This year I made a New Years Resolutions list! Ive gone years without making even one NY resoultion and here I am with a bucket load!
My main one is learn how to use my Bernina 770s sewing machine, more specifically how to use the button hole function and while Im at it I should also learn how to put a zip in. Why I have such resistance to watching a few minutes on you tube or opening up the manual, I have no idea. Anyway 2020 will see me learning all about my amazing machine and what it can do for me.
Number 2 sewing resolution is to sew in 20 mins blocks: this was something I dabbled with last year and I think its something that could really help me make more items. I often have multiple small blocks of time and I will now plan out my garments in 20 min tasks rather than necessarily following the instructions in order…i will just have to see how this goes.
Number 3 Learn how to make my own jeans.
Number 4 Continue my zero waste knitting and sewing practice and try and extend that to all the crafts I do.
I happened to be showing Little One the christmas lights in oxford street when I realised how close I was to John Lewis, so off we went for a look. I wasn’t going to buy but then I saw these 2 beauties and all was lost. The red one i bought 2 meters and made a long table runner for our dinning room table and the white one (that looks oddly pink in all the photos) with birds and glitter was for our eldest as I wanted to make her a table cloth, for her expanding kitchen table.
As I have mentioned before I have lost my sewjo and decided that “Perfection is the enemy of progress” quite right Mr Churchill so I folded the 2 meters down the centre and just cut, no measuring. Then I joined to the two pieces, end to end to make one very long table runner. I didn’t even hem the side which had the selvage. All very sloppy in my book but it got done and was on the table for the entire christmas period.
Winter Birds (according to the selvage) also was quickly hemed but not the salvage side, and Tada there was a gorgeous table cloth.
Hubbies annual Christmas jumper works Christmas jumper competition was fast approaching and as i lost last year (my jumper was considered an ensemble) I decided in the spirit of recycle and re use i would update the one I made the year before. NOt much to do this time as I just sewed on baubles, as you do, and filled the calendar with chocolates to bribe people in his office to vote for the jumper and hey presto I won again this year.
Little One who is not so little now needed a new dressing gown. In the past I made her 2, one from fleece and one from towelling, both cut from the same simplicity pattern and the same size when she was 2.
I have not idea how that they have lasted till she was 7! but they are rather short. So as I knew the pattern was a good one but only went up to age 3, i decided to re draft it and make it bigger.
I loved that the ties were sewn into the side seams so the belt can never come off! I also let Little One pick her own fabric now she is older and I was really surprised by her colour and pattern choice. She chose this teal super soft minky with neon flamingos, I just wished there was enough over to make me one.
Little one is going to be 7 years old and she had already told me exactly what she wanted and she had even drawn it…no pressure then.
when she was little she used to call big skirts on dresses, super wide and the term has stuck.
Im lucky to have a large dinning room table, which can seat 16 but I use it to cut out all my projects and its handy when, every year I make a super wide birthday dress.
As Her birthstone is a ruby she wanted that to be the theme. I then had a look through my stash to see if I had any suitable fabric before we went shopping. I did have this lovely red velvet left over from a christmas dress I made myself so we decided that would be great for the bodice.
So this is were I hit the first problem…I thought that the dress I previously cut before and made for her was a size 5, so I had to grade it up to a size 7… trouble was I had made a size 3 but didn’t make a note of it and so I then had to re cut the very mobile fabric several times to smaller sizes till i worked out what had happened. Moral of the story make notes on the pattern so they don’t get lost!!
In the end despite all the drama I managed to finish almost on time… she had to wear the dress with some pins in the hand sew roses.
In all the years that I have been making clothes, sewing and crafting, I have never made myself a party dress. I make an extravagant birthday occasion dress every year for my 5-year-old so I am no stranger to the dramas of working with slippery, fragile and fine fabrics, so I decided it was time for some selfish sewing.
I was inspired by the name of Simple Sew Patterns Veronika Dress and decided she was going to be a red silk beauty. I couldn’t believe luck that the fabulous people at doughtys had exactly the colour I needed, click the link to buy the same gorgeous fabric.
They were very generous and gave me the material to make this dress. The pattern said 2.7 meters was needed but I managed to cut it out of 2m, so will have some over to make The Little One a party dress from the remnants. I aim to practice a zero waste system in my dressmaking, so no scraps will go wasted from this fabric. The larger ones will be used for a dress for my daughter and the small ones go to her old nursery school for crafting and anything left over is made into dolls clothes.
So on to the layout and cutting…it was so lovely to cut into, very satisfying, my favourite part of creating is cutting the fabric, I have no idea why I like it so sew much.
I take ages doing this part as I am trying to aim for zero waste.
First I cut the skirt, look at the fullness of this skirt, so exciting.
Wow this skirt is going to be great for dancing in!
I then cut the front bodice and tacked the bust point (you can just about see the black cotton. I then pinned the darts. I did this so I could try it on again to see if any further adjustments were needed. I did a very brief pattern fit, eg I pinned the darts on the pattern and tried on the bodice front and back to see if the fit was ok before I selected the size I needed.
I know I should pin the other way, ie pins at 90 degrees, but as I mentioned I wanted to try it on for fine tuning the fit.
Heres what she looked liked from the right side
I decided I wanted to use the silk as the lining rather than use cotton or a poly satin. I recently made a dress for the royal wedding sew along and I also used silk dupioni and a cotton lawn for the lining, however, I didn’t like the finish, so decided to self-line this time.
I attached the front and back facings at the shoulders.
Then I pinned the facing to the bodice
Stitching the join
joining the side seams
Attaching the waist band to the bodice.
Loving the V neck shaping, will need to get some bra stays so the bra won’t show.
The exciting bit attaching the bodice to the skirt.
…and here she is Veronika, the red dress, Gorgeous. Still hemming and pressing to go. More photos of her in the wild to follow. I have also ordered a big red petticoat to complete the look.
I was given this pattern by my pattern cutting lecturer at Morley College last year and I like the fact that it is was a simple style, and wanted to make it up but was waiting for the right occasion. My Little One is now 5 and I made most of her clothes far too big (as in the early days I was worried I would not finish them before she outgrew them! My worst nightmare) Consequently she has loads of summer dresses she had hardly worn.
So when I heard my cousin was having a baby I fished out the dress pattern to make for her little one. It’s particularly good for smaller children as it doesn’t have a zip or buttons or hooks. Also, the bows on the shoulder mean that it will go up and down a size or two. I also wondered what it would be like made up in party fabric. I asked my cousin what her favourite colours were and then I was off to one of my happy places Sewing and Craft superstore
And here she is all finished. I was really happy with the way she came out. I would make her again for sure. The only thing I did differently to the instructions was cut the bodice twice (i wanted the lilac and pink to show in the bows and stitched them together and then bagged out the bodice. Then I cut the skirt twice, once in satin and once in organza.
Perfect for a 1-year-old Princess. And fast and easy as Butterick claim.
I have decided to join the royal wedding sew along by McCalls. Firstly I am going to a wonderful wedding that day and I also have never sewn occasion wear for myself only my Little One.
I ran into all sorts of problems as I couldn’t decide which pattern as you can see below. Some were too over the top and other were too understated and weren’t going to stretch my sewing skills.
In the end, the ‘convertible’ won. I chose this pattern as it is a simple shift dress with a fancy overskirt that you can button on and off, ideal as I love to dance.
I have decided to do version C and E. This is because as my friend would prefer us guests to wear green, so I feel I will get the most amount of wear out of a short version.
So now for the fun bit of to buy fabric, worth breaking my fabric diet over, I don’t own anything green (long story to do with my Grandad, Green Chartreuse, and a racehorse ;-0 ) so it was buy, or make, and where is the fun in buying when you can make it at twice the price, in double the time it would have taken to find one…only kidding, I hope.
This month, my make from the Simple Sew Patterns company is the Zoe top and dress.
I chose to make the dress option. I decided to make it in heavyweight fabric as I wanted
a winter/ spring dress
In my stash, I had this black and white 2-meter fabric which is reversible. I bought the fabric in a market in Le Touquet, Northen France and always had a dress in mind for it and the Zoe dress, seemed like the best option for it.
Here she is all cut out. (see below) I cut the facing and arm cuffs and pocket, on the white side and the main body on the black side.
I then joined the two neck facings together at their edges
I am 5ft 2 so I took 9.5 inches of the hem!
As this is really upholstery fabric and therefore thick, I decided to use pinking shears on the raw edges to reduced the bulk in the seams
I decided not to cut the front of the dress as 2 panels as the pattern is bold, it would have been hard to pattern match., especially as I only had 2 meters of this fabric. On the back I did cut 2 panels and because I had limited fabric I couldn’t pattern match. Next time I make it I would cut the back as one panel too.
I inserting the neck facking, I used wonderclips and pins to ease the facing in.
All ready for top stitching
I added the sleeve cuff, once I had sewn the sides up as I wanted to check the neckline wasn’t too wide, which it wasn’t. I would suggest that you follow the instructions that is a much better way of getting a match on the cuff seams.
joining the arm cuffs after I had sewn up the sides did make it a bit trickier but I wanted to make sure the fit of the neck was ok.
Phew I managed to line it up ok!! Stick to the instrutions kids it’s easier!!
and here she is with and without pockets…cant decide yet what I prefer.