Sunday, 30 June 2013

Great British Sewing Bee - Tea Dress

I really loved watching The Great British Sewing Bee earlier this year, and when my Mum asked if I'd like a copy of the book they brought out, I jumped at the chance to get hold of some new patterns to try (Thanks Mum!). It's a lovely book, and has step by step instructions for a number of techniques, from the most basic like sewing straight seams, to more advanced such as fitting invisible zips, buttonholes, attaching bias binding, and using boning (amongst others).

The projects in the book are a range of really nice, simple, classic items, and I am planning to make at least 4 of them. I decided to start with the Tea Dress, which is labelled as a level 2 pattern, so for someone like me who has made a few things before, should be fairly straightforward. One teeny drawback is that the patterns need to be either blown up on a photocopier by 500% or downloaded and printed from the website. This particular pattern printed 34 pages, all of which have margins to cut out. Bit of a tip here (which I only discovered with 5 sheets to go when my boyfriend suggested it) - don't cut all the margins off. Use the margin to lay the next square onto, and cut the side margin of the next square which will lay on top of the margin, and can be used to line the squares up. I know I'm not explaining this well though, so just go with whatever you find easy!

A few weeks ago I had experimented with a Full Bust Adjustment on a pattern, but due to illness I was unable to complete the project, and then had no need of that particular garment, so this seemed the ideal opportunity to put my new skill to the test. A Full Bust Adjustment (or FBA), is a useful technique for any lady whose bust is larger than a B cup, which is the cup size most patterns are designed for. I followed the technique shown on Lazy Stitching because I found that I could do it from the pictures alone. To do this on my dress, I made a horizontal cut across the waistline, and then once I'd done the adjustment I taped the pieces back together and drew a diagonal line from the underarm point to the original waistline point. It might look very odd at this point, but trust me, it works!

I used the instruction sections of the book to help with insertion of the invisible zip, and although the first attempt was a bit bodged (I was rushing as dinner was late and I had a hungry boyfriend to feed), the second attempt was almost perfect, and certainly the best attempt I've ever done.

I spent two evenings prepping, and an afternoon and evening stitching, and I have to say I'm rather pleased with the end result. 

Me in my lovely new dress, squinting into the Manchester sunshine!
Oh, and the gorgeous fabric is from B&M Fabrics on Leeds Kirkgate Market.Gorgeous pink with tiny white bows, and beautiful grey and turquoise hummingbirds. An absolute bargain (as is all the fabric here) at a total cost of £13.50!

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