A Sunny Yellow RepliKate Shirtdress

I always try to downplay the impressiveness of my sewing projects because, really, they’re just following instructions from a pattern. However, this one turned out exactly how I wanted it to, so I’ll take a bow. And not so much for how well it turned out but for how close I got to what I was trying to achieve.

Yes, of course it was another repliKate (a Kate Middleton replica for anyone that hasn’t met me).

Image via Getty

I don’t know why it took me so long with my fondness for sewing and repliKates (I’ve also knit a shawl and sewn a cape similar to hers) to attempt making a dress. Not too long ago, I even made a couple shirtdresses that only took a day so I figured I could manage it. Also, call me stuck in the past, but I think shirtdresses are just the absolute perfect summer outfit, whether it’s 1960 or 2017.

I made this dress with Butterick pattern #6333 and an inexpensive bright yellow (obviously) cotton fabric from Joann Fabrics. The entire dress probably cost less than $20. Thankfully the pattern was really close to the Jaeger dress because I was not too confident I could merge two patterns together like I thought I was going to have to do.

In total, it took just a weekend (fueled by White Claws) to make. Side note: I never know how to answer the question of how long something takes me to make. Yes, it took about a weekend from start to finish (and under a slight deadline), but if I felt like dedicating an entire day to it, I could have done it. That’s also if my poor back did not hurt and I didn’t have to take alcohol and cheese breaks. What a workout!

This also seems like a good time to point out that the dress HAS POCKETS. Heavenly, amiright, ladies?

The pleats were one intimidating factor of this pattern, mainly because I have never done those before. And I am here to spread the good news—they’re easy! I’m super excited with how it turned out, because I think it looks so much like Kate’s. Also I really like the sleeves, which I was worried about. I cannot pull off cap sleeves, but these were just long enough to be considered cap sleeves, while not totally accentuating my arm pit obesity. Hooray!

The results are in: I wore it on one of the first nice days and got lots of compliments at work (and a few renditions of “You Are My Sunshine”, for what that’s worth). Happy spring!

Cape Town, USA

Dear capes, have I told you lately that I love you? The best part about capes, other than their inherent awesomeness, is that they are worn during the best season of the year—fall! In this state, there are basically two days of the year when it’s not too hot or too cold to wear a cape and now that I have sewn a second one, I never have to wear the same one twice in a calendar year. #blessed

Based on this imperial evidence proving that capes are the best, I decided I had to have the cape Kate Middleton has from Zara. Of course, it’s long sold out so I sewed my own repliKate (repliCape?).

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Kate’s Cape from Zara

I used Burda Young pattern #7313 for the cape, as seen below.

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Burda Pattern #7313. Please note this is a “young” pattern, confirming that I am still young myself.

I couldn’t find the perfect fabric with a large plaid or check like the Zara cape so I settled on this small, brown tweed plaid. It was in the suiting section so it’s a thin but warm fabric, which is ideal. I was excited to find the leather buckle for the top of the cape—I think it looks almost exactly like the original!

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The before picture, just in case it turned out like garbage, I could still always remember the pretty fabric and the hope of what could have been.

I ran into a couple hiccups along the way. Mainly, I think the pattern called for a fleece fabric or something that didn’t fray when it was cut. When I made the front slits in the cape, there were no instructions to finish the edges. So after a few phone calls to Mom, I improvised by adding dark brown bias tape to the edges of the slits, which I ended up loving because of the contrast and interest it added. I also overlapped the top edges by a few inches when I sewed on the buckle, instead of having the edges just meet when buckled, so it stayed more closed and warm. I’m practical over everything.

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The only thing I can’t figure out about this cape is how to hold my arms non-awkwardly.

The cape only took a few hours and two nights to finish, and I was ready for a fall photo shoot! I even ate a big lunch so I could repliKate the baby bump Kate sported with her cape. Anything for authenticity.

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If you think this is awkward, you should see the outtakes.

It was surprisingly hard to find a pattern for this simple cape so I would love to see any others people have found! Capes forever!

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Chilling by a tree. Told you it was perfect for fall.

A Bicycle Dress Built By One

Another day, another dress! After the first dress I sewed went so swimmingly, I decided to make another while the motivation was still fresh. And, like the first one, it only took about a day to make! And since I could reuse the pattern, the total cost for the dress was even less.

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I used New Look pattern 6587 again. It’s a really great pattern in that it’s easy, fits me well, and has enough variations in the sleeves and other options that I can make multiple dresses that don’t feel or look the same. I fell in love with this springy bicycle pattern when I was hunting for fabric for the first dress and had to go back for it (and I’m glad I did). Since I needed under 3 yards of fabric and buttons were the only other expense, the dress was only about $20 from start to finish.

Everyone I’ve shown has loved the red buttons and I have to admit those are my favorite part too! They are a fun detail that add some color to the white dress (and make the pattern pop, too). The sash adds something unique as well and can easily be swapped out for a belt.

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I felt confident enough to make a few adjustments to the pattern this time around. I didn’t add interfacing to the collar so that it would be smaller and less stiff. I made the collar smaller overall and I like the less-prominent collar on this dress much better. I also took the bodice seams in a little bit to get a more fitted look. It worked out really well but if you’re trying it, remember to start with a tiny bit—you an always take in more but it’s harder to let it out!

Here’s the finished product. Now I just need spring to come! And maybe like, 4 more dresses.
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Sewing a Floral Sundress

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via Boden.com

I decided I wanted to sew a dress Saturday and it was done by Wednesday! This was seriously such an easy pattern and quick dress to make (and my first one ever) that I had to share! My inspiration was the below dress from Boden. I was aiming to replicate the shape (I love the summery shirtdress with a full skirt look) and the fabric too, to whatever extent I could. The first step was finding a pattern similar to that dress. It was a lot harder than it seemed! Every pattern seemed to be missing an important detail, like the collar or full skirt. Thankfully my mom had an extra 4 hours to kill, in addition to way more sewing experience and patience than I have (always a good thing—I wish I could rent her out to all of you for your own projects). The terribly frumpy fabrics they show on the patterns do not help in picturing the final product so you have to use your imagination. I landed on this one, deciding to use the pattern for the pink dress, minus all the ribbons and crap. Bonus: I love some of the other variations included, too! Extra bonus: All the patterns from this brand are only about $4! Some others I looked at were $30.

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Next, fabric. The fun part, right? Actually this was another tedious process, as, of course, I am not going to find an exact replica. Again, you really have to use your imagination to envision what the final product might be with all your tweaks. And speaking of tweaks, I bought extra fabric (a skirt’s length) so I could make the skirt fuller (because who doesn’t want a spinny skirt?). To do this, I added about 4 inches to the front and back pieces (on the waistline) to gather more fabric. Here is the fabric I chose (the top one) plus another close contender I loved.

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Time to sew! Once I got everything cut out, I spent most of a day sewing and finished everything but the buttons. You really can make this in a day! (I recommend living in the Midwest because I have zero interest in going outside in this windchill.) Here are a few fun incremental progress shots I was sending to a friend and a name for the corresponding apparel I’m modeling:

1. The sassy school board mom vest:

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2. The ultra-conservative Duggar prairie dress:

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3. The thank God it’s starting to look like a normal dress:

image1-5 Enough talk! Here it is! The finished product. It amazingly fits pretty perfectly, especially when I added a belt to cinch in the extra fabric and create a waist. (I cannot stress this enough if you are new to sewing—go by the measurements and NOT by the size number! I started making a dress in my normal size once and was halfway through before I realized it would be a better fit for a doll. This one I made is a size 12…don’t let the size scare you! Although, come on pattern-making jerks. No one wants to be a huge number of sizes larger than they really are!) Sorry I look so awkward in this picture. I am so bad at taking self timer pics. image4 I love the cute little cap sleeves. That’s what’s so nice about sewing your own with a pattern like this; you can customize however you want to. The only thing I was not a fan of is the collar. It’s a little long and large for my taste. image3 image2-2 Here’s a closer look of the details on the top and skirt: image5 I didn’t add up the cost to the penny but it was all only about $30-$35, compared to the Boden dress at $118. Needless to say with how quick and easy it was, I am mildly obsessed with this pattern! Expect another post soon as I am already started on another one. This time, it will be the sleeveless version with the sash at the waist, tweaked to make the collar smaller and less stiff by not including interfacing on that part. Check back soon! Happy sewing!