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The Joy Dress | Adding elastic

I’m delighted to share with you this second part of the rather glorious pattern hack of The Joy Dress created by Jen Hogg for the version B with the gathered back detail. I just love the look of this wide elastic in the back of The Joy Dress.

You can find part one HERE, where Jen shares her tips for making a fixed strap version and a truly genius tip for using a silicone baking sheet to protect your ironing board from interfacing!

PAID POST | This article was  written by Jen Hogg. I have paid Jen for her time, skills and effort, but all opinions are her own. Many of you will know Jen as a semi-finalist from The Great British Sewing Bee in 2019 and from the Jenerates Sewing Ruler.

Over to Jen…

This is the second Joy dress made and is again in a linen, this time a gorgeous green which was a gift from my very good friend and fellow Sewing Bee, Mercedes.  It’s a little firmer than the checked linen, but my challenge this time was that Mercedes was envisaging a top, but I decided to squeeze a dress out of it, as you do!  The frill was sacrificed.

Adding the elastic detail to the back

I decided to try elastic in the back of the green version, it’s a really simple hack.

  • Attach and understitch the facings per the pattern instructions.
  • Cut a length of 1” (2.5cm) elastic to match the space between the strap notches on the back facing pattern, plus extra at either end to secure.  Mark the finished length you need on the elastic.

  • Stitch the back facing to the body 3.5cm from the top edge to form a casing
  • Thread the elastic through the casing, so that the marks on it line up with the inside edge of the straps
  • Secure the elastic at both ends with a vertical line of stitching from the strap to the bottom of the casing.

I’m sure these won’t be my only version of the Joy dress.  The fit at the neck is perfect, plus the space between the straps and the height of the back are spot on to cover underwear – love that attention to detail.  I can see that it’s going to be a go-to dress pattern for me to use as a foundation for other shapes.  Thank you Mrs M!


What a great pattern hack! Thank you so much Jen! 


Jen Hogg lives in Glasgow with her husband and dog, and has two children at university. She reached the semi-final of The Great British Sewing Bee Series 5 (2019) and now runs a small business selling self-designed sewing tools and writes for a variety of magazines and blogs. In addition to sewing, she enjoys knitting, crochet and many other textile crafts, as well as silversmithing, photography and generally making things. You can follow Jen on Instagram and Facebook @jenerates, and at www.jenhogg.co.uk

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The Joy Dress | by Jen Hogg

Many of you will know Jen as a semi-finalist from The Great British Sewing Bee in 2019 and from the Jenerates Sewing Ruler. I first teamed up with Jen as part of our French Dart week a little while ago when Jen’s glorious Nani Iro French Dart popped up on our Instagram. If you haven’t seen that post you can find it here, it’s a marvellous hack! And I’m delighted to say Jen has returned as a guest writer to share her thoughts on our latest pattern The Joy Dress.

PAID POST | This article was  written by Jen Hogg. I have paid Jen for her time, skills and effort, but all opinions are her own.

So let me hand you over to Jen!

So far I’ve made 3 versions of this dress and I love them all. 

The colourful check version is made from a fine linen, which was actually a piece of surplus from a mill in Ireland.  The fabric is very soft with good drape, which also meant it was a complete pain to cut out.

Version 2 is again in a linen, this time a gorgeous green which was a gift from my very good friend and fellow Sewing Bee, Mercedes.  It’s a little firmer than the checked linen, but my challenge this time was that Mercedes was envisaging a top, but I decided to squeeze a dress out of it, as you do!  The frill was sacrificed.

The third version is from a piece of vintage cotton gingham, the most robust of the three fabrics I used.

As always Mrs M has given us great instructions and technique tips so I’m only going to go over the hacks I made.

Adding length

The sizing on this pattern was perfect for me.  My only alteration was to add length because I wanted this dress to fall just above ankle length.  I’m quite tall and I added a 1.5cm to the bodice and 14cm to the skirt, both at the points marked on the pattern.

Stabilising the neck and arm holes. 

Instead of stay stitching, Mrs M suggests using fusible interfacing to stabilise the neck line.  I love this technique, it gives such a crisp finish. 

I cut strips of weft-insertion woven interfacing with a pinking cutter, which gives a softer edge.  This is something I always do if I’m applying interfacing to the back of the garment fabric – by that I mean the fabric which is actually going to be the outer layer of my garment and not the facing or lining.  It means you shouldn’t see a ridge where the interfacing ends, though as always, if in doubt try it out on a scrap first.

The strips are cut on the bias which means they curve round the neck and armholes perfectly.  I ironed them centred on the stitch line, on top of a silicone baking sheet / oven liner.  The glue on the interfacing doesn’t stick to the sheet, so you can go over the edge without wrecking the ironing board cover.

In seam pockets

As usual I used the couture method for these, where the pocket is formed entirely on the front part of the dress. There’s a summary of that technique here.

No-tie straps

My first version of the Joy dress was the checked linen.  I thought that there was enough going on for me with the check and the frill, so I decided to make the straps plain.

  • Cut straps are the same width as in the pattern.
  • Make two straps longer than you’ll need.  I made mine about 45cm long to give me plenty of room for adjustment.
  • Attach the straps to the front of the dress per the pattern instructions. 
  • Don’t attach them to the back.  Instead, stitch the facing to the body leaving a gap for each of the back straps.  My gap is marked in pink pen in the photo, and the strap notches are marked by the red pins. 
  • Before understitching the facing, try the dress on.  Flip the facing to the inside and pull the straps fully through at the front so they sit in the correct position.  Pin the straps to the back to give you a good fit. 
  • With the dress still right-way-out, and before you unpin the straps at the back, mark the length you need, right the way across the strap.  I use an iron-off Frixion pen for this.  At this stage I check my straps are the same length
  • Poke the back straps through the gaps you left when you stitched the facing to the body.  Make sure they’re not twisted at this point.
  • Turn the dress wrong-side-out, and pull the straps through until the line you marked on them matches up with the stitch line either side of the gap.

  • Now finish off sewing the facing and the body together by stitching across the gaps, with the straps in place. 
  • That’s you back on to the pattern instructions, to understitch the facings.

Adding volume to the back

 

I love the silhouette of this dress, with the volume at the back.  I decided to play with that a little on the gingham version, and added 8cm to the width at the centre back.  It’s very swishy.

No frill

The green version was tight for fabric, so it’s frill-less.  Very simply, I added the frill length to the dress pieces and hemmed it by hand.

Keeping the back facing in line

Mrs M suggests sewing a few bar tacks among the folds at the back facing to stop it from rolling over, if you’re using soft fabric.  It absolutely works.  Mine are about 2cm long, and don’t interrupt the flow of the dress at all.

I’m sure these won’t be my only version of the Joy dress.  The fit at the neck is perfect, plus the space between the straps and the height of the back are spot on to cover underwear – love that attention to detail.  I can see that it’s going to be a go-to dress pattern for me to use as a foundation for other shapes.  Thank you Mrs M!


Thank you Jen! It always gives me such pleasure to see how our patterns are adapted and personalised. The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed the elastic detail that Jen has added at the back of this beautiful linen version –  READ PART 2 with all the details HERE!


Jen Hogg lives in Glasgow with her husband and dog, and has two children at university. She reached the semi-final of The Great British Sewing Bee Series 5 (2019) and now runs a small business selling self-designed sewing tools and writes for a variety of magazines and blogs. In addition to sewing, she enjoys knitting, crochet and many other textile crafts, as well as silversmithing, photography and generally making things. You can follow Jen on Instagram and Facebook @jenerates, and at www.jenhogg.co.uk

 

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The Simone Set | attaching the straps

The one place that needs a little attention when making the Simone Camisole is the straps – a little attention to detail here can help to make your garment look really professional.

We’ve done this photo tutorial to give you an extra helping hand. So, are you ready to get a lovely finish to those Simone Camisole straps? 

Jolly good! Read on…

  • So at this point in camisole construction process you will have followed the instructions and completed step 5 in your Maker Instruction booklet, so your bodice and facing will be made up but still separate.
  • You will have made and turned through your straps. Rouleaux straps – completed steps 6 & 7 in your Maker Instruction booklet. Wide strap option – completed steps 11 & 12 in your Maker Instruction booklet.
  • Do make sure you give everything a gentle press before continuing!

ABBREVIATIONS | CB: centre back | CF: centre front | WS: wrong side  | RST: right side together | RS: right side | SA: seam allowance

| FITTING THE STRAPS |

The strap pattern is a little bit longer than you really need. This in part because when the straps get turned through the ends can sometimes be untidy and look a bit ‘chewed’ up, but mostly because we are all unique so you may actually need your straps a little longer. Before cutting off any of the extra length, do a quick fitting so you can find your ideal strap length. 

  • Use the finished strap measurement charts in the instructions booklet (you will find one for each strap option) as a guide to give you a starting point.
  • The charts show the suggested FINISHED strap length WITHOUT seam allowances (SA).
  • NOTE | The double rouleaux strap option – the inner strap (STRAP A) will be placed closest to the centre front and is longer than outer strap (STRAP B).
  • Mark the finished length on your strap, don’t worry about the seam allowance for a moment, with chalk or a fabric marking pen.
  • Don’t cut the straps, keep the extra length so we can adjust if needed.
  • Pin or tack them into place. The straps can just be placed in position on top of the camisole, as in the photo above, making it easy to adjust the length.
  • Make sure the finished strap length marks you made are placed on the stitchline of the camisole, where they will eventually be permanently stitched.
  • See further along in the tutorial if you need help knowing where to position the straps. 
  • Try on your camisole and adjust the length of the straps to suit you.
  • To adjust the strap length pin the excess into a ‘tuck’, or shorten or lengthen by re-pinning at the front.
  • In this example I have pinned a ‘tuck’ that is 2cm deep in total when I measured it, so I will reduce my overall final strap length by 2cm.

In the picture above I have pinned the strap and the seam is showing, so that will be the WRONG SIDE of the strap. It really doesn’t matter at this stage for a fitting, but it is something to be aware of when you are attaching your straps later and you can make sure the seam is out of sight on the underside of the strap.

STRAP FITTING CHECKLIST

  • Check you are happy with how high/low your camisole is sitting.
  • Are the straps sitting comfortably on your shoulder without falling off?
  • Is it hanging straight at the side seams?
  • Does the hem look level?
  • You may find, for you, that each strap needs to be a slightly different length. That’s OK, we are all a little asymmetrical.
  • You can move the position of the straps at the back to suit you or to help hide a bra strap.
  • TIP |  Make a note of your ideal strap length and position. Amend your pattern so you are good to go for any future makes.

| CUT THE STRAPS |

Hurrah, you now have a finished strap length!  The photos show both the strap options but you’ll obviously be making one or the other.

  • Add the seam allowances. Add 1cm to the front strap and 2cm at the other end for the back of the strap.

  • Cut off the excess strap

TIP | “Why do the straps have a 2cm SA at the back?” I hear you ask. 2 reasons – It’s for extra strength & stability, so the straps don’t pop out after a few months of constant washing and wearing. Trust me when I tell you that is a very annoying repair to do. And I like a back up plan. It’ll give you an extra bit of length in reserve should you decide “Oh, I wish I’d made these straps a little bit longer”. You can always trim the SA a bit more if you want to…but you cannot add it back on!

| ATTACH THE STRAPS |

The camisole has a 6mm SA on the neckline and armhole and back edge and 1cm on the camisole ‘peak’ to attach the front strap. A 6mm SA is standard in industry for any enclosed seam as it turns better and negates the need to clip and trim the seam allowance. I’ve drawn in the SA/stitchlines with black pen for illustrative purposes.

BACK NOTCHES | The actual construction method is the same for both strap options, it’s just the back strap placement that changes. The strap placement is marked clearly on your pattern for each strap option so you can just clip the relevant notch. Should you happen to notch them all by mistake, as I have for this tutorial, don’t worry you can just ignore the ‘wrong’ ones for your strap option. I’ve marked the back notches for the wide strap in orange pen and the rouleaux strap notches in green pen so you can see which ones I’ve used and ignored.

| WIDE STRAPS |

WIDE STRAPS – attach at front |

  • Place the strap to front camisole with RST (right sides together).  
  • Align the top of the strap with the top edge of the camisole. 
  • Staystitch in SA to hold strap in place.
  • Repeat for the other strap.

WIDE STRAPS – attach at back |

  • With RST place the other end of the strap between the 2 notches on the back camisole. 
  • Align finished strap length on the stitchline of the back camisole. The 2cm SA extends beyond the camisole body.
  • Make sure the strap is not twisted before staystitching in the SA of camisole to hold straps in place.
  • Repeat for the other strap.
  • TRY ON! Now is a good time to try on your camisole just to check you are happy with the strap length and position.

| DOUBLE ROULEAUX STRAPS |

DOUBLE ROULEAUX STRAPS – attach at the front |

  • Place the straps to front camisole with RST (right sides together). Make sure the longer of the 2 straps (STRAP A – the red print) is closest to the centre front and the shorter (STRAP B the mustard print) is towards the side seam.
  • Butt the straps right next to each other so there isn’t a gap. (Unless you want a gap of course!)
  • There may be some variance in the thickness of rouleaux straps as different fabrics may give slightly different results, but just centralise your straps and align the top of the straps with the top edge of the camisole. 
  • Staystitch in SA to hold strap in place.
  • Repeat for the other side.         

 DOUBLE ROULEAUX STRAPS – attach at the back |

STRAP A – (the red print)

  • With RST, place the other end of strap A to the back camisole body.
  • Place strap centrally over the notch (notch closest to the CB) and with the finished strap length on the camisole stitchline.
  • The SA extends beyond the camisole body.

STRAP B (the mustard print)

  • With RST, place the other end of strap B to the back camisole body, but place centrally over the notch closest to the side seam
  • Make sure the straps are not twisted before staystitching in the SA of camisole to hold straps in place.
  • Repeat for the other set of straps.
  • TRY ON! Now is a good time to try on your camisole just to check you are happy with the strap length and position.

| ATTACH THE FACING – FOR ALL VERSIONS (but illustrated on the wide strap version) |

  • Turn camisole body so RIGHT SIDE is facing out and turn the facing so WRONG SIDE is facing out.
  • With RST slide the camisole inside the facing. 

  • Align the neckline, armhole and back edges, matching notches and side seams and pin.
  • Make sure that straps are hanging straight down and not caught in the facing edge. The straps will be sitting between the body and the facing.
  • Anchor straps firmly in place by stitching straight across at the ‘peak’ at the notches and through all layers.

On this stitchline, mark the outside edges of the straps with chalk or fabric marker pen, it should be something that won’t leave a permanent mark.

  • Attach the facing to the body at the neckline, armhole and back with a 6mm SA. It’s important that you stitch through the intersect point you marked earlier (at the edge of the strap) to avoid a step on your finished camisole.
  • If necessary, adjust your line of stitching by taking more or less SA. I’ve drawn the original SA in black pen but I’ve adjusted my stitchline to make sure I stitch through the intersect point.
  • Press the stitchline to set the stitches and trim SA to reduce bulk.
  • Turn through to RS and check you are happy with the straps!

So why am I being so pedantic about stitching to those intersect points?

Because I want to show you how to make a garment that you can wear and be proud of.  The straps are one area where a little bit of knowledge and extra care will make all the difference to the finished result. Does this mean that it has to be perfect. No. This isn’t couture. The aim is just for you to be happy with it. So let me show you what we are trying to avoid…

  • Stitching too wide and missing the intersect point = “steps” either side of the strap

  • Stitching to the inside of the intersect points = the strap doesn’t turn through to the right side properly and will reduce in the length slightly because it’s caught at the point where you have stitched over it.

| UNDERSTITCH |

To make the facing seam roll to the inside of the camisole the next step is to understitch.

  • Turn camisole to RS and pull the facing out so it is extended away from body.
  • RSU understitch through the facing and SA layers. (You may find it easier to press the SA towards the facing before understitching, but it can be done without).
  • Stitch as far as you can up to the front strap peak area, you will only be able to go so far because of your sewing machine foot.
  • Turn facing to the inside of the camisole.
  • Carefully press along the edge with the seam rolled very slightly to the inside of the camisole so it is not visible on the RS .
  • You can find our UNDERSTITCHING TUTORIAL HERE
  • And finally STITCH IN THE DITCH of the side seam to attach the facing and body together (see step 19 in your Maker Instruction booklet).

How delightful and well done! You have made a wonderful job of those straps!

 


 

 

 

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Creating Panels in the French Dart | by Jen Hogg – part 2

PAID POST | This article was  written by Jen Hogg after I saw her French Dart Hack on Instagram. I have paid Jen for her time, skills and effort, but all opinions are her own.

This part 2 of Jen Hogg’s panelled French Dart Hack!

I think we are all being about more thoughtful about our makes with a view towards sustainability and being more purposeful with our sewing. And the great thing about the panelling hack is it’s an excellent way to use up those smaller, left-over pieces of cloth. Think creatively and you can create something truly unique. If you are looking for a little inspiration take a look at the SewOver50 Instagram page for their March challenge and the hashtag #so50PatternMixing.

Over to Jen!

Version 5 | cashmere surplus, in panels and patchwork

The method I used to hack the Nani Iro version also works really well with surplus. I use a lot of cashmere surplus, and the pieces I get are usually small or an odd shape. I’m working on another French Dart dress using different patterns in the panels.

Here it is as a work in progress. I’ve added red bias between the panels, to add a bit of cohesion overall but handily it also shows where the panels of my hack are. It’s the same hack as the Nani Iro version, only I missed out the pockets on the front because the cashmere is too soft to cope with them.

In this version, though, my centre panel is also made up of two different fabrics. This time I joined the fabric pieces together before I cut out the pattern shape. Basically you make a patchwork of fabric first, then cut out the dress pattern as usual. There’s less control over how the fabrics are joined together this way, but that suited me for this panel.

In these photos you can see the red bias which delineates the separate “Nani Iro” panels.

But look at the fabric to the right of the red tape, that’s made up of two pieces of scarf surplus, a paler fabric right beside the tape overlaid with the blue / red fringed fabric. I stitched them together with 2 lines of stitching (yellow lines). Then the fringe on the blue / red fabric was sewn down to add some texture (green lines). It felt like a shame to cut it off and I’m toying with the idea of keeping some fringing at the sleeve cuffs, though I might change my mind!

When it’s finished I’ll share this dress on Instagram, under my own name @jenerates but also to join in with the @sewover50 challenge #so50patternmixing.

UPDATE: Jen has kindly shared her finished pictures with us!

Thanks Jen! What a wonderful & inspiring way to use up surplus fabric! The first part of this tutorial with the details for the pattern hack can be found HERE.

| #MAVENMAKERS |

We would love to see your French Darts! Old or new, share (or re-share!) them with us on Instagram Remember to tag us @MavenPatterns #FrenchDartMaven

All photos by Jen Hogg 

Jen Hogg lives in Glasgow with her husband and dog, and has two children at university. She now runs a small business selling the Jenerates sewing ruler and writes for a variety of magazines and blogs. A former solicitor, Jen reached the semi-final of The Great British Sewing Bee Series 5 (2019). In addition to sewing, she enjoys knitting, crochet and many other textile crafts, as well as silversmithing, photography and generally making things. You can follow Jen on Instagram and Facebook @jenerates, and at www.jenhogg.co.uk