Gingham dreams!

Vintage style ruffle dress project...

 
I have been dreaming of giant gingham for a long time. I’m not sure what started it but I thought it would be a super cute dress when I found the perfect fabric. When I saw this fabric on Samantha Claridge online I knew it was for me, but I NEVER sew dull fabrics especially not black fabrics! After I wrestled with myself a little while I settle on the black and white gingham because I thought I could spice it up a bit with the pattern I used.

I planned on making the Jennifer Lauren handmade Mayberry dress so thought I would use awesome big buttons, but when the fabric arrived I knew I had to reconsider. The fabric arrived with a much thicker texture than I was expecting. It’s got a lovely linen feel to it but with a bit most structure, and less wrinkles too! I thought I would find a dress with a big full skirt and make something really vintage but with the checks being directional I wasn’t sure how that would make my shape look.

Then I saw the Alice & co free pattern in partnership with the V&A. It’s a pattern based on one of Mary Quants dresses to celebrate the exhibition on at the moment at the V&A. The fabric was perfect for the ruffles making them stand up around the neck and fluff out at the elbows, so I made a decision!

This project has almost turned into a zero waste one too! I cut out all my pieces and realised I didn’t have enough fabric to make the skirt three times the width so only made it twice. The only fabric I had left was a small section big enough for pockets, maybe on this dress in the future!

 

The checks made making the pleats super easy as I just used the squares as reference folding the over neatly. I’ve never pleated so much before, and the instructions tell you how to use a form to measure your pleats, which sounded terrifying so I was glad I had the squares already there to use. I had to top stitch the sleeve ruffles down as they were so fluffy they were flouncing in the wrong direction but I think that says more about my elbows than the fabric..! ha!

This fabric is super easy to wash and wear too as I was worried the linen feel would leave it wrinkly. Luckily I washed it and just hug it to dry and didn’t have to do any more to it. The pleats stayed lovely and the bodice didn’t crease so it’s perfect for perhaps packing in a bag or wearing all day and still looking smart at the end of the day!

 

I recently wore this dress to our new nephews christening, and I got lots of compliments. The wrap over front is very flattering on me and the smallest part of the waist hits me just at the right point. I didn’t make any adjustments to the pattern and just made it as it was which was perfect for me. It has a fully lines bodice too, which made it feel even fancier, but helped it come together surprisingly easily!

 

Whilst this dress isn’t the vintage era I’d normally gravitate towards (normally 40’s and 50’s) I think it was a perfect pairing to this fabric and made me a lovely outfit for the christening which I can now wear again and again to the office and know I’ll be smart and comfy!

An Autumn Tunic

Kathrine's Autumn tunic

As soon as I saw this gorgeous jersey on Samantha’s site, I knew I had to make something from it. I toyed with various ideas but finally decided on a tunic for Autumn. I like the Tilly and the Buttons Coco but really wanted a straighter silhouette, I also like the details of the Coco Wawa Chestnut but find the shape a bit boxy.

I decided to try this pattern which came free with one of the sewing magazines as I wanted a simple shape to allow the fabric to take centre stage. Sam found me some lovely copper ribbon to tone with the bees and the detail on the flowers.

I decided on view C which has a longer back than front, but I lengthened the sleeves as my arms are always cold in autumn/winter!

The pattern came together easily, the only alteration I made was to shorten the back slightly so that there is less of a difference between the back and the front. I used my overlocker for main seams and my regular machine for hems, bias binding and top stitching. The fabric is soft to touch but holds its shape and doesn’t stretch out at all. 

I cut the back with a centre back seam as I wanted to incorporate a tie detail at the top. I love the way the copper ribbon looks against the fabric. 

I have tried the tunic on with several garments; jeans, navy trousers, culottes, a short denim skirt and a longer pencil skirt. I think it’s going to get a lot of wear as the weather gets cooler.