Pretty Summer Dresses

It's a beautiful summer day in Glasgow today - sunny and only moderately hot (21 degrees C).  Welcome relief after the storms of yesterday and the sweltering heat on Tuesday!  

Some beautiful new fabrics and patterns have been arriving here over the last few weeks - and more will be arriving very soon.  Yesterday, I uploaded some new patterns by McCall's and Vogue, including a number of lovely dresses:

 

One of these patterns is this week's featured outfit: Vogue 8998.  Here's the images that inspired this week's outfit:

Images from top to bottom from: Tanesha Awasthi, Gal Meets Glam, Tanesha Awasthi, My Curves and Curls.

 

Vogue 8998 is one of those Big 4 patterns which, I think, is slightly let down by the styling of the sample garment.  With its horsehair-stiffened hem and shiny, taffeta fabric, it feels a little 90s-party-dress to me!  

 

However, when you look at the line drawings, you see that it's just a nice summer dress:

 

This is a well-reviewed pattern: there are 14 reviews on PatternReview.com and all of the reviews give the pattern a positive rating!   There are lots of pretty examples of this dress across the sewing blogosphere.  Here are some of my favourites:

Images from left to right: Sew Manju; The Long and Winding BobbinDolly ClackettLlanoGirl

 

In terms of features, as you'll have seen in the line drawings, there are a few options.  You can make it sleeveless or with small cap sleeves.  There are also two skirts to choose from - flared or gathered - and there is the option for a skirt overlay.  Finally, there is a view with a backwards pointed collar.  So, you can get a variety of different looks from this one pattern!

Now, turning to fabrics, drawing on the inspiration images, here are my fabric recommendations - all cottons:

From top to bottom: AGF Mother's Garden Light Cotton Broadcloth (new!); Sabine White on Navy Large Polkadots Poplin

 

From top to bottom: AGF Shore Remains Algae Cotton Broadcloth; Spencer White Pinpoint Shirting

 

As I've mentioned before, the quality of the AGF broadcloths (and the Sabine poplins) is really fantastic, as you can see in the photo below.  The pinpoint shirting is a great weight - not see-through and with a really nice texture.

Through the wonders of Photoshop, here's what the prints look like to scale.  So pretty!

 

As for styling this kind of dress, I love the dress-up look by Tanesha (with stiletto pumps) and the dress-down look by Assa (with flat sandals).  With dresses, I'm usually drawn to prints, but Assa's look displays the versatility of dresses in solid colours: you can dress them up with a beautiful, statement jacket/cardigan or (not shown here!) colourful accessories.  

 

Further Details

Vogue 8998
£13 (£11.70 for the next week!)
Sizes: 6-22
Level: easy
Reviews: 14 reviews on PatternReview.com; all of the reviews give the pattern a positive rating
Similar patterns: Vogue 9075; By Hand London Kim; Vogue 9100 (new!)

 

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July 21, 2016 by Amy Lloyd

Introducing Liesl + Co.

I'm back!  I had a really fantastic holiday in Canada.  We spent most of our time in the Okanagan Valley with my sister, brother-in-law and nephew.  It's a really great vacation destination.  I highly recommend it - particularly for families wanting an active holiday!  The Okanagan Valley is a region in British Columbia (on the west coast of Canada) that has really hot summers.  The temperatures were in the high 20s and low 30s while we were there.  Wonderful - I miss hot summers!  With these high temperatures, it's a prime fruit-growing and wine-making region.  There are SO many wineries and we were really impressed by the ones we visited (our favourite was Mission Hill).  There are also lots of (warm!) lakes in the region, and we had lots of fun swimming, boating, kayaking and paddle boarding. 

 

Top image: A public beach near Vernon, BC.  Spent a very lazy (late) afternoon here swimming and playing in the sand with my 19-month-old nephew.  Bottom image: Paddleboarding with my sister.  I love paddleboarding!  It's so peaceful - especially early in the morning when the lake is calm!

 

While it was wonderful taking some time off, it's nice to be back too!  Things have been quite busy since I returned!  I've been working on two new initiatives, which I'm hoping to announce in the next week or so (stay tuned!).  Named's new Autumn/Winter collection came out earlier this week.  If you haven't seen their amazing new patterns, you can have a look here.  I'd love to have all their looks in my closet - right now!

Some of my favourite patterns from Named's new collection

 

I've also added a new pattern company: Liesl + Co.!  Their patterns are designed by Liesl Gibson and they are headquartered in Brooklyn, New York.  Liesl has a degree in fashion design from FIT and formerly worked as a designer for several global brands, including Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger.  I really love the relaxed, modern style of her patterns.  They're also very well-drafted with excellent instructions. 

Here are the patterns:

You can see all of the patterns here.

I've featured one of their patterns - the Maritime knit top - in this week's 'Outfit of the Week'.

Inspiration images from here, here, here and here 

 

Our 'Outfit of the Week' is Liesl + Co.'s Maritime knit top with Burda's 6769 denim skirt!  This is a classic top pattern that is easy-to-sew and well-reviewed.  The Burda pattern is another great pattern: perfect for making a denim skirt, with all the usual features you'd find on such a skirt (yoke, pockets, topstitching, centre front and back seams, etc.) plus an interesting design feature - side seams that diagonally slope towards the front.

We've got a number of jersey knits and denims that would work well with these two patterns (which I've illustrated in the line images above).  To see the recommended fabrics and the patterns - and to find out more about this week's outfit - click here.

 

 

You'll see that a variety of knit tops are worn in the inspiration images.  It was hard to choose just one for this week's outfit!  Another kind of top that looks particularly great with a denim skirt is a shirt...

Inspiration images from here and here

 

... and we've got lots of great shirt patterns and shirting fabrics - as I talked about in this previous blog post.

 

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September 06, 2015 by Amy Lloyd

New Trends, New Patterns!

Earlier this week, I took delivery of some new patterns from McCall's, Vogue and Burda, and I put them on the website on Friday.  Some of you are probably wondering how I select the sewing patterns I sell - as I don't sell every pattern produced by the different brands I stock - so I thought it might be worth writing a blog post in which I explain my buying strategy.

As most of you will know, there are literally thousands of womenswear patterns that are available to home sewers today.  Vogue, alone, has 213 dress patterns on its website!  213 dresses!  I started sewing in the early 1990s.  Even then - without all the independent pattern companies that we have nowadays - I sometimes found the amount of choice overwhelming.  What should I sew?  What's currently in style?  What will suit me?  I would pour over the pattern catalogues in my local fabric store, plagued by indecision.  The advent of the internet in some ways made it easier to choose my sewing projects: I was now able to browse the patterns at home at my leisure, look up reviews, draw inspiration from blogs, etc.  However, all of that research takes time.  And, in my previous career, I did not have an abundance of free time.

I had all of these considerations in mind when I started The Splendid Stitch. My aim is to provide you with a carefully-curated selection of patterns that are either (a) recent releases from the independent pattern companies we stock; or (b) patterns that are in tune with current fashion trends.  I also aim to buy patterns that are well-reviewed (unless they are new and/or don't have many reviews).  Essentially, I want you to be able to visit the pattern pages of The Splendid Stitch and know that what you're seeing is generally on-trend and well-reviewed.

So, we're never going to carry every single pattern produced by Vogue, McCall's or Burda.  However, we do carry a small selection of their on-trend patterns.  How do I do my buying?  Every few weeks, I evaluate the trends that I'm seeing in the fashion blogs and magazines that I read versus what I'm selling.  I then trawl through the catalogues of the pattern companies that I stock, on the hunt for patterns that will help you to sew the latest trends.  I did this last week and the result is the patterns that I added this week!

What's been added?  You can see all of the new patterns here.  Here are some highlights!

Off-the-shoulder dresses and tops are really popular at the moment.

Let's look first at dresses:

Images clockwise from top left-hand corner: from here, here, here and here

 

For this trend, I've added Vogue's 1379 dress, which is designed by Tracy Reese!  Okay - it's not 100% off-the-shoulder.  However, it's the best-reviewed, closest-to-the-trend dress I could find.  And it's pretty close!  It can be made in both jersey and woven fabrics (including crepe), and we've got lots of jerseys and crepes that would work well!  (Also, just to note: I was initially a little surprised by the armholes of this dress - they seem very low - but it turns out that the dress has an integrated camisole, so you won't have any worries about flashing your bra!)

 

Now, let's look at the off-the-shoulder tops:

Images clockwise from top left-hand corner: from here, here, here and here

 

For this trend, I've added McCall's 7163.  The recommended fabrics for this pattern are light- to medium-weight wovens, including voile, crepe and challis.  I'm sure that this pattern could also easily be lengthened to make a dress.  :-) 

On to the next trend... I've been trying to find a pattern for a button-up-the-front denim skirt - to no avail.  These are really popular at the moment! 

Images clockwise from top left-hand corner: from here, here, here and here

 

Do any of you know of a pattern company that sells a similar pattern? 

We do stock a few patterns for making regular denim skirts.  First, there's Grainline Studio's Moss skirtBurda also has a denim skirt (6769), which is one of our new patterns.  Tilly and the Buttons also has a skirt (Arielle) that has buttons running up side.

From left to right: Grainline Studio's Moss skirt; Burda's 6769 skirt; Tilly and the Buttons' Arielle skirt

 

We've got some really nice denims that would work well for making these skirts.

Unfitted, flowy dresses have also been popping up a lot on fashion blogs recently.

Images clockwise from top left-hand corner: from here, here, here and here

  

For this trend, I've added Burda's 7200 dress, which can be made in jersey and lightweight woven fabrics (like cotton and crepe).  I think this would look fabulous in some of our jerseys, crepes and cotton voiles!

  

Last - but not least! - there's this week's 'Outfit of the Week'.  It's McCall's 6744 - another new pattern!

 

This is a quick-and-easy knit dress pattern.  It's very popular, with 49 reviews on PatternReview.com.  It's also extremely well-reviewed: 96% of those who rated the pattern gave it a positive rating!  Finally, McCall's has rated it as an 'easy' pattern.  So, if you're looking for an easy-to-sew, comfy, stylish knit dress, you should definitely have a look at this pattern!

Inspiration images from here and here

Inspiration images from here and here 

 

In the images above, it's shown in some of our jerseys.  To find out more about this week's 'Outfit of the Week' - and to see the pattern and all of the recommended fabrics - click here.

 

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August 02, 2015 by Amy Lloyd