Spring has definitely spring and I’ve been so excited to sew summery dresses! This month, I’ve collaborated with Caspar Design by sewing a dress and handbag using their gorgeous custom printed fabrics! They are a micro factory that not only allows you to use custom prints on different fabrics but also produce custom products! I love being able to create something from nothing and being able to choose the exact fabric type and design is such a nice way to have complete creative control over a project. Use my special code: TAMMY20 for 20% off their website! 

Choosing the fabric

Caspar has a range of fabric types that are perfect for different handmade garments from light and floaty fabrics to sturdier, more durable pieces. I knew I wanted to sew a matching outfit that would consist of a fitted dress and a small handbag.  This gorgeous abstract print caught my eye immediately because it felt very playful and vibrant. Something I really love about custom printed fabrics is that they capture colour really well and are very vibrant in person compared to fabrics that I pick up at shops.

I decided for the dress I’d want something with a little structure and chose this cotton twill to make the McCalls M8034 pattern out of. Their cotton twill has a beautiful weight and is perfect for wanting to make sturdier garments or jackets out of. You can choose the scale of the pattern in the selection process and I decided on a medium sized print that felt bold because the abstract print is such a statement design I wanted to show off. For the bag, I chose this heavy twill as I wanted to make sure the fabric would be more heavyweight to create a nice structure. I’m very pleased with the heavy twill fabric and find it is the perfect bag or jacket weight.

Sewing with Cotton Twill & Heavy Twill

I’ve got to say that as per last time, both of these fabrics were such a dream to sew with. Using cotton is very beginner friendly and when handling heavier fabrics you can create such great pieces that hold their shape. Cotton twill is definitely more for apparel and heavy twill is perfect for accessories and I found the print quality on both of these really vibrant and pretty. Sewing the core of the dress in cotton twill was such a great move because it helped keep a nice stability, especially as I used boning in this garment.

I managed to press all the seams nice and flat and work around the princess seam with no trouble which helped make the final garment look nice and fitted. I would say that cotton twill works best for more evening or special occasion dresses because it is more rigid and allows you to create more structured garments that might feel too restricting to wear on an everyday basis.

The bag was made out of the heavy twill and I really love how much structure it has whilst still not feeling too stiff. I did also interface the pieces to give even more structure but on second though I’m not sure that was entirely necessary. When making accessories like bags you need to use heavier fabric than what you would make a normal dress out of so it keeps its shape and doesn’t droop when you put things in or wear it. Heavy twill is a beginner friendly fabric, just remember to change your needle so it’s not super fine and you’ll save yourself a broken needle! 

Using the McCalls M8034 + Gabrielle Shoulder Bag Pattern

I’m so glad I chose a thicker fabric like cotton twill for the McCalls M8034 pattern because I feel anything too lightweight wouldn’t create such a classic, fitted look. I found the process of the dress pattern very easy to put together and it was my first time sewing with boning so that turned out as a great success!

I sewed a size 12 based on my measurements but found the bust and back of the dress to be a little off, I took it in a lot side seam of the bust and changed the back pattern considerably as there was also a lump of fabric folding over at my back waist, so I emitted a few inches from the length of the back. I do love the classic shape of this dress and with my adjustments I feel very proud to say that I made this garment!

What’s a great dress without a matching bag?… I came across The Gabrielle Shoulder bag on Etsy and thought it would make a perfect accessory for this fitted dress. I love the pattern, but I found the instructions quite confusing and there’s a lot of repeated content on the pages so it makes it quite hard to follow naturally. There are broken up video tutorials for some steps on the creators Instagram but it just feels very complicated and hard to navigate. I got there in the end though and love the final product. Not sure I would say it’s beginner friendly but a nice bag pattern once you’ve got your head around a few steps!

Overall I’m very pleased with my dress and bag combo and love that it’s sewn in such a fun print! I feel like I could wear this as a wedding guest or a lovely dinner. If you’re interested in Caspar Design be sure to check out their website. Use my special code: TAMMY20 for 20% off their website! 

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