Monthly Archives: June 2020

Montana #3 with frill and full lining

Montana by Style Arc

I really enjoy this dress from Style Arc patterns. Recently I have been discovering the beautiful prints available on Viscose (rayon) substrate and so for this iteration I have used a 100% viscose fabric ‘Summer Floral’ bought from an ebay seller, ‘ohsewcrafty’.

100% viscose ‘Summer Floral’

I purchased 3 metres for the grand total of £14.24 – a very competitive price! Once it arrived the fabric was laundered and on close inspection I decided that it was possibly a little more transparent than I would like and therefore would require a full lining.

I watched a youtube video by Suzanne of Sew Custom where she mentioned that she had lined a viscose dress with viscose voile purchased from the Fabric Room. This fabric was a mere £2 per metre (before vat & postage) available in 3metre lengths and so I ordered a total of 6 metres as I knew it would come in very handy for lining bodices etc., of my future viscose makes.

The floral print viscose was very wide and there was ample to enable me to cut the Montana with the addition of a deep frill on the skirt.

The viscose voile was cut at the same time but I omitted the hem frill and cut to the full length. I heard from someone, somewhere, that it is a good idea to use spray starch if the fabric is misbehaving and I have found this ‘trick’ to be a godsend in subduing the viscose’s tendency to shift and slide about!

First step was to prepare the skirt panels and frill. I used a 3-thread overlock stitch for the first pass in making French seams to join the pieces together followed by a 1cm seam on the sewing machine to put right sides together. In my enthusiasm, I forgot to include the pocket bags in the main skirt side seams so on this very rare occasion there will be no pockets on this dress :-(.

I stitched the darts in the bodice and lining before joining at the shoulder seams. With right sides together I stitched the necklines together using a 5/8ths seam allowance as I wanted the neckline to be a shade wider and deeper than the pattern (usually a ¼ inch seam allowance for this seam) dictates.

I under stitched all the seam allowances before trimming, turning right side out and giving a good press. I am very pleased with the neckline. Next was to Burrito the cap sleeve hems. I love, love, this method. It is quick and simple providing a very good finish.

Now that I had the neckline and sleeves sewn, I stitched the side seams of both the outer and lining in one pass. I overlocked these seams as they would be wrong sides together.

Initially I thought that I would stitch the waistline of the two bodices together before attaching the skirt panels for both outer and lining. After some consideration I decided to attach the individual skirts to each corresponding bodice. All seams would be inside but each bodice would bear the weight of its own skirt separately.

I made the gathering using two rows of long machine stitches before attaching with French seams. Again the first pass was made with the 3-thread overlocker before a final pass using the machine at a 1 cm straight stitch. Before attaching the lining skirt to its bodice, I turned up a double fold 2 inch hem and top stitched in place with a double row of stitching.

Montana #3 Floral Print Viscose – fully lined in Viscose Voile

A final press and here was the finished Montana #3. I love this dress in this Viscose fabric. It is so comfortable, light and breezy even with the full lining. With the added fullness of a deep frill on the hem it is ideal for ‘swishing’ and ‘twirling’!

Completed project #41 27th June 2020

Simplicity 8910 #2

I liked the first version of this dress so much that I made another version, this time using this fabulous Orchids print on duck egg blue viscose. The fabric is called ‘Hockley F’ and was purchased from ebay seller fabricmarket. I bought 3 metres for a total of £23.97.

Hockley F viscose from ebay seller Fabricmarket

The fabric was laundered and as soon as I had finished 8910 #1, #2 was prepared. There were some minor alterations made to the front bodice pattern as I was unhappy with the way that the small under bust darts were very ‘pointy’. This is not a problem that I had ever encountered before. I reduced the under bust dart and transferred the fullness to a long side bust dart and this seems to have solved the problem.

Lowered neckline x 1 inch

The neckline was lowered by 1 inch (very daring!) and once again I lined the bodice to avoid having to make a bias binding for the edge. This method also helps to stabilise the neckline which could otherwise stretch out a great deal.

The sleeves were lengthened by an inch and set in using French Seams. The skirt panels were also French seamed. The sleeve hems were narrow double folded and machined in place but the 3 inch skirt hem was hand sewn.

It was more by luck than judgement that I have managed to line up the large orchid motif on the bodice front with the centre line of the skirt. A lucky accident!

Simplicity 8910 version 2

Once again I am delighted with the end result. The dress is very comfortable, stylish and does a great job in disguising my ‘lockdown tummy’.

I will make this pattern again but for now I am returning to ‘Montana’ by Style Arc to make version 3 of that pattern.

Project #39 Completed 23rd June 2020

A new style – Simplicity 8910

I am back on my search for alternatives to my TNT shirt dresses. This one is Simplicity 8910 which I have seen on instagram and at the Pattern Review website. I like the idea of a raised ’empire’ line bodice and the pleats of this pattern which will, hopefully, camouflage my apple-shaped tummy.

I knew that I would need to make a toile of the bodice so out came my stash of lightweight calico. I copied off the bodice front and back, made a forward shoulder adjustment, a full bust adjustment, reduced the bust dart width and took the difference out at the side seam, increased the front bodice length by 1 inch and quickly made toile #1.

It took 4 toiles to perfect the bodice and then a couple more days to decide which fabric to use! By this time I was beginning to go off the whole idea of the dress. However, I finally cut out the dress from some pretty cotton by Lady McElroy bought from a seller on eBay.

Vintage Rose Cotton by Lady McElroy

Although the fabric was listed as cotton poplin, it is very fine and lightweight. I would say that it is nearer to a cotton lawn. I bought 4 metres at a cost of £23.86 which is very competitive pricing for this make of fabric. Cutting out View B with the short sleeves took around 3 metres meaning that I have sufficient left over to make a sleeveless blouse.

I used my final toile as a bodice lining as I disliked the idea of bias binding for the neckline. The darling little sleeves are sewn with French seams as are the pockets and side seams of the skirt panels. I increased the width of the skirt panels by 4 inches and this gave me sufficient to add extra pleating to the back skirt and a plain panel centre front. The bodice lining is hand stitched to the raised waistline seam allowances. The hem on the sleeves is a narrow machined one but the hem on the skirt is hand sewn.

Simplicity 8910 in Lady McElroy Vintage Roses printed cotton

With the raised ’empire line’ bodice and long length of the finished dress there is a look of ‘Jane Austen’ about it.

Jane Austen style

I find the dress flattering and it is so very comfortable to wear that I plan to make another. Having used a ‘ditsy’ print cotton this time, next time I plan on a larger floral print using a recent purchase of some viscose fabric.

project #39 completed 17th June 2020

Friends in the Garden Sun Dress

I previously made a short sleeved shirt dress in this pretty Lewis & Irene printed cotton.

Black background ‘Our friends in the Garden’
by Lewis & Irene

I liked the print so much that when there was a sale at New Threads Quilt Shop I purchased some more in a different colourway.

Lewis And Irene – Our Friends In the Garden – Mini Beast Garden in Summer Grass

After laundering I had just 2.25 metres of 108 cms wide fabric. I thought that this would be sufficient to make a sun dress. Having toiled a couple of bodices that had panel seams that would break up the print, I decided to adapt my TNT bodice block that has bust and body darts for the shaping. I used the bodice from my applique pinafore dress as the base and worked on that until I had an acceptable pattern.

Concept line drawing

Having checked my button stash I found that I had some co-ordinating spot buttons to make the dress ‘button-thru’ the bodice and skirt. These buttons were bought in bulk from ebay and have proved a godsend when looking to match up with my dressmaking.

100 buttons for £4.50 – a bargain!

The shoulder width was just wide enough to cover my bra straps and to make life easier I decided to line the entire bodice rather than made ‘fiddly’ facings and bias bound armholes. I used the bodice lining to double check the fit and it seemed fine. So on with the fashion fabric.

I interfaced the neckline front and back plus the bodice fronts and also stitched my ‘Carousel’ label to the back bodice lining. When I came to stitch the bodice to the lining I found that more ‘finessing’ was required for the front armscye. I got that sorted and have updated the pattern together with a note that in future I will always needs to make a forward shoulder adjustment – a new alteration for me after 50+ years of dressmaking!

I had cut out pocket bags to make side seam pockets but found I also had sufficient to make patch pockets – oh decisions, decisions! Eventually I decided that it would best not to interrupt the print design with the patch pockets, so concealed in-seam pockets have been made. I used my TNT pocket bag pattern and the top of the bag is stitched into the waistline seam to prevent it from flapping about.

I was unsure whether to gather or pleat the skirt into the waistband and after a couple of ‘auditions’ decided on gathers. After attaching the skirt to the bodice, I then slip stitched the bodice lining over the (trimmed) waist seam, marked out buttonholes and pinned up the hem. There are 12 buttons and buttonholes, the finished skirt length is just 27 inches with a narrow machine-stitched hem.

Completed Sun Dress

I am pleased with the way that the dress has turned out, especially the fit of the bodice. However, I am not in love with the gathered skirt, especially at this shorter length as it adds unnecessary bulk and makes me look even more dumpy than I am!

I think I will make another sun dress using this bodice but will add a circular skirt – probably the skirt from the Sew Over It ‘Penny’ dress. Meantime, the weather is changeable and we have had rain for several days – so a different style of dress with more coverage is being ‘toiled’.

Project #38 completed 10th June 2020

Lemons Ten-a-Penny!

See what I did there? I made a Penny dress by Sew Over It using a Lemons printed fabric!

Penny Dress by Sew Over It

After a couple of abortive attempts making toiles of new bodices I decided to take a break and make up a TNT pattern using this pretty lemons-printed cotton.

Rose & Hubble Spring Lemons on Dark Navy background

I bought 3 metres of fabric from an eBay seller for a total cost of £17.22 back in April this year. It was an impulse buy – probably due to internet cruising whilst in lockdown! The fabric is lovely quality and on arrival was immediately washed and dried in the sunshine.

I have made the Penny dress several times before and have amended the pattern to my specific requirements: I lengthened the bodice before adding an additional inch to the front bodice tapered off to 0 inches at the side seam. I made a sway back adjustment to the back bodice. I cut two sets of the yoke pattern so that the seams are enclosed. I omit the back neck facing and simply turn in the loose edge of the collar and top stitch in place. I use a self binding for the armholes. The skirt is cut in 4 panels as the fabric does not have sufficient width to cut in one piece on the fold. I add side seam pockets and all seams are made with French seams – including the pockets.

I was pleased that this time I was able to make vertical buttonholes in the button band and included some pretty Spotted Lemon buttons that match really well with the fabric’s print.

Having previously made all these minor adjustments means that I can now whip up a dress very quickly and hey presto! A new dress and renewed enthusiasm to try new patterns and styles.

Penny Lemons

Project #36 completed 31st May 2020