Some of our readers may be aware of the OWOP (One Week, One Pattern) challenge, which was originally started by Tilly of Tilly and the Buttons, and has been hosted by other luminaries of the online sewing world, most recently by Sheona of Sewisfaction.
I’ve always tried to take part, because it’s a good way of reminding me of garments I’ve made that might be languishing at the back of the wardrobe and could make a comeback. It’s also massively inspiring to check everyone’s #owop posts on Instagram, seeing how a pattern can be hacked to give it a different feel, or styled for different looks.
This year I chose the Batwing dress and jumper pattern.
It was a bit of a gamble on my part as I only had two dresses in this pattern, at the start of the official owop week! But I was treating this challenge as inspiration to boost my wardrobe. I had last used this pattern two years ago, and it was time for a comeback. I decided to cut a dress and a top version just before the week started, so I had a couple of items all ready to be sewn.
Monday – I was relying on my first ever batwing dress I made. It’s getting a bit tired now, as the jersey I used doesn’t have a lot of recovery, but I still love it for the appliquéd dots! This dress used the basic batwing dress pattern with the only alteration being that I shortened the sleeves, because I hate having fabric flapping around my wrists.
Tuesday – This dress is also a couple of years old, and it always makes me feel well put-together when I wear it. I suppose you’d call this fabric a textured scuba, but I can’t help thinking of it as crimplene!
Pattern hacks used: For this version I hacked the pattern by converting it from a single piece to a separate front and back, so that I could give it a slash neckline.
Wednesday – I had to get up early and do some last minute sewing, to make sure I had something to wear on the Wednesday! I had a top version of the batwing cut out, using a delicious soft jersey from my Stash, from Fabricland (www.fabricland.co.uk). It’s got enough lycra in it to give it plenty of stretch and recovery, and it such a pretty design. I can’t see it on their website, so I guess it’s no longer available.
Pattern hacks used: I decided to skip the cuff bands, for speed, but lengthened the sleeves a bit to ensure full elbow coverage. I also made the neckband slightly less deep, because I’ve got a short neck. I did the hem and the sleeve hems with a twin-needle, for a neat finish. And tada… A new favourite top!
Thursday – I sewed up the dress I’d cut out in advance. I was using a “soft touch” jersey from FC Fabric Studios, which I’d bought online, and wasn’t crazy over. It just felt a bit more man-made than I would normally choose, but that’s one of the risks of buying online… I do prefer being able to fondle the fabric! Anyway, I decided it was better to use it, than waste it, and actually, I’m OK with it now that it’s a real dress rather than a pile of fabric.
Pattern hacks used: I skipped the cuff bands again. I’ll be honest, that was mostly laziness on my part, but this jersey has got quite a bit of bounce and the layers around the cuff would have probably been quite thick, so on reflection that wasn’t a bad move. I opened up the neckline to a plain scoop. Again I used a twin-needle for all the hemming.
Having finished it, I decided I wasn’t happy with the neckline at all. I’d rushed the hemming, which didn’t help, but it was just too stark. I decided I would need to find a way of fixing it, but I had to wear it that day, so I styled it with a big scarf which masked the problem temporarily.
Friday – This was my first repeat day, with the navy polka dot dress. Fortunately I was working at my Friday job, which is different from my Tuesday job, so my colleagues there hadn’t seen it earlier in the week.
I decided on the Friday night that I could probably manage making one more batwing dress, so I searched among the Stash and picked a recent fabric swap acquisition, a gloriously massive floral print jersey in black and white. I cut it out ready to sew up on the Saturday.
Saturday – l was at a dance festival for most of the day, so I was wearing dance gear there, but changed into my new aqua top for the evening. I was also too shattered to think about sewing.
Sunday, day 7, final day – As the week came to an end, and having all of Sunday available, I sewed up the black and white floral dress.
Pattern hacks used: I was enjoying the cuff-less sleeves so stuck with that alteration. I wanted to go back to the roll neck, but make it deeper and more cowl-y. I had to widen and deepen the neck hole carefully, to make sure the enlarged neckband would fit it.
Having got that final make done, I tackled the pink dress’s neckline. I’d seen a fabric manipulation technique by Diane Deziel that I wanted to try out. I cut out loads of 7cm squares in my pink jersey, and folded them into triangles. You’re supposed to sew them together – one pointing up, the next pointing down, and so on – to make a trim that you can attach to your garment. I was worried that the jersey would be too thick for this technique, and although it’s quite floppy, my sewing machine was indeed struggling with six layers. So I ended up attaching the triangles straight onto the dress, by hand, which is fine, because I always enjoy a bit of hand sewing.
I really like how the neckline has been transformed. It’s making me think of poinsettias and Christmas wreaths, so this may have to be my Christmas dress!
I’m treating OWOP 2018 as a major win. It’s kickstarted my sewjo, got me all inspired to carry on with more makes, and I’ve found a load of new instagram friends. I’m already thinking about next year’s challenge, and trying to work out which pattern I could work with. Comment with your suggestions!
Béa blogs at Béa’s Sewing Adventures.