A successful Frankendress

This dress came after much contemplation about which pattern I could use for a heavily patterned jersey.

I didn’t want a pattern with too many darts or princess seams and I was struggling to find the right pattern in my stash but I also wasn’t sure enough of what I wanted to look for a new one. So I decided to take my old faithful New Look 6483 one hour top pattern,  which I use all the time.  I cut view C,  which has an high neck and sleeves,  which I made slightly longer. I measured an inch below the waist line marked on the patterned and cut along that.

Next I took New Look 6723 which I have made previously here and used the skirt pieces for the bottom half of the dress. With it being a jersey I knew I wasn’t going to insert a zip so I cut both pieces on the fold, being careful to try and keep the pattern vertical throughout.

The Plan

I made the top half up as usual but tried my hand at my first jersey neckline, which I am rather pleased with.

I then used Suzie,  my dressmaker dummy,  to play around with fitting the skirt. The original pattern uses gathers but I thought that would go against the pattern of the fabric, so I pinned some pleats either side of the centre line at the front and the back,  slept on it and then went for it. It was so great to have the dressmaking dummy to do this on.

I think it gives it shape without spoiling the pattern. I tried to keep the line of the ‘Trellis’ going throughout and have managed it quite well I feel. The fabric doesn’t have a great deal of stretch so it was quite easy to work with.

I think this dress really shows how I have improved because the last frankendress I did was pretty unsuccessful and not very well pattern matched at all. I think I’m finally getting a feel for how fabrics should look when sewn. Hooray!

I have had this hung for a few months, waiting for spring and so last weekend I cracked it out for the Sewing for Pleasure show which I won tickets too! I’ve blogged about my haul here if you want to see some lovely fabrics!

I teamed it with tights (it’s not that much like spring yet) my tan waist belt and Brogues and a black cardi. I loved the show and I think it’s the perfect back drop for my dress!

Me Made Northumberland 

In a similar way to my me made Dublin post last year I wanted to summarise my me – made holidays. I have not made anywhere near enough clothes to wear me made everyday yet (sad face) but I try to plan a wardrobe which is me-made everyday for my holidays because it gives me an aim and a deadline and it made me feel good on my holidays. 

Any excuse to show the gorgeous Bamburgh Castle!

So, we were, as always,  in beautiful Northumberland staying in the cutest little cottage for 2 called Rose cottage just outside Bamburgh. 

The first day,  Sunday was a proper chilled day for us,  so it called for a sloppy jumper and jeans which were all RTW I’m afraid..  I did however make full use of my cute little sunglasses case in the winter sun. It’s just a rectangle lined in red and folded in half with some wadding between and a little tab. The fabric was a fat quarter from a bundle from hobby craft

Monday we drove inland and visited a vintage and fabric shop,  called Village Tea Rooms and Emporium. I love it so much that I wrote a blog post all about it.  We came across it a few years a go before I knew much about fabric… I was desperate to go back now I knew what I was looking at and it seemed fitting that I wore my Vintage 1970s Maudella Dress

It’s a lovely journey in land and we tried to get some nice bloggy pictures on a gorgeous bridge we passed but this is the best we could do…  It was a little breezy! 

I bought SO MUCH fabric! The lovely Beryl who owns it, was so chatty and just wanted to talk about where all the fabric had come from. There were so many pieces a at £1 each so I went a little crazy (think supermarket sweep!)

I was informed that the grey is ex-designer and it’s such a great quality fabric. I can’t wait to get stitching up. 

You may find me sad but I took my machine with us,  I had to get sewing for the Moneta Party and it relaxes me so why not take it on holiday! I took 2 Monetas because they need minimum pressing.  I cut them and labelled them before we came so I could just enjoy some sewing. Bliss. I used little white sticky notes to label the pieces and I’m thinking I will do this again as it made it so much easier! 

Tuesday was time to show off my Moneta,  this is probably my most favourite dress I’ve ever made. I’ve blogged about it here so click for more pictures. 

We spent the day pottering around the coast,  mainly Seahouses. I had Kyle take lots of pictures of my lovely new dress and we pottered around having a lovely time. The fabric is a gorgeous Galaxy Print jersey from Fabric Styles

Wednesday I wore my new Yellow Needlecord Skirt which was make using Simplicity 6346. I really love this nice bright skirt. I wore it on a trip over the hills and in the countryside. It was a bit nippy but this kept me looking bright and cheerful. 

I’ve blogged about this and how I based it on a designer skirt,  if you’d like to see more windy pictures click here. 

Thursday was Storm Doris day so we had a quick trip out to Barter Books to get reading materials and picked up some supplies and then returned to the cottage and battened down the hatches. 

I picked up this copy of Twinkle Sews by Wenlan Chia, who has a designer clothing company in New York. It was second hand so it cost me £5 but you can get it on Amazon, it’s got some really inspiration pictures and comes with a CD with PDF patterns on it. I’m going to try something from it soon, there’s a pretty cool sweatshirt in there. Anyway,  that was me entertained during the storm!. 

Friday we had a cup of tea and a walk round Bamburgh and the beach. I wore my second moneta, which is how I think of her sadly, as I don’t think she is as good as my Galaxy Print one. She has made an appearance on my Moneta blog post though. 

Saturday was going home day, so donning my Hogwarts Hoodie we came home… I’ve had a great week though. 

We were straight back into work on Monday so there’s not been much sewing for me, sadly but weekend’s a-coming and it’s set to be a chilly one so we can all guess what I’ll be doing!! 

Christmas Par-Tea Dress

So, this is my second blog in 2 days because I got published in Sew Magazine! I’m so excited! It’s a bookazine called Sew Style: Stitch Your Size and comes with 3 Butterick Patterns.

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So Exciting!

Anyway, today’s blog offering is the Simple Sew English Tea Dress. I wanted a black dress for the Christmas Party, which I could customise and make nice and Christmassy with this beautiful gold trim  – note, I can’t actually go to my Christmas Party so I actually joined my sister-in-laws!

I bought a lovely, drapey black viscose dress fabric from the local market and 2 metres of it just covered this dress (luckily I wanted to have a go at the little fluttery sleeves that are featured anyway!).
The pattern came together quite quicky, there’s darts in both the front and the back pieces which gives it a really nice shape. I stuck with the facings for this and soon remembered why I usually avoid them. They just don’t sit right… As this was my Christmas dress I used gold ribbon as a binding on the facings before sewing them in place. As usual, they were far too eager to pop out so I settled for some tacking stitches at my shoulders and moved on.

I thought that would be my mission complete,  however it was too tight on the chest… Not unheard of, sadly. So in my determination, I opened up the side seams and inserted a triangular panel at both sides to give me a bit more room. This makes the shape of the sleeves look a little more wide but I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

I had left the dress very last minute, I’ve had it cut out for ages but the party date just crept up on me! Anyway, because I was rushing slightly, I didn’t have a long zip so I had to use a 9 inch one… luckily I had cut the back piece on the fold; it meant I didn’t have to cut in in half to insert a zip. and it does make it look smoother. It does mean I have to wiggle in to it a bit but it’s no big deal.

The picture on the pattern shows a V-shaped dip at the waist but I found the pattern doesn’t allow for this as much as it suggests. I inserted the cute little tulip shaped sleeves (it comes with 3 options) and then hemmed it, which was an absolute nightmare; it seemed to press nicely and then it stretched and went wonky as I was stitching. Luckily I was adding my gorgeous gold trim to the bottom so I wasn’t too stressed about it…  I think I would have done some unpicking otherwise.
Anyway,  I pinned and sewed the trim along the hem with the design slightly overlapping the edge. I toyed with the idea of adding the trim elsewhere and pinned it along the neck and the waist to try it but decided against it in the end…  I think my hubby’s words were ‘you have issues with simple being better don’t you?’ I do think it looks effective and more classy and not too OTT this way.

I styled in with black tights and these gorgeous festive gold T-bar shoes… Another reason I didn’t go mad with gold trim- I knew I had gold accessories!
The party was a mardi-gras theme and my sister-in-law and I went all out and had my lovely friend Ann do our make-up professionally.

I felt really glam and was so pleased to be wearing something I made when I didn’t even know how to sew clothes this time last year. Also, just to add, I borrowed my friends chopstick curlers and oh my God,  I’m in hair love!
We had a fab time and danced the night away! I even bagged myself a matching gold mask, which  has since made it’s way on to my Christmas tree!!

 

 

Multiple Technique Dress

This dress has allowed me to try lots of new techniques in one make, (hooray!) As a result this post is a bit of a long one but let me show you how it worked out. The dress is New Look K 6723 using the boat neck line. I’ve made it in a beautiful ivory and pink floral, rayon dress fabric. I’ve tried a few new techniques in this one and I’m really proud of the final result.

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Firstly, this has a lined bodice, the pattern comes with instructions but I also used this tutorial from Dreaming of Avonlea as a point of reference. It is all about lining the bodice, it looks super neat.

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Lining is hard to photograph when it’s such a busy print!

As I cut the pattern I duplicated the front, side panels in this really cool leaf lace from Abakhan and tacked the two pieces together before sewing the pattern together as normal. The lace had a bit more stretch than the fabric and is difficult to sew but lots of pins seemed to do the trick and the basting was crucial. I’m really pleased with this. I feel it adds a bit extra to the dress, which is what me-made is all about!

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Image result for lace side insert dressImage result for lace insert dressI was inspired by all the pretty lace dresses, like this bridesmaid dress by Jacques Vert. I was literally in drooling lace heaven having a look at some of these. So I attempted to subtly recreate it. Now I know I can do it, I also want to try to insert lace at the top, like this black one by Whistles.

Anyway, thirdly, in my new technique task, I inserted a 3/4 length sleeve. This was my first attempt at attaching a pre-sewn set sleeve. I say first attempt, what I mean is that it is the first attempt that actually worked. I stumbled here a bit though because the dress has a boat neck line; I struggled to see whether the sleeves were badly fitted of whether the neck line was just wide. It turns out it wasn’t badly fitted at all so I was right to carry on and go with my instincts (Another hooray moment!)

I wanted to try adding buttons instead of a zip at the back. I’ve never actually sewn multiple button-holes before, so I figured I’d be best making a separate placket in case it went wrong, which I did by measuring the length and using the tie pattern for the width. I did some practice buttons and then measured enough spaces and went for it. Then I marked my buttons on the other placket and sewed them in place and it has actually worked and looks really neat. I love it and I’m so pleased that my first buttons are a success!!  

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I then french seamed the skirt pieces together, gathered it and attached it to the bodice, because the bodice was lined it meant I had two pieces to match up so this part was a little tricky, I’ll have to research ways to do this more easily (any ideas?)

I made the tie for round the dress, which I overstitched. The tie was no where near long enough to tie round me so I added some Velcro instead so I could fasten it. I also added some small belt hoops to the front to keep it in place.

I think this covers all the construction of this dress. I think it’s really pretty, I just need a wedding or something to go to now… I maybe need to master making things that are seasonally appropriate rather than just because I feel like it, I was a tiny bit chilly doing my photos!

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I have to acknowledge my lovely hubby for the photo taking (he loves it and doesn’t get sick of me prancing about at all!) and my ever patient mother-in-law for finding me nice places in her garden to pose!!

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