Sewing a vintage 1970s pattern with Watercolour sunset blurr

 
 
 
To start this post, I should say that I love viscose, I love to wear it, I love the way it moves and drapes and I love that it often comes in great colours and prints. So I was really excited when Sammy got all these viscose fabrics in. I picked this super pastel rainbow fabric to work with and raided my pattern stash for a suitable pattern.

Now one thing I should say is that I do not always love sewing with viscose as it can be a slippery sucker! This one is less slippery than some and did not slide around when I was cutting it out but did shift when sewing, extensive pinning was needed and a walking foot might have helped. However, I’m a lazy sewist and extra steps are not my bag. I did not use a walking foot or reinforce the zipper or really make any allowances for the fabric at all and despite this I think the dress turned out well, which should indicate that it’s a pretty forgiving fabric.

I picked this 1970s pattern, which I had been wanting to try out for a while. Anyone who follows me on Instagram will have realised that I’m a bit obsessed with 70s pattern and style and this fabric seems to fit with the 70s vibe. I love the psychedelic vibes and was excited about floating around in this. However, since summer appears to have forgotten us here in London, I need to work out how to style it for autumn. Black tights are not going to cut it with this rainbow so if you have any ideas, please let me know!

 

I’m off to plan some autumn makes now!

Sewhouse 7 Montavilla dress in viscose

Hey there

How are you all?  Hope there’s plenty of sewing happening in your world.  I don’t know about you but all this chilly wet weather isn’t conducive to encouraging me to be sewing up nice summery garments.  I’m usually away (pre Covid times of course) during August somewhere warm and sunny and often wondering if I’m leaving behind the best of the British weather.  It almost had me fooled last year when we were lucky enough to have lots of sunshine and warmth.  However, this year I’m not so sure!!

Anyway in an effort to cling onto the dreams of summer and lots of sunshine (can you tell I’m desparately trying to avoid sewing up wintery projects in August!!!), when Sammy asked me to choose something from her website for my next Design Team Project I opted for some of the 100% viscose.  After my usual indecisiveness over fabric colours, I opted for the teal and white colourway and have to say it is truly beautiful to work with.  It washed and dried great, no colour runs or bobbling.  Ironing was an absolute breeze!  It pressed beautifully.  I did use the clapper as I usually do when pressing seams but I’m pretty sure it didn’t really need it.  After searching through my patterns I decided it would make a lovely Sew House Seven Montavilla Dress.  I’ve had this pattern for quite a while now but never quite got round to making it.

Once I got the dress cut out, it started to come together really quickly and had some really good and new to me techniques.  I spent ages looking for the frill pattern piece only to find there isn’t one….its created by making a shoulder dart on the back and front bodice.  I thought this was genius idea and love the shoulder detail.  The neckline is self bound and I have to say the fabric is so buttery soft at times I had problems feeling it between my fingers.  

The pockets on the side panel and the piece of elastic at the top of that side panels make a really nice feature too.

I followed the instructions to the letter and didn’t make any changes to the pattern despite wondering if I should add some length due to my height (I’m 5’10”) but I tried it on before hemming and was pleased with the length as it was.

I was really impressed with the instructions for this pattern especially for the mitred corners on the hem and I’ll definitely use this technique where possible on future makes as it gives a really nice neat finish.  Those splits on the sides are just the perfect size.  Just enough leg pops out as you walk and I think it makes the dress look really feminine.

I started a new job back in July temporarily whilst waiting patiently for our business to restart after being badly affected by Covid and after 20 years of working for ourselves and learning a new job, I’m finding it quite stressful right now so I found this make really therapeutic as a result of the fabric choice and pattern itself with its cheeky little techniques.  I’d say the only tricky part was the belt.  Despite having the Prym tube turners, I still managed to get it stuck inside itself.  Luckily, Mia (my youngest) was around and kindly offered to sort the belt for me whilst I cracked on with sewing other parts.

I was super excited to wear this dress and had big plans to wear it for a meal with my bestie only to put it on and drop foundation on it whilst getting ready to go out!  I wouldn’t mind but it’s the first time I’ve worn foundation in 18 months!!!! I was so annoyed so I had to put it on the back burner for another time.  Fortunately I didn’t have to wait long and on A Level results day we took Mia out for a meal to celebrate her grades so took the opportunity to wear it then and get photos for this blog post.

I have to say the fabric is absolutely delightful against my skin.  Its super soft and light and airy.  I definitely chose the right project for the fabric and felt great wearing it.  I will definitely be making more versions of this dress.

I highly recommend this fabric….would it be really wrong to have every colourway??  I really can’t say enough how gorgeous this fabric is.  Yes….you really do need some!

Hope you like the project I chose for this lovely fabric.  

Until next time…. happy sewing!

Lisa

@sewlastminutelisa

Watercolour Rainbow Rocks Viscose meets the Myosotis dress

Have you seen the fabulous new viscose prints we have in stock? From rainbow watercolours to galaxy and marble prints these new vibrant dressmaking fabrics have us all in a spin!

Debbie immediately snapped up the Rainbow Rocks Viscose print and whipped up a wardrobe fave…the Deer and Doe Myosotis dress with a few hacks!)

She chose Hemline self-covered buttons to use up the leftover scraps from the dress and to give a professional finish. They are a little fiddly but well worth the effort as you can see!

Debbie omitted the collar on the Myosotis dress and replaced it with a new curbed front and self-drafted facing.

Added waist ties, some extra volume to the sleeve, 3 rows of shirring with some Gutermann shirring elastic, and a little ruffle hem to finish it off…its’ the perfect bright and breezy summer dress…and of course it has pockets!

What would you make with these fun and bold prints?

Window check viscose faux jumpsuit

Hi you lovely lot, Debbie here!

I’m still on my journey to create my handmade wardrobe. It started a year ago during lockdown 1.0 and it been a really interesting year in terms of growth with my sewing, figuring out my style, and focussing on pieces I need. 

I’ve always loved dresses. Dressmaking for myself has not really been something I’ve really ever done though would you believe! I much preferred making for other people, my shop and doing projects for magazines etc. During last spring/ summer I thought I’d make a few pretty dresses in anticipation of the end of lockdown…little did we all know how long that would take to come and we are still a little way off a year later!

I fell into the trap of wanting to sew all the latest patterns…and there have been loads released in the last year! I’m at the point now where I really know what suits me, what I’ll actually get wear out of and not to get sucked into the newest pattern without really considering how it would fit into my wardrobe…that’s not to say there won’t be some rouge additions…sometimes you just cant help fall for that pretty pattern right?!

 

When I saw this Window grid viscose arrive in the shop I knew it would be the perfect addition to my wardrobe. My initial idea was to make a dress…but I have loads of dresses so maybe a jumpsuit? 

I’ve seen loads of sewists on Instagram make matching trousers/ skirts and tops and style them like a one-piece and let’s face it jumpsuits can be a pain when you need the loo!

I’ve worn my Style Arc Bob Pants in denim to death since I made them a few months ago so knew a new pair would be a great use of this gorgeous soft viscose and chose to pair it with an Ogden Cami for a really summery comfy outfit.

This black colourway is now out of stock but you can buy the blue version here!

This would work with any cotton or viscose though as both of these patterns are designed for woven fabrics.

Both of these patterns are super quick to make, once cut out they probably took me just over an hour each to whip up!

Now I’ve got two really wearable pieces to add to my me-made wardrobe which will mix and match with my t-shirts, jeans and jumpers. You could even layer a body under the Ogden cami if it’s a bit chilly.

These would also make fabulous Pajamas!

I’ll definitely make these again…a velvet set for winter would be divine!

Are you dress obsessed like me or do you prefer separates?

Below are some other fabrics I think would work fabulously for this set… 

Debbie x

 

Fabric suggestions:

Debbie’s Shirred dress with olive floral fabric

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock you’ve probably seen all the hype around the shirred dress trend this summer.

By Hand London did a fabulous tutorial on drafting your own which is on their Instagram and I’ve been wanting to give it a try for a few months now.

As soon as we got this beautiful olive floral viscose in stock I knew it would make a gorgeous Autumn dress and thought I would give the shirred dress a go. It does not disappoint! It’s so easy as there are no real fit issues, this dress will fit any shape or size and can expand while your wearing it which is always a plus in my book!

As I always do when planning a make, I stalk the hashtag first! #bhlshirreddress has plenty of inspiration but I also had a look on Pinterest to see if there were any other good ideas for styling, length and sleeve details and found the following inspiring images…

I’ve made plenty of midi dresses this year so wanted to add a short dress that I can wear with boots and tights into the winter.

This is the gorgeous fabric below which actually has more of a green base than ochre…it’s beautiful!

There are a few others in stock if this is not your colour which would work fabulously for this project.

The fabric I used is a lovely drapey viscose but you can use lightweight cotton (like this gingham) too which would give the sleeves a lot more drama and structure.

You will need:

2m- 3m of fabric (depending on how long you want your dress to be)

Shirring Elastic

Elastic for your sleeve head approx 12mm

Sewing kit

I started by measuring my bust and adding half again to get the measurement for the top of the dress…this was not far off the full with of the fabric 150cm so I  simply used the width of the fabric and the length of 31″ 

Then I cut 2 rectangles for the sleeves measuring approx 20″ long by 24″ wide.

You will need a few bobbins hand-wound with shirring elastic, there are plenty of good tutorials on You Tube if you have trouble getting the shirring to work but I found it worked no problem with a stitch setting of 3 or 3.5.

Make a tube with your main body of fabric and finish the seams. Hem the top of the dress and then you can start shirring the bodice ( I started about 3cm down from the top of the hemmed dress). The By Hand London tutorial gets you shirring the dress flat and then joining the side seams after but I found going round and round in one go in a spiral with a gap of 1cm per row was quicker and easier. I had to change the bobbin about 4 times so keep an eye on your bobbin…nothing worse than stitching nothing!!

I did about 9″ of shirring to get a babydoll dress effect but you could lengthen this depending on how you want your dress to sit.

To make the sleeves I stitched the edges together, finished the seams, and hemmed the top leaving a gap for the elastic. Measure two pieces of 1cm elastic to fit snuggly around your underarm and shoulder and then thread this through the channel in the sleeve. Sew the ends of the elastic closed and sew the gap in the hem closed.

I decided to do 6 rows of shirring on the cuff, in the same way, I shirred the bodice.

To attach the sleeves, pop the dress on (or on a dressmakers dummy ) and pin the sleeves to the underarms with the right sides of the top of the sleeves and the top of the dress facing. Stitch in place with a straight stitch. I stitched the sleeves on with approx 5″ of stitching.

Hem your dress and make yourself a matching mask…because have you even sewn a dress this year if you haven’t made a matching mask?!

I love how this turned out and already have another two planned! The fabric was a dream to work with and the colour is beautiful, not something I would normally go for but I was surprised how it suited my skin tone, I think because the cool pink and blue flowers are warmed up by the olive background.

Have you made a shirred dress or top…would you give this trend a go?

Debbie x

New In Dressmaking fabrics!

We’ve had some lovely new fabrics arrive at Samantha Claridge HQ, perfect for the change of weather and to start off your Autumn/ Winter wardrobe! From viscose to jersey, cotton poplin to rayon jersey, and some stretch lace too!

Below we’ve paired each fabric to a pattern to give you a little sewing inspiration! Please leave your suggestions for pattern pairings in the comments below, we’d love to know what you would make with these beauties!

Pattern suggestions from left to right:

Tilly and the Buttons – Lotta dress

Fibre Mood – Franca

Fibre Mood  – Mindy

Pattern suggestions from left to right:

Simplicity – S8738

McCalls  – M7983

Pipe Dream Patterns – The Tara Basic

Pattern suggestions from left to right:

McCalls – M7864

Simplicity – 8707

Style Arc – Kitt Knit dress

What’s your favourite fabric and what would you make?

Autumn Wilder Gown with only 2m of fabric!

Now that we are rapidly heaing into Autumn/ Winter I’m looking to add some versatlie dresses to my me-made wardrobe that can be layered with knitwear and worn with boots or trainers.

I decided to give the Wilder Gown by Friday Pattern Company a go. It’s been such a popular pattern in the sewing comminty but I wasn’t sure it was quite my style earlier this year, but I’ve seen some great styling of it lately and I thought it would probably be a useful pattern for the Autumn/ Winter months so I gave it a try and wasn’t disappointed!

 

Anyone who has made the Wilder Gown knows it comes together really quickly, but it can be quite fabric hungry so I wanted to see If I could squeeze a mini version out of 2m of fabric…I only went and did it…and with hacked full sleeves too!

I don’t know about you but I have a few bits of 2M fabric in my stash and not quite sure what to do with them so this hack is a great one to get the look of a gathered smock dress but maximising fabric use

This is how I did it!..

Firstly, picking a wide fabric is key to squeezing this dress out of 2M! I used the black and white pea spot georgette which is 150cm wide along with some black velvet ribbon for the neck tie for added prettiness and saving time and fabric!

 

If polka dots arent your thing Sammy has some other beautiful fabrics that would work brilliantly, these are all 150cm wide and have beautiful drape so are perfet for the Wilder Gown…

From left to right:

Navy flower garden viscose £3.75 per 0.5m

Autumn floral print viscose £3.75 per 0.5m

Ochre crinkle Georgette £3.50 per 0.5m

Aubergine Georgette £4.75 per 0.5m

 

So, onto construction!

I cut the top as instructed and then used the width of the fabric to make one long skirt panel, this is obviously narrower than the pattern and makes for a slightly less full skirt. I then cut two narrower strips for the bottom ruffle and stitched them together end to end.

I wanted a full sleeve that I could add a shirred cuff to so I used th slash and spread method on the sleeve and cut 2 on the fold using the whole width of the fabric.

This pattern gives you the option to make a neck tie with matching fabric or use ribbon. I chose velvet ribbon for two reasons, firstly it saves on fabric! and secondly I thought a neck tie in this polka dot print would be too much and the velvet ribbon breaks it up a bit and adds a touch of luxury!

Georgette is a fairly ‘bouncy’ fabric and doesn’t take well to pressing so I opted to top stitch the waist seam and ruffle seam. This is a feature that is used in the Myosotis dress and I’ve adpoted for a few of my dresses now…It helps to keep the seams flat and I love a bit of top stitching, it’s so satisfying!

I shirred the cuff of the sleeves 1.5″ up from the hem of the cuff to add some volume which is oh so popular at the moment and I have to say I’m loving it! 

I’m so pleased I managed this mini dress hack with just 2m of fabric and the outcome is lovely! Next time I would add pockets though! This should see me through the winter months with tights, boots and a biker jacket!

Would you give this a go? What are you making for the change of season?