Maternity Tova

Wiksten Tova with maternity modifications.

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This will be my last me-make for a while as my belly is rapidly expanding to accommodate baby number two. There are some lovely maternity patterns out there – Megan Nielsen especially – but I can’t bring myself to spend time and fabric on something that will get so little wear. I made an exception for this dress however, mainly because I had about 4 metres of this cheap linen-look cotton and no sewing plans for anything in particular. I had also been wanting to try out the Wiksten Tova for a while so I convinced myself it would be like making a muslin – an entirely useful and productive way to spend my sewing time (and something that I really should do more often!) I’ve seen a few maternity modifications floating around the internet – I can’t exactly remember where I’ve seen them or what was done to change the pattern – but I figured it would simply be a case of adding a few inches to the front gathers. So that’s what I did.

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I cut the M based on my normal measurements so the back/sides/shoulders, etc are as they should be. I then added 4 inches to the centre front and gathered it so that it hits at my belly. While this looks perfectly fine and wearable I don’t think it’s enough extra material for a full-on maternity dress. I am around 5 months in these photos and it fits well but I can’t see that there will be enough space for a 7/8/9 month belly. In that case I may have made the most useless maternity dress. I’ll just have to wear it as much as possible in the meantime.

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As a muslin it’s been quite useful however. I made a bit of a mess of the yoke where the two bands meet at the bottom and as a result they are too far apart to put buttons on. I’m not sure how clear that is in these photos. It doesn’t look bad without buttons but it means when they flap open (which they do all the time) it is a bit revealing so I must wear a vest underneath. I’ll know to be more careful with this part on my next make.

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I didn’t follow the instructions for the collar insertion because I try to avoid clipping the corners whenever I can. Too often I clip too close and end up with holes or threads poking out and it’s all far more messy than it needs to be. Instead I sewed along the top and understitched before folding and tucking the sides in. This means it’s much neater and there are no risks of holes appearing at the corners. All that’s left to do is stitch the sides shut. Which I really should have done before declaring the dress finished and putting it on! I promise I will get round to finishing it.

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So there it is. One maternity dress – hopefully wearable for a bit longer. And if that fails then a pretty good muslin.

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Dotty Laurel

Another Laurel. I’m not sorry. I plan to make one in every colour, every print and with every customisation imaginable. Just because I can.

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I used a navy and white polkadot stretch cotton for this one. It’s pretty thick so it hangs well with about 3% spandex to give it a very subtle stretch. I think this, however, has slightly warped the grain because no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get the polkadots to line up on the seams. They were not running in a straight line. They may look straight but they are not. No, really. So print matching was not to be on this dress. It’s not noticeable anyway. The polkadots kind of dazzle the eye so that all you see is a big mass of moving white dots.

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I made no further alterations to the main body of the pattern after my red linen version so this one came together really quickly. All I did was lengthen the sleeves to 3/4 length and I used bias binding tape to finish them. I used the same bias binding on the neck line. It’s from a packet so not a true colour match but I didn’t have enough fabric to make my own. I think it looks fine though. The dress closes with an invisible zip and a hook and eye.

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This version has quite a retro look unlike my previous dress. That’s why I love this pattern – it’s a blank canvas that you can really make your own by using different fabrics and embellishments. I’d love to try it with some embroidery around the neckline. Maybe one with a collar; another with pockets; colourblocking; tartan…

I’m not done with this pattern. Nowhere near done.

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Laurel in Red Linen

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I’ve always loved the simple shift. It’s easy to wear, comfortable, stylish, understated, cool, modern, retro…and the rest. But it’s surprisingly difficult to find them in the shops. I’ve wanted a dress exactly like this forever so when Colette Pattern’s Laurel dress hit the cyber-shelves, I jumped on it. Then I sat on it. For quite a while. I’m not even sure why – too busy? Lacking inspiration? The Laurel competition came and went and despite the many lovely versions floating around the internet I still couldn’t muster up any serious ideas for my Laurel. Recently though I hit upon a steal in Remnant Kings, Glasgow – 2 metres of this gorgeous red linen in the bargain bin for a mere £6! Of course, I had to have it, and it had to become a Laurel.

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I made version 3 with the gathered sleeves. After worrying that the double layer of linen would be too bulky for them I think they have turned out rather well.

I’ve made a couple of dresses from Colette Patterns before and they are usually a bit roomier around the bust than other companies so I didn’t do a FBA. I did, however, drop the bust darts by 1″. I cut a size 6 at the shoulders, grading out to an 8 at the tops of the side seams, and had originally cut a 10 at the hips as per my measurements, but when I tried the dress on it was far too big so I took it in to an 8 all the way down. There must be a lot of ease in the pattern because I measured myself as a 10 at the hips. It’s no matter though – I prefer it as it is now – I’ve still got plenty of room to move around and it doesn’t look like a tent on me.

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When I bought my supplies I was sure I had a red invisible zip at home but could only find a standard one when it came to zip insertion time. I knew that two big lines of thread running down the back of the dress would look horrid so I decided to try my first hand-picked zip using Sewaholic’s inserting a hand-picked zipper tutorial. I think it worked out fine for a first attempt. Next time I’ll sew slightly closer to the teeth as it pulls open just a tad but not enough to annoy me on this dress – it’s on the back; I don’t see it!

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I love love love this dress. I wear it to work as often as I can get away with it because it’s so comfortable. The pattern is perfect (I have made another 2 dresses since that I will blog soon) and the fabric is perfect as the linen skims the body without clinging. I love the colour too. Altogether this is the perfect shift dress. The one I have been dreaming about forever, hoping to find but never have. And I made it myself. With a £6 piece of fabric. This one was meant to be.

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Grainline’s Archer Shirt

This is my second Archer shirt and the first with the ruffle back. I really love this pattern. It deserves its reputation as it is flattering, easy to wear and totally classic. I think I’ll be wearing this one for a long time! Image Image I made it in a beautifully soft, white viscose fabric. It feels so nice to wear. My only gripe is that it wrinkles like crazy – doesn’t all viscose though? I took these photos after wearing the shirt all day and I think you can tell. I look ever so slightly disheveled! I don’t think it detracts too much from the shirt however. In fact I think it adds to its casual, effortless look. I cut a size 8, did a full bust adjustment of 1″ and lengthened the body by 2″. Next time I might bring the shoulders in slightly as I think they are hanging off me a tad. I may also shorten the sleeves by half an inch Image Image And, it seems that barely a make goes by without one boob or another. And here it is…I put the cuffs on the wrong way! Not entirely noticeable but very annoying. I plan to make more of these shirts – many more – so all fitting and cuff issues will be ironed out. Although I wouldn’t put it past myself to put the collar on the wrong way next time! And as a bonus extra…I made my skirt too… Image Image It’s a self drafted skirt that I’ve made a couple of times now. It’s just a simple mini skirt with zip back – nothing fancy. I made this with a mystery tweed from John Lewis’s remnant bin. I think I paid a fiver or thereabouts so it’s a cheap wardrobe addition. BTW the skirt is perfectly straight at the waist – I’m just standing lopsided. And if you are reading this, congratulations for making it to the end of my very first blog post. I’ve been reading sewing blogs for a year (I’m a bit late to the online party) and talked about writing my own for a few months. It took an on-the-spot question about New Years resolutions on the 1st Jan for me to resolve to just go ahead and do it. Expect to see more…!

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