Category Archives: Dresses

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!

Colourful Applique Pinafore Dress



Regular followers of my blog will have noticed that there has been nothing posted since the beginning of the month. This is due to continued suffering with chronic bronchitis followed by technical problems with the browser versus WordPress platforms. Fortunately my great friend has come to the rescue and I am back!

Back in 2017 I made this ‘not-so-subtle’ felt appliqued bolero-style jacket in denim. I particularly enjoyed the process. I have had a Black Corduroy Pinafore Dress cut out/ready to sew for over a year now and decided that what it needed was some decoration. In my book ‘more is definitely more’ and so I have embarked on a mammoth process of felt applique for what will be an ‘in your face’ decorated dress.

So far I have made the back and front bodice panels. I basted the pieces together to check fit and as it was fine, made up a lining in Black acetate fabric. The bodice and lining are now stitched together and on the mannequin whilst I proceed with decoration of the skirt. This may take some time…….

Oh oh, can’t seem to load the pictures of work in progress. Maybe later!

Top Twenty Makes in 2018

As promised, here are my Top Twenty Makes from last year. With the exception of the Ultimate Travel Bag that I made to take as Cabin luggage on my flight to the Caribbean, I am pretty sure that I will be repeating all these garments using fabric from my stash. So watch this space!

Dartmouth Hack by Cashmerette
Plantain by Deer & Doe
Plantain by Deer & Doe
Lady Skater by Kitschy Koo
Ultimate Travel Bag
by Annie Unrein
Simplicity 4032 hack
Kwik Sew 3736
Fraser by Sewaholic
Teddy by Style Arc
TNT Bodice & Gathered Skirt
Drunken Caribbean Birds
TNT Bodice with box-pleated skirt
Libby Blouse
by Sew Over It
TNT Bodice & gathered Skirt
Joni dress by
Tilly & The Buttons
TNT Bodice & gathered skirt
TNT Bodice & gathered skirt
Companion Carpet Bag by Mrs H.
TNT Bodice & gathered skirt
Collar from KwikSew 3736 hacked to TNT bodice & box pleated skirt

Vogue V8972

Vogue V8972 for Woven fabrics

Inspired by Sian of Kittenish Behaviour I have been wanting to make this dress for a long time. Back in February Sian filmed a sew-a-long for the dress but with one important change – make it up in a Jersey (Scuba) fabric rather than a woven!


Dark Gothic Floral Print Poly Scuba Jersey Dress fabric material
(Deep Eggplant )

I purchased 3 metres of Scuba print from The Textile Centre. The fabric is listed thus: Dark Gothic Floral Print Poly Scuba Jersey Dress fabric material(Deep Eggplant) and was on sale for £4.49 per metre. This was exactly the type and colour of fabric that I needed to make my first V8972 in Jersey! With my 3 metres of fabric I had sufficient to make View E with the full skirt but with the ¾ length sleeves of View C.

Following Sian’s instructions I first established which cup size was right for me and then traced the pattern pieces for the bodice. I did not need to trace the skirt pattern as I had decided to use the largest size and take in if necessary when I got to the fitting stage. For the bodice I traced a D cup size 20. I cut out the fabric late afternoon and prepared both the sewing machine and overlocker ready to get stitching the following day.

The next morning, I reviewed Sian’s vlog posts again and made notes on the order of construction. First was to stitch the bodice panels. As I am new to this pattern I machine basted all the seams with a very long machine stitch on the sewing machine. I attached the yoke pieces. NB make sure that you attach the yokes the right way up – I made the mistake of putting the skirt edge of the back yoke to the back bodice! Fortunately it was very easy to unpick the basting stitches and re-baste the CORRECT edges together.

At first fitting I found that like so many things at my age, my bust is a little lower than the pert position it held in my twenties! I re-basted the princess seam lines on the bodice to reflect the lower apex of my bust. I also needed to take in the side seams a little (not a bad thing!).

Having noted the small alterations I stitched the main seams on the overlocker. I cut a neckband according to Sian’s instructions and basted on the sewing machine. I found that I had to stretch the neckband a great deal and that it was a little narrower than I like. Next time, I will cut at 1¾ inches wide rather than 1½ inches. With a good press with steam the neckline was sitting neatly. I top stitched with a zig-zag stitch which I repeated on the bodice/yoke seams. The seam allowance for the front yoke was pressed away from the yoke. On the back yoke the seams were pressed inwards towards the yoke. Joining seams were top stitched with the zig-zag stitch.

I set the sleeves in using the overlocker and although there was a lot more ease (as the pattern is drafted for woven fabrics) with the stretch of the Scuba jersey this was easily accomplished.

The side seams and underarm seams were basted and the second fitting confirmed all was well. I could afford to take in a small amount to achieve a more fitted silhouette. The seams were then overlocked and pressed with steam.

The hems on the sleeves and the skirt were first overlocked before stitching in place with the zig zag stitch.

I am delighted with the final dress and hope to wear it when visiting relatives and for New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Vogue 8972 in Scuba Jersey Fabric ex The Textile Centre

Bold Bajan Dress

When visiting the Caribbean earlier this year, I made a point of buying some colourful Madras Cotton Check fabric when we called into Barbados.

Since my return the fabric has been washed and waiting quietly in a corner for me to make into a dress as a memento of a lovely holiday.

Being somewhat down-hearted about the previous make using some unrepeatable fabric, I thought that lightning would not strike twice so went ahead and cut out another sleeveless shirt dress. This time I changed the collar to that used on the Kitty dress which I find very easy to make up and would hopefully reduce the time it takes to complete the construction.

The check on this fabric is uneven so I tried hard to place the design lines in a complimentary fashion. I think that it has worked and there are no glaring faults. Truthfully, most of the colour placement is a happy accident although I did take care to match the horizontal lines of the check. I am particularly pleased with the way that the collar check lines are in a chevron.

I cut the skirt as 2 panels each 30 inches long and this has made it possible to have a deep hem. The centre back seam is a flat fell seam with the second row of stitching completed by hand. The panels were pleated onto the bodice with inverted pleats lining up with the darts and side seams of the bodice. There is a pocket set on the right-hand-side of the skirt, hidden beneath one of the pleats. The hem was overlocked then turned up just once and hand stitched in place.

I used a very lightweight fusible interfacing in the collar, facing and button/buttonhole plackets. The armholes have been bound with a self-bias binding cut 1¼ inches wide and folded in half. All seams have been overlocked including around the pocket bag. There are 12 buttons down the bodice and skirt which came from my button stash. Buttonholes were worked on the machine and taking a hint from Sian of Kittenish Behaviour, I have used fraycheck ® for the first time.

I am delighted with this dress which I can wear now with a cardigan and tights, then again in the Summer with a light tan! My husband still needs to be won over, his comment when he saw the dress on the mannequin was “Well with those bold colours and check, everyone will see you coming!”

 

 

Anaconda Antithesis print Sleeveless Shirt Dress

Anaconda Antithesis Cotton Lawn by Lady McElroy –   I have previously used this fabric print but in the Sky Blue colourway to make my TNT scoop neck dress.

  

At time of writing that dress has still not been worn as I have had nowhere special to wear it!

However, the fabric is just so lovely that when I saw the Sage Green colourway on sale at Fondant Fabrics, (£5.53 per ½ metre) I had to order some.

Just in case you have not encountered this fabric before, FF have the following as their description.

Cotton lawn is a light weight cotton with a plain weave. It is made using fine combed or carded yarns which are tightly woven, resulting in a silky smooth fabric with a lovely drape.

This is a high quality digitally printed cotton lawn by Lady McElroy featuring flowers, butterflies and snakes on a dark sage green background. Sophisticated yet quirky, this light, silky fabric is perfect for a statement summer dress, skirt or top. 

I ordered 2 metres of the 145 cms wide fabric and having the experience of cutting a sleeveless dress from 2.2 metres of 105 cms wide fabric I thought that this would be sufficient for yet another shirt dress. I was right.

As soon as the fabric arrived, the raw edges were overlocked and it went straight into the washing machine. Air dried in the bathroom and due to the fineness of the fabric, within a few hours it was dry and ready for pressing and cutting out.

As this fabric is so fine I decided to line the bodice with White poly/cotton. As I was lining the bodice there was no need for bias to bind the armhole edges but I was still a little short of fabric and thus the pocket linings are cut in the poly/cotton.

The skirt is made using two panels cut the width of the fabric x 26 inches long. There is a French seam at the centre back to join the panels together. I established the centre point of the panels and slashed to insert the pocket bags. I particularly like this method which also provides a little shaping to the skirt.

Although I did try to be careful with the print placement, you will notice that there is a flower perilously close to the apex of my bust. When worn however, it is a little further away than when on the mannequin.

The bodice lining is hand tacked to the waistline seam and the hem was overlocked before turning up just ½ inch and hand stitched in place. The finished back skirt length is 24½ inches, total back length 41 inches. There are 12 buttons on the front closure which came from my stash.

I love, love, love this dress and in a moment of madness have ordered another 3 metres of the fabric (!).

Next time I think that I will make a short sleeve dress with a different collar and possibly a gored/circle skirt. But for now I am working on refining the pattern for Kitty Pin Cushion.

 

Autumn Fields Shirt Dress

Recently I noticed that the Virginia Creeper on our garden fence was changing into its Autumn colours.

  

I love all those great hues of Rust, Terracotta, Orange, Tan, Purple, Burgundy and am pleased that having been ‘colour coded’ I am classed as a ‘Deep Autumn’. These colours are exactly right for my palette. Browsing through my stash of cotton fabrics I came across this length of pre-washed cotton print from the Lewis & Irene stable.

The print is their Autumn Fields range and this particular colourway is Acorns and Leaves on a Burgundy background. I had just 2.4 yards (2.2 metres) of 42 ins wide fabric and as far as I can remember this cost just £5/metre in the sale at New Threads Quilt Shop a couple of years ago. This length was originally purchased with a view to making a long-sleeved blouse. Now that I have ‘nailed’ the sleeveless shirt dress I decided to see if there was sufficient for dress #3.

I was able to cut out the pattern from this minimal amount of fabric but there was not quite enough for the under collar, armhole bias and one side of each pocket bag which are cut from the brown spotted fabric I have purchased ready for the lining of a swing jacket.

Construction was plain sailing and I was fortunate in finding just the right colour and size of buttons. There are 12 on the front bodice and skirt. The skirt length is just 24 inches with a 1 inch hand sewn hem.

The dress fits well and coordinates beautifully with my Burgundy tie- front cardigan.