Bella for Winter

It’s Winter but not freezing so I chose Bella as my first Simple Sew pattern as part of Claire’s new Simple Sew blogger team.

Bella is designed for the ‘adventurous beginner’ so the timing was right to try this pattern now using a warm jersey knit from White Tree Fabrics UK.
Here’s the 10-12-12 party dress version.

“The Bella Dress is celebration of vintage inspired design with a modern edge. The bell shaped sleeves are a definite nod to the swinging sixties, with flattering darts to accentuate your waist and a modern funnel neck . This dress is a winter wardrobe essential you will look gorgeous AND be cosy and warm!”

I chose this awesome warm jersey from White Tree Fabrics.

This jersey has good stretch across the width and minimal stretch for the length.

The pattern

Notions – an invisible zipper is all you need, and matching thread of course.
I forgot to order an invisible zipper so I used a similar colour zip from my stash.

I checked the measurements on the pattern and mocked up a 10-12-10 shape with length adjustment so Bella landed above the knees.


This jersey fabric was wide so I used the 60″ layplan used in the instructions.

I washed the fabric and then overlocked the edges using a three-thread stitch. This allowed the fabric to remain light-weighted. A four-thread stitch made the edges too heavy for me .

Step 1: Mark the darts and stitch them in place.

I tend to pin darts in place before sewing them.

As the instructions state, there’s no need to back-stitch these darts.

Back-stitching this jersey would have created ridges that I didn’t need.

Below are the front darts sewn but not ironed.

Ironing made the dart disappear but the ‘required’ shaping remained.

Step 2: Stitch the shoulder seams right sides together.

I used a layer of tricot to reinforce the shoulder seams. This is a technique I use to keep knits from bagging out of shape over time.

Step 3: 

Sew a running stitch on the sleeve curve so you can gather it to fit the arm hole.

Step 4: This jersey had enough stretch so I didn’t need the gather stitch. I was able to sew the sleeve in with a slight stretch as I sewed. This jersey is really awesome to sew.

Step 5:
Sew the side seams from the dress hem through to the sleeve hem. Only do this for the right-hand side of the dress.

Sew the left-hand side of the dress from the bust dart up to the sleeve hem. 
You’ll be sewing in the zipper on the left-hand side of the dress.
Step 6: Stitch the funnel neck together.

Step 7: Turn the dress inside out and insert the funnel neck with its wrong side facing the right side of the dress bodice.

Here’s where I pinned the centre front and centre back so I had the funnel neck seam in the right position.

Here’s the finished neckline viewed from the inside.

Step 8: Turn the dress so its the right way around and pin the zip in place.

Step 9: Pin one side of the zip in place and sew. Then sew the other side of the zip in place.
I pre-iron the teeth of the invisible zipper out and use an invisible zipper foot to sew in the zipper.

Here’s the inside view.

The outside is invisible. The zipper pull is just under the bust dart.

This pic gives you a better idea of the finished zipper.

Step 10: Turn the dress inside out and from the last stitches where the zipper is sewn, complete the stitching to the hem.

Step 11: Turn up the sleeve hem and dress hems up 0.5cm and sttich them closed. I used twin needle to hem this dress.

I’ve coverstitched the sleeve hem and the thread blend into it.

This is the size 14 hip version. It’s great to wear at the office.

This has a bit more wiggle room for this work dress.
Thank you Claire for adding me to your blogger team. You’ve designed some really flattering styles that I’m eager to test out.

This dress was really Simple to sew.

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