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Liberty Leftovers Top!

March 27, 2016

Hello, and Happy Easter to you!  Remember the beautiful dress I made for my daughter using Liberty Carline fabric provided by Minerva?  Well, I had just under a metre left over of this lovely fabric and I was determined to squeeze something else out of it – preferably something for me!

I dug out an old pattern I’ve not used for a while – Burda 7798 – and just about managed to fit the pattern pieces onto the remaining fabric.  To manage it, I had to shorten all the ‘skirt’ pieces by an inch, and omit the bias strips for finishing the armholes and neckline.  Instead I used ready-made bias tape in a plain ivory – as it is turned to the inside it isn’t noticeable anyway.

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The construction of the top is much like making a very short dress – the bodice is pleated into the neckline and then under the bust is the ‘skirt’ which is cut on the bias and has a centre front seam.  At the centre back there is a centered zip.  I like the shape of the top and have pretty much worn out its predecessor – it’s in a sorry state but I still can’t quite bear to part with it!

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It’s nice to make some tops for a change as I wear jeans a lot more these days.  I think a dress made with this fabric would be amazing for a special occasion or a sunny day, but I wouldn’t wear it all year round, whereas this top can be paired with jeans or a denim skirt and tights for a more wearable look.  I just so rarely feel like doing the epic full-skirted look when I’m trundling my kids to school and back!

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I do love the shape of this top – I want to make more tops like this.  Some plain ones would be really handy as well for when I’m feeling like I want to be completely boring😉

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My March Minerva Make – Michael Miller Mdress

March 22, 2016

This month for my Minerva Crafts Blogger Network project, I used some bee-yootiful fabric that I had been coveting for a while – Michael Miller Wing Song – to make a dress.

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I combined the By Hand London Anna pattern with the Colette Patterns Peony, and gave it my own little twist.  It worked out pretty well!  If you’d like to read more about it, you can do so on Minerva’s site here.  In addition to me waffling on talking about the project in more detail, there are more photos, plus a bonus close-up of my crazy happy face if you make it to the end!😉

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Thanks to Minerva for providing me with the fabric, zip and thread for this project.

In My Heart of Hearts dress

February 29, 2016

Whilst reading Issue 23 of Love Sewing magazine, I came across Elisalex’s tutorial for adding a heart-shaped cut out to a garment.  For the purposes of her tutorial, she had used the By Hand London Flora dress.  Although the heart cut-out could be added to any finished garment, I was inspired to start from scratch and make a whole new frock.

This is my late-night, no make-up, just-finished-my-new-dress photo!

This is my late-night, no make-up, just-finished-my-new-dress photo!

My previous Flora dress is a little loose now, so I traced the next size down.  When I made the dress the first time, I had to tinker with the fit a bit to get it right.  I adjusted the waist darts in the same way as I did last time and made a toile in some leftover liquorice allsorts fabric.  It was too short in the bodice, so for the second toile I lengthened the pattern by just under 2″ as I am quite long bodied and I find that often waistbands sit higher on me than they ought to.  The result was better.  I wanted a very close fit this time because the last dress I made seemed to just skim over the bust and it didn’t come in underneath close to my midriff.  However, for the final version I added a bit of extra ease at the side seams.

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The fabric I used was from Plush Addict and actually I bought it at the same time as I bought the Lickswishy Sweets fabric, which is what I used for my previous Flora dress!  I love the bright, spring-like shade of green and of course I am a sucker for things with hearts on.  The hearts on this are so tiny though that, even from a short distance, they just look like pin dots, and from even further away, they are indistinguishable and ultimately they only serve to make the shade of green appear lighter.  I think this is why I waited so long to use the fabric – to my mind it might as well be a solid colour.  This dress with the heart cut out seemed a good way of adding more interest to a dress made with this fabric though.

Flora dress styled for winter with boots, tights and a cardigan!

Flora dress styled for winter with boots, tights and a cardigan!

The heart cut-out made me kinda nervous.  To work hard on the fit of a dress, make it up and finish it perfectly (if I do say so myself!), and then CUT A GIANT HOLE IN THE FRONT – yep, I’m not ashamed to say I was a bit apprehensive.  What if it went wrong?  What if it looked completely shit and I had ruined the dress?  I did, however, have enough fabric left over to make a new bodice should it all go tits up, and knowing this gave me the confidence to do it.  Also, y’know, I reminded myself to get a grip: it wouldn’t have been the end of the world.

Styled for summer with bright yellow wedges! I much prefer it this way! (The creases are mainly because this was after a whole day of wear.)

Styled for summer with bright yellow wedges! I much prefer it this way! (The creases are mainly because this was after a whole day of wear.)

I used the same fabric as I had for the dress (and incidentally the bodice is also lined with the same fabric because I bought over 3m of it for some reason).  The process went absolutely fine, and to keep it secure, I slip-stitched the edge of the heart on the inside to the bodice lining, meaning it’s not going anywhere and it isn’t visible from the outside.

Out for coffee in the sunshine! The Flora dress design is notorious for showing bra straps!

Out for coffee in the sunshine! The Flora dress design is notorious for showing bra straps!

I’m pleased with the placement of the heart and how it sits.  The top of the heart sits nice and flat most of the time, and I like the way the V allows a peek of cleavage.  It just transforms a very plain dress into something a little more eye-catching and unusual – I’ve never seen this technique used on RTW clothing.

I don’t think I’ll be adding heart cut outs to all my dresses, but it’s good to have one!

My February Minerva Make – Little Girl’s Liberty Dress

February 23, 2016

My daughter turned six this month, and for one of her birthday presents I made her a lovely, twirly dress, with supplies kindly sent to me by Minerva Crafts.

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If you’d like to read more about it, and see more photos, hop on over to Minerva’s blog here!

Sweets dress!

February 15, 2016

Guess what?  I made another totally weather-inappropriate dress!  The sun has been shining a lot recently, and even though it’s still pretty cold, I couldn’t resist sewing up this sweetie jars fabric which I bought last year from Leon’s in Manchester.

New Look 6824

New Look 6824

I wore it for the first time yesterday at the park.  It was sunny, and I had an ice cream, but on the same day it also hailed AND snowed (luckily not whilst we were outside!).  I managed to keep warm(ish) by wearing the dress with boots, thick socks, clear tights, and, when I wasn’t having photos taken, a cardigan, winter coat and scarf!

Back view. This photo was taken inside the Victorian conservatory at the park, which is lusciously warm and houses iguanas, tortoises and bearded dragons.

Back view. This photo was taken inside the Victorian conservatory at the park, which is lusciously warm and houses iguanas, tortoises and bearded dragons.

So, this dress is made with New Look 6824.  I first used this pattern in 2013 and haven’t been back to it since.  I had to trace a different size this time, and the fit is ok, but not perfect.  I made the bodice lining first and treated it as a toile, basting together the side seams and adding in the zip.  It seemed fine, but the finished dress has this strange effect of completely minimising my boobs?!  It’s like wearing a sandwich board!   I think this is because it doesn’t come in underneath, at the midriff.  I’ve had this problem a lot with patterns, actually, and often on a traditional bodice with waist darts I need to make the waist darts wedge shaped to take out more fabric under the bust.  This is a princess seamed bodice, so I would need to take more out of the princess seam under the bust next time.

You can't really tell, but I'm sitting down in this photo! I'm sort of perched on the rocks, but I just look weirdly small. Oh well!

You can’t really tell, but I’m sitting down in this photo! I’m sort of perched on the rocks, but I just look weirdly small. Oh well!

I also had to chop off a whopping five and a half inches off the hem.  I forgot that the pattern is for a midi length skirt, and I’m not keen on that length of skirt on me.  I think unless I’m planning on wearing heels, on the knee or slightly above the knee works best for me and looks better with flat shoes or boots.

It was bloody freezing taking these pictures!

It was bloody freezing taking these pictures!

I ummed and ahhhed on whether to use this fabric to make my daughter a dress – it would make the perfect little girl’s dress, wouldn’t it?  But, I recently finished making her a dress using a Liberty print fabric, so that’s twice now I’ve chosen Liberty fabrics for her, therefore I surmised that she has been spoiled and I was going to have this fabric (which is not Liberty, of course) for myself.  Sorry not sorry.

Very pleasing invisible zip

Very pleasing invisible zip – and a closer view of the fabric!

I’m looking forward to wearing this more in the summer, although I am pleased how good it looked with my ridiculous boots!

The Ziggy Dress

January 25, 2016

I have named my latest finished sewing project the Ziggy dress, because a) it is zig zag print and b) it’s a reference to David Bowie.  The news of his death broke the morning after I had laid out this fabric to begin sewing, and as I was making it I listened to a lot of Bowie on the radio.  What an extraordinarily talented, interesting and downright cool musician he was.  May he rest in peace.

So this fabric is one I bought on a Leeds sewing meet-up in 2014, I think.  It was 55″ wide and I bought 3 metres, so I decided to make the most of the width of the fabric and make a dress with a circle skirt.  I chose Simplicity Amazing Fit 1606.  As it turns out, the pattern is only a half circle skirt, but it’s big enough to wear a huge poofy petticoat underneath, so it’s still a winner.

Simplicity 1606

The Ziggy Dress: Simplicity 1606, and very very old shoes from Topshop

I first used this pattern to make my 50s style halterneck dress, and then I used it again to make my red lace overlay dress.  Both of these dresses have been worn to weddings and both are very special to me.  This version is a bit less fancy, and consequently more wearable.  It still has nice little details though, such as the back opening, which fastens with a little button at the top, and the zip starts further down.  The pattern instructs you to do a centered zip, but I much prefer lapped zips and I’m really happy with how it turned out.

Back opening with button and zip. The wind caught my skirt here!

Back opening with button and zip. The wind caught my skirt here!

I was lazy when fitting this dress, in that I basically didn’t bother: I just cut the same size as the last two times.  It seems I might have changed shape again since then, since the bodice looks a teeny bit bigger than I anticipated it would.  The top half of me seems to change shape a lot more easily than the bottom half!

Simplicity 1606 and Built By Wendy Bolero jacket

ANCHOR EARRINGS!

In these photos I am wearing a black linen bolero jacket I made in 2014.  I used a Built By Wendy pattern for it to start with, but changed the shape.  It’s really simple and plain but it does look nice with the right dress.

Look at that interesting thing on the floor!

Simplicity 1606 and Built By Wendy bolero jacket

In terms of finishing – the bodice is lined with white cotton, and the seams are mostly pinked as I thought that would keep the zig zag theme going.  I did overlock the centre back seam, though, and the seam where the bodice meets the skirt.  I machine stitched the hem after letting it hang for about a week (not necessary to leave it that long – just didn’t get around to it!).

The Ziggy dress - front view again

The Ziggy dress – front view again

I really like how the linear pattern looks curvy due to the cut of the skirt.  And I know I’m going to sound like a massive sewing geek, but I actually found it fun doing the pattern matching of seams on this dress, and immensely satisfying to get such good results!

Pattern matched like a boss

Pattern matched like a boss

I’m very happy with my new dress!

Happy face!

Happy face!

Shimmery Lady Skater

January 2, 2016

Hello and happy new year to you all!  Today I am showing you a dress that is like, so 2015.  It’s a dress I made to wear on Christmas day.  I wanted to make something super easy, comfortable and flattering, but just a bit sparkly.  I bought the fabric from Minerva – it’s a black lurex Ponte Roma with silvery shimmer, and it’s quite a bargain at £6.99 per metre (I ordered 2m).

SHIMMER!!

SHIMMER!!

As you can see above, the shimmer really shows in electric light, but in daylight it’s more of a subtle effect.  There was a moment where I was worried that I might look as though I was wearing a bin bag, but thankfully I’m pretty sure I managed to avoid that.

On Christmas Day. I tone in with the in-laws' new kitchen!

On Christmas Day. I tone in with the in-laws’ new kitchen!

The fabric was lovely to work with.  It’s very stable.  It would make a lovely Coco dress!  As I already have a plain black Coco dress, though, I opted for the Lady Skater.  It’s the third one I have made as I really like the pattern.  My only gripe is the wrinkle from the underarm above the bust, perhaps indicating I need a full bust adjustment, but it doesn’t bother me so much that I would mess about with the pattern.  I just feel obliged to point it out!

Neck line, top stitched with metallic silver thread

Neck line, top stitched with metallic silver thread

I topstitched the neckline with some silver metallic thread and although it’s only a little detail I really like it.  I hemmed the dress is the same way as I have hemmed my other three Lady Skaters – with a tiny rolled hem on my overlocker.

Overlocker rolled hem

Overlocker rolled hem

There’s not much else of interest to say about this, so I shall leave you with my Christmas Day ‘selfie’ – because I know you all want a giant photo of my face – which I mainly took to show off my new ‘Mancunian’ necklace made by my friend Jody.  I was born in Stockport which is in the southern part of Greater Manchester, so naturally I think Manchester is the best city ever and I am proud to come from there, and always happy to visit our family and friends who still live there!

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