Tips for Sewing Stretch Velvet – my Party Appleton Wrap Dress!

I’ve made my party dress for this year! I really wanted something that was warm and comfortable yet sufficiently glam – for me, this meant a shimmer stretch velvet and a long-sleeved wrap dress to pair with long boots.

I’ve long since decided to try and get more use out of the patterns I own and like, rather than constantly buying new ones. I’ve made the Appleton wrap dress by Cashmerette before (see HERE) so I knew it was a) quick to sew, b) really comfortable and c) had a really secure wrap front. Making repeats of the same pattern is also a really interesting way to show how different a pattern can look depending on the fabric you make it in! My first version was made for Summer, with short sleeves and in a lighter-weight knit. This iteration is full on Winter plush!

If you’re interested in this particular fabric, read on, I have a 20% discount code on your entire order from the supplier (Patterns & Plains)

But first, let’s talk construction. Sewing stretch velvet is not particularly difficult but I did utilise a particular method of hemming the dress to ensure it came out sharp and even …

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The winners of #sewtogetherforsummer 2018!

Hi All!

A massive thank you to all who took part in this years’ #sewtogetherforsummer challenge; an astonishing 450+ dresses were completed and submitted by the deadline date. Once again, myself @SewSarahSmith, Suzy @Sewing_in_Spain and Monika @rocco.sienna were absolutely delighted with your boundless enthusiasm and creativity!

Whilst checking the entries to put in the Prize Hat for drawing the winners, it became clear that particular pattern companies and certain wrap dress patterns were extremely popular for this years’ Challenge. So, before we jump into revealing the winning entries later on in this post, I thought it might be interesting to analyse what those favourites are… Read More

Burda and Big 4 : Our #sewtogetherforsummer Wrap Dress Pattern Picks! (Plus a Wildcard and a Freebie!)

Hello again!!

Looking for some more #sewtogetherforsummer 2018 wrap dress inspiration? We’ve got loads for you today! Firstly, have you seen Helen from Helen’s Closet’s fabulousIndie Darling’ Wrap Dress blog post?She’s chosen some amazing patterns from a whole host of Indie designers which are bound to inspire you! Here we bring you our top Burda magazine and Big 4 Pattern Picks plus we’ve thrown in a Wildcard and a bonus Freebie at the end for good measure!

(Pssst, click on the images or their titles to find out more!)

Starting with Burda… Read More

Sewtogetherforsummer

My #sewtogetherforsummer Wrap Dress: the Appleton by Cashmerette

Sewtogetherforsummer

Hi!

So I’ve sewn the first of my #sewtogetherforsummer wrap dresses; the Appleton by Cashmerette. I’m kicking myself for not trying this pattern sooner as it’s such a simple and quick sew yet is brilliantly drafted to ensure a really great fit.

I’ve sewn a few wrap dresses in my time (see McCalls 7119 here and here,  New Look 6301 and McCalls 6884 for example). I think one of the key reasons for wanting to make this years’ #sewtogetherforsummer challenge about the wrap dress stems from the fact that I’ve really struggled to find a traditional wrap dress pattern that does a passable job of fitting and flattering my bust line straight out of the envelope.

I can safely say that search is over.

Appleton Wrap Dress.jpg

To get the right fit, the Appleton requires a light to medium weight jersey with 50% crossways stretch. I fell upon this viscose and spandex blend fabric from Sew Essential; it’s on the lighter side of medium, has lovely drape and movement and handles beautifully. It’s black, with a grey and mushroom coloured floral motif – teeny but not too ditzy – that I thought would transition well day-to-evening depending on what footwear I was wearing! (I also love that you can purchase the fabric in increments of 1/2 a metre!)

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Sew Essential also stock a paper copy of the pattern too, in case you don’t fancy tracing out the PDF!

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The Appleton is your classic wrap dress with a low cut V wrap neckline; built-in waist ties and sleeve length options. It comes with different cup sizes – Yey! I cut a size 12 and the C/D cup. There is no seperate bodice piece; it’s simply front, back, bands and sleeve.

The amount of negative ease built into this dress at the bust means a lot of redrafting issues become moot; for example a 40” bust size has a finished measurement under 33” – the stretch in the fabric aiding the fit, together with the neck/front band and built in waist ties you’re ensured a snap finish at the bust…it really is secure!

In fact the only thing I did was to take a little out of the length and cut the sleeve so it fit just above my elbow.

Appleton Sewtogetherforsummer Wrap Dress.jpg

Dissolvable wash away wonder tape

 

You can get quite a different look with the dress depending on where you wrap the ties, at Empire height or at your natural waist. My only gripe really is I find that the hole to feed the ties through sits a tad high on me so that the ties start to wrap most naturally under the chest. Next time I’d contemplate moving the hole down a smidge. Oh and I like to use dissolvable double sided Wonder Tape to hold those seams nicely in place when it comes to finishing that hole at the side seam where the tie threads through!

 

There’s not much else I can say; it really is that easy to put together!

So that’s the traditional wrap dress made … I now find myself obsessing about the By Hand London ‘Orsola’ which wraps at the back and can be made in a woven. If you’re quick, we’ve still got a discount running on that pattern, plus others!

And did you see the dresses my #sewtogetherforsummer co-hosts have made? It was Monika’s ‘Orsola’ that got me craving the pattern…

And Suzy has made a gorgeous Sew Over It ‘Eve’ Dress…

I’ll be back very soon with our Burda and Big Four Wrap Dress Pattern Picks to inspire you; you can also read Helen of Helen’s Closet pick of the best Indie wrap dress patterns here.

Until next time, happpy Sewing!

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Sewcialise with me on Instagram here xx

Sew Sarah smith

A ‘Black Tie’ McCalls 7119

Sew Sarah smith

Hello!

It feels like I’ve had this dress germinating in the back of my mind since time immemorial. I originally got my hands on a sample of this Prada satin backed crepe – in red – an age ago. Whilst I loved it, I had no immediate ideas for it. Then, back in the summer, I sewed up a floral version of M7119 (see here) which was my favourite make of the summer. I knew straight away that I wanted to put a spin on the pattern; using the contrasting textures of the fabric to turn it into a Black Tie evening dress version of the tuxedo.

I cut the dress out intending to wear it to a friends 40th birthday bash – a weekend long affair – earlier this month. But unfortunately Sod invited Law to the party too; the dress lay unsewn for quite some time whilst I succumbed to the lurgy. Gah.

McCalls 7119

Anyhoo, my friend forgave me for not attending his birthday ‘do’ and the dress eventually got sewn. I’m now counting on some Christmas party invitations in order to y’know, actually get to wear it.

The dress is this months’ make for the Minerva Craft Blogger Network; the full post including my thoughts on working with this double sided designer fabric can be found HERE.

Since sewing this dress, I’ve filled an online cart in Ikea and I’m quite ridiculously excited waiting for my order to be delivered! Apart from some pattern testing this last week, I’ve finally ‘thrown in the towel’ with sewing on the dining table. Fed up with unpacking and packing everything away at the start and end of each session, I’ve decided to set up a designated spot where I can leave my stuff permanently set up. Although it will be a relatively small area – and I’ll still need to use the dining table for cutting out – I’m hoping it will be a well thought out enough space to mean I can really sew my heart out anytime I want.  Ok, let me rephrase that…to sew half as much as I want to but twice as much as I’m currently able to! 

So here’s looking forward to Holiday party invitations and sewing in peace!

Until next time, stay well sewing friends x

Sewsarahsmith

 

 

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