I was browsing through some blogs the other week when I came across Melly Sews and their fantastic free blazer pattern. With the words “free” and “jacket”, it wasn’t something I was going to pass up on, so I printed the pattern and started cutting & sticking the paper together.
It’s only a one-size pattern, which unfortunately for me is too tight across the back and the arms. However, undeterred by that, I set about adding an extra inch on the back panel and side seams.
The pattern calls for patch pockets, but there’s something about patch pockets that never look right to me – maybe it’s my poor quality top stitching, but they never seem to fit the look of a smart jacket. So I followed the instructions for welt pockets instead:
They aren’t perfect, they’re pretty shallow, but they’re usable and that’s what counts!
I needed to make a lining, and I didn’t want to use the same fabric to line it with, so I bought some plain blue polycotton to balance out the patterned polycotton on the outside,
I think this jacket looks quite similar to the CC one I spotted earlier in the year, with the back vent and notched collar. Ok, my top collar is actually round the wrong way – the lining fabric should be on the inside not the outside, but that adds some individuality to the jacket I think,
And the best part of this jacket? The only hems are on the sleeve cuffs – the lining is sewn to the main fabric around the base then turned round the right way, so there’s no massive hem at the base to sew up! 😀
Finally I’ve completed the hem on the jacket! This was the first jacket I attempted, and it’s been sitting on a clothes hanger for ages while I plucked up the confidence to tackle the hem.
The peplum gives the jacket an interesting shape, but unfortunately it also gives it a curved hem…. and that was something I really struggled with.
The inside of the hem isn’t the neatest and there are some tucks and folds in there, but from the outside it looks pretty neat and that’s what matters. After all, who’s going to see the inside of the hem anyway?
Following on from my success with the English Tea Dress, and realising that the style actually seems to suit me a lot better than the “fit -and-flare” style dresses I’ve tried before, I thought it was time I dug out Summery duvet cover, to make a second dress from.
Of course this fabric doesn’t really fit the English Tea Dress name, so I’ve renamed this one the French Tea Dress. The duvet cover also came from Primark, and was slightly more see-through than the previous one, so I had to make a lining for the skirt. I cheated though, and just cut another piece of each skirt part, then held them together as I stitched the seams, treating the two pieces of fabric as one. I’m positive that not the “correct” way to include a lining, but it worked for me!
Unfortunately, I didn’t have quite the right length of zip, so it’s a little snug to get on and off…. but it still fits, even though there’s a couple of areas on the sides which aren’t perfectly aligned (blame that on adding in the second piece of fabric for the lining – my seams didn’t catch all found layers on the sides, so there’s a few wiggly lines here and there).
The zip itself is a load neater than the first one – I think I’m gradually getting the hang of this now! All I need to do next is find some shoes to wear with it – trainers just wouldn’t look right.
My previous experience with Simple Sews patterns wasn’t all that fantastic. Using the measurements provided, the dress should have at least fitted, but the back wouldn’t meet, let alone meet enough for a zip to go in. But the style of the English Tea Dress made me want to have another go, in the hope that I could figure out the fit a little better.
The neckline is more suited to my taste, with a nice v-neck that has just the right amount of plunge. The back is a round-neck, so no worries about picking a suitable bra to wear so the straps don’t show!
I did give an allowance of an extra inch on each of the back seams but I hardly used any of that, so the sizing definitely seems like it’s more accurate for this one. I will admit I got in a mess with the sleeves though; the pattern didn’t really make complete sense for the cap sleeves, nor for attaching the cuff. So, I used the short gathered sleeve, and added a contrast cuff as if it was bias-binding, rather than following the instructions. The cuff was slightly snug so I left it open on the end, stitching down the seams on either side.
The zip isn’t the neatest in existence, and I used a regular zip rather than an invisible one, but for a first attempt at a zip in a dress, I think it came out really well 🙂
The fabric was actually half of a single duvet cover from Primark (£9), so including the thread and zip (I already had the interfacing from a previous project), the dress cost me £6.40. Now that’s a bargain, especially for my first finished dress!