Hiya! It’s me again…… The Welsh One… with some gorgeously pretty florals. It’s all about the pink this time. Pink is one of my favourite colours, it’s me all over, I just love the way the colour makes me feel.. a colour can make you feel a certain way right? Anyway, it makes me feel girly, pretty, like a lady, and takes me back to my younger days when everything I had at home with mam was pink – from my bedroom carpet, to my fluffy door lights I had hung up over my window… I think it makes me feel happy, content and safe.
So this Cotton Fabric jumped out at me and I knew I had to make a dress with it. A pretty, girly one that made me feel how pink makes me feel!
I went for the Sew Over It Ilsa dress. With its pretty frills, and panelled skirt, I knew it was going to be the perfect dress for this fabric.
There are quite a few pieces to this pattern, as the bodice has a yoke, plus the frills, and also with the skirt being panelled. It was quite scary seeing all the pieces cut out and I was afraid that I would sew it all together the wrong way and attach the wrong panels to each other, but it went together really smoothly. I really enjoyed seeing it all come together.
The bodice has a yoke and optional frills which add that extra bit of girly detail to the dress. I love the frills, but only opted for the front frills on the bodice. I had so much fun creating the frills and attaching them, I’m sure I squeaked at one point with delight!
The Isla dress has options for a full sleeve with a cuff, but I went for a short sleeve because I think a full sleeve would have been a bit too much with the fabric being so busy.
I had to go for some buttons that fitted with the pink floral theme so got some of the flower shaped buttons which I love. I think they work really well and I adore how they look on the bodice. I should have gone for 4 buttons instead of 3 though just to avoid that little bit of gaping that sometimes does appear.
The panelled skirt was an absolute doddle and went together really well. I was a bit nervous about putting these pieces together but I ensured I marked all the notches and took my time which paid off in the end. The skirt has a really flattering fluted shape which does indeed swish – the swishier the fabric, the more swish you get!
Attaching both the skirt and bodice was super easy – I thought I was doing something wrong for it to go together so easily – I thought it was too good to be true! I inserted the zipper and hemmed the skirt, and that was it, ready to go!
Now – the sizing is a little bit off, for me anyway. I did find it came up a little tight on the sleeves and bodice. I managed to get in it to wear it. If I was to be standing around and not move all day, I could wear it with no problems. I need to move and wiggle, and be free so this is not a dress for me to wear day to day, it’s a dress to stand and look pretty in – which is fine…. For some occasions haha!
I would definitely recommend sizing up with the Isla – you can always make a dress a tad smaller, making it bigger is almost impossible!
Until next time…..
Posted in Projects on Thursday the 9th April 2020 by Vicki Ormerod
It’s me again, and I am still in the process of building a wardrobe that is full of fun, color, textures and styles that fit and flatter me. I would never be one to say that so and so should never wear X item. However, I do have things that I personally would not wear. Either because I feel they overwhelm me as I am so short or they do not flatter my shape. For example I will most likely never wear boxy, shapeless garments; I end up looking very short and squat. Not a look I want to go for. I need garments that flatter my curves, not cover them up.
So, I decided to make a skirt this time around. It is a garment that I do not have many of (I have one other). I wanted a skirt that was feminine, fun and easy to wear, that would highlight my shape instead of covering it. I chose the Megan Nielsen Wattle Skirt and paired it with this amazing Washed Linen Viscose Fabric in fuchsia. It is almost as if these two were destined for one another. I love the little bit of weight the fabric gives the skirt. I actually tested this pattern last year and used a mystery poly something-or-another I had in my stash. It worked fairly well but this linen viscose is much better. One, it’s so much cooler. Two, the movement in the skirt in this linen viscose is amazing. Three, easy to wear and wash. All things that tick my boxes and make me excited about a project.
I chose view D, which is bias cut above the knee with the tie. This is the same view I sewed when I tested the pattern originally. I love the shape of it and how it looks. Plus, the pockets are GINORMOUS! I was nervous the first time I sewed it because of it being bias cut, but I followed the instructions and had zero problems. This time as the linen isn’t as tightly woven as the fabric I used prior, I made sure to stay stitch the waistlines on all four pieces. It worked perfectly and I had no issues at all with it stretching out of shape or anything of that sort. This is actually a fairly quick make, maybe 2-3 hours? That is with hand hemming the bias tape hem I added too! I thoroughly enjoyed the process, although you could just as easily machine hem it.
The linen viscose shrank a bit in the wash as you would expect, just keep that in mind when ordering how much you need. It also retained its color really well. I have had linen in the past where the color nearly washes out all together, but not this one. Laundered well, pressed beautifully like linen does and sewed so lovely, a great texture too. The big difference I noted was how much softer this linen is, I mean it’s strokable! That is down to the 45% viscose in it, so soft to touch and against skin it is smooth and cool. If you live in a warm and/or humid climate, I highly recommend this fabric for that reason alone. But even if you live somewhere less hellish than Texas, you would still appreciate this fabric for so many garments.
Try introducing color and textures into your wardrobe. Exploring these and styles makes sewing so much more fun and enjoyable. It becomes less about filling your closet and more about enjoying what you fill your closet with!
Sew, Laugh, Repeat!
If given the choice between a difficult fabric and a difficult pattern, I’d almost always choose the challenging pattern. I like sewing for the same reason I like cooking and baking - if you’re careful, follow the instructions, and use the right ingredients, you’ll likely be rewarded with a final product that’s not too far off from whatever you and the original author intended. I’d much rather challenge myself with new techniques than risk ruining precious fabric.
But, like, obviously I had to eat my words when I saw this Silk Chiffon Fabric. It’s got a very light hand, slipping across my cutting mat in a slinky, fluid fall to the floor (my cat promptly sat on it, which is high praise indeed - the darling angel knows what fabrics are nice, and which aren’t, and only sits on the nice ones). The crimson color is very highly saturated, and I’d call it a true lipstick red, neither blue or orange in undertone. I’m thrilled by the colorfastness - the pretty little diamond eye print stayed creamy white even after I washed it in the sink (with warmish water and Dr. Bronner’s rose castile soap, which was the most gentle soap I had, and an intentionally whimsical choice - like, why wouldn’t I wash silk with roses?!). It’s not super see-through, but it’s definitely sheer, which I LOVE! I love how red looks when it’s a little translucent - it’s so warm and luminous and flattering. I also like the way slightly see-through fabrics look gathered, I like seeing each tuck and fold in detail.
I’m a total newbie when it comes to delicate, spiderwebby fabrics like this, so I was conservative in my pattern choice and hack. I picked a very cropped Seamwork Bo top for my bodice, because I wasn’t sure if I was confident or comfortable enough to set sleeves into such a lightweight fabric. I cut a straight size 2, and frenched all my seams (which I don’t love doing usually, but it was too easy on this silk with a little starch). I chopped it just under the arms, about an inch or so under the armscye, and left off the cuffs. The fabric falls in the most exquisite folds from the shoulders and sleeves! I am beginning to really love the weight that silk carries when it’s on the body. I think it really shines in loose applications like this, where the fabric can swoosh and swing.
I just squeezed as wide a skirt as I could out of the leftover yardage, and gathered it. I knew the gathering may be difficult to keep even on this super lightweight fabric, so I gave myself insurance, and did three rows of basting. I didn’t do french seams on the tiers, but, rather, just serged them together. I was a little skeptical of the durability of this finish at first, but I will always hand wash this dress, so I’m not too worried about the layers coming apart. I think my favorite part of this dress where the gathers meet the bodice - it’s so lovely.
I am so making another dress like this - it’s so light and airy and comfortable, and a breeze to stitch up. Big thanks to Minerva for this gorg silk!
When I received this Organic Cotton Gauze Fabric from Minerva I was blown away with how gorgeously soft it was. It is just so lovely against the skin. I had a picture in my mind of a dress that I wanted to make but I couldn’t find the right pattern. After much searching I decided I would try to hack the True Bias Ogden Cami Pattern. I have made the cami before and had a few ideas about how I could adapt it.
The first adaptation I made was to widen the straps. I find the original ones don’t quite cover my bra straps, and they can be quite fiddly to turn, so I added an extra half-inch to the width. I was worried that this fabric might not be stable enough to cope with the stress at the point of the V neckline so I decided to change the shape and curved it to have a scoop neck rather than have the V shape. I also shortened the bodice by 3 inches and then made it up as normal.
At this point I put the bodice on and checked to see if I was happy with the length. I wanted it to be a little bit more fitted under the bust so just pinched out two darts by eye and stitched them in place – not very technical I know, but I figured that as this was a casual, loose fitting dress, I could get away with it!
To make the skirt I simply cut a rectangle using the full width of the fabric, measuring the length so it would fall to mid calf length. I sewed a gathering stitch, using my machines longest stitch length, across the top edge of the fabric and once I had gathered it to the same length as the bodice I pinned and sewed the bodice and skirt together.
I then made the bottom ruffle by joining 2 rectangles of fabric, both the full width of fabric, on the short edge. I used the same technique described above to gather and then join to the bottom edge of skirt.
I considered adding a couple of ties to the back of the dress to cinch it in a bit but once I tried the dress on I decided that I wanted more flexibility. I decided that sometimes, when it was very hot, I might like to wear it loose so decided that a belt would be a better option. To make the belt I again joined two full widths of the fabric to create a rectangle that was 2.5 inches wide. I didn’t fancy trying to pull a strip that long through so ironed ¼” seam allowances over, folded wrong sides together, and topstitched close to the edge.
Overall I am really pleased with this dress. It’s the first time I have tried to make something without following a pattern. I admit, at times I was truly ‘winging it’, and in hindsight perhaps should have toiled, but life’s too short! I have a lovely dress, which is floaty and comfortable, and is exactly what I set out to make.
Today's fabric is a navy Polycotton Fabric with these cute unicorns all over. I showed her the fabric (which comes in pink as well) and she picked the navy version. She was very excited about getting her own unicorn as at 12 she is now in adult sizing and the option of cute unicorn dresses is a lot more limited. I showed her a few different patterns and we agreed on the Chalk and Notch Fringe Dress but she wanted it to be a round neckline. I altered the front bodice piece by following the neckline and continuing it to the centre front line and then took out the seam allowance so I could cut it on the fold.
I firstly did a muslin out of some spare polycotton I had lying around of the bodice and decided instead of altering the facing pieces, I would do a bias binding facing instead. So I quickly sewed up the muslin and it fit well and didn't need any adjustments, phew. So I then ironed the unicorn polycotton and pinned the pieces on and cut them all out. She decided on not having ties as she doesn't like anything tight on her belly.
So I set about to start on the actual fabric. I sewed the shoulder seams up and overcast the edges (as no overlocker) before using the black bias binding as a facing on the neckline. This makes a nice finish with no worries about fraying. I then went to work on the darts, as the fabric was dark I had to use the chalk pen instead of my usual washable marker. So I drew lines of the darts in and pinned it so that the pins went through the pink line on both sides ensuring the dart is sewn correctly. Then it was time for the cuffs which are sewn with no visible seams as well and leaves a nice clean finish. Then it was time to sew the side seams and cuff side seam in one which I then overcast and pressed. Then the bodice was finished and looking very pretty.
The skirt was next which also includes inseam pockets (yay), So I set to work on the pockets first with overcasting all the pocket edges and the skirt side seams. I then sewed all four of them onto their respective space on each skirt section, pressed and understitched before sewing the side seams and pockets in one. Then I had a tube. Next was the hem with a narrow double turn over hem which went nice and easy, and then onto the most challenging part in my opinion, gathering the skirt top to fit the bodice. I swapped the bobbin to a nice pink colour so that I could easily identify the basting stitches and then sewed two parallel lines on basting on the top of each skirt panel. I then pulled the bobbin basting stitches to fit the bodice and pinned and sewed them together. I then removed the bobbin basting stitches, with the easy to identify pink stitches. Then all that was left to do was to overcast the waist seam and press.
I put it on a hanger so it didn't get it creased and waited for her to come home. She was very pleased to see it was finished and then tried it on to see if it fit and she thinks it is perfect which meant lots of cuddles for me (yay). The following day we took pictures, some sensible and some while she danced around and made me laugh.
I am so glad that it fits well and that she loves it, my heart is full right now. Thank you so much for the fabric Minerva, you have made a 12 year old girl and her Mom very happy indeed!
I usually start with a fabric type in mind before choosing a colour, but this time I just fell in love with this unique shade of damson purple straight away. It’s muted but still deep and vibrant, and I decided I had to make a summer dress out of it (I’ve long since learned that adhering to ‘seasonal’ colours makes no sense with a pale complexion that looks awful in pastels). I ordered three metres as I planned something with a big, dramatic skirt.
This rayon Shirting Fabric is light (but not see through) with minimal body, making it ideal for lots of gathers. I knew the moment it arrived that it will be perfect for a dress I’ve been planning to try for a while – a hack of the Charm Patterns by Gertie Rita Blouse. There are several versions of these Rita dresses on Instagram and I couldn’t wait to make one for myself, especially with a gathered skirt that would mirror the top part. I made the blouse in view A (gathered sleeves) previously several times and I knew that size 10 with B cups will fit me perfectly. Gertie’s patterns can be quite involved but this is not one of them – the bodice comes together super quickly once the panels are all cut out and overlocked.
I considered shortening the bodice at the pattern cutting stage but ultimately decided to just make the blouse as it is – I have a long torso so sometimes judging where the waist of a garment should be is difficult without trying things on. I assembled everything except for the side zipper and inserted the 6mm elastic into the neckline and sleeves. Once the bodice was finished, I tried it on and decided to chop off about 12 cm off the bottom. The skirt is attached just below my natural waist as I found it looks more proportional that way.
The fit of the bodice had to be adjusted as the original blouse flares out and I wanted it to be quite snug around the torso. I ended up taking off about 5 cm from the waist on each side and then tapered it to the original bust line – I have a 75 cm waist.
All of the leftover fabric was used to make the skirt – after cutting out the whole blouse, I still had over 2 metres left. As the fabric’s width is just over 160 cm, I could cut it in half lengthwise to create two strips of about 215cm x 80cm. These got sewn together at one of the short ends and then gathered by the machine to fit the assembled and cropped bodice.
Lastly, I inserted a regular 56cm invisible zipper at the side, with the zipper closing towards the armpit as is usual in dresses (and unlike the Rita blouse that closes towards the waist). You may notice my zipper is on the right side instead of the left – this is wholly my own fault as I (once again) assembled the blouse pieces in the wrong order, but as I say, it’s not a me-made garment unless it has some minor imperfection as a proof of its me-made-ness. The zipper is a bit difficult to pull through the bulk at the two overlocked seams, but I know from experience that it gets easier as the dress is worn more often.
The final dress ended up being mid-calf on me (I’m 168cm/5’6’’), and I decided to shorten the skirt to balance out the puffed sleeves better. I ended up chopping off about 10cm before hemming the skirt.
The fabric was easy to work with – it’s sturdy but lightweight, and although it doesn’t press overly well it also means that it doesn’t wrinkle too much. And I love the gentle rustle of the skirt! The dress is worn over a mesh petticoat in the pictures above, and you can see it without one below:
I’m still not the most experienced seamstress but I would definitely recommend this hack to everyone who likes this style of fit and flare dresses. The blouse itself is very easy to fit as it comes with various cup sizes, and the skirt can be made in pretty much any shape imaginable – I might already be planning one with a full circle skirt.
Thanks for reading,
I love paisley more than some might say was appropriate, so when I came across this paisley Crepe De Chine Fabric, I knew it needed to be in my life. It’s a wonderfully soft, drapey fabric, perfect for something light and floaty and summery. The only thing is, light-and-floaty-and-summery is an area of dressmaking I tend to shy away from. As such, it took me a while to think of a pattern that could do it justice, but then I remembered the Drape Drape books by Hisako Sato. If you can’t use Drape Drape for a drapey fabric, what can you use it for?!
I settled on pattern no.16 from the original Drape Drape book – the Drape Dress with Gathered Sleeves. I’ve made this once before and really loved the relaxed, faux wrap effect, and I’ve always been a big proponent of reusing patterns you like until you get bored of them, so it seemed like a pretty good choice. Anyway, the other time I used this pattern, I didn’t add the sleeves and I made it in a plain fabric, so this would end up totally different.
As much as I adore the Drape Drape books, I’ve got to admit that the instructions aren’t always the easiest to follow. Even on the second time making this, I still found myself getting incredibly confused, and I think I went wrong a few times, but then again, I can’t actually be sure that I did, because that’s how confused the instructions made me. But I got there in the end, and I would absolutely say that it’s worth that little bit of confusion because the pattern design is just so gorgeous! The pleats and tucks and whatever else are perfectly positioned to create these super soft, delicate drapes that bounce about when you move yet stay exactly where they’re meant to.
This fabric is rather fray-prone, so French seams are definitely recommended here. I rather stupidly didn’t think to add any extra seam allowance before cutting, and the pattern only comes with 1cm seam allowance in the first place, which made for some tricky maneuvering and the dress ending up slightly too tight across the back. But it still fits fine and it looks all pretty on the inside, and isn’t that what really matters?
I’ve already decided that this will be a perfect summer holiday dress. The fabric is light enough to stay cool, and it doesn’t cling to the skin, but it covers up pretty much all of my upper body so I can avoid sunburn without smothering myself in sun lotion! Win win! I think it would also work great as a tunic top, so I now feel like I need some bright pink or mustard yellow trousers in my life to go with this (stay tuned I guess).
Overall, slight fit issue that was totally my fault aside, I’m so happy with this dress. I love all the interesting pleat details in the pattern, I love the bold paisley print, and I love the way the fabric feels against the skin. So woohoo, it was a success! Somehow, no matter how many things I make, I still get surprised when that happens!
Anyway, that’s it for now! Thanks for reading and see you next time!www.seeminglyimmaterial.com
Posted in Company News on Wednesday the 1st April 2020 by Vicki Ormerod