back to basics

30 May

hello… or should I say g’day.

That’s right. I’m on the other side of the world, down under in Oz. It’s amazing here. Even though it’s their winter time, I’m on the beach pretty much everyday – it’s not called the Sunshine Coast for nothing! As well as meaning I have my very first opportunity in about five years to develop something of a tan (even then, it’s a slow burner… ha ha), the trip also means that it’s back to basics in terms of sewing.

Don’t get me wrong – there’s no way I’ve stopped crafting because I’m on holiday and without my sewing machine or normal crafting supplies. Still, this is the perfect opportunity to start some new projects, and it so happens that my sister (who I’m staying with) lives down the road from a shop called Lincraft (probably famous but I’ve never come across it before) with fabrics galore. What with a couple of trips there, and my sister’s travel sewing kit, I’ve started three new sewing fiascos… cough cough, I mean ‘works of art’.

1. A maxi dress
2. A baby’s quilt for my gorgeous neice
3. And a patchwork quilt made of fabrics so brash that they made my sis and her bf almost retch.

TA DA! Here’s the dress… painstakingly stitched by hand. But actually not that painstaking as it turns out. There were really only two essential steps involved in making this dress and two materials – elastic (thicker is better) and c. 2 metres of a floaty fabric.

STEP ONE: The skirt is made up of two pieces of elastic that go around the waist, just below the bust, one on top of the other. One swathe of fabric is then folded over these pieces of elastic and sewn into place, with a line of stitching separating the elastic pieces from each other.

STEP TWO: The top half is just made up of a trapezium (I think that’s the shape – four sides, two diagonal, two parellel horizonal lines – dammit, I should’ve listened better in year 8 maths!) of fabric. The top side of the trapezium is folded over one skinny long stretch of the fabric that’s been hemmed (the tie that goes around the neck). And the bottom side is sewn to the fabric of  the skirt.

OPTIONAL STEPS THREE & FOUR: Try the dress on as you make it and once it’s up to the end of step two, you might want to put some darts in the top half so that it fits better over your chest. Also, if you’re a little more chest-conscious, then you might want to add a back part to this dress so that you can wear a bra underneath… at the moment, it’s a backless design. You could try a rectangle sewn to the skirt part, but tied to the front trapezium with mini-ribbons. I’m suggesting tying it to the front part rather than sewing the pieces together because there’s a chance that if you do this there won’t be enough elastic to get it over your head! But I’m right lazy so there may well be a better way to do this… if you find one, let me know!

Oooh, and of course you’ll need to hem any edges. But you knew that already!


8 Responses to “back to basics”

  1. Janelle May 30, 2011 at 11:40 pm #

    Wow, I really love that fabric, it’s gorgeous!! And the dress is great although I reckon I might try another neck line, any ideas or tips?

  2. Kaby June 2, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    Amazing! I had a trawl for maxi dresses the other day and didn’t find any that were anything like this nice. beautiful fabric xx

    • needlepullingthread June 3, 2011 at 1:34 am #

      I’m going to try one with a different neckline very soon so will keep you updated about possible variations!

  3. The Creative Miss W June 13, 2011 at 8:08 am #

    Oh that’s really nice.! And all hand sewn as well! I’m doing a lot of handsewing at the moment as my machine isn;t quite behaving as it should. I think the fabric you chose is lovely for this project!

    • needlepullingthread June 13, 2011 at 10:16 am #

      Thank you Miss W! I’m so happy you like the dress. There are a few upsides of hand sewing – one being that it’s a little more relaxing. It can be done in front of the TV, without the hammering sound that the sewing machine makes. Having said that, I’ll probably need to go over the hems in this dress with my machine so that they don’t come apart in the wash.

  4. Irina June 24, 2011 at 9:33 pm #

    This dress is absolutely gorgeous!


  1. the scissors are right here… « needlepullingthread - June 11, 2011

    […] I’ve posted some new pictures of me wearing the maxi dress I made a week or so ago that I think show it off a little better. Please excuse the […]

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