Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Guest Post: Neeno of Sew Me Love!

I'm drinking tea in England, but that doesn't mean things are going to be quiet over here at Cation Designs! I've got some spectacular guest bloggers filling in for me over the next two weeks. First up is Neeno, who I first "met" over our mutual love and admiration for a certain dress pattern, as you'll see. Neeno makes dresses with absolutely gorgeous insides, and I can't believe she's only been sewing for less than a year! She's already been in the newspaper, and I can only imagine where she'll go next!

Hello to Cation Designs followers!

I am so excited to be guest-posting on Cindy's blog!

I have been an obsessed follower of Cation Designs since I started reading sewing blogs around this time last year when I took up sewing. I also have my own blog: Warning: lots of girly floral, dresses and pink over there!!

Cindy is a big sewing inspiration to me. I love how she can take a thrifted bedsheet and turn in into a wonderful dress. We both share a mad passion for hacking the McCall's 5845 pattern, so I thought it would be fitting if I made a dress using this pattern for my guest post.

Inspired by the "Anthropologie Inspired: Hooray for Hippos Dress" post by Cindy I have made a dress using childrens animal-camo cotton drill. I bought this fabric months ago simply because it was on sale -- I had absolutely no idea what I was going to make with it or where I could wear animal-camo to!! But wear it I did, on the weekend to brunch on trendy Chapel St in Melbourne, Australia. I never felt cooler.

Hip(po) Camo Dress!

Upon closer inspection, I am not sure if there are any actual hippos on the print, but I can definitely see camels, elephants, giraffes, alligator, birds.. so I'm confident there is a hippo hiding out in there somewhere!!

Can you find the hippo??? What other animals can you see?

Let's start from the beginning...

After accepting Cindy's invite to guest-post, I thought long and hard about what to write about... I haven't been sewing that much lately at home on my own, lacking motivation, but one quick peek at Cindy's blog and I got my mojo back. I rummaged through my fabric stash and found my animal-camo and got started on the dress.

My objectives for this dress:
  • use a pattern that Cindy and I both love
  • be thrifty
  • make the dress in 5 hours or less
I set myself the goal of 5 hours because that's how long it took Cindy to finish her Hooray for Hippos dress, and because this was a TNT pattern, I knew I could do it - I've made this dress in about 6-8 hours in the past, but this time I wanted to finish it sooner and wear it the next day to brunch :D

I love understitching... can't believe I used to skip this step! :/
This is the second time I have drafted my own facings for neck and arms. Usually I fully line my dresses, but this cotton was thick so I felt protected in it, plus I wanted to be thrifty - lining can easily add another $10-$20 on top of the cost, damn sunsilky lining (treated, breathable polyester) the best lining to use hardly goes on sale.

I'm impressed that this cotton drill doesn't crease, I took these photos after wearing the dress all day. It is also easy to iron, which is a bonus for me cos I suck at ironing!

The pattern I have semi-used is the McCall's 5845. I have used the bodice and modified the front and back neck - lowered the front slightly and raised the back to a scoop. I should've made the back a lower scoop so it's easier for me to reach around to zip and unzip, but overall I'm happy with how the mod turned out.

The skirt is a simple panel of fabric 50cm long, cut on the fold. I put a few pleats here and there. The back of the skirt looked a bit odd and puffy with pleats so I turned two of the back pleats into a long dart.

Thrifty: Zipper was from my stash! 

It's amazing how much work you can get done when you are inspired and motivated. I couldn't wait to get started on this project. I started this cutting this dress at approx 19:45 on Friday and finished handsewing the facings and hems at 00:30 Saturday morning. I made my 5 hour deadline all thanks to Cindy's inspirational blog.

Haha, oops don't know what happened to the back facings!
Still need to improve my handstitching.

Pattern Review:

Pattern: M5845 bodice, with mods. Self drafted skirt with mini pleats and back darts.
Skirt info: Panel of fabric 50cm long, cut on the fold. Pleated to fit the waist.
Size: 6 bust, 8 waist.
Fabric: 1.5m cotton drill
Notions: Invisible zipper 18", Gutermann thread
Time: 5 hours
Cost: Practically $0 since the fabric, zipper and pattern were from my stash. From memory the fabric was on sale... lets say it was $5 plus $3 zipper... $8! Woot woot! 
    • Lowered the front neck
    • Raised the back to a scoop 

I have only worn this dress once, but I think it's already a favourite. I find I always love the dresses that take the least time and effort to whip up. Instant gratification!

I never thought I would make a dress using animal-camo fabric - let alone wear it in public! But honestly, I felt so awesome in this dress! Nice change from all the floral dresses I make. I really like it!

Big thank you and giant hug for the inspirational and absolutely fabulous Cindy of Cation Designs for inspiring me to make dresses that are not ordinary and for the opportunity to feature on your blog.

Love your work!

xoxox Neeno

Readers, I am honored to have inspired this animal explosion of a dress. My husband makes fun of me for loving prints-that-don't-look-like-animals-until-you-get-closer, and this dress definitely fits that. Seriously, if I weren't in the wrong country-that-honors-the-queen, I would steal this dress from her. Thanks, and look out if I ever visit the land of Oz, Neeno!


  1. CUTE dress - you did a great job making it! I love weird prints too! I totally see a hippo in the zoo of animals. =) I have a pair of butterfly-camo cargo pants - they embarrass my husband but they look cool on a film set, so I try to only wear them to work.

    And under-stitching is one of the best things ever, isn't it?

  2. You look adorable in that dress!

  3. ooh, your Where's Hippo dress is so sexy cute! i adore what you've done with the back skirt.

  4. Rhino. Penguin. No-name bird. I have yet to find the hippo, but that does not take away from its awesomeness.
    And Cindy's right, the inside's pretty, too!

  5. I'm playing "i spy" with your dress… i saw the penguin too and the rhino. Very cute!
    (p.s. this might be one of the only camo prints i've seen that i'm a fan of)

  6. Such a cute dress and the fabric print is so cool. I see the Hippo! It's really easy to see in the up close photo of the bust...right above the white elephant. :)
    Great job!

  7. Hippo camo?! LOVE IT! I love the back skirt as well - it turned out beautifully!

  8. Haha, I LOVE that fabric!! I bet some people wouldn't even realise it is animal camo at first. I found the hippo along with a rhino, a giraffe, oh a penguin!! So many animals it's great, I want some!

  9. There it is: Brown hippo, just above the left bust dart. Cute dress!

  10. Cute dress and the colour really suits, Neeno! Love the guest post idea. I am a big fan of both your blogs :)

  11. love the dress! I'm sure if I could see the print in person, that I'd be able to find a hippo!

  12. The dress looks great! I've seen that fabric in spotlight in some other colour ways and have always liked it but had no idea what to do with it.

  13. Eeeee! how very gorgeous! Love your fabric choice - I did spend a while hunting out the hippo!

  14. oh I see hippos too! :D lovely dress and great guest post! :D

  15. Fantastic dress! :) Totally lovin' the animal camo!!! And those shoes are ROCKIN!!!!! :D

  16. Thank you to everyone for the lovely comments :D


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