I made this a couple of months ago. At first I was really happy with it, but having worn it to work one day I realised why the instructions suggest a heavy weight fabric – the fabric I used crumpled the minute I sat on it. There’s a reason using the wrong fabric is number 2 on Colette’s ten ways to ruin your sewing
. Oh well I still wear it lot. And now I know how to make it, I’m probably going to make another one in some emerald green twill I picked up at Holloway market.
Pattern: Colette beignet
The pattern was so easy to follow and I loved the booklet setup. So much easier than the giant pieces of paper that come with other patterns. It made sewing it a dream, despite the fact that it was probably the most complex thing I’d made at the time. I used my mum’s serger to finish the edges, though it took me about four hours to work out how to thread it.
Fabric: Shell fabric – a red cotton bought at the Knitting and Stitching show last year from the Fabrics Galore stand. Lining Fabric – a cotton check that my sister bought on sale at John Lewis last year.
What I like about it: The fit – I made a size smaller than I thought I would need. I’m about two sizes bigger around my hips than I am at my waist so I cut it for my waist as I didn’t want it to be loose there. And somehow it fits!
What I would change: The fabric! I bought it because I loved the colour but I obviously haven’t learnt my lesson yet about using suitable fabrics. The cotton is too flimsy for this pattern and after a day at work the skirt is very crumpled.
Also my seams are really quite puckered – needed to be more careful about my curved seams in the future.
Here’s my latest finished project and I’m pretty pleased with it!
I bought the fabric while I was in Shanghai in April from a fabric market there. It’s a traditional Chinese indigo print. I bought it after having visited the Chinese Nankeen Exhibition Hall in the French Concession. If you’re ever in Shanghai and into fabric, you should definitely drop in for a quick visit. The courtyard is full of drying indigo cloth draped everywhere and they have beautiful, though expensive, things for sale.
If you are looking for something similar there are also Hungarian indigo fabrics which are beautiful. I saw some lovely ones for quilting at the festival of quilts at the NEC a couple of weeks ago and you can buy them on-line at http://www.kekfestocotton.co.uk/
The pattern was one I’ve had in my stash for years. It’s got a vintage feel about it and I really like the big box pleats in the skirt. I made a muslin of the bodice and ended up adding an inch to the bottom of it but other than that I made no changes to the pattern.
Pattern: Vogue 2429 that I’ve had for about 7 years and never used. I made view B.
Fabric: Nankeen fabric from Shanghai, white cotton for lining
Time: 4 evenings
What I liked about it: I love the pattern of the fabric and the bodice fits nice and snugly in a way I would never be able to get from a shop bought dress. The joys of home sewing!
What I would change: Unfortunately the colour is still running from the fabric despite pre-washing it, so I’m going to have to wash it again. The gathering around the front could be neater – next time I’d be tempted to gather it at the end rather than before it’s all been put together; how much you gather it really effects the fit around the bust. The only other problem is that it gapes a little around the arms around the top of the bodice – but am pretty happy with it in general.
This skirt began life as a M&S jersey dress from the eighties. Bought in a charity shop for £2.99, I loved the fabric but the style was quite dull (a simple tunic dress with the elasticated waist) and the top was fairly moth eaten. Taking inspiration from a lot of the cute button up skirts in the shops and my floral Butterick 5285 circle skirt, I decided to refashion the dress into a skirt.
Had I known we were going to start a blog, I would have taken some before and after shots, so I’m afraid you’ll just have to picture what it was like before.
I started by chopping off the top and cutting the skirt down the middle. Turning over each raw hem, I reinforced each side with some sturdy navy blue jersey. Using the waistband pattern from the Butterick 5285 circle skirt pattern which I knew fit well, I then made a waistband out of the same navy jersey – making sure it was a couple of inches longer so I’d be able to overlap the skirt at the front – and reinforced it with interfacing. I then gathered the skirt following the circle skirt method (though it isn’t as full as my other skirt as there wasn’t as much fabric) and sewed it onto the waistband. I used the automatic buttonhole setting on the sewing machine to create button holes along one edge of the skirt and then covered some buttons with the navy jersey. I’d never covered my own buttons before, so bought a button covering it from John Lewis, and was surprised by how quick and easy it was to do. The last step was to sew the buttons on, and voilà, my very own button up circle skirt.
Pattern: Altered version of the Butterick B5285 skirt
Fabric: Beach lounger print jersey from an old M&S dress
Time: Four evenings (although could probably be done in a couple of hours in one sitting)
What I liked about it: The fun fabric
What I would change: The stitching alongside the buttons – it’s so wonky!
I found a metre of this fabric in the sale at Liberty’s and immediately thought of the free Colette Sorbetto
top I’ve been wanting to make. I love this print, and despite being alot more expensive then most fabrics I usually buy I think it was worth it in the end.
I wasn’t sure if the pattern would suit me as I’m on the bustier side, normally I try to wear things that are more fitted, but I was pleasantly suprised by the fit.
I kept the pattern simple, I really like the embellishments that others have done but this print is quite distinctive already. I did lower the neckline an inch or so to try to make it more flattering.
Pattern: Colette’s free sorbetto pattern
Fabric: Peacock print tana lawn from Liberty £11 for a metre
Time: One evening spent cutting out the pattern and sewing the main part of the top and one evening to make and attach the bias binding.
What I liked about it: The fit – it looks better then I thought it would. The fabric – the sorbetto pattern was a great simple pattern for this distinctive print.
What I would change
: I might try and make my bias binding lie flatter – it does gape a tiny bit. Also I think I would be tempted to make it an inch longer . I also really want to make one with sleeves perhaps like Mena from Sew Weekly’s Sunny Sorbetto
Kirstyn’s first real dressmaking attempt.
This is dress A from the Built By Wendy Built By You Simplicity 3964 dress pattern.
I used some cotton I found in my mum’s stash which she has had for years. The one I used for the body is a smaller ditzy print and the fabric I used for the collar, sleeves and trip had a bigger floral.
I’m pretty pleased with the results. I added on the trim as I wanted it to be a bit longer but actually quite like the effect. The pattern was fiddly for a beginner in places (the binding was so narrow and really tricky to get right), but I’d definitely make it again.
I didn’t bother making the waist tie it suggests you make, but usually wear it with a belt.
Circle skirt A from Butterick’s 5285 pattern. Made from a cheap floral polycotton bought at Rolls & Rems in Holloway as it’s a trial.
Quite pleased with the result though I haven’t finished the top of the zip very well and the tops of the zip are ever so slightly sticking out. It was very quick and easy to make up.