Wenona in a tree

Well hello there! Want to see a new dress?

Go on, you know you want to! (And if not, too bad. Because I have a new dress. Spoiler alert: I likes it.)

Gumnut Babies Wenona | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

This dress is a bit different. It’s part of a chain of creations, linked together through fabric and pattern, that the Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network (WSBN) are working on. You see, Wellington is a small place. We have very limited fabric stores, postage from overseas is crazy expensive, and as such we often find we’ve both the same fabric. We also find we have a lot of the same patterns in our stashes. (Of course, part of this may just be because a few of us have kinda crazy large stashes. Oops…. Sorry not sorry.)

Gumnut Babies Wenona | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

So Leimomi came up with an idea – what if we created a chain of garments, which were linked to one another through using the same fabric or pattern? With our overlapping stashes, it should be pretty easy to do. And thus the 0 degrees sewing/blogging challenge was born!

Sure, there was a lot of logistics involved. And despite the intention to use things that were already in our stash, there may have been a few instances when certain people dashed out to acquire new things to match others. (It’s that magpie tendancy we seem to bring out in one another. Ooh! New fabric! Pretty! I must have it as well!). But in a chaotic, stop-start sort of manner, we are building up a chain.

And here is my (first!) link in it. The Named Wenona shirt dress. Made in fabric with gumnut babies all over it. (Gumnut babies!! Aaah!! Go those childhood memories….)

Gumnut Babies Wenona | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

This is linking between Zara (who made the Grainline Alder dress in gumnut babies (gumnut babies!!)) and Sandra (who is making the Wenona in a goldfish print (goldfish!!)).

I bought the Wenona pattern when the Named Ritual collection first came out. A looser fitting button up dress, seemed rather perfect for the months after having a baby.

Wenona shirt dress by Named Clothing

Wenona shirt dress by Named Clothing

And then of course, it took me months to get around to making it. Heh. Oh well, it’s made now, and I can attest it still works well for post-baby and nursing stuff. Yeah!

Since the Wenona is a long-sleeved style, and also a “fashion” type design, I naturally had to add some length to the sleeves and hem (coz, long arms and legs). I added 4cm length to the sleeves (which turned out about right, although next time I think I’ll bump it up to 6cm), and 3″ to the skirt length. (Yes, I switch between metric and imperial. Deal with it.)

Gumnut Babies Wenona | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The other change I made (if you can call it a change?) was the size I cut out – I cut a size smaller than the pattern told me to, as I went by the finished measurements instead. I’m super glad I did this, as the next size up would have been miles too large. And since I still have a bit of going-back-to-pre-baby-size happening, anything bigger than this would look just silly large in the future (hopefully!).

This was the first time I’ve used one of the paper patterns from Named. It comes in a nice, thick and solid feeling cardboard box, sealed at the back with a sticker, and that then unfolds to find the pattern and instruction book in the middle. Which is all rather pretty and stylish. 🙂 The paper is nice and thick, and a classic white – none of that horrid super thin tissue paper (yes, I hate that stuff! Argh!). So it all looks rather pretty on your shelf. 😉

Gumnut Babies Wenona | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

A couple of warnings though, for those who haven’t used them before. Firstly, the pattern pieces are overlapped, so whether you’re on Team Trace or Team Cut, you’re gonna have to trace this one out. And secondly – the seam allowance isn’t included. So you have to trace your pattern, then add seam allowance. Which makes for quite a bit of upfront work, so be prepared for that.

Gumnut Babies Wenona | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The pattern itself came together quite nicely. The notch markings are quite minimal, and so are the instructions (for example, they completely forget to mention that you need to sew buttons and button holes) but if you know your way around a garment, you’ll be fine.

Gumnut Babies Wenona | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Prerequisite sewing blogger looking-down-pigeon-toed post)

Now I must admit, I wasn’t too sure about this when I first finished it. There’s a release pleat on the back between the shoulders, and that volume doesn’t get taken in again. Plus, to be fair, long sleeved shirts (and shirt dresses) aren’t my usual style. Nor is palegreen and pastel yellow. So it was all a bit out of my “comfort zone”, really. (Although so saying, I kinda doubt most garments I make, until I’ve worn them for a day. Does anyone else do that?) But I threw a belt on and wore it to work one day. And you know what? It took most of the day to grow on me, but now I love it. 😉

(As long as I wear it with a belt, that is. Because – huge amount of volume in the back at the waist.)

Here’s what it looks like unbelted, just so you know:

Gumnut Babies Wenona | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Gumnut Babies Wenona | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Gumnut Babies Wenona | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

There’s some rather awesome details in this pattern. Firstly, let’s talk about those sleeves. See that contrast panel running up the centre? that goes all the way to the neckline. And yet the sleeves are set-in ones, rather than raglan. Such a neat design feature! And kinda fun/weird to sew, as you sew up the bottom seam of the sleeves and set them in before you sew up the dress’ shoulder seam.

Gumnut Babies Wenona | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

There are cute yokes at front and back, and panels below those that end at the waist. So plenty of opportunity to play around with mixing and matching fabrics. (Speaking of which, that chocolate brown? That’s from a duvet cover. I’ve been getting good milage out of that duvet cover – I think this is the third garment that’s used it! And there’s still some left… Hmmm…)

Gumnut Babies Wenona | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The collar has a point at the back. It’s meant to be buttoned down at the front points and the centre back, but, well, I didn’t have small enough buttons in the same colour as my main buttons, so it’s stayed loose on my dress. Maybe next time. 😉

Gumnut Babies Wenona | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The sleeves have a pretty basic vent – simply turn back and stitch down. It works well with the sleeve panel and the cuff though, I think.

Gumnut Babies Wenona | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Oh, and check out my button band! Not completely matched, but pretty close I thought, considering I was starting to run out of long enough fabric at that point. 😉

Since the dress has gumnut babies all over it (gumnut babies!! Yay!!!) I decided to be a gumnut for a moment. Just ‘coz.

Gumnut Babies Wenona | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Big thanks to Mel for the photos!

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13 responses to “Wenona in a tree

  1. Love the dress, Kat! I am also loving the 0 degrees of separation. Sounds like WSBN is awesome. I should move to New Zealand. lol. 🙂

    • You should! We would welcome you with open arms!!! (And then introduce you to all the fabric stores, haha!) Honeymoon destination, maybe? 😉

  2. Like the dress and wonder if you’d sew for me. And being from the other side of the world wonder what a gumnut baby is!

    • Gumnut babies are characters from a 1918 Australian children’s book. So a little bit of Australian cultural history that tends to be quite well known over here in New Zealand as well. I remember reading them when I was a child. 🙂

  3. This is so cute! I’ve only just heard of gumnuts after seeing Jo’s dress! I got this pattern for Christmas and I’m really excited to sew and wear it, but I must confess that I’ve been so stumped about fabric choices! I’ve tried to find things in my stash but nothing goes together! Gotta think about this more because now that I see yours, I really want to make one!

  4. Eeeheee this is so cute! I was highly doubtful when I found and mules that fabric, but it works! I love how you’ve made it with contrasting fabric too – makes it look very chic!

    • Haha yeah I must admit before this challenge, I was seriously considering selling the fabric on, as the colours aren’t really ‘me’! Glad it pushed me to use it, as I really love this dress now. 😉

  5. Pingback: The Wellington Sewing Bloggers 0Degrees of Sewing Separation Challenge | The Dreamstress

  6. Love it! Especially with the belt – like you I’m not one for baggy clothing around the waist…

    And the last photo is making my day!

  7. I love the details on this dress and the color blocking too, lovely work. I’m glad you got the collar picture in there I would not have noticed the point in the back and I love that feature very unique.

  8. Pingback: A me-made-May retrospective | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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