The Eliza M Alma Wiggle Skirt

Happy weekend, dolls!

Thanks to a long weekend here in the UK, I’ve managed to invest some time back in my sewing projects. And I FINALLY managed to finish my Eliza M Alma Wiggle Skirt!*

I have to be honest, my hopes weren’t high for this skirt. As long-time readers of Sew for Victory are already aware, I am the lucky owner of some serious hips. And I’m not being entirely sarcastic here, because hips are pretty fabulous. That said, I generally avoid wearing anything that makes them look 50% larger than the rest of my body. So pencil skirts are typically a no-go. But Eliza M’s pattern was shapely in all the right places and I ended up producing a skirt that I would be happy to wear any time.

The pattern itself was super simple to follow and, despite taking about a month for me to finish, can be sewn up in just a couple of hours. So this would be an absolutely perfect pattern for a beginner sewist. It includes a couple of skill-building details – waist darts and a cute back split are great introductions to producing more tailored garments.

It helped enormously that I made this skirt up in a thick tweed (bought during my Twenty-Something Sewers trip to Walthamstow market). Such an easy fabric to sew with. And after my disastrous attempt to sew with silk, I needed this victory! My experience with this pattern (and fabric) is a definite testimony to the best way of overcoming a dip in motivation. It really is ok to put complicated and frustrating projects to the side and spend some time working on a pattern that boosts your confidence and reminds you why you love to sew. Self-care must always be #1 priority.

So there you have it. A simple, but effective, pencil skirt, courtesy of Eliza M Patterns. Perfect as work wear but, I think, also totally suitable for everyday. I’ll definitely be whipping this one out as part of my regular wardrobe rotation!

*The Eliza M website is still putting up a malware warning, so I haven’t linked to it in this post. But the pattern is available via Fabric Godmother, and can be found here.

 

The Joan Dress

It’s done! I won’t lie, it was touch and go for a while. Attaching the lining to the shell tested my patience to the limit and led to a brief ‘I will never sew again!’ moment. Thankfully sense prevailed and a few tugs-and-pulls later, things came together. So here she is – the finished product!

This pattern really challenged my (still developing) skills. As well as requiring a full lining, the dress also features my first ever kick pleat. So there was plenty here that was new for me. But I’ve always steered clear of choosing patterns on the basis of their level – I figured that sticking to ‘beginner’ or ‘advanced beginner’ patterns would not necessarily move my skills along as fast as I wanted. This strategy comes with its own set of challenges and I would say that the Joan dress was probably on the cusp of what I’m currently able to achieve. That said, I’m only 6ish months into my sewing journey, so I figure that’s not too shabby!

Anyway, let’s talk about the pattern! I decided from the outset that I wanted to invest in quality materials and use those exactly recommended. So I worked with a gorgeous red crepe and black lining fabric. These sewed up like a dream. Plus, I think the red works really well for that ’50s-era look. The pattern’s careful detailing – the tailored look achieved by the darts, plus the fabulous necktie – all enhance the vintage feel.

This is the first pattern that I’ve made from Sew Over It. It featured probably the clearest set of instructions that I’ve yet seen accompany a pattern, aided by a lot of great illustrations and diagrams. I had no problem following along and – for the first time – didn’t need to google/youtube anything for clarification. This makes me particularly happy given that I own 3 other Sew Over It patterns! The pattern also sizes perfectly. I graded out at the hips to accommodate my ample rear but had no problems with the fit at all. So you can be quite confident in the sizing chart given with the pattern.

I adore this dress. It’s got such a classy, but everyday, feel to it. And dressed up with a brooch (one of my Christmas brooches made an appearance!) or with a thin belt, it’s perfect!

So would I recommend this pattern? Absolutely. It’s simple to follow and produces a stunning dress. However, if you haven’t got any experience with lining, I would recommend either trying a simpler pattern first (I worked with Colette Pattern’s Beignet skirt as a preliminary exercise) or just be sure to take your time. But it’s well worth the effort. My Joan dress will next appear for my Valentine’s Day high-tea with my beau – the perfect garment for a day dedicated to love! Watch this space.

The Belle Curve Dress

Happy Friday, sweetpeas!

As promised, I’m returning with some pictures of my finished Belle Curve dress – pattern by Decades of Style. This is BY FAR the most beautiful thing I’ve made, totally a consequence of the stunning design.

Full dress

I am beyond in love with this pattern. Despite my fear of the 36 darts, it came out quite quickly and was strangely satisfying. The darts are the most unique feature of the dress but, as well as looking great, they create a beautiful figure-hugging shape. This dress sits perfectly on my hips and I found that it achieves a fabulous hourglass shape really effortlessly.

Dress Side

I made this up in a green chiffon-poly that I bought super cheap from Walthamstow market. Since my plan is to wear this as my Christmas day dress, I thought that the forest green would work as a beautiful colour! I also thought that the shimmer to the fabric would give it that gorgeous 1940s feel.

The only change I made was to the back by introducing a V-shape to the neckline. Partly this was because I felt that it would step up the glamour factor, but it also eliminated a bit of bagginess in the upper part of the back. Basically, it streamlined the shape.

Dress Back2

There is nothing that I don’t adore about this dress. It is the most accurate 1940s-inspired pattern that I’ve found to date and it just has that WOW factor. I’ll be making this up again, without a doubt! Head on over to Decades of Style for this and a lot more fabulous patterns!

Laura x

Beignet Skirt – The Finished Product!

Hello darlings!

Well the day has finally arrived. At long last, my Beignet skirt is finished! Hooray! I love love love the look of this pattern.

Beignet Finised

Paired with the vintage blouse! My first fully hand-made outfit!

It’s taken me a while to finish the skirt, mostly because I was determined to avoid cutting corners. I fell hard in love with my lining fabric and wanted to make sure that it was put to best use! Since this skirt is only my fourth sewing project, I’m obviously still learning a whole lot of skills. This pattern got me lining, fitting pockets, and finally learning what twill tape is actually for. So not only do I adore the skirt for how comfortable it is, but I’m also super proud of the various new abilities that I’ve developed while making it.

Beignet Pockets

I literally dream of this lining. And I love that it’s like a hidden secret bonus!

There’s absolutely no question about whether or not I’d make this skirt again. As time consuming as the process was, the pattern was perfectly clear and detailed. And I had no problem with the sizing (which I had to grade out on my hips – they would be called ‘child bearing’ if we went back a few decades).

So yay! One more project down. Tomorrow I’m off to Walthamstow market for fabric shopping with a bunch of fabulous twenty-something sewers (including the fantastic Rhiannon whose blog is LIFE), ready to purchase fabric for my next pattern. Details to come!

Beignet Finished2

In the meantime, have a wonderful weekend!

Laura x

Vintage Blouse: A Tale of Triumph

Well, after many tears (and a few curse words), I have finally finished the Great British Sewing Bee’s Vintage Blouse.

GBSB Blouse 2

It was my first time working with a chiffon fabric, which presented a bit of a challenge. Fortunately, my amazing new sewing machine has automatic tension adjustment, making the whole process a bit easier!

I actually really love this pattern. The fit wasn’t difficult and the vintage accents are just perfect – the necktie, the large sleeves, and the plackets. All of these brought their own learning curves, as I faced down with a range of new sewing techniques. I am now a master of french seams and less technically-challenged when it comes to continuous bound plackets! Whoop!

Would I whip up this pattern again? I think so, although perhaps with a satin or silk fabric. The instructions that came in the book were great and easy-to-follow. And the final product certainly looks plenty vintage!

GBSB Blouse 1

And now it’s onto the next project! I’m torn between a few options but this evening shall be spent making a decision and getting started.

Thanks for all of the support (particularly placket-related). You are fabulous!!

Laura x

My First Dress

Good morning, poppets!

Today, I can declare victory over my first ever dress pattern – the Eliza dress from Eliza M.

Elise M Dress 1

For an amateur sewer, this pattern was amazing. Simple, easy to understand, and pushing my skills just enough. I had decided that my first foray into vintage sewing would probably be best served through a vintage-inspired modern pattern – and Eliza M has a great selection on offer! I made the dress up using the above sky-blue cotton with white polka dots. Super fun to work with!

But I don’t want to paint this like it was all sunshine and roses. There’s a fair bit of jerry-rigging holding the thing together. I learnt, for example, why it is SO important to iron out the coils of your zip (to avoid sewing into your zip by mistake). I also found that the bust darts ended far too high, leaving the dress looking a little *cough* nipple-y. I managed to deal with this by slashing the darts open and ironing the apex over a tailor’s ham – but next time, I think I’ll just try to lower the darts on the pattern (ooooo….adventurous!!).

Overall though, this was a fantastic pattern that made me feel sufficiently proud of myself! I’m already planning to make it up again using a different fabric! So YAY, first real sewing endeavour successful. I will leave you with more photos, showing my response to my fiancé shouting ‘STRIKE A FIERCE POSE’ at me, while snapping like paparazzi.

Elise M Dress 2                               Elise M Dress 3