Friday, 9 February 2018

Simple Sew Bella Dress

Well exciting times! I have been asked by Gabby of Gabberdashery if I would like to join the team of bloggers on the
Simple Sew Blogger team. Gabby asked me at the beginning of the year and this is my first post to go live. I am
one of several new faces to join the team and we are allowed to post our makes on our own blogs once the Simple
Sew post is out. I have been blogging sporadically here for a few (9!) years, and I thought that being part of the 
Simple Sew team might spur me on to write a bit more frequently!
Gabby asked us to have a look at the patterns available on the Simple Sew website and choose some that we would like to sew.  I realised that I already had several of the patterns as they had come free with Love Sewing magazines over the last couple of years.  

I am normally a jeans and cosy top kind of person as it fits my day to day life of being a stay-at-home mum. However, every now and then I feel a bit bored with the mum uniform and want to wear something different.  Recently that ‘something different’ has been jersey/knit dresses, so having looked through my pattern collection I thought that my first Simple Sew make would be the Bella Dress.

I really liked the shape of the dress and the collar, but wasn’t so sure about the shape of the sleeves. I decided pretty quickly to slim down the sleeves and at the same time Iengthened them by about 9 cms to make them full length - I hate being cold so full length sleeves are a must in winter!

The fabric I chose is some kind of slightly embossed heavyish knit that I bought from M.Rosenberg/Stitch Fabrics at the Knitting and Stitching Show, Ally Pally in October 2016.
I had always envisioned this as a long sleeve top (to go with my jeans!) but thought that it would be a good choice for the Bella dress. I think I only bought a metre and a half, and surprisingly this was plenty for the dress due to the width of the fabric. I didn’t really use the lay plan but managed to get the dress cut out perfectly with minimal fuss.  I even managed to cut the collar piece about 5cm deeper for more slouchiness.

I have made many garments in jersey, but this was the first time that I have sewn darts in a knit fabric, and also the first time I have put a zip into a knit.  The instructions didn’t specify what type of stitch to use to sew the darts, so I did a couple of practice ones on some scraps using both a small zigzag stitch and a slightly longer than usual straight stitch. I tried the zigzag stitch to try to keep the stretch of the fabric but it didn’t really make much difference and it also made a slightly lumpier looking dart, so I used the straight stitch.
I made the dress up on my sewing machine using a zigzag stitch (apart from the darts). I normally finish the seams on a knit by overlocking the seam allowances together, but this made for quite a bulky seam in this fabric so I left some seams unfinished and and finished some singley with the overlocker.

Once I had cut out the dress, I did a quick hand baste together to check the fit.  I was slightly alarmed to find that it was rather more form fitting than I had thought, and thought it was a good job that there was a zip in it. However once I made it up properly I realised that the fit was ok and that actually I probably don’t need the zip - I managed to get the dress on this morning without undoing the zip! I may take the zip out just to get a slightly sleeker fit on that side seam, but I don’t notice the fit when I am wearing it so I may leave it.

All in all, I am very pleased with this dress as my first sew for Simple Sew!


  1. Great news about your new role with Simple Sew!! I am looking forward to reading your more regular posts x

  2. Congratulations! It’s a cute dress and the fit looks good to me.