Trying to write a post before the lovely weather goes away has proven a little tricky so I’m currently typing in my car before work starts! Every day I have to leave 2 hours to get to Stockport and find a parking spot but when I catch some good luck it takes an exceptional 1.5hrs and I get the sweet delight of bonus podcast listening, a breakfast snack window or typing time.
Today I’m sharing my version of Simplicity 8342. You’ve probably seen this top crop up on my social media a few times. I made it for my birthday last year and it’s a great summer item. It’s sold out on the Simplicity site but I bet you’ll find it elsewhere online. I’m wearing it here with my turquoise denim A-line skirt, made from a pattern we gave away on issue 44 of Love Sewing (also sold out, sorry!).
Simplicity kindly sent me a copy of this pattern for free when I made major googly eyes at it. It was part of the Summer Sewing Challenge where everyone could claim a free copy but as I couldn’t enter (work conflict) I was super pleased to still be allowed a copy. The top features an empire line bodice with keyhole and front ties, elastic back channel and different sleeve options. There’s a great pair of high waisted capris included for stretch fabrics and a wiggle skirt with sewn on buttons and frill hem details.
The top is super quick to put together and is a major stash buster! I used some breton striped jersey from Empress Mills that was left over from a t-shirt I made for work. It’s a rather thin viscose jersey that isn’t very stable but the stripes are great for a fun vintage pinup nautical feel.
The bow is constructed by self lining the upper bodice and then the wrong side can show as you tie the bow. The bow isn’t so narrow that it creates any bother turning things out, you just need to trim your seam allowance nicely. Don’t expect a super crisp point on your ties.
The fit for a small bust like mine is a touch roomy. Everything is secure but there’s probably more space than you actually need for an A cup. Empire lines where the seam line ends in a point can be a little tricky for some sewists I know, but this project is super simple as the keyhole means you don’t have to pivot around a point!
I’m pleased I matched the stripes down the side seams but the area I fell down on is the centre back seam… though I should have gotten rid of it really if I’d had my wits about me. My elastic channel in the upper back edge could be tighter too. Oh the failure! Don’t look at that white zipper head either please (lazy seamstresses don’t always wait for the right colour zipper to arrive).
Next time I’ll make the classic straps rather than the halter. And I’ve got a lot of jersey scraps that should be large enough! I also made a toile of the trousers but never stitched them up so need to rectify that right??
Hello everyone! I’m sharing something slightly different today. I often wonder if you’re all sick of seeing my dresses. Sometimes I even wonder if I like what I’m sewing.
Do you ever get that feeling? Where you finish a garment and you’re not sure why you actually made it… like it was all just to use the fabric up and you didn’t really learn anything or love the finished make? I’m having a bit of a wardrobe crisis as I’ve got so much fabric waiting to be sewn up that doesn’t seem to fit with the clothes I want to wear lately, but I can’t seem to get rid of it. To distract myself I’m seeing what I can use from my disgustingly huge stash to help me practice for my wedding dress.
This simple looking top was actually a really good challenge PWD – Pre-wedding dress. I wanted to ease myself back into using silk and had been hoarding this piece of Liberty silk satin for years. I used one of those amazing Liberty tokens that has the building embossed on it. Very hard to give up in all honesty.
The print is called Alice Alina C. It’s a photographic winter garden print exposed in a dark room using photo sensitive paper so the leaves and buds have a ghostly feel. The yellow heart shapes in the print are especially gorgeous.
The top is part of a bumper pattern pack from New Look. I originally picked this up to make the jacket (another thing that isn’t a dress to look forward to) but decided to try the top first instead. There are no darts, just neckline gathering as easing for the bust and you can add hem vents if desired.
I used French seams throughout, a super fine needle and cut out with my rotary cutter. I didn’t need tissue paper or gelatine or any other stabiliser which was reassuring. When making the bias I tried my best to have as few joins as possible to avoid those unsightly seam lines showing. This is super skinny 12mm bias which was then folded in half to make 6mm trim. I basted the bias in place before topstitching so I wouldn’t go totally insane.
Aren’t the little yellow leaves adorable? The colour is quite dark for me but feels very luxurious. Focussing so intently on not warping the seams, keeping the fabric on grain and not slipping around as I topstitched the bias was a really nice exercise in calm careful sewing. I’m using duchesse satin as one layer of my wedding dress so I’m definitely going to sew some more slippery silks before it’s time to start just to keep my skills in check. I think I’ll also make another top in polyester or crepe to tuck into skirts. And really, it would make a great pj top too. It’s an all round staple throw on item!
If you have any tips that might help me with my current wardrobe predicament please let me know. Part of the issue is knowing that when I start my wedding dress and potentially the bridesmaid dresses I won’t have much time to sew other things so it puts more pressure on each garment I do choose to make. To-do lists never seem to work but I did start look at each piece of fabric I have, to work out what garment it may become one day. This was an exercise to justify it staying in my stash… I got through one box. EEEK HELP ME!!
Happy heatwave everyone!
So I’m not going to inundate you with pictures of Simplicity 1606… this is my toile version of the ball gown with a fun twist. The pattern is essentially a great little princess seam sundress waiting to happen. So I simply added sundress straps and a gathered skirt to get the look!
The double straps were inspired by the Centaurée by Deer and Doe patterns. The gathered skirt is of course the Emery skirt which you know my feelings on.
Like my ball gown I added boning and an invisible zipper. The boning isn’t necessary at all when you’ve got straps but I like how it stops the bodice from creasing which is a likely occurrence in cotton.
This dress took 1.2m of 60 inch wide fabric which is incredible stash busting as it meant I could use this Alpine print poplin. I’d been searching in vain for a coordinating plain navy until I tried laying out this dress on a hunch. A perfect fit thanks to the princess seam bodice pieces!
This print features skiers, wood lodges and fir trees. It was a cheeky impulse buy from Sew Over It while I was getting the vintage shirtdress pattern a few years back. Note to Future Amy: never buy less than 2m of poplin.
These shoes are the bomb and Next have just listed some similar platforms in red too… my bank balance won’t forgive me hahaha.
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.