Summer Rose Fifi Pyjamas

Hello, there. I trust you all had a good weekend and made the most of the sunshine. It was lovely in Oxford and getting the suncream out for the first time was wonderful. In anticipation of the warmer weather and thinking about a summer holiday, my thoughts have wondered to my summer wardrobe and specifically night wear. I knew a lovely set of summer pyjamas were needed and when Minerva kindly got in touch to offer some fabric, I found the perfect match of pattern and fabric to create the Summer Rose Fifi pyjamas. 

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The fabric is called Rose Floral and it is a cotton poplin. I was drawn to the pink roses which remind me of country garden and times gone by and this nostalgia only grow when I saw that the print had a vintage/tapestry look to it. The roses are set on a black background - not my first choice for summer but it does lift the pinks well. When I originally received the fabric I thought it would be too thick and not have enough drape to make Fifi but all my concerns were lost after prewashing and wearing these for a night. The poplin has all the properties of a good cotton - good weave, some drape, incredibly easy to cut, press and stitch. I loved working with it and love wearing it. I decided not to go with the self-binding that is included in the pattern and opted for a hot pink bias binding that was in my stash. I had originally opted for a pale pink to match the roses but my machine (for a reason I can't fathom) just ate it. The hot pink doesn't give the fully romantic feeling I was going for but brings a fun modern vibe to them. 

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I took my time choosing which size to cut. While I love a lot of ease in my pyjamas, I also find a lot of them have too much around the hips for my liking. Based on the finished measurements I went for a 5-6-4 combination and it is largely spot on. I think I need slightly more room in the hips for when I'm pottering about on a lazy morning but they were fine to sleep in. 

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For a such a small item, Fifi took longer to stitch than I anticipated. This is mainly because Tilly had the foresight to finish these with French seams (my favourite finish) and you need to handle the bodice more carefully than most of other makes due its bias cut. However, the extra effort for the seams and the binding is totally worth it - it gives you a make that is gorgeous on the outside as well as the inside. The suggested technique for adding the elastic to the shorts also ensures a good finish - you stitch the elastic to a raw edge, fold over twice and stitch in place encasing all the raw edges and stitches. Such a simple but effective way to achieve a smooth, polished look. 

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I'm delighted with how this set turned out and this summer will see them being in high demand due to their comfort and prettiness. I may just have to make another pair to ensure these last! What's on your sewing table right now?

Note: The fabric for this make was provided by Minerva Crafts. Pattern purchased separately. 

Completed: Pretty in Peacock dress

A short while ago the generous people at Minerva asked if I wanted some fabric. I took a look at their collection and my heart leapt when I saw this beautiful peacock cotton lawn and said yes please. I knew immediately which dress I would make.

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It was fun to work with a vintage pattern and I will definitely try it again. I had to grade up the pattern by three sizes. This was my first attempt and I was guided this fantastic tutorial from Casey. Turns out it was not as difficult as I expected. I don't think I slashed the original size in quite the right places so something to work on next time. 

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I made a toile of the dress so I could check the size but also to work through the instructions in case there were any difficult parts. The construction is actually pretty simple but there are quite a few steps. I quickly realised that the key to success with this pattern is the preparation, namely transferring the markings from the pattern to the fabric. There are so many stitching lines, tuck lines, darts, pleats and button holes to mark. I must have spent an hour making dozens and dozens of tailors tacks. 

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I wanted to a blue stripe for the buttonholes, like the original pattern drawing, and figured that this would be straightforward as it looks like two pattern pieces. It isn't. I solved this by chopping the pattern at the tuck line closest to the edge of the pattern and added seam allowance. You can't see the join as that seam is at the bottom of the tuck. Can you see how well the blue matches the eye of the peacock feathers? Whoever picked this out at Minerva did a fantastic job! 

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With autumn approaching I wanted a dress that I could wear over the next few months and therefore decided to underline the dress using the medium weight white cotton I had left over in my stash. Together, the fabrics were wonderful to work with and pressed brilliantly. It was such a nice change after the silk chiffon. I used the blue cotton to bind the seams and think it gives a neat look on the inside. I didn't measure how much bias tape I made but it was a lot! 

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The trickiest part of making this was the button holes. For some reason my machine made four beautifully and then threw an absolute fit for the others. After testing, and checking for lint or stray thread and still not getting anywhere, I turned them upside down. I now have as many button holes as needed but the last two aren't great, at least the buttons cover most of them. 

Of course, this dress is not complete without a bow at the top and a belt. I made sure I had enough blue cotton to make them both before I whizzed up the bias tape. There was no way I would be missing out on them. Can you guess whose tutorial I used to make the belt? Of course, it's Tilly's!

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I absolutely love this dress although I probably spend too much time admiring the print! I'm really pleased I bought the pattern and included it as part of my challenge (number 12 now completed). It is getting its first public outing tomorrow at a work event.