Dotty Ruby Dress

I’m in love with Ruby!

Simple Sew Ruby Dress - Blue Polka Dots! 4

Of course that’s me in the photo; I’m talking about the Ruby dress by Simple Sew.

I started making it early last week and finished it just in time for the weekend, when my lovely mum gave my partner and I the night off and we spent it in 4* luxury in Gloucestershire. I’m sure you understand that I needed a new dress for the occasion!

I fell in love with Ruby as soon as I saw it in the ‘coming up in Issue 5’ feature in Love Sewing magazine. It’s my kind of style dress – the high neckline and fabulous flouncy circle skirt.

Love Sewing mag[Image swiped from]

And, luckily, it hasn’t disappointed me.

Simple Sew Ruby Dress - Blue Polka Dots!

For a start, I looooove the skirt. I’ve never made a circle skirt before, but know this is going to be the first of many because I just love the shape of it. It took hours to hem because I decided that I wanted to make a good job of it; so blind stitched it. I thought that if I machine stitched it, it would have been very visible when the stitches ran through the white dots. Of course hemming was the last thing to do and I was really happy with the dress to that point, so I didn’t want to ruin it!

Simple Sew Ruby Dress - Blue Polka Dots!

Now, back to the beginning. I cut a size 8 based on my measurements. Of course, I didn’t make a toile. Luckily I did think to try it on as I went along, though. I forgot to take photos but I found the bodice to be too big in the front after I had inserted the darts. So I quickly thought on the spot and put it on inside-out; pinning the excess fabric to continue the waist darts up quite a bit further, taking in the excess fabric. I basted the new elongated darts in place, and found the fit to be a lot better. The waist darts almost look like princess seams now; although they don’t go all the way to the neck. It ruined the effect of the polka dots a bit, but I guess I can’t have it all!

Simple Sew Ruby Dress - Blue Polka Dots!

I also cut down the neckline as it was almost choking me! I took my time on this and I’m glad that it paid off; you an see the dots are pretty damn symmetrical!

Simple Sew Ruby Dress - Blue Polka Dots!

I wonder if you can see the one little thing I’m not happy with?

Simple Sew Ruby Dress - Blue Polka Dots!

The dots at the waist seam (in the middle) do not quite match up. I’m annoyed about this because I cut the pieces to have the spots perfectly running down the middle. But when sewn, they moved a tad out of line. I might unpick and try again, but to be perfectly honest, I probably won’t get round to it! I might make a little bow belt to cover it, instead… we’ll see.

The back isn’t too bad, but, again, I did cut the pieces to have the dots joining up over the seam so that they run vertically. But when I tried the dress on before adding the zip it was nearly too tight, so I decided to lessen the seam allowance a little when I inserted the zip. So my careful cutting went to waste.

Simple Sew Ruby Dress - Blue Polka Dots!

Nevertheless I’m happy with how the zip went in, and I quite like the v-back! At least it fits!

Simple Sew Ruby Dress - Blue Polka Dots!

I was going to lengthen the bodice and skirt like I have seen others do, but forgot until I’d made the bodice – so I just lengthened the skirt an inch or so (actually I just cut the size 18 length). And I’m really happy with it; the bodice length is fine! 🙂

Simple Sew Ruby Dress - Blue Polka Dots!

One of my favourite things about the dress is that I made French seams for the side and waist seams (the centre back seam has the zip so it’s just zigzagged). I love this finish; French seams look so neat, with all the raw edges enclosed. I’m so happy I thought ahead to do it; the pattern doesn’t tell you to do it and I’m [usually] a sucker for following instructions!

Simple Sew Ruby Dress - Blue Polka Dots! (French Seams)

This is such a comfortable dress; I will definitely make another when I come across the right fabric. I bought this fabric pretty cheap on eBay but it’s very nice and feels like lawn. I’m glad I have about a metre left to make something else with 🙂

Right, I’d better go and do the school run…

Beth x

The Mr Tumble Jumper

If you’re a parent/work with kids/know kids at all you should be aware of this guy who is very irritating but has some kind of magical powers with kids (i.e. he’s a brilliant children’s entertainer):

Mr Tumble Source: Source:

My 5-year-old was obsessed with him, and now my nearly-2-year old is. She calls him ‘Bumble.’ And she loves his spotty bag.

Now, getting to the point – I made a fleece for said little girl, and it’s spotty – hence we christened it the Mr Tumble jumper. (I’m well aware that it’s not technically a jumper since it’s made out of fleece, but in my household we tend to call everything that kind of resembles a jumper a jumper…!)

Mr Tumble Jumper (Little girls fleece) @AfterDarkSewing

This really was a bribe of mine that luckily paid of because she was not keen at all for me to pull it over her head until I told her it’s a Mr Tumble jumper!

I used the pattern in Love Sewing magazine (issue 7); the Foxy Tunic. The lowest size is 2 years so I just made that even though little’un is not 2 until the end of February and wears age 1.5-2 years. There’s no harm in a little growing room. The sleeves are rolled up a good few inches and it’s more like a tunic than a top…

Mr Tumble Jumper (little girl's fleece) @AfterDarkSewing

By the way, don’t ask why she’s wearing a woolly hat inside!!

It’s probably half a foot too long for her, haha…

Mr Tumble Jumper (little girl's fleece) @AfterDarkSewing

But really, it was lucky that I didn’t grade it down a size because once I made it I couldn’t fit the darned thing over her head. And no, my daughter does not have an abnormally big head. So I don’t know what happened there. I don’t know if it’s the pattern’s fault or mine (probably mine) but it was a pain in the bum to say the least. I ended up unpicking the facing away and stitching it further from the edge, creating a lower ‘v’ at the front. That was not fun. I used stretch stitch; nice and strong but it was torturous to unpick, particularly when you’ve got all that fuzzy fleece getting in a… fuzz. But thank goodness once I had finished it, it did do the job – however I did lose some of the facing in the process. And it’s still not as loose as I would like it to be! But I was not going to unpick it again!!

Mr Tumble Jumper (little girl's fleece) @AfterDarkSewing

Luckily the rest is lovely. I really enjoyed working with fleece; it was so easy to sew and I didn’t need to bother finishing any edges apart from those of the facing (which is a nice blue-y colour knit I have in my stash). I like it peeking out. 🙂

Mr Tumble Jumper (little girl's fleece) @AfterDarkSewing

It features little splits at the hems, which are kind of pointless because it would be big enough without them, but they’re cute. The pattern called for twill tape to make them. Well I didn’t even know what that was but I found some kind of tape in my jar which is either twill tape or something like it… so I used that. My sewing was scruffiest at this stage. I think it probably slipped a bit. But because I was sewing white on white and it’s on the inside and it’s only a kid’s top… I didn’t worry about it!

Mr Tumble Jumper (little girl's fleece) @AfterDarkSewing

The only changes I made to the pattern were to omit the strips on the cuffs because as I said they are too long so I don’t think they would have worked… and I didn’t sew down the facing (apart from close to the neckline). Sorry – you’ll only get what I’m on about if you know the pattern! I might change my mind and do this so it stops flapping up, but I’m fearful because I’ve messed around with the neckline enough already!

Mr Tumble Jumper (little girl's fleece) @AfterDarkSewing

I definitely want to make another top in fleece before the weather changes. I’m not sure about this pattern, though, because of the neckline. Any suggestions, please?

Beth x

Christmas Decorations!

My blog feed is jam-packed with Christmassy posts lately so it’s about time I joined in, isn’t it?

So here are my most recent makes – little Christmas trees with cinnamon sticks as their trunks.

Christmas tree decs

Lucie @ Love, Lucie reminded me that I wanted to make some of these after I spotted them in Love Sewing magazine. Hers were so cute I wasn’t sure if mine would could contend with them… But I have to say I’m quite pleased with how they turned out. I envisaged them to be made in either a rustic kind of fabric, or cute Christmassy fabric – but I realised I didn’t even buy any Christmas fabric this year. It’s come around so fast!! So I made do with what I have already. I found the cute greenery fabric in my  stash, and the red was free with Love Sewing magazine (which I had forgotten about!)

I also made another one in a polka dot cotton, but this happened…

christmas tree gone wrong...

Urgh. I just need to unpick that top bit and re-sew, but can I be bothered? Maybe one day…

And I messed up the cutting out of the red patterned fabric (I cut a corner off somehow) so I was down to only one red tree and three green.

christmas trees

I just love the cinnamon sticks used for the trunks. My youngest does too… the jar of them kept her occupied for ages whilst I stitched them in place – she kept taking the lid off and smelling them before offering them to everyone else to smell. Bless her, she’s easily pleased.

cinnamon stick for a trunk : christmas tree decs

I intended to make a garland with them, but because the numbers decreased, and I have three of the same design, I’m just leaving them as hanging decorations. And because I don’t really need three identical trees, I’ve decided to send one to my #sewingsanta recipient, and one to a friend. I’m keeping one green and the only red one for myself 😛

Here they are hung on my tree – next to my cute robin I made last year:



And whilst we’re on the subject of decorations, at the weekend my daughter and I had a productive Hama bead session. You’re never too old for these fiddly yet addictive beads!! I made a Santa and a snowflake, which I’m rather proud of and I won’t mention the fact that I simply copied the designs from the Inspiration book and Pinterest…Oops.

Hama Bead Christmas Decorations

I should have thought about the fact that I was going to hang them before I ironed them because I now can’t thread the string though the holes of the snowflake as they melted shut… You live and learn, I suppose.

Finally I had better share some photos of the bunting I contributed to and some of you did ask. (You may have read my post about my ‘r’ – as a group of parents we made a string of bunting reading ‘Merry Christmas’ to be hung at my local Children’s Centre.) Well, here it is!

Merry Christmas Bunting Banner

It turned out really well, particularly considering that we all have different levels of sewing skills and we didn’t know what others were doing on theirs; the end result works really well.

Merry Christmas!!

Beth x