Today we’re going to try out a summer dress hack with a tried and true pattern – the Deer and Doe Plantain Shirt which we are sewing up for the Sewalicious blog! If you haven’t sewn up this shirt before you can access it for free on the Deer and Doe website.
Plantain one of my favorite everyday shirts – the cut is really flattering and I love the neckline so why not hack it into a dress?
Well I did just that with this drapey Carnival Viscose Jersey from Sewalicious! This is a bold print but I think is perfect for summertime – it’s fun, festive and bright!
Here’s what you need to do:
Get your free copy of the Deer and Doe Plantain Shirt. Measure yourself based on their directions to find the right fit. Once you have cut out your pattern take out your tracing paper (I used medical paper), your drafting rulers, pencil/marker and your measuring tape.
Lay the finished front side of the pattern against you in the same position it would be worn. Take note of where the hem lies on the centerfront of your body. Set the pattern aside and using your measuring tape, measure from the hemline point on the centerfront of your body to the length you would like the dress to be – keep the hem allowance in mind as well (you can add 1” to 2” for this depending on your preference). Record this measurement.
Next, cut two pieces of tracing paper a little longer than the skirt portion of your dress. Tape the paper to the back of the pattern. Starting with the front piece- from the centerfront hemline of the front pattern measure down in a straight line the measurement you just recorded then measure across at the hem past the side seam of the original pattern. Use your curve form ruler to match the original hip line with the new hemline at the side seam. You can make this as wide as you would like. Repeat for the back pattern then cut out your new pattern.
The end result should look like this:
All that is left is to cut out your fabric, sew, and wear!!
For more on the Deer and Doe Plantain Shirt click HERE!
I wasn’t sure what I was going to sew for sleeve fest but with a little patience it all came together. I had plans to sew a long kimono to wear with my Valentine and Stitch Dune Maxi. I went shopping in the Downtown LA fabric district and picked up this beautiful yellow floral print fabric. I was initially going for a black printed fabric that I thought I could wear more often but then I saw this print and fell in love. Anyway my friend and I decided to walk out of the fabric district that day and stumbled upon a cute little shop. They had these beautiful dresses and tops with the fluttery flowy bell sleeves. She bought a dress and I bought a top. The more I thought about what I wanted to do with my kimono I realized that the sleeve of her dress would be a perfect match. So I went ahead and traced the sleeve when I got home and created my pattern. I ordered my kimono pattern from Simplicity and with a little work this kimono was born.
The Low Down:
The New Look Pattern 6378 Misses’ Easy Kimonos with Length Variations from Simplicity Patterns comes in a paper pattern and has 4 variations. Long with sleeves, long and sleeveless, mid-length with sleeves, short with sleeves. I had been eyeing this pattern for a while but couldn’t fit it into my sewing schedule. This is a very stylish pattern that can be sewn in a variety of fabrics perfect for summertime.
This pattern has several fabric options including:
For pattern B – Two packages of ½” wide single fold bias tape
I purchased my fabric from the Los Angeles Fabric District.
My process was a bit thrown off with this pattern. I had ordered it on August 14. The order confirmation stated that I would receive shipping confirmation once shipped. A week passed and I received nothing so I checked my account and it said my order was still being processed. I was very disappointed so I ordered an alternative from Simplicity. This time it was a PDF pattern. I printed the pattern and was ready to put it together. The very next day I received my original Simplicity pattern. I was a little annoyed that I now have two patterns but relieved because the PDF of the other pattern was not user-friendly.
I started on this project on a Friday night. I traced pattern B in XS, cut it out then cut out the fabric.
The next day I stole a few minutes away and sewed up the back seam and staystitched the back neck. Realizing I had a few more minutes later on in the day before we were going to head out for the evening I quickly sewed on the sleeves and the side seams. The directions call for a double stitch on the armhole then to trim the excess seam allowance as you can see in the photo below.
Then I got home a little after 10 p.m. with no intention of sewing but the machine was calling and I answered… I added my flutter sleeves and it was EVERYTHING! My face was the heart eyes emoji!
If you want to make a similar flutter sleeve measure the sleeve opening for the garment you are working with. Draw a circle using the measurement as the diameter then split that circle in half. You should have a half moon now. Draw a line away from the edges of the half circle on the top, bottom then draw a line away from the center to the length of your preference on each side. Connect each point to create a larger half circle/moon. Erase the original diameter line. You should be left with a thick backwards “C”. Add seam allowance to each side. The small half circle part of the pattern should be cut on the fold. As you can see on my pattern the “cut on fold” lines are not in line with each. I traced this sleeve from another garment so I improvised while cutting instead of making a new pattern. I may just have to write a pattern hack tutorial post but for now hopefully this helps.
That had to be my stopping point for the night. All that was left was hemming the sleeves and adding the single-fold bias tape which I completed over the next few days.
To the say the least I love this kimono! I want to wear it with everything. I think I’ll do just that! There are just a couple more weeks of summer left but I’m certain I’ll be able to transition this kimono into fall as temperatures won’t be dropping drastically for awhile here in Los Angeles. Yay!
First hiccup – ordering a second pattern I didn’t need. 🙁
Second very minor hiccup – the armhole opening of my flutter sleeve was slightly larger than the armhole of the pattern. I didn’t spend too much time measuring this out so I just sewed the excess back into the sleeve seam so it just adds more flutter.
Third hiccup – I followed the directions on how to pin the single-fold bias binding but once I sewed it on I came up short and had to cut an extra 3 inch piece to be able to attach the beginning and end pieces. The main fabric ended up stretching a bit while I was sewing causing my binding to come up short. I’m not too thrilled with the bias binding as I think it looks stiff compared to the rest of the garment. You can see a bit of how it curls in the photos.
Be very careful when cutting. This pattern calls for mostly slippery fabrics so you just want to make sure that you don’t inadvertently move the fabric while cutting or stretch it out.
***Valentine & Stitch patterns are sadly no longer available in the marketplace***
I have always steered clear of maxi dresses not because I don’t love them but because they are always too long. Well that all changed when Helen and Rich made Dune into a maxi dress! I think it was meant to be! 🙂
I’m short but still relatively average at 5’3”. I love the number 3 so I’m ok with this. Lol 😉
I had planned to sew up this dress as soon as Helen posted a picture of her wearing it in a black and white floral pattern. At the time, I was planning a trip to the fabric district that very weekend so I asked Helen how much fabric I would need in preparation. Helen is so kind and helpful that she messaged me back right away and I was able to get all my supplies even before the pattern release. 🙂 Thank you Helen! Anyway, I mentioned to her my hesitation with long dresses (being that I’m short haha) and little did I know that Rich was already preparing a tutorial for lengthen or shortening Dune. It couldn’t be any more perfect! 🙂 Thank you Rich!
Fashion Sewing | Maxi Dress Pattern Review
Dune is a summery top or maxi dress from the lovely Helen and Rich of Valentine and Stitch. Dune is a printable PDF pattern with the option of sewing the top or the dress with a round neck or a scoop neck. This garment is meant to be flowy and flattering as it drapes away from your body but still hugs you in all the right places. You can sew your top or dress in a stretch jersey or light cotton jersey. This is a very versatile pattern that can be enjoyed while hanging out at the beach our dressed up for a party or even dressed professionally for a day in the office.
Stretch jersey such as viscose or rayon jersey, bamboo jersey, and silk jersey OR light cotton jersey with a good drape or for a more stable fabric use a heavier weight cotton jersey, crepe jersey or a scuba
(*If you are using a fabric with less stretch, you may wish to lengthen the neck and arm bands slightly.)
I had laid out the steps for sewing up Dune prior to my start.
Day 1 was cut out the PDF pattern and fabric.
Day 2 was complete step 1 and step 2.
Day 3 was step 3 and step 4.
Day 4 was complete the dress.
It didn’t really turn out that way. First it took me awhile to cut everything out because I went out of town a couple times so Day 1 took longer than expected. However, day 2 through 4 took me 2 hours in total. I started sewing Dune one day after work and an hour went by and I was already halfway done. I had dinner then I thought to myself I really want to keep sewing. So off I went and in another hour I was all done! That easy and just such a beautiful pattern. I don’t usually get excited enough to finish a pattern in one day but with Valentine and Stitch patterns I do! Plus, I feel like I understand how their patterns work so I rarely have a hiccup. Dune was smooth sailing for me which was an awesome feeling!
I sewed my dress in a size small. I thought that it would be too long for me but when I measured everything out the size small was just the right length. I probably could make it even longer to be honest for a dressier look with wedge heels.
I sewed up the shoulder seams with no problem. I opted for the hidden neckband and armbands. This is a very nice detail and it strengthens the neck and arm openings so I highly recommend sewing it this way. There is an option for an exposed neckband which I might have to try next. In between sewing up the neckband and armbands you sew up the side seam. You also must press your garment several times to make sure everything is set in place before you sew.
Finally, you sew up your hem. This is a rather long hem so it takes a while to prep it for hemming. I eyeball my hems so it doesn’t take me too long. That works for me but I do not recommend you do that unless you have a bit more practice.
Viola! The Dune maxi is complete with a month of summer to spare but being that I live in Los Angeles this dress will serve me well through the fall! 🙂
No hiccups! Can you believe it?!
Since you are working with knit fabric be careful not to stretch or let your excess fabric fall while cutting or sewing. This will distort your final garment and you will likely not be happy with the result.
When you are sewing the final step of your hidden neckband and armbands go slow and stay close to the edge of the fabric for a uniform look.
Being that I’m very into my workout routine I was ready to dive into sewing up whatever sports bra I could find! I stumbled across two patterns and both were for free. I decided to go with the Ultimate Sports Bra from So Sew Easy because it seemed to have a good amount of support and I really liked the style lines.
The Low Down:
The So Sew Easy Ultimate Sports Bra is a free pattern with a comprehensive video tutorial. You can download the pattern here. This is ONLY the pattern. This link will direct you to Craftsy.com where you will need to sign up for an account if you do not already have one to access this pattern. Directions are not included so you have to either go read the directions here or watch the tutorial here. I highly recommend watching the tutorial and keeping that in the background as you sew. I also recommend watching the tutorial before you head to the fabric store which was something I really wish I had done.
1/2 yard of Spandex/nylon 4-way stretch or lycra milliskin nylon Spandex
2 yards of foldover elastic to match the main fabric. Either 5/8” or 3/4” width.
Thread to match
#10 ball point needle
Optional: Bra cups
I purchased all of my supplies from the Los Angeles Fabric District. If any of you have been there you know you can get some great fabric for an outstanding deal. The So Sew Easy blog provides links in the materials section of their tutorial for you to easily purchase these items on Amazon.com. Otherwise, your local fabric store or favorite online shop.
I usually prep my pattern, fabric and instructions in steps. It takes me a few days to get everything together as I don’t have big blocks of time to spend on them each day.
Day 1: Cut out paper pattern and fabric
Tip from Mayra of So Sew Easy: When pattern pieces are drafted on a fold and you are using slippery fabric always trace that pattern piece and draw the matching side so your new pattern piece is one unfolded pattern piece. This will prevent slippage issues and inadvertently cutting incorrectly. She also suggests using a rotary cutter.
To be completely honest, I didn’t do this. Not because I didn’t want to but because I cut the pattern and fabric out before I watched the video/read the tutorial. My pieces turned out just fine though.
Day 2: Watch video on my bus ride home.
This happened to be a Saturday and my husband was out kayak fishing so guess what I got to do?! Work on this pattern until my sewing machine and I got into an altercation… haha
I carefully watched each step of the tutorial in sequence with my sewing. I sewed the back pieces together with ease once my machine cooperated (more on that to come). Next was the front and the sides. Then you apply the facing which was my favorite step because the facing is applied to the front interior and you sew the sides to the bra but not on a seam. The outcome is the zigzag stitch appears on the right side of the sports bra giving it a RTW princess seam look.
You can see that here:
You will also see that the facing is left unsewn where it lies on the straps. This is left open so you can add bra cups if you so choose.
Sew the shoulder seams together then measure the sleeve opening and the neckline opening with your measuring tape. Subtract 1” then measure your foldover elastic and cut. Be sure to double check this as for some reason I messed my measuring up and I’m not sure how. You will need to fold each in half lengthwise and sew the ends together at 1/4” to create a circle. Measure as directed and sew them on the openings while stretching the elastic being sure that they enclose the fabric and reach around the whole perimeter of the opening.
Finally, you will create a band for the bottom of the sports bra where you will be directed to measure around the opening of the bra and subtract 1”-2”. You will then draw this on a piece of large paper and create your own band pattern. Attach to the bottom of the bra and you are complete! 🙂
My machine! Sometimes it really seems like it is plotting against me… Here is my frustration: I spent so much time and thread trying to get the tension just right. I am using a regular sewing machine by the way so I use a zigzag stitch for my knit projects. My machine doesn’t seem to care for a narrow zigzag stitch unless it really really feels like it. For the most part it will sew in a wavy line then skip a few stitches then just maybe do what it’s supposed to.
Unhappy stitches below:
My machine seems to favor a wider zigzag but doesn’t like it if I switch between zigzag and straight stitch. It gets confused… Let’s just say my seam ripper should just be medically attached as a 6th finger.
I cleaned up the mess and this is how it turned out. Not bad when my machine is happy!
Watch the tutorial before you get your supplies and before you start sewing this project.
Test your machine’s zigzag capacity on thread that you don’t mind wasting if using a regular sewing machine.
Double check your foldover elastic and band measurements before you cut.
If you’re anything like me you’ll need to keep that seam ripper handy. 😉
***Valentine & Stitch patterns are sadly no longer available in the marketplace***
Move over summer shirt dresses Angelina here! I was so excited when Helen of Valentine and Stitch told me that she and Rich were going to be releasing a new pattern. I already loved their Lotus top so I knew I would love this one too and of course it did not disappoint!
If you aren’t familiar with Valentine and Stitch they are a husband and wife pattern designing duo with two sweet children and a lovely home filled with not only lots of love but lots of funky wallpaper too! If you follow Helen on IG she’ll let you know how she feels about that pesky paper! 😉 It’s actually kind of funny so you should take a look! But enough about the wallpaper, I’ve only know Helen for a short time through Instagram but I feel like we’ve been friends for a long time. She’s warm, welcoming, inspiring and a true designer. It’s a pleasure to be able to sew up her patterns and to share them with you!
Angelina can be sewn up in 6 versions – that’s a lot of options! 🙂 Including a flutter sleeve top, sleeveless top, flutter sleeve dress, sleeveless dress, long flutter sleeve dress, long flutter sleeve blouse. When I saw the flutter sleeve dress option I was drooling over the sleeves! (Speaking of sleeves – make sure to join in on #sleevefest2017 running through August 31, 2017 co-hosted by Helen and Diane from @dream.cut.sew) Considering that reaction you would think I would’ve sewn that one up… but… then I thought about it and went for the sleeveless dress instead. I did so because I want a fun summer casual dress that I can wear with sneakers and over a bathing suit for running around in this Los Angeles heat. I think I made the right choice. 🙂
Anyway, I headed to the fabric district one Saturday morning with one of my bestest of friends and had a fantastic time not only buying fabric for Angelina but a ton of other projects too (but that’s another post!). I bought this mauve colored and slightly textured jersey knit after perusing the striped knit section and thinking to myself “Do I really want to line these up?”. That was a big NO, so solids won that trip!
Now that I had my fabric it was time to sew up Angelina! Let me just say that Angelina is such a satisfying sew! I was planning on doing one step every day and I started out like that until I got to the third day and realized that I could probably get it done in 30 minutes. So I did just that with a little help from the sweetest sewing buddy there is! (Take a look at Howard trying to eat my pins when he thought I wasn’t looking!)
Each step was easy to follow, from laying out the pattern, to cutting it out and sewing it up. It’s literally about 5 steps from sewing up the shoulder seams, to sewing on the neckband, then sewing in the armhole hem, sewing up the side seams then hemming your dress! Viola! Summer dress ready and I couldn’t be happier! 🙂