Minerva Blogger Network: Peacock Flora dress


Size: 8
Alterations: none on the pattern, fitted as I went (read below). 
Fabric: cotton lawn from Minerva Crafts, available here.

The project of this month for the Minerva Blogger Network is a little bit special, because we were asked to make some party attire to wear at the Minerva meet up last week. I was quite heart-broken I didn’t get to attend, but making a cute dress helped me get in the party mood.

After spending a long, long time deciding what kind of dress to make for such an event, I decided to go with the Flora dress pattern by By Hand London. I was one of the very few bloggers who was not invited to test this pattern (sigh, why?), but I really liked the design. My kind sponsor, Indie Stitches, provided the pattern for me.

I initially wanted to make the version with the high neckline, but after a muslin, I decided it looked a little too casual for the occasion, so I opted for the faux wrap, which is also more flattering on me.

I cut a size 8 and made no alterations, although once the fashion fabric was sewn, I ended up with a lot of excess fabric around the waist (almost 8cm). It’s one of those mysteries of sewing I just can’t seem to figure out: the muslin fitted almost perfectly; there were about 2cm of ease at the waist, most of which I thought was going to disappear by lining the bodice. I don’t know what happened later, because I took my time cutting, staystitching and stabilizing the neckline… Probably, I just didn’t do a very good job on my muslin, and didn't pay it the attention it needed.

I dunno, but anyway, once the bodice was completely assembled and self-lined, I decided to make it work, grin my teeth and remove the excess from the center back (which is not a very good solution). This means the side seams are now shifted towards the back and the back armholes are a little too deep, but that’s ok.

The second “make-it-work” moment happened when I realised the circle skirt required a 60” wide fabric, and the one I chose wasn’t as wide. Again, I opted for a solution I wouldn’t recommend to anyone and used the fabric on the cross grain. The print is busy enough that it’s not too obvious, and the effect is not too ugly. I really wanted the circle skirt at that point, so I’m kind of glad I cut it anyway. The knife pleats on the front are truly stunning, while I’m not too crazy about the box pleats of the back.

What else? Oh! I installed an invisible zipper! If you’ve read my blog for a while, you’ll know I simply hate this kind of zipper, because while it’s more discreet to the eye, it’s a pain to install and it breaks way too easily for my taste. But I thought it would really look better for this kind of dress, and I’m happy with my choice.

As you might have seen in my sneak peek post, I also made a petticoat to go underneath this dress. I thought a petticoat would play up the vintage feel of this dress and would make it look more elegant for this special occasion, except… I now know that I don’t like the look of petticoats on me, AT ALL! This thing took a lot of time and patience to make, and I must thank Ela of Elochka for giving me a private mini tutorial on its construction; I doubt I’ll ever wear it again, but I’m glad I got to try it on. At least, now I know.

All in all, I’m really happy about this dress and I can’t wait to have a real event to wear it to! If you want to make it for yourself (petticoat included) the kit is available here. To be completely honest, my plan changed after putting the kit together, so I would rather recommend getting the peacock fabric here and the organza for the petticoat here.

Taglia: 8
Modifiche: nessuna sul modello, modificato mentre cucivo (leggere sotto.)
Tessuto: di Minerva Crafts, disponibile qui.

Il progetto di questo mese per il Minerva Blogger Network è un po' più speciale del solito, perché ci è stato chiesto di preparare un outfit da festa per il meet-up di Minerva Crafts che si è svolto la settimana scorsa. Sono tristissima di non essere riuscita ad andare, ma cucire un bel vestitino mi ha aiutato a mettermi del mood della festa :)

Dopo luuunghe, luunghe riflessioni per scegliere che abito fare, ho deciso di optare per il modello Flora dress di By Hand London. Sono una delle poche blogger che non è stata invitata a testare questo modello (sigh, perché?), ma mi sono proprio innamorata del design e delle bellissime versioni viste in rete. Il mio gentile sponsor Indie Stitches mi ha fornito il modello.
Inizialmente, avrei voluto fare la versione con lo scollo alto, ma dopo una telina di prova, ho deciso che era un po' troppo casual per l'occasione, e ho optato per la versione con incrocio, che sta anche meglio sulla mia corporatura.

Ho tagliato la taglia 8 senza apporre modifiche, MA, ovviamente, una volta cucito il corpino, mi sono ritrovata un sacco di eccesso in vita (quasi 8 cm!). E' uno di quei misteri del cucito che mi capitano ogni tanto e non riesco proprio a capire: la telina era praticamente perfetta, c'erano circa 2cm di spazio extra in vita, e pensavo che la maggior parte sarebbe sparita foderando il corpino (il poco restante sarebbe stato mangiato nella zip). Non ho idea di cosa sia successo dalla telina all'abito vero e proprio, perchè ho tagliato attentamente e ho stabilizzato gli scolli per non distorcerli. Probabilmente avrò fatto qualche cavolata con la telina, ma non me lo spiego comunque.

Ad ogni modo, nel momento in cui il corpino era tutto cucito e foderato, ho deciso di stringere i denti e fare quello che non avrei dovuto, ovvero eliminare l'eccesso dalla cucitura del centro dietro (il tempo stringeva e non avevo nemmeno la voglia di smontare tutto). Voi non fatelo mai, per favore! Perché significa che adesso le cuciture del fianco sono spostate verso il dietro e il giro manica dietro è troppo profondo. Ma pazienza!

Il secondo momento di panico mi è arrivato quando mi sono resa conto che per la gonna a ruota serviva un tessuto largo 150cm, e il mio era 140. Ho di nuovo scelto una soluzione da evitare, ovvero di tagliare la gonna nel senso della trama (e non dell'ordito). Con questa fantasia, l'effetto non è estremamente evidente né bruttissimo, perciò alla fine sono contenta della scelta, perché volevo davvero la gonna a ruota. Le pieghe piatte sul davanti sono stupende e danno veramente una marcia in più a una semplice gonna a ruota, mentre gli sfondi piega sul retro non mi fanno impazzire. 

Che altro? Ah, sì! Ho messo una lampo invisibile! Se leggete il mio blog da un po' di tempo, saprete che detesto a dir poco questo tipo di chiusura, perché, seppur più discreta delle lampo normali, non mi piace cucirla e si rompe troppo facilmente. Ma ho pensato che con questo tipo d'abito sarebbe statea meglio, e mi sa che avevo ragione.

Come forse avrete visto nel mio post pre-rivelazione, ho anche cucito una sottogonna da mettere sotto l'abito. Ho pensato che avrebbe giocato bene con il mood vintage di quest'abito e l'avrebbe reso ulteriormente elegante per questa occasione speciale, ma... ho scoperto che non mi piacciono le sottogonne su di me, ma proprio per niente!Ci sono voluti molto tempo e pazienza per cucire questa specie di meringa, e devo ringraziare Ela di Elochka per avermi aiutato con un mini tutorial privato sulla costruzione; dubito che la indosserò mai, ma almeno sono contenta di essermi tolta il dubbio. 

Tutto sommato, sono molto contenta di quest'abito e non vedo l'ora di indossarlo per un'occasione speciale nella "vita reale"!
Se volete cucirlo anche voi, come al solito potete trovare il kit qui; sinceramente, visto che ho fatto parecchie modifiche dopo aver messo insieme il kit, vi raccomanderei piuttosto di acquistare separatamente il tessuto a stampa pavone qui e l'organza per la sottogonna qui.

My Birthday Anna dress

***UPDATE: from now on, you can read my posts in Italian by clicking on the Italian flag in the top right sidebar. Thanks Pauline for helping me with this!***

Sizesize US8 for shoulders and bust, graded to a size US10 at the waist.
AlterationsI didn't use the 7-panel skirt of the pattern and opted for a very gathered skirt with in-seam pockets (I used the pattern piece from the Emery dress).
Fabric: A luxurious designer wool from my stash.

Back in November, when I made my first Anna dress, I told you that I fell in love with this pattern and that for sure there was going to be a second one. Well, here it is, probably one of my makes I'm most satisfied with!
This is my revenge on print placement after my Emery dress débacle, and I couldn't be happier with the result.

This gorgeous designer wool (although don't ask me what designer) was actually on of the first fabrics I've ever bought, which means it has been in my stash for about 8 years.
I remember buying it from this fantastic fabric store in my town (now closed, sadly) that carried almost exclusively designer fabrics. They used to always display remnants hanging on a clothes rack just outside the store, and even though I could hardly sew a straight line, I would always stop and look at them all. I guess fabric addiction is something I was born with XD

Anyways, this repeating print always intimidated me and I'm glad I waited all this time to use it, because it was so worth it!
Once I decided out I wanted to use it for an Anna dress, I figured I definitely wanted the roses to frame the neckline and have the plaid section in the middle of the dress. Once I placed the pattern pieces of the bodice on the fabric, it was quite easy to figure out the rest.

Just like last time, I went for a gathered skirt; this time it's even fuller, I used two panels in the whole width of the fabric. It's not the most flattering solution for my already full hips, but this fabric has such a lovely drape that makes the skirt so dreamy!
I used bias tape on the inside of the waist seam to eliminate some bulk, though, and I took pictures, yay! A tutorial is coming later on this week :D

I photographed this dress on my birthday, two weeks ago, and since I felt festive, I took out my cat ear headband (from ASOS) that I love so much but never have the courage to wear... I mean, if taking photos of a beautiful dress on your birthday is not the perfect occasion, I don't know what is XD


***D'ora in poi, potete cambiare la lingua di un post cliccando sulle bandierine nella barra laterale, a destra in alto. Grazie Pauline per l'aiuto!***

Tagliataglia US8 per spalle e petto, aumentata a US10 in vita.
Modifiche: non ho usato la gonna a 7 pannelli del modello e l'ho sostituita con una gonna molto arricciata con tasche nella cucitura (ho usato quelle dell'abito Emery).
Tessuto: una sontuosa lana dalla mia collezione.

A novembre, quando ho fatto il mio primo abito Anna, vi avevo detto che mi ero innamorata del modello che ce ne sarebbe stato sicuramente un secondo. Beh, eccolo qui! Probabilmente una delle creazioni di cui sono più soddisfatta!
Questa è un po' la mia rivincita dopo il disastroso piazzamento della stampa dell'abito Emery fatto a dicembre, e sono felicissima del risultato!

Questa meravigliosa lana designer (anche se non chiedetemi di QUALE designer) è stato forse il primo scampolo che io abbia mai comprato, il che significa che è rimasto nella mia collezione per qualcosa come 8 anni.
Ricordo di averlo comprato da questo negozio bellissimo del mio paese che vendeva (purtroppo ha chiuso) quasi solo tessuti firmati. Fuori dal negozio avevano in esposizione scampoli e rimanenze e, anche se all'epoca sapevo si e no fare una cucitura dritta, mi fermavo sempre a guardare queste stoffe e a sognare ad occhi aperti. Con la dipendenza da stoffa si nasce, mi sa XD 

Ad ogni modo, questa stampa ripetuta così particolare mi ha sempre intimidito e sono contenta di aver aspettato ad usarla, ne è decisamente valsa la pena!
Una volta deciso di volerla usare con il modello Anna, ho deciso che volevo le rose ad incorniciare lo scollo e la parte con il plaid nella sezione mediana. Una volta messi i pezzi del modello del corpino sulla stoffa, è stato semplice far quadrare il tutto.

Come l'altra volta, ho optato per una gonna arricciata, stavolta ancora più grande, poichè ho usato due rettangoli in tutta la larghezza del tessuto. Forse non è la soluzione migliore per i miei fianchi larghi, ma questa stoffa cade così bene che non ho saputo resistere a una gonna ultra femminile!
Ho utilizzato dello sbieco all'interno della cucitura in vita per eliminare un po' di eccesso di stoffa e ho fatto delle foto nel processo, per cui pubblicherò un tutorial prossimamente. :D

Ho fotografato quest'abito il giorno del mio compleanno, due settimane fa, e visto che ero in umore di festa, ho tirato fuori il mio adorato cerchietto con orecchie di gatto (di ASOS) che non ho mai il coraggio di mettere... Insomma, se fare le foto a un bel vestito il giorno del mio compleanno non è l'occasione giusta per indossarle, allora non so quando! XD

Happy Anna in a Anna dress

Size: size US8 for shoulders and bust, graded to a size US10 at the waist.
Alterations: I didn't use the 7-panel skirt of the pattern and opted for a gathered skirt with in-seam pockets.
Fabric: locally purchased viscose

WHOA. Two weeks without blogging. That hadn't happened in a while. I find it a bit silly to apologize since this is not a job for me and I'm sure you have plenty of other sources of entertainment, but still, I hope you missed me a little bit, because I was sure starting to miss my little space here.

Anyway, I'm back with a very, very happy dress!
I finally got around to make the Anna dress by By Hand London (which means that no, Sallie, you weren't the last one in the blogosphere!). Just like the name we share, this dress is very understated and lady-like. And just like my name, I wasn't completely in love with it at first glance. It was very beautiful, but was it a good match for me?

It took a few years of my life to accept the name my parents had chosen for me (I was actually supposed to be named Caterina, they tell me) and it took me a few posts from loving bloggers (especially from Roisin, no surprise there) to really fall in love with this dress.

And now I want a hundred versions of it! But let's speak of the one I've already made...
First of all, I had a bit of a freak-out when I traced this pattern. Marie came to my help on Twitter (thank you!) and I quickly realized I was seeing things... I blame it on the thin paper this pattern is printed on, which is the only thing I dislike about the otherwise gorgeous By Hand London packaging.

The first muslin I made was a practically perfect fit, I didn't even had the gaping at the back neckline that most people who blogged about this pattern seemed to have. If I'll ever make a V-neck version, I'll probably have to go back and make a FBA on a smaller size to avoid a gaping front neckline, but for the high neckline, it was perfect.

Then, I probably started seeing things again while cutting the fabric, because when I finished stitching the bodice and tried it on, I realized I had about an extra 10cm to remove. I seriously could not believe my eyes. I tried the muslin on again and it was still perfect, so I have no idea what happened. The fabric I used for the muslin is a teeny bit heavier than this viscose, but not so much as to justify a 10cm difference.

Maybe the fabric is haunted? I bought it at a fair and the guy who sold it to me told me it was salvaged from a warehouse destroyed by a flood. Jeez. But it was sooo inexpensive, and drapey, and the print was gorgeous... Maybe it came with a price? Just kidding. I hope.
Anyway, since I had French-seamed the sides, I ended up taking all the excess from the back seam. Not the proper way to go, but it worked, and with the dark fabric you don't really notice that the back darts are too close to the zipper. There's some gaping left at the neckline, but I'll live with that.

Anyway, I'm really in love with this pattern now, and not only can't I wait to make more Annas, I also really want to try the gorgeous Elisalex dress.

In conclusion, after mentioning my own name so many time in this post, I urge you to pleeeease click here and listen to the Italian pronunciation of the name "Anna" (unless you're German, then it's practically the same), just for the sake of it. It always makes me smile how differently it's pronounced in French- and English-speaking countries, so different from what I'm used to :) 

Interview: By Hand London

These stylish girls and their beautiful patterns definitely don't need an introduction. They've been the talk of the blogosphere from months, so I'm sure you've already heard about By Hand London patterns. But if you want to know a bit more about the company from one of its creators, here's a few words from Elisalex. 


Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background? When did you start sewing?
Charlotte and I were actually at school together! We went down pretty different routes however after we left - I trained as a shoemaker and set up my own sustainable-high end shoe label, Nina Dolcetti, while Charlotte studied Classics and ended up working in marketing roles at various London startups. Sewing for me has been a long love affair; even as a child I had an insatiable need to make stuff! I messed about with my Mum's sewing machine a lot as a teenager, but it wasn't until I studied shoemaking though, that I realised my love of craftsmanship and decided to start really honing my skills. Charlotte was always a thrifting and customising expert and has had the sewing bug for the last couple of years, simply out of a desire to have more control over her style and is fast becoming a very skilled seamstress!

How did you start By Hand London? What pushed you to begin making sewing patterns?
By Hand London all began about a year and a half ago when Charlotte randomly got in touch to ask my opinion on a hare-brained scheme she had been cooking up. At the time I had just decided to pack in the whole shoes thing and had been mulling over some new ideas of my own. We met up and talked over a coffee (or three!) and realised pretty quickly that we wanted to join forces - what followed was months of late night skype-scheming, plans for world domination, and three ideas and two business plans later, By Hand London sewing patterns were born. It was then that we met Victoria - recent fashion graduate and London girl - in a stroke of internet matchmaking perfection, having advertised for an extra pair of hands getting things started. And then we got to set about creating our patterns! It's not been easy, that's for sure! It already feels like we've had some great successes as well as some seriously hairy moments. But we are so very proud of what we have created, and are so excited for everything yet to come.

What are your main sources of inspiration? Your favorite designers or style icons?
We find that our inspiration comes from so many different avenues, and especially since the three of us have our own very unique styles! We look to sewing blogs as well as fashion blogs, vintage fashion as much as contemporary, and of course, our friends and girls we see around London town. It's because of this diversity of style and influence that we decided to personify each of our patterns, basing them on a real girl we know and who's style we admire.

What has been your biggest challenge with By Hand London?
There's not really been one distinct thing; I think when you're starting out on a new venture the main challenge is finding your rhythm as a business - setting yourself achievable goals and deadlines, each finding and settling into our individual roles within By Hand, and also being supportive of each other and understanding each other's external commitments i.e. part-time jobs and kids!

Where do you see your pattern company in the future?
At this point while it's all so fresh and new we feel like we're bursting at the seams (ahaha!) with ideas and plans for the future and we definitely want to expand the By Hand brand beyond sewing patterns. Before we take over the world, however, we want to really get to grips with what's going on right now, continue to better ourselves and our products and really get to know who our customer is. But ultimately, sure - world domination! Mwahahahaaaa!


Thanks Elisalex! Very inspiring, right?
And guess what? The girls have very generously sent me one Elisalex dress pattern and one Charlotte skirt pattern to give away to my readers!
In order to win, just leave a comment below telling me which pattern you'd like the most and your email address, so I contact you.
The giveaway ends on March 6th, 11:00pm GMT.
Good luck!