Educating Reeta

I cut this dress out way back in April and quickly got it about three-quarter done. But then my Masters exam started looming so it was put aside. Last week, I did my exam, and a few hours of the bank holiday weekend were fruitfully directed towards completing this glorious garment. 

It’s a Named Clothing Reeta dress, in Nani Iro linen which I bought with some reward vouchers from work at John Lewis. I’m pretty delighted that John Lewis has started to stock Nani Iro. 

And this dress! It’s so stunning! I’m in love. The weather has been humid and hot and this dress has been a godsend. I love the length, the comfiness, the way it flows about my legs. It’s the perfect summer dress. 

Blooming

My two sewing passions right now are Nani Iro fabrics and Named Clothing patterns. 

I bought the pattern for the ubiquitous Named Clothing Inari Tee at the new Ray-Stitch shop a few months back. I want to make at least half a dozen of these tees in Nani Iro double gauze for my summer work wardrobe, but first – a dress! 

I added a gathered skirt. In my usual way with these Japanese fabrics, I just used the full width (selvedge to selvedge) to avoid raw edges. It’s such narrow fabric that it just makes sense. 

The fabric was from one of my favourite online shops, M is for Make. 

Snowdrops in September 

I was totally smitten with Named Clothing’s new collection when it recently launched, in particular the Tuuli dress. I’d actually been scouring the Internet for a pattern like the Tuuli for a few months, to dressify some stunning jersey (print: my beloved Hesketh) I had picked up in the summer at the Liberty sale. 

I took a day off and set to dressmaking! 

I just love this dress. It’s so comfortable and gorgeous and soft and fine, and moves like a dream. But I really do need to get a better sewing machine. Even just having a straight stretch stitch would be a huge improvement. 

Llama time

I feel like using a pompous statement today: it is a truth universally acknowledged that bank holidays were made for sewing.

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I made two things on the bank holiday weekend, the second of which was this gorgeous Leini dress from Named Clothing in llama-donkey-pig lawn. I love it!

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It was the first pattern I’d made from Named, but the construction, style and fit are great so I think I’ll look into others.

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I’ve been hoarding the fabric for over a year. I had two metres but it wasn’t quite enough – there’s a seam up the centre back of the bodice and one of these back bodice panels is upside down. Still, you really can’t tell and it means I have a few potentially useable scraps left over.
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The Secret Garden

I’m a bit addicted to Japanese double gauze, and in combination with this have spent the past few months obsessing over every tiny glimpse of the Cotton + Steel x Rifle Paper Co fabric collection collaboration, Les Fleurs. Under all this pressure, when I saw this incredible floral print at Miss Matatabi I was instantly enchanted.

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Clearly a new summer dress was necessary! I drafted the bodice from Simplicity 8523, raised the waist, added a gathered skirt and pockets, and got rid of the pesky facings. Last time I used the blouse pattern was for my Growing Fonder top, and the facings really are annoying. I’m fully a convert to hidden bias tape finishes now.

Anyway, this dress is absolutely great. I love it!

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Strawberry fields

I have an ongoing obsession with Heather Ross’s fabrics. Aside from Liberty it’s about the only fabric I buy compulsively, scouring the four corners of the Internet to buy little scraps of discontinued perfection.

So when The Village Haberdashery announced on instagram that it had a roll of Heather Ross jersey I snapped up 3 metres of it without hesitation.

It’s been really busy for the past few weeks – lots of seeing friends and cultural activities being crammed into my normally desolate schedule in the lead up to my big Canada visit. But somehow in between three social engagements on the Sunday before I flew to Toronto I managed to bash out this Moneta dress.

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This is my second Moneta. The first was made out of sweatshirting, and I used that as an excuse for why it is tight. But this one is also tight, so next time I’ll make a bigger size to have a slouchier fit. I altered the neckline into a scoop, but the dress gapes a bit at the front (despite its tightness everywhere else) so next time I’ll make the shoulders narrower.

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So yes I did balance my phone in the branches of a tree to take this photo. Askew!

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Howsoever, this dress is still great. I wore it all over Toronto to visit relatives last week and every one of them liked it. My Grannie wants one for her too! I think I might have enough fabric left to make her a boat neck top. But then my beautiful new little cousin ought to have something in this fabric, because she has a matching quilt (see next post)! Perhaps I’ll just need to get more fabric…

Flower power

Mmmmm I love this dress. I made it over three nights after work one week recently.

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The fabric is brushed cotton in another wonderful design from Nani Iro. I of course realised before cutting that I was a metre-and-a-bit short of fabric for this pattern, so had an emergency online shop to get some more over from Japan pronto,from the perennially wonderful Miss Matatabi. In the end I used about 3 metres.

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The pattern is drafted from the Merchant & Mills Factory Dress, but I removed 8 cm from the bodice at the waist to shorten it, and drafted my own gathered skirt. I also moved the pocket up a wee bit so it wasn’t so close to the waist seam.

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Generally I found the instructions fairly easy to follow, but the pattern itself was disappointingly mystifying in places. For example, the markings for the dart don’t make a straight line if you joined the dots. And the markings for the pocket look exactly the same and are in the same part of the bodice, which adds another layer of confusion.

Nonetheless, common sense won out and I love this dress. I wore it to see the incredible Giffords Circus last weekend, and felt like a gleeful 5-year-old in it. I wore it again in the week to see Twelfth Night performed in a balmy, blossoming London churchyard and felt strangely camouflaged sitting among roses. In other words, a marvellous dress that will get to go to many exciting places with me.