Fast Sewing Again – Style Arc Danni Dolman

I’d love to say I’ve already started on my Autumn sewing plans, however I’m really just still on a fast and easy sewing kick, to fit in with my more outdoorsy Summer lifestyle (Yorkshire, windswept hills, rain) and so my attention swung around finally to a pattern I’ve had for a while, the Style Arc Danni Dolman, which has been pulled out, examined, then put away on a number of occasions.

I do love a wide boat-neck as it’s flattering for my narrowish shoulders and the slim skirt really helps balance out the look. It’s also very work appropriate and comfortable, but the right fabric, as always, was the issue.

The last thing I need is a super-clingy dress in my wardrobe so i was on the hunt for something beefy enough to skim my figure, yet drapey enough for the sleeves and pleats to hang nicely. The pattern doesn’t use a lot, only 1.6 metres, and a after a dive into my stash I was surprised to come up with a wool/poly knit fabric I’d had for a couple of years, bought from Mood in New York a few years back, on a very special trip, but which was now really grating on me with it’s overly large print, weird colour placement and stingy quantity.


And I think it’s a winner. No, it isn’t pieced, that’s the print and I’m so pleased with the placement, which really I had no choice in. The poor bridges though. They had nowhere to go, sigh. You can just about see them, front, bottom right. Also, I could just get this pattern on the 1.5m fabric I had, but I had to shorten it a few inches, and I’m 5’4″. I would say you need more fabric than recommended, especially if your print is directional.


Ignore the slightly wavy hem, which I twin-needled, and underwear, ahem!  I used a size 10, without alterations, and I think the fit is pretty good, although it could have probably done with my usual swayback alteration. The lower arms are a little tight too, but as all 4 of my limbs are on the plump side I should probably have checked this first. It was all completed on my overlord/overlocker/serger in a matter of hours.

When taking the pictures I discovered a setting on my camera, which was a real revelation, and which means I can now take all my own photos, easily, without relying on the patience and availability of my partner, or his camera skills. Most of you who have good cameras probably know about this already, but basically, I put my camera into timer mode, with face recognition, just set it up at the right height and once I walk into shot, and my face is recognised by the lens, the camera automatically takes a picture. I can then just stand there and pose again, and it takes another picture, without pressing any buttons.  Again and again. Yeah, baby, one more pose, you love the camera, a little lower, yeah, that’s it, come on, let’s see that smile. OK, you get the picture. Ha! Also, whilst on the subject of photo taking, I’m looking forward to Gillian’s series on taking better pictures, in her Better Pictures Project. I’ve still got a lot to learn about taking good photos.

Still learning? Yes, even with the simplest patterns something always come up.


Singing V.L.I.S.C.O

I discovered Vlisco a while back.

They specialise in African wax print fabric and their large-scale designs are fabulously, eye-wateringly, slap-bang in your face amazing.

Unfortunately, I discovered it is really difficult to buy quantities of less than 6 metres. Really difficult. And it isn’t cheap either. For cotton. But that didn’t stop me. I had fallen pretty hard.  So I decided to order one of their less eye-searing colour ways to quiet my fabric demon try it out. Still, 6 whole metres of it.  However I could get birds though. Large flying hummingbirds. And birdcages, of course.

(The fabric is now no longer available)

I ordered direct from Vlisco and the fabric arrived beautifully packaged within about a week. It got washed and then parked up in one, of my many, fabric bays, until I could decide what to do with it. The design was everything I expected, but the fabric was quite stiff and since the pattern was so large, and printed on the cross grain,  I had to get to know where those birds wanted to go, and prepare myself for their ultimate release out into the wild.

In the meantime I was enjoying the resurgence of some new (to me) silhouettes in the world of fashion. One’s which I’d never really worn before. More specifically, they could be described as egg shapes.

Like this cocoon coat from Burda.

Later, after much internet trawling thought I decided I’d use one of the few Burdastyle patterns from the last 3 years which hadn’t been published in their monthly magazines, and which I therefore didn’t own. No surprises there.

The Vintage Rosa jacket silhouette was just what I wanted. It was classic. It was unusual. It was pure in it’s oviform gorgeousness, so my birds would somehow be returned to their eggy origins.  The simple silhouette would allow my lovely fabric to truly sing.


Can’t see the birds? Should I get a bit closer?


Is this any better?


from the side?


Unfortunately to get the full oeuf shape it needed more structure.  I simply lined it with Bemberg, and it really needed to be interfaced throughout.



Now where did some of those birds go?