Category Archives: Weekend

A Dashwood Dress in a Day – Colette Truffle

On Friday we took delivery of the new range of Cotton Lawns from Dashwood Studios. Lawns are a new venture for Dashwood and the first two prints to get the lawn makeover were from the September Blue Collection by Susan Driscol.

Lawns from Dashwood

I  popped an instavid comparing the weights of the traditional Dashwood cotton with the lawns over on Instagram and as I was making the video I got thinking…..I need to make a dress from this lawn!

Let me tell you a) I am quite impulsive, b) I have never made a dress before in my life. Yes a couple of skirts or tops here or there. But a dress which requires fitting to my shape nope, I’ve always intended to but never quite got around to it.

Handily I had a few dress patterns on hand thanks to the Colette Sewing Handbook which I bought last summer and had been since consigned to the bookshelf. The book comes with 5 exclusive Colette patterns, 3 dresses, 1 top and 1 skirt.

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After a quick flick through it I decided to make the Truffle dress, only without the ruffle down the front. Each pattern comes with detailed step by step instructions in the book and so I began!

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I took my measurements as suggested by the book and was a little stumped when it suggested I was a Size 4 (UK Size 8) on top and a size 8 (UK Size 12) on the bottom. I would say I’m a fairly consistent UK Size 10 or US Size 6 . Based on what I know about my figure I know I have a small bust, a broader back and a longer torso, so I decided  to ignore the Size 4 top and go with a Size 6 but stick with a Size 8 bottom just in case!

Before I started making the dress I did something I never do and that is pre-wash the fabric! Dashwood Lawns are new and I wanted to see how they held up to washing at 40C I’m happy to report they held up just fine and felt as soft coming out as they did going in! If there was any shrinkage it wasn’t obvious but I did have a few threads tangle at the end which is to be expected.

So I set to cutting my pattern, I made one adjustment to the top pieces and extended them by 1 inch to take account of my longer torso. I traced them onto Baking Paper and included the extension there rather than cutting the pattern and inserting an extra piece. I have virtually no shop bought dresses that sit on my natural waist so I felt this was one adjustment that was reasonable to make for everything else I left it as is.

Based on the instructions in the book it suggested that I would need 2.5m of lawn fabric, in fact as I dropped the ruffle and thanks the extra wide yardage I was able to comfortably fit all the pieces on 1.25 metres of fabric! The picture below shows the fabric folded in half which gives you a sense of the scale.

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There were two things that made me nervous about making the Truffle and that was the bodice lining and the invisible zip. I used a cheap beige cotton poplin for the bodice lining which gave some structure to the dress but also meant I could have a practice making the bodice before cutting into the Lawn!

The trickiest thing for me was installing an invisible zip which I have never done before and since the book recommends an invisible zipper foot and I don’t have one, that was always going to be a problem. But I used my regular zipper foot and sewed as close as I could to the zipper and amazingly I have an invisible zip!

So here are a few photos of my finished dress, just to let you know it was my other half taking the photos and since he has the attention span of a nat when it comes to taking photos I popped my camera on to automatic and the result is that the dress looks a lot brighter and lighter in the photos than it does in real life. The photos of the fabrics above are much more representative of the shade of blue of the fabric.

Colette Truffle without the ruffle

This is the only back shot I have of the dress and as you can see, my zip really is invisible!

Truffle from the front

Putting in darts was nice and easy and the instructions in the book are very clear. Truffle darts Truffle from the side

In general I found the instructions straight forward to follow when I didn’t understand something I found an answer in the book rather than having to google it! I loved that the book was spiral bound so that it always lay flat, why aren’t all craft books spiral bound its so useful?

Colette Truffle without the ruffle

So do I love the dress? Yes I do the style is a bit Bodenish, which isn’t a bad thing, I have a lot of Boden, with the high neckline it would have been perfect as a summer dress for my old city job. Will I wear it again? Absolutely the lawn is lovely, its cool, soft and perfect for this time of year and I am going to be the smartest looking order packer ever!

Colette Truffle without the ruffle

If I were to make it again I would try sizing down the bodice to the Size 4 (UK 8) as I think a Size 6 is a little large for my bust (they were right after all), I would also extend the waist darts higher to compensate for the extension I made to the bodice.  I would probably keep the Size 8 (UK 12) bottom as thats spot on and try and make the neckline a little lower.

So whilst its not perfect for my first ever dress I’m pretty chuffed! I loved working with the Lawn and I cannot wait to see what other Lawns patterns Dashwood have up their sleeves, I feel a series of Dashwood dresses coming along!

Colette Truffle without the ruffle

If you fancy making a Truffle with or without a ruffle you can find the book here. I used the Blue Bird & Bud Dashwood Studio Lawn with Beige Cotton Poplin for the lining and Aurifil 50wt white thread.

Happy Sewing!

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A trip to Dashwood Studios

Those of you who will have followed The Homemakery for a while will know that we LOVE Dashwood Studios! It feels like they have been around for longer but Dashwood have only been up and running a year, recently celebrating their first anniversary.  With 8 collections under their belt so far, it really has been a remarkable year for them and the next year is set to see even more fabric releases as original designers return with their second collections, and as they welcome brand new designers to the Dashwood family!

On Sunday, Dashwood had their open day and it was a great opportunity to catch up with David, the Creative Director and brains behind Dashwood Studios, and check out the gorgeous creations made with one of their recent collections Retro Orchard:

I love using fabrics around the home and covering seats is a really quick and cheap way of making over a chair, the Retro Orchard fabrics really work well in a kitchen setting.

Retro Orchard Kitchen

How cool are the fabric covered placemats. Such a great idea!Retro Orchard Tablemats

Such a clever idea to cover a table with fabric, it really looks striking in the Seedlings printRetro Orchard Cushion & Tables

I love this striped quilt featuring all the Retro Orchard prints. Sometimes you jsut want a quilt to really show of the fabrics and using large pieces of fabric in a stripe formation really does that.

Retro Orchard Quilt

Cute lampshade and apron.

Retro Orchard Goodies

A few things from the Christmas Wish collection. The reindeer garland is actually made by one of my amazing customers Julie who creates the most fabulous fabric garlands. I thoroughly recommend checking out her Facebook page for more of her creations!

Dashwood Christmas Wish

The advent calendar is a special panel from the Christmas Wish collection, it was already on my to make list but having seen it in real life it has been bumped up the list, they do say its ok to start Christmas Crafting in July right!!

Coming soon

For the dressmakers amongst you, you might be quite excited to hear that Dashwood will soon be adding a range of cotton lawns to their fabric line. The first fabrics up for the lawn makeover are the these two lovelies from the September Blue range. Wouldn’t they make the perfect dresses, or how about a Sorbetto top or two? Scrumptious!

Dashwood Lawns Coming Soon

As for new collections, David was kind enough to let me give you a sneak peek at two of the upcoming ranges!!

First up….Bethan is back!!! Bethan Janine designed the amazing Wildwood collection featuring those ever so popular foxes and toadstool prints and I’m so thrilled she is back with her second collection for Dashwood,  Cuckoo’s Calling. Featuring birds, wheatsheafs and cuckoo clocks in a Mint, Navy, Hot Pink and Orange colour palette this really makes for a perfect late summertime collection and should hopefully be with us in August.

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Another Dashwood regular is Phyllida Coroneo who designed Dashwoods first ever collection Enchanted Forest. Fly Away features a modern take on folksy floral prints in a very cool, Lime Cornflower, Mint and Grey colour palette. Again set for an August release date

Fly Away - Phyllida Coroneo for Dashwood Studios

I think these two new upcoming collections make for a very promising start to Dashwoods second year and I look forward to sharing further collections with you as they are released!

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Craftsy: Learning a new craft

I probably have been living in a cave for the last few years but I recently discovered the online crafting website Craftsy. I was on a blog and noticed an ad and clicked through to see what it was all about. I  discovered a website chocabloc full of craft lessons you can signup for,  you can literally learn any craft through your computer or Ipad thanks to pre-recorded video lessons that you can access anytime thats good for you.

Crochet, Knitting, Garment Sewing, Quilting, Embroidery, Baking, Cooking you name it there are multiple classes for everyone, from beginners to more seasoned crafters.

I was spoilt for choice with classes I wanted to take and ended up signing up for two classes. I enjoyed them so much and learnt so much I thought I would share them with you here:

Pre-Cut Piecing Made Simple with Camille Roskelley

Pre-Cut Piecing Made Simple is the perfect class for total newbies to quilting or not so beginner quilters who have perhaps have a couple of quilts under their belt. I certainly fall into the latter category and since my quilting skills are largely self taught, it was great to see a quilt being made by someone else step by step, from start to finish.

Craftsy pre-cut-piecing-made-simple Class

The course contains 8 lessons from about 20 mins to 35 minutes and includes downloadable patterns to make several quilts, including an exclusive Craftsy quilt designed by Camille. I picked up so many great little tips along the way as well as a fresh look at different ways of doing things such as chain piecing, half square triangles, stippling and even ironing seams! (If that all sounds like double dutch it wouldn’t be after taking the class!)

Camille was a really engaging teacher and the lessons are full of helpful hints and tips for making and designing your own quilts as well as following along with the quilts in the class. I have been making a quilt for a friend over the last two weeks and I have constantly found myself referring back to the videos so definitely worth every penny I paid.

You can find the Pre-Cut Made Piecing Made Simple class here

Design it , Stitch It  Hand Embroidery

I really enjoy embroidery but my knowledge of embroidery stitches are fairly limited to the basics: running stitch, back stitch and lazy daisy’s. Jessica’s class is a comprehensive video guide to virtually every Embroidery Stitch you can imagine, 25 in total, all shown in close up detail.

One of the things I like most about Craftsy is their IPad app, its brilliant because it allows you to download all your Craftsy classes so you can watch them offline, any time you like. Watch them on your commute, on holiday, in the car whilst you are waiting to pick up your kids, anywhere!! I tend to do embroidery projects when I am outside or sat in front of the TV so being able to view the classes on my IPad whether or not I have an internet connection is fantastic.

Craftsy Embroidery Class

For me design it, stitch it is like a video Encyclopedia of embroidery stitches and one I will keep coming back to over the years. You can find the Design It, Stitch It Hand Embroidery Class here

I’ve got to say I have become a bit of a Craftsy convert. Running a business, finding time to craft AND learn new things let alone fit in the time to see friends and family means that time is never on my side (seriously I haven’t read a book since Christmas and I love reading!). So being able to sit and watch crafting whenever I like is brilliant for me!

If you fancy learning something new or improving on a craft you already do Craftsy are having their summer sale this weekend and all their classes are half price, there has never has been been a better time to try it out!

Happy Crafting!

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Ps. This post is in no way sponsored by Craftsy I just really enjoyed the classes I PAID for and felt I learnt a lot. I have literally been telling all my crafter friends about it so I thought I would share my thoughts here too.

PPS. I have popped an affiliate badge on the side of my blog, its up to you whether you click it or not, its only there because I got a lot out of the classes and thought others would too!