I have in my stash an old pattern from Prima magazine for a shift dress.
I have made this up several times and with each make I adapt the pattern in some way. I have changed the sleeves from cap to short or 3/4 length, short puffed or long into a button cuff, changed the neckline from shallow scoop to scoop or scalloped and also changed the hemline from straight to frilled, double frilled, scalloped and bias frilled. I have used a variety of fabrics from plain cottons, mix and match prints, embroidered linens, taffeta & lace overlay, stretch cotton blends and jerseys. My next make will be using a Leopard-print jersey fabric from Fabricland in Basingstoke. I will add a bias hem frill and 3/4 length narrow sleeves. With a bit of luck and a following wind I will have the dress completed and be able to wear with Black tights and shoes to the preview of my friend’s Art Exhibition on Saturday!
Back to my old favourite design of the Shawl-collared blouse with 3/4 cuffed sleeves and shirt tail hemline. I used just 2 metres of 100% cotton fabric bought from Fabricland in Salisbury. I could not find any buttons in my stash to match the Teal colour of the fabric so have opted for a safe bet of Black.
For those of you that may be interested I also add a photograph of the insides of the blouse. All seams have been overlocked and the shirt tail hem has been machined.
At long last the pinafore dress according to Butterick B5781 is finished. The pattern has separate pieces for different cup sizes which should have made the fitting easier but unfortunately did not. However, I am pleased with the end result which is pictured below.
Front view Back view
You will notice that I did not pipe the back princess seams as after all the fittings I was becoming a little disenchanted with the project! The neckline is sufficiently low and the bodice sufficiently loose-fitting that I am able to put the dress on as a pullover. I did however fit a zip which I machined and hand-picked (as per the Great British Sewing Bee programme aired just last night).
Can you see the zip?
The bodice is fully lined with the cotton fabric and if I were to make the pattern again I would reduce the lining and make a facing instead as I found a full lining in self-fabric to be too bulky. Now I need some really cold weather so that I can wear the pinafore with a polo neck sweater and thick tights!
Back around July time last year a friend showed me a completed clamshell made using the Clover clamshell pocket templates. I was so fascinated with them that I bought the packs for all 3 sizes, small, medium and large. You may recognise the fabric – scraps and leftovers from Patchwork Blouse no. 1.
Although the instructions advise the use of wadding, I have now completed my third clamshell but missed out the wadding section of the instructions. The largest one has a key fob inside and my cat Jazz was fascinated so another time I will make one with some bells and catnip inside as a toy for her. I am now working on a medium sized shell and this time I am using a fine fleece as the wadding layer on the outer shapes. In the meantime I have prepared a workshop so that the ladies at Sprat & Winkle Quilters can also decorate their homes with clamshells.
Many years ago there was an article in “Threads” magazine about how to convert a yoked blouse pattern. I completed the conversion of pattern 1441 into a non-yoked design and have made it up many times.The latest version was made using 2 metres of 100% cotton print from local patchwork shop “New Threads”. As the length cut was a generous 2 metres and the pattern is frugal with fabric requirement I was able to make a long sleeved version of the blouse including 2 patch pockets.
close up of collar
This blouse was made using just 2 metres of fabric that was on “Sale” from Quilters Dream in Andover. Using my current favourite blouse pattern (combination McCalls 2797 & 6438) I have made a short sleeve version. This time I have piped the princess seams, sleeve hems, collar and front edges in a 1/8″ Black & White gingham fabric.
Unfortunately I was not able to “fussy cut” the design so that the chairs on the collar are right way up. As I could not find any buttons the correct shade of Bright Pink I have covered my own with scraps of fabric. I took a little time to match the design on the button cover to that of the front so that they blend in well. Can you spot them?
Inspired by the Angel Tote bag by Mandy Shaw as featured on Create and Craft TV, I have made a similar-styled bag featuring a Redwork machine embroidery.
The bag has similar dimensions but is padded throughout and I have added two straps/handles as that is the way I prefer to carry a bag. Here is a close up of the embroidery design which I downloaded from the internet many years ago so unfortunately cannot give you the source of the design.
Using the bodice from McCalls 6438, I extended the length and added the shaped hem from McCalls 2797 to make this warm and cosy tunic blouse. The fabric is a “nursery-style” print on Dark Blue background purchased from Fabricland one of my favourite fabric stores.
As the print is very busy I decided to highlight the collar and front edge using some narrow Red satin piping. I also added extra buttons and buttonholes so that now the collar is convertible from fairly high up to an open rever.
The blouse is fine for wearing on chilly days, although it can look a little like pyjamas when teamed with straight leg navy trousers!
I am currently working on a pinafore dress to be made (eventually) using a lovely wool tweed donated by a friend. I have not made this pattern before and like so many of you, I hesitate to cut into new fabric until I am absolutely sure that the finished garment will fit. Thus has begun the journey of first checking my measurements, adjusting the pattern and making a toile. Having made the toile and fitted for the first time, I then adjusted the princess seams over the bust and side seams to improve the fit. Second fitting of the toile was fine so I amended the pattern and cut out – but again still hesitating to use the wool tweed I used a bold patterned heavy-weight cotton which, if all goes well, will look great over a tee shirt with co-ordinating coloured tights. I have sewn the bodice and inserted some narrow Red satin piping into the princess seams of the front. Third fitting needed some fine adjustment and again amended the pattern so now I am happy with the fit of the bodice. Next is to stitch the skirt and insert the zip.
After the success of patchwork blouse 1, I was inspired to proceed with patchwork blouse 2. This time I used two packs of 1/2 yard collections purchased from Lady Sew and Sew, Marlow, Bucks. I originally made the blouse with 3/4 length sleeves into a narrow cuff. I wore the blouse just once and discovered how annoying it is when sleeves get caught into the insides of your elbows! Back home I cut the sleeves and inserted yet another strip of fabric to lengthen the sleeves. Final result photographed below.
Original length sleeves
Original Back view