Hello everyone! Quite a lot of the sewing community are also part of the amazing In Colourful Company group, but for those that do not know who In Colourful Company are I thought I would give a quick introduction. The community was set up by Toni Bee (@hellobeestudio) as a way for creative ladies who run their own businesses to connect with others in a similar situation. This community has grown and it is not exclusive to those that have a creative business. It is a supportive community where everyone is kind and welcoming to one another. One of the best things about the community are the Colour Walks. A group of members in a town/city arrange a walk to show everyone quirky colourful spots in their home town. This then involves lots of photographs/boomerangs being taken. It is a great opportunity to talk to other ladies and get to know each other. At the end we normally have a picnic and have a good catch up. I said this on my Instagram account the other day but without In Colourful Company I wouldn’t have been encouraged to follow my dreams and open Sew Me Sunshine, I will always be eternally grateful to everyone that is in the group. To find out more information about the community check out the website on www.incolourfulcompany.com.
The latest Colour Walk took place in Margate. It was organised by Leona Thrift-ola. Leona runs The Lucky Dip Club. Lucky Dip Club is an amazing community of like minded women. There are lots of elements to Lucky Dip Club, one being the subscription boxes. Every month an independent artist designs a pair of socks and a pin for the boxes. I have signed up to the combo so I get both the pin & the socks. Receiving this box makes my month! Also you get a copy of the Girl Planet Zine, which is written by members of the Lucky Dip Community. Find out more about this awesome community at www.luckydipclub.com
Right so let’s get back to talking about sewing. Myself and Joy (@joy.margot) travelled together to Margate, and spent a number of weeks planning our outfits. Joy decided on sewing her first ever Sew Over It Penny dress, and I decided the week of Margate to sew my first ever Sew Over It Elsie dress.
Here is Joy's review of her Penny dress:
I’d seen lots of photos of the newly revamped Dreamland popping up on Instagram, and I knew I wanted to make an outfit that complemented the park’s fun, retro vibe. I thought the Sew Over It Penny dress would be perfect with its twirly circle skirt, and I was excited to tackle my first collar and button placket. The Penny is a great intro to shirt making as it has no fiddly collar stands – the flat collar is simply sandwiched between the dress and its facing.
As this was going to involve a couple of new challenges for me and the skirt required a lot of fabric, I didn’t want to buy a fabric that I LOVED and risk ruining it, so I actually chose to use a duvet cover! Unfortunately, while I loved the tropical print and bright colours, this didn’t turn out to be a brilliant idea as the fabric was rather thick and starchy and it was awkward to sew through multiple layers, particularly those with facings. I’ve got my eye on a few of Sew Me Sunshine’s beautiful cotton lawns for my next Penny and I think these will work much better:
I had to shorten the dress by 10 centimetres to fit it on my fabric, but I actually loved the finished length and personally wouldn’t have wanted it any longer. Unfortunately, I managed to make a mistake quite early on as I didn’t realise I was supposed to stick the two skirt pattern pieces together before cutting out the fabric – oops! Luckily, I managed to salvage it by sewing a 0.5 centimetre seam allowance on the side I shouldn’t have cut, and increasing the other seam allowance to 2 centimetres to ensure that the skirt stayed symmetrical. To be honest, I would probably keep the skirt as two separate pieces in the future because it was easier to fit on the fabric, and also meant I could include pockets, which as we all know is the most important feature of any dress!
The dress came together very quickly as there were very few pattern markings to transfer (am I the only one who HATES this part of the process?), no darts, and no zips. After struggling with the collar and button placket, I was pleasantly surprised by how good it looked considering my less-than-ideal fabric choice and a lot of unpicking along the way!
I also had a buttonhole-related meltdown as I left them to the absolute last minute, and my machine wasn’t happy sewing through several layers of thick fabric. Thanks to the support of Harriet, Georgina (@sewinthegarden) and my ever-patient boyfriend, I realised that the button fastenings were actually superfluous, so I just sewed the front closed and added some decorative buttons. I also added a little pleat to the drop sleeves to give the shoulders a softer silhouette.
I was thrilled with how my Penny turned out and I received lots of compliments on the day. There was also enough fabric in the skirt to protect my modesty while bouncing on the bouncy castle and twirling for Boomerangs!
Some reviewers have found the bodice on the Penny too short, but my natural waist is quite high so it was a very flattering fit on me. Those with a lower waist or larger chest may need to make the bodice a little longer.
This was my first Sew Over It Pattern and while it didn’t feel quite as beginner-friendly as those from Tilly and the Buttons, I found the colour photos in the booklet very helpful, and I feel ready to tackle some more complicated patterns now!
Thanks Joy for your amazing review of your Penny Dress, we love it & we are looking forward to seeing some more Penny’s in our lovely cotton lawns.
My Review of my Elsie Dress:
Like Joy after seeing all the photographs of Dreamland I too wanted a really brightly coloured dress for the walk, I also wanted to be able to twirl lots in my dress but at the same time wanted to keep my modesty on the Worlds largest bouncy castle (I think I still managed to flash though!) Sew Over It only released the Elsie dress paper pattern in July 2017 and I was super keen to give it a go as I wanted to challenge myself as I had never sewn princess seams or pleats. At the time of sewing Elsie I didn’t have any suitable fabrics in the shop, but we now have some really pretty stretch cottons in stock which would work really well:
I found the instructions to be very clear and the photographs really helped too. This was my first time doing princess seams, and I was super happy how they came out and I love the shape of the bodice. The skirt is pleated, again this was my first time sewing pleats (eeekkk!) I took my time and tried my best to line up the princess seams with the pleats, this took me a couple of attempts to get it perfect, they are slightly off, but I don’t think anyone would notice. Georgina told me about the fork method for pleats (this helps you to achieve even pleats, there are lots of youtube videos illustrating this method), and I will definitely give this a go next time.
My invisible zip went in like a dream and you can barely see it, If you are new to invisible zips I can recommend Elisalex blog post for ByHandLondon that explains each step very clearly and even has coloured photographs.
Due to the big skirt I knew that it would take a while to hem. I am really pleased that I was patient and hung it for 24 hours before hemming it. Because of the stretch cotton fabric I zig zag stitched the hem first and then turned it over once. I personally was very happy with the length but I love midi-length dresses, but I know some of you may prefer to shorten it a bit especially if you are short like me.
I was surprised how quickly the dress came together, and I think in total it took me 2 days from start to finish. If any of you love the Betty dress from Sew Over It then I 100% recommend this pattern because it is very similar and you can twirl around in the dress all day because of the big skirt.
Has anyone else made a Penny or Elsie?
Thank you for reading our blog post.