One of the great things I like most about dressmaking is: you don’t fit the clothes, you make the clothes to fit you. Can’t find a style to suit you? Alter it! Can’t find a style in shops that compliment your figure? Make your own! Like vintage styles but don’t want to look dated? Update the style!
When you get into the habit of making your own clothes, you want to put your own stamp on things and sometimes, store bought items no longer appeal to you quite as much. A couple months ago, I passed by the BHS window display. There on the mannequin was a beautiful mint green tea dress with a funnel neck collar that I quite fancied.
Mint Bardot fit and flare dress, £22 from BHS
I discovered new online fabric store in December MyFabrics.co.uk when I bought unique fabric and a dress pattern for another dressmaking project previously with a gift card my friend bought me for Christmas. MyFabrics.co.uk is a German company that are expanding their client base in the UK. The store sells over 10 000 high quality fabric choices with the option of also buying haberdashery, zips, thread, buttons, sewing patterns and sewing machine accessories. You can also request samples to be sent so you can see the fabric before you purchase the full length and receive free postage for orders over £40.
The online shop has their own brand of various grades of cotton, of which I used Tula Cotton Medium for this project. The fabric is of top quality and in compliance with Oeko-Tex standards, with a colour and laundry guarantee. ‘Tula Cotton Medium’ comes in more than 30 different colours and is great for sewing more robust clothing items like trousers and skirts. It is also very suitable for living room accessories like pillows or drapes.
When I was approached by a representative from the MyFabrics.co.uk, I was excited when I tried looking for a similar dress pattern and found the Vogue V8667. I was hesitant to pay the price for the dress – not that it was extortionate, but I wanted a more versatile neutral colour that I could wear more often. Making my own dress in a colour of my choice was the perfect solution to my problem!
At first, I thought the pattern had a similar neckline to the BHS Bardot dress (passing by the window on the bus I thought it had a stiff mandarin collar), but I was excited to find that it was exactly the same style! The fit and flare dress is great for curvy figures. The fitted bodice flatters my slimmer top half while the full A-line skirt hides my wide hips. The wide funnel neck seems to be a dated style, but the simple block coloured fabric makes it a modern style. It’s also great for showcasing shorter necklaces (on an 18 inch chain) that rests on your collarbone.
MyFabrics.co.uk were generous enough to give me everything I needed to make my dress. I chose a beautiful beige champagne colour that appears to change slightly in colour depending on the lighting. It’s not a metallic shade as such, but in certain lights it looks beige, but in others it has a slight pink tinge to it. I really love the colour!
I looked around for inspiration to see what other dressmakers had made with the Vogue pattern. I have to say, the tunic top and leopard print dress look really good!
Converted tunic top made by Diana and Me
Vogue funnel neck fit and flare work dress by Scruffy Badger Time
Leopard print fit and flare dress by Stitchy Witch
Paisley fit and flare dress by PetiteSewGal
As I progress with my sewing, I start thinking of ways I can improve what I’ve made. This time, I was determined to line up stitching better and to hide the inseams with the lining!
The trick is to sew the dress shell and the lining separately. When I was working on the dress itself, I made sure to match any stitching first, pin it, then check the alignment again. It’s important to keep that pin along the line you want straight even when that section is going under the needle, otherwise it’ll shift unless you’ve already basted your fabric.
Pinning the line of stitching I wanted to match
My perfectly aligned cross section
For a more professional look to the finished garment, it’s always better to finish the dress itself first before attaching the lining. If you can manage, it’s best to pin the zipper to the dress then pin the lining to the inside of the zip so this hides the zipper between the lining and the dress itself. It also means you’ve only got one line of stitching, but I found this to be quite a tricky task, so I ended up going over the same line a few times.
Sewing the zipper to the dress first
To hide the inseams, what I did was match the wrong sides of the dress to the lining. At the neckline, I turned the lining in the opposite direction (think of an open butterfly, with the hem of the dress facing the right and the hem of the lining facing the left) and matched the edges together.
Matching the raw edges of the neckline of the dress to the lining
You can check that this is done correctly once you’ve pinned it. Once you pull the lining down, you shouldn’t see the pins anymore.
Make sure to sew along the neckline stitching as closely as possible so you don’t have too many visible lines of stitching. Once you’ve flipped the lining down, the right side of your dress should be on the outside, and the right side of the lining should be facing you!
My finished Vogue dress
I’m really pleased with how well the dress has turned out. With the weather getting warmer and the sun shining bright, the dress is calling out to be worn. Like the BHS version of the dress, the neutral colour will nicely suit a lovely slim waist belt or a wide belt! I’ve already got plans to make a lace version of this same dress at a later date for our evening reception at the wedding. Stay tuned for the beautiful lace version!
The generosity of MyFabrics.co.uk doesn’t end there though! I’ve been given an exclusive voucher for a limited time only for readers to spend on their online shop. When prompted, enter coupon number SHOP10 at checkout to receive £10 off orders over £35. The code will only be valid until 19th May, so head over and have a look!
Anyone looking for inspiration or accessories for wedding garments, you can also take a look at their carefully curated suggestions. With a wide choice of fabrics, patterns, sewing accessories and so much more, start shopping now by clicking on the banner below!
Thank you to myfabrics.co.uk for supplying all the necessary materials for the above dressmaking project.