Sewing Vloggers

Sunday, July 21, 2019

The Periwinkle Linen Dress

The Dandelion Dress served as the muslin for the Periwinkle Linen Dress. I love them both and they  are really both quite different as you will soon see. They are both made from New Look 6866 with original alterations  to change the silhouette and hem finish. I was inspired by the garment you see here. With the Periwinkle dress I went for simple, letting the fabric shine.


New Look 6866 is a flowy, summery maxi dress that the pattern describes as  "five styles with length and neckline variations." They are all sleeveless and the necklines are all lovely. I went for the high front neckline and the V back. This is a fabulous basic pattern with lots of design ease but it fit me well in the upper chest/shoulders so I am very happy with that. I flat pattern measured and there was no need to do an FBA for my C cup. I will get on my high horse and say once again, this is design ease, that extra room, not a mistake in drafting the pattern.  You want big and flow-y, you get bigger and flowier than the basic pattern block.  Design ease..........


The computer does not do this fabric justice. It leans toward lavender and I used lavender thread to sew it. It is a yarn dyed linen/cotton blend, a fabric I have used many times and think is one of the best values out there. However, I am stymied. I want more of this periwinkle but did I look at the bolt end for info? Just quickly to discern that it was Essex linen from Kaufmann. Now, when I go to the color charts, I can't find this color. I can find Cadet but that is blue and I have some of that. This has a green selvage. I am going back to the quilt store where I bought it to see if they can help and hopefully order some more. You can never have too much linen. It is the fabric that will be in style forever.

Another issue with yard dyed fabrics, well let me stop right here! Just in case you don't know what a yarn dyed fabric is here is an explanation: Yarn dyed fabrics have the yarns/threads dyed before they are woven into fabric. This allows you to have all of your weft threads one color and your warp threads another color. It gives a lot of character and depth to the fabric. If you've seen iridescent silk dupioni, you have seen a yarn dyed. Kaufmann's Essex blends are often  a colored linen thread and a white or black cotton thread going the other way. Back to the issue---I wanted to topstitch this dress, all over. It is hard to make prominent topstitching on yarn dyeds. Which thread do you match up to? Doesn't  matter the match will disappear and the non match will sort of look yucky. Either way, they just don't stand out. Above you can see some samples I did. On the right is the thread I was using for the construction, a lavender periwinkle color. You can see it just disappears in a regular stitch. In the middle, same thread with a triple stitch. I don't think it looks that good and my machine does a great triple stitch on other fabrics. On the left I tried a darker thread, really no improvement. I made the executive decision to not topstitch this dress anywhere. I liked it's soft look and was going to go with that. 

I also used a white  100% cotton voile to underline this dress. I did a "flat lining" in the method you see here. It worked out perfectly. This made the dress very  comfortable. I wore it today in 100 degree heat to a "backyard" wedding. The dress kept it's looks all afternoon and was spot on for the occasion. 

The facings were fused to cotton woven fusible interfacing. 


Here are the changes I did for this dress, some of which were not done in the Dandelion dress. I wanted to reduce the volume a bit. You will see the difference:

* My usual petite shortening in the upper chest. 
* Raised the armhole 3/8ths of an inch at the side seam tapering to nothing at the notches to hide my bra. 
* Reduced the front width at center front by a half inch. 
* Reduced the back width at center back by two inches. 
* Reduced the "bumpouts" one inch from the Dandelion dress bumpouts. 
* Flat lined the garment which meant all vertical seams, really only 3, were able to get a Hong Kong finish. This was nice. The HK finish was on the hem edge at the top, the facing edges and all of the sides seams as well.  By flat lining I was able to catchstitch my hem and facings to the voile underlining. 

Another thing I did was to do a diagonal basting of the underlining to the dress, front and back,  after it was flat lined. I also basted diagonally on the  area where the upper hem edge would be. I let my dress hang out on the dress form for a couple days before doing this basting and trimmed as needed, not much. 

 The darts in the dress were made to include the flat lining. A line of basting was done down the center of the dart on the lining to hold the two layers together while the dart was being sewn into the dress. The hem band is just the linen layer so no special treatment on the hem darts. Just mark those top and bottom edges of the hem band.

The picture above shows where the seam gets ditch stitched to secure the hem band to the dress. This is done on the right side of the dress.  I think failure to do this will cause the wide hem to billow and this holds it flat. It also sort of bolsters the shape of that side seam bumpout.

I did have a screw up, totally my fault. In my unbridled enthusiasm I did not read my pattern instructions. Heck, I just made one of these although it wasn't lined. After the dress was flat lined, hung out, and the lining hand basted diagonally to the fashion fabric, I stitched together the shoulder seams. I bound the edges of the facings with the voile, stitched them together and attached them to the neckline. Next was my favorite, understitching the facing with the triple stitch a la Nancy Zieman, all well and good. Nope. Seems now I can't stitch the armholes and turn them. I looked on line for some sort of magic I knew nothing about to solve this. There is none. I was too late for magic.  I slept on it. What to do?  I refused to rip out triple zigzagging on this lightweight fabric. 

Luckily, this fabric and lining are quite lightweight. I did a wide bias binding, understitched with the triple zigzag, turned and pressed, pinked the edges so no bulk, and catch stitched down to the facing. I think it will pass. It doesn't add bulk and is neatly finished. 

Another issue that came up was the refusal of the side seams to lay flat in the curved bumpout area. I decided to catch stitch them down. I so love to catch stitch.  This actually helped reinforce the shape.

Here they are, all catch stitched, tamed and tidied. Now it was on to catch stitching down the facings but only under the arms. The rest of the facing is free floating.  I also catch stitched the upper hem edge. I just can't stop catch stitching once I get started!

The inside is all finished and pretty! No topstitching in sight, volume brought down as desired, fit is spot on, life is good. The dress is fitting snug on my form as I am a size or two  smaller now than I was when I made the form. 

In Conclusion:

Once again, I am really happy with this pattern and the changes I've made to it. I look forward to making it also as it is designed, as a long flowy maxi dress maybe in the view with bow in front and in a softer fabric, perhaps a cotton lawn print. I will be on the lookout for that. In the meantime I think I am putting aside my beloved skirts that are my  summer staples and joining Team Dress! It's just such a comfortable, cool way to go. I highly recommend this pattern and love the way the dress is draped from the bust and shoulders. Flat pattern measure first and make a muslin. Do not assume the pattern is too big. You decide if you want the design ease that has been put into it. I like it either way. I love the full volume of the Dandelion Dress and also the more conservative look of the Periwinkle Dress. I will say that whenever I wear the Dandelion Dress in public people stop and compliment left and right and ask where I bought it. We will see what happens with the Periwinkle dress. I like that the  Periwinkle look is a great foil for my jewelry too. 

And just in case you missed the last post here is another pic of our recent house guest:

Happy sewing!......Bunny

Saturday, July 20, 2019

A Wide, Shaped Hem Band for NL 6866 & a special visitor!

Back to our Dandelion Dress, New Look 6866, and the alterations that made it unique. You can see my inspiration here and see that there is a very wide shaped hem band around the bottom of the dress. I've always loved deep hems and they way they can affect the drape of a garment. Here the deep hem has a definite function.  It adds weight to the hem which keeps the bumpouts from blowing out like balloons. On the Dandelion dress the addition of the hemband was fairly simple as there was no lining to the garment but the band can be added to an underlined garment and I will show that when I post the linen version of this dress which is now complete.

The first step is to put the shaping darts in the front hem area only of the dress. They should be inline with your bust points. If you put darts at the hem in the skirt back it will balloon out toward your bum. At least that's the message my brain is getting from years of asking my self "does this make my butt look big?" The back skirt should fall straight down from the lovely V neckline with no poufing. Also, if you haven't sewn the back seam yet, when you do, leave a 6 inch space at the bottom open for your slit.

* Lay out your front pattern piece.

* Mark your new cut hem edge six inches below what the pattern indicates for View B&E, the purple arrows.

* 7 inches (for me) from Center Front, aka, the fold, draw a line from the hem edge 5 1/2 inches long up toward the original hem edge, the red broken line. Make sure this line is perpendicular to the hem edge which isn't parallel to the side seams or center front.  This is your dart line. It should be in line with your bust points and for me that was 7 inches. You more than likely will have your own number. I figured this out by draping the dress on my form and on myself and seeing where the fold fell down from my boobs.

*At the new hem edge draw in a half inch dart, in other words starting 1/4 inch left and right of the original dart line you just drew, just like any other dart you would draw. Draw the dart from there to the tip 5 1/2 inches up.

*Make the darts in your dress front and press to the Center Front of the dress. Set aside.


*  Take your front and back dress pattern pieces and trace off the new hem band pieces, one for across the front to be cut on the fold, and two for the back that will mirror image and end in a slit, like a giant facing. 

*Cut out these pieces in your fashion fabric, three pieces total. 

* Mark and make the darts in the front  hem band the same way you did in the dress front.

*   Sew the side seams of the hem bands together. Don't sew the back seam as that is your slit. This is a good time to check that the edges at the side seams of both the band and the dress match. Trim if necessary. Iron the side seams open.  There is a bit of an upward curve at the side seam which is nice on this dress. 

* Iron the hem band darts in the opposite direction, toward the side seams. You will be nesting the darts which you can see above. They will oppose each other and therefore not make a big bulky ridge. I have had to play with some serious contrast in these pictures to show the detail and it makes the fabric look filthy. I apologize. It's not.

* Stitch the hem band to the skirt , matching bottom hem edges. I know that sounds obvious but it is REAL EASY to get the top and bottom of the band mixed up. I highly suggest a piece of tape or such to keep the top and bottoms of the band clearly marked. So this before you draw in your darts.

* Once the hem edge is stitched to the skirt, grade seams and press toward the band. Understitch the edge with a triple zigzag stopping and starting about an inch short of the slit corner. It is similar to the method I used to understitch this collar which  you can see here.  Give the new hem edge a sharp press. 

*  Finish the top edge of the hem band. You can serge, Hong Kong, bind, whatever you like for the finish. Try not to add bulk. I serged mine and that was it. 

* Fold back the hem band to the skirt, RST and stitch the slits up to the end of the closed center back seam. Grade and turn the slit seams. Press. If you are not feeling secure about the slit you can zig zag across on the outside with a satin stitch bar tack or on the inside, hand stitch the bar part from a hook and eye at the split to secure the two seams further. Being a full skirt, I am not worried about the slit splitting. 

* Give the band a really good press. Line up the side seams and pin their seams together. On the right side ditch stitch in the seam to secure the hem to the skirt. 

* Topstitch or hand stitch your hem in place. On the Dandelion Dress, the bottom edge of the hem was edgestitched, using an edge stitching foot. I then topstitched along the top edge of the band from the wrong side to see what I was doing.  The Dandelion Dress was made of bull denim and I treated it like a pair of jeans when it came to topstitching. In my linen version there is no topstitching at all. The hem is catchstitched to the underlining.  It's a much softer look for a lightweight, softer fabric. Do what works for  your fabric. Either way, you need to ditch stitch the band at the side seams. 

Your new wide, shaped hem band is now complete. I think it is a great custom touch for this pattern, New Look 6866. I hope you give it a try. If you have any questions, ask away. The next post will be about the linen version which is quite a different construction and look. Stay tuned! In the meantime..........

.............In the last post I showed you some pictures of our back yard and some of the improvements my husband and I have made and worked hard at. Seems we are not the only ones enjoying our hard work. This is a large male and he hung around for quite some time. An hour and a half earlier I walked out the back door to continue gardening and came face to face with Momma Bear  a few feet in front of me. Her cubs were in the front yard. At one point my next door neighbor had two large males, the mother and two cubs in her yard. You could hear the air horns going off all over that afternoon. That is how we signal each other that bears are around in our yards and to be on the alert. I don't garden without an air horn on my belt.  Big Daddy came back the next day but we haven't seen any of them since. Life in the wild!

Happy sewing!...........Bunny

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Adding "bumpouts" to a pattern, New Look 6866 or any other

I have started working on my linen dress. It will reflect some fit changes from the original Dandelion Dress shown here. It will have a tad less volume, particularly in the back. The armscyes will be raised about a half inch but otherwise, it is the same dress. I have a new pattern to play with as they were on sale and this way I could start fresh for all of you who wanted to know how to go about adding a bumpout to an A line dress or even a skirt. The pics aren't too exciting as they are of pattern tissue but the concept is a fun one so let's get going!

What do you need? 

* New Look pattern 6866 if you want to really copy what I did which is fine or any other maxi A line pattern. 
* A cutting board so you can see the measurements as that helps to establish grain and get your alterations correct.
* Dressmaking ruler, French curve or whatever shaped ruler you like to use for pattern drafting. Above are my rulers , decades old, purchased at a travelling sewing show. Great learning experience and lots of unusual notions. I don't think I have put these down since I got them in the eighties. I use them for everything despite their names. 
* A red or blue fine point Sharpie or whatever you would like to use to make your changes as long as it is not black or navy. You want a line that stands out to avoid mistakes. 
* Tissue paper in case you would like to trace from your original pattern, which I would recommend,  or if you need to add extensions.

That's about it. 

The first thing you need to do is iron your pattern tissue, BEFORE CUTTING, and I insist on it. It will just be easier to work with, never mind other good reasons why. If you are using 6866, be aware that the facings have different sizes on different facings and they are overlaid on each other and I don't know why. 

A note about the pattern and really any pattern you are going to cut. Iron it (no steam), lay it out flat, and measure it. Only then will you know if it is close to fitting. In this pattern I used the smallest size. The bust area, I think, fits great on me. You judge. There are 40 inches in the bust for the size small. THIS IS DESIGN EASE, PEOPLE. I will write a post on this soon. This is not an ill fitting pattern. The shoulders were perfect on me.  More to come on this subject as there is so much misunderstanding about the concept of fitting ease and design ease, two different things. Movin' on.......

Getting ready to cut:

Roughly cut out your pattern pieces. Do not get rid of any of the tissue in the side seams. Keep it all, including all sizes.  Use your red marker to extend the View E hemline out to the end of the tissue from whatever size you are using. I am using small here. Don't cut off any of those other sizes. 

 If you are using the larger sizes you will have  to add an extension of tissue or paper about 4 or more inches wide to draw the bumpout.  I am using View E, the shorter version here. Don't cut anything yet!  Lay out your front piece. We will concentrate on the hems for now.  Measure across the tissue six inches down from the View E hemline and make marks all across. This will be your new hemline. Connect the marks to give you your new cutting line for your hem.

This is the new cutting line for your deep, shaped hem. Cut out the hem, ONLY , across the bottom. 

Fitting. Do any vertical adjustments you need to do before cutting any further. I simply tucked up some length a couple inches below the waistline but whatever VERTICAL  adjustments you need, go ahead and do them now. 

After that you can cut out any other parts of the tissue EXCEPT the right and left side seams for front and back. 

Let's look at the front first. 

I always find it easier on these nested patterns to outline MY dart in a contrasting color. Makes things a lot easier to mark and match up. I like to put dashes down the center too, to fold on. 

It is now OK to cut out your pattern everywhere EXCEPT the right and left side seams from the notch under the dart to the hem. 

If you need to do any further alterations, FBAs or such, do them now. You can see I raised my armscye a bit here, plight of the short people!

For larger sizes, add an extension piece of paper, maybe 5/6 inches wide to the side seam. You will be working outward from your normal size seam, whatever that may be. Place the tissue pattern piece on your cutting board ON GRAIN. With your French Curve or any other curvy Dressmaking ruler and your red sharpie draw a new side seam on the pattern as shown in this diagram below. It will give you the shape of my original Dandelion dress. In my linen version, I will be only extending out two inches, not three, to reduce a bit of volume and play with the shape a bit. In a nutshell, here is what you will do as you can see in the diagram. 

* Place your pattern piece on grain on your cutting board.
* One inch from YOUR SIZE side seam, at the new hemline, make a hashmark. This is where you will start your new curved bumpout side seam. 
* Twelve inches up straight up from the hemline make a mark on the old side seam.
* At that 12 inch mark, turn  Right 3 inches and make another mark. This is where your widest part of your bumpout will be.  Feel free to do less if you would like a different look. 
* About 4 inches below the notch, make another mark. This is where you will start curving in, instead of bumping out to give yourself some waistline shape.

Lay your new altered pattern down on the cutting table. Lay your back piece on top, matching the notch and side seam of the original dress. With your sharpie draw out the same shape you just made on the back of the dress side seam. Done. 

We still have the hem band to deal with but I want to get the linen all cut out first and lined and you will see why later.  You may want to wait for that instruction before starting to have a complete understanding as more shape is to come. 

I am five feet tall. These are the dimensions I came up with  based on nothing more than my inspiration picture. I am sure the model in the picture is far taller than me. You can move these curves  up and down any way you like to work with your own height. I have no magic formula. A muslin is wise. Just remember to go in that one inch from the side seam line for YOUR personal size, not mine. This helps shape the wide hem band.  Also remember to curve back in about 3 or 4 inches before you reach the notch to give your waist some shaping. A dress with this much volume needs that inward curve to look decent. 

You will be doing more shaping when the wide hem band goes in. 

Once all of your lines are drawn in with your red marker, cut out your tissue. If you've read this far, you can see that you are destroying the original tissue. I suggest that before starting you trace out your original tissue as this is a great classic pattern that I am sure you will use over and over. I know I will. 

 I did not cut out the wide hem band until the dress was all cut out for what will become obvious reasons. We will continue with that step in the next post as it is a bit involved. Stick with me! We are almost there! 

Because you have endured these rather "dry" pictures of pattern tissue, I will leave you with a bit more color. My husband and I have been working hard on our property we bought last year. The outside, like the inside was a nightmare but one with great potential. We took care of the inside with a total rehab and love it and it's like a brand new home but the outside now needs our attention. It is quite sorry. This property is on a bluff/cliff, whatever you want to call it on a small lake in New Hampshire. We have incredible wild life every day who drop by and visit. Looking forward to less energetic years at some point we are making this a no lawn, woodland shade garden for about 90 % and all of the back yard. It will be filled with mosses, pachysandra and other shade and acid loving goodies. We have done massive clean up here , I mean massive grunt work but it is looking so much better. We have a long way to go, long way, but gardening takes time and teaches patience. You can see our fairy moss growing happily and we can't wait till we have velvet everywhere. It is doing really well, coming from just a tiny bit. It will come as things grow and more hardscape goes down. Here's a few pics:

Happy Sewing!.......Bunny

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

My first evah Wearable Muslin, New Look 6866

And it's even a hand painted wearable muslin!

If you've followed me through the ages, you know I don't believe in wearable muslins. The reason I caved on this pattern is because I wanted to find out how deep the back neckline was, did it show a bra band, and could I play with the design and get some "bump outs" to work. The original pattern is great on it's own. It is New Look 6866. Make sure you don't read that upside down!

It's a summery classic with neckline choices  and deep-ish looking back neckline. My original inspiration was this beauty I found on Pinterest:

I love the look, the "bump outs", the painting and particularly that deep, shaped hem band. Thank my sister for naming them "bump outs". Sounds appropriate to me!  I had some beautiful periwinkle cross dyed linen but I needed to work out the design before cutting into it. I did and will tell you what I figured out from my first wearable muslin. It was a worthwhile experience but a new one for me. I just don't do wearable muslins! 


I wanted something with some body as my linen would be underlined. Dig and dig. Well, if I am going to wear it, and surely just in the garden digging, I might as well use some off white denim I've owned for years.  I  bought yards and yards years ago with intentions of slipcovering the moon, I think, and it has been the gift that keeps on giving. But, oh, my, is it blah. The more I worked with it, the more blah it got. Hmmm,,,,,,,As I was experimenting with the pattern, placing, tucking, etc, I kept looking up and around to see all my painting supplies for another project I was working on. Paint, that's it! If it looks awful, well, who cares? I had a cute stencil for a dandelion puff and I layed some paints down on the dress front pieces  with dry brush techniques to give some color and depth to the dandelions. Then I decided to stencil in the dandelions on top of the colors with royal blue paint. The stencil had no stems so I had to paint them in as well. I was pleased and this was headed in a good direction. 

The denim was prewashed three times and the paint got my usual "make it stick" technique and that worked great. I have washed this dress three times, once in hot water, and the painting hasn't budged. Yay!

Signed my artwork, too!


I tried to keep this simple, muslin being and all, but it was denim, and I was going to wear it. I went jeans style, stitching, serging and topstitching all the seams. This dress is rugged. It actually comes out of the wash, like a pair of jeans, with a shake and it totally wearable! 

Above you can see the hem band and I will do a post on how I managed that deep, shaped hem and the bumpouts in a few days. 

The arms and neckline were simply bound with a muslin quilting print turned and topstitched. 

This dress has no zipper and easily slips over my head. I did not use the facings included and simply pressed open the serged seams and catchstitched them down. 

Edited to add that I just did a blogpost on how to alter an A line shape for bumpouts. Here:

In conclusion:

Lots of good take aways from my first ever wearable muslin making. 
   *It IS wearable, not perfectly fitting, but wearable. 

   *I need to raise the armscye to prevent bra show. 

   * I like the bumpouts but will make them a bit more shallow in the "good" version.

   *I LOVE the wide hem band. It is not from the pattern. I added that change. 

   * I will remove some volume from the back only. My SIL and I did some playing around and that    was much better.

   *I will make the next one shorter. I really thought this would be mid calf but it's not. Up it goes! 

   * I love the back neckline. I used to think my back was my best feature and still decent enough to bare on a hot day.  But not anymore..........My arms are my best feature. They have held more babies, comforted many fevers, hugged in wild passion, wrapped around the dying, and stitched probably a million stitches. You judge for yourself but I think they are my best feature. 

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