Burda 6911 v2 – Spotty

I previously made this top back in the Autumn, using a very lightweight jersey. This time, I used the fabulous quality spotty cotton/spandex jersey from New Threads Quilt Shop. I purchased 1½ metres and have some fair sized remnants left over. This fabric has great stretch and recovery, stitches and presses like a dream.

I made view B of the pattern in the largest size (20) plus some adjustments for my rubenesque figure! The sleeves were shortened to bracelet length and I chopped 3 inches from the length.

Due to the thickness of the jersey I was a little unsure about how the twist would work – but I need not have worried, it came out just fine.

Burda 6911 in Spotty Cotton/Spandex Jersey

This top is great to wear with jeans and skirts. I am sure to get a lot of use over the coming weeks of what remains of Winter and into Spring.

completed 15th February 2020.

‘Mona’ #2 Spotty tee shirt

Mona #2 Spotty Short Sleeved Tee

There is not a lot to say about this particular make. I used my hack of the Moneta dress to make another short sleeved tee shirt. The fabric is a beautiful quality jersey from New Threads Quilt Shop. I bought the very last of the bolt so there was less than 1 metre of fabric. Cutting out and construction took just one hour. The sleeves have a narrow cuff and the hem is stitched with twin needles.

Conclusion: A great tee but next time I will lower the front neck a little more.

Completed 14th February 2020

Revisit a Jean Muir designer Vintage Dress

Many years ago before I was married, I made up a dress using a Jean Muir original designer pattern from a magazine. The fabric used was a fine Light Blue cotton jersey, at that time one of my very few forays into jersey sewing and it was a ‘special’ dress. I remember I wore it twice to attend concerts at The Mayflower theatre in Southampton. The first time was to see the group SKY and second time to watch Wayne Sleep with his dance troupe. That dress is long gone and in any event I am sure that it would no longer fit me.

The thought of the dress remains in my ‘treasured dress’ memory and just by chance I came across a collection of vintage Vogue patterns featuring Jean Muir designs. I decided to do some further research to see if I could locate the original pattern.

Unfortunately I could not find the exact same one (probably because my original came from a sewing magazine) but I did find Vogue 2883 printed back in 1973.

Jean Muir 2883 (C) 1973
Vogue 2883

This is almost the same dress with the exception that mine had long sleeves into a deep buttoned cuff and did not have a zip closure at the back. The pattern that I purchased from a seller on eBay is a size 16 – Bust 38 ins so will need to be drafted up to fit me.

As I am not especially confident about that process, I also purchased a copy of McCalls #M5640 for woven fabrics which has a similar shaped yoke, full short sleeves and gathering front and back.

McCalls #M5640
M5640 line drawings

I believe that I can utilise the yoke and sleeves using a jersey fabric and design a high-waisted band to replicate the Vogue dress. Depending on the amount of fabric that I have in my stash, I may make long sleeves, otherwise the flutter sleeves will look good and balance out the full skirt.

I have a few other projects that need to be completed in the next 4 weeks but after that I full intend to spend some time slow sewing a replacement ‘special dress’.

13th February 2020

Cobra Corsage Pinafore Dress -hack Vogue 8577

During my recent review of fabrics to be used during the Autumn and Winter months I came across this length (2 metres) of Cobra Corsage printed on a stretch cotton base that was bought from Minerva. Originally I had intended to make some slim leg trousers but have still not sorted out the very best pattern to use. I knew that I needed/wanted a new pinafore dress and thought this fabric would be ideal. Hmmm, though which pattern to use?

After a search through my previously used patterns (I did not want to have to make a toile of an as yet unused patterns) I decided to try a repeat of the hack Vogue 8577/Sew Over It (SOI) Penny dress skirt.

Vogue 8577

In truth the only parts of the Vogue 8577 and SOI Penny that are used in my version is the yoke and bodices but even they have been amended. The ‘old favourite’ half circle skirt pattern from the Penny dress by Sew Over It does not normally have a centre front button opening but I added to the centre front seam (originally a fold line). I also added my standard side seam pockets that are attached to the waistline seam to prevent them flapping about!

To cut the dress from this meagre 2 metres was really ‘pushing’ it and I did have to reduce the length and then the width of the skirt panels at their hemline and also cut the front facings in pieces that were then combined to produce the full length required.

It was only when I came to put the part-stitched bodice onto the mannequin that I realised the glaring error in motif placement! When cutting out I had been concerned that I had a good-sized motif placed at the shoulders, just under the yoke seam but overlooked the checking of the other motifs. Now I have the same large, dominant motif on either side of the lower bodice front. Unfortunately even with a generous overlap of the buttonholes and the addition of a wide elasticated belt, these two motifs are rather ‘in your face’. An important lesson to learn when next I use a fabric with such large motifs.

I used some plain Black anti-static lining from New Threads Quilt Shop for the bodice but did not line the skirt as I would always be wearing a slip.

Having managed to construct half of the dress I then fell ill and was unable to continue for nearly two weeks. The dress was on the mannequin – taunting me. However, I finally managed to return to the project. I was fortunate that even after reducing the skirt panels, they still fitted onto the bottom edge of the bodice at the waistline seam.

Having searched through my button stash I selected from a range of painted wooden ones that I had bought in bulk from eBay.

I worked 9 buttonholes, 3 on the bodice and 6 on the skirt, before laying out the dress to try and coordinate the buttons with the pattern around the buttonholes. I think that I have succeeded quite well in this.

Finally, I came to the hem of the skirt. I had to reduce the length of the panels when cutting out and therefore did not want to make a deep hem and lose anymore length. The solution was to have a narrow seam with bias binding (as demonstrated by Sian of Kittenish Behaviour).

Handmade cotton bias binding

I did not have any satin or plain cotton bias tape so decided to make a feature of the binding. I used a fat quarter of some French General quilting cotton to make 1¼ inch wide binding. I stitched to the hem of the skirt using a ¼ inch seam before turning to inside, edge stitching on the machine and finishing with a hand sewn hem of the binding to the skirt. I am really pleased with this finish and will probably use it again whenever I want a narrow hem.

Cobra Corsage Stretch Cotton Pinafore Dress – front
Cobra Corsage Pinafore Dress – back view

So in conclusion, some good points and a couple of disappointments for this project. Finally, although the fabric has a great print design, is lovely to cut, stitch and press it is terrible at picking up lint. I have been forever picking off threads and ‘fluff’ so perhaps it is just as well that I did not make trousers from this fabric.

Completed 11th February 2020

XXL Necessary Clutch Wallet

My ‘journey’ into NCWs continues. I have now made the standard size wallet several times. A couple where I sized up by 25%, one where I sized down to 75% and now for this adventure I sized up to 150% of the original size.

To size up the pattern I simply printed at 150% and then where the pattern exceeded the size of the A4 sheet, added additional paper and ‘winged’ it! By increasing by 50% some simple arithmetic was involved e.g. where the original was 8 inches, the new size was 12 inches etc. To calculate the size of the pattern piece for the card slots was the most complicated. In the end, I drafted a new piece by drawing out the fold and stitching lines based on the formula of 2 ½ inches for the first line, *1¾ inches for the second, 2¼ inches for the third*, repeat from * to * until when folded the finished piece measured 6 inches in length plus seam allowances.

I started the construction by making up a long adjustable strap. I used 30mm nickel hardware for the adjusting rectangle and two nickel swivel hooks.

Next I cut out the main outer pattern piece, taking care to centre up the design and also stitching two pieces together so that the one-way design had the correct orientation once the clutch wallet was made up. I then cut the flap and tried to match up the design. I ensured that the stand of the central motif continued down from the flap to the clutch wallet but sadly did not quite achieve a perfect match for the outer jellies!

I made up the flap and used Peltex stiffening in addition to the heavyweight fusible interfacing. For stitching I used a ‘Jeans’ no.80 needle in the machine. As the flap is so much larger, now was the opportunity to use a different lock. I had ordered this Large Flip Lock

from Emmeline Bags in the USA* and although the size was listed on the website it was still larger than I had anticipated but was an ideal size for this project. Insertion of the lock went really well as I now have a dedicated screwdriver to use on those pesky tiny fixing screws. *For future supplies, I will use Sew Hot based in the UK

Stitching the large card slots fabric pattern piece that had been interfaced with some stiff fusible interfacing was a little like wrestling a bag of cats, but I got there in the end.

Next was the two zipped pockets. I used some spare fabric from my stash of fat quarters and a pair of zips that my father had supplied from when he worked at the Opti-lon zip factory in Kent. Making the zip pockets was fairly simple. As is my usual practice – I added some colourful tassels to the zip pulls. I then had to stitch them into the clutch wallet and finish off with a rectangular shaped box to fix everything in place which is the very last piece of stitching on this project.

The insides of my first XXL-sized Necessary clutch wallet

Lastly, some riveting. I love to apply rivets to my projects and cannot get enough of them!

Front of the XXL NCW

I am delighted with the bag and think that I will take it with me to use as an evening clutch when on my Greek Islands cruise in May this year.

Back of the XXLNCW

Completed 28th January 2020

Abakhan Jersey Dress

This is yet another version of my ‘Gerry’ dress which is a hack of the Dartmouth Wrap top by Cashmerette into a dress with a variety of skirt options. This time I used the half circle skirt from the Penny dress by Sew Over It.

The fabric is a pretty understated geometric design in Mustard on a Navy background. The fabric is a soft and warm jersey from Abakhan that I bought in August last year. Unfortunately I do not know the fibre content, only that it has good width-wise stretch and recovery.

Due to the width of the fabric I cut the skirt in 4 panels and adjusted the waistline to fit the Dartmouth bodice. The sleeves have deep double cuffs that can be folded back if required. The hem of the skirt is stitched with twin-needles. Sewn in part on my sewing machine and partly using the overlocker.

Abakhan Jersey Wrap Bodice Dress
matching Hotter ‘Jewel’ballet flats

The dress is one of my favourites and I have already worn on two occasions. The finishing touches are my usual wide Navy elasticated belt and Navy faux snakeskin ballet flats from Hotter.

Completed 24th January 2020

House Mouse Dress

This is my hack of the Dartmouth Wrap top by Cashmerette into a dress witha variety of skirt options. I shall call this my ‘Gerry’ pattern and this particular iteration is the ‘House Mouse’.

The colour and print is so not my usual style. This is a muted floral print on a dusty Burgundy background. I don’t know the construction of the jersey but it does have a tiny loop wrong side that is a sort of taupe colour. Also don’t exactly know if it was from Abakhan or a gift from my sister – either way it definitely counts as stash so that’s 4 projects made. Now I can justify buying something new.

I used the Dartmouth wrap top for the bodice and a simple gathered skirt. Wished that I had put in pockets! The back panel of the skirt is patched as I did not do a very good job of calculating the skirt length and width. Still it is at the back and fairly well disguised by the gathers. Long sleeves have narrow hem band and skirt hem is finished with twin needle stitching. Mostly sewn on my Juki overlocker.

House Mouse Dress

The addition of the wide elasticated belt helps to improve the look of the dress but I will never wear it outside the house!

Completed 20th January 2020

‘Mona’ tee shirt

My sister gifted me several lengths of fabric when I visited her back in August last year. One of the lengths was this pretty jersey of unknown origin and construction. Unfortunately there were myriad tiny pin holes all over the fabric so I knew that whatever I made would have to be a ‘wearable muslin’.

I have made the Moneta dress by Colette patterns a couple of times before and since then the pattern has been loitering at the bottom of the box of pdf patterns.

As the bodice is more fitted than the usual boxy tees I decided to give it a whirl and hack into a tee shirt that I have called ‘MONA’.

There was not a great deal of yardage (approximately 1 metre) and combined with the pin holes meant that a deal of pattern tetris had to be undertaken. I managed to cut the front bodice with no holes, but there are quite a few in the back. But who looks at the back when wearing a garment? The sleeves had to be cut very short but this was resolved by addind a folded hem band. I repeated the technique for the bodice to provide an additional couple of inches of length there.

The neckband stitched on like a dream and the resultant tee shirt fulfils the requirement of a wearable muslin. In fact, despite the cold and wintry weather outside, our house is cosy and warm so I am wearing the tee today!

completed 17th January 2020

Pussy Bow Blouse

When I visited my sister in August last year, she very kindly gave me several lengths of fabric. I fell in love with this very bold printed polyester crepe de chine and knew that it would make a lovely pussy bow blouse.

Bold print Polyester Crepe de Chine

I drafted a pattern so that the bow would come at the point where a rever would normally turn back, a shaped hemline to the bodice and long sleeves into a button cuff.

When I laid out the fabric I found that I had insufficient for the long sleeves so cut at elbow length and planned to have a narrow elasticated channel at the hem.

The fabric was extremely slippery and I used french seams throughout for the construction. I cut two pieces of fabric 5 inches wide x the width of the fabric (42 inches) for the bow tie. This fitted perfectly into the neckline. I could have made the tie slightly wider – say 6 inches and slightly shorter and have therefore made a note for the next iteration.

I completed the entire construction of the bodice using some pretty buttons from my stash then turned my attention to the sleeves. I pin basted in one sleeve before turning to Instagram® for comments on whether or not to continue with the sleeves or to make the blouse sleeveless.

General consensus was to make sleeveless. I used one of the sleeves to make a long length of bias binding 1¾ inches wide which was pressed in half. After attaching the the wrong side of the armholes, the seam was trimmed and the binding top stitched to the right side of the bodice.

Sleeveless Pussy Bow Blouse

The blouse fits well and the tie is great. I can wear the blouse on its own or under a cardigan or sweater. I count this as a success and now plan to make another with long sleeves to wear under pinafore dresses.

15th January 2020

Burgundy Shirtwaist Dress

Many years ago I had a Burgundy needlecord shirt dress and this dress is a re-imagining of something that I loved back in the 1970’s.

I used a King Size Duvet cover from Dunelm Mill in a Burgundy jacquard cotton/polyester blend to make a wearable toile.

I had originally intended the dress to be worn on Christmas Day. Unfortunately the construction was delayed and I thought ‘OK never mind, I will wear the dress on New Year’s Eve’. The Eve and New Year’s Day came and went, then due to illness it was not until 10th January 2020 that I finally completed the dress.

To paraphrase a western movie, the construction has been a tale of ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ouch!’

The good – brilliant pattern matching on the bodice,

The bad – uneven revers on the collar,

Pattern matching on the collar at back

The Ouch! – I left a glass headed pin inside the collar and stitched it closed.

All that was on 29th December and the thought of unpicking combined with a raging headache meant that the dress was put aside until I could face the unpicking and re-stitching.

I had also originally planned to make the dress button through the bodice and skirt, although the buttons from my stash were a perfect match, there was not enough so I had to fix the opening at the waistline seam.

The skirt is the full width of the duvet cover gathered into the waistline seam and there are concealed pockets at the side seams.

I also drafted long sleeves into a button cuff (similar to the original inspiration) but on completion found that I had been over-zealous in shortening the sleeve length so even with the addition of a 2 inch wide cuff, they are just short of my wrists. With a big sigh – I could remove the cuffs and make new wider ones but with all the previous problems, I don’t think I can face another alteration to the dress.

Completed Dress

I do have sufficient fabric to be able to send to Harlequin for a matching belt but I was pleased to find that one of my wide elasticated belts co-ordinates well with the colour of the dress and that is how I plan to wear in the future.

I have retained the modified pattern for this dress and have several other lengths of fabric that I plan to use to make more in this style. I even have some needlecord….. hmm watch this space.

10th January 2020