Remnant revisit

This was the moment I committed to using this tencil fabric from Minerva Crafts for a Summer dress.

While the pattern New Look 6067 said I needed 1.4m of fabric, I only had 1.1m of fabric left from my original dress 2 years ago.

I laid the adjusted pattern pieces on the fabric and I only had enough to make the cap sleeve version. 

I wanted to recreate the front bodice detailing as you can see above.
The back of this dress has no detailing which I was happy about.

By the time I finished the dress, the skirt felt too flimsy. On a maxi length skirt, I would have left it as is.

So the skirt was lined as well. I only lined the bodices on my previous versions of this dress.
The lining is a cotton fabric so it will hold the dress shape and allow the tencil fabric to float over it rather than float over my body.

I prefer that when the weather is hot and humid.

Having time off over Christmas has been great for stash diving those fabrics you think might just be useful one day.


Toying with Yoyo

When there’s a dress shape I like, testing it for a good fit is worth the effort. Testing also tells me if the design actually suits me.

Papercut patterns Yoyo dress/skirt is a fitted dress style I love. What’s clever about it is you can easily grade the pieces to suit your sizing, or my ‘ever-changing’ sizing. The bodice and skirt pieces are separate and the shaping is minimal so there’s definitely room to adjust this pattern as you go.

The skirt lent itself to adding pockets as you can see from the adjusted skirt pattern above.

The front open ended zipper can be a challenge to find if you appreciate matching zippers to fabrics. These days, it’s more on trend to have an exposed zipper in a contrasting colour, to add interest to dresses, skirts, jackets etc. This helps when you limited zipper options.

The easiest option for making this version was to use this black on white all over print by JohnKaldor and use a black zipper. It’s a lovely suiting and it’s not heaving as a suiting.
The pattern provides all in one facings for a clean finish. I planned to fully line this dress because I like fully lined dresses. Ok, I love fully lined dresses.
My test dresses used the facings from the pattern and they’re good but I’m biased towards fully lined dresses. The cotton lining is soft and smooth so this is perfect for lining Summer dresses.

The first test version was totally medium sized and through some carefully checking, I soon found that I am small at the bust and have a medium sized waist.

I also removed 5cm from the skirt length. I took this length out horizontally from across the middle of the skirt. Removing the length from the middle of the skirt doesn’t interrupt the hem shaping.

Be aware that taking any length off this dress will affect the zipper length you use. I still used a 60cm zipper for this dress. I was just able to use the zipper so I know I can use a 55cm zipper in future.

The John Kaldor fabric has good body for this dress and the cotton lining helps the dress shaping stable.
Before cutting out the dress I marked the 1cm seam allowances on the pattern pieces. I learnt that marking the seam allowances makes pattern matching more accurate.

What I realised is that for this fabric, pattern matching is great for beginners as the print is dark and doesn’t have an obvious repeat.

Ok enough of the technical talk.

On the test versions I hand basted the zippers before machine stitching them. This keeps the zipper in place as you machine sew the zipper into the dress. This also allowed me to check the dress fit.

Machine sewing in the zipper isn’t something I can do in one go, so this also allowed me to sew the zipper into the dress in a couple of stages.

One thing I did learn from the test dresses is to leave the centre front facing loose until the zipper is sewn into the dress, for a sharper finish.

Yoyo is now my key Aussie Summer piece I can easily throw on when I have somewhere to go and it’s boiling hot outside. Having the dress fully lined means I’ll be a touch more comfortable in this heat that started before Christmas.

Cheers everyone and thanks again to Minerva Crafts for providing everything for this dress.

My little red dress

While this year has flown by I still remember buying this butterfly silk print from Selective Fine Fabrics and thinking ‘this would make a great blouse’. It’s become my little red dress.

Running in style had some really good ideas to plan a little red dress.

I chose the Wanda dress by Eliza M that I made this time last year in a snake tencil print.

The bodice pieces were already adjusted and this time I fully lined the dress.

I still used the size 12 but I moved in the bust pleats as they were too close to the side seams and not under the bust. 

The aqua piping from earlier this month was used at the front waistline.

The centre back zipper seams all matched and if I’d bought enough fabric for the dress I would have matched the print too. Over buying fabric does make the difference if you want to match prints across every seam point.

The side hem hints at the piecing I did to get enough fabric from the silk I bought.

The piecing simply looks like a shadow.

Fully lining the dress makes it sit better while the hemline looks like it’s dancing.
I wore this dress all day on Christmas Day and it felt like wearing a soft feather.

The colours in the print drew my eye so I’m pleased I was able to squeeze a ‘Wanda dress’ out of it.

Happy holidays everyone.

Loving prosecco this Summer.

For Summer

This embroidered print I bought a Selective Fine Fabrics in Brisbane recently is great using New Look 6000. OCD much (Lollipop and Blue poppies).

No sleeves this time so this dress works for Summer parties. I used the embroidered selvage for the hem.

The waist darts help me adjust this dress to fit as my waist changes. Underlining also made sewing in the invisible zipper easy work.

Originally I wanted to used FOE on the neckline and armholes but caved and used lining. The lining gave a better finish both on the inside and on the outside.

A few weekends ago I had a great day fabric shopping in Brisbane with Marjorie and Jenny visiting a couple of high end retailers. We spent ages looking at fabrics at Selective Fine Fabrics and this was one of the fabrics I decided to splurge on.

Why did I make this so quickly? I have a ladies lunch last Sunday hence a new dress! 

Then I decided to be brave and make View A using this John Lewis fabric I bought in the UK a few years ago. John Lewis doesn’t post fabric to Australia which I wasn’t aware of when we visited the UK 3 years ago.

Again I’ve fully lined this dress. I used View E front as the lining pattern. This made the front fit a lot easier to do.

One thing that makes this dress so easy to make and wear is using a 50cm to 55cm invisible zipper. I buy these zips from My Hung because they’re close by and affordable. My Hung have their zips hanging flat so I never have the iron out the kinks from packaged zips.

I think I’ve done this pattern to its limit for now. 

Well I thought I was until I decided to use an African wax print for a vintage-style version.

This is the dress I used for the square neckline tutorial.

Those butterflies are so lovely.

So I suppose I’ve finished working with NL 6000.

As this was an easy pattern to redo in a few different ways, I decided to enter these into PR’s One pattern many looks contest.

I certainly can’t say “I don’t have a thing to wear” in the lead up to Christmas this year.

Back to the sewing room.

Lollipop print

My new dress pattern ‘de jour’ is New Look 6000 using this lollipop tree print from Minerva Crafts UK. This style is a basic dress block with a few variations and it’s really easy to customise to your shape. 

Earlier this year I used this fabric for a retro blouse. Jo originally used this fabric for an a-line dress which looked fabric. She does influence my style choices.

Making this fabric dress-worthy
The pattern recommends a medium weight fabric and this fabric is light weight so it was a ‘no-brainer’ to fully line this dress to give it more body. 
Here are the prepped pieces.

I only lined the main dress and not the sleeves.

Interfacings and finishing touches
The sleeve cuff needed a very strong interfacing so that it looks sharp, so I used a paper type interfacing and these cuffs have really kept their shape. I normally used a softer interfacing but this paper style iron on interfacing worked was the perfect solution.

I used strips of interfacing to stabilise the neckline, the centre back seams and the centre back split.

My button stash came in handy on this occasion. I only had two of these buttons and they are a bit like the lollipop tree so that’s what I used.

My overlocker ‘spat the dummy’ and didn’t play nice so I used french seams on the sleeves. I haven’t finished the dress seams because the dress in lined and the fabric doesn’t unravel easily.

Because this is an all-over pattern I used a pale-coloured piping at the neckline.

Pattern adjustments:

I used the size 10 at the neckline; size 12 at the bust and used size 14 at the hips.
Then I shortened the bust dart by 2.5cm. 

I also shortened the sleeve length so it hit my arm at the right spot.

The dress length from the waist is 50cm and I shape the back hem so it doesn’t sit too high up and looks even from the side.

Here’s how the sway back adjustment turned out.

The v-neckline was easy to achieve by folding the pattern into a v-shape based on how low I wanted it to be. In this case it’s 10cm below the bodice neckline. 

These sleeves sewed in really easily.

I took a lot of care to mark the notches but I still double check as I sew.

There have been times when I sew the cuffs in the wrong way.

As you can see, the fit is great.

The shaping worked.

The other beauty of this fabric is you can’t see the creases so it will be brilliant as an office dress.

Thank you Minerva Crafts for this fabric.

Starting to feel Spring

One Saturday morning the Cloth Shop Ivanhoe had a photo of a poppy fabric in a blue and red colourway. This is the same fabric that Kate Middleton has worn.

I decided to go for my usual Saturday morning ride but while I was training I just couldn’t get that fabric image out of my mind. As soon as we got home and got myself organised for the day, I gave the Cloth Shop Ivanhoe a call.

Now if that’s not being dedicated to fabric, I don’t know what is. Kim was a lot of fun to talk to. When I occasionally visit Melbourne, I try to visit their store because they have a high end range of fabrics and they usually have fabrics I can’t find locally.

Again I used New Look 6067 because I’d already adjusted this dress for my current shape and decided this version would be fully lined.

I’ve used a cotton poplin so the dress lining is firm even though this fabric is a stretch woven. 

Above is an inside view of the front pleating and darts before being lined.

My aim for fully lining this dress was to keep the dress structure firm but not tight.

This photo shows how I placed the print on the skirt. The 3 inverted pleats at the front waist don’t detract from the print.

I had a thing for piping and this WIP picture shows you the sleeves with red piping. The red is not exactly the same as the poppies but it works.

I follow the advice I’ve read in Threads magazine to keep stitching closer to the piping to keep the piping from looking twisted. This piping was premade from Minerva Crafts UK.

Long story short: I wore this dress out for a Friday night out and felt great. It’s Spring right!

PS: I did buy the blue poppy colourway fabric so I hope to have that made up in the coming weeks, using a different pattern New Look 6000 😉

Enjoy your week.

Summer by ‘John Kaldor’

John Kaldor prints (he’s an Aussie) are made in the UK and Sewessential UK asked me to make a Summer frock using New Look 6209 View A.

Who could resist (she says with a huge smile). John Kaldor Hermione Fabric in Red and Blue is soft and is easy to wear in the heat and humidity. 

While it’s the end of Summer here I finally got some beach time so the colours for this fabric look even more amazing. 

These colours would still look great if I was my usual ‘lily-look’.

Princess fitted dresses call for a test version. 

My test version showed I needed to tweak out some room along the front neckline pieces on the front yoke and front dress panel.

I already adjusted the hemline and readjusted the hemline after the test dress. 

The side back panel is where I took out the sway back piece at the waistline.

I actually used the smaller sized front panel (8) and then used the next size up for the rest of the dress panels (10 graded to 12 at the waist).

Lucy from Sewessential UK was great to work with on this project. 

Lucy chose the notions and was happy for me to used piping on the neckline. 

Before sending out my project, Lucy checked this print against a navy and a white lining, suggesting using white so the colours would be stronger. Lucy was right. The white lining keeps this print looking strong.

In a way, the lining is interlining as I’ve still used the armhole binding. The neckline detailing still looks sharp. 

Did I try to match this print? No. This print is not that defined so I made the most of the fabric so I was able to get the body of this dress cut along one length of fabric. Pretty economical really.

How does the fabric perform?
It’s soft and feels good.
It washes easily.
It’s easy to sew and manage ie, not slippery.
Ironing is a breeze

Perfect now for that high tea in our tropical Sydney Autumn weather.

So this print might not suit you. Well there’s nothing holding you back from having a squiz at SewEssential’s range of fabrics right? So why not go there now and have a look. It’s always free to look at fabrics online.

Thank you Lucy at SewEssential UK for this dress. It’s awesome for our Game of Thrones Summer.