Welcome to my 'other blog' the one that explores my crafty side. I have been a maker of 'things' since childhood. By nature I'm creative. I still love to write, and you can click on this link to visit my blog: Hanging On My Word, which is where I indulge in the thought and word side. Although a teacher by profession, I don't offer tutorials. This is my showcase of projects I like to share. So pull aside the curtains and let's begin (I'm a bit theatrical too!).

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Celebration Dress

Should have worn my shades!
With a big birthday coming up, followed by my husband’s three weeks later, I thought there may be  reason to wear a new dress. I’ve always liked the faux-wrap style and have two M&S tops from a couple of years ago, which I am loathe to part with, simply because they are so comfortable and flattering. So, when I saw this pattern, Simplicity K2369 I liked the idea of a dress which matched the same criteria. Living in Lanzarote, a trip to the capital, Arrecife is necessary to find a decent fabric shop, and even then you can’t be sure you’ll get the fabric you want. On trips back to UK I usually add to my stash to ensure that I can always pull something out when the mood strikes me. This time I had the pattern in my hand when I saw this fabric with ‘sale’ on the label in the Nottingham branch of John Lewis. I love the animal print effect and was pleased with my purchase. The dress cost about £18 to make,the biggest expense being the buckle. I was pressed for time and didn’t have time to search further. What a pity John Lewis didn’t have those on sale! I am now wise to this and on the lookout for a cheap source, as well as alerting friends and family. Oh yes and I’m not averse to buying a second-hand garment just for the buttons or buckles!

Well, needless to say I was pretty pleased with the result. This pattern is popular and has been well-reviewed by others bloggers, so I won’t go into great detail, except to say that it was so easy to make, and I love not having to fit a zip. I made sure I cut out the pieces carefully, attached the correct needle for stretch fabrics to my machine and used the recommended stitch.

I’ve got some lovely plain lime green fabric to make the tunic top next.I was going to make it with the bow, but I’m not sure; it looks rather bulky. Watch this space, but this is a pattern to which I’ll definitely return.

There’s another element to this story, because the pattern was originally given away with SEW magazine. I’d been a subscriber since issue 1 and lapsed for a few months when we moved here, re-subscribing and ordering back copies, a few months ago. Some issues were sold out so I turned to ebay, where again this issue was in short supply; when I finally bagged one, the seller sent it with the wrong pattern, but she let me keep the magazine at no cost, and finally a very kind seller sold me the pattern separately, along with the final few magazines to complete the set. Yes, I could have bought the pattern at full price, but half the fun was the search and winning the auction. So thanks to Jane at madaboutbooks8!

An update is needed as I was excited to see see that ‘The Great British Sewing Bee' on BBC TV was setting the challenge of sewing with stretch fabrics this week (5th March 2014) and that the remaining male competitor had chosen this very pattern as his piece to demonstrate his sewing skills. He made a lovely job of it and stayed in the running - until next week at least. As I wrote earlier, it’s a very popular pattern and there are many examples on the web. I still haven’t made my top as I have been busy with other projects, but I may just have ago now after seeing the pattern again.


  1. It's beautiful, Little Nell. I have always thought the wrap style is very flattering. We think alike about buttons and buckles: I often remove from thrift shop dresses bought for that very purpose.

  2. Wow! You look fantastic, Nell, and so does your dress. I enjoyed the mice and blocks that you made too. When I read this blog I become torn; the call to sew and create is coming upon me strongly, but it is so much easier to write, take pictures and blog. I enjoy seeing what you do on here; you are a very talented lady.

    Kathy M.

  3. Looks fantastic - clever you! And yes, the hunt is half the fun!
    Best wishes,