Sewing: The Walkaway Dress

14 08 2016

You may or may not remember that last year, after making my first top, I attempted the walkaway dress, but had some trouble.

Well, after tweeting that year’s Sewing Bee contestants for help (the pattern was from the book accompanying the series), they put me in touch with the lady that actually wrote the book and she sent me a really helpful email which answered my questions and problems. The next issue was just getting started again. I don’t have space for my sewing machine where I live at the moment, and each time I’ve visited my parents lately there hasn’t been time for setting all my sewing stuff up. But when a year passed I realised that if I didn’t set myself a deadline I’d never do it, so I decided I’d wear the dress to my housemate’s wedding (which was yesterday) and so it had to be done by then!

Once I gave time to it, it wasn’t too hard to do at all – I was surprised that it was categorised as easy in the book when I saw it, but as I did it, I realised that was true! it takes a LOT of thread as you hem the huge circle skirt and bias bind all the raw edges, but there’s nothing too complicated. The hardest bit for me was sewing the buttons on! There should have been one on the back and three on the front, but I ran out of bias binding (so maybe round up their measurement for that when buying) so just did one on the back and one on the front – and that was more than enough for me, I’ve always hated doing buttons!

I altered the pattern slightly in that I just added a few inches to the length of the skirt to make it go below the knee which I prefer. This was the first dress I’ve ever made and I’m really pleased with it.

I’ll be moving house soon and once I’m settled should have space for my sewing machine. I also got Chinelo Bally’s “Freehand Fashion” book for my birthday, so can’t wait to try out some of her stuff – sewing without patterns! Watch this space.

Sewing: Sleeveless shell top

23 04 2015

So having posted about the trouble I had with the walkaway dress, I’ve had a tonne of help and advice, particularly from the lady who wrote the book herself, and am very grateful! When I next head down to my parents I’ll be giving it another go 🙂

Before I started the dress I made the Sleeveless Shell Top. It seemed a nice, simple way to start having not done any sewing in a few years, and no proper sewing in a very long time. In fact, this was the first time I ever made anything on my own from a pattern, and I’m pretty pleased with it.

The garment was made from six pieces of fabric: one for the front, two for the back, and then three pieces of facing. I’d heard the word “facing” a lot on the Sewing Bee and was a bit apprehensive, but it all came out really well, and the facing made it look lovely and professional. I even got the stitching done properly on the seam so that the facing was hidden – very chuffed.

I really like the fact too that it came with an optional dropped hem at the back, I much prefer a long top and so it was nice that I could choose to do that.

It’s been sat on my wardrobe for a couple of weeks now as I’ve been back at work, but now the sun’s out I think it might be time to give it a whirl. Just need to tidy up a few stray threads so that it can be worn in public and there we go.

If you’re looking to start sewing, this really is a good beginner piece while you get used to the patterns, and all the basic techniques that come with it.

Sewing: Walkaway dress problems – help please, Internet :)

19 04 2015

I’m looking for anyone who’s tried to make the Walkaway Dress from this year’s Great British Sewing Bee book!

I’ve cut out my pieces, and sewn in all the darts etc, and sewn the skirt pieces together. That’s where my first issue lay

  1. The line marked Centre Back was on the fold, even though if you sew the two pieces together, the seam, not the fold, would go down the Centre Back. Maybe this has something to do with it?
  2. Anyway, on to the main issue at hand. I need to sew the Back Bodice, to the Skirt, but I’m having problems matching the waist.

  3. The skirt has 4 notches, the back bodice has 2
  4. None of the notches line up with each other
  5. Most critically, the back bodice waist is far shorter than the skirt waist, when they should match exactly…

Has anyone come across similar issues?
Does anyone know what I might have done wrong?
Is it something to do with the way I sewed the skirt pieces together?
Does anyone know what I can do to fix it?

I read on one forum that someone had adjusted their pattern “to make it work” but I’m way too beginner to know where to even start with that.

Any help or advice most gratefully received!


sewing bee