Building Block Dress, a Book Review

It is no secret that I am a big admirer of Ana Sofia’s work, from the blog S is for Sewing, also I have the pleasure of meeting her in real life and calling her my friend. It is also no secret that we are both great admires of Oliver + S patterns. For that reason, it was no surprise that we both got the book “Building Block Dress” as soon as it came out.

The book was published a little over a year ago and our intension was to make a book review back then but, as you know, sometimes life gets in the way and we postponed the review. Now that is the book’s first anniversary thus, we thought that was a good time to make it happen and I’m so glad we’ve made it.

It was not the first time we’ve made a joint book review (see here). I really enjoyed it as it’s always a pleasure to chat with Ana Sofia and exchange opinions. 😊

Now, about the book and why in the first place did I bought it. As you might have noticed, I rarely make alterations to a pattern and the ones I make, are always minor. This is because I am (or was…) always afraid of ruining everything. I sometimes have ideas but then I am too afraid of messing everything up and end up not doing it. This book is just about pattern alterations and how to make it, exactly what I needed.

The book includes one pattern, for a basic dress, for ages 6 months to 12 years and examples of alterations you can make as well as instructions to perform them.

I’ve made two different projects from the book and I will start with the dress I made for F.

I asked F what she would like me to make her and she said a dress. She was very detailed and precise about what she wanted, from the colour to the ruffles, size of the sleeve and where the waist line should hit. I managed to make everything as she asked except for the colour. She asked me for bright blue but I asked if it could be navy blue instead and she agreed on that too.

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From the two projects I’ve made, this is the one with less changes to the base pattern. I started with size 7, took a few centimetres of the bodice and made a gathered A-line skirt to make it more twirly than the original one, which was one of the requirements.

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F also requested a ¾ sleeve with shoulder ruffles and for that I just took a few centimetres from the long sleeve option and made the flutter sleeve following the instructions available, but instead I have cut the fabric on the fold, so no hemming was needed. Next time I will make the ruffle narrower though, just for personal preference.

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Although the book offers several pocket options I haven’t added any. There are also several options with explanations for hemming, but once again, I’ve kept it simple with a basic hem.

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There are a few extras in the dress that are not in the book, but F asked me if I could make them and they are quite simple so why not make her happy. Those “extras” are the sash with a bow and the ruffled collar. The sash is just a stripe of fabric attached to the bodice and the ruffled collar is also a stripe of fabric with twice the length of the collar attached following the bias-faced neckline instructions.

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There are instructions to change the closure at the back, but I kept the original, with buttons. The only thing I’ve changed was omitting the skirt placket once it was unnecessary for F to dress/undress.

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The second project required some more changes, but with the instructions that was no problem at all. I would say the main change was to move the closure from the back to the front.

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I started with a basic bodice for size 6, moved the button placket to the front and shortened by a few centimetres. I kept the long sleeves as the original but inserted elastic at the bottom.

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The collar was made the same way as the one from the dress and the bottom part of the blouse are just two rectangles of fabric gathered at the top. Simple, but I really like how it turned out.

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My main challenge was moving the closure from the back to the front and now that I’ve made it, I don’t know why it was scaring me that much!

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The pattern includes seam allowances and explains how to make a muslin and to adjust the pattern to get the best fit and that, as everything else in the book, is valid for any other pattern.

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I know there are other books about pattern alterations, but knowing Oliver + S patterns and how detailed their instructions are I knew the book should be no different and I was right. The explanations are simple yet effective and very visual, with photos and figures to help.

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I am still finding it hard to believe that starting with the same pattern I ended up with two completely different garments. Bear in mind that I don’t (or didn’t) usually hack patterns and was something that used to scare me a bit.

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So, summarizing, I found the book very helpful for pattern alterations in general and not only for the one included in the book and a good reference book to keep in a sewing library. I’m glad I got it! 😊

If you haven’t yet, go and see what Ana Sofia made (so pretty!) and what she has to say about the book. 😉

I really enjoyed making this book review with you Ana Sofia. Thank you! 😊

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Itch To Stitch Blog Tour 2017

One of the best things that came with having this blog was being able to connect with so many persons from around the world and being part of this amazing community. The sewing community have showed already how they can make great things and this time was no different.

When Kennis, the designer behind Itch to Stitch, shared that she had her home burglarized and all her equipment that allowed her to work was gone, the sewing community rapidly got together to help her. Many bloggers, fabric shops and designers got together to show how much we like Kennis’ patterns and work.

I’ve tried a couple of Kennis patterns in the past and really liked them. By the way, I need to make another Lisbon Cardigan! But this time I wanted to try the new patterns, so I decided to make the Brasov Wrap Top.

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I really like the way a wrap top looks, so feminine and flattering. Also, I think it suits well my body type and I feel great while I’m wearing it (that’s the most important part, don’t you agree?).

The Brasov is available from size 00 to 20 and according to my measurements, I made a size 00 grade to size 0 at the hip and the fit is perfect. The only thing I changed was taking 3cm to the sleeve length, but I am not tall and that modification is something I do frequently.

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The construction is quite interesting, a bit like assembling a puzzle, but with good instructions, so it was in fact easy. Just took a little longer than a usual t-shirt due to the side and shoulder pleats, but so worth it the extra time to make it. The pleats look so neat and makes the fit perfect.

The fabric is a wonderful jersey from Nosh and I believe it works wonderfully. Style and comfort in one piece of garment is just what I want.

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This pattern is classified as Intermediate, but I wouldn’t say it’s difficult. It does have some construction steps that are a little time consumer and you need to pay attention to which side of the fabric you are cutting because the front right and left aren’t symmetrical. But the instructions are very clear and I didn’t have any issue.

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I also wanted to make the Hvar but unfortunately, I did not have the time because I wanted to make a muslin first. It is in my plans though and the fabric is ready.

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Don’t forget to check what other bloggers have made 😊

 

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Monday: Sew Sophie Lynn, Merritts Makes, Sewing with Sarah, Sewing with D

Tuesday: Shalini’s Blog, Auschicksews, Rebel and Malice, Sewing Vortex

Wednesday: Replicate Then Deviate, mahlicadesigns, Sewing with D, The Petite Sewist, kreamino

Thursday: Sewing Curves, Creative Counselor, Sew Mariefleur, Fairies, Bubbles & Co, Sewing by Ti

Friday: Harper+Lu, MeMade, On Wednesdays We Sew, Heather Handmade, Bellevi, and visit by mooglii on IG

The ITS Love Tour sponsors have been so generous in support of Kennis of Itch to Stitch that we’ve been able to put together several prize packages to share with you.

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First, you may enter our giveaway to win one of three prize packs:

Prize Pack #1 includes:

5 Itch to Stitch patterns

$25GC to Simply By Ti

$50 Raspberry Creek Gift Card

$50 Bella Sunshine gift card

Prize Pack #2 includes:

$50 Knit Pop GC

$25 Designer Stitch GC

$25 Chalk and Notch GC

3 patterns of choice from Coffee And Thread

Prize Pack #3 Includes:

$15 Thread & Grain store credit

$25 Maker Mountain Fabrics GC

3 patterns from Halla Patterns

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

Your second way to win is to share with us your recent Itch to Stitch creations (made between October and November 2017). Add your creations to our Link Up Party before Nov. 20th for a chance to win one of two prize packs.

LinkUp Prize Pack #1 includes:

5 Itch to Stitch patterns

A $40 value PFRE Sly Fox Fabrics.

$25 Maker Mountain Fabrics GC

$50 Love Notions GC

LinkUp Prize Pack #2 includes:

$25 Stylish Fabric GC & sewing box kit

$25 Chalk and Notch GC

5 patterns from Rad Patterns

Pattern of choice from DG Patterns

 

Giveaway and Linkup prize winners will be announced on or about November 21st.

Autumn sewing

I’ve been a bit absent from this little place of mine lately, but not from sewing. In fact, I’ve been busy sewing a lot, just not sharing. Hope I can fix that and give some more attention to this blog that I cherish.

One of the things I’ve made was the Feliz dress, a pattern by StraightGrain Patterns. I just love this name, as it means Happy in Portuguese! I’ve been wanting to make it since it was released and it had to be part of my girls’ wardrobe.

This pattern offers many options and it was not easy to choose but I decided to make the dress option with pleated skirt, ¾ sleeves and closure with buttons for F, in size 8.

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I adore the look of this dress, it’s perfect for girls of all ages, really. I opted for the pleats and don’t regret it a bit.

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Although I do love some ruffles and bell sleeves, for this once I opted for regular ¾ sleeves to make it easier to wear with a cardigan, but I will definitely try other sleeve options.

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I did not make any changes to the pattern, except taking 2cm to the skirt, as F was right in the limit of the 8Y size and I prefer skirts on the short side than longer, but I believe she have grown already since I took these photos! Honestly, lately I find myself thinking how much they are growing up and wishing it would all slow down a bit, although being enjoying this phase so much. The talks we have now are precious and priceless. 

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The fabric is a viyella, in a beautiful shade of blue with navy blue dots, from Ratucos and worked nicely for this pattern.

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Apart from sewing we’ve been busy outside enjoying Autumn and its beautiful colours although in the last couple of days I would say it is looking more like winter already. Perfect excuse to make some nice sweaters and cardigans don’t you think?

I still have quite a few makes to share in here that I hope you will enjoy.

Inespiration

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I’m pretty sure you all know Inês but, in the remote case you don’t, I totally recommend you to visit her blog La Folie.

Inês is one of the bloggers I first followed when I started sewing and always admired her creativity and aesthetic. Another thing I also admire on her is the amazing talent to hack a pattern, something that I absolutely lack.

Not only Inês is very talented, but she is also a lovely person. I met her personally a few times and can confirm that she is adorable. Also, she always has a kind word of encouragement. If it wasn’t for her I probably wouldn’t have made the swimsuits for my girls.

Another thing I really like about Inês is the care that she has for causes like Fashion Revolution and the preference she gives to organic fabrics and fabrics produced in a sustainable way.

If you could associate a person with a fabric, I’m sure almost everyone would associate Inês with Nosh fabrics. I confess, I started buying Nosh because of her and I do not regret it at all. Not only the fabrics are organic but also have a great quality. She was totally right!

There, is where I got “inespiration” for this project. Also, I used a pattern from a designer that she likes and used her patterns, being the difference, that she made it as a dress.

To be fair, I also like the designer and wanted to try this pattern since it was released. The dress Inês made was beautiful, but I wanted to make it as a top. So, I made the Drop Dress and Top by Made It Patterns and guess what? Yes, you’re right, I used a Nosh fabric… predictable, right? 😉

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I love both the pattern and fabric, I only think I should have sized up at the hips, but that is my fault. Next time I know!

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Thank you so much Inês for the inspiration and encouragement you’ve been given me in my sewing journey and it is a pleasure to know you in “real life”.

There is a super talented group of ladies sharing their “Inespiration”, so go on and have a look.

The Rushbrook Pattern Tour

Have you been following the Rushbrook Pattern Tour? Today is my turn to share what I’ve made. 😊

Laura’s patterns aren’t new to me, so it was no surprise to confirm that it was another great pattern. The Rushbrook is available as a dress or as a top, with a button placket and several options, like a placket ruffle, flutter sleeves and hem ruffle, from sizes 12 months to 12 years.

I decided to make the dress option for M, as I knew she would like the racer back and I was right, she was very happy with her new dress. The pattern recommends to choose the size according to the child’s height and chest measurements and although M is a size 5 (chest), I opted to make a size 6 with the length of a size 7 plus 1cm, that corresponds to her height. The pattern even includes instructions to adjust sizes, if needed.

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As you are aware of my love for ruffles, I had to include some, so I opted for the ruffle placket and flutter sleeves and I like how it worked with these fabrics.

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The finishing in this dress is spotless, you could, almost, wear it inside out. The instructions include French seams, bias binding and hem facing (optional). How lovely does this hem looks?!

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The main fabric used for this dress is from here, bought some time ago already and was intended for me. I don’t know if it’s correct to call it a double gauze, but if not, is very similar. It’s organic cotton, light and soft and I really like the colour… but I used it for M… Well, I do like how it looks and how it worked, just like I had imagined it would, so I really don’t mind. Also, it gives me a great excuse to buy more, right? For the placket and flutter sleeves I’ve used a swiss dot cotton.

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This pattern is great to add some details, even if the details are not visible, like the hem or bias biding, where I’ve used a Liberty print or the upper pocket piece, where I’ve used the “wrong side” of the fabric.

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Although this pattern is perfect for summer, I’m sure it will work just as fine during Autumn with a tee underneath and a cardigan.

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The construction of the dress went smoothly, everything matched perfectly and the instructions are great and very detailed. I particularly liked that all the preparation steps were at the beginning, so that when the sewing actually took place it was a breeze. Also, there is something that might not look very important for some, but if you are like me, it will save you some time. That’s the information, in each page, with the right side/wrong side of fabric.

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Thank you so much Laura, for having me on the Tour and in such great company. Don’t forget to check this ladies’ posts as I’m sure there will be plenty inspiration.

Rushbrook Dress and Top Blog Tour

10th – my cozy co / while she was sleeping

11th – Made by Sara / Pear Berry Lane

12th – Buzzmills / Fairies, Bubbles & Co

17th – Sew Many Adventures / it’s Liesel

18th – Spools + Oodles of Fun / S is for Sewing

19th – Giddy Ants / La Folie sewing booth

I’ve got a new blouse!

I don’t know when ruffles will stop being a trend, so for the time being, I will happily continue to add some new ruffled clothes to my wardrobe. 😊 To be fairly honest, trendy or not, ruffles always made part of my wardrobe and as long as I still like them, they will continue to be. I am just taking advantage of the moment.

The last blouse I’ve made was the Bloomsbury blouse by Nina Lee. For obvious reasons, this pattern immediately caught my attention, but when first released the smallest size available was a size 8, which is too big for me. Even though, I bought the pattern wiling to learn to adjust a pattern. Fortunately, it was not necessary, as it became available starting from size 6 to 20.

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The collar and sleeve ruffles are optional and there are two options for the yoke ruffle. I made the narrower ruffle as I was already having the neck and sleeve and thought it would be a bit too much.

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The blouse closes at the back, with buttons from top to bottom, a detail that I like. The details, like the sleeve ruffle are what I like the most about this blouse.

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The fabric I used is a very light weight swiss dot in a soft pink (that looks almost white) bought a long time ago from TraeTela.

This is not exactly a fast project, as you can imagine, all the gathering takes its time. I started this blouse before summer, but meanwhile it got too hot and I put it aside. Finally, I finished it in time for autumn and I’m glad I did. 😊

Last February, I made another blouse with a ruffled neck, but never managed to take some pictures. Finally, I took some and although they’re not brilliant I think you can see the blouse. The pattern is the Blouse Dahlia by Dessine moi un Patron, it is available in paper and in French only but I did not have any issue while making the blouse.

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It has a looser fit than the Bloomsbury and less ruffles. 😉 The fabric I used is a lovely cotton lawn from Atelier Brunette.

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Hope you’re not too tired of all the ruffles, as I think there will be some more.

The Ana Tee

I usually sew a more classic style for my girls, but the truth is, my girls ask me more each day to sew them tees. Either because it’s a style they recently started to like to wear more or because they need them for their after-school activities, the tees are getting a lot more use around here.

I suppose this is something that happened with most people who sew, but since I started sewing, I became more demanding with the quality of the clothes I buy and tees often disappoint me. Most times the fit just isn’t right!

For that reason, I was looking for a girl’s pattern, when Susana, from Suco by Susana, had a call for a pattern test and today was the Ana Tee and Dress release.

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The pattern is available from age 12 months to 14 years and offers 3 sleeve options. Besides the tee, are also two dress options, so actually you have many options to choose from.

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For F I made a long sleeve tee in size 8 for height with 6 for width. I must add that, although the tee is fitted, this version was made during test and the final version has a bit more ease in the tummy area. 😉

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The fabric I used is an Art Gallery bought almost 3 years ago from here and for the neckband I used an organic rib from here.

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As usual in Susana’s patterns, everything matches perfectly, the instructions are clear and the pattern is available in Portuguese and English. Also, until next Saturday, you can get your pattern with a promotional price. 😉