Gingham & Stripes & More- Oh My!

NM2015It’s been awhile since my last post in April so bit of a catch-up post.  Back in May when I went to visit my Mum in New Mexico among other lovely outings we spent a wonderful afternoon at an iris farm. Irises by the thousands, so gorgeous…who knew! On my “to-grow” list for next year. No smuggling of bulbs in my luggage was necessary as apparently I can buy similar beauties from Holland and also in the UK. However something I couldn’t seem to get in the UK (at a price I was willing to pay) was a half scale mannequin. Yes, I know irises to mannequins? – quite a jump. Anyway ‘back at the ranch’ after the iris outing I was doing some recreational web surfing and came across a place in Alabama that sells PGM half scale mannequins at a nice price. Clickty click done deal. It arrived at my Mums house a week later.  You maybe wondering what is the point of a mini-mannequin. Main benefit is that draping and pattern experiments on the 1/2 scale use up a lot less muslin. When I made my Lutterloh dress I used tons of paper and cotton fabric before getting the pattern right. In draping the dress below I used a whole lot less and did it IMG_3984on a table top at my Mums house. All because on ebay there was 1950’s pattern (Simplicity3595) I didn’t win so I just draped it on my new mini-me. Transfered it onto paper, scaled it up to full size, made some small pattern adjustments and just went for it in this great ikat cotton stripe from my Mums stash. Here is my finished version with side seam pockets :


A friend saw it in progress and made a birthday wish for a blue gingham version and as she is a good bit smaller than me I felt I needed to proof the pattern before I did her size using a couple of metres of what I think was upholstery cotton I found in a flea market …cue version 2 with the stripes going the other way and patch pockets:


Finally this past weekend I did my friends gingham version (winging its way back to N.M. as I type) and yes, now I think I am done with this pattern.

Sweetheart Gingham

Sweetheart halter dressSo you can make one too 🙂 from the pattern I just added to my Free Stuff  page. It’s a UK 12/US 8, 36″ bust/29″ waist. More detailed measurements are on the pattern,  just have a look. The bodice and 1/2 circle skirt patterns are separate pdfs.  *Though for stripes or checks the bodice cf and cb are cut on the bias it is straight grain fused and/or lined to behave and fit as if cut on the straight. I did originally try it unfused and lined all on the bias too… honestly it was a pain! Using the bias only as a decorative feature and not a fitting feature is much less headache. The skirt pattern can also have the grains switched so the cf and cb are on the straight grain and the side seams then on the bias.

VVSweetheart Inspiration
Inspiration: with shorts or a pencil skirt.

I can also imagine the sweetheart halter bodice with a pencil skirt or with loose shorts as a playsuit/swimsuit… on my Free Stuff page are my pencil skirt drafting tutorial and the French Knicker one which would get you there. I have re-imagined the original illustration to give you an idea: The mini-mannequin is back in the UK living in my workroom now. I haven’t yet had another chance to use it but have a couple of Coupe de Paris and Lutterloh patterns lined up I aim to try out small before going big. It’s just finding the time between brides, some costume jobs and my personal ‘impulse’ makes 😉

Here’s a couple of sneaky peeks at a beautiful 1930’s style bias dress I made over May & June. Being worn this Sunday, long silk tulle veil and all.

Lauren detail Lauren train

She’s going to look amazing. I’ll post some pics from the day when I have them.

For myself I made a pumpkin orange linen box pleated skirt. Just the best colour on a grim day!


I’m also sporadically working on an updated LBD too… same bodice with a soft sailor collar and a 4 gore bias skirt, made up here in a drapey rayon. So far its been my go-to hot weather dress.


But for now  after I post this I’m back to finishing another wedding dress, bias silk and gold lace.

On a final note it’s my Mums 85th birthday tomorrow.  She made sewing, drawing and reading into big parts of my life for which I’ll always be grateful. This is us in May.  Happy Birthday Mum !!

Me and Mum, May 2015, New Mexico.



32 thoughts on “Gingham & Stripes & More- Oh My!

  1. Thank you very much for this magnificent pattern. I just finished a trial version of the dress and enjoyed it very much.
    Love from Germany

  2. You are such an inspiration and do so much for us seamstresses around the world with your fabulous free patterns. I love everything you make and your skills are enviable! Think I will have a go at this one and maybe that LBD too, despite how dreary it is here in Melbourne!

  3. Thank you all very much for your comments, each one is very appreciated!! I hope to see some versions of this dress soon, please do let me know when you make one 🙂

  4. All your dresses look fantastic! Thank you very much for sharing your patterns too.

    I’m in the middle of making a dress now, but it’s so hot over here in Spain, (almost 40 degrees) that I keep on looking at it but I can’t get myself to drag out the sewing machine…

    Hope it’s much cooler where you are!

    Kind regards,


    1. Yes quite cool here… the UK seems to be missing out on the European heat wave. Not very nice to sew when it is that hot, I agree. Sometimes I wonder why I even make summer dresses anymore but I guess I am always hopeful!

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