Work in Progress Wednesday

I’m working on two cream polar fleece Toaster Sweaters today.  I’d made one for Daughter No2 last year, in the Autumn and she loved it – until I put it in the wash with a whole lot of dark things.  Not cream anymore!  Still wearable, but dull and dingy.  So I promised I would make it right, naturally.  In the meantime, Daughter No1 announced she’d rather like one in that colour please, not the dingy one, a nice cream one.

Ever obliging, 3m of polar fleece was duly purchased from Closs & Hamblin, washed and ready to go.  I cut the straight Medium for Daughter No2 and the Small (across the body and in length and width of sleeves) for Daughter No1.  She likes a looser fit across the top half, so I cut the medium in the raglan and neck area.  Make sense?

A little pile of small pieces, cuffs, collar and hem band

The fleece is lovely, they say it’s anti-pill and I really hope it will be.  It’s a lovely colour, warm but not too buttery-creamy.  It cuts easily and doesn’t want to roll.  Now normally I’d use the overlocker for 95% of the construction of a Toaster Sweater, leaving the sewing machine to do the topstitching.  But my trusty Janome is out for a service, and I’ve drafted in the Queen of Diva Overlockers, the Bernina.  She’s a tough old cookie and will not do a 5 thread overlock with chain stitch for me at all.  I’m reliable informed she’s not the only one, so it’s not just me.  So I used the sewing machine to sew all the seams, overlocked and trimmed the edges with the overlocker, and went back to the sewing machine for twin needle topstitching.

Overlocking and triming the seams of the raglan

With the construction of the Toaster, I pin all the pieces I can and bulk sew, production line style.  So that’s the cuffs, neck and hem band and all the raglan seams, then I feed them through the machine, one after the other.  Then the small pieces are turned through, seams pressed to one side and I pin the raw edges together, matching the notches, so they’re ready to be attached to the body.  After the raglan seams are done, I topstitch then add the neckband – before the side seams are done!  So much easier to do neckline treatents when your garment is flat people!

4mm twin needle for topstitching, using the centre line on the machine foot to line up with the seam, finished topstitched seam

I used the 4mm stretch twin needle for this job.  It gives good distance with the seamline running in the centre.  Once all the small pieces are attached, they can be topstitched too.  I added a little bit of ribbon to the centre back of the neckline, different on each one.  This is so I can tell them apart and not deliver the wrong one!  It’s also a nice touch to mark out the back when one is getting dressed in the half dark, which is coming…

Blue and cream ribbon for Daughter No2’s Toaster, and olive green and white spotty bias for Daughter No1’s

I have just over half a metre of the cream fleece left over after cutting these out, I might have to get a little more (maybe in a different colour) to make something else.  Waste not, want not!  But before I get carried away, I need to finish these!

Finishing touches

Tea House Dress

What you’ve all been waiting for!  My Tea House dress is done!!  And it’s so pretty!!!  Enough exclamation marks yet?  I don’t think I can use enough to be honest.  This has turned out even better than I pictured in my head.

I had originally bought 2.5m of the gorgeous chrysanthemum print cotton, and ordered another 1.5 so I would have enough for the big pattern pieces, and I’m so glad I went for the extra half a metre!  Do not be tempted to get away with a little less in the meterage if you’re planning on making this dress, go with what it says in the requirements, or you’ll be cursing, promise.  It’ll be worth it in the end.

teahouse 2

The instructions are clear, plenty of diagrams too.  For the details of how I got to this point, see my previous post about the toile, etc.  The majority of this dress was done in one day, all I had left to do the next day was the handstitching I elected to do, and the hem.  The instructions have you topstitch or edgestitch the front panel and the underlying facings, but I decided to handstitch the facings down on the inside instead.  I also handstitched the cuffs instead of stitching in the ditch.  I decided that I didn’t want stitching showing on the outside of the dress.  Except the hem, that I machined.

collage teahouse dress
The Details
teahouse 5
Tea House Dress by Sew House Seven

teahouse 3

I have to admit that while I was working I had a nagging suspicion that I was making a dressing gown…..  Once finished and on Peggy (the dressmaker’s dummy), I couldn’t get rid of that feeling and felt a little down about the whole thing.  Then hubby came home from work and asked why I’d made a dressing gown, as I don’t wear them…  MAN!  I went to bed a little dispondent, then woke up to a huge surprise.

I’d put a pic on IG, and it went mad, so much love for the dress!  I had a little chat with daughter No1, which make me feel more positive about it.  So I put it on – after fixing make-up and hair, and with suitable shoes….  And I love it!  It’s gorgeous, way better than a dressing gown could ever be!  The fabric is devine, the print perfect.

I love the sleeves, the neckline, the ties that give me a “waist”, and the length that seems to make me look tall!  Woohoo!  All the magic, in one clothing item.  If you’ve ever thought about maybe making this pattern, can I just ask, “What on earth are you waiting for!?”

teahouse 6


I’m Making Me a Dress!


Yup, you read that correctly, a dress!!!  Remember that gorgeous chrysanthemum print cotton fabric I got from Truro Fabrics a the beginning of July?  And had to get more because I got a “reasonable” amount?  Yeah, that will finally be a Tea House Dress, pattern by Sew House Seven.  I traced the size 16, based on my bust measurement, and toiled the top version to see whether or not I’d need a FBA, and whether or not the pattern suited me and I even liked it!


Wondering if it’s “me”

So I bought a floral print duvet cover from the charity shop, I chose a printed fabric because my fabric is covered with flowers, and I wanted to get an idea of what it would look like.  It went together rather well, the instructions are clear, with plenty of drawings for those who need visual input.  There were only a couple of “whaaat?” moments.  When attaching the ties to the centre front panel, you’re asked to “presew” them on.  I’ve never heard that term before, usually the instructions say “baste”.   Then, in the sewing on of the cuffs, you’re asked to “crackstitch” the cuffs to the sleeve.  Say what?  What-stitch?  I checked the glossary and found they mean stitch in the ditch!  I had such a laugh!

collage tea house toile
The toile of the Tea House Dress

Anyway, apart from those wierd bits, the pattern is good.  I like the shape, the ties are at my narrowest bit (not that it’s that narrow), and the neckline looks like it’s not going to be too revealing.  I wasn’t sure whether I really need an FBA, or just to add length.  Then I changed my bra to one that I’d be more likely to wear with the finished dress, and things fit a little better.  So I’ve ditched the FBA, skipped adding length to the bodice and I’ve cut my fabric!!

tea house 1
I’m really glad I bought more fabric! But I’ve since found it online for £3/m less than I paid..

I originally had 2.5m, but after I’d had a chance to think about what I’d make, I quickly ordered another 1.5m.  And thank heavens I did!  Because of the length and funny shapes of the pattern pieces, you really do need a lot of length.  I have a decent amount left over, but not in any solid shape and size.  I tried my best to place the pattern pieces so as not to waste the fabric.  I’m not sure what I’d be able to make with the bits, but I’m sure I’ll eventually think of something!

Both daughters will be home this weekend for a visit, the first since Christmas!  I’m sorta hoping to be able to wear the dress at some point over the weekend – so here goes!




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