Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Dotty Angel Frockalong - Winners!


We are so glad we had some fellow frock sewists link up with their frocks!

There was Vagabond Quilter who made a lovely lemon frock.

And Carole of Our Kooky Life who made a super cute frock. And she has styled it nicely, with tights and denim jacket, perfect for winter.

We had April with a pretty Paisley frock. And Kerry with a lovely green version.

And also Jacquie with a lovely frock that you could dress up or down to suit whatever your mood may be!

Thank you to our lovely sponsors too.

Sew to Grow is giving a winner a paper pattern for The Bondi Top. Which is a lovely pattern worth $22!

Handmade by Emily is giving one of our participants a $25 voucher to spent in her online store.

Raylee of Sunflower Stitcheries and Sunflower Quilting has donated a handy little gift pack containing thread, needles and scissors!

And lastly but certainly not least, we have a voucher from Stitches Quilting to the value of $50!

I just couldn't decide the winners for myself so I resorted to Mr random number generator himself, who told me.....

The $50 voucher from Stitches Quilting goes to Kerry!

The Bondi Top pattern goes to Jacquie!

The $25 voucher from Handmade by Emily goes to Vagabond Quilter!

And, the gift pack from Sunflower Quilting goes to Kerry! I made a huge Miss Universe style mess up here...I did have different winners for each prize, so I was shocked when I realised I had awarded Kerry two! I am so sorry I have to amend the prize draw, but Kerry still gets the $50 voucher and no one else loses out.

So, now gift pack from Sunflower Quilting goes to April! (Who was one of the original 4 winners).


I wish I could have given you all a prize! Can the winners please make contact with us so we can organise your prizes.

I think I can safely say, for Cassie and myself, that we have really enjoyed hosting the Frockalong! Please feel free to continue to use the #dottieangelfrockalong tag on Instagram.

Make it sew, Jess


Monday, December 14, 2015

Dottie Angel Frockalong - Link up!

Hi fellow frock sewists!

Welcome to our link up post! But first I'll just do a brief outline of what Cassie and I have covered in the last two weeks.

First up we had the Kick off post, which talked about picking your size and fabrics. And I also spoke about lowering the pleats.

Next Cassie covered how to sew the pleats and the pockets. Part 1 and part 2.

Cassie also introduced us to our sponsors! Don't forget there are some great prizes up for offer and any progress counts!

Then I covered how to do French seams, how the neckline is finished and how to do the sleeves.

There was a great interview with Catherine and some more frock inspiration next.

And finally Cassie showed us how to do the hems and other finishing touches.

This is one of my finished Dottie Angels frocks, this one has the shoulder pleats and is made with beautiful soft summery fabric with cute zebra pockets.

I hope we have helped in your frock sewing adventure!

Please follow the link below to add a link to photo of your progress. I look forward to seeing what you have been up to!


An InLinkz Link-up


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Dottie Angel Frockalong - the interview!

Welcome to today's, yesterday's...sorry I'm late! Dottie Angel Frockalong post. Today I am sharing an interview with Catherine (@knittingcatherine) and a few links to some other great Dottie Angel frocks.

Shall we begin?

Hi Catherine!

Can you tell us how long you've been sewing for and what drew you to this hobby?

I have been sewing since age 9 so I guess 50 years, phew how time flies! I was drawn to sewing not as a hobby but as a necessity. I am the daughter of a single parent in the 50’s, so to say there was not a lot of money is an understatement. Working with donated clothing I remade them. My mother sacrificed to get me a sewing machine at age 11 that is where the magic happened. We moved to an apartment building and one of the neighbours worked at a drapery factory. She would bring home bags of fabric, and she passed one bag to me the rest is as they say history. I have been sewing ever since.

I noticed on your Instagram feed that you had made a couple of the Dottie Angel frocks, how many have you made?

I have made 5 for myself and 1 for a good IG friend @pamalajane. This is a great pattern; I foresee many more in my future.

What caused you to do the the modification on the sleeve hem?

I am a perpetual pattern tweaker , and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to add more contrast fabric. I like a little sleeve versus sleeveless so adding the cuff was my solution. I also made some other modifications as well, lowering the darts to the waistline, placing darts on the back in lieu of ties and finally making my pockets double as well as reinforcing to back, I tend to stuff a lot in my pockets haha.

Can you walk us through how to do it so we can do it too?

I trace all my pattern pieces first onto Swedish pattern paper with a hot pink pen so that I can clearly see all the markings.

This is where I make all modifications: lowering the darts and adding them to the dress back, lowering the pockets, and finally lowering the contrast panel.

Sew darts on both front and back.

Sew the 4 cut pockets wrong side together to create two pockets, turn right side out and press. Sew the contrast strip to the tops of both pockets.

Attach pockets to the front dress panel. Sew on contrast panel to the front and back dress panels. Stitch together with French seams first stitching fronts and back wrong sides. Mark 3 inches up from the dart on both sides this will become your sleeve.

Stitch together with French seams, first stitching fronts and backs wrong sides together then clip at the place that will become the sleeves. Turn to the wrong side and sew seams.

For the cuff cut 2 pieces from contrast fabric 3” x 13” (You may need to check the length of your cuff as it might change depending on the size you make.) Seaming short sides together to create a circle that will become the cuff.

Pin cuff to inside of dress armhole matching raw edges and sew seam allowance. (The pic has the cuff pinned to outside of dress not inside but it's still a good guide for where the cuff goes).

Finish raw edges with over locker or zigzag stitch. Flip cuff to outside of dress and press. You could also top stitch close to the edge to hold the cuff links n place. See the finished cuff below. There is a good tutorial here about how to sew a cuff which is a different dress but done the same way as Catherine's, it might help if this is confusing.

On this version I added a bit of antique lace which is sewn between the layers.

Thank you Catherine! I love the way you have done the pockets and the sleeve cuff!

Now for some more inspiration!

If you do a hashtag search on Instagram for #dottieangelfrock or #dottieangeldress and similar searches on Pinterest you can find loads of inspiration!

Here is a frock that I found on Instagram. @dillidallidayz has turned her frock into a fantastic looking summer dress!

I searched in Pinterest and saved some great frocks to my Sew...Clothes board. Feel free to go check them out!

All these dresses are awesome! I love the kimono sleeve version! And the green one has some fantastic details with the hem and under bust gathering.

You could also go directly to the source of the Dottie Angel frock for inspiration! The Dottie Angel Facebook page has loads of inspiring pics in photos.

What is coming up next? On Friday Cassie is going to do a post covering finishing the dress, particularly the hem and the things that can be done to make it your own.

Make it sew, Jess


Monday, December 7, 2015

Dottie Angel Frockalong - seams, neckline and sleeves.

Hi all,

I hope all our frockalong sewists are enjoying our posts! You can find Cassie's posts about the pleats, ties and pockets here.

Today I will briefly show you how to do French seams, how the neckline is finished and how to finish the sleeve. I will also show you how I added pleats to my shoulder seams.

French seams

I used the French seam technique for all my seams. It gives a neat finish and is less fiddly than the bias technique used in the pattern. In the picture I am sewing the bottom and top dress sections together, you use the same steps for the shoulder and side seams.

1. Pin fabric wrong sides together. Sew 1/4" seam.

2. Press seam to set stitches. Trim seam allowance back to 1/8".

3. Fold top layer of fabric over and press seam to one side. Then fold fabric along seam line right sides together. Press seam.

4. Sew 1/4" seam, enclosing the raw edge in the seam allowance. Press to one side and top stitch 1/8" along seam.

Neck edge finish

I followed the pattern instructions for this. So I will just cover it briefly.

1. On the right side of the fabric pin bias tape around the edge of neck with crease being 3/8" from edge. Fold end of tape as shown and overlap the other end over the top.

2. Sew along the open crease. Trim excess fabric back to the edge of the bias tape.

3. Fold to the wrong side of the fabric. Fold it in enough to have an extra 1/8" of fabric folded too. The pattern explains this quite clearly.

4. Stitch around neckline on the edge of the bias. Stitch around a second time 1/4" closer to edge of neckline. Press.

Sleeve or Armhole edge

I followed the pattern for this too. So I will just cover it briefly.

1. On right side of fabric pin bias tape along armhole edge. Line up the open crease with the dot at either end, keep this distance from the edge all the way along. Taper the bias tape out between the dot and notch. My scissors show where the dot and notch are. Make sure this is the same at both ends, it helps when sewing the side seams if they are accurate.

2. Sew along crease. Trim excess fabric back to bias tape edge.

3. Fold bias edge under to wrong side of fabric along the fold line. Sew along the edge of the bias tape. Sew a second time 1/4" closer to the armhole edge.

Adding pleats to the shoulders

I came up with this modification to try and make the shoulder not quite as wide. I was just going to gather it along the seam or use a tab to pull it in but they just created bulk between the shoulder and bust that looked weird. So the pleat idea was born. You may need to alter the length of the pleats depending on your bust and back. Also the pattern I created is for the M size dress so will need to make your pleats closer, bigger or smaller depending on the size you are making.

To start with I pinned the pleats onto a finished dress to see if it would work.

Then I drew up the pleat template and sewed it on my next dress. You do the pleats after you have sewn the armhole edge as per the pattern and before you sew the side seams.

You can download the templates here .

This is what the back template looks like, the front is very similar. Make sure to print at 100%. Each template should fit on an A4 sheet of paper. As you can see I was still playing with the pleat length, you may need to alter the lengths to suit your shape.

Lay the template over you shoulder seam. You can see the finished edges are in from the edge of the template according to the seam allowance.

Transfer the solid lines from the template. I put a dot every inch or so. The dotted line is the fold line.

Fold right sides together along dotted line. Sew along the solid line.

Your pleats should be on the inside of the dress, as shown in the above picture.

Press pleats to one side. Mine are pressed toward the armhole edge.

Edge stitch along the edge of the shoulder seam to hold the pleats down.

Do this on both shoulders. This is my finished shoulders on the Dottie Angel frock made with cotton lawn fabric. The pleats sit really nicely, especially on the front!

What's coming up? On Wednesday I will have an interview with Catherine (@knittingcatherine on Instagram) about her sewing and her modifications.

I will also share some pictures and links to other instagrammers and bloggers who have done different things with their Dottie frocks.

Don't forget that we have some really great prizes up for grabs, even if you haven't finished your dress you will be able to enter! Progress is everything! Remember to use our hashtag #dottieangelfrockalong so we can see your frocks!

One of our sponsors is a local Aussie girl who designs really flattering patterns. Go check out her website, Sew to Grow! We are giving away her Bondi Top pattern!

Feel free to drop us a message or email if you have any questions!

Make it sew, Jess


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Dottie Angel Frockalong Kick Off!

Hi! Welcome to the Dottie Angel Frockalong!

I am so excited to be making the Dottie Angel frock with you all! I am not a professional dressmaker but I do love to make clothes for myself and have been doing so for many years. I occasionally have trouble sticking to a pattern so sometimes I will show you how I do it rather than how the pattern says to do it. I hope you enjoy sewing along with Cassie and myself!

Now, some fun news! Cassie has been working hard and found some sponsors for our little Frockalong, so anyone that plays along and has a finished frock to show at the end could be in for a surprise!

Cassie will fill us all in on all the sponsor details in a dedicated post in a couple of days. How exciting!

Ok, let's get down to business! Have you got your pattern?

Picking your size – measure your bust, waist and hips. Pick the largest measurement and use that as your starting point. For me that is my bust, which probably makes it easier. Simplicity have a great guide for how to measure yourself here. If you have a bigger waist you may find it finishes baggy around the bust and shoulders. I found a great PDF here that goes over a lot of alterations you can do but for such a simple dress shape you shouldn't need to go crazy with alterations. The only change I made was to lower the front pleats which I will cover later in this post.

I also measure the actual pattern pieces to confirm that I have picked the right size. Lay the front and back pieces together, measure across the two pieces leaving off the seam allowance, double that and you have the full circumference of the dress around the bust. Put the tape measure around you bust and see if that measurement fits, don't forget to allow a couple of inches for ease. If it is too tight you may need to go up a size, if it is way to big you may need to go down a size.

In the interest of full disclosure my bust measurement is 40" and I made size M. I still had to take it in a further 1/4" down both side seams for it to fit how I like.

Fabrics – the pattern envelope gives you good ideas on what sort of fabric you should use. I used cotton patchwork fabric for two dresses and a lovely cotton viole for another. If you are wearing it in summer go for lighter fabrics that breath, like cotton and linen.

Altering pleat position – I lowered my pleats approximately 2". I'll explain how I worked it out.

1. Measure from your top of shoulder to where you want the middle of the pleats to be. I chose just under my bust, others have chosen to do the pleats at the waistline. It is purely up to you! I wanted the middle point of my pleat to be 14 1/2" down from the shoulder.

2. Find your new pleat position on the pattern with your tape measure. Then with a ruler draw in your new pleats directly below the original pleat positions.

Cutting – the only change I made was to cut the tie approx 6” shorter, unless you want to wrap the tie around your waist and tie it at the front it is going to be too long.

Cutting for View C

If you are making a view that requires the paper pattern piece to be shortened just fold it up on the cutting line. You might regret cutting it off later so just fold it out of the way as I have done in the picture below.

Make sure to copy markings for pocket position, pleat position and shoulder dots and fold line. You can use a water soluble pen, just be sure to get the pen mark off before you iron it as ironing could set the ink. Or you can use a chalk pencil or a Frixion pen.

To transfer markings to the other side of the dress poke a pin through the pattern and fabric to use as your guide. Fold the pattern paper back and mark where the pins are.

You also don't need to draw the whole line. For example, with the fold line for the sleeve just put a mark at the top of the should and the dot at the bottom.

Now you should be ready to start sewing!

Here's a brief outline of what we have coming up -

Wednesday is sponsor announcement day and we will explain how the prize pool will work. Cassie will also give a more in depth schedule of our future posts.

On Friday Cassie is going to cover making the pockets and show a couple of different ideas that you might like to try on your pockets.

Next Monday I will show you how to do the seams for the dress View C, the shoulders, neckline and how to do the sleeve.

There will also be a special guest post for a variation on the sleeve and more after that for finishing the dress.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask either of us.

Have fun, Jess


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Tula and Jaybird Quilts mini swap

Hi all,

If you are on Instagram you may have heard about this by now, Kelly (@thequiltmachine), Abby (@abby_colorbarquilts) and I are hosting a mini quilt swap inspired by the gorgeous combination of Tula Pink fabric and Jaybird Quilts mini patterns.

For all the details head over to Kelly's blog where she has all the info there for you. But just a heads up - sign ups start on Friday! And we are limiting the swap to 500 participants so get in quick!

In the meantime, here is a Tula Pink/Jaybird Quilts collaboration that I made for a mini quilt swap earlier this year.

And this one, using the same pattern but made the full length now lives on my dining table.

I hope you will join us!

Make it sew, Jess