Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Tutorial Tuesday: Maxi Dress & Great British Sewing Bee

I love it when I find a great pattern, especially when I want to make every variation possible! I can honestly say that I have never made or even owned a maxi dress… until now! 
The great thing about this pattern (Simplicity 1355) is the wide variety of fabrics that you can use. Cotton Jersey and spandex blends are recommended. I decided to use our kelly-green-mod-diamonds cotton jersey.
I started with the bodice and really enjoyed joining the front and back facing. The iron-on interface works beautifully with this fabric. When I made the straps, I did panic that they may be too short but the back part of the bodice does come up quite high, so they are a perfect fit. Crossing over the back part of the bodice was also nice and easy but do make sure you baste these layers together before attaching it to the skirt. If you are worried about the back 'v' shape coming down too low, you could always add a small popper at the very end.
 
The pattern also mentions understitching as close to the seam as possible, around the front and back facing. I must confess that I found several very useful YouTube videos to remind me what understitching was but it was so straightforward. It really does help to keep the facing from popping out, when you are wearing it!  
The skirt was so easy to sew together, even with the added pockets (which I love). I then pinned the bodice to the skirt. 
Once you have sewn the bodice and skirt together (making sure you stitch in at least a 2cm seam). You need enough space to feed through your elastic. To form the waistline casing, the pattern mentions pressing the skirt seam up and pressing under 6mm on the raw edge. This really isn’t necessary on cotton jersey, as it doesn’t fray.
 
The split was a dream to sew up and I used my twin needle along the hem.
 
The belt was simply two lengths of fabric stitched together at the ends and folded in half. Once these have been stitched right sides together, you can leave a gap in the centre to pull it through. Left to my own devices, I would probably have left the gap at the end of the belt and then struggled to turn it through!
Overall, I am very pleased with the finished dress and even happier with my choice of fabric. Now all I need is some sunshine!
Of course, now I want to make several, including the lovely jumpsuit!
We have 3 colour ways of the Mod Diamond Jersey Knit, but you could use any Cotton Jersey or Cotton Lycra for your dress.  Some of my favourites from the store below...
In case you hadn't heard, the Great British Sewing Bee is back (it started yesterday so if you missed it click HERE for the BBC I-player link).
There is also a great introduction to all the contestants HERE
We're sad that the lovely Matt Chapple who was guest of honour at our opening (click HERE for more pictures) will be handing over his crown but want to wish the best of luck to everyone involved this year!
Who are you rooting for?  
For more ideas, patterns and tutorials, follow Girl Charlee's board on Pinterest.
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Happy Sewing!
~ Jen & The Girl Charlee Team

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