Monthly Archives: November 2017

Ice Cream Flavours Sleeveless Vest Top

In several recent editions of my sewing magazines there has been an advertisement for Minerva Crafts which features a unique printed jersey fabric. Further research revealed that this was an Art Gallery product from a range called Boardwalk Delight designed by Dana Willard.

The particular design that called to me is ‘Flavor of the Day’ which is constructed from 95% Cotton 5% Spandex. The fabric is available from Minerva Crafts at a price of £22.99 per metre x 147 cms (58 ins) wide. This was a little more than I was prepared to pay at present and so a further search on the internet revealed that Habbydays were offering a remnant for sale at £15.94 (inclusive of £2.20 p&p) for a piece 60 cms (23 inches) long. So although this was pro rata of the price for 1 metre, I decided to trial the fabric.

Due to lack of fabric I wasn’t able to cut even tiny cap sleeves therefore, using my TNT tee shirt bodice block I have made a sleeveless vest. I used all the fabric for the front and back pieces. The neck and armhole bandings were pieced together from the surrounding scraps.

I would not normally pay over £15 for a vest top, but this will surely be a unique garment for wear on the cruise and during the hot days of Summer 2018!

Pastel Sequinned Evening Top

My new favourite eBay seller appears to be ‘cheapestfabricsuk’ as this is the 3rd length of fabric that I have purchased from them. It is always a lottery when ordering cheap fabric, especially it seems, when that fabric is a jersey. I am not yet totally ‘au fait’ with the different types of jersey and their fibres.

This particular fabric was listed as *NEW*Stretch Viscose Jersey Animal/Floral Sequinned Dress/Craft Fabric*. It behaved well in that it did not curl towards the right side although the sequins were a little troublesome. I will definitely have to replace my sewing machine needle now that the construction is completed.

I bought just 1 yard at £6.95 with free post and packing. When laid out on the cutting board the fabric actually measured 1 ½ yards x 46 inches folded in half across the grain. There was a wide border of non-sequinned fabric at each selvedge and I used this to make the neck band – a good idea as it meant there were no scratchy sequins rubbing against my skin.

I used my now TNT basic bodice pattern and cut at a length to come just below my widest hip point and scooped down at the front to take account of my full bust. I cut the sleeves as long as I could without trespassing into the non-sequinned area. I re-shaped freehand the neckline to give a wider scoop.

The entire top was stitched with the overlocker with the exception of top stitching the neckband and straight stitching the hems on sleeves and bodice.

I am delighted with this top which will be set aside to wear during the Christmas holidays and later for when I go on my cruise holiday to the Caribbean.

Mayan Border Print Tunic with detached Cowl Collar

This fabric was on sale from the Textile Centre at just £3.49 for a 1.5 metre length remnant plus £2.50 for post and packing to make a grand total of £5.99. I thought that it would ideal to use for a ‘wearable toile’ of a longer length tunic top. The fabric is a heavy polyester/viscose/elastane ponte roma jersey 157 cms wide. I have not used this type of fabric before and was especially pleased that it is so soft and does not feel ‘synthetic’.

For the pattern I used the Style Arc ‘Amy’ top which due to the design constraints of the print was subsequently ‘hacked’ out of all resemblance to the original. First I re-drew the neckline as I had previously found the cowl to be very skimpy. I would make my own design that would be detached so that if necessary I can slip a turtle neck under the tunic. The new neckline would have a band stitched by my usual method. The length of a previous Amy was too short in front and again, to take advantage of the border print, this time I simply cut the hemline straight across where the print had finished. The sleeves, neckband and cowl collar were all made from the plain Navy fabric. The tunic was stitched entirely on the overlocker with the exception of top stitching the band and twin needle hemming of the sleeves and bodice.


Tunic with neck binding                Detachable Cowl Collar

I am very pleased with the final garment which suits now and I will be able to incorporate some back body darts to improve the shaping as I lose weight.

Cobra Corsage print Scuba for McCalls 6754


I bought a bare 3 metres of this fabric from Sewisfaction a little while ago intending to make the McCalls 6754


(as inspired by Sian of Kittenish Behaviour). I have made up the pattern twice now and have yet to get to grips with the best method for reducing the width of the sleeves. Prevarication and procrastination have been operating in force but yesterday, enough was enough – time to get to it and make the dress!

I found a picture on flicker showing the sleeve pattern with three narrow tucks to reduce the width so decided to try this method.

I laid out the fabric and pattern and was disappointed to see that the fabric was not as wide as I had hoped and there was no way that I could get the dress with long sleeves out of my 3 metres. In fact, even short sleeves would be pushing it.

For the previous iterations of this pattern I have extended the length of the skirt by 4 inches. Again, I could not do that this time, 1¾ inch extension was the absolute most that I could obtain across the folded width of the fabric. The finished length of the skirt was 22 inches which is the shortest I have ever had. Definitely the dress will have to be worn with opaque tights!

Construction went according to my revised order of work and was completed on the overlocker with the exception of top stitching the neckband and hems. Somehow with the changes that I had made to the sleeve pattern had also affected the shaping of the neckline, this is now almost a ‘sweetheart’ shape but in fact I quite like it.

Below is a photograph of the original pattern against the revised pattern. You can see the difference in width.

After constructing the dress I found that the sleeves were STILL too wide. I reduced their width by a total of two inches and graded back to the original stitching line by the time I reached the waistline of the bodice.

The hems on the sleeves and around the skirt were completed with a jersey twin needle and all seams were pressed on the wrong side with the steam iron.

McCalls 6754 in Cobra Corsage Scuba fabric

I am happy with the dress but wish it had been an easier make. I need to do more research on methods for reducing the width of the sleeves, or perhaps just find another raglan sleeve pattern to hack with this bodice and circle skirt.

PS to Paisley Print Dartmouth Top

Although the top looked fine on Dolores the mannequin, when I put it on this morning I noticed that it was too wide at the hips and also a little shorter than I would like.

Quick as a flash – I used my overlocker to reduce the width at the side seams. Then, using some of the remaining fabric, cut a strip the total width of the top at the hips x 8 inches deep. I made a seam to join the strip into a loop. Folding in half and keeping wrong sides together I then had a loop of fabric 4 inches deep.

I carefully pinned the raw edges to the right side of the top at the hemline, taking care to keep all layers even and pinning just above the zig-zag stitching of the hem. Whizzing around with the overlocker resulted in a very neat hem band that extended the length of the top to (as Goldilocks would say) ‘just right’.

Long Sleeved Dartmouth in Red Paisley Print

Whilst browsing the internet in general and eBay in particular I came across a seller named cheapestfabricsuk313. I purchased 2 metres at £4.95 per metre with free post and packing. The fabric that was labelled Stretch Viscose Jersey Large Paisley Print arrived swiftly and was well packaged. It has since been sitting in the ’roundtuit’ pile whilst I concentrated on preparing for sewing workshops and getting Christmas gift-making under way.

I traced off the Dartmouth by Cashmerette pattern

as my original printing has now becoming very tatty. The adjustments to the original pattern remain the same; shortened sleeves, shortened bodice and cut as a 20 at the shoulders, grading out to a 22 at the waist and hips.

The fabric was a joy to sew even though it sometimes had a tendency to curl to the right side. Being in control with plenty of jersey pointed pins ensured that everything went together well. As usual the banding for the neckline went together and attached like a dream.

This time I had lapped the front right side over the left (the same way that females button their clothing) although the instructions DO say to lap left over right. On closer inspection of the picture on the pattern, it does not appear to matter which way the front is lapped.

I have now made several Dartmouth tops and also hacked into a dress. It is definitely one of my all-time favourite patterns.

Testing – New Look 6412 – Tunic Top & Cowl

Finally, I have got around to making the first version of this New Look 6412 pattern that I bought way back in March at the Sewing for Pleasure show, NEC, Birmingham. To make this first ‘wearable toile’ version I chose some winter weight jersey fabric that I bought at the show held at the Bath & West show ground, Shepton Mallet. The fabric has a random print in Autumnal shades, blended with a little of what I think is leopard print. I have no idea of its construction but is probably 100% synthetic. I bought about 4 metres of the fabric at £5.50 per metre so if this worked out I would have a great new tunic top and cowl scarf for just £22.00.

I made view A which is the straightforward tunic top with asymmetrical hemline.

Judging by the measurements on the pattern envelope I cut a size 20 for the shoulders and bust, then graded an additional 1 inch from the waist down to the hem on each side seam.The only other change was to reduce the length of the sleeves by 3 inches as I prefer 7/8 or bracelet length rather than those sleeves that come down over the hand! I used my sewing machine ‘lightning’ stitch to construct the tunic but did not follow the order of construction from the instruction sheet.

First, I added some lightweight fusible interfacing to the shoulders before stitching the front to the back. Then I made up the neck banding, which incidentally, fitted exactly, before setting the sleeves on the flat. Then I stitched the side seams from the hem up to the under arms and along the sleeve seam. Finally I used a twin-needle to stitch the hem of the sleeves and the main body of the tunic. Although the tunic fits me fine, it does look better on ‘Dolores’ the mannequin than it does on me.

Front view New Look 6412

I am unhappy about the ‘dangly’ bits of the hem (especially at the back)and will most probably level it off or make a gentle curve shirt-tail style hemline, similar to my other tee tops.

Rear View New Look 6412

Once the tunic top was completed I quickly cut the fabric for the detachable cowl collar. This looked as though it would be huge – and I was not wrong! The cowl is 68inches long x 18inches wide, sewn into a loop. The instructions advise making French seams and double-turned hems but I did straight seams, pressed open and flat. I will ensure that the raw edges are tucked in when I wear the cowl as I have not hemmed them in any way.

Cowl collar New Look 6412

So, another pattern has been tested. I like the pattern but not the asymmetrical hem in this particular fabric, it may be better in a Ponte Roma. I will try again as a tunic/shift dress (View D) with the cowl to wear with thick tights or leggings as the weather gets colder. This style could also lend itself to some colour blocking, a good vehicle for using up some scraps of jersey fabrics.

McCalls 6754 – still room for improvement

How I wish that I had read the reviews for this pattern on the PatternReview website. Then I would have known to make the dress at least one size smaller than dictated by the measurement chart on the envelope. Also one of the reviewers has shown how to reduce the width of the enormous sleeves that appeared yet again in this my second make of McCalls 6754. These factors have been exacerbated by the fact that the fabric is very fine and has a 4-way stretch. I still count myself as an improving beginner when it comes to sewing knits so on this occasion I will let myself off with a stern reminder to check the amount of stretch in a fabric BEFORE rushing in to cut this style of dress.

I fell in love with the print which is an abstract floral in great Autumnal shades. Bought at the Craft 4 Crafters show at Shepton Mallet, at just £5.50 per metre it was a steal!

I made those changes to the pattern that I discussed in the previous post, i.e. adjusted the back bodice for my sway back, dropped the front bodice at the waistline by 2 inches, raised the front neckline by 1 inch, kept the sleeves 3 inches shorter and the skirt 4 inches longer. However, the weight of all that fabric in the skirt has pulled down the neckline so that it is an almost indecent scoop but at least the back bodice waistline seam now sits at my natural waist!

Again the sleeves were baggy and due to amazing stretch of the fabric, the bodice was quite loose-fitting. However, the dress is extremely comfortable to wear and provided I have a scarf to hide my décolletage, a great Autumn garment.


Basic Tee Top from Remnant

Having finished the McCalls 6754 dress, there was just enough fabric left over for a short sleeve tee top. Using the basic block from Paolina, I made quick work of yet another top for my fast-expanding wardrobe of jersey tee-style tops. Not a lot to say other than this is a dream to wear as the fabric is very soft and super stretchy. Being constructed of entirely synthetic fibres I am not sure how nice it would be to wear in a hot climate but for the Autumn,underneath a cardigan, it is fine. I love the print and am sure to get a lot of wear out of this ‘free’ top!