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Simplicity 8543 Amazing Fit Dress



This is a Simplicity Amazing Fit Dress if you have not made an Amazing Fit pattern before then you should.

This pattern has a choice of sleeves, a shaped midriff and a flattering neckline.

More importantly it has many different size variations within the pattern.

It comes in two choices of size ranges, 10-18 and 20-28.




The princess seams are very flattering for any figure and you have the option of sleeveless or a short sleeve - with or without a flounce.





The pattern gives comprehensive instructions on how the finished dress should look on your body, so I do suggest reading the pattern thoroughly before you get your scissors out!



The pattern has a very good guide on how to choose your correct pattern size and how to take your measurements.

There are separate pattern pieces for A to DD on the pattern size I chose which is the option for sizes 10-18. And there are also separate pattern pieces for slim, Average and Curvy fit.





Once you have determined your correct size - don't just guess - cut out the pieces you need. There are plenty of fitting variations within the pattern.



I took my measurements and determined that I am a size 10, C cup, average fit. I found out later that this was too big, but more about that later.




Instead of jumping right in the pattern instructions suggest that a toile is made. Not wanting to cut my pattern at this stage in case I needed to alter it I made a copy using

Tracing Paper  a ruler and Pattern Weights




I took a piece of fabric which I didn't want and cut the pattern out. I did not cut out facings or sleeve flounce as they are not needed for a toille. The idea of making a toile or test garment is to just tack together the main pieces for fitting purposes.

I really do feel that this is a very important stage and should not be missed out. It really is worth the extra effort.




You can either hand tack the pieces together or do as I did and use the Basting Stitch on my sewing machine

The manual gave me the correct settings and it was quick and easy to put the garment together this way.




My sewing machine is the amazing Brother Innov-is 1300 and I love it. I wrote a review about it if you would like to read it. Review of the Brother Innov-is 1300 it isn't machine I would certainly recommend to anybody. If you are interested then give Jaycotts a ring and have a chat about it.




The machine is so easy to use. The large LCD touch screen shows the selected stitch, the foot you should use and options for stitch length, width and tension.




This is the toile of the bodice. Hmm, in true Angela style it is far too big!

The reason I am having a situation with sizing at the moment is that I changed my diet to eating healthy food. The result of that is that I have dropped two dress sizes. I didn't intend losing weight, it just happened. Unfortunately ( or fortunately depending on what I am making) I was trained as a Tailor and it was drummed into me to always cut larger seam allowances, so " just to be on the safe side" I always add extra wriggle room when I am cutting out. I wish I wouldn't! I wish I would trust my measurements!

Also this pattern has a large seam allowance in key areas of 1" - almost twice the usual seam allowance of 5/8" . Plus it has a large amount of ease.

The result was that it didn't fit me anywhere at all!




So, back to the drawing board. I made three test garments in all and ended up with a much smaller size. I  remembered to tack each stage and try it on for fit as I went along.

The fabric I chose is a pure linen which frays notoriously and I did not want any strain at the seams or the seam would disintegrate with wear, so I did not make it too close fitting.

Had I chosen a cotton fabric instead I would have made the skirt closer fitting.




The fabric looks similar on the right and wrong sides so to make sewing the garment easier I used a cross in ordinary Tailors chalk on the wrong side of each piece.




Make the garment in stages, first the front bodice, attach the front skirt then do the same for the back.



The midriff panel called out for a touch of embroidery - any excuse to use my Brother Innov-is 800e embroidery machine.

I chose a very simple design which I have actually used before. The machine has many designs already built in, but there are plenty to download off the internet and many are free.





Jaycotts do stock some embroidery designs so please  telephone for more details. They also sell a wide range of stabilisers and accessories.




The stabiliser I used is Film-O-plast. This is a self adhesive stabiliser which is very useful when the fabric you want to embroider is slightly smaller than the hoop you need to use. Do make sure that the fabric is very secure though because if it moves around your design will pucker.

I absolutely love this Multi purpose screwdriver it actually revolutionised my embroidery as it is now very easy to tighten the screw on the hoop which makes for much better embroidery. If you have a Brother machine please seriously consider buying one - they are worth every penny.




If you didn't want to embroider the midfriff then consider piping at the top and bottom edge or even using a contrast fabric.



This is my dress front sewn, all seams neatened and pressed.




There is a pleat in the back which I neatened with a double folded hem. Tack the back together .




 At this stage I tacked the rest of the dress together for another fitting. I do confess again that it was still too large so I was glad that I had given myself the opportunity of making some more adjustments now before it was machined together



I also found that the back was a bit too loose, but be careful how much you take the dress in on the bodice because you do need wearing ease so that you can move your arms about. Also check that you can sit down comfortably.



Slight ( big!) adjustments made, I stitched the back dress together and inserted a zip. Either insert a regular zip or an invisible zipper,  Dress Zips which ever is your preference.

Jaycotts have the best selection of zips at the best prices I know, so they are my number one choice for any type of zip.



I wanted to add the sleeve flounce but thought better of it in the end because my fabric creases so much and it wouldn't look too great if I was wearing a jacket over the top and wanted to take it off.


So I thought that I would make a double hem and add an embellishment.




My sewing machine has 182 built in stitches, but don't just take my word for it, read my review and then call in at Jaycotts to try one for yourself, you will be amazed.

The square feed drive system means that it can stitch extra wide decorative stitches, and it was one of these I chose to edge my sleeves.



You need to change your foot to the ( included) monogram foot . This has extra room to accommodate the needle movement and allows you to see what you are doing easily.




It might seem odd at first using one of these extra wide stitches so do practise before putting it on your actual garment.

I quickly discovered that the decorative stitch was perfectly placed if I aligned the foot to the edge of the sleeve when the needle was at its furthest point to the right.  It does move around a bit. Once you have seen the machine sew this type of stitch you will easily see what I mean.




The facings are next. Do clip into the centre front down to but not through the stitching and clip the curves too

Press the seam open and then press the facing to the inside. The pattern instructions are very clear on what to do.

Do keep trying your dress on, it is the only way to get a perfect fit.



I wanted to hold the facing in place but I did not want any topstitching to show on the right side.

The answer is to understitch the facing to the seam allowance. The arrow on the above picture shows the understitching on the inside but not on the outside. Again, the pattern explains exactly how to understitch.



The bodice looks very neat, the seams are all perfectly matched and it fits well.

I finished my hem with a double hem just like I finished the sleeve hem.



This is a lovely pattern, it teaches you the correct way to achieve a garment which fits perfectly every time. The skills learned can now be used every time you sew something and it will always fit perfectly.

For information on any of the products featured, or to place your order or for more details of the fabulous range of machines give them a ring during opening hours on 01244 394099

Alternatively use the contact form  Contact Jaycotts


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This is a pretty little blouse which I made with Simplicity 8601. Just in case you do not have an overlocker, or don't want to splash out on four bobbins of overlocker thread in a colour you will not use much I'll talk about the Overedge foot too.

This is a new pattern and don't you just love it !
The pattern is Simplicity 8601 which is a collection of easy to sew tops.

This pattern is suitable for all levels of sewers and I really appreciate that the back of the pattern envelope shows the finished measurements in addition to the size guide. Always take time to take your measurements , wearing the type of underwear which you are likely to be wearing underneath the top - it does make a difference

I decided to use this beautiful  Chiffon fabric which was given to me - more about that later as it is connected to the wagon I was telling you about. Chiffon is quite slippery and it frays and snags so unless you have some sewing experience with it I recommend using a lightweight cotton, cotton Lawn for example. Cotton is much easier to sew.

The pattern ties at the front in all views and there are four sleeve options. I think it looks best with high waisted skirts or pants and depending on the fabric can be smart or casual.

The instructions are very easy to follow and each step is given an explanation as to why it is important. For example we are told to stay stitch the neckline to stop it from pulling out of shape.
The first steps are to sew the centre fronts together down to the marking for the tie front extentions. Then to sew the centre back down from the neckline opening marking.
I find it useful to mark the reverse of each fabric piece so that I do not get confused trying to figure out which is the right and wrong side! Use your favourite Chalk marker for this. I just draw a X on the wrong side of each piece near the bottom. 
You will also need to mark any darts ( none in this pattern) and dots using Tacking thread this is made specifically for the purpose as it is made from short rough fibres which means that the thread stays in your fabric until you pull it out

Most patterns advise you to sew the side seams and then to insert the sleeves, but wherever possible I prefer to sew the sleeves in flat before I stitch the side seams.
The first step is to run a long basting stitch along the top of the sleeve within the seam allowance. This is used to ease the sleeve head into the armsyce.
By the way if your fabric is slipping or is difficult to sew then do change to a Walking Foot. This is a Brother but Jaycotts sell other makes, just give them a call and ask which is best for your machine. The number is 01244 394099

It's difficult to see with this busy fabric but this is the sleeve sewn in place , it is so much easier doing it this way rather than inserting it into a circular opening
Never sew over your pins by the way, always remove them as you reach them. You could damage your machine if you don't.

This is an Overlock or Overedge foot  Again, different makes are available so contact Jaycotts if one did not come with your machine,  they often do so you may already have one.
You will notice that it has a "toe", this is the part which the machine needle zigzags over to form an overlocked seam. Overlock feet with side cutters are also available from Jaycotts. The open space next to the toe is placed right at the edge of the fabric.
I do use this foot a lot.
Overlocker thread  can work out expensive because you need four bobbins, and it is not practical to keep every single colour in " just in case", so this foot comes into its own when I need to finish the seams on a garment in a colour I do not have the correct colour of overlocker thread for.

If you look in your sewing machine manual in the utility stitches section you will find at least one option for Overedge stitches. I selected the one especially for fine fabrics. The picture of my LCD screen shows the type of stitch you need. 

Have a practice run beforehand and adjust the stitch length and width if necessary.

Once you are happy with the results you are good to go. Jot down your settings so that you can finish the rest of the seams as you go without trying to remember them.

It is now a simple process to join the sleeve and blouse side seams in one process. Match the underarm seam carefully ,together with any notches .Once the seam is sewn finish the seam as before.

I debated about just understitching the facing in place, but as my fabric is very slippery I decided to top stitch to keep it firmly in place. This is personal preference. I use both depending on the fabric or on the look I want to achieve. On this fabric I felt that the facing needed holding firmly in place.
When stitching the facing in place you may want to add the button loop during the process, as described in the pattern instructions or you may want to make one later as I did. Again, it's personal choice 

This is my button loop which I made with embroidery thread. You could use top stitching thread instead.

This is my button back closure 

Thank you for reading this post. I do hope that you make this Simplicity top. You can have it made in an afternoon and it will soon become a firm favourite.


I do have rather a lot of Brother machine feet to get through so I am going to go through them all for you one or two at a time, showing them being used on a garment or other project.




This is a Jaycotts.co.uk post using Simplicity 8391
This is such an easy outfit to make, with or without embroidery. It is suitable for beginners upwards.

Skills learned

  • Centred Zip
  • Pintucks
  • Pressing
  • Positioning of embroidery/applique 

When I first saw this pattern I wasn't sure if it would suit me or not. Wrong! I decided as soon as I tried it on that I love this outfit.It is perfect for holidays, flattering and easy to sew. I like the 3/4 length wide trousers, they are cool to wear in the sun - I like to cover up mostly and I want garments which are easy to wear and light to pack.
I have paired the outfit with a pair of navy wedges.

The pattern is by Simplicity and is available to purchase from Jaycotts Simplicity 8391  In the envelope are patterns for a top, skirt, pants and shorts, everything you need for your holiday in fact.
The fabric is from Minerva Crafts and is a linen look Cotton, Linen look Cotton fabric This fabric is cool to wear and very easy to sew.
The pattern shows the garments made up in cotton trimmed with eyelet fabric or lace, but I wanted to use embroidery on mine - of course!

If you are adding embroidery by hand or machine, or applique, you need to position it correctly onto your garment.
I chose a rope design which I wanted to add to the top and the trouser pockets. This is a very simple design from Ann the Gran.com some of the designs are free, others you need to pay for. Those of  you with a brother embroidery machine will know that brother have designs to download in addition to those stored on the machine itself.
I want to have a design running the length of the pocket so my first step was to measure the length needed and choose my design to fit ,tweaking the actual size on my machine settings.
you will notice that I have marked the cutting line but not finished cutting out.This just makes it easier to hoop.

mark the centre of the pocket and then mark where you want the centre of the embroidery to sit. I use a hole strengthener for this as they are easy to see and easy to remove.
I also take my tailors chalk and a ruler and gently mark a line parallel to the edge so that I could position the embroidery in line with the edge.

There are a lot of stabilisers to choose from. For this project I used GUNOLD Gunold easy tear stabiliser  with a temporary spray adhesive.
The area to be embroidered is to small to fill the hoop so I took great care to ensure that it was firmly attached to the stabiliser. I used a few links at the very edge in addition to the spray glue.
I used the embroidery hoop guide to position my fabric in exactly the right position, with my fabric markings matching the lines on the guide exactly. The circle is placed exact centre.

Once my machine is set up I can check that the needle is in the correct position and if it is the circle can be removed and the embroidery done. If not then the fabric or needle position needs moving a bit until you are satisfied that the embroidery will be in the correct position.
I chose a Brother Country thread 000 which is an off-white. Brother EmbroideryThreads  There are many more colours in stock than there are on the web site  so do ask if you have a particular shade in mind. Or better still call in for a visit!

I made sure that I altered the direction of my design so that it faced in the correct direction on both pockets.

I then did the whole procedure again and embroidered the sleeves.
Remove the stabiliser from all the pieces when the designs are done.

I am not going to talk too much about constructing the top as it really is simple to put together. The instructions and very clear. I cut out a size 12 which fit me quite loosely, perfect for summer garments. Please do take your own measurements and compare them with the pattern envalope . There is a really great size guide for patterns on Jaycotts web site Size guide for patterns
This photograph is showing the neck band being pinned in place before sewing.

To make the little loop which closes the back I used this fabulous product, it makes turning looks so easy. It is the Prym Turning set and I promise you that you will love it and will be looking for excuses to add loops to lots of garments.
Finish the top according to the instructions, but if you get stuck let me know and I will help you.

I want to concentrate on trousers because so many people are scared of them. I chose this pattern because the trousers are loose fitting and easy to construct. You may need to merge the pattern sizes from one size to another if for example you have size 14 waist and 16 hips etc. This is perfectly permissable and will ensure a great fit. I like my waist band to have a bit of room in it but I like a close fit over the hips. Luckily my pattern fit me with no adjustments but I feel that a lot of people may want to extend the waist line a bit, so do cut out a size bigger than you think and when it comes to fitting just take the pants in at the hips which is easy to do.

The first stage is to attach the front yokes to the trousers and press and turn them to the inside. This forms the front of the pocket.
Then the pocket lining is stitched in place. I used  my overlocker on all seams.

The pocket is now finished, it just needs a final press to turn the facing properly to the inside. Any top stitching should be done before the pocket facing is stitched in place.

The pocket bag has been sewn and overlocked. This strengthens the pocket and helps to ensure holes do not appear. If you do not have an overlocker then stich twice around the pocket bag and then zigzag around the edge.

Stitch the front leg to the back leg and then stitch the centre front and back seam. For strength once again double stitch the seam and then overlock or zigzag.

The facing has been interfaced with a medium to heavy weight iron-on cotton interfacing.Vilene cotton interfacing. It is important that you use the correct interfacing. A waistband needs to be firm enough not to crumple during wear. I prefer to use a cotton or a woven interfacing as they move with the fabric and give a good result. If you use a very cheap interfacing the result will not be so good and you will not be happy with how it wears. It is false economy to use a cheap interfacing for garments. See the whole range here Interfacings. When attaching interfacing use a damp pressing cloth with your iron and press the iron on one place, lift and move it to the next until you have attached all the interfacing. Don't slide your iron over the fabric.
More about pressing later in this post

One of the things I am told people hate sewing are invisible zips. They do require a bit of practice but once you master them you will be delighted with the result.
There are alternatives though and for this garment I am using an ordinary zip. There are different ways of inserting it and I am going to show you how to insert a centred zip. This is easy!
First of all choose a good quality zip in a colour close to your fabric YKK zips.
Suppose you cannot find the correct length? Did you know that they can be shortened very easily? Measure the length you need and go over that point a few times with several rows of machine stitching on top of each other. Then cut the end off below the stitching . And that's it.

Then tack the seam together using a tacking thread. Tacking thread is preferable to normal thread for this purpose, it is made from cotton and the fibres are rough which means that the tacking will stay firmly in place until you pull it out. Do try it, it really does make a huge difference Gutterman Tacking Thread
Once tacked press the seam open.

On the wrong side pin and tack the zip over the seam. The zip should be face down and the teeth centred over the seam opening. Make sure that the waistband seam matches on both sides.

Using a normal zipper foot, which should have come with your machine, stitch in a rectangle from the top of the zip, across the bottom and up the other side. You will probably need to release  the tacking in the seam at the top to be able to stitch past the zip pull. If you have not got a zip foot, Jaycotts have them. This is the foot for the Brother range of machines Brother adjustable zipper and piping foot if you need another brand then contact Jaycotts who will help you to choose the right one for your machine Contact details below.

That's my zip in place. Press it using a pressing cloth taking care not to melt the plastic teeth. If your zip does not finish exactly at the top of your trousers, or if your zip opens easily (YKK zips stay closed until you open them) you will need to add a hook and eye to close the very top.
Then attach the waistband facing. And press.

I top stitched both the top and the bottom of the waistband for extra strength and to hold it in place.

All there is left to do now is to finish the hem. Try the pants on and decide how long they need to be. 3/4 length trousers like these should be slightly above the ankle.
I used my overlocker ( Overlockers ) to finish the edge of the trousers.
Using a seam measure, this is the one I use, Clover seam gauge measure the depth of the hem all the way round and press the edge taking care not to scotch the fabric.
I use the fabulous little iron from Prym. Prym mini Steam iron. Don't let it's size fool you, this has everything you need in an iron and performs every bit as well as your large iron! If you are a person who takes a travel iron on holiday, then this iron is definitely for you.

You also need a pressing cloth. This is essential if you are to avoid scorching or otherwise marking your fabric. Prym pressing cloth I do like this one as it is transparent and makes it so easy to see what is going on underneath. Another essential are these finger guards Finger guards which help you to hold the fabric close to the iron without burning your fingers.

To finish the hem I decided to do a few rows of pintucks. I am always looking for nice finishing touches, it makes any garment look more original.
If you want to do corded pintucks then I have a blog post which shows you how to do them - My white lace pintucked blouse do take a look

You will need a pintuck foot and twin needles. Both are shown on this page Pintuck foot and twin needles
If you do not have a pintuck foot then you can obtain a similar result using just a twin needle, but take care to align your stitches up. The pintuck foot does make it easier.

After completing the first row along the bottom of each trouser leg continue with as many rows of pintucks as you want, it is better to have  pintucks along the whole depth of the hem to hold it neatly in place. You can see the slightly raised effect of the pintucks on the photo above.

These pintucks look so lovely don't you think? They add a bit of interest to a plain edge in any garment

Have you ever wanted to press a tiny part of a garment easily? I wanted to give the pocket a final press but did not want to leave an imprint on the fabric behind. To solve this I used this pressing glove Pressing glove which is so useful for this purpose and is also invaluable for pressing collars and cuffs and other small areas when you don't want to get your ironing board out.

This is my finished outfit. It looks equally great with the top tucked in or left out. The neutral embroidery means that each piece can be worn with other items. It can be worn as a casual outfit for sightseeing with flat sandals  or dressed up with heels for lunch. 
It is extremely comfortable to wear and the fabric being cotton is cool for warmer climates.
I did a slightly tongue in cheek video which shows you the outfit being worn. It reminds me of my much younger days when I did a spot of modelling, but that's another story! 

Jaycotts can be contacted here Contact Jaycotts. And reached by telephone during opening hours on 01244 394099  
Don't forget too that you can visit the showroom and test run the machines before you buy.

Thank you for reading this post. Please contact me if there is anything you would like me to clarify and don't forget to contact Jaycotts with any product enquiries and to place your order. Have you sent for your free catalogue yet? It's my favourite catalogue to browse through when having my morning coffee.




It's so easy to use your embroidery machine to applique garments, bags and household items.

My  Brother Innov-is 800E  not only does beautiful embroidery and makes free standing lace but it also creates applique easily and quickly. In other words this one machine does everything you need to embelish your sewing project. Or indeed a ready made item!
I am currently making a red jersey top ( watch out for it in my next blog post)  and wanted a simple embelishment to add to it. A small appliqué flower was the answer.

This is my embroidery machine. I do love Brother machines, they are reliable, innovative and come in a huge range of prices to suit all budgets. If you are interested in a Brother Embroidery machine, or any other machine, I suggest that you have a chat with Jaycotts, contact details below, to find the best machine to suit your needs and your budget.

There are various hoop sizes available to fit this machine, Brother Embroidery Hoops  Mostly I use the largest one but I have found when embroidering on stretch fabrics better results are achieved with a smaller hoop. It is really easy to view which of the inbuilt designs are suitable for each hoop as it is all displayed on the touch-screen. The hoop I am using for this project is 4"x4" and I find that it is perfect for this type of fabric.

You will need threads, embroidery needles and various stabilisers. More about stabilisers later.
Brother do their own range of embroidery threads which come in two forms, a matt and a sheen. You can buy them individually or in boxes here. You also need bobbin thread. A tip here is that I keep quite a few bobbins already filled with thread so that I can quickly change the bobbin when it runs out. The range of Brother  threads are on this link Brother embroidery threads
You also need a supply of embroidery needles. They do go blunt quickly so do remember to change the needle after every project. As I am putting any of my machines away at the end of the project I am in the habit of removing the old needle which reminds me to insert a new one when I start sewing again. Machine Embroidery Needles

There are a lot of Embroidery and applique patterns built into your machine, these are a selection of the applique designs. The design has a list of threads next to it which tells you what colour you need and the order you need it.

I mentioned stabilisers, for stretch fabrics in particular I like this iron on stabiliser by Gutterman  SULKY Iron on Stabiliser . What you need is a fabric which stays rigid whilst you embroider it, and this does the job. I found when using a larger hoop in a stretch fabric I also need a layer of a tear-away stabiliser, GUNOLD  underneath the hoop in addition to the  iron-on .Gunold tear-away stabiliser
When using a smaller hoop this problem does not occur for me, and when using a woven fabric either of the stabilisers works very well.

The steps needed to produce the appliqué are fully explained in the manual and also on the display screen.
The first thing you need to do is to hoop your stabilised appliqué fabrics , in my case a flower head and petals. The machine embroiders the outline and you cut them out. What could be simpler.

You then insert your stabilised main fabric into the hoop in the position where you want your appliqué to go. The machine then embroiders the outline of the design. Take the hoop out - all this takes seconds by the way, and glue your shapes exactly into the outline on your fabric. Do not take your fabric out of the hoop. I love this  little temporary glue pen by Prym, it washes out too. Aqua Glue Pen  It is actually one of my favourite products. It has refills too.

Once you have fixed your shapes in place then press the start button again and change your thread if the machine tells you to. The machine will affix the appliqué onto your base fabric, and complete any further detail and embelishment.
All you need to do then is to remove the stabiliser from the back of the design and it is finished.

I know that you all love to watch this machine working, it is fascinating, so click on the picture above to watch a short clip on YouTube. There are other clips of this machine in action on my YouTube channel too.

This is my very cute finished flower. It now adorns  a garment which I making and will blog about next time. I thought that the process of creating this simple but very effective appliqué was worth a blog post all to itself.

This machine produces free standing lace too, so take a look at how I used these lace pieces to embelish a simple tunic on a previous blog post My Tunic top with lace embelishment. For this I used a dissolving stabiliser and the process is very fascinating, please do read the post

The free standing lace can also be used to make stand-alone items such as Christmas stars and bookmarks and so on. I love this lace don't you.

Of course the main feature is embroidery itself. Just to show you how easy this machine is to use this is the very first embroidery I produced within minutes of my machine being delivered! Read about my first steps here My first steps on my Brother embroidery machine

This tunic is one of my favourite garments and you can read all about how I made it and how to embroider it on My Embroidered Tunic Top

If you are interested in this machine, or another model - and who wouldn't be! Then do give Jaycotts a call , the details are all here Contact Jaycotts you can also arrange to call in for a demonstration.
Once you have your machine safely home you are not left alone because Brother provide tutorial days where you can go along for help and advice and new ideas.

Thank you for reading this post. Do contact Jaycotts.co.uk with any questions about this machine and please leave me a comment too

Angela x

Posted By Blogger to #SewAngelicThreads on 8/05/2017 11:49:00 am



I have been longing to get into my summer clothes here at home and now that summer is here I want some quick easy makes that I can wear in a day or two.I know people who cringe at the thought of wearing summer clothes, assuming wrongly that the sun means baring skin. Not so, some of the coolest clothes to wear are those which offer some protection from the sun. My usual summer clothes consist of pedal pushers and tunic tops, but I guess that's more out of habit than anything else, so I am making myself some dresses.

This is a very pretty dress by Simplicity, available from Jaycotts Simplicity S8294 it is a vintage style dress with the option of having a collar, waist tabs and short cap sleeves. There are also two skirt options so this pattern does offer value for money.
I made a size 12 and it needed no adjustments. You will find that your pattern size differs from your commercial dress size, please do not be alarmed, just make sure that you cut out the size which most closely resembles your body measurements. If your top and bottom halves differ then this pattern allows you to cut out relevant sizes for your top half, and a larger or smaller size for your bottom half . It is easy then to merge the two sizes together at the waist.

I like the slightly lower back in this pattern and as I do not appreciate having burnt shoulders I was glad that one of the options is to include a cap sleeve.
When choosing your pattern think about any parts of your body which you would like to cover up and look for a pattern which will do that. For example if you do not like your arms then think about choosing a pattern with a sleeve - which could be a flutter sleeve, short sleeve or whatever length you prefer. To draw attention away from a problem tummy or hip then choose a flattering neckline to draw the eye upwards.

This is the pattern, as you can see there are a few design choices and the skirt is just above the knee.
The fabric I chose is a hand printed Batik which I had in my own stash, but printed cottons are widely available from places such as MinervaCrafts or Abakhan fabrics etc.
The pattern on this fabric looks as though it totally random, but if you look at the dress being worn you will see that there is a pattern which forms definate vertical lines. It is therefore important that you view your fabric from a distance and decide which direction you want the pattern to run and of course you need to cut the fabric out on the straight grain.
If you are new to sewing the best fabric to choose is a cotton, because it is firm and will not stretch out of shape, and choose a small print as this will not require pattern matching and a massive plus point is that the design will disguise any minor mistakes  and wonky stitching.

Whilst I do enjoy wearing short skirts, this is going to be a day dress for shopping and sightseeing and for me it would be more practical if it was six inches longer.
This is very easy to do. You can either add tissue paper to the bottom of your pattern pieces and measure the new hem line, or if you are confident you can do as I did and measure six inches (or whatever  measurement  you choose) from various points along the hem and make chalk marks, joining them up before cutting out. This is perhaps one of the simplest of pattern hacks. Just remember to continue the flare on the side seams  or it will be too tight around the bottom.

The first thing I am going to do is to get the waist tabs made,pushing the corners out with my Prym point turner By using this nifty gadget you can be certain that your points are sharp. Press the tabs then make the buttonholes .

Your buttonhole foot will probably look like this one. All you do is to select the buttonhole you want and put your button into the  recess in the back of the foot. It then sews the perfect buttonhole to fit your button.
Do mark the positions of your buttonholes with chalk first and do practise on a piece of spare fabric before you do it on the actual garment.

These are my finished buttonholes. These buttons are antique ones but there is a huge selection of buttons of all shapes, sizes and colours at Jaycotts .do take a look at these heart and flower shaped buttons which would be perfect for this dress Decorative buttons

It is simple then to sew the darts and joint the front and back at the shoulders and the left side. Join the top of the right side only as far down as the pattern marking. Then neaten the seams on your overlocker if you have one.
Don't own an overlocker?  Mine is the Brother 3034D but do view the range of overlockers available Overlockers if you are not certain which machine is right for you then do ring Jaycotts and they will help you to choose a machine which suits your needs and your budget.
Don't forget to sign up for the newsletter too as there are frequently special offers available on machines

The pattern says to use a neck band but as there is an actual facing included in the pattern I used that instead.
It needs a lightweight iron on interfacing . There are lots to choose from here Interfacing from iron on to sew in and all sorts of weights too. Choose the correct weight for your fabric and always choose the best quality you can find. Jaycotts sell Vilene interfacing which is perfect.

To allow the facing to turn to the inside of the neckline you need to clip the curves, press the seam open and then understitch the facings . This means that you need to sew the seam allowance to the facing as far as you can. It stops the facing from rolling out during wear. Don't forget to keep pressing as you go.
Don't be afraid to top stitch as well if you want to.

This is my finished facing pressed to the inside.you can just about make out the understitching which does not show on the right side of the garment.

Follow the pattern instructions iether for the sleeve or the sleeve band . I chose the sleeve which was very easy to prepare

You will need a sleeve board to press the sleeve without making unwanted creases in it. A sleeve board also makes it easy to preserve the shape you have put into the fabric. A sleeve ironing board Sleeve board is a necessary piece of equipment for any sewer. You will use it for every garment you make.
When you gather fabric or make a dart you are turning a flat piece of fabric into a three dimensional shape and you need to preserve that shape by using the correct pressing tools. A sleeve board allow you to reach into small areas to press them without flattening them

Did you know that zips can be shortened? This dress needs a side zip, but the only one I have is too long.
At the point where you want the new end of the zip to be, go over it a few times with your sewing machine. Then cut the end of below this point. As a personal preference I like to whip stitch the plastic teeth below the stitching purely so that it is comfortable against my skin.

I am using an invisible zipper. To insert if you will need a special foot which has grooves in the bottom which the teeth of the zip are placed whilst the zipper tape is being sewn on. The invisible, or concealed, zip foot is available for most sewing machines, Concealed zip foot if you are not sure which is best for your machine then call Jaycotts for advice.the most usual one is the one on the right which is for Brother machines, the one on the left is for my Bernina, the only difference really is the way they  fit on the machine.

It is better to tack the zip in place rather than just pin it. They can slip about a bit otherwise. Sew one side at a time and leave the side seam open for now, we will close the seam later. As you can see the grooves on the zipper foot are enclosing the zipper teeth enabling the machine to sew right up close to them, this means that when the zip is closed you will not see it at all.
For all your zips , at fantastic prices, just look at the wide choice here, Zips as you can see there is a high quality zip for everything and as I said the prices are the best anywhere.

Once the zip is sewn in then remove the tacking threads and then sew the side seam up to the bottom of the zip. I find it easier to use a normal zipper foot as it enables me to stitch right up to the stitching holding the zip in place
Neaten any loose threads and catch the bottom of the zip to the seam allowance if necessary..

All that you can see of an invisible zip is the zip pull which makes it a great choice for dresses.
All you need to do now is to finish the hem. I overlocked the bottom and then pressed it up by half an inch and top- stitched.

The tabs fold towards the back of the dress, so press them to the back and stitch the buttons on. You will only need to undo the buttons which cover the side opening.
The buttons show on the back of the dress and add a bit of interest.
The tab would look great in a contrasting fabric, which is an option on the pattern envalope.

I am sure you will agree that this is a very nice fitting dress, easy to wear and practical for almost every occasion. 
When I make it again I am going to add the collar which I feel would look great from the back, and I am going to make both collar and tabs in a contrasting fabric .
It is totally suitable for beginners, there is nothing too difficult about the construction at all and the instructions are clear.
To obtain more information on any of the products mentioned or to place your order then fill in the contact form Contact Jaycotts 
Or telephone them on 01244 394099 during office opening hours Monday to Friday 8.30 am to 4.30 pm
Thank you for reading my blog. if you have any sewing questions or comments then do please contact me
Happy sewing
#dress #summerdress #beginner #sew #sewing #simplicity #tutorial 

Posted By Blogger to #SewAngelicThreads on 6/20/2017 07:52:00 am
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