Hello all! Tonight I’m typing from bed. It’s been an exhausting few days. Today was supposed to be completion and moving day for our new home but on Friday afternoon the plug was pulled because our buyer was suspected of money laundering. You can’t make these things up. Fast forward to today when it turned out to be a big misunderstanding but all the cancelled plans couldn’t be reinstated.
So instead I put on my new homemade Christmas pjs and jumped around on the bed! I usually wear a pair of Cath Kidston festive pyjamas this time of year but they’ve been worn to death. So let me introduce my “adventure Santa” set! (It looks like I’m about to hit the ceiling but I had good clearance haha.)
Made up of my classic duo, the Closet Core Carolyn top pattern and McCall’s 6659 (now M8056) bottoms pattern which I’ve made multiple times. There’s not much I can say other than I SQUEEZED these out of 2m. My foolproof method when I need to do this is piece the front facings together. As long as any seams avoid buttonholes they are unnoticeable.
My fabric is this charming vintage style Santa print from The Fabric Guys. It’s a brushed cotton that isn’t super soft but is well printed and warm to wear. Santa shows off how he skies, sledges, builds snowmen and let’s Rudolph in on the fun too. And as a reminder, I wear top size 6 in the shoulders graded up to 10 from the bust to the waist and then up to a 16 at the hip. Bottoms are size 14.
Sometimes you achieve pattern matching perfection like the pair of flannel Hanukkah pjs I made for a friend using the exact same sewing patterns and other fabric from the same website. My friend has similar proportions to me but is taller with a smaller bottom so only minor adjustments were needed. And she LOVED the pyjamas hahah!!
With only 2m of santa fabric I couldn’t achieve anything like this matching but I don’t mind as sometimes making the project you want it more important. The dog pjs took 4m of fabric in comparison, as you generally need 1.5m more for pattern matching and I couldn’t buy in half metres online. So I saved £13.98 on my Santa set by skipping this.
Now I’m ready for Christmas and for a new moving date. I’m hoping we can at least exchange so everything is legally binding and give my family some peace of mind for the holidays. Things are already stressful enough here with changing covid rules, loved ones being furloughed and it seems the best present I can give is avoiding people. And let’s not mention Brexit! I hope you find a way to celebrate the festive season and recharge your batteries. That’s my plan. Time for more jumping on the bed!
When I visited New York a few years back I knew I wanted to go to the garment district and was lucky enough to go with some fantastic sewists. I met up with Karen, Sonja, Charlotte and Emma Jayne! Plus Peter joined us for a little bit too which was fantastic.
We headed to Mood Fabrics first. A project runway fave. It’s pretty overwhelming as there’s several floors and bolts are stacked so high you have to either know what you’re after or rummage. Swatch is uber adorable though! You can read more about my NY trip here.
In a bid to avoid panicking I decided to look for a pretty cotton eyelet as it’s so rare in the UK. The coral that I found was both gorgeous and reasonably priced so I got 2m. Now as is always the case… I should have got more for pattern matching but I made it work. It took 6 months to find the perfect lining then a full year where I painstakingly planned and cut out the dress. Then I put on too much weight to fit into the size I’d cut.
If I didn’t make enough of a song and dance about it at the time, 2019 was the year I finally visited Paris. And I wanted to finish this dress and take it with me. I had lost a little weight and I let out the seams and just got it to fit. We had quite a nightmare second day where after no sleep the night before we had to move out of our Airbnb so it was so fun wearing this dress to make me feel better on day 3. The weather was fantastic!!
I picked the By Hand London Anna dress because of the bust pleats that come up from the waist. This eyelet was too bulky for darts and the pleats don’t interrupt the pattern too much. I hand gathered the skirt as it was too bulky to baste stitch and I’m pretty pleased with the results. To do this you pin the seams and CF/CB points, then pin the halfway points between those pins and so on until you’re only hand gathering very small sections of around 2″ and you can keep things even.View this post on Instagram
I’m VERY pleased with the pattern matching at the invisible zip. I love pattern matching and try to indulge every so often in a tricky match. Isn’t this video hypnotising!?
Here’s a brief guide for this symmetrical fabric which needs to match vertically and horizontally across an invisible zipper:First I pin the left hand side back bodice first with the CB seam allowance on the pattern piece folded under. The folded edge sits straight down the centre of the motifs.
Then I unfold the seam allowance and cut out the whole piece. See how the motif looks at the centre back below?
I then repeat for the right by laying the left cut piece on top of my fabric to find an exact matching location then line up my right hand side back bodice and move the cut left bodice out of the way.
I ensure that my folded pattern edge is again straight down the centre before unfolding the seam allowance and cutting out the right hand side bodice.
When installing the invisible zip in the centre back it can help to mark the seam allowance in water soluble pencil and baste the zip in place to achieve the perfect match. This method works for centre sewn regular zippers but you need a different method for a lapped zipper. This approach also works for printed fabrics like florals or scene prints.
I hope you liked the dress and tutorial. I’m hoping to get some wear out of it this spring and summer somehow!