Monthly Archives: February 2023

Tabitha dress #5

The Tabitha dress is my ‘hack’ of the Take a Chance dress and is an all-time favourite pattern. This version is part of my mini capsule in the colours of Black, Red and Winter White. I would not normally use polyester but this print fitted so well into the colour range that I thought ‘what the hell, let’s go for it!’

Bold print Polyester Crepe

I used 3 metres that I bought from the Rainbow Fabrics remnant sale for just £10. This version has short sleeves and a gathered skirt with no ruffle. My machine is still a bit huffy about buttonholes so for the closure I used White KAM snaps.

KAM snaps

There are concealed pockets in the side seams and all seams were finished with the overlocker. The skirt hem length is just 30 inches so fits neatly under the pinafore dress.

‘Tabitha’ worn beneath ‘Jane’

Conclusion: I am particularly pleased with the pattern print placement (not always by design). I count this dress as a success but due the boldness of the print it will probably only be worn under the Black viscose linen pinafore dress!

Tabitha #5

Project no.11 completed 23rd February 2023.

‘Jane’ Pinafore Dress in Black Viscose Linen Blend

This was to be the core of a mini capsule based on the colours of Black, Red and Winter White. I have already made two dresses and a blouse and although the ‘Jane’ pinafore dress was cut out first, I had to wait for the delivery of some Black fusible interfacing.

3 metres of Black viscose linen was purchased from Minerva along with 2 metres of Black lining at a total cost of £37.31 including the post and packing. Although in the past I have cut this pattern from less fabric, I wanted to ensure there was sufficient to make the skirt at long enough to exceed the length of the dresses to be worn beneath.

The construction was plain sailing until I got to the 13 buttonholes! First I made up the bodice and the bodice lining. Once the shoulder seams joining the front and back bodice together on both the fashion fabric and the lining, the lining was stitched to the fashion fabric right sides together around the neckline, up and down the front edges and both armholes. All seam allowances were pinked and pressed. Once turned through I stitched the underarm/side seams in one pass, ensuring that seam allowances were pressed to the lining side

Next was the skirt. I had cut two widths of fabric by the length, in this case 34 inches. I made a centre back seam and finished the seam/hem allowances with some left over viscose binding.

Seam and hem allowances finished with contrast binding

There was a goodly amount of fabric to be gathered into the waist seam, however this made it easier to ensure the gathers were even. Once the skirt had been attached to the bodice, I hand stitched the lining in place (the ONLY hand stitching in this garment!). I turned up the hem and mitred the corner with the front facings.

Then came the 13 buttonholes. I am not sure quite why my Brother 4000D machine decided to have a hissy fit but eventually all buttonholes were completed and the buttons attached. I used yet more of the plain black buttons that I bought as part of a bulk buy from Amazon. Finally the patch pockets were stitched in place.

‘Jane’ Pinafore Dress version #6
‘Jane’ and Red floral print Viscose blouse

Conclusion: Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together exactly as you wanted? The blouse and dresses all fit under the pinafore beautifully . Now the last item to be sewn in this mini-capsule is a Sorrento Jacket.

Project no 10 completed 17th February 2023.

TNT Long sleeve Blouse

Viscose remnant from Crystal009

I fell in love with the print of this fabric from one of my favourite eBay sellers. At the beginning of January I purchased the last remaining 2metre remnant at a grand price of £ 8.99 from crystal009. Such lovely fabric deserved special buttons and I splashed out on a set of 50 Red sparkly buttons from Amazon for £4.98.

Sparkly buttons from Amazon

I knew exactly which pattern to make up – my TNT long-sleeved blouse. This is a pattern that I have returned to very many times over the past 10 years. I always refer to it as my ‘Threads’ blouse as it was drafted using instructions from an old issue of Threads magazine.

As the fabric had such great drape I decided on the long full sleeves gathered into a double button cuff. All seams were constructed using French seams so the inside of the blouse is beautifully clean finished. The shaped hem is finished with a narrow double folded hem top-stitched in place. Due to the length of the blouse, for this iteration I worked 6 buttonholes down the front and I know that it will look good worn outside my Black slim leg trousers.

Long Sleeved ‘Threads’ Blouse in Viscose

Conclusion: This is yet another example of why I return again and again to this pattern. This fabric is a delight to wear. Although it was originally planned to go with the Black viscose linen pinafore dress I think it looks equally good with the Navy needlecord one as well.

Blouse worn with Navy needlecord ‘Jane’ pinafore dress

Project no. 9 completed 13th February 2023.

Tabitha #4 in monochrome

As a palate cleanser after the disaster that was the Eleanor Shirt from Sew me Something I reverted to one of my TNT patterns. The Tabitha dress is my ‘hack’ of the Take a Chance dress and is fast becoming an all-time favourite pattern. There are so many variations – long, short, straight or gathered sleeves with or without cuff, collar shape, skirt in tiers, with or without a hem ruffle. The only limit is my imagination.

Until late March I intend to work on a mini capsule based on the colours of Black, Red and Winter White. The core garment will be a Black Linen Viscose pinafore dress, the ‘Jane’ which is a favourite TNT pattern.

‘JANE’ self-drafted pinafore dress

I used 3 metres of a pretty monochrome viscose challis bought for just £11.99 from an ebay seller crystal009 from whom I have bought in the past. The fabric is lovely, soft and will be a delight to wear.

Monochrome viscose challis from ebay seller crystal009

I made sure that the length was such that it could be worn under the Black viscose linen pinafore dress.

This version of Tabitha again had long sleeves into a deep cuff and concealed side seam pockets but due to lack of fabric, no hem ruffle on the skirt. Apart from the waist seam, all seams were French seams. My usual concealed side seam pockets were also French seamed.

Multi-pack Black buttons from Amazon

In anticipation of needing lots of plain Black buttons the 9 on this dress were from a multi-pack bought from Amazon for £5.99. At final fitting I noted that there is a lot of ease in the bodice and I therefore added some self-fabric ties at the side seams to bring in at the waistline.

‘Tabitha ‘ under Burgundy ‘Jane’ pinafore dress

A bonus is that the dress is just the correct length also to wear under my Burgundy pinafore dress.

Tabitha version no 4

Conclusion: A success – just what I needed!

Project no.8 completed 7th February 2023.

Eleanor Shirt by Sew Me Something

Having just made a second version of the Tamarack I decided that now was the time to try a new to me pattern.

Eleanor by Sew me Something

I was inspired by all the lovely versions of this shirt posted on Instagram. For the first ‘trial’ version I would use the remnant of Red/White gingham fabric that I had originally used for the binding on my first Tamarack jacket.

Q: How to make a complicated construction method even more difficult?

A: Use a ‘cheap’ loosely woven cotton with gingham weave, just so that it frays like ‘Billy O’ and is not ‘on grain’ so you can’t match up the checks.

As I knew that this shirt was oversized I cut the size 18 from the standard range. I am also aware that I don’t particularly like dropped shoulders but nevertheless I ignored those inner concerns – onwards and upwards!

I have made shawl-collared dresses and blouses in the past but never with the addition of a lined yoke and internal dart for shaping. Try as I might I could not decipher the written instructions so went with my gut and stitched the darts in the shirt and facing before attaching to the neckline and shoulder seams. That has worked out fine. I used the burrito method for completing the yoke and its lining – all without problems.

I inserted the sleeves flat using a French seam and having stitched the side seams also with French seam, turned up a 1½ inch hem. The hem of the shirt was narrow double turned and top stitched in place.

Having now had my final fitting I realised that the shoulder was far too dropped for my liking and the sleeves stick out like an American footballer. I will never wear this shirt. I found 5 Winter White-coloured buttons in my stash, completed the buttonholes, attached the buttons, photographed the completed shirt and ‘laid it to rest’ in the charity bag!

Eleanor in Cotton Gingham

Conclusion: For me this is an absolute fail – lesson learned! However, I do plan to hack the pattern for the collar, facings and yoke onto my standard bodice block. That way I will end up with the collar and yoke detail that I like but without the voluminous shirt, dropped shoulders and massive sleeves.

Project no 7 completed 3rd February 2023