Monthly Archives: April 2014

A quick whiz of a dress!

This was such an easy dress to make that it was whizzed up in approximately 4 hours. A Blue denim dress with embroidered bodice from Marks & Spencer was the main inspiration for the style and Butterick 5539 was the “assistant” in drafting a pattern. The Whimsy Jungle printed cotton was a joy to cut out and sew with all seams finished by using the Juki 654DE overlocker. The only slight blip was that I sorted out a set of buttons not realising that one of them was different to the other 11. I made 12 buttonholes and it was only as I stitched on the buttons that I realised the error. The odd button is the very last one, it is the same size and virtually the same shade as the other 11 so hopefully won’t be too noticeable.


For your information the Nude platform shoes (similar to those worn by the Duchess of Cambridge) came from Marks & Spencer).

Discussions – what style to make next?

After the disaster that was Simplicity 8484 it prompted a discussion with my husband as to exactly what style of dress suited me now for my much more matronly and rubenesque figure. I sketched 5 different styles and we agreed a “suitability scale”. Now that I have a better idea of what may suit me (and also which styles my husband prefers!) I plan to make style no 2 from our selection, in a pretty cotton print which has an Apricot background called “Whimsy Jungle”. The pattern is one that I drafted myself by using another dress which I bought from Marks & Spencer many years ago but basically it is very similar to Butterick 5539 but with some modifications. I include darts in the front bodice to improve fit, adjust the length of the back bodice to allow for my sway back/upright posture/D cup bust, which will then ensure that the finished hemline is level and does not dip down at the back and up at the front and change the sleeve from a short self-lined cap sleeve to a short unlined sleeve.

 Whimsy Jungle     butterick 5539


Oh dear! Simplicity 8484

In a previous post I talked about making an up-to-date version of this dress. Well it is now finished – and what a disaster! Obviously my shape has changed drastically since I last made the dress back in the late 1980s!  I started to have doubts at the first fitting stage but decided to carry on, to paraphrase Mastermind, “I had started so I would finish!” The finish on the dress would, I think, pass muster on The Great British Sewing Bee! All seams were neatened with the fabulous new Juki Overlocker and the neckline and front facings were  understitched really neatly and close to the edge. The sleeves inserted without a tuck, pleat or gather and so over all the garment is beautifully put together – it’s just does not suit my figure any longer! Again this dress has absolutely no hanger appeal and I hesitate to include some photographs but here goes….

100_4678   100_4679

This is one dress that I will NOT be making again. I will keep the pattern that I drafted for the sleeves but otherwise the envelope will go into the “reject” pile.

Jubilee Cherries Dress II

I completed this dress on 9th April but it has taken until today to get around to taking photographs. On the whole I am pleased with the way the dress has turned out (unlike a.n.other – more of which later!) and I will definitely be taking it to wear on the cruise. As you will see, the dress has no “hanger appeal” and it is only once there is a body inside that you can see its true potential.

 jubilee cherries dress 1 jubilee cherries dress 2

The dress has my favourite shawl collar which is shaped to resemble a rever and is one of the easiest collars to construct, you just have to be especially careful when stitching the shaping to ensure an even well-matched rever shaping. I re-drafted the sleeves to incorporate a shaped hem which echoes the shaping on the rever. The skirt is made from 4 near-quarter-circles of fabric and is stitched to the bodice with an elastic insertion at the waist seam. There are useful in-side-seam pockets which are also stitched into the waist seam to stop them from hanging and distorting the side seams which are on the bias.

fifties cherry print dress blog

The wide red belt is elasticated and you can just make out the frill of the can-can petticoat. By the way – check out those fabulous shoes!


Easter Bunny

Inspired by the post by The Little Tailoress back in February 2014 and using the pattern from Tilda’s book Crafting Springtime Gifts I have made an Easter Bunny. You can’t go naked so “Bunny” is wearing a little dress made from a scrap of Jubilee Cherries cotton print. She now sits on the bed along with Gregory the Teddy (who is older than me!) and Jemima Puddleduck.

easter rabbit 3

Expensive Times!

They say things happen in threes so now I have had a hat trick! First
our VHS/DVD/Freeview receiver went wrong, then I had to replace my tablet and now today the overlocker has gone to sewing machine heaven. Franklins in Salisbury did give me some scrap value which was not a lot. But thinking positively the machine was over 20 years old (worked hard virtually every day since purchase) and cost £200 originally so I think I have had my money’s worth out of it. Just typical though that I had sold the 2nd overlocker in February and if I had kept it – it would have saved me forking out over £300 today for a replacement!
I saw my new JUKI 654DE machine demonstrated and it looks good, does even  more things than my previous overlocker and also looks to be much  simpler to operate and change from overlocking to rolled hem (a real  boon on fine fabrics – scarf-making etc) system. So this afternoon is  going to be “Get to know your new machine” and this has to happen  really fast as I am so impatient – right in the middle of making a new dress!


The Great British Sewing Bee

I have been avidly watching both the first and the current series of this programme. Today, the book that accompanies the series arrived complete with a set of patterns. As soon as I complete the current set of dresses, I plan to make up the 1930’s peplum blouse using one of the many lengths of crepe de chine fabric in my stash.

1930s blouse pic        1930s blouse text

A Halt in Production

In a bid to rationlise the equipment in my sewing room, I recently sold the second of my two overlocker machines leaving me with just one Janome overlocker machine. I still have several other sewing/embroidery machines but more about those another time. This afternoon I was beavering away with the making of Jubilee Cherries print dress, using the sewing machine and overlocking all the seams. For no apparent reason the overlocker started to make a grungchy noise – well that’s the best way I can describe it! I undid the covers and gave the mechanics a good dust, changed the needle and re-set the foot. Still no improvement so I have had to pack up the machine and will take it across to Salisbury, Franklins Sewing Centre tomorrow in the hope that Steve can fix it – quickly!!

Jubilee Cherries Dress

I have the delicious cherry printed shoes as mentioned in a previous post and have decided to make another dress to wear with them.  I telephoned Fabricland to order some more of the Black background, Cherry printed fabric but “Oh no!” sadly this is out of stock until July! I quickly browsed the other cotton fabrics and settled upon Jubilee Cherries in Pink colourway.

jubilee cherries

I have cut out the dress and have started stitching. This is  yet another version of the 50’s style from McCalls 6438 with my own drafted sleeves which have a shaped hemline to echo the shaping of the collar. I have a can-can petticoat in Red which will ensure that the dress is really “on trend”.

Truro Prima Dress no 45

Inspired by the success of version 44 of this dress style I have now completed version 45! I purchased the “retro” fabric in Truro whilst holidaying in Cornwall. The fabric is cotton with a little elastane which makes for a really comfortable and forgiving fit. I have a beautiful Blue Jacket with White piping that I intend to wear with this dress – I just need an occasion to wear the ensemble!

truro dress