Friday, 8 December 2017

Valentine And Stitch Dune Top/Dress

Spoiler: I LOVE this dress!  The pattern is called Dune, and it's by Valentine and Stitch.  I spotted this when Sarah from Sew Sarah Smith made this gorgeous version.

The pattern is a top and also a maxi dress, and it has two neckline options.  It also has neck and armbands to finish the neckline and armhole.  These can either be sewn to the right side, folded to the inside and stitched; or sewn to the wrong side, folded to the outside and stitched.

I made the higher neckline on both my versions. Firstly I tried it out as the top in some random scrap of jersey fabric I found at the bottom of my jersey fabric box.  Me, being me, didn't stick to the pattern completely, and made two changes.  

The first was to the neckband.  I had planned to sew it to the outside, then fold to the inside, but my fabric was a bit thick and it was going to look bulky.  So I pressed it up, and top stitched the seam allowance down with a twin needle.

The second thing was to leave off the armbands due to the bulkiness issue.  So I overlocked the edge, turned it over, and twin needled it.

Then I dug out this greay and black jersey fabric for the dress version.  This fabric was from Minerva Crafts a few years ago, and it's lovely.  I also made a couple of changes.  The armhole is quite low on the top, so I raised it by 2 inches on the dress, which you can see in the photos below. 

The neckband and armholes are the same as on the top because, again, this fabric is quite thick.

This dress  was so easy to make, it took less than 2 hours to cut and sew one evening, but that didn't include the hem because I had to go to sleep!  It's quite fabric hungry though, and I used most of the 3 metres of fabric that I had.  There is also a free sleeve block, but I haven't tried it out yet, and there is a great tutorial on the Valentine And Stitch website on how to determine the length for the maxi version.  Naturally, I didn't use it!  I just cut my size, then trimmed a bit off the bottom.  I'll do it right the next time though!

I am loving swishing about in this dress, and it definitely is secret pyjamas!

Have a great weekend,


Sunday, 26 November 2017

A-Line Pinafore Dress

I'm not actually sure if this is a pinafore dress, but it's what I'm calling it in my head, so it's good enough.  Anyway, the inspiration for this came from me hanging around outside the changing rooms in Oasis (UK high street shop) while my sister was trying something on.  I saw a lovely brown needlecord pinafore dress, and thought the good old sewist thought of "I could make that!". 

The little red bit beside my hand is the light from the camera clicker - and it took me a minute to work that out!  And as winter has well and truly kicked in, we're going with inside photos.

The pattern is self-drafted, and while the idea was rattling around my head I recalled this dress from a couple of winters' ago, so used the pattern from it. Turns out I had trouble deciding what to call that style of dress too!  The only thing I changed was to add pockets.

My fabric is some burgundy needlecord from My Fabrics.  It's not easy to see in the photo below of the Oasis dress, but the front of the dress is cut on the cross-grain.  I fancied trying this, but stupidly only order 1.5 metres, so everything was cut on the straight grain. 
Source: Oasis
I'm very pleased with how the tops of my pockets turned out,

Pocket innards
and also this snazzy exposed zip.  I used this tutorial from Megan Nielsen, but I don't love the bottom of my zip.  It got un-picked about five times, and broke one needle.  The inside of the lining is hand-stitched to the back of the zip.



So far, so good.  It started going down hill with the lining...  The lining fabric is some random animal print poly from the interwebs.  Friends, this stuff is the fabric equivalent of the Weeping Angels from Doctor Who - you blink, it does something nasty.  Mostly unravelling.  And, of course, the fraying thread stuck to the needlecord like glue.  Sigh.  

You can see how much it's fraying in this photo above, so just admire my rolled hem instead!

I thought taking the pinking shears to the lining seams would do the trick - turns out I was wrong.  I fully expect the lining to fall apart fairly swiftly, so had the wit to not trim the neck and armhole seam allowances, so I can re-line it at some point.  The rest of this fabric is already in the recycling!

The hem was done with the blind hem foot and stitch on my machine, and this is my new favourite thing.  Here's how it looks from the right side, including bonus fluff from the lining.

And this is the wrong side.

Other than the nasty lining, I love how this turned out, although I want to wear it a few times before I decide if I want to tweak the fit a little bit.  I already have another version planned in tartan.

Have a great week,


Saturday, 11 November 2017

Deer And Doe Bleuet Dress

I bought this pattern when it first came out a few years' ago now, but even though I planned to, I never got around to making it.


Fast forward to the pattern being re-jigged and re-released a few months ago.  There were some new versions on the Deer and Doe blog, and the second photo down really caught my eye.  I loved the tartan with the white collar, and we all know that in my world tartan is a neutral!    

The PDF pattern was on offer for 3 Euros to anybody who had bought the original pattern, so I bought it.  My fabric is some Mini Royal Stewart tartan from ebay that I bought to make a replacement for this dress which is my favourite, but has most definitely seen better days. 


I preferred the idea of a black collar, so used some wool/rayon mix fabric left over from this dress, and made View B but without the bow at the back.  Also, I didn't bother with the hem facing, and just turned the hem under and stitched.  Cutting out was pretty time-consuming because I cut it all out on a single layer, but that's the joys and delights of matching the print on tartan.

The dress came together pretty quickly, and the pattern is beautifully drafted, the collar went together perfectly.  As with the other Deer and Doe patterns I've used, the instructions are a bit sparse, and I'm not sure if I used the correct seam allowance for the capped sleeves.

I love how my dress turned out, but ultimately it is a little bit big, which is entirely my fault - should have gone down a size!  But having worn it twice now, I think I'll fiddle about with the princess seams, and see if I can bring it in a bit.  


There is also a tutorial on the Deer and Doe blog on how to make it into a shirt, which I'm very taken with, so might give that a try.

Have a great weekend,


Friday, 27 October 2017

The Halloween Dress and The Elna Supermatic

The fabric silliness continues with this Halloween themed dress, because Halloween is definitely my favourite holiday. 

I'd wanted to make a Simplicity 2444 dress, but the bodice needed tweeked, and I couldn't be bothered.  So this bodice is the By Hand London Anna bodice (how many of these have I made?!), and the skirt from Simplicity 2444.  I don't think I've put these two together before, but I will be doing it again.

My fabric is some cotton called "Day of the dead roses and skulls" and was from a seller called "The Cheap Shop" on ebay.  It was £6.60 per metre, and is 57" wide - I bought 2 metres. 

Here's a close-up of the fabric so you can see the details.  I don't think these skulls are too creepy/in your face.  There's not much to say about the construction, so let's talk about the machine I used.   

I seem to have acquired quite a few sewing machines now, some belonged to my Grannies (here and here), and some I've bought.  It seems my machine of choice is Elna, as I have two new Elna sewing machines and an overlocker, and I also have an Elna from the 1970's that was my Granny's.  

Probably my favourite of my old machines is my Singer 306k because I love that it does more than a straight stitch, and I love how it works with the little cams.  Well, Elna made a similar machine around the same time, the 1950s, which is the Elna Supermatic.  I'd been on the lookout for one for a while, and got this one on Ebay during the summer.

This one had five cams with it, and they go into the top of the machine.  The cam rotates as the machine runs, and the shape around the edge of the cam moves the needle to create the stitch. 

The stitch length selector is on the right, and the needle position is 0-4 along the bottom.  Here are my experiments with some of the cams.


It doesn't have any measurement markings on the foot plate, so I used some masking tape and a marker pen. 

Also, it doesn't have a foot pedal, instead it uses a knee bar to control the machine.  As it's name suggests, you push it with your knee to make the machine run.  The further over to the right, the faster the machine goes.  It's actually very easy to use, and I find it easiest of all my old machines to control the speed on. 

This machine is very conveniently dated on the bottom as 8th October 1954.  Wish the old Singers were so easy to date! I'd love to know if anybody else has a Supermatic, and if so, what do you think of it?

Happy Halloween!


Friday, 20 October 2017

Tardis Anna Dress

Thank you for all the love for The Coat, the weather hasn't been cold enough to wear it, but I've no doubt that will change soon.

As mentioned in The Coat post, I made it while watching Doctor Who.  I'd stopped watching Doctor Who after David Tennant, because that last episode nearly finished me - and all I can say is "what an idiot was I?"!!  It turns out I am stupidly excited about Jodie Whittaker being the new Doctor, so I've watched all of Matt Smith, and one and a bit series of Peter Capaldi.

And I don't know why, maybe winter coat making madness, but I decided I needed a Doctor Who themed dress.  A bit of googling found this fabulous exploding Tardis fabric, which is based on a Vincent Van Gogh painting from an episode called "The Pandorica Opens".

And, really, what's not to love about a dress with exploding Tardis's on it!  The dress itself is the good old By Hand London Anna bodice, which is perfect for not breaking up a print, with a gathered skirt.  And after making The Coat, it felt like this dress took about 5 minutes to sew!  (It was really a day and a bit).

Turns out Doctor Who is also good for sewing inspiration, as Clara has some lovely dresses that have caught my eye. 

Have a great weekend!