Tag Archives: Simplicity New Look

Simplicity Sewing Challenge – Best Blogger Feature

This year I thought I would challenge myself by making a skirt. An ideal make for the “best blogger feature” in the Simplicity Sewing Challenge. We were able to pick any of the challenge patterns for this category. I chose the New Look 6346 skirt pattern – I never seem to have the right style of skirt when we have warm summer weather! I also need more practise at making skirts that actually fit me!

Originally I was going to pick version A (the longer button-up skirt), given the cooler summers we often get I thought this would be a good choice! After looking at the options in detail, I went with version C – the shorter zipped version instead. I think that style will be more user-friendly when it comes to wearing it, and should be just the right length for me, especially as I am just five foot tall!

The whole idea of the sewing challenge is to make “your take on a Simplicity make” but how on earth can you make a skirt different enough? I didn’t think that simply adding pockets or a decorative trim would be radical enough, and I’m not really into “girly” trims anyway, so I thought I’d be totally different and make the skirt into a dress!

Armed with my self-drafted bodice pattern, I worked out that I’d need a size 12 for the skirt, but just in case I needed to make a larger size at a later date, I didn’t want to cut into the paper pattern. Then came the next challenge – how to trace off the pattern accurately. I’ve seen freezer paper mentioned on a lot of blogs, but I’ve never seen it on sale over here; greaseproof paper is nicely transparent, but only comes on narrow rolls and no matter how hard I try it will not stick to itself! And believe me I have tried!! Instead I bought a pack of Burda dressmakers’ carbon paper from a local fabric shop plus a roll of brown paper from Poundland on a whim to see if that would work.

Dragons Flame Designs - Simplicity Sewing Challenge

It definitely works well – the yellow and white show up brilliantly on the brown paper, and it can be stuck together with ordinary sellotape to make a wider sheet if needed.

My bodice pattern finishes at the waistline and the New Look 6346 skirt waistband sits just above the waist, so I was able to line them up perfectly. Because of the darts in the bodice, I chose to cut the pieces separately, so I had the bodice and neck / arm facing, waistband and skirt for the front and back. Keeping the waistband in the dress, meant I was able to retain the shape of the New Look 6346 skirt, while still making it into a completely fresh look.

The dress had the potential to turn into a ‘mongrel’ where I was trying to join two different patterns together, so before I cut into my posh fabric, I made up a wearable muslin version first. I find this really helpful to have a “rough” version to experiment with. Who knows it may even turn out wearable! The bodice needed a little fiddling to get the waistline to match the skirt – rather than making the darts larger, I folded over a little more fabric at the base of the darts to make the measurements match without cutting out too much breathing space.

Dragons Flame Designs - Dress Muslin

My Simplicity Sewing Challenge skirt dress muslin – fabric is half a duvet cover

Despite the excess fabric at the front, the fit was a lot better than I’d anticipated. However, in sewing the zip into the back, I managed to get the seams misaligned. Argh! Decision time. Do I want to unpick a lot of tiny stitches and risk making a hole in either the fabric or the zipper tape? I decided to be reckless and break out my posh fabric to start the final version. I am always anxious when cutting into my posh fabric.  Making that first cut is a challenge in itself!

Dragons Flame Designs - Simplicity Sewing Challenge

Sewing the seams, trying to make them as neat as possible

This particular polycotton is quite ‘fray-happy’ so I’ve taken care to finish all my raw edges as I go – the faux overlock stitch on my machine is proving really handy for this. I find that using a zigzag stitch with the regular foot makes the fabric catch up a little, leaving a ridge instead of a nice flat edge.

The facings were a challenge, as I had drafted one facing to cover both the neck and armhole, but had no idea how to stitch it without any of the stitches showing on the right side! In the end, I stitched the neck as normal, and top stitched the armhole facing into position. It’s not visible unless you really look closely, and it certainly shouldn’t come undone in a hurry!

Dragons Flame Designs - Simplicity Sewing Challenge

A finished dress from New Look 6346 and a self-drafted bodice pattern. I am really pleased with the way the bodice and the skirt come together in the design of the fabric. The finished garment fits really well, and I think the fabric works wonderfully – it reminds me of a painting by numbers pattern. Thanks for the challenge Simplicity – now I have a whole new look!!


New Look 6483

The June 2016 edition of Sew Magazine came with a free New Look 6483 pattern – with 5 different styles of tops, all able to be made from non-stretchy fabric, I decided this was one I would definitely get a lot of use from.

It’s designed as quite a loose fit, so looking at the finished garment measurements, I chose a size 8…. usually I’d make an 8 for the shoulders and chest, and grade it out to a 12 at the waist, but this one is plenty big enough!


This was view C, but I have cut the neckline a little deeper – the original line for the neck was much too high for my liking, but I didn’t like the wide nature of view E. I probably would try making that as a proper v-neck next time.

The only real trouble I had in making the top, was making the thread loop…. the instructions weren’t overly informative on how to achieve it, so I had to ask for advice on that. In the end, I made a kind of blanket stitch around the three thread loops, and that seems to work.


The fabric is actually a duvet cover from Primark – it’s not the thickest of fabric, but it’s fully washable and will be nice and light for the summer.

New Look 6230

Sew Magazine came with a free New Look 6230 pattern a couple of months ago, and I was drawn to the baseball t-shirt look. It doesn’t have set-in sleeves, which is a nice bonus as set-in sleeves and me don’t tend to get on!

I found some really funky fabric, but I decided it was a bit too busy to use for the entire top, so I balanced that out with some plain purple. Again all the seams are zigzagged, including the top stitching, so they should stretch with the fabric. I did get in a bit of a mess trying to attach the collar, but apart from a few pleats and stretch marks on one side, it looks pretty good. I’m still struggling to work out the size I need though – this one was way too wide on the neckline, so I brought in the body-sleeve seams by about 1/2″ on both sides to try and narrow the shoulders a little.

New Look 6230

The sleeves are nice and roomy, but I think if I make another of these, I would try the smaller size for the shoulders, and just widen it a little at the waist to try and get a more suitable width on the shoulders.

New Look 6230

New Look 6230 – excuse my unphotogenic eczema-covered wrists and hands


New Look 6178

I’ve been struggling to get the sizing worked out for fitted clothing like tops and dresses – no matter how closely I follow the instructions, there’s still a weird bit of excess fabric on the neck, or it’s too snug on the waist. So I thought I’d try using some jersey offcuts I’d bought as a bargain buy from my local fabric shop, and make myself a vest top or two.

New Look 6178 is relatively easy to make, with no darts or equally awkward points to mark and sew. The straps were the most fiddly part, as the stretchy nature of the fabric didn’t lend itself to being pinned…. I think clips might have worked better, but eventually I got them to behave.

New Look 6178

I’m only 5′ tall, so I did shorten the pattern to ensure the waist was at the right point. Unfortunately this means the first one (the black & reddy pink vest on the left) is a little shorter than I’d like, but it’s still wearable. I added several inches onto the length for the purple one, so I can find the ideal length before hemming it.

Stitching on my regular machine, I used a zigzag for the main stitching, but I’ll use a double needle and a straight stitch for the hem, just to give a more professional finish.

Simplicity 1556

The trouble with buying bubble bars from Lush, is that they come in a paper bag. Great for the environment, but what do you store it in to stop all the pieces going everywhere? I’ve found some small plastic food containers in Poundland that work pretty well, but then you get a pile of them in the wardrobe, which invariably falls over whenever you want to find something.

So, I decided to make Simplicity 1556 for my Mum’s Christmas present – a drawstring bag with pouches around the outside. There’s no dimensions given on the pattern envelope, but going on the fabric requirements, I hoped it would be large enough to work.


Armed with my red and orange outer fabric, and some nicely patterned orange lining fabric, my first problem was with the usual “fusible fleece”. Not having any of that to hand (and realising that if I bought it from the only shop I found it for sale, it’s cost more than the fabric did), I decided to use 2oz polyester wadding instead. I quilted that to the base and bag linings, so you can’t see the stitching on the outside.


Attaching the pouch strip was challenging, and some of the pouches are a different width to the others, but it fits the items I want to put in there. I will also admit I messed up the drawstrings, sewing the wrong ends together, but it still draws closed so I’m not going to unpick that!

I wanted to give her a pack of bath bombs from Slimbridge Soaps, but the packet of 4 wouldn’t fit into the pouch, so I made some small sewn bags to put them in individually – that way I can get one item per pouch, so it’ll fill them up 🙂


Lush didn’t stock her favourite bubble bar this year, but I did find an alternative – but what to put it in? I couldn’t just put it straight into the pouch, as they sometimes leave a greasy stain and that wouldn’t look good for a present. So I made a quick quilted pouch (quilting the lining again), which should mean the bubble bar can slide in, and hopefully not make a mess everywhere!



Basket fabric from Fashion Fabrics, Christmas fat quarters from John Lewis

A Strange Coincidence

A few weeks ago, I purchased a really nice looking duvet cover from Primark for 9 pounds. I figured that it’d give me about 2 metres of fabric from each side, so that’s about 2.25 per metre – not quite as good a bargain as the dress duvet cover, but still better than I could get for the fabric itself. I was thinking it might become a side-zipped top or possibly a button-up shirt…. but then I came across this:

CC Jacket

Source: CC

In a strange coincidence, this lined blazer from CC has an almost identical pattern to the fabric that duvet cover was made out of! So, there was no other option but to start making a jacket from it 😀

In the current issue (Feb – March) of Make it Today, they had a free gift of three paper pattern packs, which included New Look pattern 6231 – two jacket options, a skirt and a pair of trousers. Although the trousers look the easiest to make, my legs aren’t really designed for tapered close-fitting trousers, so it had to be the jacket.

It’s not an identical style to the CC one; this has a peplum instead of the vent flap, and isn’t lined, but it should work really well with the fabric 🙂


So far I’ve got the front and back done, but a slight problem with the iron means that I’ve had to delay working on the collar until I can get the interfacing to stick to the fabric.

And speaking of Simplicity New Look patterns, have you seen their blogger challenge?