Tag Archive | jiffy dress

A very long-standing toile sees the light of day

As I have previously mentioned, my ongoing attempts to declutter my flat have resulted in things reappearing that I’d totally forgotten about, or thought I had thrown away.

This toile was made back in 2013 for the Jif Lemon Dress. It’s a Simplicity Retro Jiffy Dress pattern, 1609.

It was always intended to be a wearable toile because I loved the teal sateen I was using. But I was in a rush to get started on the lemon dress and I put it to one side and got on with the “real” make, and then lost track of the toile.

Having re-discovered it and tried it on, I realised there was very little work required to finish it off. I’d already pinned the alterations that were needed, so all I had to do was sew them up and I would have a nice summer dress ready for my holiday.

So that’s what I did. I completed the seams that I’d marked up, and overlocked everything for neatness. I hadn’t done any facings, so I sewed on some contrast bias binding around the neckline and armholes, also at the hem, but I left the hand stitching of these as another holiday project. I knew it wouldn’t take me long.

Sewing in the sunshine!

And Bob was very much my uncle!


It’s always fun to recreate pattern envelope poses

Back when I first started this dress, I’d had ideas about embellishing it with appliqué flowers, and having now finished it, I debated with myself as to whether to titivate it in some way, maybe with some embroidery. But actually I like it how it is, and I don’t think it needs anything more right now.  It’s got secret purple inside, and that’s enough. Maybe one day I’ll revisit this decision, but I’m calling this UFO officially finished.

The Black Jiffy Dress – the Fall For Cotton Just in Time Post

The black jiffy dress in all its glory

I was using Simplicity’s Retro Jiffy Dress pattern, 1609, and plain black cotton drill. I wanted the appeal of this dress to lie in the embellishment. However, the embellishment isn’t going to be happening in September, unfortunately. It will happen soon, just not in time for the FFC deadline.

I adapted the pattern by adding an FBA, lowering the neckline slightly, and lengthening the hem, because I’m not 22 any more, and I can’t get away with flashing that much leg! And I wanted this to be work-appropriate.

Stuff I did that was new for me:
This was my first FBA. I researched it like billy-oh, and I think it came out ok.

Also I did a toile for the first time in my life, although I’m determined that the toile will become a wearable garment in its own right shortly.

And I hand-picked the zip. I was worried that my hand-sewing wouldn’t stand up to the rigours of actual wear, but actually I think it’s looking robust and I’m happy that it will bear up. I will do this again. I like the control that it gives me.

Stuff that stressed me at the time:

I did the toile, and made the resulting adjustments to my pattern and nevertheless I *still* had to adjust the dress again once I had started sewing it. I don’t mind that it got more adjustments, because that makes it a better dress. But I found it annoying at the time, and that reflects my basic desire to get things made quickly. I try to be patient, I try to remember that the seam-ripping and re-sewing is all part of the whole process. But inevitably this bugs me.

I usually have a To Do list for each sewing project, so that I can tick off all the things as I complete them. This To Do List just seemed to get longer & longer. I started out listing things like “sew darts”, “sew front seam”, “sew shoulder seams”, etc. Then as I got going, I kept realising that “sew front seam” also meant that I needed to neaten the seam edges, so I had to add a new To Do item for the neatening. And some of the darts needed neatening, so I had to add an item for “enclose dart seam edges with the bias binding”. Then there were all the “resew top of front seam, and re-neaten” type items! I need to chunk down my To Do Lists a lot more!

The bias binding I used was pretty but not really very practical. It was too wide, really for the arm & neck binding, and it certainly wasn’t bias-stretchy enough. So the more curved parts of the neckline & armholes are not as flat as I would have liked. And I will know next time, to be more careful about cutting bias binding narrower- it’s all over the shop! You live and learn…

What I love about this dress:

Stealth Zebra Print! I got this zebra print bias binding a while ago, and realised it would go perfectly with this dress. So I used it for neatening the raw edges of the darts that needed it, and for the neckline & arm holes, and for the hem.


And the hem

This dress reminds me a bit of a black linen dress I once paid about £80 for, it’s just shorter. I spent about £15 on making it, so I’m happy with that comparison! I’ll be even happier once I’ve got the decoration on it that I’ve got planned.

And now for the obligatory goofy shot! I’m channelling Una Stubbs in Summer Holiday!

A Proper Sixties Pose!

Eeeep!!! Fall For Cotton Panic!

How many days left before the end of September??? I’ve done NOTHING on this dress since I cut it out about 10 days ago.

So I decided I needed to get my act together PDQ and I am now getting it sewn. But it’s black, and the bulb in my sewing machine has gone (or the connection for it has gone- whatever, it’s not lighting up) so I’m having to concentrate *really* hard when I’m sewing, and let’s not even talk about having to unpick & resew.

And it’s dispiriting to remember that a simple instruction like “sew the front seam”, which sounds like you can get it done in 45 seconds actually takes a good deal longer, because of neatening seams and checking the fit and resewing and pressing…

But I’m doing it.

And I’m doing it properly. See? Neat seams. I do feel like I’m almost learning Sewing Patience.

Neat Seams FTW!

Neat Seams FTW!

Wearable toile

I got started on the actual sewing of the teal dummy run dress. There are a few adjustments, as one might expect, but the FBA seems to have been successful, in that the dress accommodates my upper curves suitably, without messing with the armhole- so YAY! for that! My bust dart is gigantic, though, and could probably be moved up a centimetre or two.

I needed to take in the top of the centre front seam, and add an extra back neck dart to make the top bit of the dress fit nicely. I must have a big curve between my shoulders and neck, because I had to do the same thing for the Blue Floral Dress, although I made that adjustment through the zip placement. So that’s important for me to remember for the future. I also need to taper down the hips.

I had cut the neckline a lot lower than the actual pattern, because I’ve got a thing about high necklines- they make me feel very uncomfortable, but actually, I reckon I can add back an inch or so, without difficulty, on the actual dress.

I was trying the toile on with the zip opening pinned up, and could get in & out of the dress without difficulty, so I could forgo the zip, if I really wanted to. But dammit, I got a teal coloured dress-length zip for this, and I’m going to use it! And the same goes for the actual dress.

All the alterations have been marked onto my traced off pattern, ready for use on the actual FFC dress. This toile dress won’t count towards the Fall For Cotton Challenge, because it’s a stretch cotton, so it’s got some lycra content. But the fabric for the actual dress is 100% cotton, as required.

And I’m a good blogger and I know that you’re supposed to add pictures, but honestly, it’s really difficult photographing yourself wearing something pinned together and inside-out and still make yourself appear even half-way attractive. So I wasn’t going to make a song & dance about this, and I’ve just cropped it to kingdom come!

Jiffy Toile- pinned

Jiffy Toile- pinned

Now that I know it’s going to work, and I know what I’m changing, I’ll be sewing this dress together, so that I’ve got the shell of it set up. But I’ll be leaving the finishing of it until after the actual dress is made, because that’s the important Challenge garment that I need to get done by the end of the month.

Pattern Futzing

I’ve only gone & done my first FBA!

I’ve spent a good part of this evening sellotaping lots of bits of tracing paper together and crossing out lines, and making new ones. I won’t know if it’s worked until I start actually sewing stuff together, obviously, but I’ve done a tissue fitting, with the darts all taped into position, and so far, it’s looking like everything *ought* to work. At least it’s a good starting point. Everyone keep their fingers crossed for me.

I’ve also added a lot more markings on the pattern pieces, for my own information, like where my waist is, where my hips are.

I’m not showing photos of myself in my undies and paper on the internets, so you’ll have to make do with pictures of my poor mangled bits of tracing paper. Poor and mangled they may be, but they are going to make me an ACES dress!

Futzing the pattern

Futzing with the pattern

Project Fall For Cotton is Go PLUS some thoughts on Embellishment

The shopping trip for Fall For Cotton supplies was mostly successful*. I’ve got the fabric and notions for making the actual dress (I decided to go with the 60s Jiffy Dress). The fabric is a plain 100% cotton drill, so that’s all in order. I also got some gorgeous teal stretch cotton sateen* for doing a dummy run dress, which hopefully we’ll all be able to call a wearable toile.

I wasn’t able to get the Jiffy dress pattern at Fabricland (boo, because they had a sale on) and they suggested I could try John Lewis, but they didn’t even have that pattern in their book, so once I got home, it was off to trusty Ebay, where I was able to secure the pattern, so that was successful. I love Ebay, it’s better than Harrods for being able to buy Anything. I should have the pattern by Friday, which would mean I’ve got everything I need in time for the official Start Date of Sunday. I won’t actually start any cutting out or sewing until then, but I do reserve the right to futz with the pattern before the official start date, to get it to fit me.

I’ve gone for plains again. And again, I’m going to go down the route of Embellishment, though as yet I haven’t made any final decisions on how or what.

As to the what, there are several options I’ve been mulling over. Firstly, I am toying with the idea of some kind of Mondrian effect.

Piet Mondrian, Composition with Yellow, Blue, and Red, 1937–42

Piet Mondrian, Composition with Yellow, Blue, and Red, 1937–42 Source: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mondrian_CompRYB.jpg

This thought is ever so slightly inspired by the scooter helmet my Dad had in the sixties, which he painted himself with Mondrian checks! He was a bit of a mod in his time, my Dad.

Or I could go all Mary Quant Daisy.

The spirit of Mary Quant

The spirit of Mary Quant Image source: http://www.maryquant.co.uk/corporate/index.html

When I was trying to source this image, I went to the Mary Quant cosmetics site, and guess what? It’s all Mondrian-inspired!

Then there’s this image, that I found on The Purl Bee, via Pinterest:

OK, so they’re supposed to be coasters, but I think they could look stonkingly cute on a 60s style dress. They’ve got a sort of Tiki vibe about them. I’m not sure if that’s an authentic “of-the-era” influence, it’s maybe more 50s than 60s, but even if it isn’t, it’s very stylised, which *is* a 60s thing, and I like them, which is far more to the point.

I did have an idea of a kind of Aladdin Sane lightning flash, but I scuppered that one fast, as I want this dress to be suitable for work, and somehow that seemed a bit over the top. Whereas Mondrian checks, Mary Quant florals and Tiki citruses are all perfectly reasonable office attire. That’s right, isn’t it?

So the actual design of the decoration is still undecided, as indeed is the method of decoration. I’m keeping my options open on apppliqué embroidery or beading. I’ve definitely been missing the fun of beading since I stopped making dance costumes for myself. Especially as I’ve been watching the work in progress of one of my bellydance costume-making inspirations and heroes, Ozma of Japan. I’m satisfying my costume-making urge by making a skirt & accessories set for a friend, but it’s only lightly sequinned, and it’s a bit like drinking decaff- it’s got all the appearance of making a costume, but without the real Hit.

Aaaaaaanyway, reeling this post back to the original point… I’m really liking the thought that I can pretty up my makes in a way that is totally individual and unique and beautiful and special, all through my own SKILLZ!

* Edited to add: I would like it on record that I was *very* disciplined in my shopping, and I manfully resisted the lure of aubergine linen. But it has been Noted for Future Reference.