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
, 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.
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?