We know the days of making cool cotton summer dresses are over, but this project is too lovely to not share! Also, teamed with a cardy and some tights, it's still wearable for Autumn. Have a look at Louise's lovely dress....
We know the days of making cool cotton summer dresses are over, but this project is too lovely to not share! Also, teamed with a cardy and some tights, it's still wearable for Autumn. Have a look at Louise's lovely dress....
WhiteTree fabrics are absolutely delighted to welcome a brand new addition to our blog team - our first ever male blogger! I hope you'll join me in welcoming Curtis Fulcher of Pudleston Patchwork on board the team. Curtis joins our multi talented, productive, knowledgable, enthusiastic community due to a spot opening up recently. I'll let Curtis explain the rest....
Name: Curtis Fulcher
Location: Pudleston in rural Herefordshire
By day I am Head of Marketing and Sales in a vibrant Arts Centre in Herefordshire, and then by night and weekends I am a keen male amateur sewer!
I have been drafting and creating with fabric since I was a little boy of 5, often hiding in my bedroom with needle and thread, as it was not the done thing to do for a young boy in the 90s.
I have made a variety of things over the years including, cushions, bags, curtains, costumes for an amateur theatre company, shirts, jackets and other clothing for myself, alterations for my friends, and much more!
I started blogging a couple of years ago when friends of mine commented on how neat my bunting was, which got encourage me to try and encourage them to ‘give it a go’ it’s not as hard as it looks!
One of my current passions (in the light of the BBC’s Great British Sewing Bee) is to try and spread the word that male sewers are just as good as the girls!
I am really looking forward to creating some projects for White Tree Fabrics and blogging all about it!
My twitter: www.twitter.com/ppatchwork
My blog: www.pudlestonpatchwork.wordpress.com
Here are some of the projects already completed by Curtis - you can view more over a his blog. We're really looking forward to seeing what Curtis comes up with for his first WhiteTree project!
Our popular warm jersey fabric has proved to be a huge hit with our customers and our bloggers. This versatile fabric is just perfect for fashion, as our bloggers have proven. Take a look at these previous projects which include dresses, t-shirts, cardigans and hoodies:
Louise's Purple Coco Dress
We're so pleased to be able to bring you a wonderful make from our blogger Louise, who wore her creation on her Honeymoon in Iceland! I guess this fabric really puts the 'warm' into warm jersey, plus this garment is in the gorgeous festive red shade. Over to Louise....
Here it is, my latest make for White Tree Fabrics and a super cosy Coco dress for my Icelandic honeymoon! The pattern is the good old Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress , but this time I made it with a funnel neck and cuffs as previously I’ve only made the dress sweet and simple and thought it was about time I gave myself more of a challenge!
The fabric I used was the warm jersey in red ,which has a one-way stretch, meaning that it hugs around your body absolutely wonderfully. It also makes it very snuggly and the perfect material for that fold-down funnel neck! I think I used 1.5m altogether for this dress, including the extra details and the pockets, as well as a reel of red thread.
I have to say that this dress was absolutely perfect for Iceland, where it frequented minus 10°c on more than one occasion. I love the red colour too – it’s so vibrant and very festive. It also matches the colour of my bridesmaids dresses which is a happy co-incidence! There’ll be a few images of both my wedding and my honeymoon popping up on the blog soon once I’ve had chance to edit so keep an eye out for those if you’re interested :) In the meantime, here are some more pics of my 4th Coco!
Huge congratulations to Louise on her marriage - we can't wait to see the wedding pictures, and of course the other dress!
If you were following our Christmas Dress Sew-a-long, get ready for a jam packed final blog post!!
First of all, let's talk about the finishing touches you will need to complete your dress.....
We are on the final post of this sew-along with fabric from WTF. It really is a beautiful dress- very simple but the fabric is sumptuous! I wanted to make sure the finishing touches were not going to let the dress down. In my head I had a Downton Abbey style dress with a cord belt. So at The Knitting and Stitching Show I bought some cord and some tassels from Aarti J to put on the end of the cord. I also called at Duttons for Buttons so I could add a beautiful button…..when the lady pointed out the Yorkshire Rose button there was no other choice! I am a Yorkshire girl!
Once you have your preferred notions, you're in a position to complete your dress. Here's the finished product from Amanda:
And here she is wearing it to a Christmas party and looking stunning!
Here is the Christmas Party Dress at the Christmas Party! Terrible photos I am afraid, but proof that I wore it!
Click here to see more!
We really hope you've enjoyed this sew-a-long and that it has inspired you to think about making your own dress for special occassions, be it Christmas, as a wedding guest, or just replacing a beloved black lace party dress!
Louise from Thread Carefully has created one of the most cosy looking dresses we've seen in a long time. Combining our ever popular warm jersey with the Tilly and the Buttons Coco pattern, Louise has created something that whilst being a simple and easy make, delivers fantastic results.
Tilly and the Buttons Coco Jersey Dress
Remember I said I was desiring simple sewing projects? Well you could not get more simple than Tilly’s Coco dress! White Tree Fabrics kindly sent me the pattern and 2 metres of their ‘warm jersey‘ for this project.
Now, I hope you are prepared to be really jealous of where I live – the tropical, glamorous beaches of the East Riding of Yorkshire were the perfect location to shoot these photos…..
My feet aren't touching the floor in this photo!
The pattern is great. Simple, but great. I was on the fence about this pattern for so long, because of its simplicity. I felt like after having been on three pattern cutting courses, I could draft it myself… but this is probably me being overly confident and, well, wrong. Maybe. We will never know, because when White Tree Fabrics started stocking Tilly’s patterns I hesitated not a moment longer and ordered it!
My feet aren't touching the floor in this photo, either!
Boy, am I glad to own this pattern! I traced it one evening, and I’m not kidding, the next lunchtime I made my first Coco in UNDER ONE HOUR. And I even liked it, which was itself a surprise because I wasn’t sure if it would be flattering on me (even though it looks great on everyone else).
Running towards the North sea. Totally tropical, don't you know!
My White Tree Fabrics Coco is one of the plainest things I have ever made. You know me: prints, prints, and more prints! But it’s getting cold, and I wanted cosy, and after ordering some samples I just couldn’t resist the ‘warm jersey’. This fabric is actually like a woolly fine knitted fabric, like they use to make cardigans etc. It is super soft and really warm and cosy.
Neckline Close up
I made the most basic Coco dress – plain neckline, no cuffs, no pockets. I added 2″ to the length which still leaves it above the knee but not too short. I was very careful not to stretch the fabric as I sewed, because the fabric recommendations call for a stable jersey and the fabric I chose was a bit too stretchy, really. I stabilised the shoulder seams with elastic (pictured below), and I also used the same elastic to stabilise the neckline before turning it under and topstitching it, too.
Elastic to stabilise the shoulder seams
I used Bondaweb to stabilise the hemline before sewing it. The stretch recovery of the fabric is great, so its stretchiness is no problem now that the dress has been sewn together. Oh, and it washes nicely too, on a machine wool cycle.
A mid-application shot of the Bondaweb, which I ironed in to stabilise the hem before sewing it with a zig zag stitch
I really love this dress, but it does feel weird to be blogging about such a simple sewing project! However, the dress is already getting worn a lot because it’s so snuggly and practical. It feels easy to wear, and stylish in an understated way. I’m on the lookout for some sort of bonkers jersey print for a future Coco, but for now I’m very happy with this one!
Thanks to White Tree Fabrics, and my photographer and co-blogger, Aileen.
And now for something a little different - and we love different, inventive, ideas. This garment is definitely an exercise in thinking outside of the box and coming up with something truly unique and fantastic! Over to Amy!
Wow, am I happy to bring you this project! It’s my first make as part of the White Tree blogging team, and it’s taken me four months from receiving the materials to completion. I did intend to have it finished earlier, as it’s really a jacket with more of a summer feel. But hey, sometimes life has other plans for us and there is no point worrying about not finishing projects as quickly as we’d like to. Apart from life getting in the way, it was a time consuming make for a number of reasons. The first was that I self drafted the pattern, and it took awhile to get it right. I also then wanted to create a prototype before cutting in to the gorgeous Tilda cotton. My practice garment was my tape cassette jacket, which I wore to Bestival festival. When I was happy with my basic pattern I hacked about with it a bit to allow for the lace insert. It was inserting the lace that made me feel nervous, and I needed to be in the right frame of mind to tackle this part of the project. (i.e not mind boggingly tired and driven crazy by a toddler who wants to watch Thomas the Tank Engine on repeat). I haven’t worked with lace before, yet alone such a stunning, special and expensive guipure lace. I really didn’t want to mess this part up. I had a vivid image of how I wanted this jacket to turn out, and I spent a long time working out how to achieve it. In the end I think I had to compromise my vision with what I could practically achieve. There were a few moments in this make that I wished for instructions to follow, but eventually my instinct got me there.
Fabric: Tilda Jane Blue Grey Cotton, Random flower guipure, A pink poly-cotton for the lining, Cotton elastane ribbing for collars/cuffs
Cost: The Tilda cotton and Flower Guipure was kindly donated to me by White Tree Fabrics, The poly cotton was £3.50 from Leeds Market, and the Cotton elastane ribbing was from Plush Addict and left over from a previous project
Pattern: Self drafted cropped jacket. My first version is the tape cassette jacket blogged here
Time: Could be completed in a day
Difficulty: Medium, because it involved some intricate hand sewing
I hadn’t heard or used Tilda fabric before, but as soon as I had it in my hand you could tell it was a premium quality cotton, which is soft and buttery to the touch. Tilda is a craft brand founded by Norwegian designer Tone Finnanger in 1999, best known for its whimsical and naive characters in the form of animals and dolls. The prints are delicate, with a county cottage / shabby chic style feel. They feature quaint floral designs, polka dots, stripes and are typically very feminine and pretty. Now this isn’t my signature style, but I thought I’d branch out a little. I can see the Tilda range of fabrics really lending themselves to a lot of home furnishing, toy clothing and dressmaking style projects.
Guipure lace is a firm, stiff lace, without a net background. The shapes in guipure are typically large patterns, that are held together by large connecting stitches. It’s perfect for garment cut outs because it has enough structure to hold its shape nicely. It cuts really easily without falling apart, and I’ve heard, but not tested that it also dyes well.
Did I already mention this pattern was self drafted? I did? Oh well, high fives anyway! It consists of a standard bodice back, front and sleeve pieces with rectangular strips used for the cuffs, neckline and hem. To create the lace insert I cut out the desired shape in the back bodice piece, which left a big hole to fill in later! When creating it I was certain I wanted to make a garment with a lace insert (White Tree have a great selection of fancy laces, and I couldn’t resist giving one a try) but I was toying between two ideas. The first was an elegant blazer, with a see through lace back, and the second was a more sporty jacket with a feminine lacy twist, like a mix mash of sporty and baby spice in one. Probably difficult to put in to words my vision but there you have it. I decided on the sporty option because I was intrigued if it would work or not.
Initially I didn’t want any lining behind the lace at the back of the garments, so that you could see through to skin. I couldn’t quite work out how to sew it like this though, and on reflection I would probably always wear something underneath it, so just decided to fully line it. I hope the lining I chose compliments and contrasts the lace successfully.
This was the trickiest and scariest part. I couldn’t afford to make a mistake. I made myself a super charged vegan iced coffee (do ask if you’re interested) and got to work with a caffeine fueled bravado. You can see on the image below how at the selvedges the lace has beautiful teardrop shaped lobes. I wanted to incorporate these in to my triangular panel at the edges, but to do so would be a challenge that involved cutting in to the fabric and sewing back together again.
I took a long hard look at the lace and tried to visualise if I could cut it in a way that I would be able to sew up again, without it looking too obvious. This was the result:
I then delicately sat and hand sewed the two pieces together as invisibly as I could, trimming off any excess lace as I went along. I held my breath, without daring to think about what could go wrong. Luckily I seemed to be pulling this off, and ended up with one piece I was really happy with.
I needed to tidy up the teardrops at the point of the triangle, and had slight concerns about how it would fit with my other pieces along the neckline, but I’d winged it so far hadn’t I. Someone or something was on my side.
I hand sewed the lace piece to the back bodice, and then machine stitched the neckline piece to the top of the lace. At some point, my back bodice piece had become a little distorted, where the shoulders were different widths, and didn’t fit well with the front bodice piece when sewing together at the shoulders. To rectify this, I had to sew at the shoulders a little lower, and then re-shape the armholes by cutting in to the fabric, to replace the lost height at the shoulders. Oh golly, it all sounds a bit drastic, and it was, but I had no spare fabric so I did what I could.
On reflection – a better option would have been to complete the lace panel first, before cutting out any of the back panel pieces. This would have meant I could have cut out the exact sized shape, rather than try to fit my lace in to a hole that was too large and left the rest of the garment mis-shapen.
I continued to sew up the garment. The sleeves were tricky because I had *reshaped* the armholes and the set in sleeves didn’t fit properly. You can see on the photos there are a couple of puckers, but nothing so awful it would stop me from wearing it. Once it was together, I tried it on, and it didn’t look half bad. Hells bells. I then went ahead and put together the lining in a similar fashion.
I knew that the general rule of thumb is to cut ribbing 2/3 to 3/4 of the length of the piece it’s being applied to, depending on how much you want it to hug that area. With this in mind I worked out the dimensions for my rectangles and cut out shapes for the neckline, cuffs and waistline.
I attached the zip using my zipper foot, and sewed through both the lining and main fabric, so that you could see the stitching from the front. I then hand tacked the back of the zip to the lining of the garment to keep it flat.
Do I have something that looks handmade? Probably yes. But do I have something with an awesome hand-sewn guipure lace panel that I can be proud of? Hell yeah! I must admit I think it’s a slightly odd garment, that doesn’t match most of my wardrobe. Did I pull it off? What do you all think? When I wear it however, I feel proud, and that equates to lots of happiness in my book. It was a challenge to make, and one that I acquired some new skills and learnt from. What more could I want?
erm … easy! More beautiful guipure lace please.
So what do you think of this fantastic make? We love it! You won't find anything like this on the high street!
It's time for Part 3 of our sew-a-long Christmas Party dress with Amanda.
In our previous blog posts, Amanda has showed you how to get started and how to work on the bodice of the dress. To make a start, you obviously need the dress kit, which you can buy here. We've discounted this especially for our readers to ensure you save money and get a bargain!
Today's instalment is all about the skirt, and joining the bodice and skirt together. Over to Amanda!
The skirt was also an easy sew on the Christmas party dress. The style is a blouson effect and has an elastic casing to bring the fabric in at the waist.
I made sure that my skirt was going to be the correct length so I could use the scalloped edge of the lace for the hem.
The scallop of the lace, shown here is one of the other available colours. This product code is 7888. Click here to see more.
It was at this point that I needed a real try on with my shoes. I also wanted to make sure that the length was right and where to hem the lining to. The pattern has a slit in the back of the skirt but due to the lace I decided to miss it out on my dress.
The last part of the sew along will be the finishing touches. I love choosing these parts of a dress and I usually have an idea already planted in my head- I can’t wait to show you!
So it's time for Part 2 of our sew-a-long Christmas Party dress with Amanda.
Pin the lace to the bodice lining, right sides together. Use pins to mark where you need to sew around armholes and neckline. See photograph below.
Sew with a sewing machine, trim seam and then under stitch in to the lining as far as possible, as the photo shows.
Follow steps 6 and 7 on the sewing pattern. I loved sewing this part. It was a great sewing moment when you say…"Ahhh! I get it now!"
The bodice is so neat and precise. The back matches perfectly too. It is the pulling through the shoulder seams that seem to give it that perfect look. It does say it is a ‘Very Easy Vogue’ pattern and I am inclined to agree with that. Simple but perfect so far!
Tools to help you with the bodice:
Stay tuned for part 3 coming soon!
Meet Amanda, our lovely blogger and the leader of our Christmas Party Dress sew-a-long.
Amanda was one of the first people to join our team earlier this year and has also been one of our most productive bloggers, having notched up an impressive 7 makes since June 2014. That's more than a project a month! Amanda always has such fantastic ideas about which fabric will work with which pattern and so when she suggested a Christmas dress sew-a-long, we started to investigate and research. We came up with the fabrics and the sewing pattern and got really good feedback on all of them. So, if you want to see what we selected and buy the kit, click here.
We'll be making Option B.
Now to kick off with Part 1 of the sew-a-long: Getting Started!
As a WhiteTree fabrics blogger, they send me the fabric of my choice to make into something beautiful! I have managed to create some beautiful makes with their fabric over the past 6 months. This post is slightly different as I asked WTF if I could make a party dress and do a sew along. I offered some ideas and with Lisa and her ability to network we came up with Vogue 8241.
I was delighted when this fabric and pattern were chosen as it is an easy pattern with a lining, which works well with our fabric choice. This is a vintage lace in a sapphire grey. It has a slight stretch and is absolutely beautiful.
It will not need a hem due to the lovely scalloped edge, which will make it an easy sew for us.
PART 1 : MEASURING & CUTTING
I cut out my pattern first and pinned it onto my mannequin just to check it would fit.
I then decided to cut the lining out first and once again checked it would fit the mannequin.
Once I had checked it was definitely going to fit I carefully cut out the lace. Take care with where the fold of your bodice is and make sure you are happy with where the flowers on the lace will be. I was very careful with the lace cutting as it is so delicate.
I measured the length I wanted my dress to be. I am going for a full length style with a scalloped hem so I measured from my waist to the correct length. I then folded back 3 inches of the pattern so the hem would be the scallop.
And guess what…..I pinned it to the mannequin! I also used post-it notes to remember which side is the right side.
So….cutting out all done and we are ready to sew. Join us for Part 2, coming up really soon.
Essentials shopping list
Sew-a-long complete kit
Are you ready for our Christmas Party Dress sew-a-long? Due to kick off this Wednesday with Part 1 : Getting Started, the rest of the series will proceed with the following instalments:
Part 2- The bodice
Part 3- The skirt
Part 4- A perfect Finish
A final post will be made after the Christmas party that our blogger Amanda is wearing her dress to, which will be 14th December. We're so looking forward to seeing the dress if the sneak peek photos we've seen are anything to go by!
To purchase your Christmas Party blogger dress kit, click here. Each kit has been specially discounted for our customers, saving you up to £9 by buying the complete kit as opposed to buying the supplies separately. The kit includes lace, lining fabric, sewing pattern, thread and a beautiful button to create the perfect finishing touch to your dress.
You can choose from other lace colours and the lining fabric is also available in Black.
We hope you can join us and we hope you feel inspired to create your very own seasonal dress.