A New Style – Vogue V9023 in Teal Ponte Roma

I am aware that my dresses tend to be of a very similar style. A fitted bodice with or without collar, short or long sleeves or sleeveless. Button front to the waist or through to the skirt, with either a gathered, pleated or circular skirt.

VERY EASY VOGUE V9023

I am getting a little bored with that and thought it was time to try a different style. Enter the Vogue pattern V9023 which I bought from Jaycotts in Chester when they were having a 40% discount sale.

I used a beautiful Teal Blue Ponte Rma purchased from Fabricland, Salisbury. I had originally bought 2 metres thinking that it would be sufficient for some casual trousers but sadly the pattern I had chosen required a little more fabric.

The fabric was waiting to be used and I decided to trial the Vogue pattern instead. I made the size 22 at shoulders and chest then graded out for my full bust, waist and hips.

As per the label on the pattern – VERY EASY VOGUE the dress was an straightforward construction and because of the style was an easy fit. However, once completed I did not like the look of the dress. The under bust band is set too high, it should be about 1 ½ inches lower (one’s bosom has a tendency to drop with age!). The V neckline is much lower than I had expected and as it is such a radical departure from my usual style and silhouette I felt uncomfortable wearing it.

The dress

However, I wanted to give the dress an outing so with opaque tights, flat shoes and a beautiful scarf I attended our usual Friday house group.

With the addition of a scarf to protect my modesty

I received several compliments on both the colour which I know does suit me and also the fact that it was a different silhouette to my usual. I wore the dress again on the Monday when I met with other friends for coffee and cake and again received compliments – so the dress will continue to have a place in my wardrobe. For now I have sold the pattern on eBay and will progress with trying out other styles and silhouettes of dresses to provide diversity in my wardrobe.

Two Tees in Two days

I have a ‘Tried and Tested’ (TNT) pattern that I use on a regular basis to make tee shirts. This was originally a Paola Turtle Neck top by Named and I have lost count of the number of times I have made up this style for myself, my sister and friends.

Paola Turtle Neck Top by Named

I have changed the neckline and added a neck band, changed the hemline to have a ‘shirt tail’ curve and changed the sleeves so that they now have a cuff that is either incorporated or added depending on the length of the original sleeve and my fabric availability.

For these two tees, I used just 1 metre of fabric in each print.

loop back cotton jersey

The Yellow floral spring print is a cotton blend loop back jersey bought some time ago from Cheryl of Stitchy Bee. This is the first time that I have used loop back jersey and this particular fabric was fabulous to work with and to wear. Although it is no longer in stock with Stitchy Bee I have seen some at my local Franklins, Salisbury branch and I may well purchase some more to make a simple dress for the Spring.

Paola hacked into TNT tee

The second tee is made from a cotton/elastane jersey bought from an eBay seller for £8.60/metre. I first bought the Duck Egg Blue colourway which sewed up well in exactly the same pattern. Thus I decided to purchase the Blue colourway and it has been laundered and sitting in my stash for quite a long time.

Blue birds and floral Tee

These two tees are a great addition to my wardrobe and I would like to make a pinafore dress in Denim so that I can continue to wear them as the weather cools down in the Autumn.

NCW workshop

As mentioned in a previous post, I was really looking forward to a visit to Beautiful Things based in Brentford, Essex (https://www.beautifulthingshq.com/ ) where I was to attend a workshop.

We would making the Necessary Clutch Wallet (Emmeline Bags) tutored by Sian of Kittenish Behaviour.

https://emmalinebags.com/products/the-necessary-clutch-wallet-pdf

I was joined by my friend from Franklins Monday Patchwork & Quilting Club, Pat B, who lives not far away in Old Sarum. At midday on the Friday we set off in Pat’s lovely new(ish) car, following the instructions on her satellite navigator. After a couple of breaks for refreshments I also got the chance to drive her car which was rather a culture shock. My lovely Toyota Avensis (with manual gearbox) is now 19 years old and I have had it from brand new. As you can imagine there are not a lot of ‘bells and whistles’ on a car that old. Pat’s car has an automatic gearbox with windscreen wipers that come on automatically along with the headlights when it becomes overcast or dark!

Exciting times as we travelled through the Dartford Tunnel, then having undertaken an extensive detour as we missed the exit to the Travelodge(!) we arrived somewhat weary around 5pm.

I have met Sian on three previous occasions – two Sew Southampton meet ups plus the Bag making workshop that she ran on the Isle of Wight in May this year. I have participated in two of the KB pattern swaps, regularly follow Sian’s vlogs, instagram and also subscribe to the KB Peeps facebook page. I feel that I know her quite well.

But now onto the Workshop! We met Claire who is the owner of Beautiful Things (yet another vlogger that I follow) really friendly and a very creative lady. It was lovely to be greeted by Sian and also to make the acquaintance of Di of Daffodil Ledger, another vlogger that I follow. Di is based ‘up North’ and has chickens that regularly feature on her vlogs!

After a general introduction we got down to some serious cutting out, interfacing and preparation of the various ‘innards’ for the NCW. As I had ‘sneakily’ already made a trial version of the wallet it was good to refresh the construction methods and also to pick up lots of tips from Sian including how to add a second zip compartment to the NCW.

Fat Quarter Pack from my Stash

I used some of the fabrics that were in this pack of fat quarters purchased originally from a Patchwork & Quilting shop in Marshside, Lancashire when on a visit to a friend. As you can see from the price label, this purchase was made a long time ago and it is only now that I have got around to finding the ideal project in which to use these unusual prints.

I used the Purple/Burgundy print for the exterior and made the interior pockets from two of the other prints. The flap is lined with a remnant of plain Purple cotton from my stash. The hardware in nickel was supplied by Sian as part of the cost of the workshop. Although I did not think I would be likely to use the wriststrap or adjustable shoulder strap, I did make them as it was an opportunity to see how Sian makes these straps.

There were plenty of refreshments in the form of tea, coffee and biscuits throughout the day. We stopped for a light lunch before cracking on with our work. Finishing up around 4pm we returned to our Travelodge and later joined Sian for a lovely meal in a local hostelry.

Sunday dawned and we were up bright and early ready to attend the workshop and finish our NCWs. Another busy day – lots of chat as we got to know one another better and finally – completed wallets with rivets!!

My ‘masterpiece’ NCW

Following Sian’s suggestion I purchased a rivet press some time ago but have been too afraid to use it! Now, after the practice at Beautiful Things I can count myself as a Riveting Ninja!

Insides showing the Two zip compartments

We all enjoyed our lovely and productive time at Beautiful Things, Claire is a great hostess and Sian an excellent tutor. I will be keeping my eyes peeled for other classes at BTHQ and hope to join Sian on the Isle of Wight in the Autumn of next year for another Sewing Retreat.

Necessary Clutch Wallet – A trial run

I have long admired the NCW purse/wallet having browsed the many photographs on the internet. I purchased the pattern from Emmeline Bags over one year ago but was very hesitant about making one. Then Sian of Kittenish Behaviour posted a You tube sew-along but again I was nervous about starting.

Looking ahead I noticed that Claire of Beautiful Things Sewing Studio based in Brentford Essex was going to be hosting a workshop for the NCW and tutored by Sian herself. I immediately booked myself onto the course.

I searched my fabric stash for new materials that would be required and came across the remnants of the fabrics I had used on another of Sian’s workshops that was held back in May this year at the Sewing Retreat on the Isle of Wight.

As I did not want to appear to much of a novice at the workshop (I do have something of a reputation as a bag-maker!) I bit the bullet and used some of that remnant fabric to make my very first NCW.

The ‘trial’ run exterior with contrast

I followed the instructions on Sian’s vlog but did not have all of the correct stabilisers to hand, thus the finished wallet is not as sturdy as the ones I have made since but nevertheless, not too bad for a first attempt!

Interior showing single zip pocket

Rose Tapestry Carpet Bag

The seasons are progressing and although a Mustard coloured bag is quite appropriate for the Autumnal colours of my wardrobe – I fancied a change!

Mrs H Pattern

When visiting the Festival of Quilts in August this year I purchased a couple of lengths of ‘tapestry’ fabric plus some faux snakeskin which I thought would be a great combination for a new Companion Carpet Bag using my TNT pattern from Mrs H Bags.

Rose tapestry fabric and coordinating faux snakeskin

Thus I embarked on yet another bag! I used the 8 inch bag frame and added an extra external pocket.

Additional External Pocket with stitched divider

Inside there are the usual slip and zip pockets plus a key keeper.

Interior with slip and zip pockets plus key keeper

Instead of fabric I used a set of Red polka dotted vinyl for the handles from my bag-making stash although after a couple of weeks wear I am not 100% happy with these and may well change them out for a tapestry set.

Faux Snakeskin panel/pocket with magnetic snap under

I have sufficient fabric remaining to be able to make the 12 inch framed bag and maybe even a necessary clutch wallet! So watch this space.

There is not much more to say about the bag except that I have received several compliments which is always a nice fillip to my bag-making ego.

Bags of Style Saddle Bag

For a long time I have wanted to make a saddle-bag-style bag. Sometime ago I made the Mollie bag from Swoon patterns in both the original small size and also graded up to a larger, more useful size. However neither bag fitted my requirements and I was pleased to discover this bag pattern by Debbie Von Grabler-Crozier in one of my scrap books. The original had been produced in a magazine and this was the only article that I had saved. A stroke of good luck.

Two-tone Saddle Bag

I found that I had a large remnant of cotton fabric left over from the bag-making workshop that I attended on the Isle of Wight back in May 2019. As the fabrics were specially chosen to coordinate they would be ideal for this project.

Coordinating fabrics

Unfortunately I did not have quite sufficient to complete the entire bag and thus the contrast on the reverse of the bag plus the lining and pockets are made using other printed cottons from my stash.

contrast lining and pocket fabric prints
Back view showing contrast

I followed the instructions as closely as possible although I did change the size and method for making the shoulder strap. I am pleased with the end result. The size is just right and for the next iteration I will change only the thickness of the wadding by replacing the fusible fleece with Bosal (R) foam.

Bags of Style Saddle Bag

Blouse hack of Penny Dress

When I attended the Sew Southampton meet up in August I picked a remnant of quilting cotton from the swaps table. The length was a just 1 metre so I knew that there was a limit to what I could make with such a short length.

Fabric remnant from the Swap table

As the Penny dress by Sew Over It has a bodice with grown on cap sleeves and a narrow yoke I thought it would be an appropriate candidate to hack into a blouse. I was right.

Penny Dress by Sew Over It
Inside view showing contrast yoke and label facing

I extended the bodice back and front as much as I could and used a contrast fabric for the back facing, yoke lining and bias binding for the armholes.

Penny Dress hacked into a Blouse

A quick project which has fitted in well to my Autumn wardrobe to wear with trousers or tucked into skirts.

Yet another version Vogue 8577

Molly embroidered Duvet set

I am certainly getting my monies worth from the Vogue 8577 pattern. Hot on the heals of the previous incarnation I used the last of the three Superking Duvet covers purchased recently at Dunelm Mill to make yet another version. This duvet set was the ‘best’ of the three in that the front of the cover has many embroidered floral posies. Something that had I completed the embroidery myself using my Brother 4000D sewing/embroidery machine would have taken a very long time.

All the embroideries on the duvet cover!
A single embroidered motif

I used the same ‘hack’ as previously by omitting the midriff band and extending the bodice down to the waist seam. I also omitted the giant pockets and instead kept to my TNT concealed inseam pockets. The bodice was lined with White cotton, the yoke lining was cut from the gingham fabric and the front bodice button facing was extended to join with the yoke lining.

Initially I was not very pleased with the placement of the embroideries but in the final garment I believe that they are acceptable.

Front view before completion
Back view – with better placement of embroideries

I have now made this pattern (and its hacks) up four times and each time I am able to complete the construction a little more quickly. Whilst I am very pleased with this dress, with my self-imposed limit of 5 versions of a pattern it is getting very close to the time to move on to a different style.

Vogue 8577 – hack

Having paid full price for the Vogue 8577 dress pattern, I was determined to get my money’s worth! However, by way of something a little different, I decided to ‘hack it’!

Original Vogue 8577 pattern

Whilst I like the neckline and gathered bodice into yoke, for a change I wanted to remove the midriff band and extend the bodice to the waistline seam.

I had won a voucher for fabric at the SEW SOUTHAMPTON event in August and having browsed the website of the vendor selected this pretty multi-coloured floral cotton.

‘Watercolour’ printed cotton fabric

At 60″ wide this 100% cotton is ideal for dressmaking. This is a cotton poplin meaning that it’s not as light or smooth as a lawn but still ideal to make shirts, dresses, tops and accessories. This cotton is very stable so it would be ideal for a beginner project.

I thought that I had ordered 4 metres but received only 3 which meant I needed to change the skirt design. The Vogue 8577 is very fabric-hungry when cutting out the skirt and so I substituted the ½ circle skirt pattern from the ‘Penny’ dress by Sew Over It.

I used the skirt pattern of the Penny Dress

Another change that I wanted to make was to extend the front facing all the way up to the yoke facing and thus avoid any raw edge at the neckline seam.

Extended front facing in print fabric

Having cut out the main fabric I selected some plain Sky Blue cotton from my stash for the bodice lining. I also had sufficient of the outer fabric to make the yoke lining in the print. I added a small loop at the centre of the back lining as an additional decorative feature.

Completed back bodice with decorative loop

Another very small change was to round off the leading edge of the front at the base of the V-neckline.

I completed the dress quite quickly and also managed to include some in-seam pockets. The pretty Purple buttons came from my stash. All seams were worked as French Seams as demonstrated by Sian of Kittenish Behaviour and the skirt hem was double folded before being machined in place.

The finished hack

I am delighted with this dress which co-ordinates well with many of the shrugs that I have in my wardrobe – Mustard, Cerise, Purple, Burgundy and Blue. This is certainly a hack that will be repeated when I do not have sufficient fabric for the original pattern.

Tunic Top x Two

On a recent visit to my sister who lives in North Wales we had a day out at Abakhan based at Mostyn on the North Wales coast.

Abakhan Mill, Mostyn, North Wales

We enjoyed a thorough rummage through their fabrics that are cut lengths and priced according to weight. Several lengths of fabric were purchased – no change there!

On returning home we browsed through some patterns that I had picked up from the swaps table during my trip to SEW SOUTHAMPTON organised by the lovely Sian of Kittenish Behaviour.

McCalls M6205 picked up from the swap table

One of the patterns was McCalls M6205. There was no envelope but the pattern and instructions were complete and I therefore downloaded a copy of the picture so that we could see what the finished garment should look like. The pattern came in sizes 16 – 22 and would be suitable for both my sister and me. According to the body measurements, Catherine would need the smallest size and I would need the largest (sigh!).

Bold Border Print Polyester Jersey from The Textile Centre

A quick check of jersey fabrics in my stash revealed a 3 metre length of bold print Korean polyester jersey that I bought from The Textile Centre in June this year for £2.49/metre.

First I cut out the tunic top with ¾ sleeves in my size and then again in the smaller size for Catherine. Unfortunately I did not have sufficient for the long/wide cowl collar/scarf but hope to make this another time.

McCalls M6205 size 22
Back view of McCalls 6205 size 22

I made up my version which I am pleased with – especially the centring of the print on the neckband. However, next time I will lengthen the front and shorten the back as I have never been a particular fan of the high/low hem style.

Catherine’s version McCalls 6205 size 16

Catherine’s version was also constructed very quickly and again I managed to centre up the print on the neckband. As is usual with the big four commercial patterns, in addition to the ‘design’ ease there is plenty of ‘fitting’ ease in the pattern. So….. I tried on Catherine’s top. It fits! Next time I will make both tunic tops in the same size!

I popped Catherine’s tunic into the post and she received it the following day. I have one very pleased sister although she tells me that she would prefer a little less width at the hem. For the next iteration I will slim down her version (she has very narrow hips) from under the armhole to the hem.

Catherine modelling her new tunic