Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Hot weather sewing

The hot weather we had last week turned my mind to hot weather sewing.  First on my list was a sunhat for my littlest nephew.  A proper floppy-brimmed, tie-under-the-chin sunhat to shade him in the sunshine.

The pattern I used was Butterick 5056, which I bought from here. I liked this pattern very much.  There are always a great many pieces to trace and cut out for hats, which is a little tiresome, but the sewing part was very quick.  The pattern has nine different styles and five different sizes, so if you've got babies and toddlers to sew for it is good value.  I didn't get a picture of Leo modelling the hat (too busy exclaiming at how sweet he looked) but the hat looked even better on him than it did on the bear.

And then I was hoping to make a tiered skirt for O, from McCall's pattern 5310.  But I completely failed to check the fabric requirements.  Tiered skirts require a great deal of fabric - even for 8 year olds!  Despite having shelves and shelves of fabric, it turns out that I didn't have the necessary quantities of three fabrics which go well together.  I really can't justify buying any more fabric at the moment (yes, shelves and shelves...) so I made her a simple Lazy Days skirt from the free Oliver + S download instead.  I have made nearly a dozen of these skirts over the past couple of years, and they take me less than an hour to rustle up, from start to finish - very happy about that.  I cut up the Amy Butler Anna tunic that I blogged about here because I really wasn't happy with the fit, and O now has a gorgeous green William Morris skirt with a pink ribbon hem.

All of which meant that I really needed another summer dress to replace the Anna tunic.  This time I made the Trapeze Sundress from Heather Ross's Weekend Sewing.  You can see a whole load of inspirational sundresses and tops made from this pattern here.

The brown mark is on the mirror, not the pristine white dress! 

I still haven't got a remote control for my camera, so I've squeezed myself up against the hall wall again for these photos.  The sundress is long - long enough for me to be happy wearing it as a dress in hot weather, although it's over jeans today.

Trapeze sundress, front on

Trapeze dress, back pleat

I put two box pleats in the front of the dress and one pleat in the back.  The pattern is unclear about how many pleats to put in - the picture differs from the instructions - but as long as the dress panels fit the bodice, it doesn't really matter how you approach the pleats.  Next time I would probably stick to two pleats in the front, but replace the back pleat with a few gathers.

Trapeze sundress, back view

I really love how the dress fits.  You attach the straps inside the front bodice, and then try the dress on, pin the straps where you want them at the back (you need an assistant for this) and sew them in place.  This means you can fit the dress to be as high or low, at the front and back, as you like.  The other wonderful thing about this dress is that it has deep internal pockets, which you can just about see in the last picture above.  I do love a pocket.

For this first attempt at the dress I used some more of the thick, white cotton sheet I used for a summer blouse here.  Now I know I like the pattern, I'll make it again in a patterned fabric.  The trim on this dress is a Phillip Jacobs one from Rowan.  I do love a bit of Phillip Jacobs too.  The pattern didn't specify the bias trimmed hem, but with so much white I think it looks better with some extra contrast.

So as with all the other Heather Ross patterns I've made, I really love this dress.  Its shape, its versatility and its simplicity all appeal to me.  I think I'll make a shorter hip-length version of it to wear as a top next.


  1. That's really lovely Nancy, good to be able to adapt the fit during making it. I am going to try out a dress in sewing class after half-term- I really need to learn about resizing patterns to fit. Cathy x

  2. Very cool! By the way, your map is coming along. I am still working on places in Switzerland, but it has a fair few spots already :-).

  3. love it, soo pretty and floaty fresh looking for summer. Obviously it will now snow tomorrow...
    You could always make one in a thicker fabric for winter and wear it over a long sleeved t-shirt with tights. Look at me, two days of sweltering yuckily hot weather and I am craving tights. Typical.

  4. I like the dress very much, making it plain with the patterned trim works really well.

  5. Oooh gorgeous! I am in awe of people who make their own clothes like this.

  6. Really lovely! I made the Spring Ruffle Top by Made By Rae, which is a similar idea, but I over estimated and it's too big:( Maybe I'll give this a whirl and see if it fits a bit better!

  7. Oooh! That dress is lovely! A little version would be great for Stella. Not me, i've got bad upper mummy arms, despite the hauling of children and buggies. It's genetic. I need sleeves.

  8. I like the dress too. The bias hem really makes it something special.

  9. Oooh that's lovely - and the hat, too! I have that book and forgot all about that pattern, so I think I'll be raiding my stash today to see if I've got enough for a top - I bet it's really comfy too (ooh, talk about sounding old!).

  10. I have that book too (and that camera!). I'll have to make myself this dress when I eventually shift some of my blubber. Yours looks fantastic.

    Sue xx

  11. wish i could sew like you! LOOOOOOVE that sundress! :)


  12. I still haven't tried any of the Heather Ross patterns. Really must add these to the to-sew list. And what could be better than a dress with pockets! K x

  13. Looks beautiful and fresh at the same time, indeed it is perfect for the long, hot summer days.


Even though I often do not have the time to reply to everybody, I really appreciate all your comments so much - thank you for taking the time to read my blog and share your thoughts on what I've written.