I loved the theme of this challenge – a Christmas outfit that’s not just for Christmas. It’s always lovely to make and wear something new for a special occasion, but it’s important that my makes have longevity and a life beyond the occasion they’re made for.
When it came to choosing a fabric, Ponte Roma – Honey just jumped out at me. I love the way the vibrant pink pops against the black background, and the honeycomb design was something a little different. I also thought a quilted style jersey fabric would be lovely and cosy to wear in December.
So I had the fabric in mind, now to choose a pattern. I love a jersey dress, especially one that’s quite form fitting and figure hugging. The Viki Sews Leora dress is one I’ve had in my collection for a while but haven’t got round to making yet. I adore the gathered detail at the bust created by ties and I think the sheath silhouette is beautiful.
The fabric recommendations include Ponte Roma, as well as sweater knits, double knits and rib knits. One thing I found unusual was that there were no minimum stretch requirements provided – something I’m used to seeing on stretch sewing patterns. Ponte Roma comes in different variations with different levels of stretch, but I had no way of knowing whether my choice was going to be suitable or not. I decided to take a chance though, as it has 20% stretch and I hoped that would be enough!
To prepare the fabric, I pre-washed it at 30 degrees and hung it to air dry (I didn’t want to tumble dry it and risk pilling/bobbling). I used a rotary cutter, which is usually my preferred method. The fabric is quite thick but my rotary cutter went through it with ease.
The sewing process was very smooth. I’ve sewn a few Viki Sews patterns now and always find their instructions very thorough, detailed and clear. I thought turning the ties through might be a bit tricky with such a thick fabric, but it wasn’t. I used the Prym Turning Set – a tool I always recommend – and it was a breeze.
I’m really happy with the finished dress – it feels sophisticated while also feeling glamorous. The fabric is soft and cosy – perfect for this time of year! I love the gathered effect around the bust, it gives such a gorgeous shape.
Being critical, the sleeves do feel a little tight around the upper arm and shoulder. I’m not sure whether this is due to the fabric not having sufficient stretch, or if it’s a sizing issue. When purchasing a PDF pattern from Viki Sews, you only receive one size (I opted for 42, based on my bust measurement). It’s great that you are able to select a height bracket, but it does limit you and prevent any blending between sizes. Next time I make the Leora – and there definitely will be a next time – I would consider reducing the seam allowance around the upper arm area. Although if I use a stretchier fabric, it could resolve the issue anyway!
That being said, I’m thrilled with my finished Leora and definitely think it meets the brief of a Christmas dress that’s not just for Christmas. I’m really looking forward to seeing how the other ladies took on this challenge.
If you love this fabric but don’t fancy the Leora dress, how about making:
A sweater, like the Nina Lee Southbank
A pullover, like the Friday Pattern Company Pogonip
A simple dress, like the Tilly and the Buttons Coco
A cardigan, like the True Bias Marlo
Thank you for reading and Merry Christmas,
Delighted to be back with another blog post for Felicity Fabrics and take part in a challenge. I had a good think about what to make and in the end chose this beautiful brushed check fabric. It’s absolutely gorgeous and so soft. At first I had an idea to make the Helen’s Closet – Cameron Button up, but in the end I decided on the Helen’s Closet Pona Jacket. I needed a bit of a speedy sew and also I love the look of the Pona. I’ve made it twice before and honestly I don’t know how I haven’t made it more. It’s such a beautiful style, comes together so easily with great instructions.
I had two metres and that was perfect for the Pona. There’s not many pieces to cut out, so an easy process. I made a size 10 for reference and happy with the fit. The fabric was easy to sew with and the whole jacket came together within a couple of hours. I overlocked the jacket seams with white thread which blended in quite well. Another thing I’d like to try with the Pona sometime is either line it or bias bind the facing edge.
Wearing the jacket is like having a blanket round you. I’m calling mine my a blacket, a blanket jacket! Here I’ve paired with an aran sweater by a local business to me called Bramble Green and a collar I’ve had for years but never really worn. But I’m really loving the combination. I kind of styled it here smart/casual but it’ll be great for everyday and also a nice addition to add over dresses if I get a rare evening out.
The fabric was lovely to work with and been better wearing it. I’d definitely recommend it if you’re after something warm and easy to sew with. The Pona is also fab as there’s no tricky fastenings and the collar is a great start if you haven’t done one before.
Thanks for reading!
As Christmas approaches, I often find myself wanting to make something new, sparkly and festive.
My wardrobe of mainly viscose and cotton dresses doesn’t really lend itself to all the sparkle and occasion dressing that Christmas often calls for. But as I try to be very considerate of what I buy and make, and adhere to a somewhat minimalist wardrobe, you’ll never find me buying or making a new sequinned or metallic garment.
This does leave me in a conundrum at Christmas, as I want to dress for the festive season, but without being wasteful.
This Fabric Godmother Peony Dress in the most incredible cord fabric has solved my problem! Rich in colour and texture, perfectly tailored, and with a subtle sheen, it really is a dress as suitable for festivities as an autumn dinner or cold February day trip.
I don’t know why I haven’t sewn with corduroy sooner, as it was a pleasure to work with and just oozes luxury. I think my grandmother told me how she once cut half of a dress on the wrong direction of the nap, the result being a disaster, and it must have left a deep impression on me!
With the amount of quickly-accessible guides available online now – Tilly and the Buttons have a particularly great blog of tips for sewing with cord – it was nothing to be scared of after all!
When cutting the fabric, I was very careful to line the pattern pieces up perfectly with the lines of the cord, as anything slightly off-grain would be very obvious. I cut the fabric in a single layer to make sure everything would be perfectly aligned. I also pressed all the seams using an offcut as a pressing cloth, placing it right sides together over the seam – this helps to protect the cord from being too compressed by the iron.
I also decided, since this fabric is of a medium density, to swap the gathered sleeve and skirt ruffles for circle frills. I used the By Hand London circle skirt calculator and was surprised by how easy it was to draft these pieces. I used the half circle measurement for these details.
I was nervous about making the Peony, as I was unsure what the Fabric Godmother’s pattern drafting would be like, but I was blown away. Since I didn’t make a toile, I made my usual adjustments of shortening the shoulder seam by one size, and shortening the bodice by a centimetre. Whilst I’m happy with the fit of the final garment, I don’t think these changes were necessary and I won’t make them in the future – the drafting was absolutely spot on for my measurements. I cut a size 14 bodice, grading to a 16 at the waist and a size 16 skirt.
I have too many good things to say about this 21 wale baby corduroy. It isn’t too heavy, has a lovely flow to it, is incredibly soft and is a pleasure to sew with. It has an almost suede-like quality to it, and feels incredibly luxe to wear. The olive colourway is a perfect soft green, but the dusty blue, magenta and petrol colourways also look incredible, and I had a hard time choosing between them.
I’m so pleased with how this dress turned out. I wanted to create a shorter homage to *that* iconic Vampires Wife dress, in a fabric and colourway that I knew I would get a lot of wear out of. Dressed up with heels or dressed down with a cosy knit and trainers, I think this dress might be a bit of a chameleon. But, for now, I’ll be wearing it for all the festive events I have coming up in the next few weeks!