Renfrew knit dress w/leather

renfrewDress1This is what I call easy! A Renfrew T that I extended a few inches to turn into a dress. I’ve seen it done here and here. But then I complicated matters with leather shoulder inserts.

renfrewDress2Upon catching sight of this fabric I instantly imagined a cozy knit dress that I could wear boots with all winter long. But my mind wouldn’t allow me to simply follow a pattern. Oh no! I had to add my own twist– I love a twist!

renfrewdressAMy twist was the shoulder inserts. I had a scrap of embossed fake leather from who knows where that I had been biding my time on. Now was the perfect time to unleash it! But I did have to do a pattern alteration that made me nervous (and excited). I pinned the pattern’s shoulder seams together to draw the new pattern piece  over it and extend down the shoulders. Then I had to modify the existing pattern pieces and, of course, add seam allowances all around. It was especially interesting the shape of the piece of leather I ended up with. Putting the shoulder seam together doesn’t result in a straight line over the shoulder. The shoulder seam is sloped so the pieces come together at an angle. Getting that angle right was the tricky part, or the leather wasn’t going to lay correctly.

renfrewDress3So, my tiny twist took quite a while, but it turned out splendid. It is just the detail to turn this from straightfoward to unique. And those unique design details are one of the main reasons I sew!

I tried to lift my foot off to show off my new shoes, but I almost fell over! That is why I am making that silly face!

I tried to lift my foot up to show off my new shoes, but I almost fell over! Don’t I look surprised?

The Renfrew has a fairly modest (high) neckline, at least on me. So I brought the whole dress shape in to be more body-con. This knit is very forgiving of my figure issues and the curvier shape makes it more edgy. But I promise it is still so comfy to wear! Just a simple knit dress, really.

I’m entering this in Project Sewn Sew-Along! I’m number 45!

Vote on my next project for The Monthly Stitch

Since I have sewing ADD, I had no problem picking 3 unused patterns that I want to tackle in March. Help me decide on which one!

Contender #1 Colette Peony in brown plaid

colette peonyIMG_5020









Contender #2 Vogue 8805 in gray, navy and green


Contender #3 – BurdaStyle Checked Cape 08/2011 #112 in brown tweed (score from Value Village!)

112_burda cape









Sophisticated (little) Lady

houndstooth skirtI’m so super pleased with how this ruffled skirt turned out. The pattern is from the Lekala website, which I’ve used a few times and has been fine, but I worried about the lack of directions. Lekala has very bare-bones instructions and so, for my last couple of makes I just ignored them and put the garments together my own way. But in this case, the pattern pieces are not well labeled, so I was worried. I needn’t have stressed. You can lay out all your cut pieces and glance at the diagram to get a sense of which ruffle goes where, and then just put them together in your desired order. Easy, peasy, and it turned out so cute! The houndstooth flannel is soft and easy to work with, too. I’ll be making this pattern several more times for the girls. Continue reading