great pattern hack: tulip antalya dress

hello purple lovers!!  welcome back, i have another dress for you, yep two purple dresses in a row on the blog, you’re so welcome.

my friend Melissa of A Happy Stitch partnered with Michael Miller Fabrics for an event called THE GREAT PATTERN HACK (which sounds so epic it needed caps i think).  we chose from a selection of brand new fabrics from Michael Miller, a selection of patterns from indie designers, and got to hacking.  here’s mine!


tulip antalya dress // skirt as top

after seeing some really cool versions of the Antalya Dress by Willow & Co on the blogs, I was intrigued to give it a whirl.  i made a size 6 for E and figured the roomy fit and length would last her a bit, because she couldn’t possibly be a size 6 yet, right??  it seemed too big while i was sewing it but she really has grown a lot lately. Continue reading

hudson’s bay point quilt tutorial

welcome to the first day of Vintage May 2015!

Vintage May started back in 2012 with just kid clothes, then Jess and i expanded it to adult clothes, and this year i thought it’d be interesting to add vintage-inspired home sewing into the mix!  one evening i had a brainstorm of wanting to make a quilt inspired by the famous Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket…and i knew i had to make it happen!

hudson's bay point quilt tutorial // skirt as top

the Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket has a fascinating history – the original blankets were used as currency in the colonial U.S. and Canada during the 18th and 19th centuries.

hudson bay point quilt tutorial // skirt as top

the blankets were typically traded to First Nations and Native Americans for beaver pelts and were 100% wool, which is both fire and water repellant.  they were also very warm and easily sewn into coats.

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catnap cargo duffle (with mini tutorial on how to add a lining)

it’s kid’s clothes week right now, and i normally love sewing for KCW.  in fact, i’m pretty sure i’ve sewn in every KCW since 2011!  the community is so inspiring and it usually makes me feel so good to sew a pile of clothes that my kids will wear throughout the next season.  however, i’m skipping this one because this week i have deemed “baby prep week.”  my kids are pretty good on clothes, but i do not yet feel ready for baby.  so this week i am focusing on changing that, because it seems to have snuck up on me that he’ll be here VERY SOON (like probably in just a couple/few weeks).

DAY 1 of baby prep week: organize, wash, donate, lend out old baby clothes and gear.  spent all evening on that, and now i have clothes for him to wear that aren’t tucked away in bins in our basement.

DAY 2 of baby prep week: sew a hospital bag.

catnap cargo duffle bag

this is one of those projects that made me feel simultaneously so happy and also a little silly/crazy.  i absolutely did not need to make this bag (i have a perfectly good weekend bag) but i also NEEDED to make it (in the way that certain gals NEED to sew tiny Beat it Jackets with 20+ zippers).

I JUST HAD TO.

(click to keep reading)

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ristretto dress tutorial

i’m still enjoying my stint as a Britex Guest Blogger, and today i’m sharing a dress i made using Britex’s Smoke & Coffee Stretch Cotton, which i reeeally loved working with.  this dress is actually a remix of my favorite dress pattern, Made by Rae’s Washi Dress, and though as i sewed it i was calling it “Frankenwashi,” i came up with a prettier moniker for this dress now that it’s all done.  named after one of our favorite coffee shops – i’m calling it the Ristretto Dress!

ristretto dress tutorial

my favorite sewing challenge is to take a proven, great-fitting, well-written pattern and modify it into something new.  i do it when i sew for my kids all the time, but haven’t ventured into doing it for myself too often yet.

ristretto dress tutorial

when i ordered this fabric, i expected to make a skirt.  but once i got it, i loved it so much i decided squeeze a dress into it.  this is made out of just 2 yards of (56″ wide) fabric!

i started with the Washi Pattern, since the bodice fits like Rae designed it just for me, and a million different dresses can be made once you have a favorite bodice.  for the Ristretto, I changed the neckline to a v-neck, lined and lengthened the bodice, added pleats at the shoulders, added a full gathered skirt, and eliminated the shirring at the back (though you could still shirr it for a more fitted bodice – mine is pretty loose without the belt).  i love the little extra cinch at the waist that a belt provides, though, and i think the dress is barely recognizable as a Washi!

ristretto dress tutorial

those changes may seem like a lot of extra steps…but i promise it’s not that hard.  in fact, eliminating the bias tape save so much time, i daresay this might even be a quicker sew than the original!  and i’m here to walk you through it.  let’s go.

ALTERING THE WASHI PATTERN

ristretto dress tutorial

use a straight edge to lengthen the bodice to hit you at your natural waist.  for me, that was about 3″ longer than the original pattern.  then angle your ruler to lengthen the bottom of the dart line downward to meet the new bodice line.  extend the fold line 3″ down as well.

ristretto dress tutorial

to create the v-neckline, i measured 1/2″ up from the bottom of the U cutout line on the washi pattern and marked it (i like a pretty deep v-neck, but feel free to mark higher up – whatever makes you feel comfortable).  then angle out from your point, gently curving up to meet the original shoulder line.  i played with this a bit until it seemed like the right shape.

for the back bodice, add 3″ to the last shirring line and taper the side seam to more of a right angle versus flared out, if you’re eliminating shirring like i did.  as a warning, i found the back skirt/bodice was too full to make my original idea – elastic casing – look right, and it might look similarly odd with shirring.  i opted to use the belt to cinch in the waist instead.  back darts may help if you don’t want to belt it – might take some experimentation.

SEWING THE RISTRETTO DRESS

ristretto dress tutorial

sew your lining’s darts and shoulder seams.  i could’ve taken my side seams in a bit more, and almost think i could’ve sized down on the dress entirely. i recommend making a muslin or using your lining as a quick muslin at this stage, to make sure the dress will leave enough room for you to slide it on, but isn’t too loose.

sew your main bodice like you did the lining.

ristretto dress tutorial

place the bodices rightsides together.  measure 1/2″ down from the point of the V and mark it with a disappearing pen.  this will give you a precise pivot point when you’re sewing the neckline.  pin generously and sew.  once sewn, trim straight down into the seam allowance at the point (not clipping the seam) and trim the rest of the seam allowance to 1/4″.  understitching is a good idea here.

ristretto dress tutorial

next, sew the shoulder seams.  because the Washi is not open in the back, you can’t just sew the shoulder seams flat – you won’t be able to turn it right side out (ask me how i know!).  instead, go watch THIS VIDEO SERIES by Rae on lining the Washi Dress.  video #4 is the one that addresses arm holes, and the one that taught me the amazing “sausage technique” that i’ll definitely be using again.  you can sort of see it above, but watch the video to fully understand.  then trim the seam to 1/4″ and clip into the seam allowance to release the curves.

ristretto dress tutorial

turn rightside out and press, and you’ll have perfect, frustration-free armholes!  glorious.

ristretto dress tutorial

next, separate the lining from the bodice and sew front to back lining and front to back main in a straight line.  turn right side out and press.  this is another good place to test fit.  if too wide, you can easily open it back up and sew another seam in from your first – i had to do this on mine to pull up the armhole and bring in the bodice a bit.

ristretto dress tutorial

now prepare your skirt.  i cut the fabric selvedge-to-selvedge in two 25″ long panels for this dress.  this particular stretch cotton is 56″ wide, so that is one full skirt!  i knew it’d look nice since it’s a cotton/rayon/lycra blend and those blends give it a lot of drape – with a less drapey fabric, a less-full skirt might be a better idea.  sew up the short side seams.  sew two rows of basting stitches on both the front and back, stopping at the side seams, and gather.

ristretto dress tutorial

match the bodice to the skirt, right sides facing, and carefully sew together.  press seam allowance toward the bodice.  remove basting stitches.  hem skirt to your liking (i folded up 1/2″ then 1″).

ristretto dress tutorial

fold your lining under and pin so it covers the raw edge of the skirt.  either stitch in the ditch on the right side of the dress (where bodice meets skirt) or handsew the lining down.  then, after trying on the dress, i decided the shoulders looked too wide with the v-neck, so I made a simple pleat, folding out toward the shoulder and stitching in the ditch (seam line) to secure.  the shoulder pleats add a nice formality to the dress that i love.

ristretto dress tutorial

this dress is very comfortable, since the stretch cotton has a lovely linen-esque feel to it, and has a weight and softness that makes it ideal for skirts and dresses.

ristretto dress tutorial

i love the smokey gray color with a hint of brown, and i love that the skirt is substantial enough that it doesn’t need lining.

ristretto dress tutorial

bonus: it’s perfect for twirling!  i want to go to a wedding now so i can dance in this dress!

ristretto dress tutorial

you can follow along with lots more projects from my fellow guest bloggers over at the Britex blog (my posts are here).  and if you want to get your hands on this lovely fabric, stretch cottons go on sale July 15!

thanks (once again) to my husband for getting these fun “magic hour” photos, and thanks so much for always sending me the most beautiful fabrics, Britex!

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