In an effort to try to improve my sewing techniques, build my me-made wardrobe, and experience new designers, I decided to join this years #sewmystyle challenge. If you haven’t heard about this, it is a challenge “started by Alex Bartholomew from Bluebird Fabrics in 2017 to raise awareness about the slow fashion industry movement and to encourage young women to take up sewing.” In this challenge every month there is a set pattern that all the participants sew. You all sew it together and participate in the Facebook discussion for advice and tips while sewing along. Then there is a reaveal on the last Sunday of the month and of course there is a winner each month. If you still want to participate I think you can jump in anytime, you just have to sign up to join the Facebook group.
For January the pattern was the Sunny Top/dress by the Friday Pattern Company. Who really have a pretty cool business model, you can read all about it here. I will say this this pattern did not receive much love from the group as a whole. The Sunny Dress really doesn’t have the level of detail that the indie sewing community has come to expect from pdf patterns. However, if you have a general sewing knowledge and have ever sewed sleeves and bound a neckline you are pretty much set. There is not really a specific guideline for the neck binding in the pattern, but I used my two favorite methods for the ones I made and they turned out great. To be fair, I had read about how sparse the directions were, and I glanced over them and then just sewed the dress together the way that made the most sense to me. So, I did deviate some from the directions they did give.
I personally was very happy with my final products, and I did not really make any alterations to the pattern. Which just goes to show that you should always try something for yourself. I made a dress first. I cut based on my measurements and so I did grade between an XL at the top and a XXL at the hip. As this was where my measurements placed me. The dress turned out to be both tighter and longer than I had anticipated. Which worked out, as I really like fitted knee length dresses. I am 5’7” and I frequently have to add length to dresses to make them work appropriate. This one totally works as drafted. However, I probably would add a couple of inches in the future as it comes to the knee in front, but the shirttail hem, (which I love!) comes up pretty far on the sides. I also personally love the length of the sleeves, although they are a tad untraditional.
On the dress I used a pretty sturdy ponte, it is from Joann’s (I think, as it was from my stash and does not seem to still be available). It does not have a lot of give, which I think gives it a pretty professional look, and helps to skim over my rolls a little. I used woven bias tape to bind the neckline, sewing and folding over. It worked well with this fabric and it adds a pop of color to the inside.
To style it I decided to mix up the slightly buttoned up look of the ponte with a little leather and/or my go to statement necklace.
Also note that this pattern is supposed to be reversible and in the first two pictures above I am actually wearing it backwards from the last two pictures. I prefer it with a lower neckline in front, but options are nice.
After I finished the dress, I still had a good bit of the month left and I have a slight addiction to black tee shirts with shirt-tail hems, so I decided to give this a try. I love it! It is much more fitted than my other shirts in my wardrobe, and I think that is a good thing. If your wardrobe is as monochrome as mine, variety in the fit is a great thing. That way people know I have at least changed my clothes. (Kidding, sort of ) I used my current favorite black knit fabric, which is super stretchy and I added an inch for length, as most of my height is in my torso rather than my legs. Although based on where the dress hit my waist I almost didn’t add the legnth. I am really glad I did though, because it would have been really short for my taste. I think that is the general idea though from the pattern maker, to be slightly cropped. I will definetly add another inch to my next shirt.
For the neckline on this one, I was afraid that it would ruin the drape to use the bias tape so I drafted a neck band. I made it 2” shorter than the neck line and I made it 2” wide. Which was way too wide, so I folded it toward the inside in half and then coverstitched around the neckline and I think it looks pretty good. I could have done a better job with the cover stitching and I probably could have made it 3” shorter than the neckline and it would have fit a little better, but it works.
I have worn this shirt three times a week since I made it, so I guess that makes it a success. Side note, check out those Chelsea Flares from Greenstyle Creations out of brown corduroy in the middle. Those are pretty much the first pants I have ever made, and granted they are stretch pull on pants. However, I am pretty excited about them.
I added on the button-front add-on because I knew I wanted them to be super high waisted, and I was afraid they would be difficult to get on and off otherwise.
Anyway, back to Sew My Style. I was pretty excited about the Sunny Dress being the first pattern, because I have been wanting to try Friday Pattern Co’s patterns, but had not pulled the trigger yet. This definetly would not have been my first pick from their catalog, however, it does tell me that their block and I are not that far off and I am more willing to go ahead and try some others, like their Grace Top, for work. Or perhaps their Sasha skirt, for weekends. So, that means that so far my goals for this challenge are being accomplished. I am really excited to make the By Hand London Rumana Coat in February. That will really take me out of my comfort zone, as I have never made a coat before. However, I do already know and love By Hand London patterns. I have a green velvet Anna Dress that is my favorite thing in my closet and I wish I had more opportunity to wear it.
I will keep you updated on next month’s makes. Also, you can follow along on my instagram @alexisdcook1 .