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Tuesday, 3 November 2015

How I made my Polka Dot dress and Jacket for Minerva Crafts Blogger Network

My beautiful spotty, dotty dress and jacket. A Minerva Crafts Blogger Network post using McCalls and Butterick patterns

I love polka dots, and I love the combination of Navy blue and white.luckily sent me  a large piece of Navy and white polka dot print stretch cotton fabric, so I was overjoyed.  It is a beautiful fabric, quite heavy and with a bit of stretch too. View it on web site click here,  Navy and white polka dot cotton

I was not quite sure what to do with it and my  first thought was to make a long dress, but when I calculated how much fabric I would need there was a large piece left over but not enough for anything useful.The fabric is very heavy and hangs well so I decided to make a short dress and a jacket.  Jackets and me go together. I love making them and I love wearing them. I go out a lot in the evening and so I wear them a lot. I prefer them to a cardigan in fact. I have a favourite jacket pattern which I have altered and adapted so many times I cannot remember what the original one looked like! I love this pattern though, it fits me well, it is easy to alter, it always looks different, so why change? Anyway, more about the jacket later. Let's get on with the dress.

Before we start to make the dress though I wanted to show you the dress and jacket together. I honestly thought that the two garments worn together would be far too much, but in fact they make an incredible outfit and I love it. I envisaged wearing the jacket separately, and I will, but they do look good together don't you think?

This is the dress pattern I chose, mainly because it is simple in style, has a wide skirt and it will show off the polka dots perfectly. The pattern is Mccalls 6958, to view the pattern details and to purchase your pattern please click HERE
When cutting out do try to match the dots up as far as you can, especially along the front seam, it will be difficult because it is a curved seam, but do try especially at the top of the centre front where an obvious mis match will show.

I have never used this pattern before, but I do use Mccalls patterns a lot, and generally they fit me with no alteration. However, I took my measurements again and chose the size closest to the measurements and cut the pattern out. Then I stitched the front and back pleats in place, pressing them to the side afterwards. After that I stitched the shoulder seams.

I then basted the dress together using basting pins, those of you who are regular readers of my blog will know that I recently needed surgery to remove a pin which embedded itself in my foot, so I am very careful with pins now! I used basting pins, or safety pins for my own safety, plus they avoided the need to tack! BASTING PINS
One tip, when you are basting your garment together, be it with thread or safety pins, baste straight up the back even if it has a back opening and leave a side open, it makes it much easier to fit the garment yourself.

The pattern really is very easy to follow,so I will not explain every little step in great detail.what I will say though is whenever you make a garment think about how you can personalise it and  make it unique to you.
I chose to add a trim to the sleeves. Join the sleve seams and turn up a narrow hem after first overlocking the edge.
There is a good choice of trimmings on the Minerva web site, this one HERE is very similar, but choose one which you like.

This is the trimming being sewn in place on the sleeve edges. After stitching on the braid insert the sleeves.  To do that run a gathering thread along the top of the sleeve and ease it in place.finish the raw edges and press.

I also wanted to add a trim around the neckline. I made a flanged piping cord by taking some white bias binding and inserting piping cord into the centre and stitching close  to the cord. I stitched it between the neckline and the facing to make a pretty edge around the neckline.if you don't want to make your own, and feel like splashing  out you must take a look at this ready made flanged edging with pearls,
HERE it would look stunning on a special dress. I show you how to make flanged, or covered,  piping cord on my "Pink Jacket" blog, link below.

The dress is knee length and has a centre back zip. I almost always use invisible zips, I prefer how they look on something more formal. You need a 16" invisible zip in Navy  Invisible Zip They are easy to insert so long as you have an invisible zip foot for your machine.

Finish the hem, give it a final press, sew a hook and eye on the top of where the zip finishes on the back and there you have it, all done. It is a really easy, well fitting pattern, I know I will make it again.

On with the jacket. I last featured this jacket on the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network back in  August. It is also on my own blog HERE with links to all the products I used on
It is a Butterick see and sew pattern, buy it now on this link, SEE AND SEW PATTERN

Last time I did away with the front darts and used princess  seaming instead.  This time I want the shape of the jacket to match the dress so I am using the correct front pattern piece which has darts at the front.. Stitch them in place, slash, press open. Do the back darts in the same way. Join the shoulder seams and side seams and follow the instructions for the pink jacket for the construction on the link above.

This is the dart which has been slashed and pressed open to reduce bulk.
Once you have joined the seams as above insert the sleeves as we did for the dress, adding the same trimming.

You need to  interface the front facings and one collar piece. I used woven iron on interfacing for this project. Woven interfacing it is not cheap but a jacket needs structure and a good quality interfacing will give you just that. I tend not to wash jackets, I have them cleaned, some cheaper interfacings will bubble when you wash the garment so beware! I don't use shoulder pads often, but you can if you prefer.

For the lining I chose a chartreuse colour polyester. Minerva have a very similar one in the same colour POPLIN LININGS which would be a good alternative. Alternatively they have some beautiful green taffeta linings, do look at them.
Join the lining to the front facings just as you made the jacket shell.
I inserted some ricrac braid between the front edge and the facing, you could use covered piping cord to match the dress if you prefer.

Make the collar and stitch in place as we did on the pink jacket.

This is the jacket all ready for the lining to go in. Right sides together put the lining inside the jacket shell. Pin from one edge right round the neck, enclosing the collar and down the other side. Machine, trim curves, press, turn right side out, press

Hem the jacket.
Insert the sleeve linings, sewing in place by hand, and stitch the lining hem to the jacket bottom making sure it is a tiny bit loose and not pulling the jacket out of shape.

Mark the position of the buttonholes. I chose to have four buttons
 Silver shank buttons

Do a practise buttonhole on some spare fabric which you have interfaced
Then stitch the buttonholes. A warning here, use scissors to  cut the buttonhole, I have witnessed many a disaster when a seam ripper has whizzed along too far and destroyed hours of work.

Neaten all the loose threads and give it a good press.

This is my jacket finished, with the dress underneath. What do you think? I must admit that I do rather like it!

This is the back view. I love the way the jacket nips in at the waist.

Thank you very much for the wonderful fabrics you kindly gave me to make this garment. The fabric is beautiful to work with and comes in other colours. It would make a stunning retro dress with a wide skirt! Or just copy me and make the same, if you do please let me see a photograph of the finished garment.

PS I am a member of the Minerva Craft club Minerva craft club For a small annual fee I receive discount on all my purchases, plus every quarter I receive a swatch collection of new fabrics ( or yarns) in colourways I have chosen. That way I find out about, and get to see all the latest fabrics to enable me to plan my projects well ahead. To join just follow the link above, it seriously is value for money.

Thank you for reading this, I would love your comments as always.