Saturday, 30 June 2012

Bethany Beach Trousers

This month the Your Style Rocks competition is to design trousers! The outline states that they can be "practical or dressy, simple or intricate". 
If you like my design please vote for it on YOUR STYLE ROCKS. This is the second month that I have entered their competition. It is so much fun having a go at making up my own designs. Last month I submitted my Emily Dress. I managed to get ten votes in total and my entry came overall third in the vote. I am so pleased as I think that it is really good for a first attempt.

I decided to go with a simple cropped trouser with some key features: a sash waist, a pocket (optional - but I think it is cute!) and buttoned trouser legs. 
I also decided to go for a summer evening theme for my design - particularly thinking about cool relaxing summer evenings by the beach.

Side view of button fastening at the end of the trouser legs

The above diagram shows a depiction of the close-up view of the bottom edge of the trouser leg. Here two buttons are used to fasten the edges of the trouser together. This is particularly useful if you wish to paddle in the sea without getting the trousers wet. Simply undo the buttons and role the trousers up so they are above the knee. Plus, it just looks pretty!
These trousers are designed with cool summer evenings in mind or for those days when there is a cool breeze in the air. Made from a lightweight fabric these cropped trousers hit just below the knee. They feature a decorative tied sash at the waist and are secured with a zip and button combination at the front of the design. The button is subsequently hidden underneath the sash.  There is an optional pocket featured on one hip. The end of each trouser leg has a split in it which is secured together with two buttons.

The shape of both the pocket and the sash - also shown is the
stitching in the shape of an ice cream sundae

The pocket has an unusual shape which complements some decorative stitching which is featured in a shape that is similar to that of an ice cream sundae. The sash is also curved along its bottom edge giving it a more relaxed wave-like shape. Both these features are designed to maintain a continuity with the seaside/beach theme.
As the design is for lightweight fabric and is cropped below the knee they are ideal for relaxing at the beach and ideal for summer holidays. They will also be a useful part of your wardrobe in both the spring and autumn seasons while the weather is cool but not cold enough to yet want your winter coat.

With the beach theme in mind I have chosen colours in ice cream shades that remind me of childhood holidays by the sea.  If you like my design please vote for it on YOUR STYLE ROCKS.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Maxi Dress and Sketching

I really love the idea of wearing a maxi dress. There just something really summery and relaxed about all the flowing fabric. Unfortunately, I am short or at least those couple of inches shorter than the hight that clothing shops use as a base their maxi-dress designs. This means that I get that anoying couple of inches of fabric dragging on the floor getting dirty and just waiting for me to trip over! Often you find that you have to cut off a pretty edging or the bottom of the print to take it up and the dress just doesn't quite look right. Similarly, I have a non standard bust size as I have just a 28 inch underbust measurement with a cup size that is on the larger side. This is such a pain; particularly with strapless or spagetti strap dresses!

At the moment Melly Sews is doing an awsome sundress series through which she is featuring lots of sundress designs and tutorials. I was checking out her blog the other day and I was so pleased to find that Shannon who blogs over at googiemomma (I'm not sure if it is one or two words...) has designed an awsome maxi dress that can cope with all your curves! As it is homemade there are no worries about it being too long- just make it to suit your needs! The TUTORIAL which is featured on Melly Sews is really clear and I can't wait to have a go at making one for myself!

In the mean time I was wondering what it would look like on me... so I started to doodle.

How I think it would look on me in blue

I think I will have to keep an eye out in the local fabric shops for some fabric - I am thinking that blue might be nice... perhaps a light blue flower print. I will try and find something summery!

I do really love the fabric chosen for the original dress featured on Melly Sews... the wavy lines are pretty funky but this made it quite fiddley to draw. I think my drawing turned out fairly well and Shannon who modeled it herself has fab red hair! (hair is always fun to draw - trying to get the different tones and colours).

I am really looking forward to having a go at making my own version of this dress!

Maxi Dress

Please check out the photographs of the original dress - PHOTO - for a comparison to my drawing.

I love drawing dresses and clothing - if you have a project or a photo that you would like me to have a go at sketching I am happy to have a go at drawing it for you. Please contact me by leaving a comment on my blog and I will get back to you. Check out some more of my sketches in my SKETCH BOOK!

                                                                                                              -Jessica  x

Saturday, 23 June 2012

French Toast with Cinnamon and Sugar

French toast is one of my favourite treats. 'French toast' is the 'posh' name for it; I usually call it "eggy-bread" which is far more parochial. It is one of those treats that I find myself craving every now and then - the great thing about it is simply how easy it is to make!


All you need is:

6 slices of white bread (may vary due to thickness of bread slices)
2 eggs
1/2 a cup of milk
Some oil to grease the pan

For the Topping:

Cinnamon and Sugar     {my personal favourite!}
... or whatever you fancy (syrup, jam, honey...)

  • Crack the eggs into a bowl and add the milk
  • Beat the eggs and milk together
  • I normally cut each of the slices into quarters  - it just makes it easier to fit in the pan. 
  • (Either squares or triangles - personally I think that things taste better when they are triangular. Unfortunately S. cut the bread this time so we have square eggy-bread pieces!)
  • Coat a frying pan with a thin layer of oil and heat on the hob
  • Dunk the pieces of bread in the egg and milk mixture so they are coated on both sides
  • Make sure the pan is hot
  • Drop the now coated bread into the hot pan
  • Turn the bread over to make sure that the egg is cooked on both sides
  • When it is done remove from pan
  • Sprinkle plenty of cinnamon and sugar over it (or whatever you feel like having on it...)
  • Enjoy!

Monday, 18 June 2012

Singing in the Rain

Yesterday it has rained - a lot! I wanted some photographs of the dress that I have just made to put up with the TUTORIAL that I have just written on how to make the dress. Anyway we had to run outside with umbrellas and quickly take a few pictures.

I am not a model nor do I aspire to be one, so I just danced around singing "I'm singing in the rain, just singing in the rain. What a glorious feeling I'm happy again...". I hope the neighbours didn't mind!

The rain was really heavy and I had to be careful not to get the dress wet - I think that you can see the raindrops on the umbrella...



Sunday, 17 June 2012

Singing in the Rain Dress - Men's Shirt to Dress Tutorial

Click here to see how it looked on me before (yep it is quite funny but I look sillly in most pictures... the end of this post will prove that!)

The shirt I used was one S. found in his wardrobe and it was too big for him so I thought I might be able to do something with it...
Here is the tutorial for the big shirt that I made into a dress:

No arms!
With arms

Turn your shirt inside out and cut off the sleeves.

Measure 10 inches down from the neckline and cut the shirt across in to two pieces at this point.

Start cutting!

Using a fabric pencil mark the new armholes and side seams on the top (bodice) part of the shirt.

Mark out bodice

To make life easier use the outline of an existing pattern as a template - I used the top of the dress pattern that I used to create my daisy dress. Also mark the darts on the bodice (as seen above).

Sew the darts and the side seams of the bodice - leaving the arm holes. I also reinforced the seams using a zig-zag stitch (and neaten up the edges). 

Right way out.
 At this point it is useful to try the bodice on just to make sure that it fits properly.


Next I used the sleeves to create the mid section of the dress.

Open the sleeves out by cutting along the seam and then removing the cuff. Do this to both the sleeves.

Create templates for the two front panels and another for the back panel. I made them rectangular - at this point can also add some shaping to the panels for the waist or wait (like I did until the point of sewing). 

The back of the bodice is 17 inches and so the back panel is also 17 inches long (plus seam allowance).

Similarly each of the two front panels is 9 inches to match up with either side. I have added an additional inch and a half (all with seam allowance) so that I can create a folded band on either side to match up with the strip the buttons are on.

With right sides up, fold the extra 1 1/2 inches (plus seam allowance) over and then fold the seam allowance under. Iron the folds in place. Stitch along each edge - I chose to stitch 5mm in from each edge so that the strip matches up with the button strip on the shirt. Apologies for changing the measurements from inches to cm for this bit.

Take the back panel and position the two front panels on top of it with the right sides together. Pin the edge seams and then sew them together. At this point you can add some shaping for the curve of the waist.



Now go back to the bodice section; more specifically the back of the bodice.

If you wish to attach the mid section to the bodice with a single straight line seam across the back this is not necessary.

I as always decided to complicate things by deciding to create a 'V' shape across the back of the dress.

The front of the bodice is now shorter than the back due to the darts being sewn in place. This means that this extra few cms of fabric can be used decoratively.

I measures approximately 1 cm down below the current end of the side seams. I also marked the centre of the back of the bodice.

I then pinned a hen at an angle - going from the centre-point to the side of the bodice (to the point one cm below the side seam). Double check that the hem is positioned correctly, press and stitch in place. Make sure that the stitch line is close to the edge. Trim the excess fabric.

Attach Bodice to Middle:

I forgot to take a picture of this but basically it is simply sewing the two pieces together.

Begin by positioning either side of the front panels - lining the strip for the buttons up (with right sides together).
Just pinned the front panels to the front of the bodice. Make sure the side seams match up and stitch them in place

If you just want a straight seam along the back - simply stitch the two together.

I chose to create a 'V' shaped flap which shows on the outside - position the 'V' so it over laps the back of the middle back section (mid section). Pin it in place. Also pin along the top of the mid section (under the flap). I then stitched a line following the top of the mid-section. I then trimmed the seam allowance.

Next secure the 'V' flap by zig-zag stitching over the edge of the 'V' and along the side seams above the 'V' to attach it to the mid-section.

If you look closely you can see the 'V' shape and the stitch line above it

Apologies that the stitch line in the photo is not more obvious. I am not a photographer and the stitch line is very faint which makes it hard to capture.



Before the bottom of the shirt is sewn on to form the skirt portion form pleats at the top.

Here is my diagram to explain how to form a pleat (well I suppose it is a double pleat...):

The pleat width is the width of fabric that will be folded to form the pleat. The diagram shows the pleat formation with the fabric right side up.

  • Identify where you want your pleat
  • Mark out your pleat width and the centre point  (I used fabric chalk and pins to identify the edges and centre point of the pleat )
  • Fold the fabric by moving the edge points to meet at the centre.
  • Pin the pleat in place and check that it looks right.
  • Now secure the fabric in place by sewing a line of stitching over the fold.

Front section pleat

First, I positioned a pleat on each of the front panels at the top of the skirt piece. I measured along the top of the skirt front pieces (left and right). They were 7cm longer than the bottom of the both the front panels of the mid-section (which is 7.5 inches or 19 cm (plus button band 1.5 inches).

  • Measuring from the button band, I marked a width of 5cm for the edge of the pleat.
  • I then measured 7cm for the pleat width and marked it
  • Finally the centre point between these two marks.
  • I then folded the pleat towards the centre point
  • Pin and stitch it in place.
Do this on both sides of the front of the skirt. The top of skirt front will now measure the same as the the bottom of the mid-section so that they can be stitched together to attach the skirt.

Before the skirt is attached further pleats need to be created in the back of the skirt. The width of the top of the skirt was 24 inches. The bottom of the mid-section was 17 inches this meant that 7 inches needed to be reduced through the creation of the pleats.

It simplify things I decided to make each pleat width 1 inch = 7 pleats
I wanted these pleats to be evenly spaced along the back:

Divide the overall width of the back of the skirt by the number of pleats.

17 / 7  = 2.4285714

So there will be 2 inches between the pleats and an extra inch left over. This extra inch can be halved and half an inch can be added at each end.

I hope this makes sense:

2.5 ~ 1 ~ 2 ~ 1 ~ 2 ~ 1 ~ 2 ~ 1 ~ 2 ~ 1 ~ 2 ~ 1 ~ 2 ~ 1 ~ 2.5
1          2          3          4          5          6          7
  • The top row refers to the marking in inches.
  • The bottom row shows that there are 7 pleats.
  • Each of the 1 inch gaps marked is for a pleat width (with the centre point being at the half inch point) and the 2 inch gaps and 2.5 inches at either end.
  • Pin and stitch each pleat as previously done
So each 1 inch pleat is 2 inches apart.
The width of the top of the skirt back is now 17 inches  

Lay out the top of the dress with the skirt with right sides together and pin them in position.

Pin skirt to top of dress

Now stitch the skirt to secure it to the rest of the dress - the pleats on the back of the skirt look like this:

Back of dress showing 'V' and the pleats in the skirt. 


Now I needed to sort out the arm holes and the sleeves. I decided to make use of the shirt cuffs to create a little cap sleeve on the dress.

Firstly, remove the button from each cuff (these will be useful later).

Position the cuff right sides together with the bodice of the dress at the top of the arm hole. Middle of the cuff lining up with the top of the shoulder

Make sure the button hole is at the back of the dress.

Have the cap sleeve edge pointed towards the collar.

Angle the sleeve slightly so that there is less of an overlap lower down on the arm hole and more at the shoulder top.

Pin through the cuff  securing it to the bodice shoulder -stitch in place.

Trim the excess fabric from the cuff.

Hem the rest of the arm hole to make it neat.

Fold the cuff over so that the stitching is on the inside of the bodice and the cuff/sleeve stands out.

inside of the armhole with the cuff attached
and a hem around the rest of the armhole

Inside out - the back of the bodice with cuff attached. 

The Finished Sleeve and Armhole


Buttons and Poppers:

Finally, I needed to focus upon the mid-section again as it needs to has fastenings to hold it together.

Instead of going to all the bother of creating button holes I simply opted to attach poppers (snap fasteners) to both of the button strips. I stitched them in place and used the two buttons from the cuffs on the top layer to cover the stitching and keep continuity.
The distance between the buttons on the shirt is 3 inches and the gap where the mid-section was inserted was 9 inches which meant that there was space for two buttons/poppers. Which were positioned in keeping with the other buttons at 3 inches apart.
Adding the poppers

The mid-section of the dress
with the two 'fake' buttons covering the poppers.


The Finished Dress:

A few pictures of me messing about outside in the rain - it was absolutely chucking it down!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...