The latest in the Famous Frocks collection: the Mary Quant dress. the variation in the book uses a different colour yoke and hem; it looked really good and I thought it would be fabulously geeky to find a glasses print to use. I'd hoped to find a black with white printed glasses to stick to the original dress but the pink turned out excellently.
The dress is fully lined and made from a poly cotton suiting with white backed cotton glasses print and sheer sleeves. There is a 22" zip in the back and a 1" button on each of the cuffs.
I liked the contrast of the glasses print so much that I decided to put it on the cuffs too.
The pattern was mostly straight forward although the yoke was difficult to sew and became a little ruffled, having to be unpicked. Owing to the cut of the dress and my wide shoulders, I sewed the back neck 2" lower than suggested and that made the collar quite short: next time, I need to redraw the pattern for the back, back facing and collar so that it fits better. It is also quite tight across the chest and could do with a slightly lower front neckline while still keeping the Peter Pan style. Once again, I doubted the length of the dress and ended up cutting off the 2" I added. I should have added 1-2" to the sleeves as they are a little short.
2x fat quarters pink geek chic glasses print cotton
2x fat quarters white cotton as underlining for glasses print
0.5m sheer black fabric
2m black cotton suiting
2x 1" buttons
Lightweight Fusible interfacing
Black cotton thread
2m black lining
The black suiting was very good at fraying. If I were to use it again I'd suggest using hem binding and finishing all of the seams.
Overall, I'm very pleased with the style of the dress- it's really fun while being a sensible length and flattering without being too tight. I should put glasses on all of my sewing projects!
A dress for a friend who loves reading. She gave me my Famous Frocks pattern book and this is one of the last dresses that i haven't tried: the Marilyn Dress. It's an adjustable eight panel, halterneck dress.
The fabric is printed cotton and was quite heavy. I was expecting the bookshelves to be evenly spaced but the pattern only repeated itself every 3 shelves, which was difficult! I wanted the shelves to align on the skirt in V shapes but some of the them are quite shallow Vs because of that.
The skirt is fully lined in rust coloured cotton ( note to self: cotton burns and melts if you use a linen setting iron on it) which is also the contrast waist and the back of the neck straps as there wasn't quite enough space in the fabric.
The bodice is top stitch 6mm from the edge all the way around so that it falls nicely: the burgandy thread is pretty. However, the pattern does not seem to align very well at the neck strap-bodice interface: I'm not sure that it is the correct width as my neck straps turned out thinner. I don't think that's just poor cutting out!
To make it adjustable, I put two button holes (the one step button hole on my new sewing machine is amazing!) 4" apart on either side of the waist and some elastic between. The elastic also has button holes in it so that it can be tightened or loosened. The waist tie should hide any gathering.
Conveniently, the straps can be attached to these buttons too. I've put three button holes into each strap so that their length can be adjusted too.
2 spools of burgundy thread
4m rust coloured cotton
3m library print cotton
4 burgundy 1" buttons
Iron on interfacing
7" burgundy zip
Marilyn Pattern size L
Overall, it's a pretty summer dress: the book pattern worked really well. However, it is quite short: if I were to make it for myself I'd have to add 2-4" to the skirt. The back straps are also quite revealing! But I'm sure perfect for reading a book in the sun!
It's another Famous Frocks dress, this time a little disco number in honour of Diana Ross. I opted to go for the slightly more modern version.
The variation has cuffed sleeves. I also lengthened the dress by 4", added some beautiful gold tape around the edges to make it a bit more glamourous, and made the keyhole a lot smaller (between top two notches).
This dress was very easy and quick to make. It took 2m of black stretch cotton jersey and 6m of gold and black tape.
The pattern comes in four parts but I cut out the back as one piece, removing the seam allowance. If I hadn't put in the keyhole I'd have done the same with the front as seams on a tight fitting dress look clunky. You can cut them on the fold.
I sewed the side seams as princess seams to keep them neat using a stretch stitch.
For the hemlines at the skirt, neckline and sleeves, I folded the fabric over once and used a stretch zigzag stitch. This could have been made neater by folding it over twice: I was worried that would make it roll over but the gold tape was strong enough to stop that.
One of the bad things about the Famous Frocks book is that the inside of the dress looks very messy. They recommended sewing both halves of the sleeve on at once. Instead, I sewed one end of the cuff to the sleeve and then under stitched the other end of the cuff to the sewing line so you can't see the seam or the gathering.
So with the final piece, I'm all ready to party this festive season! Although I am developing a blister from hand stitching 12m of tape- next time I'll use the sewing machine!
What to do when you have left over fabric from a
black dress and a blue dress but make a black and blue dress?
It's back to Famous Frocks for another retake on a classic, this time from a Charlie's Angels star...
Famous Frocks fabric estimations are as little high: I used about a meter of each of the blue and black stretch jersey cotton to make this wrap around dress. The whole dress was sewn using poly cotton thread, ball point needles and stretch stitch.
I was slightly worried that it would look like as court jester outfit but I think the two tones is quite fun!
There are a few problems with the pattern but the main one is the interfacing: even using very light fusible interfacing makes the edges very heavy. I'd recommend only using interfacing for the collar. The seams are also quite messy if you don't have an Interlocker so I would recommend princess seams.
I top stitched with a twin needle, one blue and one black thread. I used proper stretch needles but the machine still skipped some stitches. I think this was because the interfacing was so thick.
The dress has a fake pocket with covered buttons and fake ties on the 3/4 length sleeves also sewn on with covered buttons.
The book suggests using Grosgrain ribbon for the wrap around tie but I used some of the black stretch fabric to match the rest of the dress. I also added about 2" to the skirt to make it longer.
Overall, I'm pleased with the result. A dress perfect for casual days out and fun for the office.
I've delved into Famous Frocks again to try out some stretch fabric dresses. The first is this Rita Hayworth inspired one.
It used 1.5x1.5m blue cotton jersey stretch from Tia Knight Fabrics on eBay, 50m royal blue Gutterman thread and 30cm of 6mm clear elastic.
This was the first time trying out stretch stitch on the new machine. The pattern suggested using zig zag stitches but that gave bad seams so I used a straight stretch stitch all the way through. It was a relatively easy pattern, requiring only straight stitch, ruffling and top stitching. Also an exciting first outing for the twin needle.
The ruffling is a little uneven at the top because the sewing machine kept dropping stitches. I unpicked it twice but it was starting to lose structural integrity so I just had to make do with uneven scrunching.
Ruffling was achieved by sewing a wide stitch and gathering it then sewing clear elastic over the top.
Next time it definitely needs sequins! Or velvet.
Notes for next time: stretch cotton jersey does have a right and a wrong side. Ruffle higher up the front to eliminate the odd gap.
You rip what you sew!