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Colette Sorbetto Top

April 11, 2016

Sometimes, I will set aside some time for sewing without a clear plan of what I’m going to do.  I usually have a few possibilities in mind, but every so often I’ll just end up sewing something completely unexpected, and that’s what happened on the day I made this Colette Patterns Sorbetto top.

Colette Sorbetto top worn with Gertie's Knit Pencil Skirt.

Colette Sorbetto top worn with Gertie’s Knit Pencil Skirt.

I was looking through my box of scrap fabrics, because I was trying to find a scrap large enough to use as a lining for something else, when I came across quite a large piece of this lovely cotton lawn sent to me by Minerva for my Eliza M Audrey dress.  I measured it and found I had just under a metre left over, but because the fabric is 58″ wide, it had potential!  With it being such a silky, lightweight cotton, I thought it would make a great top.

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I used the Sorbetto pattern when it first came out in 2011 to make a top which I didn’t much like, truth be told, a top which has since been given to charity.  I hadn’t given any further thought to the pattern until it suddenly called to me from the depths of my pattern stash!  It was the perfect pattern for this bit of fabric!

I wore it to London and here I am in the William Morris room of the V&A museum eating THE BEST CAKE EVER

I wore it to London and here I am in the William Morris room of the V&A museum cafe eating THE BEST CAKE EVER

I didn’t have enough of the fabric to cut bias strips, nor did I have any store-bought coordinating binding, so I used the tutorial on the Colette Patterns website to make ‘continuous bias binding’.  With two 8″ squares of fabric, I made more than enough bias binding to bind the neckline and arm holes of the top, which is great because it matches exactly and it isn’t stiff and scratchy like most of the ready-made stuff.

After making the bias binding, I then fed it through my bias binding maker to help fold the raw edges in before pressing

After making the bias binding, I then fed it through my bias binding maker to help fold the raw edges in before pressing

 

The top was super simple to make, and because it’s a relaxed fit I made no alterations.  In hindsight, it could perhaps do with a swayback alteration, but even if I made another version, I can’t promise I’d be willing to devote the time it.  The fact that the back is cut on the fold complicates it further.  It’s just a simple top and I’m lazy.

Colette Sorbetto top - back view

Colette Sorbetto top – back view

The top looks nice with my Gertie Knit pencil skirt, and is good with jeans.  A surprising, useful, and pretty addition to my Spring wardrobe!

Scuba Skater Dress

April 4, 2016

A few weeks ago I went to London for the weekend to stay with my friend Vicky.  Our main plans for the weekend were to go to a fancy gin bar, go fabric shopping, and do the Warner Brothers studio tour (i.e. the Harry Potter tour).  We did all of those things and more, but what I want to show you is a dress I made with some fabric I bought that weekend somewhere along Goldhawk Road.

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It’s a digital print scuba fabric.  I’ve been seeing scuba pop up on a few blogs recently, and I was quite intrigued by it.  I like sewing with stretch fabrics, particularly quite sturdy ones.  When my eyes fell upon this vivid print, I couldn’t resist buying some!  It isn’t as thick as I expected scuba fabric to be, and it has a lot more drape than I thought it would, too, which is good because it means it’s more suitable to wear.

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I only bought 1.5m because I was fairly confident I would have enough to make a Kitschy Coo Lady Skater dress, and I did, just about.  What made it slightly tricky was that the pattern repeat on the fabric is quite large and I wanted to align it nicely so that the centre of the pattern ran down the centre of each pattern piece.  To do this, I had to trace out single layer pattern pieces, and in order to place the sleeve pattern in symmetrical positions, the sleeves were cut upside down (but you can’t tell!)

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The Lady Skater is always a quick sew, and I was able to make the majority of this during my son’s naptime, with just the side seams to close and the hem to do in the evening.  For the hem I decided to try a fluted hem on my overlocker, and I’m really pleased with the results.

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I wore the dress to the Manchester Gin Festival, which was held at Victoria Baths, a Grade II listed Edwardian building housing three (now disused) swimming pools and Turkish baths.  What an excellent and interesting venue for a gin festival!  Naturally I had to have a few photos in these amazing surroundings!

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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!

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