Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Belladolly Dress

Well, here it is, my Sew Dolly Clackett fabric winning dress.

I can't tell you how much I love this fabric!  To recap, it's the fabric that Roisin picked for me as one of the Sew Dolly Clackett winners.  Roisin bought 5 metres when she was in Paris, and sent me half of it - have a look at the gorgeous dress she made with her half.

I loved this fabric the second I saw it (wax cotton, mad print - yes please!), but have to say that I wouldn't have picked it myself, because of the blue.  I always think that I'm too pale for blue, but I am very happy to be proved wrong!  This is inspiring me to be more adventurous in colour choices.

The other main colour is what I would call raspberry - a pinky red.  You can see the difference beside my pillarbox red belt in the photo below.  I love this shade of red.

The dress pattern is the Deer and Doe Belladone dress.  This is my fourth version, and definately a TNT pattern for me.  By the way, have you seen Sonja from Ginger Makes Piranha version?  How amazing it that!  And I spotted this maxi version on the Deer and Doe blog - scroll down to the bottom of the second block of photos.  Why did I not think of that?!

As I previously mentioned, I used an exposed zip at the back, after having seen one on this gorgeous Belladone by Tabatha from Thread Carefully.  I used this tutorial to sew it.  I am delighted with how it looks; but, good grief, what a faff to sew!  A lot of it was due to me sewing when I was tired - never a good idea, and also I had a bit of trouble with the ordinary zipper foot that came with my machine.  Because of the height of the teeth, and also the wider overhang on the left edge of the foot, it made it tricky to sew as close to the teeth as I would have liked.  This foot is a completely different shape to the zipper foot on my Granny's old Elna as you can see in the below photo - the foot on the left is from my Elna 520, and the foot on the right is from my old Elna.  I did try to attach the old foot to my machine, but it wouldn't fit.

So I had a look on the interwebs, and came across this zipper foot for my machine.  I know the website says it's for a Janome, but the Elna website shows the same foot for the 520, and I believe Janome make Elna machines.  I've ordered it, but haven't got it yet, so I'll have to see how it goes.   I'd love to know if anybody else has had problems with these newer shaped zipper feet.

Source - www.sewingmachinesales.co.uk

Anyway, back to the dress.  I added some bias tape at the waistband (as did Tabatha),

and also finished the hem with some bias tape (Tabatha and Roisin did this too - I'm such a copy cat!).  I would never have thought of this myself, and love how it looks.

I love this dress, and thank you once again to Roisin for sending me the fabric.  Today was it's first outing, Mr BB and I are off work for two weeks (hurray) and today we went to Silent Valley Mountain Park in the Mourne Mountains in Co Down. 


Behind me is one of two reservoirs in the Mournes, I knew the reservoirs where there, but had no idea about the park, and I've lived in Co Down all my life!  The weather is lovely at the minute, and hot for Northern Ireland, although it was misty and breezy up the mountains.  

I have finished my Myrna cardigan, but haven't photographed it yet, so I'll blog it another day.

Have a great week,


Monday, 14 July 2014

A 70s-tastic Anna with a gathered skirt and patch pockets

I think this is one of my favourite makes ever.  It's the By Hand London Anna bodice with a gathered skirt.

Now, there have been many Annas with gathered skirts, Roisin made two (here and here), but mine was inspired by this one by Amy from Sylkotwist.  I have previously shamelessly copied Amy here, and it was the patch pockets on her dress that did the trick this time.

I think the main reason that I love this dress so much is the fabric.  I bought this in the Christmas sales from The Village Haberdashery website.  It's Anna Maria Horner fabric, and the design is Hand Drawn Garden Deep Nouveau Bouquet.  I've just found it here at Plush Addict.  It was originally £12 per metre, and I got 3 metres for £5.50 per metre. 

I have spoken before of my love for big, mad, 70s style prints, and I know they are not to everybodys' taste, but I love them.  If it makes me think, "oh, my retinas!" then I want it!  Also, this dress was really easy to make, which is always pleasing.

I absolutely loved the colours in this, especially the turquoise green.  I know I made a lot of things with red fabric; and as much as I like red, I like green and purple more.  I think it's just easier to find red fabric.  I have one more piece of red fabric to use, and then there will be a temporary red-fabric-buying ban!

There really are patch pockets on the skirt, they are just a bit tricky to spot on the print.  I've done a how-to on how I made them at the bottom of this post.

In other news, my Sew Dolly Clacket winning fabric Belladone dress is nearly finished.  I hoped to finished it yesterday, and would have done if it hadn't been for the pesky zip!  If you recall, I wanted to use an exposed zip in it, but it turned out that I had bought a separating zip, and not a closed end zip.  So now I'm impatiently waiting for a zip I ordered on ebay last night. 

Patch Pockets

Here's how I made my patch pockets.  I will add my usual disclaimer of not being an expert, and the main point of my how-tos is for me to remember how I ever did something.

The photo below looks a lot scarier than it really is.


Cut out a square of paper measuring 15cm by 15cm.

Rule in the Seam Allowances at 1.5cm.  Mine are purple.

Rule a line vertical line down the centre, 7.5cm from each edge.  Mine is pink.

Along this line, measure 4cm down from one Seam Allowance line.  This is the black line between the two red circles.

Parallel to this line, measure 2cm down from each of the edge Seam Allowance lines.  This is the black line between the two pink circles. 

Rule a diagonal line between the lower red and pink circles, extending it out to the edge of the paper.  Mine is green.  Do the same on the other side. 

You will then have this:

Cut along the diagonal lines, so it looks like this:

Add a 1.5cm Seam Allowance to the diagonal edge on the smaller piece, and this is the pattern piece for the pocket top.  The straight edges are parallel to the grainline.

Cut out another 15cm by 15cm square, and this is the pocket pattern piece.  Again the straight edges are parallel to the grainline.

Cut out two of each piece in your fabric.  Snip through the point of the pocket top, just inside the seam allowance.  This will help to fold the seam allowance under.

Fold the seam allowance (1.5cm) under to the wrong side, and press.

Pin the pocket flap to one edge of the pocket, lining the edges up.  The pocket flap and the pocket are both wrong side up.  Sew this edge together across the top edge.

Press the seam allowance down towards the pocket on the pocket right side.  Trim the seam allowance to 1/4 inch.

Press the pocket flap down on top of the pocket.

Top stitch across the top edge, and also the diagonal edges of the pocket piece at 1/4 inch from the edge.  (Sorry about the blurry photo!)

With the wrong side up, press the side edges of the pocket in by 1.5cm.

This is a clever trick I learnt from the instructions in Tilly And The Buttons Coco dress.  Turn the pocket so the right side is up.  Press the bottom edge up by 1.5cm. 

Fold the side edges out flat.  With the the right side up and the bottom edge still folded over, sew along the pressed crease 1.5cm from the edge.  Only sew within the bottom edge fold.

That's a lot harder to explain than it is to do!  Hopefully the photo below will make more sense.  The wrong side fold at the bottom is the bottom edge that has just been pressed over.  The right side bit to the left of the crease is the folded out side edge.  Hopefully you can see where I've stitched in green on the wrong side.

Fold the bottom edge back to the wrong side.  Push the corners out, I found the bottom edge of the seam gauge was just the tool for the job.

Give the pockets a press, and add some buttons for decoration if you want.  I hadn't sewn my buttons on yet when I took this photo.

Pin the pockets where you want them on the skirt, and top stitch along the side and bottom edges 1/4 inch from the edge.

And there you have it - some snazzy patch pockets!

Have a great week,


Monday, 7 July 2014

Simplicity 1610 and drafting an all-in-one facing

It seems that I'm still all about the maxi dresses.  This one is Simplicity Project Runway 1610

These two photos were taken about 45 minutes ago, and seconds before it started to rain.  I had to grab the camera and dive in the back door as the heavens opened!  Serves me right for not getting around to taking some photos last week.  It's still pouring with rain, and I want to get this posted, so I can't get outside to take some more.  Also, I am amazed that I got two good photos out of the six that I got taken!


Anyway, back to the pattern.  I love the covers of the Project Runway patterns - it's the cartoon ladies:

The second lady from the left scares me!  I loved the maxi dress on the right with the capped sleeves, and started to trace the bodice, but I though the edge of the armsyce was bit weird - you can see the shape on scary lady's dress.  Also, I also couldn't be bothered attempting to fit it.  So my bodice is my New Look 6723/Elisalex bodice which has been fitted/hacked to the nth degree.

I shortened the skirt considerably, I think it was about 11 inches, because I'm small.  The only other mod I made to the skirt was to change the shape of the insides of the pockets.  I had sewn them as they were, which was a rectangle; but when I put my hands in them, I realised that fishing about in the corner would do my head in.  So I sewed a curve across the corner, and chopped the rest off.  I also made an all-in-one facing, and have done a How To at the end of this post.

Pocket inard

I love the pleats on the skirt front and back.  It's a pity that they are so hard to see on this fabric!  The fabric is some more cotton poplin from The Paragon on Donegall Pass in Belfast.  I used 3 metres, and it was £4.88 per metre.
There are pleats and pockets there, honestly!

In other news, I got my car and my sewing machine back.  Hurray!  Sadly, I wasn't able to get using my old Elna because the thread tension was all over the place.  I'll have to see if I can sort it out.  I have noticed no difference in my car, but my sewing machine sounds lovely.  The annoying rattle from the bobbin casing has disappeared, and now it sounds like the machines on the tutorials on youtube!

Drafting the facings

A reader asked me how I made the all-in-one facings, so I thought I'd do a how to.  I will add my usual disclaimer that I am not an expert in these things - just winging it!  I worked this out after using this great tutorial on lining a bodice, and this is a very similar principle.

I used a princess seam bodice, but it's exactly the same for a darted bodice.  I'm just showing the bodice front in these photos, but it's the same process for the bodice back.  If your bodice has back neck darts or neckline pleats etc, tape or pin them closed before you start. If you're using a princess seam bodice, pin/stick the two bodice pieces together at the stitching line as in the photo below.

Trace the armhole, shoulder and neck edges, then rule about 7cm down the side seam edge, and the centre front/back edge.  I'm saying about 7cm, because you can suit yourself here.  The top 1.5cm will be the seam allowance, then the rest will be the facing - include extra if you want to hem the bottom edge.

Now to make the bottom edge.  Measure 7cm (or whatever length you've used) down from the armhole and neckline.  Do this every few cms along, marking the distance with a dot, for about half way along each edge.  Join all the dots up with a French Curve (or just free-hand it).   When you get to the bit below the shoulder, free-hand a curve.

Do the same for the back, and that's your facings.  Don't forget to mark in the grainlines.

Sewing the facings

Sew the shoulder seams together on the bodice and also the facings.  The facings will look something like this:

The front facing is at the bottom, the back facings are at the top.
Place the facings onto the bodice, right sides together.  Line up the necklines, and armholes.  Pin together, and sew around the neckline and armholes along the edges that I have "skillfully" marked in the photo below.  Don't sew down the side seams or centre back seams, they will be sewn together later.

Grade and clip the seam allowances.

Now to pull the back bodice through to the front.  This is harder to explain than to do.  Stick your hand in under the facing from the bodice front, and grab a bit of the shoulder from the bodice back.  Pull this through the shoulder seam to the front.  The below photo shows the back shoulder starting to come through. 

Pull the back right though, and it will look like this:

Then do the same to the other side, and give it a good press.

It's not possible to understitch the whole way around the facing, but I understitched as far as I could.  I have approximately marked my understitching in the photo below.

Finally, pin the side seams together, as normal.  Also include the edge of the facings as in the photo below.  Sew a continuous line from the hem of the facing to the waist, and that's the facing finished!

Here's what it looks from the inside front -

 and this is inside back -

I hope that makes sense!

Have a great week,