Bess was covetting those Gucci wide leg trousers spotted on the interweb for AGES and then eventually gave in and made herself some. Never mind the fact the Gucci ones would never have fitted these have saved her a small fortune (which she can spend on more fabric). The pattern is Burda 6613, the wool is a stretch worsted (97% Wool 3% Elastane) and the trim is H0511.
Bess made this hoody from an old Burda pattern on the day before going off to a festival and realising she had nothing warm for the evenings. Being somewhat busy she got up a bit early and made it before breakfast – even though it was a pattern she hadn’t used before (needed to be cut out)/there were patch pockets that needed to go on evenly/stripes to match/zip to be inserted. We would like to say it was Bess’s skillz as a dressmaker but most of the credit needs to go to this lovely double wool jersey that behaved soooo nicely.
Bess made up this sleeveless shirt using a fabulous eye print poplin cotton. The pattern is taken and amended from an old White Stuff shirt, the buttons are wiggly eye buttons but how long they will last is debatable as she keeps ironing over them!
As the poplin is very stable and Bess wanted the shirt as light as possible no interfacing was used apart from down the front placket so the button holes would be stabilised.
Whilst Bess lined up the front and back when cutting out no attempt was made to match the pattern. It actually does match where the yoke meets the back piece but that was an accident.
Bess nearly didn’t make this white cotton broderie anglaise dress because she was worried about cursing the summer but in the end decided 2018 sunshine was a dead-cert. Yayyy for proper summers! The pattern came out of the June 2018 Burda magazine, it’s supposed to have wing type things over the armholes but Bess decided to not do them <s>because she couldn’t understand the instructions</s> because she decided they were overkill.
The dress is lined in white cotton lawn with a splash of red in the piping around the neck. Bess’s favourite bit is the POCKETS 😊
Bess couldn’t resist this dichroic glass mirror in Amsterdam for a selfie of her rainbow print viscose T-Shirt (pattern drafted from a fallen apart Great Plains linen T-Shirt). The neck is bound with the same jersey and a stay tape is inserted on the shoulder seam to keep it stable.
Bess embellished this simple black sweatshirt with iron-on eye patches, she intends to sew them on but so far (6 months down the line) they are mostly still attached so in the name of indolence she hasn’t done it yet. She will. Honest.
Bess made this green linen jersey cardigan purely because she needed an excuse to use the fantastic scroll sequin trim. This trim is not confined to cardigans, and whilst it may look like it is a pig to attach it really wasn’t (Bess sewed it by hand). The pattern is a basic t-shirt pattern with bust darts that Bess cut open with a V at the neck.
Bess made this heavy washed green linen coat on a weekend retreat by staying up practically all night for two nights and not skiving at all. She had even come prepared with her two grosgrain trims sewn to each other already and the pattern fully adjusted to fit and toile tweaked.
The linen had been pre-washed 5 times to eliminate excess dye that could leach onto the cotton grosgrain, and the dry clean only Liberty crepe de chine silk lining is also pre-washed (it’s okay).
There are no shoulder pads but a bit of semi-tailored interfacing around the chest area is used to improve the structure (along with cuffs, facings and pockets), all the trimmings were hand sewn so as not to change the drape.
Jane busy sampling wearing her digital print viscose jersey mock wrap t-shirt made by Bess. The Pattern is Kay Unger for Vogue V1519 which has a cap sleeve, Bess used the sleeve off another top (that just so conveniently fitted) so as to have a longer one.
As it was quite a complicated design and tricky to see the sizing so Bess made a toile first in cheaper jersey. The wrap part is lined in viscose jersey and Bess used turquoise stretch piping on the neck to keep the tension and shape. There were lots of pleats and tucks that were carefully marked, and whilst Bess truly did intend to follow the instructions she forgot after a while, but it came out okay. Hoorah!
Bess on top of the South Devon Cliffs wearing her fabulous pink tweed jacket that was made by Jane a couple of Birthday’s ago and still going strong.
The lining is chartreuse satin lining on the sleeves and multicolour chevron printed cotton (quilting weight) for the body. The collar and facings are red jumbo corduroy because Bess didn’t want the tweed against her skin.
The design is an old burda fur jacket pattern -somewhat altered! Fur coat patterns are dead easy because they tend to have very boxy simple cuts.
This is basically a remake of a pink denim jacket Bess made earlier – but suitable for the winter. Even the buttons are the same.
Bess made this skirt on a bit of a whim – the wool challis had been in her stash for some time (if you have ever worn wool challis you will understand why she stashes it). The petals mysteriously turned up in her handbag the morning after a somewhat riotous wedding and have been hoarded ever since. And so the skirt was born, with no idea if A) the wool was washable and B) the petals would leak colour if it was washed.
The skirt was made in an evening, the a-line pattern is an ancient Burda start pattern (3198) that has long since discontinued although Burda 8237 is pretty similar (if you get rid of the waistband), or if you lengthen 6682 (both super easy alterations). The skirt is lined in Venezia and lightweight knit interfacing was used on the facing. Bess did the thing she always tells her customers not to do- she cut the lining the same size as the skirt and it ended up pulling and being too small. The wool challis has quite a lot of give in it, the lining doesn’t so you should always cut the lining a fraction bigger to allow for the ease, so the lining had to be chopped out and raised to allow the room. It’s a little short but if she doesn’t tell anyone they will never know 😉
Finally she attached the petals by first arranging them by eye with pins and then sewing a single line of stitching down the middle of each petal.
Bess made this rucksack for her niece, Miaow using an existing bag as a rough pattern. She blocked the vinyl onto a lilac showerproof fabric before constructing the bag – as the bag has all the seams on the outside this meant it was instantly lined -yay! The seams were bound in red ottoman bias binding and reflective grey bias binding, waterproof zips were used for the openings and nylon strapping for the straps (made more comfortable with pads of vinyl). Don’t look too closely- it was made in a rush and without a proper pattern somewhat bodged!
Bess made these two tutus for her nieces Kitcat and Miaow with a loose brief of Nutcracker in mind. There are a gazillion layers of tulle gathered and pleated and sewn onto a silk dupion elasticated waistband and embellished with feathers and sequins.
3 colours of tulle were used to get a greater depth to the skirts. A short layer of creamy beige, and second longer layer of sugar pink and a top (longest) layer of very pale pink.
Bess doesn’t really do ‘fluff’ but had a lot of fun making these. Her kitchen was well and truly tullified.
Red Blue and White check Linton Tweed made up in Burda 7041 (sadly discontinued but there are similar). It is quilted in 2″ lines to silk organza for stability and then lined in spotty silk satin. There is black satin piping round the collar and down the front and a heavy chain fixed to the inside hem to help the coat drape (it is particularly heavy so creates a real swing). It fastens edge to edge with a rouleau loops and metal half round buttons.
Bess finished making this coat nearly a year from starting due to some ‘issues’ so it’s a miracle it was ever finished as Bess does not do ‘issues’. Bess makes coats in a day, maybe over 3 days if there are complicated bits to do and she has other things going on. The problem with UFOs (unfinished objects) is once it goes in the pile it rarely escapes. To rectify this Bess hung it on the door and was not allowed to remove it – even though this meant the door couldn’t be closed. The problem that caused such a delay is No1. she used a cheaper silk organza that was heavier than normal which made it substantially heavier than she intended (unfixable). The 2nd thing was she cut the lining too short at the centre back (rectified by piecing in a bit of braid so it didn’t pull up the coat). 3rd, and rather majorly despite her checks matching perfectly at every seam when she tried to hem it it was going up in a spiral and being one check off at the front (rectified by hemming it straight and never looking at the hem thereafter).
Bess wearing her super summery light blue broderie anglaise cotton dress at the Pimm’s stall at the village fête. The dress is her same Jaeger dress pattern with the neck cut lower and lined in ivory cotton lawn. The neck is piped with red satin piping (made with a super lightweight bias binding and piping cord) and bias binding around the armholes.
Just to be extra fancy Bess used french seams on the lining (this has practical reasons as well as showing off -it is stronger and everything looks neater), and a heavy repp bias binding around the hem to give it a little structure. Despite the snug fit and no lycra Bess can still wiggle in without a zip.
Bess was looking at this purple piqué for well over a year before she decided she was able to wear purple, and is rather loving the extra colour in her wardrobe. The pattern is a long tried and tested pattern she took from a Jaeger dress (seen here in many guises). This time it is unlined and piped in green satin around the neck and has green bias binding inside the hem (just in case anyone should look inside.
Despite the close fit no zip is necessary – she just wiggles in.
Bess made this super fine linen dress with black bird print for her holiday in Tobago, it’s made using her basic block with just the shaping from bust darts and a centre back seam. Nicknamed the frigate bird dress as the print is similar to the ubiquitous birds of the Caribbean.
It is unlined and the neck is bound with super lightweight satin bias binding.
Bess enjoying a glass of bubbly wearing her black guipure lace dress which was lined in cream silk rep suiting. The pattern is her very basic dress block that only has bust darts and a centre back seam for shape. It’s tricky to tell in this photo but the lining is 3″ shorter leaving the scalloped edge unlined. Also unseen is the perfectly matched centre back seam (You’ll have to trust me on this one).
The lining and the lace are made up separately and joined at the neck with a vibrant turquoise satin bias binding. There’s no zip- it just chucks over the head.
Jessie wearing black and multicolour alphabet print viscose and elastane jersey T-Shirt made by Bess for her Christmas Present (has been worn to death since!). The pattern was taken from a favourite Jaeger Breton T-Shirt so it was designed for heavier interlock type jersey but works very well in this slinky viscose jersey. The square neck is interfaced with extra-light iron on interfacing H0019 and the back neck and shoulder seam has a stabilising tape sewn in so they do not stretch out of shape.
Bess in her not-very-over-the-top coat at all made using red guipure lace and 6″ feather trim.
The coat was prepared ever so slowly making sure the spots matched and everything would line up properly and then it was izzywhizzied together on the overlocker in about 3 minutes.
Then the feather trim was hand sewn on (Bess’s fingers are still calloused from the needle – that trim has got sticky stuff inside the satin binding (that stop the feathers falling out), it’s not nice to sew!
Then the feather trim was un-picked and sewn on all over again not so tight in an effort to make it hang straight in the middle. It’s almost there, Bess weighed up further hand sewing and the possibility of losing her fingers with her OCD of straight edges and the fingers won.
Then the front edge and neck were bound in fold-over petersham binding which magically saved the jacket from being a bit ‘crafty’ (in the derogatory way) and Bess wore it to her baby step-sister’s wedding.
Also seen: bag made from offcuts of leather and a London bus e-plate. As you do.
Bess used her 5 and 8 year old niece’s fabulous drawings as inspiration for the embellishment on this wool tweed A-Line skirt. First she used white fabric paint and then embroidered using a heavy thread and added beads and sequins. It was all done by hand as the tweed is quite a loose weave and she was concerned machine embroidery would make it too stiff (certainly the kind of embroidery Bess has the patience for!).
It is lined in Venezia lining – turned on the lining with no waistband and bound with an ottoman (heavy) bias binding. Strips of Iron on interfacing tape were used to reinforce the back of the areas where the belt loops go. The concealed zip was moved from the back seam to the side so the back could be cut on the fold also. You rarely get any shaping on the back seam so if you have enough fabric to do this (it invariably takes extra on an a-line skirt) you can without brainache.
Bess is very fickle but this is her absolute favourite skirt at the moment.
Bess went to Vegas to see her Sister get married (Johnny Cash came back from the dead to marry her). Of course she needed a new coat but Vegas being Vegas sequins were in order, albeit subtle and rather stylish ones woven into a fabulous Linton Tweed.
The tweed was quilted onto silk organza to give it a bit of stability (machine quilted in vertical lines with silk thread), it was lined in silk crepe de chine, trimmed with a cotton decorative braid, fastened with corset hooks and weighted at the hem with chain.
It has since been the go-to coat for weddings/birthday parties and posh dinners out.
Bess wearing her digitally printed cotton jersey dress made using her (much repeated) panelled dress pattern-this normally has waist seams but she omitted them so as not to cut up the balloons too much. As the pattern is normally used on woven fabrics she also pinned out the little bust darts as they were unnecessary in this stretchy fabric.
This jersey is quite a heavy cotton jersey with a high percentage of elastane (6%) so it keeps its shape well and doesn’t need lining. Rather than meddling with facings (which never lie terribly well in such a stretchy jersey) Bess used jersey binding around the neck and arm holes.
All the seams were sewn in a jiffy with the overlocker, the hems and bindings were done on the machine (because it’s quicker to zigzag than drag out the flat locker).
Bess made this turquoise cotton piqué coat for a wedding, wanting something very plain that would go with all her dresses. All the best laid plans and all that – Bess HATED it plain (felt like a doctor’s coat), so cut up some daisy trim and sewed them all over, and couched some yellow vintage strung sequins and green jute string as grass. Bess is not ruling out the possibility that there won’t be more flowers and insects added at a later date.
The Peter Pan collar is accented with red satin (ready made) piping and the same piping is used between the printed cotton lawn lining and the front facings. The sleeves are lined in red Venezia as they are fairly slim and need to slip.
The pattern is a Vintage burda pattern no. 7041, it makes up beautifully with hardly any alterations.
Finally the buttons were added, these buttons were the originals intended for the plain jacket but Bess was determined to use them, whether they go or not. (I think she gets away with it – just).
Bess went on a course down the road at Social Fabric with Chinelo from the Sewing Bee. Despite being utterly star struck she made this dress using Chinelo’s amazing free cutting method. It’s witchcraft, I tell you. No patterns, no dummy… not much table space, not even that much measuring, and hey presto, a few hours later we have a dress! Bess being Bess made it less fitted than it is supposed to be and reversible.
Fabrics used: Black and white printed viscose twill.
Bess wearing a white linen jersey raglan sleeved t-shirt with ‘modesty’ panel, and black viscose pique wide leg trousers.
Bess has a bit of a linen jersey obsession, this is the fourth (at least) she made of these tops in as many weeks. This was lined in a bandeau panel with a very stable white cotton jersey, the same jersey was used to bind the neck.
The trousers were made from a stash of Viscose, a slightly piqué weave cloth that drapes beautifully but has a lot of ‘substance’. There’s a fly and button closure and then ribbons that tie to the side.
Both patterns are fairly unrecognisable from their origins, but the trousers were Burda 8087 and the top is Burda 6990
You can find other linen jerseys HERE, the viscose trousering is kind of unique, we will buy more if we ever see it, but you will get a similar drape with Worsted Wool suitings
Bess was a bit concerned about the level of ‘pink’ in this denim so chose to tone it down (her words) with a non-girly lining and a mixture of buttons in the hope that it makes it more versatile (she works on the basis that ONE of those buttons will match a colour in her outfit.
The pattern is an ancient Burda fur coat pattern -somewhat altered !
Pink and Red double-sided wool and cotton jumper with heart elbow patches. Made by Bess.
This jersey is 50:50 wool and cotton with one side (red) being wool and the other side (pink) being cotton which means you can not only choose what colour to show but also what fibre to have against your skin. It’s fab.
Cobalt blue stretch crepe dress with wiggly eyes made by Bess.
Confession: Dress was made the day before going to a swanky wedding (when realisation struck that there was NOTHING to wear), it was much too big but rather than taking it in Bess just sewed a couple of wiggly eye buttons on the back and graunched it in with petersham ribbon. Job done!
Not quite sure what Pall Mall really thought about wiggly eye embellishments but….
Long cardigan made with Italian Designer chevron cotton viscose and silk knit, made by Bess.
This was supposed to be a uber-simple cardigan with no darts or back seam or anything, but as is the way with Italian Designer knits it was cut way too big so ended up needing a centre back seam and princess seams.
It looks nicer with those seams. That’s her story and she’s sticking to it.
Bess doing I-don’t-know-quite-what wearing her Amy Butler Chinese lantern skirt (as seen on the Great British Sewing Bee), or onion skirt as her husband calls it. The pattern is a Donna Karan for Vogue but has been (infuriatingly) discontinued. It’s great; the side seams are twisted so at the hips the back wraps around to the front and at the hem the front wraps around the back. The yoke is cut in one piece which made fitting a bit of a nightmare (no side seams to take in), but for a pattern like this you get a great effect on the back where the grain is taken off to near bias. Bess piped the side seams to make them a feature and gave the skirt an extra-deep hem so the skirt had a bit of weight to it; you should be careful what you make out of these ‘quilting cottons’ as they don’t drape terribly well, but they are an excellent choice for garments such as this.
Bess on top of the world wearing linen jersey camisole and red and white spotty linen skirt. The camisole pattern was made by drawing round an existing vest. The front and the back are the same which makes it super easy to construct (no markings!), Soft elastic binding was used for the straps, Bess made a few of these for her holiday and got the making time down to 20 minutes. The skirt was made a few years ago (fabric long since sold out 🙁 ), due to the linen being so fine Bess lined it with white ‘Riviera’ lawn. Double belt loops were attached to hold a decorative saddle stitch grosgrain belt. She’s had a lot of use out of this skirt.
Bess wearing her much-loved cotton lawn trellis print shirt. Lawn is a brilliant weave to wear in the heat as it is so fine, yet still nice to sew with. The pattern was copied from a worn-out White Stuff shirt (now out of production), The bust darts are really tucks coming down from the shoulders. The armholes are faced with a wide tapered bias armhole binding that folds back to give the armhole some substance (anything to balance out Bess’s hips, she says, is a good thing 😉 )
Bess used no interfacing in the construction of this shirt – looking at the one she copied it didn’t seem they had used any, she worried about the buttonholes cocking up not working and the collar-band not lying properly but it was fine, if the fabric was less stable than lawn she would use light interfacing.
Bess wearing a Laurent Garigue fine red wool panelled dress with giant rickrack sewn around the neck, worn over red and white polka dot printed jersey raglan sleeved t-shirt.
The red wool comes with an organza trim down one selvedge, which Bess dutifully ignored (she did think she *might* use it on the hem, but Bess doesn’t feel comfortable in anything resembling a frill), it is possibly criminal to ignore what is essentially the wow factor of the fabric, but she has saved it and may well use it on something else in the future. The wool is fine and gorgeous – a kind of Varuna/Challis, and will be suitable to wear throughout the year.
The giant rickrack needed to be hand sewn so it would lay correctly; a slightly tedious operation (Bess likes to sew QUICKLY), but well worth it.
The dress is lined in a cotton and silk voile, so it is ever so light, but surprisingly warm.
There’s no zip-it just chucks over the head.
Fabrics and Notions:
Red Laurent Garigue wool with silk organza pleated trim #3513,
Giant turquoise rickrack,
Fuchsia Pink Silk and Cotton voile lining. (Pattern: Bess’s own).
Red polka dot viscose and elastane jersey, Pattern: Marcy Tilton for Vogue #8636 (lengthened sleeves and altered collar)
Kitcat and Miaow wearing their heart quilted dresses with chiffon wings. All made by Bess
Fabrics and Notions:
Kitcat: (sugar plum fairy)
Pink heart quilted polyester #3330
Pink polyester georgette #3104 (wings)
Pale pink nylon tulle (underskirt)
Dusky pink grey nylon tulle (underskirt)
White satin (lining)
Pale pink satin elastic (to attach wings to wrists)
Pale pink bias binding
Miaow: (water baby)
Cream heart quilted polyester #3380
Cream polyester georgette (wings)
Pale green nylon net (underskirt)
Pale grey nylon net (underskirt)
Ivory nylon tulle (underskirt)
White satin (lining)
Ivory satin elastic (to attach wings to wrists)
Pale green bias binding
Patterns: Made up. Circular skirt plus a basic block bodice.
Lesson learned: back openings have to go beyond the waist – I thought as the waist was elasticated slightly that there would be enough give to get in and out, but it is a right palaver! Now all have to be unpicked (dammit) and bodged altered.
Bess ready for winter wearing her superb black wool and mohair coat lined with spotty red and purple Laurent Garigue twill silk. The collar and facings are interfaced with silk organza which kept it really light.
Fabrics and Notions:
Black Wool and Mohair Coating #3329
Laurent Garigue Spotty Print Silk Twill (lining)
Half Round Silver Metal Buttons
Bess wearing her cloud printed cotton elastane jersey mini skirt, with cobalt blue double jersey raglan sleeve top. Both the top and the skirt took less than half an hour to make (each) – more time was spent waiting for the iron to heat up, or choosing which side to do the top (the reverse of that fabric is a lovely teal colour.
Bess loves things that take less than half an hour to make 🙂
Fabrics and Notions:
Cotton Elastane cloud printed jersey #2846.
Cobalt Blue/Teal double sided jersey #3193. See more jersey here Elastic
Skirt: DKNY for Vogue (adapted from long skirt, pattern now discontinued)
Top: Marcy Tilton for Vogue. #8636 (collar, cuffs and hem adapted from pattern)
Anthea looking beautiful wearing the ivory Guipure lace dress that unbuttons to become a short dress for the evening. Backed in cream stretch cotton sateen to warm up the colour and give it a bit of structure, and lined in cream Venezia lining. Made by Bess
Once the sun went down Anthea took off the lower skirt. Nice shoes!
Turquoise satin bias binding was used to pipe the neckline to add just a touch of colour
The skirt and the lower skirt were embroidered with a red heart so as to match up when putting together (there are seventeen buttons holding it together – you really don’t want to button them on cocky!
Bess embroidered a label with the date of the wedding plus a few spare buttons, and sewed it on only three sides so as to double as an emergency (inside) pocket
Fabrics and Notions:
Ivory Guipure Lace
Cream Stretch Cotton Sateen Cream Venezia Lining
Fine piping cord
Turquoise satin bias binding
Remnant of shot turquoise Linen
Bess wearing her panelled pop-art print stretch cotton sateen lined dress, complete with the fimo wedding couple wire framed ‘hat’.
Despite Bess going to the bother of putting in an invisible zip, she just throws it over her head. (she doesn’t put zips in that pattern anymore) AND, much to her disdain (and wasted effort), the dress was originally going to have a panel of the fab glow in the dark cotton straight down the middle, but she scrapped that idea after it was making it hang funny. (and possibly there is enough going on with that dress with out a girt big glowey stripe down her 😉
Pattern: Adapted from an ancient Vogue Elements hooded top pattern.
To add a stand collar like this to a round neckline is easy as the pattern is cut straight, just cut a rectangle twice the height of the collar (plus seam allowances), and as wide as the circumference of the neckline (do not add seam allowances). Sew the collar into a tube, fold in half and then overlock or stitch the raw edges together at the neck.
Jessie wearing her red viscose and elastane polka dot t-shirt made by Bess, and Bess wearing her wool and silk tweed pinafore dress with Birdy pockets and circle jersey inserts.
(They were trying to move faster than the camera flash- clearly not fast enough)
Fabrics and Notions: Jessie wears:
Red polka dot printed viscose elastane jersey
Lightweight knitted iron-on interfacing
Reinforced iron-on stay tape
Wool and silk tweed pinafore dress
Red polka dot viscose and elastane jersey (pockets and inserts)
Medium weight knitted iron-on interfacing
Allow 10% shrinkage for all your washable natural fibres (including viscose). Wash before making up in the same manner as you would with subsequent washes (including drying methods).
Jerseys and fabrics liable to mis-shape should be dried flat, or in a cool tumble dryer.
Most fabrics should be pressed before cutting.
If in doubt about care instructions please CONTACT US