Wednesday, 15 August 2012

LillyBelle Dress

I have been given the opportunity to test some Art Gallery fabrics. These are Henna Stripe in grey and mustard from the LillyBelle range by Bari J. The fabric is the most beautiful tightly woven smooth cotton and I have found it ideal for dress making.  I know quilt fabrics can be a little looked down upon for clothes.  we are attracted by the lush colours and great patterns but the weave can be a little stiff and coarse especially for dresses that need some drape.  Art Gallery fabrics are perfect for dress making.  The most brilliant feature is their handling.  The closeness of the weave means that they do not fray easily.  Some sections in clothes need a lot of handling and manipulation in the construction process- waistbands for example, and these fabrics can take it.   This dress is Simplicity Cynthia Rowley 1801 not sure why mine has a different number but 1801 matches the Simplicity website.
I especially like the skirt section of this pattern  and it will be easy to make it again as a stand alone skirt.  The fullness is around the front and back and the sides are smooth which on a pear shape body appears flattering.  A skirt from this is my next clothes sewing project waiting in the wings.    The top half would be better with a big bust. I am an A cup on a good day so lack fulsome chesticles to do this style justice.  Come autumn/winter I will stick a skinny jersey top underneath it so it has practically year round wearing potential. I didn't line the skirt- it isn't see through and doesn't seem to need it.  There is a facing on the neck and waistband so the inside is pleasingly neat and tidy.
You all know how useful pockets are and a little contrast that can be glimpsed from time to time is the sort of detail that captures the fun of making your own clothes.  You can add as many extra details as you like!  Like the Simplicity 2215 dress and skirt, this pattern has a side seam zip that runs into the pocket seam.  The directions are particularly good on this pattern.
 Some little tips I tried on this pattern.  The first I picked up at Coletterie- the Colette sewing blog, a wonderful place for tips!  For the gathering, use three rows of gathering stitches- this sounds like more work but the evenness of the gathering actually makes it efficient sewing.  I also pressed the gathers before I sewed the seam.  I read this on a sewing blog- forgive me I cannot remember where!  It makes the gathers more stable in the seam and less likely to shift. 
 The second is a few invisble zip pointers that I have found really help to make invisible zips look even and disappear.  Before I pin the zipper, I mark a few pairs of pencil marks down the reverse of the tape.  They help to make sure the fabric matches up on either side of the zipper line- important for the contrasting waist band on this dress.
 I also sew a line of contrasting large stitches in the seam line where the zipper will be inserted.  This acts as a guideline to help me keep the zipper in exactly the right place when I sew it with the invisible zipper foot.
 You can see the ridge next to the zipper teeth where the final stitches attach the zipper to the seam lying over the red stitches.
You can see the same thing here as the zipper foot holds the teeth coil.
 And the finished seam here is ready to have the red stitches pulled out and the teeth are definitely on the seam line.
Coletterie posted an invisible zipper video which is a great learning tool if you haven't sewn and invisible zip before,  These are my favourite form of zip and I would hands down sew one of these over a standard zip but don't even consider doing it without and invisible zipper foot.
My final tip is to have a piece of paper ready to write alterations on so next time you make the pattern you will remember the little changes.   I made the V slightly less deep- I reduced the seam to 1/4" instead of 5/8" as my party bags are not as jam packed as they used to be!  I didn't want too much xylophone rib chest on display.  I also lengthened the skirt by 1 1/4".  I made a UK size 10 and it was a good fit.  I checked the waistband first rather than make a muslin and this is a great way to give a skirt or the skirt pattern of a dress and quick test for fit.
In this shot I am not trying to look like a poseur I promise.  Working with a timer app and my ipad these photos are a little hit and miss.  I must have taken 30 to come out with these ones!
Oh sun, where are you now? 
For those going to Festival of Quilts I look forward to hearing all about it, have a great time!  If you are interested in Art Gallery Fabrics, Annie at Village Haberdashery stocks LillyBelle and the new Pat Bravo Indie range and Hantex- the UK distributors have a UK stockist list here
sib blog

32 comments:

  1. gorgeous dress! I would give it a go, but I am scared of the zip! Pathetic, really.

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  2. What a beauty!! And party bags??? lol!

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  3. The dress looks fab, love the grey and yellow together.

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  4. Oooh, nice dress. I'm branching out into sewing clothes, and that looks like a dress I'd actually wear. It looks great on you!

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  5. Party bags lol! Love the dress, it looks very comfy and the fabric drapes really well. Making a note of the pattern I'd definitely wear a dress like this!

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  6. You look gorgeous in that dress! I would love to try sewing clothes once, but as I never tried before and have nobody around to help me, I think that day will never come. The pattern you used although is really something I would give a go (if I would be brave enough to try).

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  7. Hi Kerry! Wow, what a beautiful dress! Lovely idea to make the waist band and pocket with different colour! I used to make all my cloths and now I feel cloths difficult (I guess I'm just lazy and prefer quilts). Lovely photos! x Teje

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  8. Fabulous job and lovely fabrics...large chesticles or not. :)

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  9. Great dress and you look lovely in it! Thanks for all the tips, I have a dress pattern (might be even a bit similar) waiting to be printed and sewn.

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  10. Beautiful I am in awe. The fabrics are beautiful and I love the little contrast on the pocket detail. I am off to festival of quilts tomorrow, can't wait, I have buffed my credit card in anticipation :0) x

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  11. Your dress came out beautifully. I completely agree that AGF have wonderful drape for a quilting cotton. I think they are a great choice for dress making.

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  12. What a beautiful dress - I think the contrasting waist sash really makes it! And thanks for the zip tips - an invisible zip attempt is on my to do list! No sun here either - meh! Hope the dizziness is (nearly) all gone now x

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  13. That dress is awesome...lovely fabric selection.

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  14. I loved your critique of the pattern, I learned a lot of tips. It is a beautiful dress!

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  15. Such a beautiful dress, great fabrics!

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  16. Such a great dress with that fabric! I don't care for the neckline as I'm older bur love, love the fabric!! Thank you for telling me about the fabric.

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  17. First, you crack me up. Second, you are lovely! Third, this dress is a gem! I really want a Lily Belle dress of my very own. I love the contrast waistline and pockets!

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  18. Wow that is one gorgeous dress. I love the neckline and I'm older than Judith - I know this cause she's my friend.

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  19. Gorgeous dress. It must be so satisfying to know you're clothes are unique to you and your style

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  20. Absolutely gorgeous, love the colours and fabrics! I have to admit, while using some Art Gallery fabrics recently I was thinking they would be fab for dressmaking

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  21. You look so sweet in your new dress! I love the both prints! I never bought Art Gallery fabric. I guess I just don't know where to start! Their colors are very vibrate. I might try some next time when I order! Dresses making can be trick sometimes for me. I only make them for S and sometimes a little alternation can make big change in the fitting. Thank you for the great tips!

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  22. Your new dress is darling on you! Beautiful fabrics, and I especially love how you used the yellow for waistband AND for the contrast pockets.

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  23. very adorable dress that looks fantastic on you. Don't worry about the A cup- us DD's have issues also! Anyway- I wonder could you use a cording foot to put that zip in? I saw it demo'ed in a class with a regular zip...
    You make me want to get back to clothes sewing again!!!

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  24. What a lovely post. Very pretty dress. Very pretty you. I love my LillyBelle fabric, but the fat quarters I got are definitely not enough to cover my fat quarters (lol!). I'm favoriting this post, though, in case I ever do actually make a,dress. Thanks for sharing!!

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  25. Beautiful fabric - great dress.... love your modelling Kerry..!

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  26. Lovely dress!!! Thanks for zipper info!

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  27. it's beautiful! looks great on you and I love the pockets!

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  28. That is a great dress pattern and thank you for the tips on the zip. You look lovely in it, it is very flattering.

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  29. This has turned out so beautifully Kerry! Love all your tips and am keen to try out invisible zips for the first time too. Sorry to read also that you're still not well with the dizziness etc. take care - Danielle x

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  30. Love it and even better, my new job is just around the corner from a big fabric and pattern store...Will head over and check the pattern out.

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  31. i love your dress sewing tips, opinions and modeling posts. someday i will (really, i will!) tackle clothing for me and i'll definitely review these posts at that time.

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