Megan, (meggipeg) and Katherine (sewblooms) and I meet up from time to time and we like to have a joint sewing project to keep us interested. Katherine had a book, Fashion Pattern Cutting by Zarida Zaman, which she lent us to get some inspiration and which led to each of us creating a garment with some interesting pattern cutting.
I really liked the idea of a simple rectangle inserted into the body of a top or jacket.
I had a play with this idea when I was at our holiday place. I used a piece of leftover sheeting from my Zero Waste Playsuit and used the free Pattern Union Maisie pattern because it’s a really simple shape and doesn’t have darts, making my life so much easier.
I used my Kindle to determine the shape of the insert
Having drawn round the kindle on the pattern, I then put in several notches and numbered them on both sides so that I’d be able to add the insert back in easily.
The pattern piece looked a bit like this – all I had to do now was add a seam allowance in to both the cutout and the insert, snipping the notches, of course.
I decided to do some simple running stitches in red embroidery floss just to add some interest. I am beginning to find such hand stitching really therapeutic.
Once I tried the top on I realised that my insert was perhaps too small to be effective, but I now had a good idea about what I wanted to do.
I began to plan the next one and decided I would have two inserts, both of which would be placed across the side seams. I also wanted to use my beloved Pattern Union Cora pattern, which has darts which would need to be rotated out.
I was going to see Sarah of Pattern Union fame about something else but had a basket full of contrasting and coordinating fabrics. We went through them all and found three which we thought would be perfect for my new Cora. It needs to be said here that Sarah did a course with Shingo Sato, the famous designer behind the Transformational Reconstruction Technique and we’d often talked about her teaching me some of the principles, so it seemed as though the time was nigh!
First we needed a design. I talked Sarah through what I wanted (angles, pattern across the seams) and she added a few ideas and we finished up with this – slightly more complex than my initial ideas!
A Cora dress was then made from calico and I put it on so that Sarah could transfer our design to it.
There are a few things to notice here – we added a pocket (red lines), all those notches and we had to go back in and choose which fabrics were going to be used where and mark the fabric accordingly – this was rather critical.
The calico dress was cut up and used as the pattern. The F on the pattern pieces here do not denote “front”, but rather “flowers”. Each of these seam lines needs to have seam allowances added, which I find quite tedious as I don’t trust myself to do it by eye.
The sleeves use a striped border print and look very similar but they aren’t.
and the last piece of fabric is a beautiful blue chambray.
It all looks like a hot mess, but Sarah calmly guided me through it, although I had some real head scratching moments.
I wasn’t that calm though as this little video of several photos shows – my hysteria mounted! Sarah entertained herself by taking a series of photos. I look like I’m laughing, but trust me, I was crying inside!
I managed to get the dress finished, adding a band of the border from the brown striped fabric to the sleeves and bottom of the dress. I can’t tell you how much I love it, how much I learned and how much I almost enjoyed the process!
At the beginning I said that Katherine had suggested that she, Megan and I complete a garment using Katherine’s book as inspiration, so we had a meetup coffee and did a photo shoot. Here are the results. Megan used the Pauline Alice Xerea dress, cleverly inserting shapes around the style lines, and Katherine used the Style Arc Rosie top, making the top from contrasting linen and sewing a circle in the centre, which I really love.
We took the photos in Kings Park, above the city and it was a most magnificent day, with views that rather eclipsed our makes!
Some closeups of my dress – that pocket slipped into the seam line is there, but it’s not at all obvious unless I have my hand in it!
A few more views. The inserts are asymmetrical so no two views of my dress are the same.
The last photo above shows the fabric best – flowers, stripes with gold embroidered border, and plain blue chambray. All fabric is from Woven Stories Textiles.
One of the things I found really confronting about this dress is that I used three big remnants, each of which would have made a garment on their own. However, as the title of this post states, this dress became more than the sum of its parts and it wouldn’t have been nearly as good had I tried to cut it out of scraps.
I’m also wearing my Shoe Camaraderie Astrid Sandals, which I think are my most worn sandals. They seem to go with everything!
Just showing the dress when I’m seated. It is wide enough that it doesn’t ride up my legs when I sit down, so it’s very easy and comfortable to wear.
This dress ticks so many boxes for me, not least because it is going to be my entry into the SewOver50 Pattern Mixing challenge, as well as the Magamsewalong (make a garment a month) Multi March challenge. It is also going to be part of my March Makes for the Month. These are all Instagram challenges, and I do enjoy them.