Here kitty kitty…. Neenah dress

I was scrolling through my favourite online fabric shop and I just had to get it. I had to get it in 3 colours, although I wanted all of the colours. I got blue to make this Neenah dress, cream for a Zephyr dress (which I will show you soon), and hot pink for underwear. It had been a while since I sewed a crazy print. Lately I’ve been playing it safe with solids and subtle prints, but this dress just asked to be made.

This is my second iteration of this dress. I made one around Christmas time and wore the dress on New Year’s Eve. I’ll blog that sometime soon as well, but it’s more difficult to photograph because it’s glittery.

Anyway, this is the Seamwork Neenah dress. I’ve been a Seamwork subscriber since August of last year. I love the fact that all of the patterns are simple and can be constructed within a day (or a few hours if you’re fast, which I’m not). The Neenah dress is only 5 pieces, 6 if you count the sleeves twice. And if you sew it on your serger, the process is incredibly fast.

I sewed the Medium size. The only change I made to the pattern was to lower the waistline a little bit because of my long torso.

This dress is far from perfect, but it’s definitely wearable and fun to wear. I just wished I had attached the turtleneck with the cats facing the right way. I really thought I checked it well, but I guess I hadn’t. And I overlocked the seam, so there’s no way I’m wasting my time unpicking that seam. (Lazy seamstress here!) I don’t think anyone will notice, will they?

Now that I’ve seen the pictures of the backside, I wish I had taken some more time to look at the fit on my first one. It’s very tight around the butt and a bit saggy at the lower back. I think I can fix that by removing some of the back width from the torso and curving out a little bit more at the back hip. The front seems to fit fine, and I don’t mind a little bit of looseness, but this just looks like something I could’ve gotten at any shop, and while that’s fine, it’s not really the point of sewing clothes that fit.

Have you made any Seamwork patterns? Are you a subscriber? Let me know what you think of them! I’m thinking a Veronica dress will be added to my queue very soon.

Blowball wrap dress (v8896)

I am completely obsessed with wrap dresses right now. I have a pinterest board with 35 pins and counting. I own approximately 10 wrap dress patterns. Now I have to make ALL THE WRAP DRESSES.

The wonderful thing about wrap dresses is there are no closures! And they are so very flattering. I made this dress before the announcement of the #sewtogetherforsummer instagram challenge hosted by, among others, Sew Sarah Smith. The rules are pretty simple: sew a wrap dress! Contest closes 1 June 2018. Go check out her blog post for more information about the contest rules.

The pattern I used is Vogue 8896. It features a bias bodice, gathers at shoulders and waist, and a flared skirt (I think it’s a half circle). What I changed from the pattern is that I added pockets, lengthened the bodice, and took out the center back seam on the skirt. I actually think my versions look better than the ones in the catalogue. I don’t have the same billowing at the front waistline. Maybe because my fabric is thicker, or maybe I could have made a size larger (I made a size 12, but according to the size chart I should be a 14-16).

This is actually my second version of this dress. The first was a wearable muslin. Very wearable. I mean, I’ve washed an worn it so many times the past few months that it’s pilling and not very pretty for putting on the blog anymore. The difference with this version is I lengthened the bodice by 2.5cm. I could maybe make it 3cm, but I think over time it’ll stretch out a little bit, as my first one did. Even the fabric is the same as the first one, just a different colour. I got the fabric from and I’m very pleased with the price/quality ratio. They sell the same fabrics at my local fabric shop for more.

I’m not sure I’ll add pockets to this pattern again. They don’t lay very nicely in my opinion. I really have to adjust them to make sure they lay right. I used the pocket pattern from Tilly and the Buttons. I might try to add pockets again in a woven fabric instead so that they retain their shape better.

Now if you excuse me, I have another wrap dress in my sewing queue…

Mod Blue Zéphyr

It was hard to choose photos for this dress because there were so many good ones! That’s a good sign. I feel really amazing in this dress. It fits so well and it’s also very comfortable because it’s a knit. It’s a double-sided punta di roma that I scored for just €3 per meter. It’s got a good weight to it and it’s very swishy. It’s such a great colour. In certain light, it almost looks purple (like under my sewing machine). The other side is black, which I think gives it a nice depth to the colour.

The pattern I used is Deer and Doe’s Zéphyr dress. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this pattern, it comes with two necklines: high crewneck and v-neck. I’ve hacked the neckline to have a retro sweetheart style neckline. And I absolutely love the way it turned out.

Last time I was in Canada, my cousin and I went shopping at Blame Betty. I found this really cute skater dress for a steal of a deal and I knew I would want to recreate it. I thought the Zephyr dress would be perfect because it’s got the same half circle skirt. I wasn’t sure how this neckline would look sleeveless, but I knew the princess seamed bodice would be very flattering.

I put off modifying the pattern for quite a while, because I knew I would have to do some minor pattern surgery to get the princess seams to fit right. Deer and Doe patterns are quite short-waisted, so I knew I would have to lengthen the bodice. I also have to do a low bust adjustment on pretty much any pattern, but thankfully this was quite painless thanks to this tutorial on the Curvy Sewing Collective. The difference between this pattern and the pattern in the example is that the bust point is marked by the triangle instead of having a triangle at the high bust and underbust points. So when drawing my boxes, I just tried to make the distances look as similar as I could to the photos in the post.

The original dress

Instead of starting with a muslin, I went straight to modifying the pattern using my shoulder to bust point measurement. I quickly made a muslin, found out the bust point was too low, so I moved it up 1cm. When it all came down to it, I had done a 3.5cm low bust adjustment and lengthened the bodice by 3cm.

Next, I traced the neckline from my original dress onto the pattern, then cleaned it up and added seam allowances. Zephyr comes with neck bands, but my original dress has facings, so I also created facings by tracing the ones from the original dress. The facings are stablized with lightweight interfacing.

The facings are staystitched up to the ‘collar’ points, and top stitched along the neckline. The back facing is also stitched down along the bottom edge, which you see quite often in ready to wear.

I don’t know why I always get so nervous about modifying a pattern. It usually turns out pretty awesome. Like with my Floralex dress. I hope to wear this dress to a wedding at the end of summer. I think it’ll be good for dancing.

Tiny Dancer Bellasigma

Are you getting tired of my Bellasigmas yet? Because I’m not! As much as I love the Belladone bodice, I guess I’m a sucker for the simplicity of a darted bodice. You can find my previous iterations here and here.

This is my favourite one so far because of the fabric. I’m pretty sure I can’t go back to cheap cotton now. The crispness of this fabric made it both a joy to sew and to look at. It just holds the pleats of the skirt so nicely! For once, I’ve sewn from my stash that’s >1 year old, so this fabric is actually still available if you like it and want some of your own. It’s called “Tiny Dancer” from Art Gallery Fabrics. I got mine from It’s also available in a dark brown colour way.

The only thing I did differently with this one is I hemmed the skirt with satin bias tape. Inge from mentioned at some point that hemming with satin bias tape can help the skirt from getting all bunched up when you wear leggings. When I finished making the dress it was still rather chilly outside, so I had  the opportunity to test it out. While it’s not as good a fix as wearing a slip or attaching a slippery lining, it helps quite a bit! So I will be using this trick from now on on dresses I plan on wearing all year round.

What I’m pretty proud of is how I pattern-matched the pockets, which was a bit more difficult than I thought it would be because although it looks like the pattern repeats pretty often, it’s pretty large! There are slight variations between the bunches of dandelions. So I just did my best with what little fabric I had left over to cut out the pockets. It’s matched well enough that you can barely see them unless you look really closely. 🙂

Sophia Brown

So, I went a little bit overboard with the photos. What can I say? This dress makes me feel like a sassy movie star! Especially when I throw on a pair of sunglasses. It fits like a glove without being overly tight. It’s sexy without being overly revealing. It hugs my curves in all the right places. I don’t think I have a bad thing to say about this pattern, which is the Sophia dress from By Hand London, if you were wondering.

This isn’t a dress you throw on for any occasion. It’s not really office wear (at least, not my office), so even though I finished this dress about a year ago (maybe more…) I have only worn it twice. Once out to a fancy dinner in Washington, DC, and once for a funeral. It’s definitely a special occasion dress, or fancy date night dress. I think if you made it out of a more casual fabric, it would be a more flexible wardrobe piece.

I have no clue what this fabric is. It’s some kind of synthetic (probably polyester) non-woven stretch fabric that I purchased at the Stoffenspektakel (seasonal fabric market) in 2015. It’s kind of spongy, but not as spongy as scuba. It doesn’t press very well, so it was a little bit difficult to work with. It also means the darts aren’t as crisp as I would have liked, but I’m okay with it. I lined it with a leopard print satin to add to the sexiness factor.

I love the interesting Y-shaped darts on the bodice and skirt. It is such a unique and flattering detail. Just make sure to match your seams really well! I was so nervous about putting in the invisible zipper that I took about half a year to finally put it in. I did it before I left for Washington DC last year around this time so I’d have something fancy to wear if we went out. And I’m so glad I did and got a chance to wear it out on Halloween. I met up with Mr. Livana there (he was there for work) and then we met up with a couple of friends from Canada for a great holiday. On Halloween (which is also their wedding anniversary), we went out for an amazing tapas-style dinner, then out to a haunted house, and finished the night with at a whisky bar where they had thousands of different whiskeys.  It was quite an evening!

Bellasigma wax print

I love this dress so much I don’t want to wear it. Do you know what I’m talking about? It’s so pretty you don’t want to wear it out. I made this dress last year but it still looks like new, no? I hoarded the fabric for a couple of years deciding what to make with this beautiful African wax print I picked up at the stoffenspektakel the year before. I got it as a 4m piece, so I’m able to make another garment (or two) from it as well.

This is an indie mashup of the Sigma bodice from Papercut patterns and the Belladone skirt from Deer and Doe patterns. I made this dress out of linen as well and loved it so much I had to make another. This time, I did not make inverted pleats, but the knife pleats that originally come with the Belladone pattern. I might try gathering the pleat section on my next version, so it’s kind of like the Sigma skirt. I’d also like to make the pockets a bit deeper in my subsequent versions because I’m always afraid my phone will fall out.

As I mentioned in my other Bellasigma post, the back darts match up perfectly, but the front pleats need to be moved a little to match the bodice darts. I also overlocked the seams on the inside with bright green thread, which looks fabulous.

I also cut out another dress from it, I just haven’t sewn it yet. It is also a mashup of patterns. BHL’s Kim bodice, Papercut’s Sigma skirt, and Deer & Doe’s Belladone waistband (the waistband is not yet cut). I’m kind of intimidated by my idea. It might not work and then I will be so sad 🙁 Maybe if there’s a hack challenge during Indie Pattern Month, I’ll have to finally sew it up.

Jumping on the Anna Bandwagon

I’ve had the Anna dress pattern from By Hand London for quite some time now. Ever since their kickstarter campaign, actually. This is not unusual for me. I very often get patterns when they’re on sale and then forget about them until I get a wave on inspiration. I don’t know how I managed to miss the International Anna Party. And let Anna swish by in my instagram feed for years. But seeing the March challenge at The Monthly Stitch was just enough motivation to get my butt in gear.

First of all, I can’t believe it took me this long! This dress is UBER easy to make. Fitting is a breeze if your boobs are average sized. But with their adjustment tutorials it would also make it very easy. I knew I would have to do a low bust adjustment, which is normal for me. I first did a quick tissue fit and added 1.5 centimetres above the bust pleats and lengthened the back as well by the same amount in the same place. I did a quick toile of the top after that and found that they had to be lowered a bit more, I think by 2 cm. I didn’t fit it again after the second adjustment, I just cut right into my fabric.

I followed all of the instructions in the booklet, as it was my first time making the dress. I referred to the sew along post about finishing the dress because the instructions and illustrations didn’t look very clear about what should be done with the facing when you insert the zipper, as the instructions have you attach the facing before you add the zip. The sew along instructions clear that right up.

After inserting the zip and finishing the back seam, I tried it on and saw that the back fit terribly! It wasn’t very flattering from the side at all! And thankfully I referred to the sew along because it showed how to easily fix a gaping neckline. I just took it further by pinching out the whole back seam. I put it on and pinned it and marked where the pins were with chalk. Luckily this worked because I did it by myself. So I unpicked the zip and positioned the teeth on the chalk marks. It fit a lot better after that, but still not  ‘like a glove,’ as there is a bit of scrunching at the back. Someone on Instagram told me that the bodice looks a tad long, so maybe I just need to shorten it a little bit.

Other than that, the construction went along quite well. I serged all the seams with green thread which looks fabulous. Oh, I almost forgot, I accidentally cut off part of the underarm while serging, so I had to restitch it, but you can’t tell. Next time I think I’ll use a french seam instead. Yes, there will definitely be a next time!

The details:

Pattern: By Hand London Anna dress, Variation 3

Fabric: 100% cotton

Notions: 55cm invisible zipper, thread

Adjustments: lengthened the bodice, took 2cm out of the centre back

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Red Floralex

I wanted to recreate this gorgeous red dress I found on Pinterest. It’s being marketed as a bridesmaids dress, but it’s of course a lovely cocktail dress as well. From the way the skirt holds it shape, I think the original dress is made from a scuba-like fabric.

This is a hacked version of the Elisalex bodice paired with the Flora skirt, both patterns from By Hand London.  Originally, I was going to use the Kim dress bodice with the sweetheart neckline, but I noticed that the bodice on this dress looks more like the Elizalex bodice and I decided to challenge myself to recreate the neckline.

For the fabric, I chose a medium-weight solid red cotton. I ordered it online from, so I wan’t entirely sure of what I’d get. It’s a little bit heavier than I thought it would be, but it makes the skirt drape beautifully.  The bodice is lined with black broadcloth.

How I did it:

I’d never made the Elizalex dress before, so I just traced out the size I’d used for the Kim dress and made a toile. It fit very tightly across the bust, so I did a 1cm FBA. I muslined it again and it seemed to fit much better.

To alter the neckline, I put on a bra that looked like it had the same curvature as the neckline in the picture. I put on the toile, stood in front of the mirror and traced a line that was about 1 cm away from the top of my bra line on one side of the bodice. Then I took off the bodice, folded it in half along the center and redrew the line so it went down to the center line and 1.5cm (5/8″) from the edge of the front bodice. I cut it out and tried it on again and was pleased with how it looked. I took the piece I’d cut away and laid it on the center front pattern piece and traced it onto the pattern. I then marked the seam allowance and cut out the modified pattern.

When I cut out the center front lining piece, I made sure to mark the seam line on the wrong side with some tracing paper because sometimes it’s tricky to know when to pivot on a sweetheart neckline.

I cut out the Flora skirt in the same size as the bodice. I also cut out two pairs of Chardon skirt pockets, because, well, dresses are just 100% better when they have pockets.

I followed the instructions on how to attach the bodice pieces together. I only had a quick glance at the instructions, to be honest, because the technique is almost exactly the same for the Kim dress, of which I’d made two versions and two toiles. I did clip the curve of the bust and basted the bodice front pieces together because when you do a FBA, the seam becomes curvier, and I didn’t want to have to unpick it on account of puckering (which I ended up doing on one side anyway, so I’m kind of wondering if I should’ve added another millimetre to the side front bodice length).

Next, I attached the pockets to the skirt using the method in the Chardon skirt pattern, with the exception that I sewed them to the skirt at 4/8″ instead of 5/8″, which hides the pockets a little bit better, in my opinion. Then I sewed the skirt side seams.

For the pleats, I wanted them to match up with the bodice seams, so I measured each side of the princess seam, front and back, and transferred the measurements to the skirt, because the pleats marked on the pattern weren’t quite right. One measurement going from the side seam and the other from the center front/back. I then brought those ticks together and basted a vertical line about 2cm down, pressed them all into box pleats, and basted along the top to keep them in place. I prefer this method to the method used in the Flora instructions, which doesn’t have you do a vertical basting stitch. I then attached the skirt to the bodice.

I followed the rest of the instructions regarding inserting the invisible zip and hand-sewing the lining. The skirt is hemmed with self-made polkadot bias binding.

Thanks for stopping by!

Bellasigma in linen

Hello everyone! Welcome to my new and improved weblog! I’ve been working on it for quite a while and I’m so excited to finally be launching, even though I still have a few kinks to work out like the featured images.

I’ve added a few new features, like “My Closet,” where I’ll be keeping a portfolio of my makes with a short summary of the project details. You’ll also be able to filter by type of garment. And I’ve added a de-stash shop where I’m selling stash items that are just collecting dust and I’d like to find a new home for. Let me know what you think of the new website in the comments, or try using my new contact form.

I sacrificed my ill-fitting Dahlia to make this dress, and it was totally worth it. After I made my Sigma dress, I was so pleased with how I got the bodice to fit, I immediately had to make another one and this time I decided to mix it up and attach a different skirt. One of my favourites: the Belladone skirt. (And I actually did make it immediately, it’s just taken me a year to blog about it)

I am so behind on blogging that I don’t actually remember exactly how I did it. I do remember that I had a bit of trouble getting the darts on the bodice front to match up with the pleats. I know this because I serged the bodice to the skirt and then had to unpick it near the darts. I am too inexperienced with the serger to just redo small areas, so I just zig-zagged the areas I unpicked. Which is a shame, because I’m really proud of how I finished all of my seams on this dress. I don’t know how I did without a serger before. Wait, yes I do. I just left all of my seams unfinished before. haha. I think I remember the back darts on the bodice and skirt just magically matched-up, which is awesome!

The other modification I made was a box pleat instead of a knife pleat, a decision I kind of regret. I think it’s due to my fabric choice; linen is just not stiff enough to hold its shape. But I’m ok with it, because other than that this dress fits really well. I get compliments every time I wear it. Sometimes even from the same people over and over. That’s definitely a win for me.

Two Summery Kim Dresses

Hello everybody! If you’re following the Monthly Stitch, this is a repeat for you. This was my entry for week 2 of Indie Pattern Month: one pattern, two ways.

I had a bunch of other ideas for this contest. I was thinking of something easy to whip up like Megan Nielsen’s Brumby skirt, or Deer and Doe’s Ondee sweater. But once I made the first one, I realised that the Kim dress is super easy too (especially if you have a one-piece skirt)! So I made up the second one in no time flat. I never time my sewing, but I was able to knock one out in a couple of afternoons. The instructions are very clear and if you’ve ever worked with a BHL pattern before, you’ll know the instructions are super cute. It’s not overly technical. It kind of sounds like a girlfriend just trying to explain in plain English how you’re supposed to put it together.

Version 1: Variation 1 of the Kim dress bodice (scoop neckline) + circle skirt

BHL Kim dress version 1

I made a quick toile of the bodice to start out with, because my sister got me this beautiful quilting cotton as a gift and I didn’t want to cut right into it. It seemed to fit me right out of the pattern envelope. My sister got me enough to make variation 1, but for some reason I was  a little weary about making the tulip skirt. I didn’t toile it and I just wasn’t feeling it. I wanted something more ‘fit and flare’ without having to make a gathered skirt (which I didn’t have enough fabric for anyway).

BHL Kim dress version 1

To make the circle skirt pattern, I measured the bottom of my toile and put that measurement in the circle skirt calculator as my waist measurement. I chose the half circle and went for the mini length (because that’s all I would have enough fabric for). The calculator said I would need 75cm of fabric, and that it would only work on 150cm wide. But I am a rebel and took my 115 wide fabric and folded it on the crossgrain, and it fit perfectly! I was able to get all the pieces out of 2m of fabric.

BHL Kim dress version 1

The quilting cotton version with turquoise flowers uses variation one of the bodice. To hem the skirt, I used narrow bias binding so I wouldn’t lose much length.

Version 2: Variation 2 of the Kim dress bodice (sweetheart neckline) + circle skirt

Kim dress version 2

Then it was directly on to version 2, which uses variation two of the bodice.  I originally thought this variation would be too ‘cutesy’ on me, but I got so many compliments on it! My partner even said, “Wow, you look beautiful,” when I came out wearing it, and he has never said something so ‘extreme’ about any of my makes. Usually he just says it looks cool or nice. So that is most definitely a win, in my opinion.

Kim dress version 2

I used a dark blue cotton poplin with red roses on it. I would describe the print as kitschy, and originally bought a bunch of it on sale for €3/m to make muslins with, but I’ve seen so many dresses on the inter webs using crazy looking fabric, so I thought I’d give it a go. And I like I said, the compliments spoke for themselves. Besides the bodice being different, I hemmed this version by just overlocking the hemline and turning it up once. I also attached the zipper lower than the first version. The first version, I lined up the top of the zipper with the top of the bodice, whereas the second one I lined up the zipper tape with the top of the bodice and added a hook and eye, because I thought the first version was a little bit bulky at the top.

Kim dress version 2

I was so enthusiastic about the toile ‘fitting’ as soon as I put it on, that I just jumped into it with both feet. After finishing the second version and wearing it for a whole day, I found out that I really needed to make a few changes. I noticed for example that there was a little bit of puckering at the top of the bodice and I have to hike up my boobs to get them into a good position so they’re not being squished in a weird way. I always think  I can get away with not doing a FBA, but I’m starting to realise that that’s probably not the case. I spent an afternoon toiling the bodice again. I did a FBA and a lower bust point adjustment, and now I’m fairly confident that the next version will fit well and that I’ll be able to breathe normally. (True story: at the end of the day after wearing V2, I unzipped my dress in the car on the way home and literally got dizzy from all the oxygen I got in one breath)

I already have a third and fourth version cut out. I’d also like to make a version 5, and probably 6. I might even try out the tulip skirt on one of them.


PatternBy Hand London’s Kim Dress

Fabric: V1 – Quilting cotton, V2 – Cotton poplin, cotton batiste for lining

Notions: matching thread, invisible zip, bias binding

Pattern alterations: switched out the skirt pattern with a half circle skirt, drafted using the BHL circle skirt app