Tag Archives: oliver + s

Oliver+s Book Report Dress and leggings – KCW Fall 2013

Book Report Dress - title image

Guess what guys?  It’s my birthday today and I’ve been given a strict order from my family that I will NOT spend all evening on the computer writing this post.  Jeez, what kind of family is that, wanting to spend time with me and all?!?!  With gifts and dinner being prepared for me (cuttlefish with capers and harissa followed by a celeriac and mushroom torte, in case you’re wondering…oh, and cupcakes…big ones filled with dulce de leche….and some divine dessert wine we picked up this weekend in Germany) I couldn’t protest too much.

book report dress - back view at bug house

So, let’s got on with it.  This is a straight-up all-girl, ultra-useful Autumn outfit.  The dress is Oliver+s’s Book Report Dress and the leggings are from Go To Patterns.  I feel a bit lame and unhelpful by saying this but both these items sewed up without any hitches (apart from a minor sewing machine error – skipped stitches and the top thread occasionally breaking…any thoughts on a cause?!).  I didn’t even alter or change a single thing.  It was such a treat to be in Liesl’s good hands while sewing that I decided to just follow the instructions and not tax my brain too much on alterations.  Plus these patterns are pretty much spot-on so why mess with a good thing, right?

book report dress - action 2

Book Report Dress

book report dress - action

This dress is rated as two scissors.  All other dresses I’ve made from Oliver+s have been three scissors and I really could tell a difference.  This one just came together so easily without any hiccups but without sacrificing any of the subtle details, professional finishes and overall style that we’ve all come to expect from Oliver+s.  To be honest, the most annoying part of this project was step one – making and sewing the button loops.  I don’t know why I find this process so tedious.  I even tried to use a tube turner which is a long skinny thing you put through a tube after you sew it right sides together.  It’s meant to turn the whole tube right side out but I can never get it to work.  Has anyone had any success with one of these?  In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, it looks like this:

The black fabric is from The Village Haberdashery.  The mustard yellow is Kona cotton from my local fabric shop.

I sewed a size 6 for my 5.75 year old.  I knew it would come out big (some of her measurements put her in size 4) but I have an awful habit of making things too small so I was fine with a bit of growing room.

book report dress - neckline button detail

Overall, I do like the dress but I can’t say it’s one of my favourite pieces ever.  For me, the jury’s out on the shirt hem.  My favourite features are the hidden pockets along the front horizontal seam, the contrast yoke in the back and the button opening along the neckline.

book report dress - pocket detail

Go To Leggings

This is the second time I’ve made these leggings from Go To Patterns.  You can read about the first pair here.   With only two pattern pieces to work with you can sew these in an evening and be done in time to catch the news with a cup of tea.  Again, I made no changes or alterations – aren’t I boring today?!

book report dress - back

The petrol blue jersey is from Kitschy Coo and it really is a lovely colour – I’m wondering if I have enough left to make a pair for myself.  I had the size 5 pattern piece cut out so used that but just made it slightly bigger when cutting out the fabric because the first pair are already getting small and I was too lazy to trace the size 6.  This worked ok.

I’m being called for dinner so I’ll leave you to sip my champagne and enjoy!

book report dress - cuff detail

Realistically I will get one more KCW item sewn.  Let’s hope I can get it up before Sunday.

And, as Margot’s expression tells us, I think we’re finished here.

book report dress - final

Thanks for reading,
Laura x

It’s a two-for-one kind of day!

Liberty dress turned into top and oliver+s tea party doll dress - side by side

After almost a month away, I have finally been reunited with my sewing machine (I didn’t actually kiss it but there may have been a few gentle strokes here and there!).  By way of easing back into this whole sewing/blogging malarky I thought I’d treat you to not one, but two little handmade items.  And the icing on this particular cake is that they are both in Liberty print so, even if you don’t feel like reading all my insightful comments on doll clothes (!!), you can at least look at some pretty pictures.

First up is an upcycle of the first dress I ever made!  Almost three years ago to the day I made this dress for Margot and my love affair with sewing began.  (I’ll wipe away the tears of nostalgia and get on with the post).
First dress madeThe dress, outgrown long ago, has been hanging in my sewing room as inspiration until I took a closer look and realised I could get some more use out of it.  Although not expertly made, and still very close to my heart, I simply adjusted the hem et voilà!, a new breezy summer top.  The perfect companion for her Liberty Print Banyan Shorts.

Liberty dress turned into top - full front

Liberty dress turned into top - back view

Sometimes you get a cheery child in a photo shoot – and sometimes you get this…

The next item deserves a bit of explanation.  While on holiday in the States Margot fell in love with her friend’s American Girl doll.  I never intended to own such a thing but, one thing lead to another (I blame her Dad!), and here we are.  I’d like to introduce you to Molly, the newest member of our family.  She’s meant to be a wartime doll so I’m not sure all the colours and frivolity of this dress are in keeping with the austerity at the time but, hey!, a girl’s gotta look good, right?!

oliver+s tea party doll dress - full front view

Now that we own the doll isn’t it kind of imperative that I make clothes for it?!  Yup, I thought so.  With the kids still off school and running feral around the house, I only have time for short spurts in front of my machine so it’s gotta be bite-sized projects for the moment…a perfect opportunity for doll clothes sewing.  So here is the Oliver+s Tea Party Doll Dress from Little Things to Sew by Liesl Gibson.

oliver+s tea party doll dress - full front view 2

I’ve made this dress before…four times in fact (for my god-daughter’s doll) so I had all the pattern pieces cut out and ready to go which always saves a bit of time.  In fact, the most time consuming part of this project was choosing which Liberty fabrics to use!

oliver+s tea party doll dress - front skirt detail

oliver+s tea party doll dress - back detail

The instructions are straight-forward but, just because it’s a dress for a doll, don’t be lulled in to thinking that it’s ultra quick and simple.  As with all Oliver+s patterns, there’s absolute attention to detail and professional finishing so this takes a bit of time and effort.  In particular, take your time around the curved seam attaching the bodice to the skirt so that you maintain the shape.

oliver+s tea party doll dress - top detailThe only other fiddly bit is hand sewing the snaps under the buttons.  TBH, I’d rather have just done buttonholes but figured the snaps would be easier for little hands to manipulate.

oliver+s tea party doll dress - full back viewMargot is a happy girl (despite the sullen look in all these photos), I win brownie points for achieving something while all the kids are in the house, and I’m starting to feel back in the sewing groove.  All in all, a good day.

Thanks for reading.

Laura x

Liberty dress turned into top and oliver+s tea party doll dress - on shoulders

Enough is enough! We’re outta here!

Oliver + s reversible bucket hats – and some thoughts on summer

bucket hats - four close upSummer is in full swing.  In fact, tomorrow I will return back home to Brussels from our summer holiday in Cambridge, MA; Walton, NY; Flat Rock and Lake Lure, NC; and Iceland.  It’s been a whirlwind three weeks which has included (but is not limited to) camping alongside a babbling creek, tending to orphaned baby deer, watching movies on a theatre-sized screen OUTSIDE (the kids still can’t believe how great this was – we live in a country of no drive-in movies), visiting with best friends and near cousins, participating in an awesome family wedding, jumping off boats, swimming in our clothes (and drinking ouzo), reconnecting with the extended family…while all 28 of us peacefully lived under one roof, ziplining through the forests of western North Carolina, exploring glaciers, swimming in geothermal baths, horse riding through glacial landscapes, getting soaked by exploding geysers, watching whales from mere meters away…and the list goes on.

bucket hats - four square

And, before you start swearing at me for this description of holiday bliss, we have also experienced spilt drinks and endless trips to the toilet on all airplane flights; tears at bedtime, morning time, and all in between times; peeing and pooing on the floors of houses that are not our own (ok, that only happened once thankfully – sorry, Erica!); an unsuccessful attempt to complete a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle; demands to play on iphones instead of going on a bracing hike to a beautiful waterfall; a diet largely devoid of vegetables (at least for the kids); countless skinned knees, cut toes and bloodied lips; tears (mine this time) saying goodbye to family who I’m not likely to see for two years; oh, and a (quite charming?!) argument between my two youngest while walking down the aisle during my brother’s wedding.  Yup, normal family chaos and drama…and we still have one flight to go!

bucket hats - full g

As I type I am watching the sun set over the Atlantic ocean from our small cottage on the southwest coast of Iceland.  Of Monsters and Men, FM Belfast, Sigur Ros, and Seabear provide the backing music.  It will be a bumpy landing back to normal life (not to mention that there’s still another month (!!) of school holidays).

One thing I am blissfully excited about when returning home is being able to sew again…and blog again for that matter!!!  I haven’t stitched a stitch (unless you count my attempt to learn embroidery…more on that later) or blogged a post in over three weeks!!  I simply cannot wait to get back to making things and telling the world about them…and boy do I have lots of things planned!

bucket hats - m close up

For now, I will share a simple little pile of hats that I made before setting out on this international adventure.  I’m sure you’ve all seen the Oliver+s bucket hat many times before (and just in case you haven’t you can download the *free* pattern here which I whole-heartily recommend).

I made four.  Each one has a light-weight denim on the outside and a navy and white polka dot inside.  Each child got to choose his/her colour of spotty piping.

bucket hats - four on table

The pattern comes together quickly once you get all the pieces cut out (which, for four, took awhile).  Take your time attaching the sides to the top of the hat.  I didn’t alter the pattern at all (except for adding the piping).

One thing to be aware of though – the pattern runs a bit on the small side.  I was not so meticulous as to actually measure the head size of my kids but I do recommend that you do (or just size up).  I made a medium for my almost-four-year-old and 3 year old step-nephew and both only just fit.  My 5.5 and 8.5 year olds both got a large and these are fine.

bucket hats - e wearing

These hats have helped save some white little cheeks and noses from many sunburns and, miraculously, we haven’t lost one of them!  All in all, a great little accessory for summer.

bucket hats - three wearing

Now, back to the packing…the sun has just slipped below the horizon.

It’s great to be back!

Thanks for reading,

Laura x

Oliver + s Little Red Riding Hood Cape – KCW Summer 2013

red riding hood - frontWho’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?!  Not me!!  Here’s my version of Liesl Gibson’s Red Riding Hood Cape from Little Things to Sew.  And, if you’re not in the mood for the whole Little Red Riding Hood thing then you can always wear it to collect fruit from your orchard.

red riding hood - reverse
This was a great garment to sew.  It can be a dress-up item or used as a legitimate jacket (although my daughter is always baffled by the sleeves-that-aren’t-really-sleeves).  Here it is in action…red riding hood collage

…running away from the Big Bad Wolf (aka little ginger brother).

red riding hood - wolf

We all know that not much can be said in the way of criticism for an Oliver+s pattern – they are all so thorough and perfectly descriptive.  This is a ‘one scissor’ pattern which means it’s constructed simply (the biggest challenge is some curved seams) but not without attention detail (sorry for the double negative there).  Put simply, it’s easy to make but still has beautiful finishes.

red riding hood - button detail

red riding hood - pocket detail

Oh, and did I forget to mention that it’s reversible!?  It’s a two-for-one deal!!  If you make this for a dress-up garment or costume then you can choose different characters/personas for each side.
red riding hood - in reverse collage

You could even lengthen the whole thing for a super hero and/or princess effect.  If you eliminate the hood then it’s a great template for any caped item you might like to sew…trust me, the curved seams around the shoulders add an element of professionalism to your caped crusader.

By the end of this experience the only super-power my daughter wished she possessed was the power to escape her camera-happy mother.  She tried fleeing…

red riding hood - running awayAnd finally resorted to climbing her way to freedom…

red riding hood - up a tree…at which point I finally left her alone to chase the bunnies and eat her picnic.

I do love some Kids Clothes Week sewing!!  What are you guys making…or should I just search for it in the KCW Flickr Pool?!  I seriously can’t believe the amount of amazing things that have been posted already!  Aren’t we all supposed to be on our summer holidays?!

Thanks for reading,

Laura x

Oliver + s Fairy Tale Dress – The Real Deal!

white fairy tale dress - full back view

This is the completed version of the Oliver + s Fairy Tale Dress that my daughter will wear for my brother’s wedding next month.  I made view A as a trial earlier in the year for KCW.  I loved it so much and it fit so well that I was excited to make it again for the wedding (usually I feel grumpy about having to make the same thing twice!).

white fairy tale dress - full front

This time I made View B – sleeveless with an added sash around the back.  I also lined this version which I didn’t bother doing on the trial run.  Most of my comments on the pattern (which, unsurprisingly for Oliver + s, is a dream to follow) can be found in this post.  Here’s a pic to refresh your memory (and to show how the same pattern can look so completely different!).

fairy tale dress, front - KCW Spring 2013

Here are just a few things to mention about this Version B.

The Fabric

I used a white cotton waffle-type fabric (how’s that for technical lingo?!) for the main body.  I bought this in Amsterdam and it was cheap as chips (always a bonus).  The flowered lining, sash and collar is ABC 123 by American Jane Patterns, Sandy Klop for Moda bought from Julija’s Shop in Antwerp.  (I used this same fabric in a different colourway for my Banksia top).  The skirt lining is made from 4 fat quarters from a bundle I bought from Pink Chalk Fabrics.


Because View B is sleeveless I thought I was making my life easy – I could happily skip all those steps for the (gorgeous!!) sleeves.  However, getting the bias strips around the armholes turned into a lesson in patience, pinning and hand-stitching!!  At first glance the strips that you cut appear to be too big so you have to do quite a bit of easing and manipulation.  (Meg (elsie marley) made this same dress for KCW Spring 2013 and you can read about her struggle with the armholes here).

white fairy tale dress - armhole detail

Skirt Lining

white fairy tale dress - front with lining showing

I made the skirt lining out of four coordinating fat quarter fabrics (I wanted to use what I had in my stash).  The construction was simple and I like the little flashes of colour.  The problem I encountered was when attaching the skirt lining to the bodice lining.  Somehow I got myself all turned around about which way it should face.  In the end, I’m pretty sure I sewed the lining on backwards which meant the tulle was sandwiched between the two layers of fabric and that the right/correct side of the lining was facing the wrong way.  I considered ripping it out and doing it again but because of my daughter’s ultra-sensitive skin I left it the way it was – that way the scratchy tulle isn’t directly against her skin.  The only problem with this is that while she’s moving around you might get a view like this:

white fairy tale dress - wrong side liningNot pretty…so I tacked the lining to the skirt so hopefully you’ll see a glimpse of lining like this instead.

white fairy tale dress - lining detail

The other thing I like about doing the lining this way is that the dress is so beautiful even when it’s turned inside-out!  Silly, I know, it’s not like she’ll wear it like this – but she almost could!

white fairy tale dress - inside out front

white fairy tale dress - inside out back

Oh, and just a tiny side note on the zip.  This was, by far, the most successful invisible zip I’ve done (and on the first try as well!).  Never underestimate the benefit of practice!!

white fairy tale dress - open zip

And the pattern instructions are great for making the lining look neat and tidy around the zip.

white fairy tale dress - inside zip detail


white fairy tale dress - full front collar

I LOVE this modified peter pan collar!  I know I’ll be using this on other garments.

white fairy tale dress - back collar

I still need to add a little hook and eye here!.

Some reviews I read mentioned that the collar popped up in the back.  To prevent this I just tacked the corners in place.

white fairy tale dress - tacked back collar


white fairy tale dress - bow detail

If you’ve made this dress, you’ll start to be feeling pretty smug once you get to this part!  You’ve done all this work, you try it on your little one, zip it up and you think you’re done, right?  Think again!  You have to tie that bow!  A sloppy bow is a sloppy dress ladies so don’t stumble at this last hurtle!  I spent ages trying to get the damn thing to look nice until finally I trawled the Oliver+s discussion forum and found this little tutorial posted by another sewist.  If you make this dress, trust me, you’ll be glad you have this little bit of info!

white fairy tale dress - full bowEven with a blurry picture you can see it makes all the difference.

white fairy tale dress - half lengthwise

Soon Margot will be walking down the aisle in this carrying her little basket of flowers – I can’t wait to see it!  I haven’t posted any pics of her wearing it because I thought I’d wait until the wedding day – just to keep it extra special (and, with that ultra-white fabric, there was high risk of soil, dirt, snot or general kid-muck finding its way onto those sweet waffles!).

Happy Friday!  I hope it’s sunny wherever you all are.  What are you sewing this weekend?  I think I’ll just be tying up a few loose ends before I start on the wedding attire for the boys.

Thanks for reading,

Laura x

white fairy tale dress - front collar detail

Top 10 awesome pockets (and a few tutorials)

Top 10 pockets title image

Maybe it’s because I’m a mom and I have to make things functional as well as beautiful, but I can hardly sew a garment now that doesn’t have a pocket.  It’s the first thing the kids look for when they try something on and it’s the first thing to drive me crazy if it’s missing.  (I once *naively* bought a winter coat with no pockets!!  Who would design such an evil garment of clothing?!).

This top 10 list hopes to combine function with style by giving you some inspiration and tutorials for adding pockets to your own sewing projects.

Click on any image below to go straight to the source.

10.  Knotted pockets

I  came across this little pattern and quick tutorial for knotted pockets and just loved it.  This would really personalise any garment.

I think it would look great on the Oliver + S Jump Rope Dress version B.

I love this pocket, but a little knotted one would really make this dress unique.

9.  Cut-out pockets

Piping plus and original pocket – what could be better?  With this technique you could play around with the size and shape to get exactly what you want.  I also love the contrasting fabric on the inside.

8.  Slanted pockets

As useful as in-seam pockets are (see below) sometimes you want to make a feature of the pocket and not hide it away.  This is where slanted pockets come in handy.

banyan shorts - side view

Here’s a great tutorial for adding slanted pockets to a trousers pattern from VeryPurplePerson.

7.  Kangaroo Pockets

The good ‘ole kangaroo!  Yes, it’s useful for sweatshirts – but why stop there?  Here is one of the first skirts I EVER made.  You can’t go far wrong with pockets and pom-poms!

I love this linen skirt with the added vintage doily by Carli of Stitched Rabbit.

6. Floating pockets

Now, I’ve never made a floating pocket but, after reading this tutorial from ikat bag, I’m going to by trying one soon.

And while you’re there checking out this awesome floating pocket, you mind as well read up on the whole pocket series – there are 25 variations for you to choose from!

5. Welt pockets

We usually associate welt pockets with formal attire such as suits.  However, I think welt pockets are great for the exact opposite reason – you can add contrasting fabric on the inside, giving your garment and a subtle, yet exciting burst of colour or design.

Here are my (bad phone photos – sorry!) of my first welt pockets (post on the completed shorts to come later – if ever – the pockets worked fine but the shorts didn’t turn out as I imagined).

welt pockets in progress

completed welt pockets

I don’t usually go for the video option in tutorials but to make these pockets I watched this video (about 100 times).  It’s clear and simple.

If you’re not a fan of video tutorials then have a look at this welt pocket sewalong by the Coletterie.

And, to make a welt pocket with a flap, you can follow this tutorial by my friend IRL, Nele, from spiegelstiksels.  (It’s a guest post for Sew Mama, Sew so it’s in English!).

If you don’t want to go to the trouble of full-blown welt pockets then you can always fake it with Shwin&Shwin’s faux welt pocket tutorial.

4.   Bubble pockets

This method of pocket-making involves adding some elastic around the opening of the pocket for a bubble effect.  Here is my version from Sewing for Boys – The book.

Treasure pocket shorts 1 - KCW Spring 2013

I also love this version from Backstitch.  For me, this photo captures functionality with oh-so-cool kid style.

You can see loads more of versions of these trousers/shorts in the Sewing for Boys Flickr group.

Another great bubble pocket pattern is from Elephants and Elegance.

I love this version with the piping.

For a similar effect you can also follow this tutorial for bubble pocket capris, also from Elephants and Elegance.  (As I’m writing this I’m scrolling through the great patterns and tutorials on this site – I’ve mentally noted at least 4 I want to try!  They all look amazing).

3.  Zippered pockets

Zippers are scary…and pockets can be scary…so put them together and it’s double scary, right? Not necessarily.  Here are two great tutorials to get you through.

First it’s Sanae Ishida’s super beautiful top with full instructions on how to do the pockets.

Next is from Prudent Baby, also a very clear and useful tutorial.

2.  Patch pockets

Patch pockets can take on many forms.  In fact, I could have easily written an entire top 10 on patch pockets alone.  Here are a few of my current favourites and some links to tutorials.

geranium dress owls- margot

Tutorials for patch pockets (or variations of):

1.  In-seam pockets

In-seam pockets are probably the first thing we think of when we think pockets – they are sewn right into the side seam and are usually very discrete – more function than a bold fashion statement.

Jess from Craftiness is not Optional gives quick and easy tutorial for adding in-seam pockets.

A similar tutorial can be found here by Sweet Verbena.  Both of these two are exceptionally clear.

Also, if you have a ready-to-wear item that needs pockets you can follow Ashley’s great tutorial.

For a variation of in-seam pockets (on a jersey dress) check this out.  It’s in Dutch but I got Google Chrome to translate and could figure it out (with a few giggles along the way  – suffocating stitches!?!).

So, if you have any clothes-sewing planned for the summer – go ahead and experiment with a few pockets.  You can never go wrong with a pocket!  This drawing by mirtlemyth sums it up perfectly for me.

Thanks for reading,

Laura x

Oliver + s fairy tale dress – KCW Day Four, Spring 2013

fairy tale dress, front - KCW Spring 2013

I’ve known for awhile that I would make this dress for KCW – my brother’s getting married this summer and I’ll make view B for Margot’s flower girl dress so this is kind of a trial-run.  I did not  know, however, that this would be one of only two pieces I would complete for KCW and that Meg (of Elsie Marley!!!) would be making the same dress!  I feel like I’m participating in my own little sewalong!

fairy tale dress, front wearing - KCW Spring 2013

fairy tale dress, offset front - KCW Spring 2013

This is the Oliver + s fairy tale dress in view A.  Like all of Liesl’s patterns, the instructions are full of perfectly pitched detail and really useful illustrations.  Although I’ve made the Play Date dress (see here) and the Jump Rope dress (see here and here) – both of which are also a ‘three scissors’ difficulty rating – I did find this one the most challenging.  This has taken up way more than an hour a day but, now that it’s all finished, I absolutely love the dress and I’m probably more proud of this than anything else I’ve sewn.

fairy tale dress, cutting - KCW Spring 2013 fairy tale dress, collar and cuffs - KCW Spring 2013

Now, let’s geek-out and get into the technical details.  I made a few changes to the pattern:

  • I left off the waist trim and simply added red piping to the bodice/skirt seam.  This was easy-peasy to do and think it makes the feel of the dress more modern and a bit less cutesy.
  • I swapped gathers for pleats.  After making lots of geranium dresses in both the gathered and pleated variety, I totally fell in love with the pleat.  I feel it gives the dress a more grown-up look.  To do this I pulled out my geranium pattern for 5T and used this as a guide for adding pleat marks to the skirt.  I pinned it on one side and then measured it out so I could do the same, in mirror image, for the opposite side.  It was a bit fiddly but not hard.
  • Because I want this dress to be worn as an everyday-dress I left off the lining and tulle.  This had the added bonus of making the dress quicker to sew and using less fabric – but it did mean I had to do things differently on the inside since there was no skirt lining to attach to the bodice lining.  Instead, I simply turned the hem of the bodice lining to the wrong side and hand-stitched it in place along the seam line.

fairy tale dress, wearing looking down - KCW Spring 2013

Aside from those changes, there are a few other details of the construction I want to mention.

The zip…ahhhh, yes, the dreaded zip!  I’ll be upfront and say right here and now that I am no good at zips, invisible or otherwise.  Sure I’ve put them in things but I have never been entirely happy with one that I’ve put in a garment (I’ve made lots of Anna’s gathered zipped clutches and they work out fine).  This time I was determined to get it right!

fairy tale dress, zip detail - KCW Spring 2013

I started with my one spare invisible zip, some scrap fabric, a cup of tea and a deep breath.  I read through the pattern and had a go – fail!  Swore, seam ripped, tried again – fail!  Swore (louder this time – one of the perks of sewing in an isolated basement!), seam ripped, watched shaky YouTube video on zip insertion, tried again – fail!  Stomped around for awhile, checked pinterest, flickr groups, facebook (the usual time-wasting suspects), read The Coletterie tutorial on invisible zips, tried again – success!!!!  Hallelujah!

fairy tale dress, zip detail wearing - KCW Spring 2013

After doing it successfully I figured out why I get so confused by the way most instructions are written and it comes down to one word – right.  You see, I soon as I read this word I’m thinking – do you mean right (as opposed to left) or right (as opposed to wrong – as in sides of fabric)?  Then, if I can determine that it’s right, as in right and left, I’m wondering if it’s right as you’re looking at something, or right as you’re wearing something.  Basically, there is just too much room for error so I switch off.  The Coletterie tutorial is good because it relies mostly on very clear photos and when they do mention the dreaded word, it is very clear exactly what they mean.

fairy tale dress, wearing full back - KCW Spring 2013

Once I understood the technique I then had to go through a learning curve with my invisible zipper foot.  I read that this foot was magic for zip insertion so I was doubly frustrated when I was still struggling.  I’ll save you all the details here but what I learned was this – when using your invisible zipper foot, make sure your needle is exactly in the centre when you sew (hand-crank it down to double check this before starting).  Mine was slightly to the left so one side was trying to sew on the coils while the other side wasn’t getting close enough.

fairy tale dress - top, wearing - KCW Spring 2013

After all the practice I had a zipper success story!  Since it’s meant to be invisible I guess I should have used a blue or white zip but I like that tiny bit of red poking out at the top.

fairy tale dress, back wearing - KCW Spring 2013

The next thing to mention is the collar.  Making the actual collar pieces was easy and well-explained.  It wasn’t too difficult to attach them to the main fabric, although be careful with the curve and take your time to get it to all lie flat.   The trouble for me came when attaching the bodice lining as well.  Your measurements have to be so precise to get the top of the zip and the outside bodice and bodice lining to lie nicely and look clean.  I had to do lots of fudging and this is the most unprofessional part of the dress.  I’m curious to see if I can improve this for the next version.

fairy tale dress, wearing collar detail - KCW Spring 2013

Finally, let’s talk about the sleeves.  They are really gorgeous and so cleverly designed.  I’m dying to incorporate them into a different project.  The only thing to mention here is that when you sew your gathering stitches for the top of the sleeve, you have four layers of fabric and it’s really hard to gather it all up evenly.  Because it was so chunky I thought I was just sewing big folds into the sleeve cap but when I turned it out they actually looked great.  So, if you’re sewing this, stick with it and trust that it’ll work!

fairy tale dress, sleeve - KCW Spring 2013

So there you have it – my KCW is finished!  I thought I’d accomplish much more but hey-ho, live and learn, right!?  This is my first time sewing and photographing and blogging – whoa – it takes a lot of time as I’m sure all you more seasoned bloggers out there already know.

fairy tale dress, wearing looking up - KCW Spring 2013

It feels good to be wrapping this up.  Tomorrow I’m off to London for a fun-filled weekend visiting a tiny new baby (who will be getting one of these geranium dresses.  With none of my own kids in tow, I also hope to:

  • Eat some good food at Applebee’s Cafe in Borough Market (for all you Americans reading – this is not the Applebee’s you’ll be thinking of 🙂 ).
  • Drink some coffee at With Jam and Bread in Lee, southeast London.
  • Shop at The Village Haberdashery, the bricks-and-mortar premises of the online shop of the same name.  I’m determined to buy my first Colette pattern as a little thank you for all the help with the zip tutorial.  Anyone have any Colette favourites I should try?!
  • and marvel at the displays at Liberty.  Have you guys heard that Liberty has teamed up with Levi’s?!  Liberty and denim…I’m interested to see more.  Just check out this picture of the atrium of the main hall…

Hope you all have a great weekend.  Thanks for sticking with me till the end – lots to say tonight for some reason.  Will you all be sewing strong over the weekend or taking a well-deserved break?  I’ll be back on Tuesday for another Top 10.

Linking to The Train to Crazy: Make It, Wear It Thursdays.

fairy tale dress, on bike - KCW Spring 2013_edited-1

Thanks for reading,

Laura x