Gold Foil Tilly and the Buttons Bibi Skirt

I had a good meter of this gold foil fabric leftover from a top I made a few years ago. It’s been sitting in my stash just waiting for me to do something with it. Well, inspiration finally struck, and I sewed up this Bibi skirt from the Tilly and the Buttons book Stretch.

The skirt is so simple, folks. It’s two pattern pieces (a skirt panel and a waist band). The construction is straight forward, and fitting is easy as you can just baste the panel seams before you sew them up properly. A super quick make. Which is really what I needed – a quick win to break up the ongoing saga of my self-drafted bodice block.

My concern about this skirt is that there’s no elastic in the waistband. It’s made with ponte which is a stable, heavy knit fabric, so in theory it should hold its form, but I can easily see this stretching out over time. I guess it’d be easy enough to unpick and insert elastic down the road if need be.

The fabric is a bit awkward to sew. You can’t press it or the foil melts off (ask me how I know). It’s also pretty bouncy, so I’ve topstitched all the seams to make them lie flat. I also topstitched around the top of the waistband to get it to hold the fold in place, but for some reason I decided to stretch out the waistband while I stitched that (I guess I was imagining that there was elastic in there) so the top is a little bit wavy when relaxed. But that doesn’t really show when I’m wearing it.

It looks pretty great as a faux dress with the original top too (which is incidentally also a Tilly book pattern, the Tabitha tee from Make It Simple):

Maybe a bit too Christmassy for this time of year, but a good option to have in the bank. I think I may finally be sold on the idea of matching separates!

Fibre Mood Agatha Dress – Pattern Review

This is probably the prettiest thing I’ve ever made.

Behold, my Fibre Mood Agatha. I can’t get over how beautiful it is.

There’s a lot I love about the design of the dress. The curved waistband which rises to meet the V of the plunge neckline. The fact that the waistband is doubled, such that it provides a nice bit of structure around the waist to support the weight of the skirt. The floaty, breezy quality of the sleeves due to their being semicircles – and the way the hem of the sleeve lines up with the waistband. And that plunging neckline! I worried it might be too revealing for me, but I think it’s perfectly tasteful and just a bit flirty.

The fabric is some sort of synthetic jersey – I thought it was rayon at first, but it has a springy sponginess to it that reminds me of a scuba or swimsuiting, so perhaps it’s poly. It’s very soft and slinky, and has a good weight to it that gives it a superb drape. I bought it from Gillies in York with the intention of making some pyjamas out of it. Can you imagine if I’d wasted this gorgeous fabric on pyjamas!

It does have a directional print, and this pattern technically shouldn’t be made with a directional print, because some of the skirt is on the bias and the back of the sleeves are upside down. But I don’t really care – I think the print is abstract enough that you would need to look closely to recognise that they are palm trees. I’m OK with it.

I found the fabric a little bit tricky to work with, as it was both slippery and weighty so it had a tendency to slide around. But I feel like my skills at grappling with fabrics like this have come a long way, so I although I had to put a bit more effort in (i.e. more pins), I never got frustrated with it or felt out of control. Just takes practice, like everything else.

I must say I’m not crazy about Fibre Mood’s pattern instructions. They leave you to fend for yourself a bit, so I wouldn’t call them beginner-friendly. For instance, the edge of the front bodice needs to be interfaced, but there is no pattern piece for that interfacing, nor is there an explicit instruction to apply it. There’s just a note next to one of the diagrams stating factually that the highlighted yellow section is interfaced.

I also got a little confused when attaching the sleeves, as mine didn’t match up to the bodice in the same way the diagram suggested – it wanted a 1cm seam allowance left on either side of the sleeve, but my sleeve consumed the full space, i.e. it was 1cm too long on each side. After a while, I realised that this was because the instructions gave two options for finishing the sleeve hem – either a rolled hem, or a 1cm standard hem – and my choice of rolled hem meant that only 0.2cm of the 1cm hem allowance was actually used. I wonder if they intended for that 1cm hem allowance to be trimmed when doing the rolled hem – but if so, it was not made clear at all. Never mind. I just sort of fudged it a bit under the arm, but I did it the same on both sides so who cares.

One final gripe about the pattern is that the skirt piece is printed in full. Yet it’s symmetrical! What a huge waste of paper and printing/taping time. I actually folded the pattern piece in half and cut my skirts on the fold anyway.

For what it’s worth, I managed to cut size 36 out of 2.5m of fabric, despite the pattern saying it needed 3m.

But. Please put all that aside. It’s all worth it. My complaints about the pattern are insignificant in comparison to how much I adore the final dress. I did enjoy sewing it, and even with the sleeve confusion it didn’t take all that long to put it together. It’s quite a straightforward sew – and creates a garment with a really stunning effect.

I feel ~fancy~!

Forget Me Not April Dress – Pattern Review

I made the April dress and Gemma belt by Forget Me Not patterns and I’m absolutely in love!

This pattern was an impulse purchase – I bought it on the day it was released. That’s totally uncharacteristic for me, as I tend to hum and haw about pretty much every purchase I make (“a latte, no a cappuccino, no a latte” is a bit of a running joke in our household!). But this dress pattern sang to me immediately – I’ve never seen a wavy seam line like this one, and I had to try it out.

I picked these two linens to complement the ocean wave design, and it came out exactly as I imagined it (for once!). The fabric is the bio-washed 100% linen from Higgs and Higgs in mint and ice blue.

I really like Forget Me Not. There’s something so professional about the patterns. I don’t mean that in a cold and soulless sort of way, because they are absolutely warm and full of heart. What I mean is that the patterns and instructions are incredibly neatly organised, and thorough. The attention to detail is fantastic, and everything is well thought out. The pattern just works. Jo really knows what she’s doing!

I especially love that the PDFs are layered by size (and also by bust size on this pattern) so you can print just the lines you’re interested in. And then on top of that, there is a guide telling you which pages to print depending on the view you’ve picked. This is great because 1) less wastage of paper and ink, and 2) after taping it together, it’s just brainless cutting out without having to figure out which size is which.

(I realise this is starting to sound like an ad, but I promise it isn’t! I have tested a FMN pattern in the past – the Vera top – but this is nothing to do with that.)

I made the dress in size 34 with the medium bust size, and the size 32 belt. I think ideally I probably should have graded the dress down to a 32 at the waist, as tying the belt does disrupt the wavy hem a little bit. I could take it in at the side seams but let’s face it, I probably won’t mess with it now it’s done. More room for fish and chips this way, right?

I think the waist tucks are inspired! They make the cinching of the excess more even and orderly (which this perfectionist appreciates). The keyhole finish at the back is so elegant, too – this is my first time making a closure like this, and I adore how clean it looks.

This is the longer length skirt, in the gathered view. There’s a flat view as well, but I wanted more volume. I also went with the simpler side-seam pockets rather than the advanced wavy pocket that sits in the waistline. I’m intrigued by that technique though, so I’ll have to try it next time.

The only thing I did differently to the instructions was to understitch the pocket bags, as the notes don’t instruct you to do that. I just really like understitching.

All in all, a lovely pattern and a dreamy dress!