Tag Archives: bias binding

Just in time for number 3? BHL Flora Dolly Clackett style


It’s been a good week.  I was off work so managed to get some sewing done, and I won Katy Sleek Silhouette’s skirt pattern and fabric giveaway! Go and check out what she made – we are going to be skirt twins!

This is what I managed to finish.  I’m not sure if I made it in time for the deadline but here is Sew Dolly Clackett dress number 3,  (here are numbers one and two) and my first attempt at the By Hand London Flora dress. I wish I was clever at naming my dresses but I’m not, so I will go for the obvious and call it my Seaside Flora. ‘Cos look:

P1220570This picture shows the print off best, it came from the market in Birmingham when I went on the meet up last year.  Unfortunately we had to abandon our outdoors photo shoot due to next door’s son gurning at me in a particularly disturbing way as I was posing. Very off putting. What this dress really needs is a proper English seaside back drop, with ice cream and sand castles, but I only had about five minutes to grab the photos so no time to head to the beach.

This is my first attempt at Flora.  Even with the addition of some fake piping on the bodice (I realised after the shops closed that I had run out of cord, so I just folded over my bias binding tape and used it the same way I would proper piping) it was a quick and easy make.  However it definitely needs tweaking. I cut a UK size 14 all over, which is larger than I would normally make but I have put on a few pounds and it seemed to be the right size for my measurements according to the packet.  Unfortunately the bodice came up way too big and the darts were off. I also had to add a couple of upper back darts to sort out gaping and take a chunk out of the centre back.  I know I should have muslined it first but I was desperate to make it and the fabric was only cheap.  I would have been better off sticking with a 12 for the bodice, and have done for Flora number two, I have already started as I am dying to try this pattern again.   I also found that the front skirt came up really short.  I am only 5 foot two with stubby legs so be aware of this if you are making the high low hemline version. There is quite a dramatic difference between the length of the front and back, which is the whole point of a high low hem, I guess:

P1220641Excuse the bruised legs – a hazard of chasing small children over pebble beaches.

Oh, and I almost forgot to show you my amazing rayon seam binding bound seams:


Not quite perfect but I’m pretty bloody proud of them.

Anyway I used bias binding tape instead of a hem to avoid losing any more length, and I took the side seams in and while it is by no means perfect it is definitely wearable.  And wearing this print makes me really happy, like summer is on it’s way.  That and the amazing twirl factor of this skirt and it’s got to be worth a dance:

P1220627P1220612Don’t you just love that when you move in one direction and your boobs move the opposite way?


After the initial disappointment with the fit this dress is definitely growing on me, I may even love it a little bit and it will get worn this summer.  Maybe not as much as the last two dresses I made, because of the short front, but it will be perfect for summer evening beach barbecues.  And I have already cut out my second Flora. I am a bit gutted not to have finished it yet, because the fabric is totally Dolly Clackett and I think it will be perfect, but I really wanted to sort out the fitting issues before using such amazing fabric. So watch this space, I may even get it finished this weekend.



Brighton Belladone – my new favourite dress from my new favourite pattern maker

P1210468I have a new favourite pattern company. I suspected I was falling for Deer and Doe when I was making my Reglisse. Everything was so straight forward and I loved the results. I bought Belladone at the same time – well if you have to pay postage you may as well buy more to save, if that makes sense?  Anyway, after seeing Sonja from Ginger Makes’ lace Belladone I knew I had done the right thing in getting this pattern and it rocketed to the top of my ‘to make’ queue.

It was not until the Brighton meet up and swap  however that I found the right fabric.  I almost didn’t pick this floral cotton that Zora brought.  It didn’t immediately jump out at me but the seeds of an idea began to grow in my tiny brain and at the last minute Zora and  Stevie convinced me to take it. I’m so glad I did, thank you both.  I chucked it straight in the wash when I got home. With the label still on, which disintegrated and left little brown fibres all over everything so it all had to be washed again – duh.

The pattern was a little daunting at first, mainly because there were so many pieces. However the instructions are so clear that it came together really easily. Like my Reglisse I cut a 36 at the shoulders and upper back grading to a 38 everywhere else.  I think I could have possibly gone down a size at the shoulders and back but it still fits brilliantly. This dress is drafted for a C cup, which means no faffing around with FBAs (not that I usually bother, but I know I should) and it fits almost perfectly straight out of the packet.  I did add a couple of inches to the length after my Reglisse turned out so short. This is just a personal preference and I’m glad I did.  It now comes to just below my knees and I am only 5ft 2 inches tall.  Oh, and I couldn’t be bothered with skirt facings so I just did a narrow machined hem.
Time for some pics:


P1210486No, I have not finally mastered the invisible zip. The instructions call for basting the back together before you insert the zip. I did this and was pleased to find that the fabric had enough stretch to enable me to get into it with minimal wriggling, so I stitched it up without adding the zip.

P1210493I am not completely happy with the binding at the neck and I could have done with pinching out maybe an inch from the front neckline as well as narrowing the shoulders but it doesn’t bother me enough to stop me loving this dress.

Speaking of binding, let me tell you how not to approach the bias binding on a project like this.  I made my own binding from a bit of the dark blue shiney stuff I got from Claire at the swap.  It took me a while to decide whether the background on this print was very dark blue or black and I’m still not sure but I’m glad I went with the blue.  Anyway after cutting the strips and stitching them together I could not for the life of me find my bias binding maker so I had to make do without. Then after I had added the binding to the neck I decided that it also needed binding on the back pieces to make the cut out section stand out. The correct time to add binding to these pieces is right at the beginning, after making darts but before stitching anything together. It is not a good idea to decide to add it after the whole bodice has been stitched together and the bias binding has been put around the neckline. I was not about to take it all apart again so I added the binding on the back pieces afterwards, but before adding the skirt pieces.  I have just about managed to make it look tidy but there was some very creative swearing involved.

It was all totally worth it though. I think the pink floral would have been a bit too girly for me without the contrasting binding. Now it feels just right.  And all the materials I used were either from the swap or stuff I already had, so I’m counting it as a freebie.  I can’t explain how much I love this dress.  I love the fit, the cut out at the back, the ease with which it goes together, the fabric and all the compliments I have had while wearing it. And I loved sewing and wearing both the Deer and Doe patterns I have made so far.  I also have Bleuet and I am seriously tempted by the Chardon skirt after seeing Scruffy Badgers’ here  and here.  Luckily it just so happens that The Curious Kiwi and  Kat at Modern Vintage Cupcakes have designated June Indie Patterns Month.  Pop over and sign up to join in the fun if you are planning on sewing anything from an independent pattern designer this month. It think it might be the excuse I need to get a couple more Deer and Doe patterns.

Anyway, as I had so much fun doing my last photos, I think it’s time for a dance.  This time I have mostly been listening to Transvision Vamp :