Tag Archive | simple sew blogging network

My Holiday Shannon Collection

I went a bit bonkers on the Simple Sew Shannon collection for my summer holiday wardrobe. It was just perfect for what I wanted, namely some quick and easy lightweight throw-on tops and dresses. It really was a no-brainer.

I was shopping my stash and since I seem to have developed a craving for more blue in my wardrobe this year, I wanted to use the remainder of the royal blue jersey I’d got from FC Fabric Studio (and used for this skirt). However before proceeding with the dress, I wanted to try it out with the t-shirt version first and hopefully have a wearable toile for the hols. The blue grey jersey I had bought at the same time as the royal blue had the same amount of stretch and it tied in perfectly with my holiday wardrobe plans so I went ahead with the that first.

I made the t-shirt using the largest size and trusted that the elastane in the Jersey would be sufficiently forgiving. And yippee – it was! I also lengthened it by about 5 inches or so.

I did change the order of construction so that I could insert the bands at the neckline and sleeves in the flat. My post on the Simple Sew Blog sets this out more fully. I really wanted to make sure the bands were sufficiently stretched so that they wouldn’t gape, and I feel I have more control over this when I’m inserting them flat. I left the hemming to be done on holiday and moved swiftly on to the dress.

Here’s the t-shirt in its holiday environment, once I’d herringboned the hem to keep it good and stretchy.

shannon tee 1

Goes brilliantly with the Paisley Leftovers skirt

And also the Grey Birds skirt

Having worked on the T-shirt as a toile, I knew exactly what I was doing and I was able to make the dress up quickly. I lowered the front neckline so that it would be more sun-dress-y, and used the same construction as I’d done for the top.

The main feature was the Lace border at the bottom. I’d had this lace in my stash for a while, having bought it at Tiger (because it was so cheap it was rude not to). I hadn’t had any ideas about how to use it until now. Once I put these two stash items together it really was a match made in Heaven. The colours popped like popcorn! I really love it! I’ll be wearing this dress for the rest of the summer (whether or not there’s any more actual summer in England!).

Here’s the dress, though you’ve seen it before…

This is my sister’s house

shannon lace 1

Whoops! This is the messy view!


I’m a firm believer in making the patterns that work for you, *really* work for you, so I made one more Shannon dress using this denim/lace patchwork print jersey from my costume-making stash. I originally bought this at Fabricland, a few years ago and I wasn’t sure about the elastane content but it seemed close enough to what I’d been working with, though its a bit thinner.

I altered the armscye to make it sleeveless and the neckline to be slightly more boaty, sewed it up and again left the hemming as a holiday sewing project.

Here’s the denim and lace Shannon dress, or as I’m now thinking of it, the Hillbilly Dress in its first incarnation.


Not quite right



However, I wasn’t 100% happy with how I’d shaped the shoulder and the armscye, there was too much fabric in front of my armpit. I thought it needed re-cutting and re-banding, to bring the curve in more. I figured I’d do something about it when I got back home. But I wanted to be able to wear it in France – after all that was the whole point of this dress, its raison d’etre, if you will. So I needed a quick hand-sewable fix. I gathered the shoulder seams to narrow them, making sure I didn’t catch the neck or sleeve bands, and hey presto! Fixed!



I’ll be honest, I should perhaps have considered pattern placement more thoroughly. While it was laid out flat it seemed OK, but this jersey is very stretchy, so this dress is not quite as flattering as I could wish for, but I’m happy enough to to wear it for holidays. I won’t be wearing this one to work like the lace dress, though. 

I’ve got one more Shannon dress planned for when I get home*. Although technically not a holiday dress, it will be from fabric bought on holiday so it will still be part of the collection!

* Because I’m posting this on rather dodgy data roaming direct from my holidays. The time it’s taken to upload these photos, you wouldn’t believe!


That Juliette top and MOAR overlocker love!

I made the Juliette top for the Simple Sew blog, and Gabby wanted it sooner rather than later, so I got it finished in super-quick time, and photographed, so that we could post it. But I had a plan for a bit of improvement, that I couldn’t do in time for my Friday after work photo session last week, so technically these photos don’t show a fully completed make. SorryNotSorry.

I was working with a black peachskin fabric, that I’d bought when I went up to Walthamstow last November. It’s a lovely solid weight and it drapes beautifully. It’s got a soft silky sheen to it, and it could easily be mistaken for actual silk, except that it only cost me £3 per metre. It was an ideal choice for this sort of pattern.

The pattern itself, from Simple Sew Patterns, is a piece of cake to sew. It would be an ideal Beginner’s starter project. There are no fastenings to worry about, so apart from the facing it’s just shoulder seams and side seams. The most technical aspect of the sewing was inserting the facing. The most frustrating aspect was turning the waist ties, though!

It’s hard to photograph black! Especially in the setting sun.

That’s a better angle! And it shows off the soft sheen of the fabric.

The rear view with bow

I did a tiny bit of pattern adjustment, to add an FBA. I did it the long way around, but it’s a very easy  pattern to enlarge. I also added a bit of extra length, because I don’t like tops that come untucked easily.  I’ve got the waist ties tied in the back in the photos above. The ties are long enough to wrap around the back and then tie in the front, but I’ve got enough going on in the front! The pattern can just as easily be made without the waist ties, if you haven’t got enough fabric.

I untied the ties, here, to show the natural swing of the body.

The post-photographic improvement was made possible by the aquisition in the week after these photos were taken of some black overlocker thread because…

Dun, dun, DUN!!!

I’ve got myself an overlocker!!!!


Brand shiny new!

Lidl were having one of their occasional overlocker sales (they happen every year or so), and I got this beauty on the Sunday after the photos, for the princely sum of £119 . Brilliant value! I had to order some black thread online and as soon as it arrived I Had A Go. I confess, I’m a bit daunted by it, but I’m determined to get really familiar with it, and make full use of it. I’ve cheated massively for now, by just tying the black threads to the white ones that were already set up, and I haven’t yet attempted to thread it all by myself. But I’m booked onto a Get to Know Your Overlocker course in June, so I just need to be able to keep tying on new colours as & when needed until then, and hope that none of the threads break!

So instead of zigzagging my seams to neaten, I was waiting to be able to overlock them beautifully. So I’ve now done a bit of unpicking of stitching, so that I could neaten up the facing edge, and the seams and hems. I’m in the course of rehemming, but that won’t take long.

The Juliette top has been a smashing stashbuster and wardrobe builder. It’s getting me through two of my #UseNine fabrics, because I’ve already cut out a navy version, so it’s contributing nicely to my Stashwatch pledge.

And now for the obligatory silly shot – I think I was trying to show off the sleeves, but got my self-timing slightly off!

I’ve gone all Titanic!

So that Not-Entirely Skater Dress…

My first post for the Simple Sew Blog went live a couple of days ago, which was a real thrill! I’m still quite giddy!

This is my version of the Simple Sew Skater Dress 

See? I didn’t get it quite the same

The post was mostly concerned with pattern grading. I wasn’t wholly successful with that, mostly because I didn’t give myself enough time to fine-tune the amendments to get to the sort of finish that I wanted, and still work to the deadline I’d been given.  My bad. But I’ve learned from this first experience of blogging for someone else, and I know now what sort of timing I need to allocate to future projects. Also I need to recruit a tame photographer. Until such time as I can, though, I’ve invested in a selfie stick and one of those bendy grippy tripods for future photographic use.

So the dress… I don’t feel like it’s a proper skater dress, as it’s not as close-fitting in the torso as it was originally designed to be, and it’s longer than most of the RTW skater dresses I’ve seen. That longer silhouette takes it from being a flirty little number to being more dressy and retro. I feel like I should be wearing white kid gloves as an accessory! I have Plans to make a couple of other versions of this dress, which may be more skaterish. Or maybe they’ll take on their own identity like this one.

The pattern itself is ridiculously easy to put together.

  1. Sew the darts first
  2. Attach the bodice pieces at the shoulders
  3. Put the neckline facings (duly interfaced) together and attach to the bodice neckline
  4. Insert the sleeves in the flat
  5. Attach the skirt pieces to the bodice
  6. Sew lovely long side seams from the sleeve cuffs down to the skirt hems.
  7. Sew the back seam and insert an invisible zip (or a visible one, if you prefer, I guess, I’m not the zip police)
  8. Hem the sleeves and skirt
  9. Job’s a good ‘un.
  10. No really, that’s it.

So if you are a more standard size, than I am, and don’t need to faff around with pattern grading, this would be a super-quick make.

The fabric, I totally fell in love with. It’s a stretch sateen, in a fabulously vivid green floral (and I think we all know where I stand on big floral prints). The photographs really don’t do the gloriousness of it full justice. It’s from White Tree fabrics, and it was given to me specifically for the Simple Sew Blog, but I really want to make more frocks with the alternative colourways, it’s such a delightful fabric. It’s easy to sew with. It’s comfortable to wear, because of the stretch. It’s a cute print. What’s not to love?

I’ll confess, I was slightly disappointed with this dress initially, but that was because I had an idea in my head which it didn’t quite match up to. Ideas in the head are always a dangerous thing! As the original head idea gradually fades and I have the reality before me, I’m getting to love it a whole lot more. Some of the fixes I had to do quickly have turned into really nice design features – I’m thinking of the waist darts, which I had to extend into the skirt when the whole thing was too baggy. I think they look pretty good now.


Look at me, all matchy matchy!

So I’m going to remind myself, the next time I make something that I’m not immediately taken by, that sometimes I need some time to let go of the head idea and embrace the reality.

I still need to get used to the more open back!


A little bit draughty!