Monthly Archives: June 2017

Blooming Birthday Dress

Although I had planned to make the Black linen-look bolero jacket today – ready for the family wedding on Sunday, this dress sneaked in under the radar. I like to have a new dress to wear on my birthday which has also snuck up on me – it’s on Monday!!

Chloe’s Closet by Moda

I had 3.5 metres of this pretty print ‘Chloe’s Closet’ by Moda ® ready laundered and waiting in my stash so it was straight into cutting out and stitching.

I used the bodice pattern with the princess seamed front and a darted back (same as the Yellow dress posted on 18th June) and again the 4-gore circle skirt from the Betty dress by Sew Over It. The centre back lapped zip is from a length of continuous zip and is a machined insertion. The cap sleeves are lined with plain White poly/cotton and the hem is overlocked, turned up by 1 cm and machined in place.

My blooming birthday dress

This dress is a very quick make and has not really interrupted my plans by more than a few hours, so… on with the Bolero jacket!

Bordering on Indecision – Wedding Guest Dress

Bordering – see what I did there? I am now working on the border print fabric for my dress to wear as a guest to the family wedding on July 2nd.

Decisions, decisions. The problematic (in a good way) thing about making your own clothes is all the decisions that have to be made…. which bodice style shall I use, which style of sleeve, neckline, skirt?

Having settled a few style decisions in respect of bodice, neckline, sleeves and skirt I still had to decide on placement of the border print. Should I make the entire bodice in the plain central part of the fabric design? Should I have the border around the shoulders of the bodice pointing down towards the waist? Or, should I have the border placed on the waistline, pointing up towards the shoulders? The design on this border is asymmetric – should I place longer parts of the design central to the bodice or equidistant from the centre front?

To begin with I cut and stitched darts in the front bodice with the border around the shoulders with the longer design lines descending equidistant from the centre front. Definitely not the best decision.

first draft of bodice front

I re-cut the front bodice with the main motif centrally placed – so much better. I also took this opportunity to ‘finesse’ the body darts so that the midriff section is more fitted to my contours. 

much better design placement

Now the decision had been made for me with regards to the border placement on the skirt. It would be placed at the hem with the design ascending towards the waist. I would place the main motif in the centre front to co-ordinate with the bodice design placement. This means that the waistline area is in the plain White part of the design – maybe a good idea to make a coordinating belt….. let’s see how I get on.

Although I initially decided to make the skirt with gathers, when it came to it I thought it would look better with soft unpressed pleats. I pinned, tacked and machine-basted the pleated skirt to the bodice – hmmm- not sure. I unpicked the pleats and replaced with gathers. Tacked in place it looks so much better, especially when I tried it on with a full can-can petticoat underneath – it really showcases the lovely border design.

Having machine stitched the skirt to the bodice, I finished the seam with the overlocker and moved on to inserting the zip into the centre back seam. I had made a point of leaving a 1 inch seam allowance on the back bodice and skirt to give me plenty of room for a lapped zip insertion. I completed the sewing of the skirt seam and basted the zip opening with a stitch length of 5. I used a plain White zip from my stash of continuous zips and cut a length of 20 inches. The right hand side of the zip was machined in place and the left hand side machine basted. I then hand picked the lapped side of the zip for a really neat and professional finish.

Around the neckline I also hand picked approximately 3/8 ths inch from the edge.

Finally, the hem. Taking inspiration from Sian of Kittenish Behaviour, I used a ½ inch wide White satin ribbon. This was machined close to the overlocked edge of the skirt and then turned to the inside and hand-stitched in place. Using the ribbon has given a little stability and structure to the hem line without losing more than ¼ inch in length.

A good press and now the dress is ready.

The finished dress

I am still thinking about a co-ordinating belt to cover some of the expanse of plain White around the waist but meantime I shall get on with making the Black linen-look Bolero jacket…….. sewing, sewing, sewing!

Kwik Sew K3736 Bolero-style Jacket

K3736 line drawing

In my quest to make a nice, comfortable outfit appropriate for the family wedding in 11 days’ (yes just 11!) time, today I completed making up a bolero-style jacket to Kwik Sew pattern K3736.

I used some Violet-coloured 100% polyester linen-look that has been in my stash for years together with co-ordinating lining. If the jacket works out OK then it can be reserve to go with the border print dress (that I have yet to make!).

I cut the Xlarge size which is to fit a 43-45 inch bust. Knowing that the shoulders would be too wide for me (always seems to happen with Kwik Sew patterns) I hoped that the remainder of the pattern would also be on the generous side.

The jacket sewed up quickly, I made only 2 changes. Firstly, as anticipated, I reduced the shoulder width by ¾ inch and secondly I cut a lining for the sleeves (not included in the pattern). The sleeves fitted into the slightly altered armscye like a dream although I am afraid I hashed up one them so not 100% pleased with the result. Next time I will add ½ inch at the full bust on the princess seam lines and also omit the short vent in the sleeve hem as despite really hammering it with steam pressing, one or other side of the vent consistently sticks out.

Other than that, I think this jacket is a contender and I hope to be able to get another made up in the Black linen that I purchased from Franklins last week.

Mellow Yellow – Auditioning Bodice Patterns

I am planning to make a new dress to wear when attending a family wedding on 2nd July. I have just two weeks to decide on the style, make a wearable muslin/toile and also the dress in the fabric of my choice. My chosen fabric is a border print cotton with a little stretch that has been languishing in my stash for far too long. I have an idea of the style which will have a gathered skirt to showcase the border print but to date have not identified the bodice pattern. As I have several long lengths of cotton print fabric ready laundered in my stash, now is the ideal time to get stitching up a wearable muslin/toile before I cut into the border print. For this version I chose a Bright Yellow background printed with clusters of roses that was purchased from Fabricland some time last year – or maybe even the year before!

To start with I decided to try the princess-seamed bodice that I used for the Yellow roses printed dress (posted back on April 10th) and combine with a 4-gore circular skirt (hack from the Betty dress by Sew Over It). I know that for the border print I will be using a gathered skirt but as I had over 4 yards of the this Yellow background print it would be a shame not to use the circular skirt pattern. As I was uncertain of the finished width of the bodice at the waistline seam, I cut the skirt panels with an additional 2 inches in width to allow for any adjustment that may be required.

I placed the centre bodice pattern centre line on the fold of the fabric thus doing away with the button front, then cut the back bodice with a 1 inch centre back seam so that I could insert a zip. As the short cap sleeves have a curved hem, I cut a lining from plain White poly/cotton.

First I made up the sleeves as they are so simple and straightforward. Then I constructed the bodice. Where the previous version had a button front, this time by cutting the centre panel on the fold it necessitated some adjustment in respect of dart shaping and the side seams. Once I had made up the bodice back and attached the back skirt panels, I used a lap insertion for the zip fastening. I set the zip a couple of inches down from the neckline as I prefer to leave the neckline clear of any interruption. I knew that with the width and scoop of the shaping, I would easily be able to put the bodice on over my head. The zip was required so that the waistline could open up and would go easily over my bust when putting on the dress. I added the front bodice and skirt panels before stitching the entire sides of the skirt and bodice in one seam. The neckline facing has an interfacing of plain white poly/cotton. I set in the sleeves which required a little gathering at the shoulder point as there was too much to be eased into the armscye. I have adjusted the pattern so that next time no gathering should be needed.

Finally the hem of the skirt was overlocked and a narrow hem machined in place.

I have a new dress and completed the auditioning of this style of bodice. Next step is to ‘trial’ my old favourite style bodice that has bust darts and body darts at the front and back. Again I will use the full circle skirt pattern as the fabric I have selected is another length of 4 metres purchased last Summer.

A Tropical Heatwave! – Gretta Sundress Hack no 2

COLETTE PATTERNS ‘GRETTA’ shoulder tie tank top looks lovely hacked into as a Sun Dress. I liked the previous wearable muslin/toile so much that I have made another. Am I tempting fate with two sundresses?

The fabric for this incarnation was 2 metres x 150 cms wide purchased a few weeks ago during a walk down Goldhawk Road. The stretch cotton sateen has a gorgeous tropical floral print and was lovely to work with although it does tend to fray. This was easily remedied with a quick run through the overlocker.

I made a few more adjustments – I like to call them refinements(!) as I found that the bodice was still very roomy. But we are getting there. I cut the skirt into four panels so that the joining seams would be offset against the bodice seams and darts. As I was a little short on fabric for the skirt it has a finished length of just 22 inches with a narrow machined hem. This has turned out just right – so I wonder if in addition to gaining width am I losing height?

Bag-making Workshop at New Threads Quilt Shop

My bag – finished at home

Roberta, Pauline and Anne had seen the various examples in the New Threads Quilt Shop and on-line so on Saturday the three ladies arrived to spend the day making a ‘Maggie’ bag. In addition to the examples in store, I also showed the latest incarnation – a prototype for the smallest bag which includes an unusual fastening of grommet and tab with popper (posted on my blog 20th May).

Roberta and Pauline elected to make the Medium-sized bag.

Roberta’s bag – a work in progress

whilst Anne (who had previously attended one of my workshops for the Cross Body Bag) decided to tackle the small size with the grommet!

Anne’s bag – just needs some finishing touches

Pauline’s bag – awaiting the lining

We all enjoyed a day of cutting, stitching and chatting. By the end of the day each lady had made good progress with her bag, leaving only a small amount of ‘homework’ to finish the project.

Some Like it Hot! – Gretta hack Sun Dress

GRETTA Tie Tank Top

I recently signed up as a member to the SEAMWORK website and as part of the promotion was entitled to 2 free patterns.

SEAMWORK PATTERNS GRETTA (3057) shoulder tie tank top looks lovely as it is, but how much better with a skirt so that it is a Sun Dress? 

According to the marketing pitch the following is what Seamwork have to say about this pattern:-

With a relaxed fit and adjustable shoulder ties, Gretta’s silhouette can be as comfortable as you prefer. Darts provide shaping for the bodice, while a rounded patch pocket adds a bit of charm. The shoulder strap is sewn onto the front and back bodice to help with cutting layouts and fabric waste. A facing finishes the armholes, neckline, and ties, all at the same time, and the low scoop neckline is flattering yet modest.

I printed off the PDF pattern and cut to a size 18. Using some gifted fabric – a pretty Light Blue floral-printed seersucker, I started to make a ‘wearable muslin’ or toile.

As the original pattern was a loose fit, I added darts from the waist towards the shoulders at both front and back. I also raised the bust dart by 1 “. I found the waistline, added a seam allowance and cut off the pattern front and back at that point. I knew that come the fitting stage I would need to contour the waistline but at least this was a starting point.

I cut the remainder of the gifted fabric in half to make two panels for the gathered skirt. I hemmed at 26” length which turns out to be a little on the long side – next time I will reduce the length. The other thing that I notice is that I should have pattern-matched the centre back seam or cut on the fold (Ooops!).


Unmatched pattern on back                       Front Bodice

With a couple of sessions of stitch, fit, adjust, cut, stitch and fit I have finally completed the dress. There are a few further adjustments needed (e.g. take in more at the side seams) but for now this dress will be fine for those (very rare) days when we have a heat wave!