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Monday, 21 October 2019

The Little Black Dress

The little Black Dress

Everyone needs a turn-to dress in their wardrobe and this one is a basic staple that you will wear time and time again.
Mine is made in Black Velour with an embroidered Gold dot , but you can choose any knit fabric you prefer - Ponte Roma would be a good choice.

You have probably noticed that my blog posts feature simple garments most of the time. I am a fully qualified Tailor but on the whole I want to encourage people who haven't sewn much to have a go. There is no better feeling in the world than someone admiring your dress and you replying " thanks, I made it".
Even if you are a seasoned sewer I hope that you still learn something new - I am learning constantly.

The Pattern I chose is New Look 6597 available from
New Look Jersey dress pattern

The fabric is a stretch velour from a remnant bin in my local Abakhan fabrics

The rest of the goodies - the pattern envelope, the makers workbook I will explain as I go along but they (and much more) are from

This is a very scribbly page in my Makers Workbook in it I have added my thoughts and observations as I went along and included a fabric sample. So that when I make it again the information is at hand. Clever!
For example I originally made it in the longer length but when I tried it on I felt frumpy in it so late at night I chopped around a foot off the length. Obviously this would have been far easier and less wasteage of fabric had I cut it to the correct length to begin with!

When you purchase your pattern,look  at the back of the envelope and it will suggest various fabrics. If it says for stretch or knits only then that is what you must use.
I used a stretch velour which is easy to sew and wear.
Two things you need to know are firstly do not iron it, just let the iron hover close to the fabric with plenty of steam but don't allow the iron to touch the fabric. Do this on the reverse.
Secondly if you run your hand up and down the fabric you will find that it feels smooth one way and rough the other. This is called the NAP. Both directions will reflect light differently so it is massively important to have your pattern pieces all running in the same direction. There are other rules with longer piled fabrics but for velour this is all we need concern ourselves with.

The sample above shows a zigzag stitch and after many years of using fancy stitches and fancy machine feet I came to the conclusion that a longish narrow zigzag does the job just as well. Practice a little on some spare fabric until you are happy, and keep some tension on your fabric when sewing and all will be well.

My machine is a high- end Brother but you can get a superb machine which will do everything you need it to from as little as £99, Sewing machines so please don't think that you have to spend a lot of money , you don't.

This is the stitch I used and so that I can return to it easily I made a note of the settings in my Makers Workbook.

This is a very easy sew garment, as knit patterns often are. The first step is to stitch the centre back seam and neaten it either with your overlocker, an overlock foot attached to your regular sewing machine if you have one ,or  just a wider, shorter zig zag.
Stitch the shoulder seams next.
The neckline is incredibly simple. Just fold the edges in by 5/8' and tack in place, then zigzag. You will think that it won't work. But believe me on stretch fabrics this is the easiest neckline ever! If your fabric frays then finish  the edge first, but otherwise stich and trim any excess hem close to the stitching.

The next thing I like to do is to put the sleeves in. It is so much easier this way rather than stitching the side seam and sleeve seam first and inserting the sleeve afterwards.
 Sew a row of long straight stitches on your sleeve head inside the seam allowance and use this to ease the sleeve in place.
Then you can stitch your side seams and sleeve seam all in one go!

Finish the hem in the same way. But when working with stretch fabrics it is important to hang the dress on a hanger or on your dress form overnight as it could easily stretch out of shape and this way you can get a straight hem
By the way it is much better to cut the pattern to the length you want right at the start. I changed my length after I had finished making it and it took ages to alter it.
I love adding a label to a new garment don't you? This is one of the labels sold by patterntrace but there are other fabulous ones, it's so hard to choose which one I like best! Take a look Labels for sewing and knitting projects and by the way what a lovely gift for a sewing friend.

My Makers Workbook has plenty of space in it to plan your projects - 25 projects in fact!

It also has figures so that you can design your own patterns. (I like this) and it has a few pages where you can list exactly what is in your stash. Not only that it is full of anecdotes and quotes . Again, this is a lovely gift for someone

One of my absolute nightmares is what I'm earth to do with the pattern once I have finished using it. Why throw a nice pattern away? I use mine time and time again. It is impossible to fit the pattern back into the envelope isn't it.

This is why I adore these pattern envelopes. Pattern Envelopes they are a life saver! They are plenty big enough to store all the pattern pieces and instructions, plus there is space on the front to give all the information you need about what's inside. I photocopied part of my pattern envelope to stick on the front.
These are utterly brilliant and again, what an amazing gift for yourself or a friend they will be.

The last thing I want to show you is this adorable pin badge with "Material Girl" on it (who isn't ?) There is one for knitters too  , just take a look Material Girl pin

You really must browse the website, it's full of things you never knew you needed! 

This is a very wearable dress. Imagine it longer with fluted sleeves, you can wear it during the day with long boots or for a party with heels. I know that this will be a favourite dress over Christmas, so choose your fabric and have one made in an afternoon.

Discount code at for my readers 

Do visit online shop and as a special treat for my readers you can get a  10% discount!  Just quote   sewangelic at checkout.

This code will give 10% off all orders, and whats more it can be used for more than 1 order (ie. it's not a first order only code) and there is no expiry date on it so you can re-share it any time you like and it will still work

So do please pass this blog on to anyone who would be interested and sign up for email and have my latest blog delivered straight to your inbox.

Thank you Fiona for sharing your wonderful website, and thank you for the discount code.

Best wishes