Winter dress sewing

The last few weeks have been filled with sewing in the warm-up to Christmas. Our girls’ school finished quite early this year so I thought I should make the most of the last couple of weeks of term, when I had more time alone during the day.

Some frustration ensued, as I was so eager to sew that I underestimated my size – twice – and had to re-make two of the dresses! I’ve learned from it and now just have two spare dresses to pass on to slimmer friends or relations.

So, what have I been making?

Mint green dress








Stretch velvet/ velours was a strong theme at the beginning of the month. I picked up some lovely green crushed velours at The Shuttle, and some slightly more flimsy pink (which I won’t be using again as it curls so much at the edges!), to make dresses using Simplicity 8027. It was fairly simple to convert the top and skirt to a loose dress. I cut out both in age 7 and age 10, then folded away the excess at the side of the skirt pattern pieces so that the waistline of the skirt and top matched. As has become my habit of late, I joined the shoulder seams, inserted the sleeves and neckband, attached the skirt front and back  and finished with the side seams, sleeve and skirt hems.

Seamwork Magazine introduces two new patterns with each issue; this month, Ida was the one that caught my eye. It uses only a small amount of fabric and I was able to make two from 1.5m of 150cm wide stretch velours (I’d only planned for one but the first was too small)!

It’s a simple and elegant pattern, with shoulder gussets and self lined sleeves that make construction straightforward. The instructions are clear and it’s quite a quick project and very satisfying to sew. There are no glitches to report and I’d recommend it if you’re looking for a snug fitting dress, for a party or any smart occasion, but don’t have much time or fabric available.

I found that, contrary to what I’d read elsewhere, the stretch velvet/velours fabric (which was a bargain at £4.50 per metre in Jacks Fabrics at Leeds Markets) behaved best when folded right sides together. The two layers gripped each other like hook and loop fastening, whereas when I tried cutting a single layer, it slid all over the table! Having said that, it is a synthetic knit fabric; a more luxurious velvet would have required rather different treatment.


I’ll tell you more about my other recent sewing projects very soon and plan to be much more regular – and organised – in my blogging. Sometimes I’m so busy sewing that I forget to write about it…






Christmas Tree


For now, as it’s Christmas Eve, the presents are wrapped and the children – we hope! – asleep, I’d just like to wish you a very happy Christmas. My prayer is that you and those around you might find love, joy, hope and peace, both now and in the coming year.

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