My True Bias ( Maxi-ed View A) Southport Dress

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I had actually cut out another dress prior to this but a sudden heatwave in the UK exposed a gap in my wardrobe for serious hot weather wear so the Southport got bumped to the top of the queue. I was always unsure about Maxi’s before I started sewing again. I tried one on once but the image in the changing room mirror just made me look even shorter, as I was completely swamped by the length. It was only when I made a shirred Maxi out of a border print that I realised just how comfortable they were. It’s the first thing I reach for when the temperature hits the eighties so I knew with the heat I needed another ( I’d been washing and drip drying the other overnight so I could wear it again the following day!)

I’d seen a few Southports during Me Made May so the pattern was already on my list. I really wanted to make view B, the maxi version, but only had a metre and a half of drapey viscose which I bought at the Leeds meet up. The maxi version is a lot fuller in the skirt and no matter how hard I wished the fabric fairies to make it fit there was no way to squeeze it out of my limited fabric. The only thing to do was to Maxi View A. To try and conserve fabric I omitted the button placket and just cut the front on the fold at the centre front. I also used some contrasting fabric for the pockets.

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I cut the size 14 and as this is my second True Bias pattern (the Sutton Blouses are here) it does seem to run true to size. I must confess that I didn’t staystitch the neckline, I don’t know if it’s just me but stay stitching on finer fabrics seems to do more harm than good, on a couple of occasions I’ve thought the fabric has stretched out because of it. Instead I barely handled it and when I did took extra care. For this reason I really took my time with binding the neckline and armholes, ironing and shaping with each step

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I made the skirt with all the fabric I had left after cutting the bodice, luckily being short worked in my favour as I had just enough to make it full length (another couple of inches would have been preferable but I don’t think it matters)  One thing I’m particularly amazed at is having the foresight to see if I’d actually be able to walk in it. The circumference of the skirt was around 50 inches and so I poddled around the dining room with a tape measure around my ankles. It proved to be a little restrictive, I could walk but if there was ever the need to increase my pace or maybe even run I would struggle. I added six inch slits at the side just to free things up a bit.

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I am more than happy with the finished dress, it was a dream to sew and for once no mistakes! It’s cool and comfortable but still looks pulled together. I really want to make another, especially the fuller skirted Version B but I’m not sure I’ve got any suitable fabric in my stash (a thinly veiled reason to go fabric shopping) I think it works on my figure because of the amount of drape in the fabric and Maxis are meant to be floaty. The shorter version would work ok in something with a bit more body though so I might give that a try with some Lawn. As soon as I started sewing this the Sun disappeared and the temperature dropped by ten degrees. At least if it does warm up again I’ll be prepared with my pair of alternating Maxis!

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Two True Bias Sutton Blouses

There hasn’t been a lot of sewing going on recently. It’s the busiest time of year at work and we’re also decorating so the house is in disarray. The only thing passing through my sewing machine has been a pair of curtains. I’ve got so many things on my list but only managed to grab a couple of hours this week, if I don’t get some serious sewing ‘me time’ soon tempers are likely to fray!

I made these Sutton blouses a few weeks ago. I wanted to try the pattern after seeing loads of lovely versions during Me made may (May turned out to be quite expensive due to all the new patterns I ‘needed’ to have)

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‘The Sutton Blouse is a loose fitting V-neck top with kimono sleeves, a one piece yoke and a back inverted pleat.’

For the first one I used a metre and a half of black and grey floral viscose I bought at the Leeds meet up. I cut a size 14 based on my measurements. The pattern is drafted for a height of 5ft 6 inches. As I’m short waisted and short in general (5ft 2inch if I’m standing straight) I decided to shorten the pattern by two inches. It’s a neat little pattern, all French seams apart from side seams. The directions suggest overlocking the side seams but the fabric was light enough to double turn and stitch each edge before stitching the seam together.

One thing that didn’t even cross my mind (which doesn’t seem to be firing on all cylinders at the moment) was to pay attention to pattern placement, consequently the front seam has chopped a big flower in half (didn’t even notice until I put it on my dressform when it was finished) It also ended up being a little shorter than anticipated. I’ve worked out that the optimum length to cover the mum tum is 5 inches below my belly button, this was an inch or two shorter so the tum is just peaking out! The pattern however does run true to size. I really don’t know what to do about shortening things anymore, this is the second time recently that I’ve made my usual adjustment only to find out I didn’t need to (I shortened my first Morris Blazer which then ended up being a bit too ‘cropped’) I always worry about things being too long and swamping me, I think I just need to take a bit more time measuring the pattern pieces before I start chopping.

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For my next Sutton I didn’t shorten the length. I used just under a metre and a half of Liberty silk satin which I bagged off ebay for a tenner. This was my first time working with silk satin, I’ve used silk twill and Crepe de Chine before which are a bit fiddly but I managed to get them to co-operated in the end.

This however fought me every step of the way. I laid it on a blanket (using Sew Busy lizzies timely suggestion on Instagram) pinned it down and weighted the pattern pieces with anything I had to hand. This seemed to stop it moving around and it wasn’t too difficult to cut if I took it slowly (I did actually pay attention to the pattern placement this time) However once I lifted the cut pieces they shifted around so much that I had no idea if they were on grain or even cut straight. I decided to forge ahead with the sewing, questioning the straightness of every seam I sewed (and trimming off bit’s here and there, convinced they was some wonkiness going on) I made it up exactly the same as the first; french seams and double fold side seams. The finished top isn’t too bad but I think the back yoke is a little out and I’m sure there’s something weird going on with the side seams. It’s one of those things that nobody will notice but I know it’s there!

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highlighting my wonky side seam!

The first Sutton has been worn a lot since finishing but I’m really not sure about the silk one. I think it’s entirely down to all the hassle it gave me. There seems to be a direct correlation between how much I like a garment and how well the sewing process went. It’ll take a bit of time for me to forget all the pain and trouble it gave me (a bit like childbirth) but I it’s highly unlikely I’ll be sewing with silk satin again anytime soon!

Is it just me or has anybody else fallen out with a garment that was a troublesome sew?