My first blog post for White Tree fabrics

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I was very excited to become part of the White tree blogging team. As soon as I found out I popped the kettle on and sat down for a quick perusal of the fabrics and patterns available.

A good hour later I was still trying to narrow down my short list. There is such a wide choice of fabric types and a great selection of pattern designers including a great array of indie patterns.

In the end I narrowed it down to two and let Lisa at White tree make the final decision.

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I was first taught to sew by my mum who made most of her own clothes. I always remember her telling me that Vogue patterns were cut really well. In the 70’s and 80’s these patterns were a bit more expensive but mum always chose Vogue if she wanted to make something a bit more special. I still stand by that I think they are well cut and well put together. So I was very happy to receive Vogue 8379 and with some beautiful Art Gallery knit fabric.

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I am not a standard size so I always like to make a mock up of a garment before making the real thing to check fit and proportions. However with knit fabrics this is a bit tricky. Different knit fabrics stretch differently, so unless you make the mock up in the same quality fabric you won’t get an exact idea of the fit. That said this style being a wrap style has room for adjustment by the nature of the style.

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I made the collarless version and omitted the cuff detail from the mid sleeve length. I like the collar version but decided to keep it simple and let the fabric speak for itself.

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The fabric was great to work with. I do own an overlocker but I decided to sew it together with a domestic sewing machine. Something about having slightly more substantial seam allowances seems nicer for dresses. I used a narrow and shallow zig zag stitch. Using a zig zag stitch means the seam has some stretch. On the seams that take a bit of tension like the waist and the armholes I added a second row of stitching to strengthen. I still used the overlocker to finish the seam edges.

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The one thing I was apprehensive about was facing the neck edge. I used a super lightweight interfacing which had a slight stretch and applied to the facing. I was conscious if the facing was to rigid that the neck edge would roll back. Luckily the neck edge does sit fairly well, although if I make it again I might try using a proper stretch interfacing in the hope of perfection!

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I machine finished the hem and the sleeve edges. The pattern advised hand finishing the hem. I decided the style and fabric would look better with a machine finish. I overlocked the raw edge and turned a 15mm hem. I machined the hems with a straight stitch as they shouldn’t need to stretch. I was careful not to pull the fabric as I stitched to ensure the hems were not wavy. A quick press and they looked great.

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I was pleasantly surprised by the cut of the bodice, I didn’t need a vest top underneath to fill a gap. I wore the dress almost straightaway and loved it. I definitely will make more versions of this dress for Summer and Winter. It was very quick and easy to make, it is comfortable, smart and can be casual or dressed up, what’s not to love about it!

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Julia Claridge

I was about 6 or 7 years old when I had my first go on a sewing machine, it was an old hand crank machine that my mum used with her patients, she was an occupational therapist. I still vividly remember watching with amazement as the tiny perfectly formed stitches were created as I turned the handle. I Grew up in the 70’s and 80’s when buying clothes was less affordable and dressmaking was an answer to updating your wardrobe more regularly. My own mother was a talented dressmaker who made most of my clothes and my sisters clothes as well as a many for herself. I soon got involved with making my clothes, I loved the whole experience of picking out fabrics, trims and a pattern to create a new outfit, then going home to make a new garment or outfit. When it came to leaving school I visited a careers advisor who asked what I wanted to do next. My answer was ..Sew! Read more...

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