Tag Archives: Lonsdale Dress

The Last Gasp of Summer Dress (part IV!)

Lonsdale Maxi---Finished

She is finished.

And I must be out of practice taking photos, because I’m having a hard time getting good ones, but these will have to suffice.

So, thoughts…

I don’t regret the length (2″!) I took out of the bodice, although in hindsight I could’ve taken out less and just shortened the straps more. It’s comfortable as it is, though, and the bottom of the waistband sits right on my (ridiculously high) natural waist.

There’s not much more to say about the construction (check out other posts here). Tasia’s instructions are lovely and simple; her sewalong, on the other hand, gives you the super-couture version, and I really like some of the tips she includes like staying the upper edge of the bodice.

Inner waistband, slipstitched down at bottom.

The bodice seams are all enclosed (yay!). For the skirt, I added a light cotton lining, and used French seams for the sideseams and Hong Kong binding for the front and back seams. I bound the CF seam on the skirt before stitching. This was a Bad Idea. For one thing, I hate trying to stitch evenly along already-finished edges. Even if they’re just serged, the edges always try to scoot so they don’t lie directly overtop of each other (my tendency to use pins as little as possible may be a factor here, too), and it was way worse with the binding. For another thing, after carefully stitching and trimming, I realized I managed to put the HK binding on backwards, so the un-finished edge is visible on the inside. *headdesk*

CF seam with backwards binding

After I had the entire dress constructed except for the back seam, I did a fairly thorough pin-fit to figure out where I wanted the zipper seam to fall. I wound up trimming a bit from the CB top, narrowing to nothing at the waist.

CB zip on inside (K-Line, this one

I waited until the zipper was inserted to bind the back seam. This creates a lovely finish of the sort K-Line would (I hope) approve, but when/if I ever have to replace the back zipper (which seems more of a when than an if, given how much trouble the invisible zip has going over the waistband), it will really, really suck.

Bodice side

All right, let’s see. Syo took some photos for me, only half of which came out hopelessly blurry.

Back: nice and smooth, wonky bow.

Some of you may recall that I traced the skirt pattern to the full length of the size 16 (about an inch longer than the 6 I used for the rest of it), and then added another inch or so when I was cutting, plus a little more at the CB of the skirt, to make up for the 2 cm I removed above and below the waistband for swayback adjustment. This was all I could squeeze out of my 5m of 45″-wide fabric (that bodice is a fabric hog) but was still a pretty minimal length (for me), reaching my ankle but not brushing the tops of my feet, which is where I like a maxi to fall.

Hem with facing

For the hem, I wanted to keep as much length as I could, so I made a nice, wide (4″) bias facing. I really like this as a method for hemming A-line and circle skirts. Just iron the bias in a circle first (basically pull on one long edge and shrink in the other, to get it into a curve) and you’re good to go. It also satisfies my tastes for nice, wide, satisfying hems. I think I only lost about 1/2″ of length here. Although that’s still more than I would’ve liked.

The Knot (photography by Syo)

All right, I think I ran out of things to say before I ran out of photos…

Full front (photography by Syo)

So let’s just look at pictures


Hmm, I could’ve sworn I adjusted the exposure on this one. Bleh. I like the picture, though.

So, fall arrived last week: Monday (Aug. 29) the high was 30C, Tuesday it was 13. It’s finally creeping up again and the forecasts (which I trust about as far as I can spit) are promising highs in the upper 20s for later this week, including my birthday on Wednesday. So this dress is truly ready for summer’s last, last gasp.

Note: we are out on the river enjoying summer’s actual last gasp so I’m just going to hit publish! I’ll edit later to finish up links and stuff…



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So Close I Can Taste It…

Almost done!

The zipper is in. I’ve tried it on. All that remains is trimming and binding the back seam and then hemming. I hate to lose any length in the hemming so I will probably do a bias hem facing.

And there’s just no time…

I don’t think Self-Stitched September is going to happen herabouts, either. Two days in and while I’ve dressed self-stitched, no photos have been taken. It’s hard when my main camera is sans battery charger (and a call to my mother-in-law has determined that the charger is NOT where I thought I left it in her basement… 😦 ), not to mention the complete lack of time.

I am liking the piped waistband...

Fall Sewing I would like to get to:

  • Grecian Sundress pattern/new piece: since this seems to be the winner of the poll, it will be the pattern I put up for my birthday next week. The flutter-sleeved tunic was not far behind, though, so I’ll try and get that one done and up some time this fall.
  • jeans for me: some of the early pairs, not to mention all of my RTW, are getting ratty, and I have some “heavy duty” stretch denim just waiting to be stitched up…
  • frock coat for my husband: based on this pattern, sans pockets and lengthened to knee length. I am pretty excited for this one, and now that the weather has turned, I’m feeling more inclined to actually work on a jacket.
  • sweaters and shrug for me: I’ve been meaning to make another version of my shrug, as I wore the cream one to death over the summer. And I really, really, really  need a new hooded sweatshirt to wear this winter.
  • jeans for my husband. I am totally stoked to try out this semi-vintage men’s jeans pattern ElleC sent me! And I have that denim in stash, too…
And even that modest list seems incredibly ambitious right now, when I haven’t managed much more than a seam a night all week…


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Last Gasp of Summer Dress (II)

Thar' be minnows


Well, I didn’t actually think this dress would make it to a three-part series, but sewing’s been slow. Largely because summer has been having a last gasp, so instead of sewing I’ve been out wading in the creek, dutifully snapping photos while my hubby and Syo (Tyo’s gone camping with a friend) hunt minnows with their nets. They are getting disturbingly good at it. Today we saw two guys fly-fishing, which is incredibly elegant to watch. They weren’t catching anything bigger than we were with nets, though. (Mind you, they were staying dry… not sure if that’s a bonus or not, though, given the heat. I was very happy to have my feet in the water most of the time.) We stumbled upon a geocache, as well, or rather, a geocache box that appeared to have been swept downstream and spilled all over. The creek is odd, a Provincial Park in the middle of the city, the illusion of unspoilt nature—a sliver of mountain stream—with freeways arching overhead and houses only a stone’s throw away, just barely hidden by the banks. And, of course, plenty of trash. And bones, mostly bovine. I can’t resist picking those up and seeing what I can still identify.

Bodice with seam-binding for stay tape

So—I got the bodice constructed. I decided to stay the edges of the top by stitching some random pink seam binding down. Syo was helping, so I let her do one side, since I figured the stitching wouldn’t show anyway.

Erm. Oops. Stitching on slippery seam-binding was probably a bit advanced, I admit, even with all the pins. I had to redo it later. She also doesn’t like the Featherweight as much as the Janome, but I didn’t have the Janome threaded. So she threaded it herself. I didn’t realize she knew how to do that. She also stitched the little back loops for me, but got bored halfway through turning them and spent the rest of the time dressing my half-ass dress form in this awesome blue fun-fur I found at Value Village last week.

I managed to understitch the bodice without mystery weirdness. I do not have a good track-record with understitching, so this was good.

I went to attach the waistband and realized that, either through some error of tracing (not at all impossible) or just the extreme cross-grain stretchiness of this clearance mystery fabric (which I would swear is pure cotton, but anyway), my waistband piece was over an inch too short for my actual bodice waistband. Oh, yeah, I had cut the waistband piece on the straight grain, for print-interest. So no stretch at all, there. Easing was possible, but did not create a good look—Lonsdale is supposed to be sleek through the bodice, not poofy. Rrrrrippit. Recut on the cross-grain.

Piped waistband

I didn’t like how the waistband just sort of disappeared into the pattern, so I decided to pipe the waistband. I didn’t have quite enough white piping left over from whatever it was that I last made white piping for (wait, it was the airline stewardess dress, of course), so I had to do a little splice, but hopefully it looks all right.

Pockets! (Any matching of the prints is purely coincidental)

The pockets are cute and fun. Tasia mentions staying them as an option in her sewalong, which I decided to do by my favourite method, fuse-tape. I should’ve used that on the bodice, in hindsight, and saved Syo and I both a headache. Not sure what I was thinking there…

Even more miraculous, I then managed to understitch the pockets! Around a curve! Will wonders never cease?

Of course now I kinda wish I’d piped the pockets. But then I’d wish I’d piped the top of the bodice, too, and that way lies madness, so it’s probably just as well it’s only the waistband.

I had enough fabric to cut the skirt full-length-extra-long (what, you thought I could resist the maxi?), that is about an inch longer than the longest length drafted—which in theory makes up for the height I removed in the bodice. Belatedly I decided it really should have a lining, so I dug around and found the last of the cotton batiste (or whatever) from the lining of my tunic and Syo’s dress and managed to squeeze an under-layer only a few inches shorter out of that. Yay!

Oh, and I did remember to include the swayback adjustment, about 1 cm taken out at centre back, tapering to nothing at the side-seams, from the bottom of the bodice (above the waistband) and the top of the skirt (below the waistband). I even remembered to lengthen the hem of the skirt to make up for the amount taken out!


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The Last Gasp of Summer Dress (Part 1)

Lonsdale at last!

Last night, in a fit of madness, I finally cut out the bodice for the Lonsdale dress*. Boo-ya!

So, what’s up with this? Well, I had traced out the bodice pieces in a straight  Sewaholic size 6 back in July (Yes, I’m a tracer. Especially when it comes to almost $20 patterns). Tasia’s size 6 matches my bust measurement, and the waist is only an inch off, which puts it closer to my measurements than any other commercial pattern I’ve run across. Yay! The hip measurements are way, way of—the Sewaholic line caters to the more pear-shaped among us, which I am emphatically not—but that shouldn’t matter for a dress like this. Which is probably why she came out with a dress like this ;).

Anyway, on examining the pieces, I decided to shorten the waist by a LOT. I have a short waist to begin with, and the Pendrell blouse (presumably based on the same measurements) was reported to run long in the waist. Also, there’s the waist-band piece, which will sit below the bodice. Trial and error has taught me that if I must have a waistband on a dress, I’d rather have it start at my waist and extend above. Visual attempts to lengthen my waist don’t seem to help—I get better results with a slightly raised waist. Or I think I do, anyway (think this dress). I took out about 5cm (2″), I’d say. So it will probably end up a bit higher than Tasia intended, but hopefully at a place that looks good on me ;). Remember there’s a 5cm-wide band below the bodice, then the skirt starts.


In the photo I had folded up the bottom edge to to approximately where the seam will be. Since you can’t really see my waist well in these pics, I’ll throw in a slightly more inclusive shot:

Distance shot

Unfortunately taking photos at night in my bedroom with the flash and my backup camera doesn’t make for the best photos ever, but you should get the idea.

I should really make a swayback adjustment, though. Note to self.

Pretty instructions!

I have to say, I love Tasia’s instructions! Look at all those gorgeous little diagrams—barely a word, because barely a word is needed. Kinda like Ikea instructions. 🙂

Now to find time to actually work on it…

*Bonus points to the person who sees my big booboo in this photo.


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