When I was looking to build my sewing confidence, I decided to take the Ultimate Trousers class at Sew Over It‘s Islington shop. The trousers actually turned out really well, and it was the boost I needed to keep making apparel. Since then, I’ve been a major Sew Over It fangirl. Their patterns are stylish and versatile, and not too complicated (depending on the pattern of course). I love Lisa’s style too and enjoy her vlogs.
The fabric is this soft, drapey rayon from their store. I don’t think they have it anymore but it’s called “pick up sticks”. I actually have a number of pieces of fabric from their store that I’m saving up for the perfect project.
The Ultimate Shift Dress is a beginner pattern, and has a lot of room for hacking and creativity. All you need to do is watch Lisa’s Shift Dress video to see all the variations you can make with it! Unlike other Sew Over It makes, I needed to make a few adjustments to the Ultimate Shift Dress pattern for it to fit me well. I’ve been fortunate that other patterns have needed little to no adjustment. My bust size falls into a size 8, hips in size 10 and shoulders in size 12. After some trial and error, I have it worked out. From the neck to the lower armscye, it’s size 12, the rest is size 10 and the bust dart is at the size 8 point. Since the armscye are size 12, so are my sleeves. The great thing about this is not only does it fit my shoulders perfectly, but it’s loose enough where I can get it over my head without the back opening. Win!
I finished this dress the morning of a celebration we had with friends and family for my daughters 100 days of life. It’s a Chinese tradition called Red Egg and Ginger. Since the dress is shorter when cinched in with a belt, I wore it with tights. I prefer it with a belt because it gives me (and the dress) more shape!
I made this version with elbow length sleeves.
I have an idea for my next make using this pattern. It’ll likely be a hacked top version. It’s a few down in my sewing queue so it may not be for a little.
The first project with buttonholes that I tackled was the Megan Nielsen Darling Ranges dress. At the time of sewing, I was pregnant and needed something that would be roomy enough to hide (in the first 3 months) and later fit my growing bump. At the time, I couldn’t be bothered to tweak the waistline of version 1 so I went for version 3, the tunic. The first one I made was out of this cotton lawn weight chambray. All of my versions have pockets because…well…pockets. That’s self explanatory.
As you can see, the fabric is really light and even though I made the dress length, it was still a bit short for me so I always wore them with tights or leggings. Super comfy and roomy though.
My next version was out of this black viscose fabric from The Textile Centre. It has a flower-like pattern on it that reminds me of Chinese characters. I think I got the most wear out of this version, because it didn’t need ironing. Even though it’s a viscose fabric, it has a nice weight to it which made it surprisingly warm.
Last but not least, a linen sleeveless version. This probably got the second-most wears because when it was colder, I could layer with a turtleneck or long sleeve top, and when it was warmer, I either wore it on its own, or with a short sleeved t-shirt underneath.
From what I remember, these tunics fit me up until my 8th month, and I continued to wear them after pregnancy because they were just so loose and comfy.
One big thing to point out is that Megan’s post about sewing closures is an absolute gem. It has transformed how I find doing buttonholes and sewing buttons onto clothing. The tip about putting the pin through the sewn and open button hole to line up perfectly with where the button will go…genius. Sewing buttons with a machine? Even better. I am terrible at hand sewing and my first few attempts at doing so meant I had a flimsy button on there. Using the machine is a time and life saver. Check out her tips!
One of the nice things about finally putting my backlog of makes on the blog is that I rediscover how much I love the item that I made. As a result, I now want to make more of what I’ve blogged about which helps the pattern-hoarder in me to make use of what I already have 🙂
The first Megan Nielsen pattern I’d sewed was this Brumby skirt. I was first drawn to it because of its massive pockets. I’m a pocket fan. Dresses, skirts, trousers…anything with pockets just ups a piece of clothing’s usefulness.
It was a really straightforward make. I made it out of this black and white viscose fabric but I don’t remember where I got it from…oops. Because the fabric is a bit slippery, I opted for an invisible zip rather than the exposed zip. Next time, I’ll definitely go for the exposed zip.
I’ve since worn this brumby to work, and gotten good use out of it when travelling, particularly in Dubai. Because it’s long and covers my knees, it’s perfect for the location, and since it’s so hot there, wearing a skirt is much more comfortable than shorts.
Yay for pockets!