A Dress for Midwinter

Liesl Cinema Dress in folksy corduroy by Ivy Arch

My final dress make of the year is a Cinema Dress trimmed with embroidered ribbons and braid. It's the second dress I've made from this Liesl + Co sewing pattern and this time I used a soft floral corduroy – my favourite choice of fabric for winter dressmaking.

Embellished Cinema Dress by Ivy Arch

Inspired by Gudrun Sjödén's beautiful Midvinter collection, I decided to sew a heavily brocaded panel on the bodice using different braids and embroidered ribbon collected over the years. It took some time to get the placement right!

Liesl + Co Cinema dress with embroidered ribbons

The finished frock has a festive folksy feel and will see me through this season's celebrations.

Back view: braid embellished Cinema Dress

Super Heroine Tendencies: Stylish Party Dresses - Dress O

Super power lightening dress by Ivy Arch

This is Dress O from Yoshiko Tsukiori's latest English translation sewing title Stylish Party Dresses (published as Formal and Little Black Dress in Japan). 

Yoshiko Tsukiori's Stylish Party Dresses

There are several elegant dresses in this book that I'd like to make, but O: Dress with Pin Tucks was at the top of the list. The basic shape of this dress is similar to Dress E from Yoshiko Tsukiori's Stylish Dress Book - a frock I have made several times (see three of them here).

Dress O with Pin Tucks

I used a shirt weight Italian cotton fabric bought from Ditto which has a bold rectangular colour block design. Tacking and sewing the pin tucks took some time as I had to work out to make the best of my fabric. I ended up making larger tucks (more like narrow pleats) to accommodate the print design. 

Carefully stitching pleats...

I also added some functional patch pockets to the front (essential in my opinion) but took care to match the fabric as best as possible so that they are almost invisible.
Dress O with Super Heroine Tendencies by Ivy Arch

The finished frock has taken me by surprise and turned out to be much more striking than expected. As party going is a rare event for me these days (except for children's parties) I shall wear this as an everyday super-power dress – especially on dark winter days when I need a boost!

Cuff detail, dress O

For a full review of the Stylish Party Dresses book see Very Kerry Berry's lovely blog.

Marcy Tilton Hotchpotch Reprise: Vogue 8813

Marcy Tilton V8813 made by Ivy Arch

Some sewing patterns are worth repeating without delay and this is the second Marcy Tilton Vogue 8813 dress I have made this month. 

French House Dress in Indian cotton: V8813 made by Ivy Arch

The fabric is a light weight fine Indian cotton with hand printed patterns. It's actually three different printed fabrics which I pieced together to make a hotchpotch version of the dress. The frock is much more billowy and floaty in this fabric than my first Marcy Tilton French house dress and the hand printed patterns have imperfections which I think just make it even more special. 

Hotchpotch house dress details: V8813

The colours in these fabrics I realise are similar to the previous dress I made, and both dresses are in the colours of a piece of artwork I made in May, which is now exhibited as part of Creative Waves Art On The Pier exhibition on Worthing Pier. It seems I can't get these shades of mustard and ochre out of my head, nor out of my wardrobe.

Artwork by Daniela Gargiulo on Worthing Pier

Art on The Pier exhibition, Worthing 2015

Art on The Pier the great outdoors art exhibition is on display on Worthing's art deco pier now and until April 2016.

Ivy Arch #footselfie

Avant-garde House Dress: Marcy Tilton Vogue 8813

Avant-garde house dress: Marcy Tilton Vogue 8813

Marcy Tilton's Vogue 8813 sewing pattern is her take on a vintage French house dress but I'd say it owes more to the Japanese avant-garde designs of Issey Miyake and this is why I love it. 

Vogue 8813 in linen/viscose mix fabric, made by Ivy Arch

The sheared neckline and neat collar gives this voluminous garment structured points of interest and perfectly pulls Tilton's design together. My chosen fabric is a medium weight linen/viscose mix with a 1950s inspired block pattern in shades of grey and gold. The fabric has a heavy drape which accentuates the huge pockets in this dress, but it also has a soft and crumply woven texture which gives the frock fluidity and makes it extremely comfortable to wear.

Shirred centre front panel: Marcy Tilton's V8813
Nicely turned collar!

This is an easy-to-follow sewing pattern and a relatively quick sew. I followed the instructions to the letter with the exception of shirring the centre front panel before attaching it to the side fronts. For invaluable advice on shirring technique see Tilton's own instructive Youtube video.  

The dress has two huge pockets, each finished with a vintage big teal button.
Neat neckline: back view
Front and side view: V8813

The finished dress is both elegant and easy to wear. I have fabric ready to make a second!


Gudrun's Friends' Diary

Tea at Widewater Lagoon

I was invited to document my week in photographs for a new feature on Gudrun Sjödén's website, Gudrun's Friends Diary. I regularly photograph my world for Instagram so jumped at the chance to be involved in this project. However I must admit that my photo-diary week saw me paying extra attention to what I was wearing every day, and in a routine where many hours at the computer or sewing machine are my reality I was eager to capture the more sociable and varied aspects of my week.

Thursday morning's Meet & Make at Coast, Worthing

The biggest thrill is seeing it all published online and translated into many languages for Gudrun's international sites.

A week in the life: Gudrun's Friends' Diary

My photo diary forms part of a series which started with author and graphic designer Maren El Gammal and I look forward to seeing the diaries of Gudrun's friends in the weeks and months to come!
Rainy Monday walk through the park

You can read my photo diary in Swedish here.

Falling for Gudrun Sjödén's Autumn Collection

Ghita dress in cotton by Gudrun Sjödén

The buzz on Instagram is that Gudrun Sjödén's Autumn 2015 collection is her best yet. While I don't disagree, it's fair to say that every new Gudrun Sjödén collection is met with great excitement and wonder by her fans, with season after season of ethically produced clothes in unexpectedly lovely prints and textures.

Gudrun Sjödén's basic collection Autumn 2015
From Gudrun Sjödén's Basic collection: 
Sigrid linen/cotton tunic, Britt modal slip, Barbro leggings and Britt socks

Gudrun's Autumn catalogue comes in two parts. The first takes inspiration from five Nordic countries of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland with five separately themed collections inspired by the wild natural landscape and rich culture of each of these lands. The second part – an autumn extra capsule collection – is inspired by the primeval forest, abundant with toadstools, mushrooms, branches, moss, lichens and fir needles.

Ditte print dress and top with Vilse trousers by Gudrun Sjödén
'Ditte' is my favourite print from Gudrun's autumn collection, seen here as a dress and top. The trousers shown are both Vilse print and have a contrasting turn up cuff.

The beauty of Gudrun's designs is that year after year she returns to complimentary colour themes and styles so that clothes from any year can be worn and matched with items from previous collections. It's a creative and sustainable approach to fashion design leaving much room (no fungi pun intended) for individuality and heaps of personal taste for the wearer.

Colours and textures of Gudrun Sjödén's Autumn collection
Colourful details of Gudrun Sjödén's Autumn collection
Cotton Ghita dress by Gudrun Sjoden in Madder Red
Comfy cotton Ghita dress by Gudrun Sjoden

I hope you'll enjoy the pieces I've picked here! All garments shown are available now from Gudrun Sjödén's website.

Postcard from Berlin

Ivy Arch's Berlin feet

As I set the alarm for the start of a new school term, I'll take a few minutes to mull over my summer holiday photos from Berlin. In four short days we explored the city on foot, from the top of a tourist sightseeing bus and by underground train. These pictures represent only the briefest snapshot of this endlessly fascinating city.

Berliner Fernsehturm
Green Berlin
Berlin textures
Berlin textures 2
Holocaust Memorial, Berlin
Four days in Berlin, summer 2015

The Fig Frock: Simplicity 1080 Dottie Angel Dress

Simplicity1080 Dottie Angel Frock made by Ivy Arch

Having resolved to cease blogging my dress makes (as documenting them often takes as long as making them), I will break this resolution to join in with the collective outpouring of joy at having finally got my hands on Dottie Angel's sewing pattern for Simplicity - released in the UK this month.

Dottie Angel's pattern for Simplicity, sewing and pocket details

Deciding to make C (the dress version with contrast skirt band), this long awaited frock needed some celebratory fabric so I chose two bold fruity fig print cottons – both end-of-line quilting fabrics bought at Worthing's Sewing Machine Shop. These fabrics remind me of Adelle Lutz's Urban Camouflage costumes for David Byrne's film True Stories.

The Fig Frock: Simplicity 1080 made by Ivy Arch

It's a quick dress to make and the pattern will lend itself well to modifications, but for my first attempt I faithfully followed the instructions. The insides are french seamed and sleeves and neckline finished with bias trim, so it's a garment that's beautiful inside and out. 

Autumn wardrobe essential dress *with figs*

My finished frock is bold and lovely and a perfect starting piece for this year's handmade autumn wardrobe.

Fig frock out in the wild

Cycling Post To The Coast Art Trail

Post To The Coat Art trail, Lancing beach

I picked a sunny day to cycle Post To The Coast art trail. An evolving heritage project by Creative Waves Community Arts, this year-long coastal trail covers a 6 mile route starting at Worthing Lido's traditional English seaside sweet shop and ends at the corrugated steel Nissen Hut at Shoreham Fort. The trail shows artwork, seaside memories and poems inspired by postcards featuring the Sussex coastline.

Post To The Coast: art by young artists on Worthing Pier

Gleaming in the sunshine, my trusty rusty Dawes bicycleHaving taken part in early research workshops for the project investigating historical postcards at Worthing Museum, and subsequent art workshops at Shoreham Fort, I was keen to experience the whole trail. A bright sunny day with a westerly wind blowing towards Shoreham made cycling an ideal way to cover the entire route. Proceeding at a leisurely pace on my upright trusty Dawes bike and stopping to look and think along the way, it took me 2 hours to complete the trail.
Post To The Coast artwork along Lancing's Beach Green

I'd looked at the interactive trail map before setting off, so had an idea where the artwork would be, but still found it exciting each time I saw a new piece of art or an information post containing a story or a bygone holiday memory. The section along Lancing seafront from Beach Green to Widewater Lagoon is superb, with artwork hung along the slatted wooden walls defining the beach. This is a perfect place to view art and contemplate the history of the area with ever changing skies and sea as a backdrop – an invigorating experience for the senses.

Post To The Coast trail at Widewater Lagoon
My postcard inspired by cycling the coastal path towards Widewater Lagoon

I was thrilled to discover my own drawn postcard (above) installed on a weathered wooden wall alongside the beach huts at the end of Lancing Beach Green. Another personal highlight was at Shoreham Beach's Old Fort Road where a row of painted wooden postcards hang along a fence outside a corner house (on Ferry Road). These 19 simple, beautiful images are reminiscent of Alfred Wallis and were made by students at Shoreham Academy - a must see.

Post To The Coast at Old Fort Road, Shoreham Beach

Finally arriving at Shoreham Fort I found artwork hung on the side of the wooden postbox and in the rear windows of the Nissen Hut, where my drawings are also on display alongside some poignant pieces made by fellow artists at the Creative Waves Wednesday Fort workshops. 

End of the Post To The Coast trail at Shoreham Fort

Post To The Coast trail will continue to grow throughout the year and visitors are invited to share their own Sussex seaside memories and contribute postcard artwork. Free trail maps and postcards are available along the route (and at Worthing Museum), and information on how to take part can be found at Creative Waves.

Colourful beach huts at Bungalow Town