Navy Peggy skirt

Size: I cut a size 12, but then I removed some excess fabric at the waist, so the end result it's probably more similar to a size 10.
Alterations: removed almost 20cm (8") from the bottom (!)
Fabric: some navy blue wool with extremely subtle pinstripes (that you can barely see in these pictures) from my stash.

When Bluegingerdoll released the  Peggy skirt pattern, Abby (the creator) contacted me to know if I wanted to try it. It's extremely rare that I turn down free patterns (you know, being an addict and all), and this little skirt really intrigued me, so I said heck, yes. 

The Peggy skirt is designed for beginners and it's a flared high-waisted A-line skirt with front tucks. Three waistband options are included in the pattern; I chose view A, a straight waistband with cute buttoned tabs.

One thing I really regret about this project is not reading the instructions properly before starting to sew. The pockets are made in a slightly different way than I'm used to (there's a pocket fuse to reinforce the pocket edge and the pockets themselves hang free from the side seams of the skirt), so I ended up making a few mistakes in construction, but nothing major.

Speaking of the instructions, because this pattern is aimed at beginners, I was expecting a little more guidance from them. There are a couple generic steps, namely the lapped zipper insertion (which refers you to the Bluegingerdoll blog) and the waistband construction at the center back (it's not very clear where and how the two sides of the waistband overlap). Thankfully, Abby did a very extensive Peggy sewalong, which is a huge help to those who need more visual aid (although the waistband thing is still not explained clearly).

As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, I shortened this skirt by A LOT. Luckily, Abby included the finished skirt measurements on the pattern envelope, and the finished length is 68,5cm (27"), whereas I hem my skirts between 50 and 55cm (between 20" and 22") down my natural waist. Unless you're incredibly tall or you really want that vintage length, be aware of this!

Eek! Sorry about the wrinkled mess! Shouldn't have sat down before shooting!
I already mentioned the topic of my favorite skirt patterns for beginners here and here, and Peggy goes straight to join that list. I love that this skirt has more flare than an usual A-line, I like it much more on a pear-shape like myself. The pattern has also a very reasonable price, especially considering that it comes with three variations and free worldwide shipping!

Now, if you like this pattern, you have the chance to win one copy for yourself. Abby was kind enough to sponsor a giveaway for my readers!
The giveaway widget is below, you need to sign in with Facebook or with your name + email. You can enter four times; just follow the instructions, I promise it's very easy.
This is my first time trying out Rafflecopter, so fingers crossed everything works out!
You have one week to enter. Good luck, everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Liberty Mae blouse

Size: size 10 for shoulders and bust, graded to a size 12 at the waist.
Alterations: none!
Fabric: Liberty Tana Lawn in "Emilia's flowers (C)", purchased locally (at a fraction of the cost, thankfully)

I had mentioned this blouse in passing in my last post, when I actually asked you guys to give me a hand with a competition, an you made me win the second prize!
Thank you so much, everyone, you are the best! Now I have a sweet voucher to spend at A Fashionable Stitch.

Now, let's talk about this blouse.
It was made using the Mae pattern by Bluegingerdoll. This pattern attracted me immediately for the scalloped neckline, it's such a beautiful feature that I had to try it.

The whole thing came together relatively quickly. You definitely need to take your time with the scallops and the buttoned back can be a little time consuming, but that's it, the rest of the construction is really easy.
Mae is marked as a beginner pattern, but I wouldn't recommend to a complete beginner, you need a little bit of experience under your belt to make it.
I only glanced at the instructions, but they're well written and have helpful illustration. Furthermore, Abby had a Mae sew-along on her blog, where you can find more tips on constructing your blouse.

Worn with my black Kelly skirt
I really like this blouse. I've tried it both tucked in a skirt and untucked, with jeans, and I definitely prefer this second option. It's just a little uncomfortable for me when it's tucked in a skirt, because I find myself wanting to yank it down every time I move my arms. I think this is mainly caused by the fabric: Liberty tana lawn feels AMAZING against your skin, but I definitely prefer fabrics with more drape for blouses, especially those you will want to tuck in.
Paired with jeans, it makes a very cute, comfortable outfit and because it's very fitted, I also find it quite flattering.

Bluegingerdoll patterns are rather pricey, but they're printed on sturdy paper, the packaging is extremely cute (and functional) and they offer free shipping, which is great.
So far, I've been very happy with Abby's patterns (see my Billie Jean dress here). They just released a new pattern, the Peggy skirt, which you can check out here.

Gingham Billie Jean dress

Do you remember my interview with Abby of Bluegingerdoll? At the time, she asked me if I wanted to try her new pattern.
Let's see... feminine dress, gorgeous neckline, vintage silhouette... my answer was HELL YES!
Anyway, it took me a while to make it and photograph it, so here it is, finally.
Let's see the details:

size 8 with alterations

Since the dress was a bit too snug at the waist, I added 1 cm to the side panels of the bodice just at the side seams. It's not the standard way to alter a pattern, but it worked for me.
I also lengthened the bodice by 1 cm, which, I guess, compensates for not doing a FBA.
I stitched the neckline using a seam allowance of 1cm instead of 1,5cm because I wanted it a bit higher and I wanted the straps to be a bit wider.
I made version 2 of the pattern, with the gathered skirt, but used a much smaller panel than the one that comes with the pattern. I wanted to avoid adding too much bulk at the waist.
I also added a tiny bow at the center back for extra cuteness. I'm so happy I did, it's such an adorable detail.

General impressions: 
I am VERY happy with this dress. It totally fits my style, it's girly and cute with a vintage flair. Also, very important to me: it's bra friendly! I just added bra strap carriers (I use the same technique that Dixie brilliantly explained here) and I don't need to wear a strapless bra, which is something I tend to avoid.

A few words about the pattern: Abby sent me the pdf version of Billie Jean and I must admit that assembling it wasn't the most pleasant experience. First of all, there are a lot of pages for such a simple design, because the skirt panels for version 2 are huge! I strongly recommend you skip printing them, save on paper and just cut a rectangle of fabric for your skirt panels. Also, there's a general lack of markings on the pattern sheets and you have to overlap them over the margins, which means there is quite a bit of guess work and patience involved.
In conclusion, if you like this pattern, I do recommend the paper version over the pdf.
Other than that, everything went smoothly! The instructions are clear but very basic, so if you're a complete beginner, you might want to research more detailed tutorials at least on how to sew a princess seam, how to line a bodice and how to install an overlapped zipper. I guess this is also the reason why the pattern is marked at an intermediate level.

I can't wait to see what Abby releases next. The girl definitely has talent, and with some minor improvements here and there, she's definitely one to watch!

Interview: Bluegingerdoll Vintage Inspired Patterns

Today I'm happy to have Abby of Bluegingerdoll as a guest, she's a new indie pattern designer who specializes in vintage inspired creations. You know you want to know more about her!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background? When did you start sewing?
I'm Abby and I live in Melbourne, Australia with my boyfriend and our 2 crazy dogs, Kenobi and Winnie. I have a love of all things vintage, especially the 40's and 50's. I also have a horse and love to go riding (when I can!), love cooking up a storm, crime shows, summertime and potato chips!
I was taught sewing in high school briefly, to be honest I really didn’t take to it at first, I actually hated going to sewing class, the teacher was a total bore, but fast forward a few years in my 20’s and I become really inspired about the thought of creating my own clothes and sewing them, and actually having the wardrobe I have always wanted. I quickly became obsessed and haven't stopped since.

How did you start Bluegingerdoll Patterns? What pushed you to begin making sewing patterns?
I started drafting sewing patterns, for a few reasons, one being the commercial patterns that are available, aren’t really inspiring and the designs not really my style at all, and let’s not talk about the random and constant fitting issues with the patterns. Original vintage patterns were what I usual sewed with, but were becoming increasingly expensive and hard to find anything in my size. So I guess the drafting come from necessity, and it felt like a natural creative step from sewing as well. I also had all these design ideas but no way of creating them unless I drafted the actual pattern myself. So I started to teach myself to draft patterns, first starting with modifying vintage patterns then onto the drafting patterns from scratch. I found that I totally loved it and I really wanted to hone my skills with this craft, so I decided to learn from the pros and studied a Diploma of fashion design and technology.

I have also always wanted to own and run a small business as well, and become my own boss and realising I had a passion for sewing and pattern making, I decided it was high time to start making that dream a reality. I could totally see myself being extremely happy and content doing this day in, day out. And I decided my designs were worth sharing with the world, and so Bluegingerdoll was born.

Tell us more about your first pattern, the Billie Jean dress.
Billie Jean is a beautiful 1950s vintage inspired dress.  It features a fitted princess seam bodice, which is designed to enhance the waist, and an alluring and flattering neckline design. It is a versatile and easily adaptable dress that is wearable in all seasons, day or night, and suits a variety of different fabrics. Perfect for experimentation and for you to add your own individual touch.  There are 2 dress styles to choose from, in the pattern:

Dress 1 - A fully lined figure hugging wiggle dress, flattering all the right curves.
Dress 2- A fun full gathered skirt, with lined bodice and practical in seam pockets.  

Both close with lapped zipper at centre back.  I have created instructions for that are easy and clear to follow with loads of diagrams, which will ensure the sewing of Billie Jean is straight forward.  Billie Jean is also available in paper or PDF patterns.

Where do you see your pattern company in the future?
Billie Jean is the very first pattern release for Bluegingerdoll, and the huge amount of positive support I have received through Facebook, Twitter and the blog, has validated it for me, that I am on the right track and maybe a little bit closer to my dream of being able to making the pattern business a full –time gig. In the meantime though, the next pattern design is in the process and is hot on the heels of Billie Jean for release, and the plan is for a few more designs to be released later on during the year.

Thank you, Abby!
To celebrate the launch of her first pattern, Abby was also kind enough to offer 2 copies of the Billie Jean dress pattern to my readers. The winners will choose if they prefer the pdf or printed version.
Because the pre-sale of this pattern ends soon (on the 19th), this will be a very very short giveaway, so whoever doesn't win can still take advantage of this offer.
In order to win, leave a comment below before Friday, May 17th at 11:00pm GMT.
Please leave an email address so I can get in touch with you (you need to write it in the comment, because I cannot access the address you leave in the Disqus form).
For en extra chance to win, like Bluegingerdoll on Facebook and leave a separate comment.

Good luck, everyone!
Giveaway closed, winner announced here.