Corporate Georgia – third time’s a charm

I made another Georgia dress – this time it was corporate… And by that I mean black. I made this dress on quite a whim.  

Because I was on a fairly tight schedule I decided to make the Georgia dress as I had made it couple of time before. I had already worked out the adjustments, it was simply a matter of sewing 20 pieces together, overlocking and throwing in a zipper.

This dress is made from a black raw silk bought eons ago from Fabric Store. Because it has zero stretch and it wrinkles easily I wouldn’t recommend sewing a dress in this style. However it was still comfortable and lovely to touch.

I made all the same adjustments as last time including my unofficial FBA, shortening the staps by 7cms at the back and shortening the skirt by about 15cm. I cut the long length thinking I’d like to do the mid-calf/below the knee look but it is quite a hard look to pull off when you’re only about 5 2.

We had a lovely, yet corporate, night.

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 Heck Yes! #NISM2015

Hold the phone – have you heard about the North Island Sewing Meet Up? Becuase I’m pretty excited and I’m going to be there! Rotorua, Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 August, lock it in guys! 

Sewing is, for the most part, a solo sport. And although you can build some great relationships with bloggers and Instagrammers through the powers of the internet nothing beats meeting up with like-minded people in the felsh!

If you’re interested there’s a whole lot more information on the meet up organisers’ blogs – that is Mel from The Curious Kiwi and Sandra of Flossie FT. Or you could jump straight in and sign up here.

Follow the hashtag #NISM2015 on Instagram and Twitter for all the latest info and details. I look forward to seeing you all there!

Just checking in…

This is a sample of what I’ve made recently:

An Inari dress – just needing neck binding and hemming. This lovely fabric is from The Fabric Store (where else?!) I bought it a few years ago and it has been fermenting oh the shelf while I waited to find the perfect pattern for it. I’m not totally convinced that I did it justice with this pattern (feel the fabric might not be slinky enough for the look I was imaging) but that’s what happens when you take the plunge – some times it’s average and occasionally it is amazing. That being said, I tend to feel very ‘meh’ about almost all my sewing until I finish it.

A Georgia dress, completely finished! Check out my Instagram for some more photos of it in action. This dress went from concept to completed in less than a week – quite the feat for me. This is my third Georgia so with the others behind me this one came together very quickly – all fitting requirements had been sussed in previous efforts. My first and second Georgias are here and here.

I’ve nearly finished my second Davie dress (first is here).  This project is taking a wee bit longer because I decided to do a black binding on the neck and sleeves instead of folding the allowance in (as suggested with the sleeves).

On top of all those, I also made this merino knit dress – there’s a good reason my blog is ‘Dresses & Me’, I don’t really make anything else! This is my second time using this Vogue pattern, my first is here. It was quite a gamble making this pattern with this full-on, super-intense, in-ya-face fabric. But I think it came out pretty well, the print is small enough that it blends together from a distance.

So that’s just a wee sample of what I’ve been up to. 

My Favourite BHL Moments

I think I speak for many indie pattern enthusiasts when I say how saddened I was to hear that the women at By Hand London had decided to close their doors on their printed patterns and fabric printing businesses. They took a great leap of faith in launching their kickstarter campaign and whilst many of us got behind them unfortunately it wasn’t enough to make their new venture viable. However, I would like to take a few moments to remember the good times BHL gave us. Here are my top BHL moments, some personal, some global.

1. The Anna dress. The Anna dress was an absolute phenomenon. For what felt like half a year every second blog post I read was another stunning, floor-length dress with that famous thigh-slash. A quick google image search brought up these beauties:

2. Meeting the real Charlotte, the woman behind the skirt! When I was staying in London I emailed Charlotte to purchase some patterns from my shop. She noticed my new address was mere suburbs, no longer oceans, from her apartments and she kindly invited me over for a cup of tea. We had a great yarn about the indie pattern industry, the best places to buy fabric in London and our travel dreams. She is incredibly hospitable and I was very touched that she invited me, essentially a stranger, into her home.

3. The joy of unboxing one of the beautifully designed patterns. So much of the joy is in the unwrapping! And yes, all indie designers take a lot of pride in how they present their patterns. But BHL packaging is next level beautiful. The lovely thick coloured card, the cut out front revealing one the of pattern views, the line drawings and sketches. Their printed patterns included so much detail, and all very much appreciated by your buyers.Georgia Dress 4. Number four has to go to ‘sewing my first BHL pattern.’ It was only a few days after I had visited Charlotte at her house. I was feeling terribly homesick so I took myself to Sew Over It, bringing with me a Charlotte skirt pattern and some very bright brocade. I immediately felt at home – laying out my pattern pieces, marking my tacks, stitching the skirt together in my haphazard way. It was a lovely way to spend a day. Here is the skirt I made.

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5. The bios on the back of the beautiful patterns topped off their beautiful packaging, undoubtable creating an emotional connection with their loyal customers. Surely these must be true right? I can just imagine Charlotte getting down do a sleezey RnB beat and I’m with you Elisalex – you can never be overdressed. Sorry Victoria, I did have a chuckle at your jelly phobia! 6. Three girls one pattern – totes inappropes, but well played ladies. Here’s their ‘Three Girls, One Kim Dress’ post. (If you don’t get the reference, I’m really sorry but I won’t explain it to you!) 7. My Georgia dresses. Being the curvaceous lady that I am, I had, prior to meeting Georgia, steered clear of tight-fitting patterns. I had assumed it would take a lot of fitting a fluffing about (I am a woman of efficiency) to get any fitted dress to look good. However after only one muslin I managed to pull my first Georgia together. My second is below. This pattern gave me the confidence to sew more complex patterns. Thanks Georgia! IMG_0112 8. The circle skirt app. Did you know that the clever BHL ladies created an app that gives you the necessary information to make a circle skirt without a pattern. You just enter your waist size, whether you’d like a full circle skirt, a half circle or a quarter circle and if you’d like to make a mini, midi or maxi length. Everyone loves a free pattern/tutorial so check it out.

All BHL patterns are on sale for $20 until all sold. What is your favourite By Hand London moment?

Well this is awkward – I sewed something I’m never going to wear 



Have you ever made something and immediately thought “I’m probably never going to wear this”? This is how I feel about this dress. 

We all know I lost my sewing mojo a few months ago. So after my marvellous cushion covers I decided to crack on with a project that I had been thinking on for a long time. And although this idea had stuck in my mind for several months I hadn’t been able to bring myself to cut into the fabric. I should have trusted my instincts. 

I finished the dress in record time and rushed to try it on. My first thought was erghhh and my second was this is a very stuffy dress. I was pretty under-wowed with my creation. 

My biggest issue with this whole look is that I fell into the vintage-pattern-trap — an affliction that causes me to see all the potential of a vintage pattern without considering how how dated and therefore costume-like it might look in today’s context. In particular, I fell for the A line skirt and the high (almost) Nehru collar. The worst part is that I chose a psychedelic orange fabric with floral details that amplified the costume-i-ness. 

On the plus side I really enjoyed the process of sewing this dress. It was very quick to put together – something I put down to all the straight lines – the linen was very easy to work with and most of all. I’m back in the habit of seeing. Like all the time. At the moment I making a Davie dress. What’s your biggest sewing fail? Please share! 

Finding my sewjo – I made cushion covers

2015 has been a busy year. It’s been difficult to find time to sew anything worth blogging about and I’ve been lacking my usual impulsiveness with my pattern-fabric choices. So I went to social media and asked how to get my sewjo back. The most common piece of advice I got was to make something simple, a tried a true pattern. Something that I could make quickly, and not to agonise over it. I took this one step further and completely omitted the pattern. I made cushion covers. These are made from a heavyweight linen from Martha’s Fabrics in Newmarket.



It’s safe to say the sewjo is back because after I made these I whipped up an easy Belcarra blouse (below) and then cracked on with my psychedelic orange mod dress. Needless to say – there’s plenty more blogging to come!



What do you do to find your sewjo?

A Riot of Colour

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We’re averaging a high of 27* in Auckland this week and I am loving it! Best of all, my new dress is perfect for the warm weather – a By Hand London Georgia dress. I was gifted this crazy multicoloured print by a friend. I think it is linen and it’s so loud that it is perfect for summer!

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I have made this dress before (including two muslins) so I knew how the sizing would work on me. I mean, this is a very fitted dress. I used the amended bodice pieces that I had created for my previous Georgia but decided to cut a bigger size than my usual for the skirt because this fabric has absolutely no stretch. In the end I did take the skirt sides in a bit but after my vanity sizing disaster with my Alder I wasn’t willing to risk it.

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My previous Georgia is the wide strap v-neck version. It’s a great little evening dress with a twist. But this version, I feel, is more versatile. The sweetheart neckline is traditional, pretty flattering on a lot of body types and certainly easier to pull off. It’s also a lot cooler in summer.

Because this dress is super fitted I made several adjustments so the pattern. I had intended to make the longer version that finishes below the knees but being the five foot two gal that I am this looked really frumpy. I lobbed off 10cm and voilà. I also shortened the straps by 6cm, and used my amended bodice pieces. I’m not sure if this is an accepted bodice adjustment but it has worked well for my body shape. That’s all that matters right?

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Have you made the Georgia dress?