My boyfriend graduated earlier this summer (yay!). His official graduation was on Wednesday two weeks ago , which felt a bit odd to both of us as he has been working at a new job pretty much since he passed his final exam. Nonetheless graduating is a preeeettty big thing and it deserves to be celebrated a such. I have to say though, this celebrating can be quite a challenge for an introvert whose equivalent of a "wild night out" is either sitting at home with her knitting, a good cup of tea and an audio book or behind her sewing machine singing along to Queen songs. So I decided to make it easier and more fun for me, by taking some of "my kind of party" along. No, I did not sit through the ceremony with my knitting... I thought that was taking it a bit to far (though in hindsight!), instead I sewed myself a brand new dress for the occasion.
The pattern is the Flora Dress from By Hand London. When I first got properly interested in sewing clothes this was an upcoming indie sewing company, and I didn't really see them much anywhere. By now they're one of the best known brands in the indie pattern sewing community. I made the tank bodice of the Flora Dress, in the straight circle skirt variation, to make her more wearable during colder weather. I'd like to try the dipped hem circle skirt at some point as well, perhaps next summer.
The dress, as written, has a bodice lining, which I decided to turn into a full lining. Inserting lining was a first for me. I simply wasn't convinced about the advantages of a lining in relation to the trouble/extra time/extra fabric needed for inserting one (unless your outer fabric was see-through). What a fool I was! I'm totally converted to Camp Lining now! I love how clean it makes the inside of the dress look, I love what it does for the neckline and I love how much better the dress sits, and it gives the dress some extra warmth. As a bonus: no more dresses that stick to my tights for me any more! I'm super happy with the lining (and probably a tad more smug about it than I should be).
Another feature of the dress that went unexpectedly well was the invisible zipper. My last try at an invisible zipper was a DIS-AS-TER, and it totally ruined the dress beyond salvage. I'm still not completely over it. (How do you mean, "you never blogged about that"? OF COURSE I never blogged about it! It was a disaster!) But a sewing hiatus and a new invisible zipper foot later and I was ready to give it a new shot. Although installing the zipper took me longer than it probably should take (I wasn't taking any chances) I'm happy with the outcome.
This was my first shot at a By Hand London pattern. I was keen to try the pattern, and it definitely did not disappoint. The pattern directions are really clear and extensive, and to top it of most of their patterns have a detailed sew-along dedicated to them on the website. Apart from the clarity of the patterns, which I do admit is the most important aspect, I like the tone of the writing in the patterns as well. It's informal, it's cheerful, and yet it's informative; in short, I like it very much.
Finally, each pattern is dedicated to a female Muse, a woman whom the team knows in real life and admires. This just makes my feminist heart sing. Due to business difficulties, the company had to stop producing paper patterns, and now only sells pdf- patterns. Personally I much prefer paper patterns though, and luckily I was able to still find some of the patterns that I really would like to make in paper versions. Though, one of the new patterns that never even appeared in paper form and which I want to make, is only available in pdf, so I'll have to make the jump at some point. That'll be my first sewing project from a pdf, so at least I'll be able to say that I'll definitely learn something new.
The Flora really is a summer dress, so from now on I really should adjust my sewing to the colder weather ahead. Luckily I have a wardrobe bursting with handknits to layer her with, so I can keep on wearing her for now. I didn't bother with making bra straps for now, as I will mostly be wearing it with sweaters anyway. I can see the advantage of them during warmer weather, so I might make them then, if I can be bothered enough.
The dress is not perfect. There are probably a bunch of things that I could do to make it better. Fit wise, I might do a full bust adjustment next time, to improve the fit of the bodice. For now though, I'm just really happy to have ended up with a nice new dress, but even more to have gotten back into sewing, pretty smoothly, thanks to this pattern.
Towards the end of the summer holiday (oh the irony) the sewing bug really hit me. Past year has been rough on the craft front. University soaked up so much of my time, knitting suffered and got done only on few and in-between times, and sewing came to a complete stop all together. I needed most of my summer holiday to recover from the past year, without being able to really pick up my crafts where I left them, but once things got a bit normal again inspiration finally struck, to the point where I even dreamt about the long to-make-lists that I'd made during the day. I'm hoping I can manage to juggle responsibilities enough to make a tiny dent in that long list of awesome dresses, knitting projects, and sewing patterns I want to make reality.
I hope you all have a positive, crafty year as well. Do you have any sewing plans for autumn?