Today I have my last summer make to share with you and it is in the running for my favorite make of 2021. The day of our 15th wedding anniversary Chris kissed me good bye and told me to be ready at 6pm because a baby sitter was coming and we had dinner reservations. I mean, is there any better gift?!
So I did what any normal girl would do and I made myself a damn dress.
I had M8174 sitting on my ‘to make one day’ shelf along with fabric and went to work. I made this dress in one day, start to finish from prepping my fabric to hemming the final piece! This is a simple make, especially when you make the strappy version, and I liked some of the details they included with the instructions.
I made the size 14 and ended up needing to take in the bodice quite a bit and should probably take it in more. Next time I would size down to a 10 in the bodice and keep the 14 for the skirt, this should be fairly easy to do as they are all separate pieces! It would mean a little grading at the top of the skirt or bottom of the bodice just to get everything attached smoothly.
I love that the bodice is fully lined and I liked the instructions for adding elastic to the waistband. This really helps the dress keep its shape and prevents the skirt from weighing down the top.
I also liked the assembly of the skirt. Basically it’s two front pieces that overlap and I love the ruching on the side. It could be a bit tricky assembling the skirt, keeping track of left and right can be confusing, but the instructions are crystal clear. Just take you time reading them!
I am in love with how this dress turned out. I feel beautiful in it and it’s so comfortable. I paired it with gold heels for my date night but like it with more casual sandals too. I think the longer versions would be amazing for a beach trip and the knit makes it easy to pack!
Last summer when the Hallon Dress by Paradise Patterns came out, I immediately fell in love. It is my favorite kind of summer dress, loose and flowy (dare I say nightgown adjacent?) and the back is just incredible. It’s so simple but makes a big impact and every version I’ve seen looks fantastic.
I made up the size 6 of version A and ended up having to take it in a bit. Next time I will either do a straight 4 or maybe even sew a 2 in the bust and grade to a 4 everywhere else. I sewed this one up very quickly, you can watch me make it here!, and the instructions are top notch. Lots of detail for beginners and really clear diagrams for each step.
I will probably not get too much wear out of this right now but am happy to pack it away and pull it out next summer. I’m sorry it took me so long to get around to but am in love with the end result so it was worth the wait.
This was a fairly simple make but I’m happy to answer any questions I may have not covered! I have a few more summer sews to catch you up on next week and then I’m ready for all things fall!
I want to start by saying that even with a crazy month, Style Sew Me is a sponsor for the #BHMPatternDesigners challenge and Eryn the designer got hit by the horrible storm in Texas last week, Eryn delivered these answers to me right when she said she would. I’m actually the one that’s a few days late! I mention this because I have no doubts in saying that the customer service at this company will be top notch and if you reach out with any questions, Eryn is going to get them answered for you!
I had Style Sew Me on my long list of companies to review and when I saw her latest release with the Giselle Dress they got bumped right to the top. I love this dress! It is flirty and feminine and unlike anything I’ve seen out there. I wanted to make a Valentine’s dress and I told my husband the moment it is safe to go out for a date night, this is what I’m wearing.
I ordered a Crepe Leopard print from Melanated Fabrics (it’s out of stock but they have a lot of great prints!) and I liked the pink and orange together and that it kind of looked like lipstick kisses all over, fitting with my romantic theme. It was a pain and a half to sew with, but I think the end result is worth it!
I made a size medium after looking at the finished garment measurements and think the fit is pretty perfect. I didn’t make any alterations and the instructions are clear and easy to follow. I signed up for their newsletter as well and it seems like they offer a lot of great support. Techniques and tips, workshops, and a lot of inspiration to help you get a great finish with your makes.
After sewing a lot of more every day, meant to go with everything pieces, I am absolutely in love with this dress. It’s a statement and I feel fantastic in it! While I was prepping for this review I also picked up the Nikki Blazer and the Erin Oversized Dress. Check out all their patterns. I love the fun details and thought that go into these designs.
Here are the questions you guys helped me come up with and Eryn’s answers!
What is your design background? I am a self-taught designer. I draw inspiration from trends, body silhouettes, and the lifestyle around my ideal customer.
When and why did you start making your own patterns? I began designing my own patterns in 2016 after a failed attempt at opening a clothing boutique. After the online boutique I partnered with went out of business and did not tell me, I was left with designs that I decided to convert into sewing patterns.
Who do you design for? Who is your target audience? I design for the fashionable woman on the go who loves a touch of flair with her contemporary pieces. She is extroverted and her calendar is usually booked with family, friends, and organizational events. She enjoys being femine and carving out time in her day to take care of herself – even in the smallest way.
What level of sewer do you design for? I design for the intermediate sewer, but provide supporting content that empowers a confident beginner to sew my patterns.
What is your size range? My size range is XS-3XL, which is approximately a 0-26 in US sizing. Our size chart is available on every pattern’s product page of our website.
Why did you pick this range? I chose those size range to cover most standard and plus sizes.
What is the size, cupsize, and height that you design your block on? Our patterns are drafted for 5’7″ height, C cup, and a 8 inch hip to waist difference. In combination with size, we draft for curvier bodies with a bigger bust-waist-hip ratio.
Do you support Black Lives Matter? As a black woman owned company, Style Sew Me fully supports the pursuit of equal and fair treatment of black people.
What are some ways that you are anti racist and inclusive in your company on a day to day basis? I am blessed to have a community of men and women all over the world and I use my platform to educate and empower without alienating. I use my platform to share content supporting inclusivity and diversity in many forms of conversations, including BLM, racial injustices, and simply sharing and uplifting the content from makers of all shades and sizes throughout the creative community. In our small Team Style Sew Me, we are made up of a variety of ethnicities and are located in different parts of the world. Any team member that comes on board with me, especially those who interact with our customers, are educated on conversations, terms, and events that shape the way we speak to our customers.
If you like these reviewsI’ve started a Krofi account where you can leave a small tip that will go towards future reviews. I know it is a difficult time for a lot of people right now and am happy to do these reviews, but appreciate any support, whether through that account or just by sharing my reviews with anyone else you might think would like them!
There is an expression in the sewing community ‘sew frosting’ and this make right here is allllll frosting! I’ve been sewing a lot of cake recently- the practical, wearable pieces in my wardrobe that I reach for over and over- that I wanted a little frosting for my birthday.
I made V9311 and I sewed it up yesterday during Sam’s nap- it really was that easy to make! I made the size 10 and did take in quite a bit at the sides of the bodice so that plunging neckline would be just right.
I am obsessed with the drama of this dress! The neckline, the sleeves, the split, and the floor length. It’s amazing and it’s exactly what I pictured when I held this fabric in my hands for the first time.
Do I have anywhere to wear this? Absolutely not! Do I care? No! Knowing that it is hanging in my closet waiting for me is enough. Or maybe I’ll just traipse around the living room all month in it, I don’t think my kids would be shocked at this point.
Making something glamorous and completely impractical for my birthday was so fun. I wish you a little frosting in your future!
I have what will be the last of my summer sewing to share today and it’s a remake of a dress I never shared, so today you get a two for one!
This is a McCalls pattern that came out at the end of last summer. I picked it up because I loved the loose, swinging vibe mixed with these amazing sleeves. I made my first version right before we moved out of a poly crepe and I never really got to wear it much. When I put it on for these pictures I realized how great it was and am going to try to throw it into my nightgown adjacent attire rotation.
For the second dress I knew I wanted to lengthen the bodice and I made it a size smaller. I had *just* enough fabric (that is the theme for this summer apparently) so the sleeves are a little shorter and the skirt is a little narrower, but I love these changes. I think it’s a bit of a different vibe from the first one and it’s so comfortable to wear.
I’ve been seeing this dress pop up on instagram quite a bit lately and I think it’s because it’s a very simple make, I got it sewn up in one nap time!, and it’s loose and cool while still being cute. Perfect for throwing on in these hot final days of summer when we’re all mostly still at home!
I think the maxi version of this dress with the flutter sleeves would be gorgeous in a floral print for spring next year so I may keep that in mind when I’m looking at fabrics. Now that the bodice fits pretty perfectly, I might sew this up one more time. Sewing a pattern multiple times is a little unusual for me, so that’s how you know I love it!
Pattern and version made: This is M7969 and both of these are version A
Size and alterations: The leopard print is a size small, no alterations, and the newest version is an extra small bodice with alterations to the skirt and sleeve made to work with limited fabric. I also lengthened the bodice about an inch and a half, and I prefer where this one hits me.
Final Thoughts: I love this easy dress, especially for summer. Simple to make with fun details that keep it from being too basic. I prefer a little tighter fit in the bodice, simply because the wrap can feel like it’s loose and opening which isn’t ideal, but otherwise love the drafting of this dress. Would recommend this to more beginning sewists has it has no closures and the sleeve is easy to install, even with the gathers, since it is raglan style. I also think you get a lot of bang for your buck with this pattern as all the versions have a very different feel to them.
I sewed up this dress last weekend and can’t decide if it’s finished or not. I’ve seen this dress all over instagram and I’ve seen iterations of this style everywhere. It’s a great dress to make in cool summer fabrics and just trendy enough with the tiered skirt option.
I bought this eyelet knowing I wanted to experiment with this fabric this summer, either in a skirt or as a dress. I love it combined with this pattern but just didn’t have quite enough for that second tier piece. This means this dress ended up a little shorter than intended and is what makes this only possibly finished.
I added a strip of fabric to give me a little bit of more coverage, but I’m not sure how necessary it is? I also don’t know if it’s too short or just shorter than I was planning/what I usually wear. I’m debating whether or not to buy more fabric and add a third tier. If I do that I will get enough to make my daughter a little matching dress too as she loved this fabric when I showed her!
What do you think? I am also considering buying a coordinating plain fabric and making a little slip dress to wear underneath. Right now I have a nude slip that is fine, but I think a matching color in a cool cotton would be lovely.
Pattern and Version: M7948 version C with D sleeves
Size/adjustments made: straight size 10, no adjustments needed. I did finish with bias tape rather than a facing, simply because of the fabric. I also left out the pockets for the same reason.
Final Thoughts: A simple, breezy summer dress that I could absolutely see myself making again. I did not have enough fabric however, and am stuck on what to do (if anything!) with this dress. Love the sleeves and it’s very simple to make. A beginner to sewing would have a lot of success with this trendy pattern.
If you’ve been following me through my Conscious Closet journey you know that I really tend to wear more solids and not many prints. I had this fabric in my stash from at least a year ago and wanted to make something out of it, push myself a bit out of my comfort zone. I happened to be cutting this out while listening to the episode of Love to Sew on pattern matching and figured now was as good a time as any to play with the print a little bit. This was the result!
I love this dress! I had just enough fabric for it and it’s a great summer light weight cotton. I need to replace the snaps as these are too heavy for this fabric, but otherwise it turned out perfectly.
Pattern: B6674, version A (minus the self made belt as I ran out of fabric!)
Size/Adjustments made: I made the size 12 in the A/B custom cup sizing. I did have to take in the sides a little, but the fit out of the envelope was really great on this one.
Fabric: This striped voile that I can’t remember where or when I bought it, but you can find it here!
Final thoughts: I love the shape of this dress and was very happy with how I French seamed the inside. It fits so well and I liked playing with the stripes. However I made the mistake of using snaps (just because they were in my stash!) that are not the right weight or size for this light weight fabric. I plan on finding some smaller, lighter snaps and taking the time to change them out.
I have been trying to use what I have when it comes to sewing and this most recent make is an old Needle Sharp box that I picked up sometime last year. I never got around to making it in the warmer months so I set it aside. I’ve been drawn towards a specific color palette lately, and this darker gray fabric wasn’t calling to me. However, I have had great success with True Bias patterns and I always love a summer dress. Besides, it’s not like I have a lot of other things going on right now!
The construction of the dress itself is fairly simple and it comes together pretty quickly. The most fiddly part is the bias tape, you make your own and then use it for both sides of the bodice, the arm holes, and the straps. This takes a bit of work, but nothing too hard, and the ready to wear look of it when it’s finished is worth the effort!
I had a bit of trouble fitting the bodice. I think I need to start making small bust adjustments something I do regularly with patterns and I will try it if I make this one again. I love the style of this, it feels very now with the midi length and slip dress/90s throwback vibe. It will be fun to see how much wear I get out of it in the coming months!
Sizing/alterations: I made up the size 6. It was a little big in the bust for me so I pinched in the sides, maybe an inch in total? In the future I would like to try a small bust adjustment with this pattern
Fabric: This is a beautiful sandwashed rayon that came in myNeedle Sharp subscriptionbox. I love the drape of it and it reads almost brown/gray which is a new color for me.
Thoughts/Comments:Fairly simple to construct, minus making all your own bias tape (but it’s good practice!) I love the length of it and it feels like a cool style that is different from anything else I own. Will be fun to layer up some as the weather gets colder here.