The Zadar Maxi – New Look 6774 – Sew my Suitcase

Hey guys!

As I announced in my recent post for the Minerva Blogger Network, I have set a challenge for myself to Sew my Suitcase for my holibobs. At least 90% of the clothing in my suitcase that I take to Budapest in August will be handmade by little old me. I’m being whisked away to Croatia in 3 weeks time so I thought it would be a good chance to get in some practice! So, this is my Zadar Dress.

I decided that at 25 yrs of age I needed a maxi dress in my life. Ready to wear maxis have failed me in the past as I’m a pretty big chested girl, so an elasticated boob-tube affairs just don’t cut it, and being only 5ft 2″ ALL maxis are huge and make me look shorter than I am. So sewing one was the only option and New Look 6774 seemed the best way to go as you can pick and choose which combo you wanted. There are 9 different bodices to choose from, and 2 different skirt lengths so you really can pick what’s right for you. I went for a nice simple bodice and the floor length skirt. Whilst on the subject of the skirt, I had to take 5 inches off the bottom of the pattern. FIVE WHOLE INCHES! I am not a tall person ha.

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As you can see the bodice is a bit baggy around the arms. I feel I should maybe place in darts, but this is really hard to do as I don’t have a tailors dummy, and I’d be pining to myself with the dress on. It doesn’t look too bad, and I quite like the movement to be honest. We’ll just see how it goes!

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The bodice is lined, making it so very comfy! I wasn’t keen on lining it and nearly missed this out but the pattern called for interfacing, so I followed the instructions like a good girl and boy am I glad I did! RTW maxis tend not to be interfaced at the top creating that oh so unflattering uni boob where your chest is squished like you’re having a mammogram! The interfacing holds the bodice correctly which also means the skirt can drape properly from the waist. I’m always going to look for this in the future. I wore the dress to work and didn’t have to adjust it once!

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I had to take the dress in by almost an inch at the top. Not 100% sure as to why, unless I lost weight between measuring and cutting! I have a feeling it’s something to do with New Look have a different seam allowance. Has anyone else found this?

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Another thing to look for in my dress are the random joins in my pattern pieces! I’ve had this fabric for a while. It’s a piece of discontinued fabric that a customer returned. I snapped it up before it could be put back into stock (perks of the job ;D) as it was so soft and the floral pattern was so interesting! Due to this, I only had so much (2 metes I think) and the pattern called for 2.3 or something like that so I had to be strategic with my pattern piece placement. Because I wanted straps and not the sleeveless bodice I ended up doing this in two pieces as I didn’t have a clear length of fabric long enough once the skirt pieces had been placed and I’d already cut down the 1.5″ hem allowance down. I joined the pieces together on the diagonal so the join is almost un-noticeable (people at work could only see it when I pointed it out).

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I had to do the same for the back bodice piece near the zip as this idiot completely forgot to cut this piece out and had to jigsaw it together from the off cuts! I used the same diagonal join trick and though slightly more noticeable that the front join, the pattern of the fabric hides it well.

I really like the value aspect of this pattern, but due to the fact there are a lot of different pieces it makes it rather fiddly to cut. You really need a notebook handy to write down which pieces you need and to tick them off once you’ve cut them out (and tick again once you’ve pinned them in my case). I think the value aspect of this pattern wins my heart in the end, though. I’m a sucker for a bargain!

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I really hope you like the dress, I really enjoy wearing it! Though working with a floaty jersey is really making me want an overlocker!

So this is Garment #2 of the Sew my Suitcase challenge! Check out my first garment here on the Minerva Blogger Network and keep your eyes peeled for more!

Craft or Glory!

Katie B x

The long awaited Katie Betty Sewing Bee Sewathon Leather Jacket!

Wowee readers, you would not believe the past few months. It’s been emotional. That’s all I can say. My trusty sewing machine has been there by my side the whole step of the way and together we’ve created something beautiful! I’m very proud to present my very 80’s faux leather bomber jacket!

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I kicked off with my new favourite fabric, FAUX LEATHER! It’s been a revelation, so thank you GBSB! The sleeves are made from a pre-quilted faux leather. I’ve been eyeing up this stuff for a while and I never knew what on earth you’d do with it! Except maybe a bag or something, but then Sales Director, Vicki, at work did a quick write up on a post she’d seen by A Stitching Odyssey, “Violet is a Bad Girl“. The use of one of our quilted fabrics (a quilted jersey to be precise, with a wine fleck jersey we’re all cooing over in the offices) really inspired me! I was on a mission to use one of them. My partner in crafty crime Becki and I were giggling away about all sorts of silly projects but one soon stopped us laughing as we released it could actually be really good, if done right! A White and Pink faux leather jacket and jodhpur combo. So crazy it just might work! And if I do say myself, I think it really has!

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I used McCalls 7100 and inspired by the antics of the sewing bee I decided to use leather instead of the recommended jersey. This soft PVC leather is really supple so it’s surprisingly easy to ease around curves and such. I even managed to get away with using a Universal needle! Though if I did it again I’d definitely use a leather needle. I really used the “finished garment size” information with this project, something I learnt from Nicole Needles in one of her Minerva Blogger Network posts. I didn’t want it too baggy and sewing to my measurements would have made a big bomber and that wasn’t quite what I wanted. I ended up sewing about 2 sizes down in the end.

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Complete with welt pockets- A real GBSB challenge piece! As you can see the front side panel is also in the pink leather. I had originally intended just to have the sleeves in the pink as I was worried about the colour being too much but mummy Betty reassured me it would be just enough and of course she was right. The cuffing for the sleeves, waistband and the neck are from my go to brand Prym and are pre-made cuffing. You can get waistband and sleeve cuffs, but we were out of stock of the colour I needed (SCANDAL I KNOW!) so I bought two packs of the waistband cuffing which worked out well as It meant I had enough to do the neck which I’d omitted from my original calculations – yet another scandal!. You wouldn’t imagine that was my job, would you?! (I’m good at my job,honest!)

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I used a tartan anti pil polar fleece for the pockets and….

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…THE LINING! Yes, that’s right! I drafted my own lining! I’m so proud of myself. I did a bit of research for creating your own lining and in as much as it’s more than just cutting a copy of the pieces you want to line, as I only wanted to add an insulating layer I didn’t have to be as careful as I would have been had I have been lining a dress, for example. The trick is to ensure the jacket you’re lining has facings which gives you something to actually attach the lining to. I sewed the full front length to the facing, around the front of the arm hole and the top neckline and it sits lovely and is so warm!

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All in all, a bit of a success!

This kind of marks the end of my winter sewing as my up and coming projects are all summer summer summer!

I’ve decided to set myself another challenge. I think I did okay (ish) at my sewathon so my new challenge is… *drum roll*

Sew my Suitcase!

now I don’t mean sewing an actual suitcase, but sewing what’s inside! My dearest other half and I are going away to Budapest this summer for Sziget festival. 10 days of sun, city and music! The last time I went abroad was to Australia and my stuff was wholly practical with a few nice pieces I picked up at K-Mart but as this is more of a holiday than an adventure (and I’m staying in an apartment not a hostel!) and taking inspiration from people sewing their own wardrobe I thought it would be great if at least 90% of my holiday wardrobe was hand sewn by yours truly! Not content with just this,but it all has to fit into a carry on D: so the game is truly on! I have some great projects in the pipe line so stay tuned for some firsts and frugality!

Craft or Glory my friends!

Katie B xo