Tag Archives: Fabric stash

Damson Gin Dress

When I posted my brown NL6000 dress I asked for help with an ‘n’ shaped ripple of fabric under my bust.

Brown 6000 Fitting IssueI had a few suggestions and speculations but no one seemed confident. Returning to the dress in the New Year I wanted to be able to see the fitting problem in a new light. I took a long hard look in a full length mirror, I pinched, I prodded, I fidgeted… I even tried on un-padded and really, really padded bras (self-SBA and self-FBA without surgery if you will). And then…

Brown 6000 Fitting Issue b

If I imagined the lines of the bust darts and the waist darts extended… *gasp* they didn’t cross at the apex of my bust! The waist darts needed to be moved towards the centre by 1 inch.

Dart position

With no fabric purchases allowed I shopped my stash. At first I went for some mystery black suiting that I had no plans for but when I had the pattern pieces laid out, it dawned on me that it’d be hard to see or photograph fitting issues and the whole point of this make was to get rid of that ‘n’ shaped issue! A quick re-think and I sacrificed this purple suiting that was meant to become a pencil skirt.

Damson Gin Dress 6000
This make made me realise that although we have the same measurement, my bust is different to my dressmakers dummy. The darts look ridiculously close on her. So, has moving the darts solved the mysterious fitting issue on me?

Damson Gin Dress FrontLooks okay from this angle… and more ease in the hips helps smooth things out in that region too.

Damson Gin Dress SideStill no bust ripple from this angle either.

Thank you sewing gods for reminding me of dart positioning.

Thank you sewing gods for reminding me of dart positioning.

Yeah, I think the ripple has been banished. I’m also happier with a bit more ease round the hips.


So why is it called the Damson Gin dress? Ah well the damson purple is on the outside and the gin part is on the inside…

Damson Gin Dress Hem

Over 3 meters of this gorgeous silvery white lining was languishing in my stash. It reminds me of the silvery blue sheen that gin has. I was feeling quite chuffed with my stash shopping and even used the bias binding I’d made from the leftover scraps of my blouse to bind the raw edge before hemming. Bother, that blouse would have gone great with a purple pencil skirt! Nevermind, I’m still on track with my Stash Diet.

Damson Gin Dress CuffI’m considering switching the buttons for fabric covered. Undecided yet.

Want to see more details? I took loads of photos, I think the number of photos in my posts correlates to how pleased I am with my make!

Damson Gin Dress

I fully lined the dress including the sleeves. It’s pretty easy due to the sleeve cuffs but does require some extra understitching to stop the lining rolling to the outside. I found myself swapping the different coloured threads on my sewing machine constantly. Perhaps I’ll stick with matching lining to make things easier in future!

Damson Gin Dress Zip

Another cool lining detail was attaching it by machine to the zip… I thought it’d be difficult but it’s actually pretty easy (following Tasia’s instructions).

Damson Gin Dress Vent

I shoe horned in my favourite skilllining a vent.

It's not easy demonstrating a lined vent while wearing the dress!

It’s not easy demonstrating a lined vent while wearing the dress!

Like this? I’m going to be telling you all about how you can get involved with lined vents tomorrow!

Damson Gin Dress Lined Vent


Stash Delve: Snood, Buff or Neck Warmer?

The ‘smaller scraps’ part of my stash seems to ebb and flow with a high frequency. One day the box will be neat and tidy, then I’ll cut out a toile or two and the lid won’t go on properly. I focused this stash delve on the main fabrics causing the lid problem – jersey.


I used this tutorial at Sewn Studio. My largest piece of scrap jersey (left over from my ticker tape maxi dress) was a little small so I have a snug-fitting snood but it doesn’t strangle.

Stash Delve: Cushions

This stash delve used up a pair of cushion inners that have been hanging around my sewing cupboard for far too long. I needed the space for my new overlocker… did I mention I got an overlocker for my birthday?!


The cheerful fabric is from Ikea (I found another great fabric while I was there too). This is a heavy weight printed cotton by designer Malin Åkerblom (Check out this fabric as an Elisalex dress). These cushions have brightened the room up nicely.


Just easy, simple envelope cushion covers – ’nuff said.

My birthday giveaway is still open so register your interest by leaving a comment on the giveaway post before midnight on Sunday 21st July.

Stash Delve: Knickers

It took me at least ten minutes to work out which was the centre front seam of the free Amerson Undie pattern from Madalynne. Once I’d worked it out, I wrote it on the pattern pieces for future reference.

Amerson pattern

The stash delved fabric is leftover silk-cotton blend from my Ditto Dotty Dress. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough fabric left to match the print at the seams. I found sewing the elastic with zigzag stitch a bit tricky – I felt like I was wrestling with my sewing machine. There is visible improvement between the waist and first leg hole. Then I found a few online videos clips which helped me to work out where my hands should be and I realised that my error was I was holding the fabric and elastic up in the air instead of stretching the elastic then anchoring this to the fabric by pressing into the extension table and following the speed of the feed dogs through. The second leg hole has even stitching all the way round! I needed to master this technique for the swimsuit I’m making for Swimalong 2013.Amerson Undies

On reflection, I won’t be putting the underwear shops out of business… but I might have a second go.

Sewing Global: When in Rome…

…or Melbourne to be precise.

Sewing TourismI took my new hobby abroad by visiting Tessuti in Melbourne. Luckily it’s close to a good coffee shop which kept my Husband and Father-in-Law entertained while I browsed the delicious fabrics.

Armed with my notebook containing detailed notes for all the patterns in my ‘to make’ queue, I entered the shop. My first lap of the shop floor was just to suck in the atmosphere and calm my excitement. On my second lap I identified two fabrics that I liked in different ways. On my third lap I decided to be restrained and choose just one of these two candidates and, finally, I came to a decision.


This is Jumping Jacks printed 100% cotton twill. The ladies at Tessuti were very helpful, I showed my notes on the Sureau dress pattern and they confirmed that this was a suitable fabric type. No doubt they were amused by my awestruck expression at visiting a fabric shop that is famous amoungst the sewing community and highly blogged about.


When I got back home I wasted no time in finding buttons, thread and a zip to match. I’m glad I pushed myself through a testing toile process because this fabric feels special and precious. My Sureau is almost finished…

Spring Clean: Folding, Stashing and Storing

Spring Clean Your Sewing Space

Inspired by Hannah’s Spring Clean Your Sewing Space Series, I decided to revisit my fabric storage. After washing and ironing my acquired stash three weeks ago, I ran out of energy so I just folded each piece and piled them up. Within days the slippy ones caused a fabric avalanche and even before that it was difficult to find what I was looking for or see anything to be inspired. I needed a free remedy for my fabric pile problem.

fabric folding 2

I remember seeing shopping assistants use a rectangular piece of perspex to fold clothes neatly and to the same dimensions for a table display. I improvised with a cardboard backed A4 envelope. First I folded the sides of the fabric in around the envelope.

fabric folding 2

fabric folding 4

Then I slipped the envelope out and placed it near the top of the newly formed column of fabric.

fabric folding 5Then I folded around the envelope, tucking the cut edges in before the final fold.

fabric folding 7

Finally I slipped the envelope out and stored it with my uniformly folded stash for future use!

aquired stash

I’ve also put some order to my fabric piles: Mostly suiting and heavy weights in the back pile (they’ll be pulled forward towards the end of the summer). Cottons and mixed fabrics are in the front pile and anything slippery (lining, silks etc.) at the top.

How’s your Spring Cleaning going? Check out Hannah’s Made with Hugs and Kisses blog during May for guest posts with more ideas on sewing room cleaning and tidying.

The hideous fabric toile cry for help…

Simplicity 2360 is my first dress pattern, selected because it seems relatively simple for a beginner make (no zips!) and some beautiful creations have been blogged about by the online sewing community. My top three for this pattern are:

1. Green Apple’s variation for Autumn
2. A Coloured Sugar Party Dress by Boo Dogg and Me (she also made a cute linen one with sleeves)
3. Sew Bold  (who has a new blog home at Staying Steyn) executed a fantastic pattern adaptation to make a summer top

All I had to do was decide which hideous polyester (think the old-style polyester, static, cheap, non-breathable and that’s before you see the print!) was getting the Simplicity 2360 toile treatment…

destined for toiles

Overall making the toile was easy, I understood every instruction that came with the pattern and I could see how the dress was going to come together (so no pattern revelations like I experienced with the facing for my practise New Look 6483). The fit around the bust  and body is as good as can be expected for an over-the-head-dress with elasticated waist. I am now sure that I do not suit large bold patterns or see-through fabric, but it really brings out the colour my dummy’s complexion, don’t you think?!


I’m going to add a little length to the bodice pieces as the waistline is slightly too high on me but I can take a couple of inches off the skirt which is too long. I will also omit the pockets which ruin the line of the skirt.

And my cry for help? Well I have a few problems that I’m hoping some more experienced sewers can offer me some guidance on:

pointy sleeve

The sleeves on my toile stick out at an odd angle. Could this be because the hem on the sleeve makes it too stiff to drape? The fabric will not hold any crease or shape no matter how much I press it. Despite this, I can’t get rid of the crease down the centre of the skirt and the sleeve isn’t floppy at all.

bias binding fail

The bias binding on my Berry Sorbetto was easy… or maybe  just beginners luck because on this dress it has led to an unsightly sticking up affair. Did I do something wrong? Or is this just the result of not being able to press the bias tape away from neckline? Would attaching the bias binding as a facing resolve this issue?

And finally, I have a silk-cotton blend for my fashion fabric so any tips on working with this type of fabric?