Tag Archives: Named

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!

A Floral Dakota

Pretty exciting time the other week – I tried on the Dakota dress I made in October and….

Floral Dakota dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

it fit!!!!

(Well, sort of. I can get it on and do it up and it’s not uncomfortable, so that’s a total win! It’s still a bit too small for me, so it doesn’t hang a little loose as it’s meant to, but you know – still-diminishing post-baby bump, and a rack that’s several sizes larger than usual due to feeding a small child, so I figure it’s kinda understandable, right? And assuming I can curb my current eat-all-the-chocolate-NOW!!! kick, at some point it’ll fit me properly.)

Floral Dakota dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Decreasing post-baby bump, and a little photo bomber

But in the meantime – woo hoo! I can fit a dress I made again, and it’s not a maternity dress!!!

Which means I’m a step further down the road of reclaiming my style and my sense of self-expression that goes with that. Happy days. 😀

Anyway, now that I’ve gotten over that little burst of joy and excitement, here we have it – the Dakota dress by Named.

Named Dakota dress

Named Dakota dress

I made this up in October as part of the Frocktober challenge over on The Monthly Stitch. (Disclaimer: I was given the pattern by the Named girls so I could run a sewalong for it over on The Monthly Stitch. But since I don’t believe in being a suck-up because of free stuff, whether I paid for a pattern or not doesn’t affect my opinions on it.)

This is the first Named pattern I’ve made up (although I have two of their newest ones, and the Wenona dress is high on my things-to-make list. Coz, shirt dress. New baby. It’s what my style’s gonna be for the next while, yo.) The Dakota dress is from their first collection, back when they only did PDF patterns. I spotted it when they first released it, and really liked the style – it’s based on the lines of a tuxedo jacket, with pockets, a shaped hem, and a deep and narrow shawl collar. So it was kinda nice to have my a kicked into g to get around to making this up, since I’d been thinking about it for a while!

Floral Dakota dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Bucking the Dakota trend (since every other version I’ve seen out there has been in a solid colour, usually dark, and 9 times out of 10 made in a ponte) I went with a pink cotton (a lightweight drill) with a small floral design all over it. Since the fabric is quite busy, I felt the style lines would get a bit lost in it so I put chocolate brown piping around the collar to help it stand out from the dress. I also used the same piping on the sleeves, as little mock-cuffs. (Plus I shortened the sleeves because we’re heading into summer here and I want to wear this sooner rather than later. I also figure I’ll be able to do my usual winter layering thing and wear a long-sleeved merino top under it when the weather gets colder. Because long-sleeved merino tops fix everything, don’tcha know?)

Floral Dakota dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Since I’m gonna have to have easy access to certain parts of my anatomy on demand for the next while, I also added a centre-front invisible zip that extends down past the waistline.

Floral Dakota dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Before I get into the review of the pattern, just a little disclaimer – yes, there’s a fair few photos in here, and a lot are similar. It’s because I was trying this both with and without a belt, and I reckon it looks quite different either way. (Although a fair bit of that may be my lack of waist definition at the moment….). So I’ve added both, so you can judge the style for yourself. 🙂 The colour is also a bit more saturated than it should be due to the original ones being horribly washed out. Although the dress colour in the photos is actually pretty much spot-on to the real life colour.)

Right, onto the pattern!

First up, the good.

I really like this design – it’s quite different from others that I’ve seen out there, and I like the way Named have taken a masculine design and used it for a womenswear pattern that’s dressy and pretty. The narrow shawl collar is cute, the gored skirt has a good amount (but not too much) flare, and I really like the detail of the shaped hem, which mimics the shaping of mens dress shirts hems. (Gotta love that attention to design detail!) Plus, pockets! (C’mon, let’s have an OHMGAWD POCKETS!!! moment here, shall we?)

Floral Dakota dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Pockets on the ‘ips

The instructions, while reasonably short, were pretty good. And there are some clever things going on, such as having the pocket flaps sewn into the waistline so you get a super-clean finish on the top of them. Also, the hem of the skirt is actually shaped correctly so when you fold it up it goes cleanly without any easing in required (why on earth do most patterns not do this? All that turn-up-and-stitch business on skirts and dresses where you end up with annoying folds and gathers on the inside because you’re trying to ease a longer section onto a shorter section is all very frustrating (know what I’m talking about?), so thank you to Named for doing it correctly!)

Floral Dakota dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I like hem tape, it makes me happy 🙂

I cut a size 38 on the top, grading out to a 40 in the waist/hips (my usual sizes) and as far as I can tell (considering I’m techincally still a bit above those sizes!) it fits quite well. Admittedly, the waistline is a little high, but that’s not uncommon for me with my height, so next time I make it I’ll just lengthen the bodice a bit.

Floral Dakota dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Now, the not-so-good. This is pretty much all about the PDF pattern itself. And I’m going from memory here, since I made this over a month ago (and got photos nearly two weeks ago, and only just got online now to post it. Hey, new baby and all that, kinda eats into online time!). (Also, a note: the Dakota is one of the first Named patterns, and I haven’t tried any of their other PDF patterns, so these issues may very well have been resolved for later patterns. I’d love to hear from anyone who has one of their more recent PDF patterns to find out if they’re different!>

The Dakota is a downloadable PDF. I have no issues with PDF patterns – in fact, I’ve lately discovered I prefer them, as I absolutely hate working with thin, flimsy, fragile pattern tissue. To the point where patterns with that sort of tissue rapidly make their way to the bottom of my things-I-want-to-make pile, and usually I won’t buy phycial patterns from the same brand again (and yes, this is the key reason I avoid Big 4 patterns – the pattern tissue drives me nuts. Gah! Some indies are bad at this too, though, particularly Sewaholic. Hate that tissue they use.). Sure, PDF patterns take a while to print and tape out, but when you have, there’s no fear of cutting them out (change size? No worries – just print it off again!), and they’re nice and robust to work with. So yeah, I’m a PDF convert these days.

Floral Dakota dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Anyway, the Dakota is a downloadable PDF. First issue, there’s only two sizes per pattern, so if you usually have to grade between sizes, you may have a bit of an issue depending on whether your sizes fall into one set of two (which, lucky for me, mine did) or over different sets. Also an issue if you change size and want to make it again later.

Speaking of grading, the pattern isn’t nested, so it’s a bit harder to grade than most, which is a bit frustrating. I like just being able to play connect-the-lines when grading, and that didn’t work in this case.

Other annoying issues with the PDF:

  • There are no markings on the pages showing which page aligns with which. You have to figure it out yourself. Sure, it’s not that hard, a bit like a big jigsaw puzzle, but still, those numbered markings make it a lot faster to do.
  • Along the same lines, there’s no easy way to tell if you’re holding a page the right way up or not. Some of them have the pattern name along the right-hand side, but others don’t. So you’d better make sure you take them off the printer and don’t shuffle those pages any or that jigsaw puzzle is gonna get a lot harder!
  • The pattern is done like Burda magazine ones, with pieces overtop of each other, so you’re gonna have to trace it off. Not a huge deal in my opinion (it’s not uncommon for me to trace PDF patterns anyway) and it means you’ve got a lot less pages to stick together, but it is worth noting.
  • The key issue with that overlaying pieces thing though is that it’s actually a pain in the a** to trace. The sizes are differentiated by colour – one is black, the other is dark gray. The lines themselves are all solid and the same thickness. Plus, the pattern isn’t properly nested. Yeah, that’s a bit of a nightmare to trace – I kept having to lift up my tracing fabric to check line colours. *mutter mutter*. Adding even more complexity to that, both cutting and stitching lines are included. Great in one way – some people prefer to use one, some the other, so having both is a nice touch. But when they’re the same as each other, and in such similar colours, it just makes tracing that much harder than it needs to be.

Anyway, that was a bit of a rant about the PDF. One of my lovely sewing friends got lots of text messages from me as I was making up and tracing out the PDF, poor girl! (Sometimes, you just need someone who ‘gets it’ to vent frustrations too, right?)

But aside from the PDF itself, the pattern came together nicely and I’m pretty happy with the finished dress. 🙂

There are a couple of things I’d change next time, just for personal preference and to fit me properly. Firstly, I’d lower the waist (but that’s coz I’m pretty tall). I’d also lower the pockets – much as I love them, they’re a bit too high for my liking, especially as I’m likely to always wear a belt with this dress as that makes them somewhat less accessible than I’d like. As well as that, I’d raise the neckline (like others have done before me), and lengthen the skirt (again, the height thing).

But all up, I like this pattern! It’s a cute style and (once you get the PDF sorted out) easy to make up. (So you know, don’t let the PDF stuff put you off. Just be prepared for it, is all.) And I’m looking forward to making up the Wenona shirt dress.

Anyway, there we have it – a floral Dakota! Baby friendly and all. 🙂

Floral Dakota dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Zip, it zips!