#sewgoodintentions2019 project 2: the #GBSB tea dress!

#GBSB tea dress
#sewgoodintentions2019 project 2: The #GBSB tea dress

I finished sewing my Great British Sewing Bee tea dress recently!; this gorgeous fabric was gifted to me, and it is a 70s vintage inspired bright floral and apple print (very in keeping with this series’ 70s themed episode). The original pattern which I have hacked with an inverted pleat and a contrasting polka dot facing, was part of a Daily Mail promotion of the Sewing Bee called ‘Start Sewing’ and is taken from one of the earlier series. I’ve been saving the pattern and fabric for a special occasion – I wore this dress to a Salsa night, and boy did she spin on the dancefloor.

This project had an interesting start. I got a concussion which caused me some problems – the fabric has some stretch and a slippery, silky texture – and the invisible zip just wouldn’t go in as I wanted. I tried interfacing the opening around the zip to stabilise it (I interfaced the wrong side in my concussed state!). But all was not lost, I took the dress to the Make at 140 Sewing Sewcial and Vanessa helped me to fit the dress. We figured out during a fitting that it was too big anyway, and I took the seams in. I haven’t fitted a zip in this dress this time, as the stretch and room in this dress allow for me to take it on and off without (if I was more well endowed, I think I would have struggled though!).

The neck opening was far too big on me at the back neckline as I have a narrow back, so we made an adjustment. With Vanessa’s guidance I sewed in an inverted pleat in the back neckline (pictures below) which was incredibly simple and I think the finish looks really professional. I then hand finished the neckline where the excess fabric sits. I love the shaping and the fitted look the pleat creates at the back of the dress. I finished the seams with pinking shears for a complimentary vintage look.

Finally, I added 2 metres of one inch wide red velvet ribbon from Hobbycraft to sinch in the waist, and a friend suggested I wear the dress with a red tulle underskirt for volume! The ribbon was a success, but I wasn’t too keen on the underskirt when it arrived  – for the first time I’ve included a little video of me wearing the dress in my Instagram post, and for comedy value an extra special clip of me wearing the dress with the underskirt! Undoubtedly the first time I’ve looked like a very brightly coloured milk maid…

Want to sew an inverted pleat? here’s how:

  1. Try your garment on inside out, have someone find the centre back (half way) by pulling the two halves of the neckline together to fit, and create a fold (right sides together), then pin that fold in place. Sew about two inches vertically downwards from the top of the neckline (this will look like the stitching on the left below). Next measure and pin exactly half way along the excess fabric and press the right edge flat;


2. Fold the excess fabric towards the neckline (your pressed line is your centre marker);

IMG_8419 (2)

3. Check that the back neckline looks like this on the right side:

IMG_8422 (2)

4. Pin in place and hand sew the top edges of the excess fabric to the back neckline facing. Press the excess fabric in place. Pin and hand sew a label to the back neckline facing to hold the sides of the folded excess fabric in place.


Et voila, your first inverted pleat is complete! The inverted pleat is really useful for those with a narrow back, particularly for tops and dressed with wide necklines. I’d like to experiment with inverted pleats at the neckline and waistline in future projects.

Bye for now, I hope you enjoy the video – in my next post I hope to be sharing my first attempt at sewing trousers with you! For more updates, follow the hashtag #sewgoodintentions2019 and my Instagram posts @shelovestomake.uk




A year in my sewing life, and introducing #sewgoodintentions2019!

My make nine projects 2018

So it’s been a while since I blogged, and I wanted to round-up a year of my sewing progress in 2018 – for me it’s been an incredibly clarifying experience. I have discovered that:

I value quality over quantity. My sewing priorities change with the seasons and I am drawn to dress patterns, above separates. My head is easily turned by that exciting new sewing pattern release or a new fabric I fall in love with. Ultimately I want to look at the finished garment and think “Wow! I made that, it looks amazing and fits so well”.

Before 2018 my sewing was never really quantified, I rarely thought too much about setting challenges. I picked up a pattern and made it, and often disregarded the skill level. I now understand that what is most important to me, to be spontaneous – sewing should be fun and I don’t feel I want to be tied down to my sewing wants six months ago. For me, sewing is a hobby and it should not feel like a chore.

To that end, I have decided to set myself some Sewing Intentions – a list of five areas I want to focus on to grow my sewing skills in the new year. You can also join in on Instagram by using the hashtag ‘#sewgoodintentions2019’. Simply set yourself no more than 5 priorities for your sewing, so that you can focus on making an improvement and take the time to finish your garments to your best standard…

My #sewgoodintentions2019 are:

  1. To improve the finish of my garments inside and out by learning new techniques (linings, interlining, finishing hems and sewing french and princess seams) – conveniently to include watching the ‘Great British Sewing Bee’ and taking notes;
  2. To sew and fit a pair of trousers, so that I have a pattern that suits my body shape which I can sew on repeat;
  3. To sew a skater style coat;
  4. To improve my topstitching accuracy on all my me-made garments;
  5. To sew a jersey project with a twin needle.

I hope that this will be a great challenge for sewists at a range of skill levels, to identify their priorities for the year ahead, share their progress whilst working on them and to review them at the end of 2019.

My make nine 2018

Looking at my #makenine2018 projects pictured above, I made 1) a Sew Over It Molly dress, 2) an Ultimate shift dress in Fox print Crepe from Minerva Crafts and 3) the Tilly and the buttons Margot pyjamas from my original list.  I also made 4) another Cleo dungaree dress (I live in my denim version) – a kit from Tilly and the Buttons and 5) Delphine Skirt whilst watching Stranger things btw (instead of the Deer and Doe Chardon).

I  almost finished the 6) Great British Sewing Bee Tea Dress – rather than the full-skirted dress (just a concusion-related zip issue to rectify!) and a hem to sew in the new year. The Cocoon coat was not really my style on reflection, the excitement of making a coat ran away with me, but I would love to find the perfect skater style coat pattern to make.

By the summer I had gone off list and made a 7) Simplicity K6459 in cream and black polka dot fabric given to me by a lovely lady who sold me my Singer Overlocker. Followed by 8) an Origami Shrug with fabric and pattern from Make at 140, Plymouth. Finally, I made a Sew Over It ‘Silk Cami’ for my sister for Christmas and cut out another for me!

What a year – I am certain that the new year will include more sewing for me, probably with fewer patterns and possibly making some of the more successful patterns again! (a coat and the Cotton and Chalk jumpsuit are definitely high on my list).

Wishing you a very happy year of sewing, and please tag me @shelovestomake.uk if you’ll be taking up #sewgoodintentions2019!

Emma x