Tuesday, 9 July 2013

A Hawaiian Lonsdale (and love of all things sewing!)

Diary of a Chainstitcher Hawaiian Sewaholic Lonsdale Dress Sewing Pattern

I've been sewing up a storm recently so got quite a bit of catching up to do here on the blog! It's feeling surprisingly like summer in these parts at the moment so I've been making the most of it and not only do I have a very summery Lonsdale Dress to show you today but we've finally sorted out our garden so I've got a slightly picture backdrop for you...plus I think the sun's got to my head and I've had my hair cut shorter than it's ever been before!

I got this fabric in my local market in Bromley where there are a couple of fabric stalls once a week. It's totally worth the wait for them as they are ridiculously cheap and get beautiful quality fabrics. Last week there were John Kaldor knits and Henry Bertrand silks. This Hawaiian print I picked up before I really knew what treasures these stalls had hiding. The beautiful texture of it was actually what grabbed me first before the print. I had an inkling that it might be some kind of sandwashed silk but when I managed to obtain 3 metres for just £5 I thought that it couldn't possibly be. However, now I've washed it, sewn with it and worn it's lovely softness on a hot day I am in no doubt that it is indeed silk and I scored a bargain!


This was printed along the selvedge and I was so taken with the hand of the fabric during cutting that I decided to do a bit of investigating as to where it might have been produced, mainly because I wanted to see what else I could get my hands on! Unfortunately I didn't turn up anything in the way of more fabric, but there were business listings under that name based in Honolulu so it's quite exciting to discover that my fabric is an authentic Hawaiian piece!

Diary of a Chainstitcher Hawaiian Sewaholic Lonsdale Dress Sewing Pattern

The fabric sat in my stash a while as I hadn't quite been able to place what I wanted to make it into. Then I saw Lauren's amazing tropical Lonsdale and I knew I had to make a very similar and pretty shameless copy... hope you don't mind Lauren! I realised this perfect combination of fabric and pattern the week before By Hand London's Club Tropicana themed 1st birthday party and knew I had to get onto making this thing pronto! I got it finished in time and luckily it was a gorgeous day so to the party it went! I was glad I did have something slightly tropical to wear as all the sewing ladies attending had made an amazing effort with tropical outfits, you can check out the pictures on By Hand London's Facebook page. The party was as brilliant as you would expect with those girls; there was dancing in Elisalex's kitchen, Victoria was plying everyone with her special home-made punch and Charlotte was modelling their new upcoming pattern! The sun was out, there were 1980s themed party snacks and an amazing time was had by all.

London Spoolettes at By Hand London's First Birthday Party
Me (pre hair cut!) with Karen, Clare and Sally at the party (Photo stolen from Karen's blog!)
Talking about amazing parties with fellow spoolettes. Last Saturday the gorgeous Clare from Sew Dixie Lou very generously let a very drunken group of ladies who sew take over her flat for the afternoon/evening. If I thought the dancing was fun the week before, I hadn't seen anything yet! I didn't need telling, but if I ever needed proof that people who sew are just the best kind of people there are that was it! I'm so pleased that I started sewing and blogging as it has introduced me to so many lovely like-minded friends that I never run out of conversation or laughs with right from the word go. If you ever get a chance to attend a meet-up DO IT!

Diary of a Chainstitcher Hawaiian Sewaholic Lonsdale Dress Sewing Pattern
Interesting face...

Ok. Back to the dress. It's now the turn of Tasia from Sewaholic Patterns to be shown a lot of love in this post! Even though the Lonsdale dress is the only Sewaholic pattern I've sewn up I love it so much it puts Tasia right up there at the top of my favourite indie pattern designers. The thought that has gone into the drafting and construction instructions of this is just brilliant, it comes together so cleverly and you end up with a beautiful finish inside and outside without even having to think about it. My first two Lonsdale's were some of the very first things I made and coming back to this pattern now I've expanded my sewing repertoire made me realise even more what a talented lady Tasia is.

Diary of a Chainstitcher Hawaiian Sewaholic Lonsdale Dress Sewing Pattern
Lovely Insides!

The bodice is self lined and I used french seams throughout the skirt with the exception of the centre back seam where the zip is which I pressed under and stitched. I love how neat it is inside! I think it's probably my neatest make to date. I followed Tasia's tips from her Lonsdale sew-along and used stay tape and under-stitching along the top of the bodice and pocket openings to prevent them from stretching out or turning outwards. Yes this dress has pockets!

Diary of a Chainstitcher Hawaiian Sewaholic Lonsdale Dress Sewing PatternDiary of a Chainstitcher Hawaiian Sewaholic Lonsdale Dress Sewing Pattern

As with my first and second versions I made this up straight out of the envelope in the size 6. The lovely knot design at the front really helps eliminate any fitting issues across the bust as you can tighten it up or let it out as much as you want. The only changes I made were to shorten the length of the skirt (by about 4" I think) as I'm quite short and I prefer my skirts to sit on the knee or above and I eliminated the tie detail for the straps at the back. While this is gorgeous design wise most of the time here in the UK it's not warm enough to wear a summer dress all day without a cardi or jacket and so most of the time you just have a funny lump on your back! If you're interested in what I did I simply didn't add the loops at the back and made the straps up as usual. Then after completing the rest of the dress I put it on, pinned the straps in place at the right length, then cut the excess off and slip stitched the ends inside the dress by hand, turning under the raw edge as I went for a nice clean finish.

Diary of a Chainstitcher Hawaiian Sewaholic Lonsdale Dress Sewing Pattern

I'm really really pleased with the zip. The pattern calls for a normal zip but I chose to use an concealed one as I'm loving my invisible zip foot so much! It went in great and I added a little hook and eye at the top.

I was unsure about how to hem this as the a-line skirt has quite a curved hem and this silk is pretty lightweight and slippy. I started by pressing it up twice and attempting to hand stitch as I didn't want to spoil the lovely silk with a topstitched hem, but I got less than a quarter of the way round and was really struggling to get it to sit nicely. Then I remembered that I'd won some 'steam-a-seam' in a giveaway from the lovely Shelley at Cuckoo Chanel. Thank you Shelley, you saved my bacon on this one! I'd never tried this product before and was more than a little apprehensive so tried it out on some scraps first. It comes in various forms such as big sheets which you can cut down to the size and shape you want but I had a little roll like tape which was the perfect width for my hem. You stick it along one side peel off the backing tape and then stick the other side of the fabric to it. At this point it sticks temporarily and is quite easy to peel off and adjust.  Then you press it down with a warm iron and it sticks permanently, even in the wash! The permanent word is slightly scary I know but I'm really pleased with the finish result. You can't tell that it's not sewn, it was so much quicker than hand stitching and the weight of the tape gives just a little extra body to the hem which I love!

Diary of a Chainstitcher Hawaiian Sewaholic Lonsdale Dress Sewing Pattern
Hem outside and inside

Ooof that turned into a long post, had a lot of gushing to do! I'd best get outside and enjoy the sun while it lasts, fingers crossed it's some time yet so I can get a lot more wear out of this!

Diary of a Chainstitcher Hawaiian Sewaholic Lonsdale Dress Sewing Pattern

38 comments:

  1. Hi Fiona, I loved your Hawaiian Lonsdale! Fantastic that the fabric came from Hawaii! Could your fabric be Rayon? A lot of Hawaiian fabrics are made from Rayon, which is made from natural fibre so it breathes easily and feels soft, so it's great for summer clothes. It's cheaper than silk too. A lot of (authentic) Hawaiian shirts are made out of it.

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    1. Thanks Sally! It could be, but compared to other rayon fabrics I have it feels more luxurious and silk like. Though that might explain why I got it for such a bargain price! Thanks for the tip!

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  2. I LOVE your dress! The fabric is lovely and the construction is very well done. Gorgeous dress!

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    1. Thank you Jenny! Let's hope the sunshine sticks around for a little while hey?!

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  3. You look fantastic - dress and hair. Look at that zip insertion, perfect!

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    1. Thank you Nicki! I'm so proud of the zip! Think I've got the hang of how to get it all lined up nice and even now!

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  4. Hi, found your blog recently so this is my first time commenting. Love your dress - That print is amazing and the pattern is so flattering!

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    1. Hi Laurel! Lovely to meet a new reader! It's a gorgeous pattern isn't it? And such a simple design with no darts. I highly recommend it!

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  5. Having seen that lovely dress in the flesh, I'm going to have to make my own! Thanks for all the construction tips - I like your strap modification.

    And sewists rule!

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    1. Thanks Nicole! O do make your own, I think you'd look great in this! Sewists do rule!

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  6. Love the dress. Love the hair. You look so cute!

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    1. O thank you Evie! still getting used to not having hair all over the place and not just tying it up all the time!

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  7. beautiful dress! what a fabric score! so lovely to see you on sat. will have to do it again sometime!

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    1. Thanks Jo! Lovely to see you too! Yes we do need to make these meet ups more often!

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  8. This is majorly adorable! You've really nailed the fit of this dress, and it's perfect in a Hawaiian print! Love it!

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    1. Thank you Sonja, there wasn't much fitting to nail! The drafting is so lovely it's great pretty much just out of the packet! I couldn't ever see myself wearing a hawaiian print but when I suddenly thought about using it with this pattern is seemed perfect!

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  9. This is so gorgeous! I must admit I've always been drawn to the Cambie more than the Lonsdale but your dress is changing my mind! I love that fabric too and I love when you buy fabric with information on the selvedge like that.

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    1. Thank you Kathryn! I cannot wait to get my hands on the Cambie pattern, it's at the top of my list of wishes along with a whole load of other Sewaholic patterns! I love the info on the selvedge too, it makes you feel like you've bought something really special doesn't it?!

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  10. Can't believe how much you paid for this fabric!!! This pattern so suits you, you look gorgeous in it. Very Tropicana.

    It was so nice to meet you and have a cut a rug on Saturday, I had the best time :)

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    1. Thanks Amy. I know, I felt like I was conning the poor man who owned the stall taking it for that cheap!
      It was so lovely to meet you too, can't believe you found the energy for all that dancing after your long flight! (P.S. 'cut a rug' must be the best phrase ever!)

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  11. Gorgeous Lonsdale! I love that pattern; I sewed one for a friend.
    Very cute haircut, too !

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    1. Thank you! I imagine it's a great one to sew for other people because so little fitting is required

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  12. LOVE your Hawaiian print Lonsdale, looks great on you! And, so jealous of the fun party I've heard so much about. Sounds like fun!!

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    1. Thanks! It was a brilliant party! Lovely to be around so many like-minded people that you've always got something to start a conversation about with!

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  13. Your dress is gorgeous, I love the fabric. Also love your garden and new do!

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    1. Thank you Lynne! Have you made a Lonsdale before? I think the pattern would really suit you! I'm very lucky to have a week off work this week so I'm very much loving my garden! Though to the detriment of my sewing plans!

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  14. New haircut if fab- and really lets you show off your shoulders in this gorgeous dress! :)

    You can do a burn test on a little bit of leftover fabric if you want to know for sure what it is. Have a look here: http://www.ditzyprints.com/dpburnchart.html for the answers.
    x

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    1. Another reason why sewists are wonderful! Giving you helpful advice like this! I will certainly be giving that a go thanks, such a useful chart!

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  15. I love this dress! It is beautiful on you and the fabric is stunning. Your new hair cut looks great too.

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    1. Thank you so much! I'm totally in love with this fabric and have been keeping my eyes peeled in the market for more varieties!

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  16. This dress is absolutely adorable, and I can't believe you got that silk for such a low price! Congrats! : )

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    1. Thank you! It's a lovely comfortable dress, and combined with the shorter hair nice and cool in these temperatures we've been having!

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  17. beautiful dress :) it fits you very well and really suits you. I bet that garden party was mucho fun. All the summery brights are such a tease, coming from winter here in NZ. Hey I have a bit of a random question, in the group picture the girl in the green dress...I really like the top style of that dress and ive seen it around a lot, narrowing in at the shoulders but still with a round neck. Do you know what this style might be called? ...as I try search for a pattern. :) :)

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    1. Thank you Sarah, I bet our summer's are nothing compared to yours though!
      The girl in the yellow dress is Sally from chairty shop chic and I think she drafted the pattern for that dress herself. She's amazing at refashioning! I'm not sure the proper term for it but it's almost a racer front rather than racer back. I haven't seen any similar patterns I'm afraid but I'm sure you could contact Sally through her blog for some advice? Or perhaps you could try checking out simplicity patterns or burda style? They have quite a good variety of styles within their huge collections

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  18. The dress looks great on you, I love your fabric! I can imagine now nice it must feel to wear as well! I think the Lonsdale is now on my list of things to make - I wasn't sure about it at first because I'm really not the pear shaped they say it's designed for, but Lauren's post about it made me think it could work....I'd love to make it for a wedding I'm going to in a couple of weeks, but I just don't think there's time :( Good thinking about the straps - unsightly bulges are never good! Sounds like you had a great time at the parties - I'm definitely going to come along to one when I get the chance! I like the new hair as well. I think the heat must do funny things to our head, I was contemplating yesterday getting mine all chopped off, but have managed to not spontaneously get it done just yet...

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    1. Thank you! It is beautiful to wear and I think it would be a perfect dress for a wedding! It really doesn't take all that long to make up so I reckon if you've got some time at the weekends before the wedding you could do it!

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  19. Absolutely love this! must have a Lonsdale... another one to add to the list :-) thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you, it's a fantastic pattern! So enjoyable to sew up and easy to adjust

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I love hearing from readers of my blog so please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you thought about this post/make! Any hints or tips to improve my sewing are always much appreciated too!