The flapper dress is finished!

Finally! The dress didn’t take that long in total, but I’ve been so busy that it seemed to stretch on for ages! I am so proud of the finished product and its already in the arms of the girl it was made for: my baby – gone! Sentimentalities over!

So I used stretch Lycra and 6 meters of fringe (not 4 yards as the instructions said).  The fringe was the VERY expensive part at $11.99/m.  Then I zigzag stitched lines of 6″fringe onto the material at 5″ spacings. I sewed the sides together, but stopped where there would be a slit needed on either side (only necessary for dancing).

The hard and slow part was the straps and the sequins. The sequins needed to be stretched and hand stitched all around the top edge. l had harry potter on to keep me occupied!

And its finished.  Personally l think it looks fabulous and I am my own worst critic usually. l didn’t get a chance to take great photos, but here’s a few:



Flapper dress prgress

Having forgotten those seam allowances I decided it was best to start the dress again. This time I added my seam allowances – 1/2 inch.


Then I pinned the fringe to the top edge of the fabric.

USEFUL TIP: run a scrap piece through the machine first to check the tension, stitch length etc.  Fortunately for once I followed this tip and decided on the loosest tension on my zigzag stitch.

The I sewed the tassel on.  The dress fabric is extremely stretchy Lycra so it was also very important to use lots of pins and NOT pull the fabric at all.  There are other suggestions which I ignored (use a stretch needle and stretchy thread) as I’ve never done it before and thought there was more chance of me messing it up that way.  I will be looking into a project for myself where I get to practice these skills as I’m sure they would’ve prevented some of the pulling that happened.

Next I measured 4 inches down the dress and pinned the next row of tassel.  Then every 5 inches from there.  Sewed across with zigzag stitch.

The YouTube video I was following said I needed 4 metres of tassel.  I will be buying another 2 metres today as the dress won’t currently cover the dancers bottom! 6 metres will create a dress of appropriate length.

I’ve sewed the back and front together now.  As I’ve added slits to the sides for dancing maneuvourability I can sew the last row of fringe on later. 

All I have left to do is sew in the straps (which I’ll do once I’ve fitted the dress), make sure the fit is good, sew on the last row of fringe, and the hand sew the sequins to the top edge of the dress.

Photos of finished project to come!

My first commission! Eeek!

So it’s one thing sewing things for yourself… 

when it goes wrong it, well nobody knows but you! 

…but yesterday I was asked to make a dress for my friend’s dance performance.  Now I’ve got to make a dress that will fit her and look awesome on stage!!  First time.

This is exciting and I’m pretty chuffed to have been asked.  But the pressure is on!   

She’s going for a flapper/tassel style dress, and I found a video on youtube that gives instructions for a strapless version, but I need to add straps (noone wants to have a dress fall down on stage)! So as usual I need to manipulate the style a bit. 

I’ve just cut my fabric.  

Measure twice, cut once.  Useful rule to live by… says I having forgot to add my half inch seam allowance.  Bugger!

More on the project as it progresses… 

And the dress making continues…

So the blue dress in my last post was supposed to be the test run for the white dress in this post…

Of course test run dress worked much better than the actual.  C’est la vie!  

I followed the same pattern as in the previous post, but I changed the top slightly to make a tie up halter neck.

I’ve decided that in the next dress I make I will either do without the waistband or make it thinner. Particularly as in this one it seems unnecessary – I could just lengthen the fabric used on the top section.

Also I have a query for the more experienced sewers out there… I am not that happy with the bottom of the dress which I hemmed.  It was rolling up, so I thought a hem would help, but now it looks awkward and pulled.  I’ll take any tips on how to deal with this.


Let’s make a dress…

I’m part of a dance team performing in Vancouver in August.  Dance is a new love of mine.  I’ve been learning various types of dance since January, but I started something called Ceroc in May.  So I’m a newbie, and I’ll be part of the beginners routine.  I’m excited to step outside my comfort zone and perform on stage, but the lovely, friendly and supportive people in the team make me feel pretty calm about the whole thing.

Anyway… I need a costume.  It’s simple… I just need a white dress.  Our team leader has given us the freedom to decide on the design ourselves.  I could’ve gone to a charity shop to pick up something reasonable, but on the off chance I happened to be in Dressew in downtown Vancouver picking up hand sewing needles for 25c, and suddenly thought “why don’t I make a dress?!”

Dressew has a clearance section downstairs where I found a meter or so of white jersey for $1.59.  It’s a bit on the thick side, but for that price I really don’t care!  I figured I should have a test run, so also chose a meter of a bold blue jersey for $1.79.  It was slightly thinner than the white material, but I thought it would give me a good chance to try out my idea for a pattern.

I’ve watched this youtube channel quite a bit and love the simplicity of what she makes.  I haven’t yet made anything, so thought this was a good time to start.

The plan was to make this skater halter dress.  But unfortunately the ‘circle skirt’ would’ve been about 5 inches long with the piece of fabric I had… I know that’s some people’s style, but well… humm… it’s not mine!

So I found a pattern for the Socialite Skirt (again I had to manipulate it to make it work for a dress) and attached it to the halter neck top that was made in the youtube video above.



1. Cut two rectangles 20″ (length) x 28″ (width – this is determined by your own waist measurements, mine being 28″).


2. To give the skirt a bit of extra flair, I cut an angle at ends of both rectangles. This makes the bottom about 5″ wider than the top on both ends (total of 10″ different).


3. Now time to make the pleats.  I didn’t make my pleats as big as in the Socialite skirt and I don’t think I actually did a box pleat.  Anyway this is what I did: Mark the midpoint on the fabric, then go out 2″ either side of this and mark again.  From these marks go out another 1″ and bring these together with the 2″ mark.  Flatten the fabric underneath the join so that the pleat faces away from the centre and pin.

4.  Go a further 2″ and do the same again.


5. On the backside piece of fabric we will be making two inverted box pleats.  Mark the midpoint on the fabric, go out 3.5″ either side of this and mark again. Make another mark 7″ to the right and to the left of your previous marks.  Match up 2 far right marks to create an inverted box pleat, and then do the same with the 2 far left marks. (NOTE: the waist of the skirt should in total be the same as your actual waist measurements – so for me each should be 14″ to give a total 28″.  If not then adjust your pleats to make this the case.)

6. Make and attach the waist band.  Cut two waistbands the same width as the waist now is with pleats x 3″ (this can vary depending on how thick you want your waistband). Take the front skirt and one waistband and pin right sides together. Do the same with the back skirt and the second waistband piece.



7. Now you are ready to make the top. Refer to this video for more details. Take a tshirt that fits well.  Find your waist and fold this up out of the way.  Make a fold from the armpits to the neck line on each arm. Then fold in half.  Place the tshirt template on the fabric fold and cut around adding an extra 1/2″ for hemming etc.

8. The back of the halter is just another strip of fabric like the waistband, but the length should be the distance from your waist to your armpits instead.


9. On the front halter piece hem the side from collar to armpit by folding over twice and sewing down.


10. Attach top to skirt.  Put the waist of the halter and the skirt waistband right sides together and stitch straight across.  Do the same for the back of the halter to attach to the back skirt.

11. Attach back and front of the dress together. Pin right sides together from armpit to knee.  Stitch all the way down!  Try on.  The stretch jersey used allowed a nice fit.

12. The halter neck. Turn the neck over about 1/4″ and then again about 1″.  Pin and stitch straight across at almost 1″ from the top edge (this will make a tube space to allow a neck tie to pass through.

13. Neck tie. Take a long strip of fabric about 1 1/2″ wide and fold with wrong sides together and stitch together making sure to sew close to the fabric edge (not the fold).  Put a safety pin on one end and thread through to turn the fabric inside out.

14. All together now. Thread this through the neckline on the dress.  Put on and tie!  Finito!

Good luck!

A little painting.

It’s my friend’s birthday coming up.  I thought I’d paint her something.  I was pretty nervous as art (if what I produced can be called that) can be so subjective, and is it arrogant to think my art would deserve a place on my friend’s wall?  I’m 31, not 5.  Anyway, I went with the whole “it’s the thought that counts” and got on with it.

I did find a picture online that I liked. Very blue hued with a teapot and a couple apricots on a table. I wanted it to have an inspirational quote… And I remembered one I’d seen in a tea house in Liverpool “where there’s tea there’s hope”.  I don’t know what it meant to the person who said it, but to me tea is shared with friends and friendship always brings hope. Simple, yet perfect.

I have acrylics. So I just worked on layering the paints, starting with some of the lighter ones and building up from there. There’s a tendency in me to be a bit of a perfectionist, but I was able to hold back and leave it slightly messy. It would’ve lost so much if I hadn’t. Anyway I’m happy with it.  I’m no artist, but a maker I am.


Cheshire cat maskapades

So I’ve been invited to an Alice in wonderland garden party.  As a Brit I LOVE fancy dress, but it doesn’t happen often enough in Vancouver in my opinion. So i’m going all out.

My costume is in progress and there will be a post about that one it’s finished.  For now here’s the mask.


I used a plastic mask template for the base, covered it with the dark pink material, covered shoulder pads cut into ear shapes with more of the pink and stitched them on the top, glued a little light pink triangle nose on, then used a strip of the pink to create a loop from ear to eat that was attached to plain white fabric and all stitched together. Then I went mad with a black Sharpie pen.  Finito.

World cup creations

Yesterday was a historic day in football history.  The food to accompany our match viewing was maybe not quite so historic, but definitely was delicious!

I made dishes from both countries, Brazil and Germany, and made the country flags out of food.

For Germany a sausage theme seemed to be appropriate.  I bought I bunch of bratwurst and made a bowl of curry (currywurst style). For the flag I got black and yellow tortillas and red salsa and laid them out in strips on a tray – done.

Brazil is known for being meaty too, so salted streak went on the BBQ. I also found a recipe for bolinhos deep fried dough to which I added green onions).  I had no idea they would be so simple, light and tasty! Everyone loved them… I will be added the recipe to my repertoire (and instead of onions and salt, i could use sugar and cinnamon!). For the flag I used kiwi fruit slices, banana and half a plum.


The food represented the countries evenly; the goals didn’t: 7-1 Germany. And the Brazilians have started burning their shirts on the streets.

Quilt for my friend’s baby


My friend is having a baby in August.   her baby shower is this Saturday so I’ve made her a quilt.  She is keeping the baby’s gender a surprise… so it’s sort of supposed to be good for a girl or boy, but I was constrained by fabric I already owned, so its not perfect, but I’m not sure it matters at all. l used this awesome set of instructions I was going to simplify by using premade bias tape, but the instructions were so good I thought I’d try following them to make my own from scratch. SUCCESS!

Quilted eye masks


The eye masks were project 4 of the weekend. I found a few ideas on pinterest for making them, but decided to try 2 methods.

Peas in a pod: this was made by making a sandwich of front (with elastic already stitched in), padding and backing with all right sides visible, and then sewing binding tape around the raw edges. Here’s the inspiration:
It was a bit awkward using the bias tape over the elastic which is the benefit of the ‘red satin and lace’ design.

Red satin and lace: this was made using a ‘right sides together’version of the above sandwich and then turning it inside out. Unfortunately l didn’t trim down the raw edge before turning it inside out and I could feel the bulkiness along the edge. This was the basis for the design… although I deviated from it a lot!

For the record l prefer the outcome of the ‘peas in a pod’ mask, but after alterations will try ‘red satin and lace’ again.