Saturday, 26 November 2016

Tartan Anna with a bias cut skirt

Just so you know, I flipping love this dress! 


The bodice is the good old By Hand London Anna bodice, and the skirt is a half circle skirt cut on the bias.  The inspiration was this vintage dress I found on Pinterest.  I wish I'd paid a bit more attention to how the lines are matched on the skirt centre front - oh, well!



The fabric is some polyviscose suiting from a seller called The Textile Centre on ebay.  It's lovely, and has a woolly feel to it; also, it was only £4.49 per metre. 


Everything was cut on a single layer to match up the stripes on the tartan.  I think I could sew an Anna bodice in my sleep, so that bit was easy, but the bias front and back seams took a few goes to get them perfect.  One side of the centre back zip got unpicked three times, but I got there in the end.

Oh, and I also stablised the bias cut edges of the skirt zip seam with some interfacing which worked perfectly.


As already mentioned, I love this dress, and it has been worn a lot already.  The fabric is lovely and cozy for the cold weather.  As far as I am concerned tartan is a neutral, and I may have found some small check Black Watch tartan on ebay, which is being turned into a shirtdress at the minute!

Have a great weekend,


Saturday, 19 November 2016

The Fold Line - Tribe Patterns: Design your own pattern competition - I won!!

Friends, you could have knocked me down with a feather yesterday when Rachel and Kate from The Fold Line emailed me to say that I had won their pattern design competition!  Then they put it on their Instagram feed and my Instagram feed went bananas!!

Thank you so much to everybody for taking the time to vote for me, I appreciate it more than I could ever say.  And thank you also for all the lovely messages on Instagram.

I really didn't expect to win as the other two entries were brilliant.  The coat was such a classic and wearable design, and the shaping the bodice of the other dress was so cleverly done; I loved it.  Rachel and Kate will start the process of creating the pattern in the new year, and I shall let you know when it will be realised.


Normal blogging service shall resume when I have calmed down!!  And thank you once again for your support.  It's been said before, but I shall say it again - Sewists are the nicest people!!

Have a brilliant weekend,

Lynne x   

Friday, 11 November 2016

The Fold Line - Tribe Patterns competition

Have you seen The Fold Line's pattern design competition?  Well, I thought I'd give it a go as I like to monkey around with a bit of pattern drafting, so I entered the design for my last make, and it's only gone and made it to the short list!!  I was beyond excited when I got the email yesterday!

My design is for a 1970s style dress with a princess seam bodice with buttons to the waist.  If it wins, there will be two sleeve options: one that finishes below the elbow with an elastic cuff, and one with a big 70s button cuff with a keyhole placket.


The skirt is an A-line skirt, and the dress has a side zip.  Here is my version below with the shorter sleeves.  The bodice on this isn't a princess seam.  I used viscose for mine, but any drapey fabric would be lovely.  Viscose, Rayon, Polyester, Lightweight Crepe, Cotton Lawn or Silk - if you're feeling fancy!

So I'm going to be very forward and ask you to take a minute to vote for me on The Fold Line website, my design is number three.  Click here for the link.

Thank you in advance,


Sunday, 6 November 2016

70s Style Dress

My love of the 70s is well documented, and I had been wanting to make a dress inspired by some lovely Biba dresses that I spotted on Pinterest.  I would wear the life out of all three of these dresses.


I loved the shape of the neckline on all three, and also the button front on the first two.  I also loved the sleeves on the middle dress, and even made a toile of one.  But it wasn't really wide enough above the cuff, and making it wider would have made it impracticable; also, if I'm wearing long sleeves, I tend to end up pushing or rolling them up anyway. 

So, I drafted a bodice from my block and made a toile with a princess seam on one side, and the pleats from the By Hand London Anna dress on the other.  The pleats won, and I love how the neckline turned out.



The sleeves are widened at the cuff, and gathered at the sleeve head.  I used them before on this dress and this blouse.  The skirt is a self-drafted A-line skirt.

Let's talk about the fabric.  It's some viscose that I bought in the Christmas sales last year from Fabric Godmother.  It's called "Medallione Viscose - Emerald and Royal", is 100% viscose and gorgeous.  But, sweet child of mine, did this stuff shift!!  I stablised it with spray starch, but it seems like when I blinked, it had thrown itself across the room!

So everything ended up getting cut out on a single layer, on the carpet.  This made it easier to get a straight grain, but you can see in the photo above that it shifted a bit on the bodice front right - it's a bit off grain at the bottom of the buttonholes.  Naturally, the other side is perfect underneath!

I love the fabric covered buttons; I hadn't made these before, and they weren't as difficult as I expected.  There is an invisible zip the side seam, and I stablised the edges with some interfacing.  The hem was a bit of a nightmare, and it ended up as a "that'll do rightly".  But it doesn't look to bad.

I feared that this might have turned out to be a wadder, but I really like it!  I have two more lengths of viscose in my stash though, so if anybody has any top tips on working with it, please share!!


Sunday, 23 October 2016

Pinafore Dress and Agnes Tops

We've been very lucky to have some mild weather in Northern Ireland for the last month or so; but it is now, most decidedly, autumn.  So, the summer fabrics have been put away, and autumn and winter sewing plans are being made.  I thought I'd start off easy with a pinafore dress that I have made before.  It is the same as this dress which, coincidentally, was blogged a year ago.

The fabric is the leftovers from my first Deer and Doe Fumeterre skirt (also made a year ago), which is some suiting fabric from My Fabrics.  The only change to the first version is to the collar.  For no apparent reason I decided to make a pointed, instead of a rounded, collar; so that's what I did.


The pattern is a self-drafted bodice and collar, and the skirt is a hack of the Tilly And The Buttons Megan dress.  Everything ended up being cut on a single layer so the stripes could be matched, and also to save fabric for the collar.

Each side of the collar is cut in one piece, so the stripes don't match at the back, but I won't see that when I'm wearing it!

I also made a new Tilly And The Buttons Agnes Top to go with this.  It's some black viscose jersey, also from My Fabrics, and whilst I've made a few black versions, this is the first with the brilliant puffy sleeves - I forgot to take a photo of it on the dress form though.


Then, as I was on a roll, I made two more Agnes' in brown and green to go with the first pinafore; and surprised myself with some actual forward planning!

These two fabrics are also Jersey Viscose from My Fabrics.  The brown is called Light Brown, and the green is called Sage.
Have a great week,

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Liberty Carline Lawn Shirtdress

This is, without doubt, the most expensive fabric that I've ever bought.  It's Liberty Carline lawn, and cost £22 per metre.  You may recall that I recently made a shirtdress using the same print in pink poplin, but said that I really wanted it in red.  Well, local sewing pal/enabler Suzie came up trumps with a link to this website.  I hit buy on 2 metres before I give myself too much time to think about it!




As this fabric is a lawn it is more lightweight than the poplin, I underlined it with some white cotton lawn - which, at £6.99 per metre added to the expense!  The bodice is self-drafted with princess seams at the front and darts at the back, and the skirt is from Tilly And The Buttons Lilou dress.  Tacking the underlining took ages, but was really worth it.

The only drama was when I trimmed and clipped the collar seam allowances before turning it right side out to make sure the collar lined up with the lapel.  Turned out it didn't, and I had to do some careful unpicking.  It worked out ok in the end, and the lesson was learnt!


The buttons came from my button box, (I think this is only the second time that this I have found the perfect buttons in the box, and not had to go and buy some), and I added pockets and a side zip using my how-to.  The sleeves are full capped sleeves with elastic to gather the hem slightly.  I spotted these sleeves on a dress that a lady I work with was wearing!


I love this dress, it did turn into a bit of an epic make, but it's lovely!  Also, I got my hair cut again.  It appears that I actually like this shorter hair business.  No one is more surprised that me...   

Have a great week,


Sunday, 18 September 2016

Gingham shirtdress

This is the dress that I mentioned in my last post, and it's a shameless copy of a gorgeous dress that I saw on Instagram a few months ago!  The original is from a UK high street shop that starts with "T" and ends with "opshop".  Ahem...


A bit of googling proved that the original had been very popular, and I stumbled across someone selling one on ebay.  This was great because they had kindly taken some close up photos of the bodice, so I was able to see the details.  I'm not going to post the close up photos because they are not mine, but here's a photo I found from the shop.

  • It has a semi loose fitting bodice with gathers at the waistband to shape the bust, then a separate waistband cut on the bias which is top stitched. 
  • The button placket looked like it is cut in one piece on the bias in the larger gingham, as the larger gingham is also on the inside of the placket, and there is no seam along the placket edge.  The outside of the placket is also top stitched.
  • It seemed to be lined with the smaller gingham, as that could be seen to the inside attached to the placket.
  • There weren't any photos of the back, but I could see in the photos of the front that it is lined in the small gingham to the middle of the armholes, about where a back yoke would end.  This made me think that there might be a back yoke, and also there are diagonal seams on the front shoulders that would suggest a yoke coming over the shoulders.  There is also a little gather at the bottom of the yoke like on McCalls 6696.
  • The skirt is a simple gathered skirt, and the collar a convertible collar with rounded ends.
  • The sleeves are short with gathered heads, and it looks like a little bit of gathering at the bottom.  They are edged with bias cut small gingham.

Here's what I did with it.
  • Made a waistband that is 2 inches (5 cm) wide, the bottom of the waistband sits at my natural waist.  The bodice has bust and waist darts as I wanted a more fitted dress.
  • Made a 1 inch (2.5 cm) button placket as my buttons are 1/2" (1.2 cm) wide .
  • This placket had me scratching my head.  I originally planned (and toiled) a one piece, folded over placket in the large gingham with facings in the small gingham.  But in an 11 hour change of mind, I made the outside placket from the large gingham, and the inside placket and facing all in one with the small gingham.  Both placket and facing are cut on the bias.
  • I like the look of a yoke back, but not on me; so just went with an ordinary darted back. 
  • My skirt is the full skirt from McCalls 6696 because I love it, and the collar is my convertible collar.
  • The sleeves are capped sleeves edged with bias cut small gingham. 



I put in an invisible side zip with a pocket, using my own tutorial - I'm guessing the original must have a side zip too.


Construction - I stay stitched all the edges of the waistbands so they wouldn't stretch, as I knew I'd be doing a bit of work on the bodice before attaching the skirt.  Once the top of the waistbands were attached to the bottom of the bodice, I overlocked them in one go with the bottom edge of the bodice.  I did the same with the top edge of the skirt once it was attached to the waist band - this is what's in the photo above.

The large gingham placket was interfaced with some very lightweight interfacing to stablise it and also to stop the outside edge from stretching.  I also interfaced the facing as normal.  Here are a few photos of the placket on the right and wrong side, so you can get an idea of how it's constructed.  I wish I'd put another one or two buttons on it though, and I might sew a pop fastener on the placket level with the bias waistband.

Outside with large gingham placket cut on the bias.

Inside with small gingham facing, the top shows to the outside when the top button is undone as below. 




My convertible collar was drafted from a book called "Metric Pattern Cutting For Women's Wear" by Winifred Aldrich.  It's also in one of the Craftsy pattern drafting classes, "Patternmaking and Design: Collars and Closures", and it's called a camp collar in the class.

I haven't found a definitive definition of a convertible/camp collar, but it seems to me to be exactly the same as a shirt collar, but it's all in one piece without a pesky stand to sew too.  It meets at the centre front in the same place as a shirt collar, and buttons right up to the neck - you can see this in the photo below.  If any experts know more, please enlighten me!

I absolutely love this dress, it is  now one of my favourites, and I intend to wear it to death!

Have a great week,