Jennifer Lauren Handmade Sorrel Dress

This cute shirt dress pattern from Jennifer Lauren Handmade was released in December 2018 as part of a Kickstarter campaign to produce paper patterns. I received the paper pattern in June 2019 by the time the Kickstarter had finished and all the patterns went to print. I was determined to make this from the paper pattern to give that first pattern a good test. It’s been a while since I’ve made one of Jen’s patterns, but all those I’ve made so far have been a great fit and style.

Off I went to shop my stash, well then I couldn’t find the perfect fabric in my stash. Of course! So why not plagiarise in the best possible way, I went to the Miss Maude website and purchased some of the beautiful Atelier Brunette cotton double gauze. This is Stardust Amarante, the two sample versions on the JLH website are in different colourways, so not completely copying, but imitation in its sincerest form 🙂 It is the most beautiful fabric to sew with. Well worth the cost!

This pattern comes in a great size range and I’ve seen versions on many sizes which is great. It also offers cup sizes, so the bust sizing ranges from a 6A (bust size 74cm or 29″) all the way to a 24D (bust 126.5cm or 48 3/4″). There are also two different versions, one with a grown on placket and the other with a separate button placket. It also has pockets! 🙂

I chose to make the version with the grown on placket which is view 2. No reason behind this really. It could have been a bit of laziness, in not wanting to cut out more pieces! I’ve also managed to just about hide the Atelier Brunette bows under the plackets, but they’re still visible if necessary.

I didn’t have any problems making up this pattern. I made up a size 16 D cup, based on my bust and waist measurements, also based on the finished measurements too.

I lengthened the bodice by half inch, which is pretty standard for me for many patterns. The best thing is, this pattern has pockets! They’re also a great size. Plenty of room for all sorts of rubbish in these pockets!

I love how the grown on cap sleeves fit. I’ve some other patterns with grown on sleeves, but they just don’t fit as well, these have a great fit.

The buttons, I didn’t follow the button diagram on the pattern. I noted where my bust line lay and then used my SimFlex sewing gauge to give the positions of the other buttons, ensuring one is also at the waist. The buttons themselves look expensive, but these actually came from Pete’s Emporium in Lower Hutt. Their button wall is one of my fave places to look for buttons! I think I originally looked at five different buttons, whittling it down to two and bought them both finally deciding to use these gold buttons!

The deets
Fabric:  Atelier Brunette cotton gauze, Stardust Amarante colour from Miss Maude NZ
Notions:  Thread, interfacing and buttons
Pattern:  Jennifer Lauren Handmade Sorrel dress, view 2, size 16D.
Changes made/recommendations:  This is a lovely dress. The fit is great. It may be a bit loose in the waist, but actually it doesn’t need a tight waist. I put a belt on this once and never again. Sacks of potatoes done up in the middle spring to mind! I love the fold out collar giving a great V neck. I think this pattern would look great made up in a viscose giving more drape. If I was to make this up in a viscose I would definitely take the waist in more. Actually looking at these photos, it looks like there’s excess in the back bodice, perhaps I might do with going down a back size to the 14?

The paper patterns from JLH have very fine tissue. There’s quite a lot with this pattern with the different bust sizes. The JLH fantastic instructions which we’ve got to know are in a booklet. The layout of the booklet is great, there’s no trying to fit lots on a page to save paper, etc. As usual the instructions from Jen are clear and easy to follow. They’re broken up into sections with headers. The booklet also includes a glossary and space to write your own notes in the back. The pattern is then in an envelope about the same size as a big 4 envelope, so it will fit with all your other printed patterns in storage.

The Atelier Brunette fabric is also fantastic. It was lovely to cut and sew with. Very well behaved fabric, beautiful to the touch and works perfectly for this pattern.

#2019MakeNine – the end

I’m glad I did this and actually enjoyed it! This was the first time I’d set up a Make Nine for the year and although I often make way more than nine things in a year, I was good to have a focus for the year. I also think selecting specific fabrics from stash was also a much better idea than specifying nine patterns, for a start it made me focus on using my stash rather than buying new fabrics.

I did make more than my Make Nine (I’m way behind on my blogging), but I can quite happily tick off eight of my original nine. The other ninth won’t happen until I can find a pattern which works (it probably doesn’t help that Mr N doesn’t really like the fabric!)

Project One:  Swimwear
Consider this completed!
I used the fabric and made up the Jazz Tankini from Swim Style Patterns. Not perfect, I should have done an FBA, but I’ve used this tankini loads. It was used on holiday in Raro and I used it lots for our spa tub in the garden.
The blog post is here.

Project Two:  Burda 7767 (men’s shirt)
I’ve actually made two shirts for Mr N this year. One in the middle of the year and the other I finished for Christmas. Yes, I used the blue and white stripe for one shirt. The second I used some awesome NZ fern fabric.

Project Three:  Frangipani dress
Completed! I did not use either of the patterns I originally thought to use. I made it up using Simplicity 2444, mainly based on the fact that I used the pattern for some other fabric not long before and decided I liked the fit and I really wanted something relatively quick to make up.

Project Four:  Papercut Patterns Sapporo Coat
Completed and I love this coat!

I even made up another one, which needs at least a basic blog post.

Project Five:  Baby somethings!
Lots and lots of baby somethings have been made up. A blanket, dribble bibs, cardigans, mittens, hats, booties and a penguin cocoon.

Plus even more which hasn’t been blogged yet!

Project Six:  McCalls 6696
All completed and even used the fabric I thought I would use. Definitely a success.

Project Seven:  Teal tartan coat
This didn’t happen. Mr N doesn’t really like the fabric and I really wanted to make something with a hood. I couldn’t find anything which I liked and would work with the amount of fabric I had. 😦 I’m still keen to make something. I’ll continue looking, thinking, cogitating and ruminating.

Project Eight:  True Bias Ogden Cami
Strangely I only made up one, but used one of the fabrics I intended to use at least. I’m conscious this pattern needs some fixing for me, so I might even try something else. Or add bust darts to cater for an FBA.

Project Nine:  Nightwear
All done! This nightie is in constant use. The colours make me feel so cheerful when I wake up in the morning.

There will be a #2020MakeNine, I’m working these out at the moment!

Plaid Cami

Yep, I’ve been busy sewing!

This is Pauline Alice Cami dress.

I first saw this dress on Dolly Clackett‘s blog and when I looked at it, I decided it was the shirt dress pattern I needed for this fabric. The fabric has been hanging around in my stash for a while and I was supposed to use it and give what was left over to fellow Wellington sewer Mel, but I was so long getting a pattern, she gave up and got her own and made up a dress ages ago!
Even so I still procrastinated… My muslin of the bodice was wrong, all wrong and in the end I decided I had to do my first ever FBA! HELP! Where’s that book, website, etc, etc. Why was I so scared, it was easy! This pattern only has waist darts and for me I need a bit more which was why I did the FBA and gave the bodice bust darts too.

Then due to my fabric choice I had all the fun of pattern cutting combined with pattern matching! I’m after something easy next, what a headache this was with some of the matching it required! The skirt is just two rectangles and so I didn’t use the pattern pieces for those, I just cut two widths of fabric so I could match the pattern perfectly. I even put in an in seam pocket…

Can you see the join?
I went for version B with the longer sleeves. These have a really cute cuff which is shown folded up, although I have seen some versions online where the cuff is left down. I had to cut one of these again as I realised I’d sewn it upside down and the pattern wouldn’t match! I think I will now just add a couple of catch stitches to the tops on the inside seam to ensure they stay in place.
The pattern became quite an obsession in the end! I was so obsessed that each piece was the right way up and that it matched where it possibly could. I even recut one of the cuffs because it didn’t match. Just check out this front placket!
The dress has a side seam zip and did I say it had pockets? Oh yes, it has pockets! I only put one in, as I decided I could cope matching the pattern with an inseam pocket and the bottom of the side seam zip!

One think I rarely do is top-stitch, but I decided with this dress that I would. There is top stitching down the button placket, around the sleeve cuffs and also around the collar.

The hem however is hand stitched. I think many of my regulars will know how much I love a hand stitched hem. Even when I was little, Mum used to sew and the last thing she ever did was hand sew the hem, I think it must be some kind of obsession or something which means something isn’t finished without hand stitching the hem. Yep, I know there are two widths of 1.5m wide fabric, but that’s no excuse for letting standards drop…
Oh, did I mention the pink grosgrain I used to finish it too?

What else can I say about this?
Fabric:  Blue, black and pink plaid cotton from Fabric Warehouse Jan 2013. There was 4m of this which I got for $30. Bargain! I think I’ve got about 1.5m left.
Notions:   Thread, interfacing for the collar, cuffs and placket, buttons from Spotlight and pink grosgrain ribbon for the hem from Made on Marion.

Pattern:  Pauline Alice Cami dress
First worn:  For photos at Truby King gardens, Wellington. Worn with a bought black belt, black tights and my bright blue snakeskin pumps. I also wore a petticoat to help the skirt stand out.

Changes made:  I did an FBA which meant I ended up with bust darts. The front waist darts will also have been shifted to fit my shape better. The skirt pieces I didn’t use the pattern pieces for, I just cut two widths. No other changes made.
Recommend?  Definitely. Even doing the FBA was not a problem and only because I’ve perhaps a bit more than the pattern asks for around the bust! The drafting is great. The sleeves are not too tight, which can sometimes be an issue, but the fit of these is great. The instructions are really clear and easy to follow, with pictures for most steps. What I really like about the instructions is that for the version you want to make, Pauline has said exactly which pieces need printing to save printing the whole pattern. Each pattern piece states which pages are required to piece it together, eg the long sleeves are on pages 4, 5, 8, 9. Such a simple easy thing which is a great touch as far as I’m concerned as it certainly saves on the printing costs.

Can you tell I like this dress? Not obviously the the number of photos is it? It also fulfills another of The Monthly Stitch Indie Pattern month challenges. You can now vote for me to win even more awesome patterns here

I’ve never made up one of Pauline Alice’s patterns and this is definitely New to Me.

Thanks to one of my fellow WSBN ladies who took these for me. Of course, it wouldn’t be a post without a couple of outtakes…