Autumn Dresses and Giveaways...

Monday, April 14, 2014
In an attempt to break up all the Afternoon Blouse spam on my blog lately, I thought I should show off a newly finished sewing project and perhaps do a little sneaky giveaway while I was at it.

It has officially started getting cold here - the days are shorter, the leaves are turning, I've pulled out my knitting again and I can feel myself leaning towards darker colours and snuggly, comfortable outfits that work well with tights and a cardigan. Cue, Winifred (and my smurf legs!).




Winifred is Abby's newest pattern - a cute variation on a shirt waist dress, except that this one is probably way faster to make up than any shirtwaist dress I've ever seen. I do love the classic button-up version, but they can take a while, what with all them buttons. Winifred however, has no fastenings what so ever, you just pop her on over your head, throw on your favourite coloured tights and you're ready to go play in the autumn leaves.

So, what's the trick? She has a comfortable elasticated waist at the back. Perfect for expanding tummies around lunch and dinner time (and Easter time, let's be honest here. I've probably already eaten my fair share of chocolate eggs over the last few weeks).




I made my Winnie (as Caitlan and I have affectionately called her) from a chocolate brown suiting cotton I picked up from my favourite charity haunt a few weeks ago (I got a huge roll of it for about $5). The fabric drapes beautifully but has a lovely weight which makes it the perfect fabric for my autumn version of Winnie.



There are two things I'd watch out for with this pattern though, both of which tripped me up when I was making it. The first are the sizings on the back. I really had no idea what size waist I should be cutting out because the sizings listed are big. I ended up cutting out a straight size 8 because that was my bust size (and I figured that my waist is really nowhere near 34 inches which is the size that corresponds to the 35inch bust, even after all those easter eggs).

Erm, wrong! The dress fit, but only because of the bigger back piece (due to the elastic). Instead of having side seams though, the front was so small around my waist and hips that I had front/hip seams! I gather the 34 inch waist is actually the finished garment waist size (?), sans elastic, but not taking into account that the front is fitted and doesn't have any elastic... So, I ended up cutting a second front and graded out one size at the waist and two at the hips to accomodate my big ol' lower half.

Even now, the skirt side seams are sitting forward a bit but not nearly as much as they were in my previous attempt. With the drape of the skirt, I kinda think they look like extra pleats, so I'm going with it. And I actually quite like it.

So, the lesson here? Measure your pattern pieces, and email Abby if you're not sure (as I didn't!!).

The second thing I'd point out is the collar instructions. I found them a tiny bit confusing at the end when it comes time to finishing the inside raw edges of the collar. Basically it's up to you how you finish it, but if you've never attached a collar before, it could leave you feeling a little puzzled. I would consider myself reasonably okay at sewing, but even then, I muddled through a bit (I've never actually inserted a collar before though). I still don't know if it's quite right quite, I inspected one of David's shirts to see how it was done and I've given mine a grade of 'passable'. I ended up folding the bottom raw edges of the back of the collar under and hand stitched them in place for a clean inside finish.

But even with these things, I'll definitely still be wearing my Winnie a tonne over winter.



Other small changes I made were to use a smaller width elastic and binding on the back (13mm binding and 7mm elastic), lower the placement of the back elastic by an inch and leave off the faux belt, lower the bottom of the darts by 1/4inch and lengthen the darts by about 1/2inch all up. I top stitched around the entire collar and neckline and opted to sew in my sleeve hems flat before sewing up the side seams. I also took my hem up by about 2 inches to a length I prefer to wear and for my next Winnie, I'll lower the neckline opening as well, as it's a tiny bit hard to get my head through as it currently is (it's no biggie though, I just can't do my hair before I get dressed!).

*Thank you all so much for entering, the competition is now closed*

Win your own Winnie!

I'll definitely be making another Winnie soon, and you can too! To celebrate the release of Winifred, Indie Stitches and I are giving away a copy of the pattern to one of you lucky folk! All you have to do to enter the giveaway is leave a comment below and you're entered.

The competition is open world wide and will be drawn at random in two weeks time (Monday 28th April NZ time). The winner will be contacted by email.

Stay tuned this week for more Afternoon Blouse fun :)

xx
Jen
87 comments on "Autumn Dresses and Giveaways..."
  1. Before I saw the tights, I thought the "smurf legs" was a comment to the cold Dunedin winter that's on it's way! I really do need to pull out my stockings this winter, I stopped wearing them so much when I started working in a temperature-controlled building

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    1. Haha, I totally had blue legs, literally, yesterday when I wore it. It was FREEZING down here. I didn't get to wear tights much in Sydney because it was so warm, so I'm looking forward to being able to sport multi-coloured legs over the next few months :)

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    2. I don't think I had a single day without stockings on when I lived in Dunedin, except for during the amazing summers that no other student even knew existed because they went home.

      Oh and please enter me for a chance on the giveaway, I find the Winifred collar quite charming!

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    3. Shhhhh, don't tell them about summer, they might stick around :)

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    4. Haha! Yeah it's a completely different city in the summer. Come February you just see this steady trickle of.... irresponsible

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  2. Me me me!! :) Thanks for the giveaway - what a cute dress! I love your choice of fabric too!

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  3. Oh, yes please!
    Love your version and your styling :-)

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  4. uh, that sounds great. I'm always up for new patterns!

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  5. it looks great on you! Thanks for the chance to win.

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  6. A shirt style dress with no buttons to gape across my chest? Yes, yes, yes! :-)

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  7. Oh I've had my eye on the winifred pattern for a few weeks now! I wonder, how easy is it to lower the neckline?

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    1. Hi Elizabeth - I think it should be relatively easy, I'll extend the length of the bottom of the collar interfacing and then just not sew up as high when joining my two front pieces together. Probably about an inch should do it! I'll let you know when I make my next one :)

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  8. I love your black and blue styling, and I also love that this pattern looks polished but is also secretly comfortable. I've been eyeing it since I first saw in on pattern.review - so I'd love a chance to win!

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  9. Looks great with the smurf legs! Lovely of you to give the pattern away but don't count me - I just wouldn't get the wear out of it. But it suits you so much - lovely.

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  10. This is really cute! It does sound like the sizing was perplexing, but at least it worked out in the end. This is right up my alley!

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  11. very pretty, it looks great with the blue too!

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  12. While I cannot get on board with autumn excitement (being on t'other side of the world and all) I very much like this...and made with bargain fabric, that's a double win!

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  13. I have been looking at this pattern all weekend. I am hopeful now and will be waiting until the end of April making any purchases.

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  14. Pretty! Plus I LOVE the styling with that bright blue!

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  15. This dress has been on my wishlist since it was released, so I really hope I win! I'm wondering how it would look made up in a cozy ponte knit!

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  16. I do like a shirt dress and a quick one even better. Winifred looks very cute.

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  17. I'd love to make this dress! (Fingers crossed)

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  18. What a pretty dress! And such a bonus that it just pulls over the head!

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  19. Yours is the best 'Winnie' I've seen for its style lines, lovely job! have seen this on variously sized ladies and think it is a very flattering style, I would love to win a copy :o)

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  20. This is so lovely! I really, really like it on you! You can leave me out of the giveaway (my sewing queue is CRAZY long right now), but I wanted to tell you how much I love this on you!

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  21. So cute! I've been admiring this pattern and would love to win a copy :) yours is really adorable and perfect for autumn!

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  22. I love this pattern! I want to make it in a flower fabric, a striped fabric, an unicolored fabric, a......

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  23. Great dress! Love the lack of button holes to do.

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  24. This turned out well! I really like the way the collar is shaped and am excited about the prospect of no zips or buttons.

    As for Afternoon Blouse spam, keep it coming! I finished two versions myself over the weekend and absolutely love your pattern!!!

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  25. Yes please count me in! You look gorgeous!

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  26. Lovely Winnie dress, I was looking at this pattern after seeing Caitlan's version :)
    Oh & I love your shoes, so cute!!!

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  27. I enjoyed looking at your dress and then I got to the tights :D Awesome! I love the pop of color. Great dress for transitioning into colder weather.

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  28. I was looking at this pattern all weekend. I am hopeful and will hold back with any purchases until the end of April.

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  29. I'd love to try the Winifred - I love shirt dresses but I'm quite intimidated by collars and rows of buttons - The Winifred seems a nice beginners version!

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  30. I already have this pattern so just omit my comment from the giveaway but Um yeah I made the same fitting mistake!! I'm surprised my seams didn't pop when trying on my muslin. The whole time sewing it I was thinking, no way is this going to fit. So I must try again.

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  31. Beautiful dress! Thanks for the give-away. :)

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  32. I love this pattern! The only reason I haven't bought it is the queue I already have waiting! Yours is lovely.

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  33. That looks like a dress you will wear over and over. I would love to enter the giveaway. Thanks.

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  34. Love the dress & the tights. I do love a nice bright or patterned pair of tights.

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  35. It's lovely Jen and beautifully made! Love the smurf legs ;o)

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  36. This looks like a lovely dress! I love the fact that there are no buttons! Thanks for a chance to win it.

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  37. This is extremely cute! What a wonderful play on a shirtwaist!

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  38. Thanks for the giveaway! I love this pattern but haven't bought it (yet). I'd love to give it a try!

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  39. I've seen this dress popping up everywhere, and I've loved all of the versions I've seen, but I think yours put me over the edge! Perhaps it's because you have a solid fabric with a lovely drape that shows off the style lines really nicely. This would be a very versatile dress: just as appropriate for teaching as it would be on the dance floor.

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  40. We were just talking about this dress on the RTW Fast. I saw it in knit and it was so cute.

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  41. Great giveaway! Thanks for the chance to win!!

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  42. That looks great on you! Thanks for the giveaway and please put my name in the hat. I'd love to give this a go.

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  43. Love the dress, I was just wondering if it would make in knit. Enter me please.

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  44. Great outfit! Am keen to make my own autumn version of this pattern.

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  45. So cute! Could totally see myself wearing this to death, too.

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  46. is beautiful I like the contrast with the blue socks
    http://mandarinacosturera.blogspot.com.es/

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  47. What an absolutely awesome idea for a dress! I love your version, and would love to have a copy of the pattern to make my own!

    Brigid
    the Middle Sister and Singer

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  48. I love the dart shaping and collar!

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  49. It´s so weird to read about winter coming on when in these parts it´s just becoming spring and flowers start blossoming everywhere! I just put the woolcoat away to make room for my lightweight Trenchcoat and the easy summerdresses I made during winter :-) Still, Winnie is a great pattern for summer and winter alike, so thanks for the Chance to win one!

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  50. Beautiful pattern and great job on your dress!! I would love a copy ;-)

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  51. That is an absolute gorgeous dress! I would love to make a Winnie of my own!

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  52. So cute! Thanks for the chance to win! It's approaching summer here (eventually), and I think this would work so well in a lighter fabric.

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  53. Wow great dress, please include me. And we are all enjoying the afternoon blouse, not spam at all. Louise x

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  54. Love that dress. Love that dress on you! Just fabulous. The brown, the smurf. Brilliant!

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  55. So cute! Looks like a great year round dress as well! I love the fabric and your blue tights!

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  56. I'd love to try out this pattern! I think it would easily become a staple for me.

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  57. I love the dress on you, Jen. Clever juxtaposition of chocolate and blue :)

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  58. The more I see of these dresses, the more I like it. I saw one by Uandmii the other day that really sold me on it http://www.uandmii.co.uk/content/japanese-winifred-dress
    I think it would really suit my curves!

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  59. Yes please! :) I do very much like your Winnie. It's not a fabric I would have thought would work with the pattern but it's one of the best versions out there!

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  60. Lovely dress, I like the drape of the slightly heavier fabric

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  61. I have had my eye on the Winifred since it was released :) I love how yours turned out. I'd love to be entered in the giveaway.

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  62. I really like this pattern. I keep seeing great versions about the web.

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  63. That looks like a lovely versatile dress! It looks great with the blue tights as well. Thanks for the giveaway, I'm in!

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  64. Your Winifred looks terrific. I'd like to try it. Please enter me in the giveaway

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  65. The dress looks great! I've never done a collar either so that would be a new challenge for me.

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  66. This is a gorgeous dress Jen! The seams, darts and pleats all look so sleek in this fabric. It's really beautiful. Thanks for the heads up about the sizing - I'd looked at the pattern sizes and been completed confused about the large waist sizes, so I will make sure to double check before making it! And please enter me for the giveaway :)

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  67. Lovely dress, great style. Love the blue tights

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  68. This is SUCH a beautiful dress! You've styled it amazingly also. Zoe x

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  69. Your dress look lovely! I love the colour. Have read a little of this one around lately, And I would love to make one:D

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  70. This looks fun and quick, wins in my book! I'd like to make one in a bright colour or print.

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  71. Great pattern! I too live in tights as the weather begins to cool. I know it's finally spring when I don't need them anymore. I'd love to try out this pattern.

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  72. Please enter me in the giveaway! Cute Dress btw.

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  73. The dress looks amazing and I love the afternoon blouse.
    I'd love to make an Autumn/Winter version of this dress, maybe with 3/4 sleeves...

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    1. Ooh, 3/4 sleeve Afternoon Blouse would be quite gorgeous! Let me know if you make it :)

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  74. Thanks for hosting such a fabulous giveaway, I would love to win a Winnie dress of my own!

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  75. Cute dress, it looks so easy and fun to wear! I'd love to have my own copy :)

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  76. Wow...that dress looks stunning and I really think that this dress pattern is just one of those that works year-round..just remove/add sleeves and voila a new look! I keep on hearing about this pattern and I'd love to make one too!

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  77. Hi Jen

    Thanks for this post. I have been interested in this pattern for a while now, as I have never done a shirt dress before and it looks like a good way to ease into one!

    Love the smurf tights :)

    Evelyn

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  78. Thanks forthe giveway, this is a lovely pattern!

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  79. Super cute dress - I love your autumn version! Winnie looks like a very versatile pattern that will look equally good in cooler & warmer weather. Great Smurf legs too!

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  80. Ooh love:) I desperately need some easy-wear dresses for autumn and winter and the Winnie looks like it would be just the thing.

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Thank you so much for stopping by to leave me a comment, like most people, I really do appreciate them all!

Due to the large amount of spam I seem to be receiving for some strange reason, comments may take longer to be published than usual. Apologies!

XX
Jen

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