Sunday, 10 July 2016

Love Sewing Magazine/Simple Sew, English Tea Dress II

For my 24th birthday, I received 2 meters of lovely print viscose fabric from Hillsborough. I'd spied it a while back- attracted to it's psychedelic swirls, and my mom knew I had my eye on it (so I like to drop a hint or two) and she picked some up for me.

I was all set to make another New Look 6180 after the first one didn't really rock my world. I got everything cut and took my time sewing up thinking this was probably going to be the best thing I had ever made. Then I noticed the back yoke was a bit off. And the collar somehow was a bit wonky. The armholes were baggy. The button placket decided not to lie straight. And it was too long. One of these problems alone I might have been able to tackle. I hacked the bottom off hoping that would do it... Only to find I'd cut a little too much off and it wasn't straight. Maybe I'll show you some pictures at some point, but for now it's sat in the bottom of a bag and I don't want to look at it for a long long time. Turns out I was not in the right frame of mind that weekend for sewing. Or anything else.
In a desperate bid to get over my sewing/fabric/life demons I forced myself to get some more of this trippy fabric and make something that I really loved.

Hello Cosmic Tea Dress.

Those observant of you will see this is the same pattern from Love Sewing Magazine as my Egyptian Tea Dress, only made from much less itchy fabric! I was really pleased with the fit of my gold one, but disappointed whenever I think of the actual practicality of wearing it. The only change I made to the pattern was to add about a cm to the arm hole at the front where it was pulling on my last one.
With it in mind that this fabric can be a bit of a slippy, shifty nightmare I was super careful cutting out. I used my new rotary cutter (also a birthday gift) to stop the bottom fabric from shifting. I cut everything on the fold! Which was a relief after so much single cutting recently. Pattern matching did not bother me as the print is just big and crazy anyway. The circles all intersect each other, so the seams aren't obvious anyway.

Accuracy was the key here. Second time lucky isn't really one of my sayings (or anyone's actually?), but I was determined not to fuck it up this time. With this pattern it is essential to get the V neck and the V at the waistline directly parallel to each other. The best way to do this is mark it! At the centre point I drew a line down and made sure stitching stopped here and pivoted back up the other side so it was all dead equal. There is absolutely no other way to do it. I am super happy with my V neck, and after my second attempt, also very happy with my waistline. The only problem is that the fabric print is so big the definition between bodice and skirt is kind of lost, which is a shame as the 'V' is quite a feature. Perhaps if I make another it would be a good idea to use contrasting fabrics.

On thinner fabric such as this, my invisible zip foot is much more well behaved! Not having to worry about pattern matching, I pinned, tacked then stitched the zip in with 1.5cm s/a and I didn't have to unpick it once! Very happy!

On to sleeves, well I'm a pro at this now. I loved the capped sleeves on the last one so really just did the same thing; Made two little strips of binding for the underarms, then 'bubble eased' the sleeves in with lots of pins. Tacked then stitched, then tested and overlocked. Not a pucker in sight! They feel much better for the extra fabric in the front. Still a little bit restrictive if we're being really pedantic, but I know this is because they are meant to be gathered at the top... But we all know how I feel about puffy sleeves by now!

This time I didn't resort to cutting anything off the bottom. I overlocked then turned up a narrow hem. I wanted to do a double turned hem but the roundness of the bottom of the skirt made it a bit of a bugger so I stuck to what I knew would work.

And there you go, nothing like a sewing success to make yourself feel like less of a failure.


Currently listening to: The Unknown Soldier, The Doors
Location: Whinfell Quarry Garden, Sheffield


  1. Looking and sounding the absolute opposite of a failure here twinks. Great blog with loads of useful info and tips and you look stunning xx

  2. Lovely dress - the fabric's great! What's the shop in Hillsborough?

  3. Lovely dress - the fabric's great! What's the shop in Hillsborough?

    1. Thanks! So happy with it! The shop is called Hillsborough Fine Fabrics, tucked away down a sidestreet. Well worth a visit :)
      Thanks for the comment! xox