And then I sewed an Astrid bag

Dot Spot Astrid Bag sewn by Ivy Arch

I'm on a roll with Lotta Jansdotter's Everyday Style sewing book and have run up an Astrid cross-body bag to go with the Dot Spot Esme Dress.

Such an easy bag to make, I cut it out yesterday evening, sewed it up in an hour after breakfast and then finished off the hand stitching at this morning's Meet and Make craft get-together.

Making and meeting at Meet and Make, Worthing

I used whatever materials came to hand to finish the bag - the lining is left over from my first Esme dress, I used a long zip found in my sewing box and cut it down to size, then sewed a fabric strap so that I wouldn't have to go out and buy leather and rivets as suggested in the sewing instructions.

Lotta Jansdotter  Astrid Cross-Body bag in Dot Spot fabric

I made a patch pocket with a Velcro fastening inside to hold my keys. Next time I will try to make one with an internal zip pocket. The finished bag is a perfect shape and size for every day use, in fact I now think all my new homemade dresses should have matching bags...

Astrid bag camouflaged!

Avant Garden Dot Spot Esme Dress

Esme dress in Avant Garden Dot Spot by Ivy Arch

The Dot Spot fabric I've used to make a second Esme dress is part of MoMo's Avant Garden collection for Moda. I bought it in the sale at Worthing's Eclectic Maker fabric shop last Saturday. The repetition of circles on a red background reminds me of Yayoi Kusama's polka dot art (Kusama says polka dots are a way to infinity), and I love the texture of this linen/cotton mix fabric.

MoMo's Avant Garden Dot Spot fabric for Moda

The pockets are cut from another fabric in the Avant Garden range left over from making this Tova dress a year ago.

Avant Garden Fantasia pocket - perfectly practical and fabulous

Lotta Jansdotter's Esme works just as well in a heavier weight fabric, and my second version of it fits me as perfectly as the first. The fabric's bold spotted pattern design really comes to life when cut and sewn into three dimensions.

Avant Garden Esme dress

Relentless rain and grey skies of the past few days have made it difficult to get a good enough photograph of the dress, but I can assure you that this Esme is even bolder and brighter in real life!

Ivy Arch's Avant Garden Dot Spot Esme dress

Esme Dress: Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style

Esme Dress: Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style made by Ivy Arch

Lotta Jansdotter's Everyday Style is a perfect place to start a new sewing year. It's packed with inspiration and includes five easy sewing patterns that can be adapted to make wearable every day garments. Jansdotter's designs in this book have been beautifully drafted into sewing patterns with the help of Alexia Abegg of Green Bee Design & Patterns (a new name to me).

Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style

I bought the book at a local bookshop and traced out the Esme Dress the same evening. I decided to use a red floral fabric (which days before had been the Christmas tablecloth) to make a trial version of the dress.

Drafting the pattern for Esme Tunic

Sewing instructions in the book are simple and easy to follow and this was a super-quick dress to make. The enclosed patterns come in 5 sizes from XS to XL printed on traceable pattern sheets, just like the Japanese Sewing Books except here seam allowances are included. I drafted the Esme using S for the shoulders and bust, M at the waist, grading out to L at the hips. I also added 10 cms to the hem to make this a dress, rather than a tunic.

Esme dress made from my Christmas tablecloth

The finished frock fits my shape perfectly with no gaping at the neckline and the dress hangs in a lovely A-line shape. The sleeves deserve a special mention as there is ample room for arm movement meaning I can reach, stretch and cycle comfortably. It is the best fitting tunic pattern I have used yet needing no tweaking or alteration after drafting the pattern. I will be looking out for more Alexia Abegg sewing patterns in future!

Patch pocket perfection

To make the dress look less like a Christmas tablecloth I added yellow floral patch pockets and will wear it with a matching Layla Amber painted wooden brooch.

Wooden brooch by Layla Amber