Category Archives: sew many dresses, sew little time

Project 1 – Part 2 Finished

I have my first finished Dress of the year and my first Dress for Florida, yes unfortunately you can expect two weeks solid of posting about Florida again.

I am very pleased how this dress has turned out, the bodice fits perfectly, the white buttons add just enough interest to the front to stop it being too boring.

I used self made bias binding for the arm holes and skirt hem, as i had been a bit tight for length I didn’t want to use too much on the hem.

One of the arm holes doesn’t lay quite right under the arm, but I have already had the binding off once and it doesn’t look much better. I’m wondering if I cut it slightly wrong as I freehanded taking off 5/8 of an inch. If you look closely at the inspiration dress I think that the binding is on the outside.


Project 2 new bra doesn’t really warrant it’s own post, it has come together really nice it is still slightly too tight across the right cup but it looks a lot better.

Project 1-part one, January


This is my inspiration photo

As I said in my previous post I started cutting out the top of another pattern before deciding this fabric was totally wrong


The first thing that I needed to do was to work out if I had enough fabric left over to make the skirt. I suspected, looking at the picture that was a 3/4 circle skirt, it didn’t look full enough to be a full circle, after spending 5 minutes looking for my skirt pattern, then looking at the instructions in the sewmanydresses book I decided that I couldn’t be bothered with creating a 3/4 circle pattern.

I folded my fabric in half and pinned it still, I took my water soluble pen attached it to a piece of string held it in one corner of the fabric and made two 1/4 circles on the folded fabric with the pen on the other end, then just cut 1/4 off each piece, which was handy because I used those bits for facings.

I decided that I could use the basic bodice from the sewmanydresses book, it did give instructions on how to make  a button down bodice, unfortunately I didn’t have the fabric to use the all-in-one method so had to cut a separate button tab.

I had a couple of problems due to the fact I had already cut out the bodice pieces for the other outfit and so would have to use these to create the top of my dress. The main problem was that the fabric wasn’t quite wide enough, using a 3/8 inch seam allowance on the front I managed to move my under arm problem into the seem allowance.

I did add an extra bit to this fabric before cutting out, I straight stitched then zigzagged an extra bit, the last place you need a weak stress point is under the arm.


there was also a tiny problem with the back of the neck but I decided to just make the back neckline lower.

If you look closely at the next picture you can just see where I am going to cut the neckline to. There is a faint blue line on the left side of the photo.


I am quite pleased with it so far, I have decided on 22mm white buttons, which I need to get and I think I am going to try bias binding on the hem and armholes.

More soon…..

Tanya Whelan – sew many dresses

Just a quick post to show you the equivalent dress from Tanya Whelan’s dress book so you can compare it with the one from Gertie’s Ultimate Dress book

Here are the two back peices Tanya’s one is on top it has an extra shoulder dart, which Gertie’s didn’t it is also drafted without the seam allowance which is why it is over slightly. After wearing both dresses I think that the arm holes and back neck fit better on Gertie’s but the rest is better on Tanya’s.

Here are the dress pictures, I bought the fabric from Olympia earlier in the year, it was a lot heavier than I thought it would be.

Gertie vs Tanya Whelan

Hi, here comes the promised review on these two books Gerties Ultimate Dress Book and Sew Many Dresses, Sew little Time: the ultimate dress making guide. They are around the same price on Gertie is £1 more expensive.


I love Gertie’s Blog and this is a extension of that, it is written in the same breezy style, I will admit if it wasn’t for the fact that it was a Gertie book, I probably wouldn’t have bought it, there seems to be little point in having two ‘Ultimate’ dress books, because Gertie didn’t come out until March and I had already got the other one for Christmas.

Both of them having sewing tips and tricks, to be honest I prefer the photography style of Tanya’s book, the dresses look more shapely and there were a few different models, there were more dresses where I thought ooh I could wear that, in particular the halter neck dress. Gertie’s dresses looked a bit shapeless and unflattering.


Apart from the sizing issue on the pattern sheets, Gertie gives you the 3/4 circle skirt, where as Tanya shows you how to draft your own (I’m lazy I’d rather copy one than draft one) also Gertie’s sizes are ready to wear size and she has a different type of line for each one whereas Tanya has chosen to go from 1-12 in some ways this makes choosing a size more accurate as you are less likely to go for the size you think you should be rather than the size you are. Each set of lines are 1-4 is dark grey 5-8 medium grey and 8-12 light grey I’m lucky in that my size falls on the edge of a colour change.

I feel that Tanya gives you a better understanding on how to alter the basic pattern, the book is split up into different areas the first is bodices and she goes through how to manipulate the darts to get a different shape, and what to do with the necklines. the next is collars and so on, each section give you a photo of a dress then tells you where in the book it tells you about the pattern.


Gertie’s step by step is better and, if not for the drafting issues I would recommend it to beginners, Tanya’s book I think will get more use.





As far as I can work out from the books, Gertie drafts for a ‘C’ cup and Tanya ‘B’ and I had no trouble at all with the FBA for Liz’s dress. if you look at the two patterns together  Tanya’s does have more shaping at the waist, of course it always helps if the waist part of the pattern is drafted correctly, which Gerties appears not to have been as it is 2 inches out on the size 6. (see my previous post)

You get four double sided pattern sheets with Gertie but only three with Tanya. If I had to send one of them back today, I would choose to keep the Tanya Whelan book, partly because the waist patterns appear to be drafted wrong, but mainly because I think I could get more out of this book and I like the pictures better. Luckily I get to keep both 🙂