Tutorial: easy summer dress


Hi everyone. I still haven't got round to doing my gold thing. The thing is, because I went away for a few days I kind of lost my motivation. I will finish it eventually! My next update will be the gold thing :|

I wanted to make something floaty with a loose waist... something a little bit like this:

So... this dress will not be fitted. There will be no zippers, darts or anything, so it is definitely easy enough for a beginner. There are pockets in this tutorial but they are easy to do and if you can't be arsed, just ignore that part and move on.

What you need...
This will require a lot of fabric! The bodice on my dress is approx 19 x 15 inches (there are four pieces of fabric for this too so... multiply by four). The fabric required for the top layer of the skirt is 106" x 19" and for the bottom it is 56x15. You will need a bit more fabric if you want to make a ribbon, but if the fabric you're buying is wide, you should be able to just snip a few inches off the bottom (+ you may want a shorter skirt than mine). This dress is lined. I lined mine in the same fabric as I used on the outside (I am using silk from a vintage sari), but you can use different fabric if you like. If you choose to make your inner-skirt the same length and fullness as the outer skirt but in a different fabric, you could end up with a reversible dress (oooh). You will also need a sewing machine and scissors, of course!

What you must do...
For the bodice, you will be cutting on a fold. You do not really need a pattern piece for this, you can just cut straight onto the fabric (although pinning it together in places may be a good idea, up to you).
Cut approximately this shape. The waist should not be narrower than the armhole and should be several inches larger than your actual waist measurement. The waist on my dress was about 38" so I would have cut about 9.5" from the fold (each pattern piece would be 19" across). I cut the neckline quite high so I can cut it according to what looks best when I put it on. I have a tendency of making necklines too low, you see.

You should end up with two identical pieces which look vaguely like this. Now pin one of these pieces to your lining fabric (folded in half once - you do not need to cut on the fold for this) and cut around it so you end up with four identical pieces.

Put each pair together with the wrong sides facing outward. Sew along the shoulders and the sides. You will now have two bodices. At this point you can try them on and fix the neckline.

Sewing the lining to the bodice is the only tricky part, really. It is hard to photograph in such a way that makes it clear what is actually going on haha. The three points at which they must be joined are the neck and armholes. Basically just sew the pieces together, right sides together. In the picture, you can see the shoulder seam from both bodice pieces pressed together. You will sew along this edge so they end up joined together, and do the same for the neck and other armhole.
When you have finished and turn it all inside out, it should look like this. Notice that all of the seams you just sewed are now hidden!
Now cut both skirt layers. You can use the measurements I wrote above, but its up to you. If you are making pockets (oh go on) you will need to cut the outer skirt layer in half. If not, just sew the ends of your big skirt pieces together, creating two circles / loops / tubes!?
For the pockets, fold some fabric and cut this shape out on the fold.
Cut two of them so you have two pockets. They should end up looking like the above.
Place your opened out pocket on one end of one piece of the outer skirt layer (right sides together). Sew down the straight edge. I forgot to photograph this part but sew the other side of the pocket (the other straight edge) to side of the pocket.
I am terrible at drawing diagrams haha but it should look something like this! Do this with both pockets on both halves of the outer skirt so they are all joined together. Now sew up the sides of both skirt pieces from the bottom (the sides in the middle of the diagram should be joined together with the pocket in the middle). When you reach the pocket, leave the opening and continue above the pocket. Sew up the pocket from the fold to the opening. Do this on the other side with the other pocket.
You should now have pockets like this on both sides of the skirt. Sew up the lining skirt in the same way but (obviously) without the pocket. Now set your machine to the longest possible stitch and do one line of stitching along the top of each side of the skirt. Do the same to the lining / bottom layer of the skirt. Take one of the threads and pull it so the fabric bunches up. Make sure each side of the outer skirt is, when gathered, the same length of one side of the bodice so the side seams match up e.g. if your bodice is 19" across, gather your skirt until it is 19". 
The above picture is my gathered lining. Line the edge of the gathered skirt with the bottom edge of the bodice, right sides together. Pin the edges together and sew along the edge, making sure the seams match up. Do this on both sides. With the lining, sew the skirt so the stitching faces the same way as the rest of the lining seams do.
Once you do this, when you turn the whole dress inside out, the skirt attached to the lining should look like this i.e. the same as on the outside.
Hem both outer and lining skirt layers.
Trim and zig zag over all seams (you should be able to get to all of them).
Yay, you are finished. If you want a ribbon, cut a long piece of fabric (mine was approx 40" x 2 1/2"), sew along the whole length, turn it inside out, fold in the ends, stitch over the top and iron.
(this is what I wore today)
Hat: vintage
Glasses, necklace, watch: Asos
Shoes: New Look

BUT add your ribbon, tie up your hair and add tights = instantly ladylike ;D
Easy, yes? I hope this has been helpful!

Mini-tutorial: Heathers scrunchie


I only got back a couple of days ago so have been a bit too tired to do any hefty (even moderately so) sewing projects. I've done a mini-tutorial for a scrunchie a la Heathers because its easy. First, however, I will post some photos I took over the past week. I was staying with my boyfriend (Andy) at his parents' dairy farm in Wiltshire. The calves were let out into the sunshine that week so I'm so frustrated I didn't get any photos of them! They were all tufty and sweet hoho.

We went for a long walk at this... place. I don't know what it was called or where it was, just that it was very pretty / there were stinging nettles bloody everywhere

Am I the only one who finds this weirdly Blair Witch Project-esque?

We decided to get a ROAST because it was Sunday and as luck would have it, we ended up having the greatest carvery ever. The table wasn't actually reserved for us or anyone else (I think) so idk why it says that but THE POTATOES WERE INCREDIBLE.

Then Andy made me a fancy coffee when we got back. Fancy in so far as the equipment was fancy and it had foam but wasn't out of a machine. I was impressed.

Weird aeropress gif

I don't even remember what day this was from BUT just FYI, this is a man made hill. Nobody knows for sure what it is for / why it was made but it is enormous. I don't know why I am telling you this, readers of my blog, but I am.

More walks around various places.

AND WE MADE A ROAST OF OUR OWN. It was amazing. I tried to do closeups of the chicken (the best bit) but it looked a bit gruesome so you shall have to imagine its crispy/tenderness for yourselves.
Anyway, hopefully this tutorial doesn't come across as a bit of an odd thing to post following a photo of a roast chicken. Unfortunately I couldn't find any plain red fabric suitable, but I made do! I guess we can only call this Heathers inspired (or just a scrunchie with a bow on it? ha) because it's not plain red and is somewhat less floppy but anyway, on we go.

What you will need...
Sewing machine / needle and thread
A small-ish amount of red fabric. Maybe use an old shirt or something?

What you must do...
Cut your elastic according to how thick your hair is / how big you want your scrunchie to be. I believe mine was 9 inches.
For the fabric covering, you will need to cut a rectangle shape. The length should be more than double that of the elastic (so approx 22" for me) and the width double how much you want it to eventually turn out like (the width of mine was about 2.5" in the end so I would need to cut a bit more than 5").
You don't really need to measure it, just cut a long rectangle more than double the elastic in length and however thick you want the scrunchie to be x2 in width.
Fold the rectangle in half and sew along one side

Sew one end of your elastic to one end (along the stitched side)

From that point, sew down to the other corner. 

Turn it inside out and it should now look more or less like the bottom picture hoho

For some reason I didn't photograph this bit properly but now you have to get the elastic from inside (it should be inside now that you have turned it inside out) and pull it out of the opening to meet the other side. Sew it in place like you did on the other side! In hind sight (sorry I didn't plan this very well) you could've sewn it to the other side before turning it inside out... BUT ANYWAY
It should vaguely look like this - stitched down at the open end.

It gets a bit hard to photograph from this point. Turn the ends of the open side inwards about 1cm.

Fit the open side (with edges turned in) over the sewn up other side of the tube. You may or may not want to pin it. Pinning can sometimes make fiddly things even more fiddly, but it's up to you.#

Sew down the folded over part through all layers of fabric. You could handsew it so you keep the 'tube' and so you don't have a visible row of stitching, but I can't be arsed.

Cut four of this shape! It's hard to tell you how long they should be really, but mine was about 16" long. The width depends on how fat you want your bow to be. Mine was about 4" wide. The angle of the 'tail' also depends on your personal taste, obviously! Each piece will be half the length of the entire 'ribbon', so keep that in mind. Put two of the pieces together (right sides facing inward, wrong sides facing outward) and stitch along the orange dotted line. Now do this for the other two pieces.

Excuse the weird picture. I haven't ironed anything haha. Open up the joined pieces so they are lying flat with the stitching facing upwards. Place the two pieces together with wrong sides inward and right sides outward, lining up the flat edge on both pieces. Don't worry if they've ended up slightly uneven, just give it a trim. Sew along the flat edge (the dotted line in the picture).
You should now have something which vaguely looks like this?
Fold it in half (right side inward, wrong side outward) and stitch along the dotted line but leave a space (about 2cm?) in your stitching at some point. It doesn't really matter where, but I left the space in the centre. Through this hole, turn the whole thing inside out. Depending on where the whole is and how big it is, you can choose either to leave it or handsew it up (see the slipstitch on this page)
Arrange your ribbon into a vague bow shape that you like. Pin where you want everything to go.
Sew it all down :D

Get a little bit of fabric (about 4" x 2"), fold it in half and stitch along the longer side. Turn it inside out.
Make a little pleat, fold it in half, stitch, trim the end. You should now have a little loop.
Sew your loop to the scrunchie along the seam. Sew through the elastic as wellll. Get both sides of the loop and stitch it to the fabric of the scrunchie so it sits relatively flat. The line of stitching in the above picture should now be hidden.
Get your bow, push it through the loop, arrange and adjust so it looks nice, use a needle and thread to stitch it to the loop. Now you've finished, hooray.

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