Sunday, 30 March 2014

Pencil Skirt/Tunic Dress Tutorial

So this is my first ever sewing tutorial, and as you may already know, I'm still quite a novice so you may have to cut me some slack! I made this dress using one I already own and love. I love the fact it uses two different fabrics, one plain colour jersey, and a cotton print. Although I have no idea what to call it. Is it a shift dress, a pencil skirt dress, a tunic dress? Who knows.

I bought the mustard yellow jersey for an absolute steal (£2 a metre) due to it being bleached by the sun. I was thinking about what to do with it when I had a bit of a brainwave and thought of making this dress with two contrasting colours and fabrics.

Heres what you need:

And of course, a sewing machine, pins and some dressmaking shears.
So, after you've done what you always *ahem* do before starting a project, washed and pressed your fabric, it's time to cut out the pattern pieces.

For the pencil skirt half, use a skirt you already own as a template, you may want to add some extra length at the top, as the skirt will sit high on the waist although there is also a waistband. Use the jersey fabric, ensuring that the stretch is width ways. Fold the fabric to cut 2 pieces at the same time, and add a seam allowance (I used 1/2")

 For the top, as I based the pattern on an existing dress I used this as a template, but you could draft out your own. It's basically a rectangle shape with slightly sloping shoulders and slightly curved armholes. Using the cotton print fabric, add seam allowances all around and cut 2.

Cut out a round neckline, a deeper one for the front piece than the back. Each top piece should be 4 or 5" wider than your skirt including both seam allowances.
We'll work with the top part to begin with. Cut 2 1"strips of fabric on the bias from the same fabric to use as bias binding.

Pin one strip to the front piece, right sides together and sew around the neckline at the 1/2" marking on the sewing machine. Fold the strip over and press into place, then sew around the neckline once more close to the inside strip edge. Do the same on the back piece.

For the armholes I found as they were relatively straight I was able to fold them over to the inside by 1/2", press and then stitch down, close to the raw edge. Do this for each armhole on each top piece, 4 times.

Lastly place the two pieces together right sides together, and pin. Stitch the two together at the shoulder and side seams. Finish the seams by pinking, or serging. Set the top aside.

Pin the two skirt pieces, right sides together and stitch the side seams. Fold over the hem and stitch in place.

Draft out a waistband from the jersey, 2 pieces around 4" in length and the same width as the top of the skirt. Stitch them together at the side seams, making sure they will match up with the skirt seams. Press the seams open. Place the waistband around the outside of the skirt with right sides together, lining up the raw edges at the top, and stitch together with a 1/2" allowance. Trim some of the bulk and press upwards.

Now all that's left is to attach the two sections. Cut a piece of elastic that is the same length around as the waistband of the skirt and measure the half way point with a pin. Turn the top inside out and sew the elastic to the edge with a straight stitch at the 3/8" mark, stretching it to fit the width of the top. Use the halfway point pin to help ensure the elastic is evenly stretched. Now the top should be gathered at the bottom.

 Place the pencil skirt, the right way out, in through the bottom of the top, still inside out. So right sides will be together, and align the raw edges. Pin in place, and sew together by sewing on top of the elastic again, this time without stretching, with a zigzag stitch.

And there you have it, you should have a cute pencil skirt/tunic shift dress.... thing.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Lace Stud Earring Tutorial

I went to a family wedding last weekend, and had decided quite a while back that I was going to make my dress for the occasion. I'd finished it with a couple of weeks to go, so decided to make a little clutch bag too, and then some fabric covered earrings. I drew the line at shoes...
So the post on the full outfit for the pattern review will be next, but for now here is a very simple tutorial for making a cute pair of stud earrings to match any outfit. I used some black lace trim on my dress so decided to use this to make these earrings using the same lace, with a light backing fabric to show the lace pattern through.

Here's everything you need:

The buttons I used were Prym self cover 15mm buttons, which I think are a pretty perfect size, big enough to see the fabric properly but not too big that they look over the top. For the earring posts and backs, I only managed to find a very small set, but I would recommend getting the biggest possible to fit in the button if possible, to help the glue stick.

First, take the buttons and use a pair of pliers, or try with your fingers, to pinch and then lift out the shanks so they look like this:

Draw around a button using a fabric marker onto the plain backing fabric, and then draw a circle 1.5cm bigger all around the button. Cut out the circle and use it to cut another circle from the backing fabric and 2 from the lace fabric.
If you have a button tool you could use it, but otherwise just use your fingers to attach the backing fabric to the buttons by using your nails to push it between the metal teeth. Then do the same with the lace fabric over the top. Press the earring backs on firmly, you'll feel a pop when it's on properly.
All that's left to do is add the strong superglue or alternative to the button back and attach the earring post, holding in place until the glue sets hard.
And there you have it, a simple and quick way to make the perfect earrings to match any outfit!
The buttons I used and earring backs came to about £4.50 ($7.50), and I had enough for 2 pairs of earrings, so a very cost effective option too!

Emily Kate.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Exciting Announcement!...Part 2.

One of my New Year resolutions this year was to open a new Etsy shop for my cushion/pillow cover creations. And at last... with the help of a lovely friend to actually get some good quality photos... I've done it! There's only a few items in it at the moment, but I'm working on more as we speak, and I've so many more ideas.
My shop is named after my blog, so I can be found over at...

If you're looking at getting some new cushions for your sofa, or would even like a design of your house on one, pop over and have a look at my shop!

I'm going to leave you with a couple of my newest cushions.... a new London cushion, and one of a house I know :)

Emily Kate