Simple Sew Patterns - Veronika Dress Sew-Along!

I was kindly asked by Simple Sew Patterns just recently to join their blogger team along with fellow bloggers Nelnanandnora, the Wardrobe Architect, Abblebymakesand Coolarama and to create a step by step guide on how to make the lovely Veronika dress!
Settle in this is an epic...

You will need:
  • Required fabric (check the packet for amounts dependent on size)
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • 16” zip
  • Chalk
   Get all your sewing ingredients out and here we go!

Top tip – wash your fabric first so that it shrinks now and not after you’ve spent all that time making the perfect dress ;-)

Step 1 – choose your weapon.

I chose view D – the pencil skirt version with no sleeves. Grab the packet and take a look at the sizing. These patterns show the finished measurements so make sure you allow for breathing room!  I fell between two sizes so used a 12 on top and a 14 at the waist and hip.

Once you’ve chosen, take your pattern and either cut or trace your pieces. I’m one of those types who traces everything because I like to keep the pattern intact. Yes I am fun at parties. Don’t forget all your notches and grainlines!

Step 2 – Cut it out and mark it up

With the right sides of your fabric facing each other, fold the fabric in half – if you’re using a print ensure this is the correct way up for your pattern pieces! Pin or weight your pattern pieces down, paying attention to put the right pieces on the fold where indicated.

When cutting the pieces, I like to cut the notches sticking out so I can see them.

As for the darts, you need to transfer these to your fabric. I recently learnt this way from The Fabric Wrangler and find it’s very accurate. Take some red or contrasting cotton and make a tailor’s tack at the point, going through the pattern piece and both layers of fabric. When you come to taking off your pattern piece – just pinch the cotton through the paper. Then between the 2 layers of fabric snip the threads – voila, darts are marked on both sides!

Step 3 – Play darts
Once all your pattern pieces are marked you can draw your darts back in with chalk. I created a little pile of pinned fabric pieces here.  At this point I pin up and sew ALLLLLLLLL the darts in the garment – so they are all done and ready for use.

Once sewn into place – give those darts a press. Horizontal darts go downwards, vertical darts going outwards to the edges.

Step 4 – Bodice
Pin and sew the shoulder seams of the front and back pieces. Do the same with the front and back facings. Press the seams open. As the facings are going to have a raw edge showing at the bottom, I overlocked the bottom edge of these pieces.

Place the facing and bodice pieces, right sides together, on top of each other and lining up the notches. Pin and stitch all the way around that neck opening as well as the arm holes.

At the point of the v-neck – clip into the seam allowance being careful not to snip the row of stitching you just made. This will allow for a nice sharp point. I also clipped the curved seams at the armholes.

Pinch the fabric and pull it all through the shoulder straps you have created.

Once the right way out – give it all a press nice and flat. With right sides together – time to stitch up the side seams!

 You now have a big long piece of bodice!

Step 5 - Skirt
Next up I tackled the skirt in much the same way as the bodice. Right sides facing – take your skirt pieces and sew up the side seams so you have one long continuous skirt piece. How easy was that? You already did the dart part!

 Step 6 – Waist
Spread out your bodice piece and attach the waistband, right sides facing, all the way across the length of it, matching darts where appropriate. It should fit exactly. Sew that up and go again with the skirt piece. Spread it out, pin and sew across the entire midsection of your dress.
The insides should now look like this. It’s starting to look like a dress! J

Step 7 – Zip it up!
Now is the time to add your zip to bring it all together. I’m not going to go into too much detail about how to add this – I have a mini-tutorial on adding a concealed zip here if you’d like to use it. I also overlocked all the way down the back of the dress so the raw edges were nice and neat.

As there is a facing on this dress – flip the facing up so that the right sides of the garment are facing you. Pin your zip to the seam allowance with the zip stopper right at the top of the back bodice piece as shown in the pic. Insert your zip!

In order to get a nice finish on the facings – bend the facings back onto the zip – so the facing and back bodice are now right sides together. (Make sure the waggily bit of zipper tape at the top is pulled away to the raw edge side, out of the way of the garment and stitching you’re about to do).
Stitch the facing down on to the zip tape from this side. When you turn it all back the right side out again it’s all in place!

All that remains is to finish the rest of the back seam!

Step 8 – Hemming

You’re nearly there! Time to finish off those seams. Turn up the hem and give it a good press before you stitch so it doesn’t move around. Stitch that hem and you’re all done!!

Step 9 – Get it worn

Take you’re lovely creation, pop it on and show it off!

We’d love to see what you made so don’t forget to show it off and contact us on social media J

Feel free to comment and come and say hello on InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterest and Bloglovin too :-) xx 

It Started Life as a Lark

The Grainline Studio Lark Tee - but not as we know it.

This rather marvelous rubix cube of a pattern comes with 4 sleeve options and 4 neckline options - 16 tee patterns in one purchase!! I tried out the boat neck version last Christmas and enjoyed making it - its a size 12, shaped to an 8 at waist and back out to 12 at hip.

My lovely gal pal Laura is getting married shortly and her hen do was vintage floral themed - queue the 3 week flap about finding something to wear. I am neither vintagey nor florally at heart...although a quick flick back through my projects might suggest that's not true! (Here and Here).

I found some super ponte de roma from The Textile Centre - £3.99!! (There is a coupon for 10% off until end of August is ttcentre10)  It's pretty good quality stuff aswell. Apparently I bought the 'dark' floral version - but there is a nice bright summery version too... I just found that now dammit.

This was a very quick make as I was rushing it a bit. I started by tracing the Lark Tee boat neck pattern piece onto the ponte and extending down to just past the knee for a 'midi' look. The sleeve piece was also used this time and they fit just nicely. Sleeves were inserted flat then the dress sewn up the side seams and underarm.

At first try-on it was destined for the bin as I had forgotten seam allowance was already included and added another good 5cm for luck - so once again I ended up with a huge sack of a dress. Google 'floral moo moo' and that's what it looked like. The standard post-sewing strop ensued. Perseverance and ten thousand pins later I made it closer fitting and took the skirt in to a pencil shape.

The neckline was also a bit 'mumsy' together with the print so I hacked that into a deep V. I suffer from gaping neckline syndrome so found that a few little rouches stitched into the point of the V makes for a nice detail and a good fix to that problem on stretch fabrics.  (I have my suspicions lately that this gaping on one side is not a boob issue but a slightly more sloping shoulder on one side....hmmmm, curious).

All in all after fitting it to the point where it was wearable - it incidentally turned out to be quite 'vintage' looking aswell! The God's of good hairdo's must have been on my side as I tried to curl in a style 20 mins before the taxi arrived - a dangerous little move. ;-)

Lark Tee. Awesome. Vintage and Floral. Nailed it.

Feel free to comment and come and say hello on InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterest and Bloglovin too :-) xx 

When they said maxi they really meant it... McCalls M7387

The sun is out this week so it only feels appropriate to post about a summer dress! I must quickly get this worn before the UK's only 45 minutes of sun for 2016 disappears.

So here we have McCalls 7387 - its a fairly new pattern from the Early Summer 2016 collection. I haven't seen many others out in the wild yet except for larcar_sews version on Instagram. Let's just say she made a much better job of it than I did.

I absolutely hacked this pattern quite considerably from what the original instructions intended. Part style choice/part confusion. I went for View E with sleeves.

Before and After faffing.
According to the packet I cut a...14 I think? And that was being cautious as my measurements were probably slightly bigger than the recommended 14. Which meant I'd bought the wrong version. But thank goodness I didn't go up a pack!

The first alteration I made was to omit the button fly. I hadn't noticed at first glance on the diagram but the buttons are all hidden behind the placket. I like buttons. So there they stayed on display. Sans fly piece.

I found the collar to be a little bizarre at first, as it finishes behind the button placket, rather than over it like a regular shirt. However after just going with it and finishing it looks ok, and it lays nice and flat once complete. 

This pattern comes with a funky little overlapped pleat at the back yoke which is a nice touch and also gives a lot of flowy fullness to the shirt. Perfect for a floaty maxi dress.

I came to finish the dress off and try it on - already having eyeballed before it looked a little too loose for a loose fit dress. It is ENORMOUS!! The collar gaped and I could have camped under there. Also the dress appears to be designed for someone over 6ft because I had to chop a good foot off the bottom of the dress. I'm 5ft7. Here is the original pic - however I have shaved off a bit of ease in this already, maybe 1" from either side. It's still the 'before' picture though!

Too cool.
I'm sure some festival chick on Pinterest could rock this with ease but I wasn't feeling it, it isn't me. The last time I went to a festival I stayed in a hotel. I felt the arms were far too low and the sleeve tabs gaped massively. It made me sad. Clothes should not make you sad.

I sound like I'm having a pop at the pattern but it was actually quite a nice one to sew and try out. Once tweaked I did like the end result. Plus I should have remembered the incredible ease built into these kind of patterns. I have already been down this road.

In order to rectify the situation  I took the dress in another 2" from just underneath the arm down to the hip line and shaped it a little. I also cut the sleeves off! Chopped them to about 3" away from the dropped sleeve seam line, folded over a couple of times to make a cuff and tacked into place. Same effect - less billowy. The neckline and collar is still oversized but not much I could do abot that. Here I am looking decidedly happier.

Clyde inspects the work.
If you've ever suffered a turtle bite to the toe you'll know why I'm always looking down in photos. Just have to share this belt I found at back of wardrobe....Heehee.

So there it is! A dress that does not look like the packet because I totally changed it. But now I like it and that's the important bit :-) This fantastic fabric is from The Textile Centre - who incidentally have a new website as well as an eBay shop. They are also currently offering 10% off all orders with the code ttcentre10 should you wish to use it. (I think that's ok to share?! It said share it on the flyer!) This is not a sponsored post I'm just sharing the love.

Feel free to comment and come and say hello on InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterest and Bloglovin too :-) xx