Playing with my stretch block

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have been in need of instant gratification recently so I have been playing with my stretch block.  Having a stretch block is wonderful, I can use it for an infinite number of designs, all of which only take a couple of hours to make.  My stretch block came from some pattern making classes I took at Raystitch with the lovely Alice.  I can’t recommend these classes enough as Alice is a great teacher who makes it all look very easy and gives you lots of inspiration and encouragement (also plies you with wine and cake which makes the sewing much easier).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a simple dress which is smart enough for work but fun enough for play.  Stretch dresses are an absolute godsend to those of us who cycle to work as they fold up next to nothing in a pannier and come out looking fresh and new.

There is nothing complicated about this dress, the front and back are straight from my block, which has darts, to give it a great fit.  The collar I stole from the Renfrew pattern, I love large collars and this one is fabulous, the only quibble I have is that because the inner and outer collar are made from the same pattern piece the seam around the outer edge of the collar falls to the outside.  If I were to make it again I’d make the under collar slightly smaller to ensure the seam is kept nicely hidden away.

The fabric is called Les Branches and came from Dragonfly.  I had one of those late night buying sessions which lead the next morning to a lot of guilt, and worry that I might have ordered something not very nice.  Fortunately both pieces of fabric (I also ordered some Campan jersey) turned out to be lovely.

I only ordered 1.5m and I was pleased that I managed to get all the pieces cut with next to no spare fabric (really I was struggling to find a scrap big enough to run some test stitches over).

I was so keen to get it made I just ran it through the overlocker without basting it first and as a result it is slightly better fitted than I had meant it to be.  Naughty Jane! Always baste first so you can check the fit.  Fortunately stretch fabrics are very forgiving.

The hems were finished by running them through the overlocker, then turning them up once and sewing around with a twin needle.

Probably two hours from start to finish – that’s pretty instant in my book – taking the train into town, browsing the shops and doing lots of trying on would have taken longer.

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8 thoughts on “Playing with my stretch block

    • Thank you. The shoes are from John Lewis (their own brand). I’ve had them for a couple of years and wear them all the time because they are so comfortable. I think they have a very similar pair in this year if you are in the UK

  1. Seems like I’m missing out not having a stretch block. My projects never take two hours and like you say, you could waste that time doing very little.

    I love the colours in your fabric … and how nice not to have leftovers. I’m always tempted to keep leftovers and they just add to the untidy hoard.

  2. How lovely to get such instant gratification! I often start something thinking this will be the case, but sadly ends up not. I think seriously I need to take these classes. After a long gap of not sewing, I still am under the illusion that a pattern is going to fit straight from the envelope as it did when I was a lot younger. I am finally coming to the conclusion that I do need to do a FBA. Feels very boring and time consuming though.

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