Eve Dress (Toile)

I had been hoping to sew the Eve Dress from SewOverIt for a while. But the pattern was only available through one of their classes. I was stalking the website, waiting for a class to be scheduled at the Clapham branch, when they released the Eve dress as a paper pattern.

 

I purchased the pattern from the Clapham branch, with this beautiful navy fabric. But as the fabric was quite expensive, I knew I needed to make a toile first. Especially as I usually need to adjust patterns to fit me. I also wanted to work out how I was going to finish the inside, as I don’t (yet!) have an overlocker.

 

 

I really liked version 1 of the dress, with its floaty sleeves and dipped hem. So I found some cheap fabric, which was unfortunately bright purple – a colour I can’t really wear, and made up version 1.

 

 

As you can probably see, my cheap fabric was a little too stiff (hence the sleeves sticking out, instead of draping). But it did show me some important things. My hand shows where my natural waist is, so the dress waist is too high.

 

 

This is more obvious here, so I’m going to lengthen the bodice by 1″. I also didn’t really like the cap/floaty sleeves.

 

 

They felt impractical for a work dress, so I decided to unpick them and make the longer sleeves to see if I preferred them.

 

 

I much preferred the longer sleeves, but they were a little too tight around my upper arm, so I am going to make the sleeve a bit wider. I also decided to change the skirt to version 2 as I don’t think the dipped hem suits me (so in summary, I should have just made version 2 to start with!).

 

 

One thing that worked perfectly was the finishing of the raw edges. I decided to go with Hong Kong finished seams, using bias binding.

 

So I’ve got some coral bias binding that will go really nicely with the pattern on the navy fabric.

So to summarise the changes needed:

  • Change to version 2.
  • Lengthen the bodice by 1″.
  • Widen the sleeves.
That’s not bad, compared to how many changes I normally have to make (the joys of being tall). Now I need to find someone my size, who suits wearing bright purple! Any ideas?

After making my first Ultimate Wrap Dress, I knew I had to tweak the pattern quite a bit to make it fit me properly.

I needed to drop the waist down by 1 1/2 inches and lengthen the dress by at least 4 inches. I also wanted to add darts in the back neckline to bring the shoulders in, as this would, in turn, bring up the front of the dress.

I picked up some lovely navy scuba (at only £6 a metre) from my local haberdashery and set to work. After I had finished the dress, I realized that I also needed to add darts to the front slope. Unfortunately, I had already finished adding the facing down the front using a very close zigzag stitch (which is a nightmare to unpick). So after some creative bodging, I added darts to the front and managed to get them to lie reasonably flat (and added them to my paper pattern, so they are ready for next time).

I asked my teenager to take some pictures of me wearing the finished dress, it was raining outside, so we had to use our not very exciting hallway as a backdrop!

I’m really pleased with the finished length, and the waist seems to be perfectly placed

The front isn’t too deep, so I can wear it to work and most importantly it doesn’t gap open from the side!

I’m so impressed with this wrap dress, now that I have finished tweaking the pattern, that I went out to Sew Over It in Clapham to pick up some fancier jersey (my local haberdashery doesn’t tend to have much in stock).

So here is the fabric to make my next version, up close it has a really nice texture and it drapes really well.

After setting up my new machine, I finally got to sew together the pieces for my Ultimate Wrap Dress from Sew Over It.

It was very easy to put together, and being able to just press ‘start’ on a sewing machine and let it sew with a little steering from me was a pleasant surprise.

The finished dress was much shorter than I anticipated, so it’s ended up being a tunic dress (to be worn with leggings). I was quite surprised by this, as I’m only 5’10”.

Plus the tie strap hole is a little too high and doesn’t sit on my waist. But I absolutely love how this fabric looks. I may have to buy some more, especially as it comes in different colours!

So I am going to buy some more jersey and try again. Next time I will:

  1. Adjust the front slope so it ends on my waist, then the straps will be at the right point.
  2. Add a couple of darts in the back, so the front comes up a bit higher. This will also pull the shoulders seams up slightly, so it will sit better.
  3. Add about 4″ to the bottom, so it hopefully hits my knee.

Last weekend I intended to make my Ultimate Wrap Dress from Sew Over It, using the fabric I bought from Girl Charlee at the Knitting & Stitching show. But my beloved 1940s zigzag machine stopped working.

The needle wouldn’t move when the foot pedal was pressed. I tried everything, checking the wheel at the end was tight, looking inside at all the parts. But I couldn’t get it to work. I had been contemplating buying a more modern machine for a while, and this seemed like a sign that now was the time.

I happened to be going to Oxford Street on Sunday, so I popped into John Lewis to see what sewing machines they had.

I quite liked the Brother JK4000, but I wasn’t sure how heavy it was going to be (ironic when you consider I’ve been using vintage cast iron machines for the last few years).

There was also the Janome 5030, but as there wasn’t anyone around who could demo the machines to me I didn’t feel that I could make an objective decision.

Then I remembered the machines I had used in the Sew Over It course I went on last year. After checking which ones they were, I did a bit of online price comparison and purchased one.

So here is my lovely new Janome CXL301. I’m still setting it up, but I’m hoping to sew together the dress pieces have had ready for a machine that actually works.

Today I went to Olympia (via non-working trains, torrential rain and wind that wouldn’t let my umbrella stay the right way round) to visit the Knitting & Stitching Show. The last time I went I felt very overwhelmed by the variety of stalls on offer, so this time I went with a plan and a better budget!

I wanted to visit Sew Over It to see if I could get their new skirt pattern, or pick up the wrap dress pattern. I also wanted to try and get some fabric to go with the pattern I picked up. Lastly, I wanted to try and pick up some yarn for a secret project.

As I predicted there were so many stalls with all kinds of things.

There was the most amazing ribbon stall called Crafty Ribbons. I picked up some 1m ribbon, I plan on turning them into lanyards (once I get some bag clasps).

I managed to pick up the yarn for my secret project from Debonnaire (no picture of specific yarn, just in case a certain person is reading this!)

I found Sew Over It and bought the pattern for the wrap dress and so popped to the Girl Charlee stall (they are lovely by the way) to get some jersey for the dress.

Finally while browsing the numerous knitting stalls, I found a stall that specialized in Knit Pro needles. I bought my set of interchangeable Nova needles many years ago. The bag they came in has split, and much though I love them they are very ‘boring’  (I feel very middle class saying this!). I spotted the new(ish) Zing interchangeable and fell in love. Fortunately, I had enough left in my budget so I bought myself a new set of needle tips.

It was a fantastic day and I now have several projects to keep myself busy with. If you get the chance to go the Knitting & Stitching Show then I would recommend going in the morning. It seems to get busier around lunchtime, by which time I was done and ready to go home.

Work on the Anderson blouse continues (I’m sure you’re getting bored of these posts!). The sleeves are made, but completing the flat felled seam inside the sleeve was very tricky.


On the first attempt I managed to catch part of the sleeve, so had to unpick and try again. The first sleeve is now attached to the body.

I went to the local market to pick up some buttons for the cuffs. As they were so cheap (15p each), I chose an ivory coloured pair and a black pair, so I could try and them out against the fabric.

I think I am leaning towards the ivory button.

Sewing is going to have to wait for a bit, the sewing machine is away so I can tidy my flat as I have my parents visiting for dinner tonight. So enough blogging, off to wheel out the vacuum (there are bits of thread everywhere!).

While my daughter was at her friend’s house, I managed to get some more work done on the Anderson Blouse. After unpicking the shoulder seams more than once, I managed to get them lined up in such a way so I could create the flat felled seam. I tried on the blouse shell (sleeves come next), and it fits really well.

My daughter returned home late in the evening bearing cupcakes:

Apparently they are ‘accidentally gluten-free, and taste a bit like rice’, I shall try one later!

I’ve been making homemade lemonade this week and was going to write up the adapted recipe I used for this blog. But the weather was grey and overcast for most of the day, so I’ve been struggling to take a good picture to finish off the post – hopefully, tomorrow…..

Today I thought I would try out some seams on the fabric, especially as I wanted to encase the raw edges of the fabric as it frays very badly. Fortunately, Sew Over It were very generous with their fabric estimations, so I had plenty of spare fabric after cutting out my pattern pieces

As my sewing machine can only do a straight stitch, I tried out a French Seam and a Flat Felled Seam.

When I compared the finished straight seams I definitely preferred the flat felled seam. It lies completely flat and was slightly easier to do (no juggling with seam allowance mathematics). Although the French seam looked neater on the outside, I didn’t like the feel of it on the inside, plus I knew I would have to cope with a gathered seam and a set-in sleeve and they are more difficult with a French seam.

I then decided to test the flat felled seam in both a set-in sleeve shape and a gathered straight edge.

The flat felled seam worked well, but I need to be more careful when sewing so I don’t catch any of the fabric in the seam.

So now I have tested everything I can think of, it’s time to take the plunge and sew the actual blouse!

While my daughter had a friend round (the teenagers spent most of the day eating me out of house and home and watching anime), I traced my Anderson Blouse pattern. Ironed the fabric (it’s one that wrinkles if you just look at it wrong), pinned out my pattern pieces and cut them out.

Then I read the first instruction from Sew Over It.

Hmm, this could be tricky. As you may already know, I sew on a vintage 1920s Singer hand-crank sewing machine.

This lovely sewing machine can only do a straight stitch, and only forwards. You have to physically change the direction of the fabric to go in the other direction.

I think I am going to try and sew 10mm from the edge of a test bit of fabric to see if that works as stay stitching.

Slightly related, if you are thinking of trying a Sew Over It pattern, I can report that the instructions are very clear (with photographic diagrams).

I’ve been admiring the Anderson Blouse from Sew Over It for a while. When I realised that one of their shops was in Clapham North (only a few tube stops from me) I decided to take a trip.

The ladies in the shop were lovely, but annoyingly they didn’t have any physical patterns for the Anderson Blouse. So I picked up some fabric and decided to buy the PDF version of the pattern when I got home.

I must admit that I had forgotten how much I hate PDF patterns, especially the faff I have to go through to print them out. You can’t customise the scale of the page when printing from an iPad, so I had to go and dig out my laptop. After a lot of trial and error (mainly my laptop refusing to recognise the printer), I ended up digging out my printer cable and connecting them together.

Remember to scale your pages to 100% to make sure the pattern prints out at the correct scale. 32 pages later, I had a pile of paper ready to be stuck together.

After a lot of sticky tape and patience (and possibly a little swearing), the pattern was stuck together. Now all I need to do is trace the pattern onto tracing paper, but I think that is a job for tomorrow.

The fabric I picked up is lovely and drapey, I think it is Crepe de Chine. I love the feathers and I hoping it will look nice as a finished blouse.

I found a Sew Over It kit to make a tie when I was last in John Lewis. As it was on sale for £5, I thought it would be perfect for a first attempt at tie making. The kit included the pattern, fabric, domette and thread – so a bargain!

The fabric included was a dark blue cotton with polka dots. There was a small amount of pale blue cotton to make the lining at each end.

The pattern instructions were easy to follow, but it does help if you read them carefully! I made some basic mistakes and had to unpick and try again. But the second time around it worked fine.

Annoyingly the domette pattern seemed too big (either that or my sewing was really off, despite being really careful with my seam allowances). So I had to trim it down.

The finished tie had slightly wonky ends, but I suspect that it due to my poor domette trimming!

It only took an afternoon, and I think I will make more ties in the future. I just need to get some more fabric (and domette fabric) and be more careful with trimming the pieces.

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