Meet our #scdesignteam an interview with @Chatterstitch

This week we chat to Carol AKA @chatterstitch about her sewing journey, what inspires her and what her future sewing plans are…

 

In my real life my name is Carol (with no e) as my Dad forgot when he registered me! I’m Mum to two and Grandma to one! I live in the beautiful county of Yorkshire about half an hour from the sea!

When did you start sewing?

 I started Sewing when I was probably about 10! Which is quite a few years ago!

What do you like about sewing?

I love looking at beautiful fabrics then taking them and shaping them into clothes I can wear, every item is unique to me.

What is your favourite ever make?

What-ever I made last! So, at the moment my Summit Pack made from your Figo fabrics!

What inspires your makes?

Fabrics, I see a fabric I love and then have to find the perfect pattern to use it with!

How do you keep track of all your ideas?

I love to use my Sew Crafty Journal!

What are your favourite fabrics to work with?

Natural fabrics, usually with a small discrete pattern or a plain gorgeous colour!

What other sewing bloggers do you follow/ find inspiring?

My daughter (@sewstainability inspires me all the time) particularly around sustainable makes.

Also @sunnydayz06 as she’s an amazing @sewover50 maker and @victorialucerne her images are fab.

Where do you sew?

I’m very lucky to have my very own room to sew in, the good thing is nobody complains if I make a mess and leave it to come back to, I can just sew for 10 minutes if that’s all I’ve got!

What is your favourite sewing tool and why?

I love my Janome machines, I have a complete set Computerised machine, overlocker and coverstitch (all Janome)

What would be your dream project?

A red carpet gown!

What are your sewing plans for this year?

My son is getting married later this year and I’m planning on making my Mother of the Groom outfit this year so watch this space!

Next time we chat with @lastminutelisa!

Closet Case Patterns – Clare coat

I’ve wanted to make a coat for a while, mostly to challenge myself, but also because I’ve got a couple of coats which have seen better days! But this particular coat has been quite the undertaking – but then I knew it would be and the understanding was that I would take my time with it because there are so many techniques that I hadn’t done before… but more of that later.
 
For my next project for the Samantha Claridge Studio Design Team I wanted to make the Closet Case Patterns Clare Coat since I’d had the pattern hanging around for about six months! I’d also been looking at the fuchsia wool mix coating on the website and thought that the pairing would work beautifully. And, of course, back in December it was the perfect time of year to make a wool coat! I needed 3m of the coating and 2m of a lining and chose a silver polyester lining from the website.
The wool is washable so the first thing I did was put that and the lining in a 30 degree wash. The wool came out totally uncreased but the lining needed a good press and I found throughout the project that the lining creased easily and regularly needed ironing. I was careful not to use too much heat on the wool just in case, which didn’t help with the seams. It also took on an orange tinge when too hot but this faded with cooling.
 
Before I started I did some research on the coat and found a few references to it being tight across the back. The sizing put me in the 14 range but I decided to size up because of these concerns – and I’m glad I did. The size across the hip is fine but the shoulders would have been tight if I wanted to wear a thick jumper underneath.
 
I’m not one to trace the pattern pieces, I just go ahead and cut them out.  And for this project I’m glad I did because there were 9 pieces of main coat to cut out, 6 pieces of lining and 12 pieces of interfacing, 27 in total… phew! That little lot took me long enough, but then I had another hour and a half standing at the ironing board fusing the interfacing to the shell pieces and I am generally NOT a person who irons! Had I not been so excited about my new coat I might have given up at the first hurdle! But on I went since the first few steps were relatively simple and this filled me with confidence. 
 
As I said earlier, there were a few techniques in the construction of this coat that I’d never done before, and this was one of the reasons I wanted to make it, to try and challenge myself. 
Never have I ever…
 
* worked with wool
* made a two piece sleeve
* lined a garment
* used the bagging out technique
 
I must admit, every time I put the coat to one side I found it increasingly hard to come back to. As it got further along I became more and more daunted at the prospect of finishing it. My brain was telling me that the next steps were difficult so I kept putting it off, when in fact all of it was a series of relatively simple tasks, it’s just there was a lot of them! I found the sew along on the Closet Case website really useful, especially in the latter stages. With hindsight I think a tailors ham or clapper might have been useful for the sleeves but I made do. 
 
But finish it, I did! And since the fabric was gifted I kinda had to!!! But I do really love it and the colour… oh boy, all the heart eyes!!! The thing that drew me to the pattern was the collar. It’s a real statement piece and I’m looking forward to wearing it with pride!
 
The giant poppers were from Amazon, 12 for about £5, and are about 1″ in diameter.
 
 
Thank you so, so, sew much to Samantha for agreeing to this project and letting me have this beautiful fabric and the time to do it justice. Everyone should have a coat in this colour – it induces all the happy feels and makes the dreariest of days significantly brighter!
 
 

Meet our #scdesignteam members! An Interview with our Design Team – #missmaker

This week we chat to Clare Blackmore-Davies about her sewing journey!

Clare runs sewing classes from her beautiful sewing room in Hampshire.

She has now also started a You Tube Channel where she does fab sewing tutorials and upcycling projects! So head over and give her a follow!

www.missmaker.co.uk

When did you start sewing?

I was 7 years old when my Grandmother bought me my first sewing machine

What do you like about sewing?

How you can lose yourself in it, the problem solving and challenges the excitement and satisfaction of getting that perfect fit and spot on pattern matching, I could go on and on and on and on……..

What is your favourite ever make?

So many, the dress with the full circle rainbow panel hidden away under meters and meters of black chiffon, my design team Jade Jacket from last year. In truth it is always the one I am working on at the moment, as it is still so full of options and possibilities and is a journey I can enjoy.

What inspires your makes?

I find inspiration everywhere, I always get excited when I find something that makes me think ‘how did they do that?’ so I can set about working it out. I think above all my makes always have to raise the game, develop my sewing and have a fair few challenges I can get my teeth into.

How do you keep track of all your ideas?

Maker Journals are fab to get sketches and designs down on paper, notebooks and scraps of paper which then get stuck in to notebooks, anything goes really. I sometimes take photos and write notes and sketches on my phone so I can go back to ideas later too.

What are your favourite fabrics to work with?

It’s funny, I find it is always the fabrics you hate to work with that give you the most satisfaction and pleasure and the best finished item, maybe its my passion for a challenge! The fabric I love to work with is jersey as it can give you a quick make fix and is so versatile.

What other sewing bloggers do you follow/ find inspiring?

Slightly controversial answer but being a busy mum of two, with a husband who works long hours and a business to run I just don’t have time to read blogs and if I do get the chance to read for pleasure it will be a good book I reach for instead. I’m more of an Instagram, pinterest, google images, etc. girl, things I can flick through in fleeting quiet moments but can be put down easily. On occasion I’ll read through blogs if they have come up in a search when I am researching for work or a special make of my own.

Where do you sew?

I have a fab workshop where I teach, a workroom in the back garden but I actually do most of my sewing at the kitchen table! In the workshop I’ll be teaching so everyone else is sewing but not me! My workroom in the garden is a bit too chilly in the winter and if I am very honest has become too cluttered with other house and garden bits and bobs for it to be the calm working space it was meant to be. Now that both the kids are at school my beautiful kitchen with the radio on low is my happy place and where I feel most creative.

What is your favourite sewing tool and why?

The toile. When you have the time, the improvement in fit you get by including this step in your process is amazing. You can really make the garment your own and at this stage you can guarantee I’ll be adding a few little details of my own.

What would be your dream project?

Might sound mad but I’d love to get a commission for a cosplay or serious fancy dress outfit, something crazy and off the wall that involved shapes and foam and layers and using dyes and airbrushing and anything else you can throw into the mix. Something totally of the wall and totally original. As I get more time to work I’d love to develop a side of the business that had that direction.

What are your sewing plans for this year?

I have a serious evening gown to get together by the end of February so that is eclipsing any thoughts of other sewing right now, sample fabrics are on the way, 1st toile is started and the final touches are still forming and flexing as I develop the idea as I go along. One thing is for sure, it needs to be a stunner.

Once the big make is done, other plans for the year are to get another pair of Ginger Jeans made, some additions to my summer holiday wardrobe and a secret make for someone special…….

Next time we chat with Carol AKA @chatterstitch

Romy’s Jersey Binding Tutorial

Finishing edges with jersey...

This post shows two uses for the Jersey Folded Binding which is available in the shop in a variety of colours. 
 
This is a great way to neatly finish the edges of garments made from stable knit fabrics, or could also be used to bind craft projects such as quilts in the same way as woven binding. It has a slight stretch but wouldn’t be suitable for very stretchy jersey fabrics or on areas of a garment which need to stretch a lot, such as tight neck openings.
 
The first way I used this binding was to finish the neck of a dress I made for my Christmas party. It had a high front neck but low back so didn’t need to stretch for me to get it on and off.
To start with, sew your garment as you normally would; you can do this step at the end or once the should seams have been sewn together, before constructing the rest of the garment.
 
Measure your neck opening and cut a piece of binding slightly longer than the opening. Mine overlapped by a few inches.
 
Pin or clip the binding to the outside of your garment with right sides together and edges aligned. Don’t stretch the binding at all while you do this or it’ll be too tight to turn under! I used wonder clips to attach it as I prefer them to pins. Trust me, if you get some you won’t regret it!
 
 
 

Using a narrow zigzag stitch or other stretch stitch, sew along the fold closest to the edge of the fabric. You could overlock this but it would add some bulk under the binding. Leave an inch or two of loose binding at the start and sew all the way around until you meet your stitching again. Backstitch or tie off ends to secure.

 

Bring your two loose ends right sides together and sew along the width of the binding where your stitching ends. I used a straight stitch here to help it lie flat when finished. Trim the excess fabric and press open.

Turn the binding to the wrong side and tuck under the other folded side of the binding. Press to help it lie flat and clip or pin to secure. 

Go back to your machine and stitch down using a zigzag, stretch stitch or twin needle. Backstitch or tie off your ends to secure and you’re done!

The other way I used this binding was to hem a dress. It had ended up a bit short and I wanted to avoid losing any more length by turning up and sewing so I used the binding and it worked really well.
 
Once again, measure the length of the hem and cut a piece of binding slightly longer. Pin or clip it right sides together with edges aligned, leaving an inch or two loose on either end. Don’t stretch the binding at all or it won’t turn under easily! (Ask me how I know this 😛 )

Sew using a zigzag, stretch stitch or overlocker, starting an inch or two from the end of the binding, and sew all the way around until you meet your stitching again. Backstitch or tie off your ends to secure.

With right sides together, sew across the width of the binding. Trim the excess and press open.
 

Turn the binding to the wrong side, press then clip or pin. Stitch using a zigzag, stretch stitch or twin needle.

Ta da! This is a really nice, neat way to do a hem but not one I’ve tried before so I’m glad it worked well. (Obviously black binding would have been better than navy but no one will notice 😀 )
 
I hope this is useful and gives you an idea of how you can finish your knit projects in a slightly different way! See you soon for another post!

Carol’s Bubble Satin Review

Satin blouse project

Hey everyone, I’m so pleased to be back on the Samantha Claridge studio blog today.

I’m delighted to tell you all about this beautiful satin!

I’ve owned the Named clothing, book “Breaking the pattern” for a while and really like the Sade blouse pattern. When I saw this fabric on the website, I was very keen to make a version of the Sade with it.

I must admit I did have some reservations before I ordered this from Sammy. I have worked before with super slippery fabrics, and was a little concerned that this would be one of those.

                                                                                                                                                         

Sammy is always happy to send swatches of fabric out, she’s very passionate about the fabrics she sells and is very keen to make sure her bloggers and customers alike are happy with their fabric choices. So quickly she popped a piece of this in the post to me.

As you can see, I wasn’t put off, after I’d seen and handled it. In fact, quite the opposite, I basically had to have this in my wardrobe!

It cut and sewed beautifully. I put the basic principles into practise. I used a new rotary cutter blade and cut the pieces singly. It cut just fine and didn’t slip over itself at all, I think the “bubble” texture actually made it grip to itself, not slip around at all and when I sewed it, it behaved really well too.

I used a fine point needle and pinned in the seam allowances.

 The quality is divine, so soft and drapey its delightful against my skin.

The fabric feels like luxury itself; I cannot believe the quality of this for its price tag, for a very reasonably priced fabric the quality, colour and feel of this bubble satin is mind blowing. I absolutely love my Sade blouse but if I’d not made this, the satin would have been gorgeous made up into a beautiful dress or luxurious night attire (think luxury robe or slip) or lingerie (so sexy)!

 

So that’s all from me for now, till next time keep chatting and stitching, Carol 😊

Carol’s Corduroy Clementine Skirt

Carol's star wardrobe basic...

Hey, you guys I’m back on the Samantha Claridge Studio Blog today to talk to you all about this lovely cord!

It’s so soft, and lovely to touch and wear. I’ve made the Clementine “Made in Denim” skirt before but really wanted to make one in this olive-green cord (olive green now out of stock). It’s super soft and has a great stretch. This is due to its 3% spandex content; this means it’s really easy to wear and doesn’t get stretched out when you sit down in it for a while.

As usual I prewashed my fabric and line dried before I began, it washed and pressed beautifully.

It’s a great idea to lay a second section of cord face down on top of the garment sections whilst pressing, this stops the nap being flattened. Also be mindful when using cord to make sure that all your pattern pieces are cut in the same direction due to the nap of the fabric.

I really wanted to personalise the top stitching with this make and drafted a little motif which I’d love to share with you.

I free hand copied my sewing shears onto paper, which I then cut out and stuck to my pocket with 505 spray.

Then I stitched around the template with top stitch thread in a contrast colour.

I tried two different colours out, a dark grey which I really liked (but I was a little concerned that might be a bit too understated) then a second one in a lovely rust colour. But when I compared them both together, I reverted back to my original choice.

That was it, decision made, and I completed the rest of the top stitching in that colour. The cord made up beautifully and I chose to make my skirt up at just below knee length. I think this is going to be perfect through the winter with some cosy tights and boots. 

If I’d not chosen to make my corduroy into a classic jean skirt, I think it would be gorgeous made into some dungarees or trousers, maybe the Ash or Ginger jeans, or even children’s wear. It is certainly soft enough for the most delicate of skin!

 That’s all for now till next time keep chatting and stitching Carol 😊  

Cosy Winterwear…

My snuggly Southbank Sweater Dress

Hey there again!

Hope you’re all getting plenty of sewing time in.

The weather has took a sudden drop in temperature up here and we are having some heavy frost and lots of threats of the dreaded white stuff! I’m not looking forward to that let me tell you! With this in mind I decided that I needed to update my wardrobe and make some more snuggly Southbank Sweater Dresses as they’re so easy and comfortable to wear and fabric dependent can easily be dressed up or dressed down. I have made this pattern a few times before however it was a couple of years ago now and they have been, well, let’s just say well loved, so I was due a few more worthy of going out in public! I had to make a smaller size this time as my previous versions were 2 sizes bigger. The only thing I’d forgot to note anywhere on my records was that I’d  lengthened the skirt on those which meant I got quite a surprise to find that this one was much shorter!! Once the hem band was on I didn’t think it was that indecent so left it as it was. Had it been much too short I would have just used the pattern piece and made a deeper band.

As soon as I spotted this leopard print on Sammy’s website I knew it’d make the perfect outfit for all
occasions. I have used Ponte before however this one is so much softer than ones I’ve previously
used. It’s a beautifully soft ponte roma and despite my efforts to capture the exact colour I just
cannot get the colour to come through true on a photograph. It’s not your usual brown/beige tones
it’s more of a grey/blue/green. It is a really beautiful colour.

As usual I prewashed the fabric as soon as it arrived and it washed and dried beautifully needing minimal pressing.
For anyone who hasn’t made this popular pattern (although I’m not sure that there’s many people left out there who haven’t) it comes together very quickly and I completed all of this on my Babylock overlocker. I think all in all from cutting out the fabric to finishing the dress it was only a couple of
hours.

I’ve worn this dress out a couple of times now and had so many compliments and people “stroking” as they can’t believe how soft it is.

I am definitely not done with this pattern yet and have already spotted a couple more fabrics on Sammy’s website that I have my eye on for more Southbanks. I may even leave off the neck band for mething a little different too. I think the fabric would make a fab little cardigan too if you’re not a fan of the sweater dress.

If you’ve got this far, thanks for stopping by and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading!

Until next time, happy sewing!

Lisa
@sewlastminutelisa

Party time!

My festive dress

This month I was feeling quite festive for some reason so when it came to choosing fabric for my October make there was only one option for me…. a festive dress.   After browsing Sammy’s website, I opted for the Luxury Textured Lurex Jersey. Now, I was slightly concerned that I may look like a Christmas Turkey as it is quite foiled but never one to let that put me off I ordered it anyway!  I don’t know about you but I certainly feel like there are no boundaries now I sew my own clothes. I’d never dream of going into a store and buying something in this sort of fabric. When it arrived I was super pleased. It was lovely and soft not a hint of “plastic” or cheap fabric.  It was lovely. It was straight into the washer for the pre wash however I was a bit concerned how something like this would wash and was worried that the foil might “break”. I washed it on 30 degrees and have to say it washed beautifully. It was exactly the same when it came out of the washer as when it went in

I’d already decided that it was going to be a Sewhouse 7 Bridgetown Dress.  For those who aren’t ofay with this pattern, you can wear it either way around.  The wrap is designed to be worn at the back or front with an elasticated waist. I had made this pattern before in a woven fabric and wore it with the cross at the back but decided to size down for this version with it being a jersey fabric and I intended wearing it with the cross at the front. As soon as I started cutting out the fabric I knew I was gonna love it when it was finished and I was right.  You can see from the pictures of it sitting on my work table how much it shimmers. Well, in real life it’s even better!

The fabric was a dream to sew.  It wasn’t too slippery when sewing either.  I used ballpoint needles as it is stretch and these worked perfectly.  I didn’t get any snagging or fine pulls using these needles. I finished the seams after sewing them on my regular sewing machine by overlocking them however it didn’t fray so no worries if you don’t have an over locker.  

I ordered 2.5m with a view to doing the longer version however when it came I decided to make View B which finishes just above the knee.  Then it hit me. Rather than stash the remainder until I could come up with another project to fit the remaining fabric, I decided that I would make my daughter a top to wear with jeans or high waisted trousers for going out in.  Another plus is that two of my girls are the same size so this will no doubt be shared! I had the perfect pattern and had made it previously in viscose for the summer holidays. The pattern is Simplicity 8654. It’s a great little pattern and these tops are so on trend this season as is this type of fabric.

Added bonus is the top comes together really quickly.  I made this top in about 1 hour. I felt like I’d won the game given that I’d made a dress and a top out of 2.5m of fabric with only scraps left.  Small things please me

This fabric would also make a fabulous batwing jumper to dress with jeans or a pencil skirt and I’m already thinking of ordering more.   Is it wrong to have the same fabric but different garments I wonder? It isn’t a thick fabric it is quite lightweight however not at all see through. Perfect dressy fabric and will take you to any event whether it’s at the festive time of year or not!  I can’t wait for the next occasion I can wear it out. I did want photographs with a Christmas tree in the background however hubby objected to the Christmas tree going up first week in November!! So for now here is myself and Mia wearing our garments in matching fabrics.  

Hope you’ve enjoyed reading and I’d love to see your makes in this fabric.

 

See you next month.

 

Lisa

@sewlastminuteLisa

Cosy up…

Hot Fix sweater!

So I’ve made a lot of coats recently but what cold days, when the sun is shining, really need is a nice chunky sweater with a cosy neckline. something that can be thrown on over anything from dashing to the gym gear to school run jeans.  
I have also been seeing a fair bit of hot fix vinyl popping up on Instagram and then watching a bit on YouTube recently and really fancied having a play myself…… so the idea for the Hot Fix Sweater came about.  

I put together my shopping list: lovely snuggly fleecy back Jersey in this beautiful dusty pink, teamed with some sporty stretch mesh and Hot Fix Vinyl in black flock and rose gold glitter, obvs used Samantha Claridge’s fantastic thread match service too. Extra bits needed came from my workshop, black zip, black eyelets, black cord and cord stops all reclaimed or accumulated from charity shop finds and old pieces of clothing.   

My starting point for this make was a tried and tested raglan sweatshirt pattern, (McCall’s M6992 cut in a size 14). I now have 4 tops from this pattern, all with sleeve hack variations.   

I wanted four separate bands along the arms plus cuffs. Originally I envisaged having the black mesh as a single layer but with the difference in fabric weight I though it better to layer the mesh over the jersey sections I had cut out. The couple of centimetres lost by cutting and re-joining the sections was easily made up by cutting a slightly deeper cuff section.  

The thin neck band I replaced with a deep band about 14cm deep, leaving the right front arm seam open to about 2/3 of the way down to accommodate the zip I wanted to insert. I attached the neckband simply by cutting it slightly longer than needed then trimming to size once it was on.  

The hemline on the original pattern runs straight round but I quite fancied the idea of a stepped hem so I needed a facing for both front and back hems and these needed to go on before the side seams were sewn. I drafted a little sample to check the turning and how the top stitching and internal finish would turn out before extending the hemline at the back of the sweater to be 10cm lower than the front.  

One more thing to note about the construction of this sweater is that I actually went old school and did the whole thing on my sewing machine, zig zag 1.5/1.5 for the seams, overcasting 2.5/5.0 to neaten the edges, top stitching length 4.  

The reason for this is that my trusty overlocker has for some reason stopped slicing and started chewing anything thicker than a light cotton. ‘Change the blade’ I hear you cry…. Yup, I’ll do that just as soon as I can undo the screw that holds the blade on, it appears to have been welded into place circa 1745 when this overlocker was made!!! Then to find a replacement…. Hey ho, that’s a job for another day…… 

Anyhoo! I digress, back to this lovely sweater. So we have had a chat about what I did and the changes I made to the pattern, now let’s look at the how. 

I started by cutting out all the sweater pieces in the pink jersey, sleeves were cut out in full to be sectioned up later, neck band was cut out longer than needed to be sized up later. Originally I cut out the cuffs according to the pattern but when I decided to re-join the sectioned sleeves instead of inserting the mesh panels I cut a second set a little longer.  

 

I sectioned the sleeves by cutting through both sleeves at the same time (this ensured they were matched symmetrically), sectioning them into four by making three cuts. Working down from the neckline I made one slightly arced cut at roughly where the shoulder would be, another cut straight across about 14cm further down and the third cut was 14cm up from the cuff. I cut a sports mesh shape to match the 14cm sections, and overlayed them before re-joining the seams. I only used about a 0.5cm seam allowance when re-joining them so only lost 3cm from the sleeve length over all and added this back to the cuff to give the same final sleeve length. I top stitched each join to make sure the joins would lay nice and flat and were not too bouncy.  

Next I had a play with the hot fix vinyl. I knew I wanted to use the markings on my sewing machine as a loose reference so created arrows in black flock and lengthening ‘stitches’ in rose gold glitter.  

I worked out that it would be easiest to apply the hot fix vinyl while all pieces were still flat so that was the next job. Glittery stitches went on to the front and back of one sleeve running up from the cuff. An arrow was positioned on the opposite sleeve pointing out from the neckline toward the shoulder and two arrows were positioned pointing inward on the front waistline (I later added a gold glitter section to the end of the waist arrows once the side seams were sewn) 

Once all the vinyl details were in place the sleeves were held in place with clips then sewn together. For this kind of bouncy fabric I find clips a little better to hold the layers together. 

Before the side seams were sewn I went back to my hem sample and attached the front and back hem facings.

Then the side seams running right from cuff to hem were brought together.  

I attached the neck band around the neckline, the zip was next inserted into the front sleeve seam and topstitched into place. Before folding in the top of the neck line (by a nice chunky 4cm) I hammered in an eyelet at each side of the zip top, I popped a small square of jersey attached with fabric glue to stabilise and thicken the area behind where the eyelets were going in. This worked well and they are still in place. I finally top stitched the neck band and folded in and topstitched the hem facings before giving them all a good press. 

I am so chuffed with the overall look of this sweater and can see it being worn constantly this winter, I’ll also be thinking about more projects with hot fix vinyl as now I’ve seen how easy it is I’d love to flex my wings a bit with more complex shapes, lettering and layering…… 

Gingham dreams!

Vintage style ruffle dress project...

 
I have been dreaming of giant gingham for a long time. I’m not sure what started it but I thought it would be a super cute dress when I found the perfect fabric. When I saw this fabric on Samantha Claridge online I knew it was for me, but I NEVER sew dull fabrics especially not black fabrics! After I wrestled with myself a little while I settle on the black and white gingham because I thought I could spice it up a bit with the pattern I used.

I planned on making the Jennifer Lauren handmade Mayberry dress so thought I would use awesome big buttons, but when the fabric arrived I knew I had to reconsider. The fabric arrived with a much thicker texture than I was expecting. It’s got a lovely linen feel to it but with a bit most structure, and less wrinkles too! I thought I would find a dress with a big full skirt and make something really vintage but with the checks being directional I wasn’t sure how that would make my shape look.

Then I saw the Alice & co free pattern in partnership with the V&A. It’s a pattern based on one of Mary Quants dresses to celebrate the exhibition on at the moment at the V&A. The fabric was perfect for the ruffles making them stand up around the neck and fluff out at the elbows, so I made a decision!

This project has almost turned into a zero waste one too! I cut out all my pieces and realised I didn’t have enough fabric to make the skirt three times the width so only made it twice. The only fabric I had left was a small section big enough for pockets, maybe on this dress in the future!

 

The checks made making the pleats super easy as I just used the squares as reference folding the over neatly. I’ve never pleated so much before, and the instructions tell you how to use a form to measure your pleats, which sounded terrifying so I was glad I had the squares already there to use. I had to top stitch the sleeve ruffles down as they were so fluffy they were flouncing in the wrong direction but I think that says more about my elbows than the fabric..! ha!

This fabric is super easy to wash and wear too as I was worried the linen feel would leave it wrinkly. Luckily I washed it and just hug it to dry and didn’t have to do any more to it. The pleats stayed lovely and the bodice didn’t crease so it’s perfect for perhaps packing in a bag or wearing all day and still looking smart at the end of the day!

 

I recently wore this dress to our new nephews christening, and I got lots of compliments. The wrap over front is very flattering on me and the smallest part of the waist hits me just at the right point. I didn’t make any adjustments to the pattern and just made it as it was which was perfect for me. It has a fully lines bodice too, which made it feel even fancier, but helped it come together surprisingly easily!

 

Whilst this dress isn’t the vintage era I’d normally gravitate towards (normally 40’s and 50’s) I think it was a perfect pairing to this fabric and made me a lovely outfit for the christening which I can now wear again and again to the office and know I’ll be smart and comfy!