Tropical Bliss

 

When I think of the tropics as a holiday destination, I automatically think of floating maxi dresses. So when we were packing for our two week trip to Queensland last month, this self-drafted maxi found its way into my suitcase. I made it a while ago, but still love the print on it and love to wear it on a warm sunny day.

Every time we go somewhere nice, I try to use the opportunity and pack something I have made so that I can have it photographed in a nice location and also wear it during my holiday.

The fabric from this dress came from Spotlight. It’s a cotton sateen with a bold green and brown flower print on it. When I first saw it, I knew it would become a maxi dress with a bit of a 70s look to it. I only bought about 1.5 metres of the fabric without any specific pattern in mind. The dress turned out the way it did because I ran out of fabric to make it almost any other way!

This was going to be a high-waisted maxi from the start. I first made the skirt using the complete width of the fabric, pretty much down to the ground. I pleated it in even pleats that folded in towards the centre front where there was an inverted centre pleat and the same at the back.

Then I got a bit stuck with trying to make the bodice because there wasn’t much fabric left. I cut the waistband and front halterneck part as a sort of scarf that just gathered around the neck. But still wasn’t sure about how to do the back part of the bodice.

I decided to cover up the back as much as I could with what I had left of the fabric. I found that when I had joined the front to the back, the front part of the halterneck was sagging somewhat in the cleavage area, because I had made it slightly too long. So I tried the dress on and was contemplating on how to fix the problem in front of the mirror. I was pulling the part around the back of my neck down with my hand and suddenly had an idea!

I would just loop a small strip of fabric down the centre back to pull down the excess fabric that was too loose and give the bodice a good pull and at the same time a perfect fit. I thought that was a pretty good invention to solve the problem! Well, it worked and the front part of the bodice sits and fits perfectly.

I only lined the bodice front and back of the dress and didn’t bother with the skirt or the halterneck part. It doesn’t appear to be see-through, even in stronger light, so it was a relatively quick sew. I inserted an invisible zip on the left side to keep the back in one piece and that was about it.

Originally, I thought to sew a few green and brown sequins and tiny beads in the centre of each flower pattern but abandoned this idea when I realised they could possibly cause staining during washing. In the end I decided to keep the dress more simple without the glitz. Sometimes more is more but in this case it was less is more :-)!

 

 

 

 

 

 

For a completely self-drafted dress, I am really happy with the outcome. I think maxi dresses are something that most seamstresses can make without a pattern. Of course that requires a lot of fittings to get the right fit. But I know that I try my self-made garments on many, many times in front of the mirror and tweak here and there even when I use a pattern, until the fit is perfect for my body shape.

Apart from wearing this maxi for collecting sea shells and corals at the beach (!), I’ve worn it to family gatherings, events and a Christmas get-together with friends. I hope to wear it more often this summer.

I think it can be both more casual and relaxed or dressier with the right accessories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The day we took these photos, we spent the day at Horseshoe Bay in Queensland picnicking, swimming, walking and just enjoying the magical view from under the shade of one of the trees on the beach. We also found some beautiful washed-up sea shells and coral. What a beautiful little gem of a beach!

LOCATION: Horseshoe Bay, Queensland, Australia

OUTFIT: sunglasses – Margot by Tom Ford, ring – Apart Fashion

PHOTOGRAPHY: meggi-design

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Heidi in the Mountains – Vintage Simplicity 7431

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Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo here comes my Heidi dress! This dress is appropriately named Heidi because we photographed it in the beautiful, mountainous region of Bavaria, Germany, while on our holiday.

I found this stunning 70’s pattern while browsing through Etsy and couldn’t wait for it to arrive! It took about 5 weeks to reach me from Canada and the seller and I thought it had gone missing in the post. But when it did finally get here, I went hunting for the perfect fabric. The things that really grabbed me when I first saw this pattern were the colour white, the long dress, the big collar, the halterneck and the big pockets – a lot of 70s elements that I just adore! I love the cover dress in white, so white it had to be!

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White Waffle Pique FabricI was after a fabric with some texture to make it more interesting, preferably a natural fibre. Tessuti in Melbourne came to the rescue with it’s white waffle pique fabric in 100% cotton. I got some for the dress and realised that I had looked at the pattern for the short version of the dress and not the long one! So after playing around with the pattern pieces in every possible position, I managed to just, just squeeze out the maxi dress! After I was finished making it, I ordered some more of this gorgeous fabric for a top because of the beautiful quality. Lucky I did, because soon after it was sold out!

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The skirt has a front panel, two side panels and the back panel is split in two to accommodate the zip. So there are no side seams as in most typical dresses/skirts.

The bodice with it’s curvy pattern pieces is fully interfaced with the waffle pique and the pockets are cut on the bias, which is why you need so much fabric! I underlined the skirt part of the dress and the pockets in a white cotton voile, to give it a bit more shape and structure. This took more time and the skirt could have done without it because the fabric isn’t too thin, but I couldn’t help myself! I tend to underline almost everything these days! I somehow always want to get the runway look in my clothes. The designers seem to present their collections with their garments looking like they sway with the body and have a kind of soft “stiffness”, if you know what I mean. I read somewhere that some designers don’t always line their garments, but most do underline them.

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The sewing itself is pretty straight forward. There is quite a bit of top stitching to do and I was debating on whether I should do it or not due to the texture in the waffle pique fabric, but thought “what the heck” and went ahead with it. I do think it looks better with top stitching as it defines the bodice more than without it.

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I used a special top stitching thread in white that needed to be tested out first, as the tension on my machine was just not doing it for me. In the end, the top stitching is not flawless but I can live with it. I underlined the big 70s pockets (love big pockets!) as well and they too are topstitched around the edges and the top.

It was nice to see the bodice come together bit by bit and after I had done the top stitching on it, I felt it was a small work of art! It has a good shape, form and fit.

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The dress has a self-belt that I made but didn’t put on for the photos. I am not sure I will ever wear it just because I think it covers too much of the nice “V” shape in the front waist where there also happens to be a lot of top stitching. Not sure what the designers were thinking there when they designed it…

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I bought this pattern in size 10, which is a perfect fit for me without any alterations, except for the length, as I am not the tallest person at only 161cm! I admit I am pretty lazy when it comes to making too many changes and am lucky that most patterns fit me well enough not to have to alter too much about them.

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There is already some denim fabric in my stash waiting to be made up in the knee-length version of this dress at some point during this coming summer (hopefully). It will be more wearable than a long white dress  (I know, I know…) but I couldn’t resist when I saw the pattern photo. I have a real weakness for white clothing! I don’t always make clothes for practical reasons. A lot of the time I will make something with a real passion and fervor just because I love the look of it and the challenge of making it myself with my own spin on it here and there.

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I REALLY wanted to put in an invisible zip in the back of the dress, but that was near to impossible because of the thickness of the fabric with all the top stitching. I personally prefer the zip to be as invisible as possible but had to give in to a standard dress zip this time. I’m not entirely happy with the look of it, but it will have to do… :-(. The halterneck closes via two buttons at the nape of the neck.

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This is definitely a garden party style dress. Just have to wait for the garden party season to start! Melbourne weather is pretty up and down this spring…

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Fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria

 

Beautiful Bavaria!

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STYLING: sunglasses: Carlina square by Chloe, necklace: Magnolia silver jewellery, bracelet: Witchery, ring: Apart Fashion

LOCATION: Bad Hindelang, Bavaria, Germany

Long Country Road

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A sunny floral maxi dress to start wrapping up the warm weather season before the cold starts to set in and I get stuck into making winter gear….After having a much too long break from blogging due to a new job and life in general, I decided to use our very short camping trip location over the Easter break (only one night – can’t get shorter than that!) to photograph this daffodil print satin maxi dress.

When I saw this fabric at Lincraft ages ago, it was love at first sight! I love maxi dresses with a mega print of some sort on them (not easy to find) and this was definitely destined for a maxi. The fabric has a beautiful flow to it and is beautifully slippery but not too shiny. I love that the print is only in the middle and there is white on both sides.

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Not sure of exactly which style of maxi I would make, I bought quite a few metres of the fabric and then went back and bought a bit more for an airy loose top! So you may see that coming up in a future blog, when I get around to it….you know how it is – sew much fabric, sew little time…!

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This is another one of my famous no-pattern makes. I just measured the length I would need for the dress plus a little more just in case and used the complete width of the fabric. When I realised that it would be too see-through without lining, I used some cotton voile in white to line the whole dress. So it’s not see-through but also still very light and has heaps of room for movement.

Michael Kors had some summer dresses in the past that used a thicker chain or necklace as a closure for around the neck and I had always wanted to make one, so I thought that would be just perfect for this dress. I found a very affordable, somewhat thicker gold chain at Lovisa that I thought and hoped would hold the dress up! It was going to either be gathered or pleated around the neck part and after trying both out, I decided to pleat it because it would lie flat and not be too bulky with the two layers of fabric. I folded over the pleating after securing it with lots of big hand stitching and made a tunnel to pull the chain through. Then I machine sewed the tunnel and pulled the hand stitching out.

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The front of the dress is exactly the same as the back and the sides are just sewn together with enough of a slit left and right for the arms to move freely and still wear an unseen strapless bra. The hem is very small and just machine sewn.

Once again, I love that this dress has no zip and just slips on over my head by opening the necklace and fixing it again to close. Too easy!

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I love to wear this dress with heels because I am not very tall, but it also looks great with elegant flat sandals or even bare feet!

There was one strip of fabric left over and I use it as either a head piece or belt. I hand stitched the hem by rolling the edges and just barely catching the fabric to make it as invisible as possible. Using the fabric strip as a belt makes the dress more versatile and gives it a completely different shape and look. I think a nude colour leather belt or a gold chain belt would also work well.

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Depending on how this maxi is worn, it really has a 70s vibe to it, especially with the head scarf!

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Someone forgot to water this tree…

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Finishing off the dress, I had to try it on a few times with flats and heels to decide on the length, as I wanted to leave both options open. It should be a little longer to wear with heels, but then I would be stepping on it in flats…sometimes you just can’t win…I probably don’t wear this gorgeous dress enough, but who does, when you have so much to choose from as a fanatical sewer and fashion lover with a too small, tightly packed wardrobe?

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Styling:  hat: no name brand from Myer, amber and silver bracelet: bought from little boutique in Gdansk, Poland, amber and silver ring: custom made in Poland, sunglasses: Margot by Tom Ford, shoes: Apart Fashion (German Fashion label), gold chain in dress: Lovisa