The Perfect Sun Dress – Butterick B6453

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I managed to sneak in a couple of new handmade sun dresses just before summer disappears here in the UK using the Butterick B6453 pattern by Gertie. I’ve been wanting to find a pattern for a strappy dress similar to the popular Jenny dress by US brand Pin Up Girl clothing, which I’ve long lusted after online but have never quite been brave enough to order by the time you factor in customs & shipping. The B6453 is the perfect shape and I love Gertie’s style, so it was precisely what I’d been looking for! I also joined the Facebook group Gertie set up for the sew along to accompany the pattern and it’s been so inspiring to see all of the gorgeous dresses the ladies in the group have created!

Caturday

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I made my first B6453 in this beautiful cat border print fabric, from the new Caturday range by Windham Fabrics, designed by Felice Regina. Felice and I had arranged on Instagram to do a pin swap and as we were exchanging details I mentioned that I loved the latest fabric range she had designed and the photos I’d seen of her gorgeous booth at Quilt Market, so she very kindly sent me some of the fabric to try!

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I’m always a sucker for a border print and this fabric is just darling. The main body of the fabric has tiny polka dots, but when you look closely some of them are paw prints! And the cats lazing around against their backdrop of doilies – have you ever seen a more perfectly twee print?! I’m in love!

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When it came to sewing the dress, I made sure to choose my size based on the finished garment measurements as Gertie advised since Butterick include quite a bit of ease in this pattern. I had to shorten the bodice slightly for my proportions, and I still had to take it in a little on the centre back seam to make it fit, but I’m very happy with the result!

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I cheated a little and didn’t put sliders on the straps as the pattern requires but instead measured and sewed them at a fixed length. I’ve seen quite a few versions with tie straps too which looks very cute, so I’d like to give that a try! The only other change I made was to line the bodice rather than using the facings. I think the bodice is very flattering and I love the shape, it’s exactly what I wanted.

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Vintage Daydream

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I made my second version of this dress using a Riley Blake fabric which is pleasingly called Vintage Daydream, purchased from the lovely Hollies Haberdashery.

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I’m a big fan of bunting and will have it absolutely everywhere if allowed, and even own several bunting necklaces (which will likely be no surprise!!) so this fabric was the perfect choice. I particularly like the bunting strings that look like floral vintage handkerchiefs knotted together!

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I always find it hard to take photos of the back of dresses as they can be so unexciting and hard to capture. But this dress has such a beautiful scooped back I made an exception!

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I’m really pleased with both of these dresses, they are so unashamedly girly! I’m certain the B6453 pattern will become another staple in my handmade wardrobe as it’s perfect for pretty cotton sundresses like these, and will also work fabulously as a fancy dress for a special occasion. I might need to make a posh version for Christmas!

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I think I’m definitely back on the blogging train now and I’ve still got a few more dresses I’ve made recently to share, so I’ll be back soon!

Lucy x

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The Laneway Dress

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After an unintentional blogging break, I’m back with a gorgeous new dress pattern to talk about, the Laneway Dress by Jennifer Lauren Handmade!

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When Jennifer got in touch to ask if I’d be interested in trying the pattern, I was excited as I love the vintage silhouette and the unusual collar detail, but most of all because the dress is cleverly drafted to allow for different cup sizes and achieve an excellent fit!

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I didn’t quite get the perfect fit on this dress as I actually made it a little too big, but that’s my fault rather than any flaw in the pattern, which I found to be very well drafted and didn’t disappoint! I was nervous of how the dress would fit around the middle since it has a fairly flat waistline and so I graded out to a larger size on the waist, but I over compensated and it ended up being a bit too loose. The fit is just right around the shoulders so I will know next time that I can be less cautious and just make my straight size. I ought to have made a muslin first but I’m too impatient! When I spend time sewing I want to get a finished garment out of it so my usual approach with a new pattern is to just go for it but keep tinkering with the fit each time I make the pattern. I already have my next Laneway cut out and another planned after that, so I’m sure I’ll have it spot on soon. I do particularly like how the bodice is shaped with double open-ended darts in the waist rather than usual bust and waist darts – which is similar to another pattern I have made and loved – and I think once I get the sizing right it will be a fabulous shape. I’ve taken the side seams in a little and I’m still very pleased with the finished dress, it is completely wearable and very comfy!

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Just look at this collar detail, isn’t it swoon worthy? It’s also really easy to sew as it’s all part of the facing – so no fiddly extra collar to attach! I chose the asymmetric line as it adds a quirky touch, but you can also choose a centred collar, or make it without the collar. I usually line the bodices of all my dresses rather than using facings, even if the pattern doesn’t require it, but this time I did make the facing so as to follow the pattern correctly the first time I made it. I’m actually quite happy with the facing as the collar does help to hold it properly in place. The dress also has a v neckline at the back which is a nice extra detail.

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I did add a little extra swing into the skirt as it is drafted as an A-line but I prefer a fit and flare shape, so I just extended to curve of the hemline as wide as I could when I cut out the skirt pieces. I also want to try making the dress with a plain neckline and a gathered skirt, which should be another lovely combination!

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I’ve had my eye on this beautiful Art Gallery fabric for a while after seeing it on Instagram and in a couple of haberdasheries. It’s from the Pastel Thrift collection, and the vintage record players and gramophones are charming. I’m always drawn to anything yellow and the tone of this dress is somewhere nicely between a bold yellow and a mustard yellow, so it adds a slightly different position on the spectrum to my wardrobe!! I think the fabric choice actually gives the dress quite a 1960s feel, despite it being a 1940s inspired shape, which shows the versatility of the dress pattern. It was the first time I’ve made a dress with an Art Gallery fabric and it was an absolute dream to sew with and lovely to wear, it’s quite soft and silky with a nice amount of drape for a quilting cotton. The collar is a Cotton & Steel fabric from the Sprinkles range, using material left over from an Emery dress I made last year. That dress is very special to me as Michael chose the fabric, so I wanted to draw on the colours and style for this dress. As a serious vinyl lover and collector, I know he would have loved this fabric too.

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Overall, I found the Laneway dress to be a really fab pattern with an elegant vintage feel, and I’ll definitely be making more!

Lucy x