Success!  These were made from a very, very old pair that I deconstructed to make the pattern.  That’s a first for me – making a pattern.  The old pair were so old that the material ripped whilst being taken apart.  I found the cotton material in my local market at a cheap price which makes them more of a success.


More Summer Dresses


The first summer dress I made (see above) was such a success on my Christmas tropical escape that I’ve now made 2 more in the hope there will be the weather to wear them.   Today it’s minus 2 C with snow showers so I’m not optimistic!.

Regarding THE shirt saga (see previous post), there was an outstanding error with one of the cuffs – the ‘lap’ around the opening wouldn’t fold neatly.  I wore it on holiday, but once back at my sewing classes I took the cuff off.  I sewed it back on in reverse with the button on the inside but it still wouldn’t fold flat.  I took it off again and my tutor spotted my mistake – the bottom part of the ‘lap’ should be on the inside of the cuff.  Third attempt and the cuff is the correct way around and it folds flat.  No doubt my brain will get the reversing confused again if I ever make another shirt – not for a while anyway!.

Learning Points from The Shirt (see previous post)

During the 6 month journey of ‘making the shirt’ I learned some really useful tips for clothes sewing clothes.  I don’t want to forget these so I’m documenting them and if only one of them helps another beginner I will be pleased to share.

  • Somewhere on the pattern sleeve (at least for the Simplicity pattern I used) is shown the finished measurements of the garment.  Ta Dah! I can see where it needs adjusting to my requirements e.g. longer in body / arms, looser.
  • Iron the paper pattern pieces on a low setting before pinning them for cutting out.  This removes the folds and does make the pinning and cutting out easier and more accurate.
  • It is worth the time and effort to make a sample, not just for fit and adjustments but to get used to the pattern instructions (destructions as a friend calls them)
  • Make notes for any alterations made – if making a sample by the time I got to the real garment I would not have been able to remember.  And if you are planning to make more garments from the pattern you will need the notes.
  • Personally I don’t like interfacing in my soft cotton shirts – this would have been an expensive experiment on the real material!
  • If you are using iron-on interfacing don’t use tailor tacks as they won’t come out!
  • When top stitching on the outside use a longer stitch length e.g. 3 on my Bernina machine
  • When pinning put the pins vertical with the head outside the material – this makes easing curves more successful and they are easy to remove when sewing (if you’ve not tacked).  And many more pins on curves than you think is needed.
  • Tack with small stitches – on the seam line to check for fit.  Small stitches don’t come undone!  In my youth I hated tacking but now I see the benefit.
  • Layering of seams with more than 2 layers such as the collar and yoke.  The seam closest to the body is the trimmed the most, the next a little less and so on.
  • Trim all seams – for a corner cut off the corner point then take a little more off each side.  This reduces the bulk quite considerably.
  • Buttonhole markings need to be on the outside of the material – I put mine on the inside so had to re-mark.
  • Sew on the buttons with your machine, if it has this program.  They don’t come off!  Most of the buttons I sewed onto the sample came off during trying on! Oh and if your button has a design pay attention to the direction of the button when sewing it on.  Mine had a tree design and I sewed on about half upside down so had to re-sew them.