Summer Sewing So Far VLOG

This week I thought it would be nice to share my summer makes so far and the plans I have for my next few projects. There is a brand new dress, which I haven't blogged yet, a couple of previous makes and some thoughts on my favourite fitting book. This is a great opportunity to see how garments in our fabrics hang, hear my thoughts on some of the patterns I've used and get ideas for pattern and fabric combos. Links to all of the patterns and fabrics mentioned are detailed below. Enjoy!


Hi and welcome to the Sew Essential vlog. It has been a while since our last vlog mainly because my McCalls cocktail hour dress was so all consuming. I loved making that dress, however it coincided with the arrival of our new summer fabric range and it was torturous not being able to get stuck into them!

Well I've finally managed to get started and I thought it would be nice to share my makes so far. I also have a couple of other summer makes from earlier this year and a million ideas in my head I want to share. Well maybe not all of them!

As always there will be links to the relevant blog posts and our website where you can purchase the patterns and fabrics below.

T Shirt Dress in Geometric Jersey

First up is this super simple T shirt dress in our gorgeous geometric jersey fabric. I love the colours in this fabric - the mint green is so fresh and summery.

I am always in need of more casual day dresses in my wardrobe. With this in mind, whilst browsing a catalogue, I found the inspiration for this project. I saw a really simple T shirt dress ideal for everyday wear for the princely sum of £45! Of course, as any self respecting seamstress would, I thought I can make that!

I had already pinned Burda 6540 as a potential summer day dress pattern and thought it would be ideal. All I needed to do was alter the neckline and create a drawstring for the waist.

I made a couple of toilles to get the neckline right. Angela advised me I may also need to bring the shoulder seams in at the neck, which I did.  There will be more detail on this in the blog post coming soon.

Instead of tying a drawstring round the waist Angela suggested I sew some elastic into the dress and sew a bow on the front.

I made the dress then tried it on to see where to position the elastic. I tied a piece of ribbon round my waist to create the blouson effect and could see straight away why Angela suggested using the elastic. This technique would make the gathers nice and even. Simply tying something around the waist (as was the case in the RTW item I was copying) wouldn't.

I made the bow by creating a rouleau strap, tying it into a bow and hand sewing it on. You can see the technique I used on my overlocker to create the rouleau strap here.

I also reduced the sleeve depth by an inch because I felt the armholes were a little big.

I made it on my overlocker and the fabric was easy to work with. It is really lovely and lightweight and soft, perfect for summer.

I think I'll get loads of wear out of it in the UK (weather permitting!) It will also definitely use it as a 'chuck it on over your bikini for the beach on holiday' dress too.

The pattern is a good basic block for summer T shirt dresses. With just two pattern pieces it is easy to alter and make it your own.

Flared Skirt in Digital Print Cotton Lawn

You may already have seen the blog post for this one, but I wanted to vlog about it too. Photographs never do the swishyness of garments like this justice!

This is the Hollyburn skirt by Sewaholic patterns. I've worn this skirt loads already and absolutely love it! I think the length is perfect on me (I'm 5'6") and it makes me feel really feminine.

The pattern was really easy to make up and the instructions were generally excellent. However, I would recommend stay stitching the skirt pieces before sewing them. The instructions don't suggest this until later in the process resulting in the pieces stretching out of shape. It was easy enough to fix, but you could avoid it altogether by stay stitching first.

The fabric is a cotton lawn. It was wonderful to work with, such beautiful quality and so soft and light. I lined the skirt with our white polycotton which meant I had to fasten the waistband with a button and button loop rather than taking the zip all the way to the top of the waistband.

I love the fact I feel comfortable wearing this skirt during in the day, but would also wear it out to a low key bar or restaurant at night too. Did I mention that I love this skirt?!

Floral Pencil Skirt

The next two makes have featured on the blog too, but I think it is always nice to see things in a video.

I wore this outfit to a fancy restaurant for our 7th wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago and I could not stop stroking the skirt! I made it with our John Kaldor Ohio fabric, which is a cotton sateen with a slight stretch. It is so beautiful and soft and I felt great wearing it. We have a range of new Ohio fabrics up on the site, my personal favourite is a white/lime green and navy colour way.

I used Simplicity 2154 to make this skirt which is a vintage design. It is a really lovely pattern with some beautiful little features such as the front and back waist darts and the vent.

Pink Cami

This pink cami is made using Simplicity 1366 and our Mystique satin backed crepe in fuschia. You can watch a time lapse video of me making this cami here.

It was an incredibly easy make and fit straight out of the packet (I cut a size 12).

I am definitely up for making more of these, it is such a great summer wardrobe staple. I was thinking of making one in our Santa Cruz stretch satin fabric as a dressy top for evenings out.

Next on my Sewing Table

Another Day Dress

The one day dress I really, really wanted to make was this Vogue 1395. I absolutely love the design. I find V necks really flattering, love the sleeves and gathers and thought the overlay at the waist is a lovely bit of unique detail.

I read a few reviews and found out the armholes come up big, but thought I could easily adjust this. There were also loads of really positive blog posts about how much people love this pattern so I decided to crack on with it.

I'm making it in this beautiful viscose fabric which is so light and drapey and breathable perfect for summer. I love the colours and love the print of this fabric.

To get the fit right I used the 'Fit for Real People' book by Palmer and Pletsch. I cannot recommend this book highly enough for fitting issues. The book explores such a wide range of fitting issues and they even cover different scenarios and types of garment for each issue.

It helped me to understand I have a high round back and forward thrust shoulders because it explains these issues are often both present together. It is really easy to understand and follow the instructions to make the necessary adjustments to the patterns. You can buy the book on our website here.

Tells you how to make relevant alterations to your pattern pieces and how to tissue fit so you don't have to make a toile. Then goes into the different types of garment you might need to alter.

Other Ideas

Following that I have a load of potential projects in my head.

I have finally decided what to make with our gorgeous white floral scuba fabric. I went through a whole range of ideas before I got there. I originally thought about making a bodycon dress and then I considered a fit and flare dress, but I finally found the perfect dress type which you should be able to see on the screen now. It is a very fitted halterneck and I think the shape of the armholes are really flattering and the simple lines will balance the pretty, floral fabric well.

I came across Simplicity 8330 recently and although it is designed for woven fabrics Angela said it should be ok for the scuba. Scuba doesn't always have a huge amount of stretch so you can work with stretch and non stretch patterns if you are careful and consider the amount of stretch the fabric has.

We've added even more gorgeous prints to our cotton lawn range now and I want to make some nice sundresses with them. I'm really keen on the Sew Over It Rosie dress and the Sewaholic Cambie dress.

I'm not quite ready to attempt swimwear yet, but thought I could at least make a pool cover up. I love this gorgeous sparkly chiffon and thought New Look 6283 or McCalls 5400 would be ideal.

I hope you've enjoyed my makes and plans and I'll be back soon to share more of my makes. I'm also planning to give a little run down of the new season pattern ranges up on the site highlighting my favourites.

Have fun sewing!


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