A Simple Dress Without A Pattern

simple dress without a pattern

About 2 years ago I bought some green jersey to make a dress and last week I finally got round to making it.

I’d decided not to bother with a pattern as I was planning on making something very simple and I already had an idea  in my head of how I wanted it to look. I often have issues with patterns anyway and I end up with clothes that don’t fit well.

The dress was  very easy to make. It is made up of only 6 pieces and because it is made from jersey, it doesn’t require a zip.Collage simple dress

I wore it at the weekend and not only did people admire it, it was so unbelievably comfortable it was like wearing pyjamas!

How to Make a Simple Dress Without a Pattern

You Will Need: 3 m of jersey fabric ( 2.5 m would probably be enough), 1 m of bias binding, an old t shirt, some scrap fabric (a plastic bag, greaseproof paper or newspaper might work but consider an old shirt, curtain or tablecloth) a pen, a piece of chalk.

Cutting Out

1. Put on the old t shirt. Pin the piece of scrap fabric to yourself, ensuring that your have covered the shoulder and side seams. Using the seams of the t shirt as a guide, draw on the shape you would like 1 of the front pieces to be. If you need gathering in the under boob area, gather the fabric so that it fits and either pin or tack the gathers in place.simple dress without a pattern

2. Take the t shirt off with the fabric still attached. Using the seams of the t shirt again, draw on armholes and check the other seams.simple dress without a pattern Mark where the gathers begin and end. simple dress without a patternOn the side seam of the t shirt, mark with a pin where the bottom of the top piece is.simple dress without a pattern

3. Remove the fabric. Cut out along the pen lines. Pin to your dress fabric checking that the side seams run parallel with the grain. Add a 1 cm seam allowance and cut out 2 front pieces. Make notches where you will need to gather.simple dress without a pattern

4. Pin another piece of scrap fabric to the back of the t shirt. Using the seams and neckline as a guide, draw a piece for half of the top of the back of your dress. simple dress without a patternFold it in half. Cut out along the pen line but do not cut it out in your dress fabric yet!simple dress without a pattern

5. Now you need to take some measurements for the skirt. Measure from where the top of your dress will end to where you want the hem to be. Add 5 cm for seams and hem and record this somewhere.

Next, measure around where the top part of your dress will end. Divide by 2, add 5 cm and divide by 2 again. Record.

Then measure around your hips. Divide that measurement by 2, add 5 cm, halve it and write it down.

Then measure the distance between these two points and record that as well.

6. Fold your dress fabric in half so that the selvedges are together. Using a piece of chalk, mark on the folded edge:

  • where the top of the skirt will be
  • where the bottom of the skirt will be
  • where the widest part of your hips will be

Mark on your waist measurement by measuring out from the mark indicating the top of the skirt and make another mark level with it. Do the same with your hip measurement.skirt simple dress

Draw a line through the marks indicating your waist measurement and hip measurement. The line needs to be as long as you want the skirt to be. Join the bottom of your line to the bottom mark on the fold. The line will need to curve gently.simple dress without a pattern Cut out. This piece is for the front skirt.simple dress without a pattern

7. Back section next! Take the pattern piece you made for the top back, folded in half, and the skirt piece you made in the previous step, also folded in half. Place the pieces on the dress fabric so that the folds are lined up with the fold of the fabric. simple dress without a patternPin them to the fabric and cut out.simple dress without a pattern

That’s most of the cutting out done. Phew! Tricky part over!

Making Up

1. On the front pieces, sew two rows of long stitches between the notches and close to the edge. simple dress without a patternPull the threads tight to gather.simple dress without a pattern

2. With the right sides together, pin the front pieces to the back piece at the shoulders. Sew the shoulder seams.simple dress without a pattern Trim and press.

Tip Many sewing machines have a stitch for sewing stretch fabrics. If not, use a zig zag stitch instead as straight stitches might cause the fabric to pucker.

3. Starting at the bottom corner of one of the front pieces, attach the bias binding right the way round the neckline to the bottom corner of the other front piece.simple dress without a pattern

The way I attach bias binding is to fold it hard lengthways. Then I unfold it and pin it onto the wrong side of the fabric so that the right sides are together and the raw edges are aligned. Next I sew it on, keeping close to the raw edge. IMG_3059Then I fold it over the raw edge of the fabric, making sure the other edge of the bias binding is tucked underneath. I pin it in place (sometimes!) then top stitch all the way round.simple dress without a pattern

4. Pin the side seams and put the dress on. Pin the front pieces together.simple dress without a pattern Take the dress off. You might want to unpin the side seams first!simple dress without a pattern

5. With the right side together, pin the top piece to the skirt.simple dress without a pattern Keep the front sections pinned together! Sew the skirt to the front.

6. To make the sleeves, measure the armhole of your dress using a piece of string. simple dress without a patternWrite it down (or you could just remember it if your memory has not been ruined by too many babies!).

Measure the length from your shoulder to your wrist. Measure the circumference of your wrist, add 3 cm and divide in half.

On the fold of your dress fabric, mark how long you will need your sleeves to be. At one end, make a mark outwards for how much you need to allow for your wrist. At the other end, using the piece of string, draw a curved line for your shoulder. Join the outer shoulder mark to the outer wrist mark. Cut out 2.simple dress without a patternsimple dress without a pattern

7. With the wrong sides together, pin the sleeves to the armholes. Sew. Trim the seams.simple dress without a pattern

8. With the wrong sides together, pin the armpit seams, then pin the rest of the side and arm sleeves. simple dress without a patternSew side seams from wrist to hem. Trim seams.

9. Hem sleeves.simple dress without a pattern

10. Hem the skirt.

If you have enough bias tape, you might like to use that instead of hemming. I didn’t because the tape I had was left over from another project.

Here is the finished dress, modelled by Betty the tailors’ dummy.simple dress without a patternsimple dress without a pattern

A Crocheted Daffodil Tutorial

crocheted daffodil

Ok, so I’ve been going beserk with the crocheted flowers lately. My excuses are as follows:

  • I like them.
  • I like winter but I’m bored with it now. I’m looking forwards to flowers, sunshine and being able to leave the house with the boys in under 20 minutes. So until the great outdoors can provide me with them, I’m making my own.
  • They’re great for using up odds and ends of yarn.
  • They are very quick to make so I’m not adding to my pile of unfinished projects, although my pile of crocheted flowers is pretty impressive on it’s own!

Here is one last little crocheted flower tutorial. This one is for a crocheted daffodil. collage crocheted daff

If you would like to download the pattern as a text only pdf you can do so here:Crocheted Daffodil Pattern

Happy St David’s Day!

A Crocheted Daffodil Tutorial

1. 4 ch, join with ss.crocheted daffodilcrocheted daffodil

2. 6 dc into ring. Join with ss. 6 stitches.crocheted daffodil

3. 1 ch, then *2 tr into next stitch* 6 times. 12 stitches.crocheted daffodil

4. 3 ch, sk st, dc into next st, *2 ch, sk st, dc into next stitch* 5 times. 6 ch sp.crocheted daffodilcrocheted daffodil

5. 1 ch, then *1 dc, 1 tr, 2 ch, ss into 2nd ch from hook, 1 tr, 1 dc* into each ch sp. Join with ss. Fasten off.crocheted daffodilcrocheted daffodil

6. Rejoin yarn. 1 dc into each tr in the middle of the flower.crocheted daffodilcrocheted daffodilcrocheted daffodil

7. 1 ch, then 1 tr into each dc.crocheted daffodil

8. 1 ch, then 1 ss into each tr.crocheted daffodil

Fasten off and weave in ends.crocheted daffodilcrocheted daffodilcrocheted daffodil

How To Crochet A Flower Garland

crocheted flower garland

I have been crocheting a lot of flowers recently, partly because I like them and partly because I wanted to crochet a flower garland. I like winter but I’m a bit bored of it now. It takes too long to get myself and the boys bundled into coats and hats and stuff whenever we need to go out and bus stops are chilly places. I spend a lot of time waiting at bus stops.

So here is a spring garland to tide us over until the real thing arrives hopefully in a couple of weeks!

To make the garland, I used 14 crocheted flowers and 12 leaves. With one exception, all the flowers and the leaves I have posted about previously and the tutorials for them are here:

Crocheted Flower Hair Bobble (I just used the flower and not the elastic, obviously!)crocheted flower

Crocheted Flower with Pointed Petalscrocheted flower

Crocheted Flower with Lace Petalscrocheted flower

Crocheted Flower with Contrasting Centrecrocheted flower

Crocheted Leavescrocheted leaf

If you prefer, text only pdf versions can be downloaded here:

Crocheted Flower Hair Bobble

Crocheted Flower with Pointed Petals

Crocheted Flower with Lacy Petals pdf

Crocheted Flower with Contrasting Centre

Crocheted Leaf.

Also the pdf for the pink lace flower can be downloaded here: Pink Crocheted Lace Flower

crocheted flower garlandHow to Crochet a Flower Garland

1. Make the flowers and leaves. I made 6 of the hair bobble kind, 2 white and 4 purple (the white ones used the same pattern but the yarn was thicker so they turned out larger), 3 with lace petals, 1 purple and 2 yellow, 2 with pointed petals in yellow, 2 with contrasting centres and 1 pink lace flower.

I made 12 leaves.crocheted flower garland

2. To join the flowers together, I made 72 cm of cord. I didn’t plan to make it 72 cm long, I just kept going until it looked long enough and measured it afterwards!crocheted flower garland

Here is how I made the cord:

4 ch, join with ss.

6 dc into ring. Join with ss.

1 ch, then *dc into next stitch* until the cord is long enough! Don’t join each round with a ss, just keep going round in a spiral.crocheted flower garland

Sew round the end of the cord and pull tight. Fasten off and weave in ends.

3. Next, arrange the flowers how you want them. I took a photo at this point to help remember the order.crocheted flower garland

4. Tuck the leaves in behind the flowers and take another photo.crocheted flower garland

5. To attach the flowers and the leaves to the cord, I sewed a button to the middle of each flower, sewing through the leaves and the cord at the same time.crocheted flower garland

I didn’t add any ties to my crocheted flower garland but if you wanted to you could crochet some ties, or sew on some elastic or ribbon.crocheted flower garlandcrocheted flower garlandcrocheted flower garlandcrocheted flower garlandcrocheted flower garlandI’m participating in some linky parties. To see which ones, the list is here!


The Year Of The Bus

year of the bus

A few weeks ago we took the boys off to London to see the bus sculptures in the Olympic Park at Stratford.

The sculptures had been commissioned to commemorate The Year of the Bus, so called because 2014 marked 60 years of the London Routemaster, 75 years of the RT and 100 years since the first mass produced motor bus, which was used in WW1.

For those of you who are not avid bus spotters, Routemasters are those buses with the open backs that automatically pop into your head when you think of London. RTs are older buses that look like an old fashioned version of the Routemaster.

These 60 bus sculptures were dotted around London but they had rounded them all up and put them in the Olympic park for a bit before auctioning them off.year of the bus

The basic buses were all the same but the artists and designers had been given a free hand in decorating them however they liked.

These are some of my favourites!

This one was CulumunimBus. I loved this one because living in the Fens we have big skies and this reminds me of them.year of the bus


There were several 60s and 70s inspired buses. I particularly liked this one with the swirlies and the flowers.

year of the bus

This was another outdoors themed one. I especially liked the umbrellas and it occurred to me that, being regular shapes, they might work well in patchwork or applique.year of the bus


The artist who did this one took the plant theme one step further and put actual plants in the roof!

year of the bus

There was an Orla Kiely bus,

year of the busand a Cath Kidston bus.

year of the bus

The design of this one was based on the maquette, the fabric, used to cover the seats of the Routemasters. year of the busThere were a number of London themed buses, including this one featuring the London skyline and the one behind it with the telephone boxes.

year of the bus

This one represented Surrey Street market in Croydon, which is near where we used to live. Although London isn’t known for its markets, I remember them as being as distinctive and as interesting as anything else in London, colourful, interesting smells, interesting sounds of market traders calling. As a little girl I thought this was how markets were. It was a surprise when I realised that the calling was a London thing.year of the bus

This one is a Pearly King bus. When I was little I thought they came from Purley!year of the bus

Here’s a Busby. The top half was actually furry.

year of the bus

Lastly, another one that reminds me of home. It was probably supposed to commemorate the War but Norfolk is what I think of first when I see poppies.year of the busThere were dozens of others that I liked too. These are just some of my favourites.

If you would like to see more buses (actual buses not sculptures!) Boy 1 has a blog about buses here: Dominic’s Bus Station.


How To Crochet A Leaf

crocheted leaf

I have been crocheting a lot of flowers recently. I have plans for them. I’m not just making them because I like flowers and I think they are nice, although if I didn’t think that I wouldn’t make them!

Flowers need leaves. At least the ones I have been making do! These leaves are very easy to make and are the correct size to work with the flowers.

They are made by crocheting 2 rows to form the centre, then the rest of the leaf is made by crocheting right the way round.crocheted leaf

If you would like a text only version of the pattern for easy printing, you can download it here! crocheted leaf

How to Crochet a Leaf

1. 14 chcrocheted leaf tutorial

2. Ss into 2nd ch from hook, then ss to end.crocheted leaf tutorial

3. 1 ch, then into the back of each stitch:

1 ss into each of the next 4 stitches,

crocheted leaf tutorial

Into the back of the stitch

crocheted leaf tutorial

1 dc into each of the next 3 stitches,crocheted leaf tutorial

1 tr into each of the next 3 stitches,crocheted leaf tutorial

1 dc into each of the next 2 stitches,crocheted leaf tutorial

1 ss into the next stitch,crocheted leaf tutorial

2 chains, then ss into 2nd chain from hook (this forms the point of the leaf).crocheted leaf tutorialcrocheted leaf tutorial

You should be half way round! Now back down the other side:

1 ss into next stitch,crocheted leaf tutorial

1 dc into each of the next 2 stitches,crocheted leaf tutorial

1 tr into each of the next 3 stitches,crocheted leaf tutorial

1 dc into each of the next 3 stitches,crocheted leaf tutorial

1 ss into each of the next  stitches.crocheted leaf tutorial

Fasten off and weave in ends.crocheted leaf tutorialcrocheted leaf tutorial

If you want to make some flowers to go with your leaves, have a look at my crocheted flower tutorials here:

A Crocheted Flower Hair Bobblecrocheted hair bobble

A Crocheted Flower with Pointed Petalscrocheted flower

A Crocheted Flower with Lacy Petalscrocheted flower

Another Crocheted Flower Tutorialcrocheted flower

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