don’t mind having a little left over, just go with the recommendations on the pattern.

Thanks Rach! You look lovely in it!

I’m a Judge - Simplicity Star Sewist Blogger Challenge

By Lauren Guthrie

Have you seen the new exciting sewing challenge going on right now on the interwebs  - The Simplicity Star Sewist Blogger Challenge?

I’m feel very privileged to have been asked to take part on the judging panel along with Claire-Louise Hardie  - the sewing super woman and Author of the new Sewing Bee Book, Fashion with Fabric. Joining us will also be vintage Life Magazine editor, Rachel Egglestone - Evans and Simplicity’s resident sewing expert, Wendy Gardiner.

The competition is being hosted online by Simplicity Patterns with the winners receiving a year’s worth of sewing patterns – wowsa!

To take part all you have to do choose a pattern you’d like to make from the three categories: Best Dressmaking Project, Best Vintage Make or Best Newcomer. You can see a full description of them in this link.
Then get creative and put your own spin on the design!

This New Look pattern is the basis for the Best Dressmaking Project Category. It's such a classic shape and you could take it so many ways. More summery with a medium weight cotton, or more transitional with a light weight wool and a silky lining. 

This Vintage Simplicity Pattern is the basis for the Best Vintage Make Category. I love the shape of the sleevless one. The shoulders extend just that little bit - almost making a subtle cap sleeve but without having to set anything in. We've got the most gorgeous swallows fabric that would drape beautifully in this pattern (adds to 'to sew' list). 

And finally for the Best Newcomer Category is this lovely little gathered skirt. This would be perfect in one of our linen mix chambray fabrics

Just email [email protected], requesting a copy of the pattern you’d like to complete. Once you’ve mastered your make, post a picture of your completed Simplicity project on your blog, letting your readers know that you’re taking part in the challenge by displaying the Simplicity blogger badge.

Then email over your make to [email protected] or tweet @SewSimplicity with the hashtag #Simplicitybloggerchallenge, by the competition closing date: 31st May 2015.

I can’t wait to take a look at all the completed projects! I love to see different interpretations of the same base pattern and you know there will be no two the same!

Along with the other judges I’ll be casting my eye over all the makes, short listing my favourite projects from each category and choosing the three winners.

I can’t wait to see what you make!
Happy Sewing!

My New Favourite Colour - Neon Coral in a Simple Sleeveless Top

By Lauren Guthrie

I’ve got a new colour love in my life  - neon coral!

It all started with a pair of the new Orla Kiely, Clarks shoes. And now I've even got nail polish and everything!!

Sometimes it only takes one thing to get you all inspired on a sewing spree and the same day that I bought them I made a new top to match.

It’s the Simple Sleevless Top from my book, Learn to Sew with Lauren, and it’s so quick and easy to make.

I wanted to use this amazing new Rayon fabric that’s just arrived in the shop. It’s the Tulip Poppy design by Joel Dewberry. And….it has mustard in it too! Yay! Perfect combo for me!

For those new to rayon fabric, it’s made from cellulose fibre, which mostly comes from wood pulp. It goes through a chemical process to then get spun into fibre that can be woven into fabric. So it is a woven fabric – it doesn’t stretch – but it is very lightweight and has an awesome drape.

It’s really soft and easy to wash; I just popped mine in with my normal 40-degree load.

With a high boat neckline, low enough to show off your collarbones, and a semi fitted bodice, it’s a fab practical wardrobe basic that shows off great fabric really well.

The fabric is a bit slippery to work with and I wanted to centre the flower on my centre front and back so I pressed the fold line in and pinned the fabric before pinning the pattern on to cut out.

If you want to do the same just remember to position the pattern a few cm up from the bit of the pattern you want to show. This allows for your seam allowance when the binding goes on.

It’s the first time I’ve made this particular top with a really lightweight fabric like this but I love how it works, it just seems to hang really nicely.

It’s the first of a new wave of tops for warmer weather. I’m planning lots of cool hacks and alternations to this classic pattern over the summer so I’ll be sure to share and show you how with lots of tutorials. I’m thinking pin tucks, yokes and cap sleeves! (don’t worry - not all at once!)

Is anyone elses sewing table looking a bit more bright and summery these days?