Hello kittens! Hope you’re all hanging in there. Lots of DIY has been happening over here these last few weeks but not so much sewing. Now thankfully that’s changing and I have three sewing projects to start! Plus a few makes like this which I haven’t had chance to share. Let’s take a look at the first one.
Here is my version of 1990s New Look pattern 6976. Okay, fair warning… it’s time to call the 90s “vintage”… because the definition is over 30 years is vintage, even though the 90s feel like a blink ago. Plus if you ask me this top has the perfect mix or 90s style and 60s flair. Trends always come back around.
Here’s the twist; this is actually my toile! I made view C and cut a size 10 bodice, grading out to a 16 at the waist and hip. It turned out too boxy so I slimmed the sides back down and realised I needed to increase the length. I had some left over fabric so added a hem band for this version and increased the length on my pattern pieces ready for when I make my next one. Finally I decided the increase the shoulder strap width because they weren’t quite sleeves and not really straps. Thankfully I had even more scraps to cut new sleeves/straps out.
When I compared the before and after pictures I was pretty happy! Can you tell from my face? Oh and if you notice the short hair, it’s because I made this top in May 2020, a flipping lifetime ago when lockdown was still fairly tolerable and a vaccine was just a daydream. The blue peachskin is perfectly opaque and drapes beautifully. Plus it’s a flirty style that actually had interesting construction.
The ruching at the shoulders and back are formed by bias tape facing channels that contain stretched elastic. The front has the same bias tape channels but two thin pieces of rouleau are secured at the outer ends and fed through to the centre point where they’re tied tightly to create ruching and finish in a bow. A cute little fabric facing creates the centre front keyhole.
The elastic isn’t really holding it in place, but is more for show/creating the ruching. I’m pleased with how the toile turned out but it still rides up a little under the arms so will sort that on the next version also. The back is very wide and a possibly a bit unflattering. Of course you can’t see your own back (unless you’re super bendy), but I’d like to implement a solution to fix the awkward shape.
This pretty blue peachskin was leftovers from a Love Sewing garment from Dec 2019 and you know what… the fabric is still available! I love it when that happens. Buy yourself some from My Sewing Box. It took some fun pattern jenga to get the pieces cut out but it meant no scraps were wasted. For a stress-free sewing experience with peachskin, you just need a fresh sharp needle and remember to turn your iron down.
Now I’m ready for Spring weather, whenever it returns!
Abstract prints like terrazzo or Matisse style cutouts are having a fantastic revival. They’re so bold and imperfect and interestingly can evoke different feelings depending on the colours mixed in. After spotting a dress on Pinterest I had been searching for a great abstract floral print and sewsewsew came to the rescue.
I needed a terrazzo that wasn’t on a pale or white base as that doesn’t suit my colouring so it was really exciting to find this beautiful Gabriella Peachskin on the website which comes in grey, red, mustard or navy. Katie has a great eye for fabric so I nearly got sidetracked 10 times looking at everything that is available. I chose the red background with white, grey, mustard and black pattern. It’s like terrazzo meets flowers which is wonderful.
Peachskin is that magic combination of drapey and opaque so it’s perfect for blouses, dresses and skirts. I really wanted to make another version of my self-drafted birthday dress which features grown on cap sleeves, a faux wrap bodice and gathered skirt. I learnt pattern drafting a few years ago and it’s lovely to have it in my back pocket when I want to sew something specific.
Multi-directional prints like this are really worth their price in my mind as they open up garment layplans to be much more efficient. Even though I was kindly gifted this fabric in exchange for a review I honestly believe at £4.50 a half metre it’s a great price and definitely recommend it. It would look great in a tiered hem skirt or Cielo from Closet Case Patterns.
Peachskin does have a tendency to fray so all my seams were overlocked and the necklines and sleeves were finished with bias binding. This was cut from the same fabric and stitched before turning to the inside as a facing. I installed a red invisible zipper in the centre back and added a nice deep 1” hem to the skirt.
I love invisible zippers but know they can be tricky for people. I find it best to baste the zipper in place by hand with needle and thread at the waistline. It only has to be a couple of inches to get the intersection aligned. And I absolutely swear by my invisible zipper foot for easy first time installation. My other tips include avoiding a high iron heat so you don’t scorch the fabric and start with a new fine machine needle to avoid snagging the fabric.
The dress is boxy and breezy, perfect for the recent hot weather but would easily work with tights in winter. Peachskin doesn’t crease easily so this style is a perfect partner for the fabric and I feel relatively smart no matter how long into the day I’ve been wearing it. The sheen of the fabric and scale of the print make it a joy to wear.
I don’t like the word cheap.
It’s too hard to distinguish between using it to indicate loss cost and implying low quality these days. People say you get what you pay for but I have often found amazing quality fabric at lower prices. And worse, the same fabric for frustratingly different prices.
For instance my elephant print cotton lawn was £4.99 a metre but I’ve seen it listed for £14 a metre on other sites.
Part of me wonders if the cheaper fabric is a knock off of the more expensive. If I had only ever seen the lawn listed at £10 + I would have accepted that was its value. But maybe the seller I bought from was massively undercutting the market to secure sales?
I often project a perceived value on fabric if it feels nice or worse if the print sends my heart racing. I’ll put it up on a pedestal and have to will myself into cutting into it. But thats not to say I wouldn’t turn down fabric if the price seemed unfair. I’m still a fickle consumer, driven in some part by a sense of value: Even if the quality and longevity of my clothes is higher by making them myself I still need to justify my hobby from a price perspective.
It’s been playing on my mind though.
So what am I sharing today. A polyester dress in an amazing triangle print called constellation.
I love the colours in the print. It’s like my dream design – geometric, repeating, with coral and teal.
Here’s the kicker… The fabric was £15 a metre. With a discount code I got it for £11. Maybe you think this polyester looks worth that price? Or maybe you think polyester in any format screams cheap and nasty.
Granted, the fabric is prone to turning static and needed a fine sharp needle during construction. It’s actually slightly thinner than regular polyester, more like a peachskin weight that lifts with a slight breeze. But I still love it.
I bought it from Anna Ka Bazaar the Paris-based fabric shop last year – sadly for me, I had to buy over the Internet instead of making a trip in person. One day though.
The pattern is my one true love; a Simplicity 2444 bodice and gathered skirt. I altered the neckline and armholes to use bias binding and left the whole dress unlined. Made it super quick to sew! My overlocker kept everything tidy inside.
So there you have it! Would you ever pay £15 for polyester? Ever seen a fabric priced significantly higher or lower than you bought it for?