Sunday, 10 March 2013

3 sewing machines and no iron*

After loving Andreas Renfrew dress…


…I decided I needed wanted to make one. So I bombarded Andrea with questions about how she made her and she was kind enough to give me great answers that actually made me change my mind.  Originally I was going to put a zip in the back and stabilize the waist with bias binding as I was a bit concerned about it stretching, she said she hadn’t stabilized the waist and made the point that I would need to stabilize the zip area with knit interfacing which I didn’t have.  I hadn’t thought about that so I decided to throw caution to the wind and go with the easier option and just sew it and see!  The fabric was stable thicker knit so I thought it would be ok,  it was from Ditto and on sale!


So what did I make?


…a great dress…



…with a great fit…


…front and back…


…with a half circle twirly skirt…


…and thread belt carriers…

What do you think? I love it!

For the record it was a Renfrew top which I took down quite a few sizes compared to the other Renfrews I’ve made, this was done in a completely unscientific way of making up the usual size and then hacking inches off the side seams of the top until it fitted!  I’ve now traced that final size onto the original pattern so I shouldn’t have the same problem next time (as I’m sure there will be a next time!). I decided on a circle skirt but wanted a half-circle, I looked at a few tutorials about making circle skirt and after getting husband to talk it through with me I kinda understood it (I got my GCSES maths but that was a lifetime and 2 children ago and it doesn’t make sense anymore!) so I cut the skirt and basted it on.  This was the point at which I realised the top needed taking in, Doh! I think the weight of the skirt made extra width look worse and it resembled a sack! So I took the skirt off (good job it was only machine basted and not knit stitched!) and did the aforementioned hack job.  Finally I had a fit I liked.   I topstitched the neckline using my lovely knit twin needle with one line of stitching either side of the seam line. 


and I didn’t use the original Renfrew sleeve bands, I added the length to the sleeve pattern and then turned the hem up and twin topstitched again.  I did this flat, before I sewed the sleeve to the bodice.


(Light is too bright, its not this blue!)

I also twin top stitched the hem after overlocking the edge and turning up just that small hem amount.  Making the thread belt carriers was a lot easier than I thought it would be.  I just ran some stitches off the overlocker and then threaded that through the side seams and back leaving enough width for the belt I was going to wear with it and tied the ends together inside.  All in all its a lovely comfortable dress and I can see myself making more if I find the right fabric.   This navy is a little plain and I wasn’t sure what accessories to wear with it as I’m usually a utilitarian-black-shoes kinds girl but I recently bought my-new-favourite-shoes lovely animal print ballet shoes from Clarks I thought they would add a little drama to the outfit without too much!  I don’t do too much drama!

So the title? Well I have 3 sewing machines, 2 regular sewing machines and an overlocker.  I’m not brave enough to just sew and trim the seams on the overlocker in one go so I sew on the regular machine first and then use the overlocker to trim and finish.  One sewing machine has a really good knit stitch (but a complete bugger to unpick) but the position and the way you put a needle in means you can’t use a twin needle as the needles end up one in front of each other rather than next to each other.  The other machine will allow me to put the twin needle in but no knit stitch so I I ended up using 3 machines to make one dress!  But I didn’t use the iron once (not something  to be proud of really but nice to experience once in a while) as the fabric was thick and easily manageable.  Since I’ve twin top stitched the hem that could do with a quick press as its a little bumpy but it didn’t stop me wearing it to a party last night!  It will also be perfect for school and that's why I can see more coming in my future even possibly for the Wedding I have later on in the year if I find suitable fabric.  At the moment, I’m fancying a Cambie in maybe a linen print (my favourite fabric) if I can find some great fabric. I’ve made the full skirted version but now I fancy the a-line version to have cleaner lines at my waist.  Will have to see what fabric I find and how long it takes me as I don’t have so much sewing time these days…