New Year New Uses: Sew Your Stash for Yourself!

This week has been son much fun - and it isn't over!!!  We still have one more fun post for you coming and we still want to see all of your Sew Your Stash Creations!!!  Tag us when you post on Facebook or use the #newyearnewusessys so that we can come give you some love.

Today we have Marnie sewing up her stash - for HERSELF!!!  The third annual Sew Yourself Some Love is coming up in February, and this is a such a great reminder that sewing for yourself doesn't need to be expensive - becasue you probably have enough materials for at least one outfit in your STASH!!! Check out what she does with the Violette Field Threads Harlow Dress.


Last year was a crazy year for me. I was busy with orders for girls clothes coming out of my ears and had zero time to sew myself a few clothes - other than to pattern test and for the odd review here and there and I am quite determined to change that this year. I have quite a few fabrics that have been sitting in my cupboard for years and a few patterns that I have really been wanting to try and so I was thrilled when I heard we were having a “Sew Your Stash week on the blog.

I have had the Harlow Misses Dress from Violette Field Threads here for years - probably since around the time it was released and I was determined that I would finally try this pattern. I made my daughter one last month and was thrilled with the results and really wanted to give it a go for myself.

I made the dress from one of my all time favourite fabrics - it’s a really soft Japanese cotton sateen that I ordered from the Miss Matatabi etsy store a few years ago. I love bold geometric prints and whilst I was really scared to cut into it, I knew I could trust a Violette Field Threads pattern and that I wouldn’t waste precious fabric. This sateen is much softer and lighter than conventional quilting cottons, and the combination of fabric and pattern have turned this into the perfect spring/summer/autumn dress from me.

The Harlow Misses Dress has some really great design features that drew me to it in the first place. The first is the princess seams in the bodice. I much prefer princess seams over darts for a close fitting bodice. I find it much easier to get a good fit as there are multiple points to made adjustments for fit versus the pointiness of a dart - where unless it hits the girls in exactly the right spot, it can really draw attention in a most unflattering way! I also love the gentle pleats on the skirt of this pattern - the are flattering and help the material not to cling to your tummy and hips, but do not create that “I’m a grown up lady pretending to be Cinderella” poof in the skirt. And the biggest bonus for me is the sleeves. I am a big fan of sleeves.

As with all women’s sewing, I made a quick muslin out of some quilting cotton that I had sitting in my scraps box so I could check the fit of the bodice on me before I cut into my fabric I really liked. Scrap boxes are fabulous for doing a quick sew up of a pattern with smaller bodice pieces like this one. It doesn’t matter if the fabric isn’t all the same because it usually goes in the bin anyway, and it creates some space in the scrap box, so you don’t feel slightly less like you have a problem with hoarding fabric. I did make a number of changes to the bodice based on my muslin and though I might share them for those less experienced. Making small changes for your body shape can really help a pattern go from average to great on your figure. It is impossible for a designer to create a pattern that will fit all shapes perfectly, but a good one will draft a pattern that is pretty good, but just needs a few changes to be awesome, depending on your figure. Anyway, here is what I changed

  • lengthened the bodice by one inch. Pretty much a standard adjustment for me
  • moved the shoulder seam out by 1.5cm - again, a fairly standard adjustment for me
  • raised the back of the dress so that it sat a little higher (just personal preference)
  • added an invisible zipper instead of a dress zipper (out of sheer laziness and not wanting to take all my kids to the fabric store with me, as I already had an invisible zipper)