Monthly Archives: June 2021

Sunshine Yellow Shirtdress Wearable Toile

For this ‘wearable muslin’ shirtdress I used a new King size Duvet cover from Dunelm in the design called ‘Ashbourne’. Once unpicked this provided me with 2.15 metres x 260 cms wide fabric in each of the prints. One side is the floral and the reverse is a multi-stripe, more of that in another post.

This will be the #5 version of my ‘Polly’ basic shirtwaister dress pattern which I used knowing that it would need some minor alterations. I added to the length of the bodice, took in the side seams at the underarm, extended the width of the yoke shoulders and top of the armscye and added to the width and length of the skirt panels which came originally from the ‘Penny’ dress by Sew Over It.

The fabric had been laundered when the duvet cover was originally purchased back in 2019 so was ‘good to go’. I had a good colour match of thread to use in construction and there was Pale Cream/White in the overlocker.

I used a light fusible interfacing on the undercollar and facings. There is a self-bias binding for the armholes and 5 pretty flower-shaped buttons from my stash for the bodice. Although clearly marked on the pattern piece, I forgot to cut the yoke pieces on the bias and this has shown up some pulling across the shoulders once the dress was completed.

The major change for this dress was an inset band for the elasticated waist. I cut two lengths of fabric to match the overall length of the waistline edge of the bodice, x 2¾ inches wide. This accounts for 1½ wide elastic plus 2 x seam allowances of 5/8ths inch. This method has worked well although next time I will need to reduce the length of the bodice as this version has a little too much ‘blousing’ over the bust for my taste. In any event, the waistline casing is covered by the wide elasticated belt that will always be worn with this dress.

I added my standard concealed side seam pockets to the skirt. I had lengthened the skirt panels by 4 inches and finished them with a narrow double-folded hem machine-stitched in place which has given me an ‘ideal’ skirt length. I can wear the dress with mules, heels or indeed white plimsolls.

Conclusion: With a few more minor adjustments this could be a TNT dress pattern. This particular version is wearable, especially when worn with a cropped cardigan which conceals the pulling across the shoulders and the excessive blousing of the bodice. I love the flare of the skirt and may well hack the pattern to make a button-through skirt in Cerise linen-look cotton that I have in my stash.

Project #44 completed 26th June 2021

Texas Pants #4

Trying to refine the Texas pants by Style Arc so that they fit my wonky figure has been a little like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Too big, too small and almost just right! Having worn the pants version #3 for a little while I realised that I needed more fabric to accommodate my tummy so that the side seams were not pulled to the front. I slashed and spread by ½ inch and extended the waistband by 1 inch.

For this 4th pair I decided to make the size 22 with the alterations and keep my fingers, eyes and legs crossed that they would be a good fit. If not, then I would wave farewell to the pattern and move on to something else!

For the the previous pair made to this size and altered pattern using a non-stretch poly/cotton, I found them just a little too snug. So…. using a stretch denim would seem to be the right choice. The fabric I used was a Stretch Denim bought from Minerva during one of their sales. 1.8m x 152cms wide for a total cost of £13.77 inclusive of £2.99 post & packing would seem to be good value for a custom fit pair of perfect cropped trousers.

With confidence I cut out and made up the trousers. I top stitched with the same colour thread as construction but the overlocking is done in White. This actually makes sense as the wrong side of the fabric is very pale and the White is a good choice.

Unfortunately, yet again they were not quite right. Nothing wrong with the fit this time, simply that the denim fabric is a little too stiff. The pockets are stitched to the front legs which means there are3 layers of fabric in that area. In hindsight, I also think the pockets are a little too deep but I will fix that should I ever make another pair!

I am pleased that I have been able to find two tops to coordinate with the trousers and when the weather cools down I am sure that I will wear them. In the meantime, a palate cleanser in the form of a simple blouse before I try the next trouser pattern.

Project #42 completed 10th June 2021

A new Melody

I wanted to try a different blouse and was inspired by Sian of Kittenish Behaviour to try a top with tie front. The pattern that Sian had used was Butterick 5895 which is now sadly out of print. It is still available on eBay but only from the USA so costs more than I was prepared to pay. The most annoying thing is that I used to have this pattern but sold it on when having a mammoth clear out!

However, I did recall a tie front blouse pattern from Love Notions that has been in my stash for over a year and this is what I decided to use. The other great point about this pattern is the grown on sleeves so if successful this will be a good substitute for the Libby blouse by Sew Over It as I can see that the collar has a much more simple construction.

The Melody Dolman is a woven button-down dolman with shirt-tail hem that can also be knotted at the waist. This dolman gives you a polished look without a lot of effort. If you’re new to sewing button-down shirts, this is a great beginner pattern. The camp style collar looks clean on the inside and out, and bonus- it’s easy to do! This dolman is meant for apparel weight woven fabrics. Also included is a breast pocket and sleeve cuffs.

The pretty Daisy-printed viscose fabric for the project recently arrived from Rainbow Fabrics of Kilburn. It was one of their remnants which unfortunately was faulty and thus I did not have sufficient for the dress I had originally planned but would be perfect as a wearable toile of the Melody Dolman. At a cost of £12.33 would be great if it worked and not too bad if it did not!

As soon as I started working with the fabric to make the patch pocket, I realised that it was very light and loosely woven. Dealing with a fabric that appears to have a mind of its own is a little like herding cats. I soldiered on…

Having cut out the blouse to XXL Full bust size. I applied the strips of interfacing to the front facing extensions, and French seamed the shoulder seams before staystitching the neck edge. Then for over a week the blouse was draped on the mannequin whilst I attended to gardening and general housework!

Finally, I was able to return to the project. I made up the collar, but attached to the wrong side of the neckline. Fortunately it was only basted so quick unpick to the rescue. Attaching the collar and facings was relatively easy then stitching the side seams. I made French seams for the side seams as by now the fabric was also fraying a great deal. I neatened the hem curves and stitched a narrow double folded hem. Unfortunately due to the loose weave there has been some stretching out and this manifests itself as a wavy hemline. Not my best work! I attached the sleeve cuffs and as they had not been interfaced found they were very ‘floppy’. Rather than hand tack at the seams I decided to top stitch in place.

The last part of construction was buttonholes and buttons for which I used some pretty lemon spot buttons from my stash. My machine is usually excellent at making buttonholes but this time, due I think to faulty thread, there were two where the thread snapped halfway through. A big sigh as I re-threaded the machine and returned to the buttonholes.

Perhaps it was a mistake to undertake this project on a very ‘clammy’ day. Although I had a fan blowing cold air over me I was uncomfortably warm and certainly did not enjoy the process. I simply wanted to get the blouse finished and tomorrow I could move onto something else so the prepared pocket is languishing in the pile of fabrics – not attached to the blouse!

Conclusion: This is a wearable muslin. The armholes are too deep which means there are drag lines from the shoulder seam. I feel that the length (which is longer to enable a tie front which in hindsight I probably won’t use!) is too long when untied.

Although I cut an XXL the blouse is a little too snug over the hips but fits OK everywhere else. I have altered the pattern and hopefully if I use a more stable fabric such as a cotton next time the blouse will rate more than 5 out of 10.

project #43 completed 17th June 2021

Texas Pants #3

Well here I am still trying to perfect the fit of the Texas pants. This is a little like the story of Goldilocks and the three bears. First pair too big, second pair still too big but a little better, 3rd pair just about right!

I put on the first pair that I made using Navy poly/cotton exactly to the size 24. This made it easy to see where I needed to make the alterations. First I reduced the leg length by 1 inch. Then I reduced the front crotch depth by 1 inch at centre front shading to 0 at the side seam. I then slashed the pant leg from top to knee level (which is the point of the lengthen/shorten line), reducing the entire width x 1 inch. Then I slashed from top to crotch level and increased at waist x 1 inch shading to 0 at the pivot point. I amended the pocket bags to fit the new lines. Having done all this to the size 24 I then laid the size 22 over the top. It was almost exactly the same!! So….. I shortened the legs of the size 22 x 1 inch and re-drew the back crotch line (no hungry bum for me!). Reduced the front crotch depth x 1 inch and cut out the new pattern from Burgundy poly/cotton.

Pants construction: I am becoming very familiar with the instructions. I decided that to reduce the time taken to construct this third pair I would ignore the rows of contrast twin-needle top stitching. The construction and top stitching were all completed with the same coloured thread. I forgot to fold out the faux fly so this pair of pants does have the top stitching but so far I have not removed thebasting on the centre front seam. Before attaching the waistband I neatened the hems of the legs, turned up the 2 inches and top stitched in place.

Waistband: I left 1¾ inches open on the centre back seam of the waistband so that the elastic could be inserted later.

I was reminded of a different way to complete the inside of the waistband, I bound the edge with a remnant of pretty pink cotton. Pressed up the seam allowance of the pants to the inside of the waistband and the facing of the waistband down before ‘stitching in the ditch’ from the right side to secure. All that was left to do was to Insert elastic, check the fit and secure the ends of elastic with triple zig-zag stitch.

I am hoping that I am now ready to make a ‘perfect’ pair of Texas using some lovely Red stretch denim purchased from Minerva during one of their sales.

Project #41 completed 31st May 2021