red roses


2014-08-09 006I bought this fabric a couple of years ago to make a dress for my sister’s wedding, but couldn’t decide what to make with it so it sat in my stash until I found a dress that I thought would be perfect for it.  It is a fairly heavy weight printed cotton with a slight stretch.

When I finished my ‘Playclothes Captain‘ dress I thought that I had finally found the perfect dress after a two year wait.  I love that dress so very much, especially as it feels so weighty and wanted something in a more summery fabric, which this is, but it retains the weight due to the fabric.

The bodice is based on the bodice from Butterick 5603, with the scooped out neckline from the previous dress, and the skirt from Butterick 5813.  I did add an inch to the length of the bodice, just for comfort.  In addition, when I attached the skirt I wanted one from each set of pleats to line up with the bodice darts, so I moved them outwards slightly.  I felt that this made the flat section at the front too wide, so redid this, having the outer pleat in line with the dart and felt that this looked much better.

2014-08-09 020I wanted this dress to have some schwoosh factor, and had finally managed to source some horsehair braid.  I have been desperately trying to find some since I read about it on Gertie’s Blog for Better Sewing a couple of months ago.  This is a tape, originally made from horsehair but now generally synthetic.  It comes in different widths and weights, stiffer ones can be used to make hats and fascinators.  It can add weight and stiffness to a hem and I wanted to try it rather than having a full underskirt which feels a little dressy for everyday wear to me.

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The secret to finding it in the UK is knowing its other name, crinoline tape, or crin tape.  I got mine from Sew Curvy.  They only do the one weight/width, and I would say it is on the firm side, but it suited this dress perfectly.  This is my first attempt with crinoline tape, but I am really pleased with the result.  .

Thanks to my photographer, Logan.

Thanks to my photographer, Logan.


Play Clothes Captain!


Yes, I’ve gone all ‘Sound of Music’, and made a frock from some old curtains bought from a charity shop I  – and I LOVE it! 2014-03-15 001 The linings did not come up very bright when washed so they have been used for toiles (nothing gets wasted), and the curtains themselves had one faded area, but I have managed to cut around that so its all good. I started with the bodice from Butterick 5603 as I know it is (now) an excellent fit.  I have already adjusted it slightly to reduce width of the front slightly at the neckline.  This is now my ‘go to’ fitted bodice pattern. I wanted a circled skirt rather than fitted or gathered – I just find that gathering can add bulk to my waistline.  The fabric does have a checked pattern to it which will slope off because of the circular skirt, but I am happy with this – it looks quite effective. I know I can draft my own circle skirt pattern, but looked at my little collection and decided to add the skirt from Butterick B5813, which has 2 deep pleats on each side at the front. As the fabric is fairly heavy and a loose weave, I have interlining it with a light, white cotton fabric.  This has helped to strengthen the dress structurally without adding weight, and stops the pieces from skewing out of shape before stitching.  I had tried washing the fabric at a high temperature to see if it tightened the weave at all, but it didn’t seem to help. I have altered the neckline as I fancied a scooped out neckline with a  fairly low back.  This was my first attempt and I used a french curve.  It took two attempts to get the scoop right as it was more of a curved v-neck at first.  The tip is that the neckline needs to be horizontal at the centre front.  This is before the neckline is scooped out further: 2014-05-22 00.54.24 - Copy When the basic dress was put together I was really pleased.  Need to decide about the length (I am thinking about knee length?) and also whether to face or line the bodice.  Given the weight/bulk of the fabric, I decided to line it with a plain cotton and am absolutely delighted with it now that it is finished:   2014-05-27 03.13.51 2014-05-27 17.32.33 I really love this but do feel that it is probably more of an autumn/winter weight dress as it is very heavy, but this gives the skirt a lovely fullness and swish factor.  It is perfect on those not so warm summer days.  I should be able to add small sleeves in the autumn if I want to then.  I haven’t drafted sleeves to fit into a pre-existing arm hole before so that would be interesting.