Monthly Archives: August 2018

Mollie Mini Cross Body Bag by Swoon

Some years ago I purchased two lengths of faux leather from Sew Hot at a very reduced price probably due to the colours of the faux leather – a Bright Turquoise and a Very Lime Green. Those that know me will also know that I am not afraid of bold colours! I set the fabric to one side until I could locate a co-ordinating cotton print as I had set my heart on a two-tone ‘saddle’ bag.

I eventually found just the right print but in the meantime – lost the original pattern which was a cut-out from a magazine, Love Sewing I think.

After a thorough search of the sewing room and a browse on the internet I came across two patterns. One was the Poppy bag from BoutiqueUniqueDesigns and the other was the Mollie Mini Cross body Bag. By this time I realised that I had been hoarding the faux leather for such a long time it was more than overdue to be made up. The pattern for the Poppy bag was printed off and passed to my very good friend along with the fabrics, headliner fabric wadding and hardware with a plea for her to make up the bag.

Trial bag on the Left, my new bag on the Right

Within 4 days I received a photograph of the completed bag – along with the initial ‘trial’ bag! Wow – they look absolutely great.

Now, where was I with regard to the saddlebag?

  

The Mollie Mini cross body bag – this is a free pattern from the Swoon website and is described thus:-

A compact cross body with style, this small bag features an exterior slip pocket, fold over flap with magnetic snap closure and long adjustable strap.”

SIZING / FINISHED MEASUREMENTS:

  • 6” wide 6” tall 2.75” deep

The Swoon pattern looked ideal apart from just one thing – it was much too small. Full of confidence I decided to grade up from the 6inch size to something nearer 10 inches. But, I hesitate to use my lovely faux leather on something so untested. I know, I will make a trial bag using some gifted linen. I have cut out most of the pieces but once again, anxiety stepped in. I have never made this type of bag before – I was unsure of the construction techniques. I would make up the bag to the original pattern – just to test out the various techniques and get a ‘handle’ on how the bag is put together.

Fabric requirement for the Mollie Mini are very small, a fat quarter of main fabric, a fat quarter of contrast and a fat quarter for the lining plus foam wadding, interfacing and hardware.

I had bought a short length of a charming linen print at the Festival of Quilts and this coordinated well with some Terracotta linen from the stash of gifted fabrics.

Although the pattern calls for ¾ inch hardware, I used 1 inch as that was the smallest size that I had. Being in a rush to get on with the project I ignored the instructions for fusible wadding and instead used some leftover pieces of headliner wadding which in hindsight was far too thick for the size of the bag – will I never learn?

Placing the contrast shape onto the front of the bag went well, also applying the magnetic snap to the front panel and the shaped tab. Next was preparation of the magnetic snap tab. I carefully stitched right sides together only to discover that due to the thickness of the headliner fabric, it was impossible to turn right side out. I cut off the stitching and ended up running a satin stitch around the outer edges 3 times to seal them. The end result is just about OK.

When it came to assemble the bag I simply could not make head nor tail of the instructions. It was only after I browsed the finished makes on the Swoon website that the light bulb finally switched on as to how to layer up the various parts!

Now it was relatively plain sailing until I had stitched the gusset to the lining front and back panels only to realise that I should have left a gap for turning. Instead, I put the lining inside the bag with wrong sides facing and applied a binding to the top of the bag. I quite like how that looks which is just as well as by now I was feeling pretty fed up with the whole project.

Final analysis. This is definitely the style of bag that I am after but I think I will leave it a while before I attempt the larger size in the linen and even longer before I make the Faux leather version.

SEW OVER IT Penny Dress – wearable toile

I have long been a fan of Sew Over It patterns and have several in my stash. During the meet up SEW SOUTHAMPTON a couple of weeks ago, I saw several of the ladies wearing this dress and so I decided that I would make up this style.

On my return home I printed off the pdf and the instructions. I checked my fabric stash and originally thought I would use the cotton print that I purchased in Fabricland, Southampton branch.

However, no matter how I laid out the pattern pieces, they would not fit.

I checked the yardage requirements and following a browse on the internet ordered some beautiful Blue background floral print viscose from Fabrikate. I ordered 3 metres of the 150 cms wide fabric at £4.95 per metre, post and packing free. The fabric arrived very swiftly and is absolutely beautiful.

Too good infact to use for the very first ‘trial’ make of the Penny dress.

I re-visited the internet and purchased 3 metres of 150 cms wide stretch viscose JERSEY from ‘cheapest-materials-uk’ on eBay. Cost £4.95 per metre, free post and packing.

As soon as the fabrics were received, they were laundered and were now ready to sew and go.

According to Sew Over It, the Penny Dress is a simple, easy-to-sew and utterly gorgeous shirt dress. Stylish, wearable and flattering for so many shapes, Penny is a summer wardrobe must-have.

Penny features a sleeveless button-up bodice, flat collar, pretty gathered shoulder panel, easy-fit elasticated waist and on-trend midi-length skirt. The flattering dropped shoulder offers a nod to the 1950s whilst her simplicity will keep you looking contemporary and cool.

Though shirt dresses can often be fiddly, Penny makes for a refreshingly simple sew. With no darts, zips or collar stands to contend with it is a simple project, perfect for sunny summer days.

I checked my measurements against those of the pattern and decided that the only changes to be made were to extend the length of the bodice by 2 inches, add a little to the waistline of the skirt and also cut the skirt at the size 16 length (I could not accommodate a longer length skirt on the fabric!)

The pattern piece for the skirt is very large and cut on the fold – for a moment I was not sure if it had to be cut once or twice but having referred to the layout was assured that it needed to be cut only once on the fold. I had intended to add a small amount to the seam of the skirt to allow for my ‘larger than average’ waistline but unfortunately I forgot!

Construction was fairly plain sailing until I got to the part where the facing is under stitched and then folded so that it forms the button placket. Again I referred to the pattern information and discovered that there was a ‘sewalong’ for this section of the dress.

https://sewoverit.co.uk/how-to-sew-the-penny-dress-button-placket/

All was now clear and I progressed with the construction.

With the thickness of the jersey fabric combined with layers of interfacing I decided to forego buttonholes. I top-stitched through all the layers of the button placket from the point level with the apex of my bust. I hand stitched the buttons in place – purely for show as the dress easily goes on pullover style!

When it came to the point where the skirt is attached to the bodice, I discovered that there was insufficient width at the waistline of the skirt to match up correctly with the bodice. Ho hum, how to proceed?

What I did was some gentle gathering of the bodice to fit the skirt. On completion I found that there was no need for an elastic insertion. The bodice has a slight ‘blouson’ effect and the skirt is fitted at the waist and over my hips before flaring out into the full circle. However, I have marked up the pattern to ensure that when I make up the woven viscose, there will be sufficient to have an elasticated waistline.As the fabric is jersey and does not fray, for the time being I have left the hem unstitched. I will see how it fairs and if necessary will turn up a very narrow hem and edge stitch in place.

            

Making the dress in a jersey fabric has worked out fine. There is a lovely drape to this fabric and the dress is really comfortable to wear.

Sew Over It Libby Blouse & Betty Skirt Mash-Up

Last weekend during the SEW SOUTHAMPTON meet up I purchased just one length of fabric from Fabricland, Southampton branch. The fabric is a 100% cotton print in a floral design. The colours are much more muted than my usual choice.

At the time I was not sure exactly which dress I would make so have spent a few days cogitating.

Decision: I would try a new (for me) Sew Over It pattern, the Penny Dress.

However, when I started to lay out the pattern on my fabric, it simply would not fit. So, Plan B:- the Libby blouse and mash it to the TNT Betty circle skirt to make a shirtwaister dress.

 

The reasons for choosing the Libby blouse were the extended shoulder and sleeve cuff (similar to the Teddy Designer Tunic by Style Arc) and also the fact that there was a reduce-sized collar stand which I wanted to try.

Guided by the finished garment measurements I cut a size 20 for the Libby blouse bodice. To get the correct bodice length, I measured my centre back and then added an inch to allow for seam allowance and ease. For the Betty skirt, I placed the pattern pieces at the selvedge so there would be centre front and centre back seams to the skirt. I added approximately 2 inches to the side seam allowances to ensure that the skirt panels would be sufficiently large enough to allow for the seams. I also cut large pocket bags to incorporate into the side seams of the skirt. I love pockets!

The fabric was laundered last weekend so was now ready to cut and sew.

I prepared the skirt pockets and stitched the panels. The seams were pressed open and flat, finished with the overlocker. The skirt was then left to hang whilst I continued with the bodice.

The yoke was plain sailing but then it came to the collar. I tried to follow the instructions as close as possible. Unfortunately, these include colour photographs of a printed fabric and despite reading the instructions several times and taking care with transferring all the markings, I did not find collar and stand construction at all easy. For the next iteration I will do some research online to see if I can find a more easy-to-follow method of construction for this particular style of collar. The end result is fine, it just took an inordinate length of time and finessing to get it just right.

The finished sleeve cuffs look good. They have been interfaced with light fusible interfacing and thoroughly pressed into place. I also stitched through all the layers of the cuffs at the underarm seam to ensure that they stay in place.

A search through my button stash came up with 4 really well-matched buttons. Once the buttonholes and buttons had been applied all I had to do was stitch the bodice to the skirt and finish the hem.

Despite checking the measurements of the bodice hem against the waistline of the skirt, I found that I needed to gather the bodice slightly. This has resulted in a slightly ‘blouson’ look. I am happy with this look despite the fact that it was not planned.

I hope to make this style again but in a more vibrant print. I will also extend the centre front bodice to allow for C/D cup bust.

  

I will be wearing the dress with the Tan woven leather belt as shown in the photographs. In the final analysis the dress has a definite 40’s vibe. I am not complaining but fear it may look a bit ‘mumsy’ on me so I am not sure how long it will have a place in my wardrobe.