Category Archives: Dresses

A New Style – Vogue V9023 in Teal Ponte Roma

I am aware that my dresses tend to be of a very similar style. A fitted bodice with or without collar, short or long sleeves or sleeveless. Button front to the waist or through to the skirt, with either a gathered, pleated or circular skirt.


I am getting a little bored with that and thought it was time to try a different style. Enter the Vogue pattern V9023 which I bought from Jaycotts in Chester when they were having a 40% discount sale.

I used a beautiful Teal Blue Ponte Rma purchased from Fabricland, Salisbury. I had originally bought 2 metres thinking that it would be sufficient for some casual trousers but sadly the pattern I had chosen required a little more fabric.

The fabric was waiting to be used and I decided to trial the Vogue pattern instead. I made the size 22 at shoulders and chest then graded out for my full bust, waist and hips.

As per the label on the pattern – VERY EASY VOGUE the dress was an straightforward construction and because of the style was an easy fit. However, once completed I did not like the look of the dress. The under bust band is set too high, it should be about 1 ½ inches lower (one’s bosom has a tendency to drop with age!). The V neckline is much lower than I had expected and as it is such a radical departure from my usual style and silhouette I felt uncomfortable wearing it.

The dress

However, I wanted to give the dress an outing so with opaque tights, flat shoes and a beautiful scarf I attended our usual Friday house group.

With the addition of a scarf to protect my modesty

I received several compliments on both the colour which I know does suit me and also the fact that it was a different silhouette to my usual. I wore the dress again on the Monday when I met with other friends for coffee and cake and again received compliments – so the dress will continue to have a place in my wardrobe. For now I have sold the pattern on eBay and will progress with trying out other styles and silhouettes of dresses to provide diversity in my wardrobe.

Yet another version Vogue 8577

Molly embroidered Duvet set

I am certainly getting my monies worth from the Vogue 8577 pattern. Hot on the heals of the previous incarnation I used the last of the three Superking Duvet covers purchased recently at Dunelm Mill to make yet another version. This duvet set was the ‘best’ of the three in that the front of the cover has many embroidered floral posies. Something that had I completed the embroidery myself using my Brother 4000D sewing/embroidery machine would have taken a very long time.

All the embroideries on the duvet cover!
A single embroidered motif

I used the same ‘hack’ as previously by omitting the midriff band and extending the bodice down to the waist seam. I also omitted the giant pockets and instead kept to my TNT concealed inseam pockets. The bodice was lined with White cotton, the yoke lining was cut from the gingham fabric and the front bodice button facing was extended to join with the yoke lining.

Initially I was not very pleased with the placement of the embroideries but in the final garment I believe that they are acceptable.

Front view before completion
Back view – with better placement of embroideries

I have now made this pattern (and its hacks) up four times and each time I am able to complete the construction a little more quickly. Whilst I am very pleased with this dress, with my self-imposed limit of 5 versions of a pattern it is getting very close to the time to move on to a different style.

Vogue 8577 – hack

Having paid full price for the Vogue 8577 dress pattern, I was determined to get my money’s worth! However, by way of something a little different, I decided to ‘hack it’!

Original Vogue 8577 pattern

Whilst I like the neckline and gathered bodice into yoke, for a change I wanted to remove the midriff band and extend the bodice to the waistline seam.

I had won a voucher for fabric at the SEW SOUTHAMPTON event in August and having browsed the website of the vendor selected this pretty multi-coloured floral cotton.

‘Watercolour’ printed cotton fabric

At 60″ wide this 100% cotton is ideal for dressmaking. This is a cotton poplin meaning that it’s not as light or smooth as a lawn but still ideal to make shirts, dresses, tops and accessories. This cotton is very stable so it would be ideal for a beginner project.

I thought that I had ordered 4 metres but received only 3 which meant I needed to change the skirt design. The Vogue 8577 is very fabric-hungry when cutting out the skirt and so I substituted the ½ circle skirt pattern from the ‘Penny’ dress by Sew Over It.

I used the skirt pattern of the Penny Dress

Another change that I wanted to make was to extend the front facing all the way up to the yoke facing and thus avoid any raw edge at the neckline seam.

Extended front facing in print fabric

Having cut out the main fabric I selected some plain Sky Blue cotton from my stash for the bodice lining. I also had sufficient of the outer fabric to make the yoke lining in the print. I added a small loop at the centre of the back lining as an additional decorative feature.

Completed back bodice with decorative loop

Another very small change was to round off the leading edge of the front at the base of the V-neckline.

I completed the dress quite quickly and also managed to include some in-seam pockets. The pretty Purple buttons came from my stash. All seams were worked as French Seams as demonstrated by Sian of Kittenish Behaviour and the skirt hem was double folded before being machined in place.

The finished hack

I am delighted with this dress which co-ordinates well with many of the shrugs that I have in my wardrobe – Mustard, Cerise, Purple, Burgundy and Blue. This is certainly a hack that will be repeated when I do not have sufficient fabric for the original pattern.

Vogue 8577 – Autumn

A few posts ago I told you about my very first iteration of the Vogue 8577 dress pattern ‘Sian made me do it’. I was so enamoured of the style which was a big departure for me that I have since made three more versions of the dress.

Cotton Lawn from Fabrics Galore

Using the fantastic bargain cotton lawn purchased at the Festival of Quilts. The fabric had been was laundered and sat waiting for me, in less than one month I started cutting out!

I made up the dress according to the pattern but omitted the huge pockets and used concealed side seam pockets instead. As I was using concealed side seam pockets, I cut the front skirt panel from the lining pattern. First I made up the skirt panels using French seams and incorporating the pockets. This was then pinned to the mannequin whilst I concentrated on the bodice.

The bodice is again lined with some White poly/cotton from my stash but the skirt remains unlined.

Having already made the dress once before, this time I paid attention to Sian’s sew-a-long and made a couple of changes to the order of work. I attached the front facing only partway down the bodice front lining before stitching the lining to the main fabric at the neckline and front edges. Having trimmed the seam allowances I was able to understitch the facing before then stitching the armholes and turning through to the right side. By following Sian’s method this meant that I did not need to use bias binding on the armholes and it left a much neater finish.

After a fitting I stitched the side seams of the main fabric and lining of the bodice in one pass. All seam allowances were trimmed with pinking shears and the side seams pressed open and flat. I now had a bodice ready to attach the skirt.

Once the skirt was attached I completed the stitching of the facings and started looking for buttons. I knew that like on the previous iteration, I wanted to have 15 buttons. With such a busy print I was a little unsure as to what buttons to use but came up trumps with these charming flower-shaped buttons in Brown that were in my stash – and I had 17 of them!

close up of Buttons

For the finish of the hem, I still did not use bias binding. Instead I overlocked the hem edge before turning to the inside and top-stitching in place.

Vogue 8577 – Autumn

I am very pleased with the dress which takes pride of place in my new Autumn collection and coordinates with several of my cropped shrugs.

With one of many shrugs

Festival of Quilts 2019

It is now almost one month since I joined the coach trip to visit the Festival of Quilts at the NEC, Birmingham. I visited with my friend Pat and we were joined at the Festival by another friend who had travelled from Chiswick. We all had a great day and for once the weather was brilliant sunshine.

There were so many quilts and shopping opportunities, I did not really know where to start. In the end, we started with the shopping – no change there then. I had a list – I did not stick to it!

From the Fabrics Galore stand I bought another 2 metres of my favourite Frida Kahlo printed cotton which is destined to be a simple shift dress to showcase the design.

Frida Kahlo |Border print

I also bought 4 metres of an unnamed cotton lawn at the bargain price of just £6/metre which has since been made up into my second version of Vogue 8577.

Unidentified Cotton Lawn – BARGAIN
Vogue 8577

From the Lewis & Irene stand I collected some free patchwork patterns, and a hug from one of the owners of the company (he remembered me from a talk where I had worn a dress in Lewis & Irene print fabric)!

On to the Thimbles stand which I visited twice. On the first visit I bought some leaf print (Monstera Deliciosa) which I intend to make up into a bag.

Leaf print heavyweight cotton for bagmaking

The second visit I bought this beautiful Tapestry-style fabric with Roses plus 4 lengths of faux leather with a snakeskin finish.

Roses Tapestry fabric + Faux Leathers

The Roses and Red faux leather will be made up into a Companion Carpet Bag (pattern by Mrs H).

Mrs H Companion Carpet Bag

I have already sewn some of the Gold finish as an accent on a pouch (detailed post coming shortly) and I have plans for several new style bags which will utilise the Black & Navy-coloured faux leathers.

After a break for lunch (a very tasty Haloumi salad) we viewed a few more of the many, many quilts before returning to the shopping hall. We visited the Sewing Quarter stand where I had the opportunity to chat to John Scott – what a lovely man.

We then visited Rosenberg & Sons’ stand. I was ‘persuaded’ to buy some beautiful boiled wool in Blue to make a jacket (Simplicity 4032) and a remnant of Mustard boiled wool to make a ‘hack’ waistcoat/vest from the same pattern.

Another break for afternoon tea and a further browse of the quilts before a rest and relaxation whilst we waited for the coach and journey home.

I loved my visit (not sure my credit card was as keen) although I did find it very tiring. Bearing in mind the size of my fabric stash (I swear the fabrics reproduce overnight) and lack of resistance when it comes to fabric buying, perhaps I should refrain from attending any more shows for a while until I have reduced my ‘stock’ and the bank account has recovered!

Some Skullduggery!

Skull print cotton by Rose & Hubble

My regular readers will know that I love a novelty print so when I came across this skull print on a Cerise Pink background, I just had to have it! I ordered 4 metres as I knew that I wanted to re-visit the Penny Dress by Sew Over It. I have previously made this dress in a jersey fabric back in August of 2018. Now I wanted to make in the fabric recommended by SOI – a woven.

Penny Dress by
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 laundered the fabric and within a day or two was busy cutting out the pattern. I increased the bodice width slightly to accommodate my tummy but forgot to add to the waistline of the skirt – more of that later.

Construction was straightforward but once again I had to review the video tutorial on sewing the facing in such a way as to make the top-stitched button/buttonhole placket. The end result is very neat but narrow, insufficiently wide enough to make my preferred horizontal buttonholes. Instead I placed the buttons on the top placket and stitched them through all layers. There is no problem using this method as the waistline seam has sufficient ease to allow the dress to be put on pullover fashion.

Although not included in the pattern instructions, I cut four of the narrow shoulder yoke so that there would be a lining in this part of the bodice. I used my preferred method for attaching the collar that does away with the need for a separate back neck facing. I did however add a piece of half-moon-shaped fabric into the back neckline that carries my pre-printed label ‘Carousel’.

Having completed the construction of the yokes, button placket and collar I turned my attention to the armholes which form a small cap sleeve. The instructions suggest that you turn up a narrow hem and top stitch in place before joining the front and back bodice at the side seams. I dislike the ‘unfinished’ look of this method so instead made some self bias binding to neaten the armhole sections before completing the bodice. I shall certainly be repeating this method in future as it has turned out very well.

Bodice/skirt waistline – nb no elastication

Now, joining the skirt to the bodice. This is where I made an error. I forgot to add sufficient width to the skirt so that it would match the slightly extended bodice. As the skirt was just wide enough (with a couple of inches of ease) at the waistline, I simply made some tucks (where there would normally be darts) in the bodice so that it matched the skirt panels. Having reduced the width of the bodice and skirt there was now no requirement for elastic in a channel to give the dress a close fit at the waist. Perhaps next time I will remember to extend BOTH bodice and skirt so that an elasticated waist can be included. Alternatively, I may replace the tucks with body darts for a more streamlined effect. The other omission was that I forgot to stitch in my side seam pocket bags. A real nuisance and maybe I will go back and put them in although it will be a tiresome and time-consuming task to unpick the overlocked seams. So maybe not to be undertaken – I shall have to live with no pockets in this dress!

Some Skullduggery Penny Dress

Apart from these minor niggles I am delighted with the dress. I see that this particular print is also available with a beautiful Teal background but perhaps I should concentrate on using some of the ‘miles’ of fabric in my stash……

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.