Monday, June 25, 2012

New Design: Cut Out Shift Dress

It's definitely about time I started to make a new design. My Etsy shop is in dire need of some new items so here goes. This is my idea....

I made this t-shirt a while ago using a basic t-shirt style and cutting out diamond shapes for the tartan sections. I didn't make a pattern for this it was just something I threw together without much thought! The photos aren't the best but I hope you get the general idea. Its basically two diamond shapes cut out of both sides - one higher than the other. I also cut out triangles from the sleeves to tie in the tartan.

I like the idea of using this cut out style for a shift dress. Especially after finding this fabulous printed April in Paris cotton fabric. I'm going to use a black stretch twill fabric for the basic shift dress and the printed fabric for the cut out sections. It will be a basic shift dress with no sleeves and no darts. Here are photos of my chosen fabrics.

What do you think of this idea? Would it be something you would wear? Or want to make? In my next post I'll show you how I go about making the design and pattern. All comments welcome.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Why are cats so weird?!

Hmmm... there appears to be an unexplained bump under my cutting board I wonder what that could be?!

Oh what do we have here! My cat Jasper seems to be taking a nap in a very odd place. Looks a bit annoyed that I disturbed her! The cheek of cats - think they rule the world! I guess they sort of do really. Turn up when they want, sleep when they want, get fed when they want, get stroked and cuddled when they want. Being a cat must be so hard! 

Ever caught your pets sleeping in strange places? I'd love to hear your stories...

Monday, June 18, 2012

1940's Dress Complete

After a lot of ups and downs I finally got the dress competed in time for the ball. I was literally hemming it a few hours before we had to leave! Nothing like stressing yourself out with massive time restraints! Here are a few photos of my husband Chris and I at the ball.

Standing in front of a WWII plane

Front of the dress

Another plane!

Back of the dress


Chris and I on a plane wing

Back of my hair

The WWII ball was so much fun, Chris and I had a blast. Got to do lots of swing dancing and saw lots of cool retro shows. It really did feel like we had stepped back in time - a magical night and I can't wait until next year already!

Have you been to anything similar? What did you think of the dress? Comment away! 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

1940's Dress Finished But Do I Like It?

Have you ever finished making something and try it on then realise you look awful in it?! Well that's what happened to me for the 1940's dress. I really wasn't happy with the neckline. My husband of course said it looked beautiful and thought I was panicking over nothing but you can't really trust your husband now can you?!

Here are a few pictures - sorry about the rubbishness of them I was in a rush to make it right! I did smile though :-) 

My blog writing laptop in the corner :-)

I actually liked the back.

So late that night only two days away from the ball I go about unpicking the front section of the dress. I did have a few topless moments of Hugh Jackman in some robot movie to ease the pain of undoing all my hard work ;-) 

The next morning I start to construct a new front for the dress. I used my dress form to the max and just pinned bits of fabric to it until I liked the look of it! I wanted to make it into a v-neck rather than the round neckline. I saw a few dresses which had this kind of shape so based the new design on those. I didn't have much time to take many photos, but here are a few of the work in progress.

The starting of the v neck shape. I added gathers under the bust and at the shoulder to add more interest

I added a straight piece of fabric for a makeshift shoulder pad look and gathered fabric onto that.

This is what I decided to go with so I just did the same on the other side and sewed it together!
 So after all that drama I was very happy with the results and was pleased I decided to change the neckline. Cinderella would be ready for the ball after all!! 

Have you ever done the same thing to one of your creations? What did you change? Did it work in the end? I would love to hear your stories so please feel free to comment. I will post some pictures of the actual 1940's ball very soon....

Friday, June 15, 2012

Making an Invisible Zipper Invisible!

This is the second technique I will go through which I did while working on my 1940's dress. I know most of you will already know how to insert an invisible zipper but this one is different. The zipper needs to be placed in the center of the back bodice from the neckline and here comes the difference.... the back is one complete piece! Shock, horror!!

I have never done a zipper like this so thought I would go through the steps to help anyone else who is scratching their heads at a similar sewing puzzle.


- Back of garment
- Invisible zipper
- Thread
- Sewing machine
- Scissors
- Iron
- Ironing board
- Tailor chalk
- Needle
- Pins

Now if everyone is sitting comfortably I will begin!!

STEP 1: Iron your back piece so its completely flat and crease free. Mine has darts at the bottom but as I'm putting the zipper in the bottom that shouldn't matter.

STEP 2: Fold the back in half pinning at the neckline and arm to make sure its even. Pin along the fold to the end of the zipper opening. Then go to your trusty iron and press a crease on the fold line the length of the cut.

STEP 3: Mark with tailors chalk where you want the top of the zipper to be, You need to take into account the seam allowance you have given yourself. In my case it was 3/4". Also mark the bottom of the zipper. Then take a deep breath and cut down this line - I know its scary! At the bottom of the cut snip about 1/8" diagonally away from the line to make a mini triangle.

I hate unfinished ends so I then sewed an overcast stitch on both sides. This is optional but worthwhile if you don;t like frayed edges.

This just shows you the overcast stitch and the mini triangle if you have good eye sight!

STEP 4: Insert the invisible zipper in the normal way. I will assume most people will know how to do this. If you don't and want me to do a tutorial let me know and I will do one for you. I usually double stitch my zippers to make sure so here is a picture of what the inside seam of my zipper looks like.

STEP 5: Right now remember that mini triangle? Now you need to get your needle and thread at the ready and tuck that little guy under at the bottom of the zipper and do a hidden stitch to make sure it stays put. This should make it very neat at the base of the zipper. Then all that's left do to is to iron the seams along the zipper to make it nice and flat.

So there you have one invisible zipper inserted.

Have you ever inserted a similar style of zipper? What technique did you use?  Would be great to hear what you all think, so comment away! 

Find out what my finished dress turned out like in my next post......

Happy blogging! 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Gathering a Neckline

Sorry for the lack of posts recently - I will get better I promise! Had a very busy schedule in the last couple of weeks. So anyway here goes....

I don't know about you but personally I always used to avoid patterns and designs with gathers because I was never really sure on how you achieve that even but random gathered look. If that makes sense! So in this post I will go through the technique I use to gather the neckline on my 1940's dress. I hope you find it useful.


- the fabric piece your gathering
- the corresponding fabric piece
- scissors
- sewing machine
- thread
- measuring tape

STEP 1: Work out where you need the gather to be. In this case I will be gathering the lower edge of bottom front panel between the two notches. Measure between the two notches and write this down.

STEP 2: Find the piece that the gathered edge will be joined. In my case this is between the two notches on the top front panel. Measure between the two notches and write this down.

STEP 3: Set your sewing machine to the longest straight stitch, usually this is 5mm. Sew from notch to notch on the piece to be gathered roughly 1/8" in from the seam allowance.

STEP 4: Knot the threads at one end of the sewed edge. Then get your tape measure putting it at the knotted end. Start to pull on the free bobbin thread and push all the gathers to the knotted end. Do this until the length of the gathers reaches that of the measurement you wrote down earlier from the corresponding pattern piece.

STEP 5: Even out the gathers as much as possible. Sew another line with a 2.5mm stitch length just above the line of the gathers. Get as close as possible or you can even sew directly over the gathering stitches.

Sorry about the blurry close up! 

STEP 6: Fold the gathered piece in half so you can put a pin in the center. This makes it much easier to sew in the right place. Mark the center of the corresponding piece using the same method. (I actually serged my edge at this point, but if your using another method to finish the seam then you don't need to do this).

STEP 7: Sew the pieces together making sure the center pins and notches align. And here is my finished gathered edge. This is before I ironed the seam to make it flatter.

And that's it my method complete!

Here is a photo of the completed front bodice.

Did you find this tutorial useful? Would you do anything differently? All comments are welcome! Stay tuned for my tutorial on how to insert an invisible zipper.... 

Happy blogging! 

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