FINISHED! Tiny Dancer Drop Waist Shirt Dress

Drop waist shirt dress by Pattern Runway in Tiny Dancer Liberty fabric
Just in time for the end of the month, here is my finished Pattern Runway Drop Waist Shirt Dress made up from Liberty of London AW2013 Art Fabrics, Tiny Dancer (colourway A), from the Audio theme.  The fabric is from Tessuti and I snapped it up the moment I got the email notifying that some new season Liberty was in stock.
Tiny Dancer A Tana Lawn
"Tiny Dancer celebrates the collaborative work of choreographer Merce Cunningham and his musical advisor and partner John Cage, as they explore the relationship between dance and music. Sketched from performance videos with pen and ink, the design was stylised to create symbolic shapes. "

Drop Waist Shirt Dress Sewing Pattern - PDF Pattern
But let's talk about the dress.  Oh how I LOVE this dress. I've been working slowly on this most of the month, in between my other projects.  This is so 'me'. The collar combined with the drop waist and the fabulous print is a perfect fit for my style.

A big congratulations to Pattern Runway. I wasn't particularly familiar with their patterns and hadn't sewn up a pattern from their range before, but I was really impressed. The pattern was a digital buy, which more and more these days I'm preferring. Clear pattern (I really liked the grid on the pattern) with very good instructions. I had a question which I emailed through and I got an immediate answer.
Drop waist shirt dress by Pattern Runway in Tiny Dancer Liberty fabric
As for the making of it, you may remember way back at the beginning of June I made a muslin for this dress. Well I think the adjustments I made back then were spot on.  It is probably a bit loose in the body but I don't think that matters and I like it. In the end I didn't have to adjust the armscye like I thought I would - the change in the bust darts were enough to lift them.
It wasn't a quick make but it did come together reasonably easy.  Oh except for the fact that I sewed the left shoulder up 4 (yes 4 times) before I got it right.  Yes, it was late at night and I kept twisting the seam as I was sewing it inside out.  The result is lovely and clean on the shoulder but I just kept twisting the damn thing. Only on one shoulder of course!
Drop waist shirt dress by Pattern Runway in Tiny Dancer Liberty fabric
I had a few problems with putting the collar on getting the curved ends to be neat.  I really must hunt down a tutorial for that.  It was a tight squeeze to get a button on in the space I ended up with but I did and hopefully the Tiny Dancer fabric hides any little issues.  Last night when I was finishing it I was so worried about this tiny button space, that I resigned myself to never wearing it buttoned up, but now that I'm wearing it, it feels and looks ok done up. In fact that will be the default wear.
Drop waist shirt dress by Pattern Runway in Tiny Dancer Liberty fabric
I didn't line the dress, partly because I just didn't know where to start with doing such a thing with a shirt dress. I'm not worried as I can always wear a slip under this for winter or in summer, my own legs will be just fine.
Drop waist shirt dress by Pattern Runway in Tiny Dancer Liberty fabric
I'm a bit off across the bodice on the pattern, but I'm just going to forget that I noticed it and I'm sure you will too :)

Do check out Pattern Runway.  I certainly will be looking at more of their patterns and will be putting this one away as a definite one to remake. ... although for now, I think I might make something really easy.

FINISHED! Bombshell swimsuit

After a lot of hand holding with the bombshell swimsuit is finished! Phew! This is one lovely pattern which is not only nice to wear, but importantly is very very  forgiving to some very amateur elastic sewing and gathering!

Hats off to people who can sew swimsuits and leotards because my sewing is not great on this. I am not a fan of 'invisible elastic'.  It was never where I thought it was going to be.  Urrgh, next time I will have to buy something that I can see!  

But having said that, it does come together reasonably easy and I'm glad in the end I went with this fabric bought from Tessuti as it was nice and thick and relatively easy to work with.  The lining on the other hand was a slippery nightmare.
The instructions call for the elastic at a 1:1 ratio across the bodice. 80% stretch is optional.  I'd say do it.  Stretch it!  I did a ratio that was closer to 90% and it was too gapey.  Way too gapey. It could still be less gapey but I didn't want to unpick again.

I also inserted cups into the swimsuit.  I struggled a bit to get the cups in straight and even, as the lining was already attached to the fabric. Next time around I'll mark things out better. I wouldn't mind a little bit more lift in that area but I'm happy for a first attempt.

And what great bottom coverage.  I'm not going to do any behind shots, but rest assured there is lovely coverage of the bottom

All in all, a better fit than my store bought ones and I love this style on me.  If I can deal with the elastic I'd definitely make these again.

So, after all that talk, here it is.  The front 'skirt' is pulled down quite a lot, but obviously you can wear it  higher.  I'm looking forward to testing it out in the water rather than outside on the deck (in the evening, in the middle of winter!!).
Bombshell in 'Where are You' fabric

FINISHED! Pyjama double muslin lap quilt

I have almost finished my bombshell swimmers and my drop waist shirt dress so I hope that I will soon be able to post something interesting, but in the meantime, I finised my lap quilt!
Yes, I have spent quite a few nights snuggled under this slowly hand quilting it. It's not perfect, far from it, but the double muslin makes it so so snuggly. I'm glad that, even though I messed up what was supposed to be a pair of pyjamas, I used the fabric to make this up. It will be glued to my legs each evening!  Oh and it is a bit of a stashbusting success.  The white striped double muslin on the back and the grey stripe (from the disintegrating sugar tee shirt) are all from the stash and of course the spots were destined for the scrap heap.  Now back to that bombshell.

Elf for a day

Couldn't help myself. Just had to post these pictures of Elliot at the Fairy and Elf party.  I love this costume. He looks so little (with a big forehead - thanks to the hat placement). 
Elf costue
And yes, he did have a superman costume on underneath!

FINISHED! Does my pompom look big in this? No but my ears do!

Ok, so the pompon is quite big and now that the beanie is made up I'm thinking that the orange might be just a bit loud for a baby.. but.. I'm hoping it will fit post that new born baby stage, when babies start to wear colour.  Let's call it a success?  Well, except for the fact that the baby might never be able to hold their head up because of the weight of the pom pom!  Should I trim it back a bit more? On Sunday night Ben and I both had the scissors out giving the pom pom a hair cut.  He kept saying: "Just make a new one, it's too big!". But I wasn't budging.  That pom pom was going onto the beanie.
On monday night I quickly made up a baby bib to put with the beanie using a pattern from Amy Karol's Bend the Rules Sewing book, the very first sewing book I ever bought.  I used one of the little squares of Liberty print I received last year from my colleagues at work for my birthday.  Funnily enough I was messing around with the bib, got caught up with a bit of work and sick kids and missed my French class.  Woops!  Hopefully when my teacher gets this she will forget all about my tardiness. 

On Monday I found an invitation that had been in Elliot's bag for a few weeks to a 'Fairy and Elf" party on Saturday. So now an elf costume. One that can fit a superman costume underneath as he is pretty dirty that he can't go as a super hero.  You can tell by this photo where he is trying on the hat that he is NOT into this.  We are big fans of Tashie, so when I found this pattern I decided to do a kind of Tashie hair piece.  It took 20 mins ! Yay! It's a bit small  but once his hair is tucked in and he's dressed up he will be one cool (non Christmasy) elf.

What are you working on at the moment?

Me? Usually I'm a one project at a time girl.  Maybe I can throw a knitting project in with a sewing project, but really that's the extent of my sewing multi tasking. I prefer to focus and finish.  Well something has happened because I now find myself with four projects currently on the go. I mean really on the go and not just in my wish list, which like everyone elses is overflowing and only getting bigger..
Number one on the sewing list is obviously my drop waist shirt dress.  Sadly, today I only managed to cut out the Tiny Dancer fabric and then I promptly put it back in the cupboard. I just didn't feel like sewing it today.  Strange. My due date for this is July so there is still time. Slow and steady on this one.
Tomorrow marks the start of the Bombshell sewalong so today I spent my afternoon prepping the pattern and listening to this Thread Cult pod cast rather than sewing my shirt dress.  Last night I panicked and decided that the fabric I had in the stash left over from this dress, which I've always wanted to use in a swimsuit might not actually be water resistant let alone chlorine resistant.. so I did a midnight buy from Tessuti and ordered this fabulous fabric.
Last week I bought some double muslin as I had some great plans to join in the pyjama party , but I went a bit 'off piste' as Jo would say and ended up making a mess of them.  I've been wanting, like some old lady, a little blanket for my legs when I'm watching tv (first I was obsessed with Mr Selfridge, then Game of Thrones and now it's Sherlock) - well it is winter, so I decided to cut up my pj mess and make it into a lo fi quilt, using the rest of the double muslin I have in the stash.  It is very lo fi, but will be lovely to snuggle up under.. and because I'll hand quilt and hand sew the binding it also means I can be under it while I'm sewing. Yay.
Lastly, I've got this little babie beanie on the go for my French teacher who is expecting her first baby (a girl).  Clearly I'm a knitter with only one trick in the book.  A baby beanie... well two if you count baby leg warmers. 

What ever happened to... the circle fabric?

Do you remember when I had a little giveaway of this fab circle knit fabric? Well would you believe the lucky recipient, Shar, has already made it up into something fantastic!
In fact, not one but two. She has made it up into TWO fantastic items: a McCalls 6654 skirt and a Megan Nielson Briar top.
Circle Fabric Dress back
What a great match of fabric and pattern.  And don't they look great worn together!
I'm still amazed that Shar was able to make so much out of such a small piece of fabric!
Circle Fabric Dress front
Thanks Shar for sharing these pictures and for giving this lovely piece of fabric such a good home!

Bombshell Swimsuit

By now most of you will have seen some of the fantastic versions of the Bombshell Swimsuit, the new pattern by Closet Case Files.  How great is this swimsuit?  I had great plans to sew a swimsuit with the swimalong hosted by Leila from Three Dresses Project but May became too busy and now I'm glad it did because now I can sew up this pattern. I was super lucky enough to win a copy of the pattern from Carolyn (how beautiful is her version in white!) so now I have no excuse to join the sewalong starting next week.  Ok, now to find some fabric! (oh and forget that it's winter :)).

Anatomy of a Drop Waist Shirt Dress Muslin

It's a long weekend here this weekend, so yesterday morning, when it was foggy and cold and we were all taking it slow in our pjs,  I snuck in some hours and worked on my muslin for my Tiny Dancer Drop Waist Shirt Dress.   This is the very first muslin I've ever taken the time to do and while I approached the task with a bit of trepidation, I quite enjoyed it and don't feel that it was at all a waste of (precious sewing) time.  

I didn't take as much care as I should have:  I accidentally sewed the back on inside out... and the collar on the wrong way.. mmm..(blaming the fabric that doesn't have an obvious 'wrong side').  Definitely things to not do on the real dress.  But I also learned that, if I'd make up this size in my real fabric, it would have fit me but it wouldn't have looked great.  The placement of the bust darts is too low and the drop of the waist is way too low for a shorty like me.  So, hopefully if I make my adjustments correctly, then the dress will look even better.  There might be more adjustments that I could/should make but I think this is a good start.

I must add that this is the first time working with a Pattern Runway pattern and I highly recommend it. The dress comes together beautifully and the instructions are very clear.

June sewing and an ironing disaster

I have bought quite a lot of patterns this year, so have quite a lot of things on the to do list (so many in fact that I haven't even kept my list up to date), but they have all been sidelined by a dazzling new piece of Liberty fabric. I saw this fabric, "Tiny Dancer" on the Tessuti website last week.  I think it must be from the new Art range but it isn't yet on the Liberty website so I don't yet have any more details, except that I just love it!
I moved quickly and snapped up a couple of metres of it, imagining it made into the Pattern Runway Drop Waist Shirt Dress.  I haven't sewn a Pattern Runway pattern before so I'm interested to see how it makes up. I am always in love with the versions by Jolies Bobines, so I'm feeling positive.
Drop Waist Shirt Dress Sewing Pattern - PDF Pattern
Normally I'd just cut right in, even with a pattern I haven't used, but this time I'm going to try a muslin first. Inspired partly by my love for the fabric and by Kenneth D King and all of you who make muslins, I thought I'd try a bit of slow sewing and as I have plenty of this check fabric in the stash, I thought why not?! I'm not intending to finish the dress in the check fabric, at least not yet, but will just use it to confirm the sizing.
And in other news, I took the Dart Manipulation course on line at Creative Bug last weekend. It's short, but I found it really helpful. So armed with my new confidence I undertook this afternoon to fix the darts on my Laurel.  Hooray!! I fixed the darts.... but sadly managed to burn the dress in the process.  I'm not sure how I did it...the first I knew was when I tried it on and felt the shoulder. Oh oh :(  

I think I'll try and salvage the sleeves, but all is not lost I suppose as after all I have the pair of Tania Culottes out of the left over cord from this dress and the Simplicity 2154  big bow blouse out of the Liberty.  It still begs the question. How could I have been sooooooooo stupid?!!!?????

ME MADE MAY: 27th May - 31st May 2013

Me Made May is over for another year!  Phew.  There was almost 6000 photos in the flickr group by the end of the month and I think I looked at ever single one.  Yep,  now that it's over I will definitely have some more time back in my life.   I enjoy being an active participant, commenting on other's outfits, but if the group grows next year, I think I might need a different strategy!!   

You are all sick of this by now, but my pledge was:

'I, Kirsty of Top Notch, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '13. I endeavour to wear at least one handmade garment each day for the duration of May 2013, with no repeat outfits. I will also make two new wearable items and will not do any panic sewing!'

I succeeded. Yay! Last year I had a pledge of no repeat outfits but I repeated a lot of parts of outfits. Lots of blouses. This year, I did a lot better although I wore my cape a lot. But it's a new May make so I think it's justified :) I also sewed with purpose but not with panic and finished three items. There is a difference! I did find some gaps and really hope that next year I've replaced some of my RTW skirts, but I don't think (?) I'm  aiming to be completely me made so a few RTW items is ok. 

Here's what I wore, Click through the photo for details on flickr and comments from the lovely sewers.
27 May 2013
Monday 27 May 2013
28 May 2013
Tuesday 28 May 2013
Simplicity 2154 in Mawston Meadow
Wednesday 29 May 2013
30 May 2013
Thursday 30 May 2013
31 May 2013
Friday 31 May 2013 - THEME : RED