Black striped Renfrew maxi dress (and a hidden treasure!)

Black striped Renfrew maxi dress - finished

Happy summer to those of you in the northern hemisphere!  It seems that the warm weather is finally taking hold, and women wearing maxi dresses are flooding the steamy city streets, myself included.  : )  If this new dress looks familiar, it’s because it’s nearly identical to my previous one.  Let’s face it, this isn’t the first time I’m guilty of cranking out multiple garments from the same pattern.  Ahem.  : )  I know what I like, people!

What IS different, however, is that these photos were taken in the great outdoors (well, those steamy city streets to be exact) by someone other than myself.  Shock!  Gasp!  I know, not what you expected on this ol’ blog, but I like to give my readers a nice surprise once in a while.  If I’m going to show you identical twin dresses, the least I can do is give you some sunshine in the photos!

John was kind enough to snap these photos for me.  We found a “good wall,” as they say, and here are the fruits of our labor.  Many thanks to my wonderful boyfriend for tolerating my sewing obsession addiction hobby, and always with a smile.  : )

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Gray striped Renfrew maxi dress

Gray striped Renfrew maxi dress - finished

Summer is here!  And to celebrate, I made a maxi dress — my favorite type of garment to wear on hot summer days.  There’s just something so cooling and comfortable about a long, flowing piece of jersey hanging off your shoulders, with no cinching or pulling and plenty of room for a big lunch.  : )  And since I’m on the tall side, I think the long silhouette is flattering on me.  Comfortable *and* flattering?  Yes please, I’ll take it!

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Sgt. Pepper dress – finished!

Sgt Pepper dress - Butterick 5353 - finished

Here she is, my finished Sgt. Pepper dress!  Only took me a month or so.  : )  Despite my lack of sewing time lately and the resulting slow pace of progress on this project, I’m actually quite pleased with how it all came together.  The print alignment turned out fairly well, and I’m really digging this late 60s inspired fabric.  Perfectly reminiscent of one of my favorite Beatles albums.  And check out the cat eye and huge mustache on the fabric (3rd row below the waistband) – how funky!  Love it.

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Sgt. Pepper dress: getting there!

Sgt Pepper dress - progress 2 - front

Remember about 10 years ago when I started this project?  Oh wait, it was only 3 weeks ago?  Man, that seems like forever!  This past month has been super busy with work, and then I went to the west coast for a week, and then I caught a cold on the last day of my trip… all of which makes for slow progress on the sewing front.  Boo!  Thankfully, I’m happy to report that I’m back home, mostly recovered from my cold, and back to my normal sewing routine.  And behold: I’ve actually made some progress on my funky dress!

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A super funky dress in the works, man

Cuttinig Sgt Pepper dress - fabric

After a really long and stressful week at work, including working on my birthday yesterday (which I hate doing!), I finally had a Saturday afternoon to myself to indulge in some much-needed sewing therapy.  And look at what found its way to my sewing table!  This EPIC FABRIC SCORE from Gather Here – a funky late 60s Alexander Henry print called “In Crowd.”

This fabric is so me – I loved it instantly.  It reminds me of the Beatles, only the later, drugged-out, hippie Beatles.  The soundtrack for this fabric is basically anything from Sgt. Pepper, but especially “Within You Without You,” one of my all-time favorite, super-trippy Beatles songs.  Hence the birth of the Sgt. Pepper dress.  Love it already.  : )

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Yellow polka dot dress – finished!

Yellow polka dot dress - Butterick 5353 - finished

I am thrilled to finally present my finished yellow polka dot dress!  I finished it at the beginning of July, but I didn’t get around to doing the photo shoot until this afternoon.  My apologies for the long wait!  I’m so happy with how this dress came out – very light and summery – and it was an incredibly quick and easy project.  After all the alteration drama with my turquoise and yellow dress, the second time around with this pattern was a piece of cake.  Love it!  : )

Project stats:

Pattern: Butterick 5353, fitted dress with circular neckband.

Fabric: Yellow polka dot fabric is Moda Half Moon Modern; cream lining is Kona cotton.  Both are 100% cotton – perfect for a light summer dress.

Modifications: Same as for the turquoise and yellow dress.

Level of crafty satisfaction: Love it!!  I feel so cheerful and summery wearing this dress.  : )

To see all the posts about this yellow beauty, click here.

Butterick 5353 pattern art

Lots more photos below… probably too many, but I was having fun and got a little carried away.  : )  Click on any of the photos to make them bigger.  Enjoy!

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The invisible zipper is my sewing nemesis

Yellow polka dot dress - invisible zipper installed

It took me 2 hours and a lot of cursing, sweating, and exasperated sighs… but I managed to install the invisible zipper on my yellow polka dot dress.  Phew!  Why is this always such a challenge for me?  I tell myself that it’s because I don’t have an invisible zipper foot and am using a regular zipper foot, but can it really make that much of a difference?  Regardless, it’s done now, and I don’t want to think about zippers again for a good long while.  : )

Despite all the drama, I’m actually fairly pleased with how everything came out.  I guess all my frustration was worth it?  You can see from the photo above that there are no glaring errors and that the neckband and waistband seams match up pretty well, so I guess I’m calling this a success.  Hurrah!

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Holiday weekends are great for sewing

Yellow polka dot dress - bodice front

Look what I did on my day off from work today — I put together the entire top half of my long-neglected yellow polka dot dress!  It’s amazing how much sewing I can get done when my day job isn’t getting in the way.  : )  The pattern is Butterick 5353, which I also used to make my turquoise and yellow dress.  Since I had taken care of the alterations the first time around, this second dress is a breeze.  It was so great to have an entire day off to sit at my sewing machine, and even better that I have something to show for all those hours.  And how about those polka dots — so cute!

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Yellow polka dot preview, and my ambitious next project

Yellow polka dot dress - yellow and gray fabrics cut

Thank you so much for all your great feedback on my turquoise and yellow dress!  I’m quite happy with the finished product, and I’m excited to crank out a very yellow version.  Behold progress on the new dress: yellow polka dot pieces cut, gray waistband pieces cut… and white lining fabric still uncut.  What can I say?  I did this after work tonight and ran out of steam.  Funny how working all day will do that to you.  : )

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Turquoise and yellow dress – finished!

Turquoise and yellow dress - Butterick 5353 - finished!

I am proud to present my finished turquoise and yellow dress, finally!!  : )  After all the pattern alteration drama and muslin frustration, I think this dress actually came out pretty nicely.  I love the color combination and the slim cut of the dress, and I can’t wait to show up at my lab looking fabulous in this baby.  It was a lot of work, but I’m calling it a success!  : )

Project stats:

Pattern: Butterick 5353, fitted dress with circular neckband

Fabric: Turquoise and yellow are Kona cotton by Robert Kaufman; polka dot lining is Vivie Sprinkle by Alexander Henry.  100% cotton.

Modifications:  Not too bad, despite all the fitting drama.  Added 1 inch in length right above the waistband (a regular adjustment for my long torso), removed about 1/2 inch from the front armhole area, and took in about 1 inch in the back shoulder area (essentially adding shoulder darts in the princess seams; required adding about 1/2 inch of length at the top of the side back pieces).  I cut a size 10 for the bodice and waist, and between a 10 and 12 for the skirt.  The 14 corresponded to my actual measurements but was WAY TOO BIG.

Level of crafty satisfaction:  Love it!!  And pretty proud of myself for turning a mess into a nice dress.  🙂

Lots more photos below!

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