Wednesday, 31 August 2016

August Indie Pattern Update!

Summer is drawing to an end (although it seems to be winding up in style with lots of sunshine here in London which I'm not complaining about!) but I'm not done yet with sewing up the summer outfits! It seems many designers are not done with releasing summer appropriate styles yet either. I'm always so inspired to sew for the warm weather yet have a constant battle between wanting to be at my machine and wanting to be outside making the most of the sunshine. Anyone else struggle with that little dilemma?!

New Pattern Companies

  • Meghann has been selling handmade clothing and bags over at Halfmoon Atelier for a few years now and has just made one of her designs available as a PDF sewing pattern! The Roma Midi Skirt is to be the first of many and is a minimalist style featuring a rounded side slit and single pocket. I love her aesthetic so am looking forward to seeing more.
  • Another new company to pop up this month is Opian. Launching with three PDF patterns all available in English and French, the collection includes the Cemette Skirt, Pollux Top and Alvernia Dress.

New Patterns

  • The latest addition to the Megan Nielsen pattern collection is the Harper Shorts and Skort. I'm a particular fan of the close fitting shorts with those round patch pockets.
  • The two patterns released with this month's edition of Seamwork Magazine were the Elmira Cardigan, which is a cropped wrap ballet style design, and the Lynn Dress which is a button back tailored shift with a yoke.
  • Amongst Style Arc's new releases this month are the Jema Panel Dress, Cold Shoulder Knit Top, Amanda Stretch Short, Juno Slip Dress and Stevie Jean Jacket. I always find Style Arc so quick to pick up on current trends like the oversized denim look with the jacket and I've got a feeling I'm going to be purchasing that slip dress as soon as it's PDF format is released.
  • I wasn't sure whether to include this or not as technically it's a Big Four release rather than indie but who doesn't want a bit more pattern news?! Madalynne has released two lingerie patterns with Simplicity, one for a soft bralette and one for a more structured bra. Both patterns come with panties and I am looking forward to trying these out.
  • In a similar vein, Gertie's next two patterns in collaboration with Butterick have just been released. True retro style isn't really my thing for everyday wear but the little jacket is super cute!
  • Jennifer Lauren released the Gable Top. It's a 1950's inspired knit top with a slash neck. It looks particularly good in stripes in the samples!
  • The latest release from Itch to Stitch is the Belize Shorts & Skort pattern. You can create five different styles of short and skort with this one pattern and all feature an elasticated waist so no fastenings! 
  • Jenny from Seamingly Smitten launched a pattern for a women's off the shoulder top. I've been a big fan of this style all summer and love the lantern sleeves on this particular pattern.
  • New from Sew House Seven is the Nehalem Pant and Skirt pattern (PDF only). The design is based on Thai fisherman trousers with a kind of paper bag style wrap and tie waist. I love a bit of ikat so m particularly drawn to that sample!
  • Made by Rae released the Gemma Tank. It's a quick project with a shirt tail hem and options for a high or low neckline.
  • The Jumpy Shorts and Trousers are the latest release from Ready to Sew. The ideal beginner trouser pattern, they have a relaxed sarong style and tie at the front waist so super easy to fit.
  • Rachel from House of Pinheiro has revealed another pattern collaboration; this time in partnership with UpCraftClub. I love the clean lines of the Everyday Blouse which is made unique and interesting with gathering across the shoulders and sleeve darts.
  • The latest pattern from Tessuti is the Frankie Dress and Top. Designed for knits it features a flared hem and slim sleeve, with four sleeve length options and two dress lengths.
  • Christine Haynes released the Rumi Tank. It's a sporty racer back tank top and dress pattern which would be a great wardrobe staple. I've really enjoyed seeing the variety of them that have already been made up and blogged.
  • New from Sew This Pattern is the Birdie Bomber Jacket. I feel like I'm going to be wearing a lot of bombers this autumn and this one is nice and simple to make with dolman sleeves and ribbed collar, cuffs and hem.
  • Joost from Make My Pattern released the Aiden A-Shirt. It's his first pattern aimed more at beginners and is for a man's undershirt with a whopping 10 design options to make the vest your own.
  • Sew Caroline released the Magnolia Shorts. They are a relaxed, casual style that look a bit like mini length culottes with a wide elasticated waistband for comfort.
  • Just in time for the turn of season Deer & Doe released the Safran Pants. This one has been a big hit in my blog feed. They are a high waisted pair of skinny jeans/trousers and I love the shape of the front pockets.
  • Maven Patterns released the Kitty Dress. It features a centre front seam which the bust darts extend from, a peter pan collar and elbow darts on the longer sleeved variation which are probably my favourite part!
  • The latest release from Hot Patterns is the Bellissima Biker Jacket. It looks like a good project to get your teeth stuck into and could be made up in a whole variety of interesting fabrics.
  • Hot off the press and released just today we have the new Wrap Dress from The Maker's Atelier. It's designed for knits, can either be worn wrapped and tied or with a fixed crossover front and has a fashionably loose fit and long sleeves. 
  • And last but by no means least new from Wear Lemonade is the India Jumpsuit. Another killer design from them and I'm absolutely in love with the denim sample. Long sleeves, wrap front and rear patch pockets.

Pattern Updates and Expansion Packs


  • There is a sew-along coming for the Tea House Top and Dress which was launched by Sew House Seven back in June. This has looked to be very popular on sewing blogs and I think it's about time I tried a design from their beautiful collection.
  • Christine Haynes has published a variety of hack ideas throughout the month for her last release, the Lottie Dress. My particular favourite was the chevron colour-blocked version.
  • The sew-along for By Hand London's new Charlie Dress has just begun over on their blog. There's still time to get your pattern and supplies together to follow along!
  • Jennifer Lauren will be posting a tutorial series to guide you through making her new Gable Top. As well as guidance on sewing it up, variations including a 3/4 length sleeve and elbow patches will be included.
  • Deer & Doe are running 'Safran September'. A whole month of blog posts dedicated to trouser and jeans making so you can make your ultimate pair from their new pattern!


  • Charlotte Kan revealed that her next pattern will be the Elskan Dress and Top and it will have a batwing shape.
  • I'm pleased to see that Kristiann from Victory Patterns is in the process of testing her next pattern. I loved the Hannah Dress. She's also got a promotion running until 22nd September; buy one printed pattern and get the next half price! 
  • Pauline Alice has posted a couple of sneak peaks at a new pattern on Instagram. It looks like it might be jeans or trousers to me, possibly in a boyfriend fit. Can't wait to see!
  • Seamly Co. have a new pattern coming soon. It's called the Versalette and from what I can gather from Indie Sew Instagram sneak peaks it has a relaxed fit and drawstring neckline.
  • So Zo...will be releasing a maternity dress version of her Dolores Batwing Top pattern soon and is currently looking for testers.
  • The next By Hand London pattern is named the Alix Dress and looks like an on trend seventies style with lovely voluminous sleeves and no fastenings.
  • Colette Patterns have a new pattern set to be released on 6th September. They've given away very little yet except to say that it is a return to what makes Colette special.
  • And finally the Autumn/Winter 2016 Named collection is set to be released tomorrow! I'm always super stoked about this as I love their style and it's always such a treat to get a whole new collection at once. It's called Evolution Theory and includes nine patterns in total, two of which are 2-in-1 patterns.

Well that's another big list this month with a lot to look forward to in the next. As always if you know of any more news please feel free to pop it in the comments and I'll update the post whenever I can. I'll leave you with a little bit of indie sewing inspiration to get you fired up to finish your summer sewing or get stuck into an autumnal wardrobe!

  • Jasika kicked the month off with a bang with her stunning peach Bonnell Dress with circle skirt. She's really made the most of that gorgeous double sided fabric.
  • Katryna from Boots and Cats' Sway Dress is an absolute knock out. It's the perfect style to show off a big bold print like the beautiful one she's chosen.
  • Novita's Kielo Wrap Dress may well be my all time favourite version of that pattern. The print she has chosen is absolutely made for that pattern and the finished dress suits her down to the ground.
  • Lisa posted her Axel Skirt and Inari Tee over on the Tessuti blog and they are an awesome choice to pair together. I love the top in stripes and may have to steal that idea!
  • My jaw dropped when I saw Anne's satin version of the Delphi Dress. I never would have thought to use a satin for this pattern but it works SO well. She has sewn it beautifully too.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Mustard Rayon Midi Skirt & Charcoal Renfrew Tee

This little outfit has been another favourite in my wardrobe this summer. But frustratingly one of those that it is incredibly difficult to get decent pictures of that reflect how much you love it in reality. Ah well. You'll just have to take my word for some of it! One of my favourite pieces of fabric I brought home from my trip to the West Coast of the US last year was this amazing piece of mustard rayon from The Fabric Store. I've gushed about my love for this shop previously as I was so delighted with the carefully curated selection of dressmaking fabrics on offer. I really was spoilt for choice. I love wearing garments made with rayon and there were some beautiful prints so my instant draw to this solid mustard took me by surprise. It was such a great vivid shade with a touch of lime to it and top quality rayon too.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Mustard Rayon Midi Skirt and Charcoal Cotton Sewaholic Renfrew Tee

It's taken me nigh on a year to get around to turning it into something wearable. Purely because it is one of those pieces that I knew I'd never get my hands on again and I didn't want to waste it on the wrong thing. I'd bought 1.5 yards as I had a feeling I wouldn't want to make a full dress out of it as it can be a tricky colour to wear, particularly next to the face with my colouring. Separates were the way to go. The solution hit my slap in the face when I spotted a girl walking down a road near my flat  looking absolutely amazing in a floaty pair of midi length mustard culottes. Rayon is made for summer wear and that was the perfect way to wear mustard in summer. I didn't have enough fabric to go with a super wide pair of culottes so opted to imitate the look with a simple skirt instead.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Mustard Rayon Midi Skirt and Charcoal Cotton Sewaholic Renfrew Tee

As it was such a simple shape I decided to get creative and draft it myself. I wanted the skirt full enough for the fabric to billow in the breeze but not so full that it became impractical to handle. I opted to go with a rectangle for the front and a rectangle for the back with the fullness coming from pleats into the waistband. I'm not a fan of gathers around my waist and liked the idea of how wide pleats would look.

To establish the width of each rectangular piece I measured my waist, divided that by two and added on 3cm for seam allowance (1.5cm at each side). Then I worked out how many pleats I wanted and how deep they should be and added twice the depth of each pleat times the number of pleats. You need to add twice the depth as the fabric folds back on itself within each pleat. A really easy way to do it without too much maths is to slash and spread your skirt pattern piece at each pleat position by twice the depth of the pleat. I cut the length of the skirt as long as my yardage would allow and adjusted the length to suit once it was sewn up.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Mustard Rayon Midi Skirt

I inserted an invisible zip into the side seam to keep the look sleek. Finding a zip to match this unique shape proved an impossible task! I quite like the little touch of neon but maybe I should try the trick of colouring my zip pull with nail varnish! I'm a fan of a fairly narrow waistband and used the By Hand London Holly Trousers pattern piece as a guideline for the size as I really like how that one sits. As the rayon is really delicate and prone to distortion I interfaced the waistband with a fairly sturdy fusible.

Rayon is notoriously shifty and this was one of the trickiest I have tried to cut. Getting nice crisp rectangles was a challenge. It does press amazingly well though so those pleats really hold their crease despite being a little tricky to iron in evenly. It comes out of the washing machine looking like a totally different fabric to after a good press! I wash my rayons on a 30 degree delicate cycle in the machine by the way. The only unfortunate thing about the fabric is that it does wrinkle quite badly and quickly. By the time I've done the morning commute it's looking pretty rumpled. It does look quite lovely like that in the way that linen does but sometimes I do wish it could look as chic and put together as it does when I put it on first thing in the morning.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Mustard Rayon Midi Skirt and Charcoal Cotton Sewaholic Renfrew Tee

I wasn't a fan of the midi length when it first came on trend and really didn't think I could pull it off with my petite proportions but now I can't stop wearing it! I think it's all about getting the hem length to hit at just the right point, getting the volume of the skirt right for your fabric choice. I'm so glad I went with a simple garment. I think when working with a special piece of fabric I sometimes have the tendency to overthink a project and try and make something spectacular, particularly when it's a solid colour. Really there's no need. A simple design lets the fabric speak for itself and that's certainly what this does. It really shows off the beautiful drape and flow of this rayon to it's full potential.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Mustard Rayon Midi Skirt and Charcoal Cotton Sewaholic Renfrew Tee

I had a couple of tops in my wardrobe to work with the skirt but decided I really needed a classic slim fitting tee to wear with it. Something which my wardrobe could still do with a few more of. I turned to the trusty Sewaholic Renfrew Top pattern as I've had great success with it in the past. It was really satisfying to return to a pattern I used quite a long time ago as it really showed me how much my sewing has come on. I had this one whipped up in a matter of a couple of hours and I think my finishing is the best yet!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Mustard Rayon Midi Skirt and Charcoal Cotton Sewaholic Renfrew Tee

I had just (and when I say just I mean JUST!) about enough fabric left over from my Turtleneck Top to squeeze this t-shirt out. It's a Heather Grey Cotton Spandex from Girl Charlee and is the perfect match for this pattern. I'm definitely going to be making more t-shirts out of this type of knit. It's a great weight with good recovery and has been washing up a dream. The high cotton content means it presses beautifully so getting that neckband eased in and sitting flat was super easy.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Charcoal Cotton Sewaholic Renfrew Tee

I opted for the round neck and used a slightly larger seam allowance than instructed on the neckband as I like it to be really skinny. I then twin needled around to help everything sit flat. All the seams were sewn with a narrow zig zag on my machine then finished on the overlocker as usual for me. I made sure to stabilise the shoulder seams with twill tape. This takes no time at all and will make a big difference to the longevity of the garment. I omitted the hem and cuff bands as I prefer the simple clean look of a simply turned and twin needled them. I also think this makes the t-shirt a better length for me. I'm pretty petite so don't need the extra length the bands give.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Mustard Rayon Midi Skirt and Charcoal Cotton Sewaholic Renfrew Tee

I basically decided to make the top when I saw how great the shade of grey marl looked against the mustard. It was a real whim and I wasn't sure how it would turn out but it's been worn so much already! This is definitely down to the fit. It feels snug but doesn't cling to the body at all. I'm still getting to grips with the effect different knits can have on a pattern and making up more of these tees might be a great way to experiment. The fabric choice makes such a difference when comparing this to my other favourite Renfrew (the navy and white striped version from this post) which is a much more slinky jersey with a bit of viscose in it. It doesn't hug the body in the same way despite being exactly the same size and finished in exactly the same way.

Overall two hugely successful additions to my wardrobe. Let the sunshine continue please!

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Navy Sallie Romper (and giveaway winner!)

The garment I'm sharing with you today is probably the most successful of this summer's handmade wardrobe despite me having various doubts about how much wear I'd get out of it the whole way through making it. In what appears to be quite a common occurrence for me at the moment I've had the Sallie Jumpsuit pattern from Closet Case Files for quite some time; I think possibly since it's release! Shortly after the release Heather Lou posted a fantastic hack for turning the jumpsuit variation into a shorter romper style and I was hooked. I loved how it looked but had concerns about how much wear this would see in London. Even during our couple of weeks of proper summer heat I was worried about how exposed I might feel trotting around the city. My recent trip to the South of France was just the push I needed to finally make it and I'm very happy to report that the amount of wear it has seen has proved all doubts unfounded!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Case Files Sallie Romper in John Kaldor Ritual Jersey from Sew Essential

The other thing which pushed me into finally getting around to making this was the lovely team at Sew Essential getting in touch to see if I'd like to try out one of their fabrics just as I was weighing up whether my summer wardrobe needed a romper. Their site has an absolutely huge range of all things sewing right from all your bits and pieces of haberdashery through to sewing machines themselves! The selection of dressmaking fabrics covers all bases. I wanted my choice to be chic and simple but didn't necessarily want black for such a playful type of garment. Instead I went a little nautical with a classic navy. It seemed a shame to pick something so plain when there's such a lovely variety of prints but I knew if I was stepping outside of my style comfort zone going bold with a print was going to be a step too far!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Case Files Sallie Romper in John Kaldor Ritual Jersey from Sew Essential

I'm no knit expert and while I knew in my head the qualities I wanted in the fabric for this garment, relating that to the descriptions of the different knit weights on a website I find hard. Luckily the descriptions on Sew Essential are thorough, including fabric content, direction of stretch, weight and care instructions so I was able to whittle my choice down. The majority of knits on the site are John Kaldor so I had no doubt as to the quality but was still concerned about ending up with something too lightweight or sheer when stretched. I was torn between the Roanne viscose jersey and Ritual soft jersey and turned to the team for some advice. Lucy was really helpful and offered to send me some samples, also to help me make up my mind about the colour! I was really pleased when the samples arrived as they were nice and big so I could properly test the stretch and drape. I surprised myself by going for the Ritual as I had thought the thicker the better but I couldn't resist the silky smooth finish of Ritual which has proven so lovely to wear. I was keen to get something that wasn't too fine; partly because I wanted it to be completely opaque but also because I wanted the romper to have a nice shape and not look too limp or clingy. The bodice is self lined so that does give a bit of body and support but I'm glad I didn't go any thinner for the sake of those shorts. I could not be happier with my choice.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: John Kaldor Jerseys from Sew Essential

I had 1.75m of the fabric and pretty much used the whole lot cutting the size 8, including using my fashion fabric for lining the bodice pieces. Even if you want to use a print for your jumpsuit I'd highly recommend using the Ritual jersey for the bodice lining as it holds such great shape and feels so nice against the skin! I think the sizing is spot on with just the right amount of ease/negative ease. I feel really great in it; it's not hiding my figure in an unflattering 'I'm just wearing my pyjamas out' kind of way but it's not clinging or exposing too much flesh either. I love the neckline with the deep v at the front and back. It's subtly sexy. I did think that pulling those skinny little ties through to the right side would be a bit of a painstaking task but it was actually fine. I simply tied a knot in each end to finish them off.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Case Files Sallie Romper in John Kaldor Ritual Jersey from Sew Essential

The hack is super straightforward and requires just a few adjustments the the trouser pattern pieces; namely cutting them off to short length, adding width at the new hem and lowering the crotch curve a little as you don't have the weight of the trouser pulling it down. All super speedy and well explained in the tutorial. I cut my shorts to the length of Heather Lou's version (4.5" below the start of the crotch curve). This is just about spot on for me but I'm pretty short and would want any shorter. My favourite thing about it is that the limited changes mean you can still include the pockets! It might just be the ultimate no nonsense practical outfit in one.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Case Files Sallie Romper in John Kaldor Ritual Jersey from Sew Essential

It was amazing in France for throwing on over swimwear to head to the beach, then felt pulled together enough to head straight out for lunch and still comfortable enough to explore the town in in 35 degree heat. The following week I spent some time at Center Parcs with my family (a holiday park in the forest with all kinds of activities for those of you not in the UK) and it proved itself to be an invaluable part of my wardrobe yet again. I wore it to be comfortable during the car journey there, to play badminton in and to wear over swimwear to the pool and spa. It held up beautifully no matter what I needed. All of that says as much for the quality of the fabric as it does for the design of the pattern itself. It's washed up so well and the recovery is fantastic. It held it's shape despite being filled with sand, thrown on over a wet bikini and run around in and not once did I feel sloppy or underdressed in it.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Case Files Sallie Romper in John Kaldor Ritual Jersey from Sew Essential

I employed my usual methods for knits; sewing all the seams with a narrow zig zag stitch on my machine and finishing everything on my overlocker for a professional look. It's worthwhile mentioning at this point that the instructions that come with the pattern are packed with tips for making a well finished and long lasting garment and so when instructed to use a straight stitch or wide zig zag stitch I most certainly did so! The neckline and pocket openings are reinforced with clear elastic and under-stitched. I cannot emphasise enough how important this is if you want your jumpsuit to keep it's shape. No droopy necklines and saggy pockets around here!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Case Files Sallie Romper in John Kaldor Ritual Jersey from Sew Essential

The construction process wasn't without it's issues. There were many moments of confusion and the quick unpick was in use a fair few times. But I do have to hold my hands up and admit that this was all to do with my still fairly limited experience working with knits and simply trying out a new construction process for the first time and not being familiar with the most effective techniques to achieve a beautiful finish. I'm a bit of a perfectionist with my sewing nowadays and this is probably the most complex knit garment I have made to date.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Case Files Sallie Romper in John Kaldor Ritual Jersey from Sew Essential

One thing to bear in mind is that you should make a careful thread choice as there is a row of stitching above the waistline which shows on the right side. It's the top line of stitching of the channel for your waist elastic. my thread was slightly paler than the dark navy fabric and it bugs me a little bit because I know it doesn't quite match but you can't notice it at all when on! While we're on the subject I really like the recommended thickness of elastic used around the waist. I'm not normally a fan of an elasticated waist as they never seem to sit right on me but this nice thick bit of elastic holds nicely.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Case Files Sallie Romper in John Kaldor Ritual Jersey from Sew Essential

I think the fact that I don't have any wider leg trousers in my wardrobe and was therefore unsure of how the style would look on me is what held me back from making it sooner. It's safe to say that making this little beauty has alleviated all my fears about trying the full length style, plus the maxi dress and other bodice variation too! I am so delighted with the fit and design of this portion that I can't wait to get sewing. If I had endless pots of cash and a lifestyle which required daily glamour I'd definitely be making a full length jumpsuit in black silk jersey. Can you IMAGINE.

And rounding up this post with some good news for one of you, I've got the winner of my giveaway for a copy of the Rosie Dress pattern from Sew Over It. Picked by random number generator out of a whopping 85 entries the winning comment is number 75 and the lucky recipient is Rhonna Jerauld! Thank you for reading Rhonna and I hope you enjoy the chance to try out boning with this dress. I'll send you an email shortly to get your postal details and the pattern will be on its way soon.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Pattern Testing: The Rosie Dress from Sew Over It (and a giveaway!)

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Tropical Palm Print Sew Over It Rosie Dress

Summer always has me wanting to sew dresses in their hundreds but my wardrobe is well stocked with them so I've been trying to focus my sewing on separates and more practical items this year. However, a little while ago Sew Over It got in touch to see if I'd like to test their recently released Rosie Dress and I cracked! The main reason for this being that the pattern is based on a 1950s style dress they used to run a class for. It was a good few years ago when this class launched but I remember being so smitten with the design that I wrote to Lisa to ask if there was any chance the dress would be released as a pattern in it's own right. The answer then was possibly in the future and now that time has rolled around I could hardly say no could I?!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Tropical Palm Print Sew Over It Rosie Dress

The dress has some really lovely features and options. There are three variations; one skirt and two dresses with wide or skinny straps and an optional collar. As my fabric choice was quite busy I kept it simple with the skinny straps and no collar. I've tested for Sew Over It a number of times and made up a couple of other patterns too. Their testing process is really through and they are always very responsive to any comments their testers have, I've seen a number of changes based on my feedback which is why I'm happy to test for them again.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Tropical Palm Print Sew Over It Rosie Dress

I've previously got on really well with their drafting and this one is no exception. The shape of the princess seamed bodice is to die for. I really love the shape of that neckline and where it sits, there is something distinctively 1950s about it. I cut the size 10 following my their measurement chart and the fit is bang on sewn straight up, even the bodice length. I'm pretty lucky with their patterns! As I'm 5ft 3" the skirt is longer than intended on me. Usually I'm not one for a midi length and I'll cut a good bit off but for some reason I absolutely love it in this style. I thought I would feel kind of overwhelmed with fabric with such a full long skirt but it's the opposite! That skirt is a bit of a fabric eater but I tend to wing it a bit with cutting layouts and got mine out of 2.5m of 150cm wide fabric.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Tropical Palm Print Sew Over It Rosie Dress

Sew Over It supplied me with my choice of fabric from their online store and I chose this tropical palm tree print cotton which is unfortunately no longer available. I liked that whilst it was a summery print the colours were quite muted so it wasn't too bold. I was, I will admit, a bit disappointed with the fabric when it first arrived. Whilst it's a good weight it's got a kind of coated feel to it which wasn't highlighted in the listing and whilst a wash softened it a little it was still pretty crisp with an unusual hand. As it was a test I ploughed ahead anyway and I'm delighted that I did as that stiff hand has a taffeta like quality to it which gives the skirt beautiful volume and shape. I'm usually a bit wary of a gathered skirt as I find adding bulk around my waist isn't the most flattering look for me. This skirt has a clever inverted box pleat at the centre front though so it keeps it flat across the troublesome tummy area. I'm also not really a fan of the process of gathering but I'm really pleased with how evenly I managed to get my gathers distributed around the waist. I adore how full this skirt is. A nice deep 2cm hem is recommended which is what I used, giving it even more body.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Tropical Palm Print Sew Over It Rosie Dress

The shape of the bodice is aided by lightweight plastic boning. The method for inserting this is really straightforward and secure but differs to how I've been taught to insert boning before so it was a really interesting process for me. You cut small squares of your fabric and fold them over the ends of your boning pieces. Then you sew through the fabric and the boning itself to attach the boning along the seam lines of your lining. I was a bit apprehensive about the boning only being attached at either end rather then being secured in a channel but it works really well. I found it easiest to press my little scraps in half before folding them over the boning and then sewed along both the top and bottom edge to keep it secure. The recommended fabrics for the pattern are cottons and linens which should be nice and sturdy for covering the ends of your boning but if you veer away from that and use something more delicate as your fashion fabric the sharp end of the boning might tear through. You could use a tougher fabric or alternatively melt the ends the boning just a little to give it a softer edge.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Tropical Palm Print Sew Over It Rosie Dress

As it was a test and I had plenty of fabric I opted to self line the bodice. The slightly strange fabric actually feels quite nice against the skin. You get a lovely clean finish with under stitching the top edge of the bodice and a bit of hand sewing. It was one of those super straightforward sews where everything matches up like it's supposed to. I did have a little list of feedback but it was really minor stuff and illustrations and wording of instructions have since been changed to clarify any confusing parts.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Tropical Palm Print Sew Over It Rosie Dress

I adore the super skinny straps, there's something really elegant about them but they did take some time to turn through You definitely need to aggressively trim those seam allowances and use a loop turner! The strap position is marked on the pattern based on tester feedback but obviously everyone is a slightly different shape and if you want the wider straps to cover a bra strap you  definitely need to baste and try these out before you attach your lining. I positioned mine between the notches for the wide straps where they were marked on the test version.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Tropical Palm Print Sew Over It Rosie Dress

And now on to the good news for you guys! In return for testing I received the fabric for my dress and a copy of the finished pattern...and the ladies at Sew Over It have ever so generously supplied me with a second copy to give away to my lovely readers. All you need to do to enter is follow my blog (by any method you prefer, Bloglovin'Feedly, email subscription in the sidebar) and leave a comment below. I'd love to know your initial thoughts on fabric choices if you were the lucky winner but that's not essential, juts me being nosey! Please make sure your email address is clearly visible in your profile or comment as I will contact the winner that way to get your address. The giveaway is open internationally and will close on Sunday 14th August at midnight GMT. Good luck!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Tropical Palm Print Sew Over It Rosie Dress