This Fabric Really Floats My Boat!
I am super excited to be back with another blog for Caroline and Fliss at Felicity Fabrics. As always I really love looking through all the fabrics on their website, so many dreamy fabrics to choose from. The one I finally settled on was this delightful white cotton lawn with boats called Lake Windermere by Lady McElroy. As soon as I saw this fabric I had the vision of matching shirts for my husband Robert and one year old son Henry.
When the fabric arrived, it was beautifully packaged as always by Caroline and Fliss. With any order from Felicity Fabrics, it is like receiving a present in the post wrapped up in tissue paper with a personalised thank you note inside a brown box with their branding. Not only does the packaging look great but it is recyclable and reusuable too. I always keep the boxes my fabrics come in to use as postage boxes or storage. I actually used two of the boxes to send a package to my friend in Singapore.
So when it came to prepping my machine for this fabric I used the matching thread that was sent to me, it was a white colour. I also chose a universal size 70 needle.
For Robert’s shirt I used my old faithful pattern that I like to use for his shirts – well all two times before that I had made him a shirt. The pattern I used is the McCalls M6044. It is a very reliable pattern and straightforward.
The fabric is a little see through in the light so I decided I didn’t want to use my overlocker, I instead used french seams. I haven’t actually tried french seams at all until recently, but I love them! They are so worth the effort especially when it’ a special fabric. If you haven’t tried french seams before this was my process I used for my seams that were 15mm.
– Sew wrong sides together with a 5mm seam allowance
– Trim the seam
– Press the seams right sides together so the raw seam is enclosed
– Sew with a 10mm seam allowance
– Press the french seam to one side
Everything about Robert’s shirt was enjoyable to sew, there isn’t anything overly difficult about sewing his shirt. Thankfully it is a short sleeve shirt so no cuffs or sleeve plackets to do for him. He prefers the short sleeves because he’s always too warm! The main things that might be tricky are the collar and buttonholes if you haven’t tried these before.
That’s where this fabric is perfect. It is very stable and easy to work with…perfect for a beginner right through to advanced. So if you have a difficult pattern, this fabric would behave itself for you or another cotton lawn on Felicity Fabrics.
For Henry’s shirt I decided to use the Made By Jacks Mum Sunset Shirt pattern. I love this pattern and it goes right from 0-3 months to 12 years, so I’ll get a lot of value out of it! Making Henry’s shirt was similar to making Robert’s except with smaller pieces obviously – I love sewing little clothes.
Henry’s shirt pattern had a yoke in the back and the instructions were very clear how to do the ‘burrito’ method. This was the first time I tried it and it was actually really cool doing it!
For the collar I decided to do a grandad collar using just the collar stands. It’s very cute and a nice change from a standard collar.
I would say if you are making children’s clothing to consider the pattern placement of the fabric since the pattern pieces are smaller.
On both Robert and Henry’s shirts I did struggle a little to get smooth french seams for the sleeves, but it was all experience to learn from for next time. I think in future I might not french seam the sleeve head and just overlock those.
So as it turns out I overcalculated the amount of fabric I needed so I decided to make myself a dress from this stunning fabric. To be quite honest I was delighted to know I was going get a garment as I was falling in love with it more and more as I was making Robert and Henry’s shirts. I was going to cut the Megan Nielsen Darling Ranges blouse but realised I had enough for the dress version. So I cut out version 1 of the Darling Ranges dress, which also happens to be on my Make 9 for 2020. For reference I cut a size medium in this pattern.
The Darling Ranges dress was surprisingly much easier than I thought it was going to be. To begin I sewed the darts in the bodice, joined at the side seams and then it was onto attaching the skirt side seams. After sewing the skirt side seams I gathered the waistline, I sewed two lines of gathering stitches, I find two lines helps to create more controlled gathers. I do actually find gathering quite therapeautic.
Then it came to attaching the bodice to the skirt. I find it easiest to attach the skirt side seams to the bodice side seams and then gather the skirt to fit the bodice, I find this helps to create even gathering. After attaching the skirt and bodice, I attached the shoulder seams and inserted the sleeves. I must also add I used french seams for my dress too, though not on the bodice/skirt seam and sleeves this time.
For the neckline I decided to use white ready made bias binding rather than making my own, and then it was time to fold in the facing. Before doing the buttonholes, I hemmed the dress.
For both of the shirts and my dress I left the buttonholes until the end. I had been having trouble with buttonholes on my machine but one night I decided to give them a go and guess what…they worked! I was super delighted. I think I held my breath during every buttonhole! Thankfully all buttonholes worked fine, well I just had to unpick one that had stopped halfway through the process.
So although each garment has been made from the same fabric, I decided to use different buttons for each of the garments. For Robert’s shirt he will have a pearly white button, Henry will have a nice light green button and mine will be red buttons. I’m rather excited to have the buttons used on my dress as I bought these vintage Czech buttons in Prague in 2018.
I think the Lady McElroy Lake Windermere fabric really lends itself to this dress pattern, it’s beautiful.
All in all I think this fabric was a dream to work with as would any of the other cotton lawns on Felicity Fabrics. It’s a great well behaved fabric to sew while being equally nice to wear against your skin.
I’m looking forward to seeing my two main men wearing their matching shirts more often, don’t they look cute? But then again I’m totally biased! I must admit though I am a little nervous if we all wore our garments at the same time…would we not be risking looking like the Von Trapp family?? The hills are alive…
Thanks for reading, Rebekah aka SewNo65 x