Category Archives: Fabric – viscose

Raspberry ‘Newlyn’ Blouse

For some time I have been wanting to make a plain blouse to go under my Autumn Leaf print pinafore dress and felt that this 1½ metres Raspberry Dobby from Sew me Sunshine bought for £12 in August 2022 would be just right. I decided to make another version of the Newlyn blouse (a hack from New Look 6731) as I think this will go well under the pinafore dress but also can be worn ‘tunic- style’ over my new Burgundy jogging bottoms.

New Look 6731

I laundered the fabric and then pressed nice and flat. Whilst doing this I noted how very fine the fabric was so decided that I would make up the blouse with French seams. The test stitching also demonstrated that none of the threads in my stash was the right colour match – I needed to visit my local fabric store, New Threads Quilt Shop at the Weyhill Fairground Craft Centre. I bought exactly the right shade in 50weight Aurifil cotton thread which was a dream to sew with. Needless to say, I did not buy just thread, I stocked up on some fabric for Christmas gift projects and some new machine needles as well.

As I have made this version of the blouse a couple of times before, the construction was fairly plain sailing. When it came to buttons I was disappointed that I could not find a complete matching set of 7 buttons in my stash. However, I did find 5 buttons for the front closure and then the buttons on the sleeve cuffs are a little idiosyncratic, being both the right size and colour but different from the 5 at the front and each other!

Idiosyncratic button selection

I am absolutely delighted with the blouse which is very comfortable to wear and coordinates (as I planned) with the Autumn leaves ‘Jane’ pinafore dress. I will wear it tomorrow!

Newlyn Blouse in Raspberry Dobby Viscose Voile

Blouse to be worn with Autumn print Pinafore Dress

Project #50 completed 2nd November 2022.

Take the Chance Dress by Pattern Emporium

Inspired by the vlogs of Karina of Lifting Pins & Needles and Whitney of TomKat Stitchery I decided to do just that!

Take the Chance Dress pattern by Pattern Emporium

The Take The Chance Shirt Dress has been designed with the relaxed structure of an easy fit shirt. It features buttons (or snaps) along the front opening, a simple placket & collar (with the easiest instructions ever!) & is finished with a tiered skirt.

For this toile version I used some recently purchased Viscose from Rainbow Fabrics, I bought 3 metres for a total cost of £10.78. This had been washed and dried on arrival and sat awaiting inspiration as to the design of dress that I would make.

Ditsy printed Owls on Viscose from Rainbow Fabrics, Kilburn

Construction notes: I printed off the design in size 20 using the layers function in Adobe, a first time of using that option. I made no changes to the pattern – just went for it! First I cut out the bodice fronts, back, collar, under collar and short sleeves. When laying out the fabric I had discovered a nasty mark across the entire width so knew that the skirt would have to be cut to avoid this mark. This means that the skirt was not cut in the tiers as per the pattern illustration but I was able to cut 2 longer panels each 40 inches wide x approximately 20 inches deep and a further 3 widths of the fabric, each 12 inches deep for the hem ruffle. I used the spare pieces to cut 4 of my TNT pocket patterns.

To begin construction I made up the skirt. I attached the pocket pieces to the main panels then followed with the hem ruffle. This latter was pleated with the pleater foot using a long stitch length of 5mm with a pleat every 6 stitches. I found that the 3 widths of fabric pleated in this way were sufficient to complete the hem of the main panels with just a short section approximately 8 inches long left over. All seams were overlocked as although the fabric was fine enough for French seams, I wanted to complete this ‘toile’ quickly. The skirt was set aside whilst I worked on the bodice.

Following the vlog by Karina I completed the yoke, grown-on facings and collar before basting the side seams and having a ‘first fit’. I noted that I needed to shorten the back bodice length by at least 1 inch, the front bodice will need to be lengthened by at least 1 inch on the next iteration. The side seams were also taken in by ½ inch on both fronts and back. Next time I will also need to reduce the shoulder width by at least 1 inch. I took the time to adjust the pattern pieces now whilst the changes were still at the front of my mind. Once I had made those adjustments to the pattern, I returned to the bodice and marked up the buttonholes. I made 5 vertical buttonholes and attached 5 of my favourite 4-hole tortoiseshell buttons.

Bodice with collar and Faux Tortoiseshell buttons

The bottom of the button placket was basted together as the front skirt panel had been cut on the fold. Next I set in the sleeves. These were very well drafted and were set in easily with no gathers or tucks to spoil the shoulder line. The top edge of the skirt panels were gathered with 2 rows of long stitches and then attached to the bottom of the bodice. As I had already hemmed the ruffle, the dress was now complete.

The finished ‘Take The Chance’ Dress

Conclusion: Working with this very fine Viscose was like ‘herding cats’ as it was so slippery. Overall this was a simple enough dress to make and the drafting is very good with all notches matching up as they should. I am very pleased with the result and with those changes to the pattern mentioned above, I am sure that the next iteration will be even better.

Project #48 completed 19th October 2022

Sofia dress by Victory Patterns

A very popular style this Spring and Summer is a dress with shirred bodice. Although very late to the party, I have done shirring in the past – firstly way back in the 1960’s and more recently before Covid when I made the Siena dress by Sew Over It.

Sofia dress by Victory Patterns

I checked out several ‘make your own pattern’ vlogs on the internet but was still not confident to try ‘going it alone’ so purchased the Sofia dress pattern by Victory Patterns. I checked out the size and measurements chart before deciding to make the size 20, version 1 dress with the short puff sleeves.

Viscose Challis from Rainbow Fabrics

I had chosen this pretty viscose challis deliberately as it had a background print of even checks that I could use as a guide for the lines of shirring. The fabric came from Rainbow Fabrics and I purchased 3 metres at a cost of £10.78.

First task was a trial run of the shirring. Having hand-wound several bobbins with shirring elastic I cut a rectangle 10 inches across by 5 inches deep and then stitched rows of shirring on my machine. The settings were for a stitch length of 5.00 with tension racked up to 9.00. The swatch was then steamed with the iron until it shrunk down to 5 inches across.

Shirring sample swatch

The 3 metres was easily sufficient to cut the dress with a plain skirt. Initially I had considered adding a ruffle at the hem but decided that would add too much weight to the skirt and may cause the bodice to drag down.

I completed the shirring for the front and back bodice, then completed the construction of the sleeves. All the shirring took a total of 16 pre-wound shirring elastic bobbins. I stitched the side seams of the bodice and tried it on having pinned the sleeves in place. It was immediately apparent that I would have wear a strapless bra as the sleeves are set too wide. I recalled that on one of the vlogs the seamstress encountered the same problem, the easy solution is to add the shoulder bands as shown with the Bell sleeves.

Bodice with shoulder bands included

Next onto the skirt. I did not use the pattern. I simply cut two rectangles 40 inches wide x 34 inches deep. By cutting rectangles I was able to use the printed check lines to ensure accuracy. No side seam pockets for this little number as the fabric is too light the pocket bags would pull on the side seams and and without lining the skirt, show through on the right side. I overlocked all the seam allowances for speed as this dress is a ‘wearable muslin’ in anticipation of making another in a different print. The hem was of the skirt was double turned by 3 inches to add some weight to the hemline and then hand stitched in place.

Completed Sofia Dress

Conclusion: The fabric is exceptionally soft and lightweight, perfect for this project. The check print made keeping the lines of shirring straight very easy. I particularly like the short sleeves with shirring and ruffle. I will definitely be using that pattern on other dresses. When this style dress was a project on The Great British Sewing Bee the contestants were allowed 3½ hours to complete. My version has taken longer but maybe the next iteration will be a quicker sew. I may revisit this dress and add a plain White viscose voile lining to the skirt for modesty but in the meantime will enjoy my ‘milkmaid-look’ dress.

Project #37 completed 9th August 2022

Pink Petticoat

Often I will line the bodice of a dress but the skirt is left unlined. This is usually OK but when the skirt is very full e.g. the Maryon full circle skirted dress, I feel that a waist slip also with full skirt would be appropriate.

Using some pretty Pink viscose voile purchased from www.thefabricroom a couple of years ago, I drafted a waist slip based on the measurements that I use for the ruffled skirt of Myosotis #2. The main part measures 80 inches wide x 24 inches long, the ruffle was first cut as 3 x width of fabric = 180 inches x 10 inches long. I had some lovely Dark Pink Broderie Anglaise trim in my stash and first task was to attach this to the hemline of the ruffle. Next I used the differential feed on my overlocker to gather the top edge of the ruffle before attaching to the main part, again using a French seam.

Finally I turned over 1 inch and then another inch before stitching the casing for the elastic. I stitched 1/8th inch from the top fold so that the elastic would not twist inside the casing. Using some 5/8th wide elastic from my stash I completed the waist and checked the length of the finished petticoat. Just right!

Pink Petticoat in Viscose Voile

Project #34 completed 19th July 2022

‘Marilyn’ – a new hack

I recently purchased 3 metres of this very bold ‘in your face’ Viscose crepe from Rainbow Fabrics, Kilburn. To be honest I am not sure what I was thinking when I ordered the fabric so was a little surprised when I opened the parcel and saw how dramatic the colour and print was. However, the fabric was laundered, has a lovely drape and feels great against the skin.

Having made 6 versions of the Montana dress by Style Arc and 4 of the Myosotis dress, I thought it would be a good idea to combine the two designs, make a new style that I have named ‘Marilyn’ and use the bold Orange viscose for a wearable toile.

Line drawing for Marilyn design

Drafting the pattern: I first copied the bodice front and back of the Myosotis before laying over the Montana so that I could extend the shoulders for the cap sleeves. These days my ‘go to’ method for sleeveless and cap sleeved dresses is to line the bodice so that the armhole can be clean finished. However, this time I drafted an all-in-one facing. You will see that originally I planned to make the skirt with a hem ruffle but then I decided to make the skirt in three tiers.

Cutting out: I was careful with motif placement as I really did not want that large White bloom on the apex of my bust! I cut the back bodice in two with a centre back seam so that I could then cut 6 panels 12 inches deep x width of fabric (WOF) to make a three-tiered skirt.

Construction: The Bodice – My usual MO is to make up the bodice first so that can sit on the mannequin (to be admired!) whilst I stitch the skirt panels, pockets and frills. After a night’s sleep when it came down to it, I decided to ignore the all-in-one facing and instead use self bias binding. I still have the pattern for the facing in the envelope so maybe next time. For the self bias I cut strips 2 inches wide and pressed them wrong sides together before sewing to the right side of the bodice and flipping to the inside. I understitched the bias and seam allowances before top stitching the free edge of the bias binding in place. I was unable to find the exact colour of Orange for the buttons (not really surprising) so reverted to more of the Mother of Pearl ones that I bought in bulk and have now become my favourites.

The skirt: Again, I procrastinated before sitting down and getting on with the skirt. All those lengths of fabric had to be stitched together and have double rows of gathering. Then it was sitting quietly, marking the quarters, matching and gathering evenly for each of the three tiers. Each tier was sewn before attaching the final skirt to the bodice.

Final fitting: The overall length was a little too long (possibly dragged down by the weight of all the fabric in the skirt). I revisited the seams between the second and third tier and re-stitched taking a further ½ inch seam allowance from the original seam and overlocking (once again!). This brought the overall length up by 2 inches which was ‘just right’.

‘Marilyn’ version #1

Conclusion: I am very pleased with how this ‘wearable toile’ has turned out and delighted with the colour and design of the print. I think it is a dramatic dress and may well end up being my ‘birthday’ dress for 2022. I may be ageing but will certainly not be invisible. I am sure I will make the ‘Marilyn’ again in Viscose crepe but next time will either cut as a skirt plus a hem ruffle, or cut the skirt tiers at 11 inches rather than 12 inches so that the length is less ‘maxi’ and more ‘midi’. I have an idea for another ‘hack’ for the Myosotis to remove the collar stand and clean finish a round neckline instead. Watch this space…..

Project #31 completed 23rd June 2022

Revisit an old Favourite

Butterick 5356

Back in the Summer of 1998 I made my first version of Butterick 5356. I remember it particularly well as it was my ‘birthday’ dress. That year my husband and I spent a lovely day exploring ‘The Vyne’, a National Trust house and garden in nearby Sherborne St John, Hampshire.

The fabric used was a polyester crepe de chine purchased from a market trader in Andover. I still have the dress, it still fits, and I wear it every Spring and Summer.

I made a second version of the dress using a Lavender-coloured crinkle cotton. Unfortunately I no longer have that iteration as I gifted the dress to a friend, now sadly passed away.

Every Spring/Summer since 2000 I have wanted to make the dress again, but this time in a natural fibre so that it is more comfortable to wear in the really warm weather. Finally I have done it!

The original dress was made to size 22 with a few adjustments – reduce the width of the shoulders and the length of the dress. As I knew that the dress was ‘just right’ in terms of fit, I would be able to cut straight from the pattern.

Ditsy Daisy Sustainable Soft Viscose Challis

Turquoise is a special favourite as I believe the colour particularly suits me, I selected some Ditsy Daisy Sustainable Soft Viscose Challis purchased from Rainbow Fabrics, Kilburn at the end of April 2022 at a cost of £21.57. Thus this length has not been long in my stash and I thought that the print and drape of the fabric would be a great match for the Butterick pattern.

As I am currently watching the latest series of ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’ where each challenge is undertaken with a time limit, I decided to time myself making this project. Total time taken including cutting out and the final hand sewing of the hem was 8 hours. This is longer than expected but can be down to the mobility of the fabric, having to hand sew tailors tacks for all the deep tucks on the bodice, plus a hand sewn hem. However, as I was very keen to get the dress completed quickly, I have neatened seam allowances with the overlocker rather than make French seams which is time-saving.

Order of work was:- Session 1 – Cutting out. Session 2 – Making the self-fabric ties, interfacing the collar and front facing, making the back darts and including the ties at the waist point of the darts. Session 3 – Making sleeves, preparing the back neck facing with a ‘Carousel’ label. Session 4 – Sewing the front bodice tucks, shoulder seam front to back. Prepare Collar and one half of front facing. Session 5 – Second front facing, side seams, set in sleeves, make 12 buttonholes. Session 6 – Add 12 buttons, prepare the hem. Session 7 – hand sew hem in place.

Conclusion: Marking the I front bodice tucks and sewing the collar are both fiddly, especially with this particular type of viscose. I am sure that if (when!) I make the dress again using a crepe it will be less time-consuming. I love the finished dress which I think is particularly slimming and very comfortable to wear. I will definitely be making another.

Butterick 5356
Butterick 5356 Back view

Project #30 completed 15th June 2022

Myosotis #4 – a catalogue of compromises

I decided that I would make just one more version of the Myosotis pattern before changing to a different collection, utilising cotton fabrics and some new patterns.

Myosotis by Deer & Doe

The last of the ‘Spring Greens’ fabric collection is a Viscose Marrocain purchased from Rainbow Fabrics.

Viscose Marrocain ex Rainbow Fabrics

For this final (for the time being) Myosotis I wanted to add ¾ length ‘blouson’ sleeves with elastic casing and frilled cuffs plus a 3-tiered skirt. However, when ironing the fabric I discovered that it was not a 4 metre length – only 3 metres and also some marks that had not been removed by washing. So back to the drawing board….

Cutting out: I was so intent on avoiding the marks on the fabric that unfortunately the motif placement, especially on the bodice front(!) is less than ideal. I discovered that if I cut the back bodice in two with a centre back seam and the sleeves on the cross grain I would be able to cut 3 x width of fabric (WOF) to make a deep frill of 11 inches for the bottom of the main skirt panels. The main skirt panels were cut 40 inches wide x 20 inches deep.

Construction: The Bodice: My usual MO is to make up the bodice first so that can sit on the mannequin (to be admired!) whilst I stitch the skirt panels, pockets and frills. I used my hacked sleeve pattern but this time I have added to the depth of the sleeve cap in the hope that this will compensate for the removal of 1 inch from the shoulder width. The faced hem of the sleeves has been twin needle top stitched in place. The button bands have also been topstitched. With regard to button selection – again a compromise. I found two perfect colour-matched buttons, but sadly only two and I needed five. I chose some mother of pearl buttons that I bought from eBay a long time ago but never got around to using.

The skirt: At least this time I could use the ruffler/pleating foot which is far less time consuming than all those rows of gathering stitches and organising of the gathers. One thing that I did not have to compromise on was the fabric for the pocket bags as I was able to cut my favourite pocket bag 4 times in the fashion fabric.

Myosotis #4

Conclusion: I think that this version is my 2nd favourite. It has turned out a little longer than I anticipated but that’s OK, it will look even better when worn with my wedge heeled espadrilles. The sleeves are still not quite right, I will have to go back to the drawing board the next time I make a Myosotis dress. I still hanker after a long sleeved version so will revisit later in the year.

Project #25 completed 24th April 2022

Deer & Doe Myosotis #3

Deer & Doe Myosotis Pattern

I was still very pleased with the Myosotis by Deer and Doe and having Charcoal Grey thread in the overlocker prompted me to review my stash of Viscose challis fabrics. I retrieved the Tropical Floral Viscose Challis on a Navy background that I purchased for £3.56/m from Rainbow Fabrics in August 2021 to make #3 of the Myosotis pattern.

Tropical Floral Viscose Challis on Navy background

I had approximately 4 metres x 150cms wide fabric which meant that I could have a very full skirt made with 3 tiers of gathered frills provided I made the bodice sleeveless or with only short sleeves. I thought that this print would be ideally suited as a Summer dress or if sleeveless, could be worn in the Autumn/Winter over a fine jersey top. However, I decided on short sleeves as I already have at least two Navy pinafore dresses to wear in the colder months.

This time I would use my TNT short sleeve with the puffed cap and combine with the full 3-tiered skirt. It would be fabulous for ‘twirling’!

I started the construction by making up the sleeves and then the bodice. The sleeves did not come out quite right as I had not added depth to the sleeve head to account for the fact that I had narrowed the shoulders by 1 inch. This meant that the sleeves are pulled up at the centre of the hemline. However, the fact that the hemline is now visually a diagonal angle helps to reduce the width at my bustline. Apart from this little hiccup the remainder of the bodice was fine. I used 5 plain Blue buttons from my stash.

Preparing the skirt: I cut 6 tiers 60 inches wide (WOF) x 11 inches deep and stitched them together into a long strip. I then cut into the lengths for each tier:- 75 inches – tier 1, 113 inches – tier 2 and finally 180 inches for tier 3.

Once again I cut my favourite pocket bag 4 times. As I was running short of fabric these are made in a patchwork of the fashion fabric combined with remnant from the previous dress. I set the pocket bags aside to insert into the top tier once all tiers had been stitched together. The reason for this is that the pocket bag would extend below the seam joining the top tier to the middle tier and I did not want to chance getting the bag stitched into that seam!

Each tier was seamed into a loop, quartered and then two rows of gathering stitches at the top of each one. Normally I would use the ruffler/pleater foot but this time I wanted to have greater control of the gathers so it was back to the old method – two rows of gathering stitches and some time spent pulling up and setting nicely! The 2nd tier was attached to the bottom of the 1st tier and the 3rd (bottom) tier was attached to the middle tier. The hem of the bottom tier was overlocked and then double turned into a narrow hem and top-stitched into place. Now I could insert the pockets.

Now that I had both the skirt and the bodice completed it was very simple to gather the top edge of the skirt and join to the bodice. The waist seam was then overlocked and the dress finished!

Myosotis #3 in Tropical Floral print Viscose Challis

Conclusion: I think that this version is very flattering on my figure. The slightly fitted bodice makes me look slimmer than I am and the full skirt balances my bust. I love the drape, feel and print of this fabric which compliments my colouring so can foresee that the dress will get a lot of wear.

Project #24 completed 20th April 2022

Deer & Doe Myosotis #2 – Hacked

I was so delighted with the wearable toile first version of this pattern that I immediately checked my stash for another length of viscose to make my second version.

Myosotis Dress

This fabric purchased in August 2021 and was listed as Sage Green Watercolour viscose challis on the Rainbow Fabrics website at a cost of £3.56/metre. I thought that it would be ideal to make dresses for both my sister and me. I would start with a dress for me!

Viscose Challis fabric from stash

I needed to make a few simple adjustments to the bodice pattern:

Lower the side bust darts by ½ inch, Make a 1 inch sway back adjustment, Add 1 inch to the length at centre front of the bodice, grading back to 0 at the side seams.

For the hack version of the dress I added a double thickness gathered self-fabric frill to the sleeve caps. I measured the distance between the back double notches to the front single notch then added half as much again to that length. The frills were folded in half lengthwise, wrong sides together and tapered at each end before gathering and tacking to the sleeve heads.

For the hack of the skirt I cut two panels 40 inches wide x 21 inches length and then 3 x width of fabric (WOF) for the frills each 12 inches For the hack of the skirt I cut two panels 40 inches wide x 21 inches length and then 3 x width of fabric (WOF) for the frills each 12 inches deep.

I set the skirt panels and frill lengths to one side whilst I concentrated on completing the bodice.

I found just 5 pretty Light Sage Green buttons for the front placket which I think are perfect on this print.

Front bodice close up

I completed the sleeves and tacked them into place. It was then I noticed that the weight of the sleeve head frills were pulling the shoulders out beyond my shoulder point. As I had previously noted that the shoulders were a little wide on my frame, I removed the sleeves and cut away 1 inch at the shoulder point, grading to 0 at the front and back notches. Then I re-set the sleeves and they are much better though still a little wide!

Sleeves with Sleeve Cap Frill

Once again I cut my favourite pocket bag 4 times in the fashion fabric before setting them into the side seams of the top panels of the skirt. I joined the 3 pieces for the frill into a long strip and used my Ruffler/Pleater foot to ‘gather’ up the top edge. I added the frill to the bottom edge of the top panels by starting at the centre back and allowing some ‘free’ frill to be joined when I got around the skirt panels. I then overlocked the bottom edge of the frill and turned up a narrow double folded hem. Now that I had the skirt completed it was very simple to gather the top edge and join to the bodice. The waist seam was then overlocked and the dress was finished!

Myosotis #2

Conclusion: The weight of the sleeve head frills is too much for the light viscose fabric so I won’t be repeating that hack. I am particularly pleased with how the collar fits on the bodice and I am sure that I will use this part of the pattern again. The drape of the fabric is perfect for the amount of gathers in the skirt and the frills are lovely giving plenty of ‘swish’! Another great dress.

Project #23 completed 12th April 2022

Deer & Doe Myosotis Dress – Wearable Toile

Hot on the heels of the disastrous version of New Look K6574 I decided to try yet another ‘new to me’ dress pattern. I have had the pdf of the Myosotis dress by Deer and Doe for some time so am rather late to the party for this very popular pattern.

Myosotis by Deer and Doe patterns

The pattern is for an Oversize shirtdress with inseam pockets. Version A has sleeve ruffles and a tiered skirt, version B has plain sleeves and a gathered skirt. The pattern includes a full size pattern and instructions.

Checking my fabric stash I selected a woven Viscose that is not a particular favourite, could be sewn with Black thread and would not be disastrous if the result was yet another ‘fail’.

Woven Viscose from my stash

To begin, I checked the garment measurements and found that I just fit into the range. I made no adjustments to the pattern and cut a straight size 52 bodice with the straight short sleeves.

Once I had stitched the bodice and confirmed that it fit (!) I made the 5 buttonholes and attached 5 Orange spotted buttons from my stash.

At fitting stage I noticed that the front bodice was quite a bit higher than the back so have adjusted the pattern for future makes. I added 1 inch to the centre front bodice grading to 0 at the side seam. For the back bodice I made a 1 inch sway back adjustment.

Now I moved on to the remainder of the dress.

Ignoring the skirt pattern (I had not printed so that I could save paper and ink) I cut two skirt panels 40 inches wide x 32 inches length, plus 4 pocket bags from my TNT pattern and still had a good length of fabric as remnant to list for sale on eBay. I gathered the skirt panels and attached to the bodice. I turned up the hem by inches and hand stitched in place.

Wow – what a great result for a first try of the pattern.

Myosotis version #1

Typical, having used an unfavourite fabric print – the dress is very wearable and I will definitely be making another.

Project#22 completed 7th April 2022