Now Hiring!

I've got some exciting news: I'm looking for my first employee!  I finished putting together the job ad yesterday morning and it went up on the website last night.  If you know how to sew, live in Glasgow, and are looking for part-time work (or know someone who lives in Glasgow who might be interested in this position), then please do check out the ad here.  

Essentially, I'm looking for someone who can pack orders, do some social media, and answer customer emails and phone calls.  The position will start on 10 October and it will be a permanent one.  

I'm so extremely excited about this.  I've been working on my own for ages now and it will be so nice to have someone else in the company.  The workload has been pretty extreme over the past few months and it will be nice to have some of it lifted.  Plus, two heads are definitely better than one: it will be lovely to have someone to brainstorm with and bounce ideas off of!  :-)

September 06, 2016 by Amy Lloyd
Tags: News

One Last Summer Dress

I've been analysing the Autumn/Winter collections this week - lots of velvet, tweed, and gorgeous rich colours.  However, it's not Autumn yet!  So, I thought I'd feature one last summer dress.  :-)  This time, it's Vogue 9100.

Here's the images that inspired this outfit:

Images from top to bottom from: Kendi Everyday; Gal Meets Glam; Dolce & Gabbana's Spring/Summer 2016 collection, as shown on Vogue.co.uk; Atlantic-Pacific

 

Vogue 9100 is a great summer dress pattern.  It's sleeveless and has a close-fitting, lined, princess-seamed bodice (with separate pattern pieces for different cup sizes!).  There are two length options for the skirt (knee-length and midi) and pocket aficionados will be happy to hear that the skirt has pockets.  :-)

 

 

As for fabrics, it can be made in both lighter-weight cotton broadcloths and heavier-weight cotton sateens and silk shantungs.  Here's what I've selected:

 

The first two fabrics are new cotton sateens - our red and cream floral sateen and our blue floral sateen.  The third fabric is a new lightweight floral cotton poplin, while the last fabric is a new navy chambray by Robert Kaufman (which we've also got in a light blue colourway).  

Here's what the prints would look like made up:  

Further Details

Vogue 9100
£12 (£10.80 for the next week!)
Sizes: 6-22
Level: very easy
Reviews: 8 reviews on PatternReview.com; 88% give the review a positive rating 

 

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August 23, 2016 by Amy Lloyd

Shoulders on Show

Off-the-shoulder tops have been popular for a while now and this week we're featuring two patterns for sewing this trend: McCall's 6558 and McCall's 7163!  

Before getting to the patterns, here's the images that inspired this week's outfit:

Images from top to bottom from: Kendi Everyday; Atlantic-Pacific; Cupcakes and Cashmere; Curvy Girl Chic

 

The two featured patterns are both easy-to-sew patterns by McCall's.  Let's look at 7163 first.  It's a loose-fitting, off-the-shoulder top which has a number of different options with regards to the sleeves and length (see the image below).  You also have the option of cinching in the waist with elastic or leaving the top loose.  I actually featured this pattern last autumn (you can see the outfit here).  

Our other featured pattern is 6558.  It includes numerous variations: so many that I won't describe them all!  The view that is of interest here is view A: a sleeveless, off-the-shoulder top with a big flounce and an elasticated waist.  

There is one other variation of note for 6558 that I'd like to mention, though: view B, which is a dress option of view A.

 

Nice, huh?!  Kendi Everyday featured a similar (shorter) dress recently that I really liked:

 

Ok - so that's the patterns.  They're both quite similar, except that 7163 has sleeves and 6558 has a flounce (and a dress option).  Both are quick-and-easy makes (McCall's claims that you can sew 6558 in under 1 hour!), and so they're great patterns for beginners and for more experienced sewers looking for a quick sewing fix.  

Turning now to fabrics, drawing on the inspiration images, I've recommended some of our crepes, batistes, jerseys and broadcloths (only 6558 can be made in jersey).  

First, here's our lightweight Isobel crepe in black, cream and light pink:

 

Our batistes by Atelier Brunette would also work well with these patterns.  Here's Sparkle Powder Gold and Bye Bye Birdie Blue Jean.  Sandwiched in between these two fabrics is one of our new chambrays by Robert Kaufman

 

 

Next, here's our solid-coloured AGF 'pure elements' broadcloths in snow (white), caviar (black) and tranquil waters (light blue):

 

 

Finally, 6558 can be made in jersey.  Here's our light pink and black Aurele jersey, and our white Rosalie jersey.  

 

 

The fabric you choose will dramatically impact the look you'll get: crepe and jersey are very drapey, while broadcloth and batiste have more body.

As for styling an off-the-shoulder top, all four fashion bloggers have paired theirs with jeans (of all types) or shorts.  I particularly love the looks with cropped jeans and strappy sandals.  Also, doesn't a bandana round the neck look great?!

 

Further Details

McCall's 7163
£8.75 (£7.88 for the next week!)
Sizes: 4-26
Level: easy
Reviews: 1 review on PatternReview.com; it's positive

McCall's 6558
£8.75 (£7.88 for the next week!)
Sizes: 8-24
Level: easy
Reviews: 16 reviews on PatternReview.com; 94% are positive!

 

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August 03, 2016 by Amy Lloyd

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

Sweatshirts!

Right - I think it's high time that I did another featured outfit!  I've been waiting for all the new fabrics to arrive - and they've finally started arriving this week.  Lots more are due to come in the next two weeks - and I've got loads of outfit posts planned for the next few months.  I can't wait to show you them!

This week's outfit is for a garment which, at first glance, seems a little un-summery.  However, the weather recently (at least here in Glasgow) hasn't been very warm.  I actually came to work two days ago wearing a top, 2 cardigans and a coat!  So, I think this garment is definitely seasonally-appropriate.  What is it?  Well, you've probably already seen the title of this blog post: this week's featured outfit is a sweatshirt!

Here's the images that inspired the outfit:

Images from top to bottom from: Glam Up Your Lifestyle; Tanesha Awasthi; Glam Up Your Lifestyle; Sincerely Jules; Glam Up Your Lifestyle

 

For the pattern, I've chosen Grainline Studio's Linden sweatshirt.  This is an extremely well-reviewed pattern, with 25 reviews on PatternReview.com (96% of which give the pattern a positive rating!).  It's a versatile pattern, with two options for the length (mid-hip and high-high) and two options for the sleeves (long and short).  You can also make it with ribbing or with self-ribbing.  Finally, Grainline Studio has some great Linden-related tutorials on their blog, including how to apply applique to the front and how to add a split hem.

 

Linden has a relaxed fit.  If you're looking for a more fitted sweatshirt, a great alternative is Named's Sloane sweatshirt.  

 

Turning now to fabrics, I'm pleased to announce that I've recently added two new lines of sweatshirting to our collection that have matching ribbing!!!  They're our Serena French terry and Matilde light sweatshirting.  It is with some trepidation that I must announce that I've reluctantly decided to replace our Steffi line of French terry with our new Serena line.  Judging from your emails and reviews on social media, I know that lots of you loved Steffi - and so did I.  However, it didn't have matching ribbing.  So, when one of my suppliers brought out new lines of French terry and sweatshirting with matching ribbing - and the samples I was sent looked good - I decided to replace Steffi.  Having now seen bolts of Steffi and Serena side-by-side, I can confirm that Serena is just as nice as Steffi.  And who doesn't love matching ribbing!  I hope that you will like this new line, which we've currently got in light pink and light grey marl.  Now that I've confirmed that it's a nice fabric and a good replacement for Steffi, I'll be bringing in new colours over the coming months.  :-)  Sadly, the ribbing doesn't match the marl colours in the range ('marl' fabric is fabric which is made using differently-coloured threads), so only the light pink Serena French terry has a matching ribbing.

From top to bottom: Serena light grey marl French terry; Serena light pink French terry; Steffi red French terry

 

From top to bottom: Serena light pink French terry; Kelly light pink ribbing

 

Alongside Serena is Matilde (which we've got in black - with a matching black ribbing).  

 

Matilde is a light sweatshirting.  What's the difference between French terry and sweatshirting?  Well, they both look the same from the front.  However, it's their reverse side where they differ: French terry has a looped back, while sweatshirting has a fuzzy back.  You can see the differences in the image below:

 

As for their weight, I've labelled both lighter-weight sweatshirting.  This is mainly to alert you to the fact that they are not sweatshirtings that are really, really thick and heavy.  They're a step below this: a lighter weight that you could happily wear year-round.  Comparing the two lines, with its fuzzy back, Matilde is somewhat heavier and warmer than Serena.  

So, that's our two new lines of sweatshirting!  I hope you'll like them.  I'll also be bringing in Matilde in new colours over the coming months.  

Now, before I close this blog post, let's look at some outfit and customisation ideas!  As is ably demonstrated in the inspiration images, sweatshirts look great over skinny jeans/trousers.  Sweatshirts also look great layered - either over a shirt or under a short jacket.  

I love the slouchy look in the first image below: you could make Linden in a larger size to achieve this look.  In terms of customisation, why not add a word or phrase to the front of your sweatshirt (using Grainline's tutorial!) or use a sequin fabric for the body or sleeves (our Lucia black sequinned knit would work really well for this!).

  

Further Details

Grainline Studio's Linden Sweatshirt
£13 (£11.70 for the next week!)
Sizes: 0-18
Level: beginner
Reviews: 25 reviews on PatternReview.com; 96% give the pattern a positive rating

 

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July 08, 2016 by Amy Lloyd

Stash-Busting Sewing: Patterns Perfect for Fabric Remnants and Scraps

As some of you may have noticed, I started a 'Remnants' section on the website about a month ago.  Since opening, the pile of remnants at Splendid HQ has been steadily growing - from a few remnants in a box last summer to (more recently) multiple heaps on several tables.  These are mostly the ends of rolls and bolts: once a fabric has less than 7 quarter metres left, I generally mark it as sold out and the remaining fabric becomes a 'remnant'.  I've always been meaning to list these remnants on the website and, last month, I finally set aside some time to start doing just that.  I've now finished that section and there are a grand total of 67 remnants, ranging from 28 cm to 171 cm in length.  I've grouped them by length and by type of fabric - and they're all being sold at a discount, ranging from 15% off for the longer lengths, to 30-40% off for the shorter lengths and lengths with faults.

As I was unfolding, measuring and refolding all of these remnants, I inevitably started to think about what could be made with them.  A lot of the smaller ones, I thought, would be great for contrasting facings, pockets, cuffs, collars, partial linings, etc.  As for actual garments, the obvious candidates - pencil skirts, camisoles and shorts - sprang to mind.  But anything else?  At one point, curiosity got the better of me: I ended up wandering over to the patterns section of Splendid HQ (it wasn't a long wander - about 5 steps!) and started going through our patterns and looking at the fabric requirements.  I was actually surprised by what I found (good surprises and bad surprises!) and it occurred to me that it might be nice to share my findings with you!  Almost every sewer has a pile of remnants at home and you've probably likewise wondered what can be done with them.  It seems a shame to waste them (particularly from an environmental standpoint).  Hopefully this article will give you some ideas regarding the types of garments that can be made with shorter lengths of fabric!

So, let's get started! 

Knit Tops

Tops designed for jersey can be somewhat fabric-hungry.  However, we have two patterns that require as little as 1 to 1.2 m of fabric!

 

From left to right: Grainline Studio Lark Tee; Liesl + Co. Maritime Knit Top

 

Pattern Type of Fabric Fabric Requirements Which View? Width of Fabric
Grainline Studio Lark Tee light to medium-weight jersey 1.2-1.5 m cap, short and 3/4 length sleeves 150 cm-wide fabrics only
Liesl + Co. Maritime Knit Top knits of all sorts 1-1.4 m all views 150 cm-wide fabrics only

 

I was pretty surprised that most of our top patterns for medium-weight knits (mostly sweatshirts) required very little fabric.

From left to right: Grainline Studio LindenMcCall's 6992

 

Pattern Type of Fabric Fabric Requirements Which View? Width of Fabric
Grainline Studio Linden Sweatshirt medium-weight knits 1.2-1.4 m all views 150 cm-wide fabrics only
McCall's 6992 medium-weight knits 1.3-1.5 m most views 150 cm-wide fabrics only

 

Woven Tops

Now, what about top patterns for woven fabrics?  Well, I was a little disappointed not to find a greater range of tops.  A lot of woven top patterns are much more fabric-hungry than I'd anticipated.  Even some camisoles require almost 2 m of fabric!  However, there are some patterns that very economical in their fabric requirements:

Clockwise from the top left-hand corner: Burda 7509; Burda 7079; Named InariBurda 7200

 

Pattern Type of Fabric Fabric Requirements Which View? Width of Fabric
Burda 7509 linen, crepe fabrics, lightweight cottons 0.9-1.6 m all views all widths
Burda 7079 satin, cotton fabrics, crepe fabrics 1.1-1.6 m top only all widths
Burda 7200 lightweight cottons, crepe fabrics, linen 1.2-1.3 m top only all widths
Named Inari light to medium-weight fabrics 0.9-1.4 m top only all widths

 

Shorts

While trousers require a generous amount of fabric (legs are pretty lengthy!), shorts are incredibly economical on fabric:

Clockwise from the top left-hand corner: Colette Iris; Grainline Studio Maritime; Named Alpi; Burda 6812

 

Pattern Type of Fabric Fabric Requirements Which View? Width of Fabric
Colette Iris stretch cotton twill, poplin, suiting, gabardine, pique, wool blends, etc. 1-1.3 m all views all widths
Burda 6812 cotton fabrics, linen, gabardine 1-1.5 m shorts only all widths
Grainline Studio Maritime Shorts denim, twill, linen, etc. 1-1.4 m all views all widths
Named Alpi light to medium-weight linen, cotton twill, etc. 0.7-1.2 m shorts only all widths

 

Woven Skirts

Our pencil skirt patterns did not disappoint: almost all of them are very sparing in their fabric requirements!  However, I also found a few a-line skirts that were equally as economical.

Let's start with the pencil skirts.  First, there's simple pencil skirts like these two patterns by McCall's and Burda:

From left to right: McCall's 3830; Burda 8155

 

Pattern Type of Fabric Fabric Requirements Which View? Width of Fabric
McCall's 3830 cotton, linen, wool crepe, gabardine, lightweight woolens, etc. 0.7-1.4 m views D and E (above the knee skirts) all widths
Burda 8155 tweed, lightweight wools, gabardine, etc. 0.9-1.6 m all views all widths

 

There's also more casual pencil skirts with a front fly:

From left to right: Grainline Studio Moss; Burda 6769

 

Pattern Type of Fabric Fabric Requirements Which View? Width of Fabric
Grainline Studio Moss Skirt medium to heavyweight fabrics 1-1.2 m view A (shorter version) all widths
Burda 6769 cotton, gabardine, denim 1.1-1.5 m all views all widths

 

What about a wrap mini-skirt?

Pattern Type of Fabric Fabric Requirements Which View? Width of Fabric
Pauline Alice Safor Skirt medium-weight cotton, gabardine, denim, linen, etc. 1.1-1.4 m view A (above the knee version) all widths

 

Smaller remnants can also be used to make shorter a-line skirts - such as these patterns from McCall's and Pauline Alice:

From left to right: McCalls 3341; Pauline Alice Rosari

 

Pattern Type of Fabric Fabric Requirements Which View? Width of Fabric
Pauline Alice Rosari Skirt medium-weight cotton, corduroy, gabardine, linen, denim, etc. 1.1-1.4 m mini length all widths
McCall's 3341 cotton, lightweight linen, stretch wovens, gabardine, crepe, denim, lightweight wool, etc. 0.7-1.5 m views C-E (at or above the knee) all widths

 

Knit Skirts

Got a shorter length of a medium-weight knit?  Why not make a pencil skirt! Incredibly, you need as little as 0.5 m to make Colette's Mabel skirt (admittedly for the smallest size!). 

 

Pattern Type of Fabric Fabric Requirements Which View? Width of Fabric
Colette Mabel double knit, rib knit, french terry or heavyweight jersey knits 0.5-1.5 m all views all widths

 

Knit Dresses

Finally, dresses.  I didn't expect to find any dresses that could be made with a shorter length of fabric (like trousers, there's a lot of body to cover with a dress).  While I was largely right, I did find two patterns for knit dresses that have rather sparing fabric requirements - particularly for their sleeveless and shorter-sleeve versions:

From left to right: McCall's 6886; Vogue 8946

 

Pattern Type of Fabric Fabric Requirements Which View? Width of Fabric
McCall's 6886 jersey, cotton knit, novelty knits, interlock 1.1-1.5 m half of the views 150 cm-wide fabrics only
Vogue 8946 two-way stretch knits 1.2-1.5 m view A (sleeveless version) 150 cm-wide fabrics only

 

 

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June 12, 2016 by Amy Lloyd
Tags: News Remnants

A Maxi-Length Slip Dress

I've had a busy week this week - which mostly involved spending money!  Lots of pattern and fabric orders were submitted. Some of the new products have started arriving, including new patterns from Named and a few new fabrics!  

This week's outfit is one of these new patterns: Named's Elizabeth dress.  It's actually officially described as a 'gown' and you'll understand why when you see their sample, which is made up in gorgeous silk crepe and velvet:

 

 

However, while their sample screams 'for black tie events only!', this pattern definitely doesn't need to be sewn in fancy evening-wear fabrics.  Made up in more everyday wash-and-wear fabrics, what you've got is a really stylish maxi-length slip dress.  And by stylish, I really mean stylish: maxi-length slip dresses were really popular on the Spring/Summer 2016 catwalks!

So, without further ado, here's the inspiration for this week's outfit:

 

All the images except for the last one are from the Spring/Summer 2016 ready-to-wear collections of the following designers: Valentino, Jonathan Saunders, Bottega Veneta, Calvin Klein, and Burberry Prorsum; the last image is from the fashion blog, 'Cupcakes and Cashmere'

 

If you're not going to make Elizabeth up in luxurious silks and velvets, I think that viscose and polyester crepes are the best choice for making more wearable, everyday versions of this dress. We've got two lines of plain-coloured crepe that are always in stock (Sibylle and Isobel) - and I think they would both work well with Elizabeth.  Isobel is a poly-viscose-spandex mix: it is softer and lighter than Sibylle and has a tiny amount of stretch.  Sibylle is 100% polyester, heavier than Isobel, and extremely crease-resistant (I have yet to make it crease when I ball it up in my hands: it just springs back!).  We've got Sibylle in 4 colours (black, navy, red and ivory) and Isobel in five colours (black, cream, light pink, purple and now orange!).  We've also got a number of printed crepes - most of which are between the weight of Isobel and Sibylle.  You can see all of our crepes here.

Below, you'll see two of our newest crepes (bought in specifically for this outfit!) - Isobel in orange and a navy and gold floral crepe:

 

To show you what Elizabeth might look like made up in these crepes, I've worked some Photoshop magic.  :-)

 

Further Details

Named Elizabeth
£14.50 (£13.05 until noon on Tuesday!)
Sizes: 32-46
Level: advanced
Reviews: no reviews on PatternReview.com

 

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May 28, 2016 by Amy Lloyd

Pattern Spotlight: McCall's 6696 Shirt Dress

Today's blog post is another 'Pattern Spotlight' post: this time on McCall's 6696, which was our last 'Outfit of the Week'.  It's been a while since I've done a 'Pattern Spotlight' post.  Over the last few months, I've slowly come to the realization that (a) I really only have time to write one blog post per week, and (b) if I do an outfit each week, it means that I can't write other types of blog posts (such as my 'pattern spotlight' posts or my 'sewing pattern comparison' posts).  Judging from your feedback, I know that you like all these types of posts, and so I've decided to try mixing things up from now on.  Most of the posts will continue to be 'Outfit of the Week' posts.  However, I will intersperse these from time to time with other types of posts.  I hope that sounds okay to everyone!

(Also, just to add to my previous blog post, I'm happy to report that I'm feeling so much better now - I haven't had a bad day in well over a week! - and so I'm going to be getting back into more regular weekly blog posts from this point forward.)  :-)

Ok - onto McCall's 6696.  As I discussed in our last 'Outfit of the Week', it's a versatile shirt dress that features two options for the skirt (pencil and pleated a-line) and three options for the sleeves (sleeveless, short, and cuffed three-quarter).

This is a really popular pattern, with 55 reviews on PatternReview.com and many more in the wider sewing blogosphere.  It should come as no surprise that it's very favourably reviewed, with 94% of the reviews on PatternReview.com giving the pattern a positive rating!  In my research, a surprising percentage of sewers have made multiple versions of 6696 - a fact that definitely underscores how well-liked this pattern is (you'll even see some repeat versions in the photos below!). 

Why is it so well liked?  Here's what I've gathered from reading many reviews:

  • Reviewers like the shape of the dress, finding it very flattering: it nips in at the waist and the pleated skirt lies flat against the hips (and so it doesn't add too much bulk).
  • Reviewers also find it very comfortable (it is not too closely-fitted).
  • The pattern has some nice details (such as the yoke, gathering on the back bodice, and a proper collar with a collar band).
  • The pattern goes together well and the instructions are very good.
  • There are separate pattern pieces for different cup sizes (A/B, C, and D).

As for sewing it up, here are some tips that I came across in the reviews I read:

  • Beware of the amount of ease in the pattern.  Like many Big 4 patterns, reviewers found that the pattern runs a little big.  Make sure to measure the pattern pieces to determine which size to make.  Sew Dixie Lou describes how to do this in her blog post on 6696.
  • Quite a number of reviewers used (and recommend) Andrea's famous tutorial on sewing shirt collars to sew up the collar. 
  • The back bodice features gathers and some of the reviewers felt that the back - as a result - was too puffy.   If you think this might be a concern, you might want to consider narrowing the back bodice piece, so that there is less gathering. It should be noted that not all of the reviewers felt that the back was too puffy.
  • Some of the reviewers felt that the waistband piece wasn't long enough.  It might be worth measuring your waistband piece to make sure that it is the right length for the size you are making. 
  • There is no button at the centre front on the waistband (as the dress is designed to be worn with a belt).  If you're planning to wear it without a belt, you may want to reconsider the button placement and make sure that there is a button on the waistband.

As for what fabrics work best with 6696, I've trawled through the reviews and have picked out some of my favourites. Sadly, I can only feature a fraction of the versions I liked!

Turning first to the version with the full pleated skirt, a lot of fantastic versions have been made in chambray, lightweight denim, and linen.  Here are some that I particularly liked:

Clockwise from the top left-hand corner: Sewmanju's version in dark navy linen; Miniextravaganz' version in a lightweight denim; Fabricate's version in a slubby tencel chambray; Mag's Creative Meanderings' version in chambray

 

Doesn't it also look great accessorized with a leather belt?

6696 also looks lovely made up in soft, delicate floral fabrics.  Here are some versions I particularly liked - made in lightweight cottons and lightweight polyester:

Clockwise from the top left-hand corner: Neoknits' version in cotton lawn; Sew Dixie Lou's version in lightweight polyester; Bows and Bunnies' version in cotton lawn; Cotton Creek Sewing's version in cotton

 

While it looks great in delicate florals, 6696 can also take bolder, darker prints.  I really loved these two versions by Cashmerette (left) and The Girl Who Makes Things (right) - both in cotton:

 

Darker fabrics with polkadots - big and small - also work well.  I love these versions by Dolly Clackett in a cotton-linen blend (left) and Mags' Creative Meanderings in a polka-dot chambray (right):

 

Finally, doesn't the full-skirted version look great in white eyelet?  I love these versions by Not Sew Simple (left) and Sandjjdesigns (right):

 

The straight-skirted version isn't as popular as the full-skirted version.  With regard to fabrics, I particularly liked those made in chambray and linen: clearly a match made in heaven with 6696!

Clockwise from the top left-hand corner: Sew Dixie Lou's version in chambray; AT Couture's version in a linen-viscose blend; Sew Impatient's version in dotted chambray; Sara in Stitches' version in chambray

 

Further Details

McCall's 6696
£8.75
Sizes: 8-24
Level: not rated (looking at the pattern, I would probably classify this as an intermediate pattern)
Reviews: 55 reviews on PatternReview.com; 94% give the pattern a positive rating

 

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May 22, 2016 by Amy Lloyd

Where I've Been

I've got some news!

I'm not sure if any of you have noticed, but, over the last five weeks, I've virtually disappeared from social media.  Where have I been?  Well, I certainly haven't been lazing about on a Caribbean beach on an extended vacation (I wish!).  Instead, my silence has been due to illness.  Don't worry - this is not illness in a bad way, but illness in a good way: I've just suffered through my first trimester of pregnancy!

With my 35th birthday fast approaching, my husband and I decided last autumn that we'd probably put off having a family long enough.  Having children is something that we'd always intended to do (we've been together 11 years), but we initially didn't feel ready and then it didn't seem like the right time.  Well, it's amazing how one's biological clock can force the issue!  We were absolutely delighted to discover that I was pregnant in early-March. 

However, the delight quickly wore away a few weeks later when my morning sickness made its appearance.  It's been absolutely horrible.  Having never been pregnant before, the severity of the symptoms really caught me off guard.  Fortunately, as with most pregnant women, the symptoms were not of uniform severity throughout the day, so I was still able to carry on with running The Splendid Stitch (in particular, the dispatching of orders). However, some non-essential activities had to fall by the wayside - and participating in social media was one of them. 

I'm pleased to report that I'm now in my 13th week and the symptoms seem to be tailing off.  So, all normal activities will be resuming - and I can't wait!  The last few weeks have been so frustrating, as there's been so many things that I have longed to do, and I just haven't had the health to do them.  Bring on the second trimester 'burst of energy'! 

As for what this means for the future of The Splendid Stitch, my pregnancy shouldn't impact on operations too much from this point forward.  The main thing that you'll notice between now and November is that The Splendid Stitch will be expanding by 1-2 people.  I can't wait!  I have been meaning to hire someone to help me for a while now: the workload is such that it is really beyond the capabilities of one person now.  After I give birth, I'll probably take around 2 months off and then come back part-time (and later - eventually - full-time). 

So, that's what's been happening around here over the last few weeks.  I have to say that I'm pretty excited about what the future holds - both for myself and my husband (and the little one growing inside of me!), and for this business. The last year has been absolutely amazing and I can't wait to see how The Splendid Stitch will grow and evolve over the coming years.  I've got lots of plans and the next six months promise to be very, very busy: there's so much that I want to do before I go on maternity leave.  It's also going to be amazing to go from one person to a team of people!

Finally, I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your support over the last year. In particular, as I've been ill, I cannot tell you how much I've especially appreciated all the positive emails and feedback I've received from you: they've meant a lot and have really buoyed my spirits on some days when I was feeling especially poorly (little did you know!).  Please do continue dropping me a line if you ever have any comments, suggestions or feedback.  I absolutely love hearing from you and am really keen to learn about ways that I can improve The Splendid Stitch to better serve your needs. :-)

May 11, 2016 by Amy Lloyd
Tags: News

A Pretty Shirtdress

This week's outfit is the ever-popular shirtdress by McCall's - 6696.  Here's what inspired the outfit:

Images from Eat/Sleep/Wear, The Blonde Salad, Gal Meets Glam, Atlantic-Pacific and Nicolette Mason

 

I've seen so many great versions of McCall's 6696 since it was released.  Over at PatternReview.com, you'll find 50 reviews, with 93% of the reviewers giving the pattern a positive rating.  What I particularly like about the pattern is its versatility: you can get a lot of different looks from the pattern.  First, there are two options for the skirt: a chic pencil skirt, and a beautiful pleated a-line skirt.  The sleeve options make for an all-season pattern: sleeveless or short-sleeved for warmer weather, and cuffed 3/4 length sleeves for cooler temperatures.  Finally, with an optional slip included in the pattern, it can be made in both non-sheer and sheer fabrics.  There are also a few other features to love about this pattern: like any good shirt pattern, it has a proper collar with a collar band, as well as a yoke back; it has different cup sizes; and it has pockets!  You can definitely see why it's so popular.

 

In terms of fabrics, drawing inspiration from the blog photos above, I've recommended a few of our beautiful, high-quality cotton broadcloths by Art Gallery Fabrics - including one new arrival!  Below, you'll see our really popular 'Shore Remains Algae' print (on the left) and our new 'Enchanted Leaves Air' print (on the right).  I absolutely love the new print: so pretty!  Another great option (not shown) is our plain black broadcloth by Art Gallery Fabrics

 

To show you what these fabrics might look like made up into 6696, I've worked some Photoshop magic.  :-)

I'm not sure which version I prefer! 

 

Further Details

McCall's 6696
£8.75 (£7.88 until noon on Tuesday!)
Sizes: 8-24
Level: not rated (looking at the pattern, I would probably classify this as an intermediate pattern)
Reviews: 50 reviews on PatternReview.com; 93% give the pattern a positive rating

 

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April 30, 2016 by Amy Lloyd