Tag Archives: jersey

1920’s dress

To say I’ve been thinking about making a dress like this for a while would be an understatement. I first saw this elegant black dress in the Downton Abbey Christmas special and immediately fell in love with it. Simple yet classy. I went ahead and did a few sketches and thought about it for a while, then got frustrated with the idea and put it away.
Then I started watching ‘The House of Eliott‘ (for those who don’t know, it’s a TV show from the 1990’s set in 1920’s London). And saw Beatrice wear a dress exactly like my dream dress and though “wow, they must have a pattern for it at the BBC”. Then I realised it’s probably the very same dress, reused for Downton Abbey 20 years later!
Since I couldn’t get it out of my head, I pulled out the old ideas, did some (lots) of research on simple 1920’s shapes and went ahead with a soft navy blue jersey as a test (the ultimate goal being a silk dress). I seem to be going through a navy blue phase recently. I reused parts of the Salme Kimono dress pattern and pretty much added everything else freely:
1920s dress. tidytipsy
To be honest, I actually made three versions of this: one muslin, one in sheer blue cotton fabric which turned out way too stiff and this one in jersey.
1920s dress. tidytipsy
It’s incredibly comfortable (I should sew with jersey more often!) and lovely to wear and it’s quite close to the original idea though not as perfect as I’d hoped.
In detail:
– I think the original dress has set in sleeves and less drape and ease in the sleeves. The original also has some pleating detail at the shoulder right where the sleeve inset is.
– I was so scared of the neckline stretching that I stabilized the hell out of it, sewing a cotton strip to it and then finishing it with bias binding. In retrospect I really wish I had drafted a facing for the neckline and I definitely will if I should ever actually make this dress in silk.
– The sleeves are a bit too short but I can live with it.
1920s dress. tidytipsy
The fabric belt is sewn to the dress, which is ok, though I’m already thinking of a version with a band attached between top and bottom. As for sewing with jersey, I’ve only tried it once or twice before and it always puts me in a dilemma: I love how soft and drapey jersey is and would like to sew with it more. On the other hand my main sewing machine (and really the only one I feel completely comfortable with, no matter how hard I try to love my other machines) is straight stitch only.
The solution for me is just to ignore the problem and sew jersey with a ballpoint needle straight stitch. Please don’t tell anyone. It kinda works though.
1920s dress. tidytipsy
1920s dress. tidytipsy


ruffle pillow – tutorial

As promised, an easy peasy way to make this elegant little pillow:

Because I am lazy and don’t like hemming and finishing edges I used jersey for this (jersey doesn’t fray and you can get away with not finishing edges!).
You start off with 4 parts: the front (in my case ca. 13.5×13.5in to fit a 14x14in pillow), a long strip of fabric to make the ruffle and 2 back pieces (we are going to make an envelope back). I’m not one for measuring too much, just make sure there is one bigger back piece (lets say about 13.5x10in) and one smaller one (let’s make it about 13.5x6in). We’ll want these 2 pieces to considerably overlap.

Next, we’re going to ruffle the long strip of fabric, by sewing a straight line on either long side of it, using the longest stitch on your machine (you can also do this by hand very quickly by making a rough basting stitch). Don’t backstitch the beginning and end because you will now need to pull the bobbin thread gently on both ends, making the ruffle. Be careful not to pull too hard or the thread will break and you’ll have to start over again. There’s a good tutorial on ruffling on this page (though she uses two rows of gathering stitches and I only do one!)
That’s what we have now:

Next we’ll pin down the ruffle on the top piece where we want it and carefully sew it on the top piece with a straight line of normally sized stitches (if you follow your line of gathering stitches for the ruffle it’ll look like only one row of stitches).

Do this on both sides of the ruffle.

All that remains now is to lay the two back pieces (right sides facing down) on the front piece, making sure they overlap, and pin them in place.

Sew around all four sides of the pillow, clip corners if necessary and turn inside out.

two new pillows

I can’t seem to move on from the sunny circles…I guess frayed-edged circles and me aren’t done yet! This time on my favourite purple Ikea fabric (don’t go looking for it in the fabric section…it’s a bedsheet that I cut apart).

And this one isn’t technically new, since I made it for a friend and she received it some time ago but I haven’t shown it on here yet. The fabric is a bright red jersey, so no finishing edges, yay!
It’s pretty quick and easy to whip up, I might do a tutorial if anyone’s interested?