Friday, 21 December 2012

The year of the Minx

I noticed a few of the blogs I follow are currently featuring round-ups of their sewing year. It occurred to me it would be a good idea to have a look back at the first year of One Crafty Minx, and review my projects and be realistic about how I feel about them all! So - here we go...

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Liebster award!

One Crafty Minx has been nominated for a Liebster Award by the gorgeous girls at Tea for Two Diary. Thanks, ladies! I must confess I hadn't heard of this award until recently but it is possibly one of the nicest, most positive things around.

The Liebster Award is an award set up to bring recognition to and increase viewership for blogs with fewer than 200 followers.

As part of the award I now have to tell you 11 facts about myself:

1. By day, I'm a production editor for a medical communications agency.
2. I love country music.
3. I have an insatiable appetite for hugs.
4. I am a big fan of market towns.
5. I have a fear of pipes. Yes, pipes.
6. I would always choose a starter over a dessert.
7. I was vegetarian for 18 years. But now ribs are one of my favourites.
8. I have a Blue Peter badge.
9. I write to two death row in-mates.
10. I'm happiest frolicking in the countryside with my big and little minxes.
11. I'm old before my time and love a good Horlicks before bed.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Bonjour, Belladone!

Pattern: Belladone from Deer&Doe

Size: 10

Fabric: Cotton from Village Fabrics in Wallingford

I spent aaaaages trying to find a pattern to make a dress for my work Christmas party. Once I'd whittled out the ones that just wouldn't work with my figure, and the ones using terrifying floaty fabrics, I wasn't left with much. Luckily I stumbled across Belladone from the wonderful Deer&Doe. It's a simple enough construction, to be made from a sturdy fabric, but that back opening is enough to make it party and beautiful.

I found some great fabric in Mason's - blue and gold, really snazzy and festive but once I started sewing I realised it had a weird diagonal stretch to it and just wasn't going to create the neat, crisp lines required for Belladone. So it has been relegated to cushions. With only two weeks to go until that party, things were getting desperate so we decided to check out Village Fabrics in Wallingford, and what a find! It's no good if you're after fancy fabrics, but if you want a comprehensive range of cottons, then this is quite the goldmine. The one I chose is black with stripes of grey and a bronzey-gold with a slight shimmer. I wanted to bring in a bit more colour and so opted for a burgundy satin bias binding which really highlights the awesome bits of the dress.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

The 90's called...they want their top back!


Pattern: Renfrew from Sewaholic
Size: 10
Fabric: Jersey from Saeed's in Walthamstow

A boyfriend once said that about my jeanie jacket. It wasn't funny and he's now an ex-boyfriend. It is important to know when such a phrase is an insult, or when it's just plain true and something to be embraced. first Renfrew!
It seems pretty much everyone in the sewing world has made this pattern. There are so many wonderfully different versions out there, all tailored to the individual. My latest blog obsession, Four Square Walls has revealed that there are 24 possible combinations (if you include making it in to a dress!).
I've decided on two concepts and this first one I wanted to be more of a slouchy over-top than a t-shirt. I love love love the cowl neck and I think it really gives that look of effortless chic. I hope so, anyway. I made a size 10 for this as I wanted it to be more like a jumper, but when I make version 2 I'll make it in an 8 (or even a 6 as the 10 is so roomy) so it's more of a t-shirt fit.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

An even craftier Minx!

One Crafty Minx has had an overhaul. Whaddaya think? Big Minx has shown how clever he is by creating my very own logo which combines two of my great loves - Lurchers (one in particular) and sewing. :-)
And of course whilst he had access to my account, he made other design tweaks and made my blog generally look a bit nicer.

In other news, I finally have my own modern sewing machine!!! I am massively indebted to my lovely friend, Hannah, who has lent me her Bernina for the past 7 months and indeed enabled me to embark on this venture. But I now have my own little Janome beauty to accompany the gorgeous vintage Singer. Here they are nestled together in perfect, racially balanced harmony.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

If at first you don't succeed...

Pattern: New Look 6802
Size: 12 top, 14 bottom
Fabric: Jersey from Fabric Land

If you've read my blog before you may recall Minxenstein's monster, a top borne of a failed dress. As I suspected at the time, the fabric I chose was way to thick and just not suited for the project. Also, after reading lots of reviews of this pattern, the over-riding criticism is that the gathering at the front is rather prone to giving the impression of pregnancy which is certainly something no non-expecting girl desires!

So, I armed myself with some beautiful jersey (navy blue and covered in tiny butterflies - eeeeek!) of the correct thickness, and cut the skirt front from the same pattern piece as the back, thereby eliminating the need for the aforementioned gathers. It was an absolute joy to make this time. I scaled up from last time and went for a 12 top and remembering how tight the failed skirt had been before, went all the way up to a 14 on bottom. Clever me, it turns out. From cutting the pattern to having most of the dress made took about 3 hours. Then just one more hour the next evening and the sleeves were in and the hem done. Yay!

Monday, 12 November 2012

Totally biased

Pattern: Butterick 5782
View: C
Size: 12
Fabric: Wine suiting. Can't remember where from!

I am very fond of the first version I made of this dress. It's a simple, elegant shape that hangs and swishes nicely and always gets compliments. I decided that I would make another, but with a very different neckline so hopefully it looks like quite a different beast. View C has a v neck and a cute bit of ruching on the front and I decided, as my fabric is plain, that I would bias bind the edges to add some interest. I found this divine gingham binding in Mason's which was just the ticket.

I chose not to line this version as the fabric is really thick and heavy already so doesn't need any more weight adding to it. Also, I thought it would be simpler to bind the edges without a lining in the way.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Patience really IS a virtue!

Pattern: Simplicity 1755
Option A
Size: 12
Fabric: Cranberry check brushed cotton and Cardinal red Klona cotton from Calico Laine

The moment I saw this pattern I knew I had to have it. A shirt dress without the usual issues of gaping buttons? Yes please! And the fabrics they used on the pattern sleeve are almost edible.

The brushed cotton I chose is lovely and very much my colours. The contrast is a Klona cotton and is very stiff which at first I was worried about, but it was lovely and easy to sew and made excellent crisp collar and cuffs.

I saw on Eternal Magpie's blog that instead of loops at the cuffs, she had sewn buttons on to keep the relevant bits in place. I loved this sparkly addition and thought it gave a cute, retro edge to an already cute and retro dress so decided I would follow her lead.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Kwik by name, kwik by nature

Pattern: Kwik Sew 3758
Fabric: Navy cotton jersey and stripe cotton from Mason's
Size: M

I've said it before and I'll say it again...I love Kwik Sew! They're so not like the other big pattern companies. The pattern paper is sturdy, the instructions are clear and easy to follow, and the sizes are actually accurate.

I wanted something that was easy to throw on, but looked pretty and like I'd made an effort so I thought this would be just right. From cutting out to finishing I reckon it took no more than 5 hours and there was nothing confusing or scary along the way.

It's basically a t-shirt attached to a skirt with some elastic at the waist. And a really nice belt to create the high-waist look and the bow. And it has pockets. Yay!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Minxenstein's monster

Pattern: New Look 6802

Fabric: Check knit from Abakhan Fabrics

Size: 10 (eek!)

I've just made two New Look patterns in a row. For Big Minx's waistcoat I went down a size from what he would normally wear, and for my jacket I made a 12 but it turned out too big. So naturally, with this dress I decided to make a 10. It felt risky because I'm not really a 10, but based on past experience this would be the right fit. Wrong! It appears there is no science behind sewing pattern sizes. It fits well on top but the skirt was way too tight. It would possibly have worked on a more fitted item, but the result was simply a baggy tummy area and tight hips, therefore not the most flattering. I had already used the narrowest seam allowance I could get away with so there wasn't really any way to alter the skirt. What an error to think I could ever be a size 10! Top perhaps, but with those hips and that bum? HA!

Fitting aside for a minute, I made a number of changes along the way. I loved this fabric as soon as I saw it and thought it would make a fabulous winter dress. It is, however, a very thick knit and I soon realised that making the lovely twist front would just be too bulky and not sit nicely at all. So part way through I changed it a bit to just be a v-neck dress but that's fine. I still wanted the dress to have a feature so I added the red binding around the neckline which is the first time I've used binding. I just attached it at one edge so it stands up from the neckline. This doesn't fit brilliantly and gapes a bit but I understitched and it improved matters a bit.

I used tiny pleats on the front of the skirt rather than the gathers it calls for as I always find these look a bit clunky and messy. I unpicked the pleats as they looked weird and put in gathers. They made the seam far too bulky so I unpicked them and spread them out a bit. That looked totally weird so I unpicked them. I put pleats back in, but did box pleats this time and they look nice.

The skirt though. It hugs in all the wrong places and makes me look awful and frumpy. I don't want to not wear this after all the effort I've put in and the sleeves are so poufy and cute! So I've chopped the skirt off. It's now a top and I quite like it that way. Of course I have nothing to wear it with although it looks reasonable with a pair of jeans and today I wore it to work with my standard grey trousers.

I would like to make another in a lighter jersey with the twist front, and a skirt! I think I'll size up to a 12 skirt for that. Lesson learned.

The pattern was easy to follow, and it came together really quickly so would have been a roaring success if I didn't have curves.

So, it's pretty much nothing like what I started out making but whaddaya think?

Monday, 15 October 2012

A blaze(r) of glory?

Pattern: New Look 6035
Option A

Size: 12

Fabric: Grey pinstripe wool from Mason's

I've been lusting after grey blazers for what seems like forever but every time I try one on it either fits really badly or is sadly outside my price range. Last time I found one I really liked, Big Minx said to me "Yes, it's nice. Now go and make one like it". A good point well made.

I liked the look of this pattern as it's unlined and I felt like being a bit lazy. Interestingly, however, I think unlined is harder than lined! It means a lot of faffing around with attaching facings and making seams neat. There are no instructions on finishing seams but I couldn't just leave them scraggly, so did false French seams. If I had thought about it at the beginning I would have done proper French seams as false ones are actually harder work. I'm pleased with the finish though as it's the first time I've bothered with proper finishing.

As with the first jacket I made, I didn't make a muslin which was silly. In my head it was all quite simple and I could try it on as I go along. Which I did and as I was trying it on, I worried it was going to be too small. And then it ended up too big. ARGH!! I wonder if jackets will always be my nemesis or if I just buck up my ideas and do a muslin, I could get it right?

I wonder if I should unpick this and try to get a better fit as I suspect it will be relegated to the pile of things that I'll just fuss with every once in a while and decide I can't possibly wear. Anyone fancy altering it for me? I hate having to revisit something once I thought it was finished!

Here it is, photo taken by our home for the past four days, the lovely boat Sonia near Llangrannog in west Wales.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Best foot forward

Pattern: New Look 6166

Size: M

Fabric: Grey wool and blue lining from Mason's

It's exciting that all the autumn/winter patterns are being released and of course my want list is growing daily. One evening I exclaimed to Big Minx "oooh, New Look have made a double-breasted waistcoat pattern" to which he replied "Yes. Want one". Who am I to deny the wishes of such a stylish gent?

We trotted off to Mason's on Saturday morning, found some fabric, and I cracked on with it that afternoon. By the end of Sunday it was finished. "What do you mean, 'finished'?" exclaimed the recipient, incredulous! This was, indeed, a very quick job, especially as Big Minx didn't want pockets or collar (some of the pattern options). There isn't much to say about the pattern - everything made sense and it was really simple to follow. I used lining fabric for the back instead of the main fabric but otherwise didn't change anything.

I do, however, love a revelation, and this time it was in the form of a buttonhole foot. I've always used my normal sewing foot for everything, whether that be inserting invisible zips, or doing buttonholes. I decided I would actually try the buttonhole foot this time and oh my did it make a difference! I am so proud of these buttonholes which were super easy and look super neat. So I'll be using that beast again!

On an aside, I find it astounding how awful the visuals are on some sewing patterns. Who on earth wants to dress like the people on this one?! Surely it wouldn't hurt to get some stylists involved, New Look!

Here is the handsomest waistcoat wearer in all the land:


On another exciting note, my BFF's wonderful mum bequeathed to me her aunt's 1950s Singer 99k this weekend! I couldn't be more excited or touched by this incredible gift. She looks to be in great condition but as I assume she hasn't been used in many years, I'm going to take her in for a service before I use her. It's a no-frills machine that just does a straight stitch, but I believe it's possible to get attachments, such as a buttonhole attachment, which would certainly make life easier. I appreciate that mine isn't the furthest reaching blog, but if anyone happens to read this and owns a Singer 99k, I would love to hear how you get on.

Not my actual machine, but a close relation:

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Off to a ceilidh (apparently)

Pattern: Butterick 5782

Fabric: Purple check polyester from Mason's (£2.99 a metre - let's hope it doesn't look cheap!)

Size 12

Option B

I must admit, that I wasn't looking forward to using this pattern having had some awful Butterick experiences. But I thought the fabric I bought was so well suited that I had to attempt it. I didn't do a muslin as the pattern pieces are full length and that would have been a lot of fabric so I just hoped for the best and cut a 12. It seems to fit rather well so that's a relief!

The pattern, as anticipated, wasn't the easiest to follow. There was a good deal of guess work and trust that it would all become clear involved. Things were even more complicated by the fact that there are instructions for three different styles of dress within the same pattern, so on a couple of occasions I wasted time being very confused and then realising I was reading the instructions for dress A or C.

This was a good test of my skills so far though, and I feel I have made progress as I was able to work out what they were talking about based on past experience. I love that it's fully lined - it feels very special and grown-up and makes a nice swishy sound when I walk.

Is there anything more luxurious than a nice, bright lining?

There were some bits of handsewing which made me nervous as I'm not the neatest and most patient person, but actually it was quite therapeutic, and attaching the lining to the zip was very pleasing and looks really neat so yay to that!

Things I'm not so happy about? The fabric is a bit too thick for the cowl neck to hang nicely but I think the addition of a brooch should fix that. I think I shall make another of this, as it's a great shape for work, but I'll try the V-neck. The waist is a tiny bit low on me. I always (I say always, I've only done this twice) make a mess of finishing the shoulder lining. It ends up bulky and not very pretty. I will press it to death and hope that works!

I was pleased with Big Minx's initial response of "Really? you made that?" and amused by the follow-up of "You look Scottish, like you're off to a ceilidh". :-)

Oh look - it has pockets! :-)

Thursday, 27 September 2012

What Jalie wallpaper!

Pattern: Jalie Scarf Collar Knit Top

Size: U (there are so many size options in this pattern so it can fit children and all sizes of adult!)

Fabric: Navy Flower Power interlock from Tissu Fabrics

I've wanted a top with a pussy bow (or a 'cat' bow as I have to call it when my best friend's email filters kick in!) for ages but there don't seem to be any around at the moment. So I was overjoyed when I found this pattern and ordered it straight away.

I was a little worried when the pattern arrived as there weren't the usual pages and pages of instructions, just a little list and a few pictures. But it turned out to be sheer joy! It's actually a really simple construction and therefore the instructions were ample, with the images to clear up any questions.

I'm a lazy sewist and usually pink my edges rather than do any finishing on them. This pattern recommended that each seam should be sewn with a zigzag stitch on the edge, and then a straight stitch whilst stretching the fabric a little. I did as instructed and it resulted in a really nicely finished garment that I'm very proud of. I would tentatively say that it looks shop bought. In a nice way.

The seam allowances are small in this pattern (1/4") and I get so used to be able to do quite big snips for marker points that there were a couple of times when I had to sew a slightly larger seam so as not to end up with a hole! Oops.

The hardest part was finding some nice jersey fabric! The one I bought is great, really nice and soft and a good thickness, although it's only a 2-way stretch when the pattern calls for 4-way. Luckily the top fits beautifully so it's not a problem but when (definitely when) I make it again I'll try to find a 4-way. I'm also a little concerned that the pattern on the fabric is a bit much, but it's growing on me and I'm testing it out on my colleagues today. Nobody has shrunk away in fear yet.

This is definitely the best pattern I've used so far in terms of picking a size based on my measurements and it fitting perfectly. The whole thing, pattern and fabric cutting, and sewing, took about 3-4 hours so this really is an instant-gratification project. I even squeezed in an episode of Great British Bake-Off in the middle.

I'll definitely be considering more Jalie patterns in the future.

The rain and the nights closing in are making mid-week outdoor shots rather difficult so here's a nice wall / door combo. Please excuse that I'm not looking my best - it was getting late and I'd been busily sewing all evening (hence the flushed cheeks).

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

It's curtains for you!

Pattern: It's a rectangle

Size: My window

Fabric: Summersville by Lucie Summers in green.

For a while now we've needed a curtain for our little hallway window and after some deliberating, we agreed that Summersville was really rather cute and the right fabric for the job. It was a pretty simple job and barely blog-worthy, but as it's something I sewed, it gets on here! The fabric was just wide enough that I didn't need to join panels, although not enough to pleat it so it's a pretty straight curtain. I attached curtain tape to the top (that was fun, I now want to put curtain tape on everything!) and hemmed the sides and the bottom. And hung it. So simple!
I did have issues however in that my thread kept snapping and jamming which means unfortunately the hems aren't as neat as I would like. After trying every fix I could think of,  I eventually just changed thread and it worked fine. Lesson learned - sometimes sewing machines and threads just don't want to play together.

Here are some little pics!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Crafter Math

Craftermath: The resulting and overwhelming mess left lying about after creative pursuits
Pattern: Sally Shirt Dress from Serendipity Studio


Fabric: Cotton/lurex from John Lewis (again!)

Size: Small
There is always plenty of craftermath in our house, but I felt it also related to this dress as it was born from craft and maths. More on that below.

I love shirt dresses. They're classic, smart, but flirty and fun at the same time. But they are impossible to find unless they're in fashion and even then they're often khaki, with a zip down the middle and only just cover the bum. Shudder. So, imagine my joy when I found the Sally Shirt Dress pattern from Serendpity and the realisation I could make my own. As many times as I like!

I loving trying out the patterns from smaller designers and this was no exception. I was fascinated by the design idea of making a big sack dress, then taking it in using pleats to fit each wearer perfectly. There's maths involved which was fun even for a number-phobe such as myself. Using some simple calculations, all guided by the pattern, I figured out how many pleats to use and where to place them.

I'm always worried that things are going to be too small on me, so as usual, I ended up with something a bit loose, but the joy of this pattern is that I could just stick in another pleat around the back, and BAM! a beautifully fitted dress. The only other adjustment I made was to elongate the pleats at the top of the back to stop it being baggy, and the same for the first pleat on each front side, under the arms. I guess this is a small bust thing.

Even though they're far from perfect, I love making buttonholes so found the eight required for this dress quite therapeutic. Hopefully they will hold!

I love the little touches on this dress and if I make another (quite likely) I think I'll go for a plainer fabric and add contrast accents, such as the sleeve trim and the fun bias-cut hem (pic below). Also, the pattern has instructions for a tie belt or a buckled belt. I didn't make one although I think a belt would look lovely, particularly in a contrast fabric.

Bias-cut hem. I think it's marvellous with the check fabric:

My only criticism of this pattern is that some of the instructions aren't that clear and I think assume prior knowledge. I worked some things out based on prior experience (i'm such a seasoned expert now, of course ;-) ) but others I needed to look up. Thankfully I had my trusty sewing bible to hand. I love this book, it's incredible and made all the more beautiful because it cost about £2 at a village fete.

Me and my sewing bible:

It has the problem that all shirt dresses have, in that when you sit down and the inevitable spare tyre(s) make an appearance, there is some gaping between buttons. I'm not sure how to combat that and also have the dress fit nicely when I'm standing, so i shall just wear a modesty top under the dress.

I love this dress. It makes me feel girly and like I want to roll in some hay. Although I probably wouldn't for fear of losing a button.

Looking a bit like it's the first day of school!

P.S. It just dawned on me that if i had done the buttonholes vertically, they might not be so gapey. Ah well. Next time.


A Zipiphany

Pattern: Peony from Colette

Fabric: Cotton/lurex stripe from John Lewis. Sadly, the lurex stripes don't show very well on the photo.

Size: 8 (US sizing)

For about 6 months I had planned to make Butterick 5708 to wear to a friend's wedding. I finally embarked on the project and it was another nightmare Butterick Retro pattern. That is two that have failed now due to awful fit. I won't be trying these patterns again in a hurry. I had been so sure of what I was going to make for so long that I couldn't envisage anything else and spent hours trawling through patterns feeling glum. Then I found Peony. I had assumed I wanted something a bit fancy but Peony made me realise that simplicity could be just as beautiful. Phew - job done! Oh, except I then couldn't find the right fabric. I don't know exactly what I was looking for, but I certainly didn't find it online or in Mason's. In fact, I did about 5 laps of the shop and started attracting strange looks from the staff before I just gave up. There ensued a fraught trip to Milton Keynes (never again!) which did luckily result in me buying fabric in John Lewis. I nearly bought something else entirely but changed my mind due to the cost. I can't believe I almost didn't buy this fabric. It's all my favourite colours combined AND has lurex stripes for a bit of glam.

I had done a lot of perusing the internet looking at other peoples versions of Peony and the overriding message was that it was a joy to make, but you must, must, MUST make a muslin to get the shape of the bodice right. I am so glad I took the advice of my fellow sewists because I really did need to do some big adjustments to the darts. It's different for each person and body shape, evidently, as every blog I read seemed to tell of different alterations. I tried mine on a hundred times moving things around and eventually settled on moving the waist darts down and out and making them narrower. This gave me a lovely fit. I don't know about the theory behind it, but it worked, so i'm pleased.

This is another fantastic pattern. They just come together so easily - no guess work due to the really clear instructions and illustrations. I skipped around the house declaring I had a sleeve much to the bemusement of Big Minx. I had expected I would need a few tries before getting the sleeves set in neatly but no...first time!

I must have put the zip in four or five times before I was satisfied. It's not entirely invisible, and there is a weird bump at the bottom that sticks out but otherwise I'm rather pleased! I found this fantastic tutorial and will always use this from now on I think!

Despite having done a muslin, I found the dress was a bit baggy once finished (the problem with trying something on yourself - must get a mannequin!) but really didn't fancy unstitching it all, so did some clever unpicking of side and waist seams to bring it in and I'm glad I did as it fits so much better.

I would definitely make another Peony and there are so many options with this dress that I bet it would look entirely different.

Oh, and I forgot to say...there are pockets again. :-)


And here's a bonus shot of Peony in action at the wedding itself. With me is the gorgeous Elena from Tea for Two Diary wearing her incredible homemade creation! Much dress and talent envy.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

In love with Colette

Pattern: Crepe wrap dress by Colette

Fabric: Turquoise seersucker from John Lewis

Size: 8 (US sizing!)

I had almost finished a Butterick vintage dress but had some fitting issues. I think and hope that I've worked out how to resolved these, but needed to step away for a bit so I didn't just get frustrated and upset with the poor dress. I needed to make something that would work really well and boost my confidence again after that little set-back.
I recently discovered Colette patterns and immediately wanted to make at least 5 of them. I loved them so much I was prepared to pay to have them shipped from America, but then, to my delight, discovered that sell them in the UK! Yay! I settled for buying two, knowing the wrap dress would be the first I would make. I have loved this pattern since the second it landed on my doormat. First, they are beautifully presented in a handsewn booklet with the pattern pieces in a little pouch at the back.
Second, the instructions are soooooo clear and easy to follow it's almost unbelievable! There have been many times I've struggled with a pattern because a step has been badly explained or a picture has made no sense, but none of that here!
I decided that I didn't want to spoil the beauty of this pattern with which I was so enamoured, and so I traced the pattern pieces. I was really pleased to have put in the extra time doing this as it means I can adjust as I go, and use the pattern many more times in as many different sizes as I like!
The dress was a joy to make, and came along really quickly. Tracing the pattern and cutting the fabric took a couple of evenings, and then the making of the dress just one afternoon! Unfortunately it was a very hot afternoon and my sewing room is our conservatory so it was a rather sticky, indelicate experience, but I couldn't wait!
I am unbelievably pleased with the result. It fits wonderfully (aided of course by being a wrap dress), with darts in just the right places, and pretty sleeves. It is so fabulously girly that I just spent a while skipping around the house, twizzling around, skipping, and dancing. If you're not quite convinced of its girliness, don't forget there's a big bow on the back. Heaven. Yet it also manages to look quite sophisticated. I think the neckline (one of two options: there's also a sweetheart version) is grown-up and simple and the fact that it wraps from behind leaves a very glamorous v-neck at the back.
Another great thing about the patterns is that they include handy tips, so for example, it recommends tying off the threads for the darts instead of back-stitching which makes them sit flatter.
And I got to make pockets again. I think pockets are one of my favourite things about sewing and I love having them included in unexpected items such as this gloriously girly dress.

More of these may appear in the future.