This blog post was originally written for Juki Club during the time I was an ambassador for them. I ended my partnership with them in July 2020 due to their refusal with engage with anti-racism.
This project was a “buddy sew” with my friends Mel and Patsy, both of whom I met through Instagram. We all had the Nina Lee Carnaby pattern already and thought it would be a fun way to keep our sewjo going in these strange times. We made it at the same time and kept in touch via WhatsApp so we could share our difficulties, top tips and triumphs! It was lots of fun and I highly recommend it as a way to connect with other sewists while we’re unable to attend meet ups and sewing days.
Mel, Patsy and I at the Sewing Weekender 2019
I made a couple of Carnaby dresses in January 2018 and loved the 60s shape, but the necklines gaped and they have both since been donated to a charity shop. Since attending Elisalex’s Bodice Fitting Masterclass last summer, I’ve learned that I need to do a narrow shoulder adjustment on almost all top and dress patterns. From memory, I estimated I’d need a 1.5cm adjustment but I’d go for 2cm if I made this pattern again. There’s no gaping but the shoulder seam still isn’t sitting in quite the right place.
You can read more about my original two Carnaby dresses here
This was a real stash-busting project: The denim was inherited from my late mother in law’s stash, and I originally made it into a Megan Nielsen Sudley dress. I loved the style, but the bodice didn’t fit me at all. I couldn’t bear to part with the fabric and chopped it off into a simple elasticated waist skirt, but the waistline was bulky and it was an awkward length.
The previous iterations of this denim
After carefully unpicking the waistband, I discovered to my delight that I had just enough fabric for the main bodice pieces of the Carnaby pattern. I raided my stash and found half a metre of denim, which was, amazingly, a perfect colour match. It’s slightly heavier but I think it works well as the “skirt” section. I didn’t want my neckline or pockets to be too bulky and used some Liberty tana lawn scraps for the pocket linings and facings.
Pretty Liberty pocket lining
One of my favourite ways to get a really neat finish on a garment is Made By Rae’s facing trick, and you can see how I attach my labels here.
Sometimes the simplest projects are the best, aren’t they? I know this is going to be a real wardrobe staple for me as I was in desperate need of some more “plains” to wear with all my patterned garments! The extra little details like the Liberty-lined pockets and decorative stitching on the sleeves have turned this simple dress into something really special.