Sunday, 22 June 2014

The Maxi Tank Dress

Everyone seems to be wearing jersey maxi dresses at the moment, so I though I'd join in. I picked up this back cotton jersey at South shields market a couple of weeks ago for the bargain price of £2 per metre.

I traced a tank top that was a good fit.

Then I added to the length so that it would be ankle length, and a little more width at the hip. I added a good seam allowance at the hem and shoulders, but only added 1cm at the side, which in hindsight was not enough. as you can tell it's quite a snug fit. A little more ease next time.

The bindings for the neck and armscyes are cut at 95% of the required length and sewn in the round, folded over to completely seal in the raw edges. It gives a great finish but is a little bulky, i'd make this a single fold next time.

I completed the whole dress in about 1 1/2 hours last week, and intended it for a bathing suit cover up for my holidays. however I decided to wear it to go out with friends this weekend. It's really comfy, but I would add a little more ease at the top to make it a little less figure hugging - the right underwear is essential!

It was very easy to make and easy to draft, I'll definitely make another one, maybe with sleeves next time!

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Introducing...The Alexandra Dress

Well after much planning and drafting and making I can finally reveal my self drafted dress - The Alexandra Dress.

It's a casual fit with flounce down the princess seams and slightly dropped elasticated waist. It could also be made as a blouse to wear with wide legged trousers.
The flounce helps balance a pear shaped or narrow figure and also provides some coverage at the top of the arms but still remaining sleeveless, although you could join the flounce at the top to create a flutter type sleeve.

I have found this dress to be easy to wear and have worn it to work, with lots of positive comments!
It works best in a drapey fabric, and as mine was rather sheer I lined it, so it's a bit heavier than planned. It would be perfect in a rayon, silk or light weight cotton. My version is in a lightweight polyester crepe with a beautiful handle and it doesn't crease so would be perfect for holiday packing.

I think it would look lovely with a maxi skirt with a side split, and although I have a long zip in the back you could get away with a keyhole opening and a button loop.

I did actually finish this some weeks ago, but have been working on the instructions and have only just managed to get the pictures off the camera.

It's my first attempt at drafting multiple sizes, using some free drawing software (inkscape), transferring to PDF, and writing instructions. I'm a beginner in all this and I know I still have a LONG way to go to get to perfection! I made an error when I made up the dress and didn't document the process for the benefit of instruction writing. which means I need to make this again to illustrate my instructions.

I also had a few issues with the software I was using - learner issues! I got the position where I'd saved the file and needed to go back to an earlier version and hadn't saved this separately. I'm aware my PDF pattern is not perfectly presented, but in this case I can't make the adjustments I'd like to - due to newbie error. However I am going to make the pattern available FREE, if you would like to use it with the following conditions...

1. You make the dress/ blouse for your own personal use and not for profit.
2. You let me know how accurate the drafting is - I need to know that the software conversion to PDF hasn't messed up the grading.
3. Are the instructions clear enough? - I know they aren't perfect and the illustrations are missing.
4. You email me any images of the garments you make from the pattern or email a link to your blog/ site.
5. You credit me/ my blog when commenting on them.

I'm looking to improve my skills and am seeing this as a learning experience. I'd love to hear your thoughts and observations, and if anyone can recommend some good books on pattern grading...
There's a link to the files in my side bar or you can request a copy by email.

Saturday, 14 June 2014


I love pinterest! I find it a great resource for logging my ideas and inspiration, both for my personal work and for things to do with my students. 

I visited they Vivienne Westwood shop in Nottingham recently and fell in love with this skirt.  There's a dress version too, just wish it was in my price range. 


I've also been drawn to the stunning Irish crochet, which looks very much like lace. I'd love to learn, so if you know of any classes or workshops do let me know. 

I'm also STILL trying to think about how I link my art and dressmaking together. 

I'm STILL working on my first graded pattern, which I hope to get tested when I've finished writing the instructions. It's taking longer than planned.

I'm working on a couple of commissioned pieces for a friend at the moment, but I did manage to run up a tank style maxi dress, it's very figure hugging and really needs the right underwear to look good on. Next time I'll add more ease. It was a wearable muslin as the fabric only cost £4 from South Shields market a couple of weeks ago. I must get around to posting photos of my makes, but need to get to grips with the new camera first, and finding the lead that connects it to the computer might help too.

Friday, 6 June 2014

MMM14 Roundup

Source Here

I've been really boring at documenting my me mades this year. I'm blaming the most hectic month on the Calendar. GCSE / A level and year 7 Art Exams to prep for and grade. Reports to write and having a new camera that I haven't got to grip with yet! All LAME excuses I know. However, I wore something me made every day bar two days. I've noticed two distinct holes in my me made wardrobe - trousers and shorts. casual and jersey/ knit tops. This I will have to rectify.

In order to do this I plan to make...

Tank style, self drafted,  jersey maxi dress (I have the fabric).

These trousers from burdastyle magazine - I might make these as shorts too.

and this top.

Anyone else have any good suggestions.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Pattern testers wanted

I'm dipping my toe into the waters of pattern drafting and grading and hope one day to be able to release my own patterns.
I know I've got a way to go, but I'm in the process of doing my first test pattern and would like some folks to test accuracy for me.
So if you're interested in helping me out by testing my pattern in the next few weeks comment below - making sure I can contact you easily or send me an email art (dot) coopsville (at) gmail (dot) com.

Please let me know the size you sew and your sewing confidence and I hope to get back to you within a couple of weeks. Hopefully the testing will take place in early July.

thank you.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Fabric finds

We've all heard about the man outside Sainsburys on Walthamstow Market. Which is great if you're a Londoner or frequently in the city. For those of us up north a long expensive journey to the city to buy cheap fabric defeats the purpose. So what to do? Where does one get reasonably priced fabric?

I love the local sewing shop in Morpeth and buy there when I can. But they aren't cheap and sometimes I need cheap fabric, especially when I'm making up a design I'm not sure about or to use as a muslin. I needed that fabric this week so off I went to the market, South Shields market. Where I browse 2 stalls, one selling dress fabrics and the other furnishing fabrics and most under £5m. I bought cotton jersey, a woven cotton mix. Poly I think and some stretch knit with lots of Lycra in. I have things planned for these. 


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