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Category: Product Reviews

  1. The Tulip Dress - Pattern Review

    Posted on

    Assembly Line Tulip Dress - Pattern Review


    If you follow us on on social media you will know that we are big lovers of Assembly Line Patterns and also of  Ruby Star Society fabrics. So what better than to combine the two in a new dress to ease the transition into autumn!

    The Pattern
    Modern and minimalist Assembly Line produce patterns designed and created in Sweden. Their designs combine clear lines and classic styles with a modern twist. The end results are super wearable clothing with a professional finish.

    We love the clear step-by-step illustrated  instructions, with large scale diagrams and concise instructions - think Ikea for sewers! 

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    The Tulip Dress has a flattering bodice and a very full 'tulip' shaped skirt. The pattern would work well in in medium to light  weight denims and twills as well as medium weight cottons such as the one I chose by Ruby Star Society

    The Fabric
    Ruby Star Society are a 5 woman collective who built their company around creative ideas and sisterhood. They design beautiful fabric to inspire. I chose Adorn by Rashinda Coleman Hale, a medium weight cotton with a black base and pop of colour.


    Now Let's Get Sewing!

    The bodice goes together very easily with the large  neckline darts creating the bust shape. I found the sizing true to the size guide and I didn't need to make any adjustment in fitting.

    Happy with the bodice I moved into the skirt. I knew that the skirt - made up of six panels -  was super full so I decided to make a slight adjustment. By dropping the two side panels I was able to reduce the fabric required. I then adjusted the pattern, adding more in at the waistline at the front and back panels so that the skirt still fitted to the bodice. 

    The finished result is still a full tulip shaped skirt that, personally, I find a bit more 'everyday' and economises on fabric. I am really pleased with the finished look and know that this dress will look really good layered up with a cardigan, tights and chunky boots.

    Suddenly autumn doesn't feel so bad at all!

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  2. Sewing Whittaker

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    We have stocked Merchant and Mills  patterns for for over 5 years and love the simplicity of their design and the quality of techniques that they incorporte in their patterns. The finish is always of a stylish quality.


    Over the last few months M&M have bought out a number of great new patterns and the 'Whittaker' is another addition to their denim collection.

    I stuck to the brief and decided to make it out of some of our bark weave denim that I had waiting prewashed ready to go in my stash.

    The denim has a lovely texture to it and a small amount of elastine in it that makes this loose fitting dress even more comfortable to wear. We loved this fabric so much we ordered it twice so at the time of writing it is still in stock!

    As with most Merchant & Mills patterns their sizing is generous so I checked carefully their finished garment size before opting to cut the smallest size 6 - I normally wear a size 10. 

    I also checked the pics of the Whittaker made up and saw the long version is really VERY long so I hit midway between the long and the short version and decided to still keep the back split in.

    Once I had cut it was time to prep the back pockets.
    I love a bit of top stitching as it makes you slow down and focus on accuracy. I chose a classic jeans colour top stitch thread and got stitching! Most domestic machines struggle with thicker top stitch thread on both the top spool and the bobbin so I made sure my bobbin thread was a standard Gutterman sew- all thread before I started to sew.

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    One top tip I learnt from making the M&M 'Ottoline' denim skirt is finishing top stitching by hand sewing the threads to the back and avoiding back stitching unless I'm making a feature of it with a bar tack, it's time consuming but it makes for a lovely neat finish.

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    So once the back pockets were on it was time to join the two back skirt panels and yes you guessed it more top stitching!

    back split

    Who doesn't love a pocket and as well as the two back patch pockets the Whittaker has got lovely deep front pockets. One of the things I love most about home sewing is adding hidden little details and using up scraps of fabrics.

    In this instance I used some leftover Alexander Henry fabric from some curtains I had made for my cousin, as the pocket bag! The tones of blue work beautifully with the denim, I know no one is going to see but it still makes me happy! Pockets done it was time to join the two front skirt panels and top stich the front seam before moving onto the bodice.


    There is not much to say about the bodice, the instructions are clear and it is a simple construction. The neckline is high but this obvious from the pictures but if you prefer a lower neck line now is the time to do it and it is a simple adjustment to create more of a scoop.

    After more top stitching on the bodice it is time to join the bodice to the skirt before joining up the side seams and if you want, more top sitching down the side seams. This has the job of securing the plackets in the righ position, however I opted for a simple bar tack to do this job.


    Having tried on my Whittaker and hemmed to a knee length it was time to apply some hardware. I decided to go for some Prym 'anorak' studs in bronze. It is always a bit stressfull, so make sure you get your measuring and placement right. The denim is quite thick so I used a hole punch tool first to get a cut away fabric so the stud can clamp properly together. 

    So here's a pic of the finished garment, un-modelled! I have been wearing it loads in the shop already and it has received lots of comments and I feel it is going to to be fave for this autumn winter. I thorouhly recommend!