One of the dresses that is literally everywhere from Pinterest to Amazon is some version of a sweater dress with a thick, deep V-neck that’s off the shoulder. Well, Made for Mermaids made all of our fall/winter sewing dreams come true with the Vanessa Dress! Now home sewists can be the Pinspiration, ha!
The Vanessa Dress from Made for Mermaids
The Vanessa Dress only comes with the V-neck neckband in both the front and back. For shoulder style, it comes in both on and off the shoulder. The sleeve options are color-blocked lantern, plain lantern, long-sleeved fitted and there are 2 cuff lengths–long and short. You can make this in a top, mini, dress, or midi length. So there are so many options available to really customize this dress to what you want it to look like.
Fabric Choice With The Vanessa Dress
This dress has been designed for knit fabrics. For the versions I made, I used a soft sweater knit from Freckle Fabrics and a cable knit from So Sew English. I do have another one planned in a lighter weight fabric like double brushed polyester or bamboo knit to see how it works out. The fabric should have at least 40% stretch at a minimum so Ponte, scuba, Oakley, French terry, and hacci are all really great options too.
Sewing The Vanessa Dress
This is quite literally one of my favorite patterns right now because of the ease with which you can make this dress. Both the front and back pieces are the same so cutting the fabric is really fast. I was able to cut the pattern using my projector in 5 minutes. This is big to me because patterns with lots of pieces take a lot of time to just cut out and I don’t always have the time I need to do this. If you’re a serger user, you can construct the dress and top entirely on this machine. For the dress version, you do need to hem and this can be done on your sewing machine, serger or cover stitch. But this is a really fast sew–perfect for those last-minute makes when you want something new and have like an hour.
I love the versatility of this dress. I styled mine with over-the-knee boots because it’s so easy. You can add a belt to really cinch your waist and give it a more dramatic blousing effect. And adding a wool fedora hat will definitely take this look to current! If you’re looking to be more dressed up, adding some booties that are heeled or some stilettos will really dress this look up.
My first hack was adding a slit and showing a little thigh. Instead of coming all the way down with the seam, I stopped mid-thigh and hemmed it.
My second hack was making it into a faux dress to be worn together or as separates. I loved how this came out so much. I cut the bodice at the dress line and added the band to it as well as the skirt portion. Super easy.
This definitely gets a 5 out of 5 needles for ease of make and versatility in wearing.
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It’s time for another #SMS2020 Sew! This month I’m excited to be sewing the Dionne Duster from my friends Sew Altered Style. They are the designers behind one of my favorite Misty Tank that I hacked after I tested it. I haven’t made this duster yet and honestly, I’m not sure why because Macharva’s pictures of hers are always swoon-worthy!
Choosing The Fabric For The Dionne Duster
The beauty of dusters is that they can literally be made from anything. The fabric choice will determine the fit and feel of them as well as how dressy or casual they are. Because we’re currently in COVID19 times, I’m basically living in comfort. Sure, I’m sewing some other things outside of the cardigans, sports bras and leggings that I’m living in but even those are PEEK comfort.
My Favorite Cozy Fabrics
French Terry is basically my favorite fabric. I could live in the coziness that it brings forth. There are different blends (polyester, cotton, jersey) and then there’s also brushed. Brushed means that one side of the fabric has been “brushed” making it super soft.
I found out about Oakley in 2019 from So Sew English. It’s a form of sweater knit that feels like the love child between French Terry and Double Brushed Polyester. It is so soft and warm and cozy and it doesn’t pill.
Confession: I don’t love the way hacci feels on my skin. It’s almost scratchy? But brushed hacci? Whew! Now this is soft and cozy and is perfect for both tops and bottoms. The brushed form of hacci is definitely on my list!
I love wearing waffle fabric but I don’t really love sewing with it. I know… How can you love it and hate it at the same time. But for some reason keeping it together while I’m sewing is hard with some waffle blends. But the softer ones? I love!
Because I want to wear this sweater often, choosing a fabric that will be easily worn with like, everything, is important! So… here are some of the fabrics I’m looking at:
Brushed Black French Terry
Brushed Sweater Knit
Mustard Rib Sweater Knit
Can you see my theme here???
So tell me, what fabric do you think I should go for with my Dionne Duster? Or maybe I should mix things up and do something totally different!
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Yesterday I was really feeling myself and sewing. I made 3 pieces to add to my wardrobe and all 3 were timeless classics. And one of them was free! Yep! Helen’s Closet just released the Luna Tank this week.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE Helen, the designer behind Helen’s Closet. Her newsletters and round-ups of the new patterns that have dropped recently are my absolute fave. Oh, and she had me on her super dope podcast too. Yeah, I’m a fan.
Helen’s Closet Luna Tank
Ok. Let’s get into this pattern. When I saw it on Helen when she shared her new piece on Instagram, I knew I had to have it. I don’t know what material she used–a rayon blend maybe–but it immediately convinced me I had to have it. This tank is a really flowy and summery staple. It comes in two lengths–a crop and shirt.
Size-wise it’s pretty inclusive. It goes from 0-30. The pattern is only 13 pages and 3 pieces since the same piece is used for the front and the back–these are my fave because it makes cutting so much easier. Instead of banding, this tank uses binding to give it a polished finish though I think you could get away with bands if binding isn’t your thing.
With it being a flowy tank, the fabric choices range from things like bamboo, ITY, rayon blends, modal and the like–something with good drape is a must. I just a double bordered ITY that I fell in love with from Freckle Fabrics. I used to never sew with ITY because I had a bad experience earlier on in my sewing journey. Now? I’m kicking myself.
The minute I saw this, I knew that it had to go with some Bailey Bell Bottoms from Made for Mermaids. I deepened the crotch curve here and added 2 inches in height to the waistband to give me a higher waistband with no wrinkles. Naturally, clogs finished the look. I didn’t put on jewelry but I think a long, statement necklace and oversized post earrings would be perfect.
I love love love this pattern. For it to be a freebie, I really think Helen blew this out of the water. It’s super easy and fast to sew.
I feel like I’ve been living in loungewear for the past 6 weeks. Whether I’m actually working out or actively maintaining my sanity, it seems like workout and lounge attire is my pandemic go-to look. But being plus-size, I can sometimes look sloppy and that’s not the look I’m going for. So here’s a roundup of my favorite plus-size loungewear looks that I’ve been sporting as of late.
Plus-Size Loungewear Patterns
Made for Mermaids Stella Sweatshirt
I’m not going to say how many of these I made in testing–it’s an absurd amount. But this year I’ve added even more to my collection. I love how there are so many options for this sweatshirt–my personal fave is the off-the-shoulder look. I love showing off my tattoo and it adds a little jazz to an otherwise possibly bland look. This isn’t a baggy sweatshirt–it’s more fitted and highlights my curves so that’s a plus for me.
High-Waist Bike Shorts
Last year my friend Katie said that bike shorts were everything for working out and living. I didn’t want to believe her or agree. And then I caved and made some because I didn’t have enough of the fabric to make full out leggings. Friends. I’ve been missing out on a big part of life! High-waist bike shorts + a sports bra or crop top is this plus-size girls dream! I used the Patterns for Pirates Pegs + Classic Sports Bra to create these looks. Another excellent pattern for this is Petite Stitchery Megara Leggings.
Patterns for Pirates Loggers
I remember when these went into testing and I was like, “yay… another jogger pattern!” I was wrong. I finally bought them and am so in love. Like I even taught myself how to put in grommets so I could have a cute little drawstring. Loggers are basically the love child of the shape of joggers and the fit of leggings. They are peak comfortable.
So Sew English Seattle T-Shirt
This is the one pictured above. I LOVE a good v-neck tee. But when your bust is 4 sizes smaller than your hip range, making your own t-shirts is definitely a thing. I love the curved hem and fit on this t-shirt pattern. If crew neck is more your style, they have that option too.
Petite Stitchery LAB Lounger
Lounging. In. Style. And yes, I made two versions that were both out of cheetah print–judge someone else. This pull-on jumpsuit is comfy enough to wear around the house and cute enough to style for an outing. For the off the shoulder look, I didn’t band or hem anything and I love the look.
Staying Put With The Patterns for Pirates Naughty or Nice PJs
Ok. So there’s a lot of days that I just don’t feel like leaving the bed or need to look like I’ve left. The Naughty or Nice PJs from P4P is my fave jammie set to make. I normally make mine in the cheekie style with long sleeves because I hate for my legs to be hot.
Ok friends. What are your plus-size loungewear go-to looks?
I swear… 2018 I was a sewing fool! I just couldn’t say no to all the tests and new techniques to try out. It caught up with me and I couldn’t keep my blog up-to-date with all of them! 2018 was a year of epic pattern releases and I can’t wait to share my favorites with you!
My Favorite 2018 Pattern Releases
It was hard to choose but these are some of my faves!
Going Home Sweater by Ellie and Mac
I loved how this raglan fit. I’m actually a huge fan of raglans that don’t make me look like I’m a baseball reject. I made this one in a tunic version in a double brushed polyester plaid and it was all love!
Juliette Body Suit by Petite Stitchery
I’m an 80s baby and a 90s girl so this pattern took me back to my childhood when bodysuits were super in. I was super nervous about making one but it was really easy and now I’ve made 3 of this pattern and a couple of another body suit pattern.
The Family Go-To Jacket by Patterns for Pirates
Yes, I made my entire family jackets. This was one of my harder sews because it used techniques I wasn’t familiar with but the face that I MADE US ALL JACKETS was really big to me!
The Women’s Adeline from Made for Mermaids
I made two versions–long and short. The long is by far my favorite. I feel like a goddess whenever I wear it. I hacked it to create a suuuuuper low v-neck for my vow renewal as well as made my girls matching ones. It’s such an easy pattern to work with.
The Sierra Pattern from Made for Mermaids
This is a pattern I can’t wait to make more of. I made the original in some suuuuper short shorts which I loved. I also hacked it into a pants romper with a zipper for nursing. I feel like a functional milk maid in this!
The Clueless Collection from Made for Mermaids
This was THE cutest collection ever!!!! I made some really quality skirts for my oldest and I. But this collection has socks, a blazer, bodysuit, skirt, sweater vest, and cardigan. It’s a huge and really functional collection!
Harmony Harems by Petite Stitchery
I can’t stop making these. When I left the corporate world, I actually used to make and sell Ankara print harem pants for babies. And now I’ve made them in French Terry, Cotton Lycra, and DBP. It’s love.
Women’s Serenity Top & Dress by Petite Stitchery
I saw a sweatshirt on Pinterest that said “Wifey” and I knew I had to have it. This pattern allowed me to essentially recreate it easily. It’s soooo comfortable and was such an easy to make piece!
I shared with you guys one of my recent makes of the Ellie And Mac Tulip Dress and I’m basically obsessing over the tulip style dress. In truth, I have been for some time but I never wanted to go through the trial and error of creating the different styles myself. The DIBY Club recently released a new patterns called the Rosa Dress.
The DIBY Club Rosa Dress
The Rosa Dress has 3 lengths–top, knee length and maxi dress. The top is a dolman style and feels amazing. There was a picture on Pinterest of this beautiful tulip dress that was the inspiration. Every time I would see it, I wanted a thousand of them. And now I can make them!!!
Ok friends, this pattern is going to cost you quite a bit in both paper and fabric depending upon what size you go for. It’s a total of 62 pages for the entire pattern. Yes, I know, that’s a lot but it’s totally worth it. Once the fabric is cut, it took me maaaaaybe 45 minutes to put it together. I opted to leave my edges raw and I love the look.
Fabric Options and Styling
I’ve seen some of the other testers do the tops which came out cute worn with shorts or jeans. The fabric will totally determine the styling of this dress. I used a rayon spandex from Pretty Posh Prints that is dreamy. But I think that if you were make it with a jersey fabric or something more casual than it could be dressed down.
This definitely gets 4.5 needles out of 5. The only downfall is how many pages it takes to print but otherwise, it’s super easy and doesn’t take much time.