I have had a huge crush on the combination of coral and navy ever since I saw what Kelsey has been up to over at lovely and enough. Isn’t it just the best, freshest, unexpected color combination? Of course, Kelsey is so super talented that everything she makes is stunning. So, when the lovely Michael Miller people asked me if I wanted to work with some of their newest fabric lines, I gravitated to these great coral and navy dots. Like I mentioned, navy is not my normal go-to but I’m really digging it these days.
The pattern is the Licorice Dress from the Colette Sewing Handbook (affiliate link) by Sarai Mitnick. I’ve had this book for a long time but hadn’t used it until now and it’s partly because many of the patterns are for dressier clothing than I usually wear. By ‘dressier’ I mean clothing that doesn’t allow me to just rub really hard and make the booger smear go away. Standards are not high over here.
The Licorice Dress is a great pattern and the book is really helpful because it is chock full of great techniques alongside each project. It’s intended to teach as you sew. Sarai is really one of the sewing experts out there. It’s clear she isn’t winging it…she knows what she’s talking about. The results of her expertise are obvious in the results.
My only comment about this dress & Collette patterns in general is that they are a better fit for the bigger-busted out there. I know! I know! This is an unfair complaint considering most of the patterns out there fit best on the b-cups among us (unite!). But, I will be doing a small bust adjustment next time I make this dress and a little part of me feels sad about the ‘small bust’ part of that adjustment.
The dress also has an invisible zipper (ignore those unclipped threads!). Every time I put in an invisible zipper two things happen. First, I have to re-learn how to put it in and get a headache from the effort. Second, I’m blown away by the beauty and simplicity of the invisible zipper. This seems contradictory but it happens every time. Can’t quite explain it.
The front of the dress has this lovely pleated collar. Would also be a super cute peter pan collar but I like it as a swoop, it’s an easy but beautiful detail. As is true of many Colette Patterns, there’s lots of potential for adapting this dress. It’s a versatile pattern. I can’t wait to wear mine!
The fabric, like I said, is Michael Miller from their TaDots line. It was described as ‘hi-density cotton’, which made me nervous that it would be too thick but it turns out that it means it’s got a bit of a smooth hand and slight drape. Not as much as something like Liberty but closer to the feel of Liberty fabric than regular quilting cotton. It drapes a little bit more than quilting cotton and that makes it more clothing-appropriate and softer.
This is pretty obvious but just in case it isn’t, I was given this fabric to use in anyway I wanted without any compensation. My opinion about it is totally my own, of course.
You know what the ultimate clothing formula is for me? Maybe it’s the same one you have. If you have a casual job or a kid-centered world of any description my guess is we are on the same page. It’s comfort-mixed-with-cute-mixed-with-at-least-a-little-fashion(ish). Don’t get me wrong, I can wear an awful lot of yoga pants (which they used to call sweatpants in the 90s, just sayin’). These days, though, I’m working on wearing clothes that have the comfort level of yoga pants but look a little bit more like something that wouldn’t double as pajamas.
Introducing The Tennis Dress! This dress is all of those things in one great dress.
I’m so happy to have this dress in my world. It’s made of thick jersey knit fabric and is based off the amazing skirt as top (free) scoop neck t-shirt pattern. Kristin is amazing and makes the most incredible stuff, I’m completely in love with her every move. As soon as I made her scoop neck tee it was easy to turn it into a little dress because the pattern is genius.
First of all, there are no sleeves, the pattern has the sleeve built right in but unlike other patterns out there that do this, these sleeves look great and elegant and don’t poke out or anything. To turn this into a dress, I took away some of the a-line angle (just a bit) and simple extended it down 12-14 inches. I also added little pockets at the bottom. The pockets are made out of knit fabric actually but have a faux pocket flap out of chambray. They are just the right size for the tiny toys and acorns the boys always seem to need me to carry for them. They would also fit a library card or driver’s license but not much more.
I’ve been big on the red-navy color combination lately. Black is just so pre-kids. Just kidding, I will always love black and grey but navy is a nice addition to my wardrobe…a little preppy. That’s actually why this is called the tennis dress. Just looks like I’m about to go play tennis, don’t you think? Thinking about playing tennis is about as preppy as I get so live it up tennis dress! Now I just need some tennis playing weather so I have an excuse to wear this dress already.
p.s. I’m on a serious clothing making kick. I’m considering signing up for Me Made May. Have you ever done that? I was so sad I missed out when I started to see so many handmade clothes popping up last May. Maybe this is my (and yours?) year to join in?
Our house is tiny and we are always in need of curtains that don’t demand too much attention or space. I was visiting a friend’s house recently and she had made ties to hold up a panel-like curtain shade and I thought it was brilliant. I copied her idea and made a faux roman shade for our bathroom. It fit the bill perfectly so I thought I’d share how to make it.
Supplies you will need: Curtain fabric (yardage depends on the size of your window so measure before you buy fabric), 4-6 yards of 3/4″ cotton twill tape, a good iron, sewing machine, thread and a tension curtain rod.
Measure and Cut: Begin by measuring your window. You will essentially be making a panel to fill the window so measure the height of the window and the width but don’t measure any crown molding. Now measure once more…you know what they say about ‘measure twice, cut once!” Write these measurements down because measuring thrice is just silly.
To figure out how much fabric you will want to cut take the measurements you wrote down and add 2 inches to the width and 4.5″ to the length. Cut that out of your fabric.
Next you will want to cut your twill tape. Cut four pieces of twill tape to the length of your window plus 4″.
Start by hemming the sides of your fabric panel. Use your iron to press the long sides of the fabric over one 1/2″ and another 1/2″. Sew both sides.
Repeat with the bottom of your fabric panel folding over one 1/2″ and another 1/2″ and stitching along that fold.
Once the sides and bottom are hemmed, fold over the top of the shade one 1/2″ and another 1.5″ inches down. Press with your iron but don’t sew it just yet. This will create the casing for the curtain rod but before we stitch it closed we need to attach the twill tape ties.
In order to be sure our twill tape doesn’t unravel we need to fold over the ends of the twill tape and sew them shut. Now, this is just the kind of project that can be unnecessarily clumsy and frustrating because making tiny, bulky stitches is never easy. To help us along, however, we will chain stitch the ends of the twill tape.
Take each of the 4 twill tape pieces and fold over one of the ends twice. Pin in place. Using a scrap bit of your curtain fabric begin sewing and then once it gets going feed in your twill tape ties, going one at a time until you have sewn them all (see picture above). This helps them feed into the machine much more smoothly. Go ahead and cut them apart from each other. Now you should have four pieces of twill tape that have one end sewn shut and one end raw.
Returning to the fabric panel, tuck the raw end of one of the twill tape ties on the wrong side of the fabric 2″ in from the side hem and pin in place. Repeat on the right-hand side of the curtain top.
Moving to the right side of the fabric, take another twill tape tie and pin the raw end 2″ in from the side hem with the length of the tie facing the top hem.
The result will be one twill tape strip pinned to the inside of the fabric panel and one pinned to the outside of the fabric panel. Repeat the same on the right-hand side of the fabric panel.
Now you can go ahead and stitch along the top hem. Be sure to sew across all of the twill tape ties as you stitch.
All in one go you will be creating a casing for your curtain rod and securing your twill tape ties. Turn the curtain to the right side and fold the front-side twill tape ties down securing in place with one more stitch to enclose the raw edge.
That’s it! Now you can put the curtain rod through your casing, tie them up to the length you want and hang them in your beautified house!
The fabric for this project was provided to me for a featured tutorial at Terry Fabrics where I am a contributor.