Tag Archives: Sew Over It

Strawberry season!

We’re slowly heading towards summer here. In a two-steps-forward, 1.75-steps-back kind of way, that Wellington does so well. Sun so bright it burns in 8 minutes one day, winter coats and scarfs on again the next. But there is light coming – the days are longer, the weather is (overall) getting warmer, and, best of all, there are strawberries in the supermarkets! Yay!! (I love strawberries. They make me happy. I may have eaten a lot of them already this month. 😉

Which is all a rather long preamble to… this dress!

Strawberry Thief dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Why the preamble? Well, strawberries! The common link. 😉

The fabric here is Strawberry Thief, a William Morris print on a lovely cotton poplin. I got it from Minerva Crafts (as part of their blogger network) – sadly it’s sold out now. I’m hoping they’ll get more William Morris prints in the future – I’ve always loved his designs. So detailed and intricate and full of texture and life. (Maybe one day I’ll get a feature wall in one of his wallpaper designs. Mmmm…. Seems almost perfect for a sewing room, now I think about it. After all, he did a lot for the British textile industry! Right, putting that on my “things to do in the future” list. 😉

Like other William Morris designs, this print is full of intricate detail. Flowers, swirls, points, and birds stealing strawberries. Love it!

Strawberry Thief dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

When I spotted this fabric, I just knew it had to be the Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress.

And then it arrived, and I must admit – I kinda freaked out a little. I didn’t realise just how large this print would be! The idea of pattern matching it across a shirt dress, yeah. Seemed kinda tricky. Especially with the tucks and the gathers thrown into the mix.

Strawberry Thief dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

So I thought about other patterns. I considered making the Sew Over It Betty dress. Or another Cressoway dress. But I thought the print might be almost a bit too overwhelming with a plain bodice. Then I thought about the Grainline Alder dress (another that’s been on my to-make list since last summer!). But that just didn’t seem quite right for this print either.

Eventually, I went full circle – it just really wanted to be the SOI Vintage Shirt Dress.

So I pulled on my big-girl pants, got brave, and set to work. And let me tell you – this took quite a lot of thought!! (It also took 1.5 hours to cut out. That’s how much thought was required.)

Strawberry Thief dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I cut it all in a single layer, so I could best pattern match. There was a lot to consider – how to line things up so the design was running down the centre front and centre back of both bodice and skirt. Making sure there were no accidental pattern placements (giant flower boobs, anyone? Yeah, didn’t think so). Getting the pattern lined up along the centre front seam. All that tricky sort of stuff. Made a good deal trickier by the face I had ordered enough to make the dress, not realising how big the print was. It was pretty touch-and-go as to whether I’d be able to get it cut right, but I just squeezed it in in the end! (Look on the inside, and you’ll see one of the side seams is sewn right next to the selvedge.)

There’s also this little surprise, hidden down one side of the front bodice. Hah!

Strawberry Thief dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I’m pretty happy with my pattern matching though – check that out!

Strawberry Thief dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Not so happy with my button placement though. I accidently stitched the buttonholes on the wrong side of my marker, so they’re out by a couple of mm. Ugh.)

I had a little mishap while sewing though – I managed to put a rip in the back neckline, just before attaching the collar. Argh!!! Thanks to some Instagram sewing helpers, I calmed down the panic, reinforced with iron-on interfacing, and stitched it together again with a narrow seam. I tried to find some fabric to do an invisible patch with, but didn’t have a piece that would fit the problem area and had the same pattern on it. So, a narrow seam it had to be! Luckily the print is so busy it’s not too noticible when it’s on. (But still – eek!!)

Strawberry Thief dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

This is the second time I’ve made this pattern (the first one being in Hello Kitty print), and it went together nice and smoothly. 🙂 I made the same changes as last time – lengthening the bodice by 3cm. It’s actually a little bit short still – next time I’ll lengthen it by 4cm.

I made a couple of other alterations too – I lengthened the skirt by 8cm (now a far better length on me – the other one is just a fraction too short!). I also narrowed the skirt, so I could fit it on the fabric with the pattern placement. I found the armholes of my first one just a little too tight under the arm, so lowered them by 1cm.

Strawberry Thief dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

All seams are bound with fushia coloured Hug Snug, and I did a blind hem on my sewing machine. The armholes are finished with red bias binding.

Next time I make this, I’ll be adding side-seam pockets. Because, pockets!

I’m really happy with how this turned out – the skirt length is definitely better for me at this length, and the pattern matching makes me happy – definitely worth the time taken to cut it out slowly! And hey, William Morris print of birds stealing strawberries – that’s a total win! 🙂

Strawberry Thief dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Big thanks to my sister, who took the photos when we went to the zoo. I had to keep ducking to check where the Little Guy was as he ran around playing. Lots of photos like this happened as a result:

Strawberry Thief dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes


A British Affair

You know how sometimes, you’re just walking along, minding your own business, and all of a sudden a length of fabric simply jumps out of nowhere, wrapping itself around you and demanding to be taken home right that minute? (Even if you have no real idea of what you’re going to do with it after that?)

Yep, this was one of those.

I mean, how could I say no? It’s a vintage-inspired floral, all green and orange and white. And it’s a lovely quality cotton poplin – perfect for all sorts of dresses. (And we all know how much I love dresses by now, right?) Plus (and here’s the real cincher) – there are little Hello Kitty faces peeping out from behind the flowers!!!

Yes, that’s right – Hello Kitty!!!!!

Clearly, it had to be mine. (And it continued to inform me so in a rather loud voice.)

I tried briefly to resist, working to convince both the fabric and myself that, since I had no idea what I was going to do with it, it really had no place in my stash. But really, there was no hope in winning that argument. So, I got two metres, and decided I’d figure out the what-it-will-be details later.

(Why only two metres? Because this is a super-wide fabric! 160cm wide, in fact. Otherwise I would have gone for my more usual 2.5 – 3 metres. Plus I figured it may be a bit over-the-top with that floral to be a dress with sleeves.)

My original plan was to go with the vintage look of the fabric, and turn it into a button-up 1970’s sleeveless dress. Only would you believe it – I couldn’t find any button-up woven dress patterns from the 70’s in my stash!!! (There were, however, a large number of zip-front ones. Guess zips were a Big Thing for dresses back then…)

Then suddenly, it struck me – the Vintage Shirt Dress pattern from Sew Over It. Perfect!

(And it was perfect – I got it out of two metres of this fabric easily, even assuming the print had a direction (I went with way the largest Kitty faces were looking). The cotton poplin is a great quality and the weight worked well with the skirt volume and the shoulder gathers. Plus the rounded collar works well with the vintage vibe of the fabric, don’t you think?)

British Kitten dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

With fabric and pattern both from the UK, this had turned into a rather British vintage-inspired affair. 😉

This was my first time using a Sew Over It pattern. I nabbed this one in PDF format when it was launched – I’ve been wanting to try one of their patterns for a while, and a button-up fit-and-flare style shirt dress will always find a home in my wardrobe.

British Kitten dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Overall, I found this to be a great pattern. Reasonably simple, with some cute touches, like the rounded collar and the light gathers into the shoulder yokes. It’s the sort of pattern that lets the fabric be the star of the show, while still being fun and interesting to make.

British Kitten dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I did have a couple of “what the heck?” moments when printing and assembling the PDF. There are two files with the pattern on them – Pattern 1 and Pattern 2. I assumed they related to the two variations of the pattern, so just printed the second file since I was making variation two of the dress. Nope – you need to print both, as it turns out. There wasn’t anything in the instructions about that, nor was there a diagram or table or the like saying what pages each pattern piece was on. Which was a shame, as I like to save paper and only print the pages I need, and in this case I had to print the whole thing, including the full sleeve piece. Ah well.

The other “what the heck?” moment I had came when looking at the actual PDF pages. Each of the pages has edges from the surrounding pages printed on it as well. Which isn’t a problem at all, by the way – I just found it a bit unexpected and had a moment of worrying if there was something wrong with my printer settings printing partial pages!

British Kitten dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Now, the other thing you may want to watch out for is when you’re cutting out the bodice. There are dots that show where the gathering is. There are slightly different lines for the sleeveless vs. the sleeved version, and the gather marker dots are printed on the line for the sleeved version – if you’re making the sleeveless version, make sure you transfer these down down to the right point.

When cutting out the dress, I went for a size 10 bust, grading out to a size 12 waist and hip. (My measurements put me at a size 14 for waist/hip, but the finished measurements for that size had more ease than what I like, so I sized down.) I used the skirt length from size 20, and added a little bit to the length by turning up a 1.5cm hem, rather than the 4cm one called for. I also added 3cm to the length of the bodice, at front and back. (For reference, I added quite a lot less length to the skirt than I usually do for indie patterns, and quite a bit more length to the bodice.)

The dress came together nicely. There are released tucks for shaping at front and back waists, on both the skirt and the bodice. The armholes are finished with bias binding. And the front has a facing all the way along it.

British Kitten dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Going with what seems to be a current trend for me at the moment, I finished the seam allowances and edges with some yellow seam binding.)

British Kitten dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The hem was done using a blind hem stitch on my sewing machine, and again some more yellow Hug Snug seam binding.

British Kitten dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The instructions were fine and clear to follow. I couldn’t spot a key for the fabric/garment shading, but it’s easy enough to figure out, and I liked the cute touch of the right side of the fabric on the garment being patterned as though it was a vintage floral. 🙂

One thing I did notice that was missing is that the collar pattern piece doesn’t have instructions on it to cut one in interfacing as well – so you’ll need to remember to do that.

British Kitten dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I’m really happy with the final dress – I like the fit. It’s got a little bit of blousiness in the bodice back, as a result of the released tucks there, which is a bit different. The rounded collar makes me smile. 🙂 And the ease at the waist is just how I like it, so going down a size based on the finished measurements worked out well for me.

(It’s also a bit more vibrant than it looks in these photos – tricky early-morning light with sneaky photos before I went to work. Hah! Spring is on it’s way!)

There we have it folks – one dress, with little Hello Kitty faces hidden in plain sight all over it! (How to get away with wearing Hello Kitty to the office? I wore this dress to work on Thursday and no one noticed the kitty faces. Hah! Stealth Kitty!!)


  • Pattern: Vintage Shirt Dress by Sew Over It
  • Fabric: Hello Kitty cotton poplin
  • Size made: 10 bust, grading to a 12 at waist/hips. (Body measurements put me at a size 14 waist/hips, but I went down one size at waist to have less ease, as per personal preferenace.)
  • Alterations made: lengthened front and back bodice by 3cm; cut out longest version of the skirt and only turned up a 1.5cm hem
  • Things to watch out for: if making the PDF pattern, print both pattern files; if making the sleeveless version, transfer markings for gathering down from where they’re located on the sleeved version; cut out one interfacing for the collar
  • Things I’d change next time: add another 0.5cm of length to front and back bodice; remove some of the fullness at the back bodice by lessening the width of the release tucks
  • Final verdict? Love it! Fits well, fun to make and wear, and will definitely make it again

British Kitten dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes