Final Trapeze Dress

It’s been a little while since I finished the toile for my Trapeze dress and I’m so glad I made it in nice fabric because I’ve gotten a lot of wear out of it!

I started the final dress straight away, but then it sat on the back-burner for a while because I got really excited about making the Alder dress… and I really needed to make a start on my wedding top!

But there’s nothing like a deadline to help you get something finished. And I was spurred on by the start of Me Made May and the fact that we were going to a wedding reception on Thursday… and I had nothing to wear.

Trapeze dress | Jem Weston blog

I love it! I adore this Anna Maria Horner fabric and it’s the perfect style of dress to not break up the pattern. I made a slightly better job of sewing this than I did with the toile and made the neckline slightly lower, so it’s lovely and comfortable.

Despite being exactly the same fabric, it feels a bit stiffer than the toile. This might be because I’ve washed and worn that a few times now – so I’m hoping this one will soften a bit over time.

Expect to see this dress popping up on Instagram a few times during Me Made May!



Trapeze Dress Toile

I’m really enjoying my weekly sewing classes at All Things Creative! Working at home can be isolating – so it’s great to have a few hours each week to spend time with creative people, learning new skills and doing a bit of selfish making.

For those not familiar with the term toile – it is a sort of practice garment made from the pattern so you can check the fit and make any alterations before cutting into the final fabric. I’m taking the dressmaking slow and steady and learning how to do things properly – so making a toile is really important.

I want to make the final Trapeze dress in some gorgeous Anna Maria Horner fabric which I’ve had in my stash for years and I adore!

Toiles are often made in calico, but I wanted to check my fabric wasn’t too heavy for the dress style – so I decided to use some Denyse Schmidt fabric I had which is exactly the same weight. My hope was that the toile would be wearable and I would have two trapeze dresses!

I made a few alterations to the pattern before starting. I used the long sleeve pattern but made them narrower and shorter and I made the overall length shorter so it would sit above the knee.

Jem Westob blog | Merchant & Mills Trapeze Dress

I also made it a size smaller than the pattern recommended for my measurements so that it would be more fitted at the top. And of course I added pockets… essential!

I did my usual trick of cutting along the wrong line on the pattern so I made a size 8 with a size 18 neckline!

Because the neckline is quite high I actually think that making it wider was a happy accident. For the final dress I’m planning to make the neckline slightly deeper at the front because it’s not super comfortable.

Over the last few weeks I have learnt that I’m not very good at putting in sleeves… it’s really difficult! I’m definitely improving though and I can see a big difference between the sleeves in this toile.

It’s a bit difficult to see in a photo – but on the right side the fabric is pulling a bit across the front of my shoulder and the neckline is poking up. I think this is because of my poor sleeve insertion skills!

I spent much longer doing the left sleeve and it sits much better.

Overall – a very wearable toile! Although I do think the shape will suit the bigger bolder print of the Anna Maria Horner fabric better. What do you think?

Sew Scared!

I have a confession to make – I’m scared of sewing buttonholes and zips!

I seem to have slipped into the habit of buying fabric and patterns but then not actually making them. There’s always an excuse – normally a lack of time or the fact that I’d rather be knitting. But the truth of the matter is – I’m just not good at zips and buttonholes and I don’t want to ruin my beautiful fabric!

In my ‘unmade’ collection I have the Hawthorn shirt dress pattern by Collette and some Denyse Schmidt fabric to make it up. This scares me because of the buttonholes and the collar. I think I can get away with not pattern matching though – because it’s a fairly random pattern?

The one I’m most excited about is the Betty dress by Sew Over It, which I plan to make in an Anna Maria Horner fabric. I love the fabric so much! It’s a big print though, so that scares me. And of course the invisible zip!

Because the above projects have been unmade for so long I decided to try something simpler and bought the Peony dress by Colette (which is for beginners!) and some spotty Amy Butler fabric which definitely doesn’t need pattern matching. That was back in August and I haven’t touched it. Guess why? It might be simple but it still has a zip!!

At the Knitting and Stitching show last week, I decided that the only solution to this problem is to buy more patterns and fabric. I’m sure you agree?!

I discovered Merchant & Mills and love the relaxed style of their garments and the fact that they very rarely use zips! If I start really simple and get back into the sewing zone, I’m hoping that I can overcome my fear of zips and button holes and tackle the lovely dresses that I want to make.

I bought the Trapeze Dress pattern with some denim. Lovely, plain and simple with no pattern matching to worry about. I think I will do a short sleeved version. I also bought The Workbook, which contains the Haremere Jacket pattern. I’m planning to make a belted version with no buttons in Donegal Tweed.

Have you got any projects that you’re scared of starting or finishing? Join me in tackling them – we can do it!

Skirt in a day

After a busy weekend in Scotland, and lots of driving- I decided to give myself the day off on Monday. One of the perks of being self-employed!

I spent my day off making a skirt with some beautiful Anna-Maria Horner fabric, which I bought at Festival of Quilts. I didn’t plan it very well and made it up as I went along so it’s a bit smaller and shorter than I wanted! But I’ve learnt from my mistakes and I’m keen to buy more fabric to try again!

I wanted to make a full circle skirt so I started by taking my waist measurement and working out the radius (I had to google how to do this because I couldn’t remember!). I then decided on the length I wanted and added that to the radius of my waist measurement- this would be the radius of the full circle. This is where is started to go wrong!

Because I wanted the flowers to face upwards on the fished skirt- I had to cut two half circles rather than a full circle. Also- in order to have the flowers facing upwards I had to cut the semi-circles across the fabric and was limited by the width of the fabric- thus it came out shorter than I wanted! This is where some planning would have been good. I probably could have worked out a better way to do it if I had more fabric, but never mind!


I was scrimping a bit to try and keep as much length as possible, which means I made the waistband a bit too small as well! It’s wearable though- and was quick and fun to make. I’ve learnt a lot- so it’s time to buy more fabric!