Archive | February, 2014

Finished: Simplicity 1913, the long time coming dress

27 Feb

This dress really was a long time coming – I really need to get better at actually finishing things! I think I started cutting it out when I was still doing my dressmaking course, which was probably sometime back in May. I then took a day off work to do some Sewing in August, and got it all done, other than the zip and the hem. I finally got round to putting the zip in sometime after that, but didn’t finish the top of it off, a friend who came to visit tried it on, and told me that if I didn’t finish it soon she was going to take it, and banned me from starting another sewing project until I’d finished it. I then made a Kelly skirt. Finally, sometime probably November/December, I finished off the zip and the hem. Seriously, why did it take me so long?! I could have had an extra 4 months or so wear out of it! I’ll learn, one day I’ll learn!


Squinty-squinty photos again. These pics aren’t the best, but if I wait til I can get some more, you’ll probably be waiting another 8 months to see this dress!

Anyway, it’s done now, and I wore it for the first time on Christmas day.

The pattern is Simplicity 1913, which came free with SEW magazine some months ago. The examples they showed in the magazine showed a couple of different looks for this dress – I was going for the more floaty, casual look, so I went for the flared skirt option.


I made it up in a size 12 (the smallest size of the one that came free), but what is odd is that the fit on this is nowhere near as big as my first dress (simplicity 1803) is. And I mean, there’s a huge difference – I took in 1803 quite a lot, and it’s still miles too big; on this one, there was actually a point when I thought it might be too small! Same pattern company, same amount of ease given for each pattern, no idea why!


The fabric I used is yet more stuff I got in my freecycle haul. I have no idea what it is. I’ll do a burn test when I get a chance. It’s very soft, and has a very slight stretch to it as well. The bodice is lined with some plain black cotton and the skirt is unlined.



When I sewed the skirt panels together, it turns out that I forgot to set my stitch length back to what it should be after basting the sleeves. As a result, the seams weren’t great as the stitches were too long. Probably one of the reasons it took me so long to finish! Eventually I went over the seams with a shorter stitch, which kind of worked. At that point I decided that no one was going to look at the seams too closely and just wanted to get the damn thing finished!


The hem was another thing I put off for a while. In the end, I decided to just do a rolled hem on my overlocked. It was much quicker, and I actually really like the look, it gives it more of a curvy shape at the bottom. I also tried overlocking the skirt seams to finish them, but try as I might, I could not get the tension right to create stitches that actually worked. In the end I gave up. The seams might still be unfinished. Maybe.

All in all, not my most perfectly executed dress, I think it just took me so long to actually finish that I stopped caring and just wanted to get it done! Another reason I should finish things when I start them!

The one thing I would like to learn how to do better though is finished off the top of the zip. I used an invisible zip and,because I don’t particularly like them (and am not very good at sewing them on), I opted not to put a hook and eye on, but just moved the zip up, so that it finished right at the top of the dress. I then had the tapes sticking out the top of the dress and wasn’t sure what to do with them. I couldn’t seem to find much help as to how to do it, and just ended up folding them over the top and stitching them down by hand, but I’m sure there must be a better way – do you have a neater way of doing it? Or do I just need to suck it up and sew the hook and eye onto dresses?!

On another note, I’m heading to Goldhawk Road on Saturday with some other sewing bloggers, and some non-blogger sewing friends. If you’re around and fancy joining us for a spot of fabric shopping, or a drink afterwards, then let me know :) it’s been way too long since I’ve been fabric shopping, I can’t wait!


What do you use to line your dresses?

23 Feb

Thank you to all of you who have voted on which pattern I should sew up in March – there’s still time to weigh in with your opinion if you fancy telling me what to do! At the moment, it looks like I’m going to be sewing Simplicity 2451, which brings me on to today’s post…

Today I have a question for you all – what fabric do you use to line your dresses and skirts, and where do you get it from?!

I have never actually lined a dress or skirt before, but I have some makes planned when I am going to need to. And I’m really not sure what to do it with. I know you can get the standard anti-static polyester lining fabric, but I’d quite like something a bit nicer, certainly for some things.

fabric shops goldhawk road

When I took a (very fleeting, on the way to a training course!) trip to Goldhawk Road a few months ago, I had a look in one of the shops there (I think it was Classis Textiles, although I’m not entirely sure!), having read on various blogs (including Daniela’s, I can’t remember which others) that they had managed to get cotton silk to use as lining in there for £4/m. I couldn’t see any, other than a couple of patterned ones (which of course I did get some of), and when I asked, they just looked at me blankly!

Cotton silk dress linings

Lots of blogs talk about using Bemberg rayon lining, which sounds great, but seems to be something that’s easy (and cheap) to come by in the US (Mood sell a huge selection for $6/yd), and not so freely available over here – I’ve only managed to find it in a couple of places online, always at about £10-15/m, so that doesn’t seem to be an option. If only shipping from the US wasn’t ruinously expensive!

Mood fabrics rayon bemberg lining

Source: Mood fabrics. Gah, I’m so jealous!

So, my questions to you:
– What is your go-to lining for dresses and skirts? Is it one of the above, or something else that I am totally unaware of?
– Where do you tend to get it from?

Cotton slik lining fabric

This one will make a lovely lining for a jacket

Ideally I want something that I can get hold of for £4ish a metre. It’s something I’ll probably stock up on a bit when I come across it/take a fabric shopping trip/do an order online, so I don’t want it to break the bank if I buy a few metres at once! I think a trip to Goldhawk Road or another fabric shopping destination might be on the cards in the next couple of weeks…


It’s time for an intervention…

20 Feb

…and I need your help!

It has been…a long time (I can’t even work it out, sometime last year, November maybe…) since I have sewn a garment. And I want to sew! But having had all that time off, and with my sewing room not yet decorated (although we’re starting this weekend, yippee!), I’m finding it very hard to get started again. And then when I decide I’m going to sew something, I’m so overwhelmed by all my pattern choices that I spend ages deliberating and STILL don’t start!


But The Monthly Stitch has come along and saved the day with their March challenge: Miss Bossy Patterns. The idea behind this challenge is that you select 3 patterns from your stash that you have not yet sewn up, and your readers vote on which one you should sew during March. I’m someone who operates well being told what to do – give me too many options and I just flounder – and I like a challenge, so this should be the perfect thing to get me started sewing again.

So, without further ado, here are the three patterns I need you to help me choose between. I’ve gone for some of the more basic patterns in my stash – I want to break myself back in gently.

First up, Simplicity 2451


I won this pattern in a giveaway on Katy’s blog, and I was especially excited to win this particular pattern. Last year I went to the Knitting and Stitching show at Alexander Palace, and one of the fabric stalls had a lovely skirt made up, with a sign saying the pattern was available. I loved the look of the skirt, and so asked if they had the pattern. Not only did they not have any copies of the pattern left, but they couldn’t remember what pattern it was, other than that it was a Simplicity one. I did have a look through the Simplicity website when I got home, but to no avail. And then I saw Katy’s giveaway and there it was, the pattern I’d been looking for!

I’m not sure exactly what fabric I’d sew this up in, but I know I have some that would be suitable, it’s just a case of digging the right box out…

EDIT: I should add, I’m planning on making this up in view D, although I’ll also give the flared skirt a go at some point!

Next up is the Pavlova wrap top by Cake patterns


I’ve had this pattern a while, and I also have some lovely white jersey from Minerva crafts to sew it up in, I just haven’t got round to it yet…

And finally, Tilly’s Mathilde blouse


Again, I’m not entirely sure what fabric I’d use for this, but I know I have some that will be suitable. I have some chiffon that could work, but I’m also considering using that for a La Sylphide blouse, so I might just go for some cotton lawn for this.

All three are perfectly achievable patterns, and none of them need to be particularly fitted , which is a good thing – I currently have three projects on time out due to fitting issues! The latter two are PDFs, so I’m going to start cutting and sticking so that I’m prepared!

So, those are the choices, please go ahead and vote and help me out of my sewing lull! The poll will be open for a week from today.

chinelo bally

Dressmaker| Author| Blogger| Freehand cutter


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