Anna Dress Sprout Hack

Today’s guest blogger is Kelly, Director of Engineering over at Spoonflower. She also writes a blog where she focuses on sewing, weaving and reading. It’s called Dress Insouciantly – check it out!


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We’ve all had this moment before: It’s late at night and you got carried away working on a project when you realize you’re missing an essential element. But of course, the craft store is closed. Why oh why can’t craft stores be open at reasonable times? Say, 24-hours a day, 7-days a week? Sadly, I found myself in this position just last week.

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I’ve been eyeing By Hand London’s Anna dress ever since Sprout Patterns listed it. It looks elegant without being fussy, and can serve as both casual day dress or evening wear depending on what fabric you choose. With a birthday coming up, I decided now was the time, and designed the dress with a beautiful floral design called Winter Garden Antique from Ceciliamok. I chose the poly crepe de chine fabric because I love the light feeling it has and I really wanted that draped effect the slash-necked bodice has.

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As life so often goes, time caught up with me, and it was the night before my birthday party before I really got down to business and started sewing. I wasn’t worried though, this pattern is beautiful in its simplicity. The use of pleats in the bodice, instead of darts, makes it very easy to fit. And the long straight sides of the skirt are a breeze! And then, of course, I get to the very last step: the zipper. But wait, where is my zipper? I know I put it around here somewhere…

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Long story short, I had no 22inch zipper; what I did have was a 7-9 inch zipper. It was nearly midnight, there were no craft stores open anywhere. And yet, I was determined to wear this dress tomorrow, what could I do?

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Eventually, I realized that the zipper is really only needed for the narrowest part of the waist. Because the dress uses kimono sleeves instead of inset ones, and the bodice pleats encourage a relaxed fit and gathered look, the back of the dress isn’t actually supporting any structure. As long as the back of the neck is connected, the zipper really only needs to go as high as the bodice pleats. I decided that it would be completely possible to still finish the dress and create an open back feature.

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I set my 9inch zipper in the back seam so that the bottom of the zipper met the marks in the pattern and the top of it reached just past the bodice darts. Then I drew a gentle curve on the remaining section of each piece of the back bodice and cut away a little bit more than an inch of fabric. I hemmed these pieces with a double fold, making sure to catch the back facing in for a clean finish. I attached a button to the top of one back piece, and a loop of elastic thread to the other. Voila! I now have a key-hole back on my Anna dress!

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I am very pleased with how this dress turned out. I’m even happy I forgot to get a zipper of the right length; because of that mistake I ended up with a unique dress with an interesting feature. I feel like there are plenty of open back styles that would still work with the Anna dress pattern. You could add cross pieces, or cut the key-hole in a different shape, or don’t cut it out at all and let the pieces overlap each other for a more subtle look. With a little bit of extra scrap fabric you could create a draped cowl. Or you could add a large sculptural button for a statement piece… With so many ideas I’m going to have to save up to buy another Sprout dress again!

Sprout x Berlin Fashion Show Recap

Sprout Patterns Creative Director Caroline gives us the low down about the fashion show in Berlin that happened on September 7th at the Spoonflower European headquarters.


Ok, TRUTH? I now have a new appreciation for all runway shows. Let me tell you a secret – it’s A LOT of WORK! Is it fun? YES YES YES! But the coordination, the hair, makeup, models – it’s just a huge puzzle that you seem to be putting together on the fly, even if you’ve organized and rehearsed!

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Yes, that’s me, doing hair for the show, THANK GOODNESS for hairspray!

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Essentials – makeup, hairspray and chocolate – not pictured.

Since this is a “behind the scenes” look at the show, I wanted to also share how beautiful our models were without any special hair or makeup – naturally gorgeous!

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Jasmine and Martha – natural beauties!

We had a lot of help from the Spoonflower office dog, Ben. He made sure everyone got their daily dose of snuggles, petting, and canine slobber.

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Ben says all that snuggling is hard work!

I also got to meet with some of the designers before the show, like Mele de la Yglesia. I can honestly say that I’ve never seen anyone so excited about seeing their art on fabric. I loved Mele’s enthusiasm and it was AMAZING to share in her pure joy!

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Mele trying on a Kielo dress with her design

One of the BEST things about this show was that we hired a professional photographer, Benni Janzen. He is AMAZING, and sweet and super easy to work with. Seriously, if you’re in Europe and need a photographer, HIRE HIM! But of course, since I’m stubborn, I had to take my own iPhone photos, like these:

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Juliana models for Benni and Sophie tries on her Inari dress.

I think the models had a good time and made some new friends. They were all a lot of fun and made me wish I could stay in Berlin longer to hang out with them!

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Martha has some serious attitude – LOVE IT!

We held the show at the Spoonflower office in Berlin – which is in a really cool industrial section of Neukölln. The room we used has great light, but we rigged up some LED’s since the event was at night. Here’s the space BEFORE the magic happened. ;o)

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The other thing about having a photographer is that they sometimes catch you at certain “moments” like me absolutely FAWNING over designer Cristóbal Schmal. Not too obvious at all, RIGHT? HAHAHA!!!

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I hope his GF doesn’t see this photo! ;o)

Then the magic started happening. Pablo forgot that he was shy and rocked the runway.

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Laura from Named Clothing remembered that she got up at 4am to fly to Berlin and see the show. THANK YOU for coming all that way, Saara and Laura!!!

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I got to meet some very cool German bloggers and patternmakers and talked to them about Spoonflower and Sprout.

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The show was so much fun and I LOVED meeting everyone! I wore a Named Kielo Dress I’d sewn by designer Alexandra Bordallo of Spain. Little did I know that everyone was going to wear their favorite Kielo! Model Juliana won the battle (I’m totally serious, there was almost a fight!) over the show sample from Pete Corrie, then Laura and Saara wore the Kielos they’d ordered from Sprout. This is definitely one of my favorite photos from the show, and no we’re not terribly short, Juliana was just rocking monster heels.

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And the Kielo prize goes to…..

In conclusion: Berlin was awesome. The fashion show KICKED ASS. All I want to know is when the next one will be. Someone want to volunteer their city? LET ME KNOW! ;o) Tschuss!

p.s. If you saw a dress / shirt / top you liked, it’s probably here on Sprout.

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The Wedding Guest’s Dress to Impress: My Perfect Myrtle

Let’s be real, y’all: wedding season can be pretty stressful when the invitations start to pile up. If you’re anything like me, you spend forever searching for the perfect dress for each special day – the dress that you’ll feel beautiful in, but not “hey look at me instead of the bride” beautiful. I have never accomplished this. Not once. But this summer, I’ve got Sprout Patterns to help me out. I decided to make a Sprout dress for each of my three summer weddings, and they decided that all of you would love to hear about it.

Introducing, “The Wedding Guest’s Dress to Impress” blog series! My first project? The perfect Myrtle Dress.

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The first of my weddings was for my friends Katie and Greg. My boyfriend, Kenton, is one of Greg’s best friends and groomsmen. Their friendship was formed over a shared love of craft beer, the tv show “How I Met Your Mother”, and being generally decent human beings. Katie also has these things in common with Greg, so he decided to marry her.

Katie and Greg have one other important thing in common: they’re both Catholic. That’s actually how they were introduced to one another, and was the excuse Katie gave Greg to get his phone number – a fact we still tease her about to this day. Anyway, their ceremony was held at a lovely Catholic church in Greensboro, NC, with a reception at a nearby renovated mill. The wedding started at 2pm, which meant lots of time outside in the hot afternoon sun. For those of you who don’t know, North Carolina summer weather is akin to taking a very hot, very uncomfortable bath that starts in late May and continues well into September.

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Recap: I needed a dress that  would be fine to wear for the better part of the day (since Kenton is a groomsman, it meant arriving early and staying late), be conservative enough for me to be comfortable wearing it in a Catholic church, and be cool enough to keep me from melting in the middle of a hot June evening. My solution? The Myrtle Dress.

I decided Poly Crepe de Chine would be the perfect fabric for my Myrtle. It’s soft and sheer, great for comfort and combatting the weather, and drapes beautifully on the neckline of the dress. It also prints well – I love how bright colors always look on it.

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When it came to choosing a design, I had a tough time. Katie picked navy and magenta for her wedding colors, so that’s what Kenton wore. I like to coordinate with him when we go fancy places just so we don’t look crazy in photos, but I also didn’t want to be that girl and match the bridesmaids too well.

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My assistant, Oz, has to test everything I make for comfort and color coordination with his fur

It was tough, but I managed to find something that didn’t feature tacos, space, or cats – three of my go-to standards for Spoonflower fabric. Mjmstudio, one of the designers featured on Spoonflower’s fabric sample swatches, has lots of gorgeous watercolor patterns to choose from. It was a tough call, but I settled on Verve purple – I love the bright colors, and they went well with Kenton’s suit.

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We match! For once! Time for a selfie.

The Myrtle is a very popular choice among the ladies of Spoonflower, and after making mine, I totally understand why: it’s easy to put together, especially when you use this guide for installing the waistband from Colette Patterns, and it’s way too comfy for how fancy it looks. (Y’all. It even has pockets. That’s the dream.)

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If you love this dress as much as I do, it’s available as a project on Sprout. I called it Just Another Manic Myrtle.

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“Thanks, it has pockets!” is what every woman will say when you compliment her dress that has pockets.

The comfort of this dress was much appreciated at the reception when the music started. Kenton loves to dance, especially in public. As a classic introvert, this was pretty hard for me at first. But, I’ve gotten used to it, and he’s even taught me a few things. However, Kenton wasn’t my only dance partner that evening –

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Greg’s niece also loves to dance, and I had the pleasure of bouncing across the dancefloor with her several times. I told her that I liked her dress, and she told me she liked my eyeball. I’ll take it.

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One of my favorite things all day was responding to compliments on my dress with, “Thanks! I made it.” For me, there’s nothing better than the look of surprise, fascination, and a hint of jealousy you receive when someone learns that you created the garment they’re admiring.  And, it’s way more fun spending the afternoon hanging out with your cat, your sewing machine, and Leslie Knope than traversing the mall (and oh gosh, the parking lot) looking for something you probably won’t like very much anyway (and, it probably won’t have pockets, either.)

Like pretty much every other wedding I’ve attended, I cried during the couple’s vows, reluctantly danced in public, and ate way too much delicious food. But, unlike any other wedding I’ve attended, I am actually looking forward to seeing myself in the reception photos in a few months – for the first time ever, I had the perfect thing to wear.

Cheers!
Gina


gina.jpgGina is a printer operator at Spoonflower (or as she likes to call her position, “Slayer of Ink Beasts”) and a summer intern with Sprout. When she’s not having audible conversations with machinery, she can be found sharing facts about pigeons or Wonder Woman or old buildings with anyone who will listen. Her hobbies include fabric hoarding, wrestling her sewing projects away from her polydactyl cat Oz, and aimlessly wandering with coffee in one hand and her polaroid in the other.

Mother’s Day Outfit Inspiration

No matter how you’re celebrating Mother’s Day this Sunday, we have some outfit inspiration for you! Each outfit centers around a different pattern from Sprout, showing you that home sewing is definitely the way to go.

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Love pink? So do we! Laurel Blouse from Colette Patterns.


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Sweet options to stay cozy this chilly Spring. Anna Dress from By Hand London.


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Bling it out in style. Archer Button Up from Grainline Studio.


Happy Mother’s Day to ALL the moms out there!

A Whale of a Good (Sewing) Time

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“To boldly go where no one has gone before”

Familiar words to fans of a certain iconic television show, and also my motto when venturing forth into my newest sewing project, the Moneta Dress from Sprout! I am somewhat new to the world of sewing, and by sewing, I mean sewing properly. Much to the chagrin of the professional costume designers who taught me to sew, I rarely measure, never use a pattern, and generally just plunge into a project while vaguely hoping for the best. It is safe to say that my creations often end up being garments strictly to wear inside the house with the blinds closed.

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When I first saw Colette Patterns Moneta Dress on the Sprout website, I knew this challenge was one worth undertaking. I immediately loved the fit-and-flare silhouette, the pockets, and the customizable aspect of the sleeves and collar. I chose our new Cotton-Spandex Jersey, but struggled to find a print I truly adored until I stumbled onto Galaxy Whales, by Wildnotions.

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Rich jewel tones are my favorites, and as a child I wanted to be (and this is completely true) an astronaut AND a whale surgeon. Eventually settling on the sleeveless option with the adorable crossover collar, I was ready to begin!

Much to my delight, the colors on the screen translated beautifully to fabric. No tracing patterns, no grain lines to wrangle, and I was pleased as punch to have it cut out and ready to go in less than 15 minutes. I chose a lightweight navy jersey for the bodice lining, and sewed the lining and bodice together using a standard zig-zag stitch to account for the stretch allowed by the Cotton Spandex Jersey.

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In the span of a couple hours, the dress was cut out and assembled, with only the collar left to attach. When I attached the bodice to the skirt, I ruched the skirt rather than inserting elastic to cinch the waist. Colette Patterns offers a free collar variation add-on to the Moneta Dress so that you can customize the dress even further! Scrolling through the designs, I chose the tie collar. Luckily for me, I was able to fashion my new collar then and there, as I had ample extra fabric from the Sprout design.

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Although the downloadable instructions from Colette specify that the collar should be lined with interfacing, I had to do without this time, but I think the results were definitely satisfactory!

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New collar vs old collar!

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As it was the first dress I had ever made completely on my own, I was definitely a little nervous to see how the finished project looked. With great trepidation, I squirmed into the finished dress. I was pleased to see that it was really quite lovely! This was a great starter project for someone like me who was a touch uncertain about undertaking a semi-complex garment, and I’m thrilled with how well it turned out! Thanks to Sprout, the ease of the entire process, and its delightful end product, was reassuring for this novice seamstress. My dress is completely custom, fits like a glove, and was simple to make. Emboldened with my success, I’ve already ordered another Sprout pattern!

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Claire.jpgClaire is one of Spoonflower’s warehouse operations specialists. Though she is a sociologist by schooling, her love of artistic creativity and environmental sustainability led her to Spoonflower, where she is surrounded by like-minded people. An exercise aficionado, she likes experimenting with Spoonflower’s stretchy fabrics, especially the sport lycra. When she’s not at the gym, you can find her playing video games, planning her next big trip, or trying to find her new favorite restaurant.

 

FREE SHIPPING for 24 hours

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A Leap Year is a pretty special thing, so we’ve decided to celebrate with free shipping at Sprout Patterns. That’s right – for 24 hours, between 10am EST Monday, February 29th and 10am EST Tuesday, March 1st all orders, both domestic and international, will have free shipping.

Is there a catch? Not at all. Just use the code LEAPYEAR at checkout to take advantage of the offer. Have fun and get Sproutin’!