I was really pleased with the Viscose Linen fabric used on the Black ‘Jane’ I made last month. When I saw the same substrate but in a Light Green with Polka dots on the Rainbow Fabrics site, I immediately ordered the 4m remnant. This ‘Jane’ will be the core of my Spring capsule. I will wear it with different tops and also over some of my Spring/Summer dresses.
As usual I cut out the pattern with the fabric folded right sides together and unfortunately this meant that I did not see the fault lines on the front bodice and side bodice panels. These were then set aside to use as lining and those pieces re-cut so that I could ensure no faults were apparent.
Again I cut the skirt as 2 width of the fabric x 32 inches long. Having stitched the two panels together I decided that was too much fullness for the skirt so removed a total of 30 inches width from the centre back. That has still left a generous amount for gathering the skirt. I will still have just enough of this fabric left over to make a Summer top. I used a remnant of viscose crepe print for the centre back lining panel and also to bind the hem and facing edges.
Construction was plain sailing and I made 14 buttonholes down the front of the pinafore dress. I used 15mm shell buttons for the front fastening and later added a button to the top of each of the patch pockets to prevent gaping. NB The excellent pattern matching of the pockets!
Conclusion: Blouses, fine polo neck tops and dresses all fit under the pinafore beautifully. Next project is yet another ‘Tabitha’ dress in the Viscose Crepe used for the lining.
I have had the Shelby dress pattern by True Bias for quite a long time but it was only after seeing the 6 versions made by Andie of So Andie Sews on her vlog that I decided to get on and make my own version. The pattern is very reminiscent of the ‘grunge-style’ dresses that I used to love in the 1990’s. It is described as a princess-seamed dress or romper with four views. Each has a V-shaped neckline, front button opening, and back waist tie. There are two different lengths in each style.
I knew that the dress at long (but not quite maxi) length would be ‘fabric-hungry’ and therefore ordered 5 metres of viscose from Rainbow Fabrics (I had misread the fabric requirements on the instructions!). The fabric arrived and was duly laundered.
Back to the pattern information – using my measurements I printed off View A in the ‘D’ cup in sizes 20-24. I then graded from a 20 at the shoulders to a 24 at the bust, waist and hips. Having checked the length of my other dresses, I shortened the above waist length of the bodice by 2 inches and ended up with a the total back length 45 inches inclusive of seam and hem allowances. I did not reduce any of the amount of flare at the hemline. I also downloaded the free puff sleeve hack and printed it off.
As the roses print was not a one-way design I was able to nest the pattern pieces and therefore used only 3 metres leaving the remnant 2 metres to be made up into a blouse at a later date.
As this was to be a wearable toile, I first basted the main panel seams and inserted the narrow tie belt into the back panels before having the first fitting. Wow! This dress was so big it was like a little girl wearing her granny’s dress! The shoulders were so wide that they needed to be reduced by at least 1½ inches and the overall fit of the dress could easily be taken in by around 4 inches all around. I duly reduced the width of the shoulders by taking out equal amounts from the panel seams before grading away 1 inch at each princess seam at the bust and waist before grading back to the size 24 hips. Second fitting – so much better! I then stitched and overlocked the seam allowances before adding the front and neck facings. I inserted the puff sleeves and used 15 inches of ¼ inch elastic tied in a knot. That allows for a snug but not too tight fit.
I finished off by overlocking and double turning a narrow hem. I ignored the pattern piece for button placement. I was delighted to find that I could get the dress on and off without undoing the fastenings. I stitched 9 buttons 2¾ inches apart through all layers. I had originally planned to use the Red sparkly buttons but found they competed with the Red of the roses, so back to Black!
Conclusion: Although I was very disappointed at the first fitting stage this was very soon forgotten as I am now delighted with the dress. I have altered the pattern and there will be many more of this style with variations of the sleeves. The only other change will be to stitch the buttons a little closer together as there is some slight gaping between buttons 2, 3 and 4.
A long time ago I purchased this pattern as a pdf from Sensibility.com who have several modern interpretations of Regency-style patterns. After several failed attempts to get the document to print, I abandoned the project and went other garments. Forward a couple of years and with more experience of using pdfs under my belt I revisited this pattern. Aha! To have the pattern printed to size one has to make adjustments to the settings – select ‘Poster’ and all will be resolved!
In the notes accompanying the pattern, the designer admits that whilst the pattern was created as a companion to the Romantic Era Dress, it is not period authentic. The first idea came from viewing a dramatisation of “Wives and Daughters” on TV.
The blouse is very versatile. It can be made with or without the shaping tucks, short or long sleeves, with or without trimming to the collar. There is a good range of sizes, from 6 – 24 and I chose to make the largest size. I shortened the sleeves by 3 cms and extended the length of the cuffs by 1 cm (next time they need to be at least 3 cms longer to provide a good overlap).
For this wearable toile I used some of a length of viscose bought from Minerva which although it was lightweight with good drape, was difficult to control and caused a few headaches where precision was required e.g. the collar. The sleeves themselves are lovely and full with gathers at both the sleeve heads and into the narrow single button cuffs.
The pattern itself was hand drawn and this maybe from where some of the problems originated. The illustrations in the instructions were also hand drawn. I started by following the pattern but soon realised it would be better to use my TNT methods for this type of collar construction.
As it was, the mobility of the fabric combined with less than precise drafting and fabric cutting out made that part of the construction a bit of a ‘fudge’. I will know better next time.
The fit is OK but not especially roomy. The length is also longer than I was expecting and I therefore added 6 plain Black buttons to the front closure.
Conclusion: I especially like the collar and blouse works well with a soft fabric but needs to be cut and sewn with precision. I am unsure about the colour and print of the fabric used although it does look good under both my Burgundy Brushed cotton and the recently-made Black viscose linen pinafore dresses.
‘Tabitha’ dress no.6 was inspired by Whitney of Tomkat Stitchery ack in December 2022 I bought 3 metres of this patchwork printed viscose crepe from Rainbow Fabrics for the grand sum of £29.97. This is yet another BOLD print to go with my mini collection of Black, Red and White. This version has short sleeves and a three-tiered gathered skirt. I was able to complete 5 buttonholes (without problems this time!) and used some of the sparkly Red buttons that I bought from Amazon.
There are concealed pockets in the side seams. The bodice seams are finished as French seams. Due to the bulk of the gathering, the seams for the three tiers of the skirt are overlocked. The skirt hem length is just shy of 30 inches so fits neatly under the Black linen viscose pinafore dress.
Conclusion: I am once again pleased with the dress and in addition to wearing under the pinafore dress, it also looks good with my Red Lisa Comfort cropped ¾ sleeve cardigan. The Tabitha dress is my ‘hack’ of the Take a Chance dress and is an all-time favourite pattern but as this is the sixth version of this pattern, I will be trying something new for my next project.
Back in March of 2022 I was seduced by the print on this polyester suiting fabric from Minerva and ordered sufficient to make a Sorrento jacket by Sew Over It. At the same time I ordered some spot printed satin to make a lining as per the instructions by Sian of Kittenish Behaviour. Total cost inclusive of post and packing was around £25.
I have made two versions of the Sorrento before so am familiar with the construction and have refined the fit to suit me best. Alterations to the pattern based on findings of the toile version were to reduce the length of bodice by 1 inch and reduce length of sleeves by 1½ inches. I think that maybe I shall add ½ inch back to the length of the sleeves but otherwise the fit based on a 20 at shoulders grading back to a 22 at the waistband is fine.
Once I had cut out the pattern pieces from the Oriental print polyester suiting I found that it was rather lightweight. I interlined each piece with some lightweight fusible interfacing bought from Maggie Stewart on eBay. I also fused interfacing to the satin lining fabric of the undercollar, pocket bags, pocket flaps and bias continuous strips for the sleeve plackets. Both fabrics were inclined to fray so the outer was double top stitched on all seams and the satin lining seam allowances were trimmed with pinking shears.
As the print is so busy I completed the top stitching using the standard weight Black thread, stitch length 3.0mm. There are over 100 steps to constructing this jacket not including the additional steps involved for the lining. Although I prepared the button tabs ready for attaching to the hem band, I have not added them as I feel that there is already quite enough pattern! I used more of the Black buttons from my bulk purchase – they are working out to be a really good buy!
I last made a lined Sorrento jacket at the Sewcial Retreat run by Purple Stitches in March 2022. I may be starting a tradition of making a Sorrento in March each year. This pattern is particularly well drafted. All the notches line up and using a 1cm seam allowance means that the pattern goes together really well.
It has taken roughly 8 hours to complete the jacket – so I am getting quicker at making this great garment. It has been a joy to sew this latest version and I look forward to really standing out in the crowd when I wear this BOLD jacket!