Monthly Archives: January 2022

‘Janice’ Dress #2

I was so pleased with the first Janice dress that I made just before the end of 2021 that I wanted to make another but with a few changes.

Continuing with my ‘green theme’ I chose some pretty floral viscose that I purchased from Rainbow Fabrics.

There was a lot of this fabric so although I originally intended to make the dress with short sleeves there was ample to be able to cut out long sleeves with deep cuffs and still have enough fabric for a short sleeve blouse. I also had sufficient fabric to make the bodice front facing in the fashion fabric whilst the remainder of the bodice lining was cut from plain White viscose voile that I keep in my stash. This time I would make the bodice button through to the waist seam only before gathering the skirt into that. I would add a deep frill at the hem and also a narrower frill around the neckline.

Construction: The dress was fairly straightforward to sew apart from the fact that yet again I have chosen a very mobile fabric. I love the feel of this viscose to wear as it is warm to the touch and drapes beautifully but the making of the dress is challenging as it slips and slides away from you all the time. Many, many pins and some spray starch were used to ensure that the fabric stayed where it was put! The narrow frill around the neckline was cut 48 inches long x 3¼ inches wide before folding in half, gathering and basting to the front facings.

The long sleeves have a continuous lap placket opening and there was sufficient depth to the cuff (finished 3¼ inches) to add two buttons to each. I searched through my button stash – regretfully I could not find 9 buttons (I need 5 for the bodice plus 4 for the cuffs) all the same that suited this printed viscose fabric. I found 8 and added to them 2 of the same size and shape but a different shade.

I decided that I would put one of each on each cuff so at least they would match in their miss-matching. Then I looked again at another ‘stash’ of buttons and found two more options! Finally I chose the no. 3 buttons which were originally bought last year to go onto the Gold denim pinafore dress.

There are concealed side seam pockets in the main panels of the skirt which were cut 22 inches long together with the hem frills (cut 12 inches long) were stitched with French seams where there was no selvedge. The gathering/pleating of the frill was completed using the ‘ruffler’ foot on my Brother 550SE machine. The hem on the frill was double folded by ¼ inch and machined in place. I was in a quandary as to how to finish the waist seam, in the end I used some pretty green satin bias binding to enclose all the raw edges.

Conclusion: Partly due to the design with frills and full bodice lining and partly due to the fabric, this dress has taken a long time to make. However, I do like it but not as much as I thought I would. I am pleased with the narrow frill around the neckline and I love the long gathered sleeves into deep double buttoned cuffs and will definitely be making those again on my next long sleeved project.

I shall give myself a little break from dressmaking for a day or two and then return re-charged and ready to tackle a blouse using the remainder of this pretty print fabric.

Project #7 completed 30th January 2022

Drunken Bird Orphan Patchwork Blocks

For the year 2022 I have promised myself to finish off all those UFO projects in the ’roundtoit’ box! The best way to achieve this will be to alternate new projects with UFO’s. Let’s see how I get on.

When my sister and I visited the Caribbean in 2018 we took with us some hand sewing patchwork blocks to work on whilst the Cruise Ship travelled from one island to another.

I completed the quilt once we were home but that left some half-a-dozen ‘orphan’ blocks that I put away and promptly forgot all about!

I rediscovered the blocks around the 14th January and found that some had already been put together in ‘quilt sandwiches’. Around 3 or 4 had been quilted but the remainder were just the plain blocks. I added some 80/20 polyester/cotton wadding and calico backing before spending a few hours quilting in the same designs.

I put 9 blocks together using the method of butting the blocks and then joining with strips of sashing cut to 1¼ inches wide. As the backing calico sheets were not all the same and the reverse of the quilting left a little to be desired, I covered that with a large rectangle of Taupe/white check fabric that was a remnant from a polyester cotton duvet cover used for a dressmaking project. I used the same fabric as the sashing to make a binding for the quilt. The finished size is 24½ inches square. Then I added a sleeve and is now a colourful wall hanging for our cloakroom.

I still had 4 ‘bird’ blocks left and these were combined to make the front of a cushion cover. I used echo quilting on the plain sections so that the ‘birds’ were more pronounced. The 6mm thick piping is covered with bias cut check fabric (the same as the backing for the wall hanging). Backing of the cushion cover is plain calico with a lapped zip inserted for the closure. The cover is approximately 16 inches square and filled with a feather pad that I have re-purposed.

Conclusion: I am very pleased with the end results and have been inspired to make more blocks with the Drunkards Path dies using my Sissix machine. Watch this space for the next patchwork project that has already been named ‘Chaos’!

Project #5 completed 17th January 2022

The Richmond Blouse by Til the Sun Goes Down

I saw this particular pattern made up by Bobo-Bun on Instagram and was inspired to buy a copy for myself. I planned to make the blouse up in some recently purchased Lady McElroy Marie Lawn and as that fabric was expensive, decided to make a wearable muslin first.

After a quick check in my stash I came across some pretty Cotton Poplin in Light Brown with small Pink polka dots. I had originally purchased this fabric from Franklins in Salisbury to use as part lining for a jacket but as that project never proceeded, I washed the length of fabric and cut out the pattern to a size 22. NB. I merely glanced at the layout diagram hence the sleeves fronts and backs were cut on the straight grain – not the bias. I shall have to wait and see how that affects the fit !?

Most of the seams were French seams but when it came to setting in the raglan sleeves this was not possible as I knew they would need some adjustment. They have been neatened with zig-zag stitching (my overlocker is still away being serviced!).

First fitting: I discovered that the shoulders and chest were a little too large but around the waist/tummy/hips it was too small. This was partly due to the tucks and the depth of the side seams. The the v-neckline is also rather low. The shaping of the centre seam of the sleeves definitely needed taking in.

Changes: I re-shaped the bottom 10 inches of the centre sleeve seams and removed the tucks from the bodice front and back. This lessened the American Footballer-style shoulder line and gave sufficient ease to fit over the waist/tummy/hips.

I did not cut a back neck facing, instead using my TNT method and top stitched the back collar to the stay stitching. As a nod to making a special finish I neatened the raw edges of the front facings with Pale Pink satin bias binding. The collar was top stitched with two threads through the needle, stitch length 3.5mm. Hems on the sleeves and body of the blouse were first stitched at a 1/4 inch before a double turn and machine top-stitched in matching thread.

The five buttonholes were stitched with Pink thread and the five Pink buttons came from my stash. There is a spare sixth button stitched inside the front facing.

Pattern alterations for next time: Sway back adjustment, lengthen the bodice front and back by ½ inch at the side seams. Lengthen front bodice at centre front by 1½ inches grade to 0 at the side seam.

Conclusion: I like the style of the blouse, especially the shaping of the collar. I am reminded why I do not like raglan sleeves as I always have to adapt them. I am not particularly enamoured with the finished garment as the fabric is definitely too crisp for the style. The blouse will probably end up in the charity bag. However I think that I will have another trial run and this time use a woven viscose which should have the required softness and drape to showcase the vintage-style pattern.

Project #06 completed 24th January 2022

Applique Patchwork Bag

The second Monday of each month is when I attend the Patchwork & Quilting club/class at Franklins in Salisbury. This week we enjoyed a new form of raw-edge applique using patchwork shapes.

Emma had sent through a list of requirements together with a link to a Youtube video on how to make a simple lined tote bag. I prepared as per the instructions and during the morning’s class was pleased to make the initial appliques and fuse them onto the centre panel of my bag.

I completed the decorative stitching on the appliques at home together with the construction of the bag. I watched the vlog on my Hudl tablet but must admit that I found the instructions confusing. I think in future I will stick my TNT method for bag making.

Conclusion: I am very pleased with the end result which has used up a tiny fraction of my scraps stash fabrics. There will definitely be more in the future!

Project #4 completed11th January 2022

‘Jane’ Pinafore #4

I wanted to make a pinafore dress that would coordinate with the two Green Palm Leaves viscose blouses that I have recently completed. I had this Forest Green Polyester Drill in my stash that I bought for £13.00 in 2021 from A Fabrics of Derby with the idea of making some trousers. When the fabric arrived I decided that it was not suitable for the trousers so has been awaiting a different project. I decided that another version of my self-drafted ‘Jane’ pinafore dress would be ideal.

I like to line the bodice of these pinafores and whilst I could have used some of the palm leaves viscose I decided to use a different novelty printed cotton poplin of sheep! I bought just one metre from Hot Pink Haberdashery at a cost of £5.99 per metre of 108 cms wide fabric. The bodice and pocket linings took just 76 cms of the print so I have a nice size remnant to add that pop of novelty print in another project.

As this is now the fourth time making up this pattern I completed the construction in record time.

As the Green drill fabric is very plain I wanted to highlight the seams. I top stitched the Princess seams, around the armholes , the neckline and front edges of the bodice. I used two strands of Light Green standard weight cotton in a top-stitch needle with a stitch length of 3.5mm. I used yet more of the coconut shell buttons and the only hand stitching was to tack down the bodice lining to the inside waist seam and the hem of the skirt. All buttons and buttonholes were completed on my Brother 550SE machine. That’s my type of project!

I am delighted with how this pinafore dress has turned out and as planned it goes very well with the two blouses in Green Palm leaf viscose.

My Juki overlocker is currently at Franklins in Salisbury having a long overdue service. The next few projects will be completed with no overlocking – French seams or Hong Kong finishes will be the order of the day. I may even finish off some patchwork and quilting projects that have been loitering in the cupboard!

Project #3 completed 9th January 2022

Short sleeved ‘Newlyn’ Blouse #2

Green palm leaves print viscose from Rainbow Fabrics; I love this print so much that I bought two further lengths of 6 metres when it was on sale. Having completed the long sleeved blouse. I went straight ahead and cut out another blouse.

This I used the ‘Newlyn’ pattern which is a ‘hack’ of a New Look 6731 pattern bought from eBay with my favourite short sleeves. It took 1.4 metres from one of the 6 metre lengths (I am saving the other 6 metres for a dress). As this fabric is is so mobile I quickly applied the fusible interfacing to the under collar, top collar/facing and the sleeve hem facings.

All seams were French seams with the first pass made on the overlocker. I added the back darts and the narrow ties. I may go back later and add body darts in the front. The sleeve hem facing was hand stitched with herringbone stitch to avoid it flopping down. Hem on the facing and shirt tail-shaped hem on the bodice were overlocked and then turned and top stitched. Seven coconut shell buttons and buttonholes down the front worked on the Brother 550SE machine.

Conclusion: A lovely straightforward sew. I love, love this pattern! Next, as a palate cleanser to the Green Palm Leaves viscose I am working on a Forest Green Poly/cotton Drill pinafore dress to coordinate with the latest two blouses.

Project #2 completed 5th January 2022

Repeat – Long sleeved Blouse

For the month of January I intend to ‘Go Green’, by that I mean that I would like to concentrate on projects using fabrics with a Green theme. I have several lengths selected and I hope to use them on ‘new to me’ patterns plus some old favourites.

The first project was a long sleeved blouse (‘Carmen’) using a TNT pattern, last made as the first project of 2021. What a coincidence that the pattern was again to be the first make of 2022!

For this project I used 1.6 metres from one of the 6 metre lengths of the Green Palm leaves viscose that I bought sometime ago from Rainbow Fabrics. This blouse, when combined with the Jenna skirt by Seamwork will look like a shirt dress, a similar effect to that used for the Blue viscose blouse/skirt combo that I made this time last year.

When cutting out I noticed that I had already made the forward shoulder adjustment, apart from that the construction was straightforward. I used French seams throughout and the edges of the facing were neatened by overlocking before a single turn hem.

The long sleeves have gentle gathering at the shoulders, a continuous lap placket and lots of gathering into single button cuff. Buttonholes stitched beautifully on my ‘Sewing Retreat’ Brother 550SE machine, all the coconut shell buttons were also stitched on the machine.

The hem was overlocked and then turned inside so that there are no raw edges. Once again I have added a shirt tail-shaped hem so that the blouse tucks into skirts easily but can also be worn outside trousers.

I am very happy with the final result blouse and as I love this print so much went ahead and cut out another blouse.

Project #01 completed 2nd January 2022

Review & Plans

According to the ‘likes’ on my instagram pages the following were my ‘Magnificent Seven’:-

1 Freya Blue Cowl neck top – viscose jersey – Rainbow Fabics

2 New Look 6731 Palm Leaf Blouse – viscose challis – Rainbow Fabrics

3 By Hand London Hannah wrap dress – check poly/cotton duvet – Dunelm

4 Hack New Look 6731 short sleeve blouse – cotton remnant – C&H fabrics

5 ‘Moira’ Moonflower dress – viscose challis – Rainbow Fabrics

6. Love Notions Melody Blouse – viscose challis – Rainbow Fabrics

7 ‘Jane’ Pinafore dress – Autumnal print curtaining cotton remnant – eBay

An interesting result that demonstrates my ‘conversion’ to Viscose substrate purchased mostly from Rainbow Fabrics and also the use of recycled and/or refashioned woven fabrics.

For 2022 I am determined to whittle down my stash of both fabrics and patterns. To that end I have unsubscribed from all those companies that regularly send inviting mails with enticing photographs of new and exciting fabrics and dressmaking patterns.

For the month of January I intend to ‘Go Green’, by that I mean that I would like to concentrate on projects using fabrics with a Green theme. I have several lengths selected and I hope to use them on ‘new to me’ patterns plus some old favourites.

The first project is a long sleeved blouse (‘Carmen’) using a TNT pattern, last made as the first project of 2021. What a coincidence that the pattern will again be the first make of 2022!

1st January 2022