Favourite makes of 2012

2012 favourite makes

Here’s a round-up of a few projects from 2012 that I’m still wearing today.

The good pictures are courtesy of my friend Dan, who is a very talented photographer, with styling by my most stylish friend, Raluca.

Chinese top

In a few words: Making a cheongsam (a Chinese dress) has been one of my goals, ever since I started sewing. In the Mood for Love is one of my favourite films and I have always wanted to make myself one of those incredibly exotic and elegant dresses that Mrs. Chen wears in the film. I only got as far as this top at the moment, and judging by how hard this was, it might be further in the future than I would like.

Pattern: New Look 6203, view E size 8

Fabric: Faux Chinese brocade – the pattern was printed on, not woven, but the drape and look were similar. It was an end of roll bargain from Chawlas, in Hounslow (also online)

Notions: Interfacing for collar, piping cording, 3 x 50mm shank buttons

Talking points: This top was so hard to make! Although I had made this pattern before, it really was like pulling teeth. Not sure if it was because of the instructions, the nature of the top or me just not getting it, but it took ages!! And I doubt I would have managed it without the help of my teacher. This was the first time I piped a project (sleeves and top of the collar stand) and learnt how to use the piping foot. Not as hard as I thought, but the fact that I could move the position of my needle as much as I needed to achieve a really close stitch was crucial. I think it came out a bit shorter than I expected, would probably lengthen it a bit if I made it again. To note that it’s not a fitted pattern, so I made one size down than my normal size 10 and it was absolutely fine at the shoulders and over the chest.

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 Sari maxi dress

In a few words: I’ve had this fabric in my stash for a while and because it had been an end of roll, it was stained here and there and therefore very hard to turn into anything other than a simple dress. It so happened that I had had an accident that summer and I had to wear a knee brace for a long time, so maxi dresses were my saviours.

Pattern: New Look 6096, view A, size 10

Fabric: Beaded sari fabric from Chawlas in Hounslow

Notions: 0,7m x 0.5cm elastic

Talking points: The only change I made from the pattern instructions was that I used elastic instead of a draw string at the waist line. It’s a simple little dress, but because of the fading effect at centre front and back, and the beading, it looks quite interesting. Matching it with either similar colour flats or platforms, it’s become one of my staple summer dresses. Plus it doesn’t wrinkle too much, so good to take on holidays.

 Ruffle shirts

In a few words: I made these shirts for work, something simple, but interesting that I could wear with a skirt or trousers and could dress up a simple outfit. It was a first for several techniques: inserting the button stand, bias binding on armholes, rolled hem on the overlock. I ended up making this pattern twice, once with a regular collar, snap buttons and 2 ruffles and once with a collar stand, one ruffle and buttons. Not the best of pics, but I hope you get the point.

Pattern: Butterick 5464, views B and D (minus sleeves), size 10

Fabric: For blouse A, polyester light crepe, from a bargain bundle from Abakhan. For blouse B, green polycotton from eBay.


Notions: For blouse A, 8 gold pyramid shank buttons, self-made bias binding, interfacing for collar stand and button stand. For blouse B, 8 snap buttons, a bit of interfacing for the collar and collar stand, self made bias tape.

Green and white keyhole maxi dress

In a few words: This was my first 100% ovelocker project (on my teacher’s machine) and got me hooked on how easy and fast it was to sew jersey.

Pattern: Butterick 5456, view B, size 10 for skirt and 8 with alterations for bodice

Fabric: T-shirt cotton jersey, white and green

Notions: about 1m x 0.5 cm elastic

Talking points: I ended up taking it apart and making the bodice twice, as the first time around the bodice was too loose and the arm-scythe was too scooped (showing the bra no matter what subterfuges I used). I had to redraw the armhole, making it less scooped and also redrew the front neckline to make it less wide (it had been gaping a bit in version 1.0). If I were to do it again, I would probably use a different method to line the bodice, as their instructions require slipstitching. Overall, it’s getting a lot of wear in the summer, very comfortable and chic. I will probably end up dyeing it a lighter shade of green on top, as the dark green is bleeding ridiculously and the dry-cleaning is killing me.

Happy sewing!


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