Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Handkerchief hem dress

This dress is not so much inspired by, but totally copied off Janene from Ooobop.  And if you don't follow Janene, then I urge you to, because she is amazing!

I instantly loved this fabulous dress that she made a few months ago, and what's even better is that Janene has given all the details on how she drafted the skirt in the blog post, so all I had to do was follow along.  Thank you!!

My bodice is self-drafted (as is Janene's), but any fitted bodice with a waist seam would work.  I stumbled across a Vogue Sandra Rhodes pattern that is very similar - it's V1547, but it's out of print.

I added pockets to mine. To do this I marked the pocket top down from the point where the skirt waist meets the bodice side seam.

The corners on the hems are mitered, and I am extraordinarily pleased with them.  I used this tutorial from By Hand London. 

All my supplies came from Sew N Sew in Belfast.  The fabric is some purple poly-something I bought a few years ago now, and I bought the ribbon trim and zip just before I made the dress.

I love how the zip turned out!  I sewed it as an exposed zip, then sewed the ribbon trim down both sides and across the bottom.  

Even though I have been wearing this with some of my about 500 (maybe I don't have that many!!) Tilly And The Buttons Agnes tops underneath, the top of the metal zip is a bit cold, so I hand-sewed some more ribbon to the back of the zip to made a zip guard.


I flipping love this dress, and it's been getting plenty of wear with my black tights and boots.

Happy sewing,


Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Sew Over It 1960s Coat

This is the Sew Over It 1960s coat, and I have loved this coat since it was first advertised as a class at Sew Over It; but as I am on a different land mass, I had to impatiently wait for it be released as a pattern to buy.


I even had the fabric for it, which is some herringbone tweed from Tinsmiths.  I got it at least two or three years ago so, unsurprisingly, they don't have it any more.  The lining fabric was either from Sew N Sew or The Spinning Wheel in Belfast.



I made a size 8, but being me, I made some changes:

  • I shortened the length by about 3 inches.
  • The sleeves are a one piece sleeve, so I mashed the sleeve head with the sleeves from a Le-roy Weldon's pattern that I made here.  These sleeves have darts to shape the elbow, which I love, and I gathered the sleeve head using the bias strip method.
  • The coat is an A-Line shape, and I wanted it be be a bit more fitted, so I took the centre back seam in a bit at the waist. 
All the love for this Dior dart!

Fabric covered button

Elbow darts from the Le-Roy Weldon's pattern

There are separate interfacing pieces for the back and front, and also for the hems.  I added a bit more using the Craftsy "Essential Guide to Tailoring: Structure and Shape" class (I have raved about this class many times!). 

The instructions are brilliant, especially the bit on sewing the collar.  One thing to watch for is the 1cm seam allowance on the neckline, collar and centre front.


I made bound buttonholes and fabric covered buttons, and left off the button and buttonhole at the top because I wanted it to look like the coat in this Le-roy Weldons pattern below.  This was a single-sized pattern I bought on ebay, but it was too big for me.  I loved the View B green coat, so that's what I've based this coat on, including the top-stitching on the lapel. 

Also I added some bias tape in between the  facing and the lining.  This was a lot easier to do than I thought, and I love how it looks.  The attaching the facing to the lining seam is also a 1cm seam allowance.

I'm not going to waffle too much about this, as I've said plenty about the coats I've made in previous posts, but I love this coat!



Happy sewing,


Friday, 20 November 2020

Autumn in a dress

I've made two versions of this dress (so far), and it's based on the Cotton and Chalk Rosie dress pattern, which I got free with Simply Sewing magazine a few years ago.  



I really liked View A (View B is sleeveless), and you can see from the line drawing below that it has a centre front seam (the buttons on the blue dress are not functioning), and the bust is shaped with gathers at the shoulder and under the bust.  On the pattern envelope the neckline looks like it's slightly curved, similar to a sweetheart neckline, but it is a V neckline on the line drawing.  The midriff yoke is only on the front,  the back is shaped with darts, and it closes with a centre back zip.


I wanted to change a few details, so drafted the bodice from my block.  I added a functioning button placket at the centre front, did a slightly curved sweetheart neckline, and extended the midriff yoke across the back.  For the skirt I used the pieces from the pattern, which are rectangles gathered at the waist, and added pockets.  



Below is the second one I made, and the amazing fabric is a viscose I bought from lovely Andrea at Pink Door.  There are no words to describe how much I love this dress, and it has already got lots of wear.   The sleeves on this one are the same as the sleeves on my Halloween dress.



My first version was made with some Lady McElroy polyester crepe, the print is called Chaffinch Bough.  On this one I gathered the sleeves with elastic like the sleeves on the pattern.  And I've been wearing this one a lot too.



I can't find the original pattern to buy on-line other than on ebay (that could be my poor googling), but here are a few patterns I found that are similar.

McCall's 7974


Vogue 9076

Vogue 8577

I've made two self-drafted dresses based on Vogue 8577, but more of that in another post.


Happy sewing,


Saturday, 31 October 2020

Halloween Dress

This is, without doubt, the most bonkers thing I've ever made; which makes it seem quite apt right now!

It was inspired by my love of Halloween and this fabulous dress that Rachel Maksy made recently.  I have only recently discovered her youtube channel, and I just love it.  The inspiration for the bodice came from these beautiful vintage Thea Porter dresses,

I ADORE this black dress, and would love to try and re-create it.  Those sleeves!!


 and these much loved dresses from Coco Fennell.

1. 2. 3. 4.

The whole dress is self-drafted, and I have been wanting to try and re-create that bodice for quite some time.  It was difficult to work out how it was constructed, and I'm glad I tried it out on this and not some expensive fabric.  The tricky bit was attaching the trim, and I'm not going to attempt to explain what I did, other than to say that I totally over-engineered it and learnt from my mistakes!

The trim I used was polyester bias tape, and I think it would be better with cotton lawn or polycotton bias tape, as they are lighter weight.  Also, next time I would attach the bias tape before sewing any of the seams together, even though it would take some precise measuring from the cut edge.   I am keen to try this again as a "proper" dress, so will report back. 

I love this style of bodice with the midriff yoke, and have made some other styles of this, which I will be sharing.

My fabric is some orange cotton, and some black and silver mesh with spider webs on it - both were from ebay.  Originally I was going to use one layer of mesh, but it looked a bit puny so I used two layers.

This is one layer of mesh


The orange underskirt is a quarter circle, which I haven't tried before, and I love it.  The bottom layer is one rectangular fabric width of mesh gathered at the waist (and when I say gathered, I mean randomly pinned and basted...).  The top layer of mesh is two rectangles seamed at the centre front, and gathered as above.

For the bodice I cut two layers of mesh, then basted it to the orange cotton, and treated it as one piece of fabric.

I flipping love these sleeves, and you will be seeing more of them.  I slashed and spread my sleeve block to create gathers at the sleeve head and a wide sleeve.  Then the hem is gathered into a little cuff. 


I love the madness of this dress, and it pleased me to make it, and isn't that what it's all about?!

Happy Halloween,