Sewing jersey success

ImageShowing my jersey dress off on Christmas morning with my lovely Mum!

I’ve wanted to sew a jersey dress for ages and it’s finally happened. Nervous at trying something new, I had no excuse when I got a new overlocker for my birthday. And I got the courage to to do it when this landed on my doorstep:

ImageWendy Mullin’s Sew U Home Stretch


Inspired by reading about this book on Did you make that and Scruffy Badger‘s blogs I decided to go for it, and I’d recommend it to anyone. Wendy explains in detail how to sew with jersey fabrics and gives alternative instructions for whichever type of machine you may be using. With patterns supplied, easy to follow instructions and details on how to alter them, this is a great book.

I started by following the dress pattern. I picked up some floral jersey at the market ages ago for £1.50 a meter, and knew it would be my practice piece. I’m glad I’d made this decision, because although I started to really like the fabric when sewing it, when I put it on I looked like a sausage, squeezed into a fabric tube. Not a good look!



I needed to change the skirt so it wasn’t so narrow. I looked at one of my favourite dresses and used the cut and spread technique I learnt at a Sew Over It class to make a new pattern.


Stage 1. Copy your skirt pattern piece and cut equally spaced perpendicular lines from the hem to the top of the piece.
Stage 2. Decide the width you want the skirt to be and draw this on another piece of paper. Spread the cut pattern pieces out along this line and tape them down.
Stage 3. Draw a line to match all these pieces up to form your new skirt hem line and trace the rest of the pattern piece.
Stage 4. Take off the cut up pattern and your new skirt piece is ready to use! Remember to do for skirt front and back and copy the other pattern markings.

I made my Christmas Day dress in just half a day on Christmas Eve using some crushed velvet I bought in New Fabric Shop in Walthamstow for £2 a metre. I love it! 



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What a giveaway!

If you don’t already follow Tilly and the Buttons, then start. As well as sharing super sewing, Tilly also offers helpful tips and produces patterns of her own. AND she has fantastic giveaways.

Check out this amazing Christmas Giveaway. Worth entering, no?

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The New Look 6070

I love this pattern. I really enjoyed making it and it’s a dress that I love wearing! I had a bit of a problem with the fit but after some pinching, pinning and cutting we got there in the end. I think I might just make it again.

PicMonkey Collagedress

Apologies for the headless pictures. These are taken after a long day at work 🙂


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A Fabric Footstool

Whilst I haven’t been blogging, I have been sewing. I finished my version of the New Look 6050, finally got round to making Tilly’s Mathilde blouse (unexpectedly met Tilly herself… became star-struck), experienced sewing with jersey for the first time, on my new overlocker (love, love, love this birthday present. Thank you, Tom). But right now, I’m sharing a make that didn’t involve sewing. But it does involve fabric, so it kinda counts…

I’ve wanted a big footstool / tablestool for our living room for a long time but I couldn’t find one that I liked in our price range.  So I decided I would make one! I roped my Dad into helping me with the wooden base, and he did a great job with some legs I bought on ebay. He created the exact size I  was after.

I spent some time staining the legs with some varnish and fixed a piece of foam to the top with some adhesive spray. I covered it with a layer of wadding. And then it stayed like that. For a long time! It was ugly in our living room, but we sort of got used to it.

footstool 1

I was waiting to find the right fabric, and then I spotted a grey/yellow roll in The New Fabric shop in Walthamstow market which was great for my colour scheme for the room. So I set to work… and it started to look like this:

footstool 3

And then the project stalled again! This fabric has a bit of a stretch to it. Which meant if anyone sat on it or put their feet on it, it started going baggy. And that wasn’t the look I was going for.

So a few weeks later I went to Ray Stitch in Islington and found some gorgeous cotton fabric. I cut it out with about an inch to turn on each edge for a nice finish. Me and Tom fixed it down over the skin wadding using tacks and finished it with a nail/stud strip that I bought from ebay. This was so easy to add and creates a really nice finish!

footstool 5

I got some great guidance from J A Milton’s video and I’m really happy with the result! Its exactly what I was after.

final footstool

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What happens when you don’t make a muslin…

Well whaddya know… the dress doesn’t fit! That is what you get for not making a muslin. In one way I’m lucky though, it’s on the big side so it is a matter of taking the dress in, but I have my usual dilemma of deciding where to take it in from.


Putting it on after basting the zip, it was clear that although the bottom half fit, waist upwards has too much give. I haven’t sewn it all up yet, it’s currently still sleeveless and I haven’t added the neck facing, so before I make any changes I will baste these as they’ll change the fit of the dress.

PicMonkey Collage2

 I think it fits better once a few cms of fabric are pinched in on each side. If I hadn’t already sewn in my waistband I would  take the extra material from the pleats and the back darts or the side seams. But the waistband is sewn,  seams layered and I have even gone so far to “stitch in the ditch” (I hate doing this by the way – does anyone else?) and I really don’t want to undo it. So I will attempt to take this material from the centre back…. wish me luck!

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NewLook 6070 from Project Runway

As typical British bank holidays do, this weekend started off with a lot of rain. Yesterday was a complete wash out! There was nothing to do but stick the kettle on  and watch back to back episodes of cheesy US sitcoms. And what better time to start on a new project.

This time I’m having a go at NewLook 6070 from Project Runway.



Against all my own advice, I’m not making a toile for this. I might regret this choice, and if I do I will regret it a lot because I’m using fabric that has sat in my stash for a while. Not because I don’t like it, but because I like it a lot. And I don’t want to screw it up! So now I have probably jinxed myself 🙂

Instead of making a toile I took down my measurements and took some time looking at the pattern and adjusting it before I cut my fabric. I’ve chosen a UK size 10 for the bodice and graded the skirt from a 10 at the waist to a 12 UK at the hips. Finger’s crossed this works, I’ve never tried it before. 

So far so good. the pattern isn’t made up of too many pieces and I had all my fabric cut out and ready on Friday afternoon. Today though, the sun is shining! The pattern seems very straightforward, but I’m yet to get to the sleeves and the zip. Note, I have never sewn sleeves before… Eeek. I’ve just had time to sew up the bodice and I’m about to sew up the side seams of the skirt. But I like how it’s shaping up:



I’m sure the sleeves will be tricky, any advice before I tackle them?


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A rediscovered project: Simpliciy 2360

The Little Room of Sewing is back in action! The fishing gear has been removed (sorry Tom, you’re not having my sewing room) and my machines have been dusted down. Just looking at my fabric stash got me excited about the possibilities of what I could be making.

Starting off easy. I don’t know about you but I have a bundle of half finished projects. Or projects that I didn’t like when they were finished.  The Project Runway Simpliciy 2360 pattern, one of my first ever makes, has been picked from the pile to become the work dress it was destined to be!

I remember I took a long time with sewing this dress, and I gave up because I sewed the sleeves on the wrong way! But I dug it out the pile to try it on and see if it fitted, and I don’t think its too bad if I do say so myself.


 There are a few things that need fixing on the dress.

1. The frilly sleeves are sewn on the wrong way! When re sew them, I might take them in by 2cm so they are less frill. What do people think? I’m undecided.

2. I have a gap on either side seam where bodice meets skirt. I don’t know why, I must have wanted to make some change here. Ah well, I’m just going to sew them back up!

3. Its a little tight around the neck line and bust. I was considering changing the neckline to try and solve this but I think I might just open up the back a little (cut a v shape in the fabric and  sew a button to do at the top?). If anyone has seen a blog post/tutorial on how to add this type of adjustment to a pattern I would love to hear.

And then I think I will have a perfect work dress!


Filed under Dress, sewing