Monthly Archives: March 2021

Feather print ‘Kitty’ dress

This is yet another version of my self-drafted ‘Kitty’ dress which I originally created a few years ago.

I had to re-draft to a slightly larger size due to ‘lockdown weight gain’. The bodice has bust and waist darts. The shawl collar is shaped with a gentle curve finished with self-fabric frills that have rolled hems completed on my Juki overlocker. The front bodice buttons to the high waistline and ties at the back to allow it to be worn in a fitted or loose style.

For this version of Kitty I used some pretty feather print on a Terracotta background viscose bought from Rainbow Fabrics last year. The fabric was a 3 metre remnant at a cost of just £10.91.

After cutting out the bodice and sleeves, I cut 2 skirt panels measuring 40 inches wide x 30 inches length. You will notice that on my sketch the frill extends down the front button closure. However as this was a single layer frill, I kept the frill to edge the collar only so that the wrong side of the fabric did not show. For the frills I cut 2 x 30 inches x 2+5/8 ths inches wide that were stitched together to make a long frill of 60 inches before hemming using the rolled hem function on my Juki overlocker.

The combined front facing and collar was interfaced with some lightweight fusible and then the frill was gathered and applied with right side together. made the rear neck facing extra deep so that I could add my ‘Carousel’ label but the front facing was kept to 2½ inches wide. I find this type of collar is very easy to complete but the addition of the gathered frill set between the outer and facing made it a little more fiddly. The sleeves were very easy to set into the armholes with no tucks or gathers. The hems were overlocked before turning up by 1 inch and machine top-stitching in place. I added 5 buttons from my stash for the front closure and an spare is stitched inside on one of the seam allowances.

The skirt was made from two panels 40 inches wide x 30 inches long. The concealed pockets were set into the side seams before the top edge was gathered with two rows of 5mm long stitches. This fabric is so light and has great drape that the drawing up of the gathers was particularly easy. The result is a very comfortable ‘swishy’ skirt. The hem was overlocked before a double turn and machine stitched in place.

I overlocked the seam allowances rather than use French seams.

This was a comparatively easy make as I was anxious to get the dress completed before I move onto ‘Spring Greens’ and ‘Daffodil Yellow’ projects. I have left it rather late to make this dress which has a distinct ‘autumnal’ feel. It is unlikely that it will be worn a great deal until late September and October when the Autumn season is in full swing.

Project #27 completed 27th March 2021

Hidden Cheetah Top

OK….. I decided to abandon the attempt to draft a draped front neckline for the top to coordinate with the button through skirt. Instead, I would repeat the ‘Moira’ top that I just made using the Butterlfy printed Crepe de Chine.

I was inspired by Alex Judge’s latest post on youtube. Alex’s top was the Selina by Style Arc but as I don’t have that pattern and am trying to budget for a large car repair bill, I simply ‘borrowed’ some of the styling ideas from that garment. I lengthened the top to tunic length, graded out from waist to hemline to give a more ‘draped’ effect and shaped the hemline front and back to a gentle curve. Once again I lowered the centre front of the neckline by 1½ inches and this time rather than bias binding for the neckline, due to bulk, I drafted facings.

The facings were interfaced and my custom label applied to the back facing. Once attached to the front and back bodice the seam was trimmed and under-stitched. To ensure that the facings stayed in place I then top-stitched which also gives a little extra detail. The side seams were stitched with French seams and the sleeves inserted, again using French seams. The hems of the sleeves were overlocked before a double turn narrow hem top-stitched in place.

Now onto the hem of the tunic…. The Selina top has a pretty frill detail and as there was sufficient fabric I decided to replicate the hem frill. I cut 3 strips 3 inches wide to fit the curved bodice hemline after it had been pleated. The strips were joined together and finished with a rolled hem using my Juki overlocker. The frill was gathered using the pleater foot at a setting of every 6 stitches, stitch length 4.00mm. The seam was neatened with the overlocker and top-stitched in place.

I am absolutely delighted with the top which can be worn with the skirt or as a tunic over trousers. The fabric has lovely drape and is really comfortable to wear.

Project #25 completed 16th March 2021

Flutter in a new direction!

Having failed my first attempt at drafting a draped front neckline I tried for a second time. I used some pretty Butterfly printed Polyester Crepe de Chine that had been in my ‘goody bag’ at the SEW SOUTHAMPTON 2018 meetup. I had got as far as cutting out the version#2 and even stitching the bust darts when I realised that I had made a fundamental error with the slashing and spreading!

I quickly retrieved the original ‘Moira’ front bodice pattern and re-cut the shoulders and neckline of my part-stitched top. I lowered the front neckline slightly and then continued with the construction of what would now be a ‘Moira’ top.

All seams were sewn with French Seams including setting in the sleeves. Hems were overlocked before folding up twice to make narrow top-stitched hems. The neckline had a narrow double folded bias binding and this great new shell top was finished!

Project #24 completed 12th March 2021

Draped neckline Top Toile #1

In anticipation of making a draped neckline top in some of the Hidden Cheetah viscose linen, I needed to draft a new pattern. Using a post on the Craftsy website as a guide, I traced and extended the length of the front pattern piece of the Moira dress. I cut and spread as directed for the draped neckline and although the Hidden Cheetah is a woven fabric, I then made up a toile using some of the Pink cotton jersey bought from Rainbow Fabrics just to see how the first trial looked.

The conversion of the Moira bodice to a top seems to have worked OK but unfortunately there is not a great deal of drape in the front neckline. Thus this make is definitely classed as a ‘failure’.

I will re-draft the bodice and see if I can improve the draping. Meantime, this one will be relegated as a lightweight jersey top to be used as a PJ top.

Project #23 completed 9th March 2021

Hidden Cheetah Border Button-thru Skirt

I originally purchased 4m of this Hidden Cheetah viscose linen at £6.69/metre back in June 2020 from the Textile Centre. I was planning to make the Bastion Culottes. However, at the time I did not get around to it but the fabric had been laundered and was in my stash pile.

Back in the 1980’s I had a favourite midi-length plain Cream skirt that had a fixed waistband into gathers. There were brass buttons down the front and concealed side seam pockets. The finishing touch was broderie anglaise trim around the hem.

I loved that skirt and decided that although the Hidden Cheetah is a print it would be a suitable replacement/wearable toile. I have made the Jenna skirt by Seamwork patterns several times before and it has the advantage of an elasticated back waistband. I used the waistband from the Jenna skirt and then cut rectangles for the two fronts and the back skirt panels. I also used the inseam pocket pattern from the Jenna.

Making up the skirt was straightforward. I made French seams throughout. I doubled up on the fusible interfacing for the front waistband and also fused a 3 inch wide length on the two front edges to support the buttons and buttonholes. I was most fortunate to find an almost exact colour match for the buttons in my stash. There is even a spare stitched inside the button band. I turned up and hand stitched a 3 inch hem to give some weight to the skirt as I discovered that the viscose linen was very lightweight.

Having dressed the mannequin in the skirt I could not find any suitable tops! For the time being it has been photographed with a plain Black polo neck which I never wear.

The final part of this reincarnation of my long-lost skirt was to apply a broderie anglaise trim to the hem. I could only find a brilliant white trim in my stash and so I have tea-dyed the 3 metre length which is now drying on the airing rack. I will audition the trim tomorrow and if it is acceptable, will machine to the bottom of the skirt. Currently the finished length is 29 inches but with the trim it should finish at about 31 inches.

I have sufficient fabric to make a coordinating top and having draped on the mannequin will now draft a draped neck, short sleeve shell top to be worn with the skirt. I also have some lovely dobby spot viscose in Ivory so will make sure that gets made up soon rather than later.

Project #22 completed 8th March 2021

Peach Schnapps Freya hack

Back in November 2018 I made a top using this fabric that I originally purchased from Stitchy Bee. That particular top was worn a great deal despite not being exactly right. I had only purchased one metre of fabric and thus the length of the bodice was a little shorter than I like and the sleeves were a little too long. All through 2019 I tried to find an alternative supplier but to no avail. Imagine my delight when I saw that the fabric was again available, this time from Minerva. The fabric is by Lady McElroy and is a96% viscose Ponte Roma. I ordered 1.5 metres at £17.99 per metre as I knew that I wanted to make a long-sleeved top using my hack of the Freya by Tilly and the buttons. My third expensive top coming up!

Learning from the error on the Tattoo scuba top, this time I cut the Freya longer in the body. I cut the long sleeves and also cuffs. I lowered the centre front of the neckline by 1½ inches and cut a neckband 2 inches wide.

Apart from top-stitching the neckband and twin-needle stitching the hem, the entire garment was sewn on the overlocker. A real speedy make!

I am absolutely delighted with this top and can’t wait to wear it. I think it will coordinate well with denim jeans, skirts and when the weather warms up – with lighter coloured bottoms.

Project #21 completed 6th March 2021

Floral Tattoo Scuba Top

Here is some Floral tattoo vintage playing cards scuba.

I bought 1metre at £6.99 from Fabric Styles in June 2020. I must have been having a senior moment and temporarily forgotten that I don’t love scuba fabric. I was obviously seduced by the print!

I cut out my hack of the Freya top but this time dropped the centre front of the neckline by 1¼ inches. I also reduced the length but will have to add it back on for the next make as I was too enthusiastic with my cutting!

Construction was straightforward and although I cut the neckband 2 inches wide, this was reduced by taking a wider seam allowance when attaching with the overlocker.

Due to differential in length of the back and front bodice, I have made a slit hem which is top stitched with the twin needle. The sleeves were an odd length, too long for short and too short for ¾ length. I turned up 2 inches before hemming with the twin needle.

The top is ‘OK’, but that’s as far as my enthusiasm allows. My husband even had the nerve to say that the top was ‘too young for you’. The garment will probably end up being sold or donated to charity.

Project #20 Completed 6th March 2021

Leafy Lemons Tee Shirt (Freya #4)

When I last cut out a Cowl neck Freya top I noticed the scoop of the neckline. At the time I thought to myself that this shape would make a good design feature on a top made for the Spring/Summer and I had just the right ‘Lemons and Leaves’ printed cotton jersey for the garment! Back in May 2020 I had purchased 1 metre from Jelly Fabrics at a cost of £16.83 – this was going to be yet another expensive tee shirt!

As I have already made the Freya top three times before, I was confident on the fit of the top. There were no surprises as I cut out the top. I was only able to cut short elbow length sleeves due to the minimal amount of fabric available. However there is a large rectangular remnant that I am sure to be able to use on a.n.other project in the future.

The construction was straightforward. This time I cut the neckband only 1¾ inches wide and this has made a very neat finished neckband. The length of both the body and the sleeves was such that I was able to turn up deep hems before finishing with twin-needle topstitching.

I am delighted with yet another unique, well fitting tee to have in my wardrobe, ready for when the weather warms up!

Project #19 completed 2nd March 2021

Springtime Tee – Mona #4

Back last year I made three basic tee shirts using a hack of the bodice of the Moneta dress from Colette Patterns. Whilst I still have the sewing machine and overlocker set up for jersey sewing with White thread, I checked my fabric stash for more yardage that could be used for Mona tee shirts. The bodice of the ‘Mona’ is more fitted than the usual boxy tees and would make a nice change to the Fraser Breton-style tops.

I came across two lengths of Cotton jersey and one of lightweight Scuba that would be appropriate and decided to see if I could get three tops made in two days.

The first tee was made using the Painted Florals cotton jersey that I bought from Pin & Sew in March 2020 for a total cost of £17.50 for one metre. This is going to be an expensive tee shirt!

There was just 1 metre of fabric so short sleeves were dictated and I would wait until first fitting to decide whether or not to add a band at the sleeve hem. I did manage to cut the slightly longer length of the front and back from this piece of fabric. I stabilised the shoulder seam with some fusible seam tape and then cut a neckband, this time 1¾ inches wide. Previous neckbands had been cut 2 inches wide and this time I wanted to ‘trial’ a narrower one.

The neckband stitched on like a dream.

At first fitting I found that the sleeves were plenty long enough to have a deep hem of 2 inches and then a 1¼ inch hem on the body. I top stitched with a twin needle set 4mm apart and stitch length 4.00. The resultant tee shirt fulfils the requirement of a distinctive top and I look forward to wearing it as soon as the Spring weather warms up a little!

Project #18 completed 2nd March 2021