Back in May 2023 I bought 3 metres of a Watercolour Floral printed Viscose Challis from Rainbow Fabrics at a total cost of £19.82 inclusive of p&p. When I was young I always made a point of having a White dress for wearing in High Summer. Using this particular fabric I decided to re-visit that idea. In fact the fabric has an Ivory background rather than White which is probably more flattering to my complexion.
The fabric is very, very fine and mobile so once again I used the overlocker to stitch the first pass of my narrow French Seams. The 3 metres were ample for cutting out as the print is non-directional. I cut the ‘butterfly’ sleeves as the fabric weight is perfect for that style. Also once again, unfortunately no pockets as the fabric is not sufficiently opaque – they would definitely show through the dress. Learning from the previous Viscose challis fabric, I interfaced both the Upper and Lower collars so that there is enough structure in the collar for it to be turned up at the back. There are narrow double turned hems to the dress and the sleeves, also my favourite shell buttons on the front bodice placket.
I am delighted with the dress and pleased that I now have a ‘White- themed’ dress for the Summer. This dress is my final project for July 2023.
Recently I visited my favourite local sewing supplies store, New Threads Quilt Shop which is located at the Weyhill Fairground about 2 miles from my home. Meg had some beautiful fabrics on sale and I indulged in 4 metres of this charming and unusual cotton print.
I had noticed that this was a one-way design so was unsure if 4 metres would be sufficient to make up the Charlotte (Shelby hack) which is my current favourite dress pattern. Also I have only used viscose for the previous incarnations so this lightweight cotton would be an experiment.
After the fabric had been laundered I laid out the pattern pieces and was delighted to discover that provided I did not worry over pattern matching across the Princess-seamed panels I had just enough.
This time I rounded the corners of the collar. All seams were overlocked and there are 4 Lime Green Shell buttons on the front bodice placket. There is a narrow double turned hem to the dress and the sleeves have a double turned 1/2inch hem.
Conclusions: I am pleased with the dress although a little disappointed that the cotton fabric has more structure and therefore the skirt does not have as much drape. When having the fitting I noticed that the armholes would work well for a sleeveless dress so maybe I will try that for the next version. I have also marked a placement notch should I wish to add in side seam pockets.
Oh yes! As promised here is the sixth version of this fantastic pattern. This one was made using the second quilted bedspread purchased from Amazon in a size 12 for my sister.
Although we now have the same print jacket there are some slight differences (in addition to the fact that Catherine’s is a lot smaller). I used fabric from my stash to make the binding and the patch pockets are bound in the same fabric as the outer.
I had prepared part of the jacket prior to the Sprat & Winkle Quilters sewing day held at the Weyhill Fairground hall and was able to complete the construction by lunchtime! The second part of the day was spent on the patchwork block set by Lizzie plus some lovely chat with the other ladies at the Sewing Day.
I know that I will be making yet another of these jackets so will by then have made a MAGNIFICENT SEVEN!
Having previously made 4 versions of the Tamarack jacket I felt confident in making yet another for myself to be followed by a matching one for my sister.
I chose a couple of single-size quilted bedspreads from Amazon which provide fast and easy access to pre-quilted fabric for these projects.
Once I had cut out the main pieces, I unpicked the binding from the rest of quilt to use on the jacket.
The outer pockets, sleeve hems, neckline and all the internal seams are finished with the the binding which makes for a very coordinated look. I even made an additional internal pocket to store my mobile phone or even to wear the jacket inside out. Fan-tas-tic!
I am now in the process of making another jacket for my sister’s birthday and using a second quilt so that we can be matchy, matchy!
Having already made 11 versions of this dress, it is well and truly a TNT. For this first version of 2023 I used a beautiful light Viscose fabric bought from Fabric Godmother, 3M total £23.94 featuring Cheetahs and Lilies on a Light Salmon Pink background.
I prefer to line the very lightweight viscose dresses so this one has a lined bodice and skirt in Ivory viscose voile. The lining is attached at the neck and armholes but otherwise hangs free inside the dress.
Construction was straightforward although I did forget to include the self fabric ties into the side seams so they were added on the outside and stitched so that the raw ends were enclosed. I am reminded yet again that sewing when you are over-tired and very stressed is not always a good thing.
Perhaps due to my recent makes (my version of the Shelby dress) being slightly more fitted with Princess seaming to give the flowing skirt that I prefer, when I tried on the completed ‘Moira’ I was underwhelmed. I love the fabric and the print so have ordered more to make a blouse which will coordinate well with the knotted fabric headband. In the meantime, I think this dress is a ‘fail’ and will be listed immediately on eBay. The ‘Moira’ pattern will also be consigned to the ‘archive’!
I have previously made up this pattern at least twice before as it is one of my trusty TNT’s. Originally published in 1998 the style is a classic, still appropriate today as a ‘buffet’ dress some 20+ years later.
I cut a size 22 of View D with the scooped round neckline with added patch pockets. I made a couple of adjustments to the pattern:- narrowed the shoulders and a sway back adjustment. The pattern is an easy sew with no darts and a gathered skirt. There will be further makes using this pattern and next time I will add a full bust adjustment dart.
I used some more Green-themed fabric for my last make in the Spring Greens 2023 collection. This fabric is Petal and Pip Rose Bouquet designed by Paula Milner, a 100% cotton purchased a couple of years ago from Hobbycraft. It is sold in packs, pre-cut to 2 metres and as I knew that I wanted to make a dress purchased 2 packs online.
There were no problems with the construction and I used a plain White cotton to line the short (almost cap) sleeves. The facings are not my favourite, I did understitch but will top stitch them in place to prevent the ‘flipping out’.
That’s the last of this year’s Spring Greens so now I will start on the ‘Summer Blooming’ collection. First up was the bucket hat to keep the sun out of my eyes! Project no 33 completed 31st May 2023.
Another great little stashbuster project from Katie at Sprat and Winkle Quilters. This takes just 2 x fat quarters and is very quick to make. I used a Blue floral print combined with a fine check fabric from my stash. I used the darker print for the inside of the brim as I felt it would be kinder to my eyes (and avoid a possible migraine from the check) but apart from that the hat is totally reversible. I plan to make another using a vinyl fabric to use as a rainhat – let’s hope I don’t need to use it for a couple of months!
Still searching for that TNT Shawl-collared blouse I next tried the McCalls 7837.
This pattern has long been in my stash and I recall that I have made it up before – but a very long time ago and the blouse itself has been lost in the mists of time.
I superimposed the collar, neckline and facing onto my personal Bodice Block and cut out from some 100% cotton print bought (also a very long time ago) from Fabricland, Salisbury branch.
Dusky Sage Green Floral printed Cotton
The Dusky Sage-coloured just about fits into my ‘Spring Greens’ capsule and will go well with the other items in this collection.
Construction was straightforward. All seam allowances were neatened with the overlocker. Because the collar and facing are cut in one piece, this makes for a speedy sew. The hem of the bodice was shaped, hems on the bodice and the sleeves were overlocked and then double turned before top stitching in place. I made 7 buttonholes and used my favourite coconut shell buttons (stitched wrong side up) also stitched on the machine. In fact, there was no hand sewing at all on this blouse!
McCalls 7837 hacked
Conclusion: I give this an 8 out of 10 as it is not yet the TNT Shawl-collared blouse I am searching for. However I will be making it again but next time with a less structured fabric such as a viscose. My only other reservation is that by using the coconut shell buttons, the blouse has a more ‘Autumnal’ feel rather than ‘Spring Greens’.
Having copied off my Shelby/Charlotte hack onto pattern paper, I used it for my second iteration. Once more with a further hack!
Shelby hacked into ‘Charlotte’
This time I made the button placket full length – through both the bodice and the skirt with no waist seam. I shaped the collar with rounded points and due to the lack of fabric, cut shortened sleeves on the cross grain.
Grace Leaf Viscose Remnant
I used Grace Leaf Viscose 2.5metre piece from Rainbow Fabrics at a cost of £12.50. I had bought it as a remnant with the intention of making a blouse to go under the ‘Jane’ Sage/spotted pinafore dress. However, with careful pattern placement I was able to get the latest Shelby/Charlotte hack from the piece although I did have to cut the shortened length sleeves on the cross grain.
I started the construction with the sleeves, the hems were cut on the selvedge so I simply turned up 1 cm and topstitched in place. I constructed the tie belts on the overlocker and used my ‘wonder turning tool’ to get them right sides out. The ties were basted to the centre back panel.
Then I moved on to the collar. I added some narrow gathered Broderie Anglaise trim in Cream colour that I had found in my stash to the outer edge of the rounded collar. I had to add the centre back panel to the front at the shoulders so that I could complete the collar and placket construction. I then completed the construction of all the panels and neatened with the overlocker. I hemmed using my TNT method of overlocking then double turning a ¼ inch and top stitching in place.
With the fitting completed I stitched 14 buttons through all the layers of the placket as once again I can get the dress on over my head. No need for all those pesky buttonholes! The sleeves were inserted and the seams neatened.
Shelby/Charlotte hack no 2
Conclusion: I am delighted with the completed dress, only small niggle is that the sleeves are a little too wide in relation to their length. Still the dress is most comfortable and will be perfect for the coming Spring and Summer.
I am still searching for the ultimate shawl collared blouse and so recently purchased this pattern. I had some pretty ‘Peach’ crinkle dobby fabric that I thought would coordinate well with the Sage spotted pinafore dress.
Ignoring the measurements chart I cut a size 20 across the shoulders, neckline and collar grading to a 22 over the waist and hips. I would make the ‘boxy’ version without the body fish-eye darts. What I should have borne in mind was that the crinkle fabric stretches and therefore the garment would ‘grow’ when ironed but more of that later.
Cutting out took just 1.6M x 130 cms wide fabric and I was able to include the long sleeve into a cuff. As this would be my ‘wearable toile’ I used the overlocker to finish the seams. Also as this was a new pattern for me I followed all the instructions to the letter.
When constructing the blouse I found that all the notches matched up which was quite something on this very mobile fabric! However, I found the drafting and construction of the collar overly complicated and the end result is very narrow in the back collar.
At the fitting stage I found that the shoulders were (once again) far too wide, the bust dart was too low (makes a change!) and the sleeves were about 2 inches too long.
To resolve the shoulder and sleeve length issues I re-stitched the sleeve insertion by sewing the top of the sleeves at least 1½ inches away from the cut edge. This also solved the problem of sleeves being too long as it took up some of the excess length. I did like the cuff construction although they are a little too big for my preference. I have adjusted the pattern in the shoulders and also taken 2 inches off the length of the cuff. With regard the overall excess of fabric in the body, I made the blouse double breasted. As I could still put the blouse on over my head I stitched the 10 buttons straight through all layers and did not go to the effort of making buttonholes that would never be used. I had been unable to find any colour coordinating buttons and therefore used 10 shell buttons from my recent bulk buy of 15mm buttons.
Lilian Blouse in Crinkle Dobby Viscose
Lilian and Jane
Conclusion: I can’t say that I am particularly pleased with the final result. It will probably end up in the charity bag but at least I have learned quite a few lessons while constructing this blouse. The colour of the fabric does indeed coordinate well with the Sage Green so that is something to bear in mind when thinking about fabric colour for another blouse or shirt to wear with the pinafore dress.