M6913: How I did…. Part three

Final part to the lovely sailor dress pattern and how I did. The bodice is the hardest part on this pattern, and so now this is done! Thereย are a couple of fiddly bits on the skirt part.

First there is a cut line on the front bodice pattern piece IMG_3100

You need to mark onto the fabric on both sides where this line is – giving you a V once the piece is opened out. You stitch along this line – stay stitching – and then slash inbetween these two lines so you have an open V.

The piece for the opening is just a rectangle piece, which you pin and stitch to the right side of one side of this V.

Next you turn this to the inside of the skirt and then stitch the piece of fabric onto the other side of the V, and stitch the bottom shut, giving you a V pocket. IMG_3106

Next I put two rows of pink binding onto both the front and the back skirt pieces, measuring where I felt they needed to go so they were at the same height front and back.

Next, you sew the front and back skirt pieces to one another. IMG_3140

Then you need to gather. I did this inย 4 parts: 2 at the front either side of the V, and 2 at the back breaking in the middle.

I do the lazy way of gathering. You don’t get as even gathers or as good looking results with the ‘proper’ way to gather, but at the moment its good enough generally. All you do for the lazy way of gathering is to set your machine to the longest stich with the highest top tension and sew ๐Ÿ™‚

There are 2 threads, the bobbin and the top thread, you need to pull one of these, I like to pull the bobbin thread. When you pull it properly gathers the fabric ๐Ÿ˜‰ viola ๐Ÿ™‚

Next is to attach the skirt to the bodice. I pinned and stitched the skirt to the bodice right sides together, starting at either side of the V and matching seams.

One thing I always seem to do when stitching a gathered skirt to a bodice is catch some of the bodice so I end up with this: IMG_3156

Soooo, unpicker time…. and restitch.

The pattern requires 3 buttons on the opening of the bodice. So you sew button holes onto one side of the bodice (above the V in the skirt) IMG_3157

I have been lamenting only having a automatic button hole more than normal recently. I wish that I had a 4 step buttonhole as an option, as it is such a nightmare when bulk etc stops the buttonholer working to complete the buttonhole fully. You have to unpick and restart every time, where as with a 4 step buttonhole you just select the stage you are at and continue. IMG_3161

In order to keep the sailor collar ends together there is a stitched on ‘woggle’. This is just a loop of fabric stitched between the button holes on the bodice.

And then hem the bottom

Lastly to sew these pretty pink buttons on ๐Ÿ™‚ I did it whilst watching the great British sewing bee ๐Ÿ™‚

And the final product, in age 1-2 years this time. I do love a sailor dress and can’t wait to see my niece wearing it ๐Ÿ™‚

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M6913: How I did… part two

Welcome back to how I did for the gorgeous sailor dress pattern for my niece in Australia.

I’m now going to briefly cover how I did on the bodice. I say briefly because I didn’t take many photos. This was because I rather struggled so was concentrating too much to remember to take pictures! sorry :/ I am very much learning at all this ๐Ÿ™‚

The next stage was to attach the collar to the bodice. You only need attach it by the unsewn bit around the back of the neck on the inside of the collar.

You pin this to the right side of the bodice, with the wrong side of the collar to the right side of the bodice, just the way it will be once the dress is complete. IMG_3014

Next is to make up the bodice lining, this is made up the same as the bodice, sewn at the shoulder seams. This is then placed right side of the lining to right side (so upper) of the collar. Once again stitched at the gap. Once this is turned to the inside all the stitching on both the collar and bodice should be encased between the lining and the bodice.

Clever, yes? IMG_3020

Next is the sleeves. Now, I made a booboo (again haha) with these. With set in sleeves I usually don’t sew up the side seams until after I have sewn the sleeves to the sleeve curve, it makes it so much easier. I was on auto-pilot and following the instructions on this pattern so I had already sewn up the side seams! ooops! so of course I had to do the sleeves the hard way.

Firstly I put the pink binding on, and gathered the sleeve caps

Next, I sewed up the centre seams on the sleeves

and turned them right way out. IMG_3027

Next is the hard bit – setting in the sleeves. You have to insert the sleeve into the sleeve hole, with the sleeve right side to the bodice right side (always check when its folded back out the right way it is right as you don’t want to set it in more than you have to!)

then (very slowly and very carefully) sew – if you have a freearm and its small enough to do it put the sleeve around the free arm as this makes it very much easier. IMG_3028

Once this is done turn the sleeve right side out

Bodice done! phew! in part 3 I’ll move onto the skirt – it does require quite a bit of different techniques this pattern and it took me 3 days to complete ๐Ÿ™‚ I enjoyed it though and the end result is definitely worth it!

M6913: How I did…part one

One of my lust makes before I started sewing was a sailor dress. I absolutely adore children in sailor collars – maybe its a sound of music thing – I don’t know haha.

I saw this pattern and just had to have it. IMG_2843

It says easy, but I find it challenging (in a good way).

One day I’m sure I’ll make it up in a print, but I have only made it in contrasting solids. This time this baby blue and darker pink. The first time I made it in a taupe and a mint green.

I really liked thisย colourway.

I like the collar shape of the back of view C, but the rest of the dress and collar of view B. That’s what I made up.

Firstly is interfacing! I use medium weight, iron on interfacing for most things, but especially as I mainly use cotton in my sewing.

In this pattern you are required to interface the two front bits and the collar. You cut these pieces out of the interfacing and iron on according to the interfacing manufacturers instructions.

The interfacing I use asks for the iron to best on a medium heat ie wool,IMG_2961 and for the iron not to be moved, to be placed, and for no steam!

As you can see I couldn’t be bothered to get out the ironing board haha

As I like to keep all the pattern sizes for each pattern – unfortunately I don’t have the cash to splash to get a new pattern for each size. I often need to cut out the biggest size and then trace and trim to the correct size on the smaller, fiddlier pattern pieces.

Next I sewed the front bodice pieces to the back bodice pieces, at the shoulders and the side seams.

Now I put this to one side, and work on the collar. First is to sew the two halves together. IMG_2987

As you can see, you don’t sew the inside middle of the collar.

Then I trim the seams so as to (hopefully) get a crisper finish once it is turned right way out.

And because of my love of topstitching… IMG_2994

I do enjoy this next bit – applying the binding that really makes this sailor collar. First is to mark the distances on each side where the binding is going to go. I did make a mistake in this but didn’t realise until I’d finished – see if you can spot it after!

Once you have marked on the position you just pin on the binding

and sew at top and bottom edge

I think such a simple thing looks really effective (if you don’t make any mistakes like me haha – although mistakes make youย better at sewing I think!) I also put some binding onto the points of the collar as I like the look of them.

That’s the collar finished!

I have had to split this how I did into several parts as there are quite a few steps to it ๐Ÿ™‚ in the next part I’ll cover how I did the bodice ๐Ÿ™‚

McCalls M7116 – How I did….

I got last months issue of Love Sewing magazine, and free with it was McCalls M7116, which I have been planning to make since, along with a few others: IMG_0605

The McCalls one is the dress, which I decided to make with some Ikea fabric I got the last time I was north in Warrington, in the Easter holidays: IMG_0576

This pattern asks for the top part to be cut out on the grain and the skirt part on the bias.IMG_0657

I decided to make the top out of the spotty fabric and the skirt out of the floral (not dis-similar from Cath Kidston fabric) fabric.

One of my worst jobs is transferring the pattern markings to the fabric. When I first started I was taught the ‘proper’ way of tacking (big, loose stitches) along the markings and then unpicking so a slight line of holes was left… yeah, I only did that once! haha. My current way is to draw the pattern markings on in air erasable fabric marker under the pattern piece. I say current because I’m always on the look out for easier ways to do things haha. IMG_0687

The back neck facing was cut on the bias, and this meant it was a lot easier to fit to the back of the bodice. IMG_0688

One of my favourite features of this garment was the sleeve detail. They have a pleat in them, and are gathered along the top, to both help ease them into the arm hole as they are set in sleeves and to give a bit more volume to them. The next is the buttons, and the pattern notions request ball buttons. I am guessing these are buttons that look like balls haha. These are well worth getting as they give the sleeves a real vintage look, and really complete them. IMG_0697

Before sewing the bodice to the skirt I would recommend trying it on, just to get an idea how far over the two front pieces need to overlap: IMG_0694

Also make sure you know which piece of the skirt is the front and which is the back – as the front waistband is higher than the back: IMG_0701

When sewing the skirt to the bodice, once again make sure you know where you need the two front pieces to cross. The pattern does call for gathers in the front bodice pieces, but you may need to may them a little longer.

The most tricky bit is, as in a lot of garments, the zip. The pattern calls for a 12 inch zip, but I found this a little short (I made a size 16). If I did it again in this size I would probably get a 14 inch zip. It is an exposed zipper and because it is at the side it is not too difficult to sew. IMG_0705

I must say I did enjoy making this pattern! It was just the right level for me and the end result I love and have had lots of compliments on it – I will be making it again.

New patterns arrived!


Youngest got my phone wet at the hospital so my camera is a bit foggy :/ I hope it dries out :/

Purchased some patterns from jaycotts and Amazon over the weekend and they arrived today!

They are:

Mccalls M6959, easy wrap dress, I already have this, and have made it several times but needed it in the bigger sizes ๐Ÿ™‚ Simplicity 1318, kimono jacket, was sure I had a pattern like this but I didn’t and I want to make a little cover up for summer.

Simplicity 2906, it’s so easy it’s simplicity skirt and bag pattern, I have several a-line skirt patterns that I’ve made, but I wanted an easy flared skirt pattern to make. It was half price too!

Simplicity 8019, 1970s vintage reproduction pattern skirt, because it’s the 1970s and why not? I’ve already got the fabric for this ๐Ÿ™‚

Simplicity 1133, super jiffy tunic, as it was half price I thought why not give it a go? Also has the pants pattern ๐Ÿ™‚