Polka dot Coco dress and she’s risking it with lace…

Ok, so she’s been a fair time in the making…but my Tilly and The Buttons Coco dress is finally completed and had her first outing yesterday, just in time for Easter…

The rain finally subsided and the sun came out, as did my daughter and the camera! My Coco took a bit longer than planned, largely, as always, due to time restraints…with my three children and their after school/evening activities and my work plus all the other stuff that gets in the way of sewing time…it’s grabbing minutes here and there! I had to re-draft some of the pattern to allow for the different top and bottom sizes! also made a few boobs which involved unpicking and starting again, and had a bit of a challenge getting my sleeves to fit…but I did it and am rather pleased with the result! I sourced a great large polka dot knit with minimal stretch from Ditto fabrics in Brighton, which I’m lucky to live not far away from! I knew nothing about knit fabric (well, I didn’t, but I do now!) and the fabric I chose was not quite what I thought it would be. It feels like it’s mainly a poly knit? soft on the inside but a tad in danger of being a bit shiny on the outside perhaps…..but then it doesn’t need ironing so that helps!

I’m totally new to knits and never sewn with them before and this pattern is aimed at people just like me so win, win!

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I was pleased with how I managed to lengthen the pattern with little difficulty and it worked!
Next came the tape for the shoulder seams…I didn’t have the proper elastic stay tape so used some ribbon I had instead as suggested in the pattern as an alternative.

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Tilly suggests attaching the funnel collar with the collar seam lined up with one of the shoulder seams on the dress. However, I decided to line up the collar seam so it was at the back of the dress, centrally…make sense?? to me, that was aesthetically more pleasing and avoided more bulk as the shoulder seam with the ribbon tape in the shoulder seams felt a little too bulky attaching the collar seam here. It worked well and when the funnel collar is folded over as you wear it, you can’t really see the seam.

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I have found that the collar does sort of ‘flop’ a bit when I’m wearing it…I’d possibly consider putting in interfacing in future to keep it more stiff and ‘standing’….it could be the fabric is a little too floppy or too heavy…hmmm…not sure, but I saw a Coco that Karen made and she used interfacing, although not for the same reason, but it gave me the idea that this could work to keep the collar stiffer.

I didn’t do the pockets because ideally I really wanted them in a contrast colour but couldn’t quite find what I was looking for so,rather than halt the make by having to find from another source, I left them out. Instead, I decided to experiment with some lovely chartreuse green stretch elastic I had in my stash…

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Does it work? well, getting it attached was the first hurdle…a stretch elastic to a stretch knit…challenge!!! but I did it! With the help and advice from some lovely sewists blogging friends (they’ll know who they are!) I attached using a zig zag for attaching elastic to fabric…I had a few practice runs and didn’t quite have the perfect match thread but it doesn’t look too bad! First I was going to trim the sleeve cuffs and then went the whole hog and decided to trim the hem of the skirt too! Not sure if the hem is too much…haven’t decided yet if I should keep or take it off, what do you think? but the overall effect is certainly different and that’s what I wanted!

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I think this is a lovely dress and pretty straightforward to make. I was SO pleased with my sleeves…it’s the first time I’ve made something with sleeves and probably a baptism by fire using a knit fabric for my first time! Putting them in did require a few attempts at re-pinning…I cut the same size sleeves as bodice but seemed to have too much ease on the bodice and not enough of the cap? of the sleeve to fit! despite all my notches matching! careful re-pinning using a lot of pins and gently easing and stretching the sleeve as I went, and bingo! The finished result was smooth and flat with not puckering and a perfect fit…wey hey!!!!

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I’m not sure if this dress is quite right for me…it’s so comfortable and warm and although I cut a size smaller for the bodice and graduated at the waist to the next size up for the skirt section, it still feels a little big around the bust…I’m not sure I was quite ready to manage altering the bust again with a knit yet, so left it. The dress looks so lovely on so many people I’ve seen post pics and I’m still trying to find the style and fit of a dress that suits me best…I think I prefer a more fitted bodice and fuller skirt for a dress, but that is my personal preference for my short waist and tubby middle! This is a lovey dress pattern and I love the whole 60’s A-line dress look, but perhaps not so much on me…

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This was a dress and make that taught me some new skills…

* I lengthened a dress pattern for the first time by adding an extra 2 inches as apparently this dress does come up quite short
* I re-drafted the bodice to waist to skirt size to fit me
* My first ever sleeves….panic over!!!!
* Sewing a stretch lace to a stretch knit fabric
* Sewing with a knit fabric

All in all I’m chuffed to bits with my achievement…and if you’re new to sewing with knits and considering it, then give this dress a go! Tilly’s accompanying pattern booklet and instructions are brilliant and super easy to understand…as always, with great pictures for guidance. I didn’t use her blog this time for help but honestly felt the tips and instructions in the booklet were ace and I didn’t need to refer to her blog; but it’s there if you need it.

And at the end of the day of her first outing, I rounded it off in true Easter style with some great chocolate Easter cake and a cup of tea…..

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Thanks for stopping by. It’d be great to hear what you think of my polka dot Coco!!

Kate x

Completed!! Burda summer linen dress – Burda 7796

Oh it finally happened….I completed the linen dress I posted about an eternity ago!! Thanks to the gorgeous summer we have been having, I’ve even managed to wear it…whoop! whoop!

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Burda pattern 7796

Please excuse the awful photo!! It’s the first time I’ve ever posted a picture of me and in something I’ve made! It was also taken by my 10 year old son on my camera phone!! It’s linen, so boy, does it look creased…oh well, it can’t be helped!

This is a dress of “firsts” because, it’s the first item of clothing I’ve completed.

It’s the first time I have made my own bias binding…

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…and the first time I’ve made a sleeveless bias bound armhole…. (*not sure if that makes sense) and I’m actually quite pleased with how well the bias on the armhole matched up with the side seam….yeah!

It’s the first time I’ve ever made gathers!! Just look…how proud am I?!

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It’s the first time I’ve ever made a handmade thread eye!! Took me two attempts but I’m rather proud of my teeny tiny blanket stitch! And look at my little vintage button too….

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It’s not perfect….but it’s so pretty and has lasted a wash or two…

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I’ve learnt such a lot from making this dress…my wonderful buy, Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing has been invaluable in helping me work through some of my more “challenging” moments, and there’s been a few!! Do you remember the clanger I made when I slashed through the front of the dress (in two pieces = epic fail), when it should have been one piece!! Oh I was so angry with myself…but I managed to salvage it…see the tiniest seam I managed to get away with to put it back together?

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I finished the hem with some red cotton tape…well, it kind of links with the red button!! I like it, it’s quirky, I think.

And the fit?

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Hmm, well, it’s a bit small round the shoulders….the bust fit is fine, but the bodice around the armholes is a bit narrow? short? I’m not sure what it is really as I’m simply not experienced enough to put my finger on it but the neckline at the back seems too high, though the front looks fine….

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The back has a little slit in it at the neckline (held together with the button and loop closure) and this came together very neatly…

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I don’t have an overlocker, so used the overlock stitch on machine for the first time!! worked quite well….though I had a few practice attempts first…how do you decide how close to the edge to stitch?? Still not sure I got this right, I just went with what I thought looked about right!

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Trying to be as neat and tidy as possible…

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It’s not the most figure flattering dress…reminds me a bit of something out of “Annie” but it’s very comfortable and cool in this hot weather and I’ve had a lot of compliments about it. It’ll do me as a summer staple, and it feels quite expensive on because of the colour and fabric type….linen works quite well like that. So overall I’m very pleased! It’s given me a confidence boost despite being quite a stressy dress to make! I’m not sure it’s an ideal beginners dress as there’s quite a lot of fiddly bits to make and the instructions threw me a bit! However, I’m planning my next dress and I feel this has paved the way well for (I’m hoping) a better second project….do remember I’m a complete beginner!
Tah dah!!!

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And the name “Brittany” dress….it was meant to be finished for my France holiday but never was…it became a bit of a joke in this house so it’s the Brittany dress that never was…maybe next year…!!

What do you think? Is linen an ‘easy’ fabric to sew with? Is it an ideal ‘beginners’ dress?

🍒

The Anna dress…sew excited there’s a Sewalong a coming!!

Ok, first, my apology….I have been so quiet….neglected my blog, I know…this is not wise. In truth, the summer holidays are 6 weeks of a large degree of chaos, lack of routine and generally family life turned upside down! We have not long returned from a holiday in beautiful Brittany, France. It takes such an effort to get back to some degree of ‘normal’ after being away.

I took some crochet and hooked and bumbled my way in calm and peace, by the sea, outside my tent, sitting in the sun….who could ask for more? Pics of one of my completed projects to follow…

I finally completed my dress (post to follow) a huge achievement! In the meantime I’ve seen this just arrive in my inbox….

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For those who may not know….this is the beautiful Anna dress from By Hand London….. and guess what….there’s a Sewalong!!!!

I recently bought the pattern after seeing a Handmade Jane version….gorgeous…..and also Lizzy’s version of the midi Anna Blue at Sew Busy Lizzy and let’s not forget the lovely Lauren at Lladybird her silk sexy thigh high split maxi version is hot hot hot let me tell you!

Take a look at these gorgeous ladies’ versions….inspiring!

I’ve NEVER participated in a Sewalong so I’m definitely going to join this….my first one! This dress is being raved about and rightly so! Here’s the link to the Sewalong that starts in September, so there’s time to buy your pattern and supplies!

http://byhandlondon.com/topics/anna-dress-sewalong/

Will you be joining in? Have you already made the Anna dress?

Would love to hear if you have!

Burda Summer Linen Dress “sew easy” sew what went wrong? or in the words of my children….”epic fail!”

HELP NEEDED PLEASE!!!!

Friday started well. My day off, and I had promised myself to allow myself 2 hours to cut out and make a start on the linen dress that I have been harbouring a pattern for…for ages!!

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I had chosen some lovely grey linen and some rather random buttons of which I only needed one but have yet to decide on which one….

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I spent time, a lot of time, carefully pressing the linen (which quickly proves to be a waste of time!) but that’s linen for you…..laying out fabric, pattern pieces and finally cutting….

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This is where it all goes wrong!!!!!
I have to wait until today to start to sew….I’ve transferred pattern markers with thread, removed my first pattern piece from the back of the dress and then horror strikes!!!!! Oh my ****! expletive, expletive! I cannot believe what I am looking at…..

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I have cut the wrong pattern piece on the fold!!!!!!
So, now, I am stumped….I have managed not to cry but I am stuck and so angry with myself. How, just how did I do this?? I’m no great seamstress, but I’ve never done this before.
This is where I could really do with some help please!!
The front of the dress should have been cut on the fold and the back in two pieces….I have done the reverse!!! The back of the dress as you can just make out in the pattern black and white picture has a seam straight up the middle just to where it meets a small opening to allow for buttoning it up to slip over your head. I can cut the back piece in two I’m sure with no problem, but the front? This should be cut on the fold so one front piece and is gathered at the neckline in the middle to form some pretty folds (?) If I seam up the middle to rejoin the fabric, will this not totally throw out the gathers/folds and look incredibly strange with a seam up the middle?!! I can’t think of any other way because I’m such a basic sewer…..if anyone has any ideas or advice I would be so grateful!!!! It’ll either be ok or just look plain odd, there’s not much to lose I guess as I’ve already spoilt it. I’m so gutted….and I was hoping to wear this to a job interview on Friday!!! I am going to return to my crochet project….at least I can unpick any mistakes!
Just total pants. K x