bust darts

Emery dress - I Made A Muslin

March 24, 2016

So I thought I'd update you with my progress so far with the Emery Dress.


Progress has admittedly been slow on sewing this dress as I have been doing a lot of reading in my spare time. I recently got addicted to the novels of Robin Hobb and have been working my way through them. Her books are amazing, if you enjoy fantasy novels I would definitely recommend reading them.

On other news, I am still following my diet and I have lost just over a stone in total now.  Still about half a stone to go but really pleased with myself.  I got a fitbit for my birthday last week too so I am finding it really interesting to see how active I am (or not as the case maybe).

Anyway, I decided to make a muslin for this dress as I have learnt from experience that this is a very important step not to skip if you want to have a wearable dress.

The material I am going to use for this dress was more expensive than I would normally buy, as I bought in John Lewis, and I really didn't want to spoil it. There is a sew-along on  Christine Haynes's website, and she also advocates making a muslin. I include a link to her blog post if you are interested.


This time I thought I would try making the whole thing, including setting in the sleeves and adding a zip so that I could get a proper idea of fit. It was a surprisingly fast process.

The muslin is made from an old duvet cover.  I cut a straight size 8 based on my measurements (36 bust).  This not a UK size 8 by the way, I think Christine has her own sizing or maybe it's an American size?

So what is the verdict? The fit is pretty good actually.  The bust darts seem to be in the right place and I don't need to do a FBA.   I am going to shorten the waist slightly as it the bodice is not quite hitting my natural waist, although I'm nervous about doing this as I don't want to shorten it too much! The only other change I need to make is sort out the dreaded back neck gape which I always seem to suffer from. Having searched the internet there seems to be loads of different ways to tackle this but as this dress already has neck darts, I am simply going to deepen them. This post here explains more about adding neck darts.

If you suffer from this problem too, check out this tutorial by By Hand London or this one by Lauren Guthrie as these look like useful methods too.

Emery dress - Christine Haynes - a muslin

I will make my changes to my paper pattern and then hopefully cut out this weekend, so sewing can begin!

So do you always make a muslin or do you just go for it? I'd love to know.

Catherine x



cotton lawn

Spring Knitting and Stitching Show, London Olympia

March 05, 2016


Hi folks.

Sewing progress has been a bit slow here recently. My latest New Look 6262 is still not complete, just the sleeves to set in and the hem so hopefully I will have a finished make to share with you soon.

I have also traced out the pattern pieces for my Emery Dress and hope to make a muslin of the bodice this weekend.

Anyway, on Thursday I took the day off work and headed across to London Olympia to attend the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show with my mum.  We tend to go every year, as you may have read my posts here and here.  It's a great day out, but best to set yourself a budget before hand as you can do serious damage to your bank balance!



So what did I buy this year?

First up is this lovely floral cotton lawn, a bargain at £6 a metre from Fabrictime.


I bought 2.5 m which is my go to amount when I'm not sure what I am going to make. I've bought from this company before and I think I will definitely be checking their online store out.


My next purchase was this viscose which has a wonderful drape from Fabrics Galore, again another retailer I have bought from before. You can buy this in their online store at the moment.



It cost £8 a metre and I bought 2.5m.   This fabric was made up into a dress on display and being a sad person, I thought I could make that as I have the pattern in the first Great British Sewing Bee book!

The pattern was Simplicity 2886. I'm not a hundred percent sure that I will make this but it's definitely one to consider for this fabric.



The cover photo doesn't do the pattern justice as I think the dress is a lovely design, but not keen on the bolero that obscures the dress.


I then popped over to the Sew Over It stand.  I bought the Betty Dress pattern which a lovely fit and flare dress with a circle skirt.



I have a lovely chat with Lisa from Sew Over It and I have to say she seems as nice in person as her youtube vlog.  I'm thinking that maybe I can squeeze the Betty Dress out of the 2.5m I bought from Fabrictime? Although the pattern says that it takes 3m of 150cm wide material, a quick internet search found people had made it with 2.5m so will see if I can squeeze it out, otherwise this material will become something else I am sure. Check out Lauren from Ghani and Guthrie's lovely version of the Betty Dress.

I also downloaded the Betty Dress Add-on pack the next day which costs an extra £5 as Lisa has recently brought this out.  You can change the neckline to a v-neck or scoop and add long sleeves, so thought this was worth getting too.

Betty Dress Add-on Pack from Sew Over It

My final purchase was some gorgeous lace weight yarn from Debonnaire Yarns. This business is run by a lady called Erica who hand dyes her yarns and designs her own patterns.

I bought this pattern for the Amble Shawl as I haven't ever made anything like this and fancied trying something different from jumper and cardigan knitting. You can download this pattern for £4.50 from her website.

Amble Shawl  Pattern by Debonnaire Yarns

She was very helpful when it came to deciding what yarn to purchase as I was a little confused by all the choice!  I chose this lace weight extrafine merino yarn.



All in all it was a great day and I think the show is on until Sunday so if you can get there it's definitely worth heading over there!

I'd love to know if you went and what you bought? x

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