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Ministry of Craft Blog

    Wednesday, March 28, 2018

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    Thanks Rae for your second instalment and sharing your sewing story with us again. It's lovely to read about how you are adapting existing patterns and experimenting with different fabrics with much success.....the results are amazing!

    So I have been experimenting a bit with the Staple Dress by April Rhodes, and have made some tops from the top part of the dress, I really like the way the sleeves fall, and it is very suitable for my active lifestyle, so I think I will make some more of these. I also experimented with extending the sleeves out - I was inspired by this blog: Sew Amy Sew but wanted to make it in an organic knitted linen, so I built up to it... I bought this very cheap green fabric in yorkshire from a charity shop - I think it was £3.50 for three meters, its quite an open weave wool and either cotton or silk mix. Its very warm and comfortable. So I firstly made a long sleeved top to try out my extended sleeve design, I had to make a toile as well and needed to adjust it a bit to get a good arm fit.

    The green top worked out well (and I have worn it loads) and so I used the same arm extension and made the dress, which is a little bulky due to the fabric - but it is warm and cosy and I have been wearing it in this cold weather.

    Next I moved on to the lovely organic linen (I first saw it here in her blog) and after some concern about how to do the neckline and sewing knitted fabrics - and not wanting to make a mistake because it was very expensive and a christmas present etc I needn't have worried - it was perfect to work with - much more stable than the viscose I used for the Date Night Dress, and just behaved beautifully.

    The tee shirt I wear all the time - its so useful. And the dress is really exactly as I had imagined.

    So I have now made four dresses and two tops out of this one pattern - but they all look very different in the different fabrics. It truly is a wardrobe staple and looking online I think it suits ladies of all sorts of shapes and sizes. Perhaps just a really good cut / design works! I am very happy to be able to make all these cool and stylish clothes without any darts or shoulder-fitting-arm seams! I will get back to those patterns at some point, but so far I haven't managed to get the perfect fit. Whereas these April Rhodes dresses fit and flow around your own body shop rather than being tailored to it. Suits me!

    The Date Night Dress is a lot more 'dressy' than the staple dress - which fits with the name! But it is really a very easy to wear comfortable dress that feels good and was fun to make - I would not usually go for something as fussy as these sleeves, but the simplicity of the way the material falls just with gravity is very appealing (I used a viscose to get the drape). I will definitely make another one of these.


    The slip is also part of the pattern design - so I made this with organic bamboo jersey - which is fabulous, (I also made a harimaki out of this fabric - which I have worn and washed over and over and it still looks as good as when I first made it - bamboo is very good for that).

    Because the arm holes are large on the date night you get to see a flash of the slip underneath so I chose a coral colour to match the flowers on the dress.


    We look forward to the next installment, (read part one here), keep up the good work!


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