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Thursday, 3 December 2015

My hand sewn Christmas.

This is my Christmas blog post . It is actually on my sister blog somdo click on the link and take a look at the post. How to sew Christmas Decorations and table wear
 These are some of the items featured in the blog post. All are very easy to sew.

These cheeky Christmas stars are having fun playing with the sewing machines at

The post features making your own Tree skirt, table cloths and napkins

Do take a look at the blog post , and let me know what you are making this Christmas.

#Christmas #decorations #tablewear #sew #sewing #imadeit

Monday, 30 November 2015

HOW I MADE MY FAUX FUR HAT AND JACKET.A Minerva Crafts Blogger Network post

Coat pattern by Simplicity. hat pattern by Burda

I have been looking at these coats in the shops and noticed how expensive they are, so when I saw this fabulous faux fur fabric on I knew I had to make one my own coat.
Here is the list of items you need to make one of your own
  • Faux fur fabric.2m made both hat and jacket in size 12 /14  I used the long pile fur in Grey. It comes in other colours and in a short pile version.  PLAIN LONG PILE FUR
  • Anti static dress lining in Navy Blue,    Lining
  • Prym fur coat hook and eye fasteners in Grey Fur coat Fasteners
  • A very small piece of interfacing for the collar Interfacing
  • Simplicity 2150 pattern Jacket pattern
  • BURDA 7175 for the hat HAT PATTERN
  • I am fond of COATS sewing thread, you will need both Grey and Navy  COATS THREAD

Faux fur  ChiChi or headband from Jewellery Bank  see the web site for more information Winter white faux fur ChiChi

You will need to gather together your sewing machine with a new needle for heavyweight fabrics, an iron and ironing board, a pressing cloth and one more essential item - your vacuum cleaner! 
You will also need a few very long pins,  tailors chalk and sharp scissors

Thursday, 26 November 2015

How to make the Eliza M WANDA dress using Liberty fabric

A review of the Eliza M WANDA pattern

I love vintage style patterns, I love researching into how they would have been made and incorporating this into the garment I am making. I have used a few Eliza M patterns and was really looking forward to making this one.
Abakhan Fabrics,  View ABAKHAN web site have a sale of Liberty Fabrics on at the moment, and I was lucky enough to be given a generous length of Liberty Tana Lawn in Glencot  House Grey.Those of you familiar with  Abakhan will know what fantastic fabrics they have a at great prices, so if you are unlucky enough to miss this offer LIBERTY CLEARANCE OFFER then you can be certain you will find a great alternative in store or on their website.

Tana Lawn is perfect for 1950's style tea dresses. The shape of the neck and shoulders adds considerable interest to the dress gave me this Eliza M WANDA pattern, view here,  ELIZA M WANDA pattern at jaycotts and I have been longing to make it up. The liberty fabric is just perfect.

This pattern has all the hallmarks of a typical 1950's vintage pattern, the most obvious one being the flattering  sweetheart neckline.Cotton was very popular to make tea dresses like this one which would normally be paired with matching handbag and shoes.The look was very feminine after the austerity of the war years.
other popular fabric were Acrylic, introduced in 1950, followed by polyester in 1953. These were cheap fabrics which could go into the washing machine and dyed bright colours. This meant that women could now own more than one "good" dress which is all she probably owned during war time. Women were now beginning to have fun with fashion and the fabric prints reflected this with oversized floral and bright geometrics becoming available

For true 1950's style the zip would normally be at the side not at the back as in this pattern, don't forget invisible zips did not exist then.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

How I made my Polka Dot dress and Jacket for Minerva Crafts Blogger Network

My beautiful spotty, dotty dress and jacket. A Minerva Crafts Blogger Network post using McCalls and Butterick patterns

I love polka dots, and I love the combination of Navy blue and white.luckily sent me  a large piece of Navy and white polka dot print stretch cotton fabric, so I was overjoyed.  It is a beautiful fabric, quite heavy and with a bit of stretch too. View it on web site click here,  Navy and white polka dot cotton

I was not quite sure what to do with it and my  first thought was to make a long dress, but when I calculated how much fabric I would need there was a large piece left over but not enough for anything useful.The fabric is very heavy and hangs well so I decided to make a short dress and a jacket.  Jackets and me go together. I love making them and I love wearing them. I go out a lot in the evening and so I wear them a lot. I prefer them to a cardigan in fact. I have a favourite jacket pattern which I have altered and adapted so many times I cannot remember what the original one looked like! I love this pattern though, it fits me well, it is easy to alter, it always looks different, so why change? Anyway, more about the jacket later. Let's get on with the dress.

Before we start to make the dress though I wanted to show you the dress and jacket together. I honestly thought that the two garments worn together would be far too much, but in fact they make an incredible outfit and I love it. I envisaged wearing the jacket separately, and I will, but they do look good together don't you think?

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

How do I set up my dressmakers dummy or manequin?

How to set up a dressmakers dummy 

Many of us have a dressmakers or tailors dummy but do we know how to use it correctly? Think about it, if it is to be effective in producing well fitted clothes then it has to mirror the owners figure exactly. Do you agree?

So, how do we do this?

Firstly set your dummy up on its stand. Turn all the dials  to the same setting , zero, because we are going to start again.
You need a tape measure, some tape, a bra which fits you perfectly (you can change this as often as you like to suit the garment you are making ) and a close fitting vest top in a thin stretchy fabric.or a pretty cover like the one I am using.
Measure your waist and turn the dials until they correspond exactly to the measurement you have just taken.
Measure your bust, around the fullest point, and turn the dials to this measurement.  Do this with the hips.
Some manequins have more scope for adjustment so follow their instructions.

Put the bra on the dummy, you should do this because  your cup size determines the fit too. Put some stuffing inside it if necessary to fill it out gently.
Now, this sou ds boring but you will have to measure the bust, waist and hips again and adjust them to correspond with your own figure in underwear.

For more accurate sizing pin  a piece of tape or ribbon round your own waist, it has to be snug but not too tight. Measure from the nape of your neck down to this ribbon. Measure on the dummy from the same position down to the waist. Pin a piece of ribbon around the waist on the dummy check the measurement again. Secure in place. You will need this line when making pattern adjustments to the waist and when making skirts and trousers. You can keep these on top of your manequin cover if you like, they are useful for fitting purposes.
You need also to put lines of tape down the centre front and back and also down the sides from the centre of the armhole.again, these are fitting lines.

The beauty of dressing your dummy in this way is that you can insert padding to various areas as and when required, for example if if your waist expands, pad the manequins waist out to correspond, you can also  do this for the hips and bust.
Another convenient fact is that if you want to wear a specific style of bra with your new outfit you can put it on the dummy and fit your garment around it. Pad the bra out as necessary too.
Just remember that this is a fitting tool and correctly fitted clothes make you look and feel slimmer, so please be honest!
Take as many of your measurements as you can, you might need help with some, and transfer them to your  other you. 

In order to check that the manequin is the right size put a dress on it that you know fits you well and take a long critical look at it. Make any further adjustments as necessary.

It honestly is worth all the effort in getting this right. Imagine the benefits! Every garment you make will be perfect for YOU, who cares about standard shop bought dresses which fit ok here and there, this is perfection ladies!

Dummies or manequins are not cheap I admit, and you must get an adjustable one , be warned - display Dummies like those seen in shops are not the same thing at all.

Dress forms are available from  Dress form  there are different types too, even one for men!  Take a look. They really are worth saving for if you are serious about dressmaking.

The pretty covers like mine are also from Jaycotts, do contact them about them. Available in different sizes and colours, see them on the link below

 They really make a difference to how they look and I don't know about you but I like to use pretty things when sewing, it makes the experience even more magical.

Thank you very much for reading this, do you have a manequin?  Does she have a name?


Saturday, 3 October 2015

"Pins ain't what they used to be"

I had an accident this week. A stupid accident which could have been avoided and it set me thinking about pins.
First, a cautionary tale then you will understand what I am talking about.

My love of gadgets, including a different pin for every job, led to this earlier this week.
You see I have long pins,  short pins, fine pins, lace pins, quilting pins....... Do you see where I am leading? And that's just the pins, I have all sorts of needles too!

I was using  very fine, extra long pins when I decided to fit my garment. Forgetting there were still pins in it  I duly tried it on, slipped and stood on one of these pins. Of course being so fine it snapped as soon as I moved leaving a good portion of it in my foot! The pin incidentally went straight through my house shoes, I never walk about bare foot.( in case I stand on a pin of course...)

I don't know if you can make it out but the offending pin is in the bottom of this tube.I have to say that everybody found it hilarious - even me I must add, and my consultant did too, which was worrying.
Anyway, after days of hospital appointments and poking around it was decided that the only way to get rid of the offending article was to have a general anaesthetic and remove it in surgery. Which is what I did today. Apparantly they can migrate around the body which is indeed what my pin had started to do.

I must say this, All praise to Blackpool Royal Infirmary who treated me like a goddess today! Well apart from laughing at me that is. I could not have been treated any better or with so much love and care. THANK YOU

I shall spare you a picture of the operation site, but this picture is quite amusing. Dont I look glamorous with one foot painted yellow with an arrow drawn on the  leg with a  permanent marker, the other leg in a surgical stocking?

So, I hope that you take my tale to heart and take care with pins! Because it will take two whole weeks before I can have the stitches out and start to become mobile again.

Solving my new "problem"

I  have had plenty of time to think about pins today and how many different types there are. Just look at Pins on and you will see what I mean. I like the curved basting pins, and I will be buying some of those to replace the long pins I use for patchwork. 

I also adore this retro tin of glass headed pins by Prym, also from Jaycotts.

Dont you think the tin is beautiful? 

 I am throwing away every single ordinary pin I own now, and replacing them with the very pretty glass headed and flower headed pins, which not only can  be seen more easily than ordinary pins, they are rather pretty too.
I also need to invest in a magnet! Jaycotts sell horse shoe magnets for picking up spilt pins  see it here Magnet
They also sell a magnetic pin cushion which may be a good investment. Magnetic pin cushion

I also discovered these rather clever wonder clips  CLOVER wonder clips which do away with pins totally, they can be used for quilting and I suspect will also be useful for sewing any bulky item such as coats and padded jackets etc. Of course I have talked about double sided basting tape in previous blog posts, and I do use it a lot where I want my seam to remain stable while I sew it.

My research shows me that there are safer versions and alternatives for every pin type imaginable. Silks and fine fabrics do require a long fine pin, you can buy pretty ones which are more visible, or simply pin inside the seam allowance where less damage can be done to the fabric.
Most good haberdashery stores have  great selection of pins and accessories by the way.

Please take my tale to heart and do take care with your pins and needles. I thought that I was careful with them, obviously not, I really don't want this to happen to you.

Anyway, now that I am confined to home I will be doing lots more sewing. Every cloud does indeed have a silver lining.

Ps, you didn't really expect this to stop me sewing did you? I made this top today....

Happy (safe )Pinning


Sunday, 13 September 2015

How to make pretty fabric heart decorations

Hanging hearts

I  make lots of these , some for myself  to hang on wardrobe doors and cupboard handles, some to give as gifts. Some have lavender inside them, and these I put inside wardrobes and drawers to scent my clothes and bedding.
They are really simple to make and you can use up your odd scraps of fabric and lace. Of course, you don't have to make hearts, simple bird shapes work well, as do stars - I am sure that you have your own ideas.

These are some I have made for Sew Saturday. There will be some for you to make on the day too. The fabrics are Tilda  fat quarters from White Tree Fabrics 

Start off with drawing a simple heart shape at the size you want. Cut it out in paper and use it to cut out two hearts in your chosen fabric

Monday, 31 August 2015

How I made my Butterick 4386 in Orange Linen with machine embroidery

I bought this butterick pattern some while ago and thought that it would look fantastic made up in a variety of fabrics. I have some pale grey silk dupion which will be lovely for parties later in the year but I wanted to make it up first of all in this orange Linen.

The fabric needed pressing and shrinking with a steam iron through a linen pressing cloth, i folded it in half matching the selvedges and proceeded to lay my pattern pieces out in my correct size.
I say this each and every time, please take your measurements and compare them to the pattern envelope, cutting out the pieces according to your measurements which could be two or three sizes different to your commercial dress size.

I decided on the version with small cap sleeves, knee length skirt and crossover front. This will be worn on summer holidays in hot climates so linen will be cool and the cap sleeves will protect my shoulders from the sun

Monday, 3 August 2015

My beautiful bright Birthday dress and jacket

Patterns by New look and Simplicity

This is my first ever blog for Minerva Crafts Blogger Network, and I cannot tell you how excited I am. I have been sewing for more years than I care to remember and I trained as a Tailor when my elder son was a baby.
Now let me tell you something, I have a birthday coming up, a big birthday, a HUGE birthday,  I am to be 60 on 31st May. The thing is I am rather proud of it. So much so that I am turning into one of those eccentric women who are forever saying " I am 60 you know".
So, when it came to deciding what to make it was easy, I need a dress to wear on my birthday. Not just any dress you know, a dress with personality and well, noticeable.
I think that this outfit fits the bill nicely. It is certainly bright and colourful and will look great when I go out to dinner wearing it. More about that later!

When choosing what I should make for you I wanted  to show you some simple couture techniques which I hope you will find interesting and useful.
What is couture sewing? A couture garment is made to fit its owner and nobody else.The perfect fit comes from endless fittings and the garment is made so that it is perfectly proportioned for the owners body, with seams and trimmings positioned in just the correct place for that person.
The garment is first made up as a toille where the adjustments and placings of patterns and trim are decided before the main fabric is even cut.
During construction a lot of the sewing is done by hand, hundreds of tacking stitches will be used before the seam is finally stitched and pressed. It is the hand sewing which distinguishes Couture from high-end ready to wear.
In addition, luxury fabrics are  used and trimmings are often hand made just for the one garment.
Dresses are not usually lined and somebody not used to a couture dress may be surprised at the "unfinished" look inside. Linings add bulk and may spoil the drape of the dress. Instead you will see interlinings, which add body and stability to the garment. You also may see stays and bra strap holders which are all designed to hold the garment in place.As we make our dress I will explain the process to you and you can then choose if you wish to follow it or not. There won't be anything complicated I promise.

I have chosen this pattern by NewLook  because it has a full skirt which I love and an interesting neckline. I will be making the lower neck version.

How I made My Pink Lined Jacket - A Butterick "See and Sew" pattern .B5235

Everybody has a favourite pattern, and this is mine. I have made this same jacket in various fabrics including one in black linen which has almost worn through I wear it so often. It was obvious therefore that I would want to share this pattern with you for my next blog on the  Minerva Crafts Blogger Network.

All fabric and haberdashery for this project is available from Minerva crafts, the link to their web site is:-

The Pattern  is a very easy Butterick "see and sew" pattern. It is fully lined which makes it easy to slip on and off. Butterick is part of the Mccalls pattern group

The fabric is a Pink Heavy textured wool blend coat fabric ,and can be viewed and ordered by clicking on this  link

I also  chose a very dark brown polyester lining fabric to contrast with the outer fabric. Minerva Crafts have a huge choice of linings and fabrics if you click on the Link above

Sunday, 2 August 2015

How to make curtains valance ,bedspread and cushion

I have just had a busy but productive three weeks  replacing all the soft furnishings in our apartment. I knew that spending any longer on it I would be itching to start something else so I had a self imposed deadline to stick to.

I get asked a lot of questions through my blog, twitter or email and almost everybody says the same thing, that they feel daunted by some sewers who , they think, produce nothing but perfection and it puts people off because they do not feel that they can aspire to that standard. So, it set me thinking. I have been sewing for more years than I want to remember and I have been to college too yet I still make mistakes! The thing is nobody is perfect,  go and look at clothes in shops, do they look well made? Probably not, probably that is one reason why you want to learn to sew.
So, what I want to say is this, it does not matter if a seam is wonky or a dress did not turn out as you expected As long as you are happy with it that is all  that matters, at worse you have an awful dress to garden or decorate in!
We only really learn from our mistakes so when your dress does not fit you will know next time to measure yourself properly and cut out the correct size, you will know to make a toille first and use a seam guide if you can't sew straight. These are learning curves so embrace them for what they are.
Anyway, back to soft furnishings.
I am going to keep things simple and also upcycle where I can.

In addition to the new curtains,  lined with a thermal blackout fabric, and new voille curtains,I  also made a valance, a bedspread and a quilted cushion.

This is the lovely furnishing fabric in a rich floral damson colour

I have shown how to make curtains before, so let's do the patchwork cushion. I chose half squares because they are quick,  easy and look good. Choose a couple of contrasting or toning fabrics in a similar weight and using a self healing mat and rotary cutter make squares then cut them into triangles.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

How I made cushions, curtains and a roller blind

This post is continuing from a previous post entitled "curtains, cushions and chairs Click here to view the post

As you know I am having a very short break from sewing clothes and replacing the soft furnishings in my home.

I recently went to the secret sale at Abakhan Fabrics Click here to go to Abakhan.Co. uk , and bought several rolls of fabric. Among the items purchased was a roll of this beautiful heavy cotton furising fabric, the whole roll of it did not cost much more than the price per meter!

I started by cutting the largest items out first, which were the curtains. If you have never made curtains before it is so easy you will wonder why you ever bought them!
there are many ways of making a pair of curtains, but if you have never made them before I suggest that you buy a patterned fabric and make them unlined.
If you have curtains already in place then take them down and measure them. You will need to buy enough fabric to make a pair of curtains and you need to add three inches  or so at the top for a hem, and at least four inches at the bottom for another hem. You will also need to buy ruflette tape to go along the top. Buy double the width of your curtain fabric.
Cut your fabric out and hem the sides. Turn the top hem down and press. Pin your ruflette tape along the top, covering the raw edge of the fabric. You will notice that there are strings I  the tape, this is so that you can gather the top, make sure these are free and tie the ends together so that they do not come out when you start to gather them.Machine the top and bottom of the tape.
At this stage it is a good idea to press them and then hang them to see if the fabric will relax and drop before you hem them. Once you are satisfied with the length then go ahead and machine sew a double hem. See, I told to how simple they are!

My curtains are lined with an attached lining - you can make a loose lining if you prefer. I am not one for fussy tie backs I must admit, but I do see the usefulness  of them when the window is open and it is windy, I do not want my new curtains blowing around outside!

I made these really simple tie backs by measuring the length I wanted, cutting out the fabric and very stiff interfacing and sewing them into a long rectangle. I added hoops at the end and hooks on the wall. And there they are, simple tie backs!

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Curtains, Cushions and Chairs, My sewing room

How I updated my sewing room.

It is that time of year when it seems pointless making any more new summer garments but too soon to be thinking about winter, so I am turning my attention to soft furnishings.

There are two rooms which I want to update, my sewing room and the lounge and kitchen. An easy way to do it is by replacing the soft furnishings.

I wanted to start with the sewing room because it is where I spend my evenings and it is important to me to have everything to hand and orderly.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

My top ten tips for wonderful results

These are my top tips for producing a wonderful garment which fits well and is a joy to wear. 

  1. When purchasing your pattern ignore your ready to wear dress size! take your measurements and cut out the size which best corresponds with them. Do not be alarmed if you need to go up a few sizes. ready to wear sizes change constantly, patterns do not.                                                                                                    
  2. Press and shrink your fabric if necessary before cutting out, and then pin the selvedges together                                                              

  3. lay the pattern pieces on the correct grainline which is clearly marked on the pattern piece                                                                                                                            
  4. Transfer all pattern markings onto the fabric. I use tailors tacks or chalk. Wash away and air-erasable pens are popular but use them with caution  as the marks can easily become permanent. Dressmakers tracing paper and a tracing wheel can be used on thick fabrics so long as the marks do not show on the right side of the fabric                                                                                                                               
  5. Leave extra seam allowances when cutting out to allow for adjustments. This works well on side seams and waistbands                                                                        

  6. tack the garment together before machining anything. This not only gives you the chance to fit it correctly but is where you can be creative and add your own design touches                               
  7. Press every seam as you go, this is important so I will repeat it. Press every seam as you go!                                                                                                                                  
  8. Use a brand new machine needle for every project. Choose the correct one for your fabric, for example a ball point needle is used for stretch fabrics etc                
  9. Try on at regular intervals to check the fit, wearing the correct underwear for the garment                                                                                                                            
  10. Most importantly ENJOY yourself and only make time making things that you love

Thank you for reading this. What are your tips?


Tuesday, 7 July 2015

How to sew with stretch fabrics.A Minerva Blogger Network post

This is my second blog post for the Minerva Blogger Network and for this I chose to make a garment in Stretch Jersey. Everything I used is available on the Minerva craft website by following the links shown.

The pattern is SIMPLICITY 1653 and is an "Amazing Fit: pattern.


When you choose your fabric first of all look at the pattern back because there is a guide to help you to choose fabric with enough stretch in it. So take the pattern with you, hold it against the guide and stretch it to make sure that it will stretch enough.

The fabric I chose is this Hawiian print stretch jersey, the link to it is below

This is an Amazing Fit pattern which has various options to enable you to choose the correct pieces for your size.
it is imperative therefore that you are honest with yourself and take your measurements exactly. Compare them to the pattern envelope and choose the size which most closely resembles your figure. If in doubt cut the larger size out.
To make fitting even better there are options to cut out different backs to suit slim, average or curvy figures,and different cup sizes. 
There is a guide, copied above, which tells you how to measure your bust enabling you to cut out the correct cup size. Once you have determined which pieces will fit you best make a muslin to toille out of some stretch lingerie fabric. Make any adjustments to the paper pattern before you even think about cutting your fabric out.
(The stretch toille can be adapted to make a piece of lingerie or nightwear if you like).

Steam press your fabric to shrink it and then pin it together along the selvedge. Some pattern pieces will be cut out singly, so leave them to one side until you have finished Lay the fabric flat before cutting out..
Each pattern piece has a grain line and the pattern pieces need to be positioned exactly so that the grain lines run in the correct direction. It is important to measure the distance between the grain line and the selvedge to ensure that the pattern pieces are perfectly straight. Any slight deviation will produce a garment which does not hang correctly. When pinning the pattern pieces in place make sure that the pins only go inside the seam allowances to avoid putting a hole in the fabric or puckering it. Use plenty of pins as jersey has a tendency to stretch when being cut.

The next thing to think about is what sort of stitch you are going to use and what sort of thread. I took some offcuts of my fabric and experimented with various machine feet, stitch types and stitch lengths. I chose to use a WALKING FOOT in the end. If you do not have one try a Teflon foot.  If necessary put some spare tissue paper or tear -away stabiliser under your seams as you sew. This definately helps you to get smooth seams. You may also need a longer stitch length and if you are using normal polyester thread you will need to use a special stretch stitch or a narrow zig zag.

You will also need a brand new Ball Point machine needle. This is a needle specially for sewing through jersey fabrics and you can buy them from Minerva or your local supplier.  A new needle should be put into machine for every garment you make.An old needle will be blunt and will cause your stitches to be uneven,  your thread could break and become  tangled in the machine

I have chosen to use a Stretch thread from Minerva Crafts. This is a new product and I have to say that I fell in love with it as soon as I used it for the first time. It enables you to stitch stretch fabrics with a normal machine stitch!

I did some experimenting and the thread does not snap when pulled as far as it will go.
I do highly recommend this product. The link to it is under, it comes in lots of colours too,

The next most important job is to stay stitch the pattern pieces along the neckline to stop them from pulling out of shape. By the way never leave your stretch garment on a coat hanger or dressmakers dummy until the neckline is finished as it could well be pulled out of shape by the weight of the fabric.

The pattern instructions look complicated and I admit to reading them through a couple of times until I understood them. Basically what it is telling you is that fit is vital in this garment and to achieve a great fit you must in addition to paying attention to the points above, try it on at intervals through the making process.
It advises you to machine baste everything together wrong sides together before trying on. It does not really matter if you tack it together right or wrong sides together,but to me it made sense to tack it right sides together so that if the fit was correct I did not have to undo the work and I could then  go straight into machining it.
When trying the dress on make sure that it hangs correctly and does not pull anywhere. Look at the back and ensure that the centre back seam hangs straight down, and make sure it does not pull anywhere or indeed is too loose. This pattern is meant to hug your figure when worn. When trying it on make sure that you are wearing the underwear you will wear with the garment, if necessary you may need a smoothing all in one garment if you feel that you wish to smooth out any lumps and bumps.
Also do not forget to press each seam as you go.

I have pinned the dress together after stay stitching the neckline pieces and the construction is now a lot clearer. I tacked it and tried it on. because I took my measurements correctly, and chose the right pattern pieces for my actual size it needed no adjustments whatsoever.
Stitch the dart and make the pleats in the front according to the pattern instructions
The next job is to insert the sleeves by joining join the sleeve seams. These are Raglan sleeves so they are easy to insert as long as you match up the pattern markings correctly. Press each seam and then overlock the edges. The pattern gives you the choice of either  over locking (Serging) the entire garment but i prefer to do a straight seam and then overlock the edges afterwards. Personally I feel that it gives a nicer seam finish

The neck edge has to be faced with Bias Binding. If you are used to using Bias Binding you will know that it does not actually stretch very much! This new product, again from Minerva Crafts is brilliant! It is a stretch lycra bias binding and it is perfect when used with the stretch thread. It stretches easily but springs back into shape instantly too.
Prepare it for use by measuring it against the guides included in the pattern pieces. Then press it open to get rid of the folded edges.Fold it in half down the centre and pin the strip to the neck edge stretching it slightly as you go. stitch it with a narrow seam allowance all the way round the neck edge

 Press the seam open and fold the entire binding to the inside. Press again and top stitch in place.
You now have a bias facing on the inside of your garment as in the photograph above.

The link to this wonder product is here

At this stage I do some more over locking and neaten what seams are not finished off yet.Also attach the tie belt to the edge of the wrap over part of the bodice. Neaten the edges and top stitch the seam along the dress edge. (The tie belt is easily made by joining the seam, clipping the corners, turning right sides out and pressing)
Pin the other tie belt to the position marked on the pattern on the OUTSIDE of your fabric.

Join the side seams from sleeve edge to hem in one long seam matching all markings and making sure that the sleeve seams are aligned.
It is easier when doing the side with the wrap-over to baste (tack) it in place first then pin the whole side together and stitch in one long seam as before, enclosing the wrap-over.

This is what you now have! The wrap over part ties beautifully at the side of the dress.
Finish it off by trying it on again in case there are any more adjustments to be made. Overlock the side seams and put it on again to measure the hem. In my case I put it on my tailors dummy to measure and pin the hem
For the bottom and sleeve hems. overlock the edges and fold up to the desired length. Top stitch.
give it a final press and it is finished.

This is the view from the side showing the tie belt and the pleats

As a final touch I added my own label to the dress. Dont forget that Simplicity own the design rights and you cannot sell any garment which has been made from one of their patterns!

The pattern envelope shows only suggestions of how the dress could be made. I think that if I make this pattern up again I may put gathers in the side of the wrap-over section which will make it narrower and fuller. It is your choice how you interpret a pattern which is why tacking it together and trying on before sewing is so important. It is at this stage that you can add your own touch to the design. The pattern has sleeve variation too. I chose the three quarter length straight sleeve so that I may wear it under a jacket. For a special occasion the flutter sleeve would look amazing.

The fabric is very easy to care for and drapes well. It is worth purchasing a good quality fabric if you want  a garment which will last you for many years.

Check to make sure that it is fine when you sit down, common problems are that garments ride up when sitting, or they are too tight and therefore uncomfortable

This is me sat wearing it for the first time. It is extremely comfortable, and it fits like a dream.
I hope that if you have never sewn with stretch fabrics before you will have a go at making this dress. It is extremely flattering to all figure shapes.


After wearing the dress I did feel that I needed to alter it slightly. I did exactly what I thought was needed in the first place! So, I undid the side seam where the overlap is enclosed by the front and back and reduced the width of the overlap by just over an inch. I gathered it very slightly and eased it back into place. I also took the sleeves in by an inch, tapering the new seam towards the underarm.
I feel that the front drapes better now and the sleeves feel more comfortable.
sometimes gut instinct tells you when something is not right, I am constantly altering patterns and designs to make them suit me, not the model on the envelope!

Thank you for reading this