Tried and Tested in Prada

Here's my fifth (including the dodgy one...) Kielo Wrap Dress, by Named Clothing. A clear tried and tested favourite pattern of mine, but my favourite thing about this one has to be the dreamy Prada fabric I used.
My fifth Kielo Wrap Dress!
It's a viscose/crepe feel fabric with beautiful drape that I picked up for a complete bargain from the Manchester Abakhan. I've been wondering... when it says Prada, does that mean it's real Prada, as in deadstock/leftovers from the high end fashion brand? That's what I assumed in the shop anyway, with a great level of excitement. Either way I think it's lovely, but if anything it's most like the Prada 2012 collections, which all featured similar retro, geometric designs.
Prada A/W 2012
Close up of the lovely design on the fabric, worn with new Docs
The only thing I'm disappointed in is that I wasn't able to properly pattern match at the back seam. I had absolutely planned to do it, but the fabric was much narrower than I realised, so it was a real squeeze to even get the dress out of it at all. Instead, I made sure that the horizontal lines of pattern were as lined up as possible, which is a good second best I guess.

Not quite pattern matched back
I made it a couple of inches shorter than my other Kielos, so probably around 9 inches shorter than the actual pattern in all. Other than that, it was all the same as normal - I wrote lots more about the pattern itself in this post.

Making use of time while waiting for a train
I have little else to say that I haven't said before about this pattern, but this version might just be my new favourite. My original version, made in a similar weight fabric, has been worn so much that it might be on it's way out, so the perfect fabric came along at just the right time!

My friend Erin took the pictures while we were waiting for the train back after a trip to the wonderful Fabworks. We've had a really busy March at work, running a science festival, so I'm excited to have 10 days off around Easter, which will mainly be used for sewing!

Fabworks haul and Easter treats!
On my list to make is the Driftless Cardigan, the Waver Jacket, some Butterick Culottes, and some top secret (for now at least) sparkly samples. Lets see how far I get!

Happy Easter everyone, hope you get chance to do lots of sewing :)

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Turia Dungaree Dress

It seems that Spring has sprung in the UK, so I got my timing just right for making the Pauline Alice Turia Dungarees! Pinafore dresses seem to have been everywhere for agesssss now. I've experimented with making my own overalls and bib fronted skirts, but I really wanted a proper denim dungaree dress - I even tried a few (badly fitting and cheaply made) ones on in the shops, but no success there.

Turia dungaree dress!
I like the Marilla Walker Roberts Collection but wanted something a bit closer fitting, so when I saw that Pauline had posted a hack tutorial on how to make a dress variation of the Turia Dungarees, I was totally sold! You just make some slight and very simple adjustments to the shorts front and back pattern pieces, add a bit of length, and then you have a skirt - I'd definitely recommend trying it!

Dress variation hack - see here for full instructions
I made mine in this great mid-weight blue denim from Fabworks. It's not often I wear or work with denim, but I loved the cross hatch pattern woven into it, and the weight was ideal for this project too. Another bonus: it was only £6 per metre!

Bright blue denim in the sun light!
I cut the bottom pieces in a size 40, and the top in a 42 (I  didn't really need to size up, but I thought I'd go for a bit more fabric to accommodate my bust) and the sizing was pretty much spot on. Construction-wise, the instructions are clear and easy to follow. There's a fair bit of precision required for the pocket making and top-stitching, but I really enjoyed paying attention to the fine details. I wasn't brave enough to use a contrast colour thread for my top-stitching, but I think that can be excused, as the pattern of my fabric is already quite bold.

Precise pocket pattern matching
What I am particularly proud of is the great effort I went to with pattern matching. To be honest, it was a bit of a fluke that I got the skirt pockets so well lined up, but the bodice was a whole other story... I had to re-cut all of the top pieces - bodice, top pocket and top pocket welt - because the cross hatch pattern was so skewed. Luckily I had enough fabric and my post-make satisfaction levels suggest it was well worth the extra effort!

Loving the front pockets on the skirt!
The pattern instructs you to fit zip fastenings on each side, but I only did it on one - the dress variation is pretty easy to get on with just one zip. In the fabric and notion requirements, it states that you need regular zippers, but I took mine out and swapped it for an invisible one for a neater finish. Note: it does state you can use an invisible or exposed zipper later on in the instructions, but I'm the sort of person who only reads as far as the first page before getting started with the making!

Windswept side shot
I was a bit naughty and didn't do flat fell seams where they were recommended, but that's because I thought it would be more difficult to adjust the size if I'd needed to. Now I know that it's a good fit, I'd probably give them a go next time.

A proper dungaree back!
I love the shape of the back! One of my straps is a little squiffy but I can live with it. I'd be tempted to sew the straps in at a slight angle next time, positioned the way they sit during wear - maybe this would remedy the squiffiness (technical term). I'd also move the back pockets a little further down.

Antique finish hardware from Green Grizzly
Having to hunt down the buckles and buttons is something that used to put me right off a make, but I'm getting really into sewing things that require hardware - like the Retro Rucksack and Nita Wrap Skirt. The buckles and buttons I used are from Green Grizzly. I bought packs of 10, so I'm definitely up for making another pair or two - no stopping me! This was the first time I'd inserted no sew buttons and it was quite easy, but I'm glad I did a practice first. You're meant to just hammer them in, but I did a quick squeeze with the pliers too to make sure they were super secure.

It took a bit of adjusting the straps to get it to sit right on me, but I LOVE the finished Turia dungaree dress! It feels great to know that I made my own version, rather than settling for the less than sparkling offerings of the high street. I'll place a bet now that it'll be my most worn item through Spring and Summer! Version 2 is already planned out in my head - plain black denim or canvas, potentially braving some jazzy top-stitching too.

Thanks Chris for patiently taking all these pictures before breakfast!
Now to make some suitable Spring/Summer tops to wear with them - any suggestions?

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Pattern Testing: The Sew DIY Nita Wrap Skirt

I was absolutely thrilled to be selected by Beth to test the latest Sew DIY Pattern - the very chic Nita Wrap Skirt. It's just my kind of skirt, with three different lengths (hello midi and maxi!) and the option of three different waistband closures, so I jumped at the opportunity. Here's the finished product:
The Nita Wrap Skirt - with a flash of my underskirt!
And an up-close look at View B
I knew exactly the fabric for the such a special project. I've had this Minerva polka dot crepe for a while now - I bought 4 metres for a project that never saw the light of day - and I was so excited to finally use (some of) it. It's medium weight, with a lovely drape and it's very easy to work with. As you can probably see from my pictures, I made no attempt at pattern matching - I'm just going with the excuse that I was concentrating on the sew! - but I quite like the random placement of the polka dots.
Left: all sizes, Right: selected layers
Now onto the pattern...The PDF is a layered pattern which scores extra points from me! It allows you to view and print only the sizes you want - pretty handy when a pattern can be made up in a range of sizes (the Nita Skirt sizing ranges from 00-22). I've only come across this once before on a Named pattern, but I think it's definitely the way forward for print at home patterns!

Three lengths and three closures
Out of the three views, I chose to make View B, which was both my favourite length, and had the D ring fastening, which I love - I had loads of D rings left over from my Retro Rucksack and my various adventures with leather anyway.

Choosing my hardware
After much debate, I decided not to line my skirt (although the pattern does provide instructions for how to) and in this case, it was the right decision, as my the fabric hangs nicely as a single layer. As I skipped the lining stage, I took some extra care with the side seams by doing a turned under seam finish, which worked out quite nicely.

Turned under seam finish
I can't fault the pattern - Beth's instructions and illustrations made the Nita a breeze to make up. The whole construction took just an afternoon, and that's including hand finishing the waistband (you can do it by machine if you want!), some extra careful seam finishing and correcting a couple of my own silly mistakes - I let my iron overheat and accidentally melted a hole on the inside (luckily) of my waistband, so a bit of patching was required.

Patching the bit I managed to melt - luckily it's on the inside of the waistband
I cut a straight size 10 and the fit is spot on. The design is fitted on the waist and skims the curve of the hips and bum - I think it would be flattering on all body types. The wrap front provides plenty of modesty-preserving coverage, but the *slight* flash of leg you get with movement is a cool little quirk.
A bit of movement to prove that wrap provides enough coverage!
This was my first time pattern testing and I absolutely loved it - both the making part and going through the fine detail of the pattern and instructions, so big thanks to Beth for letting me try it out. Thanks also go to my number one sewing pal Erin for taking loads of pictures of me wearing my finished Nita:
Front view, worn with one of my Rise Turtlenecks

Back view!
Closer view of the side and that D ring fastening
Overall, the Nita Wrap Skirt is smart, cool and entirely wearable, day or night - and my wardrobe will soon be filling up with many of them. And as it turns out, the wrap style skirt is very on trend right now! Here's some inspiration for my next version - chic, sharp fabrics all the way!

Wrap skirts by Joseph, Whistles x2, Finery and Cos
I couldn't recommend the pattern more! Get your copy here and if you're in need of inspiration, check out the Nita Wrap Skirt tester round up - I'm up there in some great company :)

Which version of the Nita would you make?

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