I am Angela and I love to sew. I started sewing as a child and by the time I was a teenager I was wearing the very latest fashions to go out in. All me-made. I am passionate about reducing the amount of textiles sent to landfill, and encourage you to repurpose fabrics and clothes I started this blog in order to have a way in which to pass on my gained knowledge, and my professional knowledge to you, Sewing is empowering, you can save money by making items, make money by selling then, You can pass your knowledge on to others. What is there not to love? Interestingly I am a direct descendant of the Flemish weavers who came over to England in the 1300's. I find that fascinating especially as most of my family from as far back as I can trace are somehow involved in the manufacturing of fabric . . I have a degree in tailoring with a special interest in WW2 fashion.

Wednesday 31 August 2022

Simplicity Shirtdress in Organic Cotton Denim from Jaycotts.co.uk

 Simplicity 8014 Shirtdress in Organic Denim Fabric. A Jaycotts post 

To read this blog on Jaycotts web site go to Jaycotts Blog

A Shirtdress is timeless and classic, and I love mine, I wear them in lots of different ways throughout the year.
I wear it as a summer dress or with a pullover underneath and thick tights or leggings  when it's cold.  But my favourite way to wear one,, especially when made in Denim, is to wear it as a coat over trousers and a simple Breton . A Shirtdress is so adaptable.. 

I chose to make view D which is the shorter version with the curved hem. I also made a pair of trousers using the pattern next to it,  but I feel that trouser making merits a separate post, so that is what I will do, look out for the post in a week or two.The fabric is from Jaycotts, and it is a wonderful indigo organic cotton with just the right amount of lycra. This fabric also comes in beige which is fabulous for summer , and in red. These do not contain lycra .
When I was pinning my pattern pieces to the fabric it became clear that I would have plenty left over. With some frugal cutting and omitting the pockets and self fabric belt I was amazed to find that I could make a pair of trousers too, I was absolutely delighted at this.

I think that it is worthwhile doing a mock up of your cutting layout before purchasing your fabric as you may be able to make another garment just by purchasing a half metre or full metre more.This particular fabric can be found on this link  Organic denim lycra Indigo
This is the link to all of the organic fabrics Organic fabrics at Jaycotts. The longer length versions of this dress would be superb in one of the prints.I made several adaptations to the pattern, to me a pattern is an idea, a suggestion, open to interpretation.
In a way similar to ready to wear clothes a pattern suddenly  becomes popular and then  
everyone wants one, not only that, it has to be in the same fabric. Personally I do not like to follow trends, I want to sew garments which suit me and my lifestyle , I do not want to 
be dressed like everyone else. I sew also because I like quality. I like good fabrics, and I 
demand a  correct fit ,and I like the inside to be as attractive as the outside.
 These mean that I may need to  take my time more, but I feel that it is worth it.

The first thing you will notice is that the buttons have been replaced by an open end exposed zipper.  Open end zips , gold teeth
There is no right or wrong method of inserting a zip by the way. I happen to like the look of exposed zips, so when I can I will use one. 
I dislike centre back zips and will move it to the side if I possibly can. If you dislike inserting invisible zips then do a centered zip or a lapped zip, or find some other way of fastening your garment. Sewing is meant to be enjoyable, so don't make it a chore. Did you know that couture zips are hand sewn in place, and in the 40s through to the 60s they were mostly handsewn.

In order to insert a zipper instead of buttons  I had to remove most of  the self facings ,to do this  identify the centre front line marked on your pattern Press the fabric along this line. This is where your zipper goes, you will need to remove some excess fabric from what was the self facing 

This is absolutely the easiest zip to install ever. Pin and tack it to the garment front leaving the zip teeth exposed. Using a zipper foot, stitch close to the edge of the fabric, carrying on stitching past the bottom and top if there is fabric at either end, this provides top stitching the full length of the front. Two jobs in one 
It is a good idea to overlock or finish the edges off in your preferred way  before inserting the zip

Of course you can follow the pattern instructions in the pattern envelope and have buttons, this is just an alternative idea 

I need to mention machine needles. Needles do not last forever and need to be replaced more frequently than you imagine.
For this fabric I chose a denim needle Machine needles for sewing Denim
There are lots of different needles for different fabrics . Christi who teaches sewing at Jaycotts , amongst many other things , has written a post all about needles , do read it The Humble Sewing Machine Needle

I thought that with the zip being metal it could irritate my skin so with my very last piece of fabric I made a placket to stitch underneath from hem to (almost ) the top . 

I made a decorative pull for my zipper from a charm from an old bracelet 

I mentioned that I like to finish my garments nicely on the inside too. Although nobody else will see it ,a lovely inside will make you smile every time you wear it.

There are various ways to do this - Hong Kong seams (which are seams bound with bias binding ) is a good alternative. But in recent months I have been experimenting with my overlocker 

To create this look I threaded my overlocker except for the lower left looper with ordinary overlocking thread , the lower looper was threaded with a variagated thread. Good results  sn be  obtained by using contrast or complimentary colours in upper and lower loopers I also like to thread the lower loopers  with ordinary overlock thread except for either one or both upper loopers which I thread  with silver or gold metallic thread. 
It is a worthwhile project to spend a day experimenting with different threads , you will not regret it. Don't forget to make a note of the effects you like best . You will end up with some very nice seam finishes 

Overlock thread Overlock thread

MOON thread is fine for overlocking MOON thread

Variagated thread Variagated thread these are only small bobbins so do take advice from Jaycotts

There are a lot of overlocker  bargains at the moment so take a look and don't hesitate to telephone for more information Overlockers


With the sleeves , I wanted them longer than the short version, but not full length , so I easily added a few inches to the shorter sleeve and folded it to make a turn up 


For wheelchair users the dress is very comfortable to sit in as the lycra content allows the fabric to give when you move. This version is very short so bear that in mind. It also resists creasing when sat for long periods 

One final point, this fabric bleeds so It definitely needs a good wash before cutting out. Don't use fabric conditioner and press on the wrong side .

I hope that you like this dress. I aim my blog posts at people who are leaning to sew, or who are returning after a break. I want you to know that with sewing as with everything we learn by doing .Make what you know suits you ,enjoy the process,  press every seam as you go along, and be prepared for the compliments.

 If something is not clear then please let Jaycotts know and they can either respond themselves or pass a message to me. 

To contact Jaycotts telephone them on 01244 394099

Or use the contact form on this link  Contact Jaycotts

Thank you to Jaycotts for the fabric and for all your support and thank you for reading this post
Next time I will be discussing Jeans and trousers