Tag Archives: patterns

Purple Bodycon Dress

Do you wear your dresses in the winter months?

Do you need more winter dresses so that you can be warm and comfortable?

Finished purple body con dress with piping
Finished purple body con dress with piping

I’ve decided to make a series of warm winter dresses over the next two months of this New Year. And I’m starting with a simple bodycon style made from purple Ponte di Roma.
The pattern that I have chosen to use consists only of four pieces, the back, and the front and the two sleeves. Because it is such a simple design I felt that I wanted to break up the body of the front of the dress to create a bit more interest. I looked around for ideas and inspiration from a few of my favourite recent fashion shows and came across the Christopher Kane Spring RTW 2015 collection. I’ve pinned two of the pictures from that show here and here

It was both the colour of the fabric and the directional lines, which dissect the body at differing intervals, which appealed as a starting, point for my own ideas.

Sketch of purple dress ideas
Sketch of purple dress ideas

So maybe my sketch doesn’t look as dramatic as the designer’s, but I am making a new winter dress and it has to be a practical day wear outfit too.

I’ve used a basic sewing pattern, which I have used before so I know that it fits me. I drew it out onto paper and played around with it, drawing the piping lines onto the front until I was happy with the placement, then I cut it up!!

purple dress pattern
Purple dress pattern

I numbered the paper pattern pieces and marked them with the straight grain line so that it would be easier to keep them in the correct order. It was important that I remembered to add the seam allowances onto these new pattern pieces as well. I used an allowance of 15mm / 5/8 inch.

I’ve selected to use a Ponte di Roma fabric for this make. It is a warm double knit with a directional stretch. It is very easy to sew with and comfortable to wear. It is also simple to wash and press.

Inside front of dress
Inside front of dress

When I was cutting out the fabric it was important to get the straight grain of the fabric on the vertical but also to check that the stretch was going to be going around the body and for the sleeves, around the arms. I numbered all of the fabric pieces as I cut them out to save confusion when it came to sewing them together.

Front of dress with piping detail
Front of dress with piping detail

I handmade my own piping from a darker shade of purple, to add an accent. I wasn’t sure about it at first so played around with a few options on a small scrap of the fabric. As well as piping with the accent colour, I tried piping with the main fabric, it would have worked well, but I was after a bit more punch.

Piping samples
Piping samples

I was pleased with how easy it was to put the main front section of the dress together. The seams were overclocked/serged before sewing the back and front together with the sewing machine, it gives a neat finish.
I decided to sew a single line of piping on to the sleeves as well. By simply measuring my arm length and cutting the sewing pattern where I wanted the placement of the piping to be and not forgetting to allow an extra seam allowance so that the tapered sleeve would still fit my arm.

Was this a successful first winter dress of the New Year? (@sewingavenue)

Finished purple body con dress with piping
Finished purple body con dress with piping

I think so. I am happy with the result; it will be fun to wear inside and with the addition of boots and a cardigan under a coat it will be great for outdoors too.

Happy New Year

Do you love cruise wear?

Chanel cruise ready to wear collection 2014-15

The magic of the fashion show. From the first time I saw the Chanel cruise ready to wear 2014-15 show, I knew I would be inspired by it to create a garment or two of my own, suitable to wear in my every day world. Lets face it even the glamorous ready to wear collections from the famous fashion houses would need a very special occasion to wear them at. Most of us can only dream of living the celebrity lifestyle but what’s wrong with wanting a bit of glamour and excitement to make the everyday more exciting.

I think every image from this 2014-15 show appealed to me, loved how all the models had their legs covered to keep out the cold, living in the northern hemisphere I can appreciate this. Oh, maybe it was for culturally sensitive reasons!! It was nice to see different the trousers/pants with tunics which women of all ages and sizes can comfortably wear, so easy to move about in but elegant and smart at the same time. I am defiantly going to make some trouser tunic sets this year for both work and leisure.

What could be more useful in your wardrobe though than a shirt? So I chose a couple of the Chanel official images as my starting point I’ve pinned them here & here .

And this is a picture of the fabric inspiration here….


I happened to have a piece of fabric in my own stash box left over from a previous project, just enough to use with the white cotton shirting, I’m sure the Chanel shirts are made from the finest silk.
I played around with a few ideas and made a quick sketch as usual, always useful for explaining what you are intending to make or reminding yourself where you are going with a garment, of course things can be changed, nothing is made until its finished. I used a tried and tested (tnt) shirt pattern, which I manipulated a bit for length and sleeve design.

Cruise Wear Shirt Sketch - Sewing Avenue
Cruise Wear Shirt Sketch – Sewing Avenue

The woven pink fabric, which is silk, kept wanting to fray at the edges and unravel itself so I decided to overclock/serge the edges and sewed it up using regular seams not flat felled seams, which I generally prefer on a shirt. When I’m sewing together a shirt I follow a set working order so regardless of the fabric or design changes I know where I am and what to do next.

Sewing Avenue -  Top Stitching
Sewing Avenue – Top Stitching

Here a couple of photos of the finished shirt, I tried different ways of styling it but it was not quite right so I unpicked the collar and removed it. I’ve kept it though and looking back on the photos, I may be tempted to put it back on again.

Sewing Avenue - Cruise Wear Shirt
Sewing Avenue – Cruise Wear Shirt


Cruise Wear Shirt
Cruise Wear Shirt

What do you think?

Does it look better with or without the collar and how do you get on sewing your own shirts? If you don’t make your own shirts, why not?