Butterflies and Handmaidens ~Easter Dress blog tour hosted by Seams Sew Lo
Have you heard of The Handmaidens Cottage? Until recently I had never heard of them and then I saw an ad for an Easter dress blog tour featuring their patterns, looking for bloggers. I have a bit of an addiction to PDF patterns and when I see a new to me company I just have to go looking. I instantly was in love, they had a modern twist to some classic patterns. I requested to join their Facebook group because well, there were patterns jumping in my cart. I needed to stock some photos before I hit purchase. It appeared that quite a few people had successfully sewn their patterns, so right then and there I bought the Tattered Petals pattern and the Jezebel Apron. I still was not certain if I wanted to do the blog tour, but they were having a Valentines sale and I knew I needed these patterns in my life. I also knew my daughter wouldn’t fit the dress but I often sew for my niece and so I wanted the pattern on hand.
Well, I just couldn’t get that tour out of my mind so I signed up and here I am. In the Easter blog tour… What!!! Easter!! Yes, this year has been in warp drive and Easter is only weeks away! Have no fear though, with the adorable dress patterns Handmaidens offers, you can get yourself a pattern and sew something up! Because I am a part of the blog tour I was offered a free pattern to test out and give an honest opinion on, I chose the Alivia Dress.
I am not going to lie I was a bit nervous about this sew, but I had some beautiful woven cotton (yes! we have a cotton woven base and it is amazing) butterfly fabric from the shop and it was screaming at me to use it. I purchased it last year for a different dress, but its woven and I was scared! Why scared you ask? Well I mainly work with knit and haven’t done much with woven for clothing. Woven doesn’t form to the body like knit instead it has to have darts and what not to give it shape. It also is not as forgiving and cotton woven is more structured so you can see crooked seams easier.
I downloaded the pattern and started making my shopping list. I like to shop my stash and then hit the store. I knew I wanted a coordinating fabric to my beautiful Watercolor Butterflies. My woven stash is pathetic and my mom lives to far away to just shop hers, so fabric was on my list. Oh, darn a trip to JoAnne’s, poor me. (I had my 4-year-old with me so don’t get to jealous, I was not frolicking down the isles by any means lol.) After pulling a few bolts putting them back and pulling more bolts I finally found a fabric to compliment my coveted butterflies.
Next, I grabbed buttons, ribbon, thread and checked out, loaded the car, and then cursed because I forgot interfacing. Oh-well, I probably had some at home, otherwise I would come back (the kid was already buckled) sans child.
This pattern has trim pages but don’t let these keep you from grabbing it. When I first started using PDF patterns, I avoided trim pages like the plague and was only cheating myself. Besides that, I have an extra rotary cutter I use just for paper, and in two cuts my trimming was done. I was super happy with how well this pattern lined up.
I cut out my pieces and got to work. I sewed up my darts and then went to attach my shoulder seams. My main fabric went together perfectly, but well out came the seam ripper for the lining. Can you see what I did?
Yep! I sewed my darts on the wrong side giving me two left sided backs! Once that issue was fixed I moved on to the rest. The instructions are amazingly written and very clear. So, I just went from step to step stopping along the way to admire the lines and shapes forming before me.
Next, I moved on to the skirt, or should I say skirts. I never understood why there was so much complaining when it came to gathering among fellow seamstresses; until now. I have always just hand gathered and it was going perfectly, the sleeves went great and the ruffle attached to the underskirt easily, no issues at all, then it came time to gather the underskirt and top shirt together.
Let me tell you my mouth needed a bar of soap. It went like this: start my hand gather snap a thread - cuss a little, start again, almost to the end, snap another thread - cuss a lot, decide to try the serger break a thread and cuss some more, next grab some elastic - try that method, finally success! I finished the garment per instructions and was super pleased with the outcome.
I even added a little flare my cutting out some butterflies for the end of my ribbon!
In summery this pattern is wonderful; the instructions were clear and the drafting was great. I will be using it again. I learned I need to build up my woven stash and will be doing so in the future. I am excited to get my other two handmaidens patterns out of hording status, and into sewn status. Most importantly, I would like to thank Seam Sew Lo for hosting this Tour! I learned some new skills and am ready to play with more woven fabrics! Check out the rest of the tour participants and their sews:
- March 1st: Seams Sew Lo
- March 2nd: Miinoma Studio
- March 3rd: Momma You Can Make It
- March 4th: Kate Will Knit
- March 5th: Kathy's Kwilts and More
- March 6th: Granma Texas Sews
- March 7th: Our Play Place
- March 8th: Aurora Designs
- March 9th: Frullemieke
- March 10th: My Sewing Roots
- March 11th: Manning the Machine
- March 12th: Seams Sew Lo (Round Up)
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