Tag Archives: dress

Tania Dress

12 Sep

Aaaaaaahhhh! It’s Friday. I’ve just finished a whole week at my new job and I got to come home early. Life is sweeeeeeeet!

And also stressful. New job=stress. But we’ll stick with life being sweet.

Today’s post brings what seems to be the last of my summer makes.

I hadn’t planned it that way- I didn’t think ‘it’s officially Autumn now, no more bright florals’; naturally my crafting seems to have taken me in a different print and colour direction but we’re going out on an absolute sizzler I tell thee.


Just look how summery it is! Sleeveless, bright yellow and florals to boot. You can’t get more August than that.

‘But doesn’t all that skirt get blown up in the August breeze?’




It’s blooming shorts! Well, culottes to be precise.

Yup, these are the Tania culottes from Megan Nielsen, slightly modified from the original of course.

I don’t know about you, and possibly this is TMI, but sweaty thighs are just gross. I do not like the feel of them touching each other and shorts look atrocious on me. Thus far I’ve had to suffer through the summers with leggings or tights on. The first time I met my Brother in Law’s new girlfriend I was wearing tights- it was the second hottest day of the year. * I’m pretty sure she thought I was a mentalist.

So I thought and I thought. And then I remembered that I had a skirt/short thing at Brownies. Now what was that called? Ah yes, culottes. And didn’t Megan Nielsen release a culottes pattern? Yes she did. Available for PDF download? Fantastic. Get on it instantly.

Of course, my first pair of culottes were an absolute disaster. The fabric choice was awful- far too drapey and it made me look like I was wearing a sack.

I had another go with a gorgeous cotton lawn (which was the right amount of drapiness by the way if you’re looking to make these) but I only had 1 metre of 42″ wide fabric and couldn’t get them out long enough. Sure, they’re technically wearable but I don’t like showing off my underbutt.

3rd attempt, no wearable pair of culottes and I decided to make a dress instead.

And thank goodness it paid off.


So twirly!!

I lengthened these quite a bit. Not only am I not a fan of the underbutt, I don’t like have my thighs out on show either so I added about 6 inches to the length. I thought about adding length at the top of the waist too, to account for the waistband which I’d taken out but when it came to cutting I completely forgot. Luckily, the fabric had quite a bit of give to it so I didn’t look like Miley Cyrus for too long


The whole thing went together really quickly. The culottes have just 4 pieces that are nearly identical, which I sewed to a bodice of Simplicity 1803 which I’ve made so many times now that it’s a really quick make.

The fabric is this gorgeous rayon I got from a company on Amazon called IndianBeautifulArt

I don’t work for them, this isn’t an affiliate link or anything like that, I’m just always very happy to share when I’m pleased with something.

The quality of the fabric is brilliant, the price is decent and, considering it’s shipping from India, the shipping is incredible. It came in 4 days over the weekend, from India!!

The patterns can be a bit hit and miss so there’s not always something on there that I like but quite frankly that’s a good thing or else I’d be broke!

Hemming this thing was a pain in the arse. I wanted to wear it that evening to a work’s dinner but the sensible me decided it would be a good idea to let it hang since the hem’s on the bias. I mean, it was a good idea- I had to chop a load of fabric off- but still, I like instant gratification!

Despite that, I’m definitely going to make more. This particular version hasn’t got pockets, but I’m going to add them to future makes and it will be the most practical dress in the Universe.

Oh, and I know I said this was an end of summer dress but look what I discovered


Turns out it looks fab with tights too. Win win.

*Not factual information but all days feel hot when you’re wearing tights in the summer.


Prom dress is finally out of my life!

27 Jun

A couple of months ago I mentioned that I was making my sister’s prom dress.

When I first offered it seemed like a nice idea- she could have something handmade, I’d have the chance to work on a big project and do something different. I quickly realised that actually this was a very stupid offer to make.

1. She wanted something made from chiffon. I dislike chiffon.

2. She wanted cut outs on the sides and an open back- 2 things I’ve never done before.

3. She wanted beading-   long.


Actually, the cutting and sewing process was fairly straight forward. Surprisingly, the first fitting was pretty close and I only had to make a couple of tweaks like pulling in the side seams and adjusting the zip.

The major problem came with the fact that my sister is tall. She sent me her height measurement which I set on my dress form and then added a few inches for the kitten heels she said she was wearing.

Everything plodded on, I did all the beading (more on that later) and then got her round to try on the dress with shoes so I could mark the hem.

She wore 6″ wedge heels people.

Who does that?!!!! She did this to me TWO DAYS BEFORE THE PROM!!!!

She also went back to her swimming training so she lost weight round her waist which was impossible to take in since I’d already beaded it and put on muscle on her shoulders so it took us about half an hour to get her in it.

I can honestly say this has been the most stressful week of my life. I had to order more fabric, pray it turned up in time and then attach an extra strip of fabric and hem it in the 2 hours I had between finishing work and her going to prom. It was the worst hem I’ve ever done. Ever. I had planned to take my time and do a rolled hem but that was just an impossibility and since there was 3 metres of hem I couldn’t even pin it before stitching, I just had to fold and stitch all in one go.




She’s pulling a stupid face because she’s annoyed at me for taking 14697465902927 photos of her and her friends had just turned up. I’m just not cool enough…

So a bit about the dress:

I drafted the pattern. I spent ages looking for something similar but there was just nothing so I spent about 3 hours draping on my dress form. The main fabric is a burgundy chiffon from eBay and the lining is a really cheap (£1.45 p/m!) polyester ‘satin’ which felt really gross at first but I washed it in vinegar and tumble-dryed it (I’m getting good at that now!) and it felt lovely and smooth and soft afterwards.

There are 3 different fastenings on this dress: 2 invisible zips down the side and then 3 hooks on the shoulder. I can safely say invisible zips in chiffon are not fun.


I was really excited about doing the beading part-that lasted about 5 minutes. I used silver and burgundy bugle beads, burgundy seed beads and strips of cerise and silver sequins and once I’d got 2 rows down I got fed up. My God that shit is boring.

Knitting is long- it takes me about 40 hours per cardigan- but I can watch tele at the same time. Beading takes all of your concentration and is just so mind-numbingly dull.

For anyone that’s interested; I couched them. That basically means threading a few beads ( I usually did about 5 or 6) and sewing that row down and then threading it back through the last bead. Thank goodness I did that because thanks to her new beefed-up shoulders we did pull some beads off. But only 5 or 6 instead of a whole row because of the way they were sewn on.

I don’t know if she was particularly happy with her dress. I’m not very happy with it to be honest- I’ve told her for her Year 13 prom I’m only doing it if she wants something simple and poofy!


More coral: enter Saltspring

18 Jun

You’ve already had a sneak peek at this with my Me-Made-May posts but I figure my first toe dip into Sewaholic patterns is worthy of a full on post!


Yep, I’ve finally joined the Sewaholic club. I bought Saltspring, Cambie and Thurlow with a voucher from none other than The Giveaway(!)

but didn’t open them for at least 2 months.

All the ideas I came up with for Saltspring were too Autumnal. I’m definitely going to make them but it seemed silly to spend Spring’s fabric budget on coppers, red and burnt oranges and then not wear it. Usually my clothes are non-seasonal, I wear the same stuff all year round, but something about orange just says Autumn to me and that’s that.

Staying pretty close to the orange theme however, coral is definitely a spring colour! And since I’ve already worked up so much other coral why not add a little more!Actually, the Miette and Saltspring were designed for each other but still- coral frenzy!

Anyway, I ‘bought’ the fabric (another giveaway prize) from Minerva- it’s a lovely tiny floral print polycotton- and immediately thought Saltspring.


Despite never having done an elastic waist or rouleau straps before I found this pretty straight forward. The in-packet directions are clearly illustrated and succinctly explained without skimming over really important parts (like adding a zip, Simplicity!)

Well I say that, I actually found that despite the trouble I took to install a zip in this dress I don’t actually need it! Still, it’s nice to know that Tasia is aware she’s designed a dress with a zip in it and thus has provided instructions for it.

For the couple of bits I wasn’t 100% sure on, and they really were minor, silly things, the sew-along/tutorial was there to hold my hand.


Next time (yes, I do have more planned already!) I’m going to do an FBA. I thought, given the blousiness, I could skip this step but it pulls a little and tries to pull the blousy bit back up which kind of  defeats the magic behind the Saltspring dress! I’ll also shorten the straps (so much flappage!)  and probably won’t bother with a zip.

Overall I’m very happy with this pattern and it inspired me to immediately get cracking on Cambie. I’m putting off the Thurlows a little as I’ve never done trousers before. I know Lauren’s sew along will hold my hand but I’m worried they won’t even resemble an article of clothing, let alone trousers!

Coral Crazy

9 Jun

Disclaimer: this dress is a year old already 😮


I’m sure you guys know that I have difficulty photographing things. 1 is the weather and 2 is my laziness.

I had a post written up and ready to be published for this dress, I was just waiting on the photos. Alas it didn’t happen and now we’re right back round to summer again!

The good thing is, when you write about something you’ve just made you have no idea on its wearability, really. I can tell you that this dress has been worn to death. Through the winter it’s great to liven up a miserable day (who said you should stick to ‘winter colours’ in December?!) and in the summer it’s so breathable and floaty, more than anything else I own, so I just wear it all the time. I think really what I’m saying is I need to make more summer dresses- right?

The fabric is from Fabricland which I bought for £2.50 a metre.  £2.50!! I had no idea what I was going to do with it but I love textured fabric so I just ordered it.

Eventually I decided to go with a bow back dress. I used Simplicity 1803 (again!!) and then just drafted a bow like I did for my Hen Do Dress

I lined the bodice in a peach-y cotton I already had but I didn’t have enough to line the skirt. Big whoopsie- it’s quite see-through. I can’t wear this without tights/leggings which is a shame because it’s quite a summery dress. I’ll have to make myself a slip.

Unfortunately, over time, the bow has become a sad droopy thing. The fabric is quite thin so I should’ve interfaced it really so it retained some of its poof. I’ve still got some of this fabric left so I could, theoretically, make another bow but I really can’t be arsed with that.

The good news is I now own a complete coral outfit.

Too much?


Me-Made-May week 1.5

9 May

I didn’t die!!!

I’m so, so, so sorry that I didn’t post my Hollywood Sewalong reveal post on Monday- I honestly thought the reaper was coming for me and I’m pretty sure you guys wouldn’t want to see photos of me with tissue bunged up my nose and snot dripping down my face



A post is on its way, pending decent weather, but for now here’s MMM week 1.5

Thursday 1/5/14

Looking very snooty here…

Cardigan: Peacocks

Dress: Astoria Dress


Friday 2/5/14

Head’s chopped off but that’s a good thing- the illness starts here.

Jumper: Chuck (not blogged about yet)

Dress: My original Best Dress Ever


Saturday 3/5/14

Top: Asda!

Skirt: Miette Take 2

On Sunday I pretty much wallowed in my own pit of misery. Monday wasn’t much better but I did manage to do some sewing which you’ll get a glimpse of in the next two pictures!

Wednesday 7/5/14

Cardigan: Agatha v2.0

Dress: New! Not blogged about yet.

Belt: Primark


Thursday 8/5/14

(Please ignore the washing that needs putting away. I’m trying to.)

Dress: New! Also needs blogging about

Blazer: New Look from yolks ago

Scarf: Next


Friday 9/5/14

Cardigan: Primark

Dress: Simple Daisy Dress


Overall, not as successful as I was perhaps hoping- my plans were mostly thwarted by germs. But every day that I actually wore clothes I managed to wear me-made so that’s something!

I think what’s apparent here is that the photos are terrible! I need to find an indoor photo space somewhere instead of standing on the bed (which is probably how it broke, whoops!)

I also definitely need to make a blazer- no more New Look for me!

How’s your Me-Made-May going?

The Rushed Rat

22 Apr

Before we kick off, I really feel that I ought to explain the title.

I keep rats. I have 23 in total…



Ok so you’re back with me after the shock of keeping 23 rats (it’s actually not the most I’ve had at any one time!)… and I love them dearly. I’ve mentioned a few times that I sew pet beds, well they’re for rats (and other small furry creatures). Gosh, I feeling like I’m outing myself here!

My shop is called The Relaxed Rat. Bear that in mind, we’ll be back for it later.

As a rat lover I often attend rat shows….



….. Ok so you’ve dealt with the shock that rat shows exist. Yes, they do, and they’re just like Crufts! But on a smaller scale 😉

The day before going to a rat show I decided it would be a really fantastic idea to wear a dress with rats on it. I had the fabric which I got in the giveaway (yep, we’re still going with that!) but no clue what to do with it.

Now we put all of that into the mixing pot and it becomes: The Rushed Rat!


Shall we actually see the thing?

About 2pm I started designing my dress. I designed a dress that resembled none of the patterns I had in my arsenal. What a fantastic idea for a dress that has to be made quickly.

I had to sit and think for a while about what I was going to do- there was no time for a muslin. Should I risk this gorgeous fabric or do something tried and tested but ultimately not what I wanted? Or, give up on the whole plan and wear something already in my wardrobe?

Obviously I went for option A and risked it.

You’ll never guess which bodice pattern I used as my base. Yep, it’s the Daisy dress again! (Seriously, I should start a series on Daisy hacks!)

I didn’t have time for tissue paper, measuring or faffing so I just pinned the bodice to the fabric, but not on the fold as usual, and cut round it making the neckline a little higher and ‘v’ing towards the front and extending the centre front out by 2-3 inches. I cut the bodice back out, again raising the neckline, and then sewed them together at the shoulder seams.

From here I pinned the side seams together, put it on and faffed about with finding the centre front and making darts. Once I had all that down I had to sort out this collar.

You might recognise the collar fabric- it’s my old bed sheet making another appearance! Its debut was also as a collar- it just seems to be the right shade to match everything!

I used Butterick 5846 as the base for the collar but I had to extend it a little as my neckline is slightly different, then I drafted a facing for the placket and stitched it all in.


Look at the cute little ratties!

It’s not perfect- definitely could’ve done with the facing a little wider- but I’m pretty darn pleased with it! It didn’t take any faffing either, it all just sort of worked! I’ve covered that pretty quickly- that actually took me a couple of hours!

From there on it was pretty plain sailing. The skirt is just a simple gathered skirt, with pockets I might add! but I did mess up the sleeves a little.

I had to go out for a few hours (from 5.30-11pm) which made this plan even more ridiculous, so by this point we’re at about 1am. I grabbed the first sleeve pattern I found and just sewed it all in. Then when I came to try on the dress the sleeve felt quite snug. I looked at the pattern and it was for a knit dress.

Of all my sleeves to pick, why pick the one designed for stretchy fabric?!!

I shortened them a little because I felt like it would help with the snugness. It did not, and I miss the length of the original sleeves but this isn’t so bad. Then I used bias tape as facing (yellow because I had nothing else!) and double turned the hem. I did accidentally rip the fabric a teensy bit when opening the buttonhole (come on, it was 2am!) but I just zigzagged over it and I think it’ll be fine.

Cinderella did indeed make it to her ball, in her rat dress and the whole thing didn’t fall apart so I’d call this a success!

I love the contrast between the green and purple (which also goes perfectly with Agatha!) and I love the fact it has rats on it! I’m on the look out for more rat fabric and also considering stamping my own (I definitely have a rat Miette skirt in mind!)

Just to top it all off here are a couple of pictures of my babies:



Me and Annie after she won Best Pet!


Smiley Pippin




Some beautiful bubs.


Enough spamming now! They’re not so bad are they?

Simple Daisy Dress

12 Apr

Question: do you name all your items of clothing? Cos that is way too much effort- I can barely name my pets myself let alone all my clothes. Patterns with a name are simple- Miette 1, red Miette, Black Kelly etc etc, this amalgamation of stuff however needs to be referred to somehow so it needs a name.

I digress- here’s the actual thing I’m talking about



I won this beautiful cotton sateen from Fabric Godmother in the giveaway along with a copy of By Hand London’s Georgia pattern, I think with the intention of using it to make said pattern.

As lovely as the dress is it just isn’t my thing- cups to amplify the size of my boobs? figure hugging? short? Na-uh.

Unfortunately I just had way too many ideas about what to do with this fabric but nothing amazing. Eventually I decided I needed a new dress and I just hacked into it before I had any real idea of what I was going to do.

I knew with such a plain fabric I needed detail…somewhere. Whilst researching ideas for the Hollywood Sewalong I had seen a lot of yoke embroidery and this appealed to me. It doesn’t really work in my proposed Sewalong dress so I decided to add it here.

So I knew I was going for yoke detail- that required yokes. I have 2 patterns with yokes- 1 button down and 1 wrap. I wanted my dress to have neither of these features so it was drafting time!

By drafting I actually mean I chopped off  the top of the Daisy bodice and cut out the yoke section from my button down.

The skirt was tricker than I had anticipated- I draped this thing several times before I decided to go with the box pleats. I took photos too and sat for ages flicking between the 3 trying to decided which one looked best!


Box pleats?

Lots of little pleats?


After I had actually decided what to do the rest of the dress was pretty simple- I used bias tape as a facing for the sleeves and neckline and double turned the hem.

At this point I had 1 hour until I was due at a family do and I still needed to shower! I hadn’t started making the dress thinking I would wear it that day but I was so close to finishing it would seem a shame not to show it off.

I had a radical idea with the embroidery- there was no way I could fit that into an hour and shower so I cut 2 flowers out of some lace I had and stitched those on instead.

I originally planned to take those out and embroider afterwards but I actually really like them the way they are- they add colour, detail and texture to an otherwise plain dress so embroidery will have to come in elsewhere.

I have three confessions to make with this dress.

1. I didn’t change my overlocker thread. Infact, I rarely change it so everything is overlocked in white!

2. I played with white animals which left fur all over the dress and didn’t wash it before photographing it.

3. I totally didn’t plan for any kind of closure as I just got so carried away with sewing it but luckily for me this is stretch cotton so it slips right over. Phew!

chinelo bally

Dressmaker| Author| Blogger| Freehand cutter

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