Category Archives: Dresses

Sequinned Lace Dress

This project that took so long to complete. It is the dress for which I made the wearable toile featured in an earlier post. The dress is made using re-embroidered and sequinned lace over a matching Satin lining both of which were bought from Fabricland, Salisbury branch.

Front Bodice – careful motif placement!

I laid out the lace so that I could identify the major motifs in the design and decide on placement. In order to ensure that the motifs were centred correctly on the bodice I traced off the front bodice onto folded paper so that I had a full pattern. This enabled me to centre up the main motif and also, very important, ensure that there was no flower exactly over the apex of my bust.

I cut the exact same patterns from the satin and mounted the lace onto its corresponding piece. Construction was quite straight forward.

Back Bodice, nb beautiful lapped zip insertion

I finally finished the centre back zip insertion for which I used my favourite lapped insertion method with a hand-picked final stitching.

To add a little extra feature, I machined the hem of the lining using a ‘scallop’ stitch.

I had hoped to get the dress completed in time to take to the retreat but it was not to be. Instead I wore the Iced Rose Scuba Velvet Jodi dress – that’s me third from the left in the front row.

KB Sewing Retreat, May 2019

Still,now I have a fancy new dress, just waiting for a party or function to attend so that I can wear it.

Lace Dress – waiting for the right party!

Frida Kahlo Dress

I have long been an admirer of the flamboyant Frida. She had an unmistakable style which I personally reflect in some ways in the unsubtle prints of my clothing.

Frida Kahlo de Rivera

Frida Kahlo de Rivera was a Mexican artist who painted many portraits, self-portraits and works inspired by the nature and artifacts of Mexico.

When visiting the Malvern Quilt Show I was fortunate enough to come across some Frida printed cotton fabric. I bought 3 metres at £15 per metre with the intention of making a full gathered skirt. Thinking about it later, I changed my mind. Due to ‘wonky’ hip issues I decided that a pinafore/sun dress where the garment is supported from the shoulders would be a much better use of this fabulous fabric.

Frida La Catrina in Dark Marine Blue by Alexander Henry

I used my standard bodice pattern with the scoop neckline (as used in the bold appliqué corduroy pinafore dress) with a box pleated skirt. The pleats are lined up to coincide with the body darts and side seams of the bodice and there are pockets in the side seams.

Front Bodice under construction
Back Bodice under Construction

The bodice is lined with Teal satin (remnants from the lace over satin dress) and I included a ‘facing’ around the neckline, just in case the lining flipped out.

Fab-u-lous Frida Dress- Front view
Fab-u-lous Frida – back view

I am delighted with this dress with only one slight niggle and that is that most of the figures are hidden inside the pleats at the front of the skirt. However, when I sit down and the pleats spread open, the figures will be revealed so perhaps it is a good thing – a little surprise.

A WearableToile

As I was planning to make a new dress using lace and satin I thought it best to first make a wearable toile for a scoop neck dress using my TNT bodice. The fabric used is a slightly heavier weight cotton and was in a bag of donated material. The print is very reminiscent of the 60’s and 70’s.

Donated fabric

I drafted a scoop neckline freehand and adjusted the armscye slightly. Then it was straight into cutting and stitching.

I used a contrast cotton fat quarter from my stash to make the neckline facings and bias binding for the armholes. The skirt is box pleated and conceals side seam pockets behind the pleats.

Concealed pocket behind a pleat
The finished wearable Toile

I love this dress and the colours coordinate well with my Teal shrug but will also be good with an Orange shrug.

A Coordinating Shrug

There will definitely be more dresses in this style as it is so suited to some of the heavier weight cotton fabrics that I have in my stash.

This dress was to be a wearable toile for a Teal lace and satin ‘special occasion’ dress to be worn on the Gala night at the Sewing Retreat so onwards and upwards!

Springtime Shirt Dress

It has been a long time since I last posted details of my sewing projects but that does not been I have been idle. In fact, since the beginning of the month I have completed 8 projects. But it may take a while before they appear on the blog.

Let’s start with the fabric: This was purchased last June as part of a ‘haul’ from Fabricland in Salisbury.

June 2018 fabric haul from Fabricland, Salisbury

The fabric is a lovely Turquoise colour printed with white leaf and swirl motifs. I think I bought 4 metres and I have been pleased to get both a dress (as featured here) and later, a sleeveless blouse out of the length with minimum of waste.

Turquoise cotton

Yet again, my TNT bodice was used and I ‘hacked’ on the collar from Kwik Sew K3736.

Kwik Sew K3736
Turquoise Spring Shirt Dress

The dress is sleeveless with plain White poly/cotton bias binding to finish the armholes. This time there are buttons through both the bodice and the skirt for which I used some charming spotted buttons purchased in bulk through eBay. The skirt has wide box pleats and concealed side seam pockets. There is a deep hem which has been hand stitched in place. All other seams have been finished with the overlocker.

Necklace from Edinburgh Woollen Mill

So now I have another lovely sleeveless shirt dress that can be worn with or without a cardigan plus a pretty necklace that I bought from the Edinburgh Woollen Mill outlet store at Wilton Shopping Centre.

Floral Print Dress for Spring

Ditsy Spring Floral Print Cotton

At the Sewcial Retreat I started cutting out and stitching the bodice of yet another sleeveless shirt dress. However, this one would be a little different!

The fabric is a pretty ditsy floral printed cotton from Fabricland in Salisbury. I bought 4 metres last Summer so it has been loitering in my stash for a comparatively short time! I needed all the 4 metres as this time I wanted to have a full circle skirt and for this I used the skirt pattern from ‘The Betty dress’ from Sew Over It.

The bodice has yet another shaped shawl collar from the OOP McCalls 6438 dress pattern.

The dress buttons just to the waist seam of the bodice as I had only 5 of the pretty spotty buttons. Due to shortage of fabric, the bias binding for the armholes was cut from several pieces and joined.

Once the bodice had been completed, I checked the width at the waistline to ensure that the skirt panels would measure up the same. I cut the skirt in 4 panels and included my TNT side seam pockets. Due to the fact that I was fast running out of fabric, the pocket linings are cut from White polyester/cotton from my stash. Only the back of the pockets are cut from the ditsy floral print.

Spring floral dress worn with plaited leather belt
Spring floral dress worn with Red cardigan by Lisa Comfort

I am pleased with the dress which looks best worn with a Tan plaited leather belt and goes very well with my Red cardigan from Lisa Comfort.

However, for some unknown reason I am not ‘in love’ with the dress and so far although it has been completed for 2 weeks, I have still not worn it. Hopefully, as I am now onto making another dress using a pretty turquoise and white print fabric, I will get around to wearing the ditsy floral one soon.

Joni Dress # 6

Joni Dress by Tilly and the Buttons
Joni Dress – line drawing

I fancied making a new dress to wear for one of the evenings of the Sewcial Retreat in Oxford that I am attending tomorrow. I have previously made the Joni dress a mere 5 times. One of those versions was a hack into a top and no. 4 was a ‘fail’.

This time I revisited the tutorial by Sheona of Sewisfaction and decided that I would try her method for the neck binding and make up the Joni in a velvet fabric. I had just the right fabric, purchased recently from The Textile Centre. It was described thus:

Gothic Ice Rose Velvet Scuba type Jersey

This is a heavy-weight bonded polyester spandex soft, silky, ice velvet dress fabric with a really pretty hazy rose print in silver grey against a pretty wine-coloured background. This fabric has two layers of fabric, an ice spandex velvet top and an FTY poly/jersey underside which give the effect of a scuba velvet. It has a soft tactile hand feel and a really soft drape. It has most of its stretch in the width, although it does have a tighter stretch to the length. Great for evening dresses, tops, skirts, jackets, culottes, even trousers and shorts, etc. Machine Wash on a 40° temp, hang dry, iron on reverse if needed. This is a relatively easy fabric for newcomers to sewing, although it is quite a slippery fabric to work with. Width: 145 cms.”

The fabric was exactly as described. Stitched up like a dream. However, once again I struggled with the neckline binding. I followed Sheona’s instructions with one small change. Due to the thickness of the fabric I did not use the neck binding folded in half along its length. I simply cut the strip in half (lengthwise), stitched right sides together, folded to the inside and top stitched in place. It does not matter that there is a raw edge inside the neckline as this fabric does not fray.

So, apart from some time wasted unpicking and re-stitching the neck binding, the construction was very straightforward. I cut the sleeves at ¾ and used double-sided fusible tape to turn up the hem before twin-needle top stitching in place. The hem of the skirt has been left raw. I may twin-needle top stitch at a later date, but for now it is fine.

Result is a lovely dress, just right to wear for dinner. Now I simply have to decide which evening to use it.

Daisy print Shirtwaister Dress

I mentioned in a previous post that I originally had 4 metres of this pretty Red background floral print cotton. As I had been using it for the sewing accessories the length of fabric was rapidly decreasing. I needed to be sure that I had sufficient remaining to make a dress so took a break from other projects to cut out and sew yet another sleeveless shirtwaister.

I used my TNT bodice with the hacked collar from Kwik Sew 3736. I cut 2 widths of fabric x 30 inches length for the skirt and this left about ¼ yard for the final sewing accessories (an extra small pouch and a fabric bin for odds and ends).

Hacked the collar from the jacket

As I have previously made this design (the Bajan Madras cotton – http://carouselcottagecrafts.com/bold-bajan-dress/) this particular iteration was a a very straightforward sew. I cut self bias strips for the armholes and made my usual in seam pockets that are stitched to the waistline seam. The skirt is gathered with a centre back seam. The pockets are stitched to slashed side seams which also helps to create a little shaping to the skirt. All internal seam allowances have been overlocked and the hem of the skirt was hand stitched. There are 11 pale Lemon buttons down the front of the dress and these came from my stash.

Daisy print Sleeveless Shirtwaister Dress

The fabric colour and print design of this dress is really more suited to the Summer season but until the weather warms up it does coordinate very well with the Red cropped cardigan from Lisa Comfort.

Worn with a Lisa Comfort cropped cardigan

As I had drawn the fabric and buttons from my stash (previously purchased from Fabricland at least 3 years ago) I count this dress as a ‘freebie’ but that does not mean that I can buy more fabric with a clear conscience!

Simply Spot-on Paola Turtle Neck Tee

Paola Turtle Neck Tee
by Named Clothing

Regular readers will know that the Paola tee is one of my ‘all-time’ TNT tops which have been regularly hacked into many variations. For this iteration I wanted a plain and simple turtle neck tee to go under that ‘oh so subtle’ appliqué corduroy pinafore dress featured in an earlier post.

Colourful Appliqued Corduroy Pinafore Dress

I purchased 1 ½ metres of Pink spotted cotton jersey which is a new line offered at New Threads Quilt Shop, Weyhill Fairground, Andover. As soon as I got home the fabric was washed and hung over the airer to dry.

Meantime, I was distracted by making up the SORA top by Blank Slate Patterns and also completed another version of the Paola using Cloque jersey, neither of these garments was an unqualified success so it was with some trepidation that I cut out the Pink spots Paola.

SORA sweater
Hacked about Paola

I used my latest adapted version of the pattern for the bodice front and back. Bearing in mind my thickening mid-section, I ignored the waistline shaping and cut a straight line from under the arm to the hips. I extended the length of the bodice by 3 inches. Using the original sleeve pattern, I increased by 1 inch at the underarm seam, grading to 0 at the wrist. The length of the sleeved was reduced by 2 inches. The turtle neck collar was reduced in height by 1 inch but increased in width by 1 inch.

It took just over 1 hour to construct the tee which included drafting a pattern for a double cuff which does away with the need to twin-needle stitch the sleeve hems and provides(I think) a professional finish. The hem of the tee was turned up by ¾ inch and pressed with steam before top-stitching with a jersey twin needle.

Simply Spot On Paola Turtle Neck Tee

I am delighted with the fabric, fit and finish of this tee and can foresee that it will get a lot of wear both now and into cooler days of Spring. In fact, I am so pleased I may well re-visit New Threads as I know that they have this fabric in several other colourways.

The Colourful Pinafore

Well folks it has been a long time coming but finally, here it is!

I cut out this Black Corduroy for a Pinafore Dress way back, probably sometime in 2017 and since then it has been languishing in the ’roundtoit’ pile.

One of my resewlutions(sic) for this year is to clear the back log of UFO projects that are cluttering up the sewing room and preventing me from thinking clearly and positively about future plans.

I have stitched up stuffed toys, hand sewn binding onto quilts and finally got around to this project. A plain Black pinafore dress. This seemed a might boring – let’s add some colour!

Front bodice – Thread traced vine lines
Back bodice – thread traced vine lines

Having stitched the darts and checked the fit, I thread traced some ‘vine lines’ onto the bodice back and front. Referring to several inspirational pictures of wool felt embroidery I then set about cutting pieces for flowers and leaves to decorate the vine lines. The motifs were pinned in place and reorganised a little before stitching in place with a narrow zig-zag stitch.

Front bodice applique completed
Back bodices applique completed

Once completed I then made up a lining and stitched into place around the armholes and neckline. I had left the centre back and side seams open to facilitate turning through. Machine basted these seams and again checked fit. All fine so the bodice was completed.

Now onto the skirt. I had cut out pocket bags to my usual pattern and added them to the side seams of the two skirt panels. My favourite pocket bag pattern is drafted to the waistline seam where it is stitched and avoids the pocket bags from flapping about too much. As I wanted a ‘stepping stone’ of embroidery, I stitched two ‘vines’ on the front skirt panel, aligning with the pocket openings.

Right Side Front
LeftSide Front

And finally, the hem applique. This seemed to take forever and involved a lot of pinning, checking and re-applying motifs until I was happy with the arrangement.

Completed Hem of Skirt

As the skirt is not lined on the reverse you could see all the bobbin threads of the zig-zag stitching. I found a length of pretty colourful cotton print and cut a wide band which I then applied to the reverse of the skirt hem.

The top edge of the band has been turned under by ¼ inch and hand stitched in place. The hem band fulfils two functions. It covers up the reverse of all the applique/embroidery stitches and adds some weight to the skirt hem. I am very pleased with the final effect.


Contrast cotton print hem band lining

Attaching the skirt to the bodice was the next step in construction. To begin with I thought that due to the thickness of the fabric, I would make box pleats. It turned out that there was insufficient width in the skirt panels to make them look effective. I originally lined up the side seams of the bodice with those in the skirt but this left too much fullness in the back and not enough in the front. To overcome the problem, I moved the side seams of the skirt forwards by 2 inches which also makes access to the pockets more easy. In the end I placed some small inverted pleats on the front skirt aligned with the centre front and body darts with the remainder of the fullness gathered gently to fit the bodice waistline.

Completed Hem Band

Finishing the insides of the bodice lining would be a simple matter of turning up half an inch to the inside and slip stitching the folded edge to the skirt/bodice waistline seam.

I was about to do that when I discovered the skirt lining panel in the pile of fabrics to the side of the sewing machine. This is what happens when you leave garments cut out for over a year before you start to stitch them up! Ahh, a few more sewing operations before I can finally finish this garment!

As the skirt lining panel was cut from one width of very wide acetate lining, I needed only one French seam in the centre back. I marked the quarters and then ran a gathering thread around the top. This was pulled up to fit the waistline seam of the pinafore and pinned into place. I checked the length of the lining and to ensure that it was no longer than the corduroy, turned up a wide hem of 2 inches folded under a further 3 inches. The hem was machined in place and the gathered top was overlocked to the waistline seam.

It took just 40 minutes to bring down the bodice lining, turn up 1/2 inch and then slip stitch to the waistline seam. All done!

Front view

Back View

Right Side
Left Side

The pinafore dress is pullover style and looks good over my fine polo neck sweaters. When the weather is a little warmer I shall also be able to wear over plain blouses or tee shirt tops.

Sewing Plans

I have a few projects that have been hanging around for a while so I really must get those completed. So for January/February I have identified the following:-

There are a couple of stuffed toys/pincushions that I made last year that were stuffed but not stitched up!

Kitty Cat who looks more like a dog!
Nellie the Elephant – turned out much larger than expected

Then on the list is a Black Corduroy Pinafore Dress that I plan to decorate with some felt appliqué (similar to the denim jacket that I made in 2017).

Vine lines on front bodice
Vine lines on back bodice

There are a couple of small patchwork quilts that need binding and a ‘Jodi’ top by Tilly and the Buttons that just needs lengthening with the addition of a frill.

In addition to the usual dresses and some raglan sleeved tops I also plan to make a coat using the Vogue pattern V8346 that I received in my KB pattern swap.

Vogue V8346

The Pippi pinafore dress from Jennifer Lauren Handmade.

Pippi Pinafore Dress by Jennifer Lauren

some Piccadilly PJs by Nina Lee (to wear to the Sewing Retreat on the Isle of Wight)

and another larger version of the Companion Carpet Bag by Mrs H.

Small version of the Companion Carpet Bag by Mrs H patterns

That is it so far but you know how it is – the well-made plans of mice and (wo)men often go awry!