Welcome to Urban Seamstress which is all about my adventures with fabric architecture. I think that I am possibly a frustrated architect deep down, but fortunately, I am sticking to using fabric so no one will be hurt in the making!
In all the years that I have been making clothes, sewing and crafting, I have never made myself a party dress. I make an extravagant birthday occasion dress every year for my 5-year-old so I am no stranger to the dramas of working with slippery, fragile and fine fabrics, so I decided it was time for some selfish sewing.
I was inspired by the name of Simple Sew Patterns Veronika Dress and decided she was going to be a red silk beauty. I couldn’t believe luck that the fabulous people at doughtys had exactly the colour I needed, click the link to buy the same gorgeous fabric.
Veronika pattern from Simple sew patterns, and red silk dupioni from Doughty on line
They were very generous and gave me the material to make this dress. The pattern said 2.7 meters was needed but I managed to cut it out of 2m, so will have some over to make The Little One a party dress from the remnants. I aim to practice a zero waste system in my dressmaking, so no scraps will go wasted from this fabric. The larger ones will be used for a dress for my daughter and the small ones go to her old nursery school for crafting and anything left over is made into dolls clothes.
So on to the layout and cutting…it was so lovely to cut into, very satisfying, my favourite part of creating is cutting the fabric, I have no idea why I like it so sew much.
laying out the pattern pieces
I take ages doing this part as I am trying to aim for zero waste.
First I cut the skirt, look at the fullness of this skirt, so exciting.
placing and pinning the skirt sections in place
Wow this skirt is going to be great for dancing in!
I then cut the front bodice and tacked the bust point (you can just about see the black cotton. I then pinned the darts. I did this so I could try it on again to see if any further adjustments were needed. I did a very brief pattern fit, eg I pinned the darts on the pattern and tried on the bodice front and back to see if the fit was ok before I selected the size I needed.
pinning and tacking the front bodice darts
I know I should pin the other way, ie pins at 90 degrees, but as I mentioned I wanted to try it on for fine tuning the fit.
front bodice with darts pinned
Heres what she looked liked from the right side
bodice front with bust and waist darts pinned
I decided I wanted to use the silk as the lining rather than use cotton or a poly satin. I recently made a dress for the royal wedding sew along and I also used silk dupioni and a cotton lawn for the lining, however, I didn’t like the finish, so decided to self-line this time.
attaching the back facing of the bodice to the shoulders of the front facing
I attached the front and back facings at the shoulders.
Then I pinned the facing to the bodice
Stitching the join
joining the side seams
Attaching the waist band to the bodice.
Loving the V neck shaping, will need to get some bra stays so the bra won’t show.
The exciting bit attaching the bodice to the skirt.
…and here she is Veronika, the red dress, Gorgeous. Still hemming and pressing to go. More photos of her in the wild to follow. I have also ordered a big red petticoat to complete the look.
I was given this pattern by my pattern cutting lecturer at Morley College last year and I like the fact that it is was a simple style, and wanted to make it up but was waiting for the right occasion. My Little One is now 5 and I made most of her clothes far too big (as in the early days I was worried I would not finish them before she outgrew them! My worst nightmare) Consequently she has loads of summer dresses she had hardly worn.
So when I heard my cousin was having a baby I fished out the dress pattern to make for her little one. It’s particularly good for smaller children as it doesn’t have a zip or buttons or hooks. Also, the bows on the shoulder mean that it will go up and down a size or two. I also wondered what it would be like made up in party fabric. I asked my cousin what her favourite colours were and then I was off to one of my happy places Sewing and Craft superstore
And here she is all finished. I was really happy with the way she came out. I would make her again for sure. The only thing I did differently to the instructions was cut the bodice twice (i wanted the lilac and pink to show in the bows and stitched them together and then bagged out the bodice. Then I cut the skirt twice, once in satin and once in organza.
Perfect for a 1-year-old Princess. And fast and easy as Butterick claim.
I have decided to join the royal wedding sew along by McCalls. Firstly I am going to a wonderful wedding that day and I also have never sewn occasion wear for myself only my Little One.
I ran into all sorts of problems as I couldn’t decide which pattern as you can see below. Some were too over the top and other were too understated and weren’t going to stretch my sewing skills.
In the end, the ‘convertible’ won. I chose this pattern as it is a simple shift dress with a fancy overskirt that you can button on and off, ideal as I love to dance.
I have decided to do version C and E. This is because as my friend would prefer us guests to wear green, so I feel I will get the most amount of wear out of a short version.
So now for the fun bit of to buy fabric, worth breaking my fabric diet over, I don’t own anything green (long story to do with my Grandad, Green Chartreuse, and a racehorse ;-0 ) so it was buy, or make, and where is the fun in buying when you can make it at twice the price, in double the time it would have taken to find one…only kidding, I hope.
This month, my make from the Simple Sew Patterns company is the Zoe top and dress.
I chose to make the dress option. I decided to make it in heavyweight fabric as I wanted
a winter/ spring dress
In my stash, I had this black and white 2-meter fabric which is reversible. I bought the fabric in a market in Le Touquet, Northen France and always had a dress in mind for it and the Zoe dress, seemed like the best option for it.
Here she is all cut out. (see below) I cut the facing and arm cuffs and pocket, on the white side and the main body on the black side.
Arm cuffs cut in contrast fabric
pocket cut in contrast fabric
I then joined the two neck facings together at their edges
Collar facing cut in contrast fabric
I am 5ft 2 so I took 9.5 inches of the hem!
As this is really upholstery fabric and therefore thick, I decided to use pinking shears on the raw edges to reduced the bulk in the seams
I decided not to cut the front of the dress as 2 panels as the pattern is bold, it would have been hard to pattern match., especially as I only had 2 meters of this fabric. On the back I did cut 2 panels and because I had limited fabric I couldn’t pattern match. Next time I make it I would cut the back as one panel too.
I inserting the neck facking, I used wonderclips and pins to ease the facing in.
All ready for top stitching
I added the sleeve cuff, once I had sewn the sides up as I wanted to check the neckline wasn’t too wide, which it wasn’t. I would suggest that you follow the instructions that is a much better way of getting a match on the cuff seams.
joining the arm cuffs after I had sewn up the sides did make it a bit trickier but I wanted to make sure the fit of the neck was ok.
Phew I managed to line it up ok!! Stick to the instrutions kids it’s easier!!
and here she is with and without pockets…cant decide yet what I prefer.
For my next make for Simple Sew Patterns is the Cara jump suit. I choose to make the wide leg version which is View A.
I chose a beautiful black crepe from the amazing Sew Essential. It is a prestige medium weight 148cm wide. You can buy it here
As with all simple sew patterns they are so easy to cut out and the crepe was really lovely to cut. One of my favorite things to do in the process of making a garment is cutting out the fabric…I find it very satisfying for some reason!
First I cut out the bodice and the ties and waistband, see photo above.
Then I joined the two shoulder seams.
and pinned the ties to the shoulders, which I made by sewing along the long side, right side together and then turned them the right way around. Apologies for the terrible photography, photographing black in a room without any natural light is a nightmare…
Then I sewed the side seams up
Then I made the belt channel. I found this a bit tricky as I hadn’t done this before but once I realized that you are making a ‘tunnel’ for the tie to go through it made sense.
Here it is below with the channels attached
As I am 5ft 2, I shortened the bodice by an inch, to suit my size.
I decided to remove the back ‘cowl drape’ as and I did this by removing a v shape section, which then left a seam down the back. See photo below.
I liked the look of the satin bias binding with the crepe so added that around both arm holes.
Adding satin bias binding to the cara jumpsuit top
In the end, I removed the channel and added it to the trousers to make a waistband, so that the jumpsuit would become seperates.
I was happy with it being a jumpsuit but decided it would more versatile having them as separates.
Here is another view of the back without the drape
With the top finished I sewed up the side seams and around the crotch, see below. I then used the channel to make the drawstring waistband.
Here is the back view… I ran out of tailors chalk so improvised by using pins to make a B for the back!
Here is one of the ways that you could use the pattern, with very little modification to make a waistband. In the end, I used elastic, rather than a drawstring (looks rather strange here like neon glow stick!) I threaded a cord through to see how it looked before I decided how I was going to finish it.
making the waistband of the cara trousers
So far so good! Here is the jumpsuit hacked into a top and flairs.
And separate with black jeans
In summary, I found this to be a very versatile pattern. You have the choice to make 2 different styles of jumpsuits, with either wide or straight leg, and the option to make it into separates. You could even make the top and bottoms off different fabric and designs.
Here is Lovely free pattern from CocoWawa Crafts You Tube Channel. It shows you how to make this top or dress and it didn’t take long to make, I recommend having a look. Ideal make for summer, quick to make and practical on hot days like today.
Im off to make a dress version of this in tiny print gingham… watch this space for the results.