Monthly Archives: March 2020

Jenna elastic back Dirndl skirt

Back in February I made the Lemony Libby blouse by Sew Over It. In preparation of my planned Cruise holiday in May I always intended to make a coordinating skirt so that they could be worn together with the look of a dress or with other separates. Now that the holiday has been cancelled the incentive to get the outfit completed was no longer there but I have decided to use this time of home isolation to finish all those UFO (unfinished objects) so that I can then enjoy new makes with some of the beautiful fabrics in my stash.

According to Seamwork magazine separates can add great variety to any wardrobe, and a simple gathered skirt like Jenna effortlessly marries cute style and comfortable fit. Jenna’s elastic-back waistband and in-seam pockets make this skirt as practical as it is stylish. This seemed to me to be the perfect accompaniment to my Libby blouse.

Jenna skirt front view
Jenna skirt back view

I downloaded the pdf pattern and cut out my fabric. The only alteration was to change the pocket pattern to my standard that is stitched into the waistline seam and extend the length of the skirt by 3 inches.

The construction was so simple I cannot understand why it has taken me so long to make this style of skirt. The pieces went together easily, the only change during sewing was to reduce the length of the petastretch elastic in the back waistband by a couple of inches.

Squeezy lemon Jenna Skirt & Lemony Libby blouse

I am delighted with the finished skirt which I can wear with the coordinating Libby blouse, at least two different belts (or none at all) and a variety of plain tops. Now that it is completed I may add some belt loops for when I wear a narrow plaited leather belt.

Now onto the next project which is a Cerise Pink Jenna (same name, different garment!) cropped cardigan.

Blush Pink Fuller Cardigan

As a change to the Jenna cropped cardigan I was pleased to see the Fuller Cardigan by Cashmerette. This design features raglan sleeves, comes with fold back button band and facings.The Fuller cardigan also has neckline, sleeve and length variations.

Fuller Cardigan by Cashmerette

Whilst I had planned to make the cardigan in a Ponte Roma, I made a mistake. I found exactly the right colour on Cheryl’s website ‘Stitchy Bee’ but this is infact a 95% cotton high quality jersey. I bought 1½ metres at £4.95 per half metre.

Blush Pink Jersey

Cheryl’s description is thus:- “We’ve sourced the perfect jersey! Ideal for baseball tees, summer t-shirts and tops. A beautiful high quality fabric”. I have no disagreement with the colour and quality of the fabric – just wish that I had read the description properly and used the material to make a different garment! But there we are, I shall live and learn.

For this ‘wearable toile’ of the Fuller I checked my measurements against the instructions and cut a size 20 for a 48” bust C/D cup. I melded the two styles by using the neckline of View A (V-neckline) and the length of View B (cropped) with long sleeves from View A.

I cut the pattern pieces and interfaced then placed the project complete with thread, pre-would bobbin and instructions into a poly bag to take to the Sewcial Retreat.

Having completed the Jenna in Mint Green in record time, I felt that I was ‘on a roll’ and gaily started stitching the Fuller. Unfortunately I was not able to complete the garment on the Retreat as I had missed out the front facing piece!

Everything was placed back into the poly bag and since returning home I have finally managed to finish the cardigan. I used two Pink KAM snaps for the fastening though I doubt that I will ever wear the cardigan closed up.

Fuller by Cashmerette
cropped cardigan made in Blush Pink Cotton Jersey

In the final analysis I would say that this combination has not worked particularly well so next time I will make View B exactly as per the line drawing, possibly size up to a 22 and make sure that the fabric I use is a Ponte Roma!

completed 19th March 2020

Mint Green Jenna Cropped Cardigan

I was so pleased with my Old Gold Ponte Roma version of View A with long sleeves that I made another!

Textured Ponte Roma from Minerva

I bought a pretty textured Ponte Roma from Minerva.com at the bargain price of £2.99/metre. Prior to attending the Dorset Meet Up Sewing Day at Franklins in Salisbury I prepared two projects. One of them was a Jenna cardigan in the textured Ponte Roma.

The preparation took the form of cutting out all the pieces of fabric, marking notches and applying fusible interfacing. On the day, I managed to complete only the Lemony Libby Blouse and so the Jenna cardigan project was set aside ready for the Sewcial Retreat held at the VOCO Oxford Thames hotel.

As I had stitched the Jenna previously I was confident enough to get straight on with stitching this version. The fabric was more lightweight than I had anticipated but it worked well with this pattern. Construction was straightforward using my sewing machine and within an hour I had completed the cardigan with the exception of the front fastenings which I would apply when I got home.

Once I had returned home I gave the cardigan a good steam press and applied six pairs of KAM snaps.

Jenna #2 in lightweight Ponte Roma

Isn’t it just the way though? I had deliberately ordered this particular colour of Ponte Roma but now I can’t think why or what I had planned for the fabric. Even after I finished this project I have sufficient fabric left for another project. The cardigan does not ‘go’ with any of my current cotton print Spring/Summer dresses! Oh well, I will have to shop my stash and make a new dress……watch this space.

completed Monday 16th March 2020.

Sewcial Retreat March 2020

I recently attended a Sewcial Retreat arranged by Viv of Purple Stitches, a Patchwork & Quilting store based in Basingstoke. This is the second time that I have attended the Retreat which is held at a the VOCO Oxford Thames hotel on the outskirts of the city.

VOCO Oxford Thames
VOCO Oxford Thames

This time I was joined on the retreat by my good friend Pat so was able to share the journey and accommodation.

Fun, Laughter and Shared Sewing

One of the activities is a Secret Sister gift making and sharing. This time the project was a pin cushion and having checked out the instagram feed of my selected partner I made the pin cushion in her favourite colour and featuring her favourite pet – a cat.

Pin Cushion for Jackie

Jackie was delighted with her gift as was I with my reversible Bicornu pin cushion.

Reversible Bicornu Pin Cushion
Reversible Bicornu Pin Cushion

Whilst at the retreat I was able to make three garments and undertake a new technique – ‘Quilt as You Go’ more posts later…..

Wrap Dress with Ruffles

Sometime ago Sian of Kittenish Behaviour filmed a ‘sewalong’ for this dress. I was inspired and purchased the pattern. However, the pattern sat in my stash for a long time before I finally got around to making a ‘wearable toile’ of the design.

Butterick B6554

For the fabric I used a new Superking sized cotton/polyester duvet cover bought during a sale at Dunelm, Salisbury branch last year. I made view B with the additional bodice ruffle as featured in View C.

As shown by Sian, I cut the ruffles in two layers and thus avoided having to make narrow rolled hems and also where the ‘wrong’ side showed, it was the same fabric as the ‘right’ side. There was insufficient fabric to make the ruffles in the same print as the main dress but I felt the use of the reverse of the duvet cover would be a good compromise.

I checked the pattern measurements and sizing and cut the largest size – 22. I decided to ignore the centre seam of the butterfly sleeves and taped the front and back pattern pieces together (overlapped by the seam allowance). I also reduced the sleeve length by 1½ inches. I added concealed side seam pockets to my usual pattern and although I was a little unsure about the lengths of the bodice and skirt, left them according to the original pattern.

As my overlocker was still threaded with dark thread, I stitched all the seams with French seams. I also used Sian’s method of finishing the edges of the skirt with self bias binding. Thus, the dress is beautiful both inside and out. Unfortunately it does not fit very well!

Butterick B6554 using a Superking Duvet Cover

The crossover of the wrap bodice is very low so I will have to wear a camisole/vest underneath and the wrap on the skirt is almost indecent so I will need to wear an underskirt of some description (probably my vintage cotton with eyelet frilled hem). Having to wear additional underwear rather defeats the object of a light and floaty summer dress!

Butterick B6554 Wrap Dress with Ruffles

I love the design of this dress and will certainly make again but next time I think I will draft from my own using my TNT bodice and skirt blocks to ensure that I have sufficient wrap on the top and skirt. I will certainly be adding circular ruffles to this and other dressmaking projects in the future as I just love them!

Completed 8th March 2020.

Lemony Libby Shirt

Libby by Sew Over It

I recently attended a ‘Sewing day’ at Franklins’, Salisbury that had been organised by #Dorset Meet Up’ on instagram. In anticipation of a whole day’s sewing – well at least 5 hours (!) I prepared two dressmaking projects. The first was a Libby shirt by Sew Over It and the second was a Jenna cardigan from Muse patterns.

Preparation took the form of cutting out, interfacing where required and winding bobbins so that once I settled down at a Juki sewing machine I could power ahead and get stitching.

I have made the Libby blouse twice before and on both occasions experienced some problems with the construction of the collar. I really need to review the instructions on the Sew Over It website to ensure that I follow the directions exactly. The only changes to the pattern which were cut as a size 20 were to extend the length by 3 inches. I think that next time I will extend by 4 inches as it is still a little shorter than I like.

I used French seams for the yoke and then set about making the collar. Yet again it took some finagling but I eventually achieved a good result. I think that another time I will have to change the collar or at least write my own instructions to include in the pattern envelope. Once the collar and stand has been constructed I have to admit it sits very nicely and is comfortable to wear.

I stitched French seams for the side seams which turned out to be a mistake as I should have attached the sleeve cuff as a loop. By following the instructions, I have seam allowance on the OUTside of the cuff. A good press and with the seam allowance under the armpit it is OK but I will have to remember for next time.

Libby shirt in Lemon print cotton

I am particularly pleased with how fresh this print looks and know that I have sufficient fabric to make a coordinating skirt so that when worn together it gives the illusion of a dress.

Libby shirt back view

I have had to interrupt my usual dressmaking plans to prepare for a talk and demonstration that I am giving to a local patchwork and quilting group but then I will be back to stitching in preparation for my holiday. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the Coronavirus does not interfere with my travel plans!

completed 1st March 2020