I’ve been chained to my sewing room table for days but instead of sewing for myself I’m still chugging away on my best friend’s wedding dress. It’s nearly ready but the hours of hand sewing are still etched in my memory. Only a few weeks to go!
In the mean time I’m happy to share this cheeky dress. Originally sewn in 2016 I made this dress rather big so during last year’s Sewing Weekender I took it in all over. It’s taken me a year to blog it but it’s so much fun to wear.
The dress is a Threadcount pattern that appeared on Sewing Made Simple magazine a couple of year’s back with sweetheart neckline, gathered skirt and optional cap sleeves. The dress comes together a little oddly with grown on facings at the sides of the neckline and a facing piece attached to the centre neckline. It looks neat inside but was a funny way to put things together. It was a head scratcher for how to overlock neatly so I just finish each edge individually.
I made the XS but there is a lot of ease so I had to grade down by guess work to fit a 36A” bust. I took in a bit at the sides, a lot at the princess seams and some at the centre back. Remember I’m a 32″ waist so for me to be reducing an XS it’s definitely got some ease involved. The pattern has gathering only at the centre front of the skirt but I think that would make the wearer look portly adding bulk at a commonly rounded area on most ladies! As you can see I spread the gathers evenly.
My fabric is the real star of the piece. At first glance this pretty blue stretch denim looks like a simple abstract floral print but as you look closer you see charming cat faces!! Secret cats hiding amongst the flowers!! It’s the perfect mix of shades of blue too. Eeek.
This medium-weight denim was nestled in a bargain bin at Abakhan and there was a large piece I split with my boss who is a fellow cat lady. This meant it was priced by it’s weight and a total bargain. For an unlined dress is just passable but I had to reduce a lot of bulk from the waist seam to help ease the zipper area.
Happy heatwave everyone! This glorious arrival of the sun has boosted my spirits like you wouldn’t believe. Work is unbelievably manic, the wedding admin is piling up and I haven’t been sleeping well at all. What’s keeping me going is that bolt of vitamin D, a daily zma tablet and some therapeutic sewing when I can… plus oreo cookies. Something else that’s pretty cool is we’ve set up a craft club at the office, where every Wednesday we take our various crafts into the boardroom and chat and work away creatively as a group. Each magazine produced by the company is run by a crafter so we all look for opportunities to work on projects and share our knowledge with other people. I’ve played with macrame, failed at crochet and knitted most of a snuggly blanket. I generally do embroidery on my lunchtime and then help with other people’s dressmaking queries but with the big boardroom table doubling as a cutting table I was able to prep most of this project in a week of lunches.
Now the one thing I never thought I’d make is dungarees. I got pretty tempted last year by a skinny jeans version in H&M but when I tried them on in the shops they gave me ginormous love handles due to the cut of the waist and I got scared again. Then we decided to run M7547 as one of the free patterns on Love Sewing 53 I thought I better suck it up and give them a go. I was convinced by the fact that I am forever in love with my high-waisted jeans and this pattern features a high-waist style. I’m only 5ft 4 and I think the high waist makes me look waaay taller than that. I could hear you thinking – Wow Amy looks as tall as Rachel Pinheiro – but it’s all a trick of the eye!
These McCall’s dungarees are super quick to make because there’s no fly front zipper which are great to make but not as speedy as a good old lapped side zipper. You do need to do a bit of topstitching but if you do this in the same colour thread you don’t have to swap over your machine and can stay on track. The directions don’t include how to finish your seams so thinking ahead and jumping onto your overlocker is necessary which does take you out of the flow. As is normal for me, I pinned everything I possibly could then did a mass sewing session, then repeated this until they were done.
I made a straight size 12 of the skinny jean version but could do with a smidge more length in the upper body and a smidge less width and length in the legs. The shoulder straps are very short if you ask me and it would be best to extend them a good inch then cut off any excess once you’ve tried the assembled dungarees on. I omitted the pockets due to lack of denim too.
My brace kit was from Minerva Crafts (salvaged from a disastrous dungaree dress that never got blogged) and I have a thousand jeans buttons in my sewing room so found some that matched. This dark indigo denim was actually from the Abakhan remnant’s bin and has a slight flaw which I placed at the ankle level on the back so it was even less noticeable. It has great stretch recovery and has held it’s colour during several washes but it could be a bit less stretchy and it attracts fluff LIKE CRAZY! So infuriating. You can’t see the fluff in the main photos but check out the close up back shot; It’s there mocking me.
Kerry said I had a Rosie the Riveter vibe going on which is mega fun! We played it up on set haha. Her floral sateen version is amazing, go check out the review (I think she’s posting it today or tomorrow!). I used a frilly sleeved version of New Look 6808 to balance out my top and wore my red loafers. The lack of pockets sort of makes my crotch area look HUGE which is endlessly cringeworthy in photos but you forget when you’re wearing them… until I try and put my phone in the back pocket! Ho ho I made you look at my crotch, you filthy scoundrel!!
I’m definitely going to use this pattern to make a pair of skinny jeans as I really enjoyed making my last pair of jeans but got fatigue by the end and these felt much quicker. I also have a copy of the new Megan Nielsen Ash jeans which look great so will also make those later this year. First though I need to find some great quality denim! Katie is a wonderful source of inspiration in this respect but please send me details of high quality stretch denim suitable for jeans!! I saw some lovely stuff on Fabric Godmother and Guthrie & Ghani but would love to hear your thoughts. Hit me up with suggestions in the comments!
Hello ladies and gents! Hope you’ve been having a good spell since I last blogged. It’s been fun watching how much sewing time everyone had during the snow storms. That was certainly how I was keeping myself sane! My area of Leeds gets a lot of snow because it’s really high and flat so driving is out, walking anywhere is out, letting the cat out the house is out, basically unless you have ice skates or a snow plough, stay in the house.
So I stayed in and whizzed up some sundresses for my honeymoon, worked on my wedding dress toile(s) and did some embroidery. Thanks to my humungous backlog of finished projects and speedy sewing skills there are still plenty of garments to share on the blog.
Today I thought I’d show you the speediest t-shirt on planet earth… McCall’s 7322. This was a double stuffed pattern I stole from the office (is it stealing if it’s from your own magazine?) that we ran on issue 46 last Christmas. I ended up sewing the size 8-10 with no changes. Normally I’d have to grade to a 12 at the hips but as the pattern works for wovens too there is a good bit of ease built in. If you want to make a close tshirt, definitely go down a size. This is view F which has a boat neckline and 3/4 length sleeves.
In true bargain hunter style I found my fabric in the remnant bin of Abakhan fabrics. It was a knock off Art Gallery Fabrics print I think but I can’t work out the original design name. Please do comment if you know it! It’s a good quality jersey, e.g. the print is crisp, the base doesn’t show through, the recovery is nice and it hasn’t gone bobbly yet. These are all excellent bonus qualities considering I was taking my chances in the mystery metal bins in shop. I think this came to £4 or similar which is a steal.
Now I know I’m not really a t-shirt kind of girl but these are COLD TIMES people. Desperate measures are needed. Although I’ve found I don’t like how it looks with my cardigans so that’s a slight problem. The sleeves are cute though. I like how wide they are which feels balanced with the wider boat neck. The colour is super bright and makes me especially happy when I wear it with my orangey red loafers and this coat! My twin needle top-stitching turned out pretty good and with the help of my new overlocker it only took an hour to make in total!
In other news I’m totally loving Stitcher’s Brew, the new podcast from Gabby and Megan! I like listening to crafty podcasts like Clothes Making Mavens and Love To Sew as well as endless amounts of other podcasts on my drive to work. It’s a nice way to bring my craft in the car with me! Check it out and let me know what you think.
A bit later than planned I wanted to share some pics from The Dressmaker’s Ball!
In case you missed it this was the event that took place on May 14th at Leicester’s City Rooms. Organised by the fab team at Crafty Sew and Sew we were treated to an evening of dinner and dancing. It was fab!! Here’s me and Sarah, one half of the organising team.
We had a complimentary drink in arrival, access to a glittery photo booth, buffet dinner and live music from Gabby Young. I had the honour of being part of the judging panel for the optional competition. I was joined by Elisalex, Marie, Elle and Becky on the panel. It was incredibly hard picking winners from all the amazing garments on display. I loved how everyone dressed to the nines for the night.
I wore a version of Simplicity 1606, an amazing fit pattern I picked up last year. Its a great little versatile pattern and I’ve already made a hundred from it since the ball.
My fabric was a medium-weight polyester satin in a sort of crystallized print from Abakhan Moyston. 3m came to about £20 but with a 15% off voucher this dress pretty much came to £17!
Of couse I added pockets. I used a concealed zip and boning from my stash. Plus grosgrain ribbon I had as a waist stay.
The fit was near perfect I think but I should have added more boning to stop the bodice sagging I think. The waist stay keeps it in place but it’s not as rigid as it could be.
I actually hid my waist stay inside the garment, having it emerge through buttonholes added to the lining before construction. To finish I hand sewed hot pink braid to the circle skirt to keep the drama and added a petticoat for extra floofiness.
It was such a lovely night and I got to chat to so many sewists! Gabby entertained us with her gorgeous vocals and Marie was an excellent hostess! (I even got to meet Charlotte and the bunnies).
I’ll leave you with a few more pics of the evening to enjoy. Maybe I’ll see you there if it’s repeated next year? Thanks so much to Freya and Sarah for xreati g this wonderful event.
Hope you’re all having a fab weekend. I’ve been poorly but thankfully starting to feel better, even if I’m still struggling to speak. My throat is burning but that won’t stop me sharing a new dress with you!
So yesterday I made the Megan dress from Tilly’s book Love At First Stitch. It’s not really my normal silhouette but I really wanted to try it!
It came together really quickly but I should have made more adjustments. I cut a 4 with a 6 from the bum downwards. I moved the bust darts and lengthen the waist tucks. Then I had to adjust the armhole and sleeve cap to reduce fullness. This dress totally needs a sway back adjustment I think. Let’s face it, It’s not great on me. I don’t care though since I didn’t spend much time working on fit.
Close fitting skirts aren’t really the most flattering on my unique derriere. I have a very round tummy with a flat hip, curvy butt and wider thigh. That means if skirts like this fit on my thighs they leave a sallow spot around my hips. The flowy fabrics helps minimise that in person but you can see it on the pictures. Here you can see the sway back issue.
The fabric is a poly twill from Abakhan. I really like the print because it gives me an Orla Kiely vibe. One downside was it was near impossible to pattern match. I gave it a fair shot but I’m not losing sleep over any off bit. Especially since I won’t wear it often.
I replaced the neck facing with bias binding, then adding bias binding to the hem and sleeve hems. I watched An Education while handsewing the bias in place. 60s flick for a 60s frock.
Quote from the boyfriend: “I like it, it’s sort of smart. Like workplace smart”.
I can work with that.