Simplicity Star Sewist Contest Entry


Here it is!  My entry for the Simplicity Star Sewist contest.  Although I am pretty new to blogging I was excited to see a sewing contest just for bloggers so I wrote off for the pattern.

I decided to enter the Best Dressmaking category and soon New Look 6145 arrived in the post.  It is a simple shift dress which leaves you with lots of options to customize and embellish.

dartThe first thing I did was adjust the pattern for fit.  I usually need to make a short back adjustment, so I took the back up a little and increased the side bust dart in the front to keep the side length the same on both front and back pieces.  That done, I decided to make a few changes to the design.

Instead of the vent in the back I put in a box pleat instead.  I also changed the collar, drafting a two piece pointed version.  I then embellished the front of the dress with embroidery and raised appliqué.  Finally, instead of using facings on the dress I decided to line the dress with a light cotton.

The dress is liningmade in a cream cotton/linen blend and lined with a light white cotton.

The lining was done with a great technique I learned last year where you draw the armhole lining and dress first out the front hem, sewing from under arm seam to shoulder seam, and then repeat pulling the lining and dress out the back hem.  This results in a lovely finish with no raw edges anywhere.  Everything is contained within the lining.

The embellishment on the front of the dress is done with two different techniques.  The flower centre, petals and thin leaves are embroidered in satin stitch, Romanian stitch and double knot stitch.  Then the larger leaves were appliquéd onto the front, slit in the back and filled with wadding to create a raised surface.


back pleat


The small box pleat at the back is created with a scrap of vintage fabric that a friend gave me while sorting out her stash in order to move house!  It is a lovely loose weave cotton with a spring-like print.




So there it is!  Fully lined, embellished shift dress which I plan to wear this weekend on a vintage hunting trip down to Brighton!

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 image 1



Sequins and Wool

Well the weather in London has really become quite spring-like, so this new coat will have to wait until next autumn to be worn.  However, it has been a labour of love, and I am very pleased with how it turned out.Coat on background

I saw this coat first in the 12/14 issue of Burda Style, and I just loved it.  You know that feeling when you just HAVE to make something?  What I particularly loved was the large collar, the curved front edge and the fabric.  I decided that something which was going to take so much work needed to have the right fabric.  I sourced the wool fleece from Germany and a company called Alfatex.  This place is actually really helpful if you are a fan of Burda.  Since Burda sources many of their fabrics from here, the website shows the styles from the latest issue of the magazine and makes it really easy to find what you are looking for.  The shipping costs were really reasonable and my fabric arrived very quickly!  The sequinned tulle is from Schwarzschild Ochs, which is based here in London.  This is another company where I had a great customer service experience and I will definitely buy from them again!

So – the coat itself.  It is a three quarter length winter coat, made from a wool fleece overlaid with a seplacing sequinsquinned tulle.   The first step after cutting out was to lay the tulle across the wool front.  It is then hand stitched into place along the sequin pattern outline, and the tulle cut away.  This is where I made my first mistake!  The pattern says you should stitch along the pattern line all the way along, while I allowed the tulle to go into the side seam, under the armhole.  However, I decided that it looked fine, in fact I kind of liked it that way so I let it stay.

I am not a big fan of fusible interfacing, so instead I used a firm sew-in interfacing.  I find that fusible tends to lose it’s sticking power quickly and can make the fabric bubble after time as it comes away.  I interfaced the collar with a lighter weight to keep the roll of the collar soft.

The original pattern called for patch pockets, but when I pinned them into place on the coat I really didn’t like the way it looked.  They just really pulled focus away from the line of the coat, and so I decided to leave them out.

I lined it in a lovely gold colour, which you really only see when it is open as the facing on the front is so deep.  The lining has a pleat in the centre back to allow for movement, very important in a garment like this.coat close up

I finished the coat with vintage buttons from my great aunt’s sewing stash.  They are fabric buttons covered in gold beading, and I think they work well with the sequin on the coat.

When I looked at the coat at the end and compared it to the image in the magazine, I wondered if I had put the collar on backwards.  Then I compared it to the tech drawing and thought – no, it’s right.  I am still not sure!  What do you think?

tech drawing in magCoat on background

I also think that if I ever made this again, I would put a deep cuff on the sleeve.  Somehow I am not sure about the balance on the sleeve to the rest of the coat.

All in all though I am very happy with this – I made it mostly to see if I could, and so even though I do see the mistakes, I think overall it turned out well!  Now I think I might stick to some pretty, light summer dresses for awhile!