Simplicity 1880 Faux Wrap Dress

Here’s my first stab at Simplicity 1880. I made style B, the fake-wrap version.

Evan helped me take these pictures.

simplicity 1880 wrap dress
This dress went to Value Village. Hopefully somebody liked it enough to pay 99 cents for it.

I had made a muslin for this dress, which helped me determine that the waist was around 2 inches too high and the front gaped like mad (hooray for flatness). For the ~real~ version of the dress, I lengthened the bodice so the waist actually hit my waist, but I didn’t do a small bust adjustment. I should have!!!

back of simplicity 1880 wrap dress
Back of the wrap dress.

The result? The “wrap” neckline bit gapes quite a bit. I ended up sewing the overlapping pieces together to avoid, um, flashing the universe. But for future renditions of this dress I will definitely figure out how to do an adjustment.

I had done a sloppy job with the invisible zipper because I thought watching a 10-minute tutorial video would be too time-consuming. Ha! Another lesson learned. Feeling productive a couple days later, I unpicked the zipper and re-inserted it and now it looks much better! I mean, I spent so long on the dress anyway, so why was I willing to settle for the ugliness that was the zipper?

Not very flattering in hindsight. PASS.
Not very flattering in hindsight. PASS.

I made this dress out of cotton that I got in Sham Shui Po in Hong Kong. Mummy picked out the fabric for me. Sham Shui Po is fabric HEAVEN!!!! Blocks of streets lined with shops filled with fabric swatches, and roadside stalls with fabric on bolts and rolls. Roadside stalls selling muslins and rows of shops selling buttons, zips, leather, and all kinds of other sewing bits and bobs.

Here are swatches of the other fabrics I got! At 35 HKD a yard (around 5 CAD)… how could I say no?!

Fabric Swatches from Yu Tex Company in Sham Shui Po.
Fabric Swatches from Yu Tex Company in Sham Shui Po.

I’d gone to Sham Shui Po by myself earlier but was not confident in my Cantonese skills to actually try buying anything. That, and I was scared they were all wholesalers. With Mummy’s help, we were able to determine that you have to order a minimum of 3 (or was it 5?) yards of fabric and then return to the shop to pick it up a couple days later.

Oh, and I learned how to slip stitch for the sash. Cool!

Reversible Bag

Saw this bag by Very Purple Person on Pinterest and decided to make one of my own because I don’t have a purse to carry stuff around in. The pattern is clear and very easy to follow!

I didn’t have a good fabric to match it up with so I ended up using the same fabric for the inside and outside. I added a little pocket to the inside for my phone and wallet.

very purple person bag
I don’t know where this bag is any more 🙁

City Gym Shorts

It seems like every sewer (sew-er?) on Instagram is all about these City Gym Shorts from Purl Bee… including me! They are flattering and adorable.

Purl Bee's City Gym Shorts
Purl Bee’s City Gym Shorts

Used the leftover bright floral fabric from my Circle Skirt dress to make these. I got the fabric from King’s Textiles at Queen and Spadina. It might be for quilts. I don’t know. It’s cotton.

Purl Bee's City Gym Shorts
PJs + Birkenstocks = my mother would not approve.

BRB, I’m going to make some more.

Rectangle Dress

This was my first attempt at, um, making up my own design. Basically I cut out two slightly-wider-than-me-sized rectangles, sewed them together (with French seams), bias-bound the neckline and armholes, hemmed the bottom, and made a tie belt. Oh, and I put in a pocket.

The fabric is from a thrifted bedsheet from Value Village.

i'm in ur neighbourhood wearing ur bedsheet
i’m in ur neighbourhood wearing ur bedsheet

After making that, I decided to make my twin sister Jessica and me matching dresses out of blue linen.

asian twins wearing matching dresses
Who wore it better? jk jk don’t answer that.
lion hitched to bicycle with pretty girl
I love this photo of Jess. This lion was hitched to a bicycle outside a dumpling restaurant in Beijing. Also I think she looks really pretty here.

 

Update: I have since given my dress to Diana because it is a bit too short for me.

Circle Skirt Dress

I don’t quite remember how but I came across this awesome video tutorial by Annika of the Pineneedle Collective and was inspired to make one of my own.

Ta-da!

circle skirt dress
Posing in front of a hilarious fountain in Beijing, 2014.

The bright blue exposed zip.

circle skirt dress zip
Check out the bright blue zip!

I think I refuse to ride a bike in anything other than a dress.

circle skirt dress on a bicycle
Circle skirts are great for cycling.

Sewing Notes

I fudged a bodice out of the Wiksten Tank pattern, used bias facings on the arms and neckline (as per the Wiksten tank) instead of lining it, and I left out the waistband.

The only thing is I regret not staystitching the waist of the skirt. It’s stretched out a little bit.Oh, and I wish I’d done a neater job with the zip. But it was really fun to make.

The End.

Wiksten Tank Photo Dump

Here’s a dump of photos of the Wiksten Tanks I’ve made.

#1. This is the first one I made. I sewed it without prewashing the fabric first. BIG MISTAKE! It became like a vegetable. Plus the neckline is too low 🙁 I’ve still worn it a couple of times. Mostly to sleep.

wiksten tank at the beach
Wearing my hideous first Wiksten Tank on the beach in Koh Phangan, summer 2014

#2. This is the one I made at The Workroom during the Wiksten Tank class. Made me want to ditch our Singer machine for a Bernina! Not happening any time soon though! The fabric is some quilting cotton covered in poppies, which I realize might be sort of inauspicious. I like it anyway.

wiksten tank beach
Posing after eating really spicy Panang curry in Koh Phangan.

#3. This is the one I made out of some adorable fabric covered in seals!

wiksten tank pocket
A Wiksten tank made out of seals. Can you spot the pocket?
#4. And this again is the dress with the upside-down fish, taken somewhere within Forbidden City during our trip to Beijing.

 

wiksten tank dress elastic waist
Wiksten tank dress with an elastic waistband.

Wiksten Tank Dress with Elastic Waistband and Pockets

So after making a bunch of Wiksten Tanks (pics later), I bought some cool fabric thinking I’d make matching tank tops for my twin Jessica and me. My thought process behind choosing this fabric: we are pisces and her wardrobe is full of black, white, grey, and stripes. So I thought this might add a bit of colour. Um, a lot of colour.

fish swimming in pink, orange, and purple waves
UMMM what was I thinking???

Lucky for Jessica, I didn’t have enough of the fish fabric to make two tank tops. So I decided to make myself a dress instead. With an elastic waistband (because the dress looks like a mumu on me otherwise) and pockets (because I hate carrying a purse. In fact, I don’t really own one).

wiksten tank dress
Evan took this picture of me when we rode our bikes up to the bluffs. FUN!!! Filed under “Photos taken by ex boyfriends”

Mods

  • raised neckline by 3/4”
  • S in armholes, neck, but traced between XS and S for side seam
  • added pockets using this tutorial. (Next time adjust from 1/2″ to 5/8″ to match the 3/8″ seam allowance. I don’t know what I’m talking about here but I feel like I should remember this note for next time.)
  • added an elastic (made it up): cut out a bias casing from fabric, 3″ wide, as long as the dress. Sewed it along waistline.

Mistakes

sewed the dress upside down
LOL the fish are upside down.
  • the fish are upside down!!!! What was I thinking?
  • the bias tape facing at the neckline and armholes doesn’t lay flat. I think that next time for the first step I’ll sew it at a 1/4” seam allowance (instead of 3/8”) — is this an error in the pattern? I don’t know. Or use this tutorial from grainline for getting bias necklines to stay flat
  • the bunching of the fabric because of the elastic waist looks a bit awkward but I don’t really care that much.

NEXT TIME:

  • Try cutting the top part and the skirt part separately. Would eliminate some of the bunching.
  • Don’t cut fabric after midnight.

Adventures in Sewing: Origins

Sometime in 2009, prompted by a section of The Artist’s Way, I made a list of ten things I wanted to do at some point. I’ve since lost the list but I remember that two of the things were learning some form of martial arts and taking up sewing.

Fast forward to 2014. I enrolled in the Sewing Machine Essentials and Wiksten Tank classes at the workroom last month. As someone who doesn’t spend that much time in the west end of Toronto (I live near the Beach), I found out about the workroom in a roundabout way. I’d made a fun hat using a Wiksten pattern that I’d purchased through Ravelry.

snoflinga hat
Wearing my Snöflinga hat whilst looking at dirty snow at the beach.

Soon I found myself on the Wiksten Made website, where I came across the Wiksten Tank pattern. After a bunch of Googling and clicking I discovered Karyn’s blogpost about all the tanks she’d made using the pattern — and that Karyn ran the workroom.

~~ instant inspiration ~~

I signed up for classes and now I’ve pretty much quit knitting to sew stuff instead. My poor stash of yarn is languishing in a pile by the window like dried-up once-soggy ramen. I’ve sewed a bunch of things since.

The first thing I sewed (during the class) was a cushion cover. My cushion is poufy and ugly.

the workroom cushion cover lesson
The first thing I ever sewed.

Then I learned how to make zipper pouches on the Internet.

zipper pouch sewing
Peggy Pointer zipper pouch using this zipper pouch tutorial from Pink Polka Dot Creations.
underwear tiger pencil case
Underwear Tiger zipper pouch using same tutorial as above. I made the patch thingy out of felt.
underwear tiger makeup pouch
Underwear Tiger zipper pouch using this Half-Circle Zippered Pouch tutorial from Lula Louise.

Then I made a bunch of zipper pouches featuring a linocut print of my design — meet Commander Catfield and Félicette, the first cat in space! These will be for sale at Story Planet.

Cats in Space pouches arranged in the shape of a STOP sign.
Cats in Space pouches arranged in the shape of a STOP sign.
sewing coin pouches
Assortment of random zipper pouches/coin purses.
Commander Catfield
Commander Catfield
Félicette
Félicette

A post with all the Wiksten Tanks to come. I should probably warn you that I know nothing about buying fabric and I think I have no taste. You’ve been warned!