I’m writing this late at night as storm Ciara batters my house. The streetlamps are noisily rattling and the rain is pelting against the roof. It’s February everybody!January was pretty quiet on the sewing front as I dealt with training my replacement at work, saying goodbye to everyone and joining a totally different company. And though I found time to make a new Jennifer Lauren Handmade Mayberry dress for my leaving do, I lost my sew-jo a little by the end of the month.
Thankfully it’s just starting to come back and I’ve cut out a pair of Juno pyjamas, found supplies for my eyelet trim dress and started a new embroidery project. I even managed to slap on some make-up and take blog photos! This is my second Indigo dress by Tilly and The Buttons. I made the same view again as you can see but learning from my last version I made a couple of changes. I added back in 1cm to the centre back bodice and 0.5cm to the front.Though this fixed any tightness in my range of arm movement, the dress still has this nasty habit of riding backwards slightly, as if the shoulder and sleeve head isn’t in the right position. Something to tinker with if I make another.This stunning golden yellow fabric features blue outlined white flowers. It’s a viscose cady from Selvedge and Bolts, run by the gorgeous Dibs who I haven’t had chance to meet up with in like 7 or 8 years, crazy! But her online shop is beautifully curated with designer prints and high quality fabrics. This print is sold out but the ochre tencel twill is also a gorgeous gold colour.With fine draping fabric like viscose I appreciate having my cutting table as I can really ensure the grain is straight and the fabric doesn’t shift as I cut. The top of my table is covered in a jigsaw of cutting mats so I can use my rotary blade to work speedily.A sharp new needle was required for snag free sewing and I even managed to find four yellow spools for my overlocker to make the insides pretty! I’ve worn this dress to work a few times and I’m super excited to have a shade of yellow that suits me. I think it suits me better when my hair is out of the way as it gets stuck in the neckline sometimes heheh.Time to get back to the sewing room! But here are three more Indigo versions I love. Tiers and pretty colours from Purple Sewing Cloud, classic chambray from Patsypoo Makes, and last but not least a golden make from What Bec Sews.
Please don’t think of me as terrible birthday brat but I wanted to share details of day 3 from my long weekend of celebrations. I still have one more day to go before I head back to reality and another press day on Tuesday.
My family weren’t free to catch up until the Saturday after my birthday so we made plans to have afternoon tea at Weetwood Hall near Adel. This 17th century manor house is popular for weddings and parties and there was a wedding going on as we arrived! We sat in the indoor terrace. All the beauty of a garden area but safe from the elements!
We dined on gorgeous sandwiches (I had the veggie selection of aubergine and hummus, avocado and salsa, and cream cheese and cucumber plus a huge onion bhaji). Then there was a dessert tray of scones, treacle tart, brownies, lemon posset, candyfloss and choc ganache lollipops!! Fizz, wine and Earl Grey tea finished the table off nicely and we chatted away the afternoon.
Sometimes you need a baggy dress. When you have this much food to eat its practically mandatory!! I haven’t been fitting into my clothes very well lately so a baggy dress fits well into my life right now. I’ve been inspired by DIY Daisy’s floaty dresses which are quite straight up and down while still feeling figure flattering.
I drafted a basic bodice with grown on sleeves and removed the darts from the front and back. Then I adjusted the front to a wrap extending into the waistline (rather than the side seam) using a v neckline as a guide. It sits high on the shoulder then drops in a steep v, crossing just under the bust. The skirt is just a gathered rectangle.
The excess fabric was used to make bias tape to finish the armholes and neckline. It was an awkward assembly in that I had to bind the front up to the shoulder and leave the ends unsewn first. That meant I could construct the bodice and join to the waist then install the zip. Then finally I could bind the top of the zipper and remaining bit of neckline. Of course I used my blind hem foot to edgestitch the binding. I got impatient before adding a hook and eye at the top… a job for later.
I decided to topstitch the wrap in place as I can’t be arsed worrying about flashing people. I don’t have a lot of boob to flash but no need to take the risk. The waistline is slightly raised to help the body feel and the rayon means the dress is delightful floaty!! My favourite part of the dress is this stunning print.
Susan Driscoll designs the most gorgeous prints and I was overjoyed when she released her rayon collection ‘Soiree‘ with Dashwood Studio. I actually bought three of the designs! This print is called Fragment and it reminds me of geology and gemstones. It’s all my favourite colours in one design. It looks a little navy in my pics but is on a black base. I got this dress out of 1.5m of 45″-wide fabric by the skin of my teeth!
Do you think you can identify rayon? It’s known in the UK as viscose and is a natural fabric made of plant pulp. BUT sometimes shops just call drapey polyester ‘viscose’ which blurs the lines and sometimes it’s mixed with polyester… the same way any other fabric base can be mixed with polyester of course.
You can get rayon challis, rayon linen, and rayon jersey plus much more. 100% rayon challis is prone to shrinking, goes hard and rumpled when washed then goes back to being silky and smooth when dry. It doesn’t melt under heat or make static when you wear it. Its breathable and luxurious to wear and it’s my favourite fabric type! You need a sharp needle and sharp pins as its prone to snagging and you need a large space to work on so the fabric doesn’t slide as you work or cut out.
I hope you enjoyed this post and the details of my self drafted dress. I’m building up courage to cut into the Secret Garden print above and figure out what style to sew. If you are keen to try pattern drafting I recommend the Aldrich book series. I also attended a great evening course at Leeds Art School which taught me other methods of drafting if you don’t get on with Winnie Aldrich.
Finally thanks do much to everyone who commented on my tile dress on the blog and on Instagram. I definitely appreciate it!! Cheers to you all!
I’m writing this on Sunday, currently freaking out about my half made ballgown for The Dressmaker’s Ball. I have the pattern ready finally but as I came to cut out my fabric I realised I don’t have enough underlining fabric! How silly of me. So I had to get more yesterday and sew before next week (as I’m away from then until the ball). GULP. I’m going to make it work and Tim Gunn would be proud of me, I’m sure.
My brain is utterly frazzled by work at the minute as we have been running so many special issues and there are garments flying around everywhere and I don’t have a free weekend until late April. The glamorous world of publishing.
I really want to sit quietly and write a blog post so have forced myself to do it! This is thePoppy top from Simple Sew patterns. I got the printed version free from the cupboard at work but it was also a digital download from issue 48 of Love Sewing.
With gently fluted sleeves and neckline pleats instead of darts it’s a pretty nice top that could be made for everyday wear or a special night out.
I made the size 8 and let out the hips out to a 10 but it isn’t close fitting so didn’t need too much extra room. I should have made the 10 at the upper body I think as its a tiny bit tight.
It’s a super quick make though and the pleats are fun to make. There’s a decent size facing underneath which supports the neckline pleats well. And a cute keyhole back letting you pick a pretty button from your huge stash to use… or is that just me?
The fabric was from the 1st Sewing Weekender goodie bag! It’s aStoff & Stil viscose with little bird/boomerang shapes. Everyone got the same 1.5m piece so it’s been cool to see their makes over the years. I generally prefer brighter colours so I don’t wear this often unless it’s with a bright cardigan. Although it wasn’t my style I couldn’t seem to part with it. Glad I finally used it eh? I call the next photo “My fabric stash is THIIIIS big”.
Now it’s time to count down the days until I see my girl Marie and hang out with loads of lovely ladies at the ball!!
I might as well face it I’m addicted to camisole tops. I use the free pattern download from Love Sewing here with instructions inside issue 43. They’re super quick to sew up and they’re amazing scrap busters. I’ve made four in total so far and have plans for several more. I can squeeze one out of half a metre if I use shop bought bias tape.
I started with a toile made from a Primark bow cotton print sundress I’d long since been able to fit in. Mega cute! I made a straight M but added an inch to the length. I used flat self-fabric straps and used red bias tape inside.
Then I made my silk parrot version and added flat crossing straps at the back. It was a little short in the body as I forgot to add the extra length but looks lovely with a skirt.
This fabric is so precious to me, I got it on a fun shopping trip with Katie I have enough left for another top of some description but I can’t bring myself to make a mistake so haven’t chosen a style yet.
Next up were two viscose versions in quick succession – both with the length added back in! This swallow print version is a lovely viscose I got from Simply Fabrics Brixton at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Harrogate. I added rouleaux straps for this version and it’s such a lovely delicate touch. This may be my favourite of the versions.
Last but not least I used a remnant from Guthrie and Ghani that I picked up at Sew Brum. It’s a subtle print and there was just enough for a camisole so I treated myself! Sadly I used vintage bias binding inside and it hasn’t held up to the wash. The bias has ripped in multiple places so I’m going to have to unpick and re-stitch which is disappointing. Unpicking black on black is the worst!!
The pattern comes together pretty easily and you may actually spot this was an old Sew Loft pattern. It’s not as nice as the True Bias Ogden Cami which has a lovely facing but if I thought about it properly I’m sure I could draft a facing and change up the construction to make this my dream button loop front cami top. More sewing plans, not enough time!
Happy weekend everyone! The air is crisp and bright and there are thousands of orange leaves in my part of the world today. It feels really Autumnal outside so I’m snuggled in my sewing room, working on a few new things with a big mug of earl grey and some ginger biscuits!
And of course I have a new dress to share! When I first saw the Doris dress I thought she was a beautiful pattern but confess I was worried about whether it would suit me. I have a little pot belly which I thought would be highlighted by the panelled skirt and viscose fabric.
After finally talking myself into buying the PDF pattern, I then stitched it together digitally and used the a0 printer at work. I picked a busy and cheap fabric from my stash and hoped for the best.
This is halfway between the knee and longer length view which should be below my knee but I generally find the SOI patterns run short. There’s a button closure and side zip fastening and here I made a few changes.
Firstly I just sewed my Cath Kidston buttons on through all the layers… I don’t need the buttonholes to get it on.
Secondly I moved the ties so they extend from the side seams instead of the back. This is more visually pleasing to me but required some reordering of the construction steps to get the zipper to still work. I switched to a regular zipper to allow the tie to sit free.
It has excellent swishability and the silhouette the dress gives me is very nice. I think the print is busy enough to hide my tum, and as I keep losing weight that should improve the amount of hugging at the waist.
I made this dress while binge-watching Party Of Five and it feels unintentially 1990s. Very Jennifer Love Hewitt… who was actually my teenage years girl crush so that worked out nicely. Oh go on then. One more swish.
I’m not sure if I’ll make another but I’m pretty happy with this version. Have you tried Doris? Please link to your version in the comments as I’d love to be convinced into making Doris again.