Thursday, 10 March 2016

Bridie: Poppyseed Dreams Bettine Dress

So for my latest White Tree Blogging Team project I picked the Tilly and the Buttons Bettine Dress, I was looking for a dress that was pretty but also practical, as a mum of a two year old its so easy to just grab the pair of old faithful jeans that don't mind the general punishment that clothes go through while chasing, crawling, and rolling about with a toddler. So when I saw this pattern it seemed like it might cope with these criteria while giving the illusion of being a "yummy mummy" (strong emphasis an illusion!)
I then had to decide on what fabric to use, never a easy decision, quiet often I'll loose hours looking at fabric online or in fabric shops I'm sure its a form of time travel! I had originally looked at a Art Gallery fabric but it was out of stock, so I thought I'd be brave and go for the Liberty fabric Poppyseed Dreams. There's something weirdly scary about cutting into fabric that's too beautiful but I thought I'd kick myself if I didn't get it!    

When it arrived the fear had well and truly set in, there was no way I was going to cut into this fabric with out being 100% prepared so decided to make a wearable toile. I don't have enough time to sew in general so I only sew things that I'll actually be able to wear after so when I toile I'll use cheaper fabric I'm not going to cry about if it goes wrong. For this wearable toile I found some fabric I had in my stash.
It was such a lovely pattern to sew the instructions were really clear and I loved the little photos that run along side, I usually just read through patterns and think well that's over complicated things (usually with commercial patterns) but with this it was a really enjoyable to read through the instructions. The pattern also has no fastenings and the option of omitting the pockets so a great one for beginners!   

After I'd finished my toile (which I'm constantly wearing its so comfortable!) I felt brave enough to cut and sew up the Liberty fabric. Thankfully everything went with out a hitch. I'm so glad I'd made a toile first it gave me a lot of confidence. 
I'm so pleased with the finished dress. I think it may be my new favorite garment in my wardrobe!

I'm so glad I took the time to change the threads on my overlocker and topped stitched in red. Even though I'm probably the only one who will notice I think such lovely fabric needed an extra bit of love while sewing up.

And this is me in my Liberty Bettine Dress as you can probably tell I'm a little bit in love with it! Looks and feels great, SO comfortable to wear and defiantly toddler proof! 

I hope you've enjoyed this post.

 If you fancy your own sewing challenge, here's a little something for you.20% off and free P&P when you order from www.whitetreefabrics.comJust enter the code SIY challenge
Happy Sewing

Heather: Pretty in Paisley

Now I know what you're thinking... "does this woman ever stop sewing?" Well no, not really! Lucky for me I've got a couple of days off this week so I'm making the most of some time with my machine and sewing in the daylight.

I called in to Fabric Corner on my day off last week and spotted this lovely paisley print viscose. As well as being addicted to remnants (more on that later) I also can't resist new fabric, and this roll still had the tape on it! Immediately I thought it would make a lovely day dress, using McCalls M7015 which has been kicking about at the back of my stash, unused, for quite a while.
With such bright colours and a really soft texture I decided to pre-wash my fabric (I have a bad habit of not doing this and have learned the hard way) but there was no colour run or shrinkage. The fabric is quite fine and floaty and really lends itself to the shape of the pattern, though it's actually really nice to work with and doesn't slip about under the machine too much. I decided to go for a mid length sleeve and the shorter length in the dress- this won't be a dress work work so I can afford to show off my knees!

I used my trusty pattern block to make some amendments to the fit across the bodice and also to check the width on the arms- if I had made size 6/8 sleeves according to the pattern size it would have been very small indeed.

And here is the finished product. Total sewing time was only 3-4 hours. A really fun make, and perfect for sitting and drinking coffee in the Craftea Cafe which is where I'm heading now...!

This 100% Viscose Paisley Print is available from Fabric Corner Lincoln, based in Lincoln's historic Central Market. McCalls patterns are available to order from the stall and also the Melville Street shop.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Heather: Pink Lace Elisalex Party Dress

I first spotted the By Hand London Elisalex dress pattern around 6 months ago, on a hunt for a full skirted pattern. BHL are an independent pattern company producing fun and feminine designs that definitely appeal to my style. When I spotted the brand listed in White Tree Fabrics extensive independent pattern selection, I knew that this would make a great first project as part of the White Tree blogging family. 

Elisalex Dress in Long Sleeve option. Image from

My fabric of choice was a lovely pink Small Flower Lace which I planned to make in a long sleeved option, teamed up with a darker pink lining to show off the lace detail.

My first task was to copy out the paper pattern onto dot and cross paper. I wouldn't usually bother, but the instructions specifically recommended it, so I took this as an opportunity to make some minor modifications to the fit using my bodice block. Having made a toile I brought the neckline up by about 2cm at the front and took 2 cm out of the centre back seam to improve the fit. At a slightly bottom heavy (not complaining!) 5'3", I also elected to shorten the skirt length by around 6 inches to finish just below the knee (and stop me looking like a pink pumpkin).

My next challenge was my choice of fabric. I had intended to use the dark pink satin (pictured above) to line the lace, but there were two problems. The first was that the lace laid only over satin was far too see-through to make a wearable garment. I would need to use two layers of satin throughout to prevent this. The second was that the darker pink satin didn't really have the effect I wanted, instead looking more like a mismatch than a carefully chosen style idea, and so I opted to use a slightly lighter pink satin from my stash. I'll use the darker pink satin in my next project, which I'm already eyeing up! (A word to the wise, White Tree Fabrics offer a completely free sampling service, so you can avoid making the same mistake.)

Pattern and fabric ready to go, I started cutting out.

Constructing the garment was fairly straightforward. The pattern is clear and uses standard markings. The instructions come in a little handbook, rather than a big fold out pattern sheet, and are clear and easy to follow. As I was using an extra layer to interline my lace I machine tacked around each piece to hold the layers together and then joined them using french seams so that they were less visible through the lace. I inserted a semi-transparent invisible zip (see second image above) into the centre back. This type of zip is excellent if you're using semi transparent fabrics and I love the stylish metal pull. 

Here is the finished garment. As you will see I left the sleeves unlined and I've teamed it with some new jewellery, which all together will be making an appearance at my Birthday party next weekend.

What do you think?


 If you fancy your own sewing challenge, here's a little something for you.
20% off and free P&P when you order from
Just enter the code SIY challenge

Happy Sewing!