This blouse is based on the NEW LOOK 6731 but style details of the collar and back ties have been hacked onto my basic TNT bodice block. I also added my current favourite short sleeve pattern that has a gathered sleeve head and a wide hem facing.
For this first version I used some fine cotton lawn that was purchased in September 2019 from the C&H Fabrics remnant table. The colours and print fall very nicely into my current ‘Autumn Gold’ collection with the added bonus of some Gold glittery highlights!
Cutting out took all of the 1.5metres x 142 cms wide fabric. I added shirt tail shaping to the hem and made the blouse long enough in the body to wear over the top of trousers as well as under the recently completed ‘Jayne’ pinafore dress.
Construction was straightforward and I used French seams throughout. Once again I waited until after the side seams were sewn before measuring the fish eye darts in the back bodice and incorporating the narrow ties. The hem on the front facing was overlocked and then turned under before stitching. The sleeve hem facing was top-stitched in place and provides a little more structure to the sleeve hems. The hem of the blouse was also overlocked before a narrow double turned hem was top-stitched in place. The buttonholes were worked with the Golden Brown thread and the seven buttons in Dark Brown from my stash were stitched in place with Dark Brown thread.
Conclusion: I just love this fabric and the blouse has turned out beautifully. Definitely a design that I will be repeating!
I was so disappointed with the Babycord fabric that I used for the ‘not quite Texas pants’ #6 that I ordered 2 metres of Yarn Dyed Stretch Denim in 10 Gold at £7.25 per metre from Hot Pink Haberdashery to make pair #7.
The fabric is described thus; A stunning range of soft, yarn dyed stretch denim fabric in 10 exquisite colour tones. Blended with polyester to control shrinkage and creasing, together with spandex to add a gentle, comfortable stretch, this lovely denim fabric is perfect for denim clothing from denim shirts & lightweight jackets to denim dresses and skirts. The colour range covers classic denim shades of blue, black and greys together with rich, brights to suit all ages and styles. With a soft feel & midweight weave, this denim range would also suit soft furnishing & craft projects. – Available in 10 colours – Rose, Pink, Fuchsia, Peacock Blue, Gold, Sky Blue, Blue, Stone, Grey & Black. 140cm/55″ wide, 255gsm,75% cotton,22% polyester,3% spandex.
When I showed the fabric to my husband and discussed my plans he suggested that I make a skirt or dress rather than trousers as I would surely get more wear from either of those. Thinking about his suggestion I decided to make a new pinafore dress that I will be able to wear with all the pretty new viscose fabrics that I plan to make into blouses.
I did not want to make a third ‘Jane’ pinafore style, instead I would take advantage of the plain Mustard colour and design something with the opportunity for lots of contrast top stitching. I started out with my TNT bodice block and made the following alterations:
1 Made a V-front neckline into button closure.
2 Drew an angled shoulder front yoke and straight back yoke (to be cut on the bias) with centre back seam.
3 Added princess panel seams by moving the fullness of the darts from the side and waist on both front and back bodice.
4 Fullness of the skirt panels would be made into unpressed pleats.
5 Would add either side seam or patch pockets on the skirt.
6 Would make a feature of the button closure down the front bodice and skirt with additional top stitching.
The fabric was pre-washed and ready for cutting out. I just managed to get the outer pattern pieces from the 2metres. I had intended also to cut the yoke lining and front facing from denim but there was simply not sufficient fabric – even with piecing. So the lining would have to be edge-to-edge, the same as in the previous pinafore dresses. For the bodice lining I used some of the Golden Palm print viscose from Rainbow Fabrics. I also cut some self-fabric bias binding from the Palm print viscose to make Hong Kong finishes on the skirt seam allowances.
All the construction was sewn with in a coordinating colour thread. Contrast top stitching was in Paprika with two threads in the needle. The bodice and bodice lining seam allowances trimmed with pinking shears. Pocket and skirt seam allowances were overlocked.
I searched through my extensive button stash but could not find just the right buttons for the pinafore. Armed with a scrap of fabric with the contrast top stitching I browsed the button stands in Franklins, Salisbury. I bought 12 buttons ‘Vogue Star’ which came to the grand sum of £7.20.
When I got home I was still not sure, searching a second time I came across these Traeknapper buttons that I purchased when on a cruise in Norway. Isn’t it just typical that I had the ideal buttons all the time and just the right number too?
I completed the pinafore with some top stitching around the armholes and neckline which was yet another trial as the tension went adrift. I switched off the machine, changed to a new needle and disassembled the bobbin case. I removed all the fluff and gave the bobbin chase a good clean. Once that had been done I unpicked the original top stitching around the armholes and re-stitched. This time I used only one thread in the needle but completed the circumference twice to get the depth of top stitching that I wanted and that would match all the other top stitching. The hem was turned up by 2½ inches and hand stitched in place. At last – finished!
Conclusion: The fabric is lovely and is complimented by the contrast top stitching and the Norwegian buttons. The pinafore dress will be an excellent component of my Autumn/Winter wardrobe as it coordinates well with various tops and blouses.
I will need to re-draft the bodice pattern as there is a little gaping in the front armscye and of course, I need to remedy the sizing so that I can use 5/8th seam allowances throughout. I had not accounted for the replacement of my right hip which throws out the alignment of the pleats on that side of the skirt back. Another time it will be best to gather fullness in the back of skirts.
At a meeting of our local Patchwork & Quilting Group, Lizzie demonstrated these really useful project bags. The bag can be made out of scraps of whatever you have to hand. You could use an orphan block for the back or piece both the front and the back. For my initial project bag I used some scraps of Batik printed cotton that were left over after making my tiered skirt ‘Montana’ dress by Style Arc.
Additional requirements for making the bag are Bosal® foam wadding (or car headliner foam as used in bag-making), PVC (I used some clear vinyl purchased some time ago from The Range), a zip for the closure and binding 2¼ inch wide for the outer edges.
Following Lizzie’s comprehensive instructions I was easily able to complete the first bag in a couple of hours, including the quilting of the front and back sandwich with Bosal ®. My finished bag measures 14½ inches wide x 12½ inches high, plenty big enough to take A4 sheets of instructions etc for projects.
I was so pleased with the result that this morning I made another bag. This is slightly smaller as I used whatever remnants that I had to hand. The bag measures 12½ inches wide x 10¼ inches high and is still large enough to take an A4 sheet.
The zip pulls on each bag have been finished with a couple of coordinating tassels. I love that look!
Having identified several pretty printed viscose fabrics, I decided to use part of a 5+metre length remnant of the ‘Golden Palm Leaves’ print viscose challis purchased from Rainbow Fabrics at a cost of £14.18 for the length. An absolute bargain!
I used a ‘new to me’ pattern – New Look 6731with a simple hack of full length sleeves with placket and gathered into a cuff. I have previously used this sleeve pattern on other blouses and dresses. I cut a 22 at the shoulders and bust, grading out to a 24 at waist and hips. Cutting out took just 1.8 metres (x 140cms wide) which still leaves a generous 3+ metres remaining to make a dress.
This project reminded me of why I prefer to use my personal bodice block and then hack different designs onto it. There were several adjustments that I had to make.
Slope shoulders x ½ inch at the shoulder point which also raised the underarm.
Reduced shoulder width x 1½ inches and re-draw the armscye front and back.
Make a 2 inch sway back adjustment and then add 2 inches to centre front bodice (and facing) length grading to 0 at the side seams to allow for full bust.
Ignore the front body darts but use shallow back body darts to insert the narrow ties.
I added a full sleeve into buttoned cuff which is the type of sleeve that I prefer.
Construction of the collar and facing was straightforward and I used French seams throughout. The only other change to construction was to omit the back neck facing. I simply turned in the seam allowance at the back neck and top stitched into place.
This fabric was very fluid and that made the construction a little like ‘herding cats’ but I got there in the end. The nature of the fabric also made machining buttonholes more ‘trepidatious’ but again persistence paid off. I applied fraycheck to the reverse of each buttonhole as I could see they were very fragile.
Conclusion: Whilst I like the shaping and construction of the shawl collar I am not enamoured with the blouse itself. I intend to transfer the collar design to my TNT bodice, add the back tie feature and make a shirt-tail shaped hemline on another blouse in the future.
Hot on the heels of the Texas pants #5 and having seen the Mustard Baby cord piled next to the latest ‘Smooth Sailing’ Blouse I knew that the next project needed to be trousers. As I am not yet ‘ready’ to toile the ‘Smooth Sailing’ trousers, my version of Texas it had to be.
Cutting out took just 1.70 metres (x 140cms wide) of the 2 metres purchased recently from a_fabrics an eBay seller for a total of £19.78. To be honest I was a little disappointed in the quality of the fabric. It seems to me to be very thin and although it is listed as Baby cord I was expecting something with a little more substance. A lesson learned. The pocket linings were cut from scraps of the Autumnal coloured ‘fruity’ cotton lawn recently used to re-fashion one of my Vogue 8577 dresses.
Construction was plain sailing (if you will excuse the pun!) the only alteration to version #5 was to extend the front crotch depth by 1 inch.
The side seams are top stitched and the deep hems are also machine stitched. Once again I omitted the ‘paper bag’ top of the waistband as I am unlikely to wear the trousers with a top tucked in.
Apart from the ‘Smooth Sailing’ blouse I have a good selection of viscose and cotton prints that will coordinate well with the Mustard colour.
So much so that I am considering making a ‘Jane’ pinafore dress in a Mustard corduroy, denim or drill so that I can get even more wear out of these pretty prints.