Saturday, 4 May 2019

Gwen dress - 2019 Make Nine #3

This is the third of my 2019 Make Nine makes, and is number 8 on my grid.  It's my interpretation of the gorgeous dress Gwen Stefani wears in the video for Don't Speak by No Doubt.  

I was accidently inspired to make this dress after I bought 3 metres of this navy and white polka dot viscose fabric from The Textile Centre, and when I got the fabric in my hands, Gwen's dress popped into my head. 




To be honest, I'm not particularly fond of that song, but my goodness, I love that dress!  So I've watched that video loads of times (with the volume down) to try and get a good idea of the design of the dress.  Naturally I also googled it, but the only images I could find where from the video, and they're on my Pinterest Board here, which is where the below photos are from.

Here are my conclusions:

Original dress
  • Bodice is shaped with gathers at the waist.
  • It's tricky to get a good look at the neckline, which is frustrating as it's a crucial part of the dress.  Annoyingly, Gwen keeps holding her microphone up, which is getting in the way - along with her hair!!
  • It seems to be a V-neck with a small, narrow collar.  The right front has rouleau loops, and the left front has buttons.
  • It must have a side zip, as it's obvious that there's no zip in the centre back.
  • A-line style skirt.
  • Plain fitted sleeves to a few inches above the elbow.

My dress

This is actually my second go at drafting this, the first got used as the foundation for my Evelyn dress
  • Bodice is shaped with princess seams.  I need (and wanted) more shaping in the bust.
  • My collar is a partial roll collar, and I drafted it using the Craftsy/Blu Print class "Pattern Making and Design: Collars and Closures".
  • My skirt is my self-drafted A-line skirt.


The trickiest bit (no, that's not true), one of the two trickiest bits was drafting the centre front.  I'll try and explain what I did wrong in the hope someone else doesn't make the same mistake!

I initally thought the centre of the buttons would be the centre front (as on any button fronted garment), which meant that the edge of the front right would have to be slightly to the right of centre to allow for the rouleau loops.  I tried to draft this, I spent soooo much time on this; and - long story short - it didn't work.

So I did what I should have done to begin with, and googled "dresses with rouleau buttons".  The "ha-ha" moment came when I saw this dress (unfortunately I can't find a source for it). 

I zoomed in on it on my phone, and took the below screenshot.  It's a bit fuzzy, but hopefully you can see the detail.

There's an angled yoke below the bust, and the crucial point is that the top of yoke lines up with what must be the centre front of the bodice.  So, therefore, the buttons are off-set to the left of the bodice.  Clearly I was looking at my bodice all wrong, and when I drafted it like this, it worked perfectly.

On the above dress it looks like both bodice fronts are exactly the same, but I made mine with the left side having a button extension to act as a modesty panel behind the loops.  Here are my two bodice pieces.  This meant that each bodice piece has a slightly different facing.



The second tricky bit was the rouleau loops.  Spoiler: me and rouleau loops will never be friends!  I tried a loop turner, needle and thread, sewing the fabric strip together with cord inside, and a chop stick - nothing worked!!  I. Could. Not. Turn. Them. Out!!!!

In the end I put my 1 inch bias strips through a bias tape maker, folded them in half, and stitched it together.  And we're calling that good, and shall never speak of it again!!!! 

To sew them on I marked the right front edge with chalk, and used wonder clips to hold the loops in place.  Then I sewed them on inside the seam allowance using my zipper foot with the needle moved to the right. 

This is what the loops look like sewn in place, and I made sure that they were still lying flat like this when I attached the facing.

The sleeves are hemmed with a rolled hem, which is fiddly and not my best work.  They are also a faff to iron. 

I love how this dress turned out, even if drafting and loops were a bit of a mare, and it's another one off my Make Nine list.

Have a great weekend, especially if you're off for the Bank Holiday on Monday.  More time for sewing!!


Sunday, 21 April 2019

Evelyn Dress - 2019 Make Nine #2 (A)

This is the second of my 2019 Make Nine makes, and number 9 on my grid. I'll calling it #2 (A) because number 9 is a self-drafted 1940s (or 1970s does 1940s) dress using something from my ever-growing pile of viscose fabrics.  I have lots of ideas for this style of dress, so will hopefully be making more.  And I'm wearing my boots in these photos because they were taken a few weeks' ago, today is definately not boots weather!

The inspiration for this particular dress was a dress worn by my Auntie Evelyn back in the day.  She had dug out a load of old photos last summer, and there were lots of photos of her and my mum wearing the most amazing dresses - none of which they thought to keep for their daughters!!!

I'm not posting a photo of the original dress, because I'd get told off, so I'll describe it.  It was navy with white polka dots with a round neckline, and white Peter Pan collar.  And it had short sleeves with white cuffs.  My mum said she had the same dress in taupe.

I'd bought this gorgeous Lady McElroy Snow Storm black and white polka dot viscose from Sew, Sew, Sew last year, and some left-over (from this dress) Mayfair crepe from Minerva Crafts was perfect for the collar. 

My bodice is shaped with princess seams at the front, and darts at the back.  The neckline is faced with bias tape made from the polka dot fabric.

My sleeves are full capped sleeves - they come right down to the underarm, and they have a little bit of elastic in the hem.  


My skirt is an A-line style, but it flares in slightly below the hip, then out to the hem. 

I started to write out a few notes on how I made the pattern, but it turned out to be quite wordy (no surprise there!), so I've put it down at the bottom for anybody who fancies a read.  There's also a bit about how I sewed the sleeves. 

I'm going to wear this today to go to my mum's for Easter dinner, happy Easter and have a great week,



My usual disclaimer applies - I'm no expert, just winging it from stuff I've read on the interwebs, stuff I've read in books and there's also a bit of making it up as I go along!  This is basically a download of my brain for my own reference, but if it's useful to someone else, then yey!
Sleeve - The sleeve is 1" long at the underarm seam, plus seam allowance and hem.   I widened the sleeve by slashing and spreading from the hem up through the shoulder notch, and widened them by 1 1/8" (2.8cm)  I judged this by stopping once the stitching line on the top of the sleeve head was starting to look a bit distorted.  The two red dots are the inserted bit.

I ruled a straight line from across the bottom of the sleeve from underarm to underarm, then marked the centre of the line.  I marked 3" either side of this point, and added a 5/8" hem.  Below is a re-traced sleeve pattern minus all the scribbles!  The two red triangles at the hem are the start and finish points for the elastic.

To sew, notch the two points 3" either side of the centre, and press up the hem by 5/8".


Cut a piece of 1/4" elastic which is 6" long.  Mark 1" in on either end. 

Line up the elastic with the fold on the hem (to the hem side), and line up one of the 1" marks with a notch.  In the photo below, both notches are marked with a red pin.

Using the triple stitch zig zag stitch (not sure if that's the right name - it's number 13 on my machine), sew the elastic in place.  I use a stitch width of 5.0, and and stitch length of 1.0.



Stretch the elastic so the other 1" mark meets the other notch on the hem, so you're sewing 4" of elastic into 6" of hem.  If you've sewed the gathered sleeves on the Tilly And The Buttons Agnes Top, this will make sense.


Trim the ends off the elastic.  Turn the hem in on itself, and stitch in place.  As awkward as this looks, Wonder Clips are your friend for the bit with the elastic in it.


This is what the elasicated bit looks like from the right side once it's done.

Sew the underarm seam.  This also can be done after the elastic is sewn in, and before the hem is turned up.

Bodice and collar

I used a princess seam on the front of my bodice, and darts on the back.  It's easy to convert a bust and waist dart bodice to a princess seam, and here's a tutorial from Cashmerette on how to do it.  The neckline depth and curve is personal preference, the important thing to do is to come in at a right angle by about 1/2" from the centre front before starting to curve the neckline.  This might seem a bit odd, but it gives a lovely curve to the centre front.

The collar is drafted by overlapping the front and back bodice at the sleeve end of the  shoulder seam.  Line up the point at the neck,  then overlap the sleeve end of the shoulder seam by 1/2".  This will make the collar sit flat.  Tape it in place with some masking tape, and then trace the neckline edge.  After that, it's a case of drawing out the collar how you want it, and French curves are your friend.  I got mine ages ago on ebay, and they were only a few pounds.  I find it definately helps to make a toile of a collar, because they can look very different in 3D fabric, than on 2D paper.


I randomly saw this illustration on Pinterest (it didn't have a source, so I can't credit it), was keen to try it, and this happened to be the next suitable make.

I used my own A-line skirt, and used my French curves to re-create the curves on the side seam.  Sadly, it got a bit lost in this drapey fabric, but I could see it working in a heavier fabric like suiting or wool.  Anyway, there's a great tutorial on how to convert a pencil skirt to an A-Line here on Angela Kane Sewing TV on YouTube. 

Friday, 5 April 2019

Cool Crafting Skye Wrap

Oh my goodness, this was a quick and easy make!  It's the Skye Wrap from Cool Crafting, and I first came upon it on Cheryl from Stitchy Bee's vlog when she made it last year. 

It's basically a rectangle, and one side is sewn closed with some buttons.  It is also fully lined.

My fabric is some wool from Sew Over It which I used to make the Sew Over It Tulip skirt here.   I got it ages ago, so I don't suppose it's available any more.  My lining is some lilac polyester from my stash, and I have no idea where I got it. The buttons are 40mm coconut buttons from Totally Buttons.

I think the thing that took the longest with this was measuring out the  fabric to cut it out, and who doesn't love a project like that?!

I blinking love this, especially how the neckline folds back on itself.  And I'm very much enjoying swanning around in it pretending that I'm Margaret Rutherford; but in fairness, nobody could rock a cape quite like her!

I'm now very taken with this Traveller Cape from Twig and Tale, so am on the lookout for some fabric for it.


Have a great weekend, and I hope it's filled with sewing!