Archive | Feb, 2019

Starting my 2019 “Make Nine”

17 Feb

At the very start of the year I went through my clothes patterns to think about why I haven’t used most of them yet, and to plan whether and how to use them this year. I picked out nine that I wanted to try to use this year – inadvertently setting my own Make Nine challenge! I think that it was started by Lucky Lucille setting herself the challenge back in 2015. Here was mine, with the first one completed today!


I really loved having this little square (/rectangle) of projects to choose from! I was a little worried that I would feel stressed to do it since I “commited”, but actually, having the list just meant I reserved some time for myself instead of trying to find more things to make for others!

So… onto my making this dress!

I got this pattern from a charity shop (in Halstead, Essex) for just £1! I felt very lucky. And the black fabric is a cotton crepe from a shop on Goldhawk Road in London (the one nearest the market, but I can’t remember it’s name…maybe A-one?), just £10 for 2.5 yards! Plenty for a dress ☺️


For the first time, I paid close attention to what fabric the pattern recommended. The two times I made dresses previously, my lack of planning had mixed results – the basic stretch cotton worked well on my New Look 6495, but I think the New Look 6431 needed a fabric with much more drape. The pattern calls for “medium weight knits and wovens”, and I thought this black crepe would work perfectly for View B.


Yes, I am actually that pale…! It’s a shame you can’t see the pattern on the fabric from here, but it makes a simple black dress look so nice. I am not a big fan of this neckline, it looks like it’s trying to be a bit of a halter neck.

Unfortunately, like with my previous two dresses, I still couldn’t get the back to fit nicely. I am pleased with waist/hip fit at the front though!

I spent two Saturdays sewing (last weekend and this weekend), I had the zip in and ready to try on. I’d worked hard, for the first time, to make sure that the inside was neat and that the very, very fraying fabric would not come undone in the wash. I even bought an overcast foot and found out that my sewing machine (Singer 4423) has an overcast stitch!!

I still haven’t decided whether I prefer the overcast stitch or the zig zag for enclosing seams. The overcast stitch looks neater but I’m struggling to believe it will hold in the wash. Time will tell, I guess! Do you have any tips for how to use the overcast foot and stitch?

Even if I don’t use it with the overcast stitch, the overcast foot makes zig zag edging SO MUCH neater – I’m not going back!

So, I now had a nice, neat dress, just waiting to be hemmed and pressed. And it was not good.

The waist was too big.

The shoulders were falling off.

The chest was gaping SO much.

There was a LOT of bunching at the back.

I didn’t understand, as I’d thought carefully about the sizing. With my measurements (B 37, W 32, H 45), my bust was at the bottom end of M, waist in the middle of L, and hips at the lower end of XL. I don’t mind a closely fitting hip so went for a M bodice, and the skirt was a M at the top but graded to a L a few inches down.

So, I made some changes.

First I took 2.5″ out of each side at the neck back, with two darts reaching down to meet the original darts that reach up from the waist (if that makes sense?). I also took another 1″ out from each side at the waist.

The waist fit a bit better, but the neck seemed too squeezed, and the back started gaping. Forget the neatness of darts (I think it was at this point that I declared to my boyfriend that this dress shall henceforth be known as a wearable muslin…), I reduced the dart at the neck to about 1.5″, increased the waist reduction to 1.5″ (so it was less a dart and now just taking out a chunk, I guess a bit like a princess seam), and took out 2″ from the in between bits (all from each side, so 3″, 3″, and 4″ overall).

I think it now looks nice from the front – not perfect, but nice enough to wear out… If I have a cardigan hiding the back. Plus I’m not a big fan of the sleeves – they are much bigger than I thought they would be.

What do you do if the front fits well, but the back is far too large throughout?

I thought an FBA could be the answer to my problems but when I tried it on the New Look 6431 pattern (which I didn’t write about on this blog because it went so badly) it just didn’t seem to work. As I seemed to fit this pattern’s stated measurements well I thought I’d be safe but clearly this will haunt me if I don’t sort it out before I try another dress or top…

So I am happy with it, especially as this fabric is so comfy to wear, and think I’ll wear it when I’m out and about but not to work or “out out”. I am really proud of how neat I made the insides, and that I learned a few things:

  • How to insert sleeves, including ease gathering.
  • How to use an overcast stitch and an overcast foot.
  • How to make a double lapped zipper (this might not be the right name? There’s two vertical flaps which open in the middle to reveal the zip).
  • I learned how to do a machine blind hem – in future I might try to hand sew it, but by the time I got there I had decided it was a wearable muslin so was much less bothered about the finish.

I’m looking forward to getting on with the rest of my nine items for 2019!

Maybe I should think about attending a sewing fitting class? Has anyone attended one and found it useful?


First project of 2019 – starting small with a cushion cover :-)

3 Feb

After organising my stash, I could see all my fabrics and easily pick a project – and found two fabrics that I thought would go really well together for this lovely cushion cover.

I got this owl fabric from The Works, £3 for 0.5 yards. It’s quite thick and rough, almost like a potato sack, but was listed as 100% cotton so I think I bought it for oven gloves. But I think it makes a lovely cushion! I got the backing cotton from the remnants pile at John Lewis, it was about a fat quarter and a lovely colour so I am so glad I found a way to use it so it could be displayed in my flat :-)

I used the tutorial from Little Black Duck, which I used to make my sister’s Christmas present. My boyfriend has decided it is perfect for his desk chair, and he works from home a lot so it’ll get lots of use!