Season of change: a dress for autumn

Time flies! As I am typing this, it’s officially the end of my summer holidays. I’ve had six weeks off (I’m a secondary school teacher) and they’ve flown by so fast! Things will be a little different this coming school year though, because I’m going back to college to get my Master’s Degree in English and Education. I will work two days a week and go to college and do an internship the other three days. It sounds busy, but it means I won’t have a tutor group this year and that will save me a lot of time.

I’m excited to go back to school. It’s the first year the nearby college offers the Master’s program and there’s a total of six students for English (they offer programs for maths and Dutch, too, with about the same number of students) so that will be special! The low number of students is ridiculous of course, but I guess they have to start somehow, right? So, over the next two years it’ll be all about language acquisition, didactics, drama, grammar and literature for me. Speaking of which, I was browsing Etsy last night and I already know what dress to make for graduation!

wuthering heights dress

It is way too expensive, but I love the idea and there must be some way I can print my favourite parts from The Catcher in the Rye on cotton, surely? I can sew the dress myself, maybe even using the pattern I used for the dress I want to show you: Simplicity 1873. When Mary of Idle Fancy started showcasing her lovely versions, I thought it would be a good pattern for me too. It took me a long time to make one though!

I’m conflicted about the result. I’ve had bodice fitting issues with everything I made so far, so I knew I had to make a muslin. I used some linen that I disliked, but it stretched and pulled and was just not suitable, so I dragged my husband to ikea and snapped up about ten meters of ikea Bomull unbleached cotton. I made a size 22 bodice, cutting the back on the fold but with extra width for the zipper. From measuring I knew I needed some extra width for my waist. It wasn’t much, so I figured I could easily just use the size 22 skirt and adjust the pleating a little, so I didn’t make a muslin for that.

Simplicity 1873

I was quite happy with the muslin bodice, but it was hard to tell without the weight of the skirt. I shortened the vertical bust darts a bit and there was quite a bit of neckline gaping so I tried to adjust that too. I thought the muslin fitted quite well in the end, but translated into the real deal I’m not that happy.

Simplicity 1873

There is neckline gaping at the back and front and I think I should lengthen the bodice a bit because it is just above my waist. I didn’t do an FBA because I needed that extra width for my waist and I started with that, but reckon I should have. I guess the dress fits okay, but I can put it on without having to open the zipper, so it must be too wide. Any ideas on what to do about it?

Simplicity 1873

However, I do really love the fabric and the silhouette of this dress. I think it’s a great dress for autumn and it even allows me to wear this cardigan I bought two years ago, but have never worn! I bought it to wear with a specific top but it didn’t look good, so it’s been in my drawer ever since. I thought it would look good with my dress and when I read the  post about 70s inspired Fall Colours (shouldn’t that be ‘Autumn colours’ or ‘Fall colors’?) on Sewaholic I realised I might even be fashionable! Although my dress might be some twenty years off…

Simplicity 1873

So, apart from the fitting issues, I do like this dress and will wear it, especially with the cardigan I think. That said, I really wanted to take these pictures today, but it was over 30 degrees and I just couldn’t be bothered with shoes!

Construction was nice, part of it was done at my sister’s. She worked on her own sewing project and I laid out three meters of skirt on her living room floor, this skirt is huge! It was my first time lining something, so I took some pictures of the inside too for you to see. I got lazy and stitched-in-the-ditch the bodice lining at the waist though, so that isn’t as neat as it could be, but other than that I’m satisfied. I blind-stitched the skirt hem on my sewing machine and it worked out really well.

Simplicity 1873

Simplicity 1873

Oh yes, that Moneta I mentioned two posts back? Still needs hemming and needs bust darts desperately, it’s a disaster. Wrong fabric maybe (cotton and lycra, but not very flowy), I will try again with some proper knit fabric.


Sleeveless summer

Bonjour mesdames, monsieurs et mademoiselles! I am back from France, where we spent a week in a quaint little cabin in Normandy. We were in Perriers sur Andelle, which is near Rouen. Close enough to the coast so we could do a day trip to Étretat and Honfleur, but far enough away to not have to spend the whole week around tourists. Our dog came with us and especially that day on the coast he became quite a tourist attraction himself. Somewhere in Asia a girl will look through her holiday pictures and fondly remember that moment in which she was poking a dog (trying to pet him?) captured in a photograph.

I took three me made items with me on holiday, which I thought was pretty good, considering I’m quite the sewing newbie still. I took my floral Adelaide, which I coincidentally ended up wearing to a market again (so it’s been dubbed my ‘market dress’ now). The other two items are sleeveless blouses.

I bought a sleeveless blouse on sale a few weeks ago. It was a really thin chiffon type fabric and I was already hesitant about buying it. I shouldn’t have because I had a great big tear in it before the day was out…

I decided to get my 12 euros’ worth though and cut the whole thing apart to draft a pattern from it. This means this post is not going to be very interesting to you at all, so I’ll keep the details short and let you enjoy some holiday pictures at the same time.

Chateau Gaillard 02

The first version I made of a cotton I still had in my stash (yes I think I should admit my ever growing fabric collection is officially turning into one…) The print, especially the use of dots, reminds me of aboriginal art, but I am sure I am offending people by saying that, so I won’t. I though the print was a little busy and therefore I still had it lying around, but it works for this blouse!

I am looking out the window of Chateau Gaillard, medieval castle ruins on a hill near Les Andelys overlooking the Seine. The castle was built on the orders of Richard the Lionheart and there’s a whole story about how when the village was attacked all the people fled to the castle and then at some point were kicked out again and had to survive a gruesome winter out in the cold. It wasn’t pretty… The castle site was though.

collage Chateau Gaillard

The next version of the blouse I made from a white cotton lawn with a geometric beehive-like print in metallic turquoise. It’s very subtle, the blouse looks plain white from far off. I tweaked a few things after the first version and am really happy with the finished product.

Louviers 05

Louviers 03

My stitch-in-the-ditch presser foot was my friend for all the topstitching and I French-seamed everything.

Louviers 02

These two blouses will get plenty of wear now and they’re really good for autumn too, combined with a cardigan or blazer. Yay!