Millie Dress International Blog Tour

Millie Dress in See You at Six French Terry

I've had my eyes on this beautiful Millie Dress pattern for a while now. I even went and downloaded the original version but my little beanpole of a girl outgrew the size range before I had a chance to make it.  Happily for me the lovely designer, Nicky of Mix it Make it, has updated the pattern and it now comes in sizes 2-12 - Hurrah!  When she asked whether I would like to be part of the international blog tour to celebrate the release of the English version of the pattern I quite naturally jumped at the chance! 

Millie Dress International Blog Tour

Summer is in full swing down under so I decided to hack my Millie Dress a little to make a sleeveless version.  It was a really simple alteration - I just turned the seam allowance to the wrong side and stitched it down, exactly the same as the neckline.  Super easy.

Millie Dress in See You at Six French Terry

I used a beautiful soft See You at Six French terry which I have recently become completely obsessed with.  I blame MaaiDesign for introducing me to it and enabling my addiction!  It's just so lovely to work with and so heavenly to wear.  Each time I make something from it my kids put the clothes on and say 'Oooooh, yes! I love this one!'  I can't get enough of this beautiful pink with gold paint strokes on it.

Sleeveless Millie Dress in See You at Six French Terry

I think this may well be one of Ella's favourite things that I have ever made for her.  Pretty, Twirly, Comfy. What more could a girl want?  

The pattern is beautifully drafted and the instructions are clear and simple.  I made the mistake of getting a little over excited and accidentally cut the front and back bodice along the ruffle insertion lines before joining them at the shoulders.  I spent about 2 minutes kicking myself and then decided to just try sticking them back together with washi tape before sewing and what do you know - it worked a treat!  Washi tape for the win every time!

There will certainly be more Millie Dresses in our future.   I've already got a long sleeved version planned for autumn in this lovely April Rhodes fabric.  Any dress that makes you want to dance and twirl is a winner in my opinion! (Click through the images above to see more dancing and twirling!)

If you'd like to see more Millie Dresses go and take a look at the beautiful creations by the other lovelies on the Millie Dress Blog Tour:

Kneesocks and Goldilocks | Just Add Fabric | Van Jansen

Groovy Baby and Mama | La Folie Sewing Booth | My Petite Sophie

Vogue Deep V Kimono Dress - V9253

V9253 Vogue Deep V Kimono Dress in Teal Milled Linen

It has taken me so long to get around to photographing and blogging this dress that I can hardly remember any of the making details by now.  So, consider this fair warning if you’re hoping to be informed; this blog post is most likely going to be a combination of pretty pictures and pointless ramblings!

V9253 Vogue Deep V Kimono Sleeve

I made this dress for Melbourne Frocktails after seeing lots of gorgeous versions of it crop up in my instagram feed and becoming completely obsessed with it!

V9253 Vogue Deep V Kimono Dress

I wasn’t brave enough to go for the full deep V, so I just sewed it up to a point where I felt comfortable. I probably should have sewn an extra centimetre or so to stop that pesky bra peeping out, or perhaps I’ll just take it as a sign that I need to spend some time this year learning how to make pretty bras that are worthy of peeping at!

V9253 Vogue Deep V Kimono Dress front pleats

The fabric is a beautiful teal milled linen from The Fabric Store (this shade is called Blue Lagoon), I've already used this fabric for several other projects, and I love the look and feel of it and how easy it is to work with (I’m soon going to have a wardrobe full of this linen in every shade!)

I had a major freak out halfway through making where I became convinced that I didn’t actually like it at all. Fortunately all those fears disappeared when I put it on - I LOVE this dress. It’s so simple yet elegant and I’ve worn it a handful of times already.   

V9253 Vogue Deep V Kimono Dress back zipper

It was actually my first time sewing a vogue pattern - I mostly use indie designer patterns and it really highlighted for me the differences between them and ‘Big 4’ patterns. Firstly it was really expensive ($25!) and also quite hard to find - I had to DRIVE around to SHOPS (say what?!) - no simple internet download for this one.  

I also found the instructions very different, much less detailed and there were no helpful video tutorials or explanations of techniques.  While it wasn't hard to work out what to do, I did spend a lot of time hoping that I was doing it correctly, and not feeling very confident.  It’s made me realise just what a wonderful thing indie designers have done for sewing. I am essentially self taught in my sewing and all of it has come from buying sewing patterns which teach me new techniques, they don’t require you to know those techniques, they teach them! How great is that?! Thank you to all you wonderful designers out there, without you I probably would have given up on sewing before I’d ever even really started to learn!

V9253 Vogue Deep V Kimono Dress front pleats side view

One of the reasons that it's taken me so long to get around to blogging this dress is that I find taking photos really difficult.  I just feel so self-conscious and awkward in front of the camera and it shows in the photos which look awful and that in turn feeds back into a terrible loop of looking and feeling bad about myself! 

One of my resolutions for this year is to learn to feel more comfortable in front of the camera.  One of best ways seems to be to just have a little fun with it and get a bit silly.  I'm going to leave you with this gem because it just cracks me up so bad! Enjoy!

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See You at Six French Terry Groove Dress

I thought all of my dreams had come true when Maaike from MaaiDesign contacted me and asked if I'd like to play with some of her beautiful, beautiful fabrics!  I was completely spoiled for choice but eventually chose to make this amazingly soft, completely adorable, beach / swim cover up from the fish print of this See You at Six french terry

I'm sharing lots more photos and a few more ramblings over at MaaiDesign today. Go and take a look and say 'hello'!

Groove Dress See You at Six French Terry Fish 1.JPG

Metamorphic Dress

Metamorphic Dress by Willow and Stitch.JPG

I’ve been raving about Sew Liberated’s Metamorphic Dress over on instagram for a little while now but I love it so much that I thought it deserved a few words and pictures over here too!

I’ve been reading, and loving, Meg’s insights on parenthood and living a creative life since my daughter was a tiny baby, 7 years ago. Her blog remains my favourite place to find inspiration, ideas and reassurance.  It was, in fact, blogs like Sew Liberated and Made by Rae that first nudged me down the path towards re-discovering a joy of sewing, first for my kids and then for myself. This seemingly small act of stumbling across these blogs so many years ago has caused such a massive shift in my focus and my passion that it is actually impossible to imagine where life would have taken me if hadn’t clicked on the link that first took me there. If I had stayed my finger, where would I be right now? I have no idea, but I’m fairly certain that life would be less joyful and less fulfilling. I feel like I owe so much to Meg, I love her philosophy of sewing, and of course, her designs, so when I got a chance to pattern test the Metamorphic dress I was thrilled.  

Sew liberated metamorphic dress 1.JPG

This dress ticks so many boxes. The most amazing thing about it is that it’s reversible - it’s two dresses in one. I packed mine for a weekend away and it was almost the only thing I had to pack. My husband’s head nearly exploded the first time I turned it inside out and put it back on - hilarious!  You don’t fully appreciate the genius of the reversibility though until your kids smear something grotty over you and you can just whip it off, turn it around and put it back on (although unless you’re layering it, I’d recommend finding a private spot before you do this - I almost got caught out here, I was so excited when I realised that I could switch it around that I nearly stripped off there and then…oops!)

Striped Metamorphic Dress by Willow and Stitch.JPG

I made this version in a blue and white stripe cotton / linen blend for the outer layer and a lightweight linen from The Fabric Store for the inner layer.  The linen is 'Duck Egg' and it’s the most gorgeous colour. Next to grey it looks blue and next to blue it looks grey and it will go with pretty much everything in my wardrobe!

The dress is super comfortable, although I would expect nothing less from one of Meg’s designs. Clothes are no good at all to me if I can’t move in them, I need to be able to be spontaneous with my kids, be able to roll down a hill, to rescue them from unexpectedly big waves, to jump and run with them or to help them down from a tree. I can do all of this in my Metamorphic dress and I feel great doing it.  The relaxed fit means that it's cool on the hottest summer days and also layers up beautifully for winter.

Metamorphic Dress.JPG

And… I’ve saved the best for last... Pockets! It has 4! Topstitched pockets for the outer layer and inseam pockets for the inner layer. I basically refuse to wear anything without pockets these days because where am I going to put the random bits and pieces that get handed to me on an hourly basis otherwise? Pockets also add an element of fun to laundry day - one garment might have hair ties, lego pieces and marbles in the pockets. In another I'll find wilted flowers, twigs and rocks, or else googly eyes, glitter and tiny paper airplanes - it's like discovering miniature time capsules of our days.

Linen Metamorphic dress by willow and stitch.JPG

The pattern releases on Wednesday 1st November so make sure you’re subscribed to the Sew Liberated newsletter for 30% off!  

Acton Dress

Wow, I haven’t been here for such a long time - things keep getting in the way - ordinary, everyday things:  cooking dinner, trying to stay on top of the mountains of laundry, house guests, and head colds.   

I’m making excuses of course, the truth is that I simply haven’t really felt like sewing or blogging or designing or posting on Instagram so much recently.  I’ve been focused on different things (cooking, baking, gardening, decluttering, reading, watching all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls…)  So, instead of trying to force it I decided to give myself permission to take a break for as long as I needed.

It worked - sort of.  It was good to accept that this just wasn’t where my interest was for the time being, good to take a step back and not to give myself a hard time about it.  I don’t want sewing or writing to become a chore.  I want to do it because I want to do it - otherwise what’s the point?

There’s a catch though (there’s always a catch!) - now that I finally feel inspired to make and write again, I’m freaking out, because breaking a silence is scary.  I mean, surely after taking such a long break I’d better have a good reason to come back to it, I ought to have something exceptional to say, right? Something profound. Or interesting at the very least.  I don’t though. I’m sorry.  Nothing remarkable here, just my ramblings and a realisation that I am happier when I am writing and making and designing.  So without any particular agenda I’m going to try to get back to that.  Here’s a pretty new dress that I made:

Acton Dress

I sewed myself an Acton dress by In The Folds for my lovely husband’s 40th Birthday party the other weekend. I wanted to make it in a soft black linen, with the hope that it wouldn’t look too formal and I would therefore be able to wear it fairly often.  I couldn’t find any nice linen though so I settled on this cotton silk blend instead.  It’s actually really lovely, very floaty and drapey and soft.

Acton Dress

Black fabric is so hard to photograph - sorry for the not very detailed pictures!  Although you can't see it, the dress is beautifully finished inside - lined bodice, french seams etc.  I can certainly see more Acton Dresses in my future, although I have might wait until summer now (it seems a shame to hide that beautiful bodice under layers of winter woolies!)

Gumnut Dress Pattern Launch! (and ANOTHER giveaway!)

It's time!  Time to send my baby (erm, dress pattern...) off out into the world alone.  I'm so excited to be able finally release this pattern. It's been a whole lot of work to get to this point, let me tell you!  One day perhaps I will be able to do this full time but until then it's a lot of late nights.  Not that I'm complaining; I have had so much fun designing this pattern and I have learnt so much over these past few months.

I'm so proud of this dress pattern and I hope you'll love it as much as I do.  What's not to love really; Twirly skirt, comfy knit top, huge pockets for collecting treasures.... Cute enough for parties, and comfy enough to wear all day long it's the only dress pattern you'll need this summer! 

Thank you to everyone who signed up before the pattern release.  I'll be sending out your free copies shortly.  Sorry to those who missed the deadline.  But don't despair - the pattern is now available for purchase via Craftsy and also in my Etsy store.  

By happy coincidence today is also Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day!  So, to celebrate the launch I'm giving you another chance to win a free copy! I have 2 free Gumnut Dress PDF Patterns to give away.  To enter simply leave a comment below. I blogged yesterday about some of the things I love about sewing; How about you - why do you love to sew?

If you follow me on Instagram then you can have an extra entry, just leave two comments - easy peasy!

If you're new here why not take a look at the Patterns and Tutorials page - there are lots of free patterns that you can download instantly!  Or scroll down the side bar for some of my favourite blog posts.

Winners will be chosen at random and announced on Monday 11th May. Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

UPDATE:  This giveaway is now closed.  Thank you everyone who left a comment.  I really loved reading them all and hearing your thoughts.  Winners were drawn by random number generator.

Winners of the Free Gumnut Dress pattern were:

Comment #4: Cheryl

Comment #88: Cherie

Congratulations ladies! Please email me at willowandstitchdesign@gmail.com so that I can send you your prize!

Sorry to all of those who didn't win.  I've very grateful for your kind words about my Gumnut Dress Pattern.  If you would like to purchase a copy you can do so via Craftsy or Etsy for just $9 USD. 

Gumnut giveaway competition winner #1
Gumnut Dress Givaway winner number #2

Gumnut Dress Pattern Testers Wanted!

Gumnut Dress
Gumnut Dress

My Gumnut dress pattern is finally finished! I'm so pleased with how it's turned out and I really love this Cotton and Steel with stripes combo.  I'm also very happy about how much Ella loves it, the knit top makes it super comfy, it has huge pockets for storing treasures and a skirt that's perfect for twirling!

I've spent the weekend perfecting and testing and now it's your turn!  I need pattern testers for all sizes from 1 to 8 years.  You don't need to be an expert to pattern test, confident beginners should be able to sew this pattern.  There's a pretty short deadline on this one, testers need to have completed that pattern and submitted their feedback by Friday 1st May.  All testers will receive free copies of the finished pattern and my eternal gratitude for their help!

If you're interested and able to meet the deadline then please either email me at willowandstitchdesign@gmail.com or enter your details below.  Be sure to hit 'Submit'

UPDATE:  Applications for pattern testing are now closed.  I'm hoping to release the Gumnut Dress Pattern in the first week of May and I've got a MASSIVE givaway planned so if you'd like to be updated enter your details below:

Name *
Name
Gumnut Dress
Gumnut Dress


Kids Clothes Week - Woodland Geranium Dress

Geranium dress
Geranium dress
Geranium dress

I made this lovely Geranium dress for Ella as part of Kids Clothes Week.  This beautiful fabric is Timber Valley in Coral from the Brambleberry Ridge collection by Violet Craft.  I love the little deers, foxes and birds and the metallic gold trees, it's just gorgeous.  And I always love sewing geranium dresses.  I haven't made the pleated skirt version before so I thought I'd give that a go this time.  I finished the back with some lovely shell buttons which actually came from an old necklace of mine that broke - love a good upcycle!

I didn't want to waste any of this lovely fabric so I sewed a miniature version for Ella's doll, Molly.  I love this doll - the pattern is the Little Amigo Doll from Meg McElwee's book, Growing Up Sew Liberated.  I didn't know when I made the doll that Ella's hair would end up just as crazy as Molly's - they are like peas in a pod now!

Geranium dress