Sometimes you see a fabric and you think wow. I love it… then, you stumble across the designer dress and you say, oh yes I like that!!
This Zadig and Voltaire dress is ￡755 featuring a beautiful handkerchief hem, shirred sleeves and button neckline. It looks like it’s been made out of crepe but the material I found was a satin replica without the brand name featured on the fabric. It’s also much brighter as satin is great for taking colour, which is more my style.
So I bought 2 yards of the dark navy (it was sold in 1 yard or 1.5 yard increments and also comes on a white base) then reached for my trusty M7948 bodice hack. You remember, I moved the keyhole to the front? Perfect for this dress. And the boxy silhouette is great for dinner parties and dancing. It’s another slight variation on my previous versions.
I created a longer skirt than M7948 with an added frill at the hem, by using the Emery dress skirt pieces and two long long long rectangle of fabric for the frill. Gathering all that frill to attach was tiring. I like to use the two rows of gathering stitches method but nothing could have sped this up. The effect is perfect though.
For the neckline I cut down the facing to just the shape of the keyhole area, stitched right sides together around the marked triangle, snipped down the centre front and turned through. For a neat finish I under-stitched each side and basted around the neckline to hold it in place. Then I made bias binding using my favourite machine for the neckline.
I chose a beloved button from Jimi’s Aunt’s collection which came to me when she passed. It sparkles much prettier in person. I sewed one side of the bias tape then added the loop to the end of the neckline before wrapping the rest of the bias over the top. It’s handsewn in place to avoid snagging the fabric.
Did you see my tips for snag prone fabric on Instagram? It saved this dress and has helped on viscose and cotton lawn in the past.
My sleeves are just lengthened from the original pattern versions and then elasticated at the hem. And the neckline button can be worn undone but I prefer it fastened. It’s going to be such a good dress this Christmas!
Today I’m sharing a long overdue finished make! I made this jacket early in the year and then totally forgot to put it online. It’s the perfect rainy day jacket because it’s waterproof and so bright, it’s like instant sunshine!
Simplicity 8843 is an easy to wear, drop shoulder jacket with drawstring waist, 2 styles of patch pockets, optional hood and choice between zipper front or popper front. Watch the video sewalong for this pattern on YouTube. I chose to make a mix of views A and B – with the pockets of view A and the zipper front of view B. As you can see I omitted the drawstring as I prefer a boxy jacket I can wear chunky sweaters underneath.
My gorgeous fabric is a waterproof treated cotton by Rico Design available at Minerva.com. But this pattern also works in untreated cottons and even organza for a lightweight workout layer. The last raincoat I made was from ripstop, a nylon fabric that is water-resistant. And while I made it super warm by layering it with flannel, it’s not suitable to heavier showers.
This jacket/fabric got a really good splashing and totally held up so I’m really pleased. Though I will say the treatment makes it a little stiff and prone to slight wrinkling. But if you’re stopping me in the street to say “oh your jacket is a little wrinkly” I’ll be telling you to naff off.
Treated fabrics can be a little trickier to sew as the surface is a little stickier, dragging against your machine and presser foot. Some people choose to invest in a Teflon foot but I think these are unnecessary. Two things that can help are: 1) sewing with tissue paper above and below your fabric that you would rip out of the seams after sewing and 2) adding a bit of sellotape to the bottom of your presser foot with a hole for the needle.
To avoid scorching the fabric and removing the waterproofing, use with a medium iron and pressing cloth, pressing from the reverse. Always a use a sharp or synthetic needle with a polyester thread in your machine for waterproofed/water resistant fabric. You’ll need a longer stitch length of at least 2.8mm to get through a tougher fabric like this. I chose to add the internal version of a flat felled seam shown in my linked tutorial, which is strong and tough for outerwear jackets.
It’s created by sewing the seam right sides together then trimming half the allowance down to a few mm and then pressing over the other half of the allowance to cover it.You trim the allowance that is nearest the back of the garment, then press the full seam allowance in half before pressing over the top of the trimmed side. This creates a neat folded edge that you can top-stitch in place from the right side of the garment. In case you’re wondering, true flat felled seams are sewn on the outside of the garment by first sewing WRONG sides together.
I used a 30″ open ended chunky zipper in a golden yellow. It took me three attempts to match the colour so I wish I’d just gone for white or gold! And I used two gold Prym anorak snaps for the pockets. Snaps are so much fun to install when you have a bit of stress to work out and can use a hammer… or you can use the clever pliers available if you don’t want to make a racket.
For the top-stitching I used my blind hem foot (as I don’t have an edge-stitching foot) with the needle set 3mm away from the edge for the lower pockets and zipper edges. Then my 1/4″ foot for stitching the flat felled seams on the right side of the garment and pocket flaps. Finally I used a stitch in the ditch foot to secure the hood lining from the right side of the fabric. I absolutely love having feet like this in my sewing toolkit and 100% recommend you buy them or request them as gifts.
I made a size XS at the shoulders and size M at the hips, grading between sizes. The only other changes I made was to use facings for the sleeve and body hems. I cut my bodice before I found my zipper so needed the hem facing to create the appropriate finish at the lower edge. Then I liked it so much I added it to the sleeves. It gives the support of a cuff! Time to head out in the rain?
Chartreuse is one of those colours that scares people. It’s slightly acidic looking but I find it so vibrant and exciting.
Fun fact!! The colour actually comes from the alcoholic drinks. Green Chartreuse gets its color from chlorophyll, whereas Yellow Chartreuse gets its pigment from saffron. Both colors are naturally occurring. The two shades then worked their way into fashion, art and design. Read this amazing post about the bonkers history of the “elixir of life”.
It was big in 1937, and again in the sixties. And it was a favorite of midcentury-modern trendsetters! Another reason I love it.
The amazing pattern is M7974, a real highlight from the McCall’s 2019 collection. I wanted a opaque but floaty crepe to ensure I could wear it without a slip.
Then I saw this Joanie dress… and knew I had the perfect fabric.
This fabric is a polyester crepe from the now closed Samantha Clarridge Sewing Studio. It was in the sale so I bought 2m. Then a few months later I panic bought another metre when I decided to remake the sleeves.
The colour is joyous in this design. It shows all the gorgeous seamlines, and feels elegant but bold. The tie sleeves I made first time around were stunning but looked terrible under cardigans. And that’s a deal breaker for me. Cardigans are life!!
The pattern is a little low cut which is more sexy than I normally go for but I decided not to raise or overlap the neckline on my first version.
One change was to enclose the shoulder yoke seams on the front by machine by turning the yoke facing RST with the front and sewing over the previous row of stitching before the sleeve was attached. And neat finishing the back yoke by machine using the burrito method for a clean finish.
I started this dress when I was almost 2stone lighter and cut a size 12 bust, size 14 waist and hips. When I returned to it after a year’s break (first waiting for the extra fabric, then I mislaid it in a moving box for 6months) I had to let it out a lot… like we’re talking 7mm seams. Thankfully I got away with it.
There was the perfect card of vintage buttons in my stash and my seashell mother of pearl earrings, that I got on honeymoon, complete the look.
I wore this to the New Craft House Spring Fling party as this zesty colour = freshness and Spring to me. And it came on my summer holiday to California with me too as a nice dinner dress for hot nights out.
Now I need to wear it for Christmas with a white fluffy cardigan, red lipstick and twinkly jewellery next I think.
Morning everyone. A quick post from me today! I recently went over to the Love Sewing offices to chat with the new Editor Michelle and photograph my version of M8256.
This is a Learn To Sew level 1 pattern for a super blousey top with gathering into a neat bias neckline. There are raglan sleeves in three styles and an option to make a cami top.
I made view D but cut the sleeves short. They’re a little less full than the view B sleeves that way. I also used thicker elastic for a chunkier cuff effect.
I’m pretty pleased with the size S but could have still gone down to size XS as it’s very oversized and that’s not my aesthetic. It’s best tucked in I think.
You can get a copy from Love Sewing 111 with another pattern included too. And it’s an “all sizes in one envelope” design. They even showed the cami lengthened into a dress! Genius!
It’s perfect for beginners as it works in stable cotton lawn, then you can try floatier slippery fabrics when you’re more confident gathering and sewing the neckline. The beginner friendly instructions take you through the process.
My fabric is a poly challis from Rainbow Fabrics that I kind of regretted buying but turned that around with this top. Guess it was waiting to tell me what to sew it into!
Hello everyone! For newcomers around here, I have a long tradition of making myself something nice for my birthday. It isn’t always something super fancy by the way… but this one is quite the stunner. My husband and I went out for dinner on my birthday to a nice French restaurant in Ilkley (with a couple of drinks afterwards) but I didn’t get chance to take proper photos until now.
The fabric is the star of the show. This fully embroidered linen fabric has sweet white daisies on a black background. It’s medium weight and it washed absolutely fine, but I did trim a few fuzzy threads for neatness. It came from Aliexpress but is also available on Etsy and there are a few colours available.
I chose Simplicity 9294 aka B6556 from my stash. This Gertie design has a beautiful square neckline with a full pleated skirt and all important pockets. I decided to swap the skirt, for a 3/4 circle skirt. It was a really close call on whether to add the sleeves and an Instagram vote wasn’t completely helpful… in the end I went sleeveless as it’s quite a warm dress.
I made a size 12 in the upper bodice, grading to a 14 at the waist and then drafted a skirt to fit. The whole dress is lined with black habotai with the skirt lining hanging free as its own layer. I installed an invisible zipper in the centre back which sometimes needs a little help closing to avoid the embroidery. And as a special touch there is horsehair braid around the hem of the outer skirt.
There are three ways to install horsehair braid. Because my fabric was so thick I chose this method. I overlocked the raw fabric edge, then place the braid on the wrong side with 70% of it hanging below the edge. Sew with a narrow allowance near the edge, then fold up to the inside. The braid will sit behind the fabric edge then you can hand-stitch the upper edge in place invisibly.
The skirt hangs in such a pleasing way with the braid. It’s really fun to twirl in. Plus those pockets are super big and great if you want to skip a handbag, store things in the pockets and just dance! Keeping that in mind for future events.
The thick centres of the daisies were a little hard to sew over and it would have been near impossible to create the lovely v notch in the centre front, so I just created a true square neckline. To help at the waist seam allowance, I unpicked some of the thicker daisies so the skirt would sit flatter (but it was very tiring and VERY boring because the daisies were fixed very firmly).
The dress will be coming on holiday with me to California, and hopefully I’ll still reach for it during winter because it’s such a nice dress style even though daisies are such a summer flower. I also have a Gertie fabric print that has roses and fans on a black base which I think would work for version of this dress with the v neckline and original pleated skirt! Let’s just see if I can get that made before we go… seems unlikely given my HUGE to-sew list.