Frocktober – Sew with Us – Sewaholic Lonsdale: Day 1

Welcome to our first ever TMS Sew with Us and the first for Frocktober 2014 ūüôā

Every day for the next five days we’ll do a little bit towards completing our gorgeous Sewaholic Lonsdales.

This series is going to be a fun and highly visual way of sewing together focusing less on the technical aspects (like a traditional sew along) and more on sharing my sewing workflow and the decisions I make as I sew through a new project.

I am not a trained seamstress and I don’t promise to always follow the instructions but I hope that you’ll take away some tips and maybe I can pass on a few of my cheeky habits for you to use in a future project ūüėČ

If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments below and for a more technical run through you can also jump over to the Lonsdale Sew Along on the Sewaholic website.

Ready? Then gather your supplies and let’s begin!


I’ll be making view A and cutting a straight size 12.

When I started planning my Lonsdale I pulled out this gorgeous Joel Dewberry print from the Aviary 2 collection called Sparrows. It was perfect and I could instantly¬†see my gorgeous Lonsdale complete and going out to brunch on a perfect¬†summer’s day. Just to set the scene, it was winter here in New Zealand when I started this project ūüėČ

I had 3 1/2 yards (about 3.2 meters) but the pattern envelope calls for 4 1/4 yards for my size in view A.

Sad face ūüė¶

It get’s worse. The pattern layout is “without nap” which means that pieces are cut any which way to get them to fit and¬†because my fabric pattern has a direction I’ll need to keep¬†all my birdies facing the right way.

Then there is the fact that I’ll not want to decapitate any birds with seams…hmmm, if this is going to work I’ll need to throw out the layout and call upon all my Pattern Layout Ninja skills.

It’s common for yardage charts to overestimate the fabric required¬†to make up a pattern. Why is this? Imagine how much work it would take to make up a layout diagram¬†for each variation in each size for every pattern and for all the different fabric widths we can buy. One or two layouts that cover all sizes and variations is likely to have some forgiveness built in¬†and this can work to our advantage.¬†Whenever I’ve¬†fallen in love with a particular fabric for a pattern but the yardage chart tells me I don’t have enough I find it’s¬†worth doing a test layout to check before giving up.

Don’t forget to pre-wash your fabric and allow your furry helper time to thoroughly inspect¬†your selection.

Harriet approves this fabric choice and moves to her supervisors bed so that we can proceed.

I tested laying out my pattern pieces and discovered that I could just squeeze it all on there but I need to break a few rules.

I’m such a rebel ūüėČ

The bodice is self-lined but¬†I’ll be cutting the inside center pieces upside down. No one will know except for us and the birds pressed to my bosom.

Another option would be to cut the lining¬†pieces from a different fabric. In my case, a plain black¬†cotton¬†would work nicely. You would see this other fabric on the back side of the ties and if you don’t like that¬†that then you could cut the ties only from¬†the self fabric and piece them on.

As it is I will have to piece my ties from off cuts but if I am careful it’ll be another secret just between us.

Cutting, cutting…

See the tie overhanging the fabric? I’ll piece¬†the bit that doesn’t fit from an off cut.

All my pieces on the left and a lot of teeny tiny scraps of fabric over on the right!


Let’s sew!

Step 1: I always read ahead when sewing. If the instructions tell me to press the stitched seam open I will overlock the edges first, then stitch and press open.

If the instructions say to press the stitched seam to one side I will stitch the seam then overlock both pieces together and press to one side.

So,¬†I’m beginning by 3-thread overlocking all the seam edges on my bodice and bodice lining pieces.

While you’re at it you can do all the side edges of the skirt pieces too, it will save time later.

Speaking of saving time, I also like to pin as many pieces together as I can so that I spend less time jumping up and down between machines and layout table.

Here are all the bodice seams pinned together ready to be stitched…

…and after stitching, all pressed open.

Don’t forget repeat for your lining pieces as well.

Here it is from the right side – I’m excited already!

That’s it for today. We’re only¬†at the end of Step 1¬†but everything is cut out and ready to go. Tomorrow we’ll finish our bodice.

If you are sewing along we’d love you to post your progress over on the Facebook group page.

See you soon! xx



2 thoughts on “Frocktober – Sew with Us – Sewaholic Lonsdale: Day 1

  1. Pingback: Frocktober Lonsdale | the curious kiwi

  2. That fabric is utterly gorgeous! Also, what is it with cats and their ever so helpful assistance during sewing? One of my cats likes to assist at the cutting stage (just like your Harriet); the other one likes to curl up on the fabric as I’m sewing it. So helpful.

    Anyway, enough about cats! I’m looking forward to seeing the final result.


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