Colourful Applique Pinafore Dress



Regular followers of my blog will have noticed that there has been nothing posted since the beginning of the month. This is due to continued suffering with chronic bronchitis followed by technical problems with the browser versus WordPress platforms. Fortunately my great friend has come to the rescue and I am back!

Back in 2017 I made this ‘not-so-subtle’ felt appliqued bolero-style jacket in denim. I particularly enjoyed the process. I have had a Black Corduroy Pinafore Dress cut out/ready to sew for over a year now and decided that what it needed was some decoration. In my book ‘more is definitely more’ and so I have embarked on a mammoth process of felt applique for what will be an ‘in your face’ decorated dress.

So far I have made the back and front bodice panels. I basted the pieces together to check fit and as it was fine, made up a lining in Black acetate fabric. The bodice and lining are now stitched together and on the mannequin whilst I proceed with decoration of the skirt. This may take some time…….

Oh oh, can’t seem to load the pictures of work in progress. Maybe later!

Top Twenty Makes in 2018

As promised, here are my Top Twenty Makes from last year. With the exception of the Ultimate Travel Bag that I made to take as Cabin luggage on my flight to the Caribbean, I am pretty sure that I will be repeating all these garments using fabric from my stash. So watch this space!

Dartmouth Hack by Cashmerette
Plantain by Deer & Doe
Plantain by Deer & Doe
Lady Skater by Kitschy Koo
Ultimate Travel Bag
by Annie Unrein
Simplicity 4032 hack
Kwik Sew 3736
Fraser by Sewaholic
Teddy by Style Arc
TNT Bodice & Gathered Skirt
Drunken Caribbean Birds
TNT Bodice with box-pleated skirt
Libby Blouse
by Sew Over It
TNT Bodice & gathered Skirt
Joni dress by
Tilly & The Buttons
TNT Bodice & gathered skirt
TNT Bodice & gathered skirt
Companion Carpet Bag by Mrs H.
TNT Bodice & gathered skirt
Collar from KwikSew 3736 hacked to TNT bodice & box pleated skirt

What I made in 2018

Be warned – this post is text only. A post of my favourite makes will follow shortly.

A Happy New Year to my readers – I know that there are not many of you but hopefully my subscribers will increase in 2019, especially if I finally manage to get a You Tube channel operational!

I have checked through my notebook of all the projects I made last year – phew! There were a lot! NINETY FOUR to be precise. But be advised – some were only very small, quick and easy projects and some were fails though thankfully not too many were the latter.

In 2019 I will be shopping my stash of patterns and fabrics for two reasons; 1 to reduce the quantity of sewing ‘stuff’ around the house and 2 – saving funds to be spent on experiences, travelling and making memories.

I will also be concentrating less on quantity and more on quality – I feel a need for some slow sewing to feed my soul.

When working in the financial services industry I needed formal business attire and when acting as President of a Women in Business Club, some ‘smart’ outfits. Now that I am fully retired my wardrobe requirements are much more for casual (and comfy!) garments to keep me warm in the winter, cool in the summer, emphasising any good figure features and hiding the bad. Although some people may think that dresses are less casual, I prefer them to separates although I have a feeling that I have made many tops throughout 2018.

Some of my working life skills have transferred to my personal life – I love a spreadsheet and from that I can see exactly which type of garments I have made most frequently, which fabrics stores and pattern companies I have used and more importantly what I need to concentrate of making in 2019 to fill gaps in my wardrobe.

My initial thoughts regarding which type of garment most frequently made has been borne out in the analysis of the spreadsheet. Twenty-three dresses and twenty-eight tops with only three pairs of trousers, two jackets, one gilet and just one skirt. I will continue with my love of making dresses but maybe cut back on the number of tops, although I still want to find my perfect raglan-sleeved top and tie front cardigan/shrug (to wear with sleeveless dresses). I usually wear tops and tunics with leggings, jeggings and jeans although I do also own a couple of RTW denim skirts. I don’t feel a particular need to make more skirts as they are my least favourite garment to wear. I would like to make a coat to wear over my full-skirted dresses, some fancy pyjamas for the sewing retreat and a pinafore dress as I have only one RTW denim version in my wardrobe.

Analysis of patterns used shows that only 9 projects were made using the major pattern company designs, Indie patterns are most definitely my preferred option. Fabrics were purchased mostly from Fabricland, New Threads Quilt Shop and the Textile Centre.

This analysis of my sewing through 2018 has been most interesting and informative. I will be continuing with my record-keeping and see what 2019 brings.

New Year – New Quilt

Now that we are in a new year I have put away the Christmas linens and that has included changing the quilt on my husband’s piano.

Christmas Log Cabin Quilt

The Christmas log cabin quilt has been removed for another 11 months and been replaced with my Winter-themed quilt.

Winter-themed Quilt

This was made using the same patchwork block design as the Autumnal Quilt shown in an earlier post. The faux Cathedral Window blocks were made using two charm packs plus some additional Fat Quarters of coordinating fabrics from New Threads Quilt shop.

Detail of the Winter theme Quilt

This Quilt is one of my husband’s favourites and will be displayed until 14th February when it will be replaced by the ‘Hearts and Flowers’ Valentine Quilt.

Vogue V8972

Vogue V8972 for Woven fabrics

Inspired by Sian of Kittenish Behaviour I have been wanting to make this dress for a long time. Back in February Sian filmed a sew-a-long for the dress but with one important change – make it up in a Jersey (Scuba) fabric rather than a woven!


Dark Gothic Floral Print Poly Scuba Jersey Dress fabric material
(Deep Eggplant )

I purchased 3 metres of Scuba print from The Textile Centre. The fabric is listed thus: Dark Gothic Floral Print Poly Scuba Jersey Dress fabric material(Deep Eggplant) and was on sale for £4.49 per metre. This was exactly the type and colour of fabric that I needed to make my first V8972 in Jersey! With my 3 metres of fabric I had sufficient to make View E with the full skirt but with the ¾ length sleeves of View C.

Following Sian’s instructions I first established which cup size was right for me and then traced the pattern pieces for the bodice. I did not need to trace the skirt pattern as I had decided to use the largest size and take in if necessary when I got to the fitting stage. For the bodice I traced a D cup size 20. I cut out the fabric late afternoon and prepared both the sewing machine and overlocker ready to get stitching the following day.

The next morning, I reviewed Sian’s vlog posts again and made notes on the order of construction. First was to stitch the bodice panels. As I am new to this pattern I machine basted all the seams with a very long machine stitch on the sewing machine. I attached the yoke pieces. NB make sure that you attach the yokes the right way up – I made the mistake of putting the skirt edge of the back yoke to the back bodice! Fortunately it was very easy to unpick the basting stitches and re-baste the CORRECT edges together.

At first fitting I found that like so many things at my age, my bust is a little lower than the pert position it held in my twenties! I re-basted the princess seam lines on the bodice to reflect the lower apex of my bust. I also needed to take in the side seams a little (not a bad thing!).

Having noted the small alterations I stitched the main seams on the overlocker. I cut a neckband according to Sian’s instructions and basted on the sewing machine. I found that I had to stretch the neckband a great deal and that it was a little narrower than I like. Next time, I will cut at 1¾ inches wide rather than 1½ inches. With a good press with steam the neckline was sitting neatly. I top stitched with a zig-zag stitch which I repeated on the bodice/yoke seams. The seam allowance for the front yoke was pressed away from the yoke. On the back yoke the seams were pressed inwards towards the yoke. Joining seams were top stitched with the zig-zag stitch.

I set the sleeves in using the overlocker and although there was a lot more ease (as the pattern is drafted for woven fabrics) with the stretch of the Scuba jersey this was easily accomplished.

The side seams and underarm seams were basted and the second fitting confirmed all was well. I could afford to take in a small amount to achieve a more fitted silhouette. The seams were then overlocked and pressed with steam.

The hems on the sleeves and the skirt were first overlocked before stitching in place with the zig zag stitch.

I am delighted with the final dress and hope to wear it when visiting relatives and for New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Vogue 8972 in Scuba Jersey Fabric ex The Textile Centre

Paola Top in Cloque Jersey

Cloque Jersey from The Textile Centre

I had a bare 36 inches of full width Cloque Jersey remaining after making the two tops previously posted. Despite a cursory search through my patterns I could not find my printed copy of the Paola top by Named Patterns. So I re-printed and prepared for a new iteration of this most definitely TNT pattern.

There was insufficient fabric for the long-sleeved version, I contented myself with elbow length sleeves combined with a reduced height of collar which still turns down as a ‘turtle’ neckline.

Short sleeved Paola top by Named Patterns

Construction was completed on the sewing machine in approximately one hour. You can’t beat a Paola for a quick and easy top. I can foresee several more being made for the coming colder months of the year!

The Christmas Quilt

I forgot to mention that I changed the quilt on the piano just in time for Christmas Day! Usually I am ahead of myself and all the Christmas linens are displayed from 1st December but this year has been a little behind.

The quilt previously covering the piano was the ‘Autumn’ version which I made over a year ago using two charm packs and some remnants of fabric from my stash. The patchwork is a form of faux cathedral window and a particular favourite of mine. The ‘Winter’ quilt features the same design in a different colourway and will be installed by Twelfth Night.

Autumn-theme quilt with graded coloured blocks

Meantime, we are enjoying the Christmas log cabin quilt. This is the first quilt that I made specifically with the grand piano in mind. All the strips of Christmas-themed cotton fabrics were cut by a great friend who sadly has now passed away. This quilt is a reminder of a lovely lady who enjoyed life to the full, was a super cook and needlewoman, always smiling, a friend who bore all the vicissitudes of illness with aplomb.

Regretfully, I cannot find a full photograph of the quilt, as soon as I can I will post.

Elmira Tie Front Shrug

In the previous post I mentioned that I bought the Blush-coloured Cloque jersey with a view to making a tie-front shrug cardigan.
This cloque fabric is quite substantial and even though it does not have much stretch I felt it would be suitable for this pattern.

Blush-coloured Cloque Jersey from The Textile Centre

I have several of this type of shrug made from lightweight jersey and purchased from eBay. They are OK but I would prefer something longer in the body and from a better quality fabric.

I had previously made the Elmira wrap tie cardigan from Seamworks in a Cotton Jersey which sadly did not suit and was donated to a charity shop. However, I noticed that Seamworks were offering a hack for a tie front shrug so thought I would give it a try.

Elmira Tie Front Shrug hack

I cut out the XL size with the ¾ length sleeves which took 1¼ yards of fabric (60 inches wide) and using my sewing machine constructed the top very quickly.

Elmira Tie-FrontShrug in Blush Cloque Jersey

Conclusion: The sleeves are a little tight around the bicep, there is not much coverage by the front bodice pieces and the ties are very large and ‘clunky’. I therefore count the garment as a ‘FAIL’ and have donated to the local charity shop.

I think the best course of action for me would be to draft my own tie front shrug using my TNT bodice pattern and use a less substantial jersey fabric. Watch this space for the next incarnation.

A Birthday Gift

Right, after the mammoth sessions of gift making, I have at last been able to sit down and make a garment.

I purchased 3 metres Cloque Jersey from The Textile Centre at the grand sum of £1.79/metre intending to use it for this top and also a tie-front shrug/cardigan for myself.

First I had to decide on the exact style of top for my friend. I checked with her daughter – type of neckline, length of sleeve and approximate size. With this information to hand I decided on Kwik Sew K3915 which I have made previously in a variety of jersey fabrics.

KWIK SEW K3915

I would make view A and having cut out noted that I had used a little over 1 metre of fabric.

As my overlocker was threaded up with Charcoal Grey and as I did not have sufficient reels of Pale Pink thread, I had to use the sewing machine to construct the top. The neckline has been stabilised with Vieseline bias stay tape –a new acquisition about which I am very pleased.

Vieseline Bias Tape

I used a lightning stitch for most of the construction plus a narrow zig-zag stitch for the hems on the sleeves and the body.

Completed View A in Blush Cloque Jersey

I am very pleased with the result and hope that a) the garment fits and b) that the recipient likes my choice of style top. I am keeping my fingers crossed!

Rookwood Sewing Retreat Day

Just before I fell ill with chronic Bronchitis I, together with my great friend, Adrienne, attended the Rookwood Sewing Retreat Day. This has become an event held twice a year when we like-minded sewing enthusiasts descend on the Rookwood School for a day a sewing, chatting, eating and downright 100% enjoyment with our sewing sisters!

On offer were several projects to make starting with a Jelly Roll Rug, mat or bag, something that seems to have taken the internet by storm.

Jelly Roll Rug by Lizzie

Jelly Roll Place mats by Lizzie
Jelly Roll Baskets

I had prepared by bringing along a jelly roll, some pre-cut wadding and plenty of pre-wound bobbins as I knew that the project was particularly ‘thread hungry’.

Before commencing on that BIG project, we were also shown some clam-shaped zip-top pouches.

Clam-shaped Pouches

They looked really cute and the pattern was available in several sizes from extra small to extra large. As I knew that I would be needing some form of pouch or bag in which to put Christmas gifts, I started the sewing marathon with a Medium-sized pouch.

My completed Clam-shaped Pouch

During the day we undertook a block stitching challenge which was really well-prepared with all the triangles of fabric pre-cut. All we had to do was stitch into the CORRECT order and ensure that we kept to a strict ¼ inch seam allowance. All the completed blocks were then drawn and distributed to lucky winners to make up into a project of their choice. I was unlucky but Adrienne did win a set of blocks with which she was delighted.

We stopped for a delicious lunch to which everyone had contributed. All very tasty.

After lunch I started on the mammoth task of the jelly roll. I intended to make a bag which I continued stitching at home. I can only say that this turned out to be the most unusual-shaped bag that I have every made! Banana-shaped!!

Banana Boat Bag (Minus handles!)

We ended the day tired but happy, loaded up with a head full of inspiration and new ideas for our sewing.

The next retreat will be in May 2019.