A new venture – Vogue 8577

I am a regular follower of Sian Singleton of Kittenish Behaviour. There is a particular dress, Vogue 8577 that Sian and her Mum have made several times and they have inspired me to tackle this very different pattern.

Vogue 8577

This style is particularly ‘fabric hungry’ and as I did not have sufficient yardage in my stash, this was an excuse to buy some more!

Vanilla Wood Cotton Lawn £4.95/metre

I bought a pretty ditsy floral print cotton lawn from Fabricland, Salisbury branch to make View B. The fabric was laundered and sat waiting for me to get started…..a year later I finally ‘bit the bullet’ and prepared the pattern.

As the bodice (and skirt) are lined I chose to use the bodice lining as my toile and ‘iron out’ any fitting issues before I cut out the floral print.

Having added extra to accommodate my bust and tummy, at the first fitting all that additional fabric was removed! Vogue patterns in general and this one in particular do seem to have a lot of ease.

First Fitting

I unpicked the basted bodice, cut away the excess fabric and adjusted the pattern. I then re-stitched the bodice to check the fit for a second time. Great result, just a little fine tuning – making a sway back adjustment and adding another inch to the front bodice for full bust. Second set of pattern adjustments.

Sway Back Adjustment

Unpicked the bodice for the second time and compared against my revised pattern. All OK so now I could cut and make the bodice in the floral fabric. I also cut out the remainder of the pattern pieces. I have to say that the skirt is very full and the pockets are huge!

As I had spent so long refining the bodice and due to the fullness of the skirt I decided to forego the lining of the skirt. In any event, a full skirt lining would have made the dress very heavy to wear.

Construction was fairly straightforward although I wish now that I had re-visited Sian’s Sewalong and then I would have avoided having to make bias binding for the armhole edges. Next time I will adopt her method and ‘bag out’ the bodice lining.

Vogue 8577

The only changes that I made were to fold out the centre back seam on the bodice, make a centre back seam in the skirt panel, top stitch part of the pocket band in place and increase the number of buttons from 10 to 15. The buttons came from my stash and are the same as those used on the Stork print dress.

I am very pleased with the dress and having spent time and effort to get the bodice just right, will definitely make again. I just have to find a long length of fabric!

Pioneer Duvet Cover into a Dress

As promised in the previous post, here is the description about my re-fashioning project – I re-fashioned Superking size Duvet cover into a dress. There was a sale advertised at Dunelm Mill store and inspired by the makes of Ditsy Tulip I decided to browse the bedding department to check if there was anything suitable for dressmaking.

I struck Gold! I ended up buying three covers. The ‘Pioneer’ designed cover of Blue and White stripes with an embroidered border was a real bargain, reduced from over £50 to £14.99 so obviously I could not pass that up.

Pioneer Duvet Cover
The Embroidered Border

I could not wait to sew up a new dress with the Striped cover and by the end of the first day it had been laundered and was ready for unpicking.

Thinking about the design I did not want to break up the border of the skirt so it would have to be gathered or pleated. I could use the border stitched on the pillow cases for the sleeves and that left the bodice to decide upon. As there was ‘busyness’ on the skirt and sleeves I thought it best to have a fairly plain bodice, but this time I would try a V-neckline. I drew a quick sketch of my ideas and then hacked my TNT bodice to give a V-neckline with front button closure to the waistline seam.

The duvet cover is a poly/cotton blend and as I did not want any ‘show through’ on the bodice, I interlined with some of the plain White fabric that was the reverse of the duvet cover. I think that it has worked well. I also used the plain fabric for the pocket linings.

Pretty buttons from my stash

I used some buttons from my stash that pick up on the Blue & White theme with an little accent of Red.

Pioneer Duvet Dress

The design has worked well although I have made a couple of ‘rookie’ errors in that the top-stitching on the neckline does not quite match up but that is ‘small beer’ in the overall scheme of things.

The final analysis – I have experimented, produced a pretty and different dress without taking days to work the elaborate embroidery on the skirt and sleeves.

Birthday Hack

It is the tradition among the Friday House Group of patchwork and quilters to have a Secret Birthday Sister. My birthday is at the beginning of July and my secret sister gave me 2.75 metres of a charming floral print on Duck Egg Blue cotton from Fabricland.

Blossom and Butterflies print cotton

Using my latest newly drafted dress design with the extended front panel, I did away with the collar and button fastening, hacked a scoop neckline and inserted a lapped zip into a centre back seam. Of course, there are pockets in the side seam!

Over the next few days I worked away at the construction and by the following Friday was able to wear the dress and display my birthday gifted fabric to my patchwork and quilting friends.

Birthday Gift Dress

I am especially pleased with this dress and delighted that the colour highlights in the blossom exactly match my Coral Pink shrug.

This is the second ‘new style’ dress that I have made and fired up with enthusiasm I went ahead with yet another ‘new’ design. See the next post to learn how I re-fashioned a brand new superking sized duvet cover into a new dress!

‘Pioneer’ Design Superking Duvet cover

A New Design -Stork Print Dress

I recently decided that I need to expand the style and design of dresses that I make. I have so many different patterns in my stash that I am sure I shall never get around to making them all.

The first new style on the list was to be the Alder dress by Grainline Studios. I have this pattern in pdf format but not got around to printing it off. I studied the line drawing and having thought about it for a while believed that I could draft something very similar using my TNT bodice block.

Alder shirtdress by Grainline Studios

I first started with the simple rever collar which is also a TNT pattern. Then I extended the bodice front by 30 inches from the centre of the body darts and drew a parallel line to the front edge to make the centre front panel which would include a button fastening. The front facing was also extended by 30 inches which I knew would be too long but best to err on the side of safety and have too much rather than too little. The skirt was two rectangles, cut 30 inches deep x the width of the fabric which was 42 inches. Of course, I included my standard side seam pockets.

Storkfest by Hill-Berg from Fabricland, Salisbury

The fabric is yet another 100% cotton printed with birds (Storks or Cranes?) from the Salisbury branch of Fabricland. I bought 4 metres but only used just over 3 metres. I have since purchased some more fabric in this print to combine with the remnant and make a Summer Shirt/tunic top.

Construction took a little thinking about but in fact turned out to be fairly straightforward; I first stitched the darts for bust and the body darts on the back bodice. The shoulder seams were stitched and the collar basted into position. This was followed by the side seams of the bodice, checked for fit and then stitched. I made up the skirt which included slashing a ‘side seam’ into which the pockets were inserted and ran two rows of gathering thread along the top edge.

I did toy with the idea of adding a self-fabric tie belt but having pinned into place, was soon discarded. The skirt was attached to the bodice up to the centre point of the front bodice body darts. Those darts were then stitched and run down to join the front edge of the skirt panels to the extended centre panels of the bodice. The front facing was attached then buttonholes and buttons (Pale Duck Egg Blue from my stash) stitched. The armholes are bound with self-fabric bias binding. There is a wide 3 inch hem which I hand stitched in place.

My ‘Alder Lookalike’ Dress

I am absolutely delighted with this dress it has turned out just as I wanted and planned. I have some more cotton print from Fabricland that was gifted to me by the ladies of the Friday Sewing House Group and I plan to make another version of this new style dress.

Luna Lapin

I am often inspired by my stitching friends and on this occasion I was delighted to meet Luna Lapin made by Maureen. Apparently this charming felt rabbit is all over the internet and even has her own facebook page.

Luna Lapin Book

My friend loaned me her copy of the book that is complete with full-size patterns. I ordered up some wool felt and as soon as it arrived I was off!

Luna Lapin mark 1

I am not known for a love of hand sewing but I really enjoyed stitching Luna and am very pleased with the result. Currently she is naked (gasp!) but I do plan to make a set of clothes to be topped off by the Pale Blue coat featured on the cover of the book. There will also be the pretty comfy armchair, instructions for which are included in the book.

I can’t go outside with no clothes on!

I hope to make her friend – Alfie who, together with his wardrobe of clothes, is also featured in the book.

Lavender Cable Cardigan

Whilst my first love is dressmaking, I can also knit. I prefer to use Double Knitting yarn and patterns that have texture in the form of cables. I needed a Lilac/Lavender cardigan to wear with some of my dresses and shirts. Having checked the internet was unable to find anything suitable so purchased some yarn in exactly the right colour, got out my needles and started knitting.

Double Knit Cabled Cardigan

I had previously made this particular pattern using a Cream coloured yarn but the end result was not particularly pleasing – also the garment had turned out too big. After a time of contemplating what to do with the cardigan, it was donated but not before I made notes on the pattern for the next iteration.

For the Lavender version I have used the next size down which is still plenty big enough and also shortened the sleeves (I must have particularly short arms!).

Lavender Cardigan

The result does not look especially nice on the mannequin but does look good when worn with one of my dresses and after all that was the whole purpose of the exercise.

Whilst I do enjoy the knitting it is a much slower process to produce a garment. I would like to make some cardigans with jersey or ‘knitted’ fabrics that would be so much quicker to produce.

I have patterns for several and will put them on my ‘to do’ list for the Autumn.

Re-cycled Mules

In the past I have purchased White Waffle cotton mules from The White Company. After several years of wear and washing they have disintegrated until there was very little remaining of the fabric uppers. However, the embossed plastic soles were still good.

Here was a great opportunity to re-cycle.

I unpicked the uppers, the foam insoles, bias binding trim and fabric insoles that I then used to draft paper patterns for both the uppers and the fabric sole liners.

Using a fat quarter of my favourite Teal coloured cotton print I made new uppers and binding. It was a chance to make some lattice quilting on the upper and provide some extra padding underfoot.

Re-cycled Mules

The mules went together very easily and quickly and I am very pleased with my new footwear. Now I just need to locate the other old pair of White Waffle cotton mules and re-cycle them.

Classic Cowl neck Top

Hot on the heels of the successful Bold floral ‘Scarlett’,

Scarlett by pattyboo
Bold Floral “Scarlett”

I quickly made another.

I had some fine, very drapey viscose jersey that I had purchased from The Textile Centre sometime ago that I thought would be an ideal candidate for this pattern. I was right!

The only change to the pattern as previously made was to turn up a narrow hem on the sleeves and top stitch into place. After several attempts to have the same finish to the bodice hem, I gave up and simply left it raw – this jersey does not fray so why try to enforce a hem?

Teal “Scarlett”

A plain top is such a versatile garment and is something that I need to add into my wardrobe in the future. But first I want to make up some of the gorgeous prints in my fabric stash!

Bold Floral Scarlett

Readers of my blog will know that I have been searching for my ideal Cowl Neck top/dress pattern for some time. I have already made two versions of the Prima pattern but not been completely satisfied, the search continued.

SCARLETT by Pattyboo

Purely by chance, I returned to the pattyboo site to browse their patterns. Pattyboo is a German Pattern company and as I do not speak any German, I use the translation option to read about the patterns. This is what they said about ‘Scarlett’:-

The pattyboo waterfall shirt ”Scarlett“ is an elegant cowl neck shirt. The cascading neckline creates a sleek feminine feel and flatters the décolleté. 

The pattern contains:

  • all of the pattern pieces in sizes DE 32-54 / UK 6-28 / US 4-26
  • variations: short sleeves, half sleeve, 3/4 sleeve and long sleeve
  • measurements in cm/inch, as well as sewing instructions.
  • Pattern and video tutorial for an elegant waterfall shirt. This basic part can be worn very well on different occasions, by the cowl neck looks it to both pants and skirts very chic and can be combined under a blazer as well as casually to the leather jacket. You van sew it with long or short sleeves or combine itwith hem bands. So get to the sewing machine, learn to sew and get started right away with this great pattern for a waterfall shirt with which you can make you or a loved one a pleasure. The video makes it easy to sew a cowl neckline. Learning to sew is fun and the result is guaranteed to succeed.

All the written instructions are in German but there is a sewalong video that I watched. Whilst watching, I prepared my own personal detailed instructions for how to construct a ¾ sleeve version.

Poly Crepe Stretch Jersey Floral Print

I used 2 metres of L/Weight Poly Crepe Stretch Jersey Floral Print  at £4.70/metre from cheapesmaterialsuk – an ebay seller that I have used in the past.

The construction of this top was super-easy. In less than 1 hour I had completed the top. As my overlocker was still threaded with Jade thread, instead I used my sewing machine and the ‘lightning’ stitch for the construction. The only changes that I made were to reduce the length of the bodice by 2 inches and add a cuff of approximately 1 inch to the sleeves. This latter is now my preferred method for finishing sleeves as it means I can adjust the length if they are too short and it is also provides a good clean way to finish the sleeve without having to use the twin needle.

Scarlett version 1

I was so pleased with this new pattern that I almost immediately cut out and stitched another version using a plain Jade viscose jersey. More about that in another post.

Sequinned Lace Dress

This project that took so long to complete. It is the dress for which I made the wearable toile featured in an earlier post. The dress is made using re-embroidered and sequinned lace over a matching Satin lining both of which were bought from Fabricland, Salisbury branch.

Front Bodice – careful motif placement!

I laid out the lace so that I could identify the major motifs in the design and decide on placement. In order to ensure that the motifs were centred correctly on the bodice I traced off the front bodice onto folded paper so that I had a full pattern. This enabled me to centre up the main motif and also, very important, ensure that there was no flower exactly over the apex of my bust.

I cut the exact same patterns from the satin and mounted the lace onto its corresponding piece. Construction was quite straight forward.

Back Bodice, nb beautiful lapped zip insertion

I finally finished the centre back zip insertion for which I used my favourite lapped insertion method with a hand-picked final stitching.

To add a little extra feature, I machined the hem of the lining using a ‘scallop’ stitch.

I had hoped to get the dress completed in time to take to the retreat but it was not to be. Instead I wore the Iced Rose Scuba Velvet Jodi dress – that’s me third from the left in the front row.

KB Sewing Retreat, May 2019

Still,now I have a fancy new dress, just waiting for a party or function to attend so that I can wear it.

Lace Dress – waiting for the right party!