May 2014: The joy of Jersey & evolution of a dress!

OK peeps, settle in, this is gonna be a long one!

I’ve already made quite a few tops like this one



In fact I’ve made four. two in the khaki green, one grey and one navy. I absolutely adore this style of tunic, for many reasons. Its comfortable to wear, and in the jersey fabric it drapes so beautifully and feels really good on. Also with my love of simple sewing (& limited ability), the jersey, coupled with the simple shape actually makes this style look quite stylish.  I don’t have any decent pictures of the other tops so you’ll have to make do with just the one, but basically its quite safe to say the other three look almost identical.

I have a holiday coming up very soon, and need some dresses, just simple loose dresses. Nearly bought a few jerseyish (I’m aware its not a proper word) drop waist dresses from TopShop, but since I’ve started making some of my own clothes, I can’t justify £15 on an inferior quality item, when I have fabric at home that I paid £4 a metre  for. Life would be easier if I could, as I would have bought four of the dresses and had a bank holiday weekend  instead! So I decided I had to make them. And therefore spent the entire bank holiday in my sewing room, and lets not pretend that I didn’t love every minute of it.

Right, first draft of the dress looked like this. Please don’t laugh! I’m well aware it makes me look like an inmate from a lunatic asylum……..


Its really difficult to work out exactly what length I want the dress to be. And when you are trying to do it on yourself you end up pulling poses like this……..



I’ve raised my shoulders in the hope it’ll help me decide. It didn’t really! I suppose it gives me a rough idea.

I then decide to pin the hem at the length I think will be best (actually more luck than judgement).


And BINGO! We have a winner.


I then sew the hem in place, using my trusted twin needle. Which depending on the mood of the sewing machine, can go smoothly, or end up in a twisted mess of threads, unpicking and re-sewing, sometimes several times!


Hem is now sewn in place, you may or may not be able to see that I’ve made it a nice deep hem, about 5cm deep in fact.  I do like a deep hem.  Haven’t ironed it yet either so its not sitting quite right, but I’m pretty happy with it.


There’s something I’ve decided I’m not quite happy with. I love the way the shoulders look when its a tunic, but for some reason as a dress I don’t feel it works. Looks kind of unfinished.  So I have a little play around, and tie some fabric round the shoulders, I like this. Gives it a sort of draping affect at the shoulders. However don’t particularly like the loose bits of fabric hanging down………



(I do apologise about the pale and pasty legs!)

I ponder on the shoulders for a while. Make another dress, in khaki green, while I’m thinking. Go to bed thinking about it, and come up with an idea. Can’t wait to get up next day and try it out. Thought about leaving the green dress like this



But don’t really like things round my waist.

So back to the problem in hand, what to do about the shoulders? So the idea I came up with (& I’m not pretending I’m the first to think of it but )was this



I sewed some fabric around the shoulders. Creates a gathering effect, gives the dress just a little more detail, and i think looks pretty cool. I’m loving it. Plus if I get bored of it I can just unpick the bits of fabric and have the sleeves back.



I think it even looks good on the hanger!



So what do you think?



Gone from, inmate of a lunatic asylum, to a perfectly presentable dress I can wear in Florence!

I’m really really happy with this, I mean really HAPPY! This time last year I hadn’t made my first cushion cover yet. And now my holiday wardrobe will be at least 50% homemade! Slap on the back for me.

  1. Gorgeous Sarah ! Your are clever, particularly love the sleeves too !