Tag Archives: elbe textiles

Summer Dresses: Laundry Day Tee and Bardon Dress

Shorts are a summer staple for me. I’ve sewn six pairs since 2017, and I love wearing them. But I want to have an alternative to shorts for going shopping or out to lunch. My plan for this summer is to sew casual dresses that are comfortable, have pockets, and are loose enough to not need a zipper. No constricting belts wanted either, but a self -fabric sash is a comfortable option for shaping.

I started with two fabrics, a knit and a woven, and two free patterns.

I used the navy stripe cotton/spandex knit to sew a sleeveless Laundry Day Tee by Love Notions with a V-neck. I sewed a size medium and added inseam pockets. I chose to cut the fabric with the stripes being vertical for the lengthening effect.

Next up is the Bardon dress by Elbe Textiles for Peppermint magazine. I chose size E by my upper bust measurement and did a 1/2 inch full bust adjustment to the darted bodice. The adjustment added 1 inch to the waist which I should have taken away with vertical waist darts but I forgot that the FBA also added to the waist. I also shortened the bodice by 2 inches due to my short torso. I didn’t want the pockets, which are sewn on the first tier, to hang too low for my short arms to reach. My fabric is a red cotton I bought at a thrift store many years ago, with the pattern having a stripe-like effect. The bottom tier was very wide, 48 inches per side, and I cut it on the cross grain in order to be able to cut the full width of the pattern. I also like the visual interest it creates.

A gust of wind caused the dress to billow into a perfect bell shape!

These patterns are keepers! I would make both of these dresses again, perhaps with some alterations. For the Tee dress I would add ease to the underarm area and some width to the back hip as I would prefer the dress to hang straight and not pool at the back. The tiers of the Bardon dress lend themselves to playing with the lengths and proportions, and I can imagine several variations.

I styled these dresses with accessories for going out. They are even easier to wear than shorts since it’s only one item of clothing, but look more polished. The Laundry Day Tee dress is a sporty classic in the navy and white stripe, and doesn’t feel too different than wearing shorts. The red, flouncy Bardon dress is a fun dress and more of a stand out look. So I hope I’m ready to be outstanding this summer!

Sorrento Bucket Hat is Tops

The Sorrento Bucket hat is a popular free pattern by Elbe Textiles.  The unisex pattern comes in XS-L sizes to fit heads between 21 and 24 inches and has 3 pieces: brim, band, and top. There are two seams in the band and brim. I traced out the other side of the band and brim pieces because I didn’t want to cut my fabric on the fold.

My head measures 22 and a half inches putting me between a small and medium. I chose to make the medium size.

The recommended fabric is denim, canvas, twill, or similar medium to heavyweight fabric.  It is a fully reversible hat so I wanted to use 2 different fabrics.  I upcycled the pants legs from 2 pairs of pants I never wore.

Even though this is not sewing in a straight line, the hat isn’t hard to sew.  There’s a lot of manual fabric manipulation involved, pinning, and cutting notches into the pieces to make them fit together. It’s like a little sewing exercise in sewing a circular object.

The pattern is well illustrated. There are 6 steps, starting with the brim. The seam allowance is 1 cm which corresponds to about 3/8 of an inch or a scant 1/2 inch.

I topstitched several circles around the 2 layers of the brim.

I became a little confused when I got to step 4, the step that attaches the top to the band creating the bucket part of the hat. The instructions mention both snipping into the seam allowance of the band, and matching notches on the band and top.  I didn’t know if that meant to cut notches like I did on the brim, and at first I didn’t even notice the notches marked on the pattern pieces.  The band seemed too small for the top, and didn’t fit together.  For a crazy second, the thought of cutting the top circle smaller flashed in my head. I think a clarification would be to differentiate between “easing notches” that are cut into the fabric,  and “matching notches” that are used to align the two pieces together evenly.  The band needs many easing notches to fit the top, and easing notches are cut into the top after sewing it together with the band to make a smooth circular shape.

I wasn’t sure whether to sew with the top side or the band side facing up. I believe the band side should be face up when sewing so the baste stitch on the band is visible and the seam can be sewn just a tad farther in from the seam allowance.

I place and remove pins with my left hand.

The wrong side of my flowered lining fabric is white.

This is messy work; keep the lint roller handy.

In step 5 the brim is sewn to the lining bucket.

In step 6 the top bucket is sewn to the rest of the hat, and two becomes one.

Done!

The fit is spot on.

So pretty with the flowered/leafy side peeking out from the underside.

 

 

Here I’m wearing the hat with the first dress I sewed back in 2013.

I really like these two fabrics together. Other fabric combinations like a classic khaki and black would work well.  I can even imagine using a print to match a top or dress. A lighter fabric could be interfaced, especially on the brim.  I made my hat without interfacing, and like how crushable it is, making it easy to fit in a bag.

I think anyone who knows how to work a sewing machine could make this hat. If you have some sturdy fabric on hand, or unwanted denim or twill pants, why not transform them to a Sorrento bucket hat?