Monday, 27 February 2012

Finished Project: 'Sister High Tea Dresses'.

As promised, here is my post to detail the construction of the skirts for the dresses and photos of the inside.

Both dresses were made using the bodice of the McCalls 5845 pattern, with minor adjustments to the front and back. I made the skirts by following tutorials from Gertie's New Better Blog for Better Sewing and Curves, Patterns, and Pins. Thank you ladies for posting such detailed tutorials :D

Dress 1: Big Sister's Dress w/ Full Circle Skirt.

M5845 bodice BACK, 2 front box pleats on skirt, bias binding to finish hem.
INSIDE: zig zig stitch on hem, lace trim. Bias binding on the hem of dress fabric.
2cm back seam allowance.
Big sister's dress, review.

Pattern: McCall's 5845 bodice, full circle skirt cut using Curves, Patterns, and Pins tutorial
Size: Size 6 bodice, graded to size 8 waist.
Skirt info: 
    • Skirt lining cut 3cm shorter
    • Length 45cm (46.5cm with SA, no hem)
    • I followed the formula, but kept ending up with extra fabric, I got rid of it by adding box pleats. Reana from Curves, Patterns, and Pins gave me a link for a circle skirt calculator which I will use next time to check my calculations. Reana didn't have any issues with her skirt, so it is probably my math that is the issue!! :)
Fabric: 1.7m cotton sateen, 1.7m acetate lining (used the "cheap" lining because I didn't want to spend $20 on sunsilky), 5m lace.
Notions: Invisible zipper (black) 16", Gutermann thread (000)
    • Lowered neck by 5cm
    • Raised back by 5cm
    • Skirt cut using Curves, Patterns, and Pins tutorial
    • 2cm back seam allowance
    • Invisible zipper instead of dress zipper
    • Used bias binding on the hem - it is so hard to hem a circle skirt! Thank you heaps to the girl at Clegs who suggested that to me.
    • Darts on the inside not outside
Time: a few hours over 3 days to finish the dress... But then I unpicked the hem on the lining and the dress and started over. Took another 2 hours. Total hours: 9 or so.
Total cost: $25 (fabric, lining, lace and zip), pattern and thread from my stash.

Big sister's dress: I love the effect of bias binding on the hem - that solid black finish looks great to me.
Modifications to the back allows me to wear a bra.
Modification to the front - it's sits just below my collar bone which is very comfortable. .

Dress 2: Little Sister's Dress w/ Full Gathered Skirt.

M5845 bodice. Gathered skirt, skirt hem circumference 2.4m.
INSIDE: "Pistachio" acetate lining. Excuse my dodgy ironing skills, I'm still learning!
Zig zig stitch finish on hem, lace trim.
Little sister's dress, review.

Pattern: McCall's 5845 bodice, full gathered skirt cut using Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing tutorial
Size: Size 8
Skirt info: 
    • Length 50cm (54.5cm with 3cm hem and 1.5cm SA)
    • Skirt width 2.4m
    • I cut the 2 pieces on the centre fold (60cm wide, from centre to selvege, length 54.5cm). I cut 1 of the pieces in half to make the back of the skirt (needs a back seam)
    • Skirt lining cut 3cm shorter
Fabric: 1.7m cotton sateen, 1.7m acetate lining (used the "cheap" lining because I didn't want to spend $20 on sunsilky).
Notions: Invisible zipper (peacock) 16", 3m lace, Gutermann thread (189, 282) 
    • Lowered neck by 5cm
    • Raised back by 6cm (my sister's dress needed 1 more cm).
    • Full gathered skirt cut using Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing tutorial
    • Invisible zipper instead of dress zipper
    • Darts on the inside not outside
    • No mod to back SA
Time: a few hours over a 4 days to finish the dress.
Total cost: $15 (lining, zip, thread), pattern from my stash. The fabric was given to me from my sewing friend Katherine- thanks Kat! We are planning to go to the ballet later in the year. Look out for the dresses we will be making for that outing!

Little sister's dress: I love the colour of this fabric and the lining looks yummy.
The full gathered skirt and modest length is very flattering on my sister. She looks very lady-like.
My sister loves the everything about the dress. 
Today was my first day at my new office. The building is gorgeous! Now that I am no longer next Clegs and Lincraft, I'm not sure if I will be sewing at home as often as I was. I guess I can use this time to move on to a new pattern. I have sewn the McCall's 5845 bodice six times now. I think it's time to get out of my comfort zone.

The kitchen is gorgeous!
I don't know any other words to use to describe this kitchen, it's not often that I compliment kitchens.
The photo in the bottom right corner is our "live wall"... the plants on the wall are alive!
Looking at my pattern collection, I am interested in making the V2960, the bodice is nice, and the V8511 has a nice silhouette. Whether or not it will look good on me is a different story! I don't have a stick body like the drawing, lol. I'd love to make dresses using the vintage patterns from Etsy, but my sewing teacher says I got the wrong size, and it might be hard to make adjustments. Zz. Well, in the meantime, I'll leave you with more photos from Saturday... now that I no longer have Facebook, all my favorite photos will get shared here :P Just kidding, I'm only sharing these pics because it features the handmade dresses in action! I like to see my dresses being worn, it makes me happy and motivated. Don't worry, I won't bore you with boring Instagrams of random letterboxes and tree branches - not that I take photos of those objects.

Jumping around at Parliament House, pouring a glorious blooming tea,
deciding which finger sandwich to get into first, showing off our full skirts.
Silly poses, selfies in the powder room,
Drying off by the Yarra after a 40 minute City Circle tram ride, more silly poses.
Check out the matching belts, nail polish, doctors bags and Infinity Tiffany & Co ring and bracelet!
Happy 18th Birthday little one. 


  1. Fabulous dresses. I just saw your comment on a blog re checking everyday whether they have made new creations. I use Bloglovin and store all my blogs in there. You just log in to there or have it as one of your home pages; it will keep you updated. I love it but I watch so many blogs.

    1. Hey Tina, yep I also have been using Bloglovin but some days if I don't have time to browse, I'll go straight to my bookmarked blogs :)

    2. Ah I see. I like the way you can group them in Bloglovin so you can have "fave sewing blogs" and just browse that group. My blog saves are getting out of control lol. Keep up the good work, I love seeing your creations. Regards.

    3. I love Bloglovin, who ever invented it is a genius!
      Thank u for all your encouragement Tina :) xx

  2. Hi Neeno! I love looking at the insides of these lined dresses. Such pretty colors and that bias binding on the hem of the circle skirt looks great! I have yet to try lining a dress (I'm lazy about certain things) but seeing your lovely versions has made me really want to do it. Thanks for sharing. :)

    1. Hi Sue! Thanks for reading my post. After I made my first lined dress, I fell in love with how clean it looks! Even though it's double the amount of effort, the finished result is sooooo worth it! Since I don't have an overlocker, the lining hides all my seams and sometimes dodgy stitches :) I think you should make a fully lined dress, I promise you won't go back to unlined. It also feels so luxurious to wear :)

  3. Wow. I am so impressed by your gorgeous insides! My dresses are usually a hot mess inside, what with merely pinked seams and weird waist improvisation. I feel so inspired to make nicer looking garments now!

    Also, I have made versions of M5845 at least five times, so I say keep at it! I love that bodice pattern to pieces and it fits like a dream because of all the darts. I am so glad other people love that pattern too!

    1. Thank you :) I hide my "hot mess" between the lining :P
      I don't have an overlocker, so I use pinking shears also. My darts are sometimes ugly, but I'm getting better at sewing straight lines!!

      I love all your dresses based around the M5845, u do such amazing things with it! I love the Super man dress xx

  4. Awesome! This is such a cute idea for a blog post and the dresses look amazing! I'm sorry I couldn't be more help with the skirt :( You both look totally gorgeous and in your beautiful dresses xx

    1. Your tutorial was very helpful, don't worry :) I even googled and found other blogs and they all had the exact same formula as yours, I'm quite certain it's my iphone calculator that is stuffed...

      I found your tutorial the most easy to understand thanks to the illustrations on how to fold the fabric. Thank YOU for sharing your tutorial :D xx

  5. Those dresses (especially your sister's dress - beautiful colour!) look right at home at The Windsor! :) Likelikelike!

  6. I have also used the bodice from this pattern six times in combination with different skirts, and two of them were gifts for my sisters! ;) I'm trying to branch out and use different patterns too, but it's hard when I know that this one fits so well!

    I love both of these versions, and I like that you include so much detail in your reviews, including pictures of the insides.

    1. Thanks Ella, I really love this pattern, its quick to make up and I really like the modest style of the bodice:)


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