I have previously made up this pattern at least twice before as it is one of my trusty TNT’s. Originally published in 1998 the style is a classic, still appropriate today as a ‘buffet’ dress some 20+ years later.
I cut a size 22 of View D with the scooped round neckline with added patch pockets. I made a couple of adjustments to the pattern:- narrowed the shoulders and a sway back adjustment. The pattern is an easy sew with no darts and a gathered skirt. There will be further makes using this pattern and next time I will add a full bust adjustment dart.
I used some more Green-themed fabric for my last make in the Spring Greens 2023 collection. This fabric is Petal and Pip Rose Bouquet designed by Paula Milner, a 100% cotton purchased a couple of years ago from Hobbycraft. It is sold in packs, pre-cut to 2 metres and as I knew that I wanted to make a dress purchased 2 packs online.
There were no problems with the construction and I used a plain White cotton to line the short (almost cap) sleeves. The facings are not my favourite, I did understitch but will top stitch them in place to prevent the ‘flipping out’.
That’s the last of this year’s Spring Greens so now I will start on the ‘Summer Blooming’ collection. First up was the bucket hat to keep the sun out of my eyes! Project no 33 completed 31st May 2023.
Another great little stashbuster project from Katie at Sprat and Winkle Quilters. This takes just 2 x fat quarters and is very quick to make. I used a Blue floral print combined with a fine check fabric from my stash. I used the darker print for the inside of the brim as I felt it would be kinder to my eyes (and avoid a possible migraine from the check) but apart from that the hat is totally reversible. I plan to make another using a vinyl fabric to use as a rainhat – let’s hope I don’t need to use it for a couple of months!
Still searching for that TNT Shawl-collared blouse I next tried the McCalls 7837.
This pattern has long been in my stash and I recall that I have made it up before – but a very long time ago and the blouse itself has been lost in the mists of time.
I superimposed the collar, neckline and facing onto my personal Bodice Block and cut out from some 100% cotton print bought (also a very long time ago) from Fabricland, Salisbury branch.
Dusky Sage Green Floral printed Cotton
The Dusky Sage-coloured just about fits into my ‘Spring Greens’ capsule and will go well with the other items in this collection.
Construction was straightforward. All seam allowances were neatened with the overlocker. Because the collar and facing are cut in one piece, this makes for a speedy sew. The hem of the bodice was shaped, hems on the bodice and the sleeves were overlocked and then double turned before top stitching in place. I made 7 buttonholes and used my favourite coconut shell buttons (stitched wrong side up) also stitched on the machine. In fact, there was no hand sewing at all on this blouse!
McCalls 7837 hacked
Conclusion: I give this an 8 out of 10 as it is not yet the TNT Shawl-collared blouse I am searching for. However I will be making it again but next time with a less structured fabric such as a viscose. My only other reservation is that by using the coconut shell buttons, the blouse has a more ‘Autumnal’ feel rather than ‘Spring Greens’.
Having copied off my Shelby/Charlotte hack onto pattern paper, I used it for my second iteration. Once more with a further hack!
Shelby hacked into ‘Charlotte’
This time I made the button placket full length – through both the bodice and the skirt with no waist seam. I shaped the collar with rounded points and due to the lack of fabric, cut shortened sleeves on the cross grain.
Grace Leaf Viscose Remnant
I used Grace Leaf Viscose 2.5metre piece from Rainbow Fabrics at a cost of £12.50. I had bought it as a remnant with the intention of making a blouse to go under the ‘Jane’ Sage/spotted pinafore dress. However, with careful pattern placement I was able to get the latest Shelby/Charlotte hack from the piece although I did have to cut the shortened length sleeves on the cross grain.
I started the construction with the sleeves, the hems were cut on the selvedge so I simply turned up 1 cm and topstitched in place. I constructed the tie belts on the overlocker and used my ‘wonder turning tool’ to get them right sides out. The ties were basted to the centre back panel.
Then I moved on to the collar. I added some narrow gathered Broderie Anglaise trim in Cream colour that I had found in my stash to the outer edge of the rounded collar. I had to add the centre back panel to the front at the shoulders so that I could complete the collar and placket construction. I then completed the construction of all the panels and neatened with the overlocker. I hemmed using my TNT method of overlocking then double turning a ¼ inch and top stitching in place.
With the fitting completed I stitched 14 buttons through all the layers of the placket as once again I can get the dress on over my head. No need for all those pesky buttonholes! The sleeves were inserted and the seams neatened.
Shelby/Charlotte hack no 2
Conclusion: I am delighted with the completed dress, only small niggle is that the sleeves are a little too wide in relation to their length. Still the dress is most comfortable and will be perfect for the coming Spring and Summer.
I am still searching for the ultimate shawl collared blouse and so recently purchased this pattern. I had some pretty ‘Peach’ crinkle dobby fabric that I thought would coordinate well with the Sage spotted pinafore dress.
Ignoring the measurements chart I cut a size 20 across the shoulders, neckline and collar grading to a 22 over the waist and hips. I would make the ‘boxy’ version without the body fish-eye darts. What I should have borne in mind was that the crinkle fabric stretches and therefore the garment would ‘grow’ when ironed but more of that later.
Cutting out took just 1.6M x 130 cms wide fabric and I was able to include the long sleeve into a cuff. As this would be my ‘wearable toile’ I used the overlocker to finish the seams. Also as this was a new pattern for me I followed all the instructions to the letter.
When constructing the blouse I found that all the notches matched up which was quite something on this very mobile fabric! However, I found the drafting and construction of the collar overly complicated and the end result is very narrow in the back collar.
At the fitting stage I found that the shoulders were (once again) far too wide, the bust dart was too low (makes a change!) and the sleeves were about 2 inches too long.
To resolve the shoulder and sleeve length issues I re-stitched the sleeve insertion by sewing the top of the sleeves at least 1½ inches away from the cut edge. This also solved the problem of sleeves being too long as it took up some of the excess length. I did like the cuff construction although they are a little too big for my preference. I have adjusted the pattern in the shoulders and also taken 2 inches off the length of the cuff. With regard the overall excess of fabric in the body, I made the blouse double breasted. As I could still put the blouse on over my head I stitched the 10 buttons straight through all layers and did not go to the effort of making buttonholes that would never be used. I had been unable to find any colour coordinating buttons and therefore used 10 shell buttons from my recent bulk buy of 15mm buttons.
Lilian Blouse in Crinkle Dobby Viscose
Lilian and Jane
Conclusion: I can’t say that I am particularly pleased with the final result. It will probably end up in the charity bag but at least I have learned quite a few lessons while constructing this blouse. The colour of the fabric does indeed coordinate well with the Sage Green so that is something to bear in mind when thinking about fabric colour for another blouse or shirt to wear with the pinafore dress.
The first ‘wearable toile’ of the Shelby needed quite a lot of ‘finessing’ to get it to fit.
Original Shelby dress line drawing
For this version I decided to ‘hack’ it! I copied my TNT basic darted bodice and converted to a shoulder princess style. I placed that over the original Shelby panels and then just to make sure it was nothing like the original, hacked on the collar and front button placket from the Pattern Emporium Easy Fit shirt/Take the Chance dress.
My hacked versionSide Front panel
Side Back Panel
I used 3 metres of a ditsy floral printed viscose from Rainbow Fabrics. This fabric has a fantastic drape and will be lovely to wear in late Spring and Summer – provided the alterations work!
I placed the yoke and back bodice over the appropriate Shelby pattern pieces and cut around them.
Back neckline adapted ready for the collar
Front yoke adaptation for collar
I cut the centre front panel ‘around about’ the waist line so that the button placket only goes to that point. The remainder of the centre panel could have been cut on the fold but I did not think of that until later!
Centre Front Panel cut for new waistline seam– space for the seam allowances
My ‘Charlotte‘ dress design
With fabric this fine I would normally prefer to use French seams but as this is very much a toile, I made full use of the overlocker.
I started the construction with the sleeves, the hems were overlocked, double turned and top stitched in place with White thread. I constructed the tie belts on the overlocker and used my ‘wonder turning tool’ to get them right sides out.
Turn It All – wonder gadget for narrow ties
The ties were basted to the centre back panel. Then I moved on to the collar. I had to add the centre back panel and side back panels to the front at the shoulders so that I could complete the collar and placket construction. The shoulder seam was neatened with overlocking but only part sewn as I need to check the width of the shoulders before finishing the panel seams.
Having completed the collar and placket I then had my first fitting. All looking good except that the shoulders were going to be about 2 inches too wide. I took in the excess on the panel seams, grading back to the original seamline at the ‘bust’ notch.
I made 5 buttonholes and by way of a change from shell buttons, this time I used some self-covered buttons in White that look just like Mint Imperial sweets!
Now I finished sewing together the side front, side back panels and side seams so that I could insert the sleeves. Once that was done I finished off the hem with overlocking before double turn and top stitching in place. A quick final press and the dress was complete.
My new ‘Charlotte’ dress
Conclusion: I am delighted with the completed dress and will now copy out a ‘perfect’ pattern onto clean white paper. I can’t wait to make another dress in this style and will call it the ‘Charlotte’ as by now it has very little similarity to the Shelby!
The first iteration of the Pattern Emporium All in Easy Fit Shirt was such a success that I immediately cut out another using this charming quilting weight cotton print bought from the Sew Hot pop-up shop at a bag-making retreat last October.
The design of the fabric is Midnight in the Garden by Sweetfire Road for moda #43122 and features all sorts of motifs associated with gardens. As I intend to wear this shirt when gardening it was too good an association to miss.
Cutting out took just 1.7M x 108cms wide fabric. I cut the shirt to a size 18 at the neck and yoke, grading out to a 20 from under the arms to the hem. As the fabric is quite structured I would use the overlocker to finish the seams rather than French seams which would be too bulky.
Construction was plain sailing as this fabric stitches and presses well. Rather than the box pleat, my preferred method is to gather the excess fabric across the width of the back yoke. I added a burrito yoke which was then topstitched. The hem on the sleeves was turned under by ¾ inch and top stitched in White thread. In order to avoid extra bulk at the hem on the button placket, I first stitched right sides together across the bottom before turning right sides out and completing the hem with a double turn and top stitching. I made 7 buttonholes, starting parallel to the apex of my bust and then spacing about 3inches apart above and below. I then used 17mm shell buttons from my bulk buy from eBay.
Conclusion: I am pleased with the way that I finished the hem of the button placket and delighted with the completed shirt. I will be using this pattern for my White Viscose Linen. Next time I make the shirt I will add some extra length to the front for a large bust but apart from that no other alterations.
I have had this remnant length of fine viscose in my stash since I bought it from Fabricland, Bournemouth in February last year. As there was a bare 1.7 metres of 130 cms wide and I would not be able to buy anymore of this particular print, I wanted to be sure which pattern I made up. After a great deal of procrastination I finally settled on my TNT blouse pattern which is a hack (yoke removed, fullness converted to a bust dart, shirt tail hem shaping) from Style 1441 from the 1980’s that I have made so many times I have lost count.
Vintage pattern – Style 1441 from the 1980’s
Provided I cut the back bodice at the selvedge rather than on the fold, I had just enough to make the long sleeved version with my own drafted deep double-buttoned cuffs.
Working with this fabric was akin to dealing with silk crepe de chine. It was very, very fluid and frayed as soon as you looked at it. Thus all seams were French seamed and the edges of the facing double turned and hemmed. I used fusible interfacing on the collar, facings and cuffs. Once again the shell/mother of pearl buttons were selected for the 5 buttonholes on the front bodice and two on each deep cuff. The shaped hem was first overlocked before double turning 1/4 inch and top stitching in place.
As I wanted the colour and print to be the star of this project I have not top stitched the collar, facing or cuffs.
Conclusion: After just two sessions of concentrated sewing the blouse is finished and I am delighted with the result. The fabric is so soft and has a beautiful drape. It will coordinate with the Sage Green/Ivory spot ‘Jane’ pinafore dress and also look good over trousers as a blouse or over a camisole top as a light jacket.
I have made the Aria shirt by Love Notions twice before. The first was a trial version for me and the second a trial version for my husband! The latter was not a great success for him but I wear the shirt with my dungarees when gardening!
Having a quick rummage through my fabrics I came across this pretty cotton poplin (ex Rainbow Fabrics) remnant and thought I would have another go with the Aria. I had only 1.10 metres x 150 cms but by judicious pattern layout and the use of a contrast for the inside yoke and undercollar I was able to cut out a size 2X with full bust and short sleeves with cuffs. The only alteration to the pattern was to shorten the length of the body (and button placket) by 1 inch.
It was only as I was preparing to stitch the button placket that I discovered a tiny scissor snip in the left front bodice. I appliqued and satin stitched a patch and hope that it is not too noticeable.
I chose my favourite Mother of Pearl buttons for the closure. I made 7 buttonholes. As I will never wear the shirt fully buttoned up I cut open only the bottom 5.
Neapolitan Aria (version 3)
Conclusion: I am pleased with the end result but there are a couple of changes to be made for the next iteration which I had identified last time and forgot to address. The shoulder width needs to be reduced by ½ inch. I need to lengthen the centre front of the bodice by at least 1 inch and grade to 0 at the side seams. As I did not like the box pleat last time, for this iteration I have gathered in the fullness across the back bodice and I much prefer this look. Due to the colour and pattern of the fabric my husband calls this my Neapolitan Aria.
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.