Hello, I am Tamsin and I am a new face to the Simple Sew blogger team. Gabby of Gabberdashery asked me if I would like to join the team at the beginning of the year. I have been blogging sporadically at www.pimpmycurtains.blogspot.co.uk for a few years, and I thought that being part of the Simple Sew team might spur me on to write a bit more frequently!
Gabby asked us to have a look at the patterns available on the Simple Sew website and choose some that we would like to sew. I realised that I already had several of the patterns as they had come free with Love Sewing magazines over the last couple of years.
I am normally a jeans and cosy top kind of person as it fits my day to day life of being a stay-at-home mum. However, every now and then I feel a bit bored with the mum uniform and want to wear something different. Recently that ‘something different’ has been jersey/knit dresses, so having looked through my pattern collection I thought that my first Simple Sew make would be the Bella Dress.
I really liked the shape of the dress and the collar, but wasn’t so sure about the shape of the sleeves. I decided pretty quickly to slim down the sleeves and at the same time Iengthened them by about 9 cms to make them full length – I hate being cold so full length sleeves are a must in winter!
The fabric I chose is some kind of slightly embossed heavyish knit that I bought from M.Rosenberg/Stitch Fabrics at the Knitting and Stitching Show, Ally Pally in October 2016.
I had always envisioned this as a long sleeve top (to go with my jeans!) but thought that it would be a good choice for the Bella dress. I think I only bought a metre and a half, and surprisingly this was plenty for the dress due to the width of the fabric. I didn’t really use the lay plan but managed to get the dress cut out perfectly with minimal fuss. I even managed to cut the collar piece about 5cm deeper for more slouchiness.
I have made many garments in jersey, but this was the first time that I have sewn darts in a knit fabric, and also the first time I have put a zip into a knit. The instructions didn’t specify what type of stitch to use to sew the darts, so I did a couple of practice ones on some scraps using both a small zigzag stitch and a slightly longer than usual straight stitch. I tried the zigzag stitch to try to keep the stretch of the fabric but it didn’t really make much difference and it also made a slightly lumpier looking dart, so I used the straight stitch.
I made the dress up on my sewing machine using a zigzag stitch (apart from the darts). I normally finish the seams on a knit by overlocking the seam allowances together, but this made for quite a bulky seam in this fabric so I left some seams unfinished and and finished some singley with the overlocker.
Once I had cut out the dress, I did a quick hand baste together to check the fit. I was slightly alarmed to find that it was rather more form fitting than I had thought, and thought it was a good job that there was a zip in it. However once I made it up properly I realised that the fit was ok and that actually I probably don’t need the zip – I managed to get the dress on this morning without undoing the zip! I may take the zip out just to get a slightly sleeker fit on that side seam, but I don’t notice the fit when I am wearing it so I may leave it.
All in all, I am very pleased with this dress as my first sew for Simple Sew!