VFT London aka the twirly summer dress!

Hi! I made something for my daughter for a change so thought I’d pop on and show you! I made it with the intention to sell the style, so I was allowed. 😉

It’s the Violette Field Threads new pattern – the London dress. I made the most of the couple of days of sunshine we had!!

twirly summer dress standing pb

I made it in a gorgeous Liberty of London cotton lawn that’s adorned with sweeties! So cute! I realised how apt it was to be making a London dress out of Liberty fabric afterwards. 😀

The dress features a ruffly hem but I left that out (who’s got time for all that ruffling haha… I’m really not a ruffles and frills person) and just added 3″ to the length of the skirt.

twirly summer dress sitting pb

It’s got the teeniest bodice, a really full skirt, and tie-up straps. A quick and simple sew, with just a few techniques required – gathering, bias binding, and the usual seams and hem!

twirly summer dress flat lay pb

In true matchy matchy Pink Bobbins style, I made a matching bow hairband, and it’s safe to say little A loves the outfit and wants to wear it ALL THE TIME!! 🙂

sweetie twirly dress and hairband pb

Can you blame her? Just look at the spin effect!

twirly summer dress twirling pb

I totally recommend this pattern, it’s brilliantly written and the outcome is just so gorgeous.

Of course if you don’t want to make your own you can always by mine at Pink Bobbins. 😛

Beth x

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Quick denim skirt refashion

Check me out – I sewed this today and I’m blogging about it today! 😀

Well I do like a nice little refashion. This is a super simple ladies skirt to child’s skirt refashion!

So to begin with, this was a soft denim skirt, originally from New Look however I imagine I bought it from the car boot sale or somewhere…

denim skirt refashion

I really like the style (i.e. denim circle skirt!) and have worn it a few times, however it’s pretty short and does ride up, too. And can you see the hem? It’s dreadful and really irritates me. I don’t know if it was designed to be like that or just badly sewn; either way, I don’t like it.

denim skirt refashion

Sooo I’ve been looking at it recently and thought it was destined to become something else;  a little girl’s skirt. Or, a big girl’s skirt, I should say – for seven-year-old S.

It’s a simple refashion, so I took some pics along the way. First I lay a skirt that fits S on top of the denim one. (Conveniently, I made the zebra one!)

denim skirt refashionAs you can see, the length is just about right already! And there’s just a few inches difference in the waistband. About 2″, on the fold.

denim skirt refashion

First of all I unpicked the little seam on the waistband, and tugged that elastic out. Luckily the elastic wasn’t sewn in, or else I wouldn’t have been able to do this.

I measured 2″ (folded), and cut.

denim skirt refashion

Then took a moment to inspect the elastic and found that it had only been sewn together with one straight line. I tend to sew a square as it’s stronger…

denim skirt refashion

So I did! Sometimes I sew diagonal lines inside, too – but didn’t bother if even a single line was strong enough before! With a nice contrasting red thread, because that’s what was in the machine…

denim skirt refashion

I then tucked the elastic back inside, and handstitched up the gap. That’s the waistband sorted!

denim skirt refashion

Now, I could have left the skirt like that and it’d be fine – but that wiggly hem would annoy me for the rest of my days, so I had to chop it off. I had the length to spare, as I know the zebra skirt I compared the length with is a tad longer than it needs to be.

So I chopped off the hem just above the stitching, and sewed a double-fold hem.

denim skirt refashion

Ta-dah! I have to say, I much prefer my hem!!

denim skirt refashion

S loves it, she’s wearing it now ready for Rainbows. And I love it too – I much prefer it on her! Job done!

Beth x

I gave up and started something else

A couple of weeks ago it was Kids Clothes Week. You may have seen the fairytale trousers I upcycled for my toddler. I really pleased with them; I haven’t actually altered them at all (I thought I would have to make the rise longer but it turns out that they fit better than they did the first time we tried them!)

Next I wanted to make two simple skirts for my daughters, like this:

The Sewing Book - pink girls skirt

[Unfortunately that’s not my skirt – it’s the one in Alison Smith’s The Sewing Book]

I’m ashamed to admit: these simple skirts defeated me. I can hardly believe that I struggled to make something so simple!

Using some skirts that fit my daughters, I cut out the pieces from a pink duvet cover that my granny gave me to use as fabric. I thought I would be all clever working like a little production line; I French seamed both skirts in turn…

French seam on girls pink skirt

… and hand stitched an invisible hem on both. (These photos are of the bigger skirt.) So I was left with two bands to work with.

pink girls skirt

Then I started the decorative work on the smallest skirt. I made the adorable tucks, which are pressed up and down in turn – I love the effect.

Then I hand embroidered the flowers.

embroidered flower - pink girls skirt

And then I had a sudden moment of realisation. Have you noticed my mistake? I had not taken into account the fact that I should have cut the fabric longer to accommodate the tucks. So the skirt had lost a lot of it’s length. My daughter is nearly 2, not newborn. What a stupid mistake!! I just wasn’t thinking! I must have been tired on the cutting-out evening. Lesson learned!

I didn’t even take photos because I was so distraught! But I can tell you that the new skirt was not as high in length as the ready-made one I was using as a guide. And of course I wanted to add an elasticated waistband, I would have needed another inch or so at the top. It was a good few inches to short!

So I cut out another few inches of fabric (luckily I had PLENTY) and stitched it on the top. Then I folded it over and sewed to make the waistband. This is where I’m at now, and I’ve shoved it to the side, along with the other “skirt” – or rather, a band with pretty embroidery a neat hem. The skirt still came up to short. I was fed up, I rushed it, and it all went wrong.

how small is this skirt

I wasted so much time doing the tucks and embroidery – which, typically, was all so neat!!

skirt gone wrong

Well, I’m going to forget about that, now.

I’ve moved on to something else. Actually – two things, to be precise.

You may have seen in my Sunday Sevens post at the weekend I started the needlework purse that I was given for my birthday.

needlework

And I have started making a ‘Sew Simple’ Ruby Dress – the one that came free with Love Sewing magazine a few months ago. I’m making it in this fabulous spotty cotton.

Blue polka dot cotton - ruby dress

I hope to complete it by this weekend so that I can wear it out on my first child-free night away for some time!

Wish me luck and no stupid mistakes with this one…

Beth x

Kids Clothes Week ~ Upcycled Trousers

Last Friday I found out that it’s Kids Clothes Week this week. This is a challenge where you sew clothes for your kids for an hour every day for seven days. The theme this season is ‘upcycled.’ So it’s right up my street!

I didn’t have any time to plan so on Monday I plucked an idea out of my head and dove straight in.

I remembered that I bought these funky trousers [I’m tempted to call them jeans but they’re not really… The fabric is a nice medium weight and has some stretch] in a charity shop for the sole purpose of refashioning them:

Trousers to upcycle

Look at the print! Cute or what?!!

print close up

They were originally from Topshop and size 8; meant for a woman… I think that fairytale print is destined for a little girl… So on Monday I cut them up to fit my little girl. I used a pair of jeans that fit her nicely to figure out what size to cut the legs. I wanted the legs, back pockets and waistband; the middle chunk was saved for another time.

upcycling trousers

I’m not sure if that took me one hour – if it did that was rather slow of me… But I guess I did make sure I was doing it right and had some distractions – namely EastEnders – oh, and I did also press the seams of pockets ready for sewing!

On Tuesday I started the fun bit – or rather, what was supposed to be the fun bit; sewing it all together. Instead of my prescribed one hour sewing, I took nearly three. I think I did more unpicking than sewing. But eventually, I ended up with this; a mini pair of trousers:

Toddler trousers - upcycled from a woman's pair of trousers @AfterDarkSewing

Awwwwww 🙂

After the success of last weeks dungarees, I was feeling confident. If I can make dungarees out of old jeans, I should be able to make trousers, right? Well the result is – right… but that waistband nearly finished me off. More on that later.

The first thing I did was sew the back pockets in place. I didn’t bother with front pockets. Life’s too short; she’s only nearly-2. I’m much happier with these little pockets than I am with those on last week’s dungarees. They sit in line perfectly.

Toddler trousers - upcycled from a woman's pair of trousers @AfterDarkSewing

I toyed with the idea of inserting the fly but came to the conclusion that it would be too much effort seeing as it probably/hopefully won’t be needed; I never use the zip if there is one on my daughter’s trousers. So I saved that for another upcycle!

Next I stitched the crotch together and then tackled the waistband. Keeping the original was supposed to make life easier, but it just wasn’t playing fair. It was fiddly, and when I eventually got it stitched down in place pretty neatly, I took it off the machine and was greeted with this:

Toddler trousers - upcycled from a woman's pair of trousers @AfterDarkSewing

Can you feel my pain? It took me forever to unpick that mess. And I couldn’t even see a reasonable explanation for it. And then when I re-stitched the waistband in place, of course it wasn’t as neat as it was the first time. ARGHH!! But I kept reminding myself that my daughter is growing fast and they won’t be worn for long so does it matter if they’re not perfect? No.

Every cloud has a silver lining, though. I forgot to leave gaps to insert some elastic the first time – so I did that on the second try! It was fiddly but I shoved a piece in the back and stitched it down on both sides, so that it’s just elasticated at the back. I’m pleased with how this turned out!

Upcycle old trousers into cute girl's one! @AfterDarkSewing

Did you notice the label/ribbon above all the mess, though? That, I do like. I sewed it on top of the Topshop label – just in case anyone would have thought Topshop made them. They do still have the Topshop (Moto) button on the front, though. Oh well – it’s not a bad brand!

Toddler trousers - upcycled from a woman's pair of trousers @AfterDarkSewing

I’m pretty pleased with how the button sits. It took me some time to figure out how to get it all lined up, but I did it! I topstitched some lines where the pockets and fly would be, but you can barely see them because I don’t have a proper thick topstitching thread and my thread was a very good colour match!

Upcycle old trousers into cute girl's one! @AfterDarkSewing

Yes, they are a bit long. I will probably do something about that, though, because they’re a bit low on the bum. This is possibly because my little one wears cloth nappies so could be rectified by potty training; but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen anytime soon. So I will probably sew further down the crotch to make them bigger in the bum and consequently shorter in the leg.

Upcycle old trousers into cute girl's one! @AfterDarkSewing

Yeah… she doesn’t seem to mind, but they are rather low down her bum!

There’s still four days left of Kids Clothes Week and I have an order of matching girl’s skirts to fulfil. Of course I will be back to share them! Til then… Happy upcycling!

Beth x

I Can Sew a Rainbow

My five-year-old recently put an order in for a rainbow dress. I didn’t disappoint her.

Rainbow dress

The idea came from the blog of ‘A Jennuine Life’, which I stumbled upon on Pinterest. From the photo it looked amazing. I read the blog post and – wow – she’d made it perfectly, and it looked a bit difficult. It involves lots of piecing and lining up. Plus she mentioned that she switched threads for every colour. Could I really be bothered to do that? The bigger question, though, was could I actually make the dress at all? See, there was no pattern, or even tutorial. Unfortunately by the time I had realised that, I had my heart set on making a curvy rainbow dress. So… I had one hell of a challenge on my hands. But I did it!!

Rainbow dress

Of course, I cut a few corners. I didn’t totally copy the other blogger’s dress. I admit I stole the curvy design – but I simplified things by keeping the back plain.

Rainbow dress - back

I am quite impressed with how this dress turned out, because I drafted the pattern and construction all by myself! Having only started making clothes a couple of months ago, that’s quite an achievement in my eyes.

Rainbow dress

Seeing as there is no pattern or tutorial for a dress like this, I thought I would type up what I did here – a) to help myself remember how to make this fab dress, so I can whip it up much more quickly, and b) to provide it for any of you lovely readers, so you don’t have to think too much!

So, here it is – my first little tutorial. Now, I totally made it up as I was going along, from start to finish, so there were errors. This is not a professional tutorial! But it WILL result in a beautiful rainbow dress.

First, take a well-fitting A-line dress from your model’s wardrobe, and lay it on some paper (in my case a roll of kids’ paper).

Rainbow dress - draw pattern

Draw around it, adding a 5/8″ seam allowance. If your dress has sleeves, fold them out the way and draw along where the seam line is, creating a sleeveless dress template.

Rainbow dress - pattern making

Cut this out, fold it in half, and correct yourself if your sides aren’t symmetrical.

Next, with this piece still folded, trace around it to make your dress front (lining) piece. You will cut this on the fold. Now, use this piece to draft your dress back piece. Simply line it up on more paper, spacing it 5/8″ from the long edge, as shown below:

Rainbow dress - making back pattern piece

Draw around the whole thing, along all the edges – just making that gap down the long side so that you have an added seam allowance for your zip. And cut it out!

So, you will now have your dress back piece, and your dress front piece – which is just for the lining – both half-dress sizes. I made mistakes on writing on the pieces – of course you do not cut the back pieces on the fold!

Rainbow dress - pattern pieces

Put these to one side. You’re now going to work on the front of the dress. Take your large dress front piece, and draw sweeping lines across it to create seven blocks. This took me a couple of attempts – you want the blocks to be fairly consistent in width – but don’t stress over the measurements; just use your eye.

Rainbow dress - pieces drawn

And cut out your pieces. Write the corresponding colour on each piece so that you don’t get confused later on.

Rainbow dress - pieces cut

Now this is the time-consuming bit. You can’t use those pieces because they have no seam allowance. Having said that, I guess you could use them and just cut your fabric wider than the pieces – but I would probably forget. So if you’d like to do it like I did, trace the pieces onto more paper, adding a 5/8″ seam allowance. It was only when I got to the cutting out stage that I realised I needn’t make the seam allowance all the way around – only between the colours (i.e. the long sides of the pieces). However, bare with me, because cutting a seam allowance all the way round worked in my favour. It meant that I didn’t have to be 100% precise with sewing. And somehow, I didn’t end up with a dress that was 5/8″ larger all the way around – the edges were jagged. You will get what I mean when you see the photo further down; for now, just redraw and cut your pieces with a 5/8″ seam allowance all the way around.

Rainbow dress - making pieces

Now, you will have seven pieces cut. They won’t all fit together because of the seam allowances, but don’t worry – it’s fine. You may wish to mark where the grainline will be. Excuse my random paperweights! You won’t have cut out the red piece at the top yet – I only realised I should think about grainlines after I’d cut that piece!

Rainbow dress - pieces

Hooray – you have all your pieces ready! Now to start cutting.

Grab your fabrics in an array of colours. I bought 1/2m in all, but 1m in lilac for the lining, and it was plenty (for an age 5 dress):

Rainbow dress - fabrics

Now cut:
> Lining pieces – 1 x dress front piece on the fold, and 2 x dress back pieces.
> 2 x dress back pieces in any colour – I used red because I had more of it due to the red piece being the smallest – and I think it looks good.
> Your rainbow pieces.

Rainbow dress - red pattern piece

Phew. Now you have all your pieces cut, you can finally start sewing 🙂

Get your first two pieces (in my case red and orange – but you may like to put your colours in reverse order – or not even use all the actual rainbow colours). Pin them together along their long sides. You will have bits poking out. Now, this is where I found that added seam allowance useful, because it means you don’t have to be 100% precise. Stitch along the edge, and it doesn’t matter if the start and finish aren’t equal (but of course try to make them as equal as possible, or you will cause yourself problems!)

Rainbow dress - piecing together

Continue this way, stitching all the pieces together (with a 5/8″ seam allowance), until you have something that looks like this:

Rainbow dress - piecing done

Notice how the edges are uneven? It’s absolutely fine. Now press all the seams open.

Rainbow dress - piecing done

Now, you can grab your dress front lining piece and place it on top. You will probably see that the edges are uneven, like in the left-hand-side photo below. That’s fine – you can simply trim around the edges to make it all neat!

Rainbow dress - tidy up

Next, put your lining and main dress together. You will then be left with a lining consisting of a dress front piece and back pieces, and a main dress consisting of your rainbow front piece and back pieces. So, with right sides together, pin and stich down the long edges of the lining, and then do the same with the main dress.

Rainbow dress - stitch backs to fronts

Rainbow dress - back to front

Press the seams open. It’s coming along nicely!

Now to put the lining and main dress together. I followed the same technique as I used for the Cottage Mama Party Dress. It looks a bit confusing, but it works.

First, put right sides together, and stitch along only where I have indicated below. This is along the neckline (front and back), and the armholes. You leave a couple of inches up to the shoulders, and the tops of the shoulders free.

Rainbow dress - stitch neckline

Clip the corners (or use pinking shears – a great tip), trim, turn right side out, and press. Now, I got carried away and pinked around the whole edge. DON’T do this! It makes it very difficult to know where the seam allowance will be for your shoulders. Trim only where you have actually just sewn. You can see in the photo below that the shoulders are zigzagged – they shouldn’t be!

Rainbow dress - neckline stitched

Now for the fiddly part. I will try to describe it the best I can. You are going to stich the front shoulder piece to the back shoulder piece. So, take a shoulder from the front of the dress and a shoulder from the back of the dress, and hold them right sides together; pin. You will have the rainbow piece lying against the back piece (in my case red), and the front lining lying against the back lining). If you are doing this now, it should make sense!

Rainbow dress - shoulders

You are going to stitch along this edge:

Rainbow dress - shoulders

And you will end up with something like this (although not so scruffy if you didn’t trim those edges!) The arrow shows where you have stitched.

Rainbow dress - shoulders

You should see it really come into shape now, it’s a great technique. Now you just need to press the edges under…

Rainbow dress - shoulders

… and either slipstitch the gap, or topstitch around the armhole. (I slipstitched.)

Rainbow dress - sleeves

Repeat the process for the other shoulder!

Now it’s time to add the zip. Mine was 9″ concealed (I think!) – it won’t really matter exactly how long it is (and of course it will depend on the size of your dress!) – just have it going down about halfway.

I’m not going to bother explaining how to insert a zip because there are some great tutorials out there. I learnt with Thread Carefully’s tutorial – it means you can insert it with your ordinary zipper foot.

Rainbow dress - zip

Once the zip is in place, finish stitching the back seam. Then measure how far up your zip ends, and use this measurement to stitch the back seam of the lining, up to this point. Press the rest of the seam allowance open.

Rainbow dress - lining

Slipstitch the lining in place down the zip – being sure not to go through to the main back piece. Keep the lining away from the zip or it will get stuck! Mine is not very straight and neat, but I didn’t really care. It won’t get seen. Tuck the top of the zip to the sides so that the zip is right at the top of the dress.

Rainbow dress - lining

Now all you need to do is hem it – and give it a good press. Now, you could hem the main dress and lining separately; but I decided to hem it all together because I didn’t finish any seams inside. Therefore the hem is thicker, but it isn’t actually too chunky. I debated with myself over the colour of thread. It would be nice to match the thread to the colours of the fabric, to hide it. But to be honest, at this point I didn’t really care and just went for a red thread to match the back. I think it looks fine. Fold and press the hem under twice, and stitch close to the fold.

Rainbow dress - hem

And that’s ‘it’!!

Rainbow dress

It definitely fits the brief of a ‘rainbow dress,’ doesn’t it?

Rainbow dress

It would be fabulous with a rainbow back, too. It wouldn’t be much more difficult to make – it’s making those paper pieces that is the irritating stage! Especially when your paper is all curly, haha.

Rainbow dress - back

I think the end result looks pretty neat.

Rainbow dress - back

Thankfully the dress fits my little girl – it’s always a bit of a worry that it won’t fit after you’ve put so much effort into it. I do always have the back-up of a younger girl to grow into it, though! The armholes do look a bit tight, but she assured me that they’re not, so I won’t worry about it!

Rainbow dress

I hope you find this useful… if you do make a dress like this, please comment below as I would love to see it. I also welcome any other comments or questions!

The Rainbow Dress - Tutorial

Beth x

I’ve joined the Sorbetto tribe!

I’ve seen these Sorbetto tops a lot in the sewing blog community. A free pattern, quick and easy to sew – I thought it’s about time I joined in.

My Sorbetto Top

I bought the pretty fabric when I went on a bit of an online shopping spree at Minerva Crafts. Isn’t it cute! I actually bought it with the intention of making a top, but at the time wasn’t aware of the Sorbetto. Then I came across the pattern and decided that would be the one!

Pink Delicate Summer Garden Flowers Polycotton

I actually used some of the fabric a few weeks ago to make an easy-peasy A-line dress for my toddler, but luckily I still had plenty left for this project. So now little one and I have clothes in matching fabrics – cute as it is, I’m not sure we will wear them on the same day! You can barely see where I end and she begins!

Matching Prints!

The Sorbetto comes as a free PDF pattern so requires you to print, cut, match together, and stick the pieces of paper before you get started so it’s a bit of a faff but as it’s only two basic pieces and they lined up as they should it wasn’t as annoying as constructing that Brigitte dress pattern!

I’m really happy with how the top turned out. The only thing I would do differently should I make it again is give it more length. It’s not too short but it’s just a personal preference; I just prefer longer tops. The rest of the fit is great, though. Oh, I did alter the armholes slightly (I tried it on before the binding stage and found it quite restricting around the arms) by simply cutting curves inside the lower edges. I’m glad I did this because it made the top more comfortable, which means I will actually wear it.

P1070669

As you can see, I made my own bias tape so that it blends in with the top. I got carried away and thought I would make more for future projects that may call for pretty binding – so I ended up making just over 3.6m!

P1070659

So I had a little play with it before using it. Because making bias binding is not difficult (when you know how) but it is a pain when you just want to get on with sewing your garment. So making quite a length in one go (when you don’t even need to) is quite an achievement in my eyes… I may as well do something with it before cutting it up!

Bias Tape Spelling!

I learnt one new technique making this top – a different way of attaching binding. Or more specifically, not the whole process of attaching it, but the way you start and end to ensure a neat finish. If you have made the Sorbetto, you should know what I mean! I used to just overlap the ends – which can get fiddly – but their instructions are to join the ends of the tape and then stitch those few inches of tape down. The result is a nice neat finish, where you barely notice the join. Lovely 🙂

Sorbetto Binding

I’m now really happy to sew darts now. Everything gets easier with practice. These went in with no mistakes, and I’m really pleased with how smooth they are. There’s not a lot worse than pointy darts!
In fact now I think about it, my unpicker didn’t come out at all during the whole making of this top. That is a big achievement for me!! Wahoo!! 😀

Sorbetto Darts

 

Sorbetto Top

So that’s it. A simple top, a simple sew, but a great amount of pleasure and pride in its creation!

Beth x